Legacy’s Allure – The Winter Deck Tech Roundup

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Tuesday, December 22nd – This week, Doug checks out some of the fringe decks in Legacy with an eye toward presenting techy new options for Legacy players. Check out a use of the Sword of the Meek/Thopter Foundry combination and another strong Smallpox list. See a new take on yet another Legends card that can generate a very cool game win and get the latest in Counterbalance technology. All this, plus a fun contest, in this week’s Legacy’s Allure!

Sometimes, we want to go beyond the normal and typical Legacy decks and play around with really fun lists. This week, I scoured decklists and tournament results to bring you several interesting lists for enterprising players. If you’re looking for something to tinker around with for the next big tournament or a new pile to crush your friends with, you’ll find some great choices below. You can drop huge monsters into play or summon an artificial flying air force. You’ll find grinding control decks and fast, powerful lists. Let’s get started…

Supreme Blue

Okay, so Supreme Blue isn’t technically “new,” but it hasn’t gotten a lot of press and it’s worth talking about. Take a look at Isaac Robles’ 8th place list from a recent 51-person event:

4 Tarmogoyf
4 Rhox War Monk
1 Vendilion Clique
2 Sower of Temptation
4 Force of Will
3 Daze
2 Spell Pierce
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Brainstorm
2 Ponder
3 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Counterbalance
3 Firespout
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
4 Tropical Island
3 Tundra
3 Volcanic Island
2 Island

4 Blue Elemental Blast
3 Krosan Grip
3 Red Elemental Blast
3 Relic of Progenitus
2 Trygon Predator

The big tech here, the bit that pushes it beyond Blue and Next Level Blue and Previous Iteration Blue is the Firespouts. In many ways, I see this deck as the spiritual successor to Andy Probasco GP: Chicago deck because it utilizes cards that can generate a card advantage in a deck filled with cantrips. Firespout can often cash in for at least one creature and Sower of Temptation adds a warm body to your side along with itself. Both cards are instrumental in Supreme Blue for affecting the board in swingy ways. Firespout, in particular, lets the deck save its Swords to Plowshares for bigger targets. Rhox War Monk is a stout guy against Zoo and Merfolk because he’s hard to punch through and makes the mathematics for racing an opponent a bit more challenging.

Firespout and Rhox War Monk also lend to the deck’s high numbers of three-cost cards for Counterbalance. With more and more powerful spells hanging out at that casting cost, cards like Knight of the Reliquary, Maelstrom Pulse, Countryside Crusher and Merfolk Sovereign, being able to consistently hit Counterbalance against them is key. The only thing I am really unsure about in this deck is the two Spell Pierce. I had to reread the list a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t Spell Snare, which would be a much more reasonable card. Spell Pierce, absent any other mana denial, seems good for about a turn or two early in the game and just awful past that. Can we make this Spell Snare or even Annul?


Archimedes was tasked by the king of Syracuse (a town in upstate New York) to figure out if his jeweler was replacing the gold in his crown with lead. While taking a bath, Archimedes figured out that he could measure the density of both lead and gold and test whether the crown was really golden. Excited, he jumped out of his tub and ran naked through the street, shouting “Eureka! I’ve got it!”

In the same vein of creativity, check out Jordi Estrela’s Eureka deck, placing fifth in the same tournament as Robles’ deck above:

4 Birds of Paradise
4 Veteran Explorer
4 Mystical Tutor
4 Cabal Therapy
3 Pernicious Deed
1 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Eureka
1 Natural Order
1 Show and Tell
3 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
2 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
3 Hellkite Overlord
1 Progenitus
2 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Dryad Arbor
4 Wooded Foothills
3 Verdant Catacombs
1 Windswept Heath
2 Tropical Island
2 Bayou
3 Forest
3 Swamp

3 Tormod’s Crypt
3 Krosan Grip
3 Red Elemental Blast
3 Duress
1 Thoughtseize
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Extirpate

If you happen to have a playset of Eurekas and want to get some use out of it, this deck is a great vehicle for the card. It mimics the Extended Hypergenesis decks with its giant creatures, each one threatening to put the game away if unanswered. My favorite part of this deck is how so many of the parts can just negate what an opponent puts into play. For example, one can play a Pernicious Deed with Eureka to sweep away anything an opponent cheats in. Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is the coldest element, though; it machineguns any permanent an opponent plays and punishes them for the foolishness of trying to beat you by playing a creature from Eureka.

Jordi’s deck also packs Natural Order and Show and Tell, along with Mystical Tutors, so he can play out a quick monster with the blue Sorcery or go get Progenitus with Natural Order. I don’t really think the Veteran Explorers are very good here. Sure, you can blow them with Cabal Therapy and they do accelerate you pretty well in that regard, but they’re very inconsistent when you really want to make Eureka mana. Sakura Tribe Elder would ramp one up just as well, while also acting as a chump blocker post-Eureka. I like Jordi’s sideboard, though if I played this, I would make room for two Boseiju. Since the deck can punch through an opponent quickly if it can land a monster or two, the Legendary tree makes sure that no counters get in the way of its mana-cheating spells.

Building Up Thopters

I wrote about Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek a few weeks ago, a combination that’s been seeing some success in Extended. I wrote about possible Legacy applications for the cards, including in a UW control style shell that used the two cards as a win condition. Miles Smith took a spin with Thopters in a recent tournament in Calgary. The event had only 19 players, so I’m not putting this forward as a super-techy tuned list that dominates, but it’s cool to look at for ideas on making Thopters:

1 Academy Ruins
3 Flooded Strand
6 Island
1 Plains
3 Polluted Delta
1 Seat of the Synod
2 Snow-Covered Island
1 Swamp
1 Tundra
1 Underground Sea
4 Brainstorm
1 Chalice of the Void
3 Chrome Mox
2 Counterspell
3 Engineered Explosives
4 Force of Will
2 Gifts Ungiven
1 Pithing Needle
1 Sower of Temptation
2 Spell Snare
1 Sword of the Meek
3 Swords to Plowshares
2 Tezzeret the Seeker
4 Thirst for Knowledge
2 Thopter Foundry
2 Vedalken Shackles
3 Trinket Mage

1 Annul
2 Back to Basics
1 Chill
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
2 Leyline of the Void
1 Meddling Mage
1 Perish
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Tormod’s Crypt

This is very reminiscent of Luis Scott-Vargas‘ Extended deck. It utilizes good counterspells and Gifts Ungiven to get control of a game. If you’re facing down a creature horde, you can Gift for Engineered Explosives, Vedalken Shackles, Sower of Temptation and Swords to Plowshares to solve the issue of guys hitting the board. The Thopter win isn’t something you really actively go for, it’s more like a win condition that you pull off when you have time. When you look at the deck as a straight combination deck, it’s unreasonably slow and weak; when you look at it as a Landstill-style deck, it makes a lot more sense.

This deck really depends on having Chrome Mox in the opener. The reason is that a lot of the cards cost quite a bit of mana that you cannot just depend on getting in time. You need to be able to Thirst for Knowledge on turn 2 or drop an early Trinket Mage to get things rolling. I’d drop the Chalice of the Void for a fourth Mox. Speaking of Trinket Mage, it doesn’t even have a Sensei’s Divining Top to grab, making it a pretty weak wizard. I would either cut the Mages or put in a Top and a Tormod’s Crypt to stop annoying graveyard recursion strategies. The deck might also benefit from Baneslayer Angels on the sideboard for matches where it doesn’t need or want as much creature removal.

A (Small)Pox On Your House!

We’ve seen Pox decks and Smallpox decks come and go, often running white or green alongside the black sorceries for spot removal or recursive elements. Stefan Bell piloted this list, packing both white and green, to a second-place finish in an 83-person event recently:

4 Wasteland
4 Barren Moor
2 Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author]
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Cabal Pit
3 Bayou
2 Tranquil Thicket
1 Forest
2 Swamp
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Gigapede
4 Mox Diamond
4 Smallpox
4 Vindicate
3 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Worm Harvest
2 Raven’s Crime
4 Innocent Blood
4 Life from the Loam
4 Sinkhole
1 Entomb
2 Swords to Plowshares
2 Engineered Explosives

2 Zuran Orb
1 Raven’s Crime
2 Pithing Needle
3 Duress
2 Coffin Purge
2 Extirpate
3 Engineered Plague

You’ll notice that this bears a strong resemblance to the Loam Rock decks from Extended last season. Though it lacks the Garruk Wildspeaker from those decks, it runs the very potent Life from the Loam/Raven’s Crime card engine. What I like most about Stefan’s list is his use of an Entomb; the card gets his beater, Gigapede, a Worm Harvest or a Life from the Loam to grind back. He can bin a cycling land or Cabal Pit to pull back or toss a Raven’s Crime to power up that element. I wonder if this deck can support more Entombs; certainly, one more would help. Looking at the Vindicates, I’d ask myself if I needed white mana for them and Swords to Plowshares. We could drop white for Maelstrom Pulse and your black kill spell of choice, making the manabase a bit more reliable at the cost of more efficient removal. In any case, Stefan did a good job on this deck and showcases the potency of land-kill spells in Legacy, from Smallpox and Sinkhole to Vindicate and Wasteland.

A Bonus: Goofy Early Magic Memories and a Contest!

On a slightly related note, I was talking with some teammates about our silly early Magic moments recently. Players of a certain age who have been in the game for long enough have a shared experience of playing Magic wrong all the time. The rulebook was awful and impossible for actually teaching yourself Magic, so you’d more likely learn the game from friends. That led to a telephone-game-like understanding of the game that was far removed from the actual play. Here are some examples:

• Dark Ritual put three Swamps into play. That was actually not broken because you were using the mana to cast Feast of the Unicorn. Later players will remember Dark Ritual staying in play, since it was a Mana Source.
• Some cards like Lim-Dul’s Vault did not do anything, since the combination of four-point font and the life-loss language made it difficult to actually get to the point of the card.
• Icy Manipulator was the rarest uncommon and we would crack dozens of Ice Age packs in a futile attempt to find it.
• I remember buying a Colossus of Sardia over a Force of Nature because it could go in any deck I ran. It was the biggest monster we ever played with, because even though we were bad, we were never bad enough to run Leviathan.
• Frozen Shade never un-pumped (if you ran the Revised copies, that is). This led to it being banned in our playgroup unless you played it as having errata.

It’s these kind of early Magic memories that make Legacy so enjoyable for me, because every now and then I get to play something old like Lim-Dul’s Vault or attempt to make a combo that bad, younger me would really dig. I like these sort of stories a lot and I’ll make you, the reader, an offer. Everyone is welcome to post their silly early Magic memories in the feedback thread and I’ll give a month’s Premium to whoever shares the one I like most. If you already have Premium, it’ll be another month added on. I look forward to your feedback on the decks in the article alongside your ghosts of Magic Past!

Until next week…

Doug Linn

legacysallure at gmail dot com