Deck of the Day – Legacy High Tide

At one of the earliest Extended Pro Tours, Tolarian-Academy-based decks were dominating. Everyone knew going into the tournament that Academy-based combo decks were the deck to beat, and some crafty players found the way to do it. They had their own combo deck—one that was able to play enough disruption and card draw to become the more powerful combo deck. That deck was centered around one key card:

High Tide is great. For a single blue mana, you are giving yourself a Mana Flare for the entire turn. This also happens to scale. Each additional High Tide continues to net additional mana from your lands. That’s not necessarily the most exciting effect on its surface, as it would take at least 5 Islands and 2 High Tides to get up to a substantial amount of mana. Luckily, Legacy has lots of weapons to abuse lands producing more mana than they should.

Many High Tide decks throughout time have played Candelabra of Tawnos, but it isn’t necessary. One card that is necessary, however, is Time Spiral. This is the card that really makes High Tide work. If you want to win on turn 4, High Tide will get the job done with a Time Spiral. This will give you 7 fresh cards to work with and at least 8 mana available. That’s a pretty great place to start when trying to combo off!

Turnabout is another multi-functional card that will allow you to ramp your mana—and means that your High Tide into Turnabout into Time Spiral can actually happen turn 3)—but it can also be used on your opponent’s turn to tap down their lands so you can untap and go to work worry-free, or tap their creatures to Fog for a turn.

With Force of Wills, Flusterstorms, and Spell Pierces as cheap counters, High Tide decks have plenty of easy ways to interact. This will help stop opponents from going off or help force your Time Spiral through.

To add consistency, you get tons of card drawing and even some tutors! Merchant Scroll is powerful enough to be restricted in Vintage, but you can play 4 copies in Legacy. This will mostly get High Tide, meaning you can effectively have 8 copies, but it can also get card draw or countermagic.


Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain, and even Meditate can make sure that you see all the cards you could ever need. High Tide is a deck that doesn’t need that many lands to win (although you really do need 3 lands in play to win the game), so that means that you can trim down to 18 total and play lots of card draw. You can even play Intuition to go get High Tides (or Time Spirals) and not worry about them going to the graveyard since Spiral will shuffle them back in!

Once you have all these cards and presumably near infinite mana (this deck can end up casting High Tide over a dozen times in a turn), you are going to need to actually win the game. But who wants to include win conditions in your deck? That would only slow you down when you are trying to churn through your deck to combo. Instead, you can play Cunning Wish to help you do everything you need. Wish can go fetch counters, interaction against problematic permanents you otherwise couldn’t deal with, or Brain Freeze and Blue Sun’s Zenith to kill your opponent. Blue Sun’s Zenith can even draw a ton of cards to keep you going if you have tons of mana and run out of action!

With the most card draw and interaction of any combo deck in Legacy, High Tide has some serious potential. Once one of the dominant decks of the format, it doesn’t show up as often these days, but it may be the perfect deck to try out as a cheaper alternative that doesn’t require dual lands!

High Tide

Donnnhart, 5-0 in an MTGO Legacy League

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