The Return Of The Legacy Bucket List

GerryT’s Legacy bucket list is back! He goes through a number of sweet brews he wants to cross off his list. Vote for which one he should play at his next Legacy tournament, and try one out yourself at SCG Open Series: Phoenix.

Temporal Mastery sucks.


And what’s the deal with it exiling itself? If I had mastery over time itself, I wouldn’t let that happen. I’d just go back in time and stop that crap from happening. Or a better option is to make them go back in time to when they had nothing.

Temporal Mastery 7UU
Put a copy of Upheaval on the stack targeting an opponent.

I’d just make it “target opponent” instead of each opponent. Just because I have mastery doesn’t mean I can do it to like thirty people at once. Let’s get real.

Hi there! I’m GerryT. Some of you probably know me as a “Constructed specialist,” but what that actually means to you is “Standard specialist.” Have you guys seen this hot deck?

Notice the date. I’ve been playing Legacy off and on since before 2005. Some of you, like AJ Kerrigan, were around five years old when that tournament happened and I walked away with a stack of dual lands. I don’t get the recognition of some “Legacy specialists” such as Alix Hatfield, Drew Levin, or Eddie Ray Davenport, but that’s ok.

I’m here to tell you that Legacy is a rich and wonderful format that deserves your attention. If you want to know Magic how I know and love it, you too will enrich yourself in all that Legacy has to offer.

I like playing Magic how it was meant to be played—battles for card advantage, casting Brainstorm to fix your hand, being able to cast your spells, and playing whatever win condition takes up the least amount of slots in your deck.

Legacy provides me with that opportunity, whereas formats like Standard are all about tempo and your inevitability comes from casting a Kindercatch with some abilities. How awful, right? There’s just one problem.

Legacy is a solved format.

Let’s take a brief look at some of my Legacy bucket list:

Unburial Rites/Intuition
Shoal and Tell
Stoneforge Mystic/Thopter Foundry

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Guess how many of my bucket list decks can stand up to RUG Tempo and its Dazes, Spell Pierces, Force of Wills, Wastelands, and sometimes Stifles, aka the Wall of $#!+ (hereafter known as The Wall)? If you set the line at .5 I’d probably take the under; if the line was 1.5 I’d snap take the under.

What actually stands up to this type of strategy? The way I see it, there are three options; none of them particularly appealing.

  1. Play a huge mass of giant creatures. Maverick? UGH! If I thought playing a deck full of creatures was fun, I’d pay Brian Kibler for his decklist at every event.
  2. Play an inbred control deck with Innocent Blood and Nihil Spellbomb (and hope it’s good enough). If I wanted to play that deck, I’d ask Nick Spagnolo and Lewis Laskin what deck they made out of Lew’s box of foils.
  3. Play RUG Tempo and flip coins in the mirror match.

ARGH! All of those sound awful!

RUG is not without its weaknesses though. They have a low land count and don’t play any basics. In theory, Wasteland is quite good against them, as are cards like Back to Basics and Blood Moon. RUG functions off a high number of one casting cost spells, so Chalice of the Void or Counterbalance should be good against them too.

Their deck revolves around creatures doing the majority of the necessary twenty points of damage, so if you use removal early and often they should be sunk. If you get to a point where you resolve some sort of engine (Batterskull or Thopter Foundry / Sword of the Meek), they probably can’t stop it.

That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t take into consideration The Wall or the fact that they only play 18-19 lands and cast a lot of Ponders and Brainstorms per game. Their deck consists of all one-for-ones aside from the occasional Forked Bolt and Force of Will (which is actually a two-for-one against them), yet they still out-attrition everyone.

If RUG had any sort of card advantage it would truly be a monster, but there isn’t anything good enough right now. Decks like RUG are the reason why Gush should be banned, even if it would be fun to play alongside Exploration.

Ancestral Vision, while a favorite of mine, doesn’t quite cut it. I figured that if people could hold open Stifle turn 1 only for their opponent to play a dual land, why can’t I just suspend Ancestral? Four turns from then, you’d probably end up winning the game.

Also, in a “tempo” mirror, tempo usually doesn’t exist because your cards all trade one-for-one. If either person drew a few extras in there, they would probably win. When everything does trade one-for-one, those matchups come down to attrition.

Clearly the exception to that rule is Tarmogoyf. At best, your own Goyfs are the only things that “trade” with theirs. Post-board your Submerges are golden, but they have them too.

In theory it sounded pretty nice, but that’s not how it worked out in practice. Suspending on turn 1 usually worked out fine, but sometimes you’d draw a string of cards that didn’t do anything whether they were lands, dead soft counters, or more Ancestrals. Just packing your list full of gas to find in the midgame with cantrips felt better.

Some might say that Temporal Mastery is good enough though…

For the time being, let’s ignore RUG and the fact that you probably need to beat it if you want to win the tournament. Instead, let’s get to brewing! I’m going to make it a point to try some of these decks, for better or for worse.


I never got a chance to play with this deck when it was around, but for some reason I want to now.

A sample list (with big thanks to Adrian Sullivan for his input):

The goal is to play the namesake card and keep it in play. If they ever do something threatening, you counter it. If that fails, you have matchup-dependant bombs like Propaganda and Back to Basics. Eventually you can deck them with Blue Sun’s Zenith, but they’ll probably concede out of frustration first.

I’m not sure if Stasis can beat The Wall, but it seems possible. You go toe-to-toe with them in the cheap counterspell department and bouncing a bunch of Islands is probably fine for you. RUG is a deck that uses its mana in the most efficient manner possible. Choking their mana and stranding their cantrips is a solid way to beat them if you can set it up early enough.

I actually have faith that this could be a contender, but I could also be horribly, horribly wrong. I can’t wait to find out one way or the other.

Stoneforge/Thopter Foundry

I like Stoneforge Mystic even if it’s not very good in Legacy right now. It doesn’t live a whole lot and even when it does, they can ignore Jitte or Batterskull. You get more bang for your buck with Tarmogoyf, but who wants to be green amirite?

Lingering Souls was a huge disappointment. I decided that if I ever wanted to go down that route again, I would try Thopter Foundry instead. Honestly, drawing both pieces of the combo and resolving one isn’t that much harder than paying 3WB. With the Thopter Foundry combo active you’re probably going to win the game, while Lingering Souls often doesn’t do enough.

On top of that, the tokens are blue—suck it Sulfur Elemental!

I’ve seen similar lists, like those played by goliat2 on Magic Online, but if I’m going the Thopter route you’re going to need a good reason to make me play without Mox Opal. Ancient Grudge exists in small numbers and Stony Silence exists in even smaller ones, but I’m not scared. If you guys think Temporal Mastery is good, you should try Mox Opal. That thing’s the real Time Walk reprint.

This is what I’m thinking:

The sideboard would likely include some Perishes, maybe a Tutor package, some additional combo hate, and graveyard hate in the form of Nihil Spellbomb. The Leyline of the Void / Helm of Obedience combo has always looked good to me too. With access to Tutors and having difficulty actually winning the game against graveyard decks, that plan might not be too bad.

If I had a couple more artifacts, I could go harder on Mox Opals and make Back to Basics out of the sideboard a real killer.

Another option with a deck like this is to splice in the Intuition for Unburial Rites / Gigapede / fatty engine. No matter what they give you, you can cast Rites next turn. The problem with this strategy is, again, The Wall, but also the fact that the fatties aren’t good enough. Most of them are killable and don’t give you enough value from bouncing in and out of play, which is basically why Reanimator sucks right now.

Yet another option is playing the Painter’s Servant combo. Right now, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Progenitus are at an all time low. The Wall strikes again, preventing whatever sorcery you’re playing from actually getting those guys into play in the first place. Maverick doesn’t mind the Show and Tell matchup since Knight of the Reliquary usually beats them on his own. Emrakul can get Karakased and Progenitus can be raced.

It’s a nice feeling knowing that when you actually execute your combo you win the game. If that fails, you can play any number of backup plans including Intuition / Unburial Rites, Thopter Foundry, hiding behind Ensnaring Bridge, or using Stoneforge Mystic with your maindeck Mother of Runes or Spellskites to protect them.

I also tried to splice the Stoneforge Mystic transformation sideboard into Cephalid Breakfast, but Mike Flores and Patrick Chapin already beat me to that one (at least as far as playing it in a real tournament is concerned). Still, I like the idea of Mother of Runes in that deck. It feels like how Dispel would feel in Splinter Twin, except with more utility. Granted, it isn’t blue so you can’t pitch it to Force of Will, but you can’t have everything.

Moving on, I have some combo decks I’d like to talk about…

Dream Halls

I tried Hive Mind a while back and felt like the deck didn’t have nearly enough Brainstorms. The deck had a lot of combo pieces, and because of that I had a lot of dead draws. Fighting through The Wall is difficult enough already; do I really need to handicap myself?

Dream Halls feels like a better deck because its namesake enchantment is easier to hard cast, most of your combo pieces are blue, and it seems sweeter.


Chris Andersen (Chrandersen) is obviously a bigger Elves fan than me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the deck! I used to grind through Umezawa’s Jittes and Spellstutter Sprites, so something like RUG should be a cakewalk right? Sort of… Ultimately, you’re more than fine with them Force of Willing any spell you play, the soft counters are easy enough to play around, and you can lock the ground up. However, none of that interacts with Delver of Secrets. If only Wirewood Hivemaster was a little better, I wouldn’t mind sleeving up this deck again.

Food Chain

I don’t know what it is, but something about drawing my entire deck, through any means necessary, is very appealing to me. That said, Elves is likely a better deck.


“The most fun you can have playing Magic.” Back when I was fighting through Force of Will and Spellstutter Sprite, this deck seemed awesome. Now that everyone seems to have a real Wall, Hypergenesis has gotten a lot worse. I probably won’t be touching this one anytime soon.

Dark Depths/Thopter Foundry

My Magic Online net decks had this labeled as 900JP, but you can call it whatever you want. It will always be one of my favorite decks, and I wouldn’t mind someone showing me how to build it in Legacy. Stifle and Wasteland are problems, and Spell Snare is no picnic either. Once again, I’d be a combo deck trying to trade one-for-one against an opponent with infinite manipulation and fewer dead cards than me. I feel like this deck would get crushed by RUG.


Check out this list:

As I said earlier, I’m a big fan of the Leyline of the Void / Helm of Obedience combo. Not only is it one of the cheapest two-card combos in Legacy, but Leyline is actually good on its own. Of course, none of that matters if Leyline isn’t in your opener, but that’s what the backup plan is there for right?

I’m not sure how this deck beats RUG, but it looks awesome!

Shoal and Tell

The other Show and Tell deck I’d consider playing is this:

Even after playing with it, I’m not sure how to fix it. The Chrome Moxes were super loose and Thoughtseize might as well have been Raven’s Crime. Everyone’s cards are so redundant or they’re playing a million cantrips so it’s near impossible to cut them off of a single resource. I could see cutting an Intuition as well.

Maybe this is worse than Dream Halls, but it’s super sweet. Naturally, the RUG matchup probably isn’t good.


All I want to do is play a bunch of sweet, fair(ish) graveyard cards like Life from the Loam, Intuition, and Faithless Looting. Is that too much to ask? Lingering Souls seems a bit weak even if it fits the theme. I’d rather have a powerful card like Intuition instead.

Adding Mox Diamond, Life from the Loam, and Wasteland could be a freeroll, and I could even sideboard Firestorm for creature decks. However, how deep do we go before we’re playing Golgari Grave-Troll “for value” and we’re just a slightly more resilient but way fairer Dredge deck?

Should I even bother with that question and stop brewing, or is it worth pursuing?

There’s a version out there with Vengevines, which is another card that I think is reasonable, but most of my shells are similar to Maverick. When I’m debating between Vengevine and Knight of the Reliquary, it doesn’t seem particularly close, but a boy can dream.


Uh oh, a “real” deck! I feel like Storm’s greatest asset is being able to completely ignore your opponent before going off. With an Ad Nauseam-based Storm deck, that isn’t the case. Because of that, I’d probably shy away from those versions and look into playing Past in Flames or finding a better alternative.

One version that caught my eye was “Grinding Station,” a poorly named Storm deck whose goal was to draw first in every match. The plan against blue decks was sculpt until you had eight cards, at which point you’d have enough Rituals that they couldn’t bottleneck you on mana and your last card would be Tendrils of Agony.

That’d be a fine plan against a Draw-Go deck, but how reliable is it against a deck with eight one-drops?


If I were playing a Ritual based combo deck, this might where I want to be. With Sensei’s Divining Top, Temporal Mastery would be an alright fit. The idea of casting Doomsday for a pile of four Temporal Mastery and a Laboratory Maniac, another one of my favorite cards, is delightful.

Your three mana sorcery is even more restrictive than Show and Tell, and therefore, probably worse.


I wouldn’t mind being that guy for a day. I probably never will, but this section on Belcher is mainly to “demonstrate my range.”


This was one of those decks I played with on Magic Online as a guilty pleasure. Much like Magnivore, my record was something like 14-1 in matches before I quit playing the deck for no real reason. I just didn’t like it and felt like if they wanted to beat me, they could have. As it turns out, they never could, but it just felt wrong.

My interest in Dredge can be blamed on Adam Prosak and Bryan Gottlieb, two of my heroes.


I like the look of the versions with Stoneforge Mystic, Knight of the Reliquary, and Hero of Bladehold. This is another example of, “Is it better than Maverick?” Stax clearly has strengths over Maverick, but it’s more inconsistent and probably weaker overall.

High Tide

I played this deck before, and just like Doomsday it taught me how truly inept I am in certain areas. Granted, I wasn’t playing completely awful, but I was out of my comfort zone. Practicing with decks like this should help me improve as a player, and it’s that quest for improvement that keeps these decks on my radar.

Also, I get to draw my whole deck.


Most of my enjoyment from Magic used to come from playing long, grindy games where eventually I would take total control and only kill them when I couldn’t lose. Now, in my old age, this is less fun for me, so straight Lands is probably out of the question.

The RUG matchup seems fine, but it’s one of those things where you give them enough copies of Counterspell that they will probably find a way to beat you. Wastelanding your Glacial Chasm and Spell Snaring your Loam for a couple turns might be all they need, which is very sad.

If I did play Lands, I would want to play Scapeshift. I think the card is one of the few one-shots in Legacy and is probably underplayed for how good it is. Clearly bastardizing your mana base is annoying, as is needing seven lands in play. You might as well just stockpile seven Dark Rituals and a Tendrils.

However, we are not without solutions. No one has ever explored the synergy between Veteran Explorer and Scapeshift, and I wouldn’t mind being the first. Still, it seems better to wait until the metagame is less hostile, steal someone’s list, change ten cards, and pass it off as my own.

Orcish Lumberjack

Not gonna lie, this is one is probably outdated. My initial vision was using this guy to pump out Demigods with Intuition as a backup plan. Then Vengevine came along, and Maverick got popularized, and my Lumberjack deck looks like a crappy Maverick deck.



That’s it for now. I’m sure I’m forgetting a host of cool archetypes, but I’m already having problems figuring out what to play.

Moving forward, I think a lot of people are going to try and shove Temporal Mastery in a bunch of decks, and most will fail. The idea that Legacy has infinite library manipulation so TM is always live is a noble cause, but how realistic is it?

Much like Regrowth is only as good as what it’s bringing back, TM is only as good as what you’re doing on your free turns. Jumping through hoops to use TM as a few Explores in the early game isn’t going to accomplish much. There are situations where you need that extra punch to win a race and maybe the TM miracle comes true.

Still, my plan against RUG is either kill all their dudes or go over the top of them, and TM doesn’t seem great for either of those plans. If we’re talking RUG Tempo, I’d rather have Thunderous Wrath. At least then I know what I’m getting from my card, ya know?

I’ve seen some decks floating around that use TM better than others and maybe something will pop up that’s inherently broken, but I’m not seeing it. Then again, I’m more of a skeptic when it comes to things like this.

There’s talk of using Faithless Looting and Thought Scour with Noxious Revival to build your own Time Walk, but then what? You get to cast Time Walk to regain the tempo you lost doing a bunch of nothing in the early game? Come on!

Temporal Mastery isn’t quite as bad as Savor the Moment, but I also don’t think it’s as good as Thunderous Wrath. That said, I hope I’m proven wrong and this becomes a chance for me to use Brainstorm, Ponder, and Temporal Mastery to do some sick blue mage stuff.

I hope you enjoyed this, guys! This type of brewing and train of thought stuff is what I live for. Feel free to help me out in the forums, and don’t forget to vote in the poll!