Esper Deathblade In Legacy

In this week’s video, Drew Levin shows you the deck he would play in Legacy this weekend at the SCG Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina if he were able to attend.


Round 1: Jund

Round 2: Miracles

Round 3: Painter

Round 4: Painter

After playing a bunch of games both on and off camera with this deck, I can confidently state that it’s the best Legacy deck I’ve played in my entire life. There are no bad cards, it’s incredibly flexible in sideboarding, and it’s built to win topdeck wars. I want to talk a bit more about that in this space.

The reason why I’ve grown disaffected with Delver of Secrets strategies in Legacy is because they ask you to win games quickly. They are not great at winning on turn 10. Sure, they can, but their win equity starts going downhill after about turn 5. This is largely due to the presence of cards like Daze—powerful early game cards that get far worse once your opponent can play multiple spells in a turn. Since there are so many ways to break out of the early game—Deathrite Shaman, Thoughtseize, True-Name Nemesis, efficient removal, basic lands, not using fetch lands, and so on—games just tend to go longer.

When games go long, people see more cards.

When people see more cards, people draw more lands,

When people draw more lands, people put more lands into play.

When people put more lands into play, your soft countermagic and conditionally powerful discard spells and conditionally powerful mana disruption gets bad.

And suddenly you have cards in your deck that you don’t want to draw.

This deck plays a bunch of cards that it would love to draw on both turn 2 and turn 8. You know what “threat” is really bad on turn 8?

Delver of Secrets.

Delver is phenomenal on turn 1. It’s really good. It ends games before they begin, it lets you focus on protecting your threat, and it hits really hard.

When you draw Delver of Secrets late, it’s a 1/1. You’re almost certainly going to have to blind flip it since you probably cast all of your cantrips in the early to midgame. Even as a 3/2 flier, it gets outclassed by any of a number of things. It can’t get you back into a game where you’re behind in basically any respect whatsoever unlike Deathrite Shaman, Stoneforge Mystic, Dark Confidant, Snapcaster Mage, True-Name Nemesis, and Liliana of the Veil.

That’s why I don’t want to play Delver of Secrets. The truth of this format is that it has slowed down and become more threat centric, making Esper Deathblade the best deck around. If you want to win Legacy matches, play this:

If you’re familiar with Legacy, play this. If you’re not, do some research and then sleeve this up. If you really don’t want to fight blue midrange mirrors this weekend . . .

Then I guess you should check out my article from Tuesday.