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Owen’s a Win – Invitational Legacy Rundown

Last week, I covered the Top 8 Standard deck lists from the Invitational, and this week I’m going to cover the other companion format for the event in anticipation of Grand Prix Denver. I haven’t chosen my deck yet, but examining the lists from this event should shed some light on the state of the format.

Reid Duke – BUG

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Dark Confidant
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Vendilion Clique
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Swamp
2 Bayou
2 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
1 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
1 Daze
3 Hymn to Tourach
2 Ponder
4 Thoughtseize
Sideboard
1 Nihil Spellbomb
3 Engineered Plague
1 Darkblast
3 Force of Will
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Duress
1 Life from the Loam
1 Maelstrom Pulse[/deck] [draft]force of will[/draft]

The first choice that jumps out at me is ZERO copies of [card]Force of Will[/card] in the main deck, and only three in the sideboard—no doubt an anti-combo measure. I assume this decision was made because of Force of Will’s ineffectiveness in situations like the BUG mirror match, where the games generally go long and using it on something like a [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] is too weak.

I understand why someone would want to play without [card]Force of Will[/card]. When it isn’t a blowout with its surprise factor or stopping something unfair, it’s quite bad—not only is it card disadvantage, but in the early game it doesn’t help you set up a powerful advantage, and it’s even a terrible topdeck later on.

[draft]deathrite shaman
jace, the mind sculptor
liliana of the veil[/draft]

I love a deck with [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card], [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card], and [card]Liliana of the Veil[/card]. Playing all those cards together helps you get opening starts that some decks can’t hope to deal with. Lastly, I hate playing one Forest in a deck with Liliana of the Veil, [card]Hymn to Tourach[/card], and [card]Daze[/card].

Ben Wienburg – RUG

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Brainstorm
4 Daze
1 Dismember
4 Force of Will
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Spell Snare
4 Stifle
1 Thought Scour
4 Ponder
Sideboard
2 Sulfur Elemental
2 Sulfuric Vortex
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Krosan Grip
1 Pyroblast
3 Spell Pierce
3 Submerge
2 Rough/Tumble[/deck] [draft]stifle[/draft]

This is pretty close to a stock version of RUG Delver, which still has enough gumption to put up a good finish even in the face of [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card]. Normal versions of this deck don’t usually have four maindeck [card]Stifle[/card], and I have to say, last time I played with this card I thought it was horrendous. That said, whenever you have the surprise factor it gains a lot of potential. Alongside the rise of [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] and the related increase in fetchlands, it also has a host of awesome targets against Goblins.

[draft]spell snare
daze[/draft]

I like how well [card]Spell Snare[/card] and [card]Daze[/card] play together in a deck like this. You have so many cantrips with four [card]Wasteland[/card]s, opponents will usually be unable to cast more expensive spells, and if you have a [card]Spell Snare[/card] and a [card]Daze[/card] in hand, they can’t resolve much of anything. This also leads to positions where your opponent is unable to play around one or the other, and is forced to just play into it, which is pretty awesome for a deck with this much countermagic. The [card]Sulfur Elemental[/card]s in the sideboard are there solely to destroy [card]Mother of Runes[/card] and [card thalia, guardian of thraben]Thalia[/card]—two big problems for the deck.

Matt Nass – BUG

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Dark Confidant
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Vendilion Clique
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Island
1 Swamp
2 Bayou
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
1 Tropical Island
2 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Ponder
4 Thoughtseize
Sideboard
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Pernicious Deed
3 Darkblast
4 Force of Will
2 Spell Pierce
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Life from the Loam[/deck] [draft]inquisition of kozilek[/draft]

I like that Matt Nass chose not to play the basic Forest, but there is less reason to do so, since he ran [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card] over [card]Hymn to Tourach[/card]. I’m either out of the loop, or sideboard-your-[card force of will]Force-of-Will[/card]s was just the hot tech for this tournament.

It worked out for these BUG players, since they played mostly mirror matches where it’s the first card you sideboard out. I can’t help but think that if this is how the decks are composed, Storm becomes an awesome choice—and I’m pretty sure Adam Prosak went 7-1 with it in the Invitational. These lists look especially weak to [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card] with no [card]Force of Will[/card], and only [card]Inquisition of Kozilek[/card] and [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] to deal with troublesome permanents.

[draft]darkblast[/draft]

I like the [card]Darkblast[/card]s in Matt’s sideboard, which I can only assume is for killing creatures like [card]Mother of Runes[/card] and [card thalia, guardian of thraben]Thalia[/card]. You even get the bonus of an awesome plan against the Elves deck that made Top 8:

Leon Kornacki – Elves

[deck]Main Deck:
2 Birchlore Rangers
3 Deathrite Shaman
3 Elvish Visionary
2 Fyndhorn Elves
3 Heritage Druid
3 Llanowar Elves
1 Mirror Entity
3 Nettle Sentinel
2 Priest of Titania
3 Quirion Ranger
1 Regal Force
1 Scavenging Ooze
3 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
1 Dryad Arbor
3 Forest
1 Bayou
1 Horizon Canopy
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Savannah
2 Windswept Heath
2 Wooded Foothills
2 Gaea’s Cradle
1 Pendelhaven
1 Crop Rotation
4 Glimpse of Nature
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
3 Living Wish
Sideboard
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Faerie Macabre
1 Heritage Druid
1 Mirror Entity
1 Nettle Sentinel
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Regal Force
1 Wirewood Symbiote
3 Choke
1 Humility
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Maze of Ith
1 Karakas[/deck] [draft]Living Wish[/draft]

Elves is an awesome deck—I’ve played it before, and have always been fond of it. This is the first version of the deck I have ever seen that includes [card]Living Wish[/card] to add consistency to the deck. My first instinct is that this is far too slow, but I could be wrong. [card]Quirion Ranger[/card] and [card]Priest of Titania[/card] do add a large amount of mana to your pool quickly, so the 2-mana drawback of this [card]Demonic Tutor[/card] is likely more acceptable than it seems on paper.

It’s an awesome top deck, since it usually gets a combo piece or a card that leads to winning the game like [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card] or [card]Regal Force[/card]. You also get some marginal utility, being able to fetch up [card]Faerie Macabre[/card] against a Reanimater deck. You may not have noticed, but [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] is an Elf, making him a powerful early-drop creature that interacts with [card]Wirewood Symbiote[/card], [card]Heritage Druid[/card], and [card]Birchlore Rangers[/card].

Jonathan Job

[deck]Main Deck:
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
5 Island
3 Plains
2 Arid Mesa
1 Dust Bowl
4 Flooded Strand
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mystic Gate
1 Scalding Tarn
3 Tundra
1 Karakas
1 Helm of Obedience
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
3 Counterbalance
2 Detention Sphere
2 Energy Field
3 Rest in Peace
4 Brainstorm
2 Counterspell
1 Enlightened Tutor
4 Force of Will
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Entreat the Angels
1 Supreme Verdict
3 Terminus
Sideboard
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Helm of Obedience
1 Pithing Needle
1 Aura of Silence
1 Luminarch Ascension
1 Counterspell
1 Path to Exile
2 Spell Snare
3 Vendilion Clique
2 Jace Beleren
1 Supreme Verdict[/deck]

I really like the look of this deck. I can’t in good conscience condone the use [card]Counterbalance[/card] in a metagame where multiple decks have 4 maindeck copies of [card]Abrupt Decay[/card], but maybe it’s enough of a game changer against the other decks in the field that it’s worth some weakness to the best deck.

[draft]energy field
rest in peace[/draft] [card]Energy Field[/card] with [card]Rest in Peace[/card] is cute, it’s clever and it just wins the game on the spot against decks like Zoo and Goblins. I usually stay away from tricky cards like [card]Energy Field[/card], however—I don’t like the idea of playing a card that requires another card to essentially just [card]Fog[/card] a couple of times until my opponent draws [card qasali pridemage]Pridemage[/card] and I lose immediately. Historically, plans like this have not worked well.

[draft]helm of obedience[/draft]

On the other hand, I LOVE the [card]Helm of Obedience[/card] combo in this list, not only is it a fast way to win the game, which sometimes UW control in Legacy struggles with, but its also super effective. In a format like Legacy, it’s a huge benefit have access to something broken.

Nick Spagnolo – Bant(?)

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Bayou
3 Misty Rainforest
2 Savannah
1 Scrubland
1 Tropical Island
1 Tundra
1 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Wasteland
3 Windswept Heath
1 Karakas
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
2 Swords to Plowshares
3 Green Sun’s Zenith
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Life from the Loam
2 Thoughtseize
Sideboard
1 Baneslayer Angel
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Sylvan Library
1 Counterspell
1 Envelop
3 Spell Pierce
2 Swords to Plowshares
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Armageddon
1 Thoughtseize[/deck] [draft]deathrite shaman
noble hierarch
green sun’s zenith[/draft]

So this deck has a lot going on, and that’s putting it lightly. It has TEN turn one accelerants, with [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card], [card]Noble Hierarch[/card], and [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card] for [card]Dryad Arbor[/card] to cast a turn two [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card]. Knight has fallen out of favor recently with [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] removing lands from everyone’s graveyard, so you no longer see games where someone taps three lands and puts a 15/15 Knight into play.

[draft]knight of the reliquary[/draft]

I still like it as a way to accelerate mana, produce a never-ending stream of [card]Wasteland[/card]s, and in games where the opponent does not draw [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card], it still has most or all of its only functionality. Finally a deck that plays four [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card]! With all this acceleration, Jace should be coming down early and often, which is a recipe for success. Nick even played one copy of [card]Elspeth, Knight Errant[/card] as a sort of fifth copy of Jace—just a big expensive planeswalker that should end the game quickly while being resilient to [card]Abrupt Decay[/card].

Todd Anderson – BUG

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Shardless Agent
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Bayou
2 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
2 Tropical Island
4 Underground Sea
3 Verdant Catacombs
2 Wasteland
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
1 Dismember
3 Force of Will
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Ancestral Vision
2 Hymn to Tourach
1 Ponder
3 Thoughtseize
Sideboard
3 Nihil Spellbomb
3 Engineered Plague
2 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Dismember
1 Force of Will
1 Ghastly Demise
1 Krosan Grip
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Inquisition of Kozilek[/deck]

Another BUG list, this time with [card]Ancestral Vision[/card] and [card]Shardless Agent[/card]. I can’t imagine either of these cards being particularly good against combo, but both are hard to defend against and produce awesome card advantage in the mirror, so look to play this deck if you want to play BUG with weaker matchups against the field but a great plan for the mirror.

[/draft]shardless agent
ancestral vision[/draft]

I’m not a fan of [card]Ancestral Vision[/card] in Legacy, I’ve seen it tried many times, and too many games are over or decided before you can unsuspend it, and it’s a horrible late-game topdeck. I like that it works so well with the [card]Shardless Agent[/card]—a package deal that you can make use of late with [card]Force of Will[/card] and [card]Brainstorm[/card], but my advice is still to stay away. Is [card]Shardless Agent[/card] enough of an upgrade on [card]Dark Confidant[/card] to justify adding [card]Ancestral Vision[/card] to your deck?

Adam Prosak – Storm

[deck]Main Deck:
2 Island
1 Swamp
2 Gemstone Mine
4 Polluted Delta
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
1 Ad Nauseam
4 Brainstorm
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Dark Ritual
2 Cabal Therapy
4 Duress
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Infernal Tutor
1 Past in Flames
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
1 Tendrils of Agony
Sideboard
3 Carpet of Flowers
4 Abrupt Decay
2 Chain of Vapor
2 Slaughter Pact
1 Cabal Therapy
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Tropical Island
1 Karakas[/deck]

Adam had a strong finish in the Legacy portion of this event, and that doesn’t surprise me. With a deck capable of a turn 1 kill through multiple combinations of cards, you know the power level is there alongside consistency. The only real reason not to play Storm is that it is quite difficult to play. That and the fact that it seems to be weak to disruption. You can tell from the 4 [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] in the sideboard that Adam was very concerned about losing to [card]Counterbalance[/card]—you don’t just splash a card like that in Storm to deal with [card]Tarmogoyf[/card]s and [card]Dark Confidant[/card]s. I heard him say after the event that [card]Carpet of Flowers[/card] was near unplayable and not to run that if you were to try the list. I also think its pretty cute how he uses [card]Cabal Therapy[/card] with [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card].

That wraps it up, and hopefully helps you narrow down your decisions for the GP!
Owen Turtenwald
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OwenTweetenwald on twitter

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