11,000 Choices by Mark Aylett

Force of Will

In standard you have access to just over 1,000 cards. Extended is slightly larger with just over 2,500.

While legacy has over 11,000 cards available to you.

11,000 is a lot of different cards to get your head around, how are you suppose to start in a format that has so many choices. This is aimed to be a good starting point of the top legacy decks at the moment, but as usual you can class all the following into 3 groups.

Aggro, Control and Combo.

Survival of the Fittest (G/W/B)

1 Lion’s Eye Diamond
1 Phyrexian Devourer
1 Shield Sphere
1 Triskelion
2 Basking Rootwalla
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Fauna Shaman
2 Necrotic Ooze
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Quirion Ranger
1 Shriekmaw
4 Vengevine
1 Wispmare
4 Survival of the Fittest
4 Enlightened Tutor
4 Thoughtseize
1 Tree of Tales
1 Forest
4 Bayou
3 Savannah
1 Verdant Catacombs
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

This deck is the current front runner of the format, using Survival of the Fittest to set up a turn 3-4 of Venevines or the combo of Necrotic Ooze, Triskelion and Phyrexian Devourer. The combo will allow you to deal 20 points + of direct damage without the need to attack. This deck is backed up by Thoughtseize’s for disruption and Enlightened Tutor to find the Survival of the Fittest while also being also able to play a tutor package of creatures which allow you to combat nearly every situation.

The deck has few weaknesses as even if you stop Survival of the fittest they still have Fauna Shaman to tutor up cards. The best way to beat it is to “go off” with a combo before the deck can do its thing. A turn 3 Tendrils of Agony is very hard for this deck to stop as it has no counter spells and only Thoughtseize to slow you down.

Goblins (R/G)

4 Aether Vial
4 Gempalm Incinerator
1 Goblin Chieftain
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Ringleader
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
4 Goblin Warchief
3 Mogg War Marshal
2 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Skirk Prospector
1 Tin Street Hooligan
5 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Arid Mesa
4 Rishadan Port
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Taiga
4 Wasteland

This is the current aggro deck to beat. It has both the best 1 drops in the format with Goblin Lackey and Aether Vial. Both these cards put instant pressure on the opponent and even just one hit from a Goblin Lackey can be game(dropping Siege-gang Commander straight onto the board). Goblin Matron’s and Goblin Ringleader’s allow the player to never run out of guys to play with Goblin Chieftain and Goblin Warchief getting them straight into the red zone. The land base also plays a huge part in the deck’s success by using both Rishadan Port and Wasteland to stop people having the mana they need to fight back.

Once again the best way to fight this deck is to have a combo that goes off early as this deck has no way to stop you in the main deck. Unlike the Vengvine deck though this deck can deal 10+ damage to you by turn 3 while stopping your land making it harder for a deck like ANT (see below) to actually start its combo.

Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT)

3 Chrome Mox
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
1 Ad Nauseam
4 Brainstorm
1 Cabal Ritual
4 Dark Ritual
3 Orim’s Chant
4 Burning Wish
4 Duress
1 Empty the Warrens
4 Infernal Tutor
4 Ponder
4 Rite of Flame
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Badlands
2 City of Brass
4 Gemstone Mine
4 Polluted Delta
2 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island

2 Echoing Truth
1 Krosan Grip
1 Mindbreak Trap
3 Pyroblast
1 Wipe Away
1 Diminishing Returns
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Oust
1 Shattering Spree
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Thoughtseize

This is the most popular combo deck in the format (though at Manaleak you may see some odder ones), the idea being to generate large amounts of mana with Lotus Petal’s, Dark and Cabal Ritual and Rite of Flames to cast an Ad Nauseam. Hopefully at that point you will have enough life to reveal more cheap spells and mana to cast Tendrils of Agony for more than your opponents life. I have seen this done as early as turn 1, but its normally done turn 3 with Orim’s Chant stopping your opponent from stopping you. Unlike most other decks in the format ANT use’s its sideboard as part of it main deck thanks to Burning Wish which makes having game one `hate’ very hard.

This deck needs a high enough life total 10 + to really go off and draw enough cards with Ad Nauseam so a deck like Merfolk that can put some guys down quickly and back them up with cheap counter spells makes life very hard for any combo deck to win. Even the Dreadstill deck (see below) can put a turn 2 12/12 into play and then has 11 counter spells and Stifle and Trickbind to stop this combo deck from going off.

Dreadstill (Mono-ish Blue)

2 Engineered Explosives
2 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Phyrexian Dreadnought
3 Trinket Mage
3 Counterbalance
4 Standstill
4 Brainstorm
3 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Spell Snare
4 Stifle
2 Trickbind
5 Island
1 Flooded Strand
4 Mishra’s Factory
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
1 Tropical Island
2 Volcanic Island
3 Wasteland

The current control deck actually relies on one of the biggest creature I know to kill people. The 1 mana 12/12 that is Phyrexian Dreadnought gets pushed through removal by the 11 counter spells and the 3 Counterbalance and provides a very quick clock. The Standstill’s provide card draw as most opponents have to cast spells while this deck can use its Wastelands and Mishra’s Factories to keep the pressure on.

Because of duel lands players can set an explosives for 3 without having to play a non blue source of mana, this is important because both the Wasteland and Mishra’s Factory’s only produce colourless.

The biggest problem this deck has is creature decks that don’t run out of gas, Goblins does this very well because they have 2 ways of getting their creatures into play without them being able to be countered,  and have “draw creature spell’s” as well. Also a Zoo deck can hit your life total quickly and then just try and burn you out from 10 life.


4 Golgari Grave-Troll
2 Golgari Thug
4 Hapless Researcher
3 Ichorid
4 Narcomoeba
4 Putrid Imp
4 Stinkweed Imp
1 Terastodon
1 Wonder
4 Bridge from Below
3 Brainstorm
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Careful Study
3 Dread Return
1 Island
1 Swamp
4 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
4 Underground Sea

This is the deck that refuse’s to play real magic. The idea is to put as many cards from the top of your deck into your graveyard as fast as possible and then use the Bridge from Below’s and Narcombea’s to create an army of 2/2 zombies.

Every time you would draw you want to be dredging back cards, which means that Brainstorm can be dredge 18 with 3 Golgari Grave-Troll’s and Careful Study dredge 12 and discard the dredger’s again after to use on the next draw spell. The backup plan for this deck is to simply make 3/1’s with haste every turn until people run out of blockers. This deck has a very high game 1 win % due to people’s decks not being able to interact with the graveyard, the problem is that almost everyone has something in the sideboard for it which makes game 2 and game 3 much harder.

This is the tip of the iceberg for legacy, in the last event I played in there were 8 different decks in the top 8. Almost anything is possible to play if you are good enough; new decks and ideas keep on popping up as the interest in Legacy is picking up. This is just meant to give you an idea of the what the top tables in a legacy room might look like, hopefully letting you know what they are going to try and do to kill you so you can try and fight back. Understanding what you’re up against is half the battle.

If this is interesting enough I will do another one on about more legacy decks.

Mark Aylett

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