Seeing Legacy's Future
By Mr. Nightmare on May 9th, 2007 · Filed in Legacy (Type 1.5) · Comments not available just now
Future Sight has a plethora of cards which will affect Legacy in one way or another. Most of these cards are additives to existing decks which have performed well in many large events, but some are breaking ground, creating or validating archetypes that are new and exciting to Legacy. Either way, Legacy stands to become a very different format on May 20, 2007. Unfortunately, this is the second day of Grand Prix Columbus, Legacy's third major, pro-level event, which means the set will not be legal for that tournament.
Threshold has long been considered one of the best decks in Legacy. UGw Threshold has taken up one of the three major tiered deck positions, holding a near-even matchup with Vial Goblins, and having a generally favorable game against Solidarity. With the introduction of Future Sight, Thresh gets a new weapon in Tarmogoyf, a new and undercosted beatstick that assists, if not completely replaces Werebear. The 'Goyf has two distinct advantages. First, with a fetchland in the yard and a Portent or Serum Visions used up, the 'Goyf will always be out of Lightning Bolt range. In other words, he's large the instant he hits, with the potential to be bigger than Werebear can be. This makes him a better clock earlier, as you don't actually need threshold for him to be good. Second and related to first, is that he accounts for both yards, rather than only your own. If your opponent Tormod's Crypts you, the 'Goyf can still be upwards of a 3/4, at the very least being a 1/2. Of course, he doesn't tap for a green mana, but this is an acceptable loss for such an efficient creature. Coming down earlier and generally being bigger than Werebear is much more important in this aggro-control deck than the minor mana acceleration the Werebear provides.
Tarmogoyf (did it really need to be that difficult to spell?) is by no means lonely on the list of Future Sight creatures that shine in Legacy. Other stand-out creatures in the set include Aven Mindcensor and Magus of the Moon.
Crushing format staples, hopes, and dreams since 2007.
Mindcensor has a new and unique ability that shuts down many of the most popular cards in the format, with fetchlands at the top of that list. As Legacy decks become more refined, the manabase is increasingly important, and having a fetch Stifled can swing the tempo by a large margin. This creature makes it difficult for decks like UBw Fish or Threshold to utilize their low number of mana sources, as they need to carefully choose when the most appropriate time to search for land may be. Against decks like R/G/B Survival, or Ill-Gotten Gains combo, it can shut down their entire strategy. It has the interesting property of being disruption and protection in a single package, as the ability makes it difficult for opposing decks to tutor up ways to deal with it. As good as Aven Mindcensor is against Survival decks, it's equally good in them, as it's tutorable and one sided, making it excellent in the mirror.
Blood Moon is a card that's discussed from time to time, but always replaced with something different, if not better. It's a nice piece of disruption, but by no means is it a lock, and one of the format's premier decks is mono- or slightly splashed red. However, with access to 8 Moons, 4 of which attack, this could see some potential as a more consistent disruption package. There has been some discussion of new Stax lists boasting excellent matchups utilizing 8 Blood Moons; time and tournaments will show how well those decks perform. Otherwise, Magus is potentially another good option in an aggressive Survival of the Fittest deck, slowing the progress your opponent can make while beating alongside Flametongue Kavus and Loxodon Hierarchs.
One of the non-creature spells creating a lot of buzz on the forums is Glittering Wish. Each Wish has been utilized in some form of tournament-caliber deck at some point since printing(excluding the terrible Golden Wish), and this one is definitely no exception. Second to only Death Wish in the running for most versatile Wish, Glittering Wish fetches out a multitude of impactive spells, in a combination of colors known for good multicolored cards. One Legacy deck has been quick to embrace the Wish in its UBG arms, with a build shown here:
This deck can utilize some of the most powerful gold spells ever printed, with Vindicate and Pernicious Deed leading the pack. Culling Sun is an interesting target that manages to deal with most weenie-type aggro decks as well as Threshold and Faerie Stompy. Dueling Grounds is excellent to slow Goblins down to your pace, and the new Wish even finds you win conditions, in Loxodon Hierarch and Grave-Shell Scarab.
In addition to these already-good decks made better, Future Sight helps to make a few more decks viable, two of which stand out. First, the Ichorid deck may finally have the tools to be a success in Legacy. Utilizing the Future Sight cards, the deck can take a much more Vintage-like approach, with the following suggested build:
This deck gets a veritable cornucopia of new tools to play with in Future Sight. Narcomoeba is an effective replacement for the Nether Shadows, that doesn’t require an upkeep trigger to come into play. Having free creatures to drop into play at any time (that fly!) is excellent, and allows you access to Cabal Therapy much earlier than previous incarnations of the deck could expect. These creatures, in conjunction with Bridge From Below, sometimes in multiples, can let the deck really explode with a fast-paced attack. Bridge is excellent with the Dread Return combo, as it allows you to use the same creature to empty your opponent's hand with Therapy and flashback the Dread Return. One of the major issues this deck has that its Vintage counterpart doesn’t, is its need to actually spend mana on spells in order to properly function. The issue is, with all the dredging you do, it's often difficult to guarantee your land drops. Dakmor Salvage is the solution to this problem. It gives you reliable access to lands from the graveyard, without forcing you to destabilize your mana for Life From the Loam. It also adds more dredge spells to the deck without replacing other important spells, as it fits into land slots rather than spells(similar to Chrome Mox compared to Mox Diamond).
The card everyone is fitting into every deck for testing is the infamous Street Wraith. While many people claim their decks cannot afford to have 4 "dead draws" in their 60, others have touted this as the coming of the 56 card deck. He's not exactly a non-card, and makes mulligan decisions incredibly more complex, but in Ichorid, you couldn't have asked for a better card. Wraith is effectively a pay-2-life, dredge-6-cards. He allows you to play no spell on the draw, discard a dredger, and begin the degeneracy a full turn earlier than you otherwise would have been able to. Seeing him in multiples is NEVER a bad thing in this deck. His 3/4 body is excellent for boosting the power (and toughness) of your Sutured Ghouls, and he's black, which makes him edible for Ichorids. He definitely finds the perfect home for his particular abilities in this deck.
Like anyone plans to cast this guy.
A note on the Sutured Ghoul combo: A new rulings change for Future Sight deals with Tarmogoyf and other Lhurgoyfs' power and toughness in the graveyard. The */* is no longer considered a 0/0 in the yard; the ability which defines its power and toughness works everywhere. Basically, this means if you had 3 Street Wraiths, a Sutured Ghoul, a Lhurgoyf, and 2 Sundering Titans in your graveyard, and reanimated the Ghoul, he would get +5/+5 for the Lhurgoyf, not +0/+0 as he would have under previous rulings. However, his p/t is continually refreshed, so if you remove all of those creatures as well, he only gains +1/+1 from the Lhurgoyf for any creatures your opponent may have in their graveyard.
I couldn't mention the new and shiny Ichorid deck without mentioning the newest graveyard hater, Yixlid Jailer. He's one heck of an answer to the Dredge mechanic, and packs a 2-power body to boot. While he's not quite as complicated for judges as Humility, he's still got a bunch of fun rules interactions for all you masochists to play with. Out of the above list, Jailer shuts down Ichorid, Narcomoeba, Golgari Grave-Troll, Stinkweed Imp, Dragon's Breath, Dread Return, Bridge from Below, Cabal Therapy, Deep Analysis, and Dakmor Salvage. Not too shabby for a 2 mana spell, right? He's a bit better at hosing the deck than Tormod's Crypt (which can be dealt with via Pithing Needle in the sideboard), while swinging in for 2 in the mean time. Additionally, Jailer is an excellent way for UBW Fish decks to handle Life From the Loam strategies, a matchup that is relatively unwinnable in current form. We probably won't see a lot of Yixlid Jailer anytime soon though, as the Legacy community has another juggernaut waiting in the wings.
The deck that has everyone who knows Legacy up in arms is called Hulk Flash. Due to the new policy Wizards has adopted - that of removing power level errata on previously nerfed cards - Flash now works like it's written on the card, putting creatures into play, and then into the graveyard, for two mana. It took the Legacy community about five minutes to come up with the following deck, post Future Sight:
In short, this deck is broken. In more eloquent terms, this is the most degenerate combo deck the Legacy OR Type 1.5 format has ever seen. Note that this includes Worldgorger Dragon combo with unrestricted Bazaar of Baghdad and Food Chain Goblins, as well as all the incarnations of Goblin Charbelcher decks and Tendrils of Agony combo decks in the format today. This deck revolves around a 2 mana, 2 card combo that wins at instant speed, and never passes priority before the game ends, once Flash resolves. It can win as early as turn ZERO. A brief note to any Wizards of the Coast employees that may have stumbled upon this article:
Future Sight only makes this more of a reality. Never before has a deck been able to consistently (some are touting numbers as high as 20%, in reality it’s probably closer to 6%) win before their opponent has the opportunity to play their first land, on the draw. A mere 4 cards are required:
Simian or Elvish Spirit Guide
This is the first deck to use both Pact of Negation and Summoner's Pact, both of which fit tightly into the scope of the deck's ultimate goal. With 8 free hard counters to protect your spells, 4 free tutors for Protean Hulk in addition to the 4 Hulks, and effectively 8 Flashes in the deck - and access to all of it during your opponent's upkeep on the draw, this deck gets an unheard of amount of early disruption and a combo that is extremely difficult to shut down. Before Future Sight becomes legal the deck still works, replacing Summoner's Pact with Worldly Tutor, Pact of Negation with other disruption like Misdirection and Daze, and Street Wraith with Brainstorm; but the amount of power the deck gains with the new cards is unbelievable. You get a zero mana, instant speed tutor for one half of the combo, and the ability to turn Mystical Tutor into Demonic Tutor as early as turn zero. The redundancy and speed Future Sight adds takes this deck far above every other deck (possibly ever) in terms of power, and has warranted an extremely loud response of despair in the Legacy community. Many are worried this combo could turn GP Columbus into the next PT New Orleans (aka, PT Tinker), with the vast majority of the event being Hulk Flash and decks tuned specifically to beat it. Unfortunately, those decks are few and far between, and don’t beat it nearly as well in practice as they seem to on paper.
Even without creating a fundamentally bah-roken deck, Future Sight is an extremely powerful set. It adds a lot to the Legacy format, in terms of new as well as old. Between Tier 1 decks getting something new, dismissed archetypes becoming viable, and a new and frightening combo on the horizon, Future Sight will shake things up, if nothing else. The Legacy community is ripe with anticipation for the set to become legal, in a way I've never seen before. It's quite ironic that a set with such a prophetic name could in fact make the view of Legacy's future so unclear.
By Mr. Nightmare on May 9th, 2007 · Filed in Legacy (Type 1.5) · Comments not available just now
About Mr. Nightmare
Dr. Adam Barnello is to the legacy player as Solomon P. Chase is to the curency of these United States of America. That is to say, whether you know it or not, he's a big deal. After losing the 2000 Presidential elections in what some theorize was a direct attempt to keep the "Common Man" out of the White House, Dr. Barnello channeled his passion for the political profession into a more tangible persuit - finishing the late (and certainly not fake) Dr. Frankenstein's foray into the feild of Human Resurection. Half a decade passed yeilding nothing but failure until our doctor stumbled upon perhaps his greatest discovery. In his free time, namely while his trained Golden Marmoset lab assistants disposed of the remains of Dr. Barnello's experiments, the good doctor had taken up a hobby: Magic the Gathering. During the rare moments of down time, Dr. Barnello had devised the perfect UGw Threshold list. So perfect was it that at The Mana Leak Open the doctor split first place with Jeff "I maindeck 3 Pyrokinesis" Folinus. Dr. Barnello resides in British Colombia wih his wife, Penelope Cruz, and son, Switchblade Danger Barnello.