Let’s all take a moment to remember that Carsten Kotter was right.
It didn’t take long for Treasure Cruise to catch on and snag a trophy. In fact, Monastery Swiftspear even won its first trophy and other Khans of Tarkir
cards, such as Dig Through Time, were present in the Top 32s of both Opens. And it’s sad, because Treasure Cruise basically invalidates Shardless Sultai’s
I recently wrote an article on card advantage and why
I think it’s no longer the best thing you can be doing. Cards do not trade on a one-for-one basis equally anymore, so oftentimes it’s better to be the one
presenting the threats. Card advantage manifests itself in different ways now, such as through virtual card advantage.
However, virtual card advantage is only more important than real card advantage because all of the things necessary to achieve real card advantage are too
slow, which means they tend to line up poorly against other cards in the format. In Legacy, you might be tempted to run Intuition + Accumulated Knowledge
or something like Fact or Fiction, but those cards are tough to resolve through Spell Pierce and Daze.
Instead, I’ve looked for ways to gain incremental card advantage through things like Baleful Strix and Shardless Agent (with the occasional Ancestral
Vision). Ancestral Vision is a great card and certainly one that is undervalued, but Treasure Cruise probably does it better, despite the cascade
shenanigans possible with Shardless Agent. Despite being hyped up by Shardless Sultai lately, it might be time to switch decks.
With Treasure Cruise, you don’t have many hoops to jump through, if any. All you have to do is crack some fetchlands, cast your spells, and you have an
Ancestral Recall. You might not be able to fire it off until turn 3 or 4, but did you really want to cast Ancestral Recall on turn 1 anyway? Any version of
a blue midrange deck is probably going to want to play Treasure Cruise, so what’s the point of trying to fight them on the card advantage front? Do we
adapt or do we find another deck?
Not all hope is lost. If blue decks are going to be about filling their graveyards and drawing cards, Sultai has a leg-up with Deathrite Shamans.
Additionally, if both players have Treasure Cruises, getting on the board becomes more important, which Deathrite Shaman and Shardless Agent do quite well.
Then again, getting on board is much easier when you’re playing Delver of Secrets, and those decks typically had the issue of having a reasonable
follow-up, at which point Shardless was able to keep presenting threats. That dynamic no longer exists, so the one with the cheaper spells is likely the
person who is going to win. If that’s the case, perhaps Delver of Secrets finally becomes the correct choice over Shardless Agent.
We may have to go here:
SMann’s deck is good, although it’s worth noting that he bemoaned his Sultai Charm, which is understandable. In a world where we’re all cruising for
treasure, a three casting cost removal spell is not exactly where you want to be.
With only a pair of Treasure Cruises in his deck, it’s clear that SMann didn’t want to risk Treasure Cruise not actually being good. He was hedging, but
with Bob winning the Open with the full four copies in his deck, how far down the rabbit hole do we go? Are we supposed to jam things like Thought Scour
and Gitaxian Probe to turbo-charge our Cruises? I’m guessing that between fetchlands, Brainstorm, Ponder, and other cheap spells, getting the first Cruise
to be Ancestral Recall is not going to be difficult. In theory, the first Cruise should give you enough gas to power up the second Cruise.
If that’s the case, are we supposed to be playing the full four Cruises like Bob did? That doesn’t seem outlandish to me. Bob’s usage of Lightning Bolt and
Chain Lightning gave him a lot of things he could draw into with Treasure Cruise to kill his opponent outright, which might be the best way to do things in
a vacuum. However, I think the prevalence of Treasure Cruise might cause a rise in the following two cards:
If all of our blue opponents are drawing cards, we need to either match them or fight them on a different axis, lest we be buried in card advantage. Both
Rest in Peace and Counterbalance do that in their own ways — Rest in Peace by fighting the delve engine proactively and Counterbalance by fighting what
will certainly be an uptick in one casting cost spells. Treasure Cruise might resolve, but the cards you draw probably won’t.
Still, I’m not sold that Miracles will have a good matchup against Treasure Cruise decks, especially those playing Abrupt Decay. In general, I like the
idea of overloading an opponent’s Abrupt Decays, which a Counterbalance deck that also plays Rest in Peace could do quite nicely. However, the onus is
certainly on the Rest in Peace / Counterbalance player to find their enchantments and resolve them in a timely manner.
Additionally, Spell Snare is a card that has mostly fallen out of favor in Delver decks (which I disagree with, especially as the person hoping to resolve
Tarmogoyf against them), but it might just make a comeback to fight that pair of enchantments. Alternatively, Spell Pierce is an already widely played
tempo card that can pick off those enchantments as well. Ideally you’d have some sort of hard counter that is difficult to play around, and I think Spell
Snare is that card, whereas Spell Pierce will fall short.
Regardless of what permission you want to play in order to fight the perceived anti-hate, you might want to consider sticking with Sultai. While you lose
out on the reach potential from Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning, you make up for with Deathrite Shaman and Abrupt Decay. If people are packing
enchantments, Abrupt Decay is definitely where you want to be.
Thoughtseize is still good but Hymn to Tourach is likely going to be worse than ever. It doesn’t take much to recover from a Hymn now, so the only real
reason you’d bother with it is against combo decks. At what point do those combo decks start incorporating Treasure Cruise though? I’m guessing not many,
but that’s only because Dig Through Time exists.
This is where I’d expect Dig Through Time to end up.
Combo decks, whether they are resource based like Storm or a two card combo like Sneak and Show, often suffer against discard decks. Even fighting through
a wall of permission can be difficult at times. Once the dust has settled and you’re both hellbent, do you want to topdeck Treasure Cruise or Dig Through
Time in your combo deck?
There are some decks where drawing three random cards is going to be more beneficial than drawing two specific cards. If your deck has a lot of air or if
you’re always searching for something specific, I recommend Dig Through Time. It seems like a slam dunk in a deck like Sneak and Show and I love its
presence as a two-of.
Dig Through Time should provide combo decks like Sneak and Show a little more consistency and resiliency, and combo could always use more of that. It also
seems like Dig Through Time could be particularly powerful in Omni-Tell, like the list Logan Mize has been playing.
Some say that Omni-Tell is a three card combo deck where you need Show and Tell, Omniscience, and something else to do with it. That’s not entirely true
since once you have Omniscience in play, it’s very difficult to lose. Logan has the full twelve cantrips and generally has cards that are more robust once
Omniscience is in play, such as Cunning Wish and Intuition.
Noticeably absent are the Enter the Infinites and Dream Halls, which I think is a good move. I think Griselbrand deserves a closer look over Emrakul, the
Aeons Torn, but I’m sure Logan has his reasons. Regardless, Dig Through Time could likely take the place of one of the clunky three-drops, Intuition or
Cunning Wish, and function as a card you aren’t embarrassed to play in your deck. It has a higher fail rate than Intuiton or Cunning Wish, but it’s a more
powerful card, and I can’t imagine the fail rate is very high.
I’m definitely looking forward to experimenting with this archetype. It looks potentially more powerful than Sneak and Show and it’s certainly more clean.
Whether or not it can stand up to these new blue decks remain to be seen. Getting through their counterwall was already difficult enough, but we’ll see.
Presumably the games are going to go on longer as both players jockey for an advantage, but neither player runs out of gas. Have you ever seen the
Shardless Sultai mirror match? Unless someone sticks a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, things can get boring. Decking could be a real thing, but it’s more likely
someone is able to stick a Jace and protect it, stick an Umezawa’s Jitte and protect it, or resolve Treasure Cruise and Force of Will their opponent’s.
Alternatively, Sneak and Show with Dig Through Time might be able to slice through all those blue decks. Granted, the matchup against various Delver decks
was never great for Sneak and Show, plus now they have Treasure Cruise, but they might have to adapt so much to fighting mirror matches that they forget
combo is a thing.
I predict that most players will add an additional Rest in Peace to their 75. Overall, it’s not a bold shift, but it’s relevant enough, especially when you
consider the pair of Dredge decks and pair of Reanimator decks that made the elimination rounds last weekend. If you’re playing a graveyard strategy,
prepared to fight some splash damage.
Force of Will seems like an automatic four-of now that we’re Cruising. Suddenly we don’t care if we’re losing cards left and right, as we can recoup them
easily and tempo becomes even more important. If you’re on Belcher or Oops! All Spells!, you might want to switch decks or develop a better anti-Force of
If control and all-in combo probably suck now, how are we supposed to fight these threats? Present something that cannot be beaten by drawing three cards.
I recommend Cavern of Souls or Aether Vial into Mother of Runes. Finding a way to utilize things that passively hate on graveyards like Rest in Peace and
Deathrite Shaman may also be the answer. You want something that is good on its own but isn’t specifically there to hate out Treasure Cruise since you
might lose to the rest of their deck.
Chalice of the Void could also be backbreaking for the same reasons I expect Counterbalance to be. Decks that play Chalice of the Void typically play a lot
of hateful permanents as well, so something like Goblin Prison might see more play.
One might say that blue decks always get new toys for Legacy while the other colors get the shaft, but I’m sure Ross Merriam would say Elves is the answer.
He might be right. Of all the decks in the format, it’s certainly one that gets on the board quickly. It all depends on what answers the Treasure Cruise
decks decide to play and whether or not they’re the right ones.
Who knows. Maybe this guy is the answer?