D&T, Standstill, and Legacy League Lists

Legacy is wonderful right now. There’s so much room for experimentation at the moment, and long-dead archetypes are rearing their heads once again. There’s a pretty good variety of decks showing up, although some front-runners are starting to emerge. D&T underperformed at MKM Frankfurt, putting up no real results despite being the second most popular deck at the event? Why? Well, I suspect that many of the pilots only minimally changed their builds going into the event. I don’t really think D&T is at the point where just changing one or two cards is fine. To be a good control deck, you need to prepare for the field properly. Without understanding where the field is going, that can be really difficult.

So the question is: “What do we need to do to prepare to beat the expected field?” Let’s take a look at what some people are trying:

Don Donelson's 6-0

Lands (22)
Rishadan Port
Horizon canopy
Mishra Factory
10 Plains

Artifacts (11)
Aether Vial
Swords to Plowshares
Sword of Fire and Ice
Umezawa’s Jitte

Creatures (27)
Mother of Runes
Stoneforge Mystic
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Lone Missionary
Ethersworn Canonist
Serra Avenger
Recruiter of Guard
Aven Mindcensor
Vryn Wingmare
Sideboard (15)
Rest in Peace
Circle of Protection: Red
Seal of Cleansing
Path to Exile
Council’s Judgment
Phyrexian Revoker
Sword of Feast and Famine
Pithing Needle

Don Donnelson got 13th at a Legacy Classic back in September, and he occasionally messages me to discuss the deck or exchange decklists. Don’s approach to the deck was one that isn’t taken by players nearly enough: he showed up to the event, looked around the room, and built his deck on the spot. He didn’t agonize over card choices, and try to guess what people would played. He just prepared for what was actually there. Don looked around the room and saw a fair amount of RUG Delver and Burn. Accordingly, he upped his flier count to block Delvers, added a touch of lifegain, and added Canonists to limit their ability to fire off multiple spells quickly.

Would I bring this list to a big event? No, absolutely not. Don wouldn’t either. He messaged me, laughing about the pile of a decklist that he was crushing his event with. His whopping 10 fliers plus two Moat were borderline unanswerable for some of the decks there, and invalidated some common problem cards like True-Name Nemesis. This is local metagaming done right.

Most of you probably care about the big picture though: “What do I bring to my next big event that really matters?” My personal solution to the initial changing format was to splash a color or two. Last week I was mucking around with a red splash build and a black splash build, ultimately deciding that the red was better. Perhaps, I was not greedy enough. Here’s what I’m mucking around with at the moment:

3-Color Taxes

Lands (24)
Rishadan Port
Ancient Tomb
Cavern of Souls
Flooded Strand
Windswept Heath

Creatures (23)
Mother of Runes
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Stoneforge Mystic
Recruiter of the Guard
Magus of the Moon
Orzhov Pontiff
Palace Jailer
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Restoration Angel

Other Spells (13)
Aether Vial
Chalice of the Void
Umezawa’s Jitte
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sideboard: (15)
Surgical Extraction
Containment Priest
Ethersworn Canonist
Banisher Priest
Cunning Sparkmage
Orzhov Pontiff
Mindbreak Trap
Mirran Crusader
Palace Jailer

This list is based on Bahra’s recent 5-0 list, which you can find here. The list is very non-traditional, and it takes a step closer to things like White Eldrazi or Thalia Stompy. It is still most certainly D&T, though it has become very hateful to specific strategies. There are a number of haymaker cards in Chalice and Magus that threaten to end games on the spot, and any one of these plus another hate bear should make life pretty miserable for your opponents. Flickerwisp seems pretty hard to cast in this build, so I cut one and replaced it with a Restoration Angel for a little more flexibility. Aven Mindcensor or Vryn Wingmare were my other two considerations for the slot.

The removal suite in the deck is very interesting. As a Chalice deck, Swords to Plowshares isn’t a good fit. Instead, the deck leans on Dismember and creature-based removal. His original list had a few Sudden Demise, which was probably a touch ambitious given how few true red sources the deck actually had. I replaced them with Cunning Sparkmage, which plays much better with the 4 Caverns in the deck. I haven’t given it a ton of thought, put it’s possible that there are other sweet humans that I could dump in off Cavern or Vial that could fit in as well.

I only got a few games in with it last night between my games with Sneak and Show for a local Legacy league, but it does seem promising. I’ll be running it through a 4-round event tonight to see how it fares. I thought the deck might be a little soft to opposing equipment, since it doesn’t pack Revokers, so I added a Manriki-Gusari to compensate. The sideboard is still probably a bit loose, as I’m not sure the exact number of cards in/out for each match, but it does cover most bases pretty well. Note that playing a version of D&T like this will likely wildly change how you evaluate and sideboard for various matchups, and your decision trees are radically different.

While I’ve been trying to tweak my favorite control deck, other having been paving the way with all-but-forgotten archetypes…

Tyler Gardner, UR Standstill

Creatures (7)
Snapcaster Mage
Young Pyromancer
Vendilion Clique

Spells (34)
Engineered Explosives
Force of Will
Gitaxian Probe
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lightning Bolt
Spell Pierce
Lands (20)
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Mishra’s Factory
Misty Rainforest
Volcanic Island

Sideboard (15)
Forked Bolt
Grafdigger’s Cage
Izzet Staticaster
Pithing Needle
Red Elemental Blast
Surgical Extraction

Tyler Gardner is one of my local players, although his name is one you’ve probably come across before. He had a great run at the last Eternal Extravaganza and ending up top 8’ing. While Aluren is his primary deck, he has been putting in a lot testing various decks for their viability in the new format. He’s had decent success with decks like this one, which is a slightly updated version of his 5-0 list from a couple of days ago. Notably, he added a Vendilion Clique to the maindeck, added a Fire//Ice, and adjusted his fetchlands. I think that this deck is actually pretty viable. The last time I checked in, he was something like 14-6 with the deck, which is not too shabby at all. The list I have here isn’t 100% current, as he is streaming with the deck almost daily, and constantly tweaking it.

[shameless plug] On that note, I do highly recommend his stream. The quality of his play is solid, he is willing to change his deck to adapt, and actually streams enough to be a Twitch partner. Yes, it is actually possible to become a Twitch partner by streaming Legacy! To celebrate that fact and hitting his 250 follower mark, he’ll be giving away a playset of (paper) Snapcaster Mage tomorrow night on stream (stream starts at ~7PM EST). He’s also planning on giving away a blue dual land once he hits his 1000 follower goal. Stream Link. Feel free to tune in to enjoy some Legacy and have a chance at winning some free stuff! [/shamelessplug]

Slightly off topic, I also added a new tab under the Additional Information bar for our local, player-run Legacy league. If you are interested in seeing what some of the Roanoke locals are trying out in the new metagame, check it out. Here’s the link to the current round. Although if you’re really looking for good ideas on what to play and prepare for, I’d take a look at Sean Brown’s article from earlier today.

About the Author

Phil Gallagher

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