Legacy Mentors

Posted in GRAND PRIX SEATTLE-TACOMA 2015 on November 8, 2015

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

Finding innovation in Legacy is difficult. With a format full of cards so powerful they've defined formats for years finding new angles seems impossible, but it's not. Painful Truths is fresh out of Battle for Zendikar and it's already found a home in some potent hands.

Patrick Chapin, Tom Martell, and Matt Sperling arrived at Grand Prix Seattle-Tacoma with suspiciously similar decks. Talking with Chapin made it clear that wasn't an accident.

"This was all preparation with Team UltraPro. I didn't get to play much Legacy; they got to play more matches," Chapin said referring to his teammates Tom Martell and Matt Sperling and their testing in the lead up. "I got to play a little bit with Matt and Corey Burkhart. At first I tried just shuffling up sweet combos I liked but they all seemed bad goldfishing. I switched to Monastery Mentor mashed up with cards that are good in Legacy."

Why Monastery Mentor? "Mentor seemed really good," Chapin explained. "I didn't start building this deck until last week after playing with Mentor in Standard again. It just seemed like I should play it in Legacy, and I know it's played in some numbers already."


"This deck doesn't have a theme. There's no Counterbalance-Sensei's Divining Top, no miracles, not even Stoneforge Mystic: Just the cards I wanted to play with and Monastery Mentors. It seemed to much better than Stoneforge Mystic."

So how did Chapin and company come down to the same deck? "Matt and Tom were working on Shardless Sultai and Esper builds. They couldn't get Esper to beat Sultai but I was blessed to not know what was played in the format," Chapin said. "I made a bunch of choices that made the matchup better. Painful Truths is insane against Sultai: Owen Turtenwald made a joke against Shardless Agent that players casting it were hoping to hit Ancestral Visions when they should just cast Painful Truths instead. We added it to the deck and suddenly Esper was beating Sultai."


Matt Sperling, Tom Martell, and Patrick Chapin all collaborated on their Esper deck leading into the weekend, and their work on finding angles looked good so far.

"Most of the tuning decisions was Matt," Chapin continued. "We discussed cards last night where they adopted about ten of my cards and we couldn't agree on the last seven. Matt made his version and beat me a bunch so I agreed to play his deck. He's been right about everything. Both Tom and Matt had huge contributions. It's basically a Team Ultra product where we just kept getting closer and closer together with our own decks. Tom and Matt did most of the playing and results, saying what's good or not. I provided ideas and numbers, Matt too, and Tom has a lot of experience with the Esper theme."

So what makes Painful Truths stand out? "It's like a Treasure Cruise but legal," Chapin quipped. "The number of times I cast Treasure Cruise with five cards in my graveyard is high; here I pay three life and I still have five cards in the graveyard. Plus they can't Pryoblast it."

"Another addition was Tasigur, the Golden Fang," Chapin said. "Not everybody is playing Tasigur. It's sweet to have a Tasigur with Karakas to protect it. Having both Vendilion Clique and Tasigur is great. I originally had Jace, Vryn's Prodigy with Karakas and it was sweet too, but I cut them for more Jace, the Mind Sculptors. Basically Snapcaster Mage was a little bit better than Jace. If he was named something like Tamiyo instead I might have played it: the Planeswalker uniqueness rule came up too often with both in the deck."

"It feels good to be home: Jace, the Mind Sculptor is better than all. This is definitely a good time."

There was more to what made their take on Esper work well. "Matt loves playing basic lands and I'm glad he talked us into that," Chapin said. "Abrupt Decay is in the sideboard too and it's the only green card. We just wanted extra options against Counterbalance. Until I came up with Abrupt Decay they were going to play Sultai this weekend. As soon as we put in Decay instantly we started getting good results against Miracles."

Digging deeper into an already deep format is tough, but it's thanks to work from players like Chapin, Sperling and Martell that the march for the next best plan never stops.

Patrick Chapin – Esper Mentor

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