GerryT’s Ten Things: Legacy Looks Fun Again!

GerryT kicks off his new column with plenty of decklists and attitude to spare! What does he like and not like among the latest Magic Online Standard lists? How broken is Pauper? And why does he think Legacy looks fun again?

In a world that’s constantly changing and evolving, we must as well. With the recent bannings, unbannings, and the new way Wizards of the Coast is sharing Magic Online information, it’s time for something new.

Welcome to my new column! Each week, I’ll be taking a quick look at ten decklists or trends I like or dislike in the various Constructed formats.

10: People Play Nonsense in Standard

Oh, you have a good matchup against everything in Standard except for Mono-Red Aggro? Please tell me more about how you broke the format. I’m sorry, but that Arborback Stomper in your sideboard isn’t going to save you. I mean, Azor’s Gateway and Battle at the Bridge also technically gain you life, but come on! If you’re in the market for a deck where you get to overpay for each of your cards by half a mana, then have I found the deck for you!

This is one of those decks that might actually be good against the rest of the format, but if that’s the case, you can swing things a little more in the anti-aggro direction, can’t you? How much of a necessity is your twenty-card package for your two copies of Mastermind’s Acquisition? I get that tutoring up a Wildest Dreams is the best end-game since Seasons Past, but can’t you just cast Nicol Bolas or something?

The real lesson here is that if you ever register Doomfall, it’s a large indicator that you’ve probably made a mistake.

9: Nonsense, Part 2

I have nothing but the utmost respect for rizer. Like Kelvin Chew (aka Hyper) before him, he’s like the really cool older cousin that you very clearly emulate to the point where it’s embarrassing. Notice me senpai, etc.

That said, this is the purest example of using the “logic” of “I went 5-0 in a League” as justification to play your deck in a MOCS filled with Platinum pros. Your 4-3 record is justified and well-earned. At least rizer respects the aggro menace and went about as much out of his way as he possibly could to have a shot against it.

Seriously, though, going 5-0 in a League with a brew does not mean your deck will stand up to the harsh scrutiny of a tournament field with a bunch of Plats. They will be able to figure out what your deck is trying to do, anticipate what cards are in your deck, and especially what cards are coming in out of your sideboard. Maybe they weren’t expecting Combustible Gearhulk exactly (and why the hell would they?), but you’d better believe they won’t be caught with their pants down against a Regal Caracal.

And against control decks, you what? Transform an Azor’s Gateway, hope to dodge their Field of Ruins, and then cast all four Approach of the Second Suns in one turn? That’s at least a plan. The real plan is probably “don’t get paired against pure control because it doesn’t really exist.”

Fine, that plan might work.

8: Pauper Is More Broken Than Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Gush, Brainstorm, Gitaxian Probe, and two-card combo kills? Well, geez, what’s not to like about Pauper?

A few of Magic’s big booms have been Commander and Modern, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Pauper was next. Those formats all seem to promote players picking a linear thing and trying to execute on it. While it pains me a little bit, remembering the days of Odyssey Limited, Psychatog mirrors, and Solar Flare versus Sea Stompy, Magic is more accessible and appeals to a broader audience than it once did.

I welcome this new version of Magic. I have thrived in it. It’s just not the same. If I all played was Modern, Pauper, and battlecruiser Standard until the end of time, I wouldn’t be super upset. However, I will skip Commander.

Let’s be real, though: Pauper is not a “fair” format and anyone who simultaneously complains about Jace ruining Modern while also sleeving up Gush, Counterspell, and/or Daze is not being objective.

7: Mediocre B/G Deck Continues to Impress Nobody


6: Someone Finally Figures Out How to Beat Blue Mirrors in Legacy

Dack Fayden and Punishing Fire is mostly nonsense, but it’s highly effective in the current state of Legacy. The midrange blue mirrors are typically grindfests, which opens the door for bigger effects to see more play. The games will go long, which means Punishing Fire and planeswalkers will eventually dominate.

Still, there’s some questionable stuff here. Look, I’ve cast Rise // Fall before. It seems so appealing, but it never plays out that way. Neither mode is actually very good, and while a Punishing Fire deck wants disruption that pitches to Force of Will, Rise // Fall isn’t the way to get your blue count up. You’re already going to be pretty bad against combo, so just let it go.

Ob Nixilis Reignited? Pulse of Murasa? I appreciate the effort, but please go back to the drawing board.

5: When Attacking Gets Fancy

If you were expecting scathing criticism of how these decks are simply worse versions of Mono-Red Aggro, I’m going to disappoint you.

In a field that revolves around Hazoret the Fervent, Rekindling Phoenix, and Vraska’s Contempt, Blossoming Defense, Bristling Hydra, and Adanto Vanguard are nice. Going under mythic rares is a completely reasonable strategy and I respect what these decks are trying to do.

With eleven copies of Cartouche of Knowledge between these three decks, you know they’re onto something. Hadana’s Climb is also a reasonable choice, as it will likely one-shot everyone. Thriving Turtle isn’t all that impressive, but they’re just means to an end, and they can’t all be hits.

4: Solid Innovations Go Unnoticed

Did you think I wasn’t going to mention Merfolk Branchwalker? You should know me better than that!

Instead of crewing Heart of Kiran, we’re getting real value from the Matt Tumavich innovation of using eternalize creatures alongside explore. If the game goes long, eventually you’re going to flood out, and now G/R Aggro has stuff to do with its mana.

Overall, it’s an elegant solution.

3: Approaching a Playable Deck

When Bryan Gottlieb told me he had a sicko Profane Procession deck, I was disappointed in him. I expected better. Clearly Profane Procession was the type of card that is way too strong for limited and too tame for Standard. Eight mana to kill your first creature? A total of eighteen mana for a Rampant Growth?

Well, maybe I was wrong. Apparently, if you have a do-nothing W/B Control deck, you’ll have a bunch of spare mana lying around while you look at your hand full of Murders. I’ll be honest, I just didn’t think W/B Control would be a playable archetype, but here we are.

Thankfully, this Mastermind’s Acquisition package is about as light as it gets. Finally someone shows some restraint.

2: Midrange Levels Up

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner is the best card in Standard. Bomat Courier is likely the second-best. There are few creatures, especially those that cost less than four mana, that are must-kills. Putting Glint-Sleeve Siphoner in a deck full of removal is a good place to be in Standard, especially since Vraska’s Contempt is the absolute best removal spell in Standard and happens to be on color.

Rekindling Phoenix and Glorybringer are the premier threats in Standard, hence everyone moving up to four Vraska’s Contempts and even sometimes sideboarding an Hour of Glory.

Dusk Legion Zealot is the unsung hero of the deck. Not only is there a lack of good early plays, but Zealot helps hit your land drops for your bigger threats. It trades against some of the threats in Mono-Red Aggro and even crews Aethersphere Harvester. Without another two-drop, Aethersphere Harvester wouldn’t be playable.

1: Legacy Looks Fun Again

That’s right, with Legacy becoming a mish-mash of blue midrange stuff, the literal card Counterspell is good again. Daze was always the card that kept me away from Counterspell, and while Daze is still out there in Grixis Delver, those decks aren’t nearly as fast or punishing as the Temur Delver builds. The lack of Stifle makes Daze much less threatening.

Cards like Abrade, Fire // Ice, and Electrolyze are also nice in a format dominated by Deathrite Shaman, Delver of Secrets, and Young Pyromancer. Obviously Gurmag Angler is an issue for U/R, but you have some play with Jace, Cryptic Command, Counterspell, and Harvest Pyre out of the sideboard.

Being able to maindeck Blood Moon is a huge boon against decks like Lands and Eldrazi. Overall, this deck is a little untuned, but it makes me want to play Legacy again.