Remember that time a second ago when I was talking about how open the Legacy format is? So I just watched Steve Walsh crush his last round opponent to go to 4-0, and it will surely surprise some that said crushing was done with an 10/10 Blighted Agent. This deck has been floating around in one form or another for the last few months, but Walsh's deck – built with the help of a few other South Bend, Indiana locals, Mike Tabler and John McGuane – looks like it's got something going on. I sat down with Walsh, had him open the hood of the Infect machine, and I took a look inside.
The build breaks down simply enough into three parts – creatures, things to pump them, and things to protect them. Cast a creature with Infect, pump it full of cheap (often free) green steriods, deal at least ten poison counters. It's a simple plan, but effective as all get-out. "I've been winning, in general around turn two or three," Walsh said. It was about this time that recent Vintage Champs Runner-Up, Paul Mastriano wandered up and began staring at Walsh's deck.
"Wait, wait, what does that card do?" Paul pointed at a Blighted Agent.
"It's an unblockable Infect creature for two mana."
A huge grin grew on Paul's face. "Oh. I can see how that would work." He then turned to the person next to him, "This deck is crazy."
Walsh continued, "One of my favorite cards in the deck is the Breeding Pool." A seemingly odd choice for favorite, a sub-Tropical Island dual land. But he explained that depending on the opponent, sometimes it's right to search out the Pool with your turn-one Misty Rainforest. "Because when you go, 'Breeding Pool, Glistener Elf, Go,' your opponent looks at you like you're an idiot. Then you untap and kill them turn two."
But that wasn't his favorite play of the day so far. A couple rounds ago, he was facing down an Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite with only an Inkmoth Nexus and a few other lands in play. "I couldn't cast a creature or activate the Nexus, or they would just die." So he did the only reasonable thing he could: When his opponent attacked, Walsh cast Berserk on the Norn, watched it die, then untapped, activated the Inkmoth Nexus and double-pumped it for the win. Folks, this 60-card pile is fun.
As far as a couple specific card choices, the deck didn't have Bounty of the Hunt until last week. But he wouldn't play without them today. He said this tournament started at the same time the dealers opened, and if they didn't have the Hunts he needed, he wouldn't have even bothered sleeving up the deck. "We had a couple Ichorclaw Myrs, but we never liked casting them, and they never did anything." He was quite happy to replace them with the overshadowed Alliances free spell.
He admits his sideboard is a little shaky but it's been effective for him. The Vines of Vastwood are additional support and pump, and it can also protect his manlands from the dreaded Wasteland. Divert and Misdirection are for the Junk discard spells, graveyard removal for the graveyard decks, and Nix and Spell Pierce for additional counter wars. The Nix looks a little odd, but Walsh says it's great against Force of Wills and it also can be used to counter the deadly Pact spell in the Hive Mind match-up. It works because the Hive-Minded copy of Nix can't be used against the original, since one mana had been used to pay for it.
Steve Walsh was really nice to sit down with me, but that's generally the kind of people you get out of the state of Indiana. He and his teammates on Team Mythic (mythicmtg.com) play out of their local Fantasy Games in South Bend. Stop in if you're around; I have a feeling he has a great, cost-effective deck for Legacy that he'd love to beat you to death with.