You Lika The Juice? – Trying Landfall in Legacy

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Friday, March 12th – Last week I talked about the Standard deck I ran at the StarCityGames.com Open in Richmond, but I didn’t go over what I had planned for Legacy. Since I’ve never actually played in a Legacy tournament before, it will probably come as no surprise that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to play. However, I did have something I wanted to try – bringing landfall to Legacy.

Last week I talked about the Standard deck I ran at the StarCityGames.com Open in Richmond, but I didn’t go over what I had planned for Legacy. Since I’ve never actually played in a Legacy tournament before, it will probably come as no surprise that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to play. However, I did have something I wanted to try — bringing landfall to Legacy.

When I first heard about the StarCityGames.com Open & Invitational this year, I had a pretty good idea what sort of deck I wanted to play in Standard, and I’ve written quite a bit about what I’ve been playing in that format. Legacy was a different story. Not only is it not a format I’ve ever played, but it’s also not a format I anticipate playing much in the future. When I was planning for playing in the Open series this year, I figured I’d play Legacy at the Richmond Open, skip Legacy for the Charlotte Open (just go down for a day trip for the Standard on Saturday), and then plan for the Standard portion in Baltimore but be flexible to play Legacy on Sunday in case I needed them for points to make the Invitational. Especially after doing so well at States, I planned on trying to make my Invitational points in Standard, getting 1 freebie from playing Legacy in Richmond for no travel cost, and then maybe getting an extra 1 point from playing in Legacy late in the year.

The Grinders for the Invitational are Standard, and the Invitational itself is Standard. My focus for this year was going to be Standard, especially with Regionals, the Grand Prix in Baltimore, and States in the fall.

That said, I did want to at least maybe have a shot at doing well at the Legacy event and possibly grabbing an extra point or two along the way. However, if I was only going to be playing one or two Legacy events this entire year, I wanted to pretty much build my Legacy deck purely from what I already own and possibly supplement it with some inexpensive cards I can readily acquire.

Lucky for me, I already own 4 Tarmogoyfs from when he was Standard legal. Considering how many Legacy decks run Tarmogoyfs, and how expensive that card has gotten, that’s a big leg up and means I can play green. Not so lucky for me, I don’t own any Force of Wills, having sold off my playset many years ago when they were pushing $25 bucks apiece, which means I can’t play Blue.

On the dual land front, I own 4 copies of Taiga, Savannah and Bayou. I used to have 4 Plateau, a Volcanic Island and a couple Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrublands[/author] but once they were no longer Extended legal, I found I didn’t play with them much in my multiplayer decks and traded or sold them off over the years. I do have a random one copy of Tropical Island, but I’m not playing blue at any rate. Based on my dual lands, I’m definitely not going to be able to run Zoo either.

While I like the idea of the Land deck and I actually own three Mazes of Ith, I do not have Tabernacles and only have one Manabond.

Pure burn? No Chain Lightnings.

Obviously, my Legacy options among established archetypes are quite limited.

As I was going through possible cards to play in Legacy last fall, I ran across a lot of the cards from Blair Witch Green, the deck I won Virginia States with in 1999. That deck was a ton of fun, and obviously the cards bar one are all Legacy legal. Here’s the decklist:

This deck was a ball to play! I was pretty sure the deck as-is would get annihilated in modern Legacy, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I might be able to “Legaci-fy” it to power it up. One of the most backbreaking cards from the deck was Plow Under since it was easy to get to five mana quickly with this deck. How would a fast Plow Under play in Legacy?

Five mana quickly… that phrase got me thinking about Lotus Cobra, and how dangerous that card is in Standard, letting you play Baneslayer on the third turn.

Lotus Cobra… could Lotus Cobra make a go of it in Legacy? I started thinking of other cards that could help break Lotus Cobra’s landfall ability and quickly thought of Exploration, and then Scapeshift—Scapeshift! Talk about an explosion of mana, especially if you happened to have two Cobras out there.

Once you’re running Exploration and Scapeshift, you obviously have to start thinking about Life from the Loam. Exploration plus Life from the Loam leads one back to the Land deck:

While I lack some of the key components of this deck, I certainly figure my version of the deck would run a lot of lands and so I’d keep an eye out for ideas from this archetype.

Now, while Scapeshift doesn’t appear to have done much in the recent Legacy events, it is doing fairly well in Extended; here’s a fairly recent list:

There are some Blue versions doing well too, but I’m obviously not playing Blue so the more focused G/R decks are of more interest. Basically, you’ve got early G/R Tarmogoyf (and other critter) beatdown with a Scapeshift/Valakut finish. Seems to me fairly easy to power this up with Legacy, especially since you can add 4 Taigas to your Stomping Grounds for more mountains that also produce green mana. Swap Crop Rotation in for Search for tomorrow and you add some land tutoring that can fetch non-basics.

One issue with trying for a Scapeshift win is that you need to have six lands in play — five mountains of some sort, and Valakut — to win. In Legacy you can speed things up with Exploration, but it’s still a bit slow—your opponent should have time to react by the time you’re ready to cast Scapeshift.

Which is why Tarmogoyf is important—it forces your opponent to react early and perhaps be off-balance enough to let you get to a lethal Scapeshift. Of course, Tarmogoyf is ubiquitous, and everyone has some way to handle him. He needs backup…

What about Plated Geopede? Plated Geopede!

In the deck that I’ve got pulling together, Plated Geopede would be as big a threat — or bigger — than Tarmogoyf, and could potentially make a turn 3 or 4 Scapeshift into 8 points of damage if your opponent doesn’t have a blocker for your Geopede, and if you search out a couple fetchers you’re locked and loaded for next turn.

Exploration, Loam, Goyf, Geopede, Scapeshift, Valakut… yes, things were starting to come together. Of course, people familiar with the Eternal formats reminded me that Plow Under—the card that started me down this rabbit hole to begin with—would be less effective due to all the fetchlands. Nicholas Turk recommended Fireblast, a card that old guys like me certainly remember and fear. In this sort of deck—which can easily generate the six mana to pay the full cost, or easily recoup the alt-cost with Life from the Loam—it seems like a perfect fit, threatening a large chuck of damage out of nowhere. Nicholas also pointed out got around a Counterbalance/Top lock as well (something that seems otherwise problematic with the deck’s reliance on two-mana spells).

If I had played in Richmond’s Legacy Open, this is what I had thrown together:

Mmm, Smokestack! I figure against some decks I’m bound to have a lot more permanents than my opponent, along with an easy way to feed it with Life from the Loam/Exploration. I almost wanted to kick it old school with Rancor, Jay Coffman-style, but I worry about too many one-drops with Counterbalance/Top. Even without the Rancors though, might Smokestack be decent to play in the maindeck given the Wastelands and permanent advantage? Something like:

Turn 2 Stack could be pretty brutal… though the Land deck could probably out-permanent me. Worth testing?

I’ve also been considering Umezawa’s Jitte, both as a counter to other Jitte decks and the fact that, if nothing else, Lotus Cobra can pick up the Jitte and swing!

Since I’ve now got seven or eight months before I play Legacy next, I figure there’s plenty of time to try and develop this idea further, playtesting on Magic Workstation, and getting feedback from Legacy players. Olin Gallet was kind enough to weigh in on an early version of this, suggesting I take a look at Aggro Loam for ideas, or consider Thoughts of Ruin or Wildfire.

I’m not sure how many Legacy fans read my column, but I’d definitely be interested in hearing any all thoughts on developing this deck for Legacy. I’ve got the cards, but does the deck idea have a shot?

Before I go for the week, I just had to talk about the one confirmed card from Rise of the Eldrazi:

* * * SPOILER ALERT * * *

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth

Mythic Rare
Legendary Creature — Eldrazi
When you cast Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, draw four cards.
Annihilator 4 (Whenever this creature attacks, defending player sacrifices four permanents.)
When Kozilek is put into a graveyard from anywhere, its owner shuffles his or her graveyard into his or her library.

Kozilek certainly made my eyes boggle—wow, now that’s a big and scary monster! The named ability is called Annihilator for goodness sake!! Annihilation is defined as “total destruction” or “complete obliteration” of an object. Its root comes from the Latin nihil which means “nothing.” A literal translation is “to make into nothing.”

Annihilator is a big and scary ability… but then he also draws you four cards when you cast it—when you cast him, not when he resolves, so even if he’s countered you still get the cards. Think about that—you’re basically getting an uncounterable and colorless Mind Spring for 4 cards, and then for 4 extra mana you tack on a 12/12 Annihilator dude with Butcher in his name. I may need to draw a big handlebar moustache on my Kozileks in honor of William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting from Gangs of New York (superbly played by Daniel Day-Lewis who was robbed of the 2002 Academy Award, no offense to Adrien Brody but come on!).

Since he’s got Protection from Reanimation, you obviously just have to pony up the mana to play him honestly (sadly Summoning Trap won’t draw you four cards). For all us green mages out there, we have some pretty good ways to generate mana! I’m thinking of something like this:

The Real Eldrazi Green

4 Jorga Warcaller
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Arbor Elf
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Leatherback Baloth
4 Elvish Archdruid
2 Great Sable Stag
4 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
3 Eye of Ugin
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
15 Forest

Of course, outside the Elf-fueled Archdruid mana, we’ve got Eye of Ugin discounting our Butcher by two mana down to eight. Eldrazi Temple is a rumored card that’s a non-legendary land, taps for 1 colorless or taps for 2 colorless that can only be used to cast
Eldrazi spells. I don’t know if it’s true but it’s obviously easy to throw into a monocolored deck, especially one with Garruk Wildspeaker to untap Temples even if your opponent rudely kills off all your Elves.

I have to say, I’m really excited to see what sort of big, scary, colorless badass-ness comes out of Rise of the Eldrazi. Green’s been getting a lot of “big-mana” potential lately, and Kozilek can’t be the only good Eldrazi card in the set. Get your Archdruids and Garruks now (and hopefully you already got your Eyes while they were cheap) because I suspect some variety of Eldrazi Green will soon be knocking on a Tier 1 door near you!

Take care…


starcitygeezer AT gmail DOT com

New to EDH? Be sure to check out my EDH Primer, part 1, part 2, and part 3.

My current EDH decks:
Jacques Le Vert (lots of legends, good stuff)
Tibor and Lumia (copy copy copy copy)
Baron Sengir (Evile Vampires!)
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary (huge creatures, big mana spells)
Sharuum, the Hegemon (Kaldra Lives!)
Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (DRAGONS, RAHRRR!!)