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Sweeping Ice and Other Important Topics – Emrakul and the Gang

 

I’ve been working on a deck.

Remember when I said “What happens when the combo decks start playing Force of Will and decent mana and can either race or ignore Counterbalance?” I ask because it might have gotten lost amidst all of the other things I said that you hate me for.

Well, I have a story for you.

It began at the Seattle SCG 5k open. Cedric and I were watching a match, and he mentioned possible broken things his friend had told him for the Grand Prix. He muttered some words. Somewhere among them were the words “Hypergenesis“ and “Force” and “of” and “Will.”

Sign.

Me.

Up.

Gears began turning. You obviously get Show and Tell. You obviously play Emrakul and Progenitus, but after that you need your fatties to be blue creatures so you can pitch them to Force of Will or Misdirection. We happily brainstormed, but we didn’t have a shuffle effect, so the development got stunted a little bit.

A couple weeks later on my way home from work, I decided to stop by the local store. As luck would have it, there was a Legacy tournament being held about 8 minutes from the time I arrived. In those 8 minutes, I was able to put together the following list:

This list was built by frantically pulling cards out of people’s binders in the minutes leading up to the tournament, so it was obviously not the ideal 75 (the store didn’t have Ardent Plea, look at that sweet fetch land configuration, etc.), but I went 4-1 in spite of this, losing only to some pretty fortunate sequences from Merfolk (which is, admittedly, an unfavorable matchup), and 4-0 8-0’ing every other deck I played against.

Sideboard cards were discussed, lines of play that allow the deck to beat Merfolk were discussed, and ultimately, it was determined that we should accept flipping coins against Force of Will decks and try to trump their sideboarding. The reasoning for this line of thought is thusly: if your opponent doesn’t have Force of Will in their deck, they are just stone dead.

In my three tournaments playing the deck, I am 22-3 in games against non-Force decks (Lands, Eva Green, Zoo x3, Aggro Loam x2, Dragon Stompy x2, Life Combo, and Goblins), and 8-11 in games against [card]Force of Will[/card] decks (Merfolk x2, Boddy Horizons, Dream Halls, Team America, Tezzeret, Natural Order CB).

As I write this, it is Sunday night, after the conclusion of a Legacy for a Lotus tournament a few miles north of Seattle. I made the finals. I lost to Merfolk. It was a very close three game match. If I had the sideboard I should have had, I might have won. Here is the list I played:

A couple of notes about the deck:

Ardent Plea is blue, but Violent Outburst is an instant. Edge: Outburst. Letting your opponent attack first with Hypergenesis is not very good, especially when you aren’t putting Bogardan Hellkite, Angel of Despair, and Terastodon into play to dominate the board. Add to that the fact that you are usually only putting one guy into play anyway, and that’s all the reason I need. Forget about the fact that Simian Spirit Guide and Elvish Spirit Guide make red and green mana, respectively. How convenient!

City of Traitors: This slot has been back and forth between additional 5-color lands, Tinder Farm, Irrigation Ditch, and Ancient Tomb. I decided on City because I was trying to gain an edge against the cards Daze and Cursecatcher, without adding to their clock. The Invasion lands don’t really help all that much because it just gives them a very juicy Wasteland target. With City, you can sequence two basics into City and then you only need to Force their Force rather than have two pitch counters against Force and Daze combinations.

The dual land configuration: After playing the finals, I believe there should be 4 Flooded Strand, 3 Misty Rainforest, and 1 Plateau and 1 Tropical Island in place of one of each of the existing duals. I had some times against Merfolk where I really wanted to cast Violent Outburst, but had to fetch an Island into play in order to do so, and lost because of it at least once.

Ingot Chewer is the best card in the sideboard. I played one too few.

I have a crush on Vendilion Clique. It’s probably better as the 3rd Misdirection and an additional fatty (either Sphinx of the Steel Wind or Angel of Despair).

Angel is there to beat decks that have game one Ensnaring Bridge or some other nonsense (I’m looking at you, Reanimator-with-Blazing-Archon!)

Inkwell Leviathan isn’t really necessary, but mise.

I honestly cannot remember how I sideboarded each match, because the sideboard was kind of poorly constructed, so it didn’t flow very well. I boarded Ingot Chewer in every single round though, except the first.

Round One, FIGHT!

James Hsu with Team America.

I won the roll and had turn 2 Show and Tell for Progenitus but elected to wait to draw a blue card for my Force. This also allowed me to develop my mana, since he was a little choked. A couple of turns went by, and I Forced his Force, then Misdirected his Spell Pierce and attacked him twice. It may be worth noting that I chose to Force first rather than Misdirect since the life point is basically irrelevant at that point, if I don’t need to use the Misdirection, I would rather not show it to him.

Game two I got unreal lucky to win, although he wasn’t in much of a position to win either. He had 4 cards in his hand after Brainstorm had resolved, and I EOT’d an Violent Outburst with a hand full of fatties, and he Forced. Then I untapped and played Show and Tell, which he Forced. So he was out of cards but his top two were known (by him). He drew and passed. I drew a Spirit Guide and passed. He drew and passed again, and I drew Show and Tell. I tapped my City of Traitors and Island leaving up my Forest to play Show and Tell, and he Spell Pierced. I paid by removing Simian Spirit Guide and tapping my land, but his other card was Daze. He untapped, drew, and passed, and I peeled another Show and Tell for the victory. It is worth noting that I fetched wrong in this game by not getting a red mana source, which left me with only Show and Tell as out, instead of having both Show and Tell and Violent Outburst.

1-0, 2-0.

Round Two FIGHT!

Loren Maynard with BG Hexmage / Eva Green type deck.

I won the roll and kept a turn two Violent Outburst with Force backup, but he Wasted my Savannah, so I was left trying to topdeck another mana source. His third turn Hymn to Tourach met my Force of Will, and instead of drawing a land, I drew Misdirection. Luckily, he played another Hymn to Tourach. Yes, please! Then I drew the land, and put like an Emrakul and a Progenitus into play.

Game two I mulliganed, and he had a Thoughtseize for my Force, and a Living Wish for Karakas for my Emrakul (It never actually made it into play, but you know what I mean), and then a quick Vampire Hexmage and Dark Depths right after.

Game three he Wasted my first land, but I had two more and a Spirit Guide to go with the Outburst and Force of Will backup.

2-0, 4-1.

Round Three – Matt Whitehead with Life Combo

Game one he mulliganed to 5, and didn’t really do much while I had a fairly good draw involving a turn 2 Show and Tell for Emrakul.

Game two I had Ardent Plea fairly quickly, but he had a Mother of Runes in play, and put Shaman En-Kor, Task Force, and Doran, the Siege Tower into play. That only sort of trumped my Emrakul and Ingot Chewer. Emrakul was forced to chump and I didn’t draw a Progenitus, so he got that one.

Game three was pretty epic. I played Hypergenesis when he was stuck on one land, with Force backup for whatever Worthy Cause shenanigans he may or may not have had in his deck. Unfortunately, he put a Kor and a Daru Spritualist and a Diamond Valley into play. I had Form of the Dragon and Angel of Despair though, so we were in for a real long game. We both thought the other guy couldn’t possibly win. I thought that I was going to eventually get Emrakul down and Annihilate him to death, and I couldn’t deck because of the presence Progenitus and Emrakul in my deck. He countered by drawing Volrath’s Stronghold, and mentioning that if a Living Wish ever resolved before I got Emrakul down, he could recur a Harmonic Sliver on my Form of the Dragon. I showed him two Force of Wills in my hand, but he wanted to play on. Rightfully so, since he actually had much more of a chance that I had given him. It was a pretty tense situation because we both really didn’t want to draw. I eventually drew a Show and Tell, and got the Emrakul down. He tried for Living Wish, but I Forced it, and he chose to concede even though there was only like 8 minutes left on the clock. If we had both played lightning fast from that point, it would have been close, as he had about 20 cards left in his deck.

3-0, 6-2.

Round Four – Peter Smutko with UW Tezzeret

Peter made Top 8 of the Indy 5k with the same deck, and he knows it pretty well, so I was a little worried about the matchup. I did know that he only had 4 Force of Will maindeck as disruption though, so I was pretty sure I could get game one.

That went according to plan, as I turn 2 Showed a Progenitus into play after Forcing his Force. Unfortunately, the next two games didn’t. They weren’t really that close, though I had opportunities to get him. He played Chalices, Canonists, Meddling Mages, Ensnaring Bridges. I was ready for all of them but the Mage, which was too bad since I drew like 5 cascade cards but no Show and Tells. Frowny face.

3-1, 7-4.

Round Five – Mike with Zoo

Mike was one of the guys who loaned me a bunch of the cards I needed when I was scrambling to get the deck built the first time I played it. He’s a pretty good dude, but unfortunately, we didn’t get to chat much, as the match was over in four turns.

Game one: Turn two Violent Outburst. Oh hai Loam Lion! Meet my friend, he tears the Aeons!

Game two: Turn two Violent Outburst. Oh HAI Wild Nacatl! You would get along great with my other friend, Progenitus. Why don’t you two hang out for a while? No? You’d rather hang out in the graveyard instead? Ok, I guess that’s cool. See you later, I guess.

4-1, 9-4.

Round Six – Jacob Arvidson with Zoo

Game one I cast the card Violent Outburst. That’s really all that matters.

Game two he mulliganed, and I joined him. He decided to go to five, so I kept my 6 card hand, even though it was kind of slow. I could suspend Hypergenesis on turn 2, and I figured that would probably be enough time, especially if he keeps a hand with only one creature, or a couple of two drops. He actually went to 4 cards, but luckily for him, his 4 cards were two fetches, a Wild Nacatl, and a Chain Lightning, and his turn 2 draw step was Qasali Pridemage. That’s why they play ’em out, folks. Mulligan to four in the absolute nightmare matchup and you can still win one every once in a while.

Game three though… well, his poor army of kitties met a very Violent end. Progenitus and [card]Sphinx of the Steel Wind[/card] stepped in front of his attackers, and I probably Force of Willed a spell or something.

5-1, 11-5.

Quarterfinals – Dan Mortenson with BR Goblins

I knew Dan had Stingscourger and Warren Wierding in his deck, so I was probably going to have to be on the “draw Sphinx and Force of Will” plan. My opener was Force, a blue card, Island, City of Traitors, Show and Tell, Sphinx, and some other card. I’ll take it.

He almost got me though. On his last turn, he was at 1, and topdecked Goblin Ringleader, Aether Vialed it in, and revealed Wierding, Wierding, Goblin Matron and a land. He had a Badlands, a Taiga, and a Mountain in play. He also had a Goblin Piledriver, a Goblin Warchief, and a Warren Instigator joining his Ringleader. He cast Warren Wierding, and I Forced it. Then he played Bloodstained Mire, realized he was at 1, and packed them in. Some people were discussing a line in which he Matrons for another Piledriver, but then I just force that since he can’t play the Wierding. Also I was at like 40, so he was drawing pretty thin.

Game two he kept a one lander without Vial or Goblin Lackey, and didn’t draw a land on turn 2. He did play a Lackey, and I, for some ridiculous reason, decided to wait to Violent Outburst until his attack step, rather than this particular end of turn step. I had been Outbursting in combat so often that I just wanted to make sure I ambushed his lackey. I failed to realize that he would get to put his goblin into play anyway, since Hypergenesis would be on the stack. So when he attacked I put Ingot Chewer, a Spirit Guide, and Emrakul into play, and he put Ringleader, Matron, Matron, Warchief into play. Uh Oh. Even if he gets the Stingscourger with the Matrons, I have two more Violent Outbursts in my hand, so I’m probably in fine shape anyway. But, he doesn’t go for the Stingsourger, and instead just casts Wierding. I sac a Spirit Guide, and Annihilate his board. 6 more Aeons Torn.

6-1, 13-5.

Semifinals – Phil Herman with Aggro Loam

Game one was a real squeaker. I fetched a couple times, and let him Wasteland me a couple of times when it didn’t let him get too far ahead. Then I set up the powerful combination of Forest and Island, while holding the City of Brass in my hand. He played Devastating Dreams for 1 with Tarmogoyf in play, so I had to Force it so that I could get to three mana. The next turn, I played my City, and he wasted it during his first main phase, which prompted the Outburst. I was at 14, and put Progenitus and Angel of Despair into play. He put Dark Confidant, Seismic Assault, and Terravore into play, with a Life from the Loam in the graveyard. Oh boy, time to do some math. He had two cards left in hand, which were both lands (from Life from the Loam that turn). His Terravore is currently a 7/7, and obviously getting bigger. The Goyf was a 4/5, so if I kill the Assault, then he domes me for 4 and I trade with his Goyf (the enchantment would make it a 5/6, and my angel is a 6/5 from Outburst). That puts me on 10, and dead to him dredging any land with his Loam the next turn. If I kill the Terravore, then he can trade a land in hand and his goyf for my angel, but that doesn’t seem like a profitable trade for him. I was at 14, so if he dredges Loam, he can attack with Goyf and Confidant to put me to 12, and then Loam back 3 lands and get me to 2. So this line loses to him drawing a land with Confidant, but the other line loses to him dredging a land with Loam.

I killed the Terravore, he flipped Mox Diamond. There is justice in the world.

Game two we both mulliganed and I kept a turn 2 Outburst hand but no Force and no fatty. He played Chalice of the Void for 0 on his first turn. Guess I need to draw a Show and Tell or Ingot Chewer now.

Draw: Show and Tell. Alright I guess I need to draw a fatty now.

Draw: Progenitus

For one day, for one single day in my life, I felt as though I was blessed by Jesus.

7-1, 15-5.

Finals – Josh with Merfolk

I hate that I have to write this paragraph. Nothing would have made me happier than to defeat Merfolk in the finals and then tell everyone to suck it. But, alas, the haters can (and will) continue to hate.

Game one was “close.” He lead on Mutavault Aether Vial, and I elected to Force, since he was basically telegraphing no blue source. He Forced back, and now I just needed to draw an Outburst, Plea, or Show and tell in like 3 or 4 turns for the Progenitus that was in my hand. Unfortunately, I drew it a turn (maybe two, I’m not actually sure) too late, and I got Islandwalked to death.

Game two was one of the best games I have played in a long long time. It took every ounce of my abilities to squeak that one out.

My opener was City of Brass, City of Traitors, Ingot Chewer, Show and Tell, Emrakul, and a Force.

My first turn: GO.
If I play either land and he has Wasteland, I am basically dead, and if he plays an Aether Vial (off Mutavault or Wasteland), then I can play my City and Chew it up. If he plays Vial off of Island, then I can wait a turn to make sure I don’t get my Chewer Dazed.

He leads on Island Vial, and I draw Volcanic Island. I play it, and pass. He ticks up his Vial and passes. I play City of Brass, and Chew his Vial. He Vials in Cursecatcher in response, commenting that “this hand just got a lot worse.” Josh untaps and plays another Aether Vial. I untap and summon Simian Spirit Guide. He draws and plays a land and a Silvergill Adept, then passes. Josh then plays another Adept and passes, while I develop my mana and wait for a blue card to pitch to Force of Will, since the Spirit Guide is holding his team off pretty well. I draw a blue card, play Show and Tell, Force his Force, and put Emrakul into play. He puts Merrow Reejerey into play. Then he untaps and Vials in Lord of Atlantis, and swings for 14 to put me on 5. I then crack back with Emrakul, and he Echoing Truths my Spirit Guide before sacrificing two Adepts, a Cursecatcher, two Islands, and an Aether Vial to leave him with Lord and Merrow Reejerey. I replay my Spirit Guide, and pray he doesn’t draw a Cursecatcher. He doesn’t, and somehow we grinded that one out.

Game three was a little anti-climatic, as he mulliganed, and I kept a hand that was kind of loose, but good if he was on Aether Vial. Instead he had 3 Cursecatchers, and I drew a second Ingot Chewer, and then 4 straight Misty Rainforests. I played Elvish Spirit Guide on turn 3, but he Dazed it, and I was just hoping to get to 5 mana to play Ingot Chewer, but it never happened. I ended the game with two Ingot Chewers and two Form of the Dragon in my hand, and a Force of Will that I never drew a blue card for.

If the Forms had been Volcanic Fallout, like they were 24 hours ago before I switched them (since Form is so much better against New Horizons and stuff), I probably would have won myself a [card]Black Lotus[/card]. Oh well.

Steven Birklid
business_socks on MODO
[email protected]

66 thoughts on “Sweeping Ice and Other Important Topics – Emrakul and the Gang”

  1. So you won game 2 vs merfolk when you were at 5, had volcanic island, and he had lord of atlantis and merrow reejery, and he had the chance to attack?

    Am I missing something?

  2. I hope the haters don’t hate too hard. I love reading Legacy coverage and I too think most Legacy decks run far too few lands. Congrats anyways.

  3. Amazing and hilarious. Really bad you got beaten by mermen in the finals. I still don’t respect Fish a lot, but I doubt Fallout will be useful when it only takes two lords to be safe from it.

  4. So you have a bad matchup against Fish, a deck that you said was terrible and one that no respectable combo deck should have a bad matchup against?

  5. Great article, and a really cool deck I’d like to give a shot! But please, spell “weirding” right. Or editor, please catch it. I mean this constructively, I just see it on the internet soooo often that it kills me!
    Again, really good article and thanks for a great tourney write-up!
    🙂

  6. So you play a deck in a post mystical tutor world, lose to the very deck you were so critical of, yet still come off like ‘I told you so’ Yes, there is lots of room for new deck ideas now that ANT and Reanimator are not what they were. Yes, some decks that were good are not as good. I applaud your port of Hypergensis to Legacy, and your early success with it.
    However, your writing style leaves much to be desired.

  7. @easyrider: this comment was inevitable, so I guess I should address it: merfolk is a “bad” matchup, but definitely winnable. Finding the correct sideboard configuration is going to be the key to the matchup, and I haven’t been able to do that yet. Just because I lost a match to merfolk doesn’t mean that merfolk is unbeatable. People just haven’t figured out the lines yet. My isse was that instead of seekig out these lines in order to find what would inevitably be the best deck, they are “tweaking” zoo by putting one sylvan library in it, or “working on” their wasteland decks by seeing how few lands they can run before they consistently get mana screwed. That’s the issue I have. Merfolk will never be the best deck. It may be a flash metagame choice, but in a vacuum it will never be the best deck. And when I play in any kind of real tournament, I want to be doing the most powerful things available to me. I don’t want to try to “metagame” at a 2000 person grand prix or even 300 person 5k. Just give me the broken deck and you have fun beating a ligtning bolt.

  8. @fadingthought: oh good lord. You all said I was obviously a moron and couldn’t succeed at legacy, and that I should “put up results” before I get any credibility. Well that’s fine. I put up a result. In my first attempt, no less. Damn right I told you so. Lost in the finals, big deal. If the other semifinal ha played it out instead of te zoo player conceding so the merfolk guy could beat me and win the lotus, this article might have carried more weight. What am I supposed to do? Say “yeah my deck isn’t very good”, even though it applies the things I observed as holes in the format and exploits them? The haters want results. I don’t have ALL the chips, but I have some of them. I honestly don’t know how you expect me to write an article that showcases the things I have been discussing that includes results and doesn’t sound like “I told you so”. Even if it does, who cares? That’s actually the point.

    I told you so.

  9. It isn’t the same game as it used to be…

    I play one spell! O, cannot counter it, damn! Ok you win.

    Legacy is lame…Where is the fun in the game?
    you might as well roll some dice! (haha, I rolled a six!!!… Damn… you win)

  10. ^haters definitely gonna hate.

    Sweet deck! I approve of Progenitus/Emrakul/cheating decks in all their forms 😀

  11. SpoonSpoonSpoon

    @Mike

    To be fair that’s true of standard too. Dig up some reports and see how many of them feature games where “he gets jace and manages to keep him for a few turns”, or “his jace legend rules my jace, but I have another jace” etc. etc.

  12. Quote you: “Say "yeah my deck isn't very good", even though it applies the things I observed as holes in the format and exploits them?”

    You mean like running all those basics?

  13. So you won game 2 vs merfolk when you were at 5, had volcanic island, and he had lord of atlantis and merrow reejery, and he had the chance to attack?
    Am I missing something?
    Yes, I am. nvm.

    What am I missing??

  14. Nice deck and grats on the top 8. To be fair, most of the people were not ragging on your play skills, rather your tone, content and theory. All those are seperate from how well one can count cards. Your tone and approach may not be as eloquent as some others, but i feel most players will continue reading, so long as the topics are relevant, informative and, yes, there are the results. You can even sound like good ol’ GerryT, if you can keep up the “I told you sos”.

    Hypergen/SnT with FoW+Mdirect was published on thesource for at least over a year in advance of Cedric’s msg of breaking an already exsisting deck by adding creatures that were not yet in print and a slightly modified mana base, to you and GT. Play some Intuiton and Spout is better than Fallout(even if uncounterable and EoT/attack phase tricks ).

  15. @-Dannemann- Steve had cast the ESG in his 2nd main phase to block the non islandwalking LoA, which was bounced at the combat phase with E.Truth before the merf pilot sac’d to Emrakul..

  16. André

    Nice article! In fact, Legacy articles are always welcome. Wish that there were more of them.

  17. If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, I suggest that you avoid responding to every single negative comment. I think it should go without saying that a professional should not be commenting about how he feels picked on and then coming back and saying “D*** right I told you so.” It comes across as very childish and makes it impossible for me to take you seriously, and makes it seem like you are doing this for the wrong reasons. There are always those that will disagree with you, and you need to learn to live with that. Calling everyone who disagrees with you a “hater” makes you sound like a 17 year old girl.

  18. You wrote “I hate that I have to write this paragraph. Nothing would have made me happier than to defeat Merfolk in the finals and then tell everyone to suck it. But, alas, the haters can (and will) continue to hate.”

    Defeating Merfolks int he finals wouldn’t have made it a worse deck. Merfolks is a good deck against combo, and it will always be. Counterspells + a clock is hard to beat for combo.

    Other than that, congrats for the nice finish and I hope you will continue to write about Legacy (reports or theory/deckbuilding, all is cool to me).

  19. Damn it, people need to stop posting good results with Hypergenesis in Legacy. It is ruining my chances at the GP….:D

  20. Good job on the tournament win. Even though your first article had a wrong tone and the article wasn’t of amazing quality because of that.

    Winning this tournament doesn’t proof that all current Legacy decks are suboptimal. What you’ve proven is that there are weaknesses in the current legacy meta. Just like every meta deck out there.

    If the theory of “run more lands” gets popular enough it’ll get hated out soon enough and bend back towards an equilibrium. That’s how the format works, this is not the first time a meta deck wins a tournament (see TA, for instance).

  21. I still don’t understand your fundamental problem with the fishmen. I mean, it’s a tempo deck that has tools vs combo and a faster clock than most people give it credit for. Sure, it has its weaknesses, but the gameplan is solid, the manabase is solid (unless you’re too greedy) and it rarely goes belly-up completely.

    In your previous article, you were berating legacy player for sleeving up decks that are inconsistent, have shaky manabases and are entirely too greedy in what degenerate things they hope to do. All of those don’t apply to Merfolk. Zoo may, on the whole, be more consistent, but Zoo gets crushed by decks such as the one you play.

    So merfolk remains a good choice for any meta that isn’t completely overrun by Zoo imho.

  22. Thank you very much for writing this article. I very much enjoy looking over the list that you suggest, and sincerely hope that everyone plays it at Columbus.

  23. I like your articles about Legacy, and agree to some of your points about legacy as well (ppl play waaaaaay to few basics).

    To bad that the non-haters don’t respond as much as the haters.

  24. Pingback: MTGBattlefield

  25. @Steven

    I did not call you a moron, I did not say you couldn’t succeed at legacy. You wrote an article that you said could be sumed up in 4 words. Play more (basic) lands. You played two.
    You called merfolk “garbage”, yet lose to it and even go as far to say that you have a bad matchup.
    Your tone and style of writing is what I do not like. You could have wrote a fine article on how Hypergensis can exist in legacy now, because in the world of Mystical Tutor, it could not. Instead you continued with your “I’m amazing” writing style that is really a shame when put next to the rest of the articles on this site.
    I disagree with posters all the time, but I rather enjoy reading them. Your article and your childish jabs are rather sad and a discredit to CF.

  26. Good article. Love the legacy content and seeing decks in action. Sorry didn’t pull it out in the finals, but give the little blue men some credit as they are consistent!

  27. Hi!
    I’d like to let the whole polemic thing on his own, since i don’t find it really interesting.
    What i would find really interesting would be a more detailed analisys about the deckbuilding process in relation to the principles you exposed.
    In particular, how you think they changed your build from an ipothetic “standard” build and if you had to cut on some of the principles exposed, maybe getting the deck a little less stable in order to have some more silver bullets.

    Thank you in advance: i think that deckbuilding is the most difficult thing about magic, and having a chance to improve such ability is always really welcome.

    Efrem

  28. To those who disagree with Steven’s choices, you don’t have to agree to learn! If this article didn’t teach you something about Hypergenesis in Legacy, read it again. For me this was valuable stuff heading into Columbus, even though I wouldn’t play Hypergenesis myself at the moment.

    Keep up the good work Steven.

  29. One thing i am missing is, why Emrakuil was able to attack anyway with the merfolk player having echoing truth plus open mana??? Seems like terrible play to me.

  30. Hi,

    I played a few games with this deck after hearing about it on Starcitygames.com and seeing some online players using it.
    A match that I lost, but was close to winning, was against BUR storm (which uses burning wishes to try to replace the mystical tutors in ANT).

    Here’s what happenned:
    Game 1: I am on the play, he gets 12 goblin tokens on turn 1, I play a turn 2 show and tell into Sphinx of the Steel Wind and he doesn’t have a follow up to his goblin tokens so I win.

    Game 2: I think I forced an Ad Nausium, but he Burning Wishes for I’ll Gotten Gains with a Duress effect in the graveyard to rip my disruption from my hand. I never was able to play my combo in time before he plays tendrils for lethal damage.

    Game 3: This was very close. BUR storm took like 3-4 turns to set up. The turn before he could go off, I play hypergenesis and get 20 power of creatures into play, threatening to win next turn. He does some stellar counting and generates just enough mana and storm count to Tendrils me and win.

    So, why am I writing this here? It is to show what the “real bad” matchups are for this deck. I mean real in the sense that the deck you lose to is a “real” deck with its own ability to do broken things.

    So these matchups include:
    1) Storm, because if you didn’t plop an Iona into play, sometimes they can just combo you out even though you would win next turn. Unlike Creature Decks like Merfolk, Storm has more control over when they “just kill you”. Mindbreak traps or Leyline of Sanctity in the sideboard might be necessary.

    2) Counterbalance, especially the thopter version that plays maindeck Humility. In fact, any deck that plays maindeck humility can just “randomly get you” when you play a show and tell. The fact that humility exists might be enough reason to play a maindeck answer to “troublesome permanents”, preferably in the form of a permanent itself so it can be put into play with Genesis. I messed around with Oblivion Ring + Terastodon in the maindeck, but determined that the other fatties were just plainly more powerful. Perhaps Wipe Away over Vendilion Clique would work. For similar reasons, the Form of the Dragons in the sideboard are gold.

    3) Aluren/Belcher: Show and Tell will always be weak to combos that win once they enter play. Krosan grips are nessessary in the sideboard for this alone. BTW I concider aluren and belcher to be real decks, i.e. decks that often “just felt” more powerful than what I was playing against.

    4) Dredge: Leylines in the board might be nesessary. This deck not only “threatens” to win from turn 2 like hypergenesis does, but actually can win by turn 2. That warrents some form of grave resistence. Leylines are particularly good in a deck that puts enchantments into play.

    Here are my general criticisms of the deck:

    2 Hypergenesis: Have you ever wanted a 3rd? The situation I can think of where you would is your first two get countered. That’s not totally out of the question. It is hard to put a perfect number on this.

    6 cascaders: One of the advantages of playing Hypergenesis over Eureka (besides the obvious one of having a lower casting cost of 3) is that you effectively get to play more than 4 of them. Why not play 8 cascaders? What is the “magical number” of them that you are most likely to be comfortable with your opening 7 cards?

    Unlike Reanimator (could), this deck can’t tutor for a threat that is a bomb in a particular situation. It can’t tutor for Iona vs. Combo, etc. I don’t see a real way around this problem and it is partly why I found the storm deck so hard to beat.

    Thanks for the article.

  31. Read the card, Andie.

    Congrats on the placing, though it is sort of ironic that your initial points seemed to be 1) basics are awesome and 2) merfolk are terrible, and you played hardly any basics then lost to merfolk ^.^.

  32. What I gathered from this is that once people play better mana, the consequences wil never be the same

  33. @the concern of not taking my own advice and playing more basics:

    the deck is trying to cast a single three mana spell, which will either require blue or green mana. You never need UU or GG so playing duplicate islands and forests has diminishing returns. Also if you get two basics into play, no matter how many wastelands they draw, every land you play after that will be your third mana, which is the critical amount.

    The basic land complaint I put forth was mostly just people jamming 4 tundra without thinking twice about it because they have blue spells and white spells. Fetch lands are the key to a good mana base, not dual lands. In most decks I feel like the duals should be the bullets and the basics the core. In this deck I fetched forest island almost every time, so the two basics were plenty.

    @ merfolk: 🙁 i actually almost got him, but I drew too many blanks in game three. That being said, the deck is still pretty fresh and I haven’t worked on it enough. If the only goal is to beat merfolk ad other force of will decks, that can definitely be accomplished in 15 cards. I just have to find the right 15.

  34. Steven, have you tried Serum Powder in this deck? I messaged Gerry Thompson about it the other day after reading his article, but I’m not certain if he’s tried it or not yet. It seems like it would make this deck the one thing more it needs to be: consistent. It’s 3 mana (so it doesn’t get cascaded into) and this deck just doesn’t care about what’s exiled. As long as Hypergenesis isn’t the card, if you open up a winning hand, do you care what’s exiled? Anyway, I think it’s being undervalued right now, but that’s the end of that for now. The only other thing I have to say is congratulations on doing well with what seems like a really promising new deck (for Legacy that is).

  35. Steven, I love the tone and style of your articles in addition to the theory, analysis and results. The “haters” can eat a bowl of dicks. To LSV and the CF editing crew: you need more incendidary writers who challenge the status quo, not less. Controversy because a writer posts stupid lists that are terrible is a bad thing (sorry Mr. Shearer, I just outright stopped reading your articles…), but controversy over insightful disruption of an inbred format is very, very, very good stuff. Kudos to Steven, keep it up.

  36. Man did I miss a lot of MTG when I quit back in 99 and started back up this past Feb of 2010…I love reading this stuff and wish I never would have stopped playing now…:-(

  37. I’ve been doing some testing for Columbus, and i’ve found that this deck basically can’t beat dredge. just a little heads-up for those who want to play this deck.

  38. Good article, nice pace and always happy to read about Legacy. The thought of Kitties staring down Progenitus and friends really makes me want to shift away from taking Zoo to the GB Nats! Oh HAI…. 🙂

  39. Kudos to you for sticking with what you think; and being willing to explain your thoughts/choices.

    I think the same thing that you do about the basics/fetches/duals. The key component is really the fetchlands, and making sure you fetch the right basic land for that point in time, and fetching the Duals only when you are certain they they aren’t playing Wasteland, or when you absolutely have to.

    Thanks for the great read; keep it up.

  40. Steven Birklid

    @Jeremy, I won a set of underground seas. Third was 3 force of will, 4th was one underground sea, and 5th thru 8th were various blue duals. Overall, very solid prizes for something so top heavy (but that’s the way I like em)

  41. Merfolk are SO BAD! They only consistently place top 8 cause everyone who plays this game is SO BAD!

    Aside from the ridiculous personal bias against a solid deck (sounds like a writer from another site…), good article.

  42. SociailistElite

    Have you considered Autumn’s Veil? I haven’t tested with it in my own decks yet, but it certaintly seems to have a decently powerful effect.

  43. “I hate that I have to write this paragraph. Nothing would have made me happier than to defeat Merfolk in the finals and then tell everyone to suck it. But, alas, the haters can (and will) continue to hate.”
    When I read this, it made me think of the following: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfrTAt_m1po

    That said, your deck would be better if you added a land to it.

    Congrats on the finish. It’s interesting to see how Legacy is shaping up to be a clone of the last Extended season.

  44. @ Zach

    In my opinion, the number is about 11-12. Since I don’t consider suspending Hypergenesis to be a real plan, I think this deck could stand to have 1 or 2 more Ardent Pleas.

  45. Steven Birklid

    @aeka, extended hypergenesis played 9 and was completely fine. I actually have 10, plus force to give enough time to draw into one against beatdown. Also suspending hypergenesis is legit against merfolk, and aggro loam for sure. Against blue decks you aren’t trying to draw one as soon as possible, so 10 is plenty.

  46. @ Steven

    Suspending Hypergenesis in extended was a much more legit strategy, and extended Hypergenesis also ran Thirst for Knowledge. You do have a point about Force being able to buy you more time, though. I think I still would have preferred another Ardent Plea over a Vendilion Clique.

  47. LOL @ Legacy Donks

    Haters gonna hate. Lovers wanna love. I don’t even want…none of the above.

  48. Which would you rather play: thirst for knowledge to find hypergenesis or… show and tell which is really just hypergenesis 9-12. also, extended hypergenesis couldn’t run 8 spirit guides + force of will

  49. I really like the deck though I just don’t like the angel of despair. Needing something to get rid of troublesome permanents seems important but angel of despair is a bit expensive. The deck combo’s a fair number of times through show and tell which means you will have trouble getting the angel into play sometimes. The angel is not strong enough as a lone threat to win the game it seems and is somewhat expensive to be cast without help.
    I’d probably look for a answer among o-ring, terrastodon and venser, shaper paravant. O-ring and venser look quite good with city of traitors by the way as you can just cast them turn 2 or 3 to buy time against some of the other decks. I’d probably favor some venser’s as they are blue, most problems you have are solved by bouncing it and they are great at buying time. Also provides some good tricks by bouncing a land eot or saving a land from wasteland etc. etc.

  50. Also leyline of sanctity in the board seems like a must to me. It’s good for a wide range of bad to mediocre matchups:
    – other combo decks like storm or belcher.
    – heavy discard themed decks
    – very fast burn decks

  51. “Legacy is lame"¦Where is the fun in the game?
    you might as well roll some dice! (haha, I rolled a six!!!"¦ Damn"¦ you win)”

    I was thinking the same thing until I picked up Legacy more seriously after GP Chicago in 2009.

    Many pros have picked up the format as well and actually enjoy it.

    Give it a serious try before lashing out.

  52. wow lotta haters.. if you dont like legacy dont read the article on legacy and them complain how bad legacy is…very interresting deck btw prolly have ta sleave it up for some testing…

  53. @Markwerf

    The first on that list (storm) is the only important matchup. Misdirection already goes a long way toward negating discard against you and your fatties negate burn because they outrace it. I am highly in favor of playing more sphinx of the steel wind in the maindeck for reasons like this. Sphinx gives a lot of insurance that your combo can outrace their offensive except
    in tendrils matchups.

    In decks that are this redundant and have no tutoring,
    I’ve found that having 3-4 maindeck slots that are just “outs to their hate” is optimal. These will be your only slots you use for sideboarding. You don’t really want to sideboard out your combo, as why are you playing the deck if you are not reliably ensuring a win on turn 2.

    So I agree, if those 3 slots are maindeck Wipe Aways (which I think are probably necessary because you need an answer to things like humility which just end your game), then you would want something that functions better against Storm. I don’t think that Leyline of Sanctity is that card, because their goblin tokens can still just get you. Mindbreak trap seems like the best answer, allowing you to bulk up on Blue resistance.

    @ sean1i0

    I’m guessing Serum Powder won’t work out. The reason is that this is a 3 card combo with lots of redundancy between each of the parts (mana, creatures, and cards that put the creatures into play). Serum powder is taking the place of one of the parts of the combo to some degree. This becomes a problem when you draw two parts of the combo and Serum powder and you just wished it was the other part. The only deck I’ve seen Powder in that made sense was Vintage dredge, where the combo is a true 1 card combo (no mana, just Bazaar of Bagdad).

  54. First off, congrats on the 2nd place finish. Despite my disagreement with your “better than thou” attitude, you did put up results. However, you also had near perfect matchups as aggro has a hard time beating combo.

    In your match ups against control decks with Blue, you went 1-2 which to me shows your deck has a hard time against control. Sure you can say you didn’t draw/have what you needed to win (as you did in the finals), but in the end that’s just an excuse and doesn’t change the fact that you lost (same can be said for anyone who says the same).

    The main problem I have with you is your attitude against Fish. If you still think it’s a bad deck, what does that say about your deck for losing against it? The classy thing to do would have been to give the deck some credit, even if minimal. But you chose to take the childish route and just make excuses. Haters gonna hate indeed.

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