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Legacy Weapon – Good Ideas

Good Idea 1: Know Your Breaker Math

In a ten-round tournament, you and your buddy are 9th and 10th going into the last round, both at X-1. You sit down and play your match, which you win.

Before signing the slip, he notices that table three (the pair of X-1-1s that could have safely drawn in) are playing it out for standing. He turns to you and asks for the draw. What’s the play?

To answer this question, there are a few different concerns.

First, if there are X-1-1s already, they could overtake you on breakers. If both your buddy and an X-1-1 have better breakers than you, you could be drawing yourself out of Tp 8. If you have better breakers than any of them, you’re on the safe side.

Second, remember that if table four notices the same thing, they can draw and knock one of you out. Be discrete.

I once had a situation where my match prevented two other tables from drawing. However, since I knew they were both playing it out, I was able to draw. To cover, I played a match for fun to hide the ID. Fortunately, a match of Magic takes a terrific amount of concentration, and if anything I’m exaggerating the necessary amount of subterfuge.

Note that breakers are more volatile in shorter tournaments. I’ve been jumped over a full point in the last round of a 7-round event, but that would be rare for a 10+ rounder, where things are more stable. For a jump to occur, the players need to be very close.

Early losses hurt your breakers because your opponents will have worse records on average. That said, remember that a win hurts your breakers and a loss improves them. This is one reason why, when an X-0-1 tries to crush an X-1 to let an X-2 in, that same X-1 will be the X-2 that makes it in. The X-1 already had great breakers to be paired against an undefeated, and now those same breakers are improving from a loss.

Take a photo of the breakers to remove any hesitation or guesswork, and you’ll no longer have to convince an opponent who didn’t do the math. Instead, show the photo and you’ll both know for certain.

Good Idea 2: Play Jund in Standard

I’ve heard many complaints about this Standard format, most citing a combination of hyper-diversity and lack of interaction.

How could too much diversity be a thing? Well for starters, it makes metagaming more of a crap shoot. That situational removal spell might be the best card in your deck, or it might be a complete blank. To make up for a wide variety of matchups, the deck you’re playing had better have some derfy, powerful draws. Cards like [card]Bonfire of the Damned[/card] and [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] are powerful enough to negate every meaningful decision in an entire game. If you prefer direct pressure, cards like [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card] and [card]Ethereal Armor[/card] help win the derf race.

As far as interaction goes, I have no sympathy for people complaining about the Hexproof mirror. If you want complex games, you need to slow things down, to hinder or brick your opponent at every turn. Jund has enough quality removal to force longer games with more decisions, and it also has some mindless cards that win games by themselves.

Jund

[deck]Main Deck
4 Blood Crypt
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Stomping Ground
2 Kessig Wolf Run
3 Rootbound Crag
3 Dragonskull Summit
4 Woodland Cemetery
1 Forest
4 Thragtusk
4 Huntmaster of the Fells
3 Olivia Voldaren
4 Farseek
2 Ground Seal
1 Rakdos Keyrune
2 Tragic Slip
1 Liliana of the Veil
2 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Rakdos’s Return
2 Putrefy
1 Dreadbore
2 Mizzium Mortars
3 Bonfire of the Damned
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Sever the Bloodline
Sideboard
1 Ground Seal
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Rakdos’s Return
1 Gaze of Granite
4 Pillar of Flame
2 Duress
2 Appetite for Brains
2 Slaughter Games
1 Barter in Blood[/deck]

I played this in the Chicago WMCQ and PTQ to a combined record of 16-5 and a PTQ T4. Nothing amazing, but the deck felt consistent and good, and I was excited to run it back in the St. Louis Open.

Before St. Louis, my buddy Joey Mispagel messaged me saying he hadn’t played much Standard and needed a list with sideboard notes. I shipped him what I had, and he shared the list with Devin Koepke.

Joey Top 8’d, and Devin and I both Top 32’d with a combined record of 23-6-2.

Overall, this list is fairly stock, but the differences are important. In the main deck, I’ve eschewed [card]Sire of Insanity[/card] in favor of more removal. Having access to [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] is like having [card]Krosan Grip[/card] in Legacy—a lot of matchups just get easier. Unlike most removal, it kills [card]Domri Rade[/card] and actually interacts with Hexproof. [card]Sever the Bloodline[/card] gives a nice bit of inevitability in the grindier matchups.

[card]Pillar of Flame[/card], while important, shouldn’t creep into the main deck. The aggro matchups don’t last very long, giving you little time to draw 1- or 2-ofs. While it’s important to diversify your removal, you also don’t want dead cards in the late game, which Pillar is in a variety of matchups. Post-board, you want to draw Pillar early and often, and I wouldn’t run less than four. They’re necessary vs. the variety of decks playing [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card] and [card]Strangleroot Geist[/card].

In general, I’m happier keeping a hand full of spells than dudes. Kill the opponent’s things before worrying about playing your own, except when you can brick them.

Vs. Aggro

Remove

[draft]2 Ground Seal
1 Rakdos’s Return
1 Farseek
1 Rakdos Keyrune
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter[/draft]

Add

[draft]4 Pillar of Flame
1 Barter in Blood
1 Gaze of Granite[/draft]

[card]Gaze of Granite[/card] is less good against the more midrange-y builds of Naya, but can still be great at clearing out [card]Domri Rade[/card] and a horde of guys, especially on the play. It shines against Naya Blitz and Hexproof.

Something a lot of Jund players miss is that some number of [card]Farseek[/card]s should be boarded out against aggro. The ramp is less necessary thanks to lowering the curve with cheap removal, and shaving [card]Farseek[/card] helps prevent flood, which is the main way Jund loses.

Watch out for [card]Threaten[/card]-effects like [card]Zealous Conscripts[/card]. If they take your [card]Olivia Voldaren[/card], you no longer control her, and everything you stole resets. In general, killing with Olivia is better than stealing, though sometimes stealing lets you play around [card]Selesnya Charm[/card].

Vs. Hexproof

I do the usual aggro sideboard plan, but also shave [card]Putrefy[/card] and the second Garruk for [card]Duress[/card], which can actually answer [card]Rancor[/card].

Note that an overloaded [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card] doesn’t target, so it kills hexproof creatures.

Vs. Junk Reanimator

Remove

[draft]2 Tragic Slip
2 Abrupt Decay
1 Liliana of the Veil[/draft]

Add

[draft]1 Ground Seal
2 Appetite for Brains
2 Slaughter Games[/draft]

I usually name Angel with [card]Slaughter Games[/card], though if there’s value in the graveyard or a known card (say they name spirit with [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] or show something with [card]Grisly Salvage[/card]) I’m happy to hit that too. Junk needs all of its pieces to compete with Jund’s inevitability, and if you can strip an element away you’re giving Garruk or Olivia time to win. If I added another card for this matchup, it would be a third Slaughter Games.

You need to kill the mana dorks. If you let them have five mana on turn three, you’re going to get [card]Acidic Slime[/card]d out of the game. Don’t worry about burning premium removal, your whole deck is full of removal and you’ll draw more of it. Later, the mana guys get eaten by Bonfire and Mortars, which helps give us better topdecks and inevitability.

Jund players claim they have great Junk matchups, and Junk players say the reverse. I’ve played the matchup from both sides and with many great players. If skill is even, the games should split.

Vs. the Jund Mirror

Remove

[draft]2 Tragic Slip
2 Ground Seal
2 Abrupt Decay[/draft]

Add

[draft]2 Appetite for Brains
2 Duress
1 Rakdos’s Return
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter[/draft]

The Jund mirror is one of the many reasons I favor [card]Rakdos’s Return[/card] over [card]Sire of Insanity[/card]. Aside from not ignoring removal, Return’s ability to answer a planeswalker is huge!

Jund features an interactive mirror match. While it’s true that there are a few derf cards in the matchup, especially Return and Garruk, the games typically go long enough that a combination of small bad decisions will punish the worse player. Post-board, spot discard like [card]Duress[/card] and [card]Appetite for Brains[/card] removes further variance, and the perfect information makes the game feel more like a chess puzzle than a card game.

Going forward, I’d like to shave a maindeck [card]Ground Seal[/card] for a second Liliana. That shift makes the [card]Gaze of Granite[/card] less necessary, which could then get cut for another Seal or [card]Slaughter Games[/card].

Good Idea 3: Play Ghost Quarter in Standard

[draft]ghost quarter[/draft]

All throughout the Open in St. Louis, I heard whispers of a Hexproof player with [card]Ghost Quarter[/card]s out of the board. One friend fell to him with Human Reanimator, then another in the Hexproof Mirror.

In the last round, it was my turn to face him, and I learned his name was Grant Fowler. Not my most experienced opponent, but with a good head on his shoulders, and I could see why he was still X-2.

Even though I ran a basic Forest in my deck, I ended up drawing it both games two and three, turning his [card]Ghost Quarter[/card] into a [card]Strip Mine[/card]. In a matchup like Hexproof vs. Jund, hitting land drops is important for the Jund side. After all, the Jund player is trying to [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] some enchantments, Pillar some [card]Strangleroot Geist[/card]s, and stall long enough to overload a [card]Mizzium Mortars[/card] or cast [card]Gaze of Granite[/card] for 3. If Jund is taken off a land, especially a red source, Hexproof has that extra turn to put the game away.

I especially like this bit of tech out of aggressive decks, which have low curves and can afford to trade lands earlier. The colorless mana is fairly useless, so when boarding it needs to be treated like a spell.

Good Idea 4: Transmute Artifact in Affinity

[draft]transmute artifact[/draft]

Thanks to the beloved affinity mechanic, [card]Transmute Artifact[/card] can jump the curve, making the card closer to an actual [card]Tinker[/card].

Jeff Blyden played the following deck in the St. Louis Legacy Open, and it was criminal that he didn’t get a deck tech. You hear me Reuben Bresler? Criminal!

Transmutefinity, by Jeff Blyden

[deck]Main Deck
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Ancient Den
4 Great Furnace
3 Glimmervoid
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Vault Skirge
4 Ornithopter
4 Memnite
4 Frogmite
4 Myr Enforcer
1 Master of Etherium
1 Etched Champion
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Sundering Titan
4 Thoughtcast
3 Transmute Artifact
3 Cranial Plating
3 Mox Opal
3 Springleaf Drum
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
Sideboard
2 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Blood Moon
2 Whipflare
2 Ensaring Bridge
1 Platinum Emperion
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Etched Champion
1 Dispatch
1 Pithing Needle
1 Phyrexian Revoker[/deck]

This deck features the hysterical curve of turn two [card]Myr Enforcer[/card], turn three [card]Transmute Artifact[/card] for [card]Sundering Titan[/card].

Jeff dropped at 2-2, beating RUG and Dredge but losing to Elves twice. I’ve always felt somewhat invincible from the Elves side of this matchup. While Affinity has [card]Ethersworn Canonist[/card], Elves can tutor up a maindeck [card]Viridian Shaman[/card] and return it with [card]Wirewood Symbiote[/card]. On top of that, Elves has a more powerful draw engine and typically wins a turn faster.

One thing I like about this deck is the presence of a maindeck [card]Ethersworn Canonist[/card]. St. Louis features large amounts of Ad Nauseam, and that combined with [card]Omniscience[/card]’s recent burst in popularity made Canonist a strong choice on the weekend.

Unfortunately, the [card]Myr Enforcer[/card] into eight-drop chain is overly cute and creates too many dead draws. Despite that, the [card]Transmute Artifact[/card] idea has merit, turning Frogs into whatever you need and adding consistency to the sideboard.

[card]Chromatic Star[/card] seems like a strong fit in this deck, as it can help cast Transmute or provide value after being sacrificed.

Here’s my version:

Transmutefinity

[deck]Main Deck
4 Ancient Den
4 Tundra
4 Seat of the Synod
3 Darksteel Citadel
3 Etched Champion
4 Frogmite
4 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Vault Skirge
2 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
3 Springleaf Drum
4 Thoughtcast
3 Chromatic Star
3 Mox Opal
3 Transmute Artifact
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
3 Cranial Plating
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Feast and Famine[/deck]

This list features the reasonable [card]Transmute Artifact[/card] chain of [card]Frogmite[/card] into [card]Batterskull[/card], which comes down as early as turn two. It maintains a light curve, which is one of Affinity’s strengths, but with higher power density thanks to the tutor package. The Swords’ protection adds a sort of pseudo-evasion, a catalyst for Plating damage.

[card]Etched Champion[/card] is good at carrying a [card]Cranial Plating[/card]. It’s also great at carrying a Jitte, a Sword, or a Batterskull, which this list can make happen early and consistently. Unlike [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card], [card]Transmute Artifact[/card] puts the equipment directly into play, allowing for lines like turn two [card]Etched Champion[/card], turn three Sword + Equip.

Going forward, I’d like to test a version of this list with a miser’s [card]Gaea’s Cradle[/card], which is useful for random Transmute Artifact and equipment costs. Such a version could also jam the Thopter combo, adding a different, more resilient type of threat that takes advantage of free mana in the mid- to late game. Perhaps that idea, like [card]Myr Enforcer[/card] into [card]Sundering Titan[/card], is too cute.

Caleb Durward
@CalebDMTG

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