Beating Legacy #2
Make sure to check out the last episode if you haven’t already. Today we have two more decks on the menu, and hopefully you will be better equipped to beat them after reading the following.
Death and Taxes
A few years back, this deck was a joke in many people’s eyes and wasn’t taken too serious. However, it has gone from “a deck that only Danish pro players play” to a top 5 represented deck in the Legacy metagame in the meantime. Death and Taxes has always been a deck that impactful sideboard cards will help you to beat, and the realization that the deck was the real deal hasn’t exactly helped its’ position. More on those sideboard cards later.
What looks like a glorified White Weenie deck on the surface is a mean prison control deck at its’ core. Almost every card in the deck hopes to negate your opponent resources to a point where it can’t function, and their mediocre beatdown can bring your lifetotal to 0. Let’s have a look at some of the key cards and what they mean for their deck.
With a Vial on turn one, their win percentage increases dramatically. A free Black Lotus every turn, Flickerwisp tricks, any creature at instant speed, uncounterability and spare mana to activate Rishadan Port are just some of the advantages of an active Aether Vial. Prioritizing Vial with your Thoughtseize or Force of Will will often be correct, as all of their other cards get worse without it. Needless to say, you are happy every time they don’t play it on turn one. Not a lot of sideboard cards are worth using to deal with it, but Pithing Needle and various Disenchant effects are great vs. other parts of their deck and should be brought in.
removal spell. If you absolutely have to kill a creature, your own endstep is better than your mainphase. Keep in mind they can use it to reset a Phyrexian Revoker, get a new Germ token from Batterskull, remove an opposing blocker, get another trigger and equipment from Stoneforge Mystic or exile a land for the turn on your upkeep to keep you low on resources. If you know your opponent’s options with Flickerwisp, you can reduce its’ impact in the best way possible.
This Batman and Robin duo of lands will cause headaches unless you’re familiar with their impact. The threat of Wasteland will make you search out basic lands, but Rishadan Port can punish you for this by keeping you off colors and stranding spells in your hand – Death and Taxes‘ ultimate goal. Make sure to identify the games where you can afford to search out basic lands and the games where you need dual lands for your deck to function. This deck is very good at punishing you when you fail to find the correct solution.
Death and Taxes has quite a few creatures with only one toughness, so it’s only natural that the following sideboard cards are effective against it. In my opinion cards like Dread of Night and Sulfur Elemental are not worth it across the board, but with Elves, True-Name Nemesis and Young Pyromancer in the metagame, the following -1/-1 and similar effects are worthy of sideboard slots.
Eldrazi has recently made a comeback in Legacy posting great results online and at the American Eternal Weekend. The Delver decks have done a great job of keeping various combo decks in check, and players are trying to fight the Delver decks with the cheapest removal spells around – namely Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push. Chalice of the Void on one and big creatures line up great against the new format without 15% Miracles and there for way fewer Swords to Plowshares around. Let’s get to know the enemy a little better.
You need cheap spells to beat Delver variants and combo decks, and Eldrazi will try and punish you for this. Having incidental answers for Chalice or playing a deck that is not super reliant on 1-mana spells are the ways to go. Examples of cards could be Kolaghan’s Command, Abrupt Decay or Flickerwisp while the decks could be Sneak and Show or 4 Color Aggro Loam. Decks like Grixis or Blue/Red Delver have a very hard time against Chalice where Sultai Delver will fare much better because of Abrupt Decay and Tarmogoyf which can outgrow Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher on a regular basis.
Against stompy style decks which are definitely not the most consistent of decks, Force of Will and Daze have traditionally been great disruption tools. Because of the nature of non-Brainstorm decks, they will mulligan more and get messy draws. However, Cavern of Souls changes everything and I often times see my self praying they don’t have it when I’m holding the Force of Will for their big threat. You still need to keep in your Forces for games two and three, but they will make you sweat for it.
I love playing 4 Color Control, but I’ve been having a hard time losing to Eldrazi with my previous removal suite. I suggest thinking out of the box and toying around with your slots for removal spells a little to gain valuable percentages against Eldrazi. Here are some alternatives to the subpart Fatal Push and Lightning Bolt to improve your matchup against Eldrazi. Note that you can’t afford to cut these, but even one or two changes in your 75 will help.
Thanks a lot for reading this far. I will do Beating Legacy #3 featuring Elves and Sneak Attack in the not so distant future!