I’ve got a few lists to talk about, but first let’s go over some mechanics from Fate Reforged.
Manifest works by exiling a card from some zone, usually the top of your library, and putting it face down as a 2/2, similar to a morph. If it’s a creature you can unmorph it for its casting cost.
One thing I like about this mechanic is how it makes use of information. When your opponent makes a strange attack with a face-down manifest creature, you have to use your knowledge of his deck to figure out what it might be.
I like the idea of using cards like Courser of Kruphix and Sensei’s Divining Top to get more mileage out of the mechanic. The only bad thing about Courser is that your bluff potential is ruined, but taking a dead card off the top and turning it into a body is big game.
The main concern with this mechanic is that it’s going to be in the same Limited format as morph. So, a cheater could manifest a creature, then try morphing a land later and claiming one was the other. I don’t think this’ll be a big problem, but I am probably going to start using the morph/manifest indicators so that it’s always clear what’s what.
In fact, it’s probably a good idea to use the indicators anyway because it’s so important to keep track of what can definitely unmorph and what might be a land in disguise.
As a fan of Phyrexian Dreadnought, I love that manifest is yet another way to cheat a 12/12 into play. I especially like the idea of Aura enablers since Enlightened Tutor is a neat way to either grab the Aura or set up the Dreadnought itself.
I doubt it’ll be competitive, but at least it’ll be interesting. Imagine if we get a blue manifest Aura that gives the creature hexproof? A 12/12 trampling hexproof seems strong, even if it does take some setup.
This card is quite good. Most of the time, you’ll get at least one trigger out of it, and as base stats a 4/4 and a 2/2 for five mana isn’t the worst (especially since the 2/2 has a possible upside). When you factor in that you generate a 2/2 every turn, the card starts to look playable.
The real strength is the sacrifice ability, which is a versatile little number that reminds me of Caller of the Claw. It’ll be most commonly used against wrath effects, turning an opposing sweeper into a sort of Curse of the Swine that still lets you unmorph stuff. I could also see combining it with a sacrifice outlet to filter through the deck looking for specific creatures.
Dash lets you cast a spell for its dash cost, giving it haste but returning it to hand at the beginning of the next end step. Basically, any creature with dash can be a Viashino Sandstalker if you want it to be.
This wouldn’t be exciting in and of itself, as Sandstalker wasn’t exactly overpowered, except that they’re printing the ability on cards that gain significant benefit from haste, giving the player decisions and leading to more interesting game play.
Note that Sarkhan attacks as a Dragon, letting the deck get multiple triggers out of Kolaghan in one turn.
Mardu is one of the few places where Soulfire Grand Master fits into current decks. Turning Lightning Strike into Lightning Helix is more relevant here than usual, and the deck is grindy enough to want to rebuy spells in the late game.
Bolster lets you choose a creature card with the lowest toughness and put some number of +1/+1 counters on it.
Unlike manifest and dash, bolster doesn’t scream “build around me” but instead is a way to gain incidental value.
This card reminds me of Renewed Faith in that it combines a few small yet useful things together, like a tiny white Cryptic Command. In this case, I don’t expect Honor’s Reward to see Constructed play because most decks that would care about incidental life gain aren’t going to be running enough creatures to care about the pump.
It’ll be great in Limited, though, where every deck has creatures and incidental life gain is super good.
So close. I think this guy would be playable at 5G, but as is that’s just too much mana. The card reminds me of Wolfir Silverheart, which was much more aggressively costed. While bolster will usually be better than soulbond since the counters stick around even if the Mastodon is killed, that and reach isn’t worth an extra two mana. Besides, not being able to choose what creature the counters land on could end up backfiring when you have to pump your Sylvan Caryatid or something along those lines.
When I was testing out a Nic Fit shell with 4 Siege Rhino, 3 Thragtusk in a Daily Event the other day, I ran into a curious brew focused around using Monastery Swiftspear in a Berserk Stompy shell. My opponent had a few questionable card choices, stuff like Street Wraith and Urza’s Bauble, but the general idea was clever and I liked the idea of pumping Swiftspear with Land Grant.
I set to brewing. At first, I modeled the deck after infect as closely as I could. After all, infect is the premier Berserk Stompy list, and when trying something new it makes sense to model after past success as opposed to trying to reinvent the wheel. Plus, the way that Swiftspear and Kiln Fiend interact with pump spells is kind of similar to how the infect threats do (because you need fewer pump spells to kill).
There were a few problems with this idea, though. For starters, Infect’s mana base contains one of its primary threats in Inkmoth Nexus, which changes numbers around and makes the Crop Rotation package a thing. They also have a blue threat, upping the count and making Force of Will possible. Finally, exalted is way worse here, and even though attacking with Noble Hierarch itself gets way better I don’t think it fits the deck.
I experimented with various burn spells to clear away creatures, but it detracted from the deck’s focus, and in the end I settled on a nice, natural suite of ways to force through damage with cards like Rancor, Madcap Skills, and Silhana Ledgewalker.
While I haven’t tested the deck extensively, I’ve played it enough to know it’s somewhat competitive and all kinds of fun. It gets a decent amount of turn-three kills, and can of course win on turn two with a combination of a one-drop, free pump spells, and Berserk.
It’s also dirt cheap, about as budget as Legacy can get while still hoping to win a match.
14 seems like too few lands, but Land Grant acts like a fetchland. Infect has a similar curve to us with fewer actual colored sources in the mana base, but they also have Noble Hierarch to make up for that.
At first, I didn’t think Dryad Arbor was worth it, but the deck is basically a combo deck and being able to burn a fetch or Land Grant to go get a combo piece is pretty hot.
I used to run some amount of fast mana. Lotus Petal can at least trigger prowess, though Elvish Spirit Guide is better against Daze and lets you Vines of Vastwood out of nowhere—essentially building a Force of Will in the same style as Simian Spirit Guide with Pyroblast. The problem was that the deck doesn’t need much mana to function at all, and any card that isn’t one of those few lands that it needs to operate should be dedicated to the combo.
Ledgewalker started in the sideboard, but almost everyone has Bolts or Abrupt Decays or Swords to Plowshares or what-have-you, and the combination of hexproof and evasion is too good to pass up. While Swiftspear and Kiln Fiend provide for some busted starts, Ledgewalker gives the deck a way to win through all the spot removal in the world.
The more hexproof creatures I add, the worse Vines of the Vastwood gets, and it’s always this clunky spell that warps how I have to play the game, sometimes giving the opponent extra turns because it costs double what a regular pump spell would. It might be correct to shave them or cut them entirely for other options, though I haven’t played the deck without them yet. It has done some tricky things, like stifling equips and Mother of Runes activations, but those were games I was winning anyway.
The synergy between Sulfuric Vortex and Invigorate is adorable to the point where I was maindecking Vortex for a bit, but it was clunky and didn’t fit the shell and I’m second-guessing the copy in the sideboard. Note that cards like Skullcrack don’t work with Invigorate because they stop the opponent from gaining life, which in turn prevents you from paying the alternate cost. Sulfuric Vortex works because it’s replacing the life gain.
In this game, my opponent was on the play and went turn one Mother of Runes, turn two Stoneforge Mystic, turn three put Batterskull into play. This is him about to die on turn four. I think most of the fair matchups are good, but like I said I haven’t played enough games to know yet.
When Swiftspear isn’t good enough, Ledgewalker gets things done. Ledgewalker is weak to cards like Zealous Persecution and Golgari Charm, but the deck has eight free pump spells to play around that sort of thing. In this game, Furor of the Bitten helped me grind through a Lingering Souls.
If you’re interesting in watching a vid set with this deck, sound off in the comments so I can gauge interest.
Last week, I put up a video of a 4c Soul list that was a few cards off from a Adam Boyd/Tim Ealey creation. A number of people have been asking me for updates, and the deck is still performing for me so it makes sense to share my current list.
4c Sidisi Soul
The idea behind the deck is to dominate the midgame with power four-drops and set up Soul of Theros either through value-milling or by casting it. Whatever the opponent’s board state, Soul will almost certainly trump it. Opponent trying to gum up the board with hornets? Whatever—first strike through them. Getting raced in the air? Try gaining 30+ life a turn.
I’ve been keeping track of my Daily results, and currently I’m 19-5 going 4-0, 4-0, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, and 2-2. This last weekend, I took it to a PPTQ, losing in the finals to a clutch maindecked Duneblast and a mulligan to four in game three.
This deck is very good. I’m going to keep playing it, and I don’t care if people know that I’m playing it.
The one slot I’m still not 100% on is the pair of Aetherspouts in the board. They’re there for the UW Heroic matchup, but I haven’t actually drawn the card and I have no clue how to feel about it. It’s possible that they should just be Kioras.
Sideboarding is fairly straightforward. Against decks with sweepers or removal that’s particularly good against mana dorks (Magma Jet) I cut the Elvish Mystics for Thoughtseize. There are times when Sylvan Caryatid seems actively bad, but it plays a key role in the mana base and I never go below three.
After that, if you’re ever at a loss for what to board out, the maindeck Commune with the Godss and Treasure Cruise are cuttable. If I really need slots, I’ll even shave Siege Rhinos. Sidisi is never cuttable because it’s so key to how the deck functions.
That’s all for this week. Happy New Year from the Legacy Weapon.