Legacy en los Martes, No. 1: ¡Bienvenidos!

¡BIENVENIDOS A Legacy EN LOS MARTES! * Número Uno * Escrito por Peyton

For those of you who do not hablar bueno espagniol, that is Welcome to Legacy on Tuesdays! The name is a tribute to the original title of the series, Legacy en los Lunes, which has a much nicer ring to it, but this series was moved to Tuesday rather than Monday.

No matter! This will be a weekly article series published every Tuesday. Each article will include something Legacy-related, be it speculation, a deck tech, a new brew, or discussion. Please, leave comments or questions below. I value all of your feedback. You are also always free to email me here: [email protected]. Please add me on Modo as well if you would like: MagicGatheringStrat2. I can also be found now and then on Cockatrice, testing or playing: MagicGatheringStrat.

Alright, I think that’s all of the pre-article junk. Let’s get down to it. This week I’m bringing you something new. Something epic. Something I have NEVER seen before on the interwebs. It is a ridiculously powerful interaction that lets you dump dudes into play while ripping apart the opponent’s hand. For {1}{B}. TWO MANA. Rather than just tell you the interaction, I’m going to lay this out as a scenario. A rather ideal one that will happen more often than not. Here it comes.

You are playing Modo at 3 am on a Saturday. It’s that kind of night… You decide that Pauper is getting a little boring, and that it’s time to switch it up. Let’s join some Legacy 2-man queues! OK, let’s load “Legacy Chain of Junk.dek” and get this party started! (That’s what I’ve named the deck.) Okay, MasterN00b69 joined the game. You won the die roll, and keep a hand of [c]Bayou[/c], [c]Windswept Heath[/c], [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c], [c]Tarmogoyf[/c], Magical Mystery Card X, Magical Mystery Card Y, and Magical Mystery Card Z. Not bad! MasterN00b69 mulligans to 6, then keeps. Let’s drop that Heath T1. MasterN00b69 plays USea, [c]Ponder[/c].

Alright, could be anything, probably ANT or Reanimator. Let’s fetch a [c]Savannah[/c] EoT. Turn 2, and the draw is a [c]Verdant Catacombs[/c]. You decide to play a [c]Bayou[/c], and tap that for black + the [c]Savannah[/c] to play Magical Mystery Card X. Your opponent virtually frowns before discarding a [c]Duress[/c] and [c]Past in Flames[/c]. OK, definitely ANT. However, your opponent is butthurt that you made him pitch 2 cards, so he decides to reciprocate! He throws Magical Mystery Card X back at you, which is perfect for you. You discard 2 cards, and in the process cheat Magical Mystery Card Y and Magical Mystery Card Z play – 10 power total! On top of that, you get to throw Magical Mystery Card X back at the opponent again! Facing down a two turn clock, along with only 1 card left in hand compels the opponent to scoop.

Well, that was easy enough wasn’t it? So how is this possible? What ARE those mystery cards?

Magical Mystery Cards Revealed!

All of this is made possible by one totally obscure uncommon. ‘Twas printed in Onslaught, and has a very commonly used cousin. If [c]Chain of Vapor[/c] can be used by ANT and High Tide to bounce obnoxious permanents, then we can abuse the HELL out of [c]Chain of Smog[/c] to dump their hand and blast dudes into play. How, might you ask? Well, the unsuspecting opponent gets hit with the chain turn 2. They have the option to copy it for free, and who wouldn’t want to reciprocate a discard spell back at the opponent? Well, some might not want us to point the second copy at their face again, but most people probably haven’t seen the card before.

When they do this, we surprise them by dropping Magical Mystery Card Y and Magical Mystery Card Z into play, and copy the chain again. The cards we discarded in the scenario were a couple of all-stars in various formats – [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c] and [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c] were dropped into play. The ol’ [c]Dodecapod[/c] ability is actually relevant here, since the opponent controls the copy of [c]Chain of Smog[/c]! This is some serious tech! Now that we know the combo, let’s break down some card choices and piece together this list.

Chain of Smog Loxodon Smiter Obstinate Baloth

The Breakdown – Core Card Choices

The name of the deck is Chain of Junk. Well, the chain part is obvious; let’s abuse [c]Chain of Smog[/c]! The junk part is also pretty obvious; it indicates the {b}{w}{g} color scheme of the deck. The need for {b} is apparent in that we need to cast the chain. The other two colors are important because we need to cast spells that are relevant even if we don’t have a chain. Basically, the list could be mono-{b}, but then it would rely heavily on cards that are just bad without a chain, namely [c]Dodecapod[/c] and [c]Sand Golem[/c]. I’d much rather be casting my [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c]s than Dpods if I get stuck without a chain, so {g}{w} are must-have colors. Not to mention that after the surprise is gone, you can never abuse the interaction again. The opponent will be overly wary of Chains later in G1, and then in Games 2 and 3. Ergo, often times the chains are boarded out. This means that the combo cannot be the primary focus of the deck all the time; post-board the deck functions in a similar manner to a junk rock deck.

Combo Pieces

I’ve already discussed this part in depth. Feel free to skip this part if you get the gist of the combo; the numbers of the combo pieces will also be listed in the decklist below. If you’d like a simple re-hash, here it is:

[c]Chain of Smog[/c] is the real all-star for the deck. It has a very powerful interaction with cards that have an [c]Obstinate Baloth[/c]-like effect, in that the goal is to bait the opponent into copying it and allowing you to drop the dudes into play. The card is indubitably a 4-of; the combo cannot function without it. Usually, the deck can put at least 1 guy into play and dump at least 4 cards from the opponent’s hand. If you drop 2 dudes with the chain, the opponent will usually not copy the chain for the second time, since there is a fear that there is another creature waiting to drop into play. The best creatures for this strategy are [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c], [c]Obstinate Baloth[/c], and [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c]. We do not want to play 4 of each, the floods just happen way to often with too many creatures and not a chain. Eleven seems to be the right number, with 4 [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c], 4 [c]Obstinate Baloth[/c], and 3 [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c]. I prefer to run only 3 Lieges because they are a little bit harder to cast, and the lord effect is not always really relevant.

The numbers are totally variable based on what a pilot may have, but ALWAYS run 4 Smiters. The 3 Drop is almost always better than the 4 drops for the same P/T, while uncounterability is crucial in a [c]Force of Will[/c]-dominated format. [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] is a thing against Smiter, but there is always the chance the deck gets stuck on 3 lands. There is also no point in playing against 1 card, even a popular one, since it just isn’t in every deck.

Support

This section is here to indicate that support itself does not exist in the deck. It is primarily {G}{W}, with a {B} splash for the combo and some discard. These colors do not exactly have a ton of ways to reliably and cheaply dig and/or tutor for the combo outside of black’s direct tutors. These are irrelevant in a deck that splashes the tutor color. Time to move on!

The Rest of the Core

This deck needs something to do if the combo is not present, and also post-board when the [c]Chain of Smog[/c]s are boarded out in the later games. As stated earlier, we want to function as a rock-style {G}{W} deck splash {B}. The black splash gives the deck access to [c]Thoughtseize[/c], which is one of the best discard spells ever printed. An great 2-of, it clears the path for us to drop our relevant green and white threats without removal or countermagic, and can also slow down or stop combo. Other than the [c]Thoughtseize[/c]s, I have not been a fan of other black options for the main deck. I considered [c]Dark Confidant[/c], but Bob is just a little to painful for our 3-and 4-drop laden deck, even with cards like the Baloth. No, we want a better creature to flesh out this spot. Three copies of [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c] should be perfect. I do not like running too many creatures that aren’t aggressive, but he turns our used [c]Thoughtseize[/c]s and [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c] into [c]Shock[/c]s, gains life, makes mana, and is pretty good against graveyard-based strategies like manaless dredge.

We also want a few nice {2}-cmc spells to keep up the plays sans chain. The best in this type of deck are going to be [c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c] and [c]Qasali Pridemage[/c]. Thalia is a great hate-bear, and Pridemage answers typical artifact and enchantment threats while providing a nice Exalted boost. I like to run 2 Thalia and 1 Pridemage, but the numbers will vary based on the meta. The deck does not like an unanswered [c]Batterskull[/c], and Pridemage is important for taking care of that. Those are the primary utility 2-drops, but some muscle is needed for the deck.

Three copies of [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] should be perfect for the job! Ol’ Goyfie has had a ton of tournament success just for being a vanilla 5/6 for {1}{g}. I’m pretty sure he has a spot here. Our 3-drop creature spot already has 4 copies of the [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c], but there is another extremely powerful and relevant card for which there is space. [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c] gets some love here as a 3-of, since it allows the deck to pack a toolbox of lands and is a massive beater. This, along with 22 lands, leaves the deck with 9 slots.

I’ve already mentioned [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c], which is definitely a 4-of. It is easily the #1 removal spell in the format, and is so powerful that there is no reason not to use 4. The deck also needed a little something to help eek out those long games against control. [c]Elspeth, Knight-Errant[/c] is perfect for this slot because she makes dudes, pumps ’em up, and if you ever get to ultimate her with some creatures in play, it becomes muy pero muy difícil for the opponent to win. That is not true, however for the unfair, super cheaty, “IDGAF about your board state, imma just win” decks. Then again, you will probably not be alive to ultimate Elspeth against those decks anyways.

The last 3 slots I would like to dedicate to [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c]. It is just so powerful right now; it gets our Pridemage to stave off artifacts and enchantments, [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c] to start using the land toolbox, [c]Obstinate Baloth[/c] to gain some life… The Zenith gains another sweet target post board. That’s our 60 sans lands, which deserve their own section!

Las Tierras

If we’re using a [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c] toolbox, it is important to cover every land used. We want access to all of colours, so we cannot pollute the curve with too many non-mana lands, but it’s important to have a few. I have always like a [c]Bojuka Bog[/c] maindeck. It produces black mana, and is quite good against decks like dredge, and sometimes in the ANT matchup it can be fetched in response to a [c]Past in Flames[/c] to cause a fizzle. [c]Dryad Arbor[/c] is also effective as a 1-of, since we can GSZ for it turn 1 and accelerate to a turn 2 Smiter or Knight. I also like to have a copy of [c]Karakas[/c] to fight against the Sneak and Show decks as well as other obnoxious legends like [c]Mangara of Corondor[/c] before they become active. The [c]Dark Depths[/c] – [c]Thespian’s Stage[/c] combo is also awesome to have since it can win the game out of nowhere and is resilient to control decks. They’re welcome to StP Marit Lage and give us 20 life and many extra turns.

Other than these few, we have our standard colored lands. I have opted for no [c]Wasteland[/c]; as good as it is, we require all 3 colors of mana on time without dorks like [c]Noble Hierarch[/c]. It’s entirely fine to run it in a metagame where tempoing lands is super important, and it is nice with [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c]. Oh fie, it’s up to you!

Anyways, the rest of the land base is completed with 4 [c]Windswept Heath[/c], 3 [c]Savannah[/c], 2 [c]Bayou[/c], 2 [c]Marsh Flats[/c], 2 [c]Scrubland[/c], 1 [c]Verdant Catacombs[/c], and 1 each of [c]Forest[/c], [c]Plains[/c], and [c]Swamp[/c]. Yes, I love my basics. They’re awesome to fetch against those [c]Wasteland[/c] decks! I’ve actually seen [c]Path to Exile[/c] a few times playing Legacy, which makes no sense given that StP is superior, but basics are another insurance policy against that eventuality. That’s a total of 22 lands for our casting pleasure! ¡Cuán bueno! That means “how good!,” but we use cuán instead of qué because we are far more erudite here!

The Sideboard

This is the only missing link here, and it’s an important one. After board, we need to have some stuff to use in place of our chains and possibly other less optimal stuff like the Lieges. I would like to start with 2 [c]Gaddock Teeg[/c]. Combo is not an amazing matchup, and Teeg gives us a Zenith-able hate card. He’s also awesome against decks packing [c]Force of Will[/c].

I also want 3 copies of [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] as an answer to all kinds of obnoxious permanents, namely Swords, Goyfs, Delvers, Bobs, and a plethora of other egregious meanies. A couple of [c]Surgical Extraction[/c]s are great against Dredge, and combo decks that help us nail their pieces from the grave. The most important part of the ‘board are the 3 [c]Stoneforge Mystic[/c]s and their equipment friends. This gives us a ton of flexibility and a great method of change against decks that are expecting the combo again. We have only the best pieces of equipment to supplement the Mystic (Is it just me or does that sound like an awesome rap line? It kinda rhymes…). One each of [c]Batterskull[/c], [c]Umezawa’s Jitte[/c], [c]Sword of Light and Shadow[/c], and [c]Swords of Fire and Ice[/c] will provide an ample equipment package to challenge most decks. The last sideboard slot goes to another copy of [c]Qasali Pridemage[/c]. I have a small problem with cards like [c]Moat[/c] and [c]Humility[/c], which Decay does not deal with. Enchantress isn’t the best matchup for the deck, and an extra Pridemage is an awesome Zenith target that will deal with all the nasties.

That’s all for the breakdown! Let’s get a nice look at the list as a whole:

[d title=”Chain of Junk”]
Creatures
3 Deathrite Shaman
3 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Obstinate Baloth
3 Tarmogoyf
3 Wilt-Leaf Liege
2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Qasali Pridemage

Instants & Sorceries
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Chain of Smog
3 Green Sun’s Zenith
2 Thoughtseize

Planeswalkers
2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Lands
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Karakas
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Dark Depths
1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Swamp
1 Plains
1 Forest
2 Bayou
2 Scrubland
3 Savannah
4 Windswept Heath
2 Marsh Flats
1 Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Gaddock Teeg
2 Surgical Extraction
3 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Qasali Pridemage

[/d]

That’s it folks. The culmination of two and a half thousand words. One decklist. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Totally worth it. I hope y’all enjoyed reading about this interaction and the deckbuilding process as much as I have enjoyed trying to break the cards. Please, leave comments and like if you enjoyed it! I hope to see you next week, where I will explore a magically budgetly awesome tribal deck!

Thanks for Reading!

/Peyton