A Look at the MKM Series in Toulouse

The MKM Series in Toulouse happened just a few days ago, and with it the Legacy main event. Over a hundred people showed up to play in the tournament, making it a fairly large event. Out of all these people, only eight were left for the elimination rounds, and while there’s a lot to say about each individual decklist, first I want to take a look at what the top 8 itself looked like. Without further ado…

Grixis Delver

UWR Control

Four Color Delver

Grixis Aggro

UWR Control

Aggro Loam

BUG Control

MUD

Interestingly enough we see zero copies of Miracles in the top 8, despite the deck making up thirteen percent of the metagame, and twice as much as the second most played deck; ANT (a complete metagame breakdown can be found on their website). Both Four Color Delver and Aggro Loam (we really need a better name for that deck) however continued to impress, making a showing in yet another larger legacy event. This is just one event, and we should be careful not to read too much into these results. Still, when two decks keep consistently putting up top 8 finishes, that’s a sign that something’s going on. Right now Legacy is evolving, and we are witnessing the process.

While Miracles failed to impress this time, there was still plenty of control decks to be seen in the top 8, and lots of innovation. Miracles has long been the go-to control deck of the format, and it’s nice to see that there are other options. Let’s dive in and take closer look, starting with the winning list; UWR Control by Miguel Alcoriza.

 

Alcoriza Miguel – UWR Control

 

Land

1x PLAINS

2x ARID MESA

3x SCALDING TARN

3x TUNDRA

3x VOLCANIC ISLAND

4x FLOODED STRAND

4x ISLAND

Creature

3x SNAPCASTER MAGE

Instant

1x SECURE THE WASTES

4x FORCE OF WILL

2x COUNTERSPELL

2x PYROBLAST2x FLUSTERSTORM

1x SPELL SNARE

4x DIG THROUGH TIME

4x BRAINSTORM

4x SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES

Sorcery

4x PONDER

4x PREORDAIN

1x SUPREME VERDICT

2x COUNCIL’S JUDGEMENT

Other

2x JACE, THE MIND SCULPTOR

Sideboard

1x RED ELEMENTAL BLAST

1x BLOOD MOON

1x SUPREME VERDICT

2x WEAR/TEAR

2x SURGICAL EXTRACTION

2x PYROCLASM

2x VENDILION CLIQUE

4x MEDDLING MAGE

SecureTheWastes

This deck features sixteen pieces of library manipulation, eleven pieces of counter magic, seven removal spells and twenty lands, alongside two copies of Jace, the Mind Sculptor, three Snapcaster Mage and one Secure the Wastes as its win conditions.

Game one this deck has a lot of disruption, but no real clock or soft lock to put pressure on the combo decks. That changes quickly after sideboarding though, when the full four copies of Meddling Mage and two copies of Vendilion Clique are brought in to give you another angle of attack.

Rather than Terminus, this deck plays Supreme verdict, as the aforementioned miracle is less exciting when you don’t have Sensei’s Divining Top in your deck. What’s more interesting is the inclusion of the second Council’s Judgement. With both Aggro Loam and Four Color Delver on the rise, the decision to run a second copy makes a lot of sense, as it gives you more outs to some of the troublesome permanents seen in those decks, namely Sylvan Library and Chalice of the Void. With two copies of Council’s Judgement and a single Spell Snare, you should have a decent shot at combating those cards.

The biggest eyebrow-raiser in this deck is certainly the singleton Secure the Wastes, a card rarely seen in Legacy. As far as big spells go however it serves as a nice supplement for Entreat the Angels that also happens to work quite well with Snapcaster Mage. As a matter of fact, Secure the Wastes has many uses. You can play it on turn two to trade with an opposing Dark Confidant, or use it to hold off a Tarmogoyf later in the game, while simultaneously getting in for several points of damage every turn. It also deals excellently with Young Pyromancer, negating the value they would normally get from having a single card produce multiple bodies.

 

Next up we have Paul Ridoux and his MUD deck

Ridoux Paul – MUD

 

Land

2x CAVERN OF SOULS

2x VESUVA

4x WASTELAND

4x ANCIENT TOMB

4x CITY OF TRAITORS

4x CLOUDPOST

4x GLIMMERPOST

Artifact

1x SPINE OF ISH SAH

1x STAFF OF DOMINATION

2x LIGHTNING GREAVES

3x TRINISPHERE

4x CHALICE OF THE VOID4x GRIM MONOLITH

Creature

1x BLIGHTSTEEL COLOSSUS

1x PLATINUM EMPERION

1x STEEL HELLKITE

1x SUNDERING TITAN

3x WURMCOIL ENGINE

4x KULDOTHA FORGEMASTER

4x LODESTONE GOLEM

4x METALWORKER

Other

2x UGIN, THE SPIRIT DRAGON

Sideboard

1x DUPLICANT

2x PHYREXIAN REVOKER

1x CRUCIBLE OF WORLDS

1x DEFENSE GRID

1x ENSNARING BRIDGE

1x PITHING NEEDLE

2x WITCHBANE ORB

2x GRAFDIGGER’S CAGE

2x TORMOD’S CRYPT

2x ALL IS DUST

 

Paul’s list seems to be a fairly stock MUD lists, with no really unconventional card choices. It has been established by now that Ugin, the Spirit Dragon deserves a spot in this deck, as the card has continuously  proven its worth. Time will tell if Orb of Warding will replace Witchbane Orb in the sideboard going forward. It does cost an extra mana, but having a card that deals with both Tendrils of Agony and Empty the Warrens seems sweet.

Chalice of the Void is very well positioned right now, and MUD is definitely one of the better decks to take advantage of that. If you expect a lot of blue decks, perhaps it’s time you consider MUD.

 

The next deck on our list is Gabriel Deloison’s Grixis Delver deck, featuring a few gems of its own. I present to you…

 

Deloison Gabriel – Grixis Delver

 

Land

3x VOLCANIC ISLAND

1x TROPICAL ISLAND

3x UNDERGROUND SEA

3x SCALDING TARN

3x FLOODED STRAND

1x POLLUTED DELTA

Creature

4x DELVER OF SECRETS

4x DEATHRITE SHAMAN

3x YOUNG PYROMANCER

2x GURMAG ANGLER

1x TRUE-NAME NEMESIS

Instant

4x DAZE

4x BRAINSTORM

4x FORCE OF WILL

4x LIGHTNING BOLT

2x DIG THROUGH TIME

1x KOLAGHAN’S COMMAND

1x SPELL PIERCE

Sorcery

4x PONDER

3x GITAXIAN PROBE

1x FORKED BOLT

Sideboard

2x ABRUPT DECAY

1x KOLAGHAN’S COMMAND

2x PYROBLAST

1x RED ELEMENTAL BLAST

2x SURGICAL EXTRACTION

1x PITHING NEEDLE

1x GRAFDIGGER’S CAGE

1x SUBMERGE

2x CABAL THERAPY

1x FLUSTERSTORM

1x ELECTRICKERY

 

Gabriel piloted his Grixis Delver list to a top 4 finish. Sadly this list is missing four cards, but seeing as there are only fourteen lands, I have an idea as to what the missing slots may be. Anyway, the card that catches my eye here is the one maindeck Kolaghan’s Command. Kolaghan’s Command is a highly versatile spell indeed, but normally the mana cost would be detrimental for its chances of being included in a deck like this. Grixis Delver does have a lot of trouble playing against Chalice of the Void, and in fact I beat the deck twice on the back of that card at GP Lille. It could be that the one Kolaghan’s Command is a concession to Chalice of the Void as a miser’s answer that is maindeckable thanks to still being live in other matchups.

The next thing to note is that there are only two copies of Cabal Therapy in the entire 75. In my experience with Grixis decks, their ability to completely rip a hand apart with Gitaxian Probe + Cabal Therapy has been one of its major strengths, which makes the decision to cut down on therapies seem questionable. With Gabriel opting to play Gurmag Angler and True-Name Nemesis, shaving a Gitaxian Probe and a Young Pyromancer however, the power level of Cabal Therapy goes down. Compared to its controlling counterpart, the Grixis Delver deck is a bit lacking in terms of staying power, so having a card like True-Name Nemesis to mitigate that weakness is definitely appealing. I’m not sure I agree with the way this deck is built, but I can definitely see where Gabriel is coming from.

 

Next up we have an interesting take on BUG Control, a deck that hasn’t been seeing too much play lately. Let’s take a look at what Carles Minion brought to the table!

 

Minion Carles – BUG

 

Land

2x ISLAND

1x FOREST

1x SWAMP

3x UNDERGROUND SEA

2x BAYOU

2x TROPICAL ISLAND

3x WASTELAND

4x POLLUTED DELTA

1x VERDANT CATACOMBS

3x MISTY RAINFOREST

1x CREEPING TAR PIT

Creature

2x TARMOGOYF

3x SNAPCASTER MAGE

1x TASIGUR, THE GOLDEN FANG

Instant

4x BRAINSTORM

1x DIG THROUGH TIME4x ABRUPT DECAY

1x SPELL PIERCE

2x FLUSTERSTORM

4x FORCE OF WILL

2x COUNTERSPELL

Sorcery

1x PONDER

2x INNOCENT BLOOD

2x TOXIC DELUGE

1x LIFE FROM THE LOAM

2x THOUGHTSEIZE

Enchantment

1x PERNICIOUS DEED

Other

3x JACE, THE MIND SCULPTOR

2x LILIANA OF THE VEIL

Sideboard

3x SURGICAL EXTRACTION

2x SCAVENGING OOZE

1x MAELSTROM PULSE

2x PERNICIOUS DEED

1x INNOCENT BLOOD

1x FLUSTERSTORM

1x GOLGARI CHARM

1x VENDILION CLIQUE

1x SYLVAN LIBRARY

1x UMEZAWA’S JITTE

1x NIHIL SPELLBOMB

 

This deck aims to trade one for one with the opponent and then land a planeswalker to run away with the game. It has a lot of the traditional elements of BUG Control; discard spells, countermagic and removal. The singleton Spell Pierce looks a bit out of place in a deck that’s looking to go this long, but is very efficient early on, and can be made live later in the game thanks to Life from the Loam + Wasteland.

The anti synergy of Tarmogoyf and Innocent Blood is a little unfortunate, but having a creature that can stand in the way of opposing critters as well as live through Toxic Deluge can be quite valuable. This way your opponent will have to add more creatures to the table if they are to attack past your blocker, making your sweeper even better. Tasigur takes this one step further, as he survives Pernicious Deed in addition to Toxic Deluge.

After sideboard you have the option of adding even more creatures in the form of Scavenging Ooze and Vendilion Clique, enabling you to take a more proactive stance versus the combo decks, and potentially other control decks as well.

Game one versus combo your best bet is to get a Liliana of the Veil into play to keep their hand in check. A combination of hand disruption and permission should be enough to get there.

These BUG Control decks have a certain draw to them. It seems as if every card they draw has an impact on the game. There is very little ‘air’ in a deck like this, and the power level of each individual card is very high.

 

Rodriguez Pozo Javier – 4C Delver

 

Land

2x VOLCANIC ISLAND

2x UNDERGROUND SEA

2x TROPICAL ISLAND

2x FLOODED STRAND

2x MISTY RAINFOREST

3x POLLUTED DELTA

3x WASTELAND

3x SCALDING TARN

Creature

3x TARMOGOYF

4x DEATHRITE SHAMAN

1x SNAPCASTER MAGE

4x DELVER OF SECRETS

Instant

3x DIG THROUGH TIME

4x FORCE OF WILL

4x DAZE

4x BRAINSTORM

2x SPELL PIERCE

3x ABRUPT DECAY

4x LIGHTNING BOLT

Sorcery

4x PONDER

Enchantment

1x SYLVAN LIBRARY

Sideboard

1x SURGICAL EXTRACTION

2x GOLGARI CHARM

1x NULL ROD

1x SULFURIC VORTEX

2x SUBMERGE

1x VENDILION CLIQUE

2x FLUSTERSTORM

1x HYDROBLAST

1x RED ELEMENTAL BLAST

1x PYROBLAST

1x GRAFDIGGER’S CAGE

1x PITHING NEEDLE

This is the stock Four Color Delver list. The deck has been making top 8 after top 8, placing very well in larger legacy tournaments lately. While these lists are very much alike, there are a few things to note about this one. First is the decision to play the 3-1 split between Tarmogoyf and Snapcaster Mage and the 19:th land over the maindeck Red Elemental Blast. This is the version that was taken to a top 8 at GP Lille by Petr Sochurek. Playing a 3-1 split makes sense when you don’t want to overload on Tarmogoyf, and because Snapcaster Mage is the more mana hungry card you want the extra land. Most of the time you will be flashing back a one mana spell, but every now and then you need a Dig Through Time or Abrupt Decay with your Snapcaster Mage, which is when the importance of the additional mana source becomes especially apparent.

 

In the sideboard we see a couple of interesting card choices that differ a bit from what we’re used to. Javier opted to go with a Grafdigger’s Cage and a Surgical Extraction over the two copies of Nihil Spellbomb that Petr Sochurek had in his sideboard. Surgical Extraction is quite strong with Snapcaster Mage, although not quite as good as when paired with discard spells. It also happens to be much better against Punishing Fire, a popular inclusion in Aggro Loam (or should I say Punishing Blue?) that can single handedly deal with almost all of your threats. Grafdigger’s Cage is great against Elves! and dedicated graveyard decks, and doesn’t mess with your Tarmogoyfs. I can definitely respect the decision to go with the more powerful card, even if it’s not as good against the top decks. Legacy is a diverse format, and stepping into a tournament you are likely to face a variety of decks.

Sulfuric Vortex is an interesting choice. Traditionally strong against Miracles it might seem like a sound decision, seeing as how that deck is currently very popular. To cast Sulfuric Vortex however you need double red, and unless you have a Deathrite Shaman that is a serious stretch if you also want to be playing Tarmogoyf and Abrupt Decay. Sulfuric Vortex does have some utility against Batterskull, but I’d much rather have access to Ancient Grudge in my sideboard. Especially now that many Miracles players have adopted Monastery Mentor, making them far better at taking a proactive stance and racing the enchantment, I would be hesitant to include Sulfuric Vortex outside of Burn.

 

Gonzalez Ruben – Grixis Aggro

 

Land

3x UNDERGROUND SEA

3x VOLCANIC ISLAND

4x SCALDING TARN

3x POLLUTED DELTA

1x FLOODED STRAND

1x BLOODSTAINED MIRE

1x MOUNTAIN

2x ISLAND

Creature

2x SNAPCASTER MAGE

1x TASIGUR, THE GOLDEN FANG

1x GURMAG ANGLER

4x YOUNG PYROMANCER

Instant

4x BRAINSTORM

4x FORCE OF WILL

4x DIG THROUGH TIME

2x TERMINATE

1x RED ELEMENTAL BLAST

1x PYROBLAST

4x LIGHTNING BOLT

Sorcery

4x GITAXIAN PROBE

4x PONDER

4x CABAL THERAPY

Other

2x JACE, THE MIND SCULPTOR

Sideboard

1x NULL ROD

1x PITHING NEEDLE

1x RED ELEMENTAL BLAST

1x ELECTRICKERY

2x FORKED BOLT

2x SPELL PIERCE

2x FLUSTERSTORM

3x SURGICAL EXTRACTION

2x BLOOD MOON

This deck is listed as Grixis Aggro, and to be honest I don’t really see why. While it is certainly capable of coming out of the gates quickly with an army of Young Pyromancer tokens or an early Tasigur, the Golden Fang, it should be even better suited for games that go long. All your cards are very powerful and your answers are very efficient. The low land count and high density of cantrips means you will most likely be getting a steady stream of gas, and should provide you with both card quality advantage and virtual card advantage. Dig Through Time is also a beast going long, and this is one of the best Dig Through Time decks in the format. It is Grixis Control.

I finally picked up this deck a few days ago after having had my eyes on it for quite some time, and was super impressed with how consistently powerful it felt. There have been a few different variations of this deck going around, with the main difference being whether they play Deathrite Shaman or not. At first glance this might seem like just any other Grixis Control list, but there are a couple of interesting decisions here that I want to take a closer look at. First up we have the choice of removal spells. Four copies of Lightning Bolt is a given, but after that things start to get more interesting.

A singleton Murderous Cut was a common inclusion for a while, since it deals with most creatures for a small cost and this deck fills the graveyard so easily anyway. There are two main problems with Murderous Cut however, and they’re the reason I would stay away from the card right now. For starters, it is a lot worse on turn one, and having this in hand as your only removal spell when your opponent deploys a turn one Mother of Runes or Goblin Lackey is not a spot I want to be in. Secondly, while having enough feeding delve may not be a problem in a vacuum, you have to account for the fact that you also want to be chaining Dig Through Times. Other versions of this deck have had four additional cantrips, and sometimes even Thought Scour. Once you move away from those however, Murderous Cut gets a lot worse.

Forked Bolt is a card I like quite a bit, especially if you’re expecting a lot of Young Pyromancer mirrors. The problem is that it fails to shore up any of your weaknesses. You already have an answer to smaller creatures in Lightning Bolt. What you’re missing is a way to deal with all the Tarmogoyfs, Gurmag Anglers and Knight of the Reliquaries your opponent might throw at you, and Forked Bolt doesn’t help with any of that.

When I played this deck I had Terminate, and it’s a card I would play again. It’s not flashy, but it gets the job done. It does have the same problem as Murderous Cut with it being unable to answer a turn one play on the draw, but gets better as the game goes on. In a deck that is built to trade one for one it is essential that your removal spells do what they’re supposed to. Because of the low land count however you also need them to be efficient in order to not fall behind on tempo early on. This is why I think Terminate is a better fit for the sideboard, as games usually slow down a bit after board.

Next up we have the counter magic. When I played this deck it had three copies of Counterspell and a lone Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Ruben’s version has two Pyroblast effects and an additional copy of Jace. This can easily be explained by the fact that my metagame is less blue, with more creature decks seeing play, making Counterspell preferable over Pyroblast. Pyroblast also happens to be more narrow, and three copies feels a bit much, which means you get to fit in another Jace instead.

 

Romero Vilardell Adria – Jeskai Control

 

Land

3x ISLAND

4x POLLUTED DELTA

4x FLOODED STRAND

3x VOLCANIC ISLAND

3x TUNDRA

1x PLAINS

1x MISHRA’S FACTORY

1x KARAKAS

Creature

1x VENDILION CLIQUE

3x SNAPCASTER MAGE

Instant

4x FORCE OF WILL

2x LIGHTNING BOLT

4x SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES

4x BRAINSTORM1x FLUSTERSTORM

1x SPELL PIERCE

3x DIG THROUGH TIME

1x PYROBLAST

2x COUNTERSPELL

Sorcery

4x PONDER

4x PREORDAIN

1x PYROCLASM

1x SUPREME VERDICT

2x COUNCIL’S JUDGEMENT

Other

2x JACE, THE MIND SCULPTOR

Sideboard

2x BLOOD MOON

2x WEAR/TEAR

1x FLUSTERSTORM

1x VENDILION CLIQUE

2x SURGICAL EXTRACTION

3x MEDDLING MAGE

1x PYROCLASM

2x PYROBLAST

1x SECURE THE WASTES

 

Ah, another innovative UWR Control list! It is very similar to the winning list, and even has the signature Secure the Wastes, only this time it’s in the sideboard. The fact that both decks made it to the top 8 is for me reason enough to at least have a closer look at the archetype. That will have to wait for another time though, as for now we’re going to examine the differences between the two lists.

Adria plays three additional removal spells (the two Lightning Bolts and the one-of Pyroclasm) where the other list had a second Pyroblast, a Spell Snare, and the fourth Dig Through Time. Eight pieces of dedicated creature removal might be too much, but when I play a deck like this I always want to have an answer ready for my opponent’s creatures. If you have to spend your cantrips looking for a removal spell you might find yourself shuffling away otherwise good cards or keeping bad Ponders just because you desperately need to answer their threat, and that is a recipe for failure. I’d much rather play it safe and not skimp on the removal. Having a second sweeper also takes a lot of the pressure off when facing an army of Young Pyromancer tokens, and Pyroclasm is a much more efficient answer than Secure the Wastes.

Having shaved some of the counter magic, Adria’s list is weaker to combo. To compensate for this, the singleton Secure the Wastes has been replaced with a Vendilion Clique, serving as both disruption and a victory condition.

Aside from Storm, Spell Snare also has a lot of utility against various problematic permanents, such as Counterbalance and Chalice of the Void. Having split the two copies of Flusterstorm in order to fit in a Spell Pierce ensures you still have as many ways to deal with these cards.

 

Chhen Patrick – Loam

 

Land

4x WASTELAND

3x VERDANT CATACOMBS

3x WINDSWEPT HEATH

3x GROVE OF THE BURNWILLOWS

2x BAYOU

2x TRANQUIL THICKET

1x TAIGA

1x SCRUBLAND

1x FOREST

1x SAVANNAH

1x BARREN MOOR

1x KARAKAS

1x MAZE OF ITH

1x URBORG, TOMB OF YAWGMOTH

Artifact

4x CHALICE OF THE VOID

4x MOX DIAMOND

Creature

1x DRYAD ARBOR

4x DARK CONFIDANT

4x KNIGHT OF THE RELIQUARY

1x GADDOCK TEEG

1x DEATHRITE SHAMAN

1x SCAVENGING OOZE

Instant

3x PUNISHING FIRE

3x ABRUPT DECAY

Sorcery

2x GREEN SUN’S ZENITH

2x LIFE FROM THE LOAM

Enchantment

2x SYLVAN LIBRARY

Other

3x LILIANA OF THE VEIL

Sideboard

2x ETHERSWORN CANONIST

2x CHOKE

2x GOLGARI CHARM

1x MAELSTROM PULSE

2x THOUGHTSEIZE

1x RECLAMATION SAGE

2x SLAUGHTER GAMES

3x LEYLINE OF THE VOID

This is essentially the exact same list that we’ve seen repeatedly doing well in tournaments lately. The only change that has been made here was to replace the second copy of Barren Moor with a second Tranquil Thicket. Tranquil Thicket seems stronger in general, whereas Barren Moor helps cast Liliana of the Veil, and also works very well alongside Life from the Loam and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.

This deck just keeps performing extremely well over and over again. It’s time we recognise its place among the best decks in Legacy.

 

As for me, the journey outside my comfort zone has been great. I’ve kept my promise, trying new things in Legacy and playing better decks. So far I have tried both Grixis Control and Omnitell, going 4-0 and 3-1 respectively. My confidence as a player has been renewed, and I couldn’t be more excited to keep working on the format, exploring new ideas. There’s a WMCQ coming up, where I’ll be playing Mono Red, so for the time being most of my energy is directed towards learning the ropes in Standard.

Once the WMCQ is over however it’s all about Legacy, as the first season of our legacy league is coming to an end. Sixteen players will be competing for the title of Stockholm Legacy Champion, hundreds of dollars in legacy staples, and a handmade playmat by @PG_Alterations.
LegacyS1Playmat

Until next time,

Sandro Rajalin

 

 

 

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Sandro Rajalin

Sandro Rajalin is a Legacy aficionado and writer from Stockhom, Sweden. When he isn't busy playing Magic or tuning his Goblins list he enjoys reading about psychology, organizing Legacy tournaments at his local game store and drinking way too much tea.
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