Firstly let me apologise for not getting the blog up on Friday - working on a Friday looks like it is going to get in the way of things like that. So here is the blog written by the dreaded "Patters" one of the members of the Steel City Patriots after the invitational. He has written a blog on Legacy which is pretty awesome. With out further ado I pass you over to Patrick Bateman.
When I asked Mr T(insley) (hereby known as “The Fool”) if he wanted me to write a guest blog for him, I wasn't really sure what I should write about. Should I try and give some deep insight into how to win more at magic? Should I try and lay out for you how I scraped through to the top 6 of the tournament based on my constructed play propping up mediocre limited results? Should I brag that I only lost to members of the top 6? Who the hell wants to read anything PATTERS has to say about playing magic? Screw that crap! The Fool told me to shut the hell up and write about legacy. Put me back in my little corner of the world where I happily play in my sand box with Owen, Alistair, Adam and John. The little world where I happily sit spinning divining tops and boring my opponents to death with free counter spells and ridiculous card advantage engines, sounds good to me!
Warning - chance of falling asleep to this card!
First thing’s first, what is there in legacy? The better question here is what ISN’T in legacy. Pick a card, its *probably* legal. There is a ban list of around 60 cards in legacy, and a card pool of somewhere around 13000, that’s a pretty big pool of cards to pick from! For reference, the full ban list can be found here: http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=judge/resources/sfrlegacy
So now you know what legacy gives you access to, the next step is to establish what you can do with all these toys. The answer, of course, is play Stigma Lasher, Transcendence, Bazaar Trader combo! But for serious now, let’s take a look at some of the cool things you can do in legacy.
Think about it...
1. Take your opponent to school!
One of the key cards in the current format (or at least, in the recent meta-game) and a recurring baddie waiting in the wings for when people aren't prepared for it, is Show and Tell. This powerhouse card costs 1 Blue and 2 Colourless (pay attention boys and girls, there may well be a start to a pattern here), and quite simply, lets you put an Artifact, Enchantment, Creature or Land from your hand onto the battlefield. Any. Emrakul? Sure! Omniscience? Why the hell not!
This wins you the game, quite simply, by having emrakul on turn 3 (often 2 due to some of the accelerating lands), pretty sweet! Having omniscience - allowing you to cast emrakul the same turn, get an extra turn, and kill your opponent - is even better. There is a reason Show and Tell costs £40 per card.
Oh look a busted card from the Urza block
2. 2 turns? Too slow!
Turn 1 kills sound like a pipe dream for even the most aggro of aggro decks. A hasty 1 drop with 20 power? Impossible! That’s 10 goblin guides all rolled into one! In legacy however, there are a few ways to get there.
The most famous turn one kill is the perennial Belcher deck. Named after the centrepiece card, Goblin Charbelcher, this deck’s plan A aims to cast mana acceleration to cast and activate Goblin Charbelcher. Charbelcher reveals cards from your library till it hits a land, and then deals damage to the opponent equal to the number of cards revealed, double if it’s a mountain. Charbelcher plays 1 land in the entire deck. Which it fetches turn one (if it doesn't have it already) with Land Grant. Cant reveal a land if there's none left in the deck, guess you’re dead!
Really no fun to play against.
Look at all my beautiful robot minions!
Affinity was the bane of standard during mirrodin block. It was the biggest set of bannings ever to occur in a standard format, and the last (and biggest) mistake wizards of the coast made, before the banning Jace the Mind Sculptor and StoneForge Mystic last year. It’s so good, Skull Clamp is still banned in legacy, and most of the artifact lands are and forever will be (or at least, for a very long time will be) banned in modern.
I will play a land, that’s an artifact, I will play amemnite for free, I will play a mox opal, pay 1 for a spring leaf drum, play another memnite for free, play a cranial plating, pass the turn. I'm still alive and you finished your turn? Cool! Untap, play another artifact land, play another cranial plating, equip them both to my memnite and kill you! Obviously that’s an exactly perfect hand of 20 damage, but affinity swinging for lethal turn 3 or 4 is pretty standard practise. With Master of Etherium and Arcbound Ravager acting as extra copies of cranial plating, and thoughtcast for card advantage (draw 2 for 1 Blue… seems pretty good!) you aren’t running out of gas unless they have some interesting ways to stop you.
Not what Issac Asimov had in mind...
4. Did you hear that Mr Frodo! We’re going to see the elves!
Elves, some people love them, others wish they played wrath effects. Elves quite simply either powers out a progenitus with natural order, protection from everything is pretty sweet when the majority of the removal in use in the format says target… plan B makes a little bit more sense, vomit out a multitude of elves, make infinite mana and use that mana to kill you. This combo mostly focuses on 2 key cards, nettle sentinel and heritage druid, with a couple of sentinels and a heritage druid, you very quickly build up infinite mana by casting all your elves, drawing cards each time thanks to Glimpse of Nature. Spending mana either on ezuri to pump your dudes up to swing for lethal, or on any of a number of other sinks to kill the enemy.
Up until recently, this might have seemed like a strange strategy to the standard crowd, but putting fatties in the graveyard and then bringing them back to life has been a core strategy in legacy since long before I started playing. The entire strategy revolves around casting a card like entomb to put a dude in the bin, and then casting a reanimation spell, usually reanimate, animate dead, or exhume. The decks tend to have blue (remember that pattern I mentioned?) for combo protection and card selection. Having a 10 casting cost fatty on turn 2 is pretty sweet, having a Griselbrand to draw 7 with is even sweeter…
This gentleman needs no introduction...
6. That’s not magic, that’s masturbation!
Dredge, the ultimate graveyard strategy. The deck where if your cards aren't in your graveyard they are useless, and the deck that feels more like masturbation than playing magic. It’s universally hated by everyone but the people playing it, requiring a bare minimum of 3 slots in your sideboard and preferably a couple of cards even main deck that can have some interaction with it. Dredge basically works by sacrificing its draw step to dredge cards like golgari grave troll from its graveyard, milling its library in the process, this puts bridge from below into the graveyard and any narcomaeba onto the battlefield. Narcomaeba can then be sacrificed to flash back either cabal therapy to destroy the opponents hand, or the main plan A, Dread return bringing back Flame-kin Zealot, sacrificing creatures triggering your bridges, making a million zombies, which then get haste from Flame-Kin zealot, allowing you to swing for all of the damages and killing your opponent. Games 2 and 3 are a case of “do you have it?” with their graveyard hate, dredge can win through one or maybe 2 pieces of hate like relic of progenitus, particularly if they are used badly, they are cold dead to cards like rest in peace and leyline of the void though.
Fun things to do on your day off - Explain Dredge to someone who has never seen it...
7. Stoneforge mystic? Nah, even with batterskull that will be unplayable!
So good it’s a 4 of in legacy, this tends to be an indication of something being too strong in standard. Stoneforge mystic + Batterskull almost immediately became a deck in legacy with the release of New Phyrexia. Both in a straight Blue White setting and with additional splashes of black for discard spells. The plan is simple, play stoneforge mystic, then either fetch Batterskull or Umezawa’s jitte, depending on match up or Who’s The Beatdown (url: http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/fundamentals/3692_Whos_The_Beatdown.html) and beat face.
So we are gonna print a load of these extra, and then ban it!
8. Zig Zag Gobbo attack!
Goblins, they are the iconic mass of little red men. Somehow wizards managed to print enough good goblins that they have been one of the best decks in legacy for a very long time. Making use of the iconic wasteland, with acceleration in the form of goblin lackey and aether vial, consistency through goblin matron, huge card advantage through goblin ring leader, beat down with goblin piledriver, reach through siege-gang commander, and board control through sharpshooter (screw you elves!) goblins has ways to handle all manner of threats on the other side of the table. With explosive plays off a turn 1 lackey it can shut out decks without an answer to the turn 1 terror extremely quickly.
This guy is insane!
9 Darling its better down where its wetter take it from me!
Mermaids are cool right? Mermaids are totally macho! Swimming around, playing in steel drum bands, talking to crabs (TALKING TO!) that’s all super macho! Merfolk is a deck that’s based around killing you before you get to do anything fun. Casting a spell? Nah, ill stop you. Playing a non basic land? Nah, it’s wastelanded. Casting a 4 mana spell? You’re on -4 life, you aren’t allowed to cast spells anymore…
Put simply, this deck plays some dudes, those dudes are all lords. They pump each other and kill you. They are especially good at killing people with islands, because 8 of them give their allies island walk. Must be nice!
Not a Kumbaya in sight for this "Lord"
1 It’s a miracle! That we get to play any magic with you spinning that damn top all the time!
And so we come to my current deck. Miracles! Counter magic! Jace the mind Sculptor! All of the good cards! This deck is built around developing card advantage. Land tax gives you ancestral recall if you are on the draw, (land tax trigger, get 3 basics, cast brainstorm, put 2 basics back ready for land tax next turn… HOLY HELL!) as well as helping you keep up if you start missing land drops. Counterbalance gives you a soft lock to counter many of your opponents spells through changing the top card of your deck to match the mana cost of the card you want to counter. This is usually done with sensei’s divining top, but can be done by brainstorm at a pinch. Divining top also gives a huge advantage with miracles, allowing you to see them coming, delay them as needed, or use them at opportune times (terminus at instant speed seems pretty nice!) counterbalance lets you grind out card advantage by countering their stuff, jace gives you card advantage by letting you brainstorm without using a card, and the small tutor package of trinket mages and graveyard hate even gives you a decent shot game one against dredge! The deck is ultimately ending the game with entreat the angels, or a jace ultimate.
Because he is - that damn good!
1 Delver? But all the good cards rotate… damnit!
Turn 1 delver, turn 2 blind flip kill you. The story is the same in every format. Except in legacy the insect is joined by his bezzy mates lhurgoyf and mongoose (Tarmogoyf and nimble mongoose respectively) to obliterate everyone in a few short strokes. Heh heh, bezzy mates.
John McCain.dec? Maverick Maverick Maverick Maverick!
Maverick is all about good dudes. Mother of runes blanks everything that tries to kill your dudes, tarmogoyf smashes face, insert all the other cards maverick uses here. The game plan of maverick is basically just play all your dudes - mostly moving up to knight of the reliquary for big fat fatties - and kill them with them, some maverick lists use stoneforge mystic, some don’t.
There's no tea in this Tea-Cup, it’s just full of storm!
Storm decks are all about casting a million spells that do nothing, then killing you. They generally aim to make a few extra mana through cards like dark ritual or lotus petal, and then use that to ramp into ad-naseum for huge card advantage, cast a bunch more spells, and then cast tendrils of agony. Providing 9 or more spells have been cast this turn, you’re dead. Simple!
Fire, I’ll take you to burn!
3 you. 3 you. 3 you. Burn is a deck entirely focused around casting as many lightning bolt-like cards as possible. With some cards giving more bang for your buck, but usually situational (like price of progress) the majority come down to 3 damage for 1 card. This deck is just about going as fast as possible for the 20, and making most of your enemy’s spells into nothing. That swords to plowshares must seem pretty useless when I'm not playing dudes!
Lands, Zombies, Enchantress, Pox, Death and Taxes, Bug, Prison, Cephalid Breakfast, High Tide, Nic Fit, Stax, Solidarity… so many more!
Well that is all we have time for right now. the second half of this blog will be with us on Friday. Don't forget that we have the full proxy legacy tournament on Sunday 2nd December and this Friday it is extended for the penultimate time in FNM Relax. Ta ta for now...