In this article I want to introduce you to three Legacy Format Deck in order of their expected competitiveness. I will be starting with what I think is the least competitive one out of the three and as I will be moving on, the decks will get more and more serious. So without much furhter words of explanation, let me show you the first deck which I named
2 x Inkwell Leviathan (7UU)
4 x Careful Study (U)
4 x Thirst for Knowledge (2U)
4 x Trash for Treasure (2R)
4 x Argivian Restoration (2UU)
2 x March of the Machines (3U)
4 x Amulet of Vigor (1)
4 x Worn Powerstone (3)
4 x Nevinyrral’s Disk (4)
2 x Mycosynth Lattice (6)
4 x Darksteel Forge (9)
4 x Izzet Guildgate
4 x Izzet Boilerworks
8 x Island
8 x Mountain
About the Deck:
I always wanted to build a deck around the Nevinyrral’s Disk – Darksteel Forge combo, which is very costly to set up, but once it is, things are going to be nightmarish for your opponent – hence the name of the deck. Here is how it works:
So Nevinyrral’s Disk (of which I am lucky enough to own a playset) taps at the cost of 1 to destroy all Artifacts, Creatures and Enchantments in play, including itself. Please note, and this is important that you do not have to sacrifice the disk to activate its ability, unlike the newer version of Nevinyrral’s Disk, Oblivion Stone. Now Darksteel Forge is an artifact at the cost of 9 (!) Mana which makes all your Artifacts indestructible, meaning they cannot be destroyed by any means. Now what happens if you combine that with Nevinyrral’s Disk should be obvious to any smart reader who is familiar with how the game works: If you have both Disk and Forge in play you will be able to clear the field every single turn for just 1 generic Mana as your Disk will not be destroyed by its own effect, being indestructible due to Darksteel Forge’s effect. Once you manage to get this combo in place, a real nightmare will become true for your opponent, since you will be able to destroy everything they play (besides Lands and Planeswalkers) on every turn. That of course excludes all your Artifacts AND Arfifact Creatures, which gives you a huge advantage over the opponent.
Now, and you may have realized already, the main problem is the enourmous costs involved in getting both Disk and Forge into play. I have come across two cards which, hopefully, are going to solve that problem for me: Trash for Treasure and Argivian Restoration.
As you can see when you click the card links, Trash for Treasure costs 2R and lets you return any artifact card from your graveyard to play at the additional cost of sacrificing an Artifact. It is kinda the red, graveyard-based and much cheaper (money-wise) version of “almighty” Tinker! The second card, Argivian Restoration, lets you return any Artifact from graveyard to play without having to sacrifice another Artifact at the cost of 2UU.
Now the plan is to get Darksteel Forge into the graveyard ASAP to “reanimate” it cheaply for 2R by Trash for Treasure or for 2UU by Argivian Restoration. Careful Study and Thirst for Knowledge are your meanst to achive that, Careful Study letting you draw 2 and then discard 2 cards for just one blue Mana and Thirst for Knowledge drawing you 3 cards and having you discard 2 or 1 Artifact card. So hopefully you would have Darksteel Forge in your hand at some point, then drop it to the graveyard via aforementioned draw/discard cards and then bring it to the field cheaply by Trash for Treasure or Argivian Restoration. You should be able to have your Forge out by turn 4 pretty much consistently.
There are some minor combos in this deck as well: One great and cheap artifact is Amulet of Vigor, which costs 1 and brings all permanents that would come into play tapped into play untapped instead. That works great with Disk for example, which is very vulnerable to Artifact removal as it comes into play tapped and would have to remain on the field until your next Untap Phase for you to blow it off. With the Amulet, you can just cast it for 4 and, unless it was countered, pay 1 immediately to clear the field. Even without Darksteel Forge in play, I would detonate the Disk on turn 4 or 5 anyways just to whipe out everything on the field for 5 Mana and buy you some time. Other cards that have a nice interaction with the Amulet are Worn Powerstone, which costs 3, produces 2 generic Mana but comes into play tapped. With Amulet of Vigor you can tap it for Mana immedialtey. Similarly, Amulet works great with your “comes into play tapped” lands Izzet Guildgate and Izzet Boilerworks. A combo unrelated to Amulte of Vigor is when you combine Darksteel Forge and Nevinyrral’s Disk with Mycosynth Lattice, which will turn every card on the field to Artifacts, even lands, which will allow you to destroy even all opponent Lands (and Planeswalkers not to forget!) with Disk, while making all your non-artifact permanents on the field indestructible at the same time.
The deck has two winning strategies: The first is a very straightforward approach of dropping Inkwell Leviathan into your graveyard and reanimating it cheaply with some spare Trash for Treasures or Argivina Resorations. The more fun way to win is using March of the Machines to turn all your Artifacts into Creatures with Power and Thoughness each being equal to their casting costs. This will turn your Darksteel Forge into a 9/9, your Mycosynth Lattice into a 6/6, your Disks into a 4/4 and so on, and, the best thing about them, they will all be indestructible.
All this may sound like a whole lot of fun but I think the deck would be too slow and lack any kind off removal, countermagic and disruption on top of that so I would not want to run this at any Legacy tournament. Something which I deem a bit more competitive is the next Legacy Deck I have come up with, centering on yet another strong card combination. I call it
4 x Academy Researchers (1UU)
4 x Iridescent Drake (3U)
4 x Enlightened Tutor
4 x Careful Study (U)
4 x Daze (1U)
4 x Thirst for Knowledge (2U)
4 x Foil (2UU)
4 x Eldrazi Conscription (8)
1 x Mythic Proportions (4GGG)
3 x Chrome Mox (0)
4 x Lightning Greaves (2)
2 x Polluted Delta
2 x Flooded Strand
3 x Tundra
13 x Island
About the Deck:
This deck revolves around the two card combo of Academy Researchers…
…and Eldrazi Conscription…
…with the backup of Iridescent Drake:
With a perfect draw (yes some luck is required) you can, powered by Chrome Mox, play a second turn Academy Researchers, enchanted by Eldrazi Conscription on turn 2, which means you will have a 12/12 Trampler with Annihilator 2 by your second turn. If you played Chrome Mox and a Land on turn 1, you could also already have a Lightning Greaves in play by turn 2, ready to give Shroud and, more importantly, Haste to your 12/12 trampling annihilator and attack right away. In case you have not realized by now, I really love that Equipment (Lightning Greaves), not only in the EDH/Commander Format. Your backup plan, and it is always good, if not essential, to have one, is Iridescent Drake. When Drake comes into play, you can attach any Creature Enchantment from a Graveyard to it. Now if your Eldrazi-Conscriptioned Academy researches were killed, you can simply follow up with Iridescent Drake and return Eldrazi Conscription from the graveyard enchanting Drake and thus making it an even more menacing 12/12 Trampler with Annihilator 2 AND Flying!
You got multiple ways of getting your Eldrazi Conscriptions into your graveyard in the form of Careful Study, Thirst for Knowledge and even Foil. I actually prefer Foil over Force of Will in this build because you can discard an Island and any other card for casting it without having to pay for its Mana cost. This makes it another “discard outlet” for Eldrazi Conscription. With Foil and Daze you got a total of 8 free counterspells which should be very useful in protecting your enchanted Academy Researchers and Iridescent Drakes even when you are “tapped out”.
I am running 3 Tundras along with 4 Fetchlands that can get them into play just to support four copies of the white Enlightened Tutor, which searches out any Enchantment (or Artifact) putting it on top of your deck. Use this with Careful Study (or Thirst for Knowledge) to get Eldrazi Conscription into the graveyard easily to target it with Iridescent Drake later on.
The last card I have yet to mention is Mythic Proportions. It costs 5GGG and gives the Creature it enchants +8/+8 and trample, which makes it an inferior version of Eldrazi Conscription, but I always like to have a backup card in case the opponent managed to remove all my Conscriptions by means of Surgical Extractions or similar cards.
Ok let us move on to the last deck in this article, which is supposed to be considerably more suited for a competitive environment than the previous two decks. Once again, it includes great combos and was actually conceived along the way of changing and optimizing my number 1 power deck, Vintage Landstill, in which I have played all two combos at some point, but not at the same time as I am going to do in the following deck:
Stiflenought (feat. Painer’s Sevent / Grindstone):
2 x Phyrexian Dreadnought (1)
3 x Painter’s Servant (2)
4 x Trinket Mage (2U)
4 x Brainstorm (U)
4 x Stifle (U)
4 x Daze (1U)
4 x Force of Will (3UU)
4 x Merchant Scroll (1U)
3 x Reshape (XUU)
3 x Back to Basics (2U)
1 x Grindstone (1)
1 x Tormod’s Crypt (0)
1 x Sensei’s Divining Top (1)
4 x Wasteland
18 x Island
About the Deck:
What is more awesome than one easy-to-set-up and cheap (at least mana-wise) two card combo? Easy answer: two combos like that in just one deck. While some might say I should focus on one of the two combos included in this deck, I think that having a “backup plan” is never a bad idea, so if your opponent accomplishes foiling your plan A, you will always have your equally powerful and cheap plan B. In this deck I aimed for accomplishing this. Let me show you the two combos this deck revolves around:
Combo 1: Phyrexian Dreadnought + Stifle:
Both these cards cost 1 mana (Dreadnought 1 generic and Stifle 1 blue). The combo is simple: Phyrexian Dreadnought is a 12/12 Tramper for 1, which has a hefty drawback in the form or a triggered ability. Have a look at it:
Now with Stifle in hand, you can, for just one blue Mana, just counter the triggered ability, giving you a 12/12 trampling Creature as early as turn 2 if you had a lucky draw.
Combo 2: Painter’s Servant + Grindstone:
Combo two is only slightly more expensive when it comes to total casting cost with Painter’s Servant being a 2 Mana Creature and Grindstone being a 1 Mana Artifact. This is actually a one turn kill, so if you manage to get both cards into play, and can pay Grindstone’s activation cost of 3, it is pretty much game over for your opponent. Here is how it works: Painter’s Servant makes all cards one color of your choice, even the cards still in their owner’s decks (and this is crucial) and Grindstone puts the top 2 cards of a player’s library into their graveyard. If they shared a color, you may repeat the process for free, which, combined with Painter’s servant, will lead to the complete depletion of the opponent’s whole library. Pretty nasty…
Getting your Combo Pieces:
There are some great ways to get just the combo pieces you need most which are just begging to be run in this deck. First of all, Merchant Scroll can fetch for Stifle and I actually prefer this option over just running 4 Trickbinds to serve as backup for the 4 Stifles, as Merchant Scroll can put some free Counters such as Force of Will or Daze into your hand as well if you have Stifle already in hand. Furthermore, since all your other combo pieces besides Stifle are cheap Artifacts, Trinket Mage becomes a must have in this deck, as he can search directly for Phyrexian Dreadnought OR Grindstone and put the chosen card in your hand. Another great search engine is Reshape, the costlier version of Tinker, which has you sacrifice an artifact and pay XUU to search your deck for an Artifact with converted Mana cost of X and put it directly into play. This will cost you about 3 – 4 Mana, depending on what you want to search for and put into play. This can also fetch Painter’s Servant, who cannot be fetched by Trinket Mage as it has a casting cost of 2 generic Mana. All in all you have got plenty of ways in this deck to search for all your various combo pieces and thus I think the deck can well support both combo strategies successfully and consistently.
Protecting the Combo:
You have various ways to protect your combos and make your combo pieces stay in play long enough to be deadly for your opponent. Force of Will is basically a free-to-cast hardcounter, whereas Daze can be equally powerful early on in the game, being free-to-cast as well. And this deck tries to win within the first few turns, so Daze will be used early on, when opponents in most cases won’t even have 1 more mana to spend to pay for Daze’s cost.
A Land Destruction Side Theme:
When I built this deck I discovered that with Stifle already in the deck, I could try to go for a kinda “pseudo landdestruction” sidetheme as well. In a Legacy Format Environment, Stifle is often seen as very cheap and very viable land destruction, in fact the cheapest land destruction you will ever get and in a color that doesn’t do land destruction at all normally, as pretty much every Legacy deck will be running so called Fetchlands. Lands that is which you can sacrifice and pay 1 Mana to search your deck for a land of one of two specific types. Now if you go first and play an Island, with Stifle in your hand and let your opponent proceed with their turn and they play and try to use a Fetchland, you just counter the Fetchie’s effect which will leave your opponent with no land at all, plus they just paid 1 Life for nothing. This is an excellent way to control opponent resources early on and a great alternative use for surplus Stifles. So I decided to build on that side-theme and included 4 Wastelands as well, which either tap for 1 generic Mana or tap to destroy any one nonbasic Land. This is highly useful in a Format where pretty much every deck you will face will be running at least, if not mostly, nonbasic lands. Then a third card came to my mind which can act as severe resource control on your opponent and goes really, really well with a deck featuring only basic Islands and 4 Wastelands, which you are probably going to sack for their effect the very turn you play them: Back to Basics! Please have a look and see for yourself how devastating that card can be to pretty much any opponent:
I think this deck could actually win me quite a few games, even in a more competitive environment than the casual/fun environment I am mostly playing at home or at friend’s homes, for several reasons. Firslty, the deck runs not just one but two very easy to set-up, deadly two card combos. You can get a 12/12 trampler on turn 2 easily or just deck your opponent with the other, almost as cheap combo which doesn’t even involve dealing a single point of damage to your opponent, which can obviously be a great alternative to the combat-damage based “Stiflenought” route. Furthermore, the deck has some great, free-to-cast counters in the form of Daze and Force of Will which can on the one hand just protect the cards you need to do one of the two combos, and on the other hand just disrupt and hamper the opponent strategy long enough for you to get everything in place for the win, whatever way. An lastly, the deck features some free or incredibly cheap and/or efficient resource control in the form of Wastelands, Stifle and Back to Basics, the latter having great potential later on in the game if you need some time to get your combos going off. These 3 aspects combined – cheap and easy to set up combos, free disruption/counteramgic and free/cheap/efficinet resource control – make me think this could be quite a powerful deck. Testing will show as my neighbour and magic buddy number one said he would be reassembling his old Survial (of the Fittest) deck, so I will have ample opportunity to put this to the test against another pretty strong Legacy Format deck. So: The fittest will survive!