No-One Expects The Spanish Inquisition… To Win! by Stuart Taylor

Spanish Inquisition

No-One Expects The Spanish Inquisition… To Win!

I attended a tournament the other day at our local Magic shop. It’s one of the most attended regular Legacy events in the UK, I think. Today was a nice turn-out, with around 20 people. I saw some Counterbalances pre-tournament, so I nearly bottled it and went to my ‘go to’ deck, Enchantress, but I thought I would mix it up and play Spanish Inquisition instead 🙂

So… Here is my deck. Nothing to spectacular-ly odd…


4 Dark ritual
4 Culling the weak
4 Cabal ritual
4 Lions eye diamond

Initial mana sources

4 Lotus petal
4 Chrome mox
4 Land grant
2 Bayou

MD protection

4 Cabal therapy

Busted draw

4 Cruel Bargain
4 Infernal contract

Other business

4 Infernal tutor
2 Ill gotten gains

Cards that people should scoop to

4 Kobolds of kher keep
4 Crimson kobolds

I guess you have to win after all those cards, right?

3 Tendrils of agony
1 Goblin charbelcher


4 Carpet of flowers
4 Xantid swarm
3 Goblin charbelcher
1 Taiga
3 Empty the warrens

I have this joke of asking people if they scoop to the Kobalds before Culling the Weak then Tendrils. Its not so funny, but keeps me amused. Just to explain the reference 🙂

The side-board is a fairly standard protection plan against blue. I knew there was going to be people playing the white leyline, so I went with the goblins as the main ‘man-plan’, and using them as extra win-cons if there was no disruption. I went with the Kobalds for extra red sources for the Chrome Mox, if it ever came down to it, and I feel you need the Taiga for land grant —> red if you want to wheel in the goblins.



Round 1 – Joe Fletcher Homebrew U/B/w dark depths/hexmage with counterbalance

So. I work in a shop with Jo. Sometimes we play in the lunch break, and to be honest, he is a beast of a player, with a deck that I know beats me on a fairly regular basis. He has discard, Forces, Spell Pierces and Counterbalance/Top set up. So I settle in for a tough one.

Game 1 – I lose the roll. Which means most of his cards are ‘online’…. I mull to 5, and he Thoughtseizes my Infernal Contract. Hm….. I do an early Therapy to try and hit Counterbalance, but he doesn’t have it. I’ve got the Belcher for next turn, so I’m feeling good. Until him – Pithing Needle (Belcher). Hm…. His psychic powers seemed to be working today. Fortunately he gets a bot land-screwed and a few turns later I manage to Tendrils out.

Game 2 – Turn 1 he Thoughtseizes me, taking my Tendrils after a lot of thought. I go off, drawing 4 until i’m down to 2, but fizzle. He plays a Bob. Which is a bit of clock at this stage. He turns Bob sideways. I lose. What can you do? 🙂 This was the only game I really felt I was unlucky in all day, at least….

Game 3 – I turn 1 draw 4 to set going off, but really draw too much business. He Extripates —> Cabal Therapy. Which I thought was odd. So now I’m thinking he has shed-loads of counters that he needs to protect. We both draw-go for a couple of turns, with me just needing some gas to GO POSTAL. I don’t find any. Then he lands a Counterbalance, but is tapped out with the top. I miss the window, and am eaten my Marit Lage 2 turns later. He even countered my Xantid Swarm (flying blocker ^^) to swing him in.

Wise words from Jo- talking with Jo afterwards, he admitted to being a bit lucky in game 3. He needed to find both a Counterbalance and a Force in one Lim-dull’s vault to win, which he managed to. He thinks that the key to the match-up is not to mull to Force, but hope you get a few land-drops and disruption before landing the Counterbalance. Fair enough. That was a pretty epic game!



Round 2 – Dave Sherwood R/G/B Allies

I don’t know Dave, but I feel a bit guilty for ninja-ing his face off. He came quite a way to play, and didn’t really have a deck that was up to the high standard of Legacy decks that were there on the day. I hope he had fun….

Game 1 – I lose the roll. Him – Forest, go. Me – Play stuff, Tendrils for 24. He refused to scoop to the Kobalds, so I had to punish him with sitting through the combo.

Game 2 – (No side). I make a Belcher turn 2 and activate it for lethal with 2 land still in the deck. There was no pressure on the board at all.

This one was a bit of a blow out. He took it well though.

Wise words from Dave- “More than 1 turn would be nice”



Round 3 – Steve Richard Old skool white weenie

I like Steve. He’s into vintage computer games and beating people up with little dudes with shadow. Awesome sauce!

Game 1 – T4 he kills me with little dudes. I kept a dodgy one that needed some gas, but I don’t find any.

Game 2 – I take out the Cabals for extra business (ie the Empty the Warrens and Tiaga). I thought he might either bring the Leyline of Sanctity in or chant effects. After drawing, I find the extra initial mana I need to go off and do so. IGG loop for Tendrils.

Game 3 – He puts a bit of pressure on, weenie style. T3 I play a Mox, and he Disenchants it with the imprint trigger on the stack (the sly old dog). I keep going off though it, and reach 10 storm exactly with the Tendrils. Turns out his own Disenchant killed him 😛

He didn’t really draw any relevant cards against me, and he didn’t mull so much for them. I think that is what killed him, I think.



Round 4- Jim Corwood/W helm + leyline combo

I draft a lot with Jim, and I know he’s a good player. He’s also just come back from Florence, where he finished quite well in the Legacy event there, although I’ve never played him at Legacy, and am not familiar with the combo he plays so much… Should be tough.

Game 1 – Turn 1 I 2 x draw4 into a fizzle. Turn 2 I get Hymn-ed but its pretty much a ‘miss’. Turn 3 I land the Belcher and activate with all the land stripped out.

Game 2 – I side out IGG 🙂 and 2x Cabal Therapy and put in the goblins. This turns out to be a mistake. I needed the Therapies in to protect the goblins from Engineered Plague etc. I learnt that hard this game… He starts with Leyline and top. I Empty the Warrens for 10, He topdecks a Plague… (sadface). We draw-go for a bit with him topping to try and find the Helm. He lands another Plague (kobalds!!!!) while all I seem to draw are Empty the Warrens…. Turn 6 I mini-Tendrils to try and get hellbent for next turn (It was really clogging my hand up). He manages to find the Helm on his next turn and fires it at my face.

Game 3 – Therapy goes back in for 2 x Empty the Warrens. I turn 1- 2 x draw4 into Tendrils fun. He didn’t scoop to the Kobalds either, though. He is made of sterner stuff…



Round 5 – Dan Stokes B/W/G the rock

I like Dan a lot, and it’s nice play against people who you know, like and play well. He’s got some nasty discard package, so I decide to try and make it so he doesn’t get a land drop. What happened next was probably the funniest magic game i’ve ever had…

Game 1 – I go first with Cabal Therapy naming ‘Hymn’, as I think its the only thing that will wreck my hand if I settle in for a few turns. I hit 3 of them 😛 He goes turn 1 crack a Fetch, Mox Diamond, make a Dark Confident. I mini-Tendrils him for 10 with my new ‘win-con’ on the table. he goes down to 3 life with Bob while I wait for the gas I need to start up again. He keeps me from going off by using Vindicates and Wastelands. He Swords-ed his own Bob, and beat me down with something a few turns later. Some of the faces he made drawing with Bob were priceless though 🙂

Game 2 – I know he likes the Leyline. I put full goblin package in instead of the Tendrils. He mulls to 6 and has a smug look. Sure enough he drops the Leyline. I turn 1 Empty the Warrens for 12. I say something like ‘Could be ok, I just need to race Pernacious Deed.’. His jaw dropped EXACTLY like they do in cartoons. Turns out he sided them out ^__^

Game 3 – He goes turn 1 top. I ‘semi-fizzle’ just needing to draw gas (story of my day…). He also seems to use his psychic powers by Extirpating –> Dark Ritual. Hmmm… I manage to get the mana together somehow for a turn 2 lucky draw4 into Belcher with all the land stripped.

Wise words from Stoke – “I hate you!”. He’s joking… I think. O_o

4-1 top the swiss. Cut to top 8!


Quarter Finals – Andy B/W/g Homebrew deck of sinkholes and discard

Andy plays a lot of vintage and likes making decks, which he is pretty decent at. This one played a lot like ‘the rock’ but had no green. He’s called ‘the chicken’ because of his mohawk.

Game 1 – He mulls to 6. I turn 1 ‘semi-fizzle’ and pass, just needing to untap before I can IGGy loop him into submission. Tun 2 I draw4 a few times and can get the storm for the IGG, so I just land a Belcher. I’m on 2 life and he puts down a Knight of the Reliquary. I top a Mox which means I can Belcher for lethal. Phew.

Game 2 – We both mull to 5. I wonder what he’s going for… I put in 1 Empty the Warrens just as ‘Extirpate’ defence…. So. I Cabal Theapy –> Hymn and miss. He lands an early Knight and starts Wastelanding my Bayous, which were pretty key. Knight beats follow, putting me out before I could get 1 more mana to storm away.

Game 3 – I turn 1 Empty the Warrens for 10. He was hoping to top Ghostly Prison, but I could have payed with LEDs for a large swing anyway. I ride the goblins home!

Top 4!

No blue in the top 4. After a little scout I see it’s Elf combo, Goblins, Zoo and me. I’m feeling good 😀 I’ve done well at blue-dodging most of the day. Even if that means most of my sideboard is dead :/


Semi Finals – Tom Rickarby/b vial goblins

I know Tom too. Another great Legacy player who normally plays merfolk. Instead today he’s rocking the goblins. Great news for me :).

Pre-game banter – “Help I’m goblins!”

Game 1 – Turn2 lethal Belcher

Game 2 – BLOCK A LACKEY WITH A KOBALD. First block of the day ;P Turn 2 he has plenty of goblins down and I need to draw gas for the Belcher. I get it but he springs a Mindbreak Trap, so my poor Belcher gets removed… He Matrons for a Goblin Tinker (which could cause some trouble), and gets in some general beats, but I get some lucky draw4’s into Tendrils with me being on 1 life. CLOSE!!



Finals – Luke G/b Elf combo

I don’t know Luke, but I know his deck. He borrowed it from a friend of mine. It seems to regularly goldfish turn 2, so I didn’t want to let him get any time. The thing can explode from nowhere and had been munching on Survival all day… He was a good player, but unfamiliar with a lot of cards, as I think he had only just got back into magic.

Pre-game banter – “Charbelcher is bad!”

Game 1 – My Cabal hits Glimpse (phew!), and I make a turn 2 Belcher with 2 lands still in the deck. He makes some dudes and takes a few swings. Turn 3 I Belch him for 2. Turn 4 I Belch him for 4….. :/. His Regal Force eats me alive.

Game 2 – Turn 2 IGGy Tendrils for 24 after turn 1 Therapy.

Game 3 – T1 Belcher with all the lands stripped.

Wise words from Luke – “Toughtseize is only good if you draw it!”

I had such a blast all day with the deck and its a shame I didn’t meet any blue with all the preparation I’d done for the u.dec match up, but I’d be happy to face aggro and discard all day with it. I played quite tight and I moved away from the ‘must get a turn 1′ mentality and focus more on being steady, not afraid to untap if there is no pressure and generally focusing on the quick re-building qualities of the deck.


Things I learnt

  • People usually don’t scoop to the Kobalds. Strange…
  • Keep in the Cabal Therapies always to protect the goblins/hit Mindbreak Trap.
  • Not to go to the Belcher as an ‘easy out’, even it looks good. Try the draw4’s.
  • I love the LG list, so I’ll keep working on it.
  • The goblins won a few but they always made me nervous when I played them. Maybe try out Death’s Shadow for the man plan?

Well thanks for reading. Any comments/better plays I could have made, please let me know! Feedback from you guys is probably going to be more valuable than posting it somewhere else 🙂

Stuart Taylor, The Spanish Tunnel King

No-One Expects The Spanish Inquisition... To Win! by Stuart Taylor
I attended a tournament the other day at our local Magic shop. It's one of the most attended regular Legacy events in the UK, I think. Today was a nice turn-out, with around 20 people.

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