On the first of February there was a monthly Legacy tournament at Manaleak. I decided that it was time to put my money where my mouth was and play a deck I’d written about. Except I chickened out a little. Having seen this article from Adam Barnello on the same day that my article was published I felt that the his build with more [card]Cloudform[/card]s and [card]Phyrexian Dreadnought[/card]s and fewer fatties could be better.
I also listened to some podcasts (especially Legacy Breakfast) and read a few articles on the updated Legacy metagame and how it seemed to have evolved since the banning of [card]Treasure Cruise[/card] a few weeks ago. I felt that with [card]Wasteland[/card] and [card]Daze[/card] getting better, maybe it was time to dust these cards off, along with my [card]Stifle[/card]s and [card]Standstill[/card]s, and play more of a Tempo game. I liked the idea of running [card]Mastery of the Unseen[/card] alongside [card]Standstill[/card] more though, so I left those in instead of switching to [card]Lightform[/card].
I did want to try the [card]Flicker[/card] approach to the deck though, so I included it in a transformative sideboard plan (I do love me a transformative sideboard).
Tempo Dreadfest, a Legacy Deck by Christopher Cooper
4 Force of Will
4 Phyrexian Dreadnought
2 Mastery of the Unseen
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Enlightened Tutor
1 Council’s Judgment
3 Sensei’s Divining Top
2 Swords to Plowshares
1 Academy Ruins
4 Flooded Strand
2 Scalding Tarm
[deck]1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
1 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
1 Garruk, Apex Predator
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Energy Flux
1 Detention Sphere
4 Momentary Blink[/deck]
I would call the above list far from optimised but I am certainly working on it.
In Round One I played against Derek Neill with Dark Maverick. I kept a turn two [card]Phyrexian Dreadnought[/card] with [card]Stifle[/card] backup on the play into turn three [card]Standstill[/card] and got greedy when he resolved a turn two [card]Knight of the Reliquary[/card]. I managed to forget that [card]Maze of Ith[/card] is a card. When his Knight found it and then started boosting itself by +2/+2 each turn, I was in more than a little trouble and ended up breaking the Standstill before losing in short succession.
Against a fair deck like this I felt that I wanted to go for the sideboard plan. My Tempo strategy was unlikely to severely inconvenience him but would he have enough removal to deal with my big threats?
I kept a hand that had [card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/card], [card]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/card], [card]Momentary Blink[/card] and a [card]Cloudform[/card] along with some land. I felt that this hand should be able to do enough to drop a big threat, flicker it and take over the game. The Top quickly found me an [card]Omniscience[/card] that I was able to manifest under the [card]Cloudform[/card]. I then had to wait until my next turn to have the mana to flicker it, at which point he [card]Thoughtseize[/card]d me and took my [card]Momentary Blink[/card] and played [card]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/card].
I had to dig a little to try to find a land (including failing to find when I cast an [card]Enlightened Tutor[/card] just to get the shuffle effect) and was a turn too slow to find my fifth thanks in part to a [card]Wasteland[/card] and then a [card]Deathrite Shaman[/card] who ate my [card]Momentary Blink[/card]. I then lost a few turns later, with the [card]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/card] still in my hand waiting for the [card]Omniscience[/card] to come in.
I then came up against Steve Barton with his Merfolk deck. An early [card]Aether Vial[/card] from Steve followed immediately by a [card]Standstill[/card] led to a familiar feeling from the first game, and I went with the same post-board plan as against Derek.
Unfortunately, a similar series of results saw me trading resources with him to try to deny him tempo until his sheer critical mass came to bear against my limited 2/2 blockers and saw the same result. So far so bad for the new experimental deck.
I did have some good news in round three though, of a sort. I got my first match win! Hooray! Except it was a bye. Boooo! But it did mean that I got a chance to look at what else was going on in the tournament, see who was on what and what other spicy tech was out there that I could steal for future ideas.
The fourth round saw me paired against Legacy Breakfast’s very own Stuart Pullin, who was on UWr Miracles. This was the sort of deck I was after. A long, slow durdle of a deck that if I stick a threat could cause serious problems.
I yet again had the unfortunate situation where I had to break my own [card]Standstill[/card], after an “in response” [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card] your dude, make [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] proved a little troublesome. However, I managed to stabilise from it relatively quickly with [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card] who allowed me to start refilling my own hand before meeting a [card]Council’s Judgment[/card].
After a few turns of going back and forth with [card]Counterspell[/card]ing each other’s tentative spells, I finally decided to try to land [card]Cloudform[/card]. An unsuccessful [card]Counterbalance[/card] trigger allowed it to resolve and I started making threats. A natural [card]Phyrexian Dreadnought[/card] off the top gave me a rather sizeable threat, but I decided against flipping it straight away as it wouldn’t be the killing blow. Instead I waited a turn and manifested another creature thanks to a second [card]Cloudform[/card], allowing me to represent 14 damage with Stu on 14.
The hexproof that the [card]Cloudform[/card] provided proved highly relevant as it made a pair of [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card] rot in Stu’s hand, but [card]Terminus[/card] from [card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/card] (SDT) during my attack step sent my creatures away. A follow up of a pair of [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]s saw me off in a rather quick succession.
Here was a chance for my sideboard plan to really shine. This is the sort of deck that my plan of making a bunch of 2/2s for 4 could shine, and I would have plenty of time to do so. I landed a quick [card]Mastery of the Unseen[/card] after using a [card]Counterbalance[/card] (with SDT already out) as bait for his [card]Force of Will[/card]. I quickly found [card]Omniscience[/card] and set it up to manifest and followed that up with manifested [card]Academy Ruins[/card]. Again, a pair of [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]s stymied my plans and we faced off for a few turns until I found [card]Momentary Blink[/card].
It was at this point that Stu decided to move in and start attacking with his mages, I was starting to make a lot more creatures and was going to be close to overwhelming him if he didn’t deal with things sooner rather than later. The turn before he had made [card]Engineered Explosives[/card] on 2, which would nail my [card]Mastery of the Unseen[/card] but also take out the Snapcasters and his own [card]Counterbalance[/card]. Very awkward, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
I decided to block the one mage with my manifested [card]Omniscience[/card] and the other with my other manifest in an attempt to bait the Explosives post combat, and used [card]Momentary Blink[/card] on the [card]Omniscience[/card] to prevent it from dying (RIP damage on the stack). Stu did take this opportunity to blow up all the 2-drops, following it up immediately with [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card] who fatesealed me off [card]Enlightened Tutor[/card] not knowing I had another in hand. I cast that tutor in my upkeep so that I could draw a threat, but met [card]Counterspell[/card]. I then nicely topdecked [card]Garruk, Apex Predator[/card], cast it thanks to [card]Omniscience[/card], ate the Jace and with that forced a concession from my opponent.
The third game saw Stu be half a turn ahead of me for most of the game. I managed to match his turn one SDT with one of my own, but my [card]Counterbalance[/card] fell to his [card]Force of Will[/card], then my first [card]Mastery of the Unseen[/card] met his [card]Counterspell[/card] and the second Mastery hit [card]Counterbalance[/card] off the [card]Counterbalance[/card] trigger. So I’ve quickly blown my best threats, I have to be really conservative with my [card]Cloudform[/card]s if I’m going to win this game.
Fortunately for me we both proceeded to spin our wheels a little over the next few turns, with both of us making land drops until time was called on the round. Stu kindly conceded when I eventually played an [card]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/card] on turn 4 of extra turns, scooping, he said, to the inevitability of my bombs and the enjoyment he’d got from the games. Thanks Stu!
So a final record of 2-2 without a real match win on the day didn’t show the deck in the best of lights but it did show me some weaknesses in the deck, and also some strengths. I really liked [card]Mastery of the Unseen[/card] and how that could take over a game when it went unchecked, but it was a little bit slow. I would definitely up the count of that over the [card]Cloudform[/card], which while useful with hexproof didn’t seem particularly game breaking.
I would definitely not stick with the Tempo build, it was plain not good enough. The fact that in the three games I played in that configuration I didn’t even come close to winning a game suggests it’s time to move on from that build. The “fatty” configuration fared better and I always felt that I was in the game, even if there were more moving parts and at times it was a little bit slow to get going. [card]Cloudshift[/card] instead of [card]Momentary Blink[/card] would help this too as flashback didn’t prove to be relevant at all in the games I played.
I would definitely play this deck again, albeit refined a little and with a stronger sideboard allowing a better disruption package. Having more artifact fatties and another copy of [card]Academy Ruins[/card] would be good as well, and [card]Wasteland[/card]s can be cut for more duals or even basics. I found myself colour-screwed on more than one occasion due to their inability to tap for coloured mana.
However, it was an absolute blast to play, and I am considering taking it to the next Manaleak monthly Legacy tournament on the first of March, which is a Win-a-Dual. It’d be great to see some of you there.
Bonus Section: Metagame breakdown from Manaleak Monthly Legacy Tournament 1/2/2015
UWr Miracles x2
Death and Taxes
Green Chalice Stompy
Top 4 were: Dredge, Green Chalice Stompy, UWr Tempo and ANT.
Community Question: How or at what point do you decide that your home brew is ready for tournament play? (1. FNM, 2. Monthly Event, 3. PPTQ)
Thanks for reading,