The Week That Was In Standard And Legacy!

CVM called all the action at #SCGPHILLY from the SCGLive booth! What did he see from his post for the future of the Legacy format? Then, he shares his plane-ride brews for current Standard!

The Eldrazi are here to stay.

Now, I’ll be honest: I wanted to believe, but I was a little skeptical. I thought that the raw power of Legacy would make it so that the Eldrazi just wouldn’t be good enough. The Metalworker base has been around forever, and while I had hoped in my heart of hearts that the Eldrazi creature suite wouldn’t be powerful enough to make an impact on the Legacy format, like I said, I had my reservations.

All of my doubts were squashed last weekend as I commentated #SCGPHILLY. After watching Todd Stephens lose a heartbreaker against Burn, Gerry and Harlan were on camera time and time again demolishing their opponents.

If you have the Eldrazi deck in Modern and want to get into Legacy, now is as good a time as ever. These decks are the real deal, and they will be here to stay.

By now we are all familiar with the Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin shenanigans that are happening in Modern. In Legacy we also get access to the original Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors, for a total of sixteen lands that produce at least two mana for our Eldrazi spells (sometimes we get four or six mana out of an Eye of Ugin for our turn).

Unlike Modern, however, Legacy is a format that is centered around efficient one-mana removal spells and free countermagic. To combat this, the Legacy Eldrazi deck employs Cavern of Souls and Chalice of the Void. In Modern you have to use Simian Spirit Guide to be able to cast Chalice on turn one, but with Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors the old MUD standby can completely shut some decks out of the game.

There are a few points of contention as we move forward with the Legacy Eldrazi decks, the first being the mana.

Which lands to play?

Gerry played the following:

4 Ancient Tomb
4 Cavern of Souls
4 City of Traitors
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 Wasteland
3 Eye of Ugin
1 Karakas
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

He also had two copies of Mox Diamond, which he said were bad, but I was extremely impressed with them every time I saw him on camera with it.

Having a way to use extraneous copies of Eye of Ugin and/or Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth lets us get a lot of mileage out of a card that is already doing a very good job of helping us accelerate into threats.

Harlan on the other hand played a bit of a different manabase.

4 Ancient Tomb
4 Cavern of Souls
3 City of Traitors
4 Eldrazi Temple
3 Mishra’s Factory
4 Wasteland
3 Eye of Ugin

Harlan didn’t have any copies of Mox Diamond, and although he did have 25 lands like Gerry, he is using three copies of Mishra’s Factory in the spot where Gerry had a Karakas, an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, and the fourth copy of City of Traitors.

I’m all for cutting at least one copy of City of Traitors; in fact, I think that there might even be a build where we get rid of all of the City of Traitors. This would open up the possibility of playing maybe some painlands to give us access to another color.

I did see a few builds with Eldrazi Displacer running around, so who knows? Maybe the Legacy builds end up going the way of the Modern Eldrazi decks.

The other main point of contention had to do with which disruption pieces to play. Both Gerry and Harlan agreed that a full set of Chalice of the Void was correct. In fact, I think that having access to this card is what allows the deck to compete in Legacy in the first place. The second piece of disruption, though, was different. Gerry went with a full set of Thorn of Amethyst while Harlan just had two copies of Trinisphere. Both cards play similar roles, but Trinisphere is much harder to get around. Gerry was pretty unhappy with Thorn of Amethyst and talked about how Sphere of Resistance might be worthwhile, but I think that it might actually be better to just forego the second disruptive element and just continue to be hyper-aggressive.

Another important note was that Umezawa’s Jitte was absolutely backbreaking in the mirror. It can completely control the board, and it takes games from close or seemingly unwinnable to virtually unlosable. Endbringer also played what seemed to be a key role in the mirror, but watching Jitte work on mirror opponents unlucky enough to not draw theirs really reminded me of the old Kamigawa days.

I am excited to see just where we go from here with this Legacy Eldrazi saga, but in the meantime I’ve had something else on my mind.

Back To Standard

The entire plane ride home from #SCGPHILLY I just kept thinking about how awesome Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is and how awesome Chandra, Flamecaller is, and how I think that they go very well together. This coupled with my desire to see Reality Smasher in Standard led me to jotting down a few drowsy brews that I would like to submit for your approval.

The idea here is that I want a base R/B Control style of deck with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Chandra, Flamecaller playing the star roles. The two of them work so well together while also being powerhouses on their own, capable of taking over games very quickly if left unchecked for a few turns. I like Chandra so much, in fact, that I am willing to play a full four copies of her in the deck. I wouldn’t be surprised if I do end up cutting it down to three during testing, but my gut tells me that four is right because she is just that powerful.

Crackling Doom is almost a freeroll since we want the pain lands as effective “tri-lands” anyway, giving us access to colorless mana to cast our Reality Smashers and Thought-Knot Seers. The removal suite that R/B has access to is very efficient, but gaining Crackling Doom as a nice catch-all is great.

My biggest concern is the mana. With Soulfire Grand Master at the two-spot and no easy way to fetch for white mana while also maintaining Caves of Koilos and Battlefield Forge, I think that I may be a few untapped white sources off of where I want to be. In the meantime, I am experimenting with Nomad Outpost and Shambling Vent, which should be alright as the casting costs for our removal spells are pretty varied so we should still be able to deploy them on time in the first few turns.

There are a few other cards that I am considering for different reasons, and I’m going to experiment with some of them too.

Mentor is insane against the G/R Eldrazi Ramp deck and is the best way to close out games against them. It’s a good threat against control decks too, but it doesn’t really mesh too well with Chandra, Flamecaller. I could see potentially having some number in the sideboard to bring in when Chandra isn’t going to cut it, but I feel like Chandra is just great in almost every matchup.

As a potential sideboard card or a replacement for Reality Smasher, Goblin Dark-Dwellers combines very well with cards like Read the Bones, Ruinous Path, Despise, and Kolaghan’s Command. Goblin Dark-Dwellers also make our cheap sideboard cards even more effective in games where we need them.

Hardened Scales seems to be a thing. I didn’t really get to watch much of the GP Houston coverage as I was commentating at #SCGPHILLY, but from what I’m hearing the deck is the real deck and is something that needs to be on our radar.

Can kill basically anything in the Hardened Scales deck and also has some play against Mantis Rider, Monastery Mentor, Sylvan Advocate and the like. It is likely worse than Roast, but is something that I want to keep in mind.

Ob-daddy is great as a control card and can play well with Chandra, Flamecaller. It can also be a decent threat against opposing control decks as a way to generate card advantage and close out the game with his ultimate.

Another shell that I sketched out is basically the same deck but not utilizing the white splash. We still want to play some painlands from Magic Origins to support our Eldrazi creatures, but we aren’t locked into playing the other white-producing lands.

What this deck is aiming for is to try and figure out is if it’s worth it to just stick to two colors. I like trying out a couple of colorless lands to bring our count up to ten total, and we have enough dual lands already. Without needing white mana, I feel like we will be alright with only 25 lands.

Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher are both absurd cards, as we already know from their Modern and Legacy appearances, but in those formats they are generally hitting the battlefield well before they normally would. I think they have a chance to shine even on-curve as long as they are surrounded by the right shell. Efficient removal with other powerful threats and a great top end is the shell that I am first being drawn to.

My biggest question though is whether these types of decks are just plain worse than the Mardu Green lists that have been doing well on Magic Online and in SCG Tour® Classics. They are close to the same deck, and a few even run some number of Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Chandra, Flamecaller in the 75.

I am just extremely interested in experimenting to see if we can get out from under the oppressive hoof of Siege Rhino.

If something else at four mana is good enough to stand on its own. Thought-Knot Seer and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet are both obviously powerful Magic cards, but are they better than Siege Rhino? The Fetchland / Battle-land manabase is easily stretched to accommodate anything you want to do, outside of also splashing for colorless mana for the powerful Eldrazi spells.

The last bit is that we will need to be able to perform against Four-Color Rally. With Owen Turtenwald winning #GPHouston with Rally, along with the other copies that placed in the Top Eight and Top 32, there will likely be a resurgence of Four-Color Rally decks. It’s not like it went away, not really, but it felt like people were more likely to try new things over the last few weeks in Standard. With Rally rearing its ugly head again, we will be more likely to see it this weekend than we were before.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet in the main is a step in the right direction, but Reflector Mage is a hell of a card (also Sidisi’s Faithful).

If all else fails I still have my World Breakers, but I think that Chandra has the potential to be so much more than she currently is. When all is said and done in Standard I think that she will be widely acknowledged as the most powerful card, and that’s something I have wished for our Fiery Lady of the Flame for quite some time.

I’ve got a couple different options for PPTQs this weekend, so as long as I can get my Chandra brew to the right spot hopefully I can claim a spot in the next RPTQ. Good luck to everyone battling this weekend in any of your IQs or PPTQs!