The State of Midrange in Legacy

Midrange is usually seen as a B/G/x archetype, thanks to the last impact of cards like Deathrite Shaman and Abrupt Decay. That’s just as true in Legacy as it is in Modern. For a long time, the big two were Shardless Sultai and Jund, but Leovold, Emissary of Trest changed the equation.

Blue is also the best color in Legacy, so I would only look at Sultai, which I think does the job better. Let’s take a look at the latest midrange decks.

Sultai with Noble Hierarch

Jacob Wilson, Top 8 at GP Santa Clara 01-07-2018

Jacob Wilson is a tremendous Temur Delver player, but for GP Santa Clara, he decided to bring Sultai Leovold, evocative of the list Reid Duke took to a win at GP Louisville exactly one year ago.

The deck seems to make a lot of sense. You have mana dorks so that you can use your land drop to play Daze or to Wasteland your opponent while beating down with the most powerful 3-drop in the format.

After trying it, though, I found out that the deck was full of air. There are so many mana dorks that if your opponent answers your few threats, there isn’t much left. One of the cards that I can’t play if I choose to play a midrange deck is Baleful Strix, which is a perfect blocker against Delver of Secrets. I really missed it here.

I usually love basics in midrange decks to play better against Wasteland or Blood Moon, but with 4 Noble Hierarch, I can see why you don’t want to play Island or Forest.

Sultai Control

Marius Hausmann, Top 4 at MKM Frankfurt 01-07-2018

This is much more the kind of Sultai Control that I like, without the cute permission in Daze or the mana dork in Noble Hierarch. It has fewer 3-drops and more (4x) Baleful Strix. Hymn to Tourach is also one of the best card for a midrange deck, where you want to consistently 2-for-1 your opponent.

There is one thing that I hated while playing this deck: too few answers to a turn-1 Deathrite Shaman. Jacob’s deck had one more Push and 3 Daze, whereas this one only has 2 Push and 2 Decay, and playing Force of Will on Deathrite is not ideal if you’re tapped out and they might play Daze.

Umezawa’s Jitte felt out of place, as there are many ways main-deck ways to deal with it and it’s only good against a few decks in the format. I would replace it with more spells, since your Snapcaster Mages are hungry in this build.

I like the singleton Diabolic Edict to be able to fight Marit Liege in game 1 and also to have a good answer to Gurmag Angler, who can be problematic for Sultai decks.
I recorded with this version of the deck and it’ll be up on ChannelFireball in a few days, so check it out!

4-Color Leovold

Thomas Mar, 1st place at MKM Frankfurt 01-07-2018

While I dislike the name Czech Pile, and I promised myself to never use it here on ChannelFireball, I have to let you know that this is the deck’s original creator, whom I remember winning Ovino Milan couple of years ago with a weird collections of cards. He did it again, winning MKM Frankfurt with another very weird collection of cards.

I had been loving this deck up to the point that I either got bored of it, or that I kept losing to Temur Delver. I can’t believe Thomas even trimmed a land, going down to 19. The deck is super mana hungry, and he isn’t even playing any basics.

He and Ondrej Strasky were always fans of multiple discard spells, with 4 copies of them to have good, cheap targets for Snapcaster Mage.

Kolaghan’s Command and Pyroblast are what put this deck over Sultai Control, in my opinion. They are very similar decks and they both play the best cards for a midrange deck, but of course if your mana base doesn’t fall apart on you, the one playing more colors is has the advantage (as a result, Thomas managed to beat Marius in the Top 4).

4-Color Leovold is still one of the best decks in Legacy, and probably the best midrange deck.


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