Legacy on Mondays: Mono-Budget Reanimator

Jin-Gitaxias-Core-Augur-Art-Wide

Welcome Back!

I know, it’s been quite a long while since I have shown myself on this here website. Life has been harsh to me over the past few months. I got slammed with work, and I am not going to lie – my mental and physical health have not been good either. These things get in the way of me doing what I love sometimes, which is writing articles and making videos about the best CCG in the world. Fortunately, things have calmed down, and I can get back to writing!

So, when deciding what to write for the return, I thought I would bring out a classic Legacy deck that you can pick up and play without breaking the bank. Have you ever wanted to play Reanimator, but couldn’t afford the fetches, duals, and [c]Force of Will[/c]s? Well, then this is the deck for you! In mono-black, this deck gets the bonus of being blisteringly fast with [c]Dark Ritual[/c], while still being protected by discard. Check it out:

[d title=”Mono-Black Reanimator (Legacy)”]
Creatures
4 Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
4 Putrid Imp
1 Ashen Rider
1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Speed
4 Dark Ritual
4 Lotus Petal
Utility
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Cabal Therapy
4 Entomb
Reanimation
4 Animate Dead
4 Exhume
4 Reanimate
Realms
12 Swamp
4 Bloodstained Mire [/d]

Price

You’re probably reading this because the title says mono-Budget Reanimator. Legacy is an amazing format, but it can be expensive to play if you are just starting out. Reanimator is a strategy that people have tried to break in formats like Modern, but the tools are just not as available in the non-eternal formats. Fortunately, the means to play this powerful archetype are readily available in Legacy, and you can use them without spending too much cash on the format!

This deck runs sub – $300 with the fetchlands. Those are removable easily – I just find that they add a little bit of consistency to the draws of this deck by thinning out Swamps. Perhaps you already have Mires for Burn, in which case there is no reason NOT to run them, but they can also be abandoned to get the cost below $250. Note that this is in paper… Online, with fetches, this deck runs the astonishing price of only $100!

Price of Mono b reanimator

And that’s if you buy from *cough* MTGOTraders. You can probably do a little bit better trading for the cards or getting them from real humans.

The Deck Itself

Optimally, you are looking to reanimate some fat as soon as possible. Preferably the fat is actually rather skinny and spiky, in the form of [c]Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur[/c]. The faster we can get Jinny-G online, the faster we can win. The reason for playing four copies is simple. He enables us to continue to reanimate other creatures every turn. Drawing seven cards at the end of our turn allows us to pick up and then discard more big creatures, while keeping reanimation spells in hand to bring them back from the dead on our next turn. I like Jinny G more than [c]Griselbrand[/c] in this version because he also reduces the opponent’s hand size by seven, meaning that they cannot hold any reactive spells against us and cannot counter anything we play after Gitaxias comes down. This is preferable since we do not have countermagic to fight against opposing counterspells that might stymie the reanimation of other meanies.

The order in which you optimally want to reanimate creatures is as follows: Jin-Gitaxias > [c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c] or [c] Iona, Shield of Emeria[/c] (depending on whether or not you can / want to fully lock your opponent out of the game or need to mop up some creatures first) > [c]Ashen Rider[/c] (more permanent mop-up) > [c]Sphinx of the Steel Wind[/c] (Close out the game). Generally by the time you hit your second reanimation, the game is yours. If you fear [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c], Iona on White prevents your opponent from top-decking Swords to kill Iona or Jinny G. If countermagic is an issue, name Blue. If an army of dorks is staring you down with a [c]Batterskull[/c] about to smash your face, play Elesh Norn. If your opponent is totally screwed on board, just throw down a Sphinx and beat face.

This is enabled by [c]Entomb[/c], which is the best tool to selectively find any of your bullet reanimation targets. The other easy way to get them into the graveyard is with [c]Putrid Imp[/c]. I like the Imp because we are playing eight cards in the maindeck that can be reanimated, so there is a decent chance one or two will end up in your hand eventually. The Imp also eats Liliana edicts like a boss when we have only reanimated one creature. [c]Cabal Therapy[/c] also has great synergy with the Imp. Therapy can be used on your own hand to bin fatties, or on the opponent to check is the coast is clear and / or remove their interactive spells. [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c] also works quite well with Therapy; it enables us to name precisely what we want the opponent to discard, or allows us to ignore the opponent’s hand and use Therapy to bin our creatures should we have no other outlet to do so.

Playing with Probe and a few fetchlands also enables to play a “virtual” 52-card deck. This helps up consistency without access to [c]Brainstorm[/c] and [c]Careful Study[/c]. This deck also has more consistent turn 1 reanimations. [c]Lotus Petal[/c] in conjunction with [c]Dark Ritual[/c] lets us have two or three mana on turn one pretty consistently, which is often all we need to [c]Entomb[/c] / discard a creature and [c]Reanimate[/c] or [c]Exhume[/c] it. The other nice thing about this deck is that it is incredibly redundant. With 12 reanimation effects, one or two counterspells will not fully shut us down if we cannot Therapy the opponent. Just play another [c]Animate Dead[/c] on the next turn!

Sideboard

The other nice thing about playing Mono-black is that you can build an effective sideboard without having to drop a ton of money. Your options range from cards like [c]Mindbreak Trap[/c] to stop Storm to general utility in [c]Ratchet Bomb[/c] and [c]Pithing Needle[/c] to more discard in [c]Duress[/c] and [c]Thoughtseize[/c]. The sideboard can be tweaked to suit your metagame easily. Even with Miracles up the Yang in the current meta, most decks are running one [c]Rest in Peace[/c] as the only graveyard hate. You can beat this mere annoyance easily with A) Speed or B) Any number of answers from discard or those Ratchet Bombs.

That’s all for this week. I hope you enjoy smashing your opponent’s expensive Miracles faces with a 100 ticket Legacy deck that is a blast to play on the cheap.

Thanks for reading, and see you in future articles!

Creating My Legacy: Finding A Deck And The Search For Fun

cabal therapy art

Welcome Back,

So for this week I’ve decided to take a break from building an EDH deck, and instead decided to talk about my recent forays into the Legacy format. I have had some experience in the format a while ago when I was playing Manaless Dredge, but not much since then.

At that time, I was just trying to dip the toe and see if the format was for me, or if I should stick to Modern. What I experienced during those few months was some of the best Magic I have ever played. The amount of variance that was on display was unreal. Every match I played, I saw something new. One match I was playing against Burn, the next match was against Miracles, then Sneak and Show, then Lands, and so on and so forth. It was astounding to see how many ways one could go about building a Legacy deck.

Another thing I noticed is that each deck really complimented each pilot. I could tell that each deck I played against was a labor of love. Every player put so much of themselves into their deck, and it showed.  It reminded me so much of the amount of love I put into my EDH deck Melek, Izzet Paragon.

To me, this was what Magic is about. People playing what they want to, instead of netdecking and metagaming. They aren’t playing these decks because they are objectively good in the meta, they are playing them because they love them. That’s why I fell in love with this format. I then put away Manaless Dredge and started my search for my Legacy deck. Manaless Dredge was loads of fun, but in the end it wasn’t the deck for me.

I will show you guys what I was working with for a few months.

[d title=”Manaless Dredge (Legacy)”]

Creatures

3 Balustrade Spy

1 Flayer of the Hatebound

4 Golgari Grave-Troll

4 Golgari Thug

4 Ichorid

4 Narcomoeba

4 Nether Shadow

4 Phantasmagorian

4 Shambling Shell

4 Stinkweed Imp

4 Street Wraith

Instants

3 Contagion

1 Sickening Shoal

Sorceries

4 Cabal Therapy

4 Dread Return

4 Gitaxian Probe

Enchantments

4 Bridge from Below

Sideboard

2 Ashen Rider

3 Faerie Macabre

4 Mindbreak Trap

1 Serra Avatar

1 Sickening Shoal

4 Surgical Extraction [/d]

Now that I had a taste of what Legacy is, I wanted more. Now all I needed to do was to find my deck. There is a deck in this format for everybody, it’s just a matter of finding it. Whether it’s your own brew, or an established archetype, there is something here for you.

After months of searching, I boiled it down to three different decks, Worldgorger Dragon Combo, Miracles, or Nic Fit. Each deck, a vastly different playstyle. Each deck, a different part of the reasons why I love Magic as much as I do. I ended up taking the Dragon Combo deck out of the equation, because I decided to keep combo religated to Modern instead, where I’m currently building [c]Restore Balance[/c].

It took me a while to pick between Miracles and Nic Fit. I loved Miracles so much because of how skill intensive it is. It’s one of the hardest decks in the format to pilot. There are so many different decision trees that its mind boggling. I love decks like this because it really makes me think and helps me become a better player. In the end, I ended up choosing Nic Fit, primarily for just one reason. My love of a certain card.

thragtusk art wide

I love [c]Thragtusk[/c]. It’s one of my all time favorite cards. I have never had anything go wrong whenever this beast of a card resolves. Every time it resolves, you get value. Every single time. If they [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c], you still have a 3/3 left over. [c]Council’s Judgement[/c] can’t even take away that. Even if they go so far as to [c]Terminus[/c] it, you still have a 3/3 left over. There are certain decks, like Burn, that just can’t beat this card. It’s an monster of a threat and will generate two-for-ones every time you cast it.

It’s no wonder why [c]Thragtusk [/c] was the undisputed king of Standard at the time. With this, combined with my favorite planeswalker, [c]Garruk, Apex Predator[/c], we have the recipe for a deck that is straight out of my own heart. Here is my list of BG Nic Fit.

[d title=”Nic Fit (Legacy)”]

Lands

4 Bayou

1 Bloodstained Mire

5 Forest

5 Swamp

4 Verdant Catacombs

1 Windswept Heath

Creatures

2 Courser of Kruphix

4 Deathrite Shaman

1 Grave Titan

1 Primeval Titan

3 Sakura-Tribe Elder

2 Thragtusk

2 Thrun, the Last Troll

4 Veteran Explorer

Instants

4 Abrupt Decay

Sorceries

4 Cabal Therapy

4 Hymn to Tourach

4 Innocent Blood

Enchantments

2 Pernicious Deed

Planeswalkers

1 Garruk, Apex Predator

2 Liliana of the Veil

Sideboard

1 Batterskull

1 Dismember

1 Garruk Wildspeaker

2 Guttural Response

2 Leyline of the Void

2 Melira, Sylvok Outcast

2 Mindbreak Trap

1 Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath

2 Pernicious Deed

1 Pithing Needle [/d]

This is the list I’m currently building. It’s going to take me awhile to finish, though I have the core of it already. I own a seventy-five, just have some place holders for some of the more expensive cards until I can afford them.

I was surprised at how well this deck did in testing. There were many a game where I started out with a [c]Veteran Explorer[/c], then cast and flashed back [c]Cabal Therapy[/c], then followed that up with a [c]Hymn to Tourach [/c]. After that devastating turn two play, it was difficult for my opponent to cobble together much of anything. These type of openings followed up by some huge threat has been back-breaking against almost everybody.

[c]Garruk, Apex Predator[/c] has been a blast to play in Legacy. He doesn’t show up all the time, but when he does, he makes his presence known immediatly. Most of the time, he shows up and kills the biggest threat they have. Then he just starts pumping out 3/3 deathtouchers that will take over the game if left unchecked. He protects himself, gains you life, and will win the game if he goes unchecked, which he usually does. By the time you get to a spot where you can cast him, your opponent is usually out of resources. He’s been amazing every time I cast him. I have yet to live the dream of killing a [c]Jace, the Mindsculptor[/c] with him, but I’m sure I will soon enough.

One thing I did find though is that there are a few decks that just are flat out bad matchups. Infect so far has been the absolute worst matchup of them all. With their lightning fast clock, our game plan is usually just too slow to matter. Most games just involved me playing a turn one [c]Veteran Explore[/c] and then dying. To help this, I’ve included [c]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/c] in the Sideboard to help make this match as easy as possible (still not easy).

Overall, I’m excited about finally having a Legacy deck that I get to call my own. It may not be the best deck in the format, but it’s my deck. I pour my heart into each deck I build, and this is no different. If you’re looking for a deck that allows you to play some of your favorite cards in Magic that you normally think wouldn’t make it into this format, look no further. This deck is for the Little Timmys out there that love casting big creatures and having a good time. I sure love it when I get to play [c]Thragtusk[/c] along side [c]Garruk, Apex Predator[/c] in a format mostly about one and two drops.

Thank you for checking out my article this week. Next week, I will be returning to EDH and bring you another brew to take a look at. Hopefully some time in the future I will make another article and update you on how Nic Fit has been treating me. If you have any comments or anything you want me to discuss in a future article, let me know in the comments. See you soon, my friends.

-Steven Gulsby

Legacy on Mondays: Epic Tournament Write-Up (Almost)

innocent blood

Welcome Back!

This week I wanted to discuss a rather tilt-inducing situation for me, as well as share a deck list.

So, this past weekend was the SCG Open in Syracuse, NY. Creepy fact: That’s an event that is relatively close to where I live. While the format of the open itself was Standard, there was a Legacy 5K Premier IQ yesterday on Sunday. As a Legacy player, I jumped at the chance to get to go and play in a more competitive field. Sadly, things fell apart.

It started with something quite simple: I did not have a deck to play. I do not really own a lot of complete Legacy decks in paper. The only one I had was Enchantress, but I lent that to my friend and he went on an extended vacation before I got a chance to ask to have it back. I thought I might play [c]High Tide[/c], but I lacked the necessary [c]Force of Will[/c]s. I did have part of burn put together, and said to myself: “You know what? Just buy out the rest. It’s not that much.” No problem, right? I even paid a bit extra for some expedited UPS shipping. Well, there were floods in Kentucky, and as such my package was delayed. Hell, if you’re reading this on Monday, they probably are not even in my mail box yet. So that’s problem 1.

Problem 2 is that my other friend whom I was supposed to pick up so we could go together called me on Saturday night to tell me that he had made some Easter plans suddenly. I have no problem with religious observances and holidays, but when you make plans with your friends to burn some fossil fuels to play Magic, make sure that you keep those plans. Clearly the cards are more important than the environment, yes? Still, I was really looking forward to playing in this event with him.

The third problem is likely the most damning. I could play my bastardized Forceless High Tide if necessary, but when I woke up Sunday morning I felt terrible! Rather than going into detail, let’s just leave it that I would have been unable to make it to tournament, let alone my car. Yes, it was finally then that I threw in the towel and said “No more. I scoop to life;” that is also why this isn’t an epic tournament write-up and matchup analysis.

There is a lesson to be learned from all of this. I am out $150 in cards that I wanted to use for this tournament. In the grand scheme of things, that is no huge loss, but it is no chump change either. What is does, however, is give me an excuse to play with my friends more, since I am no longer tied to my lent Enchantress deck for Legacy. I think that alone is easily worth the money I spent. And hey, it also means that they have to get some [c]Circle of Protection: Red[/c] as soon as they possibly can :)

Also, I honestly tilted a bit. Terrible illness, inability to go and play in a more competitive tournament, and not being able to see my good friend all ruined my mood. As Steve can attest, I did try to brighten things up a bit with some Kangaroo Court EDH, but I still felt pretty bad. Writing this, though, has made me realize that life happens. While Magic is a great game, sometimes life just needs to remind you that it comes first. Stay healthy, and do not tilt too much if things jump out of your control and you cannot make it to your IQ.

With that, check this out:

[d title=”Pox by Reid Duke, circa December 2011″]
Creatures
2 Nether Spirit
Planeswalkers
4 Liliana of the Veil
Lands
13 Swamp
4 Mishra’s Factory
4 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Wasteland
Artifacts
3 Cursed Scroll
Instants
4 Dark Ritual
1 Spinning Darkness
Sorceries
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Sinkhole
4 Smallpox
3 Innocent Blood
1 Pox
Enchantment
1 Nether Void
[/d]

Why would I show you such a deck? Well, this is a very quick continuation of my Getting Into Legacy series. If you bought [c]Wasteland[/c] as a staple, and love systematically dismantling your opponents, then this is the deck for you. But the list is totally antiquated? Pox has not changed much over the course of time. You can find Mr. Duke’s excellent primer on the deck here.

The deck is mono-color, so no fancy fetches or duals, and is one of my favorites decks in Legacy. I may be a bit of a combo junkie, but Pox really suits me for some reason. Also, feel free to ignore [c]Nether Void[/c] and [c]The Abyss[/c] for the most part. I’ve never had them be totally amazing, and I like to play a [c]Night of Soul’s Betrayal[/c] in the main instead. Looking for a more updated list? I would provide one, but all that I have found that have done well in relatively recent events have delved into other colors and are playing cards like [c]The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale[/c]. Stick with mono color; it’s your best bet.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see y’all soon!

Legacy on Mondays: Getting Into Eternal Part III: Final Tips

scalding tarn 2

Hey guys,

For the past two weeks, I have been trying to help you break into the eternal format of Legacy with strategies like buying staples and just playing budget decks. At this point, I just want to share a last few tips with you to help you get started. It won’t be too long of an article, this will just be a small advice compilation to assist in your beginning. Here we go:

1. Practice First!

This means that before you invest in a Legacy deck of some kind to play on MTGO or in paper, you should play around with it a little bit and see: A) if you like it, and; B) if it actually works. How you ask?

Well, WOTC might hate me for saying this if they read my articles, but use a free online service. Cockatrice is my preferred one for testing, and it’s relatively easy to navigate.

Another such program is Magic Workstation, but I do not know how well it works as I have never used it. Honestly, I am a little scared to suggest this. I only recommend these programs for testing Eternal. Please do not use them to actually play Magic games. It is much less fun and competitive than playing even on MTGO. For this reason, I am also declining to provide you with links. I know the cost is exorbitant, which is why I advocate testing before investing, but please play the game as it was meant to be played.

2. Borrow Cards

This will get you very far. If you have a couple friends that have some duals and fetches that they are not using in their current Legacy deck(s), then ask to borrow them. If you can earn some store credit or money using borrowed Legacy cards, then you can use that credit to help get you those cards from your store. Note that some Legacy-played cards are also very applicable in other formats. Ask your Modern Zoo-playing friend if you can borrow his/her [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]s.

Once again, this one comes with a warning. If some person you don’t know very well lends you cards, do not steal them. It is not nice in the slightest, and will not do you any good. Tapping into your friend’s assistance can be of great benefit, but I think it goes without saying that you should NEVER take advantage of it.

3. Get Used To Playing One Deck

This one might be hard. Since Eternal formats come with such a high cost, it is only feasible to own one or two complete Legacy decks at any given time, since your staples can only be stretched so far based on how many you own. This is where testing comes into play, too. Make sure you love the deck that you buy since you will play it a LOT. It will likely be the same 70-75 cards that you play at every Legacy event and game for a while, especially if you are just getting into the format.

The upside to playing just one deck for such an extended period, barring a completely dead and un-moving set of decks to play against, is that you will become a master of whatever deck you wield. There is no other format for which this is true. Vintage is a probable exception, and I think EDH is a bit too diverse and is more of a “fun” format, which would likely prevent you from playing the same damn 99 for a year straight.

Modern changes too quickly as well. Playing the same Modern deck for a year is not likely at the pace at which the format is moving right now. But Legacy has a mostly static metagame overall, and if you rock Merfolk for a year, you will “pwn” with the deck.

polluted delta art

4. DO NOT INVEST IN ZENDIKAR FETCHLANDS!

Don’t do it. DO NOT BLOODY DO IT. I am no speculator, but let me tell you this: You will lose a boatload of money if you invest in playsets of Zendikar fetches now. They are so overpriced, it is almost not even funny. You can make due with Khans fetches; they run only about $10 a piece on average, with [c]Polluted Delta[/c] being the most expensive. This is a manageable price, and I am glad for this reprint.

I say this with such enthusiasm because I am almost certain that there will be a reprint of the Zendikar fetch lands within two blocks and whatever special sets may be contained within that time period. Hell, Modern Masters 2015 isn’t even spoiled yet. Perhaps they will make an appearance there. If they do, you will cry if you invested in them, because that’s easily at least $200 that you will be out, even if you purchased just a playset of [c]Misty Rainforest[/c]. You are much better off not losing money and having a slightly imperfect mana base, trust me.

5. Maintain A Methodical Purchasing Approach

This last word of advice is just to keep buying at a gentle pace. You need not dump a ton of money all at once into the format. Just wait to save a bit of spending money, and buy a part of your Legacy deck perhaps monthly or even every two weeks. Don’t stop taking your honey on dates, just continue to accumulate funds slowly and ease in. If you play Standard, I would advise the following:

  1. Stop playing Standard.
  2. Sell your Standard cards before rotation so you do not lose a bunch of money.
  3. Use said money that you have “saved” to buy whatever last thing you need to complete your deck.

This will let you play Legacy immediately after leaving Standard and maintain a bit more money in your pocket. I am not a Standard fan, so I advocate for this, but if Standard is your “love and life,” then by all means play. Who am I to stop you?

That’s all for this week. I hope this series has been at least a little bit helpful to you. Feel free to leave comments with questions, or hit me up with an email.

Note that I will be out of town and away from technology until Thursday of this week, so I will try to reply then or as soon as I can after.

Thanks for reading!

Legacy on Mondays: Or You Could Just Play Burn

Welcome Back!

In this series, my goal is to get newer Legacy players into the format without breaking the bank. There are serious signs that the Legacy format is in decline, as one of the biggest supporters of the format, Star City Games, has relegated most of their opens to Standard, and made Legacy a Sunday-only IQ event. Some Wizards of the Coast employees have stated that they just “do not like” the format, and many are shying away from playing for Modern and Standard.

I do not want this to happen. Legacy is a very fun format, and its interactions and playstyle are distinct from those in other formats. I want you guys to get into this format however you can.

As for me, I initially just wanted a taste of the format, but once I got started I just wanted to play more eternal. Even if you just have a little bit of money to start playing, you can go to those Sunday IQs with a budget deck and still have the chance to clean house.

Last week I talked about how to get some staples to start the format if you do not want to play a budget deck, and instead wanted to get something quite competitive, but over a longer period of time. If there is a Legacy FNM (rare, to say the least!) in your area and you want to be there within a month, this article is for you. I am going to show you three decks, all of which can be acquired for a reasonable Legacy deck price, that you can play without buying a bunch of staples. And yes, one of them is Burn.

Let’s start with that, shall we?

I. Burn

[d title=”Burn by Peyton”]
Red Fire Dudes
4 Goblin Guide
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
3 Grim Lavamancer
Sudden Red Fire
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Fireblast
4 Price of Progress
3 Searing Blaze
Slower Red Fire
4 Lava Spike
4 Rift Bolt
4 Chain Lightning
Red Fire That Sticks Around
2 Sulfuric Vortex
Realms of Red Fire
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Bloodstained Mire
12 Mountain
Sideboard of Hate (And more Red Fire)
2 Sulfuric Vortex
3 Mindbreak Trap
2 Red Elemental Blast
3 Smash to Smithereens
3 Relic of Progenitus
2 Ashen Rider
[/d]

This is my own list of Burn, and one that I am in the process of buying so that I can take it to a larger event which is pretty close to me in a few weeks. Note that I am meta’ing Burn; I do not expect much red hate and want to capitalize somewhat. I also like [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] in Legacy right now. Anyway, this deck has become even cheaper since Khans reprinted eight red fetches for us to use. [c]Grim Lavamancer[/c] is an amazing tool against decks like Death and Taxes, and there must be fetchlands to enable ol’ Grim.

Fetchlands increase the overall consistency of the deck through thinning, as well as enabling [c]Searing Blaze[/c] as a powerful card against creature decks. Optimally, this should be a 10-10 split for fetch/[c]Mountain[/c] ratio, but for an extra $60, I cannot justify adding two [c]Arid Mesa[/c] just for a slightly better ratio. Do not do it unless you are a serious Burn player, in which case you should also buy [c]Ensnaring Bridge[/c] for your sideboard.

This brings me to the attractiveness of this particular list. It plays the reprinted cheap fetches, an effective Burn maindeck without sacrificing key components for price, and the sideboard is effective yet budget-minded. The current TCGplayer cost of this deck after optimization for direct shipping at moderately played or better condition is as follows (sans Mountain):

Burn Price

At just under $350, this deck can be picked up without a lot of prior experience and win games. It is the perfect example of how speed meets consistency that has stood the test of time. Go out there and burn some face!

II. Manaless Dredge

[d title=”Manaless Dredge, Fairly Stock List by Peyton”]
A TON of Creatures that Do Graveyard Stuff
4 Balustrade Spy
2 Flayer of the Hatebound
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Golgari Thug
4 Ichorid
4 Narcomoeba
4 Nether Shadow
4 Phantasmagorian
3 Shambling Shell
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Street Wraith
Stuff that Works from the Graveyard
4 Bridge from Below
4 Cabal Therapy
4 Dread Return
Some Enablers
4 Gitaxian Probe
3 Mishra’s Bauble
Narrow Sideboard
4 Leyline of Sanctity
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Mindbreak Trap
2 Sickening Shoal
1 Ashen Rider
[/d]

Manaless Dredge is a newer deck that operates on discarding a dredger or the powerful [c]Phantasmagorian[/c] turn one, and then discarding a bunch of dredgers or dredging the following turn to pile up a graveyard quickly. The deck can combo kill as early as turn two with a [c]Balustrade Spy[/c] milling everything, then reanimating a [c]Flayer of the Hatebound[/c] followed by a huge Grave Troll for the win. You can also lock out the opponent with [c]Iona, Shield of Emeria[/c] if she is a more readily available win condition.

The deck is not overly expensive, but MUST play four white Leyline in the sideboard to shore up the Burn and Storm match-ups. Those are likely to be disastrous game one, as you cannot interact and must combo kill before they do. [c]Mindbreak Trap[/c] is also important, as the Storm player can potentially remove a turn zero Leyline before combo. These cards are not cheap. Creature decks can also be pretty hard, so a couple of post-board options like [c]Contagion[/c] or [c]Sickening Shoal[/c] are needed to ensure victory. Otherwise, Iona isn’t cheap, and neither are typical dredge pieces.

Here is the cost of the entire deck, following the same criteria as before:

Dredge price

The deck only costs a bit more than Burn, and this is mostly because 4 [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] is a $120 investment straight away. I am honestly not sure which is a “better” deck. Dredge can certainly be faster and more powerful in certain matchups and metagames, but some metas are just rife with graveyard hate. The same can be said for Burn, but Manaless Dredge can also just win before the opponent assembles some hate, which is less likely for the Burn deck.

The other nice thing about playing Manaless Dredge is that it opens the possibility for playing normal, mana-infused Dredge in the future, which I personally prefer. Normal Dredge has better answers to hate, and is potentially equally explosive if not more so a la [c]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/c]. If you like cool combo for little monetary investment, this is the one for you.

III. Enchantress

[d title=”Legit Enchantress by Peyton”]
Enchantments
3 Elephant Grass
2 Exploration
3 Mirri’s Guile
4 Utopia Sprawl
4 Wild Growth
2 Rest in Peace
4 Enchantress’s Presence
3 Sterling Grove
1 Oblivion Ring
3 Solitary Confinement
1 Sigil of the Empty Throne

Enchanted Ladies (And Cthulhu)
4 Argothian Enchantress
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Enchanted Realms
4 Serra’s Sanctum
4 Windswept Heath
1 Plains
11 Forest

Magical Enchanted Lady Finder (And sometimes some short guy)
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
Lonely Metal Hat
1 Helm of Obedience

Wicked Hateboard
3 Stony Silence
2 Oblivion Ring
1 Curse of Exhaustion
4 Leyline of Sanctity
3 Carpet of Flowers
1 Choke
1 Gaddock Teeg [/d]

This one is a bit of a shocker to be on here, and is the most pricey of the three decks. Unlike the others, I would like to start with this deck’s price point:

burn

Enchantress Price

Clearly, that is a lot higher than Burn or Dredge, by a margin of $200. Then why in the heck is it in this article? Well, for a Legacy deck, $570 is a surprisingly low number. For those of you unfamiliar with Enchantress, it is basically a combo deck that chains together an insane number of enchantments while drawing cards with the Enchantresses and their Presences while maintaining a [c]Solitary Confinement[/c] lock. The deck wins with Helm/RIP, a hard cast Flying Spaghetti Monster, or a ton of Sigil angels.

The deck is older and has barely seen any play at all in recent years. That being said, I think the deck could make a comeback. For a reasonable amount of money, this deck crushes aggro and most tempo decks, and has great post-board game against most combo and control decks. If you want to invest a bit more in the format, and get a “true” competitive (albeit declining) deck, I highly recommend Enchantress. This list would benefit from one maindeck [c]Karakas[/c], but this is not necessary for it to function.

That’s all for this week. I hope you have found the article helpful! If you have any questions or comments, post them below or email me at [email protected]

Thanks for reading, and I will see you next week when I talk about how to pick, build, and play a deck with those staples you bought. Cheers!

/Peyton

Legacy on Mondays: How to Get Into Eternal, Part I

True-Name Nemesis Art

Welcome Back!

Eternal formats are amazing. They have the largest card pool in the game, the play is fast and furious, and the sheer card power is much higher than that of all other formats. That being said, it can also be very daunting to get into playing Legacy because of the sheer price tag. Take a look at the winning deck from the SCG Premier IQ in Baltimore on January 3:

#1 Painter

Allow me to draw your attention to a couple of numbers. The first is the price of the deck from Cardhoarders on MTGO. At 447 Tickets, that is not too bad for a Legacy deck. But in paper, it is a whole ‘nother story. This deck costs a whopping $1765 at bare minimum, with a likely majority of cards in not-so-great condition. Both of these numbers are quite high, and it is highly unlikely that someone wanting to get into Legacy will have 1.7k to drop on Imperial Painter right at the start.

That is the point of this guide: I want to help aspiring Legacy players get into the format without killing their wallets, despite the exorbitant price of most competitive Legacy decks. Note that Vintage players are laughing at me non-stop while I drone about how much Legacy costs. I will focus primarily on paper Magic for price references, as MTGO prices are comparatively much less, but keep in mind that the methods outlined in these few articles apply to both.

So, let’s assume that you are a newbie with $400 and you are out to start your road to becoming a competitive Legacy player. Unfortunately, $400 will not get you a highly competitive deck straight away. Well, I think that Burn hovers around the $300-$350 mark, but let’s also assume that you are not going to play Burn. What do you do with your $400 if you cannot get a full deck? This is the answer:

Buy Staples.

Step One for you is simple. Do not attempt to build a full deck; you will fail on most accounts. Instead, I would recommend that you keep saving up money and continue playing your current format for a while. With your $300, you have a options:

1. Buy a playset of [c]Force of Will[/c].
2. Buy a playset of [c]Wasteland[/c].
3. Buy a playset of [c]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/c].

force of will

The first choice is rather obvious. [c]Force of Will[/c] is the Legacy staple card. Almost every Blue deck in the format runs Force. Even combo decks like Reanimator use a playset to protect the combo. If you are playing paper Magic, this is also a safe investment to make. The price on Force will NEVER go down, since it will likely not be reprinted in any future sets. (It is not on the Reserved list so it is a reprint is not impossible, however.) If you ever decide to move out of Legacy, your Forces will sell for at least the same price for which you bought them. Choose this option if you are fairly certain you want to play a Delver variant, Reanimator, Sneak and Show, Miracles, Other Blue Deck #3,084… Take your pick!

Picking up a set of [c]Wasteland[/c] is the second option you have. [c]Wasteland[/c] is similar to Force in that a large portion of decks play this card. Most combo decks do not, but some non-Blue decks like Death and Taxes do. If you think you will want to play some “fair” deck, [c]Wasteland[/c] is a safe bet to get as well. Plus, a playset usually does not cost a full $400, so you may also be able to squeeze a couple of fetchlands or a dual in there as well.

This third option will apply to many fewer people than the previous two. [c]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/c] is reserved, so is guaranteed to never be reprinted, and is a good investment only if your heart is set on playing very unfair Magic. I recommend that you buy LED as your first staple playset only if you want to play [c]Ad Nauseam[/c] Tendrils, Dredge (NOT manaless), or perhaps Belcher. If you do not want to play any of those decks, look away NOW. This card will not be a helpful, re-usable part of your collection. Same as with [c]Wasteland[/c], you can probably squeeze an extra card or two into your $400 with a playset of these. Just remember – this is only for combo junkies that KNOW that they want to play one of the aforementioned decks.

wasteland

So, you have purchased your first staple card. You now own a card that can be used in all sorts of decks, and will enable you to play a wide variety of the format without having to spend a ton of money every time you want to build something new. Next week I will cover how to build decks and expand your eternal collection without dropping more money down the drain than you need to. A couple of closing words: I do NOT recommend buying dual lands at the start of your Legacy experience. Decks need tweaking and tuning to get land count right, and spending too much money on unnecessary lands can drain your resources. In case you want to expand a bit more past the standard Force/Waste suite, here are a few more common cards you may want to pick up:

  • [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]
  • [c]Stoneforge Mystic[/c]
  • [c]Rishadan Port[/c]
  • [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c]
  • [c]Daze[/c]
  • [c]Vendilion Clique[/c] (NEVER buy a playset of Cliques. No deck plays a full 4 V Clique.)
  • [c]Brainstorm[/c]
  • [c]Delver of Secrets[/c]
  • [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]
  • [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c]

Do your research and look for decks that you find appealing. Remember that your staples are good in multiple decks, and that your choices are not totally limited by owning only [c]Force of Will[/c] at the start. You will be glad to have purchased the good old free [c]Counterspell[/c] when things get competitive in your local or MTGO Legacy scene.

Thanks for reading and hope to see you next week!

Legacy Brew: Mono Green Infect

Hi all,

There are a lot of spoilers out right now, and many of them merit discussion. I should brew up a wall deck, a Gruul burn deck, or a control deck that has [c]Counterspell[/c] in Modern and finishes with a Dragon. Unfortunately, I don’t always do the things I should, and this brew is no exception. The best I have for you spoiler-wise is that the upcoming [c]Display of Dominance[/c] may have a home in the sideboard depending on the metagame.

No, this week, I continue to seek out ways to enable and win with [c]Become Immense[/c]. I can’t remember any card in Magic’s history that has distorted my focus so much in all formats like this card has. [c]Temur Battle Rage[/c] comes in a close second, and boy, have I brewed up some doozies with it in the recent past; think [c]Jotun Grunt[/c], [c]Vengevine[/c], [c]Myr Superion[/c], [c]Talara’s Battalion[/c], and even [c]Loxodon Peacekeeper[/c] as Ferocious enablers, and [c]Stubborn Denial[/c] to take additional advantage of the new mechanic.

Here, all I want to do is get a creature into play on turn one, then resolve two spells for the win on turn 2. Take a look at the deck.

[d title=”Legacy Mono Green Infect”]
Land
4 Inkmoth Nexus
1 Pendelhaven
1 Cathedral of War
3 Wooded Foothills
3 Windswept Heath
6 Forest
1 Dryad Arbor

Creatures
4 Glistener Elf
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Sylvan Safekeeper

Other Spells
4 Berserk
3 Become Immense
4 Crop Rotation
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
4 Groundswell
4 Invigorate
4 Lotus Petal
4 Vines of Vastwood[/d]

Why this deck?
Well, two weeks ago, I posted a deck that aims to resolve [c]Temur Battle Rage[/c] and [c]Become Immense[/c] in Modern by turn 3, and I was asked about [c]Simian Spirit Guide[/c] in it to ramp. Well, [c]Lotus Petal[/c] serves us even better, even if we have to switch gears format-wise. [c]Lotus Petal[/c] functions essentially like a [c]City of Traitors[/c] in this deck because it provides one mana twice: once with its activation, and again with delving [c]Become Immense[/c]. Additionally, it allows us to play [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] on turn 1 and still have plenty of green mana available on turn 2.

Let’s take a look at the other interactions.
Essentially, this is a [c]Become Immense[/c] deck. Spells are free-to-cheap, and they fuel the graveyard for delving. Free spells include [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c] and [c]Invigorate[/c]. The former makes sure the coast is clear as well, provides a mana by delving, and gives us a 56-card deck. [c]Invigorate[/c] protects us from [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]-type effects and easily fuels the win in combination with [c]Become Immense[/c] or [c]Berserk[/c].

Eight creatures with Infect may seem incredibly low, but then we find [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] and [c]Crop Rotation[/c]. Both of these cards place a threat on the board and get us that much closer to the crucial five cards in graveyard for Delve. Even [c]Sylvan Safekeeper[/c] can be placed onto the battlefield with [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] to sacrifice all your lands, then in response play [c]Become Immense[/c] and another pump spell for the win. Any time [c]Sylvan Safekeeper[/c] is in play, this is a great play in response to removal.

With all the redundancy in the deck, it is hard to elaborate much more on the deck. So here’s what we want to do:

The Plan
Before the game begins- I find it hard to keep a hand that doesn’t have the pieces it needs to win by turn 3. [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c] is a bit of a gamble here, but it does have a lot of value in games. We simply have to mulligan a hand that does not contain [c]Glistener Elf[/c], [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c], [c]Crop Rotation[/c], or [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c].

Turn 1 – It is best to play a [c]Glistener Elf[/c], [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c], or [c]Cathedral of War[/c] here, in order of best to worst in terms of how your plan is unfolding. We can establish our board with [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] into [c]Dryad Arbor[/c], but it is best to do so using a [c]Lotus Petal[/c] if we have one of the colorless lands in our hand.

Turn 2 – Sometimes we can win here, but usually this turn is spent actually playing our threat, whether it is [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] into [c]Glistener Elf[/c] or having the necessarily mana to activate [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] and do something with him.

Turn 3 – Depending on how we have read the opponent and what mana he has available, we go for the win. Save [c]Vines of Vastwood[/c] and [c]Become Immense[/c] to place on top of the stack, and use [c]Invigorate[/c] and [c]Groundswell[/c] early, but after blocks are declared.

You may have to grind out your opponent, and in these cases [c]Cathedral of War[/c] and [c]Pendelhaven[/c] are your best friends. Save your [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] cards in these cases because often it means your creatures are being placed on the bottom of your library.

Sideboarding
My favorite sideboard cards are the ones that take the most advantage of [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] and [c]Crop Rotation[/c]. [c]The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale[/c], [c]Karakas[/c], [c]Soaring Seacliff[/c], and even [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] prove their use often. [c]Sejiri Steppe[/c] can be used in conjunction with [c]Crop Rotation[/c] to give your creature evasion or protection from [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c] and [c]Abrupt Decay[/c], both of which are otherwise a struggle. [c]Xantid Swarm[/c] is a beautiful card to have against opponents playing blue, and because of flying, he often has gotten in there to win a game or two. A card like [c]Wild Cantor[/c] can exile [c]Bridge from Below[/c] from your opponent’s graveyard, and placing one in your sideboard is equal to playing 5 copies of [c]Tormod’s Crypt[/c]. [c]Chalice of the Void[/c] or additional graveyard hate can keep Storm at by while your equally fast deck wins. [c]Feed the Clan[/c] can buy you a turn against Burn, but it is probably best just to protect your guy and win. Finally, I like [c]Noxious Revival[/c] as a way to interfere with [c]Terminus[/c] on the critical turn. Often it will be too early for your opponent to activate [c]Sensei’s Divining Top[/c] again before drawing the first card in the turn.

Easier on the Wallet
Though this deck is about as cheap as Legacy can be, [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] and [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] can set you back a good bit in the main. In the sideboard, [c]Xantid Swarm[/c] costs a huge amount of Event Tickets but isn’t too bad on actual paper money. Losing [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] fundamentally changes what you’re up to with a big percentage of cards, but I suppose the [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] can be substituted by [c]Llanowar Augur[/c].

I hope you enjoy the brew. Take it into Legacy for a spin; the format is really fun!

-drinkard

Legacy on Mondays: A Post-Grind Reflection

Welcome Back!

This week I wanted to talk about the Cascade Aggro deck from a few weeks ago that I have brewed and tuned. I have been grinding through some games with it, and just wanted to share some thoughts and observations. For those of you that may be unfamiliar with the list, here is the iteration from the last article and the one that I have been using:

[d title=”Legacy CascAggro V2″]
Creatures
4 Baleful Strix
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 True-Name Nemesis
4 Shardless Agent
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Vexing Shusher
Non-Creature Spells
4 Ancestral Vision
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Sylvan Library
3 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Vindicate
Land
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Polluted Delta
2 Misty Rainforest
3 Tropical Island
1 Bayou
2 Underground Sea
1 Taiga
1 Savannah
1 Volcanic Island
1 Scrubland
1 Badlands
2 Ancient Ziggurat
Sideboard
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Sower of Temptation
2 Thoughtseize
2 Engineered Plague
1 Gilded Drake
1 Mana Maze
2 Qasali Pridemage
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Meddling Mage
1 Vexing Shusher
1 Gaddock Teeg
[/d]

Ahh yes. There is nothing quite like playing a TON of value creatures that get more value creatures to beat down the opponent. Cascade was, obviously, the optimal mechanic, and the list is fairly successful. My current ratio is 57%. While this is not overwhelming, I can at least account for the majority of my losses. It all comes down to one word:

Combo.

Is it not obvious?

It is totally obvious. Decks like this have absolutely nightmarish combo matchups. I am fairly non-interactive, and no matter how value-based or fast I am with my creatures, any opponent playing a broken game is going to win. This is partially why the main deck includes four copies of [c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c]. Thalia is pretty good in some combo matchups, namely [c]Ad Nauseam[/c] Tendrils and [c]High Tide[/c] (among others), but is next-to-worthless against others.

I had originally thought that the worst “other” matchup was Dredge, and this was largely true. Unless I could beat Dredge before they went off, which was nigh impossible if they had a nut draw, their deck is too redundant. The one maindeck [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] was designed to help mitigate this with the [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] package to help me find him, but one Ooze does very little in a deck that has a ton of ways to spill relevant cards into the graveyard. Dredge is a terrible matchup for this deck, and unfortunately fairly common due to the budget nature of Dredge.

On top of all of that, there is one deck that will literally always win the first game and in most cases win the second that I did not take into account when building this latest main deck: Elves. Oh my goodness, is this matchup from hell. My two instant-speed removal spells, while they do manage to deal with most of Elves’ creatures, are not dense enough to make any significant impact. Thalia is a dead card completely. The usefulness of my GSZ toolbox is reduced to a [c]Dryad Arbor[/c] fetch which, by the way, the Elves deck is also playing.

On top of all of this, my sideboard is actual (insert expletive here). When testing this time around, I did not think to change the sideboard; I wanted to see how something diverse would work. Here’s the answer: it doesn’t. Even though I am strongly against polluting your maindeck plan with barely-relevant sideboard cards, this deck’s bad matchups are so bad that I want more than two stinking answers in the ‘board. My maindeck can deal with most fair decks; my sideboard needed some SERIOUS change.

Let’s run it down: two pieces of graveyard hate, one of which doesn’t work against some decks, one way to stop some combo and control strategies, two answers to [c]Show and Tell[/c] strategies, one of which is nice against Zoo, some artifact hate, a way to stop counterspells, a big artifact Wurm thing for control decks, a general catch-all that meddles with the opponent (har har), a singleton anti-High Tide / ANT enchantment, only two ways to help stop Elves in spite of [c]Abrupt Decay[/c], and two pieces of targeted discard.

A motley crew of a board if I have ever seen one is right there. That may be too diverse. I think I was trying to cover too many matchups, some of which I have not even played against yet. I think the maindeck needs tweaks to be more interactive. While a value plan is decent, I want to be able to contend in more matchups and have lines of play that are less linear. Complexity does not always make a deck better, but most of the time adding interaction does.

If I were to improve the sideboard in a very general manner, I believe it would look something like this:

1 [c]Tormod’s Crypt[/c]
1 [c]Gilded Drake[/c]
1 [c]Sower of Temptation[/c]
2 [c]Qasali Pridemage[/c]
2 [c]Rest in Peace[/c]
2 [c]Thoughtseize[/c]
2 [c]Abrupt Decay[/c]
4 [c]Engineered Plague[/c]

All of these numbers are off the top of my head. They are likely subject to change.

I want to take a much closer look at the main deck to see what should be shaved and what should be added. I think that I may want to cut a color; playing five might be too ambitious. At the very least, it’s back to testing. While it’s possible that a creature-based value deck like this could excel in certain metagames, some will just eat the deck alive no matter how much work is put into it.

That’s all for this week. Thank you for reading! Hope to see y’all next week for more Legacy action!

Legacy on Mondays: Kooky Counterbalance

Welcome Back!

This week I wanted to share a crazy list that I made with you guys. It is purely hypothetical and looks totally janky (and probably is!), but I wanted to see if I could integrate a couple of key cards into a Miracles/[c]Counterbalance[/c] deck in order to make it more versatile.

As the Legacy control deck, Miracles does not need a lot of tweaking. It is an established deck, and if it is “your” deck and you do not wish to see it bastardized, I recommend that you turn away now.

[d title=”Miracles feat. Rhinos (Legacy)”]

Creature
1 Mirror-Sigil Sergeant
Instants & Sorceries
4 Terminus
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
3 Dig Through Time
2 Entreat the Angels
2 Counterspell
2 Enlightened Tutor
1 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
Other Stuff
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Counterbalance
Lands
5 Island
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Flooded Strand
3 Tundra
2 Plains
1 Volcanic Island
1 Karakas
1 Arid Mesa
1 Dust Bowl
1 Mountain
Sideboard
1 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Rest in Peace
1 Hydroblast
1 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Flusterstorm
1 Wear / Tear
2 Council’s Judgment
1 Monastery Mentor
2 Meddling Mage
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Mana Maze
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant [/d]

Well, there she is. It looks like a fairly typical Miracles list, with a few exceptions.

A) [c]Enlightened Tutor[/c]. Most Miracles lists that I have encountered do not bother with the Tutor engine. In this case, I do really like the extra consistency and ability to find the combo, as well as potential sideboard options that are opened up, including my favorite anti-storm card: [c]Mana Maze[/c].

B) The rhinoceros. Not [c]Siege Rhino[/c], it’s that other guy… [c]Mirror-Sigil Sergeant[/c]? Why in the heck would anyone bother to play this guy? My reasoning is this. What is the best possible blue permanent in Legacy with which to play the Sergeant? He himself is a fine creature at six mana that becomes surprisingly resistant to removal after a turn. A 4/4 trampling body is quite powerful in most formats.

Since it is not the stats of the creature himself that are a problem, other than his rather high converted mana cost, to me the playability issue seems to revolve around finding a good blue permanent to use with him. Now, I know that the Sergeant is a borderline-playable card that seems casual and EDH-oriented, but I am trying to find him a home. [c]Counterbalance[/c] and [c]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/c] were the two best blue permanents that immediately came to my mind. And fortunately, there is already an established Legacy deck that runs both of these permanents – Miracles!

The cuts from a standard Miracles list were surprisingly (to me) not win conditions. I kept both of the [c]Entreat the Angels[/c], which is a fairly standard number, and the typical three Jaces. Some lists prefer four, but I usually like three copies. I did, however, cut all maindeck creatures except for [c]Mirror-Sigil Sergeant[/c]. Many Miracles lists play some number of cards such as [c]Venser, Shaper Savant[/c] and [c]Vendilion Clique[/c]. I have eschewed these in favor of a [c]Dig Through Time[/c]-oriented strategy. The Dig engine is just so powerful, and I love the way it works in Miracles to find all of the answers all the time.

My included sideboard is fairly prepared and diverse. I have always been impressed with Miracles’ ability to sideboard well. Perhaps as a combo player, that is just a luxury with which I am not acquainted. This sideboard is designed to beat just about everything that can be thrown at it, but is yet untested. We shall see how it performs in real-game scenarios at another time.

That’s all for this week. Thank you for reading! Next week I will take you through some of the results of playing with my Cascade Deck. I know, that thing AGAIN? Blasphemy!

/Peyton

Legacy on Mondays: Cheapy Tezzerey

Welcome Back!

Last week’s list was a total failure. My Magic brain went blah, and thanks to Reddit my errors were revealed. I have scrapped that list entirely. It’s always a little discouraging to see a creation fail, but hey. That is the name of the brewing game. I am no master brewer by any stretch of the imagination. Thanks to redditors TheScynic, random_bananas, and rrrOuta for commenting and giving their advice.

So, rather than trying to re-vamp some concept in a stupid way, let’s do it in a more classic fashion by budgeting an unpopular yet super sweet Legacy deck called Tezzeret. For those of you who do not know, Tezzeret is an artifact-based strategy that wins games usually through either the arguably two best planeswalkers in Legacy, [c]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/c], and [c]Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas[/c], or the Thopter-Sword combo.

Here is a sample list:

[d title=”Tezzeret, Unknown List Creator”]
Creatures
4 Baleful Strix
Planeswalkers
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Artifacts
4 Chalice of the Void
3 Dimir Signet
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Ratchet Bomb
2 Sword of the Meek
3 Talisman of Dominance
2 Thopter Foundry
Instants & Sorceries
4 Force of Will
2 Transmute Artifact
2 Thirst for Knowledge
Lands
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Island
1 Swamp
4 Ancient Tomb
3 City of Traitors
3 Darkslick Shores
3 Polluted Delta
4 Underground Sea
1 Academy Ruins
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Sideboard
2 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Meekstone
1 Pithing Needle
1 Trinisphere
1 Notion Thief
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Damnation
2 Duress
2 Perish[/d]

If you know of this list’s origin, please post a comment below so that I can give the creator credit.

Wow, those are some expensive cards, as is typical of Legacy decks. Tezzeret has seen little-to-no tournament play recently. This is likely because Delver Tempo decks have become more popular, especially UR Delver, and Tezzeret does not match up well to these. However, in a Control, Aggro, or Combo metagame, Tezzeret usually does well.

If you enjoy playing combo-control decks, this is a very good one to start with in the format, as it is playing the two most busted colors in the game, and is fun to play as well as powerful. Here is a list that is more budget-minded, yet still retains the Thopter-Sword combo and a plethora of powerful planeswalkers to punish your opponent.

[d title=”Budget Tezzeret by Peyton”]
Planeswalkers
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
3 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Instants & Sorceries
3 Muddle the Mixture
4 Ponder
3 Spell Pierce
2 Duress
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Go for the Throat
1 Swan Song
Artifacts
2 Ensnaring Bridge
4 Sword of the Meek
4 Thopter Foundry
1 Time Sieve
4 Talisman of Dominance
Land
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Academy Ruins
4 Darkslick Shores
4 Island
4 Seat of the Synod
1 Swamp
3 Underground River
3 Vault of Whispers
1 Darkwater Catacombs
Sideboard
2 Engineered Plague
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Counterspell
1 Cursed Totem
1 Trinisphere
2 Chalice of the Void
2 Pithing Needle
1 Perish
2 Extirpate
[/d]

This deck definitely focuses more on assembling the combo and controlling the opponent through instants and sorceries. A wide variety of counterspells, discard, and creature control elements will ensure that the combo can be achieved quickly and in relative safety. Yes, there are some odd numbers. Why is there a [c]Swan Song[/c]? I like it as a 1-of as a hard counter that can deal with [c]Counterbalance[/c] as well as most other non-creature threats, that’s downside is nullified by cards like [c]Ensnaring Bridge[/c] or Thopter tokens.

Other than the standard disruption elements, the deck is focused on getting the combo together ASAP. [c]Muddle the Mixture[/c] is a great way to protect the combo while also transmuting to find [c]Thopter Foundry[/c] or [c]Sword of the Meek[/c]. Typically, a card like [c]Transmute Artifact[/c] would be used to do this, but Transmute is a pretty expensive card and is not necessarily superior to Muddle. [c]Ponder[/c] also digs to find combo pieces or disruption, whichever may be more relevant to any given game state.

My choices for ‘walkers may seem a bit odd. I have gone for a 3-1 split between Agent of Bolas and [c]Tezzeret the Seeker[/c]. This is a budget deck, so no Jace, but why the split? Both cards have their ups and downs for the deck. Both act as win conditions on their own with enough board presence of artifacts, and both can find combo pieces. I prefer Agent of Bolas a bit more than the Seeker because he costs less mana, protects himself immediately, and with the high density of combo pieces, his [c]Impulse[/c] ability is almost equally likely to find one as the guarantee of the Seeker’s tutor ability. That being said, the Seeker can find artifact lands if mana is tight, he can create mana with artifact lands and Talismans, and sometimes if an infinite-turn combo with [c]Time Sieve[/c] is not possible or the 1/1 Thopters are not doing the job, he can just make them all 5/5’s and smash the opponent to death.

The sideboard is very diverse. I have filled it with a lot of 1 and 2-ofs to help the deck perform better in certain situations without diluting the deck too much. The sideboard should, of course, be tweaked based on one’s metagame, but this one is not bad for an all-rounder based on averages and bad matchups.

That’s all for this week. If you have any questions or comments, post them below!

Thanks for reading!

Legacy on Mondays: A New Way to Punish

Welcome Back!

Sorry about the lack of an article last week. My girlfriend broke up with me, then work got crazy, and life decided to pour buckets on my parade. Rather than start the “Ho bashing,” as Bava calls it, I am writing this article to introduce some new Legacy bashings! I just recently brewed this deck around the new bannings and unbannings in Legacy. In case you have been living under a rock, look here for the announcement. I have yet to test this deck at all, and I wanted to see what the community would think, as well as explain my reasoning for this brew.

Dan, this one goes out to you. It’s time to bring back the Gruul Aggro deck!

[d title=”Green Red Smash (Legacy)”]
Creatures
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Skyshroud Elite
4 Goblin Guide
4 Boggart Ram-Gang
1 Vithian Renegades
2 Spellbreaker Behemoth
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Eternal Witness
Instants & Sorceries
4 Punishing Fire
2 Simoon
2 Forked Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Hidetsugu’s Second Rite
Enchantments
3 Rancor
Lands
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Taiga
3 Copperline Gorge
2 Forest
2 Mountain
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
Sideboard
2 Simoon
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Savannah
4 Vexing Shusher
3 Harmonize
[/d]

[c]Treasure Cruise[/c] is gone. [c]Worldgorger Dragon[/c] is back. The solution? Play a deck that will be good pre-board against the surge of RUG and BUG Delver decks that are soon to follow, and a deck that can hose Reanimator post-board. The goal of this deck is to do just that.

The start was with the [c]Punishing Fire[/c] engine. It is a very powerful one, and is quite effective at dispatching many of Delver’s early plays, such as [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c] and flipped [c]Delver of Secrets[/c]. The combo can also be pointed at the opponent’s face, and gives very precise control over their life total. This warrants the inclusion of a copy of [c]Hidetsugu’s Second Rite[/c], which can end a game very quickly. Most opponents will not see this coming!

Other than the Punishing-Grove engine, the deck wants to come out of the gates fast. [c]Goblin Guide[/c] will pressure the opponent’s life total early, and be a target for quick removal which will protect our later threats. [c]Skyshroud Elite[/c] is another powerful 1-drop that will be a 2/3 very often. I prefer this to [c]Kird Ape[/c] because it is more likely to be a 2/3 on turn 1 (at least in my opinion), and it also puts a small bit of psychological pressure on the opponent. The more they have to think about, the more likely it is that they will make a play mistake.

For the midgame, there are a bunch of powerful creatures that will dominate and plays made by Delver decks at this stage. [c]Bloodbraid Elf[/c] is one helluva card. Almost anything into which she can cascade is beneficial to us. Burn can clear creatures, and other creatures will help to pressure the opponent even more and generate board presence. Other hasters such as [c]Boggart Ram-Gang[/c] and [c]Goblin Guide[/c] are especially potent, as they provide instantaneous action to supplement the Elf.

Normally, I would not run [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] and [c]Bloodbraid Elf[/c] together in the same deck. Cascade + X Spell = a big no-no. But this deck needs a way to beat combo, and [c]Gaddock Teeg[/c] in the sideboard is one of if not the best options to do that. GSZ also offers a few nice utility dudes to gain value, or it can just find a [c]Bloodbraid Elf[/c] to get you back in the game.

[c]Spellbreaker Behemoth[/c] is a creature that needs its own explanation. This is a card that never sees Legacy play, and that is because Gruul Aggro decks are unpopular. But it is so, so good in the [c]Force of Will[/c] format. A 5/5 for 4 that is uncounterable is amazing as a finisher. Against decks without counterspells, it will make most creatures that they play seem tiny. Another card that deserves its own explanation is [c]Simoon[/c]. I predict that Death and Taxes will also see a rise, and [c]Simoon[/c] is a [c]Plague Wind[/c] against that deck. They run a ridiculous number of X/1’s; usually [c]Brimaz, King of Oreskos[/c] and [c]Serra Avenger[/c] are the only relevant cards that [c]Simoon[/c] does not kill. I have gone with four between the main deck and sideboard. This may be excessive, especially the main deck copies, but [c]Simoon[/c] is useful against a such a wide variety of other decks as well that I feel it deserves the spot.

Well, that’s all for this week. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them below.

Thanks for reading!

Legacy on Mondays: Terravore Update

Welcome Back!

Thanks to the magic of the internet and Reddit, I received a LOT of comments about last week’s [c]Terravore[/c] deck. Here is the list from last week, in case you did not see:

[d title=”Terravore Land Sac, V1″]
Creatures
4 Terravore
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Sylvan Safekeeper
Instants & Sorceries
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Life from the Loam
Artifacts
4 Mox Diamond
3 AEther Vial
1 Zuran Orb
Enchantments
3 Exploration
Land
1 Plains
3 Forest
1 Verdant Catacombs
3 Wasteland
3 Flagstones of Trokair
4 Windswept Heath
4 Savannah
1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Dark Depths
1 Sejiri Steppe

Sideboard
1 Oracle of Nectars
3 Disenchant
2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Life from the Loam
3 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Bojuka Bog
2 Zuran Orb

[/d]

The list was very preliminary, and had not been tested much. Fortunately, the good people of the MTGLegacy sub-reddit came out to give me some advice. My internet has been giving me a really hard time lately, and I have not been able to test their suggestions.

I am very glad for them, as some people have experience with similar decks that I do not. Thanks so much guys, and sorry I could not individually respond to your comments.

Biggest Points

The biggest thing I heard: “Play [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c]!”

It is such a powerful card, and I am not sure why I haven’t used it yet, especially after I did in the Cascade creatures deck. The synergy with the deck is awesome; I can get any creature I want, which is especially good with [c]Sylvan Safekeeper[/c] and other utility creatures. I really took this to heart, as you will see in the updated list.

On a similar line, I also got many suggestions that I should just add more utility in general. Like I said, the testing has not been significant, and I likely am playing far too many mana dorks. The number has been reduced from 8 to only 2, as [c]Mox Diamond[/c] is just that much better.

[c]Crop Rotation[/c] seems to be another discussed card. Yes, if I go for more utility, of course I must play this! Supplementing the land toolbox with Rotation could add so much more versatility, especially when combined with a [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] package. Lands such as [c]Karakas[/c] and [c]Maze of Ith[/c] are good against a lot of the metagame right now, and also can potentially be replaced by sideboard cards if unnecessary in a given matchup.

Okay, I heard a cry for only one other card… You guessed it, [c]Armageddon[/c]. My original list had three, which I cut to one, and then zero. I just didn’t think it would be practical, but on second thought, I think that it is the perfect finisher for the deck. I would not play more than 1, but with one or two [c]Terravore[/c]s or Knights in play, this could lock out a game in just a couple of turns. In fact, I think that the mana dorks are likely a bit of a leftover from the three-of [c]Armageddon[/c] iterations, as I expected to be needing much more mana. This could account for the huge numbers of chaff creatures.

Finally, I would like to thank Redditor WiderGravy for posting his own inspired build, from which I took some of the inspiration for this list. His can be found here.

[d title=”Terravore Land Sac V2″]
Creatures
4 Terravore
4 Knight of the Reliquary
2 Noble Hierarch
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Azusa, Lost but Seeking
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
Instants and Sorceries
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Crop Rotation
1 Armageddon
2 Life from the Loam
Enchantments
3 Exploration
Artifacts
4 Mox Diamond
1 Zuran Orb
Lands
1 Plains
1 Forest
1 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wasteland
4 Flagstones of Trokair
4 Windswept Heath
1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Dark Depths
1 Sejiri Steppe
4 Savannah
1 Maze of Ith
1 Karakas
[/d]

I have found room for many of the suggestions of the Redditors kind enough to comment. I really look forward to testing this list, and seeing how it performs!

There is no sideboard yet. I want to test some first, and determine which matchups are the worst, and account for this. Combo is not going to be too horrible, with a [c]Gaddock Teeg[/c] in the main deck, but I like having more backup in the sideboard as well. He also stops my one [c]Armageddon[/c] and all of the [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c]s. Thalia, anyone?

Anyway, that’s all for this week. Thank you, Reddit, for bringing out the best to give me advice! I hope to have an update for you next week, and possibly another brew as well. Thanks for reading!

/Peyton