Although I’m still here in D.C. (flight home leaves tomorrow), Grand Prix D.C. has come and gone. Who won? More importantly, what did he win with? Morer importantly, what vastly underrated Rise of the Eldrazi draft card did I stumble across?
The winner of Grand Prix D.C. was Brad Nelson. The deck he piloted was U/W Control, defeating Jund in the finals. The U/W control archetype was quite popular — I was testing my own take on it until the day before the GP, when I realized if I wasn’t going to be competitive (testing was not going well), I might as well play a fun deck. Two Rise of the Eldrazi cards had a big impact in making the control deck a major force in Standard again: Gideon Jura and Wall of Omens. To a lesser extent, Deprive made a showing, but a lot of the control decks were called “tap-out control,” with little to no countermagic. They really acted more like mid-range decks, winning with Baneslayer Angel, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, Gideon or Celestial Colonnade. Interested in trying this awesome new deck at your Friday Night Magic? It’ll cost you about $800.
I’m not exaggerating. Literally, $800.
There’s also a Naya deck making a strong push. It’s similar to earlier Naya and Boss Naya variants, but uses Vengevine to great effect (and to make it more expensive). An all-Planeswalker deck called Superfriends was the talk of the convention center the day before the GP, and a brutal combo deck using Sovereigns of Lost Alara and Eldrazi Conscription could blow some people out of the water as early as turn 3, though it didn’t make a major showing among the top finishers.
I played in four Rise of the Eldrazi drafts, and didn’t do especially well (although in one draft I had an incredible deck but made a terrible, terrible misplay in game three of the first round and lost). However, I discovered a card that not many players were drafting, but was incredibly effective. I was repeatedly passed Battle-Rattle Shamans late in draft rounds. Keep it in mind as a sleeper pick if you’re in red — I wouldn’t splash red just for him, but a pair of these drafted late can get you a win or two. It can be as simple as that one flier winning the life race with that extra +2/+0 each turn, or as brutal as a Rapacious One with a Hyena Umbra smashing through and over any defense, and giving you tons of mana and chump blockers.