Hi, everyone. GP: Baltimore last weekend was a disappointing event for me, although I had a great time with friends while watching Matt Costa show why he is one of the best Delver players in the world.
I’d like to go over the Legacy format and what decks you should be prepared for at the Grand Prix in Indianapolis. It won’t be possible for me to cover every single deck—the format has a huge amount of depth and fringe strategies dating back to the beginning of Magic.
The first deck is one that has recently been a bogeyman even in Standard: W/U Stoneforge.
The list I would run is as follows:
Stoneforge Mystic makes for one of the best attrition decks in the format with its unholy trinity of Stoneforge Mystic, Snapcaster Mage, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Plan A: Assemble Stoneforge Mystic and Batterskull. Plan B: Drag the game out so you can attrition out your opponent with Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Notably, I choose not to include Sword of Feast and Famine because I believe Umezawa’s Jitte is superior at the moment. If you want to include it, you can probably cut a Geist of Saint Traft from the sideboard to have access to it. The main attraction of having red is having access to the incredible Red Elemental Blast (or Pyroblast) against other blue decks. Surgical Extraction is the go-to graveyard hate because of its synergy with Snapcaster Mage. Oblivion Ring is a catch-all for Choke, Knight of the Reliquary, and other problematic permanents. Wrath of God is good against the G/W Maverick deck. Geist of Saint Traft comes in often against other blue decks and decks attacking your Equipment plan.
Another deck to be prepared for is B/R Goblins.
My list for it:
In this configuration, you are heavily geared to kill creatures with four Gempalm Incinerator and three Warren Weirding. Mogg War Marshal does a great job of chump-blocking to buy time and of enabling Gempalm Incinerators to kill bigger things. Goblin Piledriver is a card that you really only want against Merfolk and combo decks. However, having two in the main gives you a shot of being able to kill combo before it gets online. Sideboard, we gain access to Cabal Therapy (you do need to know the key cards in every matchup for the card to be at its best), Pyrokinesis (one of the best anti-G/W and mirror cards), Goblin Piledriver against Merfolk and combo, and Relic of Progenitus to cover graveyard decks. Goblins is notorious for being misunderstood as a simplistic aggressive deck. It is really one of the best attrition creature decks to exist because of Goblin Matron, Goblin Ringleader, and Siege-Gang Commander that can get into fairly complicated board states—especially against other creature decks.
R/U/G Delver is also quite a popular deck, and here’s the version I expect to see the most of at the GP:
As far as I know, this list was originally developed by the Hatfields (of Northern Virginia), and the original list had Counterbalance and Sensei’s Divining Top in its main. The deck seems quite solid. We finally see the return of the Nimble Mongoose! Its ability to be a 3/3 with shroud is pretty solid. The one-of Sensei’s Divining Top might seem quite random, but it is just the ninth cantrip that provides more utility alongside four Ponders and eight fetch lands and lets you save one sideboard slot for [car]Counterbalance[/card]/Top. Mind Harness and Submerge are four more removal spells with Mind Harness having a great upside.
Honestly, to play against this deck, you should be very careful about what your first few land drops are (specifically, try to avoid playing fetch lands if possible, and if you do, try to wait until you have more lands in play to crack them). Patience is the key against this deck because its spells generally become less effective as the game drags on.
Another deck I expect to see is Bolt.dec.
Patrick Sullivan’s list (a renowned red mage) from SCG: LA earlier this year:
It’s pretty obvious what the goal of this deck is. To play against this deck, try to avoid fetching nonbasics if possible, and if you are a deck with Wasteland, leave it up to kill your own nonbasics, too. Your best bets for beating this deck are to apply quick pressure with quick creatures, to have Counterbalance/Top, or to be a faster combo deck (Tendrils, Show and Tell). If you are a deck with Enlightened Tutor, Aegis of Honor is a great hoser.
”Sneak Attack/Show and Tell”
This deck has two plans of attack: Cast an early Show and Tell (putting in Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Progenitus) or cast a Sneak Attack and activate it to try to swing with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. The deck can also Show and Tell Sneak Attack into play, so be wary of that. There are also lists that sideboard Jace, the Mind Sculptor, which is not unreasonable to cast on turn two or three consistently with the aid of Lotus Petal and Ancient Tomb. Blood Moon is a trump card against a lot of decks since dual lands and utility lands (such as Wasteland, Maze of Ith, and Karakas) encourage a lot of decks to not play many basic lands.
Karakas is a reasonably good countermeasure to this deck (in Knight of the Reliquary decks), although if the player decides to go for Progenitus, it doesn’t do much there. Phyrexian Metamorph doesn’t do what you want it to do with Show and Tell. Red Elemental Blast is also very good against this deck (even more so than usual against blue decks) because Show and Tell is one of the deck’s major plans.
Besides these decks, there're a lot of Tier 1.5 and Tier 2 decks, such as Reanimator, Storm, Dredge, Elves!, Enchantress, Merfolk, and Affinity. If you have the time, I would suggest trying to at least look at decklists for each of those, if not getting in a few games before each of them before the Grand Prix.
Good luck to everyone playing in GP: Indianapolis or any other event you might have this upcoming weekend.
Any comments that you may have are appreciated (either here or on Twitter @jkyu06).