Doncaster SCG £2000 Legacy Invitational Qualifier Tournament Report By Luke Sabin
So this is the first article I’ve ever written, I’ll give you a brief introduction to who I am. My name’s Luke, I’m 22 and I’ve played magic for 8 years (on and off) taking a recent break of about 3 years. The last competitive tournament I played pre-Doncaster was 2008 Nationals. I like to mess around and have fun whilst playing and never take things too seriously, but I still play to my top potential.
So having slowly been drawn back to Magic, a weekend with a bunch of old friends seemed a good idea, Legacy is a format I never explored in my previous Magic career, but not wanting to touch Standard with a barge pole, and not having the cards for Modern, Legacy seemed the obvious choice.
I started doing a bit of research in to what deck I thought was the coolest, had fun interactions and would be enjoyable to play. Sam Black’s “The Walking Dead” was the first deck to stand out to me, I’ve never really had a set play style in Magic, I’ve danced between Control, Tempo and Aggro so I can generally pick up whatever I like the look of.
Sam’s deck has mad synergy and a ridiculous amount of utility and reach. It has difficult decisions to make which make the deck challenging and enjoyable to play, most people just look at it like “wow you play a bunch of zombies and punch your opponent, then sac your board to kill them, seems good bro” but in fact the way you sequence your turns is horrendously important to your success with the deck.
Playing Looting correctly is a huge part of the deck, it really is such a superb card in this archetype. You also need to make various decisions on wrecking your opponents hand and what’s the best way to do it with value, and another challenge with the deck is working out what you do and don’t side in, the deck is so synergistic you really need to know what your plan is against certain decks and stick to it.
So here’s the list I ran…
I’m not going to go into a huge amount of theorycrafting behind the deck because the fact is, I didn’t build it. It does what it says on the tin and has some brilliant interactions. Deck picked, off we go to Doncaster!
Round 1 – Stoneblade Miracle Helm
So pairings are up, I sit down for my first round. I met the chap I was playing on the Saturday whilst watching the Vintage, he was a really cool guy called Levi from London (hails from Melbourne originally). Levi was running the Stoneforge Mystic/Terminus/Entreat the Angels/Rest in Peace/Helm of Obedience.dec, which is quite a rough matchup for me, tl;dr main board Rest in Peace is bad for me.
Game 1, wasn’t exciting, I mulled to 5, done what I could making some pressure with Bloodghast and Carrion Feeder, only drew 2 lands, all in all didn’t have much to run with. He Swords to Plowshares my Feeder, makes a Rest In Peace, turn 4 Helm of Obedience and I just lose having no main deck answers.
Game 2, I side in Disenchant and O-Ring etc etc. I have a solid start picking apart his hand, I actually drew running Tidehollow Scullers for 3 turns (after having 1 in my opener). The game to’s and fro’s a bit to a point where I have 3 Scullers on beatdown mode with a majority of his hand underneath them. He spins Sensei’s Divining Top and chuckles to himself, untaps makes Detention Sphere targeting…
I top deck Thoughtseize and cast it, planning my turn ahead. It was supposed to go something like this, I have 4 mana untapped, cast Thoughtseize, take Spell Pierce, cast O-Ring on Detention Sphere putting fatal on board and take his Force, in a moment of madness for some reason I choose the Force of Will with Thoughtseize then just run out my O-Ring thinking it would play out as I actually sequenced it in my head, ignoring the fact for some odd reason I said Force of Will, not Spell Pierce, so he Pierces my O-Ring and I scoop.
I’m not going to lie I was pretty bummed, that’s an idiotic thing to do but people that know me will agree I’m a pretty happy go lucky guy, silly things happen and I know I’m a tight enough player to put it down to a moment of madness and pick myself up for the rest of the Tournament.
Round 2 – Aggro Loam
So I sit down, got chatting to my opponent who was another really cool guy. He was running Aggro Loam with Punishing Fire which is a horrid matchup for me unless I get Bombardment online and grind the game out.
Game 1, I messed his hand up so hard he spent a million turns casting Life From the Loam targeting cycle lands and trying to dig for a win condition. Eventually he finds a Countryside Crusher but I’m ahead on board with 3 Bloodghasts in the bin, a bunch of Lingering Souls tokens and a Bombardment.
Game 2, I side in Dark Confidants, Leyline and 1 Disenchant (he’s playing Mox Diamond, Seismic Assault, sided in his own Leyline and Pithing Needle). He opens with Leyline, I never get going and lose, pretty how much some games go without drawing relevant cards.
Game 3, I basically back him into a corner where he’s having to Punishing Fire all my guys (mainly Bloodghasts and Gravecrawlers) he taps out to make a Terravore and casts Loam in his turn whilst he has Punishing Fire in his hand.
I manage to Swords the Terravore and make a Tidehollow Sculler saccing it with it’s trigger on the stack to Bombardment to get rid of that Punishing Fire full stop (I didn’t want to run the risk of getting Krosan Gripped and him getting that punishing fire back, the 2 damage wasn’t relevant given the board state so it seemed the right choice), from there I make some dorks and beat him up, the hand disruption and pressure was too much for him that game.
Round 3 – Stoneblade
I played vs a guy who wasn’t a particularly tight player but just managed to stomp me with Batterskull 2 games in a row. He managed to blank my Therapy with Brainstorm after he Stoneforged for a Batterskull (he drew the brainstorm after I Thoughtseized him) and dumped a Batterskull on my face and beat me up with it. Game 2 he just makes Batterskull and gives it a Sword of Feast and Famine which was actually main board (it seems a number of people decided to main Sword of FaF due to the amount of Jund that was kicking around) and I have no interactions other than dieing.
Round 4 – UW Delver
The guy I’m playing seems really cool, we have a laugh before the game and off we go. He’s playing U/W Delver with loads of tempo.
Game 1, he comes out of the blocks hard and fast, flipping a Delver of Secrets, making a Stoneforge Mystic and fetching Sword of FAF (more main deck Swords, fml.) He then casts another Delver. At this point I have a Deathrite, a Bombardment, a Carrion Feeder on the board and Bloodghast and Gravecrawler in hand. So naturally I topdeck Faithless Looting like a boss, ditch my dorks and do some tricks with Landfall and casting Gravecrawler lots to obliterate his board position with Bombardment. He never gets back in the game.
Game 2, I side in Bob, Swords and Disenchant. We have a really really boring game, He has loads of action and 2 lands, I have loads of land and no action. I essentially Thoughtseize his Stoneforge and he kind’ve durdled around for a few turns trying to build his manabase. He Stoneforges for a Batterskull, then does some Brainstorming and cantripping while I just make some lands. He gets to 5 mana, I wait for the hardcast Batterskull, but he just passes, turns out he Brainstormed it away woop woop.
I get to the point of having a resolved Bombardment and a Tidehollow Skuller, while he has Rest In Peace on the board with 2 Daze and a Stifle in hand (At this point I have all the mana producing lands in my deck already in play, Daze isn’t so hot). I draw a Disenchant, smash his Rest in Peace, cast a Gravecrawler and ping him for 5 recasting the Crawler and sacing it with Bombardment. Next turn he does nothing, I swing for 4 then ping him for 9, games over.
Round 5 – POX
Game 1, I had no idea what the hell I was playing against when I Thoughtseized him. He reveals Swamp x3, Cursed Scroll, Hymn to Tourach, Inquisition of Kozilek and an Innocent Blood. I have no idea what he’s running but I take the Scroll as the majority of his hand is actually good for me.
Anyway he Hymns me, I ditch Bloodghast and Lingering Souls, unfortunately though he drew running Wastelands, so I spend most the game on 1 mana while hes on 7, but he never really did anything, he had a Liliana of the Veil but that’s about it, and that’s so bad vs me. Eventually I get some lands and go mad with Bloodghasts and Lingering Souls and he dies.
Game 2, he admits to me he’s playing pox, I thought it was some weird control deck, but yeah either way this matchup is just such a blowout for me, he cannot physically beat me unless I get totally mana screwed. He basically Smallpoxed me twice and I just discarded Bloodghast and Lingering Souls again, then he proceeded to lose very quickly as he gains no advantage from his discard.
Round 6 – Esper Stoneblade
I play vs Esper Stoneblade, this game was completely boring. I wreck his hand game 1 and punch him with dorks. game 2 he has no Rest In Peace so brings in Humility and Moat out of the board. He makes Moat, I have 4 Spirits to beat him up with, I put him to 8, 2 him with Deathrite Shaman, throw it with Bombardment, sac Bloodghast, make Fetch land, repeat, throw Spirits at him. Dead.
At this point I go out for a smoke and speak to Mark about decks that are 4-2, He mentioned Stu Taylor was running Storm, so we discussed sideboard options and hand disruption targets, I’m feeling good about going 5-2 to top 16 and cash, so here we go.
Round 7 – Tendrils Wish Storm
I’m playing vs a really nice Irish dude, we have a chat before the game and get down to business. Ironically he’s playing storm (the sentence above wasn’t completely irrelevant), so I kind of know whats going on.
Game 1, I mull to 5 and keep a 2x Thoughtseize 2 x Cabal Therapy hand (which turned out to be amazing vs him), my land was a Bayou however. Anyway I mess his hand up, he does nothing for 7 turns, I do nothing for 7 turns as I dont draw a land, he kills me.
Game 2, he mulligans to 4, I mess up his hand, I kill him.
Game 3, was quite interesting, we actually got to play Magic, I open on Deathrite Shaman, he Abrupt Decays it, we then go back and forth trading hand disruptions spells for Brainstorms etc etc. It gets to turn 3 and he goes for it, I thought he was going to go on the Burning Wish for Empty The Warrens plan as I knew his hand and he didn’t have much business, I’m holding Zealous Persecution so I’m fine with the goblins.
Anyway he cracks his Lion’s Eye Diamond for blue whilst maintaining priority after Burning Wish, he goes and gets Diminishing Returns and I have a “WTF” moment when I’m reading it. Apparently my face was an absolute picture whilst reading the card.
So he essentially resets the game, I’m feeling pretty good as he has like U/RR/B floating, and I’ve Surgical Extractioned all his Infernal Tutrs. He makes some mana, BBB RRRR to be precise, uses his 1 blue floating and Brainstorms, the 2nd card he see’s off the Brainstorm is Burning Wish so he Duress‘s me, see’s a clear path and Wishes to kill me exactly with Tendrils of Agony.
I wanted to be gutted about it but the fact is I had so much respect for him going balls deep on Diminishing Returns and watching him go off with it I was actually quite content at the end of the game.
Adam (the guy playing storm) hungout with us for quite a while after, and unfortunately he came 17th (LOL) so no cash for him, but he was a brilliant dude. I asked why he played storm, his answer was “I have no one to test play with” He then points at a Silence in his deck and says “This basically says I can goldfish my deck and it’s actually testing” I particularly enjoyed that quote.
All in all Legacy is amazing and I had so much fun returning to Magic, the deck was brilliant and I don’t doubt that the day could’ve been different if I could actually say Spell Pierce instead of Force of Will like I planned too, but I had a brilliant time and will definitely be playing Legacy again soon.
Special mention for Mark’s bonerific 4th place making 200 smackers, and a thanks to Dave Fry, Rory Fox, Andy Rouse, Matt Langfield and Paul McGleish for a rad weekend, it’s always great to see old faces and hang out!