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Much Abrew: Sultai Acererak Aluren (Legacy)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we're playing some Adventures in the Forgotten Realms...in Legacy! [Acererak the Archlich]] is one of the best venture cards from the set. But in Standard, you mostly have to play it fairly, either slowly venturing through dungeons for three mana as it bounces itself back to your hand or rushing through Tomb of Annihilation to try to keep Acererak the Archlich on the battlefield. In Legacy, Acererak the Archlich is very much an unfair card, forming a two-card combo with Aluren (which makes Acererak the Archlich free) that allows us to complete dungeons an infinite number of times! If we go through Lost Mine of Phandelver, then venturing infinitely wins us the game on the spot, with the Dark Pool room draining for one every time we venture through it. And that's our plan for today: find [Acererak the Archlich]], find Aluren, and then dungeon our opponent to death! How good is [Acererak the Archlich]] in Legacy? Is the combo competitive? Let's jump into a Legacy league and find out on this week's Much Abrew About Nothing

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Much Abrew: Sultai Acererak Aluren

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Discussion

  • That went well! We ended up going 5-0 in a Legacy league with Sultai Acererak Aluren, which was especially impressive considering we had a couple of punts along the way (including casting a spell into Chalice of the Void, which is becoming a tradition), and doubly so considering that we only dropped a single game across our five matches!
  • The combo itself is pretty straightforward: Aluren makes it so any player can cast creatures with mana value three or less for free as if they have flash. This allows us to cast Acererak the Archlich an infinite number of times (as long as we don't go into the Tomb of Annihilation dungeon). We choose to venture into the Lost Mind of Phandelver dungeon, which eventually kills our opponent with drain from the Dark Pool room. 
  • While the combo itself is simple, there are a couple of tricks to keep in mind. Most obviously, since Aluren lets us cast Acererak the Archlich as if it had flash, we potentially can combo during our opponent's turn, and we can wait until they are tapped down if we are worried about our opponent having removal. Less obvious is how Acererak the Archlich interacts with the stack. One of the downsides of going through Lost Mind of Phandelver a bunch of times is that the last room makes us draw a card. If the game goes long and we are low on cards in our library, there is some risk we could mill ourselves out before draining our opponent out of the game. However, this isn't a problem in practice because Acererak the Archlich will bounce back to our hand before the trigger from the dungeon resolves. If we cast Acererak the Archlich with the trigger on the stack, we can start Lost Mind of Phandelver again without letting the card-draw trigger resolve. This means that we technically can win with the combo even with zero cards in our deck and a huge stack of "draw a card" triggers on the stack! Thankfully, this didn't come up in our league, which makes me think it will be pretty rare that we actually need to win this way, but it is worth keeping the trick in mind if you decide to pick up the deck.
  • So, what actually beats the combo? Counters like Force of Will are good against it because we can't combo off if we can't resolve Aluren. Removal on Acererak the Archlich can also work. (Our opponent can try to kill Acererak the Archlich with its "return to hand" trigger on the stack.) Thankfully, the flash from Aluren makes it pretty easy to play around removal, and we also have cards like Force of Will and Cabal Therapy to protect the combo.
  • You probably noticed that we only have three copies of Acererak the Archlich in our main deck. That's because the last copy is in our sideboard so we can find it with Living Wish, which sort of gives us seven copies of Acererak in our deck. Living Wish can also snag a bunch of one-of removal creatures, which is pretty powerful. Against Mono-Red Prison, being able to grab a Plague Engineer to answer the tokens from Goblin Rabblemaster ended up winning us the game, while things like Endurance (for graveyard hate), Reclamation Sage (for artifacts / enchantments), Grist, the Hunger Tide (creature / planeswalker removal), and Collector Ouphe (artifact hate) are also great targets in some matchups. If we already have Acererak the Archlich, there's usually something else good to tutor out of our sideboard with Living Wish.
  • While finding Acererak the Archlich is easy thanks to Living Wish, finding Aluren can be a bit harder. ut we have a couple of plans for this too. Brainstorm and Ponder are great ways to dig for a specific card, and we can do some shenanigans with Spellseeker, casting it to tutor up our one copy of Diabolic Intent and then casting Diabolic Intent sacrificing the Spellseeker to grab Aluren
  • Otherwise, our deck is mostly a bunch of value-y creatures, which do two important things in our deck. First, cards like Ice-Fang Coatl and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath give us free card draw in conjunction with Aluren to dig for a lethal Acererak the Archlich. Second, they give us a backup plan for winning if our combo gets shut down. Sometimes, we just escape an Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and beat our opponent down. 
  • Green Sun's Zenith helps to hold our backup plan together. While it can find Acererak the Archlich itself, it also can find every other creature in our deck as well as Grist, the Hunger Tide. On turn 1, it can grab Dryad Arbor for ramp. On Turn 2, it can snag our one copy of Veteran Explorer, which is especially good if we happen to have Cabal Therapy to sacrifice it. Later in the game, we can snag Leovold, Emissary of Trest to shut down our opponent's card draw. 
  • In general, Sultai Acererak Aluren felt great. In fact, there's only one thing I dislike about the deck: its price tag of over $4,000. While this is normal for a Legacy deck, it's still disappointing, especially considering that more than half of the deck's price come from three one-of dual lands in Bayou ($550), Tropical Island ($800), and Underground Sea ($950). If the dual lands were a reasonable price, Sultai Acererak Aluren would be roughly the cost of a Modern deck, but because of the silly Reserved List, it costs as much as a used car. Thankfully, Magic Online isn't impacted by the absurdity of the Reserved List. But considering how much fun it is to play Legacy, I really wish Wizards would do something about the prices of Reserved List cards so more players could experience the format.
  • So, should you play Sultai Acererak Aluren? I think the answer is clearly yes. The deck felt great. It's also really hilarious to see a mechanic that hasn't been good enough for Standard be more than good enough for a format as strong as Legacy! If you like midrange value decks that can also combo off out of nowhere, Sultai Acererak Aluren is the perfect option for the current Legacy meta.

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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