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I Play My Deck on Turn 3 with Mississippi River in Legacy


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. A couple of weeks ago, I saw this wild Legacy decklist players were calling Mississippi River—a deck that looked to win the game on Turn 3 by repeatedly cascading into a massive board of creatures. It's built around some hilarious Commander staples like Apex Devastator and Maelstrom Wanderer that don't typically show up in 60-card formats. I knew we just had to play the deck. But there was a problem: the key card of the deck—Creative Technique—wasn't on Magic Online because it's a weird Commander precon card with the weird Commander-focused mechanic demonstrate. Thankfully, the Daybreak Games team just added the card to Magic Online, which means it's time to take a ride on the Mississippi River and find out what this deck is all about! Can the wild pile work? Let's get to the video and see on today's Much Abrew About Nothing!

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Much Abrew: Mississippi River

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, I'm not sure what to think of the deck. I played a league with the deck, ran into a seemingly endless amount of hate cards, and went 1-4. Thankfully, the deck plays some extremely fast games, so I played a second league with the deck and went 4-1 (this is the league in the video), with our only loss being to Oops All Spells, which simply comboed off faster than we did. Which league is more representative of the deck? Honestly, the answer is probably both. My overall impression of the deck is that it's extremely consistent (we combo by Turn 3 essentially every game if we aren't disrupted) and extremely powerful (I'm pretty sure that every time we comboed, we won the game. Once you get to the combo, fizzling isn't likely or even possible in many situations.). But it is also extremely hateable. If you run into decks prepared for the matchup, it can be super hard to win because we're very dedicated to the combo, which doesn't leave much room to play "fair" Magic. But it feels almost impossible to lose in other matchups. 
  • So, what is the idea of Mississippi River? It all revolves around resolving Creative Technique—a weird Commander 2021 card with a weird multiplayer-focused mechanic: demonstrate. Creative Technique has a huge pile of text, but the TLDR is that it lets us cast a random card from our deck for free. Actually, it lets us cast two random cards from our deck for free, assuming we let our opponent cast one random card from their deck for free thanks to the demonstrate mechanic, which lets us copy the spell if we also give our opponent a copy. 
  • While giving the opponent a copy of Creative Technique might seem risky, remember: we are built around the effect, while our opponent is not. Odds are, they will get a free Delver of Secrets or Brainstorm while we'll get some massive six-plus-mana combo piece, which means it is often correct to demonstrate the sorcery. (The main exception is when we find a Creative Technique mid-combo and already have enough action to win; then, there's no reason to risk giving our opponent a free card, even though that card is unlikely to matter.) Along with powering up our combo, the demonstrate on Creative Technique does something really important for a combo deck in Legacy: it lets us beat countermagic.
  • Combo decks in Legacy are busted, but they rarely dominate the format because Legacy is the format of free counterspells like Force of Will, Daze, and Force of Negation. Sure, your combo might be able to win the game on Turn 1, but that doesn't matter if your opponent can just Force your key combo piece. The demonstrate mechanic changes the equation in counterspell matchups. Since we can get two copies of Creative Technique, even if our opponent has a counter, one will likely resolve, and we only need one to start our game-ending combo loop.
  • So, I've mentioned a game-ending combo a few times. How does it actually work? It's really pretty simple: outside of Creative Technique and a one-of game-ending Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, every non-land card in our main deck has cascade and costs at least six mana. This means that if we resolve a [[Creative Technique], we'll hit an Emrakul (which gives us an extra turn and wins us the game), another Creative Technique (which gives us more free spells), or a cascade spell that will sooner or later cascade into another Creative Technique.
  • As such, the deck's game plan is straightforward: mulligan into a hand that can cast Creative Technique or a six-mana cascade spell like Boarding Party, Sakashima's Protege, or Sweet-Gum Recluse as fast as possible. Once we resolve any of these spells, we'll start a massive cascade loop, which will eventually end with us casting every copy of Creative Technique in our deck along with a ton of hilariously expensive cascade creatures. As we cast all of these free spells, we'll eventually hit an Apex Devastator to cascade four times. This should find us a Maelstrom Wanderer, which not only cascades twice but also gives all of our creatures haste so we can immediately attack with our huge board of janky cascaders for lethal!
  • Now, you're probably thinking, "Okay, that sounds pretty sweet, but your key combo cards cost five or six mana. Is the deck actually fast enough for Legacy?" Normally, you would be right: comboing off on Turn 6  wouldn't be competitive. But Mississippi River has a trick to get around this: almost every one of the 39 lands in our deck taps for two mana. This includes classic Sol lands like City of Traitors and Ancient Tomb but also lesser-known cycles like Sandstone Needle and Sulfur Vent. In practice, this means we should be able to cast a Creative Technique or six-mana cascader to find Creative Technique on Turn 3 pretty much every game. If our opening hand can't do this, then we mulligan until we find one that can.
  • All of this sounds pretty broken—we literally get to play like 80 power of creatures for free on Turn 3, and our deck is built to do this super consistently—so Legacy is just broken, right? Well, not exactly. While our deck will almost always win on Turn 3 if we're not disrupted, a lot of popular Legacy cards can slow down or stop our combo. Wasteland can really slow us down. Storm hate cards like Mindbreak Trap or Ethersworn Canonist stop us cold. Multiple counterspells can beat us (although one typically can't unless it's a Mindbreak Trap–style card). Thoughtseize and Grief can strip our hand and so forth. The other way we can lose is if our opponent wins before we do. While our deck will consistently win on Turn 3 if not disrupted, some Legacy decks—like we saw in Oops All Spells—can win consistently on Turn 1 or 2 if not disrupted, and our deck isn't disrupting anyone. 
  • So, should you play Mississippi River in Legacy? In many ways, the deck reminds me of a souped-up version of Tibalt's Trickery combo from Modern before it was banned, or even the meme-ish Zombie Hunt combo deck. This isn't to say it's bad, just that it's a glass cannon–style combo deck that either does its thing and wins in hilarious fashion early in the game or gets stopped by the opponent and does literally nothing all game. The deck is certainly good enough to 5-0 a league—we came close in the video. But as I experienced during my first league with the deck, it's also very possible to hit a bunch of hate cards and wrong matchups and 1-4 a league. Basically, the deck is unique and hilarious but also very high risk, high reward. Sometimes, it feels broken; other times, you are left wondering if you might just be playing the worst deck of all time. There's really no in-between with the Mississippi River.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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