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This Month in Legacy (November 2015)

Hello once again everyone! We have a speedy article up for November to make up for October’s delayed one. This month, since we’ve covered a lot about GP SeaTac last month, we’ll be looking primarily at the fallout from that tournament and how the metagame has been shaping up since then, as well as review a bit of this month’s other major Legacy tournament, the SCG Open that occurred in Somerset, New Jersey.

But, for now, the usual charts!

The online metagame per usual exhibits the omnipresence of Miracles, with Grixis Delver and ANT following behind. It’s quite interesting to see that Grixis Delver is still the Delver variant most popular, despite Dig Through Time leaving, with its numbers dominating online over RUG and BUG Delver. This can likely be attributed to the deck’s success in GP SeaTac, which although less popular than BUG there, definitely placed much better, especially considering Calcano’s runner-up finish. If anything, the top tier decks look somewhat similar to the breakdown of decks online during the Dig era – except of course the place of Elves as the fourth most popular deck. The expected boom in Elves has been well-established over the course of this month, with the deck’s strength against Delver decks and midrange variants now that they lack Dig pushing it again to the metagame’s forefront. Other interesting data points are the lack of Shardless online, which has possibly fallen out of favour due having a target on its back post-GP SeaTac, as well as the prevalence of UR Delver, a usually unpopular Delver variant (we’ll talk about this later). Also interesting are a few newer or rediscovered archetypes finally making appearances on Magic Online, such as 4c Loam, KnightFall, Aluren, Burning Reanimator and BUG Landstill.

The paper metagame reflects a few things similarly – Miracles is still top dog, as is ANT and Grixis Delver (who is still ahead of RUG and BUG) – but here we see Death & Taxes showing its strength in contrast to its lack of presence online (likely due to the cost of the deck online) as well as the more expected positioning of Shardless BUG within the heap of top decks. It’s very interesting to see, however, 4c Loam now becoming less and less of a fringe contender within paper metagames, and more one of the established top tier decks – its numbers equalling Elves, a staple of the Legacy format! I think this can be largely credited to the deck’s ‘discovery’ by the American metagame within this month, which we’ll talk about a little more upon our analysis of SCG Somerset. Other interesting data points are the large downturn in RUG, BUG and 4c Delver and the now continuous presence of KnightFall and Aluren, albeit small, who found the spotlight last month.

You can also find a graph combining both online and paper results (similar to the ones I used to do) here if you’re curious, though I won’t be posting these on the main article’s page.

Looking towards SCG Somerset, let’s look at a breakdown of the Top 32 decks:

Miracles dominated this Top 32, with it representing around 34% of the decks within it. However, only two were able to reach the Top 8, next to two copies of ANT, the only copies of ANT within this Top 32, who seem to of excelled within this tournament. Also included were Elves, Grixis Delver and Lands, as well as the final winner of the tournament, 4c Loam. After 4c Loam’s exceptional performance at GP Lille where the deck truly debuted, it was surprising to see that the deck got little play within America in the months after – if anything, its placement within this major tournament was long overdue considering the deck’s raw power exhibited in GP Lille. I expect the deck to now finally find significant play globally, rather than be a purely European phenomenon, and our metagame breakdown of this month seems to reassure that the deck will now be a staple of months ahead. If you need a little bit of a refresher on the deck, I mentioned it in July’s article, featured an updated list in my Commander 2015 Legacy Review and Philipp Schönegger has an enlightening article on it as well. Other interesting decks that found their way into the Top 32 were UR Painter (well, this one slightly splashed black, we’ll talk about it in a moment) as well as one of the Turbo Depths decks which have been running around recently.

The Many Ways to Build UR and Grixis Delver

This month has seen a significant bit of variation within a few of the Delver variants. RUG Delver has been well known for its stockiness, with very, very little variation within its main deck and even its sideboard (check out my RUG Delver primer for a bit of an outline of this) and BUG Delver, although separable into versions involving Stifle (more tempo orientated) or versions involving Hymn to Tourach (more midrangey), have also fallen into relatively stock lists.

UR Delver has been an interesting variant of Delver, having its ups and downs as the metagame shifted. Many of us were well-acquainted with it during the era of Treasure Cruise, where its ability to be incredibly aggressive, chain cantrips together and reload, finishing the opponent with a flurry of burn or tokens, as well as very little to no reliance on the graveyard except for Cruise, made it the omnipresent force within that metagame. Prior to Cruise, however, it separated into two primary camps:

  1.  A tempo-orientated variant, which many saw as sub-par compared to typical RUG, although it did boast the power of basic lands. The list that Osyp Lebodowicz piloted after the printing of Pyromancer and True-Name at Legacy Champs put this into the forefront of people’s mind.
  2. A “blue burn” variant championed by Andrew Schneider, essentially using blue cards for more favourable combo matchups, card selection and the ability to be one of the best Bolt-Snap-Bolt (or, God forbid, PoP-Snap-PoP) decks in Legacy.

It has been these directions that most UR Delver lists have transitioned to now, in the era of post-Delve, but with a lot of new tools at their disposal, including Monastery Swiftspear, which functions nicely with Daze, unlike Goblin Guide, and Eidolon of the Great Revel.

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Looking towards a list that is more along the lines of a UR Burn list, Webb has been crushing online with an oddity of a list, that initially appears incongruous, but is likely powerful enough given the results Webb has been putting up.

Webb’s UR Delver

Creatures: (15)
Delver of Secrets
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Grim Lavamancer
Monastery Swiftspear
Young Pyromancer

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
Chain Lightning
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Brainstorm
Daze
Fireblast
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Lands: (16)
Island
Misty Rainforest
Mountain
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (15)
Blood Moon
Flusterstorm
Pyroblast
Smash to Smithereens
Submerge
Sulfuric Vortex
Surgical Extraction

Shoving Eidolon of the Great Revel into a typical UR Delver list looks a bit strange, especially since most Delver decks see Eidolon as a difficult card to fight against when cantrips are involved, but I’m actually quite a fan of it in a list as aggressive as this one, although I’d be well-aware of cutting down on Probes and maybe even Pyromancer, who encourages spell-casting, while Eidolon does not. Eidolon also provides something to a Delver deck typically unseen, other than in white-based Delver variants (which are quite a rarity nowadays): a piece of permanent-based hate against combo decks. Most combo decks know the role they need to play against Delver decks – simply fight through the countermagic the Delver player is holding up before Delver pokes them to death, often through cards such as Duress. But Eidolon puts a wrench in that plan by coming down on turn two and forcing the combo player to find cards such as Abrupt Decay or Chain of Vapor, which although common to board in anyway, forces the combo player to need a diversity of answers. I expect this list to have very favourable combo matchups in general.

I’d probably try structuring the list like so, omitting the disjointed parts of the deck and streamlining it a little:

Sean Brown’s UR Delver

Creatures: (14)
Delver of Secrets
Monastery Swiftspear
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Grim Lavamancer

Non-Creature Spells: (28)
Brainstorm
Ponder
Daze
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Chain Lightning
Gitaxian Probe
Fireblast
Lands: (16)
Scalding Tarn
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Volcanic Island
Island
Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Exquisite Firecraft
Price of Progress
Pyroblast
Smash to Smithereens
Sulfuric Vortex
Flusterstorm
Surgical Extraction
Forked Bolt
Grafdigger's Cage

Taking a lot of sideboard options from current Burn lists, which this list is more aligned with, I’ve purposefully forsaken cards like Blood Moon for Price of Progress which is more congruent with the burn-them-to-death game plan – it may not be correct, however, as Eidolon damage can add up, especially with two Volcanic Islands being the deck’s default setup! I’ve also utilised Exquisite Firecraft for the Miracles matchup; though this may be a little ambitious considering we’re only running sixteen lands and already have Pyroblast to fight through Counterbalance.

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Looking towards a more tempo-orientated version can be seen in MedVeDev’s list:

MevVeDev’s UR Delver

Creatures: (14)
Delver of Secrets
Grim Lavamancer
True-Name Nemesis
Young Pyromancer

Non-Creature Spells: (28)
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Brainstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Stifle
Lands: (18)
Flooded Strand
Island
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Volcanic Island
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
True-Name Nemesis
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Grafdigger’s Cage
Pithing Needle
Pyroblast
Umezawa’s Jitte

The bunch of non-creature spells should look pretty familiar to most Delver players, especially those piloting RUG or Grixis, but the main innovation here is in the creature base and the lands. Four Grim Lavamancers, which certainly looks like overkill to me, are nonetheless a powerful one-drop that fits well with the style of a tempo deck, being a flexible creature able to control the board but also act as a clock. The singleton basic Island in this list looks trivial, but in wars involving Stifle and Wasteland, this deck is able to conquer others just due to the power of being able to find a non-Wastelandable mana source, and is one of the primary reasons to run this over a three-colour Delver variant. Although the sideboard of this list is diversified very little (and Blood Moon out of the sideboard is another great reason to go straight UR), I do like the utilisation of Eidolon here again as a piece of permanent-based hate.

If I were to try a tempo-based UR Delver variant, I’d look towards modelling it off RUG Delver, except with a stronger manabase and slightly flimsier or more expensive threats like True-Name. In the end, it looks like we’re back in 2013 playing Osyp Lebedowicz’s Legacy Champs runner-up list!

Sean Brown’s UR Delver

Creatures: (12)
Delver of Secrets
Young Pyromancer
True-Name Nemesis
Grim Lavamancer

Non-Creature Spells: (30)
Brainstorm
Ponder
Force of Will
Daze
Lightning Bolt
Stifle
Gitaxian Probe
Spell Pierce
Forked Bolt
Lands: (18)
Scalding Tarn
Flooded Strand
Wasteland
Volcanic Island
Island
Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Submerge
Blood Moon
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Pyroblast
Smash to Smithereens
Flusterstorm
Electrickery
Sulfuric Vortex
Grafdigger's Cage
Pithing Needle

Monastery Swiftspear looks like a bizarre omission in this list, but it seems sensible considering this is a deck that wants to hold up Stifle, Spell Pierce or Lavamancer activations, rather than cantrip aggressively, unless an end-game Pyromancer is involved. If one were to cut the Stifle package, however, Swiftspear is a likely consideration. I also enjoy that most of the typical sideboard options of red-based Delver decks are open here, as well as the powerful Blood Moon, which can hose many of the Shardless BUG decks running around and is exclusive to this Delver variant. It may be a bit of a non-bo with Wasteland, but if your opponent’s not playing Magic, it’s probably fine. I’d love to find room for a Sulfur Elemental and another piece of graveyard hate (probably Surgical Extraction) somewhere in this list.

It feels like UR Delver has a lot of room to carve a niche considering its success this month, particularly online, and considering it sub-par to Burn or three-color Delver variants is ill advised, as the deck has a lot of tools and strengths unique to it. Like most things like Legacy, nothing is ever so clear-cut, and personal taste and experience may guide preference.

Grixis Delver has also found a little bit of variation this month. Stock lists similar to Christian Calcano’s list from GP SeaTac have had a lot of success this month (they were the most successful Delver variant overall), and you can find mention of these in last month’s article. Slight variations of this list (involving Decays, Fire Covenants main etc.) are common and expected. However, some Grixis Delver lists have wholeheartedly deviated from the norm. These list ask the question – what if you liberated the deck from Deathrite Shaman and Gurmag Angler? Although appearing blasphemous at first, many Grixis Delver players should know the awkwardness of opening a hand full of Volcanic Islands and Deathrite Shamans, or opening your hand to find Tropical Island as your only blue source. Removing Angler (or at least shaving them) and Deathrite also frees up some slots for other creatures: one that can abuse the graveyard (we’ve mentioned this guy previously, seems like he’s having a good month) and one that can take advantage of the deck’s lowered converted mana cost…

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Louis Bachald’s Grixis Delver

Creatures: (12)
Grim Lavamancer
Gurmag Angler
Dark Confidant
Delver of Secrets
Young Pyromancer

Non-Creature Spells: (30)
Murderous Cut
Spell Pierce
Stifle
Brainstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Cabal Therapy
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Lands: (18)
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Flooded Strand
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Null Rod
Pithing Needle
Sulfuric Vortex
Darkblast
Electrickery
Flusterstorm
Price of Progress
Pyroblast
Submerge
Surgical Extraction
Cabal Therapy
Perish
Ghost Quarter

This deck exhibits a cleaner manabase than typical Grixis Delver lists as aforementioned, the integration of Dark Confidant and Grim Lavamancer, as well as some Murderous Cuts, a card I’ve been loving a bunch in most black-based Delver lists I’ve played, especially with Gurmag Anglers being difficult to deal with otherwise. Whether the benefits of cutting Deathrite outweigh the cost of losing him (the card is damn powerful) is questionable, but it’s nice to see some amount of large variation in how Grixis Delver can be taken.

I’d love try out a list like this with a few tweaks. Per usual, it involves Fire Covenants and a more streamlined main deck (four Stifles, naturally).

Sean Brown’s Grixis Delver

Creatures: (12)
Delver of Secrets
Young Pyromancer
Grim Lavamancer
Dark Confidant

Non-Creature Spells: (30)
Brainstorm
Ponder
Force of Will
Daze
Stifle
Lightning Bolt
Gitaxian Probe
Spell Pierce
Murderous Cut
Lands: (18)
Wasteland
Flooded Strand
Bloodstained Mire
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (13)
Cabal Therapy
Submerge
Pyroblast
Darkblast
Sulfuric Vortex
Fire Covenant
Rakdos Charm
Grafdigger's Cage
Pithing Needle

The Truth Is Out

After Painful Truths’ marquee appearance thanks to Patrick Chapin and the rest of Team UltraPRO at SCG SeaTac, it seems that a lot of Legacy players have gone a bit wild recently, jamming it into a variety of shells where it may (or may not be) excellent.

Team UltraPRO’s Esper Mentor list was where it was initially found as we saw last month, and the original Esper Mentor shells of the Dig Through Time-era were direct descendants of the Grixis Control lists featuring Young Pyromancer that were then incredibly popular. With Esper Mentor revived via Painful Truths, maybe Grixis Control can do the same? Magic Online player Pellenik was certainly able to do so in a Daily this month:

Pellenik’s Grixis Control

Creatures: (12)
Deathrite Shaman
Snapcaster Mage
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
True-Name Nemesis
Young Pyromancer

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
Cabal Therapy
Gitaxian Probe
Painful Truths
Ponder
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lands: (19)
Badlands
Bloodstained Mire
Island
Misty Rainforest
Mountain
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Swamp
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (15)
Abrupt Decay
Blood Moon
Engineered Explosives
Flusterstorm
Null Rod
Pithing Needle
Sudden Demise
Surgical Extraction
Vendilion Clique

This list mirrors the Esper Mentor lists of GP SeaTac very closely in the main, but hinges more so on the Gitaxian Probe/Cabal Therapy core the deck was previously known for. Deathrite Shaman seems like a necessity now in these lists (unlike previously, where including him was optional) due to the card advantage spell used now being three mana rather than Dig’s two. There’s also certainly quite a lot of life loss going to be happening with this deck, considering four Probes and three Truths need to be supported, but if fighting against Miracles or combo this is likely to be of little consideration. The deck could have some trouble with creatures such as Angler or large Goyfs too, and as such some Murderous Cuts or Terminates may be a good idea, especially since only one Delve threat in Tasigur needs to be supported in this list. I also personally wouldn’t mind seeing some spice in these lists, perhaps incorporating Kolaghan’s Command in the main or other flexible cards, but I’m nonetheless happy to see that these lists didn’t die with Dig as expected, and apparently have some room to evolve and find their place in the metagame.

Painful Truths has also found its way into more generic midrange shells. This Esper DeathBlade list incorporated one in the main:

Andrea Riva’s Esper DeathBlade

Creatures: (13)
Vendilion Clique
Snapcaster Mage
True-Name Nemesis
Deathrite Shaman
Stoneforge Mystic

Non-Creature Spells: (25)
Spell Pierce
Force of Will
Brainstorm
Swords to Plowshares
Painful Truths
Ponder
Thoughtseize
Sylvan Library
Liliana of the Veil
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Batterskull
Umezawa’s Jitte
Lands: (22)
Karakas
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
Savannah
Scrubland
Tropical Island
Tundra
Underground Sea
Wasteland
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta

Sideboard: (15)
Pithing Needle
Containment Priest
Meddling Mage
Abrupt Decay
Flusterstorm
Force of Will
Nahiri, the Lithomancer
Surgical Extraction
Zealous Persecution
Supreme Verdict

Again, Deathrite Shaman allowing the acceleration of a somewhat expensive spell (at least for Legacy standards) can be seen here. I’m surprised that additional copies weren’t found in the sideboard, but perhaps the main deck Library in addition to Painful Truths already provides enough grinding ability.

Delver decks have also hopped on to the trend, with KenxKen jamming two Painful Truths in a somewhat generic Hymn to Tourach-based BUG Delver list.

KenxKen’s BUG Delver

Creatures: (13)
Deathrite Shaman
Delver of Secrets
Tarmogoyf
Tombstalker

Non-Creature Spells: (28)
Hymn to Tourach
Painful Truths
Ponder
Abrupt Decay
Brainstorm
Daze
Disfigure
Force of Will
Lands: (19)
Bayou
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Disfigure
Contagion
Envelop
Flusterstorm
Golgari Charm
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Liliana of the Veil
Maelstrom Pulse
Null Rod
Submerge
Surgical Extraction
Toxic Deluge
Vendilion Clique

I’m personally not a fan of clunky three mana spells, especially sorceries, that don’t affect the board in a tempo deck, though it may be acceptable in these BUG Delver lists that are more of tempo-midrange hybrid, who can often stall into top decking against opponents after shredding their hand, and in these situations Truths is likely very strong. Comparably, Dig and Cruise were very nice in Delver lists due to their low mana cost (incredibly low, in the case of Cruise) or instant-speed, in the case of Dig, which also allowed the holding up of countermagic to continue to deny your opponent’s plays, but Painful Truths lack of cheapness and instant-speed makes it appeal to me little, at least in the main deck.

Other cool bits of technology in this list though is the Contagion, which are pretty sweet as a tempo play against weenie decks, though if looking for removal that can be used while tapped out I’d probably look towards the Team America classic of Snuff Out instead. A strong dedication to the power of Envelop is also exhibited in the sideboard, and this is indeed a flexible, powerful card that should really see more play in most Delver variants.

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If you’re interested in seeing how this list functions, Jay Nelson (redditor SnappyCaster) has a few videos up in his Journey Across the Multiverse column!

Now Painful Truths in the main may not be where I want to be, but in the sideboard the card is another story, and Ben Friedman showed off two copies in his relatively stock Grixis Delver list at the recent SCG Open Somerset.

Ben Friedman’s Grixis Delver

Creatures: (14)
Gurmag Angler
Deathrite Shaman
Delver of Secrets
Young Pyromancer

Non-Creature Spells: (28)
Brainstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Stifle
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Lands: (18)
Tropical Island
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Izzet Staticaster
Pyroblast
Submerge
Surgical Extraction
Cabal Therapy
Forked Bolt
Painful Truths

In matchups where you do need to ensure you can grind with card advantage, such as against Miracles, Truths allows you to fight on that axis. Grixis variants had little ability to do so – the anti-Miracles plan was more along the lines of slam Sulfuric Vortex and hope it gets there, compared to green-based Delver variants who could access Sylvan Library (though I suppose if you get a bit reckless with your green splash, you can find a place for it in Grixis Delver), which is a generally more flexible card. Painful Truths can now fulfil that role in Grixis Delver, and its synergy with Young Pyromancer, fuelling the Elemental army, that’s been exhibited in the Grixis Control list previously mentioned, can also be seen here.

I’m sure as the months develop we’ll be seeing Painful Truths pop up more and more in a few lists. It’s certainly not going to be as revolutionary as Cruise or Dig, and no one should hype it as so, but I expect it to be a powerful role-player, fulfilling the niche of Dig and Cruise somewhat, but at a much fairer cost.

Painting the Town a Different Colour

Most Legacy players should be well-acquainted with the little-scarecrow-that-could, who in combination with some crappy bulk rare from Tempest, create a game-ending combo.

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The better-known Painter variant, Imperial Painter, had very little impact this month, but the deck is still nonetheless quite robust, especially in the current world that is somewhat weak to Blood Moon. The variant that did make more of an appearance this month, however, was uncommonly seen blue-based Painter lists, who found their way into the Top 16 of SCG Somerset in the form of Louis Gentile’s Grixis Painter:

Louis Gentile’s Grixis Painter

Creatures: (8)
Goblin Welder
Painter’s Servant

Non-Creature Spells: (33)
Pyroblast
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Intuition
Dack Fayden
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Ensnaring Bridge
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Nihil Spellbomb
Mox Opal
Sensei’s Divining Top
Grindstone
Lands: (19)
City of Traitors
Island
Mountain
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island
Ancient Tomb
Great Furnace
Seat of the Synod
Scalding Tarn

Sideboard: (15)
Cursed Totem
Grafdigger’s Cage
Phyrexian Revoker
Spellskite
Blood Moon
Ancient Grudge
Flusterstorm
Red Elemental Blast
Transmute Artifact

And in the form of this UR Painter list that Top 8ed a small tournament:

Francis Cellona’s UR Painter

Creatures: (10)
Wurmcoil Engine
Goblin Welder
Painter’s Servant

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
Pyroblast
Red Elemental Blast
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Intuition
Transmute Artifact
Daretti, Scrap Savant
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Mox Opal
Tormod’s Crypt
Sensei’s Divining Top
Grindstone
Lands: (21)
Bloodstained Mire
Polluted Delta
Volcanic Island
Island
Mountain
Great Furnace
Seat of the Synod
Ancient Tomb
Scalding Tarn

Sideboard: (15)
Chain of Vapor
Ensnaring Bridge
Flusterstorm
Llawan, Cephalid Empress
Phyrexian Revoker
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Pithing Needle
Shattering Spree
Sudden Shock
Tormod’s Crypt

Since these lists are pretty uncommon, let’s run through how they function. Per usual, assembling Painter’s Servant + Grindstone is the key to victory, and the usual Sol Land mana base is used to accelerate this combo out. Unlike Imperial Painter though, these lists lean much more heavily on Goblin Welder, who acts like additional Painters thanks to the abundance of artifacts in this deck, including the Mirrodin Artifact Lands, Sensei’s Divining Tops and the mana acceleration of Mox Opal, as well as allowing for a variety of shenanigans based on the situation. Rather than lock out the opponent with Moons and other pieces, this list instead favours card selection and tutors, thanks to Brainstorm, Intuition (Intuition being especially potent with Welder) and Transmute Artifact, and backing up the combo with the typical protection of Red Elemental Blasts once Painter is on board, along with Force of Will – which this list can uniquely pitch any card to once Painter is in play. Also note that permanent-based hate can also be cleanly dealt with thanks to the deck’s access to one-mana instant-speed Vindicates!

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The black splash of Louis Gentile’s list is incredibly interesting, as the list now incorporates a heavy planeswalker package of Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas and the greatest thief in the multiverse (who is, again, great with Welder).

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Tezzeret seems specifically powerful as he can act somewhat like a tutor for the variety of one-of artifacts in the list and sideboard, as well as assist in the beatdown plan the deck may sometimes have to employ. In contrast, Cellona’s main deck is much more generic, with the only spice being the Wurmcoil Engine alternative beatdown package (Wurmcoil + Welder = a lot of baby Wurms), Daretti, Scrap Savant as a singleton ‘walker, and a few silver bullet artifacts – I particularly like the Tormod’s Crypt that can be tutored for when Emrakul decks are being fought against. The sideboard has a lot of cool stuff too, with Llawan, Cephalid Empress being excellent with a Painter in play (bounce their whole board and lock them out from creatures, nice) and Pia and Kiran Nalaar looking like an excellent alternative win con, especially with all the random artifacts ready to be converted into Shocks. Conveniently, these are both Imperial Recruiterable, so maybe finding room for the Portal Three Kingdoms card somewhere may be an option.

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If I were to try out a blue-based Painter list, I’d probably try a straight UR list, something along these lines:

Sean Brown’s UR Painter

Creatures: (9)
Painter's Servant
Goblin Welder
Imperial Recruiter

Non-Creature Spells: (31)
Grindstone
Intuition
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Pyroblast
Red Elemental Blast
Sensei's Divining Top
Mox Opal
Transmute Artifact
Tormod's Crypt
Lion's Eye Diamond
Lands: (20)
Ancient Tomb
Seat of the Synod
Great Furnace
Scalding Tarn
Flooded Strand
Volcanic Island
Island
Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Blood Moon
Sudden Demise
Ensnaring Bridge
Flusterstorm
Llawan, Cephalid Empress
Magus of the Moon
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Red Elemental Blast
Shattering Spree
Phyrexian Revoker
Spellskite
Tormod's Crypt

The sideboard is certainly a hodgepodge, and maybe the Recruiter package is not worth it and the main deck and sideboard should be streamlined, but I personally am keen to Recruiter for Llawan and bounce my opponent’s board. Finding room for some planeswalkers (be it either Dack Fayden or even just generic Jace, the Mind Sculptor) could be an option, not to mention new baby Jace synergises semi-nicely with Goblin Welder and Intuition!

Nonetheless, it’s nice to see an archetype that seems to of lost a lot of popularity over the years, in favour of its red-based brother, still has the ability to place quite well in a large tournament, as exhibited by Louis Gentile’s excellent Top 16 performance.

You Poxy Knave!

There is no more loathsome experience than sitting across from an opponent, who wins the dice roll and immediately Dark Rituals into Thoughtseize into Hymns you. He Hymns away your only land, but, to your glee, you draw one off the top! You fetch your blue dual, then Ponder, can’t find a second land, and therefore shuffle. Your opponent then Sinkholes you. You do nothing. Your opponent cast Liliana of the Veil. You weep.

Such is the misery and the power of the mono-black control deck Pox, which utilises hand, land and creature destruction, along with its namesake Smallpox, which does all three, to wreck havoc on its opponent’s life. Although it looks incredibly powerful when drawing all the correct pieces together, the situational power of Sinkhole, Smallpox, hand disruption and so on make it somewhat inconsistent, as does the necessary amount of lands (around twenty-five!) required to support Smallpox.

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Nonetheless, it has put up some numbers this month in some small tournaments in Europe!

Jorge Rico Garriga’s Pox

Creatures: (1)
Nether Spirit

Non-Creature Spells: (35)
Empty the Pits
Toxic Deluge
Hymn to Tourach
Innocent Blood
Inquisition of Kozilek
Sinkhole
Smallpox
Nether Void
Liliana of the Veil
Crucible of Worlds
Ratchet Bomb
Sensei’s Divining Top
Cursed Scroll
Lands: (25)
Marsh Flats
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Polluted Delta
Mishra’s Factory
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Wasteland
Swamp

Sideboard: (15)
Leyline of the Void
Ensnaring Bridge
Engineered Plague
Ratchet Bomb
Surgical Extraction
Pithing Needle
Chains of Mephistopheles
The Abyss
Extirpate
Underworld Dreams

Nicola Benassi’s Pox

Creatures: (2)
Nether Spirit

Non-Creature Spells: (34)
Empty the Pits
Dark Ritual
Syphon Life
Inquisition of Kozilek
Thoughtseize
Innocent Blood
Hymn to Tourach
Sinkhole
Smallpox
Liliana of the Veil
Crucible of Worlds
Cursed Scroll
The Rack
Lands: (24)
Cabal Coffers
Tomb of Urami
Marsh Flats
Verdant Catacombs
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Mishra’s Factory
Wasteland
Swamp

Sideboard: (15)
Tormod’s Crypt
Toxic Deluge
Contamination
Extirpate
Pithing Needle
Phyrexian Obliterator

These two lists deviate a little bit from each other, but the general strategy is the same – deny your opponent’s resources in a variety of ways, be it via hand disruption or land destruction, ensure the board is clear via removal, or encapsulate all these things with Smallpox itself, and then slowly grind the opponent to death with the beatdown from Mishra’s Factory, Nether Spirit or continual pings from Cursed Scroll.

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Probably the coolest piece of new technology both these list share is the relatively recent addition of a Khans of Tarkir bulk mythic. Empty the Pits gives the deck a surprisingly fast kill – at instant speed – in a deck that has a definite problem closing out the game before its opponent can rebuild its resources.

For those of you further interested in creating misery for you opponent, I highly recommend checking out Legacy Breakfast’s 72nd Episode featuring a deck tech and bountiful amounts of adoration for Pox from Stu and Stu!

Conclusion

This month, the aftermath of GP SeaTac, saw our Legacy metagame continue to evolve and grow post-Dig banning in ways we probably did not expect. Although Miracles remains at the top of the metagame per usual, Shardless BUG has dipped somewhat in popularity after its saturation at GP SeaTac. Grixis Delver has been the most popular Delver variant within this month and has retained the throne that it held within the Dig Through Time era. 4c Loam has finally put itself into the forefront of everyone’s mind, despite its appearance at GP Lille months ago, as one of the most powerful non-blue strategies in the format thanks to its victory at SCG Somerset, and has only continued in strength coming out of the Dig-era in which it was created. Other Dig-era strategies such as Esper Mentor and Grixis Control have continued to exist in new forms with unexpected card choices, and new and rediscovered decks, such as KnightFall, UR Painter and Aluren have been making appearances.

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Overall, Legacy has transitioned into a diverse and interesting animal after Dig’s banning, with only OmniTell suffering the most collateral damage, and looking at the results of the past month and future months are sure to be exciting.

Until then!

Sean

Bonus Lists

Esper Delver has been a variant that has appeared before, but has typically hinged on Stoneforge Mystic and her usual equipment package. Tanaka Mikito has instead decided against her – and has gone with a package of three drops including True-Name Nemesis, Vendilion Clique and the rarely played Geist of Saint Traft – with the wombo-combo of Reconnaissance to complement him!

Tanaka Mikito’s Esper Delver

Creatures: (13)
Geist of Saint Traft
Vendilion Clique
True-Name Nemesis
Deathrite Shaman
Delver of Secrets

Non-Creature Spells (27)
Zealous Persecution
Daze
Swords to Plowshares
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Lingering Souls
Ponder
Thoughtseize
Reconnaissance
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Sensei’s Divining Top
Umezawa’s Jitte
Lands: (20)
Bayou
Karakas
Marsh Flats
Underground Sea
Tundra
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Bitterblossom
Ethersworn Canonist
Flusterstorm
Grafdigger’s Cage
Meddling Mage
Pithing Needle
Disenchant
Seal of Cleansing
Zealous Persecution

This BUG Landstill deck of DSTK popped up on Magic Online this month. Who needs Shardless Agent and Ancetral Visions or this new Painful Truths, when you can just use the best old-school Ancestral Recall substitute!

DSTK’s BUG Landstill

Creatures: (6)
Deathrite Shaman
Vendilion Clique

Non-Creature Spells: (31)
Inquisition of Kozilek
Life from the Loam
Thoughtseize
Abrupt Decay
Brainstorm
Disfigure
Force of Will
Spell Snare
Pernicious Deed
Standstill
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Liliana of the Veil
Lands: (23)
Bayou
Creeping Tar Pit
Mishra’s Factory
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Verdant Catacombs
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Vendilion Clique
Life from the Loam
Thoughtseize
Blue Elemental Blast
Diabolic Edict
Ethersworn Canonist
Flusterstorm
Nihil Spellbomb
Notion Thief
Scrubland
Surgical Extraction

The latest and greatest new Miracles tech – none of these Cavern of Souls or Monastery Mentor or whatever rubbish you want to play. The best new tech is…Alhammarret’s Archive. O_o

Zippolin’s Miracles

Creatures: (2)
Snapcaster Mage

Non-Creature Spells: (37)
Council’s Judgment
Entreat the Angels
Ponder
Supreme Verdict
Terminus
Brainstorm
Counterspell
Force of Will
Pyroblast
Swords to Plowshares
Alhammarret’s Archive
Sensei’s Divining Top
Counterbalance
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lands: (21)
Flooded Strand
Island
Karakas
Plains
Polluted Delta
Tundra
Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (15)
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Swords to Plowshares
Back to Basics
Ethersworn Canonist
Flusterstorm
Meddling Mage
Red Elemental Blast
Rest in Peace
Wear // Tear
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