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This Week in Legacy: MKM Barcelona

Welcome to another This Week in Legacy. This week’s edition will focus on another big event – MKM Barcelona – that occurred last weekend in Europe.

Metagame Breakdown

Let’s first look at the metagame breakdown assembled courtesy of MKM coverage:

The classification of decks based on MKM is getting odder and odder, and I’m assuming “BUG” is actually Leovold-based control decks (Czech Pile). Again, Europe has reflected fair decks as the heavyweights of the format, with the Pile, Grixis Delver, and Blade decks, interestingly, at the top. Following these is “hatebears” (I’m imagining this is a grouping of Death & Taxes and Maverick i.e. Thalia-based decks). Unfairness only truly is represented by Elves (somewhat), Dark Depths (here, combining both Lands and Turbo Depths, I feel), and Storm. Interestingly, Griselbrand-based combo decks showed quite a downswing in this event despite its previous victory on the MKM circuit. Miracles also had a reasonable showing, its presence always moderate and success reasonable on the MKM circuit.

It is interesting to see Czech Pile continue to be so prevalent, despite previous recent large events, Eternal Weekend, and SCG DC, showing the deck to convert very poorly. The format is certainly adapting to the grinding machine, and I would not be surprised to see further large events have Grixis Delver supersede 4c Control.

Top 8

The Top 8 was reasonably diverse with a few high-profile names making appearances:

Deck Player Placing
Grixis Delver Maximillian Lorenz 1
Sneak & Show Jesus Sanchez Bartolome 2
RUG Delver Marius Bender 3-4
Czech Pile Tomas Mar 3-4
Miracles Miquel Alcoriza 5-8
BUG Control Momme Grupp 5-8
Elves Julian Knab 5-8
Soldier Stompy Remi Herve Lacombe 5-8

The winner was Grixis Delver, very close to the list piloted by Bob Huang featuring main deck Spell Pierce. You can hear the details of Bob’s deck construction in the latest episode of the newly-revived Everyday Eternal podcast, focusing on how the format, especially Czech Pile, is quite weak to the card Spell Pierce and also can have problems with a wide and varied threat suite. You can see Maximillian do just that to Tomas Mar in coverage of the semis, with a True-Name, Angler and Delver sealing the deal.

The second-placing Sneak & Show deck featured some interesting main deck choices:

Aiming to truly punk out the opposition and the greedy mana bases that are flooding the format, Jesus Sanchez Bartolme featured two copies of a one-card combo in his main deck, taking a nod from decks such as Dragon Stompy and Mono-Red Sneak Attack.

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Yeah, main deck Blood Moon. Not only does a turn two Moon punk out many of the greedy Blue decks (or at least eat a counterspell which can carve the way for a second business spell), but it also provides utility against some somewhat difficult matchups like Death & Taxes, where Karakas is an issue. The rest of the list, however, remains quite stock, though three Defense Grid certainly makes a big statement on how this list wants to fight through Delver’s countermagic – which may be for nought when most main stream versions are touting Cabal Therapy, Thoughtseize, or Hymn to Tourach.

Tomas Mar is the Czech behind the Czech Pile, being a huge proponent of 4c Delver during the Dig Through Time-era. He eventually cut Delvers post-banning for Baleful Strix and changed around to Hymn to Tourach, discard, and Goyfs. Eventually Leovold and Kolaghan's Command transformed the deck even further and no longer really resembles its slightly more aggressive routes. But I’m sure Tomas felt nonetheless quite at home with the deck. Cards that Tomas interestingly emphasized a little more than older versions are Night's Whisper to keep the cards flowing, two Decays, emphasizing the cards renewed importance, a heavy number of Inquisitions and in the sideboard the powerful grind engines of Sylvan Library and Liliana, the Last Hope.

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Interestingly, Tomas also opted out of any basics at all but no Wasteland either.

I have to of course give another shout-out to frend Marius Bender – who took down another Top 8 with RUG Delver! Turns out Marius is just a machine with deck and the deck is quite well positioned.

The main change Marius made was the removal of the spicy Compost for a more stable grind card in Snapcaster Mage. I love Snapcaster as a card to sideboard into and become a true RUG midrange deck, especially when Delvers are boarded out, and many Grixis aficionados have also had it as a sideboard option. I do worry about how prone the deck is getting to cards such as Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void, however, and Snapcaster only furthers this. If anything, I’ve been quite impressed by Sylvan Library in RUG and could see myself going to a second copy. But I don’t have a second English Legends Library. This is a problem.

Basically BUG-based Czech Pile, but Momme’s list takes some nods from True-Name BUG decks with its triple True-Name Nemesis and two Umezawa's Jitte to Voltron them on to. The three Wastelands also promise a little more aggression. These list are certainly interesting, but do feel a little disjointed in their game plan compared to more typical Bant DeathBlade/True-Name BUG or typical Czech Pile lists.

The sideboard is where Momme has a lot of awesome technology though. To the Slaughter is the card I’m most a fan of. With no Pyroblast effects these decks can run a little cold to a Jace, but To the Slaughter not only kills Jace, but also likely a Deathrite Shaman sitting nearby, as these decks can achieve Delirium quite easily – Baleful Strix helps quite a bit.

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Julian is back in the saddle with another Top 8 with Elves. Featuring the usual motley crew, Julian has deemphasised the Natural Order plan, only playing two, and instead playing two Nissa, Vital Force in his suite of payoff spells. I like this quite a bit. Although Order can lead to the very quick victories, it can often be a liability when cast into a counterspell, as so many resources are spent to cast it. Nissa meanwhile stands alone as a very solid grind engine, mana accelerant (by untapping Cradle) and a threat that only five mana needs to be committed to. Also interesting is the reincorporation of a singleton Crop Rotation, which can essentially be a ritual when chaining Gaea’s Cradle or tutor for the utility Karakas in the sideboard. With all this Cradle chaining possible, Craterhoof in hand is a problem no more.

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In the sideboard, Choke is gross. Turn two make your Blue opponent unable to play Magic sounds pretty fun or oppressive, depending on what side of the table you are.

Speaking of big Blue decks…

A few cards in the deck list should look quite familiar… Portent, Predict all look very Miracles-ish… Until one realizes the rest of the list is an Enlightened Tutor-based combo deck! I think this list above all shows how powerful Rest in Peace is at the moment, as it can shut down the Czech Pile deck entirely. As can Back to Basics, Helm, or Energy Field. This is an avenue that has been taken with Miracles many times before to slight success. But perhaps now is the best time for such a list due to people really taking to their graveyards. Everyone is flinging Surgical Extractions in their sideboard but the bomb of Rest of Peace is not to be forgotten.

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Lastly, the oddest Top 8 deck was this!

Although Eldrazi Stompy has been seeing a little bit of a resurgence with two recent Top 8 placings, and Dragon Stompy has continued to see more and more play as the prison deck of choice with the new “Chandra tribal” versions, don’t discount the power of White lock pieces. Soldier Stompy has always been on the fringes of the format but got its biggest boost with Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Recruiter of the Guard and has been waiting for a Top 8. The deck can be taken in a variety of ways, be it with Thalia's Lieutenant to aggro out the opponent or, as in this case, a more grindy direction, with four Palace Jailer making quite a statement. Aerial Responder is also very interesting as a choice, but it makes sense once one realizes how soft the deck can be to an unflipped Delver of Secrets due to lack of removal and lack of fliers. I am less excited about Odric, who looks very janky, but I’m sure spreading responders abilities across the whole team is certain to swing a race around.

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The lock pieces of this deck really do hinge on the eight Thalias, Chalice, and Suppression Field. Field is incredible in today’s metagame of not only fetch-heavy greedy Blue mana bases, but also Deathrite Shaman. Field makes Deathrite’s abilities quite laughable.

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That finishes us up for TWiL! There’s quite a bit of content to look towards:

'Til next time!

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I’m Playing This Week

I Top 4ed a small tournament with this list, it coming off the rails when I lost to Czech Pile Inquisitioning and Hymning my hand into oblivion in the Quarters. That being said, I did play Czech Pile in the Swiss to a beautiful victory. Game one I Stifle Wasted my opponent into the stone age, and Game 2 I was able Predict, Loam Barbarian Ring, and have Compost active. Who would’ve thought RUG Delver could be up six cards to my Czech Pile opponent’s one.

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I think Predict is actually a somewhat viable card in the slot many other players have found for Preordain, Probe or Thought Scour. It looks clunky, but has a failsafe of building Threshold when cycling and at least pitching to Force of Will. When resolved properly, however, it can often pull you back into a game you had no business winning, re-arming the deck with a pile of counter magic. I’m looking forward to testing it further.

The Spice Corner

This is another take on Esper Delver but without the Thought Scour engine. Instead, Chart a Course replaces it. I think Chart and Lingering Souls is a lean grind engine with a lot of possibilities, as Souls can be pitched to Chart when no creature has attacked, and the 1/1 Spirits do a lot of work to fully power Chart too. I like where this is going.

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