This week I would like to discuss a rogue Legacy deck with a lot of potential. This particular deck has not seen much tournament play, but can potentially win the game on turn two with only 2 specific cards and the requisite lands in hand. It is known as Cephalid Breakfast, and it centers around the card Cephalid Illusionist‘s first ability to mill the entire library in one fell swoop. There are a few variants of the deck, but I am going to cover just one today. It is the easiest to acquire for new players or ones returning to the game, and still has serious win potential. Check out the list, then let’s break it down:
Mono-Blue Cephalid Breakfast
4 Cephalid Illusionist
4 Vedalken AEthermage
2 Trinket Mage
1 Azami, Lady of Scrolls
1 Angel of Glory’s Rise
1 Laboratory Maniac
1 Spell Pierce
4 Careful Study
1 Dread Return
The deck mills itself through a very simple interaction: Cephalid Illusionist and Shuko. Shuko can target the Illusionist and infinite number of times for no mana, therefore dumping the entire library. Unfortunately, because Shuko‘s is a sorcery-speed ability, the interaction is at times vulnerable to removal. This has been circumvented in the past with cards like Nomads en-Kor and Shaman en-Kor, as their abilities are instant-speed and also free. In this list, Shuko is used instead of an en-Kor card because the deck wants to stay mono-blue. While there are some benefits to adding white to the deck, I have found that the need for mana fixing, etc. decreases the speed and reliability of the deck.
This interaction allows the deck to win in a variety of ways. In general, there are three primary ways to win with the deck once a bunch of cards are in the graveyard. The first, as seen in this list, is to Dread Return an Angel of Glory’s Rise by sacrificing Narcomoebas. This returns both Laboratory Maniac and Azami, Lady of Scrolls to the battlefield, one of which or the Illusionist can then be tapped to draw a card and win. Another is to cast Dread Return for The Mimeoplasm, which will exile Lord of Extinction and Murderous Redcap to instantly deal lethal to the opponent. A third method is to reanimate Karmic Guide targeting Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, who then taps to copy the Guide. The new Guide reanimate Sky Hussar, which untaps Kiki. Kiki then goes infinite by making a ton of hasty Sky Hussars for the kill. An older method involving Sutured Ghoul and Dragon’s Breath used to be used, but this is a more unreliable form of killing the opponent than the other three.
While it is only a two card combo, sometimes finding the elements can be difficult. Fortunately, the color Blue is rife with a plenitude of drawing and tutoring effects. One such effect is Careful Study. This card is vital to Cephalid Breakfast, because it allows combo pieces such as Angel of Glory’s Rise that are stuck in the hand to be discarded. The filtering can also be used to sculpt better hands early in the game if a combo piece does not need to be discarded. Brainstorm is the other draw card. While it is not perfect without fetch lands, it puts trapped combo pieces back on top of the deck during or the turn before the combo turn so that they are milled.
A tutor suite is also employed to find said combo pieces. One of the best cards for this is Vedalken AEthermage. The wizard provides an un-counterable way to search for Cephalid Illusionist for the low cost of . The other tutor target for the AEthermage is the other tutor himself – the ineffable Trinket Mage. Trinket Mage is an amazing card in Pauper, so why not use him in Legacy? This dude finds Shuko, and does not need to be played with more than two copies because he can be searched for by the Vedalken.
As with all combo decks, this one is vulnerable to hate cards and counterspells. Fortunately, mono Blue has a plethora of easy outs in the form of cheap countermagic. Daze is absolutely fantastic. For no mana, it protects the combo when going off. It is so good, in fact, that they are 20 tickets each on modo. Wow. The price is much cheaper in paper, but it’s still expensive; the card runs about $3.00 each. It is the priciest card in the deck, but adds so much consistency and resiliency that it is well worth it. Four copies of Dispel and one of Spell Pierce are the only other counterspells. They are cheap and effective answers to any disruption the opponent might have, all of which will be instant-speed. In lieu of Dazes, four Swan Song can fill the hole in a not-so-efficient way.
What about the Sideboard?
I do not have a sideboard for the deck. I have never used nor needed one. While some cards may be worse in some matchups, there is generally not much that is better in games two and three. If you want to play the deck more competitively and desire sideboard cards, I might use something like this:
It stops Storm decks, fixes draws in grindy matchups, and thwarts disruption. The main deck does a pretty good job of doing this with what’s there, and removing too many pieces may make the deck even less consistent. Or, just make your ‘board 15 Islands and mess with your opponent by switching out lands! :)
Overall, the deck can win very quickly. It is simple to sculpt a decent hand, and a bunch of tutors makes finding the combo fairly easy. It is also a lot of fun to win with a Laboratory Maniac; a feat that not many can claim to have done! Maybe the ‘fun’ aspect is just my fetish for mono-blue combo, but really, who doesn’t want to do that at least once?
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading, and hope to see y’all next week here at Legacy on Mondays!