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This Week in Legacy: SCG Open and Classic Baltimore, 10th God of Legacy

Welcome to your typical edition of This Week in Legacy. Hopefully, the brief respite from normal updates with #RUGLyf Part 5 was enjoyable, but this week, we’ll be back to looking at recent events, covering the recent SCG Team Open in Baltimore, its associated Classic, and the Hareruya God of Legacy tournament from a few weeks ago!

SCG Team Open Baltimore

Let’s look at the Top 16 of the Team Open:

Deck Player Placing
Czech Pile Noah Walker 1
Lands Kevin King 2
Lands Jarvis Yu 3
BUG Delver Justin Parnell 4
Grixis Delver Bob Huang 5
Eldrazi Stompy Odin Enzman 6
Black-Red Reanimator Michael Ferguson 7
Lands Jody Keith 8
Lands Daryl Ayers 9
Jeskai Stoneblade Michael Somerville 10
Mono-Red Sneak Attack Collin Kasler 11
Miracles Anuraag Das 12
Grixis Delver Ryan Phraner 13
Eldrazi Stompy Harry Chaklader 14
Eldrazi Stompy Seth Black 15
Lands Casey Lancaster 16

That’s an incredibly fair Top 16, with only three combo decks represented. Again, the numbers are certainly skewed because of the team nature of the tournament, but it certainly looked like a field day for decks such as Lands that were ready to crush all the fair opposition.

Nonetheless, Noah Walker has long been a famous grinder on the SCG circuit, being one of the first people to bring Cabal Therapy Grixis Delver to the forefront of the format after Dig Through Time’s banning. He also was an early adopter of Czech Pile, which he again brought to first place with his teammates. This is odd, considering Pile’s poor conversion throughout the tournament and bevvy of poor-ish matchups (like Lands), but it certain speaks volumes to Noah’s play skill.

Noah’s list adopts some recent technology such as main-deck Liliana, the Last Hope and a singleton Pyroblast, which is likely to give an edge in the mirror (Blast is huge to fight Leovold and Jace before they create value), but I’m sure it may have been a liability considering the large amount of non-Blue decks at the top tables. Sylvan Library is also becoming a standard grind engine in the sideboard with the reduced number of Abrupt Decay in lists (Noah only ran one!).

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Lands made a huge appearance in the Top 16 of the Team Open. There has always been a bevvy of strong Lands grinders on the SCG circuit, and names like Kevin King, Jody Keith, Jarvis Yu, and Daryl Ayers did not disappoint. Many of the main decks looked quite similar, though Sheltered Thicket showed adoption in some lists, as did sideboard Drop of Honey. Daryl and Jarvis utilized old technology of Seismic Assault in the sideboard too, and second-placing Kevin King opted for an exciting Song of the Dryads as pseudo-creature removal.

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Probably the most exciting list is that of 12th-placing Anuraag Das. Forever a Miracles man, Anuraag adopted a very interesting build of the deck featuring old standby Counterbalance and three Search for Azcanta!

Interestingly, Anuraag did not incorporate any Soothsaying to turn on the true Counterbalance lock, instead relying on his cantrips to do so. Search has interesting synergy with cards like Predict too, giving more avenues to check the top card of one’s library (during upkeep). It must not be forgotten that Counterbalance too, even if it misses, can create value alongside Predict to dig deep into the deck for answers. Entreat the Angels or Jace is the win-con of this list, making it more and more like the Miracles lists just prior to Top’s banning without the Mentors by going full control, eventually locking the opponent out with Counterbalance (or, in this case, creating an insurmountable advantage with Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, blanking removal, and resolving that final game-ending angelic bomb.

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Another list I’d like to highlight is 13th-place Grixis Delver by Ryan Phraner. This list certainly looks close to the Dylan Donegan and SorboOne school of thought, opting out of Pyromancers and Probes while focusing on a more RUG pure-tempo game plan with Stifle as part of its core. Interesting “threats” in this list include Liliana, the Last Hope (again, a card recommended by Dylan a month or so ago) and Bitterblossom over what I would expect to be the third Angler. Blossom is actually a criminally underplayed card in Legacy, with so many fair decks being unable to beat the resolved enchantment. I can imagine the card being absolute hell against Pile, Delver mirrors, or decks like Death & Taxes. It’s certainly an unexpected angle of attack for a Delver deck.

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SCG Classic Baltimore

Next, let’s look to the Classic, won by Dredge!

Deck Player Placing
Dredge Jack Kitchen 1
Miracles Daniel Miller 2
Grixis Delver Brian Coval 3
Grixis Delver Jacob Bard 4
Eldrazi & Taxes Tim Turner 5
Grixis Delver Chris Hawker 6
Infect Nizar Sarhan 7
Grixis Delver Richard Cali 8

Jack Kitchen is a long-time Legacy player who has been known for much of his work on the now sort-of-dead Imperial Painter archetype. He’s now opted for Dredge, taking his innovative zero Careful Study, less Cephalid Coliseum, and full Pimp and Street Wraith version to the top of the tournament. In addition to Kitchen’s Challenge Top 8, Orim67 has also been wrecking with the deck, taking it to a few 5-0s. You can read all about his busted hands in his tournament report on The Source. The deck leans on Putrid Imp to increase the number of Black creatures to feed Ichorid and supply a redundant, repetitive discard outlet. Street Wraith I love as an addition, and it is really where decks like Manaless get their strength in the current metagame. It feeds Ichorid too and allows Surgical on dredgers to be fought against. It also provides a needed bit of acceleration with Study absent. The mana base is modified to accommodate the lack of Studies, trimming Coliseums for a more stable 10 gold lands.

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My favorite sideboard card of Kitchen’s is Memory’s Journey, which I too have always had as a one-of. It’s so flexible, acting as graveyard hate, shuffling back in Narcomoebas, and protecting from Surgical and many others. It can also be dredged into!

Coming in at fifth place was Eldrazi & Taxes, an archetype that has fallen somewhat back to the fringes of the format:

This list is super lean, and all the numbers look pretty excellent to me. I like having the Priest–Displacer combo available main deck and four Smashers to capitalize on the Heretic Cathar’s effect making blocking difficult and Displacer ability to let attackers through. Also nice is the little bit of evasion and filtration incorporated into Smuggler’s Copter—an excellent Turn 1 play for a deck with so many legendary creatures and Mox Diamonds that can clunk up hands.

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Other exciting lists from the Classic include Daniel Miller again placing well with his Back to Basics Miracles, Jacob Bard opting for a “bigger” Grixis Delver with two Tombstalker alongside Pyromancer, and Tyrik Strachan fighting the fair fight with Punishing Maverick!

Hareruya 10th God of Legacy

A few weeks ago (November 15, 2017), the God of Legacy event occurred in Japan with 265 players. As always, Japanese technology is pretty exciting to look at, so let’s dive into the Top 16:

Deck Player Placing
ANT Arita Kouchirou 1
UR Delver Tsumagari Shuhei 2
Grixis Delver Nishino Fumiaki 3-4
Eldrazi Stompy Takeda Hiroki 3-4
Miracles Kobayashi Tatsuumi 5-8
Death & Taxes Sekiguchi Kouta 5-8
Czech Pile Hayasaki Yuusuke 5-8
UR Delver Mawatari Kenta 5-8
UR Delver Kusafuka Takuma 9-16
Grixis Delver Saitou Nobuo 9-16
ANT ? 9-16
Death & Taxes Miyasaka Kenichirou 9-16
UR Delver Suzuki Takahiro 9-16
Omni-Tell Mishiro Norihito 9-16
UW Stoneblade Konishi Hirokazu 9-16
Esper Deathblade Narumi Shouta 9-16

The most bizarre thing is definitely the presence of Blue-Red Delver, with four copies of the deck making the Top 16. Furthermore, only one of these was the expected “Blue-Red Burn” featuring a suite of Prowess creatures. The others were more tempo-oriented, one featuring Stifle and the others simply upping the amount of Spell Pierce or removal. Let’s run through these:

In my mind, this looks built to beat up on opposing Deathrite Shaman decks, particularly Grixis Delver. The full suite of eight removal means that Deathrite will die on sight, and mana denial from opposing Delver decks is nullified thanks to the three basics available to this two-color variant.

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Another card this list focuses on is Grim Lavamancer. Three copies seems excessive, but if the Lavamancer sticks, he will be ruining many fair decks in the format, particularly opposing Delver decks, Elves, and Death & Taxes. Lavamancer also makes big creatures like Tarmogoyf or Angler less of an issue, as he can partner up with Bolts to deal with these.

The sideboard is notably very clean, though no Pyroblast effects is perhaps the oddest thing I’ve ever seen. Four non-basic hate pieces is also a little much.

This should look a little familiar, but has some oddball choices. The typical Swiftspears have been opted out of for Soul-Scar Mage, with Kenta interestingly valuing the 1/1 effect more than Swiftspear’s haste. Chain of Vapor is also an odd addition. Although more flexible than a card like Vapor Snag, it can backfire when pushing blockers out of the way for that lethal hit.

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Mystic Remora, though, is very cool and has been seen before in Vintage. Although I dislike it as a main-deck card, I’m sure it can do work as a sideboard card-advantage engine for these kinds of Delver decks. In its worst case, at least it triggers Prowess.

This list utilizes a similar creature suite to that of the second-placing list but importantly includes Stifle. Similar to the issues with Stifle in LewisCBR’s Grixis Delver list, I dislike how it functions with Pyromancer, which wants you to play more proactively.

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I do like Set Adrift and Dead // Gone quite a bit in this list, however! I’ve harped on Dead // Gone a bit concerning its place in RUG, but it’s even better here thanks to Blue–Red Delver being able to cast Gone more readily due to easily reaching three mana. Set Adrift has been seen before in Eli Kassis’s Blue–Red Delver, and like the Chain of Vapor, it is incredibly flexible when cast and can be essentially a Time Walk. However, sorcery speed is an issue.

Nonetheless, I’m interested to see whether Blue–Red tempo-style Delver can make a bit of a resurgence in a similar way to RUG’s. These non-Deathrite Delver decks do have their perks.

Lastly, let’s have a look at this interesting Omni-Tell list:

Omni-Tell has always played second fiddle to Sneak & Show after Dig Through Time’s banning, but this list has a pretty exciting engine of Pieces of the Puzzle and Mizzix’s Mastery. Pieces has been seeing a lot of play online as an extra filtration piece, but with Mastery, Enter the Infinite can be cast from the graveyard for the cheap cost of 3R, giving the deck essentially seven ways to win on the spot. I’m sure Mastery has lots of other bits of utility, especially if the overload ever occurs!

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That wraps up TWiL for this week! Hope you enjoyed it, and as always, here are some links from around the net:

'Til next time!

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I’m Playing This Week

I’m outside of Australia for quite some time, which means no Legacy for me. But in addition to RUG, I’m keen to keep looking at Blue–Red Delver, especially after it placed so well in Japan:

This is very, very close to Kai Sawatari’s old list with some numbers simply shifted around. Cards I am interested in trying in this shell are Predict, like in RUG, along with potentially Search for Azcanta as a Sylvan Library-ish effect. But throwing bombs like Blood Moon at people may just be better to destroy Czech Pile.

The Spice Corner

Unclaimed Territory is opening up a lot of new decks like Five-Color Humans in Modern. In Legacy, Silvers have always been well-loved, but mana issues have always plagued them. Not anymore. With Cavern, Ziggurat, Hive, and Territories, that’s 16 gold mana sources with little downside (except Ziggurat). I’m not sure if all the one-mana Silvers other than Galerider Sliver are worthwhile (though I suppose they’re okay for curve considerations), and I would perhaps like to see Chalice in here as more defense against combo. But nonetheless, this archetype may need a little bit more looking into once more.

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