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Legacy Weapon – GP Paris and Chromaticore Musings

Grand Prix Paris is in the books, and congrats to ChannelFireball’s own PV on the Top 8.

Individual Card Tech

1) The winner, Javier Dominguez, played a miser’s [ccProd]Null Rod[/ccProd] in the sideboard, which is considered a Vintage staple, but people forget it exists in Legacy. Not only does it preempt a future [ccProd]Stoneforge Mystic[/ccProd] and whatever it tutors up, but it also hits a lot of cards found in Stoneforge decks, including [ccProd]Engineered Explosives[/ccProd], [ccProd]Aether Vial[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Sensei’s Divining Top[/ccProd].

It doesn’t hit planeswalkers like [ccProd]Pithing Needle[/ccProd] does, but the tradeoff is worth it, especially when you consider that it hoses the format’s fast artifact mana. I wouldn’t be surprised if it started showing up as a 1-of in more sideboards in the future.

2) José Manuel Fernández Castelló boarded three [ccProd]Marsh Casualties[/ccProd] in his BUG list, presumably for Elves and [ccProd]True-Name Nemesis[/ccProd], but also hitting cards like [ccProd]Baleful Strix[/ccProd], [ccProd]Empty the Warrens[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Lingering Souls[/ccProd]. When kicked, it can take out entire boards of [ccProd]Deathrite Shaman[/ccProd]s and [ccProd]Stoneforge Mystic[/ccProd]s. If you’re playing white too, [ccProd]Zealous Persecution[/ccProd] is probably better, but Marsh Casualties is a clever option for other black decks.

3) The Top 16 Elves list maindecked a [ccProd]Ruric Thar, the Unbowed[/ccProd] as a [ccProd]Natural Order[/ccProd]/[ccProd]Green Sun’s Zenith[/ccProd] target, and so should you. It also ran a singleton [ccProd]Birchlore Ranger[/ccProd]s in case it naturally draws the Ruric Thar.

BUG Pod

After every major Legacy event, I scan the lists for signs of my fingerprints. Usually there’s some tech that I came up with or popularized, sometimes complete archetypes and sub-archetypes, a remnant of a past article or tournament finish. I don’t know if it’s narcissistic or merely taking pride in my work, but I enjoy it so I try not to analyze it too much.

This Top 8 disappointed me a bit. It consisted of boring Brainstorm decks, none of which I had any influence in. The Miracles lists didn’t even maindeck Rest in Peace. Poor me, right?

Then I got to the 10th place list.

BUG Pod, by Sveinung Nøding

[ccdeck]3 Forest
2 Swamp
1 Island
3 Tropical Island
2 Bayou
1 Underground Sea
1 Polluted Delta
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Deathrite Shaman
4 Veteran Explorer
4 Baleful Strix
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Eternal Witness
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Wood Elves
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Sower of Temptation
1 Acidic Slime
1 Shriekmaw
1 Thragtusk
1 Grave Titan
4 Brainstorm
4 Cabal Therapy
3 Birthing Pod
2 Pernicious Deed
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Recurring Nightmare
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
—–Sideboard—–
4 Force of Will
3 Riptide Pilferer
2 Envelop
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Golgari Charm
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Thoughtseize
1 Venser, Shaper Savant[/ccdeck]

Long-time readers will recognize this deck as a Legacy Weapon special. After I cashed an Open with it, my buddy Gleicher asked if it was a good choice. I said yes and then no, and fortunately he did/didn’t listen to me and kept playing and tuning the deck over a few Opens, securing a Top 8 and several cashes. Since Gleicher went through a few different versions, I’m not sure what of these adjustments are his and which are Nøding’s, though I do remember him adding the [ccProd]Sower of Temptation[/ccProd] and the [ccProd]Riptide Pilferer[/ccProd]s to the board.

I reached out to Nøding for a few questions.

How were the Riptide Pilferers? I know Gleicher ended up cutting them but he only played them in a few events.

I do like the card very much, but I did not get to use it much during the GP. It is excellent versus Show and Tell combo as well as storm. I only faced Show and Tell once and no storm at all. Versus combo such as Elves it is obviously bad. I have not tried siding them in against Reanimator, but I suspect that they might just be helpful for the enemy. Even though I did not get to use them this time around, I think that they are nearly essential. Plan A versus storm and Show and Tell is to use counters and discard to not die immediately while keeping them down with Pilferer. I think that one of the main attractions of playing BUG Pod compared to other [ccProd]Veteran Explorer[/ccProd] decks is that it can beat almost everything, and that seems a lot more difficult without the Riptide Pilferers.

Any changes you’d make to the list?

I would like to play the fourth Deathrite. I think that [ccProd]Wood Elves[/ccProd] is the worst card in the deck, but the third three-drop is needed. The role it serves as ramp in the Pod chain is useful, but it is a little bit weak.

I agree, it’s definitely the weakest card in the deck.

I don’t quite know what to do about it, though. [ccProd]Bone Shredder[/ccProd] seems very clunky as well. Have you tried a second Finks?

One redeeming quality of Wood Elves is that is gets [ccProd]Glen Elendra Archmage[/ccProd] fast together with a Pod. I generally side out Finks versus combo. The third three-drop is not needed, since podding to 4 once is nearly a game win by it self.

And that’s where our conversation ended. For the record, I don’t hate a second Finks, though I also like [ccProd]Deceiver Exarch[/ccProd] as it helps you Pod into the important cards faster, and the ability is randomly useful. The last time I played the deck, Exarch let me answer a Sneaked in [ccProd]Emrakul[/ccProd]. In another match, it tapped down a [ccProd]Griselbrand[/ccProd] to force through lethal.

Blue Depths

The tournament did have one breakout deck. Kasper Euser snagged 15th place with this masterpiece:

[ccdeck]1 Maze of Ith
4 Flagstones of Trokair
4 Tropical Island
2 Savannah
2 Tundra
3 Thespian’s Stage
1 Dark Depths
1 Wasteland
4 Flooded Strand
3 Windswept Heath
2 Misty Rainforest
4 Force of Will
4 Intuition
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
3 Supreme Verdict
4 Exploration
4 Living Wish
4 Crop Rotation
2 Life from the Loam
—–Sideboard—–
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Peacekeeper
1 Meddling Mage
1 Karakas
1 Dark Depths
1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
2 Engineered Explosives
3 Spell Pierce[/ccdeck]

[ccProd]Dark Depths[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Thespian’s Stage[/ccProd] is a two-card win, and here Kasper gives it the Legacy treatment with cantrips and [ccProd]Force of Will[/ccProd]s.

[ccProd]Wasteland[/ccProd] is the combo’s Achilles’ heel. If your opponent has an open Wasteland in play, combo’ing off involves activating Thespian’s Stage targeting Dark Depths, choosing to keep the Stage thanks to the new legend rule, and then getting the new Dark Depths Wastelanded with the trigger on the stack. This an especially brutal 2-for-1 because it usually takes some time and searching to set up the combo.

There are a few different ways to win through Wasteland. One option is to set up a second Thespian’s Stage and activate it in response to the Waste, though that requires a good deal of mana. Another way involves casting [ccProd]Life from the Loam[/ccProd] and comboing off again, though that’s a little slow without Exploration in play. The third option uses [ccProd]Intuition[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Crop Rotation[/ccProd] to grab the deck’s own Wasteland, targeting the opponent’s when it’s time to combo.

The [ccProd]Flagstones[/ccProd] look out of place at first, but they combine with Crop Rotation to actually accelerate you into a faster win. Without a Crop Rotation, extra Flagstones serve as shuffle effects for the cantrips.

[ccProd]Supreme Verdict[/ccProd] is mostly a stall card, but if the opponent has a flying blocker it can force through a Dark Depths token.

The [ccProd]Living Wish[/ccProd] package is tight and smart. I like how it gives the deck a way to beat a variety of rough matchups in game one while also serving as a tutor for the combo. All of the cards either facilitate the win, hose an entire strategy by themselves, or are useful in a wide variety of situations. Avoiding cute, niche cards makes for a strong toolbox. My main problem with it is that it doesn’t have a real answer to Wasteland except for maybe getting another combo piece to combo off again.

Overall this deck appears solid and I’m not surprised it did well. If you’re looking for a brew, you could do far worse. Personally, I don’t know why he held out for Top 16’ing a Legacy Grand Prix when he could’ve sent it in to me to possibly win 25$ in store credit, but to each his own.

Standard Chromanticore

I Spoiler Spotlighted [ccProd]Chromanticore[/ccProd], which you can read here. While I had fun with the article, the fact that I took the time to write about it should tell you something. When picking a card to feature, I lean toward interesting and powerful cards that people might underestimate at first glance. As such, I wasn’t surprised to hear about people enjoying some moderate success with Chromanticore decks.

While some have thanked me for inspiration, other lists have popped up that are their own original idea, leading to different choices. Nick Romano Top 8’d an IQ with a version using [ccProd]Voyaging Satyr[/ccProd] over [ccProd]Manaweft Sliver[/ccProd], the reasoning being that Satyr is a better fight creature and it lives through his sideboard [ccProd]Golgari Charm[/ccProd]s, both of which are fine reasons. If you’re interested in that list, check out JVL’s article from earlier this week.

Another player by the name of Georgoulis messaged me with his version of the deck, which he used to 4-0 his LGS. He didn’t have access to [ccProd]Domri Rade[/ccProd], which led him down a different path than my build.

Five-Color Punch, by Claus Georgoulis

[ccdeck]4 Breeding Pool
3 Temple of Silence
2 Temple of Abandon
2 Temple Garden
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Godless Shrine
2 Overgrown Tomb
3 Watery Grave
3 Temple of Deceit
2 Stomping ground
2 Temple of Plenty
1 Hallowed Fountain
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Fleecemane Lion
4 Chromanticore
3 Reaper of the Wilds
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
3 Abrupt Decay
3 Sphinx’s Revelation
2 Far Away
3 Hero’s Downfall
—–Sideboard—–
3 Dispel
3 Centaur Healer
2 Golgari Charm
2 Doom Blade
2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
2 Detention Sphere
1 Far Away[/ccdeck]

I like how, rather than say, “I don’t have Domris, I guess I can’t play Chromanticore,” Georgoulis found a different approach that used the cards he had. I don’t prefer his version, but it is interesting. I especially like all of the hexproof options for bestowing.

The Elspeths in the sideboard are for the RG matchup as a way to clear their creatures while keeping your own intact. Considering how good Elspeth is in this format, I strongly recommend them in the main deck if you have a white emphasis.

This next list went 6-1 in a 92-person tournament in Japan.

Five-Color Midrange, by Takayoshi Ichikawa

[ccdeck]2 Swamp
2 Mountain
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Plains
4 Overgrown Tomb
2 Stomping Ground
2 Temple Garden
1 Breeding Pool
1 Godless Shrine
3 Temple of Abandon
2 Temple of Triumph
3 Manaweft Sliver
4 Sylvan Caryatid
3 Sin Collector
3 Courser of Cruphix
3 Polukranos, World Eater
3 Stormbreath Dragon
4 Chromanticore
3 Xenagos, the Reveler
2 Lay of the Land
3 Peregrination
3 Dreadbore
3 Far Away
2 Rakdos’s Return
—–Sideboard—–
3 Shock
3 Mistcutter Hydra
3 Thoughtseize
2 Assemble the Legion
2 Putrefy
1 Unravel the Aether
1 Revoke Existence[/ccdeck]

I’m not sure who ran the tournament or what it was for, but seven rounds is a lot for an FNM.

There are a lot of things to like about this deck. For starters, the basics are awesome. When playing against aggro, it can be frustrating to have all of your lands cost 2 life or come into play tapped. Here, the basics work out because [ccProd]Lay of the Land[/ccProd] is a card.

I hadn’t considered [ccProd]Peregrination[/ccProd], though I like it less than Lay. Four mana for a fixer is too much mana, though at least it provides some filtering in the scry and sets up [ccProd]Rakdos’s Return[/ccProd] nicely.

I’m not sure about [ccProd]Stormbreath Dragon[/ccProd] over [ccProd]Blood Baron[/ccProd]. Neither can be bestowed on, but Baron has protection from the entire mono-black deck, and I’d probably want at least three in my 75. I’m guessing that the inclusion of Dragon and [ccProd]Sin Collector[/ccProd] were due to a larger than average amount of control in the expected field. Don’t get me wrong, Sin Collector is a great card, but it’d take a certain meta to make me maindeck it.

Going forward, I like the idea of mixing Ichikawa’s Lay of the Land mana base with the white emphasis for access to Elspeth. With access to white and this high of a curve, the card is too good to ignore.

On Cheaterinos and Witch Hunts

Recently, there’ve been a few videos of people making illegal plays on camera. Since I care about the community, I care about how we react to these sorts of situations, and I once wrote a pretty in-depth article on the subject of DQs and suspensions. It opens with a few anecdotes, a couple of which I later found out aren’t accurate, but the general idea of the piece holds up. Give it a shot.

Caleb Durward

Discussion

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