Hello and welcome back! It’s time for another segment of segment of New is Always Better. Last time we had a look at a couple of innovative takes on Death and Taxes. The concept was simple; take an established archetype and study the different ways in which people have put their own twists on it.
In a format as diverse as Legacy the sheer amount of decks out there can seem overwhelming to newer players. Still, the format has been around for a long time, and experienced legacy players tend to be familiar with a large portion of the decks. If you’ve been playing Legacy for long enough you will likely have stumbled upon even the roguest of decks at least once. Being familiar with a deck however is far from the same thing as being up to date on it, and you don’t want to be the person missing out on day two because the last time you saw a certain deck in action was two years ago. While it’s practically impossible to keep up with everything that’s going on in Legacy, there are things one can do in order to learn how to look for signs that something new is going on.
A few weeks ago I was playing versus an Esper Control deck during a weekly legacy tournament at my local game store. My opponent showed me multiple Gitaxian Probes, as well as a copy of Darkblast. With this information in mind I was able to deduce the presence of Monastery Mentor, allowing me to sideboard accordingly. I still made errors due to my inexperience playing against the card and because I failed to fully trust my intuition, but at least when the first Monastery Mentor arrived I was prepared for it.
Being able to make these connections and deduce information about your opponent’s deck can be very important when figuring out what you need to play around. In this case it was easier for me because I had spent a lot of time of my own brewing with the mentor, and knew which cards I would have wanted to play alongside it. How to best make these connections and draw conclusions about the contents of your opponent’s deck is a complex topic that would require far more discussion to fully explore. What you can do is think like a deck builder and use your intuition and reasoning skills to the best of your abilities. If a Shardless BUG player is playing the full set of Baleful Strix, maybe that means they don’t have maindeck Toxic Deluge. If an Esper Stoneblade opponent plays Cabal Therapy, that likely means they also have Lingering Souls.
The ability to figure out what your opponent is up to is a valuable skill to develop, but just like deducing Monastery Mentor was easier for me, keeping an eye out for how decks change can help us come prepared. Legacy is a format ripe for brewing and trying new things. People do it all the time! What we really need to be aware of is when many people begin to adopt a new tech. Sometimes it’s because that tech is legitimately good. Sometimes it’s because it’s new and exciting. Sometimes it’s a meta call. Meddling Mage out of the sideboard of a Shardless deck is an example of such a twist. A light splash changes how several matchups play out post board, and if you’re unaware of that change you might find yourself operating under false presumptions, losing to a surprise blowout.
Examining these new twists to established archetypes is what New is Always Better is all about. Today I want to take a closer look at a deck at an admittedly powerful deck that doesn’t see too much play in legacy: Twelvepost. Twelvepost in all its variations utilize the Locus lands Cloudpost and Glimmerpost to generate an abundance of mana in order to ramp into a very powerful endgame, often in the form of an eldrazi. For reference, here is Jeremiah Rudolph’s list from 2014.
12-Post by Jeremiah Rudolph
I didn’t include the sideboard here as the individual card choices there are likely more of a reaction to a specific metagame. If people are abandoning Sneak and Show in favor of Omnitell you’re going to want to switch up your sideboarding strategy. This certainly applies to maindeck decisions as well, but to a lesser extent. Generally decks will be more focused at executing their own strategy game one, whereas post sideboard games tend to be more interactive, as reactive/disruptive cards are brought in to target specific matchups.
Speaking of focusing on executing one’s own game plan, take a look at Jeremiah’s list again. This deck doesn’t just play a bunch of Locus lands which will sooner or later allow it to start casting fifteen-mana spells. The deck plays the full four copies of Crop Rotation and even has three Expedition Maps to help ramp up the mana. Granted, the deck also plays a number of utility lands, so the tutors aren’t there solely for the purpose of ramping, but fact remains that this is a build that is very focused on progressing its own plan.
A quick look at the “Turbo Eldrazi” thread over at the source shows two fairly popular builds, namely the blue green one, and the green white one. The color blue offers some consistency in the form of Brainstorm, as well as the option to play counter magic out of the sideboard. Show and Tell provides a nice way to accelerate your own game plan, but many have started moving away from the card, as Omnitell has gotten very popular, which makes resolving a Show and Tell of your own a very risky proposition.
Twelvepost is very well known for its strong matchup against Miracles, also known as ‘the best deck in legacy’, and for good reason. If you expect a field heavy with Miracles, there are a lot of arguments for Twelvepost. Miracles is a control deck that aims to win through inevitability – a strategy that folds easily when your opponent’s plan consists of building towards a superior endgame.
The combo matchup will still be an uphill battle, and many players are looking for ways to fight this Omnitell menace. Some have chosen to go with more all around good cards, such as Force of Will, Flusterstorm and Krosan Grip. Others play more dedicated hate. One way to go about things is to make sure the creatures you ramp into match up well versus the Omnitell decks. This could mean playing something like Iona, Shield of Emeria (if you’re in white) or Tidespout Tyrant (if you’re playing blue). Venser, Shaper Savant is also a strong card that goes very well with your own Karakas. If you’re holding Iona when they cast Show and Tell you simply put her into play and name blue before they get the chance to do anything. With Tidespout Tyrant you can bounce their Omniscience in response to them casting a spell by casting a spell of your own, such as Brainstorm or Crop Rotation. As for Venser, keep in mind that sometimes it’s preferable to keep him in hand rather than put him into play off of Show and Tell, as they can often go off in response to the trigger, in which case you’d rather be the one to react when they make a move.
UG Twelvepost by Sandro Rajalin
This is a rough draft of mine and a collection of some of the ideas that I like going into a tournament with the deck at the moment. Flusterstorm is a bit narrow, but I wanted to keep the instant count high for Tidespout Tyrant, and Flusterstorm works beautifully for that purpose.
Twelvepost has a formidable matchup against the most popular deck in the format, and it has recently gotten a new and powerful toy to play with in the form of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Neither Wasteland nor Blood Moon see much play today either, as the top two decks (Miracles and Omnitell) both play a lot of basic lands.
Following are some interesting and innovative Twelvepost lists that I’ve come across, to show just how much room for innovation there really is. Enjoy!
This list was played at my LGS a couple of months ago by a very proficient 12 Post player who’s done a lot of experimenting with the deck. After first having faced off against this list I asked him about the deck, and he shared with me the following insight; “the more I play the control role, the more I win”. An interesting point with regards to how one should approach the fundamental strategy of the deck.
Skimming through the ‘Turbo Eldrazi’ primer on the source I quickly found the same sentiment expressed in other words; “the most successful variant of the deck is as a Control deck that has the ability to combo finish.” This particular list utilizes the white splash alongside a slightly lower curve of creatures for more early game interaction versus the fair decks.
Bant Post by Anton Torefeldt
This version takes a much more controlling approach to the game than Jeremiah’s list does. The white splash for Terminus gives the deck a tool for fighting opposing creature decks, buying more time to set up your own late game, which will in all likelihood be superior to theirs in strength.Thragtusk, as well as Restoration Angel, also offers more ways of interaction in the early game, making this list better fit for fighting fair creature decks. In addition to this the deck has abandoned Vesuva completely, as the card is much less impressive when you’re looking to cast a bunch of interactive spells early on, rather than simply ramping as fast as you can. Granted, this deck is still capable of ramping very fast, which is one of the reasons for why it’s able to compete. After all, a hardcast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is a pretty good answer to most things in Legacy. Up next we have an interesting BUG Post list, splashing for removal spells in the form of Abrupt Decay and Pernicious Deed, as well as a couple of attractive cards in the sideboard.
This list is an example of a Twelvepost deck favoring the black splash. Deathrite Shaman allows for more early game acceleration, and Pernicious Deed is a way to slow down creature decks, as well as dealing with various problematic permanents. Abrupt Decay is even stronger here, and can be an invaluable tool if you expect people to bring dedicated hate cards such as Blood Moon. In addition to the usual cantrips, this list also runs two copies of Ponder, as well as the full set of Green Sun’s Zenith to increase consistency. It does accomplish this by moving away from Sensei’s Divining Top though, which hurts, although this means that you can now bring in Pithing Needle to fight Miracles, not that we needed much additional help in that matchup. Overall this list is more similar to the BUG Control or BUG Nic fit decks, with a lower curve and more ways to permanently deal with opposing creatures. This approach certainly seems a lot stronger when you have access to eight copies of Primeval Titan.
If the goal is to be a control deck, this is one possible approach. I wouldn’t go with this version in the current meta game, but if you’re a dedicated Twelvepost player this list provides a way to keep up a fight even in the face of cards like Blood Moon. Thoughtseize out of the sideboard is also a nice addition as it allows us to diversify our combo hate, making it more difficult for them to answer. It’s also an all-around strong card.
These particular lists are a couple of months old by now, and the metagame has evolved since then. It is up to us as players to keep up and adapt to those changes in order to stay ahead. Legacy is in a state of constant flux, and we must be constantly reexamining and reevaluating our previously formed ideas about the nature of the format if we are to remain flexible and open.
Next week I’ll be back with a new article where I’ll talk about some cards that I think are very well positioned in Legacy at the moment. Until then you can find me on Twitter at @SandroRajalin if you’re up for more legacy content!
Until next time,
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