Brainstorms, Beware

Posted in Event Coverage on January 7, 2017

By Corbin Hosler

When you talk about Legacy, you're talking about Brainstorm. The one-mana cantrip has defined the format for years, and entire tomes have been written to the correct use of the instant — which, it turns out, is not always best cast at instant speed.

You can't go more than a few tables here at Grand Prix Louisville without running into a Brainstorm, so it seems obvious that any time a new card is printed that may interact favorably with Brainstorm, it merits discussion.

Sometimes — most times, perhaps — those cards aren't good enough to pass the high bar for Legacy play: see Notion Thief for the most recent example. But there are a pair of cards from Conspiracy: Take the Crown that may just be good enough to alter the Legacy landscape forever.

I could spend a lot of words telling you why Leovold, Emissary of Trest is so good. I could write paragraphs on how it is almost always a 2-for-1, or how it locks out so many ubiquitous cards including Brainstorm and Ponder.

Or I could just let Jarvis Yu explain things.

"The card is busted in half," he said bluntly. "The number of words on that card is excessive. You could remove one or two lines and it would still be good."

In a world of Brainstorms, Leovold is the true king eternal (RIP Brago).

"At its core it's still a 3/3 creature in Legacy, so if you want to kill it you can but you have to give your opponent a 2-for-1 and be okay with that," Yu said. "Secretly one of the best parts of it is that it's an elf. The number of times I've seen it saved by Wirewood Symbiote is more than I'd like to admit."

It remains to be seen exactly how much Leovold will impact the format, but midway through Day One at Louisville it was a common sight around the top tables. Not only is it great for cutting off the obvious spells, but it also "combos" with cards like Vendilion Clique to nuke opposing hands.

And Leovold isn't the only standout from Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Recruiter of the Guard has made some waves as well, while Sanctum Prelate has reinvigorated Death and Taxes, a a mono-white deck that thrives on Æther Vial, Stoneforge Mystic and disruptive, low-cost threats. Like Leovold, a third-turn Sanctum Prelate can completely cut off access to the format's most ubiquitous card in Brainstorm.

"This set of Conspiracy printings is really good for the format," Yu explained. "Sanctum Prelate is a card you have to be ready for."

Just how ready is the field for the newest Legacy tech? While only time will tell, it's safe to say they're off to a hot start.

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