Manifesting the Dream – A Look at Manifest in Legacy (Deck Tech) by Christopher Cooper

Manifesting the Dream – A Look at Manifest in Legacy (Deck Tech) by Christopher Cooper

Those of you who read my Descendants’ Path article a while back will know that there’s nothing I like better than doing great big silly things. The new Manifest mechanic is something that lets me do this.

This sadly isn’t one of my usual budget articles. I wanted to try to make that happen, but unfortunately the best enablers are all a little expensive for it. As I want to try and make this as strong as possible, this is a full-blooded, no holds barred Legacy deck.

Manifester, a Legacy deck by Christopher Cooper

Write into Being
Sensei’s Divining Top
Enlightened Tutor
Force of Will
Momentary Blink
Blightsteel Colossus
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Massacre Wurm
Phyrexian Dreadnought
Sundering Titan
Day of the Dragons
Mastery of the Unseen
Garruk, Apex Predator
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Academy Ruins
Ancient Tomb
Flooded Strand
Scalding Tarn


Rest in Peace
Engineered Explosives
Underground Sea
Ethersworn Canonist
Leyline of Sanctity
Detention Sphere
Mastery of the Unseen

How it works

This deck has many ways of manipulating the top of our library, so that we can Manifest one of our ridiculously big beasties onto the battlefield face down. We then use a blink effect to temporarily exile our Manifested creature, turning it face up, then as long as it’s a permanent card, it will return to the battlefield face up. From this point on, you can probably figure out what we need to do to win.

write into being


There are four of the cards which grant Manifest that I considered for these slots: Cloudform, Mastery of the Unseen, Soul Summons and Write into Being. Of these I feel that Soul Summons, despite being the cheapest in terms of mana cost, is the weakest of the four, because it doesn’t provide protection to the creature, it is not re-usable, and it does not provide any form of card selection by itself. The other three options all have one of these advantages to them.

ugin 8 mana

The Big Fatty Fat Fats

I want to be bonkers. I want the biggest, fattest things available to us. In the spirit of trying new things, lets go really big.

Where there’s Ugin, it would be unflavourful for us to exclude his nemesis, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker. And of course we’ve got to use yet another ridiculous planeswalker in Standard, Garruk, Apex Predator.

Let’s throw in a few creatures too. Blightsteel Colossus, Phyrexian Dreadnought, and Sundering Titan, are all game winners in their various ways and are all artifacts (more on this later). Phyrexian Dreadnought in particular is a great creature to Manifest, as we don’t need to do anything else to do to get it face up once it’s Manifested. Paying its mana cost of one colourless mana for a 12/12 trampler certainly feels like a bargain. Cloudform is an especially nice combo with the Dreadnought.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is generally the go-to guy for having big things that eat people, so we’ll include him as well, and Massacre Wurm is a big beating against creature decks like Goblins, Elves or Young Pyromancer/Delver of Secrets decks.

Our final little bits of spice are both enchantments. Omniscience is a card seen quite often in this kind of deck. It allows us to go over the top of needing our Manifest engine and just cast our big things. Day of the Dragons allows for some really silly plays. It lets us turn all of our 2/2 Manifests into 5/5s, and then upcycle them further if we need to by flickering the Day of the Dragons to get back the original Manifestations.

I wanted to keep this original version of the deck with mostly one-ofs, as there are a lot of cards that I wanted to try out for the deck that could all do cool things. After all, if you don’t know what you’re doing, how can your opponent prepare for it?

enlightened tutor

The Tutor

Enlightened Tutor is the glue that holds this deck together. It can find:

– artifact creatures for us to Manifest, i.e. Phyrexian Dreadnought, Sundering Titan and Blightsteel Colossus. This also puts them on the top of our library ready and raring to go.

Omniscience and Day of the Dragons. More good stuff to Manifest.

Mastery of the Unseen and Cloudform, so we can Manifest our creatures.

Counterbalance, so we can set up CounterTop lock (there will be no sweeter feeling than flipping Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker to counter Dig Through Time, trust me on this).

– sideboard options. This gives us access to a “Tutorboard” in the sideboard, a selection of one-ofs that can have narrower applications than some sideboard cards would otherwise have, but is very powerful in that specific matchup. To name a few, we have Rest in Peace, Engineered Explosives and Detention Sphere.

jace the mind sculptor

The Deck Manipulation

These cards all let us put cards from our hand back on top of our deck to Manifest or fix the top of our deck to make sure what we want to Manifest is in the right place at the right time. With Brainstorm and Jace, the Mind Sculptor we can do this by putting the card we want to Manifest on the top of (or one card down in) our library. Sensei’s Divining Top plus fetch lands lets us see so much of our deck, so that we can draw/Manifest the right thing at the right time and our final manipulative card, Write into Being, can give a small amount of immediately filtering to make sure that there’s something that we can hit.

In fact, the beauty of the deck is that in fact we can afford to miss occasionally on our Manifests. If we just need a creature to start applying some pressure, then we have a huge supply of them. I really like Mastery of the Unseen against control heavy decks, as if we manage to make one stick, then we’ve got a ready stream of attackers for the rest of the game.


These are the cards that make our little dudes into the big beefcakes that win us the game. Momentary Blink is a little more expensive mana wise, but this is a little off point as if we’ve had enough mana to Manifest something, then we’ve got the mana to cast Momentary Blink next turn. The Flashback on it is a big deal as this creates huge virtual card advantage, which is something we need when we’re piling our resources into so few threats (albeit some of the best threats in the business).

Other Stuff

We do need some protection. As you may have noticed we have a large amount of Blue stuff in the deck. Why is this? Why, Force of Will of course. This allows us to protect our Manifestations and force them through to let them get to work, as well as protecting us from big bombs from opponents. Counterbalance is a tutorable one-of that can help with this and can be game breaking in the right matchup.

Academy Ruins

Academy Ruins is the final card I want to talk about individually as the rest of the manabase is fairly self explanatory. One of our best Manifest targets is Phyrexian Dreadnought, which is very weak to Abrupt Decay, as are all of the Manifest targets when they’re face down. Academy Ruins lets us recycle them to the top of the library where they’re primed for re-Manifestation, or even to work with Counterbalance. It also allows us to get back Engineered Explosives out of the sideboard.

Community Question: What is your favourite big thing to cheat into play and how do you like to do it?

What is your favourite big thing to cheat into play and how do you like to do it

Thanks for reading,

Christopher Cooper

Please let us know what you think below...

Visit our Manaleak online store for the latest Magic: the Gathering singles, spoilers, exclusive reader offers, sales, freebies and more!

Magic The Gatherig Freebies Giveaways