I’ve seen people expressing frustration with the new Legacy. For years, they could play an old faithful like RUG Delver or Shardless and, with slight tweaks to the sideboard, run the same list every week.
That’s no longer the case, but you’re in luck. This article is about identifying the decks that are adapting well to the post-Cruise metagame.
Play UR Delver, Stupid
It’s been a week or two, now, and both the real-life metagame and MTGO have had time to adapt. Yet, rather than a counter emerging to take advantage of a Delver-rich metagame, Delver has thrived, putting up more results than ever before.
This trend should continue. Not because people are bad at finding a counter, but because UR Delver is simply the best Treasure Cruise deck, and as such it’s also the best deck. It’s smooth and efficient. It features a busted nut draw, a consistent mana base, and it’s almost impossible to hate on without giving up a relevant percentage against the field.
It has the best threats, the best cantrips, and the fewest clunky cards to get in the way of Cruising. So long as that’s the case, there really is little reason to play anything else, and people are already tuning for the mirror, shaving Daze for Forked Bolts and Pyroblasts.
UR Delver, by Hot_Milk (4-0)
This version is more impressive than the stock builds because it embraces its burn-’em-out side, running the full four Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning. That’s a full 24 points of burn, and even if none of your creatures connect (unlikely) you can still kill the opponent, especially when you factor in paying life for cards like Thoughtseize, fetches, and Force of Will.
I’m not sure that 18 lands is correct. I’m not sure about Sulfur Falls. I’m definitely not sure about that sideboard. What I am sure of is that this deck murders people.
Digging for a Miracle
For the record, I don’t think Miracles gained a lot.
UWr Miracles, by Dancingjesus102
I like this list a lot, and if I was playing Miracles I’d be jamming something similar. Fortunately, I have more interesting things to do than play Miracles, like making toast or thinking about toast or making a toast fort.
The one tweak I’d make is to shave a white removal spell, probably Swords to Plowshares, for a maindeck Pyroblast. It still hits the main threat in the format, Delver of Secrets, while also acting as a trump in the counter war over Cruise. I wouldn’t mind a second copy, but I also don’t want to shave blue cards because 23 count is about where you want to be with this deck.
Out of the sideboard, Izzet Staticaster is a savage answer to Young Pyromancer, rivaling the Slice and Dice that blew me out in Vintage the other day. In Delver mirrors, people prefer Electrickery in that slot because it costs one less and flips Delver.
Thalia. Nice Deck, Idiot.
If any card matches up well against a pile of spells, it’s Thalia. Death and Taxes is the best Thalia shell because it can make it uncounterable with Vial, protect it with Mother of Runes, and slap an Umezawa’s Jitte on it to clear the board of whatever Delvery nonsense the opponent is trying to win with.
Death and Taxes, by Bahra
Bahra has cashed a few Delver-ridden events with this list, and it’s easy to see why. Even if the opponent manages to dodge Thalia, Spirit of the Labyrinth shuts down the Treasure Cruise engine just as well, and between Jitte and the correct Sword, the deck has plenty of value-laden plays that match up well against Delver’s threats.
However, with more and more lists maindecking Forked Bolt I have to wonder whether cards like Mirran Crusader and Phyrexian Revoker are where the deck wants to be. Clearly the cards aren’t there for the Delver matchup, and if they didn’t play key roles elsewhere they wouldn’t be in the list in the first place, but depending on how much of the top tables are UR Delver it might be correct to adapt further.
Believe it or not, D&T was one of my first Legacy decks. I remember tracking down Karakas for 7$ a pop and being salty that this casual-type card was so expensive. Back then, Goblins was still the deck to beat, and on top of the sideboard Tivadar of Thorn I also maindecked Silver Knight to ensure they couldn’t kill the guy I equipped Jitte to, similar to what Esper Blade does with True-Name Nemesis today.
The reason I’m telling this story is because, if Monastery Swiftspear is a key threat and everyone’s playing a pile of burn for removal, some number of Kor Firewalker could turn a slightly favored matchup into a heavily favored one. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to maindeck it, but having access to a threat that they can’t burn out in response to an equip can make or break a game.
I tested the Kor Firewalker technology in Modern, but the double-white requires a hefty commitment, and I’ve had difficulty doing that and also playing Treasure Cruise.
I saw a Shardless list with both Ancestral Vision and Treasure Cruise the other day. I haven’t tested it myself, but having two draw engines that both take some setup sounds excessive. Delver just isn’t going to give you that much time, and even if you live past turn three you might still lose to a random topdecked Blood Moon.
I imagine that one Shardless player as a desperate, shadowy figure with bloodshot eyes. He sits in the corner, clutching his Shardless Agents in one hand while goldfishing cascades with the other.
“They’ve abandoned you, but not me. Not Smeagol!”
“Hey buddy, isn’t both Ancestral Visions and Treasure Cruise a bit much?”
“Never too much! Nevarrrrr!”
And he draws three, then three again, laughing crazily all the while.
In contrast, Treasure Cruise isn’t excessive in Deathblade at all. While they’ve run Dark Confidant in the past, most lists found him a bit fragile and ended up cutting him for more resilient threats. Not only is Treasure Cruise a more resilient, immediate draw engine, but it also pitches to Force of Will.
While Dark Confidant fought with Stoneforge Mystic to come down on turn two, Treasure Cruise comes down a bit later.
To run Cruise, the deck needs to up the cantrip count and shave Jace, but Jace isn’t all that great in a field of Young Pyromancers anyway.
Aside from Miracles, Deathblade is the main non-Delver deck to adapt the new delve technology.
Esper Deathblade, by Ben Glancy
Ben used this list to take down the Worcester Open this last weekend. At first the finish looks isolated, with no other Esper lists in the Top 16, but the deck is putting up some solid results on MTGO as well. Deathblade will continue to be a format mainstay. While Stoneforge Mystic can be handled by a random burn spell, Jitte on a True-Name Nemesis cannot.
Meanwhile, the game plan of Thoughtseize into good cards backed up by Force of Will is as solid as ever. While Esper doesn’t Cruise as fast or as furiously as UR Delver, the cards it draws are more powerful on average, and it certainly gets better with the new draw spell.
In the sideboard, we see one of the best bits of sideboard technology for Young Pyromancer in Zealous Persecution. The reason Zealous, and to a lesser extent Marsh Casualties, is ideal is because it’s good off the top and also a fine answer to True-Name Nemesis. If you’re in green and don’t have your own x/1s to worry about, Golgari Charm could be a nice sweeper with some added utility against problem enchantments.
I’ve been favoring Darkblast against Young Pyromancer strategies, but it’s worse than the cheap sweepers. While Darkblast is strong against an early Delver or the first Pyromancer and then every x/1 they play after that, it doesn’t deal with a token army already in play and matches up poorly against True-Name.
Historically, Elves has been good at punishing fair decks. Cards like Wirewood Symbiote and Elvish Visionary match up well against 1-for-1 spot removal, and the whole deck generates mana to power through Daze and Wasteland. When you consider the number of must-counters to overload Force of Will, as well as Deathrite Shamans to pressure opposing graveyards, the deck looks pretty solid against the emerging meta.
My main concern with Elves is that there might be splash hate from UR Delver, including all of the random cheap sweepers I mentioned earlier as well as more subtle tweaks like maindeck Forked Bolt.
Elves put two players in the Worcester Top 8 and two more in the Top 16, a very strong showing. Still, it might just be an area with a lot of strong Elves players. Currently, Elves isn’t putting up results on MTGO, but that might be a lingering effect from Miracles dominating there for so long.
Elves, by Nicholas Malatesta
In the past, when Delver was the deck to beat I liked boarding Meekstone in Elves, as it was great against Delver, Tarmogoyf, and Nimble Mongoose. Now, with Young Pyromancer and Swiftspear as the non-Delver threats, I’m not sure what Elves should be boarding, if anything. Perhaps sideboard technology isn’t needed and a stock list is correct, especially if people over-focus on Delver.
The Melira in the board is particularly interesting technology against Infect. Maybe it’s for something else that I’m missing, but even if it is just for Infect it’s only a single slot.
That’s all for this week. Am I overhyping UR Delver? Are my attacks on Shardless unjustified? What do you like for the post-Cruise metagame?