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Deck Guide: Legacy Turbo Valki

Last week, I wrote about Shardless Agent returning to it’s midrange form with the printing of Valki. Well, Shardless also has a history of being played in some very powerful combo decks (looking at you, Hypergenesis), and Turbo Valki lets Shardless Agent be embraced in it’s full combo glory once more.

I mentioned in my previous article (as well as my set review) that I don’t think Valki should work as he does with cascade, which honestly makes me a bit hesitant to write about the deck. For now though, the deck is here so it would be remiss of me to ignore it. In fact, the deck had a dominating run in a Challenge this past weekend in the hands of Magic Online user Ark4n, as he went undefeated to take down the event. Let’s take a look at his list and see what’s going on.

 

 

Legacy Turbo Valki by Ark4n

 

Header - The Game Plan

The primary game plan of this deck is extraordinarily simple: cast a card with cascade as fast as possible, which will always hit Valki (well, Tibalt really) and use that to dominate the game. You get to back it up with a huge amount of free disruption, like Force of Will and Misdirection, which makes it a very consistent plan. If all else fails, Oko becomes the primary backup plan, as casting him on turn one or two is often good enough to win the game by himself.

 

Header - Card Choices

Shardless AgentViolent OutburstArdent PleaValki, God of Lies // Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor

 

This is the engine of the deck and it functions as a one-card combo. Any of these cascade cards will always hit Valki (which, as a quirk of the rules, allows you to cast Tibalt), and that’s generally too much for any deck to beat. It is a one-card combo because you only need to draw the cascade part of the combo and you’re off to the races. 

The mana base is a bit stretched in supporting these cascade cards, but these are the best choices out there. Shardless Agent and Ardent Plea both get removed to the Force effects, which is important in a deck with 10 pitch counters. Violent Outburst can be cast at instant speed, which is relevant (especially with Force of Negation), but in general you want to cast it at a time where you can activate Tibalt. Demonic Dread is substantially worse because it needs a target in play, so I’d stick to these cards for now.

 

Oko, Thief of Crowns

 

How much more can be said about Oko? Almost half my deck guides include the card and in general, I say a lot of the same things about it. The fact that this deck, which is designed to try to “win the game” as early as turn one, uses Oko as the primary backup plan (because it’s the next best thing to a seven mana planeswalker, clearly) is absurd. It’s excellent here as it is everywhere, and in general he’ll put your opponent in a real squeeze if you can get him into play early.

 

Force of Will (Borderless)Force of NegationMisdirectionMystical Dispute

 

It’s crucial that the disruption in this deck cannot be cascaded into and this is a potent mix of countermagic. As opposed to a deck like Omni-Tell, this deck can support this many pitch counters because it only needs a single card to win the game. That means that most other cards in hand are relatively dead and thus, unnecessary. 

Force of Negation is not perfect at defending the combo, but it does work with Violent Outburst and is still just a great card. Misdirection doesn’t see too much play these days but if people need to use countermagic to interact with you, it’ll do the trick just fine. Mystical Dispute might not be free, but it still costs one mana a lot of the time that it’s protecting your combo and cannot be cascaded into, so I love the inclusion here.

 

Simian Spirit GuideElvish Spirit Guide

 

This is the “turbo” part of “Turbo Valki” and these cards have a long pedigree of enabling unfair decks. They can’t be cascaded into and give you the potential to cast the broken part of your deck as early as turn one.

 

Flooded StrandGemstone CavernsGemstone MineMana ConfluencePlateauTropical IslandVolcanic IslandWooded Foothills

 

I can’t claim that I know this is the perfect mana base for the deck, but it looks extremely functional. The two fetchlands give you access to whatever color you need at a given time and the four duals encompass the range of required colors. The eight rainbow lands are close to cost-free, as by the time you would get punished for them, the game should be over. Gemstone Caverns is a high variance card, but if you’re on the draw, the boost of mana it provides is explosive.

 

 

Header - The Sideboard

Gemstone Caverns

 

The sideboard Caverns is awesome here, and you can just board it in when you’re on the draw to accelerate on your opponents.

 

Mystical Dispute

 

Most players will be bringing in countermagic against you, so having a few more Disputes to bring in will really come in handy.

 

Dismember

 

There aren’t many removal spells that a deck like this could play that cost a single mana, but Dismember is certainly the best of them. Sometimes you need to kill a creature (most notably Lavinia, Azorius Renegade) and Dismember is the best card for the job.

 

Klothys, God of DestinyPlague Engineer

 

I’m lumping these together, not because they’re similar in what they accomplish, but they’re similar in their function. Just like Oko, in the right context, turboing out one of these can be just as game-ending as a Valki. Plague Engineer will make the lives of tribal players really difficult. Klothys, on the other hand, is just an unkillable threat that will eventually grind out most decks that rely on removal.

 

Lavinia, Azorius Renegade

 

This is the best card in the mirror. I saw somewhere on the internet recently that when Lavinia is the card you want to be playing in Legacy, you know that the format is in a tough spot. If I’m honest, Legacy has been in a tough spot for a while now, but it’s certainly not a great sign that Lavinia is showing up in pretty high numbers.

 

Leyline of the Void

 

Leyline is the perfect piece of graveyard hate in this deck. It can’t be cascaded into, it’s a one card combo against decks like Dredge and Reanimator and this deck is mulliganing somewhat aggressively anyway, so this has a higher chance of showing up in play.

 

Header - Tips and Tricks

  • Misdirection is a strange card. It stops countermagic by redirecting the target of the counter to itself (which then fizzles because it’s no longer on the stack). Keep in mind that there are a lot of random cards it interacts with, such as Reanimate, which can be really devastating.
  • Gemstone Caverns is legendary, so if you side in the second copy, make sure you don’t try to put both copies in (in that case, just exile the second copy to the first).
  • Don’t forget that you can just cast Valki in a pinch. This deck has a lot of random two power creatures, so if your opponent disrupts your combo into oblivion, some dorky beats might get the job done.

 

Header - Sideboard Guide

RUG Delver

RUG Delver

Out: 4 Force of Negation

In: 1 Gemstone Caverns, 2 Mystical Dispute, 1 Klothys, God of Destiny

 

In general, Force of Negation is pretty negligible in this matchup, as the only way it can protect your combo is in conjunction with Violent Outburst (and they don’t really have many noncreature threats that matter too much). Having an extra land is meaningful in this matchup and turboing out a Klothys will often be enough to pressure your opponent. I could see a world where you want Dismember over Mystical Dispute, since Dreadhorde Arcanist could be a pain to deal with (and Mystical Dispute is a bit clunky to use).

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Snow Control

Snow Control

Out: 1 Tropical Island, 1 Force of Negation (on the draw) / 1 Gemstone Cavern, 1 Force of Negation (on the play)

In: 1 Gemstone Cavern, 1 Mystical Dispute (on the draw) / 2 Mystical Dispute (on the play)

 

The primary game plan is certainly good enough here so just trying to execute it quickly is effective. If you see Lavinia, Dismember will increase in value, so keep that in mind as you’re sideboarding. Trimming a land against this deck is generally fine because they don’t really pressure your mana base in many circumstances.

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Death and Taxes

Death and Taxes

Out: 1 Force of Negation, 2 Misdirection, 2 Mystical Dispute

In: 1 Gemstone Cavern, 1 Plague Engineer, 3 Dismember

 

The extra land comes in handy in this matchup. Most of the non-Force of Will countermagic isn’t very impactful here as it doesn’t really address the primary issues you’ll face down (namely, creatures). Still though, Deafening Silence is somewhat common, as is Council’s Judgment, so Force of Negation has more utility than the other counters. The removal coming in will help deal with pesky Thalias and Sanctum Prelates (Prelate on three does stop a fair amount of what Turbo Valki is trying to do). 

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Doomsday

Doomsday

Out: 1 Tropical Island, 2 Oko, Thief of Crowns (on the draw) / 2 Oko, Thief of Crowns (on the play)

In: 2 Mystical Dispute, 1 Gemstone Cavern (on the draw) / 2 Mystical Dispute (on the play)

 

It might be correct to bring in the Lavinias here, as the primary game plan of resolving Tibalt might not be enough. I don’t think Lavinia disrupts Doomsday enough beyond stopping them from comboing off early, so I probably wouldn’t bring them in. Oko isn’t a high impact card and having more disruption is probably more effective.

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