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Mind-Boggling Technology – Wafo-Gate and Landstill

The Scandal

I’m sure you all know by now who was responsible for the leaking of New Phyrexia. To me, it felt like a movie with a surprise twist. I was probably not the only one who expected the culprits to be some WotC employees that were unknown to the general public. Some of the last people I would have guessed to be responsible were the Guillaumes and that’s just how it is in the movies. Magic scandals are great; they always keep me on my toes.

The biggest question on my mind is just how long the full spoilers have been handed out to top pros for articles. I would assume this was commonplace for quite some time, but hopefully it will change after these events. Antione Ruel admitted that he received spoilers from WotC in a forum post, but chose to not look at them. I have nothing but the best to say about Antione so I assume that he’s telling the truth about it. The point is that many of the world’s finest have this unfair option of knowing the entire set before it has been spoiled.

There is so little time to adequately prepare for two new formats and getting a one month head start is crucial. Does it really take a rocket scientist to figure out that this creates an unfair advantage? Why would WotC want to make a system for spoilers that ruins the integrity of the professional scene? Saito got banned before worlds and now this corrupt system of information sharing is coming to light. This is terrible advertising for WotC and their current policy has done nothing but create more potential problems. I’m sure everybody wants to get in line to play a game where the current world champion is suspended for three years. This is a complete joke.

How about instead of giving this precious information to players who can use it for their own personal gain, it goes to writers that don’t play on the Pro Tour. Evan Erwin goes to all of the Pro Tours, but coverage is his main goal. People with similar goals in mind should be responsible for such information, not those who can strategically use it to their advantage.

I have heard conspiracy theories about how WotC wants the top names to do better at the Pro Tour for publicity so they get an unfair advantage. This seems a little crazy and it should be left on cable TV. WotC placed a little too much trust in the writers for publications which is mostly their fault.

This feels to me like when Tiger Woods got busted for all of his affairs. It seemed really obvious that it would happen since he is a huge celebrity, but everyone was still shocked. I would hope that WotC saw this as a legitimate outcome as we are all human. It is pretty difficult to playtest for a Pro Tour with the knowledge of an entire set and your partner is left in the dark. Does it seem realistic to not tell your close friend about everything you know? I would think that most people would tell someone as soon as they got the information. Would you want to help out Wafo-Tapa after he basically conceded the World Championship title to you? It seems as if they wanted to bust somebody because it would happen eventually.

Why can’t writers make material about a new card with symmetrical information? Is it really that difficult to hype up a new card without the knowledge of the entire set? It’s not like they talk about new combos within the set because half of the combination will be unknown. The articles are about combinations with old cards and their uses in constructed and limited formats.

I always have the back of the MTGO grinders when I complain about how new set releases are weeks late. The sets will obviously be spoiled by the beta testers even with confidentiality agreements since it’s not like anyone has ever violated a contract. We could instead move the spoiler season to earlier times before a set release. This would begin the beta testing earlier so Magic Online can become relevant quicker. I hate not being able to play real formats after a new set is released and I’m not the only one. The WotC employees obviously have more answers than I do on this subject, but if it can be done that would be nice. (In fact, all I have are questions.)

I would like to blame the Guillaumes for giving themselves this unfair advantage, but WotC is at fault in my opinion. This was just too big of a temptation and the policy should have never been implemented in the first place. I hope to see them back in later years.

Landstill in Legacy

Since we are on the topic of people named Guillaume, I thought I would share my Landstill deck that was based off of a version created by Wafo-Tapa. I figure that by the time this article goes up, there will be many writers voicing their opinions on the scandal. Being the nice guy that I am, there is a second part of the article dedicated to Legacy. Grand Prix Providence is approaching quickly and I love an excuse to talk about something other than Standard. Legacy is one of my favorite formats and I would like to see it on the professional scene way more.

After many tournaments with this deck under my belt, here is the current list.

 

Standstill is probably my favorite card in Legacy and I have been playing them since 2005. You get to play so many insane cards like Brainstorm, Force of Will, and Swords to Plowshares. It’s very easy to control a game when the answers are so efficient. Over the years my list has adopted such hits as Humility that can completely destroy aggro or Show and Tell.

Before I go on to how I sideboard against all of the decks, there needs to be some changes from NPH. The card that is on the minds of the masses is obviously Mental Misstep. Many players have said the card is overrated while others claim it will severely warp the format. I won’t go as far as to avoid playing one-drops in Landstill, but it will be included in this deck. Mental Misstep is a great card, but it shouldn’t be jammed into every deck to protect their one drops. Goblins is greatly harmed by this card because it counters Aether Vial and Goblin Lackey. However, including this card in Goblins would be a misstep.

I think Landstill gains the most from Mental Misstep being in the format because Aether Vial was a tremendous thorn in my side for many years. How cool is it to counter their one drop and then drop a Standstill? I could even play a Sensei’s Divining Top on turn one as well for the complete rub-ins.

Another problem I ran into was playing aginst Sword of Light and Shadow. Last week, I lost in top 8 of a local event at Get Your Game on to G/W disruption. I played Humility and he couldn’t kill it game one, but Sword is just unbeatable. There needs to be some ways to deal with equipment more efficiently. A card like Disenchant could destroy Aether Vial as well as the pesky swords.

Here is the list I would play once NPH is released.

 

The Matchups

The combo matchup is pretty terrible in the first game, but I have a strong percentage against them. There are too many creature removal effects in the maindeck so there aren’t many ways to interact with combo. How could we make such a bad matchup favorable against the likes of storm aficionado- Ari Lax? (It aint easy to get Ari to admit he’s not favored in a matchup.) We could add two-thirds of our sideboard after the first game! Isn’t that what people do these days? Our deck is beyond diluted after game one that it turns into a fish hybrid.

Here is how I would sideboard against storm based combo decks.

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We have many ways to counter their early game hand sculpting spells and rituals. Ethersworn Canonist is obviously the best card for this matchup because they can’t win while it’s in play. The combo player will try their hardest to bounce it with Chain of Vapor, but that card may change due to the existence of Mental Misstep. As of right now, we have many ways to counter the chain, but always play around a two cost bounce spell as well.

If you expect storm players to have Doomsday+Emrakul+Shelldock Isle post board, perhaps it would be a good idea to play Pithing Needle as well. The only problem with the fish plan is that you need to win both games with it. I have won game 1s against storm, but they always involve combo players making glaring play errors. The only way to capitalize on these mistakes is to win with fatesealing because damage is too slow.

Against aggro decks, we can draw an early way to kill creatures and follow it up with a Standstill. The addition of Mental Misstep will greatly improve our game against Aether Vial. Remember that you should almost always hold the Standstill if there is an Aether Vial in play because you will lose the long game. The exception to this rule is if there is a Humility in play and you have more than one Mishra’s Factory. It’s important to keep in mind that the opponent will probably be playing Wasteland so make sure you don’t get locked out by your own Standstill.

Goblins will require you to keep a hand that can deal with Aether Vial or Goblin Lackey. Keeping a hand with just Swords to Plowshares could be fine, but it’s a gamble if they lead with Vial. I would play Engineered Explosives for 1 on the first turn if you know they are playing a vial deck. The Repeal was cut from the maindeck for Mental Misstep because it’s a better way to answer Aether Vial while being better against other decks.

Your game plan should revolve around playing Humility as soon as possible. They cannot beat that card game 1 so just be sure to have Wrath of God or Elspeth to clean up the 1/1s. Mishra’s Factory can stop the creatures as well because they become 2/2s, but Wasteland and Rishadan Port stops that plan most of the time.

Here is how I sideboard against Goblins

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We take out so many blue cards that it’s probably a good idea to go down to three Force of Wills.

I love playing against control decks because there are more lands in this deck than most Legacy decks. The key to most control mirrors are based around making land drops and this deck does that quite well. The key cards against control are Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Sensei’s Divining Top. Mental Misstep is crucial here because we have the ability to stop the opponent from having a top in play. Standstill is less powerful when they have things to do each turn without playing a spell. I added the Jace Beleren in the sideboard to combat opposing control decks. It’s so important to make sure your opponent doesn’t have a Jace in play.

Force of Will should be saved for counter wars that involve Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He can make up for the lost card advantage by using Brainstorm each turn. It’s also game over when you resolve a Jace followed by a Standstill. There are some cases where it’s correct to force a top, but that’s only when they are light on lands or you are way ahead on board.

The sideboarding against control decks such as the mirror or Counterbalance goes a little something like this.
Landstill:

 

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4CC Counterbalance
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GP Providence is coming up within the next month so be sure to book a hotel room right away. From what I have heard, Brown’s graduation ceremony is taking place on the same weekend and hotels are booked solid within a ten mile radius.

I realize this is a very expensive deck and this deck primer was directed at the competitive Legacy player. If you are operating under a budget, I would consider another deck because it won’t work.

If control decks are up your alley, be sure to give this deck a shot. I have played it a lot recently and the addition of Mental Misstep makes it even better.

A Gruesome Encore
I was working on applying for a job at Tatyana’s house. Her computer didn’t have Microsoft Word so I needed her brother’s computer. I go in his room and find a Gruesome Encore ripped in half. Perhaps the other side is saved for a Gruesome Encore.

Thanks for reading!

Kyle

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