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This Week in Legacy: American Eternal Weekend


Welcome to another This Week in Legacy! This week we'll be going over American Eternal Weekend, primarily its Top 8. This should not only be an impressive run down of recent successful decks, but also some good preparation for the upcoming SCG Open in DC!

Eternal Weekend Metagame Breakdown

You can find the metagame breakdown here at the Card Titan Eternal Weekend site. There were a total of 711 players, and decks with 6% or greater metagame share are given below:

Unsurprisingly based on metagame trends, Czech Pile came up as the most popular deck in the format, followed by the also-expected Grixis Delver with only three less numbers. The flexibility in the core of Brainstorm, Force of Will, and Deathrite Shaman cannot be understated, indeed, and both of these decks represent ways to take that core in either a more controlling, midrangey direction or a more aggressive direction.

Following these were interestingly Griselbrand combo decks, Sneak & Show, and Reanimator. Neither of these decks were able to crack the very fair Top 8, as we'll soon see, interestingly. Reanimator's fragility falling down in the face of Blue-based Deathrite Shaman decks makes sense, but Sneak & Show has had a relatively good run recently such as in MKM Hamburg and I would've somewhat expected it a Top 8 finish as the representative combo deck.

Death & Taxes and Lands were the most prominent non-Blue decks in the tournament, both of them built to prey on Grixis Delver, certainly, but the White creatures have a little bit of a hard time against Czech Pile due to Kolaghan's Command being quite the thing. Death & Taxes does certainly get a few more numbers due to its cheapness, and forty-three The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale is actually more a credit to the number of players who felt Lands was quite a good choice. And honestly, looking at the Top 8, I would agree.

Eternal Weekend Top 8

Deck Player Placing
BUG Delver Hans Jacob Goddik 1
Eldrazi Stompy Seth Black 2
Esper DeathMentorBlade Hanni Alnimer 3-4
Grixis Delver Lukas Blum 3-4
Grixis Delver Bob Huang 5-8
Grixis Delver Brian Coval 5-8
Czech Pile Ondrej Strasky 5-8
RUG Delver Eric Vergo 5-8

All fair decks! Honestly, the most unfair of these decks looks to be Eldrazi, and that's saying something! Let's run through these in order of placing:

Well-known for his forays into Delver in Paper and Online, Hans Jacob Goddik brought classic Team America BUG Delver but with a few stylish tweaks for the 2017 metagame.

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The split of Fatal Push and Abrupt Decay has become relatively standard now, prioritizing the cheap and efficient removal option over the flexible Decay. Goddik kept a third Decay in the sideboard when problematic permanents required removal, along with a pretty wild suite of sweepers in Massacre and Toxic Deluge, two of each. Certainly a strong package for traditionally poor matchups like Death & Taxes and Elves.

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The threat suite in Goddik's list was also changed from what is stock, Liliana of the Veil replaced by Liliana, the Last Hope. Lili Last Hope has been seeing a huge uptick, especially as a trump against Czech Pile where she guns down all the value idiots, grinds value from the graveyard and threatens an unbeatable ultimate. Liliana of the Veil definitely is a strong card, pressuring combo as well as having applications against fair decks, unlike the single-minded grind engine of Lili Last Hope. But Goddik's gamble in this slot certainly paid off with the metagame being saturated with the fair Pile and Delver pseudo-mirrors. Sylvan Library also looks to have replaced the fourth Tarmogoyf in Goddik's list, in some ways. Either that, or the fourth Ponder, which has often been trimmed for business in BUG Delver shells in the past. I like Library a huge amount now because most decks have very, very little way to deal with enchantments (Czech Pile only runs really one or two Decay main) and Library breaks apart those matchups since their clock tends to be relatively slow. I guess in a world with no Top, Library certainly comes close?

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Another signature member of Team America (next to Hymn to Tourach) Tombstalker is still the monster that he has always been, especially with Fatal Push so prominent. I guess he looks frustratingly at resolved Baleful Strix, but I guess there's Liliana to gun those down and let the Demon crash on through!

I'm really happy to see BUG Delver take down the title. With Grixis Delver truly on everyone's mind as the Delver variant of choice, other variants such as BUG have largely been seen as antiquated. Little do many know, a few tweaks to an already-powerful core can lead to a trophy. Congratulations to Hans Jacob Goddik. It's well-deserved!

Next, we'll look at a relatively stock Eldrazi list:

I like the mix of disruption in the main (Chalice, Wail) and the removal suite (Dismember, Jitte, Wail). More interesting, however, is the sideboard. Somewhat transformational, Oblivion Sower and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger give the deck a surly endgame, useful I imagine against Baleful Strix-touting Deathrite Shaman decks that are traditionally tough matchups, and perhaps the way Seth found a way through the sea of fair. Sorcerous Spyglass also makes a notable appearance here in the sideboard, and for many has already become a main deck consideration as supplemental disruption.

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The spiciest Top 8 list is perhaps Hanni Alnimer's Esper DeathMentorBlade:

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This is probably the cleanest execution of a Deathrite Shaman / Monastery Mentor shell I've seen in quite some time. Importantly, the deck hinges on the Cabal Therapy / Probe core that Grixis Control has long utilized effectively as its primary disruption angle. Like Pyromancer, Mentor has some very powerful synergies with this. However, so does Stoneforge Mystic, by picking up a weapon like Jitte from the library, dying for value purposes via Therapy and eventually gearing up a Monk or Elf Shaman later on. There are a few notable exclusions in this list too - such as Snapcaster Mage - but I suppose that is due to this list promoting a "jam threats down the opponent's throat" in the early to mid-game kind of mentality while Therapy carves away removal. I could see the Spell Pierces easily being something else, but otherwise the list looks very promising. The sideboard too has the usual powerhouse of Blue-White combo hatred and some of Black's greatest sweepers.

Moving to the Grixis Delver lists, two of these, Bob Huang's and Lukas Blum's, were essentially the same, being the Stifle-less main deck and Therapies only in the side that has been gaining traction (primarily due to Bob's prior success). I've mentioned how I like these as my version of preference moving forward too. However, Brian Coval brought something else entirely. A nineteen land, two Young Pyromancer and singleton Tombstalker touting Grixis Delver.

This is reminscent of what Jarvis Yu brought to the Legacy Premier League some months ago, as well as reminds me of Hoogland's main deck Snapcasters. Friend Steven's Team Australia also feels like somewhat of an influence, though Stifles replaced with the more proactive Therapy / Probe synergy. Nonetheless, this is Grixis Delver trying to go over the top in the Delver mirror I'm sure, but it makes this list look unfortunately light in both disruption, removal, and a bit creature-dense. I suppose Snapcaster helps in this, but Snappy looks less like "extra" removal when you're staring down a Deathrite and you're struggling to reach three mana to flashback that Bolt. I do like Snapcaster's synergy with Probe (becoming Silvergill Adept) and being excellent food for Therapy. I'm sure this somewhat makes up the odd two Pyromancer number.

Ondrej Strasky, a Czech piloting the Pile, took a rather different approach to the deck, somewhat harkening to older lists. Notably, this list is much lower to the ground, in some ways, opting for no basics (and two utility Wastelands instead), a rather lean pack of discard in three Inquisition and singleton Thoughtseize and notably Jace, Vryn's Prodigy over two Snpacasters.

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Baby Jace has a bit of a new lease on life thanks to the planeswalker rule change allowing him to no longer clash with big daddy Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Although a removal magnet, he does a huge amount once flipped in this list, and Deathrite or Leovold are always there to overload removal anyway. Unlike Snapcaster, Jace breaks up flashbacks over the course of a few turns, making him a little stronger in the early game, not to mention his looting being pretty valuable in a deck with such polarising halves that can be great or useless depending on the matchup. He sadly sucks against Karakas, however.

Note in the sideboard Ondrej too took note of Library's strength and had it as a mirror-breaking two-of!

Of course, I saved the best for last...

RUG DELVER.

TOP 8.

AGAIN?!

Is this deck actually the real deal? Because it seems like RUG is suddenly taking down tournaments or at least getting very close! Eric took a main deck almost identical to Marius' MKM Hamburg list, opting for a Gitaxian Probe over the Preordain. The information can be useful for sequencing countermagic, that's for sure, but it does feel a little bit like "air" in a deck like this. Differences in the sideboard are:

-1 Izzet Staticaster
-1 Compost
-1 Invasive Surgery
-1 Surgical Extraction

+1 Grafdigger's Cage
+1 Pyroblast
+1 Pithing Needle
+1 Rough // Tumble

Basically, spicy options got replaced by more standardized cards, which I think is totally reasonable, and I have been harping on the strength of three Pyroblast for quite some time and certainly am a fan of that decision. Rough // Tumble I'm less of a fan, though, since True-Name is very often leaned on in matchups where you need a sweeper (D&T, for example) and I'd soon play something like Electrickery or Staticaster instead, if at all. 

But man, seeing RUG Delver continue to place gives me more and more faith in the little Mongoose and the Apes. Perhaps these threats really are the way to punish the current midrange metagame by going "full shroud" and ignoring the huge amounts of spot removal that are eating up Delver variants like Grixis. Green enchantments are also a big boon RUG gets which, as I've already mentioned, are very well-placed to further punish pile - Library is great and Compost is there if you need to go deeper.

I think it also helps that people playing the deck are very good at playing the deck. Experience certainly means a lot in this format indeed.

Conclusion

That wraps up our analysis of the Top 8 of Eternal Weekend! Hopefully this was helpful for those making the trek to DC. Join me next week for a few more Eternal Weekend lists I may be able to get my hands on and a wrap-up of the events at DC!

Some more things from across the net to dig into:

‘Til next time,

Sean Brown

Email: sean_brown156@hotmail.com
Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

​What I'm Playing This Week

Well, it's more RUG until this train stops rolling, of course:

Oh gosh, Dead // Gone is actually good. I was able to steal a game from Turbo Depths thanks to having the Gone mode available to me post-board. A simple bounce spell, even if overcosted, can actually do quite a lot of damage. Not to mention simple Shock being very reasonable against Death & Taxes, Elves and Delver mirrors. I do miss Forked Bolt somewhat, if only for a little bit of reach. Then again, I think the Predict is looking more and more too fun, and may soon simply becoming a main deck True-Name Nemesis like Eric and Marius have looked towards. This gives me an extra sideboard slot, actually, so now there's that to ruminate on.

But well, I never get sick of ruminating about RUG, so that's nice.

The Spice Corner

This week's Spice Corner comes courtesy of a reader - Zak Toth - and thank you very much for the gracious email! He experienced a lot of power in his Blue-Red Delver deck thanks to Chart a Course and I like what I see:

What I like the most is the threat suite here. The spell suite could use a little work (Wasteland and Price I'm not much of a fan) but the main deck Abrade seems glorious in a list that is flowing with cards like this due to its modal nature. I'm keen to tweak this moving forward! Thanks once again!


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