One Step Ahead – The Most Fun You Can Have Playing Magic

Gerry Thompson had an uproarious time playing Legacy last weekend with his “bucket list” deck, Hypergenesis. But after playing through the rounds, he may very well keep it on his list of potentials.

The answer to your question is probably “I have a Legacy bucket list.”

I can only assume the question is “Why the hell would you ever play Hypergenesis in Legacy?”

I asked my Facebook and Twitter homies for deck suggestions, mostly for Legacy than Standard. Luis (NotVargas) Neiman suggested the Hypergenesis deck him and his buddy played in Providence. It sounded like a fine plan, and it’s a deck I’ve played before, so I decided to work on a list and see if I liked it. It was a deck on my bucket list, and I needed to cross it off.

Kenny Mayer came to my rescue and provided nearly everything I needed for the list I started working on. Thankfully, none of his friends needed those Violent Outbursts or Irrigation Ditches, and I was able to scoop them up.

With everyone on Spell Snare and Mental Misstep and the overall decline of the card Counterspell, Hypergenesis didn’t seem half bad. The problems that I saw were the cards Hymn to Tourach, Spellstutter Sprite, and Hive Mind.

I felt that the overall composition of many decks left them vulnerable to a fast Hypergenesis, but if they drew the above cards, I would have some trouble. Fighting Spellstutter was probably the hardest, but answers do exist! For one, Vendilion Clique is a very solid card. Only their Force of Wills and Spellstutters matter, and you have Force and Misdirection to beat their Forces.

Building your mana advantage with Invasion fetchlands and Time Spiral charge lands would also help in the ensuing critical turn. Hopefully I’d be able to end of turn Vendilion them, maybe Violent Outburst as well, and then untap and play another Hypergenesis and maybe a Show and Tell.

Sideboarding in an extra land and a pair of Eurekas would give me additional ways to fight Spellstutter, but I could only find a single Eureka.

Hymn to Tourach is far simpler. If they draw it, and you can’t Misdirection it, it’s going to be hard to win. If they resolve two, you’re in big trouble. There isn’t a great big secret to beating Hymn to Tourach decks. Sometimes you play a deck that’s weak to exactly one card in their deck, and they draw that card a few times, so you get crushed. I was willing to accept that I couldn’t change it.

Hive Mind was the complicated one. If either of you Show and Tell, you probably want to put Emrakul into play. However, if they have Hive Mind and a Pact, you’re mostly dead. However, the Invasion fetchlands do a pretty good job at paying for various Pacts!

The problem was the guessing game, and whether or not I could “go for it” without ever losing to double Pact. The answer came in a couple different ways. First of all, I could add Platinum Angel. That would allow me to never lose to Pacts. Obviously, Slaughter Pact is an issue, but once you add Akroma’s Memorial to the mix, you should be good to go. Still, there’s that pesky Emrakul problem. Guess I gotta add some Blazing Archons to give me “more” Emrakuls.

After that, we were ready to battle.

Memorial solves a lot of problems. If you Hypergenesis, they can just untap and Wrath of God. Obviously, Angel of Despair or Terastodon would help in that regard, but you don’t always have it. Additionally, sometimes when you finally resolve Hypergenesis, they can attack you back for the win. With Memorial, typically you can hit them with Terastodon (and Elephants) or an Emrakul, and kill them before they kill you.

Things like Urabrask the Hidden or Flame-Kin Zealot might seem superior to Memorial, but all of the abilities granted by Memorial are awesome, and sometimes necessary. Haste is the best one by far, but flying and trample are very relevant, as is the protection from black interaction with Platinum Angel. Urabrask was probably worse than Flame-Kin, but I didn’t hear about that until after the tournament started. At least with Zealot, a single removal spell won’t get rid of the haste aspect.

The sideboard is kind of a mishmash. I knew I wanted some sort of removal spell for hate bears like Meddling Mage or the occasional Ethersworn Canonist. Dismember filled the role well, but other options like Pyrokinesis might be better if I could pad my red card count.

Ingot Chewer, Oblivion Ring, and Krosan Grip were certainly options, but what did I need to kill that Nasty Terasty didn’t take care of himself? Chalice of the Void was one, but I had Show and Tell and Eureka to fight those. The other option was Humility, which admittedly, I was kold to. Who plays that card anyway?

In the end, I chose to play one Ingot Chewer, but if I could have found a second Eureka, I would have played that instead.

Round One: TES

He won the die roll and Duressed my Ardent Plea, leaving me a grip full of fatty do-nothings. I turned to Matty Gemme and informed him that I was sick of playing this deck already. My opponent spent the next turn Brainstorming and Pondering and then killed me on turn three.

I sided in the Spirit Guides to be faster. Misdirection was fine against Thoughtseize or Orim’s Chant, but I felt like I wanted more action and less protection. A couple lands and Blazing Archons hit the bench.

Second game, I played a turn-one Tinder Farm; he played a Ponder, then he died.

For the final game, he hemmed and hawed about his opener, but eventually kept. Meanwhile, I shipped my hand back twice, eventually settling on a five-carder with no land, but a Force of Will. He played land, go, while my turn was simply “go.”

He shot me a quizzical look and played land, go again. I peeled a Tinder Farm, played it with a cry of “Had it!” and passed the turn. All he had was another land and a Burning Wish for Diminishing Returns, indicating that his hand was very weak.

At that point, I figured he had an Orim’s Chant, but I had that in check. I topdecked a Spirit Guide for the runner, runner, and Violent Outbursted into Hypergenesis (after Forcing his Chant), and put Platinum Angel and Akroma’s Memorial into play, and attacked for five.

He spent his turn doing some ritual shenanigans, eventually casting Diminishing Returns. For the most part, our new hands both sucked. We played land, go for two turns while I hit him with my Angel. Finally, with him at low life, he used all of his resources to Tendrils of Agony me for lethal, and him back up to 25.

In the process, he cast Ill-Gotten Gains, which made my hand Show and Tell, Vendilion Clique, Platinum Angel with City of Brass and Gemstone Mine in play. I had a lot of outs and didn’t think he had many to a pro-black and red Platinum Angel; although maybe he had a Revoke Existence to wish for.

With him empty-handed, I attacked him down to 21 and passed. Another attack put him to 17, and he kept passing. He Pondered and kept them on top (!), but passed again. Spirit Guides were proving their worth, as I was able to Show and Tell another Platinum Angel on my turn and attack for eight, down to nine. I thought I had the game on lock when I drew Force of Will.

He played some spells and eventually Infernal Tutored for Burning Wish. I removed Vendilion Clique and announced Force of Will. When he went to scoop his cards, a light bulb turned on in my head, and I stopped him. “Wait, wait, nevermind! I can’t pay life.”

I’m sure if I showed him the FOW, he would have conceded, but I was thinking that I could cast it. If I knew that I had to trick him to win, I would have been fine with it. Since I had gone so far as to actually cast my spell, if I let him concede, that would be cheating.

With a sigh of relief, he put his stuff back into play and resolved his Burning Wish, fetching Meltdown. I attacked him down to one and passed the turn to my opponent, who was holding Meltdown with seven mana sources in play and no other cards in hand.

He drew a Lotus Petal and announced Meltdown for seven, but two of his lands were Cities of Brass, so he died.


Round Two: Bant NO

First game he Natural Ordered out a Progenitus, but my Show and Tell for Emrakul had him scooping up his cards.

Second game was crazy. I mulliganed, which was something I was going to get used to, and kept a one-lander on the draw, but with double Force of Will. He led with Noble Hierarch, then Sylvan Library plus Birds of Paradise.

I missed my land drop, but was still relatively confident. On his turn, he paid eight life for Sylvan and dropped Baneslayer Angel! Thankfully, I drew a land, and he tried to add Rafiq of the Many to his board!

I had to Force it; there was no other option. He Forced back, and I did the same.

On my turn, I went for it. I didn’t draw another land and had to sacrifice one land and tap the other for a Violent Outburst, which he asked to read.

He then announced Daze, targeting Violent Outburst.

“Cascade?” I asked.

He said, “Hmm, I Dazed the wrong one, didn’t I?”

I put in Akroma’s Memorial; he put in Progenitus; I put in Emrakul; he put in Baneslayer number two! I stopped, and then so did he, despite having the land in hand that he Dazed back. I annihilated for six, leaving him with Progenitus and Baneslayer, which he had to chump block with. 

He could attack me to one, but died on my turn.


Round Three: Charbelcher

First game, he went cycle Street Wraith, cast Gitaxian Probe, cycle Street Wraith, go. I turned two-ed him.

I’ve always been a little weary about playing Show and Tell vs. Goblin Charbelcher. It’s pretty easy for them to just draw a Belcher and three mana sources. At that point, what are you going to do? Well, since my deck is designed to play Show and Tell effects and nothing else, I had to hope that just didn’t happen.

Next game, he Gitaxian Probed me and cast three Lotus Petals, three Rituals, and a Burning Wish, which I Force of Willed.



Round Four: U/W Stoneblade

He mulliganed, suspended Ancestral, then got all his permanents annihilated.

I brought in the Eureka, Calciform Pools, and Urabrask for the Archons and Platinum Angels.

My hand was great for the second game, and I thought I was just going to steamroll him. Again, I had the turn two Hypergenesis, this time with double Force of Will backup. We traded Forces, and I “only” got to put Progenitus and Akroma’s Memorial into play. He put in a Vendilion Clique, took my second Force of Will, untapped, and cast Wrath of God.

Why, oh why, wasn’t this Progenitus an Emrakul or Terastodon?

He resolved a Jace and started sealing my fate. If I had two big guys on top, I’d be able to rebuild, but he was able to safely keep lands on the top. There were some risky Jace Brainstorms involved, where if I had a big guy on top he might be in trouble, but I didn’t end up finding one in time.

For the final game, I mulliganed and kept a one-lander, but with all the tools. After showing me zero Wastelands in the first two games, he ended up drawing three. I stumbled on lands for a bit and never ended up doing anything noteworthy.


Round Five: Dredge

My opponent was a scientist from Europe who moved to Boston for work. Overall, a very cool dude.

This matchup should just be about racing, and I think that I’m faster, especially after sideboarding. However, in game one, he was able to Therapy me on the play and flash it back to hit my Blazing Archon. After that, I didn’t draw into a relevant fattie.

Second game I comboed on turn two, Terastodon-ing both of our lands, and putting in Akroma’s Memorial. He went into his binder, got me some 3/3 tokens, told me to use them for today and then conceded.

For the final game, he mulliganed to five, and I comboed again.

Round Six: U/R Painter

I Hypered on turn two with double Force backup, assuming that there was nothing he could do. He allowed it and put a Goblin Welder, Seat of the Synod, and Ancient Tomb into play, and cast Intuition. We fought over it, and I didn’t really know why. I suspected that he could have something like Ensnaring Bridge maindeck, but I was mostly trying to stop his Painter combo.

At the time, I thought that with Emrakul in my deck, there was no way he could kill me, and that was partially true. As was pointed out to me later, with two Progeniti in my deck, there is an infinite loop created, and we would draw.

As it was, he “comboed,” I flipped my deck and showed it to him, and he conceded.

Second and third games were crazy. We played land go for a while, until he resolved a Painter’s Servant on green. A curious choice, but I just assumed that he didn’t want me FOW-ing off of lands since my blue card count was low.

I hardcast Ingot Chewer, choosing Seat of the Synod over Mox Opal, Seat of the Synod, or Painter’s Servant. The “right” play is probably targeting his Mox, but he was land light, and could very easily have another Mox. On top of that, I wasn’t scared about his colored cards and just wanted to keep his mana low.

I Hypergen-ed but sided out my Memorials, so didn’t have a chance to bash with my Platinum Angel, Progenitus, and Emrakul. He untapped and cast Perish off his Mox Opal.


A few turns later, he assembled the Thopter Foundry combo, hid behind Ensnaring Bridge, and I went back to my sideboard.

I kept a two-lander in game three with no protection, but plenty of business. My first draw step was Hypergenesis, so I discarded it on my turn four end step when I missed my land drop. On turn five, I missed again and discarded Emrakul to shuffle it back in.

I finally drew a third land and started throwing test spells at him. End of turn Vendilion? Red Elemental Blast. End of turn Violent Outburst? Force of Will (the Hypergenesis this time, not the Outburst). Untap, Show and Tell? Red Elemental Blast.

Untap, Show and Tell? Resolved, but Perish killed my Progenitus.

He hid behind Ensnaring Bridge and had a Thopter Foundry, so he let my next Show and Tell resolve. I put in Terastodon, which haumphed his Foundry and two Ensnaring Bridges after he put in a second one. He made Thopters with them and Perished away my animal.

From there, we were both out of gas, and I ramped up to six lands and hardcast Platinum Angel. The next turn, I cast another one. We traded blows, and eventually he found another Bridge, Thopter Foundry, and Sword of the Meek all off one Brainstorm.

He put me in the negatives, and I cast a Terastodon to kill his permanents. I was in a winning position since all his Foundries were gone, as were most of his Perishes and Ensnaring Bridges. If I ever found an Emrakul or Progenitus, I could probably start breaking through his wall of Thopters, but we ran out of time.


Round Seven: U/W/r Stoneblade

My opponent had a Jupiter Games playmat and was in the draw bracket, so I put him on U/W. Even with no fatties in my hand, I kept because I had enablers, Misdirections, and land. He mulliganed and kept what I heard was a terrible hand, but it didn’t matter since I never drew a creature.

I was about to present my deck when I suddenly remembered that the Jupiter guys liked playing Magus of the Moon. Dismembers and Elvish Spirit Guide (so I could still Violent Outburst) were swapped in at the last second.

My first Hypergenesis was countered, but I suspended a second. He resolved a Blood Moon, but I didn’t care, as I still had Force of Will backup. Apparently, I didn’t need it, as my Hypergenesis met no resistance. However, when I put in Emrakul, he put in Humility!

I had a Terastodon, an Akroma’s Memorial, and because for a split second, I went braindead and thought that Humility removed all the text or something, I put in a second Emrakul. I attacked with all three; he attempted to Plow one of my Emrakuls, which I Forced. When he started his turn, a judge arrived and promptly killed my two Emrakuls.

I wasted that Force of Will for nothing!

Memorial was actually doing a pretty good job of helping me pressure him and holding back Batterskulls and Lavamancers, but eventually he drew some more Swords to Plowshares and I died.


Round Eight: Dredge

My opponent was in his first tournament but seemed to be having a good time, which is always nice to see. Once again, I had to double mulligan and kept a hand with some fatties but no enablers. He got to see my hand with Therapy, which thoroughly confused him, and I died before I could ever cast anything.

My draw for game two involved turn two Emrakuls, Urabrask, and Progenitus, so there was not much he could do about that. Game three, I kept a hand with turn two Terastodon, making two 3/3s, and figured that would be good enough.

He put in Elesh Norn off my Show and Tell, so I elected not to kill my own lands. I figured that my backup Show and Tells would be necessary that game. I never drew another creature; he chumped with Elesh Norn, and by then, I was too far behind.


Approximate number of mulligans taken: 22, an average of one per game.

I was a little disappointed with my result. To start, I didn’t have high hopes, but once I started playing, and especially thinking about my matchups, it seemed like I had a great shot to win. I could have very easily won all of my matches.

It’s not surprising that I lost to some blue decks, but it wasn’t like I lost in the ways that I thought I would. They never countered every spell I played or anything like that. I just lost because I didn’t draw enough of a certain combo piece. For the most part, I had enough to get Hypergenesis to resolve.

Despite my mulligans and my losses, I had probably the most fun I’ve had playing Magic in a very long time. Playing Hypergenesis creates absurd interactions with the various decks in Legacy, mostly because you’re playing some crazy cards. On top of that, the deck is very powerful. Look back at the report and see how many times I killed someone on turn two. There was no fuss involved with counting storm or assembling my two-card combo.

Fatties. Attack you. GG.

After every round I had a story to tell, and the stories are what make the events fun. I imagine that my games, full of crazy interactions, are probably what an EDH/Commander game feels like.

I’d like to say that I crossed HyperDEgen off my bucket list, but I don’t think I have…