Welcome readers, to a new Legacy! Wizards of the Coast announced the banning of two cards from the Legacy format earlier this month: [[Expressive Iteration]] and [[White Plume Adventurer]]. The rationale for these changes was to take the two dominant decks of Legacy and move them more into step with the remaining meta. UR Delver and Initiative Stompy need no introduction if you have played the format in the past several months. They have been ubiquitous in any large event — clearly in the top finishes or more subtly by forcing players to respect their power as they register other decks. Much in the same way Wizards of the Coast nerfed Temur Energy and Ramunap Red in Standard at the same time, this banning will take the best deck and its direct successor down a peg (or two) to allow a larger number of strategies the opportunity to succeed. This opens up the Legacy metagame significantly, as decks that were previously stifled by the raw efficiency of UR Delver and Initiative Stompy can now be allowed to flourish again.
Alex McKinley wrote preliminary thoughts on the shape they thought Legacy would take shortly after the ban announcement. Within the article were lists of winners and losers that were indirectly affected by the changes. Let’s dive a little deeper into those thoughts here:
Lands-based strategies like Naya Depths and Lands have improved standings now that Initiative Stompy is less prevalent, as these grindy decks struggled with the Initiative mechanic as well as strong removal options like [[Solitude]].
Another swath of decks that will seek to take advantage of this shift are the Legacy Control decks. [[Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath]] was laughable in the face of [[White Plume Adventurer]] no matter how good a UR Delver matchup the deck could claim. Likewise, [[Standstill]] and [[Predict]] have been withering under the shadow being cast by [[Expressive Iteration]] and its card advantage dominance. Will UW or Jeskai Control be coming back with a top-of-the-library-matters sub-theme? Is Sharkstill a viable strategy again? Time will only tell as the new meta adjusts.
Initiative Stompy was quickly regarded as a better deck and strategy than the classic Death & Taxes. Now, however, there is an opportunity for Death & Taxes to take advantage of this new meta. Traditionally good against Control decks that are expected to make a resurgence, [[Yorion, Sky Nomad]] adds a lot of grind potential now that the format is less demanding of early turns.
Losers of this announcement (outside of those directly impacted by the ban of course) include decks that predominantly saw their success through targeting the top meta. Decks like Painter and Cephalid Breakfast were both disruptive combo decks that saw success skyrocket in recent months. As their preferred metagame shrinks, players will need to determine what changes are required of their strategy to stay successful.
Following any Legacy ban announcement, the metagame becomes more open. Players flock to events and leagues to try out technology either passed over or buried long ago. A new card just now being allowed to truly shine is [[Mercurial Spelldancer]]. It may have serious chops regarding card advantage if UR Delver can adjust to playing it. Another card that UR Delver pilots can’t help but play is [[Stifle]]. The so-called “glory days” of the card’s viability have long since passed, but the feelings of a successful mana-denial plan being realized are apparently too good to pass up. Just like the rise and fall of Mariah Carrey’s yearly popularity in December, [[Stifle]] will wax and wane just as quickly. Until then, watch out for your fetch lands and Storm triggers.
Among the decks that have adjusted to a more open metagame, The EPIC Storm has made changes that reflect expectations in the decks likely to be faced. With fewer [[Archon of Emeria]] running around, the [[Slaughter Pact]] in our sideboard was not looking as effective against a meta where we expected more Death & Taxes than Initiative Stompy. To that end, we have brought back [[Massacre]] as a sideboard [[Burning Wish]] target for those matchups. It has also been useful in removing [[Collector Ouphe]] from pesky 4C Control decks! Having access to this kind of tool was not helpful when the threats being faced had at least three toughness ([[White Plume Adventurer]], [[Archon of Emeria]], and [[Seasoned Dungeoneer]]). Now that the expected frequency of those cards has lessened, more broadly useful cards can be used.
Faulted Form is an MTGO Legacy league grinder with a fondness for aggressive strategies. They consider themselves a deck specialist focusing on Golgari Turbo Depths and Oops! All Spells, having achieved four Legacy Challenge top 8 finishes (two with each deck.) They have put a lot of work into fine tuning the current Oops! All Spells deck list as well as creating an extensive guide on how to use Memory’s Journey in the deck. Faulted Form can be found grinding leagues on MTGO or moderating the Oops! All Spells discord channel and discussing strategy.
As far as strategies that get better post-banning are concerned, [[Doomsday]] was one of the most widely discussed among them. Notorious for being favored against a wide field while struggling against UR Delver, the influx of Initiative Stompy seemed to have curbed the growth of one of the most powerful combo decks in Legacy. Now that both of these decks are seeing a nerf, will [[Doomsday]] see a resurgence amongst [[Dark Ritual]] lovers? One thing to note is that at the highest levels, pilots of the deck are suggesting that [[Doomsday]] will get worse overall. Max Carini (a previous guest of this article series) thinks that their matchup was already favored against UR Delver and Initiative Stompy and the more open metagame that we expect will bring those win rates down. The metagame is still in its infancy and those small shifts will have to be seen over several weeks of testing.
[[Doomsday]] continues to be a threatening strategy in Legacy, regardless of the metagame it faces. [[Thassa’s Oracle]] allows for significant power to be held within a five-card library. [[Force of Will]], [[Daze]], [[Force of Negation]], [[Grief]], and even [[Subtlety]] were seen as zero-mana interaction prior to the B&R announcement; not to mention [[Thoughtseize]] and [[Duress]]. Cheap and effective interaction has always been a hallmark of [[Doomsday]] and will remain so. Because of this, The EPIC Storm struggles in the matchup. Our Storm strategy loses effectiveness against decks that present both [[Force of Will]] and a quick clock. Thankfully, changes to The EPIC Storm have made those weaknesses less problematic. With the [[Orim’s Chant]]/[[Silence]] inclusion, we have dual-mode protection AND interaction cards in our main deck. Allowing interaction post-[[Doomsday]] has enabled The EPIC Storm to function competitively in places previously unavailable. Sideboarding [[Thoughtseize]] can also proactively disrupt them. Perhaps the matchup is still unfavored, but the needle has shifted closer to the midline than before.
-3 [[Galvanic Relay]]; +3 [[Thoughtseize]]
As our first puzzle this month, we are looking at a resolved [[Doomsday]] and a handful (hand full) of choices! This is game one of the match, so our sideboard discard spells were of no help. Quite a lot has already happened. Let’s take a look at the sequence of events thus far:
Our opponent was on the play and spent their first turn using [[Duress]] to discard a copy of [[Wishclaw Talisman]]
[[Doomsday]] resolved on our opponent’s second turn after we used a land and [[Mishra’s Bauble]] to scry (Five cards in library)
Our opponent tapped their [[Underground Sea]] for and sacrificed the land to cycle [[Edge of Autumn]]
During one of their fetches, we cast [[Silence]] to stop their ability to combo that turn. They subsequently passed back to us. (Two cards in library)
We know that within their hand or library is another [[Force of Will]], but it is unlikely to be in hand as our opponent would have interacted with the [[Silence]], right? The contents of our opponent’s remaining cards should be simple to ascertain (simple, not easy) from the pile of exiled cards we see on the left of the screenshot. From there, we can potentially plan around interaction. Our draw for the turn, the [[Ad Nauseam]], was very nice. Is it really what we want to do? Can you find a sneakier way to win? Is sneaky worth it?
So I think whether the opponent has [[Force of Will]] or not our only out is to play into it. My immediate thought was to make them draw their deck with an [[Echo of Eons]] line, but sadly, they have too many cards. My plan would then be to cast [[Dark Ritual]] into [[Dark Ritual]] and make . Tap the [[Plateau]] for and cast [[Burning Wish]] leaving you with . You get [[Tendrils of Agony]] with the [[Burning Wish]] and with four Storm it will do eight damage and kill the opponent.
It might be reasonable to think that [[Force of Will]] is not in our opponent’s hand, but the [[Silence]] actually wasn’t a must-counter threat. Our [[Doomsday]] opponent could simply have made the strategic decision to not use their countermagic knowing they could attempt another win next turn while disrupting our combo attempt at the same time. Even if that is true, this does not change the decisions available to us much. As I see it, we have three options:
Use [[Dark Ritual]] to deploy and activate the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] in hand to find another [[Silence]]. It would need to be cast in our opponent’s Upkeep to play around [[Force of Will]] on top of their deck. The downside of this is our opponent is smart! They judiciously did not find a land with their last fetch, leaving two cards in their library, so a single [[Time Walk]] effect will not be effective against them.
We can jam [[Ad Nauseam]] onto the stack. [[Daze]] is not a consideration here as all four copies are in Exile, so it’s just the last remaining copy of [[Force of Will]]. This line is needlessly risky, there’s a better option.
The line I would suggest taking is staring us in the face. With our opponent at such a low life total, they are dead to a natural Storm kill! Casting both copies of [[Dark Ritual]] and the additional land gives us six total mana. [[Burning Wish]] into [[Tendrils of Agony]] will be Storm four and lethal. Easy peazy lemon squeezy!
I wouldn’t say that it’s unlikely that the [[Force of Will]] is in their hand. It seems unlikely that they would choose to put it as one of the last two cards in their library. A more realistic situation would be that they couldn’t afford to pitch the blue card that they had access to.
We have three options:
Cast [[Brainstorm]] and hope for a miracle three cards that has protection, an initial mana source, and an accelerant in order to beat the known [[Force of Will]].
Play [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].
Cast [[Dark Ritual]], [[Burning Wish]] (checking for [[Force of Will]]), [[Dark Ritual]], and then [[Tendrils of Agony]] for exactly lethal.
Option No. 2 is by far the worse one, the [[Ad Nauseam]] draw just didn’t matter. Option No. 1 is possible, but very unlikely. I believe you’re supposed to go for the third choice and hope that the blue card they have to exile is [[Thassa’s Oracle]]. We know that there’s only one left and they were unwilling to counter the [[Silence]] for a reason. It’s worth noting that both copies of [[Daze]] that many lists play are also in exile.
The outlook here isn’t so great, but I do believe that this is likely the best line.
Our opponent is only showing three copies of [[Force of Will]] in Exile. This means that they have one between their hand and Library. Given they cycled the [[Edge of Autumn]], I would guess that they have it in hand. Because the opponent is at eight, there is a deterministic line to win. To be sneaky, I would start by casting both copies of [[Dark Ritual]], then [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. [[Wishclaw Talisman]] intends to find [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to just build Storm count for a lethal [[Tendrils of Agony]]. If the opponent counters the [[Wishclaw Talisman]], then [[Burning Wish]] for [[Thoughtseize]] becomes an option to potentially strip a [[Lotus Petal]] or the second [[Thassa’s Oracle]]. The only spell that needs to resolve is the [[Burning Wish]], but that seems like the best option.
I would cast the [[Ad Nauseam]] off both copies of [[Dark Ritual]]. They either don’t have the [[Force of Will]] or don’t have the Blue card. If they did, they would have cast the [[Force of Will]] on the [[Silence]]. There are other ways to potentially win here, but they also lose to a [[Force of Will]], so why bother? I’m just casting [[Ad Nauseam]].
In this scenario, they are able to win on their next turn most likely so we must try to win on this turn. Since they did not cast [[Force of Will]] on our [[Silence]] on their turn, that let’s us know that [[Force of Will]] is probably not in their hand. We will just have to assume they have no interaction for our combo. Note, we also do not have to play around [[Daze]] as all copies are exiled. They are at only eight life so to win we can just then cast [[Dark Ritual]] twice to give us five mana and then just use the [[Plateau]] for red to cast [[Burning Wish]] for [[Tendrils of Agony]].
Obviously, this hand casts [[Ad Nauseam]] with a mana to spare, but given that our opponent is at eight life, we can also double [[Dark Ritual]] into a [[Burning Wish]] for [[Tendrils of Agony]] to deal exactly lethal.
Our [[Silence]] last turn was must-counter, so I feel reasonably confident that they probably aren’t sitting on [[Force of Will]] — the two cards I’m thus most concerned about are [[Daze]] (as we do need all four copies of [[Tendrils of Agony]] to resolve) and [[Force of Negation]] (which was not castable for free last turn).
It’s game one, so simply put, I’m not playing around [[Force of Negation]]. I also see that all four copies of [[Daze]] are in their graveyard. Given that this hand folds to a [[Force of Will]] effect or a [[Flusterstorm]] whether we go for the kill or go for the [[Ad Nauseam]] and that I wouldn’t expect any other mainboard permission from my [[Doomsday]] opponent, I say let’s push and try for immediate lethal.
SITUATION No. 2 — Winonta Initiative Stompy
Wait a second, didn’t Initiative Stompy get hit with a ban? Even though that did happen, the deck is still marching onward without the early threat of [[White Plume Adventurer]]. These Initiative strategies are in a testing period right now. Several iterations are being worked on including Gruul, Boros, Naya, and even Bant variants. Phil Gallagher (ThrabenU) put up an excellent showing with a Boros deck that contained [[Winota, Joiner of Forces]]. Most commonly seen in the competitive EDH realm, she slots nicely into a deck that can quickly power large creatures out. Paired with something like [[Goblin Rabblemaster]], [[Winota, Joiner of Forces]] can reliably trigger; finding cards like [[Seasoned Dungeoneer]] and [[Caves of Chaos Adventurer]]. If this deck looks familiar, you would be correct! The cards being used are very similar to Moon Stompy. [[Chalice of the Void]] is a main element of disruption here. But unlike Moon Stompy, Winonta Initiative Stompy seeks to put faster clocks onto the board instead of more lock pieces (like [[Blood Moon]] or [[Trinisphere]]).
Our opponent’s first turn in a post-board game two was quite aggressive. Deploying a four-drop Initiative creature as well as a [[Chalice of the Void]] with no Charge counters. Our moderately disruptive hand will need to also be explosive if we are to win this. Our options are limited for our first turn, but we have a few game plans that we can explore. Based on our opponent’s board and only one card in hand, can we reliably plan for that in the following turns?
The opponent’s card in hand is the basic land from the dungeon. On their turn two, our opponent can attack for seven and turn three they can do 12 damage which kills, us assuming we use the fetch land. The clock is so fast I think we only have two turns to accomplish anything. I would play the [[Bloodstained Mire]] and use it to get [[Plateau]] and then cast [[Prismatic Ending]] to exile the [[Chalice of the Void]]. I would pass the turn to make the opponent think I don’t have a play and to save some Storm triggers for the [[Echo of Eons]] line. On our turn two, I think there are three options to cast [[Echo of Eons]]:
Draw artifact mana: Play [[Underground Sea]] and [[Lotus Petal]] and the drawn artifact mana. [[Thoughtseize]] the [[Echo of Eons]] into your graveyard then cast it.
Draw [[Brainstorm]] or [[Ponder]]: Use the [[Underground Sea]] to cast the draw spell and hope to find [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Cast [[Lotus Petal]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] then sacrifice [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to cast [[Echo of Eons]].
Draw [[Wishclaw Talisman]]: Use [[Lotus Petal]], [[Underground Sea]] and [[Plateau]] to use [[Wishclaw Talisman]] to get [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and sacrifice it to cast the [[Echo of Eons]].
First thing first, we need to get rid of this [[Chalice of the Void]]. Everything hinges on being able to leverage our zero-mana artifacts against this very strong start from our opponent. Using [[Bloodstained Mire]] to find a [[Plateau]] and employ our removal spell is the plan so far.
The complication comes from what happens after. We don’t have enough mana to also combo out this turn. In fact, we need to find an additional mana to even start thinking about a combo next turn. There are draws that lead us two different places. First, a plus-one mana source (non-land) will provide us with the ability to [[Thoughtseize]] our own [[Echo of Eons]] and cast it for its Flashback cost. If we are lucky enough, a plus-two mana source ([[Dark Ritual]] exactly) will allow us to cast [[Ad Nauseam]] from a low life total: five damage from the [[Caves of Chaos Adventurer]], plus two from venturing into Force for the [[Undercity]] with two +1/+1 counters on their creature. Both plans have their merits and risks, but the top of our deck will need to be good if we are to stand a chance.
I would begin by searching up [[Plateau]] and then casting [[Prismatic Ending]] on [[Chalice of the Void]]. This opens up [[Lotus Petal]] to be free on a future turn.
We have access to [[Echo of Eons]] if we cast [[Thoughtseize]] targeting ourselves, but we would need to draw more acceleration. If that acceleration is [[Dark Ritual]], we could even consider [[Ad Nauseam]] instead of the [[Thoughtseize]] line.
As an aside, what a hand from the opponent!
The last card in the opponent’s hand is a [[Mountain]] from the first chapter of the [[Undercity]]. This means that they do not have anything else that matters unless they draw it. I would fetch for [[Plateau]] and [[Prismatic Ending]] the [[Chalice of the Void]]. Playing out the [[Lotus Petal]] seems free as well. This leaves options to draw mana next turn to [[Thoughtseize]] ourselves to cast [[Echo of Eons]] or just cast [[Ad Nauseam]] from a lowered life total.
I would spend my first turn casting [[Prismatic Ending]] on the [[Chalice of the Void]] and then play the [[Lotus Petal]]. If I drew a ritual or artifact mana on my second turn, and the opponent doesn’t do much, then I could [[Thoughtseize]] myself to put the [[Echo of Eons]] into the graveyard and flash it back.
Since they had such an aggressive start with a disruption piece, we are on quite the backfoot. The main multi-turn game plans we currently have are to hope to draw enough mana to cast [[Ad Nauseam]] or [[Echo of Eons]]. Based on our opponent’s start, they will choose Forge for the Initiative trigger on their upkeep and then the Trap option the turn after since they will attack us for seven twice and make us lose five life from Trap putting us dead on their turn three if we pay any life for anything. Thus, I would want to maximize the chance I can win on our second turn. To do so with [[Ad Nauseam]], we would need to draw a [[Dark Ritual]] or a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for [[Echo of Eons]], and of course [[Brainstorm]] could possibly enable either. The only limitation of having these open is the [[Chalice of the Void]] so we have to cast [[Prismatic Ending]] targeting it this turn from a [[Scrubland]] we get off of playing and sacrificing [[Bloodstained Mire]].
Our opponent has dumped their hand and it’s actually fairly likely their last card is a land. We are at 20 and can expect to take seven off the pumped [[Caves of Chaos Adventurer]] next combat.
I think there are two reasonable plays to consider making here:
Fetch a [[Plateau]] and cast [[Prismatic Ending]] for one on our opponent’s [[Chalice of the Void]]
[[Thoughtseize]] yourself and put the [[Echo of Eons]] in the graveyard.
There are upsides and downsides to both of these options. Putting the [[Echo of Eons]] in the yard and passing priority obviously leaves us open to graveyard hate, but I would expect this kind of deck to be running [[Endurance]] (not, say, [[Surgical Extraction]]) as its graveyard hate, and in a matchup with The EPIC Storm, I imagine that the smart player may board out at least some of their copies of [[Endurance]].
This line also cannot go off next turn cleanly without an additional piece of mana acceleration — if we don’t blow up the [[Chalice of the Void]] none of our artifact acceleration can come down, and if we do, we’ll only have two net mana off our [[Lotus Petal]] and untapped land.
This said, I think trying to blow up the [[Chalice of the Void]] now only really makes sense if we’re trying to [[Ad Nauseam]] at some point in the next two or three turns, and given that we’ll be going to 12 off the fetch and swing (and down to zero the turn after becuase of Trap), I think our best bet is still just binning the [[Echo of Eons]] and praying for more mana off the top next turn.
SITUATION No. 3 — Gruul Initiative Stompy
Another Initiative deck? The brewers are out in force trying to explore every inch of ground for the next piece of technology that will break open the post-ban Initiative decks. This opponent has opted for a Gruul Stompy deck with maindeck [[Trinisphere]], [[Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes]], and a standard array of Initiative creatures starting with [[Caves of Chaos Adventurer]].
Another turn-one decision awaits us with this scenario. Finding the line is not the puzzle here, but picking the RIGHT line will make all of the difference. Our hand is quite explosive — exactly what you would hope for against a permanent-based Prison deck. Getting under their disruption will allow us to avoid the likes of [[Trinisphere]] and [[Chalice of the Void]]. The one thing we are vulnerable to is [[Mindbreak Trap]]. Can we sequence our opening turn to play around this? What line should we take? Why?
To play around [[Mindbreak Trap]], I think I would play the [[Scalding Tarn]] to fetch [[Plateau]] then use it to cast [[Rite of Flame]] into [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]]. I would then cast the first [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] because it they hit that with [[Mindbreak Trap]], you still have the second one. Assuming the opponent is waiting to hit the [[Echo of Eons]] with it, I’ll play out the second [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and pass the turn. This puts us in a position to be able to [[Prismatic Ending]] a [[Chalice of the Void]] or a [[Trinisphere]] on our next turn and cast [[Echo of Eons]] off of the copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] all while staying under [[Mindbreak Trap]].
Is The EPIC Storm the best Goblins deck ever? I don’t know, but it’s situations like this that make it seem true! Instead of trying to play around a card that Gruul Initiative Stompy might not even be playing (even if it is, there won’t be many copies), we have a [[Goblin Token]] army ready to be released. Our opponent is more likely to have permanent-based hate cards like [[Trinisphere]] that could be problematic if we don’t [[Echo of Eons]] into a win. Let’s take the guaranteed combo instead of trying to reach further and sputter out.
Peanut butter and JAM! Play out everything into [[Empty the Warrens]] for 10 [[Goblin Token]]s. They might have [[Mindbreak Trap]] where they definitely have four copies of [[Chalice of the Void]] and three [[Trinisphere]] — don’t be a coward, make rational decisions.
I would make twelve [[Goblin Token]]s with [[Empty the Warrens]] here. There are not more lands in hand or a [[Silence]] to deal with [[Mindbreak Trap]] or [[Trinisphere]]. Being aggressive makes sense and twelve [[Goblin Token]]s is plenty to win the game on turn one.
I would go for [[Empty the Warrens]] here. Ten [[Goblin Token]]s here should be good enough to win against their five-card hard. These are the matchups that [[Empty the Warrens]] is for, so now is the time. We need to play under their lock pieces, and something like [[Echo of Eons]] is too risky in case of a bad seven cards.
Since we have everything needed to try and combo off, I would choose to play [[Scalding Tarn]] then sacrifice it to get a [[Badlands]] to cast [[Rite of Flame]]. Next, I would cast [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]] followed by both copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Then sacrificing both for to then cast [[Echo of Eons]] to try and win from there. This of course does not respect [[Mindbreak Trap]] as it is not currently very played in Gruul Initiative Stompy. If I want to respect [[Mindbreak Trap]], I would start out similarly by playing [[Bloodstained Mire]] then sacrificing it for [[Plateau]] to cast [[Rite of Flame]] into [[Burning Wish]] grabbing [[Echo of Eons]]. We have only played two spells at this point, but then I would also cast both of the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] as well. If they choose to [[Mindbreak Trap]] one of them we can just Flashback [[Echo of Eons]] anyway afterwards. If they do nothing, we then still have up the ability to [[Prismatic Ending]] a [[Chalice of the Void]] the following turn and even if they play a [[Collector Ouphe]] we can handle that as well if we draw a land. Additionally, we have ability to cast our [[Echo of Eons]] though a [[Trinisphere]] to negate that problem as well. Finally of course if they do nothing to lock us out we can start off our second turn by sacrificing our [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to cast [[Echo of Eons]] still playing around [[Mindbreak Trap]].
If I know what my opponent’s playing, I think this is turn-one [[Echo of Eons]].
Between the two copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], the land and the [[Rite of Flame]] we’ve got eight mana — one short of the auto-win via [[Peer into the Abyss]]. In this matchup, there is no way in hell I’m waiting a turn to let them resolve [[Chalice of the Void]] before I try to go off.
The alternative is making ten [[Goblin Token]]s via [[Empty the Warrens]] out of the [[Burning Wish]] sideboard, but especially preboard (when their four copies of [Fury]] are still in the deck), I don’t love this line. At 12 or more tokens I’d consider it, but at 10 [[Goblin Token]]s, killing even one of our attackers time walks us (assuming they don’t have an [[Ancient Tomb]], something I imagine they’d avoid tapping if they see us take this line). Meanwhile, we can wheel with three mana up against a deck with no Blue countermagic — preboard I’d probably keep up Red to try make turn one [[Galvanic Relay]] an option, post-board after they come out I probably keep up Black (four [[Wishclaw Talisman]] left to three [[Burning Wish]] is my reasoning — playing to the spells I’m more likely to draw). I like those odds to kill on the spot.
One caveat to all this: post-board, Gruul Initiative will occasionally board in [[Pyroblast]] (castable on turn one with [[Simian Spirit Guide]]). Given that this hand doesn’t otherwise play into a [[Pyroblast]] effect, I’d potentially be more willing to go for the [[Goblin Token]]s if I got the sense this might be what my opponent was holding up.
As for [[Mindbreak Trap]]: my experience has been that the Gruul decks don’t really play [[Mindbreak Trap]]. Between [[Chalice of the Void]], [[Trinisphere]], [[Collector Ouphe]], [[Leyline of the Void]], [[Force of Vigor]], and that [[Pyroblast]] I mentioned, they’ve already got plenty to interact with a variety of fast combo decks. I am far more afraid of whatever hate pieces are in their hand than of the minor possibility they’re running [[Mindbreak Trap]].
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Jordan Karim is a biochemistry lab manager that enjoys solving questions about the microscopic as well as about Legacy combo turns. In his free time Jordan can be found playing Magic with friends, watching movies/TV, or searching for the next tasty new restaurant.
His favorite Magic card is Dark Ritual and his favorite deck is God-Pharaoh’s Gift from Hour of Devastation standard.
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