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This Week in Legacy: SCG Worcester


Welcome to another This Week in Legacy! This week we will be running through the events of the recent StarCityGames Legacy Open in Worcester, as well as a Classic to consider. There’s quite a few things to run through, so let’s dive in!

SCG Open Worcester

Let's start by looking at a breakdown of the Day 2:

The big takeaway from this event was damn, Grixis Delver is certainly a huge proportion of the metagame and is truly the deck to beat, dwarfing all other decks. Certainly, it is now the deck with the hugest target on its back. Almost all placing lists feature Bob Huang’s Spell Pierces and True-Names, though some did find some room for LewisCBR-styled Stifles. I’d get ready for Grixis “Honda Civic” Delver in whatever event you are playing next. Have a plan.

After Grixis Delver interestingly came Miracles, one of these reaching Top 8 in the hands of Jim Davis that we’ll have a look at in a moment. Could Miracles be the antidote to the plague of Insectile Aberrations and Young Pyromancers we’re seeing currently? It’s plan of Plow-Snap-Plow and Terminus certainly deftly deals with the top deck effectively and I’d highly recommend the control shell moving forward. The same rationale I suppose comes from Czech Pile, the equal third-most played deck along with Death & Taxes, though I feel current Grixis Delver decks have warped themselves to more effectively “go under” Czech Pile and its success has tailed off. None of the Pile decks even cracked into the Top 16. Speaking of warping itself, two of the Death & Taxes lists were Red-splashing, one even featuring a Scrubland for main deck Orzhov Pontiff as well. With 3.5 color Deathrite Shaman decks seeing a lot of play, I can imagine Magus of the Moon being a powerful card to have access to.

BUG Delver continues to look more and more appealing to me, as I feel Tarmogoyf is incredibly positioned to slaughter Grixis Delver, with Gurmag Angler being its only nemesis (and True-Name Nemesis, I guess) and the stock lists’ Lightning Bolts and Forked Bolt looking lackluster against it. That being said, BUG’s clunky mana base can do a number on it. Storm, primarily in the form of TES, had a presence in the hands of AJ Kerrigan and Bryant Cook, veterans of that version. It’s great to see TES, the faster cousin of ANT, get more exposure, and perhaps this success indicates ANT’s popularity should be reconsidered.

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Of course, this event has also highlighted the prevalence of Deathrite Shaman in Legacy and has led to, as always, much debate on the card’s existence in the format. There’s posts for and against, and an excellent post by /u/lorkac that speaks about how Deathrite fits into deck design and what we really want from the format. There’s also Bob Huang’s opinion highlighted in his player interview. I myself will remain a bit distanced from this debate – my focus has always been to push innovation and unexplored potential in the format as it currently is, rather than worry about bannings.

Now, on to some deck lists:

Sukenik’s Grixis Delver follows the mold of all Bob Huang lists quite typically, except for one card!

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I think most readers should be aware that I’m a big fan of Dead // Gone as both a Deathrite Shaman killer and a way to bounce some big Fish or big Avatars breathing down your neck. I personally hadn’t been considering it much of a sideboard card, but it definitely fits a very reasonable role there. It’s a bit of a “skeleton key,” able to be additional removal in matchups where desired, and also a bounce spell for Marit Lage decks. Being sideboardable in very disparate matchups is something pretty unique.

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This Grixis Delver is even more oddball – Bomat Courier is included! The Courier has appeared in some oddball Blue-Red Delver lists in the past but never in a deck so mainstream like Grixis Delver. I’m not much of a fan either… It gets easily bricked by Deathrite and most of the Legacy format, honestly, and Grixis Delver isn’t particularly the best deck at emptying its hand thanks to countermagic like Force and Daze and “slow” threats like Gurmag Angler. Its ability could backfire, but, well, it did bring Zan Syde to 19th place and a lot of shenanigans. So kudos to him, certainly.

Away from the Delver decks, let’s look at Jim Davis’ Miracles:

Jim has included the pretty typical cantrip core + some number of Predict in his list, but his flex slots are quite wild.

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Firstly, a main deck Path to Exile over the fourth Terminus shows Jim’s determination to always have spot removal at the ready. I think this especially hedges against the Grixis Delver deck which has no basics to fetch anyway and makes sure all turn one plays, particularly Deathrite Shaman, are dealt with on time. A main deck Flusterstorm I’m sure hedges a bit against Storm and complements the two Counterspell in this list and is something not unseen. In terms of enchantments, Jim opted out of the Counterbalances that have been so popular and instead looked to lock out opponents with Back to Basics.

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His single Tundra and lack of Red splash furthers this as one of this core plans. His singleton Search for Azcanta also makes a little more sense with his deck configuration. He not aiming to play as long a game as many other Miracles lists. Rather, the abundance of spot removal is there to assure the board is cleared early and a devastating three drop, be it Mentor or Back to Basics can end the game in a hurry. Search also looks pretty awful with a Back to Basics in play. Luke Purcell had a little more of a stockier list, but emphasized land hate via Blood Moon. Find Jim talking about his list in this post-Worcester recap on his stream here.

This Depths list is a lot grindier than typical lists, with a set of Dark Confidant and less tutors in the form of Expedition Map. It also splashes White to turn into a Deadguy Ale-style deck against faster combo decks, which is pretty interesting – Thalia and Marit Lage side-by-side sounds pretty exciting. The other piece that is exciting about this deck is Rancor!

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A classic many old-time players will appreciate, I’m sure this smashes through any Baleful Strix blocking the way for an immediate kill. Or Bitterblossom tokens…

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Yes, Bitterblossom tokens. The Tribal Enchantment has been getting a lot of traction in Black-based Delver decks as a grindy option, with upside as continuous chump blocker for Marit Lage (but watch out for that Sejiri Steppe interaction!). It is quite a slow card, but I can certainly see its benefits and crossover applications in a few matchups.

Tezzerator makes another appearance after we saw it last week appear on Magic Online, but this time in its Grixis form. There’s the usual pile of walkers here including Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast and a pretty wild pile of sideboard cards. HelmVoid, Chain of Mephistopheles, The Abyss, Padeem, and Lodestone Golem all could only gather in a Tezzerator board.

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Phil Blechman found success with a pretty exciting Mentor shell, accelerated out by Deathrite Shaman and able to rip opposing hands apart ala Young Pyromancer thanks to Probe + Therapy. This list also gets a little spicy thanks to Unearth, able to revive dead Mentors on any other creatures in the deck – recycling Baleful Strix I’m sure is excellent.

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The sideboard interestingly includes a… Forest?! I’m not sure in what matchup you would need both a basic and the ability to activate Deathrite’s Green ability (Reanimator with Blood Moon, perhaps?) but nonetheless, there it is. You can hear Phil talk about it on the recent Eternal Durdles episode.

SCG Worcester Classic

Let’s briefly look at the Classic that also occurred on the second day of the event. This event was interestingly taken down by Dragon Stompy:

It certainly says a lot about the consistency gains Stompy has achieved in the last few years in that it can actually take down an event. However, this list does feature the good old non-bo of Rabblemaster and Ensnaring Bridge and I’d sooner prefer main decking Quicksmoth Rebel or something along those lines in the Goblin’s spot. But the Rabblemaster can get work done when you need to kill someone in a hurry.

I’m a big fan of a card in the sideboard:

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Oh yeah, Scab-Clan Berserker. I like how by including her this list effectively diversifies its Storm hate and is less prone to a timely Hurkyl’s Recall. She can also just be a very effective clock when the deck needs to beat down ASAP. In matchups where Bridge is mediocre, I’m sure it cleanly swaps for the Berserkers.

Finally, the appearance of an ANT list! This is a rather straightforward but the sideboard features some wild transformative plans. Notably, Pack Rat.

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This is fun, but certainly falls into similarly flawed plans of Young Pyromancer and Dark Confidant. If they don’t have removal, great. If they have a counter, well, they’ll probably counter your creature to prevent it running wild. And if it resolves then, well, time to go wild – if they boarded out all their removal. Many Delver decks in particularly won’t be able to trim all their removal, so sometimes a stray Lightning Bolt can make all these plans for nought. At least the Rat has a semi-built-in plan to continue survival via its multiplication ability.

Conclusion

So we finish another This Week in Legacy! Here’s a few links from around the web as always:

Next week, expect some talk of the big Dominaria leak and how this’ll affect Legacy.

‘Til next time.

Sean Brown

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

What I’m Playing This Week

I’ll give the majority of credit to Nicklas Lallo (ItIsUnfair) for inspiring this Thoughtcast-based list of Chalice Bomberman. I know it’s not the first time I’ve shown this, but it feels a little comfier in terms of the numbers now:

There’s three very obvious splashes to me when it comes to the shell now – White-Black,featuring Dark Confidant as card advantage engine and Freebooter as disruption, White-Red, featuring Imperial Recruiter for grinding (by finding Salvagers) and providing a toolbox, and now White-Blue, providing an artifact toolbox with Trinket Mage and the ability to grind with Thoughtcast, though it does skew the mana base somewhat. I will say that this version has the most powerful Mox Opals of all the versions, however.

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The Spice Corner

Today’s Spice Corner comes from a lovely article posted at Hipsters of the Coast. Probably the stand-out oddball deck that made Day 2 of Worcester was Soldier Stompy in the hands of Shawn Massak! Find his report concerning it here.

Although the sideboard seems a bit of a hodgepodge, I really like what Shawn has done with main deck. In particular, the inclusion of Aerial Responder as a Delver deterrent. Recruiter of the Guard looks pretty lackluster being only able to Recruit for a select few Soldiers, but finding Thalia, an gaming ending Captain of the Watch or bullets in the sideboard has quite a bit of utility I’m sure.

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