I am pretty tired right now and am looking forward to heading back to my hotel for a quick nap before a long late night of drafting and last minute good times with friends and co-workers. Still, I can't wander off without talking about some of the standout cards from this weekend.
Conspicuous by its absence in the finals, this card should quickly become a Boros staple. Deemed too expensive, at a converted mana cost of four, to be played in Kuldotha Red, it found a place in the Top 8 decks that were played by semifinalist Vincent Lemoine and finalist Paul Rietzl. Had Paul drawn the hasty battle-crier in his finals match the results could have very easily gone differently for him and PT Paris Champion Ben Stark. With the popular Caw-Go archetype relying on chump-blocking Squadron Hawks to buy time for the deck to hit the critical turns where it can set up behind its planeswalkers and clear the board, Hero of Oxid Ridge would have invalidated that game plan while boosting the damage output of its fellow attackers.
Once thought of as strictly a denizen of 40-card decks, Tumble Magnet has seen a steady rise in popularity among 60-card builds. In the Tezzeret deck, played to a quarterfinal finish by Patrick Chapin, the card served to protect the newly revealed Agent of Bolas—something of a breakout card itself this weekend—and slow down anything that was carrying a Sword. Equipment was a popular strategy for the weekend, whether it was the green-white Quest for the Holy Relic deck played by Nico Bohny or the Stoneforge Mystic–fueled Caw-Go and Boros decks that took up five of the Top 8 seats on Sunday, Tumble Magnet could provide an excellent foil to the sorcery speed equipping of a pesky critter. And even the occasional planeswalker.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor has been the man for some time now in Standard but at Magic Weekend Paris Gideon Jura was the shadowy man behind the man who ensured that Jace would get to do his thing without any interference from mere creatures. Gideon would hit the table, slap himself on the chest and yell "C'mon" to opposing creatures. With eight loyalty, he could Time Walk his opponents forcing the use two attack steps to dispatch him. By then Jace would be digging, bouncing, and even fatesealing without any danger looming for it in the red zone. That protection did not just extend to Jace with planeswalkers like Elspeth Tirel and Venser, the Sojourner also benefitting from its presence on the battlefield.
Gideon also served as protection from the popular swords that were everywhere this weekend. Should a creature equipped with Sword of Body and Mind attack Gideon, the damage dealt would not count as dealing damage to a player and would not trigger its powerful effects. In Sword fights it could serve to tap out the opposing team in order to get in with an equipped creature on the following turn.
The newest addition to the Planeswalker family had been dismissed by more than one pundit in their reviews of Mirrodin Besieged for Standard despite its attractive casting cost and fitting into a color combination that had already proved itself to be the basis of a winning strategy in Standard. Patrick Chapin was not one of those pundits dismissing the card and he put his money where his virtual mouth was with a Top 8 performance with his blue-black-red deck that was also played by Guillaume Matignon in the Player of the Year playoff. The deck put all three of Tezzeret's abilities to good use, whether it was digging for Tumble Magnet, attacking with a 5/5 Sphere of the Suns, or finishing off an opponent on the back of the ultimate ability.
There was more than one way to skin—or should I say Liquimetal Coat?—an artifact deck with Tezzeret. Check out Martin Juza's deck tech for a straight up blue-black build that also made people scramble to trade for Kuldotha Forgemasters as soon as it was posted—not to mention Mindslaver, Blightsteel Colossus, and Myr Battlesphere.
The Caw-Go deck warped itself to accommodate this powerful Sword by including four copies of Stoneforge Mystic to increase the likelihood of finding it. The deck was quite simply dominating and was able to do disgusting things with its mana due to being able to untap it after a successful attack. Making the opponent discard a card was no small part of the deck's ability to dominate control match-ups throughout the weekend. There easily could have been five or six copies of this deck in the Top 8 if not for running into itself at the top tables repeatedly down the stretch.