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This Week in Legacy: MKM Prague


Welcome to another This Week in Legacy! Some pretty interesting stuff to cover this week; most importantly, from Europe, the MKM series made its stop in Prague, with two-hundred and ninety-five players attending. The weekend before also had another large event I have yet to cover – a two-hundred and nine player side event at GP Kyoto.

The winner of both of these, you might say, was a Miracle.

And, as always, we’ll have a look at the weekly Legacy Challenge results!

MKM Prague

MKM always do a great job of coverage, and you can look to their coverage site here for details. Here’s their pie chart with less fluorescent colors:

The big winner was “Grixis” which I imagine is Grixis Delver and Grixis Control lumped together. I’d imagine the majority of this encompasses Delver variants nonetheless. Next, “Stoneblade” again does little for descriptiveness, and although Bant Deathblade was incredibly popular in the previous MKM event, I wouldn’t be surprised, after the success of Jeskai on Magic Online, that more typical Stoneforge variants (Jeskai, Esper, Esper Deathblade, Blue-White) made up this archetype too. Elves always makes a strong showing in these events, and Czech Pile and Death & Taxes followed. That’s a pretty fair Top 5 represented decks! Sneak & Show was the most prominent combo deck, followed by “UWx Control” which I’m assuming is Miracles. Miracles hasn’t been making huge waves recently (especially on Magic Online, where it was once flourishing) but a solid 6% of the metagame means it sits within a solid niche.

Speaking of Miracles, here’s the Top 8:

Deck Player Placing
Mentor Miracles Johannes Gutbrod 1
RUG Lands Steffen Moller 2
Grixis Delver Jonathan Anghelescu 3-4
Miracles Kevin Wagner 3-4
BUG Delver Manuel Hochegger 5-8
Esper Deathblade Maurice Lenz 5-8
Elves Tomasz Szadziul 5-8
Esper Delver Nicklas Krull 5-8

The winner was Miracles, but with a pretty exciting twist – a flashback to Claudio Bonnani’s winning list at GP Lille – and from what I hear Bonnani worked with Johannes on this list. Yes, Mentor Miracles, feat. Daze, has returned!

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Four Mentors return, and this list has a much leaner counterspell suite, with two Counterspell, three Daze, and a singleton Flusterstorm. I’m sure the Dazes surprised many. The Predict engine has been emphasized a little less too – I guess because card advantage is less necessary when Mentor is the plan A and the opponent is dead. I like the look of this list a lot and, again, it’s showing the flexibility and strength of the cantrips and Predict backbone, along with the usual suite of Terminus and Swords to Plowshares. The sideboard also leans pretty heavily on the Red splash for Blast effects, Moons for difficult matchups, and interestingly Pyroclasm as sideboard sweeper of choice.

This wasn’t the only Miracles list in the Top 8 though!

Much more typical, only using two Mentors as an eventual win condition, rather than its primary plan. Harder control elements like more Jace, more Predict and Unexpectedly Absent replace Daze, which shines in the early game. The sideboard, other than Entreat the Angels, is quite similar to Johannes, only lacking the additional sweepers.

Nonetheless, this tournament was a big shot in the arm for Miracles players everywhere. Have faith, the deck, despite its recent lull, is still alive and well and rising through the ranks of the format. Just as everyone thought Miracles’ lists were distilling into something expected, Johannes came in and put everyone in a Daze. There may be more in the shell to be explored.

There’s also a few other exciting decks to explore:

Mr. Nicklas Krull is at it again with an Esper brew, sort of. Esper Delver has been gaining more and more prominence and may very soon push its way up the echelons of Delver variants. All the numbers here look pretty reasonable, with a very diversified mix of disruption in Spell Pierce, Snare, and Thoughtseize. The sideboard, per usual in these Esper lists, shows off the versatility of the colors, leaning heavily on hatebears.

Another Deathrite-Stoneforge Esper list made Top 8 as well:

Very similar, but eschews Delvers for more midrange creatures like Baleful Strix, Snapcaster Mage and… Notion Thief and Tombstalker?!

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That’s pretty exciting. Again, Tombstalker seems to be the “biggest” Delve threat that fits neatly into midrange shells looking for a big finisher. An interesting lack of in this list is Jace, the Mind Sculptor!

Another interesting list is this Grixis Delver. It looks pretty stock… Until one realizes that neither Stifle nor Cabal Therapy has made its way into the main deck! This gives the deck room for an additional threat (a True-Name), an additional piece of permission (Spell Pierce), and an additional piece of removal. Interestingly, Jonathan also made the mana cleaner by having a 3/3 split of Sea and Volcanic Island… But cut a Wasteland for the Tropical in the main. Not sure I agree on the mana base change, but I do like this "no Stifle or Therapy" being a third option for the main deck in addition to maining either one of them.

I also really like the sideboard Jitte to gear up Pyromancer tokens or assemble the combo of True-Name Abomination and equipment. Ew.

Lastly, the second-placing list was RUG Lands. We’ve seen this a few times already, but it’s nice to see the “alternative” version of Lands also putting in a lot of work at larger events. Surprisingly there’s been a lot of innovation in terms of how to take the archetype: Red-Green Combo, David Long’s Burning Wish version, the Black splash for Decay (less important with Counterbalance now gone) and RUG:

Sweet bit of sideboard technology is the Green “kill spell”: Song of the Dryads.

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GP Kyoto Side Event

Next, let’s go to Japan and see what they have in store for us. Their huge Kyoto Legacy side event had a Top 8 of:

Deck Player Placing
Miracles Kobayashi Tatsuumi 1
Aluren Suzuki Shouta 2
Blue-White Stoneblade Konokuchi Yuji 3-4
ANT Matsui Ryosuke 3-4
Death & Taxes Mihara Yuki 5-8
Griselstorm Nagahashi Ray 5-8
Reanimator Takada Hiroki 5-8
Blue-White Stoneblade Kagotani Naota 5-8

Yes, that’s Miracles again! Crushing!

There’s two camps in the Miracle-sphere – to splash Red, or not to. Here, unlike the MKM lists, Red is absent, leaving a nice clean basic-heavy mana base. Interesting deviations from the norm are only three Force (I like four Force in Miracles a lot, because it gets to hard cast territory often) but this is padded out with main deck Flusterstorms. Council's Judgment is often relegated back to the binder due to Unexpectedly Absent being more synergistic, but here Kobayashi Tatsuumi went for a 1/1 split of the two.

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In the sideboard is some interesting Japanese tech:

Cast Out has been popping up in multiple White-based lists from Japan. Like last week’s Druid's Deliverance, it’s a little overpriced for what it does, but the ability to cycle cheaply is pretty nice – especially with Terminus in the deck to trigger at instant speed!

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Counterbalance returns as a shell of its former self, and I’m not sure how this is better than a hatebear like Ethersworn Canonist and Meddling Mage – they’re arguably “harder” locks than Counterbalance with perfect deck manipulation from Top now unavailable.

Suzuki Shouta utilized a card that I expected a little heavier use in Aluren but largely fell by the wayside to Glint-Nest Crane.

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Trophy Mage is a little more expensive than the Crane, but assuredly hits, finding Shardless Agent when going on the value train or finding Parasitic Strix when comboing out. In the sideboard there’s not as many bullets as expected (Swords and Trinisphere are an option) but Ensnaring Bridge is a neat one to hide behind that Mage can get. Also interesting is rather than a more value-orientated flex land in the deck, Suzuki opted for the beatdowny Creeping Tar Pit, highlighting these Aluren lists’ solid fair axis of attack.

I have a dear Italian Legacy friend who loves the deck below. Hearing him exclaim its name in joy lights up the room.

“Grrrrrrrriselstorrrrm!”

Like Tin Fins, this list aims to reanimate Griselbrand and then win the game on the spot. However, this list doesn’t use Children of Korlis but instead Resolute Archangel to feed Griselbrand and churn through cards. This can also be sacrificed to Cabal Therapy and reanimated again to keep the cards flowing. The deck also essentially has a “Ritual” effect that can be reanimated in Skirge Familiar, turning excess cards into mana into a kill via Tendrils of Agony. Or, like the recent Reanimator Depths lists, this deck has a secondary plan of making a Grave Titan (either via reanimation or lots of Black mana) and riding that to victory.

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The sideboard also has some interesting options. Grim Monolith and Lake of the Dead allows the deck to become a Griselbrand and Grave Titan ramp deck post-board. Karn Liberated is also a pretty exciting colorless option when ramping, dominating the game if he sticks and exiling problematic permanents that may be a hindrance to reanimation. I’m surprised Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Black walkers like Ob Nixilis Reignited weren’t considered too.

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30/07/17 Legacy Challenge

The Top 8 of the recent Challenge broke down as:

Deck Player Placing
4c Control Mahonen 1
TES Bryant_Cook 2
ANT MonkeysCantCry 3
4c Control Ballestin93 4
Turbo Depths Daft 5
Dark Thresh EronRelentless 6
Lands Sibelius1202 7
Grixis Delver Mou 8

The most exciting list to me is good ol’ Dark Thresh:

That’s a lot of removal, and I’m not convinced on Goyf when there’s the temptation of six shroud threats with True-Name possible, but I like that Dark Thresh is still a valid way to Delver. And honestly, with so much 4c Control running around Mongoose is looking more and more awesome. Just avoid or counter those Strix (and hence I’d like some Snares) and Goose can push on through. Maybe it’s time for the little guy to shine again.

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I’m a huge fan of the sideboard too: Edict, Thoughtseize and Marsh Casualties are all great options in this heavy-Black Delver deck, and Liliana, the Last Hope seems to be the best Black planeswalker to trump fair matchups currently.

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Another interesting way to take Delver was played by ziggy_stardust. Although only to a 3-3 finish, the list looks like a interesting evolution of what we saw from Maxtortion:

This is Esper Delver, but with Mentor rather than Stoneforge as top-end threat. This list also has Probe (along with the usually free Daze and Force) to synergize with Mentor, as well as Cabal Therapy too! Lingering Souls can also represent more Mentor triggers as well as more food for Therapy flashbacks. That suite of cards is a really nice synergistic package, and that pleases me.

Other exciting lists include nocley’s Reanimator Depths version, featuring a Tin Fins kill instead of Grave Titan and Lake of the Dead and The Library at Pendrell Vale’s Tom Kellock making 7th place in this Challenge too with Lands!

Conclusion

That wraps up This Week in Legacy. As always, some Legacy from around the net:

‘Til next time!

Sean Brown

Email: sean_brown156@hotmail.com
Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I’m Playing This Week

I’ve been a little conflicted with what Delver variant I’ve wanted to play recently. Typical Pyromancer Grixis is a little dull to me… I like being a lean, mean, clunk-less machine. And maybe the answer to that is playing one of the biggest, fattest one mana creatures:

Death's Shadow is the epitome of leanness, but obviously needs the deck to skew its mana base and incorporate Probe and Thoughtseize for maximum effectiveness. I’d love to include some spicy stuff like Stubborn Denial that protects Shadow and Delve threats effectively (like in Modern), and maybe in a pure Blue-Black list like Josh Utter-Leyton that’s a good idea. Temur Battle Rage is also an option. Nonetheless, I like Red cards a lot, dear reader, and Delver and Lightning Bolt are like chips and gravy. Bolt and Shadow sound even better.

I’m also starting to favor a split of Abrade and Ancient Grudge in my Delver sideboards. Abrade is a great tool that any Red fair deck in Legacy should be considering, if cards like Abrupt Decay are inaccessible.

The Spice Corner

I love Goblins, and so does Marcelo Scatena. At Prague, he finished an impressive 6-3, vanquished in the penultimate round by none other than Johannes Gutbrod, the eventual winner of the tournament. He’s been piloting the Winstigator lists for quite some time, tuning them considerably. Previously Green for Hooligan and Library were incorporated, now solid mono-red is his plan. And it looks impressive:

Find Marcelo’s report here.


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