Well it’s been quite an interesting couple of weeks. The banlist update really did give Legacy a new breath of life, not that it needed one but it’s certainly a great time to be playing the format. In the past two weeks alone, we’ve had an MKM Series in Prague and an SCG Open in St Louise and both have yielded some interesting results. We now have two large sets of data to analyse the format with, which is going to give us a great idea as to what it’s going to be like in Seattles in a week’s time, as well as how the format could adapt to this new change.
But let’s begin with me,and the changes that I’ve made to my deck, Miracles.
Losing [card]Dig Through Time[/card] didn’t send any fears or worries through Miracle players. In fact, some of us were a little happy because it meant we were once again, one of, if not the, best late game deck in the format, now that Delver decks couldn’t just reload when things got grindy. After Dig got banned, I started wondering what I could play in those two slots. I had though about adding a second [card]Counterspell[/card] or throw in some more permission in the form of [card]Spell Pierce[/card] but I decided that I was already well equipped with permission that I didn’t really need it. Someone suggested trying [card]Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy[/card] but I don’t believe it’s as good, or better than the man himself, [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card]. Though we’ll be talking about the Wallet Sculptor in the not too distant future.
And then it hit me. Reading through the Legacy subreddit I found my answer.
[card]Fact or Fiction[/card].
Bear with me guys. This is legit. I tried putting in one and a second Counterspell and every time I drew the FoF, it was just insane. It gives the deck a potential source of card advantage, something Miracles isn’t particularly good at, outside of [card]Counterbalance[/card] and Jace. Even just using it as a way of clearing the top three cards, while not ideal, can certainly be beneficial. And boy oh boy, was it good in the mirror. It helped when the game got stagnant and it was often times, a pseudo-win condition. I added a second, as a replacement to the second Counterspell.
Another big change that happened was something that many found very controversial. I hadn’t made the decision to include [card]Monastery Mentor[/card] in the seventy-five up until this week. I wasn’t wholly convinced on it, and I certainly wasn’t convinced on the versions that ran four as well as cards like [card]Daze[/card] and even [card]Cavern of Souls[/card]. I didn’t like turning on removal in my opponent’s deck and I just didn’t believe that it did a better job than [card]Entreat the Angels[/card] by providing an efficient, consistently powerful win condition that could play a defensive role.
However this week I decided I would try two in the sideboard for the combo and mirror matches and I ate my words faster than I could breath. The card is insane. I wanted to sideboard it in nearly ever match. Despite how much I love Entreat, Mentor is just so much more powerful and isn’t a dead draw. It’s easier to cast and actually synergises with what you’re already trying to do. Fair enough, you can’t use it to take down an [card]Insectile Aberration[/card] or [card]Vendilion Clique[/card] but you can still chump [card]Tarmogoyf[/card] for days and it’s just a counter to [card]Young Pyromancer[/card]. After a day of testing online, I moved the two to the mainboard and have arrived at this list.
*2 Snapcaster Mage
*2 Monastery Mentor
*4 Sensei’s Divining Top
*4 Force of Will
*4 Swords to Plowshares
*2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
*2 Fact or Fiction
*1 Supreme Verdict
*1 Council’s Judgment
*1 Entreat the Angels
*4 Flooded Strand
*3 Scalding Tarn
*2 Arid Mesa
*1 Polluted Delta
*2 Volcanic Island
*1 Mystic Gate
*1 Red Elemental Blast
*2 Vendilion Clique
*1 Rest in Peace
*1 Baneslayer Angel
*1 Surgical Extraction
*1 Containment Priest
*1 Izzet Staticaster
*1 Council’s Judgment
*1 Wear // Tear
*1 Engineered Explosives
For the most part, this is effectively what the Miracle Dude himself, Phillipp Schonegger, has recommended for going to GP Seattle but I’ve made a few personal tweaks. I’ve mentioned my love of FoF in this deck and I think two is a good number, though I understand playing none at all as it does cast four mana and can brick entirely, and believe me, it does. Though I think if Shardless BUG is going to be the next best deck (which it certainly looks like it could be) then I think it provides a good shot at taking that on, as well as the mirror, as I’ve mentioned.
I’ve been playing with [card]Supreme Verdict[/card] in Miracles for a long time and I think it’s a very underplayed card in Legacy. Originally that slot was a second [card]Council’s Judgement[/card] but I found that Verdict did the same thing most of the time, but couldn’t be countered and could be pitched to [card]Force of Will[/card], which is a merit on its own. Four mana is a lot and sometimes you can’t afford or simply can’t get two white on turn four but I believe as a one-of, it provides a clean, effective way of resetting the board if you’re beginning to feel the heat.
The manabase as well has some funk in it in the form of [card]Mystic Gate[/card] which I’ve borrowed from Joe Losset and have borrowed since I started playing the deck over a year ago. It allows me to play cards like Verdict and originally, the second Judgement, and also has a benefit of protecting me from [card]Choke[/card], which was a bit of a local meta call but I still think that it’s a very viable way of going about things. The fetchlands as well are up to you, but I think that [card]Flooded Strand[/card] is an automatic playset in whatever configuration you go for. All you need your lands to really do is fetch Islands, hence why I’ve cut one of the Islands for a single [card]Polluted Delta[/card], simply as another shuffle effect and some small defense against an aggressive [card]Pithing Needle[/card].
Most of the sideboard is stock as well with a few exceptions. The single basic Mountain has been a favourite of mine for a while and helps me bring in the heavy amount of red without needing to fear [card]Wasteland[/card]. The [card]Izzet Staticaster[/card] was originally a [card]Sulfur Elemental[/card] but now that I’ve made the switch to Mentor, Staticaster does effectively the same job, pitches to Force, and has a lot more versatility than just being a complete sledgehammer to Death and Taxes, which it is still excellent against, as it can take out [card]Phyrexian Revoker[/card], something Sulfur Elemental can’t. The [card]Baneslayer Angel[/card] is another personal love of mine. It gives me an alternative win condition that, against some decks, just can’t be answered profitably without countermagic. When Canadian Threshold was riding high, Baneslayer was often what brought me back into the game after having a Miracles or two [card]Stifle[/card]’d or a Counterbalance [card]Daze[/card]’d. I’ve even brought it in against midrange-y decks as a way of closing out the game relatively quickly and it makes the 12-Post matchup a lot more bearable.
So with that out of the way, let’s gaze into our [card]Crystal Ball[/card] and see what will the world be like in GP Seattle.
From what we’ve seen in the past two large events in Europe and America, Miracles is still king however it is not dominant at all. There were two copies in the Top 8 of MKM Prague and only one in the Top 8 at the open in St Louis. And that I would attribute to the fact that the MKM Series is smaller and Miracles is a more popular deck in Europe than it is in America. In Prague, Storm took down the tournament (though the Top 4 decided to split and Storm came first based off of Swiss standings) and Infect won in St Louis, in the hands of known Infect pilot, Tom Ross. In fact, outside of Miracles, the only overlap was Storm, which wasn’t particularly surprising considering Storm has a great Shardless BUG matchup.
I’m going to expect a lot of Shardless at GP Seattle. Possibly more than Miracles. I foresee a lot of the Pros who don’t play a lot of Legacy picking up Shardless for the weekend as it’s the deck that can beat the best deck reliably and has great game in a very slow field, which is what this format is certainly shaping up to be. There’s also going to be a hefty amount of combo but I don’t think Sneak and Show will be prevalent. It’s generally a very popular deck in America but I don’t think it’s as good as it was a few months ago. Miracles has a great game against it, I find, and it’s a very easy deck to attack. I could possibly see the BGx decks making an appearance, like Jund, Maverick and Punishing Blue though I doubt the [card]Mox Diamond[/card] strategy will be out in force. Again, I think it will depend on if the European players make a big showing.
If I were to make a prediction, I would say that this is what the Top 8 would contain:
2 Shardless BUG
1 Death and Taxes
1 4C Delver
1 “Flex slot”
Though I could be entirely wrong, this is what I think is going to be in the Top 8. The “flex sot” is basically a wild card, an anything goes type of outcome. Perhaps someone gets fantastically lucky or a Pro makes a great run in the tournament. And I honestly think this is a very fine Top 8. All the decks have a fighting chance against one another, with some matches a little bit lopsided, but if this is what was produced on Sunday, I would feel very happy about where Legacy is.
So those are my thoughts on the upcoming GP. I hope that those of you who will be going have a blast as it looks to set to end the Legacy year with a bang. A GP only a month after a banning and with only two tournaments of data? These are the times in Legacy when anything can go and the meta is in a state of flux. Perhaps we may even see some new tech from Battle for Zendikar (come on Brave Sir Robin, I believe in you).
Next week I’ll be taking a look at the Littlest Jace that Could and if he possibly has a home in this format alongside his big daddy, Mr Mind Sculptor. Until then, don’t forget your Tabernacle costs!