It has been a while since I’ve played any competitive magic, least of all the Legacy format. The beauty of Legacy is that interactions that you have practiced with over the years remain in the format, but new bombs float in and wreck the meta.
I had built up Dredge, and I was pretty happy with it, but I was completely blind to the meta, and didn’t know how much graveyard hate there was going to be; a double edged sword with dredge, an amazingly powerful list game one, but can be a fizzle machine later on. When I got to the tournament I got talking to everyone there, and the atmosphere was terrific (If you’re reading this and you haven’t played at Manaleak in Worcester, go!). I met Aaron Biddle, a fantastic Magic player whom I am convinced will be holding DCI stamped trophies very soon, who talked me through the meta, and his father loaned me Painter’s Servant, a solid combo list. Boarded up with silver bullets in the side, I set to sling some paint.
Round 1 – Sleigh.
Although I maintain a position that red Sleigh is a non-competitive deck, it shows real problems for Painter because of its large amount of removal. In game one, I played Painter’s Servant out on turn one with an Ancient Tomb. The Painter ate Chain Lightning, and I then switched to “Let’s see his list” knowing that game 1 would be hard, but 2 and 3 I could board in Chalice of the Void which I had in the side, expecting Hive Mind. [editor’s note: I’m not sure Chalice works how you think against Hive Mind…]
I lost to quick beats this game, but then played two swift games; playing Chalice for 1, then another for 2 (lucky!) in game 2, finishing with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn both games using Show and Tell as the beef train.
Round 2 – Merfolk.
Merfolk is one of my favourite decks, and usually the strongest incarnation of it is seen in nearly every top 8. I baited out one of my Grindstones game 1, followed by a Sensei’s Divining Top, both ate counter magic and I started to talk about how strong Counter-top was. I then used Goblin Welder to trade a Great Furnace for my Stone, and played the Painter, followed by a Lion’s Eye Diamond, as I Mike Long’d my way to game 2.
Round 3 – StandSeal.
On table two, and seeing Pernicious Deed destroy my chances of winning first game, I sided in my transformational sideboard and smashed back with a timed Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on the back of an Intuition. Game three was the action, and I decided that I had to be the beatdown – no way was I going to control a deck running Jace, the Mind Sculpter, Deeds and Counterspell as possibly the weakest slot (that’s how strong the build was, and this matchup is bad for Painter).
Joe who, later, rightfully went on to win the tourny, crushed me like an insect; for those who need more detail: “no”, “no”, “no”, “no”, “no”, “no”, “Jace?”, *sound of my cards sweeping into my deck*.
Round 4 – Standard Still.
This game ended much like the last, Standard Still (using Stoneforge Mystic, Batterskull, the standard blue counter package with Jace, the Mind Sculpter), piloted by Aaron Biddle, crushed me both games. I made allot of mistakes this game, feeling pretty poo over drawing Jace deck wins again, some that I shall own up to; such as playing a Show and Tell and then Emrakul with Jace on the board. Still, this matchup out the way, and with most people on six points, I needed a win to scoop top 8.
Round 5 – BW Control.
BW Control has been a mainstay since Legacy broke from the hip of Vintage. It has had little success at top8’ing but iterations such as ‘The Gate’ and ‘Reanimator’ use the same base. This match was really, really close. BWC had Vindicate, Hymn to Tourach, and Mishra’s Factory acting as Destroy, Disrupt and Clock or ‘Green Lantern’ as it was called back in the day.
I won one game, with a manipulation of Top and Intuition, hiding and seeking to combo off, but lost a game to a mixture of two clocks and a miss-noted life total.
Game three was by far the most interesting game of the tournament, with the result coming down to every life point making a difference. I was on 10 with 12 damage on the board over 3 turns. I got Duress to the face, and I had Intuition in hand, and a Show and Tell. I topped in response, moving a Brainstorm to top slot and using the draw and deny ability to get the storm. I then played Intuiton, getting Emrakul, Brainstorming and putting the show and tell on top. The Duress resolved and I showed Emrakul, and went on to play tell, to block damage to 1 life over the next two turns and race to top 8.
This game was rather nostalgic as most of the cards in play over the two games were in Tempest Standard. I had to use a Force on a Runed Halo, and then an Enlightened Tutor was played shortly before Grindstone was in play, getting rid of another. Painter came down and the Enchantress had no answers, so I go 1 up.
Game two was rather drawn out, due to both of us not hitting what we wanted. A combo of Grindstone, Sensei’s Divining Top and Goblin Welder allowed me to mill dead parts of my deck and kill the Enchantress deck before stage 3.
Game one was fairly passive: I played Painters, meeting heavy resistance from the deck’s vast array of counters. Force of Will stung and Remand was like salt lick to a wound. Over a long drawn out game, we made stage 3 and and I tried to push Intuition to try and finish up. Tide played Cunning Wish and fetched Surgical Extraction to hit my Stone after the Intuition had resolved: game over.
Game two was a turn 2 it’s all over affair, and I was happy with 8th place so I kept: Painter’s Servant, City of Traitors, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Grindstone and Mox Opal after a mull to 6. I cringed and stuck, making a really big deal out of how awkward the hand was, and it was – it would be first turn kill if I were able to draw into artifact land, but I was on the play. Tide played fetch land, and when I untapped and topped a Seat of the Synod I had a feeling of terror and irony. I played down and there was no Force, so I got a game back.
Game three happened much the same, turn three Grind to death, but I kept because I thought that tide would keep a Forceless hand, thinking this couldn’t happen twice. It did, and I rather unfairly preceded to the quarterfinals, even though I think Tide deserved to be there, and I knew Tide would kill Jace, a sure finalist.
Joe and I met again in the finals, and after my round 3 tanning, I was rather disheartened. I must make it very clear now that the Jace deck was not cheap. By that I mean that the victory was not in the match-up. The matchup was bad, but in both the Swiss and finals, both of us were cringing at many points, and Joe definitively played better magic during the finals. The highlight of the game was 4 Force of Wills on the board in response to a killing Servant – the Painter did not have a hope, and the original Spell Snare that started off the fuss resolved.
Usually it is the winner that writes tournament reports, however I had a great time playing and I must say, Manaleak.com‘s mtgUK community is great. The play was solid, and there was very few poorly constructed decks; saying that the atmosphere welcoming and I feel my play got tighter over the day because of the relaxed atmosphere and the great Magic. I would highly recommend showing up and playing.
Thanks for reading,
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