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Deck of the Day: Jeskai Tempo (Legacy)

Today’s deck puts threats on the board on turn 1 to leave up mana for instants and flash threats, allowing you to play an effective tempo game to stay ahead of the competition in Legacy.

Most blue tempo decks start with Delver of Secrets, but that isn’t the only way to approach things. Delver is almost never going to get a 2-for-1, but that definitely isn’t true with Spellstutter Sprite. This little Faerie can counter Bolts, Plows, and Brainstorms while leaving behind a 1/1 to battle with. While that isn’t a huge creature, it does block a number of cards in the format and can threaten planeswalkers.

One such creature that Spellstutter blocks well is also one we can utilize here. Vendilion Clique can take out a Jace, the Mind Sculptor in a single swing, mess up an opponent’s well-laid plans, or just give you information on what to play around and what to counter. Targeting yourself to “cycle” a card is just added value.

Spell Queller adds to the tempo flash plan. Queller counters the vast majority of the cards played in Legacy, and will even exile spells that may have otherwise been uncounterable. While just about any deck in the format will have ways to deal with the Queller, you have additional counters to protect the Spirit, and the tempo swing will matter.

Snapcaster Mage is one of the most powerful creatures in Magic’s history, and it’s the king of cheap 2-for-1s. Flashing back a 1-mana removal spell is going to shift the pace of any game and pull you ahead or help catch you up.

Grim Lavamancer is the only creature without flash, but it slips onto the battlefield for just 1 mana and can begin to take over. Lavamancer needs to be dealt with by many decks before they can develop an effective board presence, and killing a creature or planeswalker at the cost of 1 mana and exiling a couple cards in your graveyard is a great way to get card advantage for a 1-mana investment.

While all of these creatures are great at the tempo game, Legacy offers a ton of spells to put you over the top. Force of Will is the great equalizer to keep combo decks and other degenerate strategies under control. With a couple Spell Snares to trade up in mana, Spell Pierce to counter powerful spells, Flusterstorm to punish instants and sorceries, and Izzet Charm on top, this deck is heavy on interaction.

Swords to Plowshares gives the opponent a life buffer, but trading 1 mana and a card for a creature that cost much more is a massive mana swing. Flashing Swords back with Snapcaster Mage can mean you’re spending 4 total mana to deal with 8 or more mana in creatures. That’s not easy to recover from.

A playset of Brainstorms is the best part about playing blue in Legacy. You also have 4 Ponder, so you can abuse Vintage restricted cards to tear through your deck while using fetchlands to make sure you’re only drawing what you want.

Playing a Standstill after flashing in a threat is often game ending, and that only becomes more true in a deck with 1-mana counters and Force of Wills.

What deck would be complete without Jace, the Mind Sculptor? This planeswalker is better than all, and can make sure you’re always working with gas, bounce opposing creatures, or even fateseal until you’re ready to ultimate. Jace is a win condition, card advantage engine, and tempo planeswalker—truly absurd.

Jeskai Tempo offers some powerful options in a world without Counterbalance and Top taking all your spells out for free. It’s not quite a control deck, but it can play a great control game, drawing a ton of cards while taking your opponent out in the skies.

Jeskai Tempo

MADLAMEGUY, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League

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