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Legacy Weapon – All the Formats

Legacy Weapon – All the Formats

Sometimes, there are long stretches were Standard is the only profitable format, and I end up grinding a single consistent deck like Caw Blade or Puresteel. Other times, nothing is profitable, and I have time to enjoy local Legacy tournaments with my friends. Usually, I end up juggling formats like some sort of schizophrenic circus clown, having just enough time to get a feel for what I’m doing before the next event and a fresh set of testing. After Hawaii, I played a Modern GP, a Standard, Legacy, and Draft Open, and now I’m preparing for a Modern PTQ this weekend and a Legacy GP in a few weeks.

It’s a good thing I enjoy the brewing aspect of the game, and particularly seeing what works and what doesn’t, or I’d have burned out long ago.

Standard

I went 7-2 in the Standard portion of the Memphis Open with a unique Delver list. Here’s what I should have played, which is a few slots away from what I did run:

[deck]4 Delver of Secrets
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Porcelain Legionnaire
4 Ponder
3 Gitaxian Probe
2 Thought Scour
2 Gut Shot
2 Mental Misstep
1 Faith’s Shield
2 Spectral Flight
4 Mana Leak
2 Dissipate
4 Vapor Snag
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Seachrome Coast
3 Moorland Haunt
9 Island
Sideboard
3 Celestial Purge
1 Timely Reinforcements
2 Sword of Feast and Famine
2 Sword of War and Peace
2 Revoke Existence
1 Divine Offering
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Corrosive Gale[/deck]

The list is odd, but good. There are a few different reasons to be running [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card] right now. With the popularity of [card]Corrosive Gale[/card], [card]Lingering Souls[/card] can actually be a liability. Geist is still a strong card; it closes games, can’t be targeted, etc.

After I decided on the Geist shell, the other numbers took a lot of careful thought and testing. Maindeck [card]Dissipate[/card] is popular in some Modo lists, and it was great for me on the weekend. Wonky as it looks, the card is very good, and people don’t play around it in real life because the card isn’t stock. Those little surprises swing games. More importantly, Ramp has been seeing an upswing in some areas due to the results of PT Hawaii, and [card]Dissipate[/card] is also strong against the Ux control decks that want to feed on Ramp. That, combined with the presence of Heartless Summoning and Frites decks, convinced me to run the card main. Oh, and removing a flashback card like [card]Lingering Souls[/card] isn’t half bad, either.

[card]Spectral Flight[/card] was first suggested to me by Megachu Brewster and Lewis Laskin at GP Orlando. I never lost a game after casting the card, and I saw it about every other match. Against UB, it allowed me to play around [card]Mana Leak[/card] where a Sword would’ve done nothing. Against Humans, I was able to Guide his [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] to my Snapcaster, protecting my flipped [card]Delver of Secrets[/card] and helping me turn my [card]Revoke Existence[/card] into a game-winning [card]Vapor Snag[/card]. Against Zombies, I was able to jump [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card] over blockers a full turn before [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] would’ve.

I could go on. Note that, with [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card], it’s easy to see if the coast is clear, and [card]Spectral Flight[/card] closes games so fast that the opponent has little time to find an answer. Did I mention that the card doesn’t get hit by [card]Divine Offering[/card] or Ancient Grudge? Well it doesn’t, and that’s awesome. When boarding in the Swords, I try to leave in at least one Spectral Flight.

Matt Costa suggested [card]Dismember[/card]s in his Hawaii tournament report, citing an increased presence of [card]Dungeon Geists[/card] and [card]Drogskol Captain[/card], but I was taking too much Phyrexian damage with [card]Dismember[/card] maindeck. I found that, if I had [card]Mental Misstep[/card] and [card]Gut Shot[/card] for Delver, I didn’t have to burn my [card]Vapor Snag[/card] early, and always had it to blow out their later plays.

The addition of [card]Dissipate[/card], a clunky mid to late game counter that hits everything, lets me get away with maindeck [card]Mental Misstep[/card], an elegant, highly situational free spell. Where one shines, the other will get shuffled away, and multiple matchups are shored up.

Adding variance-laden, potentially dead cards is not something I would’ve done a year ago, but tournament Magic doesn’t specifically reward consistency, but rather high finishes. A deck with a fifty percent chance of bricking, a forty percent chance of X-2ing, and a ten percent chance of top eighting is more profitable than a deck with twenty percent chance of bricking, a seventy five percent chance of X-2ing, and a five percent chance of top eighting.

For example, a year ago I was grinding Painter, and I X-2’d some three tournaments in a row with that deck. There’s something to be said for a consistent seventy five percent win rate, but since I never cracked a top eight I was never paid for my efforts. In comparison, this last weekend I played MUC in a tournament that was ten percent Belcher. I took an early loss to the only High Tide player in the room, then made a poor mulligan decision in the loser’s bracket, but my chances of top eighting were higher than had I played Painter, though my results with Painter look better on paper.

Legacy

As I just mentioned, I scrubbed out of the Legacy event in Memphis. So much for a soft ninety eight person Legacy tournament. Embarrassing? A little, but at least the rest of the car cashed. I tilt drafted to a top eight in the second draft open, where I managed to punt the semis after drafting (gasp) green creatures.

Sometime over the day, Ari Lax found me to talk GP prospects. He tried convincing me [card]Show and Tell[/card] was a good call, particularly [card]Dream Halls[/card] (I didn’t believe him.) Halfway through our conversation, Joe Bernal walked by with a match slip.

“It feels so good to mise a single [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] against a [card]Show and Tell[/card] player’s [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card],” Joe said.

“That’s it, I’m convinced. I’m Storming people this GP,” Ari said.

That got a laugh out of me (one of many on the weekend.) The conversation switched to Nic Fit, and I spent a good deal of time explaining why I thought [card]Garruk Relentless[/card] was terrible in Legacy, and that I hadn’t found a shell I liked it in. Ari countered with an anecdote of a local player splashing green in Stoneblade, which perked my interest.

The logic is that, unlike in [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] decks, UW Stoneblade doesn’t have much that it wants to be jumping with Elspeth. Thus, Garruk’s ability to make 2/2s is already promising. When you add on the utility of the other abilities, useful in an attritiony deck with a tight manabase that isn’t trying to go over the top, the card looks downright exciting.

This is my current list:

UWg Stoneblade

[deck]2 Misty Rainforest
1 Windswept Heath
4 Tundra
2 Island
3 Wasteland
3 Mishra’s Factory
4 Flooded Strand
1 Tropical Island
1 Savannah
1 Plains
2 Trygon Predator
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Stoneforge Mystic
2 Mana Leak
1 Sylvan Library
1 Oblivion Ring
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Garruk Relentless
4 Spell Snare
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Body and Mind
4 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
Sideboard
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
3 Flusterstorm
3 Surgical Extraction
2 Wrath of God
2 Krosan Grip
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Path to Exile
2 Submerge[/deck]

Other cards I’d like to play: [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card], [card]Vedalken Shackles[/card], [card]Spectral Procession[/card], [card]Spell Pierce[/card]

In a recent article, Drew Levin wrote that you shouldn’t use [card]Sword of Body and Mind[/card] unless you’re Owen Turtenwald, which I clearly disagree with (unless I’m actually Owen in some monguise disguise.)

In general, the Sword abilities aren’t as useful as the protection, and right now I think UG is the most relevant, since the format is being dominated by green and blue decks. The opponent can’t go Jace+Bounce, and their green creatures look embarrassing. There’s no chumping with Snapcaster, which begins to resemble a two mana [card]Call to Mind[/card].

When considering the [card]Bitterblossom[/card]-style effect, it can be difficult for another control deck to come back from a hit, and you have a ready-made blocker against the aggro decks. While [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] and [card]Sword of Fire and Ice[/card] directly net a card, [card]Sword of Body and Mind[/card] adds to your board presence. In a deck so light on threats, I like the ability to generate an army out of a few hits.

The green splash nets the deck a few neat tools besides Garruk, including the [card]Trygon Predator[/card]s and [card]Sylvan Library[/card]. In theory, I like Sylvan’s ability to turn a [card]Batterskull[/card] hit into an extra card. It seems like an active [card]Batterskull[/card] should lock up the game on its own, but that’s not always the case. Sylvan is insane against anything not attacking on turn two, and against the aggressive decks it’s still a free top spin every turn.

[card]Trygon Predator[/card] is one of those severely underplayed cards in the format. While [card]Aether Vial[/card] hasn’t seen much play lately, the format is still rife with targets. [card]Countertop[/card] is seeing play again, it makes opposing equipment awkward, and MUD took down the last Legacy Open. It’s possible that Trygon can’t match [card]Vendilion Cliques[/card]’ trickiness and raw power level, but I enjoy running the underplayed card. As I mentioned in my section on standard, the unexpected has a way of winning games.

Modern

Boros

[deck]1 Eiganjo Castle
2 Plains
1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
2 Mountain
3 Scalding Tarn
4 Arid Mesa
2 Horizon Canopy
3 Marsh Flats
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Figure of Destiny
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Steppe Lynx
2 Kataki, War’s Wage
2 Hellrider
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Goblin Guide
3 Aven Mindcensor
2 Magma Jet
2 Path to Exile
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lightning Helix
2 Isochron Scepter
Sideboard
4 Village Bell-Ringer
1 Midnight Guard
2 Sword of Feast and Famine
3 Combust
1 Faith’s Shield
4 Splinter Twin[/deck]

Other cards I like: [card]Keldon Marauders[/card], [card]Zo-Zu the Punisher[/card], [card]Molten Rain[/card], [card]Goblin Ruinblaster[/card]

It might be correct to cut the Splinter Twin package from the board for land disruption. I don’t like that [card]Molten Rain[/card] is a turn slower with [card]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/card], but the opponent should be slowed down a turn anyway. I know that, if I was playing Jund, I’d strongly consider tweaking the manabase towards red in order to run [card]Molten Rain[/card]s over options like Liliana or [card]Blightning[/card], which might help the Tron matchup.

Accepted nonbos: Thalia+Scepter interacts unfavorably, as does Kataki+Scepter. That said, Scepter does a fine job of punishing creatures, and the hate bears should win the matchups they’re there for if they stick. Thus, the bad interaction is worth the risk.

As of now, [card]Goblin Guide[/card] has been the worst card in testing, and I might end up cutting them for more two drops (like [card]Keldon Marauders[/card].) Letting the control decks get extra draw steps is awful, especially if it helps them draw out of a Thalia stall.

I’d like a second [card]Faith’s Shield[/card] in the board, but I’m not sure if it’s worth cutting a Splinter Twin piece. Note that, against UR storm, [card]Faith’s Shield[/card] can prevent a [card]Grapeshot[/card] kill, as the copied spells resolve one at a time.

The number of hateful legends reminds me of the old Day of Destiny card from Betrayers.

[draft]Day of Destiny[/draft]

Cute, right? This card is downright adorable. While +2+2 is powerful, the card never saw play outside of block because of its narrow application. In Modern, however, it might be good enough, since there’s a critical mass of playable legends. This is the list of dudes I’m currently puzzling over:

[card]Vendilion Clique[/card], [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card], [card]Grand Arbiter Augustin IV[/card], [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card], [card]Isamaru, Hound of Konda[/card], [card]Kataki, War’s Wage[/card], [card]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/card], [card]Gaddock Teeg[/card], and possibly [card]Eight-and-a-Half-Tails[/card].

Musing on legends got me thinking about [card]Grand Arbiter Augustin IV[/card], and how it might work well in a dedicated Thalia deck.

UW Arbiter

[deck]2 Mystic Gate
1 Eiganjo Castle
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
3 Scalding Tarn
3 Marsh Flats
3 Hallowed Fountain
3 Plains
2 Horizon Canopy
3 Arid Mesa
2 Island
2 Kataki, War’s Wage
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
3 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
3 Vendilion Clique
4 Squadron Hawk
4 Steppe Lynx
4 Figure of Destiny
3 Path to Exile
2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
3 Spell Pierce
2 Sword of Feast and Famine
2 Spell Snare
Sideboard
2 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Path to Exile
3 Torpor Orb
2 Disenchant
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Relic of Progenitus
3 Thorn of Amethyst[/deck]

This deck applies some decent pressure while running enough disruption to punish the unfair decks. It should have a better Jund matchup than the Boros list, too, since [card]Squadron Hawk[/card] is pretty good there. I’m amused by the idea of [card]Spectral Procession[/card]ing out Hawk post-Grand Arbiter. Thalia and Grand Arbiter should shut down most opposing spell based decks, be they control or combo. That said, I haven’t tested this list as much as the Boros build, and running a four mana 2/3 might be as unimpressive as it looks.

I like how, on the play, a turn two Thalia prevents the opponent from remanding your turn three [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card].

The first build of the deck ran [card]Noble Hierarch[/card], but after realizing it was the only green card I wanted to play it got cut. The Noble-Geist-Elspeth curve is still tempting.

I don’t like this deck’s Twin matchup, where I wish I had access to [card]Combust[/card] or [card]Sudden Death[/card]. Also, the Affinity and Delver matchups are going to be worse than the Boros deck, which can lean on Lightning Helix.

That about wraps it up. I’ll probably end up jamming Boros this weekend, but testing could shift me over.

Thanks for reading,

Caleb Durward
@CalebDMTG
[email protected]

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