Legacy Weapon – Commander

I’m not a Timmy or Johnny player, though I do have some Johnny tendencies. Despite the wonkiness I tend to win with, I’m a Spike, writing for a Spike website and generally Spike community. That said, new cards get me more excited than just about anything, and I will make any excuse to focus on working with them. When I found the new Commander cards would be legal in the eternal formats, I knew what I would be writing about this week.

Note that these cards were designed for Commander play, not Legacy or Vintage. Consider this a warning. Some of the content of this article is competitive, but I do get into a few cute combinations and clunky behemoths.

[draft]Chaos Warp[/draft]

While more random than [card]Beast Within[/card], this card could also see some competitive play since it does some things that Red can’t normally do, like answer problem enchantments or giant creatures. Counterbalance has never looked worse.

While [card]Cunning Wish[/card]-style control decks have fallen out of favor to [card]Ancestral Vision[/card]s, [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card], and Standstill, legacy has a way of being cyclical, and I could see [card]Chaos Warp[/card] being a fine [card]Cunning Wish[/card] target for the right deck.

Check out this list that my buddy Ryan Rolen used to top eight the open in Indianapolis:

[deck]1 Forest
2 Island
1 Mountain
3 Mishras Factory
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
3 Grim Lavamancer
1 Sower of Temptation
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Beast Within
4 Brainstorm
2 Counterspell
4 Force of Will
3 Lightning Bolt
4 Mental Misstep
3 Spell Snare
2 Vendilion Clique
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Ancestral Vision
1 Sower of Temptation
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Krosan Grip
1 Misdirection
2 Pyroblast
2 Red Elemental Blast
3 Submerge
2 Jace Beleren

Now, is [card]Chaos Warp[/card] worse than [card]Beast Within[/card] in this deck? Possibly. The deck does have some [card]Lightning Bolt[/card]s,[card]Tarmogoyf[/card]s, and Jaces to deal with a 3/3 token, which would be much worse at handling the potential [card]Progenitus[/card] or [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] that [card]Chaos Warp[/card] could unwittingly cheat into play. That said, legacy is a format stuffed with spells, and more often than not the Warp will be an instant speed [card]Oblivion Ring[/card], or at least comparable to [card]Beast Within[/card] in power. The difference in color is relevant, and both could work as fine maindeck removal in decks that can’t play [card]Vindicate[/card] or [card]Maelstrom Pulse[/card].

As for the rest of the deck, I like it a lot. Ryan has been tearing up Magic League with similar [card]Grim Lavamancer[/card] and [card]Ancestral Vision[/card]-based decks, and I’m not surprised to see him doing well with the archetype on a larger stage.

His sideboard has a lot going for it. [card]Ancient Grudge[/card] is the best artifact removal spell against a field of [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] decks. Meanwhile, [card]Red Elemental Blast[/card] is terrific in Jace matchups, as are the baby Jaces. The small Jace was a Joe Bernal suggestion, if I recall correctly, and I heard Ryan calling them his MVP on the day.

[draft]Scavenging Ooze[/draft]

[card]Withered Wretch[/card] hasn’t seen play in Legacy in a long time, but [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] has a couple traits that make it better. It’s easier to splash, it’s in a more creature-based color, and it shrinks opposing [card]Tarmogoyf[/card]s while growing large enough to beat them in combat. That said, the card is clunkier than [card]Jötun Grunt[/card], and should see only marginal play, if any. While it can be [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card]ed for, so can [card]Loaming Shaman[/card], which ends up costing a lot less mana. The decider is whether or not [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] can prove to be a reasonable threat in its own right, or if its ability is too awkward to be relevant.

[draft]Damia, Sage of Stone[/draft]

The first thing I do when evaluating a card for playability is ask myself what existing problems the card solves. One problem I’ve had with the [card]Natural Order[/card] engine is that it typically uses up all of your resources to force it through the opponent’s disruption. That [card]Progenitus[/card] or [card]Terrastodon[/card] had better get the job done, because they’re all that’s left. With [card]Phyrexian Metamorph[/card] and the like seeing more and more play in the rare maindeck and all manner of sideboards, [card]Progenitus[/card] is less of a sure thing. Also, there are situations in which [card]Progenitus[/card] can be raced.

Like [card]Jin-Gitaxis, Core Augur[/card], Damia restocks your hand, making it a reasonable card to expend your resources to get into play. Also, the card has the potential to be hardcast or tutored for with [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card] if enough acceleration is drawn or if the game turns into a grind. Will these benefits help the card replace [card]Progenitus[/card]? Definitely not, but the ability to draw four to seven cards makes Damia appears mildly playable.

The following decklist isn’t going to break the format, but it’s a good example of what I’m getting at:

[deck]2 Underground Sea
2 Dryad Arbor
1 Bayou
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Tropical Island
1 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Forest
1 Swamp
3 Birds of Paradise
1 Kitchen Finks
2 Vendilion Clique
4 Dark Confidant
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Progenitus
1 Damia, Sage of Stone
1 Ghastly Demise
3 Green Suns Zenith
4 Mental Misstep
1 Go for the Throat
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Natural Order
4 Brainstorm
1 Darkblast
2 Ponder
1 Ghastly Demise
1 Terravore
1 Go for the Throat
1 Cabal Therapy
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Krosan Grip
2 Pithing Needle
2 Jace Beleren
1 Terastodon

Right now, it’s popular for people to show their hands in legacy, with everything from [card]Silvergill Adept[/card] to the heavily played [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card], and this makes [card]Cabal Therapy[/card] even better than usual, since the idea is to hit on the first casting. Meanwhile, the curve of current decks plays into the card as well. Does your affinity opponent have three mana sources in play with one card in hand? Better name Tezzeret.

Speaking of planeswalkers, I’ve borrowed the Joe Bernal/Ryan Rolen tech of jamming [card]Jace Beleren[/card] in the board to combat the Mind Sculptor frenzy that’s taking ahold of Legacy at the moment. [card]Sylvan Library[/card], while a fantastic card, lacks the ability to [card]Meddling Mage[/card] the opponent off of the best card in their deck.

[draft]Ruhan of the Fomori[/draft]

While the casting cost might seem clunky, it’s actually less unwieldy than say, [card]Phyrexian Obliterator[/card] in a [card]Wasteland[/card] deck. That said, its ability is a lot worse, and I can’t imagine a deck playing this when they could have green for [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card] or just stay in white for Elspeth. However, I’m not the type to disregard a card even if it only seems vaguely playable, and a four mana 7/7 is that, despite the fact that it fails the Jace test spectacularly, plays defense like a [card]Bloodghast[/card], and isn’t going to end the game quicker than a [card]Moltensteel Dragon[/card].

[draft]Edric, Spymaster of Trest[/draft]

At first glance, this guy appears to do a lot. While he doesn’t have evasion like [card]Shadowmage Infiltrator[/card] or [card]Cold-Eyed Selkie[/card], he goes above and beyond by granting the Ophidian ability to all of your creatures. This guy is easy to fetch up with [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card], and I can see him being a cheap way for an Elf deck to refuel and press its early game advantage, especially since he’s easily splashable off of a [card]Tropical Island[/card] and some [card]Birchlore Ranger[/card]s.

Recently, Adam Yurchick wrote an article that added [card]Dark Confidant[/card] to Merfolk. I don’t think either Bob or Edric belong in the Folk deck, but of the two Edric has the higher potential to blow the opponent out, and that deck has plenty of evasive abilities to put Edric to work, so one or two of him might be worth testing.

There are a ton of decks people will try him in that won’t work out, however, especially Bant builds. Bant gains a lot by stacking exalted triggers, and attacking with a single creature is a very lackluster use of Edric’s ability. [card]Cold-Eyed Selkie[/card] synergizes much better, and that card is a little too fragile, which doesn’t bode well for this Edric fellow. At least Edric can start drawing cards when he first comes into play, however.

Another deck that this card won’t work in is Domain Zoo, a fringe [card]Wild Nacatl[/card] deck that puts [card]Tribal Flames[/card] to good use. While Zoo can go turn one guy, turn two double guy (or guy plus a removal spell,) and turn three Edric, I don’t think the Elf legend actually adds much to the draw. If Zoo’s creatures are connecting, isn’t the deck already winning? What are we hoping to draw here, some burn to finish the opponent off? What if that Edric was a [card]Sylvan Library[/card], an actual burn spell, or something useful in fighting through opposing blockers?


At first glance, this card is an answer to storm combo, as it can counter each individual copy of [card]Empty the Warrens[/card]. At second glance, costing one mana is infinitely worse than [card]Mindbreak Trap[/card]’s zero.

Against other decks, the card is more narrow than [card]Spell Pierce[/card], but remains relevant longer and mostly avoids [card]Mental Misstep[/card]. It could be useful in combination with cards like [card]Vendilion Clique[/card] and [card]Fact or Fiction[/card] in agro control and control mirrors, but then wouldn’t another Clique or instant speed draw spell be better? This card might see some small sideboard usage, particularly in decks that don’t care about Jace.

[draft]The Mimeoplasm[/draft]

I suppose a [card]Buried Alive[/card] stack of [card]Krosan Cloudscraper[/card], [card]Blighted Agent[/card], and Anger could make use of this guy, but then you have to ask yourself, “Why the heck didn’t I just get [card]Necrotic Ooze[/card], [card]Triskelion[/card], and [card]Phyrexian Devourer[/card] and [card]Reanimate[/card] the Ooze?”

Well, where’s the fun in that? Here’s a brew that tries to do both, and succeeds at doing neither well.

[deck]4 Wooded Foothills
1 Windswept Heath
1 Tropical Island
2 Forest
1 Tree of Tales
1 Swamp
1 Underground Sea
3 Bayou
4 Verdant Catacombs
2 Necrotic Ooze
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Memnite
1 Wonder
1 Trygon Predator
4 Fauna Shaman
4 Quirion Ranger
4 Vengevine
1 Phyrexian Devourer
1 Triskelion
1 The Mimeoplasm
1 Blighted Agent
1 Krosan Cloudscraper
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Trinket Mage
1 Shriekmaw
2 Umezawas Jitte
4 Thoughtseize
1 Cabal Therapy
2 Buried Alive
3 Extirpate
3 Choke
3 Tormods Crypt
2 Krosan Grip
2 Thrun, the Last Troll
2 Cabal Therapy
This deck is cuter than a basket of puppies. I’m sure [card]The Mimeoplasm[/card] has a more broken use, such as a dread return target for some busted Cephalid Breakfast type of deck, but here he functions as a one turn clock if either of the main plans fail.

Note that the deck has some other neat synergies, such as removing a [card]Triskelion[/card] and [card]Krosan Cloudscraper[/card] to [card]The Mimeoplasm[/card], which allows for a machine gun-type effect, similar to combining a [card]Triskelion[/card] with an [card]Arcbound Ravager[/card]. Another sweet option is, if a [card]Necrotic Ooze[/card] died earlier, simply copying it with [card]The Mimeoplasm[/card] while getting a giant power and toughness boost from something else. Now [card]The Mimeoplasm[/card] can, through [card]Necrotic Ooze[/card]’s ability, use other dead creature’s abilities, such as [card]Fauna Shaman[/card]’s to tutor up the earlier mentioned [card]Triskelion[/card] to, in turn, filter [card]The Mimeoplasm[/card]’s +1+1 counters into removal. Have we gotten convoluted enough yet?

As with the earlier Natural Order BUG list, I don’t see this deck breaking any metagames, but the fact that [card]Necrotic Ooze[/card] has seen legacy play gives me hope for its big brother. The deck has some fine interactions that might either fit well into another deck, or be playable enough for more casual Legacy tournaments, which are just about the most fun thing ever. The shop near where I grew up had a Legacy FNM, and while I had access to top-tier decks, I would always show up with Braids, or five color Grow-a-Tog, or some other wonky concoction. The open series is just competitive enough to make this type of deck unplayable, but I travel to enough local events to get my fix.

That’s all for this week. I hope I got a few of you thinking. As always, feel free to reach me in the forums or at [email protected], and I’ll do my best to respond.

-Caleb Durward

22 thoughts on “Legacy Weapon – Commander”

  1. In Cephalid Breakfast,

    The Mimeoplasm + Lord of Extinction + Triskelion/Murderous Redcap gets around Moat and spot removal but loses to Leyline of Sanctity.

    The Mimeoplasm + Lord of Extinction + Giant Solifuge gets around spot removal and Leyline but loses to Moat.

    Neither of these packages can beat an arbitrarily high life total. The current package (Karmic Guide + Kiki-Jiki + Sky Hussar) can, though it’s vulnerable to spot removal.

  2. krosan skyscraper is a 13/13 that you have to buried alive for while deaths shadow is a 13/13 that is put into the graveyard by it self turn one for the cost of B. i think it might be better, in a black deck you might even get the chance to play it lategame.

  3. But, i thought that the cards that appeared in Commander only are not legal for play in other formats? Am i wrong? I checked some of these cards out in Gatherer, and it says they are not legal in any format. Will this change? Will they be legal?

  4. Flusterstorm costs one instead of zero, but it also has the advantage of being hard to counter itself, and it’s one more card for a storm deck to worry about. I think it will see some play.

  5. @Peteman
    That is probably why the guy he suggested instead was being suggested, as side by side he is just worse.

  6. @Tinker

    That won’t work because the card says it “Shuffles it into his or her library and reveals the top card” of his or her freshly shuffled library.

  7. The other thing Flusterstorm does is allows you to counter pacts you were forced to play without fail. If your opponent casts a pact with hivemind on your turn and you flusterstorm your copy he gets a copy of flusterstorm before your storm trigger resolves so you get to counter your pact once your storm trigger resolves after he’s used all of his copies of flusterstorm.

  8. Hellkite Overlord with Phyrexian Dreadnaught in a Stiflenaught shell seems fun. You only have to get the overlord in your graveyard.

  9. Flusterstorm > Mindbreak Trap

    Why? Trap can be countered with 1 card. A storm player won’t be able to remove all copy’s from Flusterstorm

  10. Flusterstorm also can counter the Duress which will take it the turn before, protecting your Force or the knowledge of whether or not you have the Force.


    The Mimeoplasm + Lord of Extinction + Murderous Redcap loses to a single Stifle, which might be relevant if you already used all of your Cabal Therapies on their Force of Will/Spell Pierce/Flusterstorm and whatnot. Since the only deciders here are fringe situations, this is probably going to make Trike the better choice.

  11. Ruhan of the Fomouri
    [blah] plays defense like a Bloodghast[blah]

    actually not, as he blocks the turn he comes into play (probably doesn’t matter that much in real gameplay, but it’s not so bad either).

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  13. The Artist Formerly Known As...

    Caleb, you are way better at brewing decks than this. Don’t try to be cute; just be good.

  14. Mimeoplasm copying a skithyryx and krosan skyscraper is a relavant turn of kill, even with acsetic troll or thrun for pro removal

  15. @Codexdelux: Good call. I figured you could always cast Krosan as a morph and then sack it to Cabal Therapy, but Death’s Shadow is a trifle more elegant.

    @djfatsostupid and Eric: Being hard to counter doesn’t matter against counterless storm decks, so that’s only relevant against High Tide.

    @Osric: Yeah, countering multiple Pacts is becoming more and more relevant. Good point.

    @The Artist Formerly Known As…: Actually, I think I’m at my best when I’m trying to be clever. For example, I crush drafts more consistently with wonky piles of synergy than with established archetypes. If I wasn’t trying so hard to be cute, Aquamoeba wouldn’t have seen play in legacy, and MUTron wouldn’t have taken over standard. Often, what’s good tomarrow looks too cute today, so test all you can.

    @sevenstars: Skittles! Why didn’t I think of Skittles? That’s way better than Blighted Agent. Good call.

  16. @Caleb and The Artist Formerly Known As…. I well remember a now-defunct but at the time well-respected podcast receiving a decklist from a listener right around the time Zendikar was released that showcased Spreading Seas. At the time it had not caught on and the hosts of the podcast critiqued the inclusion of Spreading Seas, declaring: “You’re trying to be too cute…” A few weeks or months passed, Gerry T brewed Spread ‘Em, and pros everywhere were unironically declaring Spreading Seas to be the best card in Standard…

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