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This Week in Legacy: American Eternal Weekend

Welcome to another This Week in Legacy! This week was a little delayed due to some of my commitments, but we should be right on schedule in the weeks ahead. Have no fear, Wednesday Legacy reading will not be disappearing! Today we'll be having a comprehensive look at the American Eternal Weekend and all the that decks found their way into the Top 8!

The Top 8 of Eternal Weekend featured a very interesting bunch:

Only eight Brainstorms in the Top 8? Neat!

The first deck I'd like to talk about is that of the winner. And an unexpected winner at that, Turbo Depths.

Seen as a glass cannon by many, Oran proved that continuous fine tuning with this deck has made it into a well-oiled winning machine. The deck has been placing exceptionally well on Magic Online, thanks in part to DNSolver and many others who have been 5-0'ing with it. However, it had yet to see prominent finishes in the Paper metagame. I think many saw the deck as just an inferior Lands version, and felt a little fearful due to the deck's difficult matchup against Death & Taxes (Karakas, Wasteland and Flickerwisp – yikes!) and Miracles, due to their ability to grind harder. And yet here we are, with Turbo Depths cutting through a Top 8 stacked with its nemesis, and Miracles being defeated in the finals. Certainly, the deck is not as linear as it looks and can win through the toughest of matchups. See a brief talk of Oran's choices here.

The real appeal in my eyes with this deck is the absurd amount of redundancy and speed the deck provides, while also having a kill that can race other combo decks, which the other premier Dark Depths deck of the format has quite a bit of trouble with. The well-oiled machine can be separated into:

•    Combo Pieces: Make a 20/20 – in two different ways!

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•    Tutors/Card Filtration: Sylvan Scrying looks dorky in Legacy, but in this deck, it looks like the premier tutor to assemble the combo. Expedition Map does a similar job, albeit a bit slower, and Crop Rotation can lead to some exceptional instant-speed Marit Lages. Into the North is another sweet one, although it is limited to tutoring just Depths or some basics, but putting a Dark Depths directly into play can lead to some powerful lines. Also, most of these land tutors give you a nice package of silver-bullets to use. Sylvan Library also makes an appearance as a card filtration device. 
•    Protection: Discard, Pithing Needle against Wasteland, and Not of This World as the catch-all once the 20/20 is in play. Also note that Crop Rotation for Sejiri Steppe provides a similar functionality.
•    Acceleration: Lotus Petal and Elvish Spirit Guide do their usual thing. Elvish Spirit Guide is interesting, as although it doesn't provide black mana critical for Hexmage, it does provide mana for Thespian's Stage as well as green mana for the land tutors.
•    Lands: The combo takes up a section of these but also note the functionality of Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in the deck. It lets Dark Depths actually produce mana and can lead to an easy turn two kill with Urborg > Dark Depths > Hexmage > Marit Lage. There's also a small tutor package, with Bog and a Karakas in the sideboard.
•    Sideboard: Fighting against faster combo with a fast Chalice is the key, and Decay does it's usual role as an excellent, flexible answer. I'm also a big fan of the Crucible as an engine that can grind the opponent out. Just keep throwing 20/20s at them until they run out of answers.

I'd really love to congratulate Oran on the finish with Turbo Depths, and I'd also like to congratulate everyone who has been developing the deck. This archetype has found the credit it deserves and its power has been shown to all who play Legacy thanks to this finish and the consistent contributions of the hivemind. I've thoroughly enjoyed watching this deck transform from a niche archetype that popped up online every now and then into the fine-tuned monster that has taken down Eternal Weekend.

Next, we'll look at a different variant an established deck. I didn't even have this card on my radar when Kaladesh came out… But here it is. Four Aether Hub in a Legacy Top 8.

Aether Hub is somewhat like Gemstone Mine in some ways, although you only get one counter to use, but can otherwise tap for colourless mana—perfect for Eldrazi who typically only need to get one usage out of the card to drop game-winning bombs like Drowner of Hope and Eldrazi Obligrator. With Hub, Corrupted Crossroads, and Cavern of Souls, the deck has access to essentially all of the powerful colored Eldrazi like Displacer and Drowner. However, the deck's sideboard options still remain limited to colorless cards. Cards like Rest in Peace and Containment Priest, sometimes found in white-splashing versions of Eldrazi, are essentially uncastable in a list like this. Furthermore, the deck loses some of the explosiveness of a card like City of Traitors, while still also folding to a card like Blood Moon.

If you remember a month or so ago I highlighted the Top 8'ing UW Eldrazi list of Marc Camo Forment in a MKM Series event that harnessed the power of Eldrazi Displacer and Drowner of Hope, though it certainly wasn't able to cast Eldrazi Obligator.

Obligator is an interesting card. I certainly like it more than a card like Matter Reshaper as it's a very live topdeck in the lategame. But its power level is a little low in my mind, especially when cast on turn three. It certainly helps against decks like Show and Tell and Reanimator, and it might be a strong option for those matchups.

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A card I'm not surprised to see is World Breaker.

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This card is the epitome of an excellent utility Eldrazi with Eye of Ugin. Moat, Glacial Chasm, and friends can be problematic, and World Breaker smashes these cards to pieces, while having an amazing body and an amazing ability to grind. It's great in the Shardless matchup too, swatting Strix out the sky so the beefers can truck on through.

I love Displacer and Drowner, so this list really appeals to me. The Aether Hub technology is quite exciting. But I'd tinker with the creature suite a little more:

I've added some Skyspawners, which provide a lot of solid duties. They block Delvers, ramp the deck, provide bodies for Jitte, and give the deck access to colorless mana under a Blood Moon. There's also an argument for adding acceleration pieces such as Lotus Petal or Simian Spirit Guide. All-in-all, I'm likely to be trying this deck very soon.

The next decks we'll look at are all the Death & Taxes lists. Going into Eternal Weekend, I'm sure many players had Death & Taxes on their radar thanks to the printing of the powerful cards from Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Although the “Death & Taxes Apocalypse” people had predicated hadn't come to fruition, Eternal Weekend certainly said otherwise, with three lists making the Top 8. I'm not going to post all the deck lists, but what I'll do is show a comparison between the card choices within the three lists:

Recruiter of the Guard and Sanctum Prelate all found their way into lists in varying numbers. It's looking like two Prelates are slowly becoming the norm, along with two Recruiter of the Guard. Thalia, Heretic Cathar has still been met with mixed opinions. MacKenzie found no room for the new legend, instead opting for Mirran Crusader and Mangara. Pengyu and David both found room for two, cutting into numbers of Mother of Runes or even the sanctified four-of Flickerwisp! Phyrexian Revoker has now been universally trimmed down to three, understandably. Cavern of Souls still found only one copy in most of the Top 8 lists, despite many lists being very Human-dense. I'm personally a fan of Bauman's two-of Caverns.

Since all the lists ran Recruiter of the Guard, having a look at what silver-bullets were played is also a nice piece of analysis.

•    Mirran Crusader found his way into MacKenzie's main, and he's my favorite tutor target since he's been a well-known all-star in the deck for quite some time. The best pure ground pounder for cutting through Tarmogoyfs, Crusader wears equipment like a champ. Finding room for him in my main is always something I strive for.
•    Mangara of Corondor also found room in MacKenzie's main. A tutorable one-of that can lock up attrition matches with the “Mangara Lock” is always a nice tool to have. Although slow, I like the flexibility Mangara provides.
•    Spirit of the Labyrinth found a slot as a one-of in Pengyu's list. Although shining against cantrip-dense decks, and certainly having extra two-drops to smooth the curve is nice, I can't ever see myself tutoring for this card in the late game when the opponent has likely used all their cantrips anyway. It also won't be doing much in combat with its fragile body. I respect its ability to lower the curve, but I'm not the biggest fan.
•    Pengyu also found room for a Manriki-Gusari, a tutor target thanks to Stoneforge Mystic. It can break open equipment mirrors very nicely, but often I find with careful play you can simply position yourself to get a Jitte going and win from there anyway. If you expect a lot of Death & Taxes, it can be reasonable, but I'd personally prefer to play more flexible answers and save some sideboard equity.
•    Banisher Priest is a very cool tutor target. Although I feel Priest and Mangara compete for similar slots, I think both are great options. Priest shines against Eldrazi, where it can cleanly deal with Reality Smasher upon casting, unlike Mangara who has a one-turn delay. It's also a great card against Sneak & Show and is only a liability against certain combo decks when naturally drawn. Otherwise, it'll always do something relevant.
•    Leonin Relic-Warder is the best tutorable Disenchant on a stick we have. A very strict colored mana requirement makes him kind of difficult to cast, and Relic-Warder can be quite awkward if killed. I still think Relic-Warder is a very reasonable card.
•    Veteran Armorer is a cute effect to fight against the Dread of Nights and Golgari Charms of the world. I liked this card before the advent of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Gideon provides not only -1/-1 protection, but is an excellent stand-alone threat on an empty board and can get you out from behind thanks to his token making. Meanwhile, Veteran Armorer is a dinky 2/2. As a supplemental card to Gideon I'm sure he's fine, but overall I think he's a bit too narrow as a tutor option.

Again, with more information divulged it's time to continue the updating of my list!

I've opted for zero Thalia, Heretic Cathar in the seventy-five. Squeezing her in as a two-of meant pushing certain cards (like Crusader) I love out of the main to the sideboard, or trimming staple four-ofs to three-ofs (like Mom and Stoneforge). Although I've heard of her strength from many, I'm still cautious of how slow she can be. I've trimmed Warping Wail from the sideboard. I still love the card, but we have so much power against combo and Terminus with Prelate in the main. Feedback would always be appreciated. I'm expecting myself to bring D&T to a reasonable event soon and having the tightest list possible is what I'm aiming for.

Another Top 8, another BR Reanimator list. The deck is certainly going on a tear.

Unlike the list that won European Eternal Weekend, this list is much more “stock” and has been the list running around on Magic Online quite a bit. The eight pack of discard in Thoughtseize and Unmask is what is found in the main, and the anti-hate green package is what is found instead of the Blood Moons and Sneak Attacks. I'm interested to see if a middle-ground can be reached from these two successful variants of the archetype, as they both offer something very strong. Speaking of Archetypes, the big pig, who looks like the weirdest reanimation target ever, is found in the sideboard here. He does some great work at protecting other fatties from Karakas and Swords to Plowshares.

Jarvis Yu ran it back with the same 4c Delver seventy-five he Top 8'ed a few weeks ago. It's the Ben Friedman Snapcaster Mage special, and you can read about that here. He certainly explains the choices far better than I ever could.

The last bastion of Brainstorm was Daniel Miller on Miracles!

Again, a hard-control style list, featuring zero Monastery Mentor, similar to what trended in Eternal Extravanganza and European Eternal Weekend. A full three Predicts to keep the cards flowing, two Entreats and singleton Supreme Verdict further instill this mentality. The main deck Wear // Tear is also quite an interesting one. Wear // Tear is perhaps the closest card to a lock when CounterTop is in play, locking out the majority of cards in many Legacy decks, while also being a reasonably flexible card for beating the Chalice of the Voids out of Eldrazi and the equipment of Death & Taxes. Also neat is the Enlightened Tutor package in the sideboard, including powerful singletons like Moat, Rest in Peace, and Back to Basics.

In terms of other lists, although it didn't make Top 8, Soldier Stompy made a powerful run through the tournament. The deck certainly has a lot of amazing tools now thanks to Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Recruiter of the Guard. I'd love to have the list of Mike Gouthro, who ended up being featured. If anyone could get in contact with me about that, it would be much appreciated!


Hopefully that run down of Eternal Weekend was enjoyable! If anyone has some interesting stories, feel free to contact me. Join me next week for some interviews (hopefully), another large-ish event in Europe to run down, the October breakdown, and interesting bits and pieces of technology!

‘Til next time,

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

And catch me on The Salt Mine, for more banter about Legacy!

What I'm Playing This Week

I had a bunch of store credit and finished off my Berserks. So this week, I'm playing Infect!

A few bits and pieces of spice here. Sadly I couldn't find room for Ponders in this list to go full Delver style, but nonetheless here we are. Blossoming Defense is a card I'll be trying in the weeks ahead. Three Vines has often felt like too many, while two has felt like too little. 2.5 Vines kind of feels like a sweet spot, and that's exactly what Blossoming Defense is. I may attempt the white splash for Swords to Plowshares at some stage, but Dismember is certainly a nice one to fight Eldrazi.

The Spice Corner

An oldie but a goodie. Cephalid Breakfast is basically the original Oops, All Spells that relied on the interaction with Cephalid Illusionist and Nomads en-Kor to mill through its deck and Dread Return a kill.

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Certainly prone to both graveyard hate and spot removal, which makes it a tough sell in the current Legacy metagame, but Shinpo Masahiro bought it to a strong finish in Japan!

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