Legacy on Mondays: Looney for Lands

Welcome Back!

This week, I was brewing. Oh yeah. I was brewing like a crazy person, and I have this totally wacky list I want to share with you. It has made two opponents rage quit so far, and will probably make many more do the same if I continue to play and develop it. Without further ado, here is a little something called [c]Terravore[/c] Land Sac:

[d title=”Terravore Land Sac”]
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]

So there it is. Let me explain some of the deck.

Creatures

There are three general categories of creatures in this experimental list. First off, we have the mana dorks. In a deck where lands will be sacrificed repeatedly to gain value, we need to make sure that there is always mana available to cast our stuff. [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] and [c]Birds of Paradise[/c] are the two obvious choices, as they produce our two colors of mana.

The second class of creature are dudes that win the game. We have two: [c]Terravore[/c] ([c]Duh[/c]) and [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c]. Both get boosts from the presence of lands in the graveyard. The world’s second most popular Lhurgoyf has trample, which is a big anti-chumpblock tool, while [c]Knight of the Reliquary[/c] can search up a variety of lands that, in this case, can just win the game. Knight can get a [c]Sejiri Steppe[/c] to protect a creature, or the Marit Lage combo if the opponent is clogging up the board or there are not enough relevant threats in play.

The final creature class is made up of just one guy. Good old Olle Rade, aka [c]Sylvan Safekeeper[/c], who is here to make sure the meager eight beaters are not smote down by removal spells. He also ups the dead-land count and all at a convenient CMC of 1. While multiples are absolutely terrible, having 1 is important enough to me, at least in the preliminary stages of testing, to warrant a full playset.

Instants & Sorceries

There is not a whole lot to say here. [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c] is the best creature removal spell in the format. [c]Life from the Loam[/c], while it may seem to be contrary to the deck’s plan, is amazing at gaining value and putting lands back into play so they can be used again with Olle Rade and [c]Zuran Orb[/c]. This devilish card can also [c]Wasteland[/c]-lock someone, which warranted a rage quit in my first testing game.

I am also going to throw [c]Exploration[/c] in here, since its best friend in the deck is [c]Life from the Loam[/c]. The simple ability to play multiple lands is so unfair when the lands can be used to pump and protect our creatures, prevent the opponent from casting any spells, and gain life against burn. It is not a necessary spell, but can lead to explosive starts and a very fast mana advantage.

Artifacts

[c]AEther Vial[/c] is the oddball here – I have plenty of fast mana through the dorks, but I don’t want to be reliant on green mana every single game. The Vial may be a bit redundant, but this warrants further testing. I have already mentioned [c]Zuran Orb[/c] a couple of times. It is a land-sacrifice outlet that is also great against aggro and burn decks. The best part about the orb is that it costs no mana to play. Hey, it even adds 1 to the storm count!

Finally, [c]Mox Diamond[/c] gets its own paragraph. This in tandem with [c]Exploration[/c] and a mana dude can generate six mana or more on turn two. It also produces both colors of mana that we need, while putting land into the graveyard. I think that for this deck, the Diamond is better than any on-color Mox, since we want land in the graveyard and making both colors of mana is a better use of a “free land.”

The Sideboard, or rather Maybeboard

This sideboard is 100% experimental. I have done 0 test games with it. It is my best guess for what to do with hedges against a variety of strategies that I predict to be tougher for the list. Such strategies include Burn, Combo, and Stoneblade decks. I really do not know what to play here, but I may update this as time goes by if I have more success with the list.

It started from just a fun little concept of “let’s break [c]Terravore[/c],” but evolved into a competitive-looking deck. I’d love to see how more play-testing reveals this deck’s strengths and weaknesses. If you have any ideas, please post a comment below! I love feedback and suggestions on my brews.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the list, and see you next week!

/Peyton

Legacy on Mondays: Cascade Reforged

Welcome Back!

Alright, everyone everywhere seems to be flooding articles and speculation about all of these new Fate Reforged cards. I did one about Ugin, the Spirit Dragon last week, and I do not want to torture you with any more. Content like that gets old in my humble opinion. That being said, if you want speculation, post a comment below.

Anyway, I have an update for you this week. After some more testing and tweaking, I have edited my Cascade Creature Aggro deck into something that is a bit more playable. It is certainly not ready for GP Vegas, but maybe a Daily event or FNM. Here is that with which I am working (FYI if that sounds convoluted to you, I had to circumlocute to prevent ending my sentence with a preposition :) Yes, I am a grammar Nazi.):

[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]

In a nutshell:

If the opponent has a way to deal with my threats, I lose, if they cannot, I usually win. I have not been keeping exact count, but I believe I am about 50/50 with the deck. It’s not bad.

Changes

A few cards were rather underwhelming; ergo they were cut. [c]Domri Rade[/c] was alright, but was not performing at the desired level. I do not thing he is worth the spot. I also lessened the number of [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] in the deck down to two. I just hate getting multiples in the matchups and game 1’s when they are superfluous. Also, [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c] is gone. This is an experiment, and I have played 1 game without them against Miracles. I was glad to have my other cards and not DRS in this matchup, but they may come back.

Additions

So that’s what I cut. Several of my replacements are new additions to the deck that have not received much testing. The [c]Green Sun’s Zenith[/c] package, for example, is only 2 games old. It won me the game against Miracles handily by getting first a [c]Vexing Shusher[/c] to cut off his counters, and then a [c]Gaddock Teeg[/c] to stop [c]Entreat the Angels[/c] and [c]Terminus[/c]. In the sideboard, the Pridemages are more effective, and the Teeg has replaced a [c]Mana Maze[/c]. I have been impressed so far, but this does require further testing.

Some of my other additions are a bit older. I was experimenting with 2 [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] as an out to graveyard decks and to just make a large dude that gains a little life, but cut down to 1 when I added the Zeniths. He does a decent job, and will probably stay. Cutting down on Decays was another move I wanted to remedy a bit. I wanted 1 more piece of removal, and [c]Vindicate[/c] fit the bill perfectly. It is very handy, and is just a [c]Stone Rain[/c] at the worst in matchups where it does nothing else.

The only other real change was to remove a fetch land and a [c]Bayou[/c] to make room for 2 [c]Ancient Ziggurat[/c] in the main deck. I like Ziggurat in that it lets me play all of my creatures and comes into play untapped, but I do not want too many, since I also want to be playing my non-creatures. The count on this has increased, but I am happy with the changes that have resulted.

Well, that’s all for this week. If you have any suggestions, please let me know! I love to hear from the community. If you have had enough of my crazy brewing, you can always request something else, too. Thanks for reading!

/Peyton

Legacy on Mondays: Spoiler Alert

Welcome Back!

Like many people this holiday season, I have become a hermit from our beloved Magic. The family wants to get together, there is enough food to have a hundred diabetics pass out just from the sight… Basically, I was living under a “muggle” rock. And thanks to Frank Lepore, I got a good solid look at the WOTC Holiday Gift for this year; it’s a sneak preview card from Fate Reforged:

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Think this is just a fake? Think again.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, there is a new colorless planeswalker on the block! I know everyone is busy corralling the kids, cleaning, and/or watching someone else do these things, so this discussion will be pretty short. If you want to see more in-depth analysis, post a comment below and I can augment this article.

Well, the power level certainly isn’t lacking for an 8-mana walker. He reminds me of [c]Karn Liberated[/c] in that it seems a bit more likely that his -X ability is to be used the turn he is cast to protect the player and himself that turn. Even so, both Planeswalker’s plus abilities are impactful in their own ways. Both Ultimate abilities are game-winning (at least Ugin’s seems to be), so both are or appear to be significant threats to the opponent. But who is going to use this card? It’s not cheap mana-wise, so who is bold enough to try?

Let’s go format by format:

Standard

Ehh… Maybe (BIG maybe) the land-heaviest of control decks might play this guy as a 1-of. A [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] every turn is not bad, and the fact that it can also do a very nice [c]All is Dust[/c] impersonation should not be ignored. But it does have cmc 8, which is fairly hefty even by control’s standards. I wouldn’t count on it seeing Standard play, but I’m no Standard expert so who knows.

Modern

Your brain: “Oh! That card looks like it’s perfect to play in Tron! I can’t wait to run two instead of two [c]Karn Liberated[/c]!”

My brain: This should not be played in Tron. The difference between 7 and eight mana is huge in a deck that hits 7 mana turn 3. A turn 3 Karn is clearly superior to a turn 4 Ugin, as an 8-mana [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] is unlikely to be as potent as a 7-mana [c]Vindicate[/c] that early in the game. I just prefer Karn in the Tron decks, but maybe you crazy brewers will find a home for Mr. Spirit Dragon.

Legacy

This is where I see Ugin potentially finding a home. Take a look at this deck list:

[d title=”MUD by Peyton (Legacy)”]
Creatures
4 Lodestone Golem
4 Wurmcoil Engine
3 Steel Hellkite
3 Phyrexian Revoker
3 Metalworker
2 Platinum Emperion
Sorceries
2 All Is Dust
Artifacts
4 Grim Monolith
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Thran Dynamo
3 Voltaic Key
Planeswalkers
2 Karn Liberated
Land
4 City of Traitors
4 Wasteland
4 Rishadan Port
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Ancient Tomb
2 Buried Ruin
Sideboard
4 Trinisphere
4 Cursed Totem
4 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 All Is Dust
1 Karn Liberated
[/d]

It’s everyone’s favorite, MUD. I see a lot of mana, and 2 [c]All is Dust[/c] main-deck. I would be willing to cut an AiD main-deck for an Ugin, as most of the time the nuke is killing only their permanents of about CMC 4 or less. Most decks that we would want to nuke are playing those smaller creatures. While Ugin cannot immediately deal with [c]Griselbrand[/c] or [c]Progenitus[/c], we do have the other AiD in the board. This is a switch I would totally be willing to make, as we are basically not changing a spot for the wrath effect, and adding a powerful threat to the list. I like it!

EDH

I’ll save this discussion for Steve in case he wants to do it, but decks like [c]Karn, Silver Golem[/c] and [c]Kozilek, Butcher of Truth[/c] already play [c]Karn Liberated[/c]. It’s not a stretch to make room for another planeswalker in the long-game grind that is the typical EDH game. I mean, [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] every turn is a 14 turn clock right? That’s not bad :)

That’s all I have for you this week. I hope the holidays are going well for y’all. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

/Peyton

Legacy on Mondays: EPIC Combo

Welcome Back!

So as you all know, I am a huge fan of combo decks in this format. I spent a month writing about [c]High Tide[/c] for goodness’ sake! But this week I want to share a combo deck that is even crazier in some circumstances. I mean, [c]Omniscience[/c] is a helluva card. Before M13 though, we had a blue enchantment that was equally broken: [c]Dream Halls[/c]. For half the mana, both players get a way of going bananas and casting everything just by discarding a card with a common color. The best part of this deck is that it uses that weird, never-player rare from Conflux: [c]Conflux[/c]. Casting [c]Conflux[/c] with any card in the deck in hand allows us to pull of some incredibly broken things. Check out the list:

[d title=”Dream Halls”]
Creatures
1 Bogardan Hellkite
4 Progenitus
Artifacts
3 Lotus Petal
Enchantments
4 Dream Halls
Instants/Sorceries
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Conflux
3 Cruel Ultimatum
4 Ponder
4 Show and Tell
4 Thoughtseize
4 Lim-Dûl’s Vault
Lands
5 Island
3 Ancient Tomb
4 Flooded Strand
1 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Underground Sea
Sideboard
2 Pithing Needle
3 Propaganda
2 Meditate
1 Hydroblast
1 Rushing River
2 Spell Pierce
4 Duress
[/d]

The Setup

Like most combo decks, this one packs a plethora of spells to set up the combo turn. The classics like [c]Brainstorm[/c] and [c]Ponder[/c] are of course present, but there is one card here that is strangely good but awkwardly worded: [c]Lim-Dul’s Vault[/c]. The vault is amazing; for just a few life points it lets you set up amazing draws for a few turns.

Another part of the setup that I believe most people ignore is the pre-protection. Having 4 [c]Thoughtseize[/c] main deck allows us to remove some of the opponent’s permission before trying to get a [c]Dream Halls[/c] down. We then have [c]Force of Will[/c] to fight through whatever else they may have. Overall, the potential to have a safe combo is very high in this deck. As you will see in the next section, [c]Conflux[/c] also enables a very safe combo while trying to go off, as it can find [c]Force of Will[/c] while you attempt to kill them.

The Combo

Step 1: Get [c]Dream Halls[/c] in play. This can be achieved by hard-casting it with [c]Lotus Petal[/c] and [c]Ancient Tomb[/c], or by using [c]Show and Tell[/c]. [c]Show and Tell[/c] can also be used to just drop [c]Progenitus[/c] into play, which is brutal. He can also be cast using [c]Dream Halls[/c] if a combo is not available. This can just put away most fair decks.

Step 2: Cast [c]Conflux[/c] using the Halls. Search for [c]Bogardan Hellkite[/c], a [c]Cruel Ultimatum[/c], another [c]Conflux[/c], [c]Force of Will[/c], and [c]Progenitus[/c].

Step 3: Discard the Hellkite to cast an Ultimatum, returning Hellkite to your hand.

Step 4: Cast the other [c]Conflux[/c], searching up the same things except keeping the Force in hand and the Hellkite.

Step 5: Repeat using all three [c]Cruel Ultimatum[/c] to get the opponent to 5, then for the kill just cast the Hellkite with [c]Dream Halls[/c] for the final 5 damage.

Step 6: GG.

It is really an amazing deck. The fact that you are casting so many spells to win is rather irrelevant; the deck can find a [c]Force of Will[/c] every time you [c]Conflux[/c]. The [c]Progenitus[/c] backup plan is also very effective, especially against fair decks. Fortunately, [c]Dream Halls[/c] is also a state-based effect (I am pretty sure that’s what it is called? Judges, please confirm!), which means that [c]Pithing Needle[/c] and [c]Phyrexian Revoker[/c] are completely ineffective combo hate.

The sideboard also gives the deck some resiliency and backup against other strategies. It is fairly self-explanatory, except for [c]Raging River[/c] and [c]Meditate[/c]. The River is for matchups when lots of permanent removal, i.e. [c]Qasali Pridemage[/c] and friends, will be there to try and slow you down. Normally the land sac doesn’t matter too much, especially for the benefits of being able to hit two things instead of one. [c]Meditate[/c] is for the control matchups when drawing cards is worth skipping a turn. It also goes along quite nicely with [c]Lim-Dul’s Vault[/c] to get powerful combo hands.

Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you like the deck, and maybe you will play it instead of Sneak & Show for more fun and cool wins at your next event. Thanks for reading!

/Peyton

Season’s Beatings: Red/Green in different formats

Hi all,

I’m getting ready to celebrate some time off work with some online grinding that I haven’t been able to do for quite a while. I really love where I am with MTGO right now; I have the skeletons of several decks in Legacy and Modern, lots of Event Tickets at my disposal, and time to brew, practice, and enter events coming my way.

But down to business.

Christmas colors are Red and Green, so here are some Legacy and Modern brews as my gift to you.

Modern Aggro

Here’s a turn 3 aggro deck in a format where Wizards is keeping combo decks to turn 4.

For Modern I wanted to present some things that are a little different, but we are stuck within some confines of Red, Green, so you know we are going to go beats first of all. Here we have an [c]Experiment One[/c] deck that is, well, experimental.

[d title=”Gift of the Woods”]
Land
2 Copperline Gorge
1 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Experiment One
4 Kird Ape
4 Monastery Swiftspear
3 Vexing Devil
4 Wild Nacatl

Other Spells
3 Colossal Might
4 Groundswell
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Rancor[/d]

There are lots of lines of play here that lead to a turn 3 kill. They have several variations and levels of risk, but the classic line is this:

Turn 1: [c]Experiment One[/c]

Turn 2: [c]Burning-Tree Emissary[/c] into [c]Wild Nacatl[/c] and [c]Vexing Devil[/c]. Attack with a 4/4 [c]Experiment One[/c]. Opponent is at 16 or 12, depending on how they responded to [c]Vexing Devil[/c].

Turn 3: Assuming the opponent is at 16, our creatures have 13 power, but all we need is [c]Colossal Might[/c], [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], or [c]Groundswell[/c] for the rest regardless of the demon being in play.

There are also plays involving [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c] that are convoluted and require a lot of typing. The point is the keyword “prowess” is insane. [c]Rancor[/c] triggering prowess makes me feel all warm inside, like milk and cookies.

The pump spells here help us operate against [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], so don’t just run them out unprotected.

The [c]Colossal Might[/c] is a strict upgrade over [c]Ghor-Clan Rampager[/c] because it has more synergy with [c]Burning-Tree Emissary[/c], and it can be used during any phase of the game.

Modern Combo

When other combo decks are stunted, let’s play the one that can get there on turn 2. The format now is probably better for Infect than it ever was at Theros’ release: no one is playing [c]Lingering Souls[/c], and Pod players are not running [c]Melira, Sylvok Outcast[/c]. If Delver resolves [c]Treasure Cruise[/c], though, you probably won’t have the gas to keep up.

[d title=”Serpent’s Gift”]
Land
2 Copperline Gorge
4 Snow-Covered Forest
4 Inkmoth Nexus
1 Pendelhaven
3 Stomping Ground
2 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Glistener Elf
4 Ichorclaw Myr
4 Necropede

Other Spells
3 Apostle’s Blessing
1 Become Immense
4 Groundswell
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Rancor
4 Vines of Vastwood[/d]

So we have a plan for everything, but sometimes you draw into the wrong plan against the wrong opponent. There are more trample and protection effects in this deck than in traditional Mono-Green Infect decks, and [c]Ghor-Clan Rampager[/c], despite my earlier-posted reservations, dodges [c]Spellskite[/c]. Also, in a pinch, when the opponent has recklessly used their life total as a resource, he can win handily with regular damage.

Legacy Aggro

RIP Legacy Aggro. I tried so very hard to get Zoo going. I think I am about two months too late to win packs with Zoo. There was a tiny blip where the format primarily had [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] for removal and had a lot of Elves and Delvers. That time, and that time only, was perfect for a Zoo deck whose creatures survived its own [c]Pyroclasm[/c] and [c]Volcanic Fallout[/c]. The combo matches were awkward, I’ll admit, but at the same time, we are more consistent game 1. In games 2 and 3, there is enough hate in Naya colors that we can play to slow them down without diluting our strategy. On a last note about Zoo, while looking through creatures that cost 2 and have 4 or greater toughness, I found [c]Plant Elemental[/c]. What the heck, why isn’t this online? Is there a list of cards that aren’t online but are printed?

Nevermind my failed experiment, though. Let’s fire out another attempt at Aggro in Legacy. This Goblin deck sets itself apart from the rest by maximizing on [c]Goblin Lackey[/c] effects, token generators, and Lord effects. Instead of a solo [c]Goblin Piledriver[/c] swinging for 30, we want lots of 3/3 guys, and we won’t say no to one or two of them having double strike.

[d title”Gift of The Gargantuan…Goblins]
Land
4 Cavern of Souls
7 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Pendelhaven
4 Taiga
4 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
2 Boartusk Liege
4 Gempalm Incinerator
4 Goblin Chieftain
3 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Goblin Ringleader
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Goblin Matron
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Krenko, Mob Boss
4 Mogg Fanatic
1 Stingscourger
4 Warren Instigator

Other Spells
4 Tarfire[/d]

In our sideboard, we want to jam all the [c]Chalice of the Void[/c] and [c]Grafdigger’s Cage[/c] that we can muster against the graveyard-centric combo decks. I know the green-ness of this Christmas-themed Red/Green Goblin deck is in question (did you not see the cost of [c]Boartusk Liege[/c]?), but if we hope to have a chance against Miracles, then we will play [c]Krosan Grip[/c] in the side.

Legacy Combo

Here is a land-centric combo deck with lots of inevitability, which I really like in Legacy with a lot of durdlesome decks going around now. [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] and [c]Dark Depths[/c] are two win conditions that cannot be countered and in general are very difficult to deal with. We are splashing red in this traditionally Mono-Green deck because Christmas and also because [c]Pyroclasm[/c] feels really good right now. Additionally, we have [c]Boil[/c], [c]Sudden Shock[/c], and [c]Ancient Grudge[/c] as sideboard options. Want to beat Delver and [c]Treasure Cruise[/c]? Play threats that cannot be countered and ignore removal, and you can’t get tempo’d out.

[d title=”Gift of Estates”]
Lands
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Cloudpost
1 Dark Depths
2 Dryad Arbor
1 Eye of Ugin
1 Glacial Chasm
4 Glimmerpost
1 Karakas
1 Riftstone Portal
2 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Taiga
4 Vesuva
3 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Eternal Witness
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
4 Primeval Titan
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1 Ulamog, The Infinite Gyre

Other Spells
1 All Is Dust
4 Crop Rotation
4 Expedition Map
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
2 Into the North
2 Moment’s Peace
1 Perilous Vault
3 Pithing Needle
3 Sylvan Library
[/d]

Legacy has questions, and this deck has answers.

I hope you have enjoyed these brews or archived lists with varying degrees of a loosely-based Red/Green theme. Maybe you’ll see one posted with my name on it in January.

-drinkard

‘Tis the Season: Gaming for Charity

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to talk about charity. If you’re looking for some good Pauper content, I suggest you go read this.

Earlier this year, Dan, Peyton, and I all spent time streaming to raise money for local children’s hospitals through the Extra Life Game Day. We had a lot of fun and we raised a little money, but we only got about halfway to our goal.

So, this is the last time I’ll ask, but I hope you’ll consider supporting us. If you think of the great content we provide, for free, here on the site and over on our YouTube channel, perhaps you will find it a worthy investment to chip in on our behalf. Our team goal is to raise just $200 before the end of the year. It’s completely reachable.

Below are videos of our streams: Peyton’s and Dan’s as they happened; mine I cut up into more digestible chunks. Check them out and please donate to support Extra Life if you are able. Even $2 helps support a great cause and gets us closer to our goal.

Donate here.

Thank you.

Bava’s Stream for the Extra Life Game Day

 

Donate here.

Dan’s stream for the Extra Life Game Day

 

Donate here.

Peyton’s stream for the Extra Life Game Day

 

Donate here.

Thank you for your support!

/bava

Legacy on Mondays: How to Beat UR Delver

Welcome Back!

So, after my metagame analysis last week, I wanted to pick something simple to do with it. How about I choose a deck that I think is pretty well-suited to our metagame? Well, the analysis in a nutshell was that Blue Red Delver is all over the bloody place, and decks that beat it are decks that are doing well. Decks that are not so great against it, such as Goblins (which is why no one is sadly playing it; I stand firm in that it might take an unsuspecting meta by surprise), have fallen out of favor.

Well here is a rather “classic” Punishing Jund list. Let’s take a look, shall we?

[d title=”Punishing Jund”]
Creatures
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Dark Confidant
Instants/Sorceries
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Thoughtseize
4 Punishing Fire
2 Hymn to Tourach
1 Life from the Loam
Enchantments
2 Sylvan Library
Planeswalkers
4 Liliana of the Veil
Lands
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
3 Wasteland
3 Badlands
3 Bayou
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Marsh Flats
1 Forest
1 Swamp
Sideboard
1 Life from the Loam
2 Pithing Needle
1 Krosan Grip
1 Engineered Plague
2 Pernicious Deed
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Red Elemental Blast
2 Pyroblast
2 Duress

[/d]

What makes this deck good?

Traditionally, Punishing Jund has been known for being disruptive with discard and removal coupled with efficient threats and sheer resource power. [c]Dark Confidant[/c] is so busted; this deck’s curve tops out at a measly four, and most of the time Bob will be dealing much less than that for an extra card a turn, while [c]Shock[/c]ing the opponent every turn if they cannot block him. Another similar card is [c]Life from the Loam[/c]. It lets the engine start rolling to [c]Wasteland[/c] lock the opponent or just thin the deck, recur a [c]Grove of the Burnwillows[/c], or spin a [c]Punishing Fire[/c] into the bin.

Besides those two card advantage sources, and the ridiculous removal count (12 main-deck if you count [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c]!), Jund’s creatures are brutally efficient. If you have read my article about the cascade aggro deck, you know how much I love [c]Bloodbraid Elf[/c]. The card is banned in Modern for goodness’ sake! Same with [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c]. Those slow drains can quickly put an opponent away when coupled with another creature. And, of course, [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] is here to add the beats.

But why is it good for the metagame?

Well, this particular list absolutely wrecks Blue Red Delver. All of the removal in the deck, main and post-board, is relevant against them, and [c]Punishing Fire[/c] in particular kills every creature in the deck. Be wary of a [c]Daze[/c] to give that [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c] a slight boost in response; even with Prowess a timely Fire can put away the annoying 1/2.

Post board, we are without Lilianas. They are just not that relevant. The edict is underwhelming with [c]Young Pyromancer[/c] tokens cavorting about, and the discard will probably help them to [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] more than it will help us. Instead, we have things like [c]Engineered Plague[/c]. This guy can keep elemental tokens off the board for good, or if “human” was named prevent [c]Young Pyromancer[/c] from ever living long enough to make them. Human mode also kills off the unflipped [c]Delver of Secrets[/c], and severely weakens Swiftspear.

[c]Pernicious Deed[/c] can also be used as a reset button should they escape the plethora of spot removal present. [c]Duress[/c] is a bit better than [c]Thoughtseize[/c] since it nabs most of their relevant stuff that we can’t prevent with out removal. Finally, all of the Red Blasts are a great way to stop their permission and kill Delvers should that be necessary. [c]Force of Will[/c] never looked so bad, facing down all of those lovely blasts…

So that’s Punishing Jund. The fairest of fair decks that just wants to drain your resources and kill everything you play. I believe it to be well-situated for the current meta, as it does well against Delver and many other decks that run permission and creatures. Looking at you, Merfolk.

I hope you enjoyed reading and hope to see you next week!

/Peyton

Goblins vs Gnomes: A GvG Look at MtG

Did you know that, following his obsession with explosives, Mekgineer Thermaplugg took up knitting? It was probably difficult since he was, at that point, missing his left arm; but I imagine these things can be replaced easily enough.

Whether or not you ever ran Gnomeregan in WoW (one of my favorite lower level dungeons), you’re probably aware that Hearthstone just had its big expansion, and the theme is Goblins vs Gnomes. People are inordinately excited. I’m really not much of a Hearthstone player these days, but I do think an expansion was overdue and I hope that we’ll see a more interesting and diverse metagame emerge with all the new cards.

If you want to tell me all about why Hearthstone is amazeballs, by all means, do so in the comments. But we’re not really talking about Hearthstone in this article, we’re just using the expansion as an excuse to talk about Goblins vs Gnomes in Magic, and to look at some lists from days-gone-by. And since they’re competing, we’re going to turn this into a contest. Here are the rules.

Goblins and Gnomes will each get three lists covering different formats. For each format, you guys can vote on whether goblins or gnomes are the winner. The overall champion will be the creature that takes at least two formats. First up, Legacy!

Legacy

 

Copper Combo – Gnomes (Legacy)

This list from 2011 uses Kuldotha Forgemaster to cheat out game finishers like Blightsteel Colossus. Copper Gnomes also work well as a 2-card combo to cheat giant artifact creatures onto the table.

[d]
Land
3 Great Furnace
4 Ancient Tomb
4 City of Traitors
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
4 Wasteland

Creatures
3 Blightsteel Colossus
4 Copper Gnomes
4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
4 Metalworker
3 Sundering Titan
4 Wurmcoil Engine

Spells
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Grim Monolith
2 Lightning Greaves
2 Mox Diamond
1 Staff of Domination
4 Tangle Wire
2 Mox Opal

Sideboard
2 Crucible of Worlds
3 Tormod’s Crypt
3 Trinisphere
2 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Punishing Fire
1 Karn Liberated [/d]

 

Belcher Combo – Goblins (Legacy)

Hey, if we’re going combo gnomes, we have to go combo goblins too. This one-land list wants to win on turn one or two.

[d]
Creatures
4 Elvish Spirit Guide
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Tinder Wall

Lands
1 Taiga

Spells
4 Chrome Mox
4 Goblin Charbelcher
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
4 Desperate Ritual
4 Manamorphose
4 Pyretic Ritual
4 Seething Song
4 Burning Wish
3 Empty the Warrens
4 Land Grant
4 Rite of Flame

Sideboard
4 Xantid Swarm
4 Red Elemental Blast
1 Diminishing Returns
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Infernal Tutor
1 Pyroclasm
1 Reverent Silence
1 Shattering Spree
1 Tendrils of Agony [/d]

Modern

 

BW Sanguine Gnomes – Gnomes (Modern)

This build-around-me Bottle Gnomes list comes from a fun challenge over on MTG Salvation. Every card (but four) had to interact with Bottle Gnome in some way. I’m impressed with the result!
[d]
Deck Centerpiece
4 Bottle Gnomes

Support
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Blood Artist
3 Grave Pact

Recurring
4 Trading Post
2 Skeleton Shard

Removal
4 Path to Exile

Win Cons
4 Ajani’s Pridemate
2 Sanguine Bond
2 Sun Titan

Lands
3 Fetid Heath
4 Godless Shrine
8 Plains
8 Swamp [/d]

 

I Call Shenanigans! – Goblins (Modern???)

Let’s be fair. There are so many more Goblins than Gnomes in Magic that they have an obvious advantage. To alleviate that, I had to find some interesting, non-tier lists to highlight. This list is from Abe Sargent’s “100 Combo Decks in 20 Weeks” series. It’s #79 on the list.

[d]
Creatures
1 Goblin Marshal
1 Goblin Warchief
1 Siege-Gang Commander
2 Goblin Recruiter
2 Goblin Ringleader
2 Rage Thrower
3 Goblin Dynamo
3 Moggcatcher
3 Tar Pitcher
4 Goblin Arsonist
4 Goblin Assassin
1 Tuktuk the Explorer

Spells
3 Dragon Fodder
4 Goblin Grenade
1 Boggart Shenanigans

Lands
25 Mountain [/d]

PDH: Pauper Deck Highlander

 

Wait, Kithkin? – Gnomes (PDH)

Kithkin are sort of like gnomes, even if they are really more like hobbits. Give me a break, [c]Clockwork Gnomes[/c] is the only Pauper-legal gnome card, and no one is playing with it. This list is commanded by Gaddock Teeg and runs a bunch of short people. Close enough for me!

[d]
Commander
1 Gaddock Teeg

Creatures
1 Amrou Kithkin
1 Amrou Scout
1 Amrou Seekers
1 Apothecary Initiate
1 Ballynock Cohort
1 Ballynock Trapper
1 Ballyrush Banneret
1 Barrenton Medic
1 Burrenton Bombardier
1 Burrenton Shield-Bearers
1 Cenn’s Heir
1 Goldmeadow Dodger
1 Goldmeadow Harrier
1 Kinsbaile Balloonist
1 Kinsbaile Skirmisher
1 Kithkin Daggerdare
1 Kithkin Healer
1 Kithkin Shielddare
1 Kithkin Spellduster
1 Kithkin Zealot
1 Kithkin Zephyrnaut
1 Mosquito Guard
1 Order of the Golden Cricket
1 Plover Knights
1 Springjack Knight [/d]
[d]
Enchantments
1 Armadillo Cloak
1 Arrest
1 Cessation
1 Empyrial Armor
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Faith’s Fetters
1 Flickering Ward
1 Inviolability
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Pacifism
1 Recumbent Bliss

Instants
1 Celestial Flare
1 Disenchant
1 Glorious Charge
1 Guardians’ Pledge
1 Prismatic Strands
1 Repel the Darkness
1 Resounding Silence
1 Surge of Thoughtweft [/d]
[d]
Sorceries
1 Cenn’s Enlistment
1 Cultivate
1 Dust to Dust
1 Iona’s Judgment

Land
1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
10 Forest
1 Kabira Crossroads
25 Plains
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Terramorphic Expanse

Artifacts
1 Adventuring Gear
1 Bonesplitter
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Selesnya Signet
1 Tumble Magnet
1 Vulshok Morningstar
1 Whispersilk Cloak [/d]

 

My Commander is a Lackey – Goblins (PDH)

Aside from the contradiction that your general is a lackey, this seems like a fun Goblins PDH list. Lackey actually makes a good commander in terms of his ability, but you have to wonder … who is really calling the shots?

[d]
Commander
1 Goblin Lackey

Creatures
1 Adder-Staff Boggart
1 Akki Avalanchers
1 Battle-Rattle Shaman
1 Bloodcrazed Goblin
1 Caterwauling Boggart
1 Emberwilde Augur
1 Fire Juggler
1 Firefright Mage
1 Flamewave Invoker
1 Foundry Street Denizen
1 Goblin Arsonist
1 Goblin Balloon Brigade
1 Goblin Battle Jester
1 Goblin Bushwhacker
1 Goblin Chirurgeon
1 Goblin Cohort
1 Goblin Fireslinger
1 Goblin Gardener
1 Goblin Gaveleer
1 Goblin Grappler
1 Goblin Lookout
1 Goblin Matron
1 Goblin Medics
1 Goblin Mountaineer
1 Goblin Patrol [/d]
[d]
More Creatures
1 Goblin Rimerunner
1 Goblin Shortcutter
1 Goblin Skycutter
1 Goblin Sledder
1 Goblin Spelunkers
1 Goblin Striker
1 Goblin Swine-Rider
1 Goblin Taskmaster
1 Goblin Tinkerer
1 Goblin Tunneler
1 Goblin Vandal
1 Goblin War Buggy
1 Grotag Siege-Runner
1 Intimidator Initiate
1 Keeper of Kookus
1 Kyren Sniper
1 Lavafume Invoker
1 Lobber Crew
1 Mogg Conscripts
1 Mogg Fanatic
1 Mogg Flunkies
1 Mogg Raider
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Mudbrawler Cohort
1 Mudbutton Clanger
1 Mudbutton Torchrunner
1 Raging Goblin
1 Riot Piker
1 Rummaging Goblin
1 Rustrazor Butcher
1 Skinbrand Goblin
1 Skirk Commando
1 Skirk Shaman
1 Sparksmith
1 Spikeshot Goblin
1 Torch Slinger
1 Utvara Scalper
1 War-Torch Goblin [/d]
[d]
Artifacts
1 Accorder’s Shield
1 Bladed Pinions
1 Bonesplitter
1 Flayer Husk
1 Kitesail
1 Leonin Scimitar
1 Spidersilk Net
1 Vulshok Morningstar
1 Whispersilk Cloak

Sorceries
1 Disintegrate
1 Flame Slash
1 Goblin Grenade
1 Goblin War Strike
1 Grapeshot
1 Kaervek’s Torch
1 Rift Bolt

Instants
1 Brightstone Ritual
1 Fireblast
1 Galvanic Blast
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Tarfire

Enchantments
1 Goblin Caves
1 Goblin Shrine

Lands
32 Mountain [/d]

Six decks. Three formats. Who wins?

Discuss your choices and winners in the comments. Have your own favorite gnomes or goblins lists? Share those too!

Legacy on Mondays: A Look at the Metagame

Welcome Back!

This week I wanted to take a look at a broad overview of the Legacy format for the past two months. Specifically, which decks have been performing well and the overall format metagame, including what is going on in MTGO and for larger paper Legacy events. All of the lovely data and decklists themselves com from mtgotop8.com, which is a good resource for finding netdecking, which I neither condone nor reject (I may write an article on this in the future…), and for taking a look at the overall scene of any sanctioned format.

legacy meta

Aggro

Well there it is. The deck breakdown for the entire Legacy metagame, from MTGO daily events to Grand Prix results to Legacy opens. The first and most obvious thing of note is that Aggro strategies make up a serious percentage of the metagame. Almost half of all decks in the format are trying to kill you as fast as possible with a bunch of creatures or, in the case of Burn, with spells.

So why are people playing aggressive decks? Well, most are fairly simple to pilot. Traditionally, spell order and knowing when to counter a spell or cast a [c]Swords to Plowshares[/c] are interactions that require a decent amount of intuition and knowledge of the opposing deck, while slamming a [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] and swinging into the red zone requires less intimate format knowledge.

I am not saying it does not take skill to successfully play an aggressive deck, but in general newer Legacy players take to aggressive strategies for that reason. Another reason why more experienced players may be playing an aggressive deck is that many utilize Blue to facilitate both [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] and [c]Force of Will[/c].

Delver is the namesake card for a variety of tempo and aggro decks in the format, and he is usually supplemented by Force, which is the quintessential counterspell for the format. Both of these are obviously great, as you can see by the fact that three of the top four aggro decks in the meta all have Blue and typically run three to four copies of FoW, and four copies of Delver.

Looking at the rest of the decks, Burn and Goblins are at decidedly low numbers. Burn is traditionally a great pick for beginners to the format as it is usually tier 1.5 or higher, and in paper right now will usually cost around $300 for the 75. That being said, there are not a lot of newer players, so the Burn concentration has dropped. With this, I would recommend it as a deck for the current Legacy format, at least in paper. An unsuspecting metagame can be dominated by burn, as [c]Force of Will[/c] is traditionally pretty bad as the only main deck answer to Burn spells in the Blue aggro decks, and [c]Goblin Guide[/c] and [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] can come down early and do damage far too quickly for a control deck to handle.

For Goblins, I believe the same to be true. While not as much a beginner deck, as it costs quite a bit to acquire 4 [c]Wasteland[/c]s, 4 [c]Rishadan Port[/c]s, and 4 [c]Cavern of Soul[/c]s, Goblins is that disruptive anti-mana deck that can absolutely tango with all manner of decks. [c]Goblin Piledriver[/c] in particular is great at smashing through all of the blue decks running around. In the right metagame, Goblins could shine. Mono-red hate is dying out, as people are instead sideboarding for the Blue Red Delver matchup that is oh-so-common today.

Control

Control decks take up about a third of the current overall metagame. Control strategies typically do well in metas where combo is more prevalent, because depending on the control build, they can often dismantle fanciful combos with ease. That being said, control is often solid against creature decks as well, such as the Legacy control deck, Blue-White Miracles.

Miracles has access to [c]Terminus[/c], which can be used at instant speed for 1 mana thanks to [c]Sensei’s Divining Top[/c], and interaction which allows Miracles to effectively trump many aggressive strategies. Joe Lossett has been a proponent of this deck, and has several high-profile placements with it, including taking second place at the Richmond SCG Legacy Open 23 November of this year.

Unfortunately for control, many of the aggressive decks of the format are more than capable of handling themselves against this type of deck. Even Nic Fit decks that are designed to exploit the lack of basic lands in most decks aren’t quite as good when aggro strategies are starting to run basics as a hedge against [c]Wasteland[/c]. Control is still perfectly viable, as evidenced by the fact that five of the top eight decks from the last major Open (SCG Richmond) were listed under the control category.

If you are looking for an interesting control deck to play that will take most metas by surprise, look into Tezzeret. It plays the two most busted colors – Black and Blue – and plays 6-8 of the best two planeswalkers ever printed – [c]Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas[/c] and [c]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/c]. Tez is a great strategy that usually wins through the powerful Thopter-Sword combo, which is very resilient since there is not a lot of artifact hate running around in people’s sideboards these days.

Combo

For goodness’ sake, why is only a fifth of the field playing combo? Well, it takes a very special type of person to play combo. One must become dedicated to learning all of the ins and outs of a deck, which usually requires a ridiculous amount of playtesting. It took me about a year to become very familiar with [c]High Tide[/c] to the point where I can pick up almost any variant and play it, and it is not even the most complicated combo deck out there. I would argue that TES and ANT both have many more potential sub-interactions and lines of play than High Tide, despite High Tide being incredibly complex in that regard.

This also leads to another phenomenon. Usually only more developed Legacy scenes, such as that of Los Angeles, California in the USA, have serious combo players. The most recent L.A. Open had a much higher concentration of combo than any other, mostly because those players have been playing Legacy for quite some time, or have been those to come up with many of the busted decks that they play. With a newer Legacy crowd, most people will be scared to pick up something as crazy as a combo deck, as usually the price point and practice required is too much or too scary for newer players.

Why is Elves the #1 combo deck though? This is also simple. It has two avenues of victory – either combo like crazy until you draw and cast a [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c], or just wait until you have a few creatures in play and then [c]Natural Order[/c] for a Behemoth. Post-board Elves is also even more resilient, and can best the other combo decks with the addition of [c]Thoughtseize[/c], [c]Pithing Needle[/c], [c]Cabal Therapy[/c], etc.

Popular Cards – Why is this even a section?

So mtgtop8.com also gives a list of the ten most popular cards for the given format in the given time period. Here is Legacy’s for the past 2 months:

legacy top cards

Why is this even a thing? It has been proven that Blue decks are the most popular and some of the most powerful in the format. If you ignore the fetch and dual lands entirely, every card on that list is [c]Wasteland[/c] or blue. Even the fetches and duals either produce blue or find a land that does. The blue cards on the list make sense, as Combo, Control, and even Aggro decks run these cards to make their hands better, or be cheap disruption. Perhaps this is why Imperial Painter sometimes shows up to do well in larger events – the deck that maindecks [c]Red Elemental Blast[/c]s of course does well in a field full of blue.

So what have I learned today? In the average large event full of [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] and [c]Force of Will[/c], any player would expect to do well playing Burn with four or five Red Blasts in his/her sideboard. The metagame is always evolving, but clearly cards like the Cruise and [c]Monastery Swiftspear[/c] are making their mark.

I hope you learned something today as well. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see all of you next week!

/Peyton

Legacy on Mondays: Cascade Aggro

Welcome Back!

This week I wanted to share a list with you that is in an early stage of development. I hinted at it last week when I mentioned an aggressive cascade deck, one that was even more aggressive than my Shardless BUG list, and it has changed substantially since. I have decided to morph my initally creature-laden list into a five-color build, and I have only played two testing games.

This article is about getting your opinion and maybe making this into something killer. The deck is primarily {B}{U}{G}, with a nice splash of {W} and {R} for just a couple of cards.

[d title=”Five Color CascAggro by Peyton”]
Creatures
4 Baleful Strix
4 True-Name Nemesis
4 Shardless Agent
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Bloodbraid Elf
Spells
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Abrupt Decay
1 Domri Rade
1 Sylvan Library
Lands
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Polluted Delta
2 Misty Rainforest
3 Tropical Island
2 Bayou
3 Underground Sea
1 Taiga
1 Savannah
1 Volcanic Island
1 Scrubland
1 Badlands
Sideboard
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Sower of Temptation
2 Thoughtseize
2 Engineered Plague
1 Gilded Drake
2 Mana Maze
2 Qasali Pridemage
1 Ancient Ziggurat
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Meddling Mage [/d]

The big question is: Why play a five color deck based around one mechanic? It is quite simple: cascade creatures are not only decent-bodied themselves, but they also provide a ton of value in potentially cascading into other relevant threats.

The aspect of having five colors gives us lots of diverse creatures that tap into different aspects of what makes a creature “relevant” in any given matchup. An example of this would be the white splash for [c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c] main deck (and a couple of cards in the ‘board) to hose against combo, burn, and the like.

The red splash facilitates the presence of one big lady: Madame [c]Bloodbraid Elf[/c] is what makes this a cascade deck instead of a goodstuff-y creature deck. She and Señor [c]Shardless Agent[/c] make the deck tick. A hasty 3/2 with the potential to cascade into every other maindeck card, including the other cascader, is very potent in a format devoid of [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c]. People are playing Lily less and less, as the metagame shies towards Blue-Red Delver where the edict is not that great.

Otherwise, Red lets us play a fun-of [c]Domri Rade[/c] as a cascade possibility that, with a whopping twenty-eight creatures in the main deck, can draw into more answers and serve as impromptu removal when necessary. Speaking of removal, four main deck [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] provide the bulk of removal for this list. I will stand firm in my belief that, despite their dying popularity, they are a solid answer to many common speed bumps one may face piloting a creature deck. These, along with the [c]Ancestral Vision[/c]s and a cool [c]Sylvan Library[/c], make up the rest of the non-creature, non-land cards in the deck.

As far as lands are concerned, I am not sold on my choices. Rather than running a ton of multi-lands like [c]City of Brass[/c] or [c]Ancient Ziggurat[/c], I like using fetches and duals. This lets [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c] act as more mana fixing, and is not too awful since there are only two splash colors. In my two testing games, I never felt I was color screwed, despite playing all five colors.

My main issue is how I fit my splash colors into my fetches and duals. I would like to fit in a [c]Tundra[/c], but I am not sure what to take out. Probably the [c]Scrubland[/c], but then I have less black. I might also like to run an extra fetch or two. In the board I do have a Ziggurat. This is for my extra dudes that have extra colors, and when I bring in [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c] against control. I am not sure of this either. All of these minor details will be ironed out through more testing, and just deciding what feels best with the list.

The sideboard is incredibly iffy. It is a slightly modified port of my sideboard from Shardless BUG Aggro, and I am not sure that it fits with the theme at all. While I do like hedging my bets and having answers to the unfair stuff, maybe I want more against decks like Burn. Once again, I must play more than two testing games to determine how I want my board to look.

I have been speaking of these testing games for several paragraphs now, and it’s about time to explain what happened. I lost to U/G Infect 0-2 and beat Post MUD 2-0. In both games against Infect, my opponent was dead on the next turn before they killed me. Both games were so close, and Infect is so rare that I do not believe it is worth it to play more Infect hate. I basically brought in [c]Meddling Mage[/c] and [c]Engineered Plague[/c] and hoped I could prevent his creatures from sticking around too long. [c]Meddling Mage[/c] came down on turn two game two, naming [c]Blighted Agent[/c] and shutting him off of that. Turn three I was able to play [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] and DRS, and the beats commenced with only his [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] in play. Eventually, he was able to [c]Crop Rotation[/c] into [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c], which I could not [c]Abrupt Decay[/c], and [c]Berserk[/c] me to death. Still, he was at only three life and dead on board next turn, so I was fairly happy.

My next opponent was playing Cloudpost MUD. I love MUD; I think it is a wonderful deck, but here it did not stack up so well. In both games, I was able to effectively overrun him with my creature barrage, with a little help game two from [c]Qasali Pridemage[/c], who took care of an untimely [c]Metalworker[/c] before it comboed with a [c]Staff of Domination[/c]. In both games, there were moments when I felt that I was falling behind a bit, like when he cast his [c]Batterskull[/c] game one, or his [c]Lodestone Golem[/c] game two. These both messed with my plan a bit, but both times I was able to draw into a cascader and get back in the game immediately. The sheer board presence generated was too much in both games, and I walked away with a victory.

What’s Next?

You can help me. I will hopefully continue working on this awesome brew, and maybe if I get some suggestions, I can do an article with an update of its performance and list. Some thoughts of mine:

– Jitte in sideboard? (Almost certainly)

– Cut white out entirely? It gives me some excellent sideboard options, but are the four maindeck Legendary creatures worth it for the headache of the fifth color?

– Removal that can deal with big stuff, i.e. [c]Maelstrom Pulse[/c], [c]Vindicate[/c], maybe even [c]Utter End[/c]?

– One less land main? My curve is pretty low as only four maindeck cards cost four mana, plus [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c].

Any suggestions you may have, please post them in a comment below. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you next week!

/Peyton

Legacy on Mondays: BUG Beatdown

Welcome Back!

Last week I promised to bring you something more competitive. And while I was unable to complete my article about uncommon answers to common threats, I would like to share this with you.

It is a list that takes a pre-designed deck idea and throws in another angle. This is my take on a more aggressive Shardless BUG (NOT Sultai; Ana is the old school way) deck that presents powerful, relevant threats with a regularity that cannot be quashed by spot removal, while maintaining a disruptive and card-advantaged feel to keep the ball rolling into the late game.

[d title=”Shardless BUG Aggro by Peyton”]
Creatures
4 Baleful Strix
4 True-Name Nemesis
4 Shardless Agent
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Deathrite Shaman
2 Scavenging Ooze
Spells
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Abrupt Decay
3 Force of Will
1 Maelstrom Pulse
Lands
2 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Polluted Delta
3 Hymn to Tourach
2 Wasteland
2 Misty Rainforest
3 Tropical Island
2 Bayou
3 Underground Sea
Walkers
1 Liliana of the Veil
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Sideboard
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Sower of Temptation
2 Thoughtseize
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Engineered Plague
1 Gilded Drake
2 Mana Maze
1 Force of Will
[/d]

With a mean twenty-one creatures, this deck is packing five more than the average Shardless BUG list. All of the creatures either boast some form of attached card advantage effect, such as the namesake [c]Shardless Agent[/c] and [c]Baleful Strix[/c], or have a helpful ability, such as [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] and the amazing [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c]. These guys provide a lot of utility and help us get through the early game with solid force.

Then there are the haymakers. While not crushingly massive, [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] and [c]True-Name Nemesis[/c] can do a serious amount of damage in short order. Goyf is just… Goyf, and True-Name is, as we all know, evasive and hard to kill. I like that this list also has an innate way of defending True-Name. Edict effects like [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c]’s -2 ability are a fairly common way of defeating this powerful Merfolk, but the sheer fact that one-third of this deck is made of creatures makes sacrifice effects much weaker.

This deck also has a great mix of cards into which [c]Shardless Agent[/c] can cascade. For creatures, Scooze, DRS, [c]Tarmogoyf[/c], and [c]Baleful Strix[/c] are all great to get for free of off an Agent. But the real strength of the Agent is when he hits some of our non-creature spells. The whopping four copies of [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] will remove a vast majority of threats and hindrances whether cascaded into or hard cast. I like plenty of this to keep the ground free for our attackers, while preventing Counter-Top like shenanigans from the opponent. It is the best CMC 2 removal spell that this deck can run.

[c]Hymn to Tourach[/c] is equally disruptive. Unless the opponent has no cards in hand, cascading into a Hymn is always relevant. And, of course, there is the free [c]Ancestral Recall[/c] that happens when you hit [c]Ancestral Vision[/c]. Pfft, [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] can eat my socks when I have Visions at my disposal.

The other obvious point of discussion would be my choice of planeswalkers. I have only three, and they are both amazing. [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c] really shines in a creature-heavy meta, where her edict becomes much better, and the discard is not irrelevant if the opponent cannot play their costlier creatures. If a deck like Maverick were to start total domination, I would trade in 1 Jace for another Liliana.

Ahh Jace… El Escultor Mental. He is the top of the curve of the deck, at four mana (unless you count the three [c]Force of Will[/c]), and is well worth it. Every Legacy player knows the power of [c]Jace, The Mind Sculptor[/c], and he is the most controlling card in the deck. The endless [c]Brainstorm[/c]s mean that we can sift through cards easily with lots of fetches, bouncing obnoxious creatures or tokens (Marit Lage) is solid, and if you ever ultimate that is usually the game.

The sideboard is just a bunch of options against the unfair decks in the format. Our “fair deck” game is pretty good. Playing solid creatures with relevant spells and disruption usually is, but decks like Sneak and Show or Dredge are not easy wins. Tweak your board to fit your meta, but I like to hedge against just about everything.

You may notice a weird card near the end of the list… [c]Mana Maze[/c] is definitely a rare sight. That being said, it is absolutely my favorite card to use against Elves, and black storm combo deck, and [c]High Tide[/c]. They will have a tough time fighting through this card, and unless they have an answer, this will be good game. At the very least it is a decent stall against Elves, which may find an [c]Abrupt Decay[/c], but against ANT, [c]Doomsday[/c], and [c]High Tide[/c], once the opponent is done reading they will usually concede and bring in answers for it.

That’s all for this week, folks! I hope you enjoyed reading, and would love to see some comments about what you think. Thanks and hope to see you next week!

Maybe I will bring out my prototype 4-color Cascaggro deck that’s waiting in the wings… :)

Cheers!

/Peyton

Happy Holiday Festival: Brews for Power

Hi all,

I don’t know that I have ever been more excited about a Magic-related announcement then at this time. Take a moment to read this piece of news, or get the long and short of it here:

  1. Qualify for the Holiday Festival Vintage Championship. Any player who places 4-0 in a Legacy Daily Event or 3-1 or 4-0 in a Vintage Daily Event earns an invitation to play in the tournament.
  2. Enter the tournament with a deck that has neither Power nor Bazaar of Baghdad. No, this isn’t actually part of the rule, but it is essential for our purposes.
  3. Place among the top three tournament entrants that have no Power or Bazaar of Baghdad in their decks. You do not have to place among the top 32 for the ultimate prize, but it is gravy if you do!
  4. Win a complete set of non-foil Vintage Masters!

Every piece of Power, every Vintage and Legacy dual, Force of Will, and more will be yours! Don’t get me wrong; you can win this thing in a traditional sense as well and be just as well off. The reason I’m excited, though, is that budget players can conceivably get in this thing and really win big. Let’s break it down piece by piece.

Step 1: Earning An Invitation

This part is really tricky. If you are drawn to the free power by playing no Power like I am, then you are probably playing on a budget. If you are playing on a budget, it is very difficult to get 4-0 in a Legacy event or a game win in Vintage. It can be done, though!

The cheapest Legacy decks that have gone 4-0 in recent months are Burn and Manaless Dredge. A player can easily build either deck for under 100 tickets. Recently, Burn lists have exploded in price because of how good [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] is in the deck and format. While Burn players before Khans were able to do reasonably well with mono-red, players did so much better adding the required dual and fetch lands to draw into more gas. Nevertheless, here is a very streamlined and powerful build that Rich Shay used to 4-0 a Legacy Daily recently. I have taken out the [c]Scalding Tarn[/c] playset and replaced it with the newly-reprinted [c]Wooded Foothills[/c] to save $150.

[d title=”The Atog Lord Burn (Legacy)”]
Land
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Bloodstained Mire
14 Mountain

Creatures
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Goblin Guide
3 Grim Lavamancer

Other Spells
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Price of Progress
2 Searing Blaze
2 Searing Blood
4 Rift Bolt
2 Sulfuric Vortex
4 Fireblast

Sideboard
1 Price of Progress
2 Searing Blaze
2 Searing Blood
4 Dragon’s Claw
3 Grafdigger’s Cage
3 Smash to Smithereens[/d]

[c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] and [c]Goblin Guide[/c] have offered less excitement in Modern and Legacy lately, so naturally their price is dropping down.

I imagine the [c]Dragon’s Claw[/c] will be especially necessary in the sideboard between the 10th and 19th of December, as other players will be fighting for the holiday prize.

More recently, Manaless Dredge, at price points even as low as $50, has placed in Legacy events. User Ricopdx went 4-0 (the magic number!) on November 15 with the following:

[d title=”Rico Dredge (Legacy)”]
Land

Creatures
4 Balustrade Spy
4 Ichorid
4 Nether Shadow
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Golgari Thug
4 Shambling Shell
4 Phantasmagorian
4 Narcomoeba
1 Greater Mossdog
1 Flayer of the Hatebound
4 Street Wraith

Other Spells
4 Cabal Therapy
4 Dread Return
4 Bridge from Below
2 Urza’s Bauble
4 Gitaxian Probe

Sideboard
4 Ashen Rider
4 Surgical Extraction
3 Noxious Revival
2 Sickening Shoal[/d]

These Legacy Dredge players have frequently had the audacity to play less than 15 cards in their sideboard. I don’t know what metagame factors went into the decision to run 2 [c]Sickening Shoal[/c] rather than 4, but it must have been optimal!

Both of these decks will have to be on our watch list when we are creating a sideboard for the Legacy environment of the qualifying dates.

Unfortunately, neither of these decks transfers very well into a good list in Vintage. No one has performed well in Vintage with Burn despite many attempts, and the Manaless Dredge list is simply begging for the [c]Bazaar of Baghdad[/c] that would make our deck illegal.

On the other hand, maybe Dredge hate will be very light in the Holiday Festival because of this exclusion. That is something to ponder another day.

Until then, I have scoured Legacy and Vintage results pages looking for an archetype that meets these criteria:

  1. It must operate in both formats with minimal additional cards needed.
  2. It must function well on a budget.

The second goal is disputable, but I’m making it the goal because someone can easily build a functioning version of U/R Delver and the like for Vintage without [c]Ancestral Recall[/c] and [c]Time Walk[/c]. These decks would likely require [c]Force of Will[/c] and [c]Wasteland[/c] to compete in Vintage, and at that point, someone’s budget probably allows them to buy Power as well.

At the end of all this searching, I believe that the best list to receive an invite in the Legacy Dailies AND climb the charts in the Holiday Tournament will be Goblins. It is very unfortunate not to be able to run [c]Wasteland[/c] and [c]Rishadan Port[/c], but again, if we fork out $800 for these, then the Power is very easy to acquire.

Even with this setback, the deck is not without a great amount of interactivity. Let’s look at some of the hate that Goblins offer against decks you’ll be sure to face using a build from TheManaDrain’s desolutionist, which he has used to hit 3-1 in Vintage events.

[d title=”Desolutionist Goblins (Vintage)”]
Land
3 Badlands
2 Bloodstained Mire
4 Cavern of Souls
9 Mountain
1 Strip Mine
1 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
4 Goblin Lackey
2 Goblin Piledriver
1 Goblin Recruiter
1 Stingscourger
2 Gempalm Incinerator
1 Goblin Chieftain
4 Goblin Matron
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
4 Goblin Warchief
1 Goblin Ringleader
2 Krenko, Mob Boss
3 Earwig Squad

Other Spells
1 Black Lotus
4 Chalice of the Void
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Ruby
3 Grafdigger’s Cage
3 Mental Misstep
1 Sol Ring

Sideboard
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Crash
3 Ghost Quarter
2 Ingot Chewer
1 Pulverize
2 Pyrokinesis
3 Red Elemental Blast
2 Shattering Spree[/d]

Against Dredge, [c]Mogg Fanatic[/c] kills [c]Narcomoeba[/c] at inopportune times and exiles [c]Bridge from Below[/c] from your opponent’s graveyard in the same activation, so I think I’d like to see him in the coming list. In the list above, though, you can opt not to pay an echo cost, ping your own guy with [c]Goblin Sharpshooter[/c], or cycle [c]Gempalm Incinerator[/c] to kill one of your guys. The sideboard [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] is perfectly acceptable when its target is [c]Bazaar of Baghdad[/c] because your opponent will not have any basics.

Against other graveyard-based strategies, first we have maindeck copies of [c]Grafdigger’s Cage[/c], but also we have [c]Stingscourger[/c] to return reanimated fatties to our opponent’s hand. They have to find a way to get them back into the graveyard and a reanimation spell. [c]Stingscourger[/c] also makes [c]Show And Tell[/c] awkward.

Against many combo decks, [c]Earwig Squad[/c] removes the essential pieces, whether they are [c]Tinker[/c] targets, [c]Tendrils of Agony[/c], big creatures to bring out with [c]Oath of Druids[/c], or [c]Time Vault[/c].

Against Aggro, Delver, and Midrange, the deck is able to gain so much incremental advantage that it’s hard to stop the aggressive pressure. [c]Goblin Ringleader[/c] and [c]Krenko, Mob Boss[/c] are very difficult for these decks to beat.

[c]Young Pyromancer[/c] has nothing on a good [c]Goblin Sharpshooter[/c], especially if the latter has haste.

So here are my ports of desolutionist’s deck into budget Vintage to try and 3-1 the qualifying dailies and into Legacy to (don’t throw things at me) 4-0.

[d title=”Vintage Goblins”]
Lands
4 Badlands
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Cavern of Souls
5 Mountain
1 Strip mine
2 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Warchief
4 Goblin Ringleader
4 Goblin Matron
4 Mogg Fanatic
3 Earwig Squad
2 Gempalm Incinerator
1 Skirk Prospector
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
1 Krenko, Mob Boss

Other Spells
4 Chalice of the Void
3 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Mana Crypt

Sideboard
1 Crash
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Ingot Chewer
2 Pyrokinesis
3 Red Elemental Blast
2 Stingscourger
4 Smash to Smithereens[/d]

[d title=”Legacy Goblins AKA If Manaless Dredge Can Do It…”]
Land
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Cavern of Souls
8 Mountain
2 Plateau
2 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Goblin Warchief
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Ringleader
4 Goblin Matron
4 Gempalm Incinerator
1 Skirk Prospector
1 Mogg Fanatic
1 Stingscourger
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Krenko, Mob Boss
1 Tuktuk Scrapper
1 Goblin Sharpshooter

Other Spells
2 Tarfire
4 Aether Vial
3 Grafdigger’s Cage

Sideboard
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
3 Mogg Fanatic
2 Path to Exile
1 Stingscourger
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Tuktuk Scrapper
3 Warmth
1 Wear/Tear
[/d]

So there you have it. Here is your equipment to go and fight for power. What 3 brews do you believe will win complete sets of VMA? I think it’s Goblins, and I encourage you to try.

Either way, good luck, have fun.

-drinkard