I left for Indianapolis and the StarCityGames.com Invitational with high hopes. I was rooming with some really solid players, and I knew my deck would
be tuned and ready to perform. I was happy with my play throughout preparations for the tournament and felt that I would do quite well at the
Invitational. I knew I was running Caw-Blade in Standard, but my Legacy deck was still up in the air. I wasn’t too happy with my Legacy deck and
started to become a little concerned.
I was initially playing a BUG Tempo deck featuring Terravore, Dark Confidant, and Tarmogoyf as creatures. This deck seemed good against most of the
field, but it was very lackluster against the U/W deck that had been gaining a lot of popularity since Owen Turtenwald tore up Day 1 on the way to his
Top 8 GP finish.
I spent an hour or two in the car talking to Edgar Flores about an Esper deck for Legacy with, as you know by now, zero Force of Will and a Team
America–like shell with discard effects, countermagic, and Dark Confidant paired with Stoneforge Mystic. I played some games with the deck once
we arrived around 9 am on Friday and didn’t love it enough to audible. Instead, after testing, I settled on PV’s BUG Landstill deck.
My poor performance at the Invitational is not what this article is about though, as I went 1-4 to start and, therefore, did not play in the
Invitational on Day 2. However, what came of that night’s desperate brainstorm session was one of the best parts of the weekend. I knew I did not
want to run BUG Landstill again in the Sunday Legacy Open, so I brewed a G/W deck I’ve had in my head for quite some time.
The G/W deck that I speak of is very different from the normal G/W shell. First, there is no third complementary color, so I lose out on playing any of
the following: Dark Confidant, Grim Lavamancer, and Brainstorm. The second major difference is that the deck runs Green’s Sun Zenith, but zero copies
of the powerful green sorcery Natural Order.
Now the number one question that is immediately asked is “Why don’t I run Natural Order?” I have a few reasons, one of which is the fact
that Natural Order is a four-mana sorcery; that means it can be easily Dazed or Spell Pierced. The second reason is that the card has a major
requirement when cast. The third reason is that Natural Order does not win the game on resolution but after one or two turns instead.
A very similar card to Natural Order is Oath of Druids. When you cast Oath of Druids or Natural Order, provided you have met the requirements, you’ll
win the game in two turns most likely. That, in my mind, is a poor excuse for a situational combo-ish card that, when drawn in multiples, becomes
severely worse. I found that two Natural Orders was even worse than four somehow, when I started to cut the sorcery, and eventually there were none
left in the deck at all. I still wanted that raw power that Natural Order gave you though, as you need that to compete with the blue decks in the
When you look throughout Magic’s history, the most powerful spells tend to be sorceries. That’s why Burning Wish is the most played Wish effect. I
think four mana is the right amount to be topping out at in the G/W deck, and therefore I looked for four-mana sorceries.
One in particular pairs very well with Knight of the Reliquary and my favorite non–Phyrexian Negator card, Terravore. This card is Armageddon, a
devastatingly powerful spell that in most scenarios will result in a win. I cast Armageddon two times on Sunday. The first time, I destroyed three
lands and left my opponent with just a Goblin Welder; the second time, I had just connected with a Knight of the Reliquary equipped with Sword of Feast
and Famine. Needless to say I won both games.
Armageddon was compared to by one person as “a four-mana Standstill.” I guess this could be a true if Standstill won you the game as
opposed to drawing three cards. The obvious parallel he was attempting to point out is the fact that you can’t cast either card when behind on board.
This is not always true because when you play your Armageddon, many of your creatures grow and occasionally more than double in size. This allows you
to run Armageddon out in more situations and, therefore, gives the card way more utility and overall usefulness.
This deck really blends a line that has to be carefully approached in Legacy. In my opinion, in Legacy there are a lot of unfair things that you can
do. Yet the trend throughout Magic history is that the more unfair you try to be, the more inconsistent your deck will be. So one could fill his deck
with what I refer to as Tier 1 Threat Level Cards but play a more unstable deck (e.g., Hive Mind, Ad Nauseam). Your other option is to play a deck full
of Tier 2 cards and try to do something unfair to drastically turn the game in your favor (e.g., Natural Order in NO Rug or Aether Vial in Merfolk).
I decided to go with the second route and fill the deck with “fair” but still extremely good cards. These kinds of cards tend to be like
Tarmogoyf and Knight of the Reliquary or removal spells such as Swords to Plowshares. These creatures and spells are in no way dangerously exploitable,
but when combined with other Tier 2 cards (such as Qasali Pridemage) and the ability to do Tier 1 things (such as turn 1 Stoneforge Mystic) or the pipe
dream of ramping from a Knight of the Reliquary straight into an Armageddon, the end result is a deck that can compete with any deck in the format.
These kinds of plays allow a deck, which is really just full of threats, to beat decks that would normally not care about a horde of creatures. Yet due
to the versatility and brute force of your threats, you’re able to pressure the opponent’s life total and at the same time harass the opponent’s
Qasali Pridemage allows you to interact with almost every deck in some way, while a stream of Wastelands due to an active Knight of the Reliquary
should get you there, if you ever get ahead in the game. Cards like Gaddock Teeg also allow you to prevent and slow your opponent, and due to the fact
that you run four Green’s Sun Zeniths, you can easily access those cards at any point.
Here is the list I would run today if I were to play Terrageddon:
- 2 Terravore
- 1 Eternal Witness
- 4 Tarmogoyf
- 1 Gaddock Teeg
- 4 Noble Hierarch
- 4 Knight of the Reliquary
- 3 Qasali Pridemage
- 3 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Noble Hierarch/2 Mox Diamond: These are your main mana accelerators, each one serving the same main purpose, which is to allow you to keep up with
the blue decks in the format by dodging Spell Snare and playing three-drops on the play—not a play your opponent can recover from. The other
benefit is that when you play one of these two spells on turn 1, you are often very ahead on the board against the aggro decks like Zoo.
3 Qasali Pridemage: This card allows you to interact with other decks in a way the rest of your cards can’t. Most decks in the format have some
artifact or enchantment as a key part of their strategy, and thus Qasali Pridemage is rarely ever dead.
3 Stoneforge Mystic/1 Batterskull/1 Sword of Body and Mind: Stoneforge Mystic is arguably the best creature in all of Legacy, and therefore it’s no
surprise that it’s an inclusion in Terrageddon. The targets for Stoneforge Mystic are the obvious Batterskull and the more controversial Sword of Body
and Mind. In my opinion, you want your second Equipment to be a Sword that grants protection from green. This leaves you with Sword of Feast and Famine
or Sword of Body and Mind instead of Umezawa’s Jitte. Through testing and brewing, I’ve come to the conclusion that Sword of Body and Mind has more of
an effect on the game than Sword of Feast and Famine, due to the fact that it produces another body as well as mills for ten cards, which is actually
huge in Legacy due to the very low threat density in most decks.
1 Gaddock Teeg: This is your concession to the combo decks that are sprinkled throughout the format, since your deck is really geared to beat aggro and
control. The ability to run one Gaddock Teeg that can be searched via Green Sun’s Zenith gives you a lot of game against archetypes that would normally
just roll you.
4 Tarmogoyf: You are obligated to run Tarmogoyf if you play G/x aggro.
1 Eternal Witness: This is a utility creature meant to be searched for with Green’s Sun Zenith; a lot of people told me it seemed too cute. I have to
disagree 100%. The card is without any doubt a complete monster, and I haven’t lost a game yet where I was in a position to search for an Eternal
Witness. By that I mean, if I’m ahead enough where I can afford to search for an Eternal Witness over my other three-drops with a Green’s Sun Zenith, I
should never lose due to the fact that the card allows me to pull ahead to an insurmountable point.
4 Knight of the Reliquary/2 Terravore: These cards are the meat of your deck and provide the size and brute force required to beat control as well as
aggro. Versus control decks, a resolved Knight of the Reliquary or Terravore can often go the distance due to their lack of removal spells. These
creatures also possess the ability to clog the board and turn the game in your favor versus aggro. Knight of the Reliquary is the smaller of the two
creatures, but in return you get immense versatility. Your deck is almost built around Knight of the Reliquary in that she allows you to utilize your
one-of lands, as well as allows you to search for Wasteland after Wasteland and slowly erode your opponent’s mana base.
2 Armageddon: Armageddon is obviously the trump card in your deck. It wins games out of nowhere and can catch an unprepared opponent completely off
guard. A big part of doing well in Legacy is having a large and diverse knowledge of the format, so doing unexpected things like turn 3 Armageddon will
win you a lot of games that seem out of reach.
4 Green’s Sun Zenith: This really is the lynchpin of the deck. Due to this card you can search for any creature in your deck when it is most needed.
Casting Green’s Sun Zenith on turn 1 gives you an incredible boost in mana due to Dryad Arbor, and the ability to play essentially eight Knights of the
Reliquary gives you a tremendous amount of versatility and power. I really don’t think that you cannot play Green Sun’s Zenith in this format if
you’re not running green creatures.
4 Swords to Plowshares: You’re obligated to run some kind of removal in this format. Due to the fact that creatures are so powerful, this card
meets not only all the requirements for a removal spell, but also it is so good that it sets the bar.
4 Wasteland: Wasteland is essential in the goal of disrupting your opponent while putting pressure on with creatures. Keeping players off cards like
Wrath of God is an important goal in this deck, and Wasteland is just the best way to do so.
8 Fetchlands: The mix of fetches is so you get green mana as often as possible while having the ability to have five ways to search for a Plains.
4 Savannah/1 Plains/1 Forest: The main mana sources are 4 G/W duals, which are a must if playing G/W. The one of each basic is simply to add some more
resilience to an already redundant and very solid mana base.
1 Flagstones of Trokair/1 Maze of Ith/1 Horizon Canopy/1 Karakas/2 Dryad Arbor: This is your suite of special lands, which give you so much utility and
game in a lot of matchups. Dryad Arbor lets you play a one-mana ramp spell giving you ten early mana accelerators. Horizon Canopy gives you a way to
dig for outs and when flooded helps you find more threats. Karakas will make Emrakul quake in his boots, whereas Maze of Ith is the stone-cold nuts
against any deck that intends to kill you by attacking. Flagstones of Trokair is just there to give you a quick start after casting Armageddon.
2 Thrun, the Last Troll/3 Choke: These are your anti-control cards, and they come in against all varieties of blue decks, be they of the Landstill or
Ancestral Visions persuasion.
2 Gaddock Teeg: The more Gaddock Teegs the better is my motto versus Combo, sticking one on turn 2 or occasionally on turn 1 should give you the time
to assemble a large enough force to kill the opponent.
1 Bojuka Bog: This card comes in versus all the graveyard decks and is meant to be searched for with Knight of the Reliquary.
1 Manriki-Gusari: Good old Manriki-Gusari… Imagine attacking with a Batterskull token equipped with Manriki-Gusari and then post-attack hitting their
Batterskull with Manriki-Gusari. If you don’t win that game, I just know you’re doing something wrong.
1 Qasali Pridemage: The fourth copy of this card is simply to have a higher density of artifact removal in the matchups in which those type of spells
2 Path to Exile: This card could be called Swords to Plowshares 5-6, since that is the exact purpose they serve. They come in against various aggro
decks such as Zoo and Junk.
3 Relic of Progenitus: These are your main means of stopping graveyard-based decks, since playing Knight of the Reliquary on turn 3 and then searching
for Bojuka Bog is not always the most timely response.
In my opinion, Terrageddon is the most deceptively powerful deck in the format. Although it is full of seemingly ordinary creatures, their combined
power is often enough to win you a lot of games.
Knight of the Reliquary is one of if not the most diverse and sizable threats in the format. Cards like Dark Confidant and Stoneforge Mystic are
certainly very powerful, but Knight of the Reliquary is a much bigger and versatile threat. Knight of the Reliquary can search for any number of very
powerful lands and easily alter the game on her own.
Without a doubt, the card that enables the deck to smash the competition is Green’s Suns Zenith. This card grants you versatility and strength and
allows the deck to search for the exact creatures you want. The card’s ability to return to the library rather than going to the graveyard is at
its best in this deck, where you run an immense number of green creatures and, therefore, a large amount of targets for the green sorcery.
Overall, I think Terrageddon is the best deck in the format that does not play blue cards, while still being a Tier 1 deck when including Magic’s
best color. I hope to see the deck put up future results. I’ll do my part when I play the deck at the SCG Legacy Open in Baltimore.
-Michael “Mizenhauer” Eisenhauer