Just very recently in the city of Plymouth, we have had a plethora of eternal events, with two Modern events and a Legacy event. Unfortunately my records in the first Modern and Legacy event at Antics were quite low (2-2 in Modern with UW Tron, and quite horrifically being smashed by a Blood Moon and Price of Progress in Legacy when I was playing Lands.dec), I decided to enter the latest Legacy event at the Giants Lair, with the top prize to be a choice between a Badlands or a Wasteland. As a good friend actually needs Badlands, I thought I’d give it a go to win it with some popular deck.
This is the deck I was prepared to sleeve up on the day:
Main deck (60):
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Force of Will
3 Spell Snare
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Forked Bolt
1 Sensei’s divining top
3 Volcanic Island
3 Tropical Island
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Scalding Tarn
Just a quick explanation on the 4 Skinshifters. Simply they were a replacement for Tarmogoyf. Considering I did not own/think I could borrow any, they looked like they could fill the roll of it (although mana intensive). Luckily, another good friend was happy to lend me 4 Goyfs to play.
The tournament had 11 people, so there were four rounds in order to achieve my goal.
Round 1: Les Harvey (Zoo)
Game 1. I won the roll (he rolled a grand total of 4 off of 3 dice, so it wasn’t hard), and started with the usual start with RUG Delver of Tropical Island, Delver. However this was matched by a Goblin Guide revealing a Spell Snare. At least that meant my Delver-fu was strong, as it flipped and beat in. A few turns later Les had three Goblin Guides and a Kird Ape matching a Goyf and Insectile Aberration. A few counter spells to stop his removal and a Bolt for his Kird Ape was enough for the Delver to get there just before he could draw any burn to kill me.
I sided in the Counterbalances, as it’s always nice to counter all of their 1 drops, siding out the Forked Bolts (they rarely killed anything relevant) and Sensei’s Divining Top (I was unimpressed with it all day. In future builds it probably will be taken out of the main deck). I was considering the Blue Elemental Blasts, but I felt that I couldn’t cut any other cards.
Game 2 was much more simple. An early Goblin Guide hit me down for 3 turns, although I landed a turn 1 Delver with turn 2 Counterbalance. A minor mistake by me almost let his Goyf resolve through the Counterbalance, and I felt it should have resolved, but Les was incredibly kind and let me Force of Will it, which unfortunately cost him the game. Next turn I resolved a Tarmogoyf of my own and the two buddies went all the way. One match down, two to go.
Round 2: Tim Power (Jund)
The reaction that I heard when this pairing was called was “Oh ****”. This round was against the good man who lent me half the deck, and unfortunately for him we have tested the match up a lot and it is horrific for him. He is playing a Jund brew of his own that he’s been testing.
Boarding in, the main deck is so good for this match up the only card I sided in was one Surgical Extraction (for his Punishing Fires combo) for the Sensei’s Divining Top.
Game 2 became incredibly grindy. Early beats got him down to 9, however he was able to stabilise with a Kitchen Finks and a Slagstorm. He gets a Grove of the Burnwillows and a Punishing Fire and starts grinding down my life total until I drew a Surgical Extraction…. when I was on 2 life. I paid the two life to speed up my demise and to go to game 3.
Game 3 was much faster. I got a Nimble Mongoose in play early, and after a Brainstorm in response to an Inquisition of Kozilek, my hand was: Nimble mongoose, Nimble Mongoose, Delver of Secrets, Daze with a Tarmogoyf and a Lightning Bolt on top of my deck. With all of these, I was able to dispatch a Grim Lavamancer and swing for lethal a few turns later.
Round 3 Dave Key (Burn)
Game 1 I lost the roll, as he suspended a Rift Bolt turn 1. I played a Delver, although I could have played a Nimble Mongoose, hoping to bait out a spell. The Rift Bolt was aimed at Delver, thus saving myself three life. In this match up, every counter spell is essentially a Healing Salve. The match was generally uninteresting, with Flame Rifts and Lightning Bolts flying at my face, however when both of us were at 7 life, me having a 1/1 Nimble Mongoose and a 4/5 Tarmogoyf in play, I was able to Wasteland my own land (it feels strange running no basic lands) to gain Threshold and swing for game.
Fairly simple sideboarding, siding in all the Counterbalances and Blue Elemental Blast, siding out the Forked Bolts, Sensei’s Divining Top and a couple of Bolts.
Game 2 followed a similar vein. I landed a few creatures that had either shroud/were too large to kill, and I was able to cast Healing Salve after Healing Salve (or Blue Elemental Blasts and Spell Snares) to stop myself from dying, ending the game on 6 life.
After this, it was onto the finals.
Round 4: John Partridge (Esper Stoneblade)
As we were the only people on 3-0, we decided to ID, considering he wanted the Wasteland and I wanted the Badlands. However, we decided to play for glory to find out who would go undefeated.
Game 1 was fairly straightforward and after playing a few threats, we had a counter war over his Stoneforge Mystic. He may have won the counter-battle, but he did not win the war as I Stifled it’s come-into-play trigger, allowing him to have a nice Squire. From here, I just beat in until he was on 0 life.
I made a major mistake when sideboarding. I sided in the Ancient Grudge (during testing we found a single Sword of Fire and Ice is able to win the game against this deck) and the Blasts. After drawing my initial seven I realised my mistake. Here is how I was thinking at the time.
“Ah, I have a Blast in hand. Now I can easily deal with Jace. Yup, Blue Elemental Blast to deal with the blue spell. Huh…”.
I sided in the wrong Blasts in a bit of haste, giving me two blank cards in the deck.
Game 2. During the second game he landed a turn 4 Jace. This would normally not be a problem, but the three copies of Lingering Souls he had cast (and eventually flashbacked) were. After a few turns of him Fatesealing me, and me finally reaching Threshold, I was able to get a board of Nimble Mongoose, Nimble Mongoose and Tarmogoyf against 4 spirits. “Yes, two turns and I can hit Jace”.
He then proceeded to cast another Lingering Souls. After 4 turns of him chump blocking, and Jace being on about 9 counters (I flung a Bolt at him so he didn’t ultimate), I asked his life total. From 18, I looked at his board of no creatures and my board of 11 power’s of creatures, I just beat in at his face. Dropping him to 7, he had to start using Jace’s -1 ability to not die, and a few turns later (and two Swords to Plowshares against my Goyfs), he was on 3 and I drew a Bolt, drawing the concession from him.
Although I did not lose a match during the day, since me and John ID’d, he was top of the standings on the Swiss. However, in the end he was willing to say I beat him. Final thoughts on the deck. There is a reason why this is seen as one of the best decks in Legacy. It takes little effort to be able to play it, and if you get the correct list you can easily crush the average deck. The only change I’d make to the list I ran would be to remove the single Sensei’s Divining Top from the main deck and add a spell such as Spell Pierce.
All in all, the tournament was a lot of fun for everyone. I love the Legacy format in it’s diversity and to top it off, the store supplied me with a blooming nice burger. It was a fun and delicious day :D