Preparing for Legacy at SCG Con
At the beginning of next month I am going to be going to SCG Con. While the entire event sounds amazing with tons of great tournaments, activities, and attractions for lovers of Magic, there is one specific reason I will be going: To qualify for the 10k cube draft tournament.
I love cubing, and getting to play a sanctioned cube tournament? That sounds perfect. The tournament is an 8-player single-elimination event, which you qualify for by coming in 1st or 2nd in 1 of 4 qualifier events. Fortunately for me, one of these is Legacy, so I get to play my favorite format to qualify for a tournament of my second favorite format!
While I have been playing a reasonable amount of Legacy over the past few months, I haven’t been able to go to any events due to my busy schedule over the past few months. Due to this, I haven’t been playing with any particular goal in mind. With this coming up, though, now I have focus, and I want to test extensively for the event. More so, I want to write about my testing process, so that’s what i’ll be starting to do this week.
To begin with, these are the decks that i’m heavily considering for the event:
UW Delver Blade
Azorius and Grixis decks are the two color combinations I am most interested in at the moment. I think the tools these decks have access to are very effective in Legacy at the moment, and the overall game plan of each of these lines up well with my interests. I want to test both ends of the fair spectrum in those colors and see what I end up liking more.
I will start with the deck I have been playing for the last few weeks, UW Delver Blade:
I am predisposed to liking Stoneforge Mystic decks. Having access to both a strong proactive and reactive plan is very appealing to me, and it allows a lot of versatility in executing a game plan. Adding Delver into the mix pushes the proactive plan even further, and i’d rather plan on applying pressure than answering everything my opponents play.
So what did I like about this deck?
Playing Delver of Secrets is always a solid strategy in Legacy. Some of this deck is at odds with the Delver + Daze game plan (see my last article for more on that), but simply having it in the deck helps a lot against many different decks.
While most Stoneblade decks in Legacy have leaned on Counterspell and Supreme Verdict to contain opponent’s game plans, this has 2 issues that have always left me somewhat displeased with the way the deck was constructed:
- Stoneblade is in many ways a tap out control deck. Stoneforge Mystic into True-Name Nemesis is a powerful curve which can definitely take over games. Finding the time to hold open 2-mana for Counterspell, or effectively resolve a Verdict without ruining the deck’s game plan can be difficult.
- Legacy is a really diverse and powerful format. Planning on reacting to everything the opponent does is difficult, and can often lead to having answers that either don’t line up very well, or are far too slow for the situation
Considering these two points, adding Delver and Daze to the deck makes the deck function better in Legacy, I think. While a Daze-centric plan is dis-synergistic with the Jace part of the deck, the same was true of Verdict and the Creature part of traditional Stoneblade. The equipment-based game plan that Stoneforge Mystic provides works well with having access to 4 additional 1-mana creatures, and that can lead to a more consistent game plan.
Regarding point 2, simply being able to start attacking from turn 1 helps against so many decks. You can’t effectively prepare for everything Legacy has to offer. Starting with 1 foot forward makes all the other cards in the deck a little better, and can sometimes steal games in which the rest of the hand doesn’t line up well with an opponent’s game plan. Having access to Daze can help solidify this plan while deploying threats, as well.
This deck also seems well-positioned against the top of the metagame right now. I thought Grixis Control would be a huge problem for this deck, but it’s not nearly as bad as it seemed. True-Name Nemesis is an excellent threat against them and having 10 creatures that can be played before turn 3 can mitigate the effectiveness of Diabolic Edict. On top of this, Spell Pierce is excellent at stopping their most powerful card advantage cards, which allows the deck to steal tempo relatively easily. While the equipment plan is tough in the face of Kolaghan’s Command, simply generating card advantage through Stoneforge goes a long way. My experience so far has suggested that it’s a pretty even match up but it has a lot of play to it, which is pretty much where I want to be.
Miracles doesn’t feel any different for this deck relative to traditional Stoneblade, and that’s a good thing for me. It is a really close and complicated match up, but it doesn’t feel bad by any stretch. In addition, I think i’d rather combat Miracles with Jace and Stoneforge Mystic, as opposed to Young Pyromancer and Gurmag Angler. Having the Sword of Fire and Ice in the sideboard really makes the postboard games much better, too, and I think this deck improves more postboard than Miracles does in the matchup.
As for the rest of the metagame, a lot of the top decks in Legacy are creature decks at the moment. Grixis Delver, Death and Taxes, and Death Shadow are all solid matchups for this deck, as this deck generally excels against Creature deck with Snapcaster/Swords to Plowshares and True-Name/Umezawa’s Jitte.
Even against Chalice of the Void decks, this deck has a lot of game. Having 4 basics, plus a heavy top-end that is a main part of the game plan, means that Chalice doesn’t even come close to ending the game, and Blood Moon can be played around somewhat reasonably.
Finally, the cards this deck has access to in the sideboard are excellent. Dredge has been doing extremely well in Legacy recently, and White decks have access to the best hate cards around. On top of this, it is very easy to transform out of a Delver deck in slower matchups and aim to play more of a mid range game. This is particularly good against Grixis Control, but can be used against any deck whose core plan is good against Delver of Secrets.
In general, I really liked this deck. I think it fits well into the metagame, but has a strong enough game plan to battle just about anything.
That being said, next I want to address where I had issues with the deck.
While having access to 4 Basic Lands was frequently a great asset when it came to resolving more expensive spells, occasionally it was a huge cost. Basic Plains does not work well with Daze, and not being able to cast any of the countermagic essentially makes it another colorless land to draw post-board against combo decks.
While I do think Daze makes the tap out nature of the deck more consistent, it can be truly horrible in conjunction with Jace, the Mind Sculptor. If you ever have to Daze before a threat is on board, it is a huge set back to that aspect of the deck. In addition, it can be played around more easily than other Delver decks because this deck is not always looking to use its Wastelands aggressively due to the overall higher curve.
While adding Delver and Daze does help against combo decks relative to traditional Stoneblade decks, relative to other Delver decks I felt that this deck was lacking in those matchups. Considering that traditional Stoneblade isn’t something i’m looking to play, this is at least slightly problematic.
Losing Lightning Bolt and the more hard hitting threats like Gurmag Angler makes Delver Blade much slower against all of the combo decks. The threat base, in particular, is very bad against combo. This means that there are far more cards to sideboard out than can realistically be brought in, thus making things slightly awkward.
On top of this, all of the disruption is counter magic, which can make it easier to play around. This is especially true considering that this deck is slower, which gives combo decks more time to set up against it. Due to this, I have found Storm and Reanimator to be more difficult than I anticipated.
This deck is definitely still in the running for me, despite these issues. I like the positioning and the game plan, and I don’t think these issues are beyond repair. In fact, with more testing I might even find that they aren’t as big of a problem as they seem to me right now.
If my goal was to try to fix them, I would start by trying to make Stoneforge Mystic a better card against combo, thus making it better to keep them in against combo. Sword of Feast and Famine seems like a solid start, but i’m not sure if it is good enough against anything else at the moment. I also think that this deck can take advantage of cards like Meddling Mage and Ethersworn Canonist really well, and would like to find more space for those types of hatebears.
There is only so much space I can dedicate in the sideboard to this, unfortunately. The sacrifice here might be some amount of the transformational aspect against decks like Grixis Control, which might do more harm than good. I want to see if there’s some kind of overlap than can be achieved more than just bringing in Flusterstorm against both of them. Perhaps including 2 Counterspells in the sideboard might help a bit against combo, but also give this deck more of a controlling stance against decks like Miracles and Grixis Control.
Regardless, if I had to register the deck as is tomorrow, I would be relatively happy. However, I still have more than a month, so next time let’s see how the Grixis decks treat me!
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