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This Week in Legacy: Ixalan Technology

Welcome to another This Week in Legacy! Apologies for last week lack of content; things were getting a little heavy with real-life work and a break from the column was much appreciated. Thank you everyone who sent me some kind words on social media. However, this week we’re back into it, looking primarily at some new technology from Ixalan that has been making some Legacy waves. Also American Eternal Weekend is coming… This weekend! So I’ll have a bit of a summary of where the format is at and what I’d recommend playing in this week’s “What I’m Playing This Week”.

A few Blue cards have popped up in lists on Magic Online from Ixalan that show a lot of promise. The first one we’ll look at is Chart a Course.

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The shell most easily appreciative of Chart a Course is Blue-Red Delver… Except Chart works very poorly with Prowess, not being able to get full value cast pre-combat, despite being solid at restocking the deck with fuel for more damage; there’s obviously a bit of push-and-pull involved in the adoption of this card. Hence, a list perhaps de-emphasising the full Prowess suite (usually including Stormchaser Mage) can be considered, looking back to the days of Treasure Cruise

An additional Soul-Scar Mage makes an appearance here. Nonetheless, Hoppelars trialled a full four Charts, trimming down on Ponder, of all things, to fit them in. Also notable is this list's micro Black splash for the Cabal Therapy Pyromancer synergy post-board. Speaking of synergy, Chart does have some nice synergy with Pyromancer in that the small tokens often sitting around on the board can get cashed in for value attacks.

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I think Chart shows moderate promise. Night’s Whisper has seen play before. But I think the full four runs the risk of it clunking up hands. I do like how, unlike a lot of other “payoff” cards ala Angler, Cryptic Serpent, and Bedlam Reveler, Chart doesn’t require the graveyard. This makes a card like Grim Lavamancer for example, a very playable in addition to a shell like this.

I might try something like this, moving forward:

The sideboard probably needs some work, but that main deck looks really sleek. I’m growing more and more interested in the potential of the Serpent in shells like this, and Chart gives the deck the ability to actually grind and outmuscle some decks in the late-game. True-Name Nemesis is probably another reasonable option in that slot or even main decking Lavamancer.

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In a similar vein, Esper Mentor in Japan looked to Chart a Course as a card advantage engine. Again, Monks sitting around can become a bit of value by attacking and making Chart fully-powered.

Also exciting in this list is the full four Dazes, but that’s something not too uncommon in Mentor shells, especially ones touting Deathrite. Nonetheless, this list is quite tempo-oriented with Wastelands to complement too. Chart’s downside also has some benefits here with cards like Lingering Souls and Cabal Therapy.

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Chart seems to be a card advantage engine built for cards along the lines of Pyromancer and Swiftspear that promote attacking and ending the game in a relatively quick fashion.

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Search for Azcanta however, promotes something a little different. It promotes turtling up and riding the gravy train of the inevitability engine that is Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin. Looking four deep every turn is a very, very powerful amount of selection, but three mana to activate is very ambitious too. Only in midrange/control decks would I expect Search to truly show its effects.

Clashed smashed some more Punishing Dack through one of the Challenges and Search for Azcanta seems at home in a shell that can keep the board clear or stalled via Strix. It also looks to have great synergy with cards like Punishing Fire that can be milled over for value. One issue with Search is how prone it is to Wasteland and Red Blast effects, however, and this makes it a card a little sketchy as a sideboard card against decks like Delver or Czech Pile.

Speaking of Punishing Fire, this brings us to a little tangent on Punishing Mentor that daibloXSC brought to a 5-1 in the recent Challenge!

Sort of Miracles-ish, but with Miracles cards and the Predict engine replaced by Grove, Fire, and some Mentor synergistic cards like Gitaxian Probe. Nonetheless, Fires rebought every turn fuelling a Monk army sound pretty appealling to me.

Two cards I like now are Spell Snare, which I’ve harped on for quite a bit on its strength vs. Pile and the metagame in general, and the main deck Pyroblast. The world of Baleful Strix are making these two cards look like the perfect answer. Blast maybe be a little ambitious for the main deck however – I don’t know if the metagame is so saturated to warrant that. Yet. I've been very happy with the third Pyroblast in my sideboard recently.

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Digging four per turn is also great for a very lethal combo, too!

Here Caleb Durwald integrated Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin into Sneak & Show, likely as a way to grind through the late game and find the lethal Show and Tell. It sadly cannot find any of the fatties or Omniscience to put into play, nor can it find Sneak Attack, so it actually doesn’t look as promising at first glance. At least you can grab more cantrips to find those, I suppose. Sol Lands also make Azcanta’s cost a little less ambitious too!

Lastly, we’ll look at Sorcerous Spyglass, again!

This build of Imperial Painter popped up at 3-3 in the recent Challenge and although not a stellar result, it showed the deck heavily adapting to being Top-less with more alternative win conditions like Stoneforge Mystic and utility spells. Sorcerous Spyglass being one of those mentioned utility spells; Spyglass is like a Needle effect one can always at least main deck, because in even the deadest of scenarios it can possibly be a two-mana Stone Rain by snagging fetchlands visible in the opponent’s hand. This can be done on turn one in Ancient Tomb shells, actually, and hence this is the most likely viable place for main decking. More main decking of it can be found in Japan in Eldrazi lists big and small in variety.

Speaking of Stompy shells, let’s have a look at some of the new breeds that have come about. The first is due to the new planeswalker rules change… Yes, the Chandra Tribal list I posted a while ago actually works.

This looks like a great home for some main deck Sorcerous Spyglass as a way to buffer out the early game that a list so top-end heavy requires. Overloading opposing artifact removal is also never a bad thing. Spyglass is also excellent in its ability to name Deathrite Shaman that can put a wrench in the plan of locking the opponent with Blood Moon.

Pinkfrosting took the Dragon Stompy shell to a new place by adding… Burning Wish?!

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In addition to the Chandra Tribal that's actually becoming a little standard, Ancient Tomb shells have been known for their linearity despite an abundance of mana available. Now this list can:

  • Burn the opponent out uncounterably.
  • Wrath the board in two different ways!
  • Armageddon. Yep.
  • Armageddon just Blue players. Yep.
  • Blow up the annoying basic the opponent has to play through your Moon.
  • Shatter stuff. A lot of stuff.

Although the wish board looks a little untuned I’m sure this actually has a lot of potential. These decks are moving more and more into the zones of prison-control shells hinging on Moons, Chalice and Bridge, backed up by Torch of Defiance and sweepers. Burning Wish gives the deck more and more outs to creatures as well as flexibility that has been typically lacking. Maybe there’s something here.

The last Stompy deck I’d like to highlight is a much more White-based Eldrazi & Taxes list. If anything, it’s not Eldrazi & Taxes at all anymore – there’s no Temples, Displacers, or Smashers and the mana is quite White-intensive for Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Council’s Judgment as the deck’s primary removal option. Rather, I suppose this is the 2017 iteration of Angel Stompy, with the Angel of choice in this case being Angel of Sanctions:

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This card is quite impressive and has the flexibility of hitting any non-land permanent. While also just being a massive flying beater. The Embalm cost is also quite relevant if somehow the 3/4 five converted mana cost flier is dealt with.


That wraps us up for this week. Next week join me for a wrap-up of Eternal Weekend!

Some other content from around the web!

‘Til next time,

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I’m Playing This Week

Eternal Weekenders, hopefully you’ve closed in on a deck list you’re happy with. The metagame currently is flush with Czech Pile and Grixis Delver as the primary antagonists, but as always Legacy is relatively wide open. Snapcaster and Swords to Plowshares decks like Stoneblade and Miracles are still around, as are Chalice-based decks such as those mentioned above. Death & Taxes has seen a little less prominence but also remains a popular and viable choice. ANT and Sneak & Show look to be the primary combo decks to worry about, with non-Blue combo like Red-Black Reanimator and Turbo Depths, although still strong, are a little less popular than previously. A deck I’d see as powerful would be something like Elves, actually. Positive matchups against Czech Pile and Delver, theoretically, due to its incredible grind engine, are its big boon, and a heavily-tailored sideboard for combo (or just hoping to dodge it) may be a solid plan.

But honestly in Legacy I would play what I know. And I wrote about this in a pretty long-winded tournament report. I played RUG Delver and would play it again. Because I knew my plans. Everything felt fluid. Find that deck and bring that to Eternal Weekend. That is what I would recommend.

Speaking of RUG, here is my new list! Lots of fun spice; Dead // Gone has actually been quite promising, but the main deck Predict may be a little too cute. Winter Orb I’ve reincorporated into the sideboard but may be a little lacklustre with so many Kolaghan’s Commands around – maybe Marius’ Sylvan Library and Compost plan is what I should be looking towards. Nonetheless, I’ll be sticking to this for a long time. I’ve fallen in love again.

The Spice Corner

Tanak Mikoto is back with Bomberman taking out 4th in the recent KMC. This really reminds me of Painter. Interesting are the main deck Abrades, no more Mentor, and Lodestone Bauble as Bauble of choice. I guess making the opponent draw their whole deck there and then is more important than the free cycle the other Baubles provide. Also, again, here we see main deck Sorcerous Spyglass doing work, also good at seeing whether the coast is clear for comboing out!

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