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Legacy Stoneblade with Esper Sentinel – Deck Guide

Stoneblade decks are among my favorites in Magic. They’re extremely fun to play, have a lot of versatility in play and deckbuilding and are generally good decks to have present in the format. We haven’t seen too many of this style of deck over the past few months, save for a few Ragavan Stoneblade decks, but recently Magic Online user B-Carp took a pretty awesome looking version of the deck to the top 32 of a Legacy Challenge. I think this list is a step in the right direction for the archetype and it utilizes a significant number of MH2 cards, which has proven itself to be a recipe for success.

Let’s take a look at the list and see what differentiates it from Stoneblade decks of days gone.

 

 

 

Legacy Stoneblade by B-Carp

 

Header - The Game Plan

This is a blue midrange deck that’s trying to play to the board as much as possible. It has extremely cheap white removal and the free blue disruption we have all come to know and love. Using those cards, this deck uses powerful threats, such as Stoneforge Mystic, Murktide Regent and Urza’s Saga to put together an impressive board state and close out the game. Each of the threats in the deck require some different answers, so this will overwhelm your opponents’ removal and allow you to continue pressuring them in a meaningful way.

 

Header - Card Choices

Stoneforge Mystic

It’s always nice to see Stoneforge Mystic show up. This card is extremely powerful, but the fact that it’s a bit slow and takes up a reasonable amount of deckbuilding space can be a bit costly these days. Still, there are few creatures more impactful when they hit the board in a fair game, so your opponents will have to respond to it quickly or be buried in board advantage. 

Kaldra CompleatSword of Fire and IceShadowspear

If you told Stoneblade players from a few years ago that Batterskull would be usurped, you would have been met with disbelief. Kaldra Compleat doesn’t stabilize your life total quite as well as Batterskull, but it does put your opponent under a significant amount of pressure. It’s also far more difficult to interact with, which is saying something because Batterskull ain’t that easy to answer. The fact that it pressures planeswalkers and closes the door relatively quickly against combo makes it a much better fit for a deck that includes Murktide Regent.

Umezawa’s Jitte does still have a lot of value in this format, but Sword of Fire and Ice does a few key things that Jitte doesn’t. For starters, it gives Esper Sentinel a constant power boost, which not only means that you’ll get to draw extra cards more often, but makes it a better attacker. In addition, the protections allow this deck to attack through cards like Murktide Regent more easily and the damage can go face which further pushes the aggressive plan. I don’t think it’s wrong to have Jitte over it depending on how the metagame shapes up, but Swords looks a lot better at the moment, especially in this deck.

Shadowspear wouldn’t normally be included but as a Saga target it is one of the best. The extra utility of being able to search it up with Stoneforge Mystic really makes it a slam dunk in this deck.

Esper Sentinel

Utilizing Esper Sentinel in a fair blue deck is something we haven’t seen much of so far since MH2 came out, but I love the idea here. It’s a pretty innocuous way to either disrupt your opponent or gain value and that perfectly fits into this deck’s strategy. In the past, these decks would use creatures like Snapcaster Mage to generate value and play to the board but that was often a three-mana play if you wanted to get full value. Lowering the curve makes this deck far more lean and efficient and I love how Sentinel fits into that plan. It’s especially effective in this deck since you can somewhat easily increase its body size, which will make it a lot easier to get value.

Murktide Regent

Murktide Regent quickly became one of the best threats in Legacy. It’s not as resilient as True-Name Nemesis, which is the clearest card it’s replacing, but it closes the game so quickly and dominates any board in which it sticks around. This version of Stoneblade really has an uncanny way of completely dominating board position and since a lot of the game happens on the ground in this deck, Murktide taking to the skies will really present a different issue for your opponents.

BrainstormPonder

The standard suite, this deck doesn’t need to run any more than the eight usual suspects. Brainstorm is always an excellent card in Stoneforge Mystic decks in case you draw one of your Equipment targets.

Force of WillForce of Negation

Force of Negation has gotten a bit worse over the past few months as creatures have gotten a lot more powerful. It’s still a great piece of insurance and this deck is frequently going to be tapping out, so having the extra free disruption will make it much safer for you to develop your board.

Swords to PlowsharesPrismatic Ending

This is a pretty traditional removal suite for white decks these days. Swords to Plowshares remains the best removal spell in the format and Prismatic Ending’s versatility has had a significant impact on the format. The presence of Ending essentially means that there are no permanents that you cannot deal with.

Retrofitter Foundry

This remains the best Urza’s Saga target in a deck like this. It can whittle down opponents in the mid-to-late game and this deck has plenty of lands to take advantage of it. It’s particularly effective in this deck since the tokens wear Equipment quite nicely.

Karakas

Karakas continues to impress. I’m always on the lookout for decks that can afford to safely run this card in their main decks. The only slight criticism here is that it cannot bounce any of your own cards, but the cost to run it is very low and the upside it provides in this current Legacy format is massive.

TundraVolcanic IslandIsland (399)Plains (398)Flooded StrandScalding TarnArid Mesa

This is a pretty old school Legacy mana base. The only point to note is that you should cut one Scalding Tarn for an extra Flooded Strand, since there are non-Mountains in the deck but you do run a Plains.

Urza's Saga

This is a great Urza’s Saga deck. Again, it plays to the board extremely well and the Construct tokens wear Equipment quite nicely. This deck has uses for colorless mana as well since it runs Stoneforge Mystic, so being able to take advantage of that is a nice feature, as well. I think we’ll keep seeing Urza’s Saga show up in different decks over the course of its existence and that’s really exciting to see.

Wasteland

This deck doesn’t immediately seem like a deck that wants to utilize four Wastelands, but it actually fits into this deck’s game plan quite well. This deck’s curve is quite low, so you don’t need to have too many lands in play. Again, this deck is really playing to the board, so disrupting their mana development will help further your board position. In addition, there are a ton of problematic lands in Legacy and UW decks traditionally have a more challenging time dealing with them, so Wasteland provides a route for managing that.

 

Header - The Sideboard

Alpine Moon

Alpine Moon is one of the most effective cards against Urza’s Saga, which can be a problem for this style of deck. There are other scary lands in Legacy, such as Thespian’s Stage, so it’s not the most narrow inclusion.

Blazing Volley

This should be End the Festivities, but they’re functionally the same thing, so I wouldn’t stress too much about that. One of the best things that red provides is access to cheap sweepers and this effect is meaningful at the moment.

Flusterstorm

Flusterstorm has been waxing and waning a bit over the past few months/years, but it’s still one of the best options against spell-based combo decks. 

Meddling Mage

You could essentially play any hatebear you want here, but Meddling Mage is a great one. It’s particularly effective against decks like Doomsday, but has a fair amount of uses against just about any combo deck.

Pithing Needle

Pithing Needle will always have a use in Legacy and since this is an Urza’s Saga deck, it’s a great sideboard inclusion.

PyroblastHydroblast

I think this is a bit light on Pyroblast and heavy on Hydroblasts and would personally prefer a 3-1 split. That being said, Hydroblast is great at the moment, so it’s not unbelievable to see more than one copy. Pyroblast will always be the best sideboard card in the format and, again, it’s extremely effective at the moment since Murktide Regent is so prevalent.

Surgical ExtractionSoul-Guide LanternGrafdigger's Cage

This is a graveyard hate suite that actually respects the graveyard decks. Reanimator has been doing exceptionally well lately, so having enough ways to answer that deck is crucial. You could change these numbers around as you see fit, but Cage and Lantern are both Urza’s Saga targets, so I really like to see them here.

Teferi, Time Raveler

This is proving itself to be one of the best planeswalkers in Legacy. It’s a bit of an oddball here, since this deck doesn’t have that much synergy with it. It’s still a versatile answer to a variety of card types and great in blue mirrors, though, so I’m not too surprised to see it show up in this sideboard.

 

Header - Tips and Tricks

  • This deck can play around Wasteland on your color sources by getting basics, but sometimes you may prefer a dual get hit rather than an Urza’s Saga, so be mindful about how you fetch.
  • It’s not a significant buff, but Shadowspear does grow your Esper Sentinel to make it more challenging for them to pay.

 

Header - Sideboard Guide

Izzet Delver

Izzet Delver

Out: 3 Force of Will, 2 Force of Negation

In: 2 Pyroblast, 2 Hydroblast, 1 Flusterstorm

I don’t like bringing in Blazing Volley in this matchup and I think leaving in a Force of Will can provide some insurance against cards like Court of Cunning. You have a sufficient amount of removal and effective threats, so while this is probably a close matchup, you definitely have the tools to manage their game plan. Certainly prioritize answers to Ragavan first and foremost, but as the game goes on, it will be less problematic if you’ve developed your board. You can easily overwhelm their removal with your threats, so I think being proactive is a good approach, as well.

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Four-Color Control

Four-Color Control

Out: 4 Swords to Plowshares

In: 2 Pyroblast, 1 Soul-Guide Lantern, 1 Teferi, Time Raveler

Swords isn’t particularly effective and the cards you’re bringing in are all quite good. Lantern is nice because it’s a free card off of Saga that will help manage Uro. Urza’s Saga is probably among the best cards in the matchup, so using that to create an advantage should be high on the priority list. It shouldn’t be too difficult to overwhelm their removal spells and assume the role of the aggressor, so that’s what I’d be looking to do in this matchup.

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Elves

Elves

Out: 2 Force of Negation, 4 Esper Sentinel

In: 2 Blazing Volley, 1 Meddling Mage, 1 Flusterstorm, 1 Pithing Needle, 1 Grafdigger’s Cage

This is a matchup where you’d really want Jitte, but Sword of Fire and Ice can still do some good work. Esper Sentinel isn’t a good threat nor value engine in this matchup, so I really don’t think it serves a purpose here. You do have a decent amount of removal to slow them down and threats like Kaldra Compleat and Murktide Regent are tough for them to stop, so those should provide a significant amount of pressure. This matchup is probably a bit on the tougher side pre-board, but bringing in Blazing Volley should help shore it up a bit. Be mindful about Allosaurus Shepherd if you’re going to rely on countermagic though, as that’s an easy way for them to kill you. 

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Doomsday

Doomsday

Out: 4 Swords to Plowshares, 3 Prismatic Ending

In: 2 Pyroblast, 1 Meddling Mage, 1 Flusterstorm, 1 Teferi, Time Raveler, 2 Surgical Extraction

You do have a decent amount of pressure with Stoneforge Mystic, which is nice, but I think this matchup can be tricky. Doomsday is such a powerful deck and it can grind through cards like Force of Will with relative ease. The tools to beat them are present though, but I anticipate the games to be quite close. When I play blue decks against Doomsday, my number one mantra is not to play too scared. They can play around your disruption if given enough time, so oftentimes you just have to put the pedal to the metal to try to end the game.

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