This weekend is the Open Series in Worcester and will be the first Legacy Open StarCityGames has hosted since Indianapolis Jan 31st – Feb 1st, where Jim
Davis won en route to becoming the Season One Points Champion, locking himself back into the Players’ Championship. I personally haven’t gotten a chance to
play a Legacy Open since the structure change to two-day events for $20,000, and I am looking forward to battling this weekend.
It’s been a little while since there’s been a huge Legacy tournament. Still, we have Premier IQs every weekend to derive information from. Legacy is a huge
format with far too many playable decks to try to prepare against every week. For this week, I’d like to reference the best finishing decklists from the
last Premier IQ in Dallas.
Storm abuses the storm mechanic, casting enough spells in a single turn to make a Tendrils of Agony lethal. Due to the low casting costs of the cards in
the Storm deck, Ad Nauseam can draw upwards of twenty cards if needed. Past in Flames fills in the gaps of both redundancy and helping to continue going
off by rebuying your entire graveyard of spells.
Sadly, there isn’t too much game 1 play involved in the Storm matchup, as you’re basically trying to do your thing faster than they do their thing while
maybe having a few choice spells to counter. Storm is very good, but beatable, and it comes down to how many sideboard cards you want to dedicate to the
How To Beat Storm
Storm needs to cast multiple spells in one turn to win. Cards like Thorn of Amethyst, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Lodestone Golem that increase the
casting cost of spells slow Storm down to the point of non-functionality. Cards that restrict players to casting only one spell a turn are very good too,
which include Rule of Law, Arcane Laboratory, Eidolon of Rhetoric, and Ethersworn Canonist. However, because Storm is such a fast combo deck, the
three-casting cost hate cards rarely get into play fast enough.
You can also attack the fact that they have to target you with Tendrils of Agony and somehow make yourself untargettable, which also turns off their
discard spells. The best solution here is Leyline of Sanctity.
To a degree, they’re reliant on their graveyard for the threshold of Cabal Ritual and big Past in Flames turns. Cards like Leyline of the Void, Rest in
Peace, or Tormod’s Crypt will slow down the Storm player until they assemble enough resources to make a large storm count without needing Past in Flames.
Lastly, regardless of which win condition they use, most Storm decks without Burning Wish can’t beat this card being cast on turn 1.
U/R Delver has lost a lot of this momentum after the banning of Treasure Cruise. Still, it was a viable Legacy deck before the printing of Treasure Cruise
and continues to live on without it with a little help from Treasure Cruise’s cousin, Dig Through Time.
Their gameplan involves quick creatures and a flurry of cheap spells which both pump Monastery Swiftspear and create Young Pyromancer tokens. Gitaxian
Probe is an MVP here to create free pumps and tokens and to gets your graveyard full while getting a peek at which cards are important to Force of Will.
How to Beat U/R Delver
Bigger creatures, removal, and not getting disrupted are the keys to victory here.
U/R Delver’s creatures are all very small and susceptible to blanket sweeper effects. Marsh Casualties, Electrickery, Pyroclasm, and Zealous Persecution
are all good one-shot effects that tend to result in a two-for-one or more.
Sticking a permanent that messes with their creatures is even better. Curse of Death’s Hold is one of the best, but we often have to defer to the more
castable Night of Souls’ Betrayal instead. Engineered Plague naming Human shuts off the unflipped Delver of Secrets, Young Pyromancer, makes Monastery
Swiftspear an 0/1, and hits other Human stragglers like Grim Lavamancer or Snapcaster Mage.
Reanimator aims to put a large creature onto the battlefield as early as the first turn. Their blue disruption is as much to protect their combo as it is
to disrupt what you’re doing. The best target is Griselbrand, as drawing a bunch of cards tends to be good in every matchup, and the lifelink can help you
continue your process. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is unbeatable for some decks like U/R Delver or Infect, and Iona, Shield of Emeria is lights out against
many strategies such as Omni-Tell.
How to Beat Reanimator
The most obvious way to attack Reanimator is their graveyard that they’re so reliant on. Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace are the best at this, while
Tormod’s Crypt, Nihil Spellbomb, and Relic of Progenitus are also good options. For a Reanimator mirror, I like having access to a Coffin Purge when
already running Entomb. A sneakier way to try to get ’em would be with a Faerie Macabre or Ravenous Trap.
They’re reliant on cantrips to find their pieces. A Chalice of the Void on one will shut off their card drawers and many of their combo pieces. Shutting
off the card drawers themselves is also a way to fight them. Spirit of the Labyrinth, Chains of Mephistopheles, and Notion Thief are the best for that
Miracles is the staple control deck of Legacy. Counterbalance + Sensei’s DIvining Top ensure that once you establish control, your opponent is hard-pressed
to ever resolve another spell, much less enough spells to win them the game. The longer the games play out, the more that Miracles is favored typically.
Instant-speed Terminus and Entreat the Angels are the deck’s namesake cards and make Miracles very difficult to attack in combat. On one hand, you need to
kill them quickly, but on the other, you don’t want to overextend into a blowout sweeper.
How To Beat Miracles
In short: Kill them fast. They start off clunky, and their deck only functions better and better as the game progresses. That is, of course, easier said
They do require an artifact and an enchantment in play to have the full lock on you, so breaking that up is always good after sideboard. Abrupt Decay and
Krosan Grip are best at this, as Sensei’s Divining Top and Counterbalance are pretty tricky to remove, and your hate needs to be resilient to counters.
Planeswalkers tend to be pretty good against this type of strategy. Liliana of the Veil is very troublesome to Miracles and will force them to act. If you
keep their creature from attacking your Liliana to death, the ultimate should put you far enough ahead to clean them up from there.
Omni-Tell is all the rage in Japan as witnessed at Grand Prix Kyoto earlier this year. Its impact can also be seen here in the States, as the deck is very
powerful and consistent.
Their goal is to get Omniscience into play quickly and cheaply via Show and Tell as early as turn 2 (or one if they run Lotus Petal). A free Enter the
Infinite will get you everything you need, although that’s usually overkill where a Dig Through Time will continue the chain successfully while being a
“regular, good Magic card.” Eventually Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is found and cast, granting an extra turn and an opponent sacrificing six permanents (they
usually don’t have six in play).
How To Beat Omni-Tell
Omni-Tell gets hit by everything except graveyard or creature hate essentially. Pyroblasts are great. Attacking the cantrips with Chalice of the Void or
anti-drawers like Spirit of the Labyrinth works. You can get crafty and sideboard in something sweet to put into play when they cast Show and Tell, like
Oblivion Ring or Ashen Rider.
Part of Omni-Tell’s success rate is having a great game 1 percentage due to blanking all of your maindeck creature removal by having a (basically)
creatureless deck. They’re ready to fight through your disruption after sideboard, and you’ll probably need three or four things to fight with when the
fireworks start. Mulligan anything without a way to interact.
Sultai Delver is much like U/R Delver except that it aims to be more disruptive and tries to put the opponent in awkward spots without the correct
resources. They will “soft lock” you long enough to finish the job with a Delver of Secrets or a Tarmogoyf.
There are more grindy elements in Deathrite Shaman and Dark Confidant. Sultai Delver isn’t as streamlined but is overall more powerful. The efficiency of
their disruption relies on opportunities, but Sultai Delver is good at creating those opportunities by keeping your resources low, in particular your mana
How To Beat Sultai Delver
The best way I’ve found to beat Sultai Delver is to play around their conditional disruption as best as possible. Timing fetchlands around Stifle and not
walking into soft-counters like Daze and Spell Pierce will leave them will dead-ish cards.
Sultai Delver and other decks that attack your manabase are a big reason why I like to play at least one land in my Legacy sideboards. Just hitting your
lands drops against them is critical. Often just sitting there while they’re stuck with situational disruption is the recipe to beat them. Make them commit
first with a Tarmogoyf or Dark Confidant and do what you can when you have an open window.
Also, as good as they are at attacking lands with Stifle and Wasteland, they’re extremely susceptible to getting attacked themselves. They often have to
keep a hand of one land + Ponder and will sometimes miss with their eighteen land deck. A Wasteland, a removal spell for Deathrite Shaman, and maybe a soft
counter of your own like Spell Pierce will give them a taste of their own medicine and leave them incapable of playing Magic that game.
Best Deck For The Weekend?
In all, I feel like Death and Taxes is well-positioned to fight the successful decks of late. Everyone wants to play Brainstorm, and cards like Thalia,
Guardian of Thraben and Spirit of the Labyrinth are perfect at both disrupting and presenting a clock. Decks like Jund or Lands that punish a flurry of
small, disruptive creatures seem to be on the decline, leaving Death and Taxes room to flourish.
This is what I recommend for the Legacy Open in Worcester this weekend:
- 4 Mother of Runes
- 3 Serra Avenger
- 1 Aven Mindcensor
- 4 Flickerwisp
- 1 Ethersworn Canonist
- 4 Stoneforge Mystic
- 4 Phyrexian Revoker
- 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- 2 Spirit of the Labyrinth
Best of luck and hope to see you there!