Following up on my last Reserve List article, this week I’d like to discuss why I believe white-bordered cards should be banned in tournament play…just kidding.
Conley Woods wrote an article a while back about undervalued Legacy sleepers. He of course couldn’t discuss all the sleepers in one article, but if I was going to write an update to his article, I wouldn’t leave out Eureka. This Cascade+Hypergenesis all-in-one package (that also puts in Planeswalkers and can be forced through with Boseiju) is way too powerful and fun to be as overlooked as it is. The new Eldrazi that costs 15 mana only increases my desire to break this card.
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is going to enter the battlefield in Constructed formats, one way or another. Obviously he fits right into the existing Hypergenesis strategy in Extended, but what about Legacy? As luck would have it, I’ve been working on a Eureka deck in Legacy for some time now, and I’m hoping Emrakul is the missing piece. My initial list was getting too cute (playing Force of Will to win a counter-war and Thoughtseize to clear the path), and was too light on fatties. James Gates, who has been playing Hypergenesis in Extended, helped me whittle it down and increase the fatty count.
The sideboard is very rough at this point, basically just some ideas jotted down, which I expand upon later in this article.
This deck can easily win a game in which it casts only 1 spell the entire game: Eureka. Sometimes a Lotus Petal or a Lim-Dul’s Vault has to be cast along the way, but you’re always trying to land that one big Eureka or Show and Tell. The deck doesn’t use the graveyard or need to cast multiple spells in a turn. Lim-Dul’s Vault is such a powerful tutor that it can find whatever is needed, acceleration, Eureka, Show and Tell, fatties, an Akroma’s Memorial to make sure you can 1-turn kill, etc. It even finds more than 1 piece if you have time.
Once the Eureka resolves, Progenitus, Emrakul and friends will ensure that you win. Akroma’s Memorial, Nicol Bolas, and Terastadon all prevent the opponent from getting another turn with their lands, and provide some insurance against something like Solitary Confinement or Moat. If I could Show and Tell planeswalkers, I might have more Nicol Bolas, but 1 is enough as it is.
Boseiju, Who Shelters All is very powerful in this deck. As I’ve written about before, I think the best deck in Legacy is Counter-Top Progenitus. What are they supposed to do if you draw a Boseiju OR use a Lim-Dul’s Vault to find one? The card was testing so powerfully that we upped the count on this legendary land to 3, and 4 wasn’t out of the question. Decks with Wasteland AND counterspells, like Merfolk and Canadian Thresh, will have an easier time beating the Boseiju, and these decks will prove to be the most difficult matchups. Merfolk especially is problematic, as Daze, Cursecatcher, and Standstill are all very annoying if they can kill our Boseiju.
As for the matchups vs. aggro or combo decks, our engine is both fast and powerful. 4 Spirit Guide, 4 Lotus Petal, and 2 City of Traitors let a Eureka or a Show and Tell go off pretty quickly. If they are just trying to kill you with Lightning Bolts and Nacatls, they probably won’t. If their plan involves Ad Nauseum, Goblin Charbelcher or Entomb, things get trickier. The Ad Nauseum matchup will just be a race to go off, with their deck seeming slightly, but not overwhelmingly, faster than ours. Belcher is likely just too fast for our deck, unless our draw is amazing or theirs poor. Vs. Reanimator, we don’t really care about non-Iona fatties, since we can just go off after they come out. As for Iona, they better name Green, and if they do, you are free to Lim-Dul’s Vault and Brainstorm your way into a Show and Tell or Sakashima, either of which is likely game over. They also have Force of Will and Daze for us to worry about, so Boseiju is important. Vs. their fast draws, we will often have to go off and just hope they don’t have a Force of Will. Sideboarding in a Curfew or two (or Edict, but I like sending the fatty to their hand) will help, since we can tutor for it(them) and buy some time or even go off right away.
Any deck with Life from the Loam in it is going to be wishing they didn’t get paired against you.
Force of Will decks, Combo decks, Zoo decks, and Loam decks make up the “tier 1″ of Legacy right now. Eureka does very well vs some of these, fairly well against others, and not so well vs a few, as discussed above. Is it ready to become a tier 1 combo deck itself, alongside Ad Nauseum, Belcher, and Reanimator? Perhaps. Tuning the sideboard, and specifically tuning it for the metagame you expect to encounter, will be critical if the deck is going to make the leap. Here are some possible cards for the sideboard:
[the usual suspects, with Leyline getting the nod in our black decks]
ANTI AD NAUSEUM/BELCHER
Arcane Lab seems pretty strong with our Lotus Petals, Spirit Guides, and Cities of Traitors helping us ramp it out. A Pyroblast from Belcher or a Chain of Vapor from Ad Nauseum has me concerned though, so maybe these work best after a first turn Thoughtseize/Duress. We can allow ourselves several sideboard slots in this matchup since we don’t need to board much vs aggro decks. Keep in mind that Orim’s Chant would require the addition of a Savannah or other White land.
ANTI MERFOLK CARDS
Some of these will be the anti-counterspell cards listed above, but in addition to these, you may want a couple of Firespouts (along with a Volcanic Island somewhere in the deck) to give you time to find a Boseiju or two.
ANTI HATE CARDS
How do you hate this deck out? It isn’t easy or likely, but we should try to figure out what “splash damage” we might take from cards already sitting in sideboards. Gaddock Teeg is good against us, but a) it isn’t quite as commonly played as Ethersworn Canonist, although some Zoo lists do maindeck it, and b) it doesn’t turn off our Show and Tells. A Slaughter Pact in the sideboard isn’t a terrible idea, since it is good vs the decks that might have Teeg anyway. An Echoing Truth or Chain of Vapor is a more universal answer to problematic permanents, though again, we would want 1 at most.
Discard is good against us, so perhaps Scroll Rack or the 3rd and 4th Brainstorms should be in sideboard. Misdirection is particularly useful if Hymn to Tourach is a popular card in your region. Spell Pierce is a card I really like sideboarding right now in many different decks. It is good vs combo decks and also counters discard spells.
I hope you’ve had fun learning about this newcomer to the Legacy landscape, and hope you have even more fun trying it out.