Daily Digest: The Familiar Face

Ross Merriam isn’t going to let everyone make the same mistake again. This card has earned respect, and if you’re not careful, it’ll make a believer out of you!

Judge’s Familiar never got any respect. Even after it won two Pro Tours, everyone laughed it off as a necessary evil, but I’ve always understood the power of the Bird. It’s tough to see because its value comes from the spells your opponent doesn’t cast. They don’t get to Brainstorm or Lightning Bolt until the next turn, and that slight edge only snowballs.

Now we have a supercharged Judge’s Familiar in Mausoleum Wanderer. These effects are generally quite good in Legacy because the manabases are lighter and the decks are more spell-dense, but it requires a very specific shell to work because tempo decks are so delicate. If one key spell comes through for the opponent, all your hard work could be undone.

Fortunately, Spell Queller is great at keeping those spells from resolving, even taking care of Abrupt Decay. From there, Meddling Mage and your Force Spike creatures can protect the lead long enough for a squad of 1/1s and 2/2s to get the job done.

This is Magic at its prettiest, folks. Your opponent no doubt looks at your cards and thinks they are getting Punk’d. Eventually the power of their cards will shine through, but that time never comes. Daze that. Force of Will that. Spell Queller that. Attack for one. Attack for two. Two. Three. Dead. Each step looks inconsequential, but when taken in sum they are dominating.

And it’s not like this deck doesn’t have power of its own. You have Legacy staples Wasteland; Force of Will; Brainstorm; Jace, the Mind Sculptor; and Stoneforge Mystic. The primary weakness of Judge’s Familiar and Mausoleum Wanderer is how ineffective they are late in the game, but when you have an Umezawa’s Jitte or Sword of Fire and Ice lying around, any creature will do, especially one with evasion.

The sideboard is a little haphazard, but there are two cards that stand out. The first is Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which seems great against Miracles for making an army of 2/2s in the face of Terminus and Swords to Plowshares. The second is Back to Basics, which can shut down Shardless Sultai and Lands.

Last, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the inclusion of Ravages of War. Armageddon is a great card, but Legacy players always know how to ratchet up the style factor, so give credit where credit is due.