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This Week in Legacy: News from Japan

Welcome to another This Week in Legacy! This week we’ll be running quite a few innovative lists. To start with, the 82nd KMC, a few Legacy Eternal Weekend Trials. and the recent Legacy Challenge. Let’s dive in.

82nd KMC

The 82nd KMC event in Japan went past, with seventy players participating. The Top 8 broke down as below:

Deck Player Placing
Sneak & Show Ideua Yuuki 1
BUG Delver Fujihara Kohei 2
Grixis Control Yamada Mituhiro 3-4
Miracles Sekimoto Tatsuo 3-4
Aluren Mizuguchi Kiyoshi 5-8
Elves Shibata Masataka 5-8
Tin Fins Yamanaka Kousuke 5-8
Lands Takisaka Toru 5-8

Although the archetypes look pretty generic, there’s some exciting technology in use in many of the lists!

Ideue Yuuki took down the event with a very unconventional take on Sneak & Show. We’ve seen this in previous KMC events, but Ideue Yuuki took the grindy technology of adding Predict to the deck even further with a full three copies!

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Sneak & Show is known for, at times, using up all its resources very early and just jamming – of course, this can go horribly wrong against a well-timed counterspell. But with Predict the deck can recoup its lost resources with raw card advantage. Ten cantrips make it pretty certain that Predict will get full value.

Ideue Yuuki also employed a wild transformational sideboard into… God tribal?! A sideboard Cavern of Souls makes Stompying out Keranos, God of Storms and Hazoret, the Fervent quite a reality. Keranos himself is also a pretty valid card to just Show and Tell into play too!

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Abrade makes a very prominent appearance in the sideboard as well and truly is a perfect fit for the Sneak & Show sideboard. I also imagine it would be a solid one-of in a Cunning Wish board. Killing hatebears or Pithing Needles on Sneak Attack allows Abrade to fit in whatever game plan the deck is on.

There’s been quite a bit of variation in the Sneak & Show archetype recently – from the OmniAttack versions (with and without Cunning Wish), the aggressive Daze and Simian Spirit Guide version and now this grindy “Predict & Show” version. Putting Griselbrand and Emrakul isn’t as single-minded as it may initially seem!

Grixis Control I featured quite prominently last week after Kess, Dissendent Mage’s debut. And here it is again, with a little bit more interesting technology:

The core of the deck is starting to look very distilled, with the suite of Angler, Pyro and some number of Snapcaster the new standard. The most interesting inclusion is Thought Scour and Reanimate, however, which synergise somewhat. I’m not the biggest fan of Thought Scour, but in a deck willing to cantrip in any way possible as well as mill over valuable cards like Cabal Therapy I imagine it as somewhat reasonable. Snapcaster and Kommand also have some more options. Reanimate is also interesting – great with Pyro and Snapcaster, but maybe less so with Angler unless you want to get super-aggressive. That being said, unlike Unearth (which we’ll get to later) Reanimate can disgustingly steal opposing creatures from the graveyard – take that Reanimator players – which also is great when creatures are tagged by discard spells.

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Miracles has been making solid appearances in Japan. This list is very much on the hardcore control plan, lacking Mentors anywhere in the seventy-five. The deck also has access to a veritable wall of countermagic, with three Counterspell, two Spell Snare and a main deck Flusterstorm to make the deck’s somewhat troubling game one combo matchup less of an issue. To close out the game Entreat is not called upon – Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is the man for the job!

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The sideboard leans on the ever-common Red splash (off a Volcanic Island and Mountain, interestingly) for Blast effects, Wear // Tear (which I’m not sure is any better than simple Disenchant now) and additional efficient sweepers in the form of Pyroclasm.

Tin Fins is also surprisingly popular in Japan, and many of these lists have been refined quite a bit. Influence from Red-Black Reanimator in the form of Collective Brutality and Unmask can be seen, as can the influence of Reanimator Depths – Grave Titan and Lake of the Dead make prominent appearances too. Grave Titan also synergises very nicely as a Plan B.Shallow Grave targeting Titan gets eight power of Zombies on the table in a hurry! – while also being easily hard castable.

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Speaking of Plan Bs, Monastery Mentor and Liliana, the Last Hope are also excellent ways to add further complexity to sideboarding against this list. Mentor speaks for himself – make him on turn two or three and go to town with cantrips or Lotus Petals. Liliana, however, is much more flexible than she seems, acting as win condition, creature removal and a way to mill fatties in the graveyard ready for reanimation! The deck also has room for Show and Tell (now that Ponder and Brainstorm are included) to dodge graveyard hate.

A very stock main deck… But this Lands deck utilizes Lingering Souls and, of all lands, Murmuring Bosk (a fetchable tri-land), casting Loam, Rotation and both sides of Lingering Souls) for a very interesting sideboard plan. Souls looks very impressive at stalking out Delver decks until the Lands player locks them out, or just winning the game with natural damage. Removal like Diabolic Edict, typically great against Marit Lage, also looks lackluster with Souls in the mix. Souls is also, of course, great with Dredge cards!

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More List from Around Japan

Japan is always a hotbed of innovation in other, smaller, tournaments, so I’d like to profile those this week as well! The first comes from a qualifier tournament for “The Last Sun” Invitational and brings back an old favorite to the Miracles archetype:

Yes, that’s Counterbalance. Kawai Yusuke felt Counterbalance is still a viable lock piece, and although certainly less powerful without Top, I can definitely agree. I have already had to face Counterbalance from one of my fellow neo-Miracles players in Melbourne, and as a Delver player I was still quite afraid – with Brainstorm, Portent and Ponder, there’s still a lot of ways to manipulate the top of ones library. If Counterbalance “misses” too, card advantage can still be re-accrued thanks to it giving another avenue of making Predict certain.

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I also like how Monastery Mentor has been emphasized in this list, with a full three copies. Mentor flourishes when backed up by Counterbalance as this shields him from removal and lets his Monk magic run wild.

The Japanese also love their Cast Outs, with it a prominent, flexible sideboard slot here again.

From another trial comes Shardless BU- I mean, Aluren! This list is incredibly intriguing. Shardless BUG and Aluren have always shared a few qualities with each other (primarily the BUG color combination and Shardless Agent) but Tanaka Yu has opted to add Ancestral Visions over the typical Ponders to make this Aluren list even grindier. This is somewhat similar to what we saw Cartesian doing in his recent Challenge list – embracing the Aluren archetype as one of the best grindy, midrange decks with a back door combo finish if needed.

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Quite some time ago I mentioned the possibility of MentorBlade being a deck – and here we have Atsuki Kihara making it a reality in pure Blue-White. There’s a few choices I love here – the main deck Flusterstorm, the miser Misdirection to truly “protect the queen” – be it Stoneforge or Mentor. I’m not too certain on Unexpectedly Absent without Portent or Predict, however, and the more flexible Engineered Explosives is probably what I’d look to first.

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Worship is also an exciting one, especially with token generators in Monastery Mentor and True-Name Nemesis making it difficult to clear the board. Speaking of enchantments, Back to Basics would probably work wonders in a shell like this!

Takano Shigeki also brought something I hinted at some time ago – Esper Miracles. This is very similar to the Daze Mentor Miracles shells we’ve seen, with Predict emphasized a little less. However, the cantrip count is somewhat absurd in this list, with fourteen cantrips in total thanks to the addition of Gitaxian Probe. Probe works excellent with Mentor, of course, but also works great with Cabal Therapy and Snapcaster Mage. It’s all a nice pile of synergy, honestly, and this pleases me greatly.  I also like how Counterspell, great in a deck that never wants to tap out, is excluded here. It is conducive to a much more reactive gameplan, while shoving Mentors down peoples throat and Cabal Therapying peoples’ hands is a much more proactive play pattern.

Knight Ware Eternal Weekend Trial

Briefly looking to the states, I’d like to highlight the Knightware 58-player Eternal Weekend trial event, with a Top 8 of:

Deck Player Placing
Elves John Harduvel 1
Burn Ernest Glen 2
Grixis Delver Albert Brown 3-4
Omni-Tell Yeshi Dhondup 3-4
Food Chain Michael Nguyen 5-8
Grixis Delver Keith French 5-8
Sneak & Show Levi Ostwalt 5-8
Blue-Black Death's Shadow Seth Yandrofski 5-8

This Grixis list isn’t really Grixis – it’s actually UR Tempo Delver splashing for Cabal Therapy to synergise with Gitaxian Probe – really downplaying Deathrite Shaman’s strength. I do like, again, Abrade in the sideboard along with Blood Moon to get some people!

Seth Yandrovski brought Blue-Black Shadow essentially porting Josh Utter-Leyton’s list. I like this look of this, though I feel the land count could be pushed to sixteen since there is eight cycling cards in the deck. I’ve also been a big fan of Thoughtseize over Stifle in these shells, because as lovely as destroying people’s mana is, there are decks that do that a little better – Shadow is unnecessary for that. In fact, maybe Wasteland isn’t the way to go with Shadow, and playing it in a super aggressive shell – almost like UR Delver – is the way to go.

Bolt to me feels like a natural inclusion in Shadow decks – mainly because it can act as Giant Growth in opportune times and Legacy, unlike Modern, is still dominated by creatures like Delver and Deathrite that die to Bolt anyway.

08/20/17 Legacy Challenge

Deck Player Placing
Elves Julian23 1
Dragon Stompy Sammy13 2
Dragon Stompy zackwithak 3
Grixis Delver SorboOne 4
Esper Delver Maxtortion 5
4c Control wefoldforfood 6
4c Control oarsman 7
4c Control pellenik 8

As always, let’s look at this week’s Challenge too! Julian took out the event with Elves, but there were of course, a few other decks of note.

Sammy13 bought the Dragon back into Dragon Stompy at 2nd place, featuring Thundermaw Hellkite, Sarkhan, the Dragon Speaker, and Glorybringer over cheaper three drop options that have been so popular currently. Also utilized was Rolling Earthquakeand Bonfire of the Damned in addition to Fiery Confluence to give eight sweeper effects (wait, and Julian won somehow?!).

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I’m not certain I like this list compared to more stock builds with leaner curves (like that of zackwithak) – it seems like Chandra really needs to resolve to get mana pumping into making all these Dragons.

Joe Lossett (oarsman) has been prominently featuring Unearth in his 4c Control list, along with a more aggressively bent threat suite involving True-Name. Unearth is certainly appealing in lists without Delve threats... Pellenik also included a one-of Unearth while ReneRandrup went further off the deep end (or should I say Deep Hour?) including Unearth, Reanimate and a singleton Ninja of the Deep Hours – excellent with Snapcaster and Strix! Lossett also included Minster of Pain as another synergistic “removal” spell with Unearth and Kolaghan’s Command in the mix!

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PhilLesh took Esper Mentor to a solid 4-3, and this draws a lot of inspiration from Miracles. It’s actually quite similar to the Esper Miracles list we just looked at above! Of course, Terminus is omitted but the cantrip/Predict backbone of Miracles is leaned on once more here. Like the MKM-winning list, Daze is also prominent, with a full four copies!

Other notables include Maxtortion continuing to crush with Esper Delver (taking it to the top of the Swiss!) and SorboOne continuing to Top 8 with Pyromancer-less Grixis Delver.


And so wraps up another TWiL!

  • Brian DeMars has probably one of the best-written pieces about Turbo Xerox in recent times. Find that here at CFB and what it means for the metagame (in may format’s) moving forward.
  • James Hsu continues his written Humans of Magic with Bob Huang.
  • Bryant Cook looks at TES vs. D&T and mulliganing based on the matchup!
  • Here at Goldfish SaffronOlive looks over… TwinBlade?!

'Til next time,

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I’m Playing This Week

Bomberman has returned in a very odd form in Japan! This list is very Red-intensive, almost like Imperial Painter of old. As such, Monastery Mentor is no longer a payoff – but Pia and Kiran Nalaar sitting behind an Ensnaring Bridge can instead put all the trinkets to work. Also interesting is the inclusion of Burning Wish. There’s not that many Wish targets to get in this list, but having main deck outs to Chalice in By Force or removal in Cut // Ribbons or Pyroclasm I’m sure has its spots. Burning Wish bottlenecking mana is also less of an issue in a deck abusing Sol lands.

The Spice Corner

Japan continues as a treasure trove of spiciness with probably the most honed Demon Stompy list I’ve ever seen.

I mentioned Archdemon of Paliano when it was released… And here it is. Ammit Eternal is a card I never thought of, however, and it and Mardu Strike Leader give a solid core of undercosted three-mana creatures to fill out the curve.

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Another surprising card is Doomfall, which is actually spectacular in an Ancient Tomb shell featuring Black – sadly, there ain’t many of those around. But a Duress-ish effect crossed with an Edict effect is actually right up Legacy’s alley, especially when having a card that can battle against combo but also grind through the fair True-Name Nemesis of the world is at such a premium.

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