Champion Spotlight: Grand Prix Jyväskylä and Kyoto "Cat Tax" by Cajun
Allo there, Cajun here with Cat Tax (or RW Prowesswalkers), the deck that took GPJ and GPK with barely a scratch. While people seem to be calling this the newest meta deck, I think there’s a lot of right-place-right-time to the deck.
Learning from Failure
In the previous two GPs I ran walker-focused decks that rocked a solid 0-4 record. The planeswalkers were quite resilient in our meta, just no one had found the shell to abuse that resilience yet. The best was Sylph’s 4th place finish in GPH with a similar deck that went ham on protecting its walkers for a weak early game but a inevitable late game. Replacing the deck’s protection with bulkier creatures, burn, and the newcomer Azun, the deck gained the explosive start it needed to take home the Champion.
Cat Tax has proven a very reliable deck both in mana and landing threats. While Cat Tax took several games from flooded or screwed opponents, it only lost one the same way. The deck consistently pulled off a Prowessbro into a three drop, which alongside a Disseminate or a Roggar’s easily clears the way for an early lead that it exploits for all its worth. Failing that, Azun, Tam, or Elspeth will upset an even board to get us back to the lead. Failing that we’re in trouble, banking on Seto San to dig us out of this mess we’ve made, meaning losing the snowball early can be a death sentence.
Saigura Tam earned his Champion many times over, being a 4-of even as a legendary because chaining them is usually worth. While amazing early, being unable to make a board presence means the cat will sometimes let you down.
Taiyohata Champion is, at worst, a 3/2 first strike haste that dodges lifelink and eats almost anything that tries to block it. However, being able to flash it in when you look vulnerable has been invaluable, saving my skin enough times to earn its Champion card the second time through.
Disseminate is often written off as being too situational, but Cat Tax loves creating those situations. Exiling the T1 Mana Ascetic or Cephalomancer (or the two-drop when on the draw) is massive for grabbing the early lead. It continues to be a threat in the grave, is dirt cheap removal, prowess trigger, and counterbait, and just generally a card Cat Tax is always happy to have.
Elspeth, Protector of the Meek was added because she was a three-mana token producer with late game inevitability, but in practice is just a bad Tam and a bad Seto. Unfortunately, there aren’t many replacements for her, so she may stick around for now.
Holy War can be a godsend when you’re falling behind, but the one time Cat Tax has actually wanted Holy War it was staring down an Antithesis, rendering it useless. While likely a fantastic sideboard option, Holy War has been dropped from the main board.
Azun’s Most Wanted
These are the cards that will absolutely wreck your day and you’ll want to play around if you know they’re coming.
Antithesis: This takes a lot of punch out of our creatures, wrecks Elspeth and Tam, and reduces Seto to a wrath with some lifegain. Our only mainboard answer is Azun, so the GPL sideboard was loaded with enchantment removal in preparation.
One//Done: Prowesswalkers weathers most wraths very well thanks to its walkers making it very difficult to set us back to zero. While One//Done comes in late and doesn’t see much play, it is capable of doing this and will change the game when it does.
Disallow/Seabreen Nullmage: This one’s a bit situational, in a typical matchup these will be a nuisance, but in a control matchup these can effectively destroy a resolved walker or a charged Mosecf. Take a bit more care with your ults and fetches if you know these might be lurking.