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This Week in Legacy: Japanese Trials and the 12/04/17 Legacy Challenge

Welcome to another This Week in Legacy. This week, we’ll be running through a few smaller tournaments, particularly focusing on technology out of Japan and the recent Legacy Challenge.

Japanese Trials

Japan has quite a few trial events going on currently, culminating in events such as Hareruya’s The Last Sun event on the weekend of the 23rd–24th and Eternal Party on December 9th (something to look forward to next week!). Within these, a few spicy decks have popped up. Let’s first take a look at the trial contenders for Eternal Party:

Well, this is exciting. This is essentially a UR Delver deck splashing Green for some aggressive options. Atarka's Command, well-known for its applications in Modern, finds its way here for its incredible flexibility in creating damage (but other than some pump tricks to save Swiftspear from removal, not much else), but I’m sure Command is useful for a list as single-minded as this one. Become Immense takes advantage of the graveyard and leads to lethal attacks à la Atarka Red from old Standard. Hooting Mandrills also capitalizes on Delve and, with the pump spells, can deal some pretty hefty damage even through blockers.

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The mana base looks odd (with only Volcanic Island and Taiga), but this is certainly a more red than blue-based deck, despite what Brainstorm and Ponder may imply—especially since two Fireblasts are included in this list. I’m sure this is useful for not only finishing off the opponent but also fueling Become Immense or Mandrills with sacrificed Mountains.

Next, looking to one of The Last Sun Qualifiers, Jund made itself to second place:

Although relatively stocky, there are some subtleties here for the modern Legacy metagame. The two Diabolic Edicts over what would typically be Fatal Push show a premium placed on edict effects, and with Liliana of the Veil, True-Name Nemesis is unlikely to be an issue. Mirri's Guile and Chandra, Torch of Defiance can generate card selection / advantage without concern for Leovold, Emissary of Trest. And of course, the core of the removal suite—Punishing Fire—cleans up Delver’s small creatures as well as the Strix and Snapcasters of Pile. The sideboard is of course tailored to fight combo, which is atrocious for these kinds of decks unless a curve-out of Thoughtseize, Hymn to Tourach, into Goyf beatdown occurs. Lost Legacy is a great new tool that can be slammed on Turn 2 via Deathrite to almost auto-win against certain combo decks.

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And in the Top 8, another Punishing Fire deck…but not the one you’d expect:

Dack Fayden has been a staple of Grixis Tezzerator lists, and Dack goes great with Punishing Fire. And so this concoction has been realized. Tezzerator, like many Chalice decks, can have issues with small early creatures (Deathrite, Delver) plinking away at them before they can setup shop. A Force of Will on Ensnaring Bridge can often mean ruin. Now, creatures should certainly be less of an issue with Fire, Daretti, Bridge, Strix, and the eventual Thopter–Sword combo. I do worry about how stretched the mana base is getting, though—Mox Diamond certainly is leaned on quite a bit! Also interesting is the combo of Liquimetal Coating and Dack Fayden being seen once more to steal anything!

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In the sideboard, an interesting angle of attack this list takes is Thought-Knot Seer. This is actually something I’ve tried before in any deck touting Ancient Tombs, and it can be considered in the sideboard similarly to Vendilion Clique in typical blue decks. Very castable on Turn 3 in these shells, Seer does its usual disruption and beatdown incredibly well, especially against combo. Slaughter Games is another card that gets little play in Legacy but is perhaps the most potent of all the Cranial Extraction effects available.

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Another Top 8ing list was…

Well…this is an interesting pile. Part Reanimator, part Deadguy Ale, part Pox, this list has some very interesting synergies, such as using discard outlets for reanimation value (Brutality, Lili, Smallpox) and using token generators for value (Bitterblossom / Lingering Souls plus Cabal Therapy or Dread Return!). I’m surprised there are only two Entombs in this list. It seems very powerful as a way to get a fatty into the bin, create value via Souls or Therapy, or even tutor for Dread Return.

Notably, some powerful fair cards used in this list include Sorin, Solemn Visitor, excellent to swing a race with thanks to his lifelink anthem effect, along with good ol’ Vindicate to keep destroying any frustrating permanent or keep the mana denial running.

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December 4th Legacy Challenge

Next, let’s look to the recent Challenge, won by Lands!

Deck Player Placing
Lands Koleigh1 1
Grixis Delver kostompy 2
ANT HotTsChaseMe 3
Grixis Delver jacksad 4
Jeskai FaeBlade 10marce85 5
Maverick Olivetti 6
Death & Taxes triosk 7
Grixis Delver ReneRandrup 8

Many list were relatively stock, but Lands’ continual success in the hands of Koleigh1 is certainly proving the strength of the deck in the current fair-heavy metagame. This Top 8 once again represents this, with only one combo deck: relatively stock ANT (with Caleb Scherer's patented sideboard Chrome Mox present). Two of the Grixis Delver decks were Therapy-heavy versions, while the second-placing list was Bob’s now stock Spell Pierce list.

The Death and Taxes, Maverick, and Jeskai Stoneblade lists were quite interesting, however:

This is…a lot of one-ofs. Maverick has always been known for its toolbox, and staple creatures Teeg, Pridemage, and Scooze are all present. Where this list goes a bit off the walls is with the three drops—by shaving a Knight, new value engines Renegade Rallier, Ramunap Excavator, and Tireless Tracker have found themselves some slots. But most interesting is the inclusion of Leovold, Emissary of Trest, stretching the mana base all the way into four colors, but as many of us already know, Leovold is a package well worth splashing for. This is much less of an issue in Maverick thanks to Green Sun's Zenith too. However, I feel this list may have fallen victim to the dangers of cool new things, and I’m a little more of a fan of Maverick lists that are as streamlined as possible.

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At first, these look like the trappings of a typical Death and Taxes list, until you see…

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Four Judge's Familiar?!

I love the little bird as much as anyone, but unlike in Merfolk, where Cursecatcher can at least be buffed to brawl in combat, Familiar is a very dorky 1/1 flier without equipment. That being said, instant-speed Force Spikes with Vial are pretty impressive and sure to catch people off guard. Although it slims down the curve of the deck significantly, not having the beef of Crusader, Prelate, or Avenger to dominate the late game may make leaning on equipment the only option. That being said, Palace Jailer and Recruiter of the Guard (an atypical three copies) are found here to fulfill those grind slots, I suppose. Jailer certainly synergizes with the little bird by stealing the monarchy back turn after turn.

Lastly, 10marce85 brought a much more streamlined version of Jeskai FaeBlade than has been seen in the past. There are no Mutavaults or Faerie Conclaves in the mana base, nor any Standstill cuteness. Rather, this deck aims to be flash counterspell deck, emphasized via Sprite, with an equipment late game (which is also excellent for gearing up Sprites). I’m really pleased by the presence of so many one-mana spells for Snapcaster to flashback, especially Spell Snare over what would typically be Counterspell. Lavamancer’s presence is also excellent as a removal magnet, or if he sticks, he is a way to use mana at end of turn while still holding up countermagic. The lack of True-Name is also interesting but makes sense. It is much too contrary to the flash game plan, not to mention that the wealth of fliers in the list gives many bodies to suit up.

There were a few more interesting lists in the event, including Hoogland piloting Ad Nauseam Lands and InResponse_ch playing Punishing Dack with some new additions like Reanimate and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.


That’s all for this week. Enjoy some content from around the web!

‘Til next time!

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I’m Playing This Week

Friend Harrison Bates placed well recently at the Fire and Dice (you can find coverage of it here) playing Esper Delver. This was not the Maxtortion-designed Thought Scour / Lingering Souls version, though. This list utilized Stoneforge Mystics! Although looking a bit clunky, I’ve been a fan ever since Nicklas Krull had success with them, though I’m uncertain how great they are in a world of Kolaghan’s Command. The sideboard of this deck is incredible though, with the only thing truly sorely missed being Red Elemental Blast effects.

The Spice Corner

Fjaulnir has come with a spicy one. This is not the cutesy, fragile Turn 1 kill deck of Leylines that features Opalescence, nor is this Enchantress, despite Enchantress’s Presence being, er, present. Rather, this is a deck that abuses Kruphix’s Insight and Commune with the Gods to dig deep for needed enchantments while binning others in the process. Starfield of Nyx or Opalescence then animates the enchantments on board, with Parallax Wave pushing any frustrating blockers out of the way. Replenish also puts all the binned enchantments into play! I’m sure there’s even more going on that I haven’t noticed at first blush. Very spicy.

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