With the announcement of the Team PT I decided to start playing more Legacy. The MTGO metagame isn’t great for testing—everyone just plays blue decks, so you don’t get to practice against much else. Luckily, we have weekly tournaments here in Prague, and my friend Tomas Mar has two sets of all of the Legacy cards. Unfortunately, I don’t go as often as I’d like. I’m always busy with something or find an excuse to skip one. Still, I managed to attend a couple—I make it about once a month.
I usually play 4c Czech Pile, the deck with which I finished in the Top 8 of the Legacy Championship. It’s a solid deck, but I’ve become pretty bored of playing it. So the last time I went to visit my Legacy friends, I asked Tomas for a different deck. I thought he’d give me Jund, as that’s one of the decks I know he has built and one I’m mildly interested in playing. He surprised me with a different deck—4-Color Stoneblade.
I went 4-0, dropping one game to a topdecked Price of Progress. I was impressed. This deck isn’t news to Legacy aficionados, but as only a sometimes Legacy player, it flew under my radar. It is similar to the deck Reid Duke won GP Louisville with, but that was a straight Sultai variant. This deck keeps the strong shell of Noble Hierarch, Deathrite Shaman, and True-Name Nemesis, but it also adds another incredible card in Stoneforge Mystic.
Like every other great Legacy deck, this one starts with the obligatory 4 Brainstorm and 4 Force of Will. Brainstorm is just a stupidly good card and one I’d like to see banned. Look, blue is going to be great in Legacy no matter what as long as FoW is legal. Brainstorm is a get-out-of-jail-free card when you keep a land-heavy or spell-heavy hand. You basically can’t lose with this card, and it’s the main reason why there are only a few truly good decks in Legacy. All in all, a ban would shake up the format nicely and create more viable options. But I’m not optimistic that it will ever happen.
On the other hand, I could see Deathrite Shaman getting banned. Shaman is probably the second strongest card behind Brainstorm. When you’re on the draw, if your opponent plays turn-1 Shaman and you don’t have removal in your hand, the game feels hopeless. Obviously, blue decks are the greatest abusers of this card as you use the excess mana to fix your draws with your cantrips while developing more threats.
Overall, I’d love to see one of these two cards get the axe as I think it would make Legacy a more enjoyable format. The main problem I see with Legacy is that given the cost of the deck, there is this illusion that the format is actually diverse, but I’d be very surprised if we saw people playing anything but Grixis Delver, 4c Czech Pile, and some blue Stoneblade variant at the PT.
Anyway, end of rant—let’s get back to the deck.
The core of this deck are its two mana accelerants, Noble Hierarch and Deathrite Shaman. Shaman is busted, but Noble is great too. True-Name Nemesis and Leovold are among the best threats in Legacy, and this deck gets to play them on turn 2 regularly. Stoneforge Mystic is the last threat in the deck.
What surprised me about Stoneforge is that in the past you usually pulled out Batterskull as your first equipment. Stoneforge was one of your few creatures, and it was risky to get an equipment that needed her to remain in play. But in this deck, you have so many creatures that I almost always search for Jitte; or, when I am playing against a blue deck, Sword of Fire and Ice. I did win a couple of games with Batterskull and I managed to get one game with TNN wielding it, which was pretty sweet.
Daze is probably my favorite card in all of Magic, and in this deck it truly shines. Like the rest of the cards, it works well with mana producers and it helps you protect your turn-2 Nemesis from counterspells. Here it’s often correct to keep Dazes in your deck, even in the games you’re on the draw. You can simply offset the tempo disadvantage with your mana dorks to catch people off-guard.
I’m actually not sure if it’s correct to play Sword to Plowshares over Fatal Push. Given the fact that white is basically your splash color, it puts a strain on your mana base. How many creatures in Legacy die to Swords that don’t die to Fatal Push? Griselbrand comes to mind, but if you Swords that you’re in trouble already. It’s nice that you can kill Leovold with Swords, but with the high number of fetchlands in Legacy, revolt is easy to turn on. I guess the life gain isn’t a big downside since you’re not that aggressive and the “exile a creature” cause can be relevant against cards like Kolaghan’s Command. This is definitely something I’ll look into in the future.
The equipment cards are self-explanatory. It’s just the best three options, and with Stoneforge you want as many good options as possible. A quick side note: Andrea Mengucci recently wrote about cards that could potentially get unbanned in Modern, and I think he forgot to mention Jitte as one of the options. Modern is a powerful format and I think Jitte would find a place in the sideboard of creature decks, but I don’t think it would run rampant in the format.
I honestly wouldn’t play a grindy blue Legacy deck without at least 1 copy of Jace, the Mind Sculptor because that card is just so much fun to play with. The last nonland cards in the main deck are the 2 copies of Ponder. Might look a bit weird, but I like the extra card selection. This deck has lot of mana sources, so it helps to have a card that can potentially find you some gas.
As for lands, I like that this deck is free to play Wasteland. Like I mentioned, you have a lot of mana sources of your own, so you can afford to play this free Sinkhole. I changed the mana base a bit as the one Tomas gave me had 2 Tundras, which I don’t understand. Tundra feels like one of the worst lands in the deck. With Noble and Shaman providing white mana as well, I think you can get away with running just 2 white lands. I think it’s correct to run Scrubland over Savannah as you have a bunch of black cards in your sideboard that you want to cast.
Moving on to the sideboard. Thoughtseize is the best card against combo in Legacy and it’s quite possible that it should be in the main deck. For now, though, I’m keeping it in sideboard.
Flusterstorm is another anti-combo card and is especially great against ANT, but it helps you win counterwars versus Show and Tell decks. I’d recommend against bringing it in the grindy blue mirrors as I think you want to be proactive instead of reactive. The same goes for Surgical Extraction. Bring those in against graveyard decks, but keep them in your sideboard otherwise. Sylvan Library and Vendilion Clique are what you want to be doing against the grindy decks.
Marsh Casualties is your anti-aggro card, and I think it’s a bit better than Zealous Persecution, giving you the option to kill 2-toughness creatures. Rounding out the sideboard are your catchall cards, Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse. They have the same function, but Pulse is able to kill the big Jace, which is relevant. I’ve seen deck lists online that run Decay main deck, but I don’t think I like that. You already have a bunch of answers with Swords and counterspells and I’d rather be proactive than reactive.
Sideboarding is straightforward. Against combo you want to shave removal and some True-Names, as that card represents a slow clock and 3 mana is a lot. Combo is probably the worst matchup, but you do have a lot of hate in the sideboard so those games should be easier. Side out some Forces in grindy matchups, although Tomas has been advocating keeping FoW in the Czech pile mirror. His thought process is that there are some cards that create so much card advantage (Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Sylvan Library, Leovold) that it’s good to have permanent answer. I still think this strategy is too weak to Pyroblast so I’d advise against it, but he did beat me with a FoW when we played the mirror a while back. Feel free to side out an equipment if you feel like you won’t need all three. I don’t love siding out all Dazes basically ever.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with this deck. It’s straightforward and powerful. You might have the upper hand in the grindy mirrors because of True-Name Nemesis, but you will struggle a bit against combo decks. Still, that can be solved with the sideboard, so I wouldn’t be worry too much. If the PT were tomorrow, I’d probably advise my team to play this deck, and I’ll keep working on it every time I go to our local Legacy tournaments.