Most of what follows is a first person account of the deck’s creation and design told from Finn’s point of view. I have done some minor editing and additions after his primer stops in 2013.
This is neither the first nor the most recent competitive deck of my design in Legacy, but it has always been my favorite. It started from an idea that actually predates Legacy by nearly a decade. It goes that if you can continue to cast cheap creatures that your opponent has to deal with, their deck will eventually fall apart. The idea came from noticing how something like Royal Assassin could simply stop an opponent in their tracks. Later it was Goblin Welder and then Meddling Mage. Unlike today, the game used to have very few of these kinds of creatures. Enchantments could occasionally do the same thing, but you can’t attack with them, making them less attractive in terms of deck construction. The power of these cards was just too low to make any kind of tournament deck, but then something began to change. Slowly, but increasingly as the years have rolled on…creatures (and creature removal) have been growing in power relative to other cards. Right around the birth of Legacy in 2004, I found myself fooling around with this idea yet again.
Mother of Runes
These were amongst the cards in something that sat fallow until in 2006 when Mangara of Corondor got printed. Right about that same time, I set about to prove that Aether Vial was broken. It started with writing an article on the subject. This one, in fact. Well, I was not quite right about Aether Vial. But I realized that I needed a suitable deck to prove my point. Mangara was the perfect place to start.
Mangara’s wording is a throwback to an older style. Nevinyrral’s Disk and Carrionette are amongst some older cards that get rid of themselves upon resolution (and not as a payment). It makes for some interesting potential. For example, if the opponent pays the 2 to avoid Carrionette’s ability, it stays in the graveyard. Also, you can respond to its activation as many times as you have mana for to exile multiple creatures before it resolves or use Tortured Existence to retrieve it with its ability waiting to resolve. Nevinyrral’s Disk does not sacrifice itself, so it can be regenerated or otherwise saved from its own ability. Chaos Orb is also like this as are a few others…like Mangara of Corondor.
As soon as Time Spiral got spoiled I saw the strange wording and knew what had to be done. I tried out a few different directions, but the deck was decidedly aggro at the time. There were still too few little guys with strong disruptive power to go full control. I also want to point out that in December 2006 Legacy was still a very young format with only a handful of full-time players. The existing “white weenie” deck at that time, called Angel Stompy was not very good. This was in part due to the fact that there just were not enough people designing and testing decks and also because the white creatures available were not strong compared to other old cards. I was aware of this and hoped that either white or green/white would work simply because there were other strong decks in the other color combinations to compete with.
Here is a simplified timeline of changes to the deck and printing of relevant new cards:
Tangle Wire (Tax that wanted to be a creature.)
True Believer (One of few bonafide hate bears of the time)
Samurai of the pale Curtain (partial ant-graveyard card, trades with Nimble Mongoose)
Glowrider (Good against most of the stuff Thalia is good against, sorta.)
Isamaru, hound of Konda (A 2/2 for 1 with a nice “you can’t kill me” was a great deal at the time.)
Hokori, Dust Drinker (Made for a 1-sided Winter Orb with Karakas, good against Landstill)
+Stonecloaker (I was testing it as soon as it was spoiled.)
+Umezawa’s Jitte (Included to keep D+T from losing to Umezawa’s Jitte. Go figure.)
–Hokori, Dust Drinker (The 4 cmc cost was unwieldy and Landstill died.)
–Glowrider (Turned out to be a disaster in a few matchups. )
+Cataclysm (Nuts against most everything that was not blue, and some that were.)
+Oblivion Ring (More powerful removal than the creatures available. So more removal it is.)
–Tangle Wire (How it lasted this long is a mystery.)
+Jotun Grunt (Became our personal anti-Tarmogoyf tech with lots of side benefits)
–True Believer (Outclassed)
+Flickerwisp (A random stranger suggested I try it. Really.)
–Samurai of the Pale Curtain (Outclassed)
–Cataclysm (Too many larger creatures entering the format.)
–Isamaru, Hound of Konda (New simplified damage rules removed damage on the stack tricks.)
–Stonecloaker (New simplified damage rules removed damage on the stack tricks.)
–Oblivion Ring(Too slow for accelerating speed of the format. Remains in some sideboards.)
+Stoneforge Mystic (Equipment package made D&T’s creatures customizable. Only deck to use the card at the time.)
+Mother of Runes (Consistently equipped creatures made protecting them more important.)
+Enlightened Tutor (Sideboard improvement for the highly varied metagame that was emerging.)
+Wasteland (Overall reduction in cmc of D&T’s spells make this possible.)
+Phyrexian Revoker (Coinciding with Jace, the Mindsculptor it keeps the deck moving up in power)
–Goldmeadow Harrier and similar 1 mana filler cards. (These were the last underpowered cards to get removed)
+Thalia, Guardian of Thraben (Super powerful addition finally brings the storm matchup within reach)
+Rest in Peace (Such powerful graveyard hate that it can be used even against decks with incidental graveyard use)
Thomas Enevoldsen and Michael Bonde own GP Strasbourg, drawing lots of attention to what had been a sleeper deck. Opponents are far more likely to understand the deck ever since.
Notably, only Aether Vial, Rishadan Port, and Swords to Plowshares have been in every version of this deck since its inception. Every creature has been temporary in some fashion.
+Spirit of the Labyrinth (helps D&T fight through the “Treasure Cruise” era of Magic)
+Brimaz, King of Oreskos (provides an excellent alternative to Mirran Crusader)
+Containment Priest (a brutal sideboard card against Elves and graveyard decks)
+Council’s Judgment (flexible sideboard answer to everything from equipment to True-Name Nemesis.
The legend rule change- (Prior to this time, multiple copies of a legendary permanent in play caused them to destroy each other.)
+Vryn Wingmare– (Michael Derczo champions a version of the deck maxing out on disruptive elements.)
+Warping Wail (provides a flexible sideboard card with great utility)
+Thalia, Heretic Cathar (a generically strong hate bear on a good body)
+Sanctum Prelate (a new angle of attack against combo
+Recruiter of the Guard (much needed card advantage and selection
-Weaker flex slot cards; many of the fringe playable cards end up getting pushed out by the new cards
+Gideon, Ally of Zendikar (provides a flexible sideboard card with great utility)
Sensei’s Divining Top is banned.
Mass experimentation in splash builds and alternative decklists.
Andrew Calderon wins GP:Vegas with Monowhite D&T
Decks tend to play more copies of Mirran Crusader as decks like Czech Pile struggle to answer it.
The red splash picks up a huge boost in popularity, largely due to Pia and Kiran Nalaar being great against Czech Pile and Miracles.
Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe are banned.
D&T becomes one of the best decks of the format; splash builds become less popular.
Allen Wu wins PTA25 with D&T.
D&T pilots experiment with alternative decklists as the metagame becomes extremely fair. Cards like Palace Jailer and Walking Ballista start seeing more maindeck play.
Chalice of the Void begins to see significant play in the sideboard.
Michael Skipper and Collin Rountree top 8 GP Niagra Falls with D&T
Tomik, Distinguished Advokist becomes a great maindeck option for certain metagames.
Charming Prince and Giver of Runes become flex options.
The power level of Legacy greatly increases as a whole.
Wrenn and Six dominates Legacy, putting D&T in a rough spot.
Wrenn and Six is banned.
The power level of Legacy increases as a whole…again.
Underworld Breach dominates the format.
Deafening Silence becomes a common sideboard card.
Underworld Breach is banned.
The companion era of Legacy begins.
Lurrus of the Dream Den and Yorion, Sky Nomad versions of D&T appear
The companion era of Legacy ends.
D&T is in an extremely weak position until Skyclave Apparition gives the deck new tools.
Luminarch Aspirant becomes a strong flex slot option.
D&T temporarily becomes one of the best decks in the format, but ends the year relatively poorly positioned.