When building a control deck in Legacy, the colors you choose to play tend to determine what the deck’s strengths and weaknesses will be. Over the years, a lot of players have decided that they don’t want to choose between what each color has to offer. Instead, by sacrificing mana base stability they can play as many colors as they see fit and ensure that they can have the right answer to the questions opponents are asking.
The printing of Arcum’s Astrolabe has completely changed that dynamic. Now players can have the benefit of a basic-heavy mana base without having to sacrifice access to different colors. The resulting deck is 5-Color Snoko, which tries to fit in as many of the powerful threats and answers Legacy has to offer. While this deck has some similarities to Bant Miracles, the deck plays out quite differently. Today I want to go over the list that CFB’s very own Anuraag Das played to a top 8 finish at the recent Eternal Weekend events and discuss what makes this deck so effective in Legacy.
Legacy 5c Snoko Deck List - Anuraag Das
Core Game Plan
This is a control deck that leans into the power of Arcum’s Astrolabe to take advantage of all of the best threats and answers Legacy has to offer. It has a wide range of removal spells, but doesn’t need to answer every threat that is played because Uro and Oko are extremely effective at taking over the game. This frees up its answers for specific, problematic cards and allows it to get a lot more mileage out of its cards.
The 4-5 color control decks of days yore have always struggled against heavy mana denial from opponents. Arcum’s Astrolabe completely changes that dynamic. Being able to have a mana base that is resilient to Wasteland, Blood Moon, and Back to Basics means that Snoko can develop its mana consistently. Once Astrolabe is in play, the colors of the cards in the deck almost become meaningless. This allows the Snoko player to take advantage of the fact that their spells are, on average, more powerful than the opponent’s spells without having to worry about a mana mishap.
In contrast to Snoko, Miracles has always been a very basic-heavy deck. Astrolabe does increase the consistency and reliability of Miracles’ mana base, but not in the same way that it works in Snoko. Astrolabe gives the 4-5 color control decks access to a similar consistency that Miracles has, which really changes the way that aggro decks need to approach these matchups.
Uro is this deck’s primary engine. It buys time against aggro and develops your mana base to make future cards much easier to resolve through cards like Daze and Spell Pierce. Once you escape it, it usually stops aggro decks dead in their tracks and forces opponents to completely shift their game plan. The reliance on Uro as an endgame is one of the major differences between this deck and Miracles. While Uro does tend to take over the game, it does so incrementally. In Miracles, Entreat the Angels is a much more abrupt endgame plan, especially in conjunction with Mystic Sanctuary.
Oko really does it all. It’s extremely difficult to remove, it keeps just about any threatening card an opponent has at bay, it pressures planeswalkers, and when the dust settles, it wins the game. A lot of space that would be dedicated to additional copies of Oko is taken up by the full set of Uro, but it is absolutely one of the most potent cards here.
Leovold isn’t a common choice these days, but it still has a strong effect on the game. It can really shut down opponents from effectively playing the game and generates a substantial amount of card advantage if your opponent has to interact with your permanents.
Like most interactive decks in Legacy, the actual configuration of removal is going to depend on the expected metagame. This removal suite is extremely robust and it doesn’t leave Snoko exposed to too many threats.
Swords to Plowshares is a cheap, clean answer to all of the most commonly played creatures at the moment. Assassin’s Trophy is extremely versatile, and being able to answer threats and lock pieces ranging from Oko to Chalice of the Void is a huge boon for Snoko. A lot of players choose Abrupt Decay over Trophy because of its impact against Delver, but Trophy being able to target Sneak Attack and Hooting Mandrills makes it very appealing. Drown in the Loch joins Assassin’s Trophy as an extremely versatile answer and its presence helps fill in the gaps of what Snoko is exposed to.
Dead of Winter can be awkward, but this deck has access to so many snow permanents that it will often clear the board pretty easily. In a lot of Snow decks it has the advantage of not killing Ice-Fang Coatl, but here that isn’t the case. It can be managed in a way to keep your Uro alive, which will often end the game on the spot. Speaking of Uro, Snoko doesn’t have to rely on its removal to kill every threat the opponent plays. Uro acts as a way to invalidate the opposing game plan. This gives Snoko a bit more of a midrange feel in a lot of games, rather than that of a pure control deck.
Shark Typhoon is a bit like Coatl and can be very effective at blocking cards like Delver of Secrets. While it’s a lot more clunky early on, it scales very well into the late game. It can act like a win condition all by itself, as making a 5/5 or 6/6 shark will demand an answer. Even just making a 1/1 early can help keep Oko or Jace alive.
While Ice-Fang Coatl is usually a staple of these decks, Anuraag’s version of Snow is leaning much more heavily into Uro. This means that cards that have the ability to go straight to the graveyard, like Shark Typhoon, are much more desirable. Cutting Coatl opens up space for the additional Uros, as well as extra removal spells like Drown in the Loch.
The Force effects are a staple of fair blue decks in Legacy. Snoko does have a lot of ways to generate 2 for 1 value, so it can offset the card disadvantage that the Force of Will creates. This disruption suite does make Snoko a bit weak to the unfair decks of Legacy in the pre-board games. The trade-off is that Snoko is very well-positioned against any deck with creatures, so it is certainly a worthwhile sacrifice.
Sylvan Library is an extremely powerful card against any deck trying to play fair. It will often feel like a 2-mana Jace, the Mind Sculptor and provides a ton of card selection, and advantage, over the course of a game. It pairs perfectly with the lifegain from Uro, and that makes this the perfect home for Sylvan Library.
Not only does this randomly catch an Emrakul off-guard, but it makes your Uro and Leovold nigh-unkillable if you draw the 2 together, so the single Karakas can go a long way.
The extra copy really helps in the mirror, where Sylvan Library is one of the best cards to have in play.
Carpet allows Snoko to effectively avoid any mana denial strategies that Delver decks will try to employ. Both Wasteland and Winter Orb become dysfunctional in the face of a resolved Carpet, and that makes this card very appealing.
Doomsday is a difficult matchup for this deck and Meddling Mage can make it very difficult for them to win. It has the added upside of working well against most combo decks in Legacy and I really like the inclusion of Meddling Mage here.
While this isn’t the most effective card against fast graveyard decks, it still packs a punch if you can survive the early game. The upside of Nihil Spellbomb is that it is an effective card against decks (like the mirror) that don’t heavily rely on the graveyard as their primary strategy, but still use it as a resource.
Small creatures swarming the field can be a problem for this deck. Plague Engineer is among the best possible cards at managing decks like Elves and Death and Taxes so leaning into it is an effective strategy out of the board.
Stretching the manabase to support Pyroblast is a somewhat large cost, but Pyroblast is one of the best cards in Legacy, so having access to it goes a long way.
Veil of Summer doesn’t answer blue permanents in the same way that Pyroblast does, but in the face of counter magic and discard spells there really isn’t a better spell in Legacy.
- Oko can elk Astrolabes for some hasty pressure against opposing Planeswalkers.
- A lot of games with this deck will go long, so don’t forget that you can just cast Shark Typhoon and take over the game with an army of sharks.
- Drown in the Loch isn’t reliable in the face of delver cards and escape, so be mindful if you expect to face those types of cards.
Sideboard and Matchup Guide
While Snoko’s primary game plan can make things difficult for Delver (specifically because Uro is so potent in the matchup), RUG still has game in the matchup. Post-board, Klothys can completely take over the game, especially against this version of Snow which is so reliant on Uro. I don’t like leaving in Force of Will, even if you expect Klothys because your cards can essentially answer everything else. Sylvan Library and Plague Engineer seem like they’re about as good as one another, but I don’t like going overboard on any one of those effects. Sylvan doesn’t impact the board, so drawing multiples can be pretty bad and the Engineer doesn’t really answer their threats, but it can definitely create a speed bump for them.
Since they only need to resolve a single card this can be a tough matchup. Casting Meddling Mage on Doomsday will essentially force them to answer it, which is why it’s a key to the matchup. The cards you bring out essentially have no targets, but if you see Divining Witch you could leave in some Swords to Plowshares.
I am positive there are a lot of ways to approach this matchup, but I don’t think drawing removal spells in the mid-game is the answer. I know that Swords answers Uro somewhat cleanly but overall it is pretty impactful. There are a lot of scary cards that get played in the mirror, but I think the matchup is grindy enough where you should try to trim on Forces where you can. I think because this deck does have 1 for 1 answers for every card they play and the ability to pull way ahead on cards with Sylvan Library, just leaning into tha slow, grindy game plan is the way to go.
The name of the game is survival, and it definitely gets easier post-board. Once you can make it through the first turn it gets a lot easier to survive and Oko gives you a nice answer to their threats once it sticks. Swords to Plowshares is far more efficient than Trophy even if the life gain is relevant.
There aren’t a lot of cards to bring in here and this can definitely be a tricky matchup. Spirit of the Labyrinth makes Uro very ineffective and Apparition gives them a clean answer to Oko and Engineer. I don’t like Force of Will here, but even if there were more cards to bring in out of the board I would still want a few copies to answer Armageddon, Cataclysm and Gideon. The most important thing is to develop your mana, then answer their cards. If you can make it through the early game your late game is pretty potent so Uro can start to generate a decent advantage, even in the face of Karakas.