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This Week in Legacy: GP Birmingham

Welcome to another This Week in Legacy! This week I’ll be running through GP Birmingham’s Legacy portion, looking at the metagame, decks and importantly the players. Let’s dive in, first into the Top 8 decks.

Top 8

Deck Player Placing
Dragon Stompy Gary Campbell 1
Grixis Delver Grzegorz Kowalski 2
Grixis Delver Peter Van Der Ham 3
Steel Stompy Johan De Gruyter 4
Dredge Alexander Mertins 5
Grixis Control Janus Anderson 6
Grixis Delver Bernardo Santos 7
Czech Pile Yuta Takahashi 8

The first placing Gary Campbell piloting Dragon Stompy was an utter fairytale, and you can see that charted in Wizards’ coverage here. From what I understand, Gary is truly a hero for taking the GP trophy for not only Britain, but Scotland. An arbiter of the format for a considerable time, I can only commend him and the community surrounding him. Great stuff.

Dragon Stompy, too, is great stuff.

Gary’s victory shows how far Dragon Stompy has truly come, from a deck of punishing lock pieces with crappy Red creatures to now… A deck of punishing lock pieces and very powerful haymakers with Chandra, Fiery Confluence and premium threats like Pia and Kiran Nalaar wearing many opponents down and giving him a GP-winning finish.

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Karn, Scion of Urza took the spot of what would typically be two Chandras in Gary’s list. I’m not sure I can agree on playing less than four Chandra, but Karn as an additional four drop is very serviceable in Dragon Stompy (compared to other Stompy decks like Eldrazi) as a card advantage engine behind Ensnaring Bridge and a serviceable token maker with Chrome Mox, Trinisphere and Chalice in the mix. Having eight sol lands also makes turn two Karn a punishing reality.

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Sideboard-wise, it’s hedged against combo quite heavily, with Scab-Clan Berserker the best way to not get ruined by Hurkyl's Recall and Faerie Macabre and Surgical Extraction (despite Chalice).

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I’m also low-key in love with Sorcerous Splyglass after jamming it in my favourite Stompy shells. It does quite a bit of work, not only pinning down problematic permanents but also providing information to opponent’s and randomly Stone Raining out the opponent. Neat.

The other big victory for Stompy was Steel Stompy Top 8ing again! Seems the Legacy port of Ravager Shops is the real deal after its appearance at MKM some time ago. Johan De Gruyter also brought a version a little atypical from previous lists we’ve seen.

Ballista, Ravager, Overseer, Revoker, Chalice, Thorn and Lodestone Golem – these are all relative staples of the archetype. Vault Skirge has also consistently found its way as a role-player to give the deck explosive turn one plays and defence against Delver when it gets pumped by Overseer or Ravager. It also wields weaponry pretty well. But I think another card does that pretty well too. Etched Champion.

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Basically the equivalent of True-Name Nemesis in this shell (other than against the mirror or Eldrazi, I guess), Champion stalls the ground and cuts through the sea of tokens that Young Pyromancer and co. make. I’m sure this is the deck’s bomb in fair matchups, especially if weaponry like Umezawa’s Jitte can be tutored up with Inventors’ Fair to get the Champion geared up. I’d like to see a Sword in this list as a Fair target, as I’m sure a Champion with a Sword equipped is a sight to behold. Going all-in on Ravager counters on to the Champion is also sure to do some damage, if Edicts are no issue.

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Phyrexian Metamorph is another card that is an excellent tutor target and typically an excellent card to draw by copying an artifact on the battlefield. Although not great with Ballista and Chalice, copying Thorns, Ravagers, Overseers and Lodestone can certainly get the beatdown going or lock the opponent out even further.

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I’ve been talking about Fair a lot, and it’s certainly a more prominent part of this list than it has been in others, who have limited it to one copy or excluded it. Although Steel Stompy typically has good mana sinks (Ballista, equipment, Mishra’s Factory etc.), the utility Fair gives to haymaker cards like Champion and Jitte, along with the incremental lifegain, is certainly notable. I think the lack of Hangarback Walker as an additional mana sink also makes Fair more reasonable.

The sideboard is relatively standard, with the new big boy Karn making his appearance once more. Although terrible with Thorns and Lodestone Golem, the artifact token Karn makes is likely monstrous in this shell and a grind engine is always appreciated.

Dredge finds itself another high placement one more, this time with fewer Careful Study and less emphasise on Blue cards – rather, Putrid Imp and Street Wraith to fuel the full four Ichorids. We’ve seen this style of the archetype touted by Orim67 on Magic Online to incredible success and I don’t see why that shouldn’t be the case in Paper too.

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The sideboard is where Dredge sideboards have found continued innovation, Silent Gravestone being a pivotal part of the plan against decks such as Czech Pile and Grixis Delver that aim to attack to Deathrite and Surgical. Firestorm further blows apart any Deathrites or other creature matchups (Elves, D&T, etc.) and Serenity and Wear // Tear combat the Stompy decks effectively. Serenity is particularly powerful by essentially wrathing the board clean of any Chalices, Leylines of Trinispheres.

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The rest of the sideboard is a compact Dread Return package which I feel should always at least have Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Ashen Rider. Blazing Archon is an interesting choice as a third target (with Iona typically in this spot), but I imagine the Archon is excellent against the growingly-popular Depths decks.

Green-less Pile is essentially what we have here, with the Legendary Leovold, Emissary of Trest replaced now with Kess, Dissident Mage to get the grind going, Snapcastering back whatever efficient spell turn after turn. Although more expensive than Leovold and more of a liability against combo, Kess does her strong points, especially, I imagine, in the Czech Pile mirror.

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Other interesting options in this list is the inclusion of one Miracles staple, Search for Azcanta, to really grind through opposing pseudo-mirrors, along with Wasteland, which the mana can now accommodate, for a little bit more utility, particularly useful against, again, the increasingly popular Turbo Depths decks.

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The argument of Preordain vs. Ponder is a long-winded one, and I think is more so the influence of a lot of players Online (such as Clashed in his Punishing Pile list). I’ll leave the discussion on what is optimal to this rather comprehensive thread from reddit. Preordain was chosen over Ponder for the 10th-placing Pile list too.

The sideboard of this Pile list awesomely has Chandra, Torch of Defiance (perhaps taking influence from The Brainstorm Show’s Grixis list) as an un-Pyroblastable threat, but interestingly lacks one of the greatest cards available to a Grixis deck playing an Island and Swamp in the main – Blood Moon! Casting Deathrite into a free win on turn two cannot be understated.

Top 16

Looking at the Top 16…

Deck Player Placing
Bant DeathBlade Juha Ihonen 9
Czech Pile Jesper Christensen 10
Grixis Delver Kohei Yoshino 11
Grixis Delver Mattia Rizzi 12
Food Chain Dalibor Szegho 13
Turbo Deoths Ricardo Beja 14
Sneak & Show Jonathan Angheluscu 15
Grixis Delver Grant Fisherman 16

Probably the most interesting list from the Top 16 was the appearance of Food Chain once more. This time, a version a little more typical of modern times:

The Walking Ballista / Trinket Mage are used as the kill here, with the rest of the deck a smattering of the typical BUG core. That’s certainly a lotof two-ofs, hedging for fair matchups (Decay, Fatal Push) along with combo (Thoughtseize). Interestingly, Dalibor decided to not run the typical split of three Misthollow Griffin and a single Eternal Scourge. Rather, exactly three targets for Manipulate Fate were used, making any copies of the sorcery drawn after the first without much utility (well, I guess it cantrips).

The sideboard does little to capitalise on the Trinket Mages other than Pithing Needle and Tormod’s Crypt – I personally love an Engineered Explosives as a sweeper effect in addition to Toxic Deluge and an ability to destroy permanents in addition to Abrupt Decay. I’m also more of a fan of two Leyline of the Void in these style of decks than one would initially think. Two is certainly a number that means you won’t be drawing any more than the first, and the card is very hard-castable in a relatively mana-heavy deck like Food Chain.


That about wraps us up for this week’s This Week in Legacy. As always, join me next week, and until then, some more links for you to investigate:

  • At the TES site, Jonathan Sukenik talks Grixis Delver vs. TES. Find that here.
  • At Channel Fireball, Mengucci plays some Black-Red Reanimator and Riley Knight talks about Grixis Mill?!
  • Lone Star Legacy discuss preparation for SCGCon. Find that here.
  • Bob Huang has, as per custom, assembled the rest of the archetypes down to 24th place. Find that at MTGTheSource here.

What I’m Playing This Week

I’m still tinkering with Bomberman, with a reasonable 4-2 and 11th place at the recent Win-a-Dual in Melbourne hosted by General Games. Note Matthew Larcombe taking the newly-minted Bizarro Stormy to Top 4! Find my report on MTG The Source here.

by Sean Brown

The big new draw to this list is the Ensnaring Bridges. I’ve been finding Depths a tough matchup, and trimming down on the Mentor plan, hiding behind a Bridge and searching up my own combo via Karn or Salvagers loops seems like a neat plan. Also note, I'll be trying to cut Ancient Den after being convinced by last week's list success in the Challenge!

The Spice Corner

Although this list has nothing too insane going on (in fact, it’s a rather clean no-frills list), the fact that Nic Fit won the recent Legacy Challenge certainly speaks to the underappreciated power of the deck. It also speaks to Bahra’s excellent playskill too!


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