What We’d Play! With the Legacy portion of Grand Prix Richmond just a day away, many
are unsure what they’d play in such a high-profile tournament. That’s
where we come in and let you know what we’d play this weekend and why
we’d play it. Hopefully this last-minute advice aids in your decision
making! Be sure to vote for who you agree with in the poll at the end!
It’s time for a little less turbo and a little more depth. B/G Depths
previously found its niche as an all-in combo deck, but the departure of
Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe has slowed down the format
dramatically. We no longer are incentivized to just jam the Vampire Hexmage
+ Dark Depths combo on Turn 2 and hope it is good enough. Now we get to
play real cards in our deck, as opposed to one-shot mana sources which left
us prone to inconsistent draws and horrible topdecks.
Chief among these real cards are Bitterblossom, Liliana of the Veil, and
Abrupt Decay. These cards all line up particularly well against the
format’s current boogeyman, U/B Death’s Shadow. Bitterblossom feels
underplayed in Legacy in general right now. Simultaneously functioning as
protection from Diabolic Edict, a way to pressure opposing Jaces and
Lilianas, a functional clock against control, and a fine defensive tool,
Bitterblossom might be at its absolute best here. In the sideboard, I’ve
focused on giving us plenty of tools against combo opponents, preserving
our access to Turn 1 Sphere of Resistance/Thorn of Amethyst via our five
virtual copies (Crop Rotation) of Ancient Tomb.
Owen Turtenwald – U/W Stoneblade
I can’t take full credit for this decklist because it’s basically stripped
from Matt Sperling’s Twitter.
6-0 in Legacy sides at #GPLA
on Saturday. Sunday I put my first Old School decks together with @herberheezy.
Had a blast. pic.twitter.com/sL9ooSCT19
Matt Sperling (@sickofit) August
Many years ago, I was a regular on the SCG Tour and I tried all flavors of
Delver decks, including Temur and Jeskai builds based around Geist of Saint
Traft to middling finishes before
winning Grand Prix Washington DC
with a Jeskai Stoneblade deck very similar to the U/W version shown above.
The reason I don’t want to just play the exact same five-year old decklist
today is that my old list was very much built for a Deathrite Shaman
metagame. I played three copies of Volcanic Island maindeck purely to
support four copies of Lightning Bolt, and I even went with Rest in Peace
over other more effective graveyard hate options because I could sideboard
it in against any deck which played four copies of both Tarmogoyf and
With Deathrite Shaman banned, the Legacy metagame has shifted a ton, and
now I believe the two-color version of Stoneblade is optimal. This is the
exact 75 cards I will register at Grand Prix Richmond.
Todd Anderson – U/B Death’s Shadow
Legacy is a fresh format with a lot of room to explore. The banning of
Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe has opened things up a bit, but I’m
starting to think that U/B Death’s Shadow is going to close a lot of those
things down. After watching Josh Utter-Leyton’s performance at the most
recent Pro Tour, as well as the dominating performance of David Thomas at
SCG Dallas a few weekends ago, my only conclusion is that U/B Death’s
Shadow is the real deal, and I’m here for it!
From my experience, U/B Death’s Shadow is solid against opposing Delver
strategies, since it has larger threats and a lower overall mana curve. It
also seems to obliterate opposing combo decks, since you get the added
disruptive element of Thoughtseize and a significantly faster clock in
Death’s Shadow. So, if a deck has a great Delver matchup and a great combo
matchup, what isn’t there to love?
Of course, there are still some bad matchups. For example, I think Lands is
pretty tough, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few aggressive decks start
to show up and punish people trying to play U/B Death’s Shadow. But my
guess, for Grand Prix Richmond, is that people haven’t quite figured it out
Jim Davis – Goblins
- 4 Goblin Matron
- 4 Goblin Lackey
- 4 Goblin Warchief
- 1 Goblin Sharpshooter
- 4 Goblin Piledriver
- 4 Gempalm Incinerator
- 1 Siege-Gang Commander
- 4 Goblin Ringleader
- 1 Skirk Prospector
- 1 Tin Street Hooligan
- 3 Mogg War Marshal
- 1 Stingscourger
Look, you can’t stop me. There may have been zero Goblin decks played at
Pro Tour 25th Anniversary, but that’s just because:
- I wasn’t there
- Everyone is stupid
Deathrite Shaman is banned and Legacy is made anew. There was a time years
ago where Goblins was secretly the best deck in Legacy and pretty much
nobody played it but Max Tietze and I (to a good number of
Open/Invitational top 8s and wins), and the Deathrite Shaman ban brings us
closer to that time. Without the boost from Deathrite Shaman, Goblins
excels against fair decks, and there’s a lot of fair decks floating around.
A brief look at the Legacy metagame report on MTGGoldfish shows the top 8
decks in Legacy being: U/B Death’s Shadow, Grixis Control, Death and Taxes,
Sneak and Show, Grixis Delver, Colorless Eldrazi, U/W Miracles, and Temur
If all I must do is dodge some Show and Tells, give me my Snow-Covered
Mountains and let’s get to work.
Am I sure Goblins is great? Nope, but I’m fully ready to put my money where
my mouth is and find out. I won’t be attending GP Richmond, but I’ll be at
SCG Baltimore in a few weeks with my Goblin Ringleaders in tow, ready to
battle. Just make sure you get your practice in because Goblins is
deceptively difficult to play!
Cedric Phillips – Humans
- 4 Mother of Runes
- 4 Meddling Mage
- 1 Orzhov Pontiff
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 3 Phantasmal Image
- 4 Champion of the Parish
- 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- 4 Thalia's Lieutenant
- 2 Recruiter of the Guard
- 1 Palace Jailer
- 3 Kitesail Freebooter
Have I lost my mind? Far from it.
Humans in Legacy is very real and if you want to ignore it, that’s your
choice to make. The wins have been flooding in on Magic Online over the
past three days with my losses being very clear cut and expected:
Lands because they easily trash everything this deck is trying to
Goblins if they start the game with Aether Vial (they have no shot
- Mistakes because the deck is tough to play.
Imagine, if you will, Humans in Modern with Mother of Runes. A creature
that can protect all your other creatures that renders your opponents’
removal useless? You’d play as many copies as you could get your hands on
if you could! Now remember that Legacy decks play much less removal than
Modern decks and the removal they do play is incredibly streamlined,
something that Meddling Mage allows you to take advantage of.
Then there’s Recruiter of the Guard, everything that Militia Bugler wishes
it was. Between Palace Jailer, Orzhov Pontiff (adios, Young Pyromancer and
True-Name Nemesis!), and Phantasmal Image, you’ll find the answer to
whatever your problems are just like Death and Taxes does, but you’ve got a
better suite of cards to browse because you’ve got access to all five
colors of mana, whereas Death and Taxes has access to only one.
Lastly, this manabase is no joke. The five-color manabase that’s
terrorizing Modern gets to do the same thing in Legacy except it doesn’t
have to run basics because Field of Ruin and Path to Exile don’t exist.
Therefore, you get to play Wasteland and Karakas instead of Plains or
Island and upgrade your sideboard significantly because the Legacy
cardpool is just a tad bit larger than Modern’s.
Is this list perfect? Far from it. I haven’t gotten around to testing
Mantis Rider yet (I’m pretty sure it’s horrible), Imperial Recruiter may be
better than Recruiter of the Guard (Imperial Recruiter can find Reflector
Mage and Kambal, Consul of Allocation whereas Recruiter of the Guard
cannot), and my sideboard could use some work (too much combo hate in a
metagame of far less combo decks), but I’ve got another 24 hours to work
out those kinks.
But what I can tell you is I’m 15-5 in my last twenty matches. Most of them
haven’t been remotely close because people aren’t prepared for what this
deck is doing and have no reason to adjust to it because it “isn’t a real
deck”, and I’ll be incredibly disappointed if I don’t mangle Grand Prix
Richmond this weekend given how much of a beatdown I’ve been giving.