Saturday, 3:30 p.m. – Legacy Guidebook

Posted in NEWS on November 3, 2013

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

As promised, here's a brief run-through on some of the biggest decks in the tournament, with special attention paid to the decks mentioned in the previous metagame breakdown. There are about a dozen other major players in the format, but these are the biggest decks for this event that might be misunderstood by the uninitiated.

Omni-Tell – Almost always mono-blue, Omni-Tell centers around having Show and Tell or Dream Halls slip an Omniscience into play. Once in play, the powerful enchantment allows the pilot to cycle through the deck using cards like Brainstorm and Ponder, culminating with Enter the Infinite or just the shortcut to Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. In a pinch, Emrakul can substitute for Omniscience, riding Show and Tell into play.


High Tide – Another mono-blue deck, High Tide centers around its eponymous instant, the mana-generating engine High Tide. Once the first High Tide has resolved, cards like Turnabout and Candelabra of Tawnos to amplify the mana generated, culminating with one massive Blue Sun's Zenith to finish things off.

Punishing "X" – The Punishing tag is associated with versions of typical archetypes featuring the Punishing Fire/Grove of the Burnwillows engine. This can be found in traditional midrange decks like Jund and Naya, all the way to more controlling decks like Life from the Loam-based decks. This engine gives the decks a long-term, crushing inevitability, as well as some up-front protection from all of the aggro decks in the field.

Maverick – One of the less descriptive names in Legacy, Maverick and its variants are essentially GW-based creature decks, relying on the central Stoneforge Mystic engine and the versatility of a Green Sun's Zenith toolbox to present an incredibly resilient front. Capable of defeating creature decks thanks to Umezawa's Jitte, combo decks with Gaddock Teeg, and Reanimator strategies with Scavenging Ooze, Maverick has an answer to everything, and threats to end the game quickly.

PoxPox decks utilize a resource denial strategy, relying on the unholy trinity of hand destruction, land destruction, and man destruction to ensure that opponents can't do anything, much less win a game of Magic. Cards like Smallpox, (big) Pox, Innocent Blood, Hymn to Tourach, and Sinkhole keep opponents under lockdown, while Bloodghast, and eventually Tombstalker, finish them off.


12 Post – So many posts! 12 Post is the Legacy version of Modern's Tron decks, a big mana deck that does big mana things. Between Cloudpost, Glimmerpost, and Vesuva, this deck is capable of spewing out an unreasonable amount of mana, especially when aided by Primeval Titan and Candelabra of Tawnos. In the end, this tremendous amount of colorless mana leads to a dealer's choice of Eldrazi.

Ad Nauseam Tendrils – ANT is the prototypical Legacy storm deck. With access to all of the mana accelerators in Magic's history, ANT uses a myriad of tutor effects to put together a massive turn, often involving Ad Nauseam, culminating with a massive Empty the Warrens or Tendrils of Agony. Since most of the deck costs zero or one mana, Ad Nauseum provides a glimpse at virtually the entire deck, making it quite easy to assemble the pieces.

Shardless – Most commonly a BUG deck, Shardless decks are so named for Shardless Agent, notable primarily for being a three-mana cascade spell. The Agent provides a number of beneficial two-for-one effects thanks to cascade, from Hymn to Tourach to Ancestral Visions to Tarmogoyf. The aggression in the deck is generally relegated to Tarmogoyf, Agent, and Deathrite Shaman (that two life adds up), and the deck surrounds that with a shell of permission, removal, and discard.

Elves – A rare creature-based combo deck, Elves is one of the most unique decks in the format. Thanks to Glimpse of Nature, Elves is able to turbo through its deck, generating absurd amounts of mana through a combination of Nettle Sentinel and Heritage Druid. Quirion Ranger and Wirewood Symbiote provide a stream of creatures, ensuring that the deck keeps going. Eventually, it uses that massive creature base and mana production to either drop a lethal Craterhoof Behemoth or an Ezuri, Renegade Leader, into play. Opponents don't usually last much longer.


Painter – This vein of decks generally focuses on the Painter's Servant/Grindstone combo, where you make all of the cards in both decks the same color, allowing a single Grindstone activation to mill an opponent out. There are variants of the deck featuring Imperial Recruiter as a method of searching for Painter's Servant or Goblin Welder to help assemble the combo. When in doubt, the deck is still capable of a large amount of mana production, and it can use it to power out a fast Wurmcoil Engine.

Dredge – At one point in history, it was impossible to play Legacy without dedicating half of your sideboard to dealing with graveyard-based strategies. Dredge is the reason. Using the powerful dredge mechanic to fill the graveyard up, Dredge bypasses most of the "standard" parts of the game, just dumping cards into the graveyard before returning Flayer of the Hatebound to play with Dread Return. This is usually accomplished by sacrificing Narcomoebas that came into play for free, meaning that mana is not an issue. Combined with copies of Bridge from Below in the graveyard, Flayer of the Hatebound ends the game in a flurry of triggers. Nowadays, there is considerably less hate around for the graveyard, but its utter reliance on dodging hate has kept Dredge from reaching the pinnacle in recent months.

Death and Taxes – Effectively a Legacy White Weenie deck, D&T relies on not allowing opponents to do anything, all while pressuring them with an increasing army of creatures. The myriad of creatures available to D&T provide all sorts of versatility to the deck. Phyrexian Revoker functions as an attacking Pithing Needle. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Ethersworn Canonist are nightmares for combo decks. Aven Mindcensor is just good against all of the various fetch lands and tutors running rampant in Legacy. At the heart of everything, the deck relies on Stoneforge Mystic and Mirran Crusader to provide the finishing punch.