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This Month in Legacy (December 2015)

Hello everyone! I have been very… absent for the past few months, and well… this is the most delayed article ever! I’m one whole month behind! Being on a holiday and in a variety of different countries certainly cuts down ones writing time, but now that I’m back and have quite a bit of time on my hands I’ll be aiming to get through this article and then speedily finish off January’s so everyone can be right up to date. December featured a relatively quiet month for Legacy, with the major tournaments being very scattered (the MKM Series Madrid, Nebraska’s War 3 and Japan’s Eternal Party 2015), along with the usual smattering of SCG Classics and the SCG Player’s Championship with its somewhat inbred metagame that a tournament of only sixteen players creates.

Anyway, let’s look into the usual charts!

It’s no surprise that Miracles continues to have the largest share of the metagame, and popular and newest variant Grixis Delver has continued to outpace the more classic BUG Delver builds, while RUG Delver has fallen off the radar, at least online. Interesting this month is the metagame’s saturation of Burn, which is not surprising considering the monetary cost of the deck, but generally it has not broken through to the Top 3 decks as it has this month – perhaps new additions like Exquisite Firecraft are working out quite well for it? Shardless BUG continues the downward trend that it’s progressed along after its apex at GP SeaTac, ANT has remained a top contender per usual, Lands has made its way to the top performers despite its significant monetary cost and UR Delver has continued to place well online after the uptick seen last month.

The paper metagame has somewhat followed similar trends, though ANT has placed as second-highest, while Burn is not nearly as prominent. Again here we see Grixis Delver and BUG Delver as the main Delver archetypes, with RUG represented a little more relative to its presence online but still falling below the two main contenders. Shardless again has lagged behind Miracles, ANT, Grixis and BUG Delver, and perhaps this is due to ANT’s relatively strong matchup against it. I can imagine many Shardless players switching to BUG Delver to counteract the combo deck and hence stealing away from Shardless’ metagame share. Another interesting deck that has continued to show strength despite relative obscurity in the past is 4c Loam, which we’ve seen go from strength to strength as each month has progressed.

Again, per usual you can find the combined chart for Paper and Online here.

Next, on to some interesting lists that popped up this month!

Twin Is Gone in Modern…

Tangential to our usual Legacy discussions, Modern got a huge shake-up recently with the banning of Splinter Twin. I won’t talk on whether this decision was correct or not, but more so how Splinter Twin’s banning will affect Legacy. And what has generally been occurring is people have been transitioning to Legacy to see if they can jam the classic A + B combo of Modern in the older format. And it certainly looks to be a possibility.

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A few months ago we saw a URw Splinter Twin list Top 8 the Eternal Championship (which you can read about in that month’s article here), but this month another version of Splinter Twin propped up and Top 8ed a recent SCG Premier IQ. This version took a different approach, however, blending the Splinter Twin combo with Stompy staples of Blood Moon, Chalice of the Void and a Sol Land mana base, varying quite a bit from the previously seen UR control version.

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Scott Davis’ Twin Stompy

Creatures: (8)
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Pestermite
Deceiver Exarch

Non-Creature Spells: (31)
Pact of Negation
Daze
Misdirection
Impulse
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Blood Moon
Splinter Twin
Mox Diamond
Chalice of the Void
Lands: (21)
Taiga
Tropical Island
Island
Mountain
Volcanic Island
Ancient Tomb
Misty Rainforest
Scalding Tarn

Sideboard: (15)
Engineered Explosives
Ratchet Bomb
Relic of Progenitus
Tormod’s Crypt
Magus of the Moon
Ancient Grudge
Surgical Extraction
Anger of the Gods

Definitely some interesting decisions here (the conflicting Brainstorms and Chalice certainly raises some eyebrows, as does the green splash in a Blood Moon deck) but blending Twin into a Stompy shell seems very potent in a similar way to Imperial Painter’s combo finish housed in a prison shell, especially since Twin’s combo pieces fulfil the perfect mana cost for Sol Land-based decks (2U and 2RR), as well as upping the blue count enough to support Force of Will. I might want to change the Mox Diamonds to either Chrome Moxen or Lotus Petals, however. Nonetheless, I’m sure the deck has a lot of exploration and honing of numbers to be done, but the potential is certainly there, especially after the combo has made a second showing!

Fast Griselbranding

This month, multiple variations on abusing Griselbrand other than the typical Reanimator and Sneak & Show decks have had a showing.

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Tin Fins, whose name stems from Sealab 2021 (just look towards The Source thread for further explanation on the deck’s bizarre name) is a deck designed to utilise Griselbrand primarily as a blistering fast Yawgmoth’s Bargain that can lead to a quick and lethal Tendrils of Agony immediately, unlike Reanimator or Sneak & Show, who abuse Griselbrand to often draw into protection or further combo pieces for later turns. To do so the deck utilises the typical reanimator package of Entomb and Griselbrand, but uses Goryo’s Vengeance and Shallow Grave as its primary reanimation spells – these offer no life loss like Reanimate and give haste unlike Exhume, which is incredibly relevant.

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Then the fun begins… As such the deck operates along the axis of both a traditional Reanimator list, but can sidestep hate such as Karakas and Ensnaring Bridge incredibly easily by comboing out like a storm deck. Turn 1 kills can go along the lines of:

1) Dark Ritual > Entomb Griselbrand > Goryo’s Vengeance/Shallow Grave Griselbrand
2) Smack the opponent in the face for 7.
3) Draw twenty-one cards.
4) Find Children of Korlis and mana to cast them, leading to a huge burst of life and further drawing of (hopefully) your whole deck.
5) Cast some spells and stuff until you can Storm for lethal Tendrils of Agony.

Or, if you want to go the long route…

6) Draw your whole deck, generate mana from Rituals and Petals then Therapy/Thoughtseize away your Emrakul, shuffling mana back into your deck.
7) Redraw these with Griselbrand and create heaps of mana, then hard cast spaghetti.

Typical lists look something like Shawn French’s list, who Top 8ed an SCG IQ with Tin Fins this month:

Shawn French’s Tin Fins

Creatures: (4)
Children of Korlis
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Griselbrand

Non-Creature Spells: (42)
Lim-Dûl’s Vault
Goryo’s Vengeance
Brainstorm
Dark Ritual
Entomb
Shallow Grave
Reanimate
Tendrils of Agony
Cabal Therapy
Thoughtseize
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Chrome Mox
Lotus Petal
Lands: (14)
Scrubland
Swamp
Tropical Island
Verdant Catacombs
Marsh Flats
Polluted Delta
Underground Sea

Sideboard: (15)
Pithing Needle
Xantid Swarm
Serenity
Abrupt Decay
Chain of Vapor
Surgical Extraction
Massacre
Bayou

However, Tobias Machewitz took Tin Fins in a different direction, utilising the power of Burning Wish, to act as both his Tendrils kill as well as a flexible answer to a variety of situations. He also utilised the natural partner of Burning Wish (and another way of binning Griselbrand), Lion’s Eye Diamond, giving the deck a lot of explosiveness. However Tobias fit this in by cutting the white from the deck to make room for red, making Children of Korlis only castable via Lotus Petals.

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Tobias Machewitz’s Burning Tin Fins

Creatures: (4)
Children of Korlis
Griselbrand

Non-Creature Spells: (42)
Goryo’s Vengeance
Brainstorm
Dark Ritual
Entomb
Shallow Grave
Preordain
Thoughtseize
Burning Wish
Cabal Therapy
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Lotus Petal
Lands: (14)
Badlands
Swamp
Volcanic Island
Underground Sea
Bloodstained Mire
Polluted Delta

Sideboard: (15)
Defense Grid
Chain of Vapor
Surgical Extraction
Empty the Warrens
Exhume
Meltdown
Pyroclasm
Reanimate
Tendrils of Agony
Thoughtseize
Void Snare

Panoma also found red mana and Griselbrand to be best buddies, without the typical power of Brainstorm and without Burning Wish, in the Legacy Magic Online Championship Series. Similar BR lists have popped up previously, and were once highlighted by Anthony Lowry playing it in an SCG Open and writing an article on it. However, those “Burning Reanimator” lists differ heavily from the one piloted here, in that they utilise Lion’s Eye Diamond and other spells to add explosiveness. Rather, Panoma’s list simply looks like a typical Reanimator list but with blue cards swapped for black-based discard, Careful Study cut for Faithless Looting and a full set of Sire of Insanity in here – I guess because it’s not far from being hard cast with the additional Dark Rituals! This definitely looks like an interesting option for those without access to Force and unwilling to go and buy Underground Seas, and also has different angles of attack over typical Reanimator thanks to the package of discard and the potential hard cast Sires.

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Panoma’s BR Reanimator

Creatures: (10)
Griselbrand
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Sire of Insanity
Tidespout Tyrant

Non-Creature Spells: (36)
Exhume
Faithless Looting
Reanimate
Thoughtseize
Unmask
Dark Ritual
Entomb
Lotus Petal
Animate Dead
Lands: (14)
Badlands
Bayou
Marsh Flats
Polluted Delta
Swamp
Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard: (15)
Abrupt Decay
Archetype of Endurance
Chancellor of the Annex
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Grave Titan
Pithing Needle
Stronghold Gambit

Time for Griffin Beatdown!

Food Chain combo runs similar to how Aluren operates, combining a relatively strong fair Shardless BUG-esque value plan with a game-ending combo. With Aluren’s current success after GP SeaTac, is it time for Food Chain to also get some glory time? K_F_Chicken and Marco Ellena have piloted the deck to some success on Magic Online and in paper respectively this month.

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K_F_Chicken’s Food Chain

Creatures: (18)
Baleful Strix
Birds of Paradise
Deathrite Shaman
Fierce Empath
Misthollow Griffin
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Tidespout Tyrant
Vendilion Clique

Non-Creature Spells: (22)
Manipulate Fate
Thoughtseize
Abrupt Decay
Brainstorm
Dimir Charm
Force of Will
Misdirection
Food Chain
Lands: (20)
Bayou
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Swamp
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard: (15)
Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
Carpet of Flowers
Duress
Flusterstorm
Golgari Charm
Pithing Needle
Relic of Progenitus

Marco Ellena’s Food Chain

Creatures: (17)
Tidespout Tyrant
Vendilion Clique
Venser, Shaper Savant
Noble Hierarch
Deathrite Shaman
Misthollow Griffin
Shardless Agent

Non-Creature Spells: (23)
Misdirection
Abrupt Decay
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Living Wish
Manipulate Fate
Sylvan Library
Food Chain
Lands: (20)
Bayou
Swamp
Underground Sea
Forest
Island
Polluted Delta
Tropical Island
Verdant Catacombs
Misty Rainforest

Sideboard: (15)
Chalice of the Void
Surgical Extraction
Pithing Needle
Toxic Deluge
Phyrexian Revoker
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Tidespout Tyrant
Notion Thief
Purphoros, God of the Forge

The deck’s primary goal is to assemble Misthollow Griffin + Food Chain, which leads an infinite amount of mana to cast Tidespout Tyrant or a Fierce Empath to go find him. Griffin can then be recast again and again, essentially bouncing the opponent’s entire board, and then the game is essentially over, with the Food Chain player as victorious.

However, Misthollow Griffin surprisingly complements the fair midrange plan, and need not be only a combo piece. Force of Will no longer becomes a two-for-one when Griffin is pitched, and a Griffin + Deathrite Shaman can lead to an infinite chump blocker as long as mana is available to do so, as can a Food Chain + Griffin. In fact, the deck can often win by simply casting Manipulate Fate for a bunch of Griffins, finding a Food Chain and then simply making three Griffins and killing the opponent via evasive beats!

There’s a few interesting incorporations here in both player’s list as well. K_F_Chicken opted to run Tasigur, the Golden Fang in his main deck – Tasigur synergises excellently with Fierce Empath, acting as a value target that makes Empath not a dead draw when not comboing, and Tasigur also exiles the graveyard to get Griffins where they should be. I also love the one-of Dimir Charm in the main, which is a highly flexible card that I’ve always tried to find room in both Grixis and BUG Delver variants alike.

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In the sideboard is probably the most unexpected card, however. Standard all-star Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver makes an appearance here and can surprisingly run away with the game if not pressured quickly enough – decks that are slow to close out the game such as Shardless BUG and Miracles may simply get decked or Mind Twisted by the Nightmare Weaver.

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Marco opted to remove the Fierce Empaths and instead leaned on Living Wish to finish the combo, with making infinite mana and casting Emrakul, Tidespout or Purphoros (!) his combo avenue to victory. I’m unsure whether this may be clunkier than Empath, however, as Wish cannot be cast off the mana from Food Chain. Venser, Shaper Savant is an appearance that is also a nice as a one-of that is a favourite of many Lossett-style Miracles lists, although no Karakas here may make his utility diminished.

Stoneforge Lives This Month

Jeskai Delver has seen somewhat of a resurgence, especially on MTGO, this month. Its placing in the metagame has always irked me, since its game plan of Delver, Daze and the midrangey Stoneforge has always seemed somewhat incongruent, but its ability to go bigger than the generic Grixis and RUG lists and prey on these, while also having excellent post-board combo matchups thanks to its package of hatebears, may of led it to being a wise choice moving forward.

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JaceTMSST’s Jeskai Delver

Creatures: (10)
Delver of Secrets
Stoneforge Mystic
True-Name Nemesis

Non-Creature Spells: (30)
Ponder
Brainstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Spell Pierce
Spell Snare
Swords to Plowshares
Batterskull
Umezawa’s Jitte
Lands: (20)
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Tundra
Volcanic Island
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Spell Pierce
Ethersworn Canonist
Grafdigger’s Cage
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Meddling Mage
Pithing Needle
Pyroblast
Red Elemental Blast
Rest in Peace
Sword of Feast and Famine
Wear // Tear

Meanwhile, Travis Bryant went further off the deep end with his 4c Delver concoction – not featuring the usual BURG colours featured in most four-colour lists but instead utilising BUWR for a creature suite of Deathrite, Stoneforge and Young Pyromancer. Despite me incredibly disliking the Counterspell in the main, I could see Esper Delver essentially splashing for Bolts as an interesting deck with multiple angles of attack.

Travis Bryant’s 4c Delver

Creatures: (16)
Snapcaster Mage
Stoneforge Mystic
Young Pyromancer
Deathrite Shaman
Delver of Secrets

Non-Creature Spells: (25)
Pyroblast
Counterspell
Swords to Plowshares
Spell Pierce
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Ponder
Batterskull
Umezawa’s Jitte
Lands: (19)
Tropical Island
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Misty Rainforest
Tundra
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (15)
Pithing Needle
Leyline of the Void
Ancient Grudge
Blue Elemental Blast
Envelop
Red Elemental Blast
Spell Pierce
Swords to Plowshares
Nahiri, the Lithomancer
Sudden Demise

Stoneforge also found a place in one of her age-old places as a finisher in Miracles – not just by finding the typical Batterskull, but also via assembling the pieces of the Thopter-Sword combo. Miracles lists increasing the deck’s clunkiness for the sake of a combo finish have waned from being very effective (eg. RipHelm Miracles during Cruise era) to simply being subpar to typical Miracles; this list eschewing Counterbalance for the sake of a variety of strange singletons looks somewhat suspect, but in a fair-heavy metagames it may be quite effective, and I do think Thopter-Sword in a Stoneforge-based Miracles shell may have a lot of unexplored potential.

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Iacopo Carosella’s Thopter Miracles

Creatures: (4)
Stoneforge Mystic

Non-Creature Spells: (35)
Negate
Unexpectedly Absent
Spell Pierce
Swords to Plowshares
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Council’s Judgment
Entreat the Angels
Ponder
Terminus
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Batterskull
Crucible of Worlds
Sword of the Meek
Thopter Foundry
Sensei’s Divining Top
Lands: (21)
Academy Ruins
Arid Mesa
Karakas
Plains
Wasteland
Island
Misty Rainforest
Flooded Strand
Tundra

Sideboard: (15)
Flusterstorm
Meddling Mage
Ethersworn Canonist
Containment Priest
Surgical Extraction
Counterbalance
Swords to Plowshares
Sword of Fire and Ice

I personally, however, like things when strange one-ofs are cleaned away and a deck goes peddle-to-the-metal for its combo. TurboThopters is a strange combo to think about accelerating out with Chrome Moxen (since it doesn’t win immediately and therefore is prone to losing to other unfair strategies) but Chalice of the Void in a blue deck (once more!) makes up for this I’m sure. I also really like the touch of adding Ancestral Visions, which acts as a turn one play that dodges Chalice, while Chancellor delays the opponent from turn one plays until Chalice makes its appearance! Overloading on four Verdicts may be a bit overzealous, however (then again, with the acceleration from Chrome Mox it may be a great way to clean up, on turn three or so, Delvers that fell through the cracks), and giving up on the premium white removal of Swords to Plowshares may not be worth the cost. I guess Unexpectedly Absent is an option, however, and Detention Sphere is a reasonable card. Nonetheless, the deck has a gameplan in mind and sticks to it, and that I quite respect.

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Alexander Lapping’s TurboThopters

Creatures: (7)
Chancellor of the Annex
Stoneforge Mystic

Non-Creature Spells: (33)
Counterspell
Force of Will
Ancestral Vision
Supreme Verdict
Detention Sphere
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Batterskull
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of the Meek
Chrome Mox
Chalice of the Void
Thopter Foundry
Lands: (21)
Academy Ruins
Karakas
Tundra
Flooded Strand
Island
Plains

Sideboard: (15)
Helm of Obedience
Meddling Mage
Back to Basics
Blind Obedience
Detention Sphere
Ghostly Prison
Leyline of Sanctity
Rest in Peace

12Posting Up Some Results (And New Cards!)

12Post has been well known as a player in the metagame for those who either want to crush Miracles (thanks to the deck’s absurd end game) or just love casting gigantic titanic monsters, such as the Eldrazi and Primeval Titan. The deck’s primary game plan is to stall the game (via cards such as Moment’s Peace) until the deck’s Cloudpost mana engine (defended typically by main deck Pithing Needle against Wasteland and tutorable via Crop Rotation) can get online. Primeval Titan typically shortcuts this by causing the deck to ramp from six mana to whatever arbitrarily large amount needed, as well as finding win conditions via Eye of Ugin. From there, winning is elementary – hard cast Emrakul generally finishes games, especially if looped for infinite turns via Karakas, and other Eldrazi also typically make an appearance. Although known for having generally horrendous combo matchups, the deck slays Miracles and other slow decks – no sheer amount of countermagic or removal can beat Emrakul and friends!

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The deck, in a lot of variations, has had quite a bit of success this month, starting with Eli12’s strong placing in the Magic Online Championship Series this month with a primarily mono-green list splashing white for some powerful hosers from the sideboard.

Eli12’s GW Cloudpost

Creatures: (10)
Dryad Arbor
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Oracle of Mul Daya
Primeval Titan
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Veteran Explorer

Non-Creature Spells: (23)
All Is Dust
Explore
Green Sun’s Zenith
Crop Rotation
Moment’s Peace
Expedition Map
Pithing Needle
Sensei’s Divining Top
Trinisphere
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Lands: (27)
Bojuka Bog
Cavern of Souls
Cloudpost
Dark Depths
Eye of Ugin
Forest
Glimmerpost
Karakas
Savannah
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Thespian’s Stage
Vesuva
Windswept Heath

Sideboard: (15)
Circle of Protection: Red
Ethersworn Canonist
Gaddock Teeg
Glacial Chasm
Krosan Grip
Leyline of Sanctity
Reclamation Sage
Relic of Progenitus
Rest in Peace
Thorn of Amethyst

Newly minted Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger has shown his greatest power in these shells, helping to control the board at a moderate cost of ten mana (for 12Post, that is) and also killing very quickly. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is also a relatively new addition to these lists that is right at home, similar to how MUD has easily found a place for the colourless planeswalker that stabilises the board and acts as an eventual win condition.

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Eli12’s list also has a few tutor packages in the deck, thanks to both Crop Rotation and Expedition Map for lands and Green Sun’s Zenith for creatures. In terms of lands, Eli12 has found room for powerful hosers like Bojuka Bog, Glacial Chasm and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, as well as potential free wins from Lands’ combo kill of Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage.

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In terms of green creatures, Dryad Arbor has found its home here naturally transforming Zenith into Rampant Growth, but more interesting options are Veteran Explorer – used primarily as a chump blocker plus ramp in this deck, I’d imagine, due to the lack of sacrifice outlets! – and Oracle of Mul Daya, who I’d imagine is a target for when the deck can’t quite Zenith out Primeval Titan but still needs a little bit of ramp (plus potential card advantage). From the sideboard Zenith also can find Gaddock Teeg and Reclamation Sage.

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Of course, these all come at a cost of adding a bit of inconsistency to the deck when tutor targets are naturally drawn, and other numbers such as the two main deck Trinispheres and Explores seem strange, but it’s likely that the power of four Sensei’s Divining Tops may be enough to remedy this. Nonetheless, the list has performed incredibly admirably and looks like a nice path to take if looking at the primarily mono-green option.

Another way to play this deck is do what people do to a lot of Legacy decks… Just add blue!

PTPaul’s UG 12Post

Creatures: (10)
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Primeval Titan
Trinket Mage
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Non-Creature Spells: (24)
Show and Tell
Crop Rotation
Force of Will
Repeal
Thirst for Knowledge
Candelabra of Tawnos
Expedition Map
Pithing Needle
Sensei’s Divining Top
Karn Liberated
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Lands: (26)
Bojuka Bog
Cavern of Souls
Cloudpost
Eye of Ugin
Forest
Glacial Chasm
Glimmerpost
Island
Karakas
Misty Rainforest
Tropical Island
Vesuva

Sideboard: (15)
Crop Rotation
Pithing Needle
Cursed Totem
Engineered Explosives
Flusterstorm
Surgical Extraction
Swan Song
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Tormod’s Crypt
Trinisphere

This deck eschews the green creature package to add a fast way of accelerating out Primeval Titan via Show and Tell (and sometimes just lucksacking into turn three Emrakuls, but that’s not really the plan!) as well as adding some protection in Force of Will, a powerful delay card in the form of Repeal and, atypical of most UG lists, Thirst for Knowledge and Trinket Mage, a package which synergises very nicely with Candelabra of Tawnos, Pithing Needles, Expedition Map, Sensei’s Divining Top and some of the deck’s sideboard trinkets.

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Or, Eneko Mendibe preferred instead to removal a colour, channelling MUD and furnishing this “Titanless Post” list!

Eneko Mendibe’s 12Post

Creatures: (6)
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Sundering Titan
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Wurmcoil Engine

Non-Creature Spells: (26)
All Is Dust
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Bottled Cloister
Crucible of Worlds
Mindslaver
Trading Post
Trinisphere
Candelabra of Tawnos
Staff of Nin
Grim Monolith
Mind Stone
Expedition Map
Pithing Needle
Lands: (28)
Buried Ruin
Cavern of Souls
Dust Bowl
Eye of Ugin
Karakas
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Thespian’s Stage
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Ancient Tomb
Maze of Ith
Cloudpost
Glimmerpost
Vesuva

Sideboard: (15)
Sphere of Resistance
Lodestone Golem
Ratchet Bomb
Steel Hellkite
Grafdigger’s Cage
Trinisphere

Instead of using Primeval Titan and Crop Rotation this list can dedicate itself to playing the typical MUD fatties such as Wurmcoil Engine to delay the game (or simply win the game), generate more mana from its lands by having Ancient Tombs, use its lands for defence via Maze of Ith and happily cast All Is Dust with no hesitation. Missing out on the typical green cards which tutor and add consistency is a big deal though, and whether this is superior to MUD or generic 12Post lists is questionable, but the list definitely has its place and has had some success, and also once again showcases the power of Newlamog!

Also, Oath of the Gatewatch looks to be adding more interesting colourless powerhouses to the Legacy format that both MUD and 12Post can use. I’d watch these two decks closely, as next time you sit across from them they may have some new tricks up their sleeves…

Time Doesn’t Stand Still, For Standstill!

Landstill was once known as the premier control deck in Legacy, fulfilling Miracles current place, but has now been relegated to a fringe contender as the Legacy metagame has sped up and casting a two mana draw three is just not the best thing to be doing anymore. This is the deck’s primary gameplan – control the early game via efficient removal and disruption such as Stifle and then slam a Standstill when even slightly ahead on board. From here, Mishra’s Factories can get to work on the opponent’s life total whilst not breaking the Standstill, while the opponent is left with the hard decision of not progressing their game plan or letting the opponent draw three cards. Typically the latter is chosen, providing the Landstill player with an abundance of answers, and then the opponent can be slain by the pure card advantage the blue enchantment provided.

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Lam Phan found some success with the deck during the era of Treasure Cruise, where UR Landstill matched up well thanks to its efficient removal against UR Delver, and Standstill had to be broken by the Delver opponents due to the high-velocity nature of that deck.

In Japan, a resurgence in Landstill has somewhat occurred with Niwa Hotaka taking Landstill to fifth at Japan’s Eternal Party in a field of around one-hundred-and-fifty players and a few others performing well with the deck in Hareruya weekly tournaments.

Niwa Hotaka’s UR Landstill

Creatures: (6)
Grim Lavamancer
Snapcaster Mage

Non-Creature Spells: (30)
Burst Lightning
Counterspell
Spell Pierce
Stifle
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Fiery Confluence
Standstill
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lands: (24)
Steam Vents
Faerie Conclave
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Wasteland
Island
Mishra’s Factory
Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (15)
Sulfur Elemental
Pyroblast
Submerge
Flusterstorm
Engineered Explosives
Red Elemental Blast
Blue Elemental Blast
Surgical Extraction
Relic of Progenitus
Tormod’s Crypt

And interesting addition here is Fiery Confluence from Commander 2015 (a card I sadly missed in my Commander 2015 Legacy Review!).

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Able to act as a Pyroclasm, a double-Shatter or simply an incredibly amount of reach (or some mixture of all of the above) gives the card a lot of flexibility, despite the inflexibility of a four-mana sorcery that doesn’t synergise too nicely with the draw-go nature of Landstill. Although I expected Dragon Stompy to be the main home for this, this card does enough things that it may be well worth the slot despite what appears to be very clunky on the surface.

Turning away from red-based variants, I personally was very happy to see a UWr Landstill variant touting Myth Realized as one of its win conditions in addition to Mishra’s Factory. The card, although lacklustre as a topdeck, fits neatly as additional threats that act under Standstill, while also allowing any excess mana held up, in typical draw-go fashion, to be dumped somewhere.

This list also incorporates some spicier additions like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Sphinx’s Revelation, which can be very effective in fair matchups (and I guess they pitch to Force against combo… Right?). Enlighted Tutor in the sideboard also has a true Swiss-army knife purpose, finding hosers like Blood Moon, Rest in Peace and Stony Silence, but also finding threats in Myth Realized and card advantage through Standstill itself.

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Andrea Abrosano’s UW MythStill

Creatures: (4)
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Snapcaster Mage

Non-Creature Spells: (33)
Sphinx’s Revelation
Spell Pierce
Counterspell
Force of Will
Brainstorm
Swords to Plowshares
Council’s Judgment
Ponder
Supreme Verdict
Myth Realized
Standstill
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Sensei’s Divining Top
Lands: (23)
Arid Mesa
Plains
Volcanic Island
Polluted Delta
Tundra
Flooded Strand
Island
Mishra’s Factory

Sideboard: (15)
Ethersworn Canonist
Meddling Mage
Vendilion Clique
Blood Moon
Rest in Peace
Stony Silence
Disenchant
Flusterstorm
Red Elemental Blast
Enlightened Tutor
Misdirection

Conclusion

As aforementioned, December was relatively quiet, with the metagame continuing along its somewhat expected avenue of Miracles, ANT and Grixis Delver at the top of the heap and the typical top-tier suspects performing well too. A few new interesting lists have popped up (as we’ll see below in the bonus lists!) while other old strategies seen as antiquated, such as Standstill and Thopter-Sword variants, have had soem unexpected success. However, expect a little bit more of a shakeup as Oath of the Gatewatch comes onto the scene, carrying with it a surprising amount of new toys for us Legacy players…

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‘Til then!

Sean

Bonus Lists

Looking a bit like halfway between Jund and Shardless, this RUG list has all the grindiness of typical Jund thanks to Punishing Fire, but has counterspells instead of discard and cantrips for a bit more consistency – which the deck can happily play due to its lack of Cascaders. A very interesting place to find RUG in Legacy.

Riccardo Matrisciano’s RUG Midrange

Creatures: (12)
Thrun, the Last Troll
Scavenging Ooze
Vendilion Clique
True-Name Nemesis
Tarmogoyf

Non-Creature Spells: (26)
Lightning Bolt
Spell Pierce
Spell Snare
Punishing Fire
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Ponder
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Engineered Explosives
Sensei’s Divining Top
Lands: (22)
Forest
Taiga
Island
Scalding Tarn
Wooded Foothills
Tropical Island
Volcanic Island
Grove of the Burnwillows
Misty Rainforest

Sideboard: (15)
Izzet Staticaster
Sulfur Elemental
Red Elemental Blast
Krosan Grip
Ancient Grudge
Surgical Extraction
Envelop
Pithing Needle
Eidolon of the Great Revel

MonoBlue Control is certainly a nice budget option to enter Legacy with – especially when powerful hosers like Back to Basics, CounterTop and Vedalken Shackles are at your disposal!

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Gabriele Campitelli’s Basic Blue

Creatures: (6)
Trinket Mage
True-Name Nemesis

Non-Creature Spells: (32)
Brainstorm
Counterspell
Force of Will
Back to Basics
Counterbalance
Aether Spellbomb
Relic of Progenitus
Vedalken Shackles
Powder Keg
Sensei’s Divining Top
Lands: (22)
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
14 Island

Sideboard: (15)
Vendilion Clique
Grafdigger’s Cage
Relic of Progenitus
Pithing Needle
Hydroblast
Mindbreak Trap
Back to Basics

Could we see a new combo deck making an appearance? Darren Lowe found himself winner of an SCG IQ with a totally new brew featuring a Commander 2015 card – Mizzix’s Mastery. Working on a similar axis to OmniTell or Modern Ad Nauseum combo, the deck aims to draw its whole deck by cheating out Enter the Infinite via Mastery and then Lightning Storming the opponent to zero.

Darren Lowe’s Mizzix’s Mastery

Non-Creature Spells: (40)
Flusterstorm
Lightning Storm
Pact of Negation
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Intuition
Izzet Charm
Gitaxian Probe
Careful Study
Enter the Infinite
Mizzix’s Mastery
Ponder
Lotus Petal
Lands: (20)
Mountain
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Volcanic Island
Ancient Tomb
Scalding Tarn
Island

Sideboard: (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Izzet Staticaster
Blood Moon
Dream Halls
Chain of Vapor
Pyroblast
Pyroclasm
Boseiju, Who Shelters All

I guess if you really missed your Dig Through Times you could go through Gatherer and find something with text close enough… Taylor Crosby swapped his banned Digs for Ancestral Memories this month and had some success. Although not nearly as easy to cast pre-combo than Dig, mid-combo it’s almost functionally the same.

Taylor Crosby’s OmniTell

Creatures: (2)
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Non-Creature Spells: (39)
Impulse
Spell Pierce
Brainstorm
Cunning Wish
Force of Will
Gitaxian Probe
Ancestral Memories
Ponder
Preordain
Show and Tell
Omniscience
Lands: (19)
Misty Rainforest
Scalding Tarn
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island
Ancient Tomb
Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Island
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta

Sideboard: (15)
Young Pyromancer
Eladamri’s Call
Electrickery
Firemind’s Foresight
Flusterstorm
Intuition
Pyroblast
Release the Ants
Spell Pierce
Surgical Extraction
Wipe Away
Massacre

As I mentioned in previous articles, I always have to feature the new Nic Fit lists running around. This Jund Nic Fit list featured Meren of Clan Nel Toth from Commander 2015 and Ob Nixilis Reignited, who looks perfect in this kind of deck. Painful Truth has also found a role in this deck!

Daniel Axelsson’s Nic Fit

Creatures: (14)
Broodmate Dragon
Deathrite Shaman
Meren of Clan Nel Toth
Scavenging Ooze
Thragtusk
Eternal Witness
Huntmaster of the Fells
Veteran Explorer
Courser of Kruphix

Non-Creature Spells: (23)
Abrupt Decay
Punishing Fire
Maelstrom Pulse
Painful Truths
Toxic Deluge
Cabal Therapy
Green Sun’s Zenith
Pernicious Deed
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Sensei’s Divining Top
Lands: (23)
Badlands
Phyrexian Tower
Taiga
Volrath’s Stronghold
Bayou
Mountain
Swamp
Wooded Foothills
Forest
Grove of the Burnwillows
Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard: (15)
Trinisphere
Reclamation Sage
Choke
Pernicious Deed
Golgari Charm
Red Elemental Blast
Surgical Extraction
Slaughter Games
Thoughtseize
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