This Week in Legacy: Legacy Classic, Challenge, 76th KMC and More Amonkhet
by Sean Brown // Apr 19, 2017
Hello! Welcome once again to This Week in Legacy. After the big wrap-up of SCG Worcester last week, there are few other tournaments to have a look at and the new technology they're bringing. The full Amonkhet spoiler is out too! So it's also time to get moving on analysis of the new cards.
SCG Worcester Legacy Classic
|Death & Taxes||Sam Miller||1st|
|Shardless BUG||Grant Fisherman||2nd|
|4c Loam||Micah Rabin||4th|
|Grixis Delver||Michael White||6th|
The Worcester Classic had few bits and pieces of interest; most notable was the prevalence of Storm - all those Storm players that whiffed on Day 2 certainly took their vengeance out on the Classic. Each list within the Top 16 is very distinctive as well. First, we can look to Bryant Cook's signature TES:
If you haven't already made your way to the treasure trove of information that TheEpicStorm.com is, do so. Bryant's effort in assembling some of the best Stormtroopers in the world to provide content is truly glorious, and his own logic and reasoning about the deck is excellent to get into. As often highlighted, The Epic Storm is the brainchild of Bryant's that was developed some time ago, in tandem with what eventually became Ad Nauseam Tendrils. Both decks now have eventually coalesced into something that on the surface looks very similar, but plays very different. TES is much more of a tricolor deck, compared to ANT's essentially Blue-Black with a double splash manabase. The Red mana gives access to Rite of Flame over Cabal Ritual, along with additional business and main deck flexibility of Burning Wish. These two cards both lead the deck to a typically faster kill, along with the Chrome Moxen in the deck. Compared to ANT, which, despite its name, goes off with Past in Flames the majority of the time, TES looks towards Ad Nauseam as its primary avenue to victory, with the additional fast mana helping it use the card much more effectively. Empty the Warrens is also commonly leaned on instead of Tendrils of Agony.
You can find the outline of Bryant's changes to the list prior to Worcester and his performance in both events via his report here.
Royce Walter found his way into the Top 8, but I want to look at another Storm poster child Caleb Scherer and his interesting choices:
Two Tops main deck and a pile of Chrome Mox and Green cards in the sideboard really show what Caleb is likely hedging againt. He has a huge amount of anti-Counterbalance and Chalice measures, with the Chrome Moxen to go fast and under hate permanents like Thalia. The additional Tendrils further complement this Grinding Station approach to fight Blue decks, in addition to Xantid Swarm.
As I mentioned, with the current metagame so populated with 4c Control and other grindy midrange decks, strong Storm players should be able to reach some success.
April Legacy Challenge
|Sneak & Show||JPA93||5th|
|Death & Taxes||Jojono||7th|
The April Legacy Challenge also occurred during the Worcester weekend, with a few pieces of new technology in store.
Big Eldrazi seems to be here to stay, with it taking down 2nd place. Its combination of potent disruption in Thought-Knot Seer, Chalice of the Void, and Trinisphere seems to be enough to bide time into the late game where the giant Eldrazi can dominate. Miracles certainly adapted somewhat to the Eldrazi presence and pushed it down a peg. These lists now go entirely over the top and truly are Miracle-crushing machines in return.
solnox meanwhile brought a very innovative version of Turbo Depths. Rather than use Elvish Spirit Guide and Lotus Petal, solnox incorporated Cabal Therapy and Gitaxian Probe, while also having Khalni Garden (and I guess leftover Vampire Hexmages) to flash these back. I'd imagine these changes give some significant percentages against decks such as Storm or Show and Tell, where making a Marit Lage doesn't mean a win when they can kill you before you attack. They also give further flexibility and skill leverage to the deck, and this I'm always a fan of (more on that later). Also exciting is the Rite of Consumptions in the board, important for killing combo a turn earlier or flinging Marit Lage at the opponent before they even get a chance to Plow or Terminus it. Find solnox's report here.
Heading to Japan, we again have a spice-filled KMC event:
|Sneak & Show||Higashino Shogo||1st|
|Colossus MUD||Hayaki Hirokazu||2nd|
|Death & Taxes||Yamashita Taiki||3rd|
|UR Delver||Mizuguchi Kiyoshi||4th|
|Tin Fins||Hamada Yuuki||5th|
|Eldrazi Stompy||Okuda Masateru||7th|
|UR Delver||Nishikawa Tatsuya||8th|
The Colossus is back in town...
This is very similar to the list featured once before, utilizing ramp artifacts, a full set of Voltaic Key, and haymakers like Batterskull to power out a Colossus quickly. Copper Gnomes also provides a way to get out huge artifacts like Staff of Nin and Spine of Ish Sah early, which help ramp into Colossus. However, Thought-Know Seer has maneuvered his way into this list, despite not being synergistic at all, due to the sheer power and disruption he provides.
The sideboard is full of some fruity "gotcha!" cards. Dodecapod is the colorless equivalent to Wilt-Leaf Liege and Guerilla Tactics, surprising anyone daring enough to aim a Hymn to Tourach or use a Liliana of the Veil plus one. Summoning Trap also appears to be the deck's anti-countermagic measure, and this is a pretty exciting adoption against decks such as Delver, who will use countermagic early on ramp to slow the deck down while Delver keeps poking. Instead, the embrace of the inevitable machine death is only hastened, with Summonig Trap popping out a Sundering Titan or Colossus earlier than expected.
Colossus MUD has a lot of similarities to the current Big Eldrazi lists, with even their early game starting to become somewhat similar, involving Seers to disrupt and gum up the board. I'm sure that cross-pollination of the archetypes can lead to some pretty powerful deck lists. I'm sure Big Eldrazi could incorporate Summoning Traps to really get some people!
The Japanese seem to really love their Tin Fins, and once again we see the Griselbrand combo deck taking a lot of nods from Black-Red Reanimator. Unmask has made its way into the main deck to pad out Thoughtseize and Cabal Therapy (with no Probe!) as disruption. This list has quite a cantrip suite, featuring two Preordain in addition to the usual Ponder and Brainstorm. The reanimation package is also a little... Odd. Reanimate is seen as typically one of the worse options for Tin Fins, as the life loss can be a big issue when trying to combo with Griselbrand. Shallow Grave or Goryo's Vengeance or even Exhume is much more appealling. Instead of Vengeance or Exhume, however, Footsteps of the Goryo was chosen. Another interesting choice, and a bit expensive, but mid-combo it does reanimate Children of Korlis, which typical Goryo's Vengeance cannot achieve.
Also note the transformational Mentor sideboard!
More Amonkhet Spoilers
Let's look over the rest of the spoilers which seem Legacy-relevant. Since the last article there has actually been a lot of interesting cards that have popped up. Foremost of these is Harsh Mentor:
This card is incredibly interesting. There is obvious applications of Harsh Mentor against fetchlands (making fetch-shock essentially a thing in Legacy), and against Sensei's Divining Top the card is certain to be stellar. However, the deck utilizing Harsh Mentor needs to prioritize damage. There is no point in Mentor chipping in for two damage for one Spin of Top, only to have him Terminused or Plowed away. Unlike Eidolon of the Great Revel, Mentor's hate is not universal and hence could do very, very little in some matchups. It is sweet that he is one-sided. I am a fan of trying Harsh Mentor in Burn or UR Delver, but I could see him ultimately being unimpressive in the main and then only really a sideboard consideration, albeit quite a strong one in certain matchups. Mentor I have very mixed feelings about; he could be either a flash in the pan or completely revolutionize an archetype like Eidolon of the Great Revel did. I personally am a bit bit bearish on him, but I'm certainly looking forward to the testing going ahead.
Ancestral Visions anyone?! This is way too slow a durdly for Legacy.
I actually like this card a lot. It is no Gurmag Angler, as Delve is definitely much easier to achieve than this Bedlam Reveler-esque cost reduction. This card doesn't interfere with Threshold, however, which can be a issue in RUG Delver lists running both Mongoose and Mandrills (though lacking Trample does suck). I could see this as the new Fatal Push-proof top-end to RUG Delver, but I fear that this guy may just come out too slow and end up as Force of Will fodder.
Some people speak of this being great with Cabal Therapy and Grixis Delver, but I'm honestly not seeing it. Exile effects like Plow are rampant in Legacy and typically you'll be well-ahead if you get Probe/Therapy/Pyromancer going. Maybe in a Zombardment shell this could be interesting, but since this isn't a Zombie Bird, it's probably not synergistic enough.
This guy, on the other hand, I love in Zombardment. With Gravecrawler and a Zombie in play this becomes a card selection and draining machine, while also attacking as a 4/6 evasively. I can't see it as more than a one or two-of, but it certainly looks impressive.
This Nissa could have a place in many shells, be it in 12Post or Nic Fit as an early card selection engine and late-game mana-sink, Infect as a sideboard planeswalker bomb to grind out opponents, or even Elves splashing a Tropical Island for Leovold and Nissa. I don't think Nissa is going to make as many waves as the recent printing Chandra, Torch of Defiance which has essentially overhauled some archetypes, but will instead be a solid role-player, as perhaps a one- or two-of in main decks or sideboards. There's a lot to love with her.
If anyone has some other Amonkhet cards they think will make some waves in Legacy, please feel free to give me a shout!
And so wraps up another This Week in Legacy. Again, some links for everyone to enjoy:
- Podcasts Tusk Talk, Super Secret Tech and Legacy Breakfast have some new episodes!
- Julian has his European Eternal Week Top 8 Elves report!
- Good friend Steven has an article on why you should be playing Imperial Taxes!
- From CFB, EFro features the amazing BUG Faeries list from Magic Online recently, and Mengucci plays the Vial Smasher the Fierce Grixis list and Tradewind Pod?!
- From SCG, Shuan McClaren plays through some Miracles!
- Phil Gallagher speaks about the Food Chain matchup for D&T at Thraben University, and also speak about recent developments in D&T.
- The Library at Pendrell Vale keeps the content rolling. Storm videos and reports on Bant DeathBlade you can find there, but also European Weekend second-placer Anders Thiesen's Miracles report!
- Nerd Rage Gaming interview Peter Tragos and his Eldrazi & Taxes list.
Finally, the Legacy Premier League is starting this week! The deck lists are up amd Group A will be battling on April 20th. Get hyped!
'Til next time!
What I'm Playing This Week
I've finally got some free time, and have been churning through Magic Online Leagues. I've been primarily playing Dredge, from Manaless variants to LED variants, and have been experimenting quite a bit. The card I like the most in LED Dredge, inspired by this Japanese list, is Gitaxian Probe. Probe leads to a lot of interaction against hate cards, similar to what solnox incorporated into his recent Challenge Turbo Depths list. Many times have I begun game two with a Probe, seen a threatening Surgical or Cage, and just ripped it out of my opponent's hand before it could even matter.
The card that needs to be cut for Probe, unfortunately, is Breakthrough. When going off, Breakthrough is absurd at churning through your library, but can ultimately be a card that is high-variance and all-in. I also wanted to have a solid Blue count for Force of Will in the sideboard but not have to keep in Breakthroughs, which are often lacklustre after boarding. And so, with the metagame grindy and fair orientated, I decided to tailor my list to be an excellent Probe/Therapy/flashback core to fight against hate and then Dredge on through:
Many Sacred Cows are slain in this list. Three LEDs means that this list has less explosive draws game one, but is much better at getting the engine online via the full set of Putrid Imp. Post-sideboard, where I often cut LEDs for Force, is much easier too with the reduced count of all-in cards. Three Coliseum are to make room for the full set of PImps once more, which greedily need more Black sources of mana. This list definitely has a very different feel and is quite fun, but whether it is better than a more typical Breakthrough list I can't conclude. Nonetheless, I did take down a 5-0 with a Gitaxian Probe list relatively recently, but in that one I main decked a Dread Return and Dragonlord Kolaghan.
The Spice Corner
Hypnotic Specter lives again! Alongside an amazing package of planeswalkers - Ob Nixilis Reignited and Kaya, Ghost Assassin. Gerrard's Verdict is also nice at giving the deck essentially seven Hymn to Tourach.