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This Week in Legacy: Wrenn and Six is Taking Over


Wrenn and Six has now been available for Legacy players for a couple of weeks and some people are starting to call it the new Deathrite Shaman. Why? Because every blue deck is playing it.

At first, the card seemed pretty good. A couple of weeks ago we saw it as a two of in Mythic Championship Qualifier-winning RUG Delver deck sideboard, then we saw it showing up in some control decks as a two to three of. Now... it seems every blue deck should be splashing green to play four Wrenn and Six

The MTGO challenge on July 7th had 10 copies of it in the Top 8. The winning 4-color Delver deck had 3 copies and another 4-color delver deck in the Top 8 had the full 4 copies. 

The winning 4-color Delver deck is really a dedicated Wrenn and Six deck that happens to run Delver of Secrets and Daze. The 4th color, and really a light splash to fill some hole that RUG decks usually has, is black. The black cards each play a very specific role at the cost of having relatively bad mana with only one Underground Sea and one Badlands to cast 3 maindeck Abrupt Decay and 2 maindeck Thoughtseize, as well as, some sideboard cards in 1 Diabolic Edict, 1 Liliana's Triumph, 2 Plague Engineer and an additional Thoughtseize.

The idea is that RUG colors have difficulty with certain creatures such as Merit Lage, True-Name Nemesis, and Knight of the Reliquary. Similarly, combo decks like Reanimator and Storm can be difficult for RUG decks. Each of these black cards lines up well versus those decks or creatures.  Plague Engineer is a clean answer to True-Name Nemesis as well as being a road block for Knight of the Reliquary that happens to kill things like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Mother of Runes along the way. Thoughtseize can pick apart the hand of the combo player and is rarely bad in Legacy.

Wrenn and Six makes this black splash possible while also being a complete powerhouse of an engine. With Wrenn and Six in the deck, it is very hard to cut someone off of a color of mana, even with only a couple black sources in the deck. The powerhouse engine revolves around either recurring Wasteland to virtually end the game or recurring fetch lands to ensure that the wheels keep spinning with cantrips. On top of all that, Wrenn and Six has an ultimate that wins the game by letting you ditch extra lands to replay spells out of your graveyard. Unlike flashback, retrace doesn't exile the cards you cast from your graveyard.

In the past week as players are learning just how powerful of a strategy Wrenn and Six is we have seen it show up in Maverick, Lands, 4c Loam, Delver, UBx Control, Prison and even Miracles shells. In the non-blue decks we see it being used solely to recur utility lands like Wasteland or Blast Zone. But the card really shines in blue decks when paired with cantrips like Brainstorm since they exploit fetchlands to smooth out draws at any point in the game.

Why are people calling it the new two mana Deathrite Shaman and is it bannable like Deathrite Shaman? Well, people call it Deathrite Shaman because it fixes your mana and wins the game all by itself in some situations. Another similarity it has to Deathrite Shaman is that it is a card that on its face looks like a Jund card but really shines in blue decks. On the other hand, it does not really do a lot versus combo decks, it costs two mana and it does not ramp. So, no it isn't Deathrite Shaman. It's better than Deathrite Shaman in some situations and leads to some pretty miserable games and play patterns so, I wouldn't say it will never be banned. Against fair decks it can kill creatures with one power in a pinch, but what it really does is come down early and lets you Wasteland every turn or nullify your opponents Wastelands. If the person facing Wrenn and Six couldn't play anything before the first Wasteland is returned by Wrenn and Six it's pretty unlikely they will be able to play much for the rest of the game. Similarly, if you are facing down an active Wrenn and Six there is very little to gain from using your own Wasteland. This lets the player with Wrenn and Six dictate the mana development of the game. Facing it is a pretty miserable place to be.

What can you do to fight back? You can play answers like Pithing NeedleHydroblast or Rest in Peace that I think people should consider adding more copies of to their sideboards. Or, you can play faster combo decks that Wrenn and Six are not very effective against. 

Rest in Peace [A25]

Rest in Peace is a particularly interesting answer to Wrenn and Six because it also puts a huge damper on most of the other threats that you see alongside Wrenn and Six. It turns Tarmogoyf into a 0/1 and prevents all value from Dreadhorde Arcanist. I think people should start to add more copies of this card, or even Leyline of the Void, to their sideboards. Other options like Nihil Spellbomb and Surgical Extraction are fairly ineffective. 

Here is my take on a more stable manabase Wrenn and Six deck with RUG Midrange. This deck forgoes the black spells and the proactive threat in Delver of Secrets for a more stable 3 color manabase. Despite some of the holes that black fills this deck can deal with a lot of the cards mentioned. Magmatic Sinkhole is a red spell that can deal with some bigger creatures than red cards usually can. It kills an early Knight of the Reliquary a lot of the time and cleans up Gurmag Angler. It can also hit planeswalkers, which is a huge upside.

 

 

Eric Landon, or “ewlandon,” is a long time Magic and Legacy enthusiast who has spent nearly two years as the Legacy Trophy Leader by a substantial margin. He is also a full-time Magic streamer and Mythic Championship hopeful (hopeful to qualify someday). 

You can find his schedule on https://twitter.com/Ewlandon1 or catch him live on Twitch at twitch.tv/ewlandon.


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