Legacy’s Allure – Under the Mosswort Bridge

Grand Prix GP Columbus July 30-August 1, 2010
Tuesday, July 27th – Lurking under that Mosswort Bridge is the biggest troll you’ve ever seen, more like a giant cosmic squid! Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, gets summoned with regularity thanks to the Green land and this week, Doug explores the Aeon Bridge deck, crafted to exploit the Bridge. Find out the many combinations in the deck, get tips on playing Aeon Bridge, explore scenarios with the deck, and find out how to best fight it in this week’s Legacy’s Allure!

Thought Show and Tell was the only way to sneak Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play in Legacy? The new Aeon Bridge deck proves that there’s more than one way to summon a cosmic jellyfish, and it utilizes Mosswort Bridge to make it happen. The Aeon Bridge deck, originally thought up by Adam Barnello and piloted recently by Conley Woods and LSV, attacks from multiple angles, and it can threaten an Emrakul at scarily early times in the game. In this article, we’ll look at how the deck works, how to play it, and ways that you can fight against it.

The List

For a good starter, check out Michael Poszgay’s 8th-place deck from the StarCityGames.com Legacy Open in St. Louis:

This expresses the general form of the deck and it’s a great place to start understanding its combinations.

The Core Combinations

Mosswort Bridge + Phyrexian Dreadnought: By playing the Dreadnought, you satisfy the Mosswort Bridge’s hideaway clause — except that the Dreadnought is looking for something to eat as soon as it hits play! The solution is to put the enters-the-battlefield trigger on the stack and activate the Mosswort Bridge in response, casting the card underneath it.

Phyrexian Dreadnought + Phyrexian Dreadnought: Normally, a Dreadnought without food is not long for this world; by playing another Dreadnought at instant speed (with the Mosswort Bridge), you can eat the first one with your second, instant-speed Dreadnought. End result? A 12/12 trampler on the board, ready to cause a ruckus.

Phyrexian Dreadnought + Stifle: This is a classic combination in Legacy: you play the enters-the-battlefield trigger on the monster and then cast Stifle to keep it around. This deck adds another wrinkle because it can cast a Stifle with Mosswort Bridge.

Mosswort Bridge + Emrakul, the Aeons Torn: Since the hideaway lands actually cast the spell, Emrakul will be doing a Time Walk impression. Your opponent will helplessly get smashed by a 15/15 flier and then lose their worst six permanents.

Show and Tell + Monsters: A way to avoid paying retail on a permanent; keep in mind that you can use this to deploy the situationally deadly Form of the Dragon!

Lim-Dul’s Vault + Mosswort Bridge: Since the Vault lets you set up the top five cards of your library, you can stack a juicy pile for Mosswort Bridge to hide. You can occasionally Live The Dream by finding both a Mosswort Bridge and Emrakul in the same five cards. The Vault gets better with more combination pieces in your hand, so it can be used, for example, to set up that Mosswort Bridge in your hand or track down a Stifle. With Form of the Dragon, you can hunt down the Red Enchantment with near-carelessness about your life total, as the draconic Moat will protect you from there onward.

The Protection Suite

One downfall of the Aeon Bridge deck is that it is fairly simple to neutralize a Phyrexian Dreadnought. If an opponent kills it with the Mosswort Bridge trigger on the stack, then your Bridge will fizzle and just be tapped. The deck, then, needs a bit of protection and set-up. The standard Force of Will makes an appearance, as do Duress effects. Daze is good here, no doubt, but the deck wants to make three mana on the third turn to really get rolling, and Daze is painful to use when you are just trying to race.

To that end, you can consider replacing the Daze with a variety of other cheap protection spells. For example, Misdirection and Spell Pierce are both inexpensive spells to cast in the deck. Another angle could be increasing the number of Duresses, but in a deck that is already concerned about its Blue card count for Force of Will, I would angle to get as many Blue protectors as I could support.

I like that Michael’s deck runs a Vendilion Clique. They are solid faeries in Legacy and crucially, you can use them to get rid of a dead Emrakul languishing in your hand. I am often surprised by the clock that the Clique brings to the board; with only light disruption, they can be lethal on their own. I would consider adding a second Vendilion Clique to add some consistency, or otherwise possibly cutting the one-of to free up more room to max out on other valuable spells.

Playing the Deck

To play Aeon Bridge effectively, you must understand that, most of the time, you are playing a combination deck that needs a bit of time to set up. There are the obvious hands that start with a turn 2 Phyrexian Dreadnought with a Stifle chaser; these are aggressive hands that can punish players who need a bit more time to race you. I would feel comfortable running out the 12/12 on the second turn against most decks in the format, even very aggressive ones like Zoo.

We’ll make it a little more complex. Let’s look at a situation where you are playing against our Zoo player while you are on the draw. You have a Phyrexian Dreadnought in hand and a Mosswort Bridge to make it interesting. You just drew a Lim-Dul’s Vault on your first turn, so you know that you can basically get anything that you want. You should be thinking about whether you want to get a Stifle, an Emrakul, or other goodies. Did they start fast with an attacker? Maybe we should gamble and play that Mosswort Bridge now, so we can trigger it on the second turn. Seeing Stifle, another Dreadnought, or Emrakul from it would be great, and would make the risky play pay off.

If we play that Dreadnought, what about the possibility that the opponent can play a Qasali Pridemage and blow it away? What if they run Steppe Lynx and can give us a serious race? If we slow down a bit, we can play the Vault on the second turn, setting up a Mosswort Bridge on the third turn and a hideaway trigger on the fourth turn. Do you have that much time against Zoo? One primary consideration here is what their first play was. If they are coming at you with a Wild Nacatl, you might not have four turns to set up Cthulu to come out.

To get your thought processes going again, let’s consider that you are playing against an opponent who is running Lands. They have a busty start with two Maze of Ith, which will make the Phyrexian Dreadnought in your hand whiff if it attacks. You have a Mosswort Bridge in hand, but they have a Rishadan Port– no instant-speed Mosswort tapping for you, since they would lock it up during your upkeep. Again, you have drawn a Lim-Dul’s Vault this turn. You are under no particular pressure yet, but you know that Lands is favored as the game progresses. Take a look at the list above and think about your long-term plan to win!

You may eventually have to get Emrakul, the Aeons Torn onto the battlefield so that you can Annihilate their Mazes and start dealing damage. How do we get it onto the battlefield, though? We can go get Show and Tell with our Maze, which will cost us three mana during our mainphase, while we are being Ported. We can also look for a pile that contains both Stifle and an Emrakul. If we draw the Stifle, we can play the Dreadnought and keep it in play. The Mosswort Bridge can then lock up Emrakul, meaning we can cast him during our upkeep in response to that Rishadan Port targeting our Bridge.

Let’s look through these options a little more. The Lands player is edging closer every turn to getting a Wasteland, meaning our Mosswort Bridge plan has to happen very soon. That Show and Tell plan is a little more attractive, as you can utilize basic lands to build up the mana required. Is Emrakul the best thing to Show and Tell out, though? Take a look at that list again. What provides a sure-fire clock through those threatening Mazes? What gives us an out if they have access to Karakas? Form of the Dragon! Sitting behind the Form, we can hit the Lands player every turn, unless they can deploy a Glacial Chasm. Any play we make is fraught with risk, and I think that I would attempt to make Show and Tell into Emrakul happen; it has the best reward if we can actually pull it off. With so many options for combinations, you will reward yourself by being able to think through lines of play like this.

Sideboarding with the Deck

You will note that with so many different angles, Aeon Bridge can reasonably throw around an opponent’s sideboard hate cards. If they have gone for Pithing Needle to stop your Bridges, you can utilize Stifle instead. If they are heavy on Wastelands, you can bring in your own Pithing Needles to stop their lands.

Often, a deck will have one or two cards that will either totally beat you or make your game a lot harder to execute. Humility is a great example; know that the decks that will pack this Enchantment are easy to spot, and will usually be UW Thopters decks. Another problematic card is Karakas, since it allows the opponent to undo your progress with a minimal setup on their part. This can be handled with Pithing Needle, Stifle, or an alternate plan. Remember that those Form of the Dragons make for a fine clock against most opponents in themselves. If the Natural Order Bant player is stocking up on their Pithing Needles, you can just polymorph into a dragon and beat them in that manner. Merfolk decks in particular have a rough time handling a Form of the Dragon (their only out is a flying Coralhelm Commander), and it is a legitimate plan against a deck that can stall and Wasteland you for just long enough.

Fighting Against Aeon Bridge

If you have no interest in playing this deck, you must still prepare to fight it, especially at the Grand Prix in Columbus. Let’s consider the weaknesses of the deck as a way to pull it apart. First, the deck requires several turns and several mana to usually set up. Cards like Wasteland are doubly valuable because they can stall an opponent as well as kill a Bridge. The aforementioned Pithing Needle can be a narrow answer, but it is versatile enough that many decks will have access to it. Next, since the deck utilizes a timing trick with Mosswort Bridge, you can capitalize on the timing by killing the Dreadnought. Pack your Krosan Grips, they are useful here!

Fighting Emrakul is incredibly tough. The best option is Karakas, which is expensive to purchase and narrow in application, especially with Reanimator slowing down. Other options include narrow cards like Noetic Scales or Tariff (if you can survive being Annihilated, that is). Your best bet is to stop the deck before it can assemble its combination. To this end, Thoughtseize is helpful because it can rip out that Show and Tell or Dreadnought that the opponent has been sandbagging while waiting for another combo piece to come along.


This article has only scratched the surface of the Aeon Bridge deck, and you should quickly gain more familiarity with it by putting the deck in your testing gauntlet. Because many of the cards are expensive and hard to track down, I don’t see it as being a huge part of the metagame. Good players often have a network of friends that they can borrow from, and I would not be surprised to find a pro player or two slinging Mosswort Bridges in Columbus. If you are aiming for that Top 8 spot, you should know how to play against Aeon Bridge; a savvy player may be waiting to summon Emrakul against you…

Until next week!

Doug Linn

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