Legacy Innovation Spotlight 2

It’s time to pay tribute to the brewers of the world! In this fresh Legacy look, Carsten shows you a few decks that, given the right time and the right mind, could show up to play spoiler at The Invitational at #SCGNJ in a few weeks!

Well, after very clearly choosing Control Slaver two weeks ago,
I know you probably expected to find the next installment of You Choose The Brew in this spot today, but getting through the gauntlet is taking a little
longer than the earlier steps of the process. It isn’t exactly helped by the fact that I spent the last couple of weeks at my parents where I traditionally
don’t get much of anything done. I expect to be able to present you with further developments concerning Legacy Control Slaver this time next week,
however, no need to fear for the future of your favorite show.

Don’t despair. I’m not the only one coming up with new decklists. A while ago I started the Innovation Spotlight series to highlight the work of those
brave souls that make Legacy the sweet format it is. I’d like to thank all the brewers out there. I finally have a couple of decks that I feel should get
their moment in the sun, so that’s what we’ll be doing today.

The Small Things

The first deck I want to talk about isn’t something totally new. Actually, it even uses one of the format’s most ubiquitous creatures: Delver of Secrets.
However, it’s something I encountered in person and now that I’ve seen it in action I can attest to the potency of taking the mad scientist in a somewhat
different direction:

Instead of being an all-out aggro control tempo deck like RUG Delver, or even an aggro-control deck like BUG Delver, Ivan’s deck takes some inspiration
from the Dreadtill decks of old and combines heavy tempo disruption and the most efficient cheap beatdown threat in the format with the drawing power of
Standstill. Now, Standstill is a card I usually don’t like too much, but when you have a clock–like Merfolk or this deck–it’s a much stronger card than
when it is used as a draw engine for something controlish.

Between Delvers, Lightning Bolts, Dismembers, Grim Lavamancers, Spell Snares, and Stifles, it really isn’t too hard to set up a position early in the game
where your opponent is actually forced to give you your Ancestral Recall. Once that happens, the overload of extremely cheap spells–and especially cheap
countermagic–makes it relatively easy to turn those extra cards back into a favorable board position which then enables the next Standstill to fire.

And when Standstill isn’t around, there are easily enough control elements to just play a Delver-style tempo game. True-Name Nemesis and Mishra’s Factory
(a criminally underplayed card due to how tight Legacy mana bases need to be) are perfectly capable of playing the beatdown part that is usually filled
with Tarmogoyfs or Stoneforge Mystics in traditional Delver decks. All in all, a very different take on one of Legacy’s premiere strategies that reveals
how much potential for tweaking and tuning remains even in the well-explored corners of the format.

The Brew Not Chosen

One of the concepts I came up with for You Choose the Brew was that of setting up the Bomberman combo with the help of Dack Fayden and Transmute Artifact.
I was extremely impressed with how powerful the interaction between Cavern of Souls and Auriok Salvagers turned out to be.

Clearly though, I’m not the first person to recognize how awesome playing uncounterable combo pieces that also function as value engines is, as this sweet
piece of work that really goes all in on the concept proves:

Trinket Mage, Auriok Salvagers, and Imperial Recruiter all happen to be humans, which means the deck can generally rely on not only an uncounterable combo
engine but also a large number of uncounterable tutors to find its combo pieces or useful utility. That means there are eight ways to find a Salvagers and
twelve to find Lion’s Eye Diamond (counting the admittedly somewhat convoluted chain of Imperial Recruiter into Trinket Mage to find the LED), as well as
six trinkets that draw cards to combo out with. In a pinch, Engineered Explosives plus Sensei’s Divining Top also serve perfectly well as a way to draw
into your Pyrite Spellbomb once the Salvagers mana engine is online.

However, the deck isn’t just a straight up one trick pony that tries to win as fast as possible, as there would clearly be decks better suited to that
approach. Instead, it is also perfectly capable of playing a grindy board control game between nine pieces of removal (and Trinket Mages to find more
Spellbombs or Engineered Explosives) and a Grim Lavamancer to complete the small creature lockdown of off Imperial Recruiter.

The two things I don’t like in this list on first sight are two minor exclusions: Aether Spellbomb and Meekstone. Meekstone is just an awesome way to lock
out a wide variety of aggressive strategies, most importantly RUG Delver, and it should be present in a four Trinket Mage deck that isn’t affected in the
slightest. As for Aether Spellbomb, I realize that the blue splash the deck uses is very minor, but having a Trinket Mage target that deals with Emrakul,
the Aeons Torn seems rather useful, and the ability to fetch all the missing artifacts with a single Trinket Mage (play Trinket Mage, get Aether Spellbomb,
bounce Trinket Mage, replay it, get Lion’s Eye Diamond) should be useful enough to be worth the extremely low cost of including a singleton instead of a
Conjurer’s Bauble. It still cycles for colorless mana after all, and its bounce ability seems strong enough at those moments when you can pay for it to be
worth the slightly higher cost to cycle it at other times.

In spite of these minor criticisms, I love the creativity and commitment to the plan this deck exhibits, and playing uncounterable Salvagers is powerful
enough to steal many a game from the fairer decks in the format. And if that wasn’t enough, the incredible amount of tutoring and finagling the deck allows
looks absurdly fun! Definitely something worth investing some time in if you love grinding and comboing people.

The Cheapest Lock Out in the Format

Miracles is by far the most played true control deck in Legacy, however, there are other options to explore if you’re a dedicated U/W mage. Like this one,
for example:

There are a number of widely played decks–RUG and UWR Delver for example–that simply can’t beat the Rest In Peace + Energy Field lock game 1, and given
that both pieces cost only a bargain price of two mana, it should be quite possible to stick them long before the game ends. Once that happens, you can sit
pretty in your pillow fort and simply wait until you can set up a hand that forces through Helm of Obedience for the kill.

Now, the idea isn’t utterly groundbreaking. I even brought up a raw skeleton of a possible list in my Return to Ravnica brewing article. But William is the
first person I know of to actually place with a list as dedicated to the plan as this. Energy Field, Rest in Peace, and Enlightened Tutor to find the
missing half of the two-card combo give this deck a very powerful linear gameplan against probably half the format.

William buys some time with dedicated tempo tools Stifle and Daze against essentially everybody and slams down the combo in matchups where that is
convenient or game-winning. However, when the lock out plan isn’t good enough, there’s a solid chance the opponent won’t be deploying early threats. And if
the opponent doesn’t play threats, Standstill suddenly turns from a too conditional draw effect into a powerhouse draw engine when combined with Mishra’s
Factory to force the opponent into cracking it.

This is another deck relying on tempo plays and Standstill–I promise I don’t try to make these Innovation Spotlights into theme articles, it just
happens–like the Salvagers deck above, can also implement two completely different gameplans depending on the game state and the opponent’s deck.

This kind of hybridization is very powerful because it generates free wins while covering your weak spots by doing something completely different. If
you’re tired of Terminus-ing people but still want to play a strong control strategy with lock out potential, you should at least give this one a try.

Blackfyre Rebellion

This last one mainly counts as brewing because everybody always seems to assume Burn has to be a Mono-Red deck just because it plays Price of Progress.
However, there are some strong incentives to throw conventional wisdom to the wind:

Eidolon of the Great Revel has initiated a resurgence of Burn in Legacy lately so the basic strategy of throwing spells at the opponent’s face is clearly
not too poorly positioned at the moment. Once we accept that, exploring what else can be done to accomplish this goal sounds like a good idea.

By splashing Black, we gain access to a very strong upgrade to Flame Rift in Tyrant’s Choice which seems nice in and of itself. At that point, however, we
suddenly have the ability to play a likely candidate for the best creature in Legacy: Deathrite Shaman.

Its drain mode delivers a perfect Grim Lavamancer imitation at half the cost to graveyard cards, and the additional mana production the little elf provides
enables Burn’s most broken draws to materialize even faster. By giving the deck maindeck access to some graveyard hate, it even helps a couple of weaker
matchups: Reanimator, Dredge, and Past in Flames-based Storm strategies. And while it might seem marginal for Burn on first sight, the lifegain effect is
actually quite potent as it helps break the asymmetry of Eidolon of the Great Revel or can buy that one extra turn you need to unload your remaining burn
spells for the win.

Sylvan Library, the other benefit of the minor touch of green mana, finally seems so absurdly good in a burn deck that I’ve theorized about Burn splashing
for it years before Deathrite Shaman was even on the horizon. I never pulled through–I’m just not a Burn player–but the power level of a card that allows
you to draw three cards for two mana and some irrelevant life is through the roof in Burn. Add to that most of Burn’s losses to non-combo decks usually
happen because you draw a few too many Mountains. Just reading Sylvan Library again should make it easy to understand why the card is interesting for the
deck. Normally spending a full turn not dealing damage could be a problem, but that’s where Deathrite Shaman comes in once again. Because the little guy
can make mana as well as burn face, it should be much easier to find a spot to stick Library and go to town. If pointing spells at your opponent’s face is
your thing, this one is definitely worth a look.

Spotlight Out

A burn deck that breaks with convention, a control deck that plays combo-lockdown against half the format, a combo deck that grinds better than most
dedicated midrange decks, and a different look at Delver; that’s my little collection for today. I hope you enjoyed this trip through Legacy’s fringes. I
hope there’s something here that caught your eye!

As always, the disclaimer: these aren’t decks I’ve built or even tested, just some of the cooler lists I’ve stumbled upon during my combings of the
Internet, so don’t go and invest the last of your retirement funds into these hoping they’re the best thing since sliced bread. They do look solid to me,
however, so I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that in the end they actually are just that. Give them a whirl, test drive them at home or at a local event,
and if they hold up to how sweet they look, learn to play them inside out and maybe we’ve just made Legacy richer by an additional staple archetype.

And if you like none of these, go ahead and brew something up yourself! After all, I need new things to stumble upon in the future, so all you brewers out
there, keep up the good work!