Squandered Resources: White and Budget Legacy
By James Heslip on May 27th, 2013 · Filed in Legacy (Type 1.5) · Comments not available just now
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May is here and so is summer. In celebration of the arrival of this sun stricken season we have an article full of decks that are of a color represented by the sun itself.
Starting us off today is a continuation of our foray into Legacy's Stompy decks. Soldier Stompy hits hard, working like a combination of traditional Stompy lists and Legacy's goblin decks to give you something truly unique.
Deck Name: Soldier Stompy
Deck Type: Aggro
Preeminent Captain + Captain of the Watch or Enlistment Officer
Chalice of the Void and Suppression Field are your hopeful turn one plays, made possible by Ancient Tomb and Chrome Mox. The chalice and its strength should be nothing new to most of you, usually being set to one to stop spells like Swords to Plowshares, Thoughtseize, Brainstorm and Lightning Bolt, to name a select few. Suppression Field may need some explaining though. The card is much more powerful than most give it credit, especially in this most recent Legacy meta. The main draw of Suppression Field is that fetch lands actually cost mana to use when it is out. This can effectively mana screw many opponents much in the same way that a Blood Moon would in Dragon Stompy. It does more than this however, as Mother of Runes, Deathrite Shaman, Grim Lavamancer, Knight of the Reliquary and any equipment's equip cost all cost mana to activate as well. This can be detrimental to many decks and their strategies. Even many rogue decks are affected. Aggro Loam having to pay mana to hit you with Seismic Assault is a great example. Phyrexian Revoker more or less plays the same role, only in nifty-difty creature form.
Working much to the same end, Soldier Stompy also runs a surprising four Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Now, a full four on any legendary card is certainly debatable, and I would not look down on anyone who would rather play three. This being said, Thalia is a very powerful and key card to this deck. The disruption provided by Thalia is something that the other Stompy decks do not have that slows your opponent down to a speed that is much easier for you to maintain. When you and your opponent are both locked into playing one to two spells per turn the player with the larger impact spells (you) will win most of the time, which means Thalia gives you a nice advantage most of the time. One nice defense for running the full play set of Thalia is the fact that she is a removal magnet. Thalia can pave the way for your higher impact creatures by eating a counter spell or removal spell in their place. Having four simply means that if you run into two at the same time, instead of one being a dead card you can think of it as your own counter spell in a way, as one "protects" the other, or another more powerful card. It is true that this will not always be the case, but Thalia will get countered or killed more often than I think she really should. Also, the new Legendary rules changes should make four a much more playable number, thank you Wizards!
After getting some disruption and soft lock cards on to the field you want to start playing your enablers. Ballyrush Banneret will more often than not be your initial enabler. Not much to him besides his surface role. Banneret makes your bigger hitters cost less, and his ability stacks. Daru Warchief serves the same purpose, but costs more and can be considered a big hitter himself, especially considering the fact that he comes with a lord buff that he gives to himself! Without question though, the most powerful enabler in the deck is Preeminent Captain. Captain is a Goblin Lackey on steroids. Not only is it not required that he actually hit your opponent before he cheats another soldier into play, but the creature that comes out does so attacking with him! He also comes as a respectable 2/2 first striker, which is only made better by the lords that can buff him when he calls them out.
Speaking of lords, this deck has three full play sets of creatures that provide a buff just for sitting on the table! We already touched on Daru Warchief, who gives a slightly larger buff to defense than most lords do. The Warchief is not alone in his endeavors though. Field Marshal gives a boost while also providing first strike to all your creatures, which is a very underrated ability as anyone who had played with Thalia can tell you. The big hitter for you in terms of lords, and really in terms of creatures in general, is Captain of the Watch. It's hot Captain on Captain action when you use Preeminent Captain to cheat Captain of the Watch into play, who brings along three of her good friends to the party as well, buffing everyone and giving them vigilance. This sort of play is extremely entertaining, and is not all too rare either. Enlistment Officer is another great creature to cheat into play, as he will find you more creatures to party down later on.
Playing against control is a strange fight to be in with this deck, as it could go either way depending on who can resolve what first. Oblivion Ring is probably your best choice to get rid of Jace. Beyond this, Armageddon is a potential bomb, but you need to really be comfortable using it. In the same vein, Winter Orb may be another good option.
For combo, as always graveyard hate is usually a must. Tormod's Crypt or Rest in Peace are probably what should be used, as any one cost spell will be inhibited by your Chalices. Leyline of Sanctity can help with storm as well as against anything that runs discard, which is usually a decent problem for Soldier Stompy considering the deck has no card selection or draw to speak of. Rule of Law is another great card that most players won't see coming that works great with Thorn of Amethyst.
Intrepid Hero can be used for some of your more fringe aggro match ups. Keep in mind he can kill an Emrakul. Along the same lines, white has Oblivion Ring. There is also plenty of artifact and enchantment destruction to choose from, Abolish being one that I have seen more so than others in this archetype. Absolute Law may or may not be needed, depending on how much RUG and Punishing Fire is in your meta. Other notable cards are Serenity, Cursed Totem and Umezawa's Jitte.
Deck Name: Mono White Tokens
Deck Type: Aggro/White Weenie
Mono White tokens is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. White has quite a few cards that produce multiple tokens, so it seems only natural that a deck that uses most or all of them exists.
Intangible Virtue or Honor of the Pure + any of your tokens
This deck functions on the idea that every card should produce two or more "cards" as a result of resolving. In this way, it can generate card advantage without ever casting a draw spell. Through this, one can fill the field with tokens, which you will buff through a variety of ways and swarm your opponent out of the game.
Your most basic token producing spells are Raise the Alarm and Gather the Townsfolk. For each, you spend one card to produce two tokens, which results in a net gain of "cards." While minor, there are differences between the two. Alarm is an instant, which means you can cast it during your opponent's end phase for some combat tricks. Gather has Fateful hour, which causes it to produce a whopping five tokens for two mana in dire situations. Spectral Procession is one of your more powerful man makers, working in the same way as a non-faithful Gather Townsfolk, only giving you an extra token for the added cost. Three tokens at the cost of one card is pretty darn good when you think about it, and the fact that these guys have flying only adds to its cool factor. Timely Reinforcements is a potential Spectral Procession (sadly producing tokens of the non-flying variety) that can also gain you life should you be behind. Basically, the card is your safety net and can save you if a board wipe happens, or if you are getting out aggro'd.
Next, you have the token producing spells that don't necessarily give you multiple tokens at one time, but rather over time. This means you get less of a reward instantly, but over time you can produce many more tokens than your basic token spells. Thraben Doomsayer is the creature version. He is prone to removal, but if he does not get knocked out he will produce a token every turn for you. Even better, he has the potential to become a token lord, giving all your guys a +2/+2 boost should you be behind in life! Basically, he is a must hit target in many situations. If he is not killed he can get out of control very quickly. Elspeth, Knight-Errant is probably the strongest card in this deck and works much in the same way as the Doomsayer. Every turn you get a token, which means things can grow out of control very easily if she is not answered. The pumps help your non-flying tokens get through for some hefty damage, which really adds up when combined with the other buffs in the deck. Her ultimate works great against the sideboard cards that will be brought in against you, as any board wipe short of Terminus will simply not work against you. Your second version of Elspeth, Elspeth Tirel, is a sort of combination of the instant reward and gradual reward system. When she first comes down she can produce three tokens for you, and as long as you keep using her +2 ability, you will be able to continue to produce sets of three tokens to fight for you every other turn. This Elspeth is a much more defensive card, gaining you large chunks of life whenever appropriate and even acting as a more powerful Hour of Reckoning in many situations.
Speaking of Hour of Reckoning, every deck needs some kind of protection, and this guy is perfect for the job. The synergy here is pretty awesome, as the fact that you are producing multiple tokens constantly means the convoke can get this thing down for pretty cheap, plus it doesn't even kill your tokens! Swords to Plowshares is the staple removal card of the format, and anything less than four in this deck is criminal. In fact, with Path to Exile we effectively have six! These guys are pretty important for getting rid of large or otherwise troublesome enemies that we can't normally deal with. Another way of dealing with creatures that are bigger than your tokens is by making your tokens bigger to compete. Intangible Virtue and Honor of the Pure are your players in this regard, with virtue giving the additional vigilance buff. With these guys out your token makers bring out 2/2 fighters instead of 1/1, or even 3/3 and on depending on how many you have in play. It's pretty easy to see how this works. Getting the enchantments out increases your clock and allows for more favorable combat in general. Umezawa's Jitte plays more or less the same role, as well as a couple others. Not much to say about that card that I have not already said before.
Control should be a pretty simple match for you. Each of your spells holds with it the value of two or more spells for the most part, meaning your threat density is much more than most control decks can handle. Silence can be used to make key spells uncounterable and Oblivion Ring can deal with planeswalkers, but for the most part your sideboard should prepare you for other match ups.
Red is a pretty big threat to your creatures, so Absolute Law is a pretty key card for your aggro games. Meekstone is another nifty tool for your aggro opponents that you will see more of soon. You could also keep some extra Path to Exile in here to deal with creatures that you otherwise would not be able to handle. Ghostly Prison should stop other swarm decks cold while Disenchant and its friends help against anything that uses equipment.
As far as combo goes, Oblivion Ring can help your Show and Tell matches, as well as others like control. Keep that graveyard hate up and consider Silence for the storm matches. Ethersworn Canonist and Leyline of Sanctity can also help there.
Deck Name: White Weenie
Deck Type: Aggro
This is a list based on a white weenie deck that placed 18th at a recent SCG on 2/3/2013. I know, I know, I've talked about white weenie before. In fact, my very first article was on White Weenie as an archetype. This specific list however, is one that did not exist at the time. From what I can tell, this is because the deck has been constructed in a very meta driven way.
Serra Avenger + MeekStone
Mirran Crusader + Umezawa's Jitte
This white weenie list is all about trumping aggro decks. Meekstone is the key player in this area. RUG specifically has a nightmare against this card, as every creature they own gets stuck under its weight. Serra Avengers don't ever tap when they attack, the rest of your creatures have less than two power, so stone really fits like a glove in this list. The four Swords to Plowshares and three Path to Exile means you have seven of the most efficient removal spells every printed to use against any creatures bigger than yours. Elspeth, Knight-Errant gives you infinite blockers should you need them, but she can certainly put you in the aggro seat as well. Mother of Runes can act as a wall herself, or protection for your key creatures. Knight of Meadowgrain gives you the ever important lifelink to keep burn and battle damage to a minimum as well. This all goes without mentioning the strength of Umezawa's Jitte in any creature match up.
Æther Vial is here to give you game against control, as well as make your equip costs less crippling to your creature production. A deck like white weenie needs to be able to constantly increase its board presence and Vial allows this while still giving you mana to make other plays. Speaking of creatures, this deck has some pretty cool choices. Dryad Militant is yet another trump against RUG that makes it very difficult for your opponent to make Goyf and Nimble Mongoose any bigger than they need to be. She also provides splash hate for decks like dredge (and in some cases ANT who uses the graveyard for their Past in Flames plays). Mother of Runes has already been mentioned as a defensive protector, but she can also make use of her instant color protection to push your creatures through as unblockables depending on your opponent's color composition. Add equipments in the mix and things can really get out of hand. Mirran Crusader and Knight of Meadowgrain both hold equipment exceedingly well with their first and double strike abilities while Squadron Hawk and Serra Avenger just fly the swords overhead. Sword of War and Peace is my sword of choice because of its giving protection from red, which can be a problem color at times because of cards like Forked Bolt. The sword also gives you great life swings every time you hit, which again is great against aggro decks.
Against control decks you want to bring in cards like Oblivion Ring or Pithing Needle for Jace and friends. Disenchant could find its way in here as well, depending on exactly which control deck you are going up against. Really, Jace should not be too much of a problem as you have a decent number of fliers, and in a 1v1 Elspeth kills Jace every time.
Your aggro match ups are by far your best, so there is not much for you to bring in. You could have a fourth Meekstone if you really want. Something like Disenchant could be used against opposing equipment and if you are really afraid of red Kor Firewalker is probably your best bet in the creature department while Absolute Law sticks around to protect everything you own.
Combo rough for you, so the majority of your board should be made to fight it. Silence and Ethersworn Canonist are your storm trumps. Oblivion Ring is your best answer for Show and Tell. Finally, Tormod's Crypt and friends can handle anything graveyard related that your main deck Dryad Militant can't.
Thus ends another weenie heavy white article. What did you think of this month's lists? Let me know in the comment section and I'll see you all next time!
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By James Heslip on May 27th, 2013 · Filed in Legacy (Type 1.5) · Comments not available just now
About James Heslip
James Heslip has been playing Magic on and off since he was eight years old. A member of team Sad Robots, James loves making and playing crazy and unconventional decks. He spends his free time playing Dota, brewing new decks, and wishing he could go to more Legacy tournaments.