Expecting Unexpected: That's Legacy

Posted in Event Coverage on August 22, 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.

Formats like Standard are full of wax, wane, and farewells. New strategies emerge as new cards continue to push the top contenders around before making their abrupt departure when rotation rolls around.

That isn't the case in Legacy where new cards enter but your favorites never truly leave.

Dan Holland was finding success in his favorite deck for half a decade: Pox.

Dan Holland, for example, was a longtime player with a longtime deck.

“I started playing Magic in middle school like 13 years ago,” he said. “It's been a long time. I've been playing Pox-like decks for the last four or five years.”

How did Loam Pox become the favorite of Holland's Legacy adventures? “It was a few years ago I saw Reid Duke play a Mono-Black Pox deck and made third place,” he explained. “I thought the deck was sweet and put it together. I found that with the advent of Miracles you end up in a top deck war and you couldn't beat them. So I added my own Sensei's Divining Top, and some friends told me about a Loam Pox deck Ali Entrazi and others had played. I wanted to play a control deck so I kept the Pox shell and added four Emtombs, one Life from the Loam, a Worm Harvest, a Darkblast which is good against Delver of Secrets decks, and a Raven's Crime which is very good against the OmniShow decks: you can get their whole hand. With green, Abrupt Decay is a catch-all.”

If you can't beat their Sensei's Divining Tops, join them Dan Holland decided.

So far it had been successful for him, with Leyline of the Void from the sideboard locking his feature match Dredge opponent out of how that deck needs to work.

Another player tweaking a well-known deck in the format was Alex Stratton.

Alex Stratton saw the potential of Jace, Vryn's Prodigy to improve the powerful Stoneblade deck.

After adding three copies of Jace, Vryn's Prodigy to the Jeskai Stoneblade deck, he quickly found they did more than he expected.

“What you're trying to do is deny your opponents the opportunity to play their aggressive spells,” he explained. “You want to stabilize the board and go get your win condition with Stonefroge Mystic. Jace, Vyrn's Prodigy added to the plan with utility to flashback lots of stuff and then you can go ultimate with him against slower decks to mill them out. Jace, Telepath Unbound's plus loyalty ability can stop damage from something like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben with Umezawa's Jitte which worked out well in a previous match. Against Miracles with Counterbalance, because the ultimate emblem triggers when you cast a spell even if every spell you play is countered you can mill them out.”

Alex Stratton was unsuccessful in his feature match, and chalked it up to his own mistakes.

Stratton had a little help finding the Jace addition. “The decklist was given to me by Brian Gottlieb who made Top 25 of Pro Tour Magic Origins,” he said. “Brian lost his win-and-in to Top 8 against Mike Sigrist.”

Another player with friends that had lost recently was Jeff Kramer, equipped with an interesting twist on tribal and prison strategies.

Jeff Kramer wanted to lock opponents out with Moggcatcher, and it was easier than you think with his Goblin Prison deck.

“I'm playing a deck with Moggcatchers in it and a bunch of prison effects. It's been a blast all day!” Kramer said. Why did he play such an unorthodox deck? “I liked it against Delver of Secrets decks. Blood Moons and Trinisphere on turn one isn't a bad thing. I don't want to see OmniShow and Death and Taxes – those are the only two decks I fear.”

“My friends said I'd go 0-2 drop with it, and they're all out already,” he laughed. “A friend of mine found it on Magic Online and I fell in love with it. I've played it ever since. I want to go turn one Blood Moon, Trinisphere or Chalice of the Void for one, followed by a Goblin Rabblemaster. Then on turn three I play a Moggcatcher to go get Goblin Settler, then find a Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker on turn five to ensure they never get another land.”

Picking up a second loss didn't deter Jeff Kramer from continuing to run his opponents into prisons.

Picking up a second loss in Round 5 made a Top 8 appearance unlikely for Kramer's unique deck, but it's a principal example of Legacy's allure: You really can play anything you want.

Alex Stratton – Jeskai Stoneblade

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Jeff Kramer – Goblin Prison

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Dan Holland – Loam Pox

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