Eternal Weekend is in the books and for the most part it seemed to play out as most people expected. It still seemed like a very fun event (I can’t say I didn’t have a fair bit of FOMO) but the metagame mostly developed as predicted by most Legacy stalwarts. That being said, there were a few outliers here and there and during the EW Bayou event, Talisker came in 2nd with a version of Zenith Yorion that seemed well-positioned. I haven’t written about many Yorion decks here, but they certainly exist and have the potential to put up some strong results.
Today I want to cover this deck not simply because it performed well and looks solid, but also because in the case of format shakeup in the near future, this deck will likely remain unchanged. Let’s jump right into it.
4C Yorion Zenith
This is a midrange/control deck that plays to the board and uses a variety of engines to generate long-term advantage. Since the deck plays Yorion to gain some late-game staying power, this deck is built in order to reduce the variance of playing 80 cards as much as possible. It plays as many redundant copies of cards as it can, and plenty of cantrips to find them. In addition, Green Sun’s Zenith gives the pilot a ton of versatility and consistency with how they want to execute their game plan. Like most midrange decks, it’s very effective against creature decks and lacks a little bit of power against combo decks. However, it can sideboard to accommodate any matchup it needs to and has the ability to keep up with any deck in the format.
Companion – Yorion, Sky Nomad
While there is a cost to running 80 cards, there is enough redundancy in Magic right now that Yorion can add more than it takes away. The biggest cost to Yorion is having to run cards like Abundant Growth to make Yorion more effective, which are a bit underwhelming in Legacy. They aren’t that bad, though, and being a cantrip at worst generally means the floor is pretty high. Having Yorion means that in a lot of games that go long you can make sure you always have a threat ready to impact the board late in the game. Additionally, since it is a blue card, you can always add it to your hand to give you a card to pitch to Force of Will, so there’s a lot of utility in running Yorion.
Ice-Fang Coatl has fallen off a lot lately, but it’s still a pretty effective card in a fair amount of games. The problem is that it doesn’t reliably answer cards like Murktide, since Lightning Bolt can easily clear the way (and 2-for-1ing your opponents matters less when you’re taking so much damage). That being said, there will certainly be games where Ice-Fang completely shuts down your opponent’s offensive strategy and buys you plenty of time to assemble one of your engines. It has additional utility here since Yorion can blink it and generate some extra value. This deck is a bit light on snow permanents, so you need to be aware of that, but Ice-Fang makes a ton of sense in this deck overall.
Like Ice-Fang Coatl, Uro has also fallen off a lot lately. The speed of the format has increased quite a bit and the presence of Murktide means that Uro doesn’t stabilize the board like it used to. That being said, there are still very few better ways to dominate a game than to attack with an Uro, so it’s still going to provide a potent mid-to-late game engine. This deck has a ton of ways to keep cards like Murktide in check, so that should open the door for Uro to take over more games.
Building a Yorion deck with a Green Sun’s Zenith package is a great way to offset the cost of running 80 cards. While Green Sun can be a bit clunky at times, the sheer versatility of it here is hard to overstate. It can essentially get cards that solve every issue that will show up and since this deck has a pretty solid mana base and runs cards like Uro, you can pretty easily offset the downside of adding a mana to any creature you search up. Beyond Ice-Fang and Uro, there’s a pretty robust tutor package in this deck which helps this deck pack a punch.
These allow you to use Green Sun’s Zenith as a form of mana acceleration, which greatly increases the consistency and speed of the deck.
These are standalone tutor targets that accomplish very different things. Leovold is nowhere near as popular as it used to be, but there are a lot of situations where it will shut your opponents down. Endurance is among the best/most versatile cards in Legacy at the moment, but running multiple copies in the main deck is a bit ineffective since this deck doesn’t care too much about the body. Excavator is one of the best targets against decks that play Wasteland or are weak to Wasteland, so having the single copy to search up is really meaningful. Finally, Primeval Titan is one of the best ways to take advantage of a surplus of mana, since finding Field of the Dead will provide you with an engine that most fair decks will struggle to overcome.
These are tutor targets that act as answers to a broad range of permanents. Grist has the extra utility of acting as a standalone threat against any deck relying on spot removal. In fact, I think Grist is probably among the best Zenith targets in Legacy right now and i’ve been really impressed with it in almost every game I have seen it in. I expect this card to be a key card in Legacy should there ever be any shake-ups.
This is no Arcum’s Astrolabe, but in this deck it serves just enough roles to warrant inclusion. It works well with Yorion, it makes your mana base a lot more stable, and at worst it’s a one mana cantrip, which is generally pretty reasonable in Legacy anyway. Make sure to always put it on a basic land, unless you really need to cantrip and don’t have any basics in sight.
Running the (almost) full suite of cantrips helps increase the consistency of the deck. There is only so much space you can dedicate to spinning your wheels, so it can be tough to support the full 4 Preordains, but having a pair helps round it out a bit. I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to add more copies, though, since it really helps smooth out your draws.
Force of Negation has been quite a bit worse over the past few months since creatures have really dominated the format. That being said, in this deck running 7 Force effects means you’ll have access to it when you need it more often.
This white removal suite is incredible in Legacy at the moment and is certainly one of the draws to playing a deck like this. They both have their utility, but make sure not to fire them off too freely. Using Swords to Plowshares too early on a card like Dragon’s Rage Channeler might leave you cold to dashed Ragavan or Murktide Regent. Sometimes you won’t have a choice, but you should make sure you use these cards mindfully.
These are both pretty potent sources of card advantage. Sylvan Library has more than proven itself in this style of deck, especially with Uro in the mix. You can really start to bury opponents that are playing fair early on. Players can keep up with it more than they used to with Expressive Iteration in the mix, but it will still provide a pretty substantial advantage if it sticks around. Life From the Loam, on the other hand, is very slow but has the ability to completely take over a game. Recurring Wastelands is a tale as old as time, and milling yourself to extra copies of Uro is the start of a powerful engine.
This deck is light on dual lands because you really want to have a stable mana base. Still, having the core colors is really important in a lot of games, so this set of duals is essential.
This deck really wants to find basic lands early, so this configuration allows you to maximize for that. The split of snow-covered and normal basics is to accommodate Field of the Dead.
your own creatures. Field of the Dead isn’t too common these days, but it’s still a difficult-to-deal-with engine against a lot of decks trying to play fair, so running it in your Life From the Loam/Primeval Titan deck makes a lot of sense.
Most control decks don’t turn to Wasteland, but this deck has a mini land-recursion theme, so having the full set of Wastelands makes that a lot of consistent.
There are a ton of matchups where you’d want extra copies of Endurance, and I could easily picture a world where you’d want even more copies in the sideboard.
Some extra ways to deal with artifacts, which is important now more than ever due to decks like 8-cast.
This is still one of the most effective cards against Delver. It’s even stronger in this version of the deck since Yorion provides you an extra way to spend excess mana in any given game.
This is a bit random since it can’t be tutored by Green Sun’s Zenith and it won’t show up that often in an 80 deck. It’s a very powerful cards against decks like Storm, so i’m not completely surprised to see it here, but I would personally want a few extra copies in my deck, especially since it is so important to have against those decks.
Flusterstorm is always an effective card in Legacy. It doesn’t see quite as much play as it used to since the format is more permanent-based right now, but there are plenty of decks that lean into spells, and Flusterstorm will make sure they won’t cause you too much difficulty.
Force of Vigor is one of the most powerful anti-artifact/enchantment cards in the format, but the cost of running it can be pretty high. Having a single copy will help makes those matchups better and complements cards like Knight of Autumn, which can be tutored with Green Sun’s Zenith.
This is still one of the best anti-creature cards in the format. With Elves picking up in popularity, I would be interested in running extra copies of this, but 2 is a solid base to start at.
These are both generally effective cards in Legacy. Hydroblast is particularly potent at the moment, since the Delver decks are leaning heavily into the red threats. Veil of Summer doesn’t see quite as much play as it used to, but when it’s good, it will really put your opponent in a tough situation.
- With Life from the Loam in your graveyard, you can dredge your draw when you cast cantrips in order to see some fresh cards (such as casting Brainstorm and dredging off of the first draw when you know the top 2)
- With Leovold in play, Tendrils of Agony will draw you cards for each copy, which can help you dig for Veil of Summer or Flusterstorm.
- Karakas can bounce Uro, Yorion, or Leovold to your hand, which not only protects them from removal, but can give you a blue card for Force of Will in a pinch.
Out: 3 Force of Negation, 4 Force of Will
In: 3 Carpet of Flowers, 1 Hydroblast, 1 Endurance, 2 Flusterstorm
I could see a world where you want to leave in a couple of Force of Wills to keep cards like Court of Cunning in check, but I think for the most part it won’t be necessary. Izzet Delver has a ton of tools for keeping up with this style of deck these days, but Zenith Yorion has answers for just about everything. Keeping hands with multiple answers to threats will ensure you don’t get run over early. There are multiple engines you can turn to that would be effective against them (Excavtor + Wasteland, Uro, etc…), so carefully figure out how you want the game to progress and try to make sure your cards are working towards that plan.
Out: 1 Endurance, 3 Force of Negation, 1 Sylvan Library
In: 1 Knight of Autumn, 1 Collector Ouphe, 1 Force of Vigor, 2 Plague Engineer
I don’t think Endurance is necessary. It gets a bit better if you see Echo of Eons, but even if they have it, Endurance isn’t that good against the card. The same is mostly true of Force of Negation, as their most threatening cards are creatures (unless you see Karn, the Great Creator). You’re bringing in excellent answers to their cards so the post-board plan should be fairly effective.
Out: 3 Force of Negation, 1 Endurance, 1 Force of Will
In: 1 Knight of Autumn, 1 Collector Ouphe, 1 Force of Vigor, 2 Plague Engineer
This sideboard plan looks a lot like the plan against 8-Cast, but the matchup is going to play out quite a bit differently. Death and Taxes is pretty good at grinding down fair blue decks like Zenith Yorion, but this deck does have a ton of good cards against them. Make sure you develop a stable mana base and have adequate answers for their early threats. Wasteland can help ensure Uro is a bit more effective as it can keep their Karakas’ in check.
Out: 4 Swords to Plowshares, 4 Prismatic Ending
In: 2 Flusterstorm, 1 Ethersworn Canonist, 1 Endurance, 1 Collector Ouphe, 1 Veil of Summer, 2 Carpet of Flowers
Despite being a Force of Will deck, Yorion Zenith may have a tough time in this matchup. The deck’s clock is quite slow and there aren’t that many excellent cards in the matchup. It gets a little bit better in the sideboarded games, but this sideboard isn’t completely optimized to manage Doomsday. Flusterstorm helps a lot, though, since it can be tough to resolve a Doomsday through a Flusterstorm. Try to assemble as much disruption as you can and work towards getting a Leovold into play, which will seriously slow them down.