Hello and welcome to the second season of You Choose The Brew, the show where I ask the community - that's all of you - to join me in brewing up a new Legacy deck! Last time, we ended up with a sweet Transmute Artifact / Goblin Welder and then-newcomer Dack Fayden list that won most of its games by setting up Mindslaver recursion. I hope you're as excited to see where we'll end up this time as I am!
What today's episode is all about are this season's candidates, the couple of core cards our brews will be centered around. With how much harping there is about non-blue decks being massively underdeveloped in the format due to player preferences and preconceived notions, it only seemed fitting to pick three sets of cards that go into exactly these decks this time.
And now it's time for us to meet the contestants for You Choose The Brew 2015 edition - make sure to stick around and vote for your favorite in the end!
The Meanest Disruption
This first one is inspired by old Vintage experience and how good Null Rod has always been in that format:
While we don't have Moxen to shut down with Null Rod in Legacy, fetchlands are at this point almost ubiquitous and often present in quite high numbers. As such, Root Maze plus Suppression Field should be one of the most powerful disruptive propositions available in the format in the earlygame. Disruption being, to a certain point at least, the name of the game in Legacy, it's very surprising to me that nobody seems to have gotten them to work so far.
I mean, sure, there are a couple of obvious problems: You can't really play your own fetchlands, and both Root Maze and Suppression field are relatively mediocre mid- to lategame. So are Stifle and Daze, though, and those cards see plenty of play, and they are arguably less powerful early on given how much of a lock out Root Maze and Suppression Field can deliver. That to me means there should be some decent home for these cards.
So what could that home look like? Well, with Suppression Field and Root Maze both being enchantments, one approach to pursue is obviously a G/W Enchantress Prison deck. Use the enchantments to disrupt the opponent's development, get down an enchantress, and cantrip into a gamestate in which the opponent is locked out to the point of allowing us to win with whatever we've determined to be the most efficient win condition available.
A second approach I could see working out well is that of a green-based aggro-midrange deck. Accelerate with Noble Hierarch and Green Sun's Zenith, drop a disruptive enchantment on turn 2, and curve into a win before the opponent can catch up through your disruption. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in particular would provide excellent additional disruption to support the mana denial plan already inherent in our anti-dynamic duo.
The final thing I'd consider at this point is going pretty deep and taking advantage of Root Maze and Suppression field forcing additional lands into play for our opponents by combining these two cards with Land Tax in a Stax-inspired shell.
B/G Void was the original Vintage midrange-aggro deck way back in the day, and given how powerful Nether Void is, it's just weird that we never see it pop up in Legacy. Due to Nether Void's quirky wording - it doesn't make spells more expensive, but instead counters them if the tax isn't paid - Return to Ravnica and Avacyn Restored have even given us some perfect tools to break Nether Void's symmetry.
There are a couple of ways this kind of deck could be approached. One way I could see things going is some form of tribal deck - or at least partially tribal strategy - that relies on Nether Void as an Armageddon-esque finisher that mainly effects our opponent a majority of the time, especially as that kind of list would happily run Aether Vial to circumvent Nether Void even more.
Another direction to take is that of a hyper-disruptive black deck with a strong mana denial theme to lead into Nether Void but with the ability to keep deploying its own threats and removal - at least some of it - while its finisher is busy locking the opponent out of the game.
And finally there's always the dream of recreating the old school Nether Void deck from back in the day. Efficient creatures, a solid amount of disruption, and Nether Void to lock things up once you're in a decent position. This would clearly be the most vanilla approach to take and would likely exhibit significant overlap with existing Abzan-colored midrange strategies but with a solid amount of extra lategame punch.
Rats, Foiled Again
Our final contestants stem from how impressive Pack Rat looks when it really starts going:
If you've ever seen Mono-Black Devotion play in last year's Standard, you're aware how powerful Pack Rat is if it gets going, and in the (very) limited amount of experience I have with testing the card, that actually still holds true in Legacy. Yes, your Rat dies more often before doing ridiculous things. On the other hand, once it gets active, it's often even more unstoppable than it was in Standard. Legacy (fair) decks simply are geared much more toward efficiency than your typical Standard deck, leading to fewer large creatures and fewer sweepers seeing play. As a result, it's actually much harder for something like Delver or some Stoneforge Mystic strategy to go over the top of a Pack Rat that's making a buddy every turn, not to mention how rapidly things spiral out of control if you can fuel making two new rats a turn.
Now, one of the things most likely to stop you from being able to fuel the rat race is card count. If your plan is to discard cards to make rat tokens, you tend to completely stall out the rest of your development due to the mana and card commitment it requires. Well, if there's a card that helps with keeping your hand filled and developing your mana, Life from the Loam has to be on the top of the list, giving you access to three juicy pieces of mana producing cardboard every single turn of the game if you want it.
That leaves Grisly Salvage. I love me some sweet library manipulation, and while Wizards has started to deliver in non-blue colors with tools like this one, these new cards have been largely ignored due to them being much worse than the blue options. News flash: even if something isn't as good as Brainstorm, it might easily be good enough to play. Salvage helps us to stabilize our mana draws early in the game, locates Life from the Loam (and, often enough, lands) ready to be dredged back, and moves us rapidly towards our key threats like Pack Rat.
I could see these synergies work out quite reasonably in something along the lines of traditional Loam Pox with Pack Rat (and possibly the Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage combo) to close out games reasonably fast, or a list inspired by traditional Aggro-Loam with Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows (another combo that has great synergy with both Loam and Salvage) used to support a suite of efficient beaters (Tarmogoyf, Pack Rat, and Dark Confidant seem like pretty solid two-drops). A more modern angle to pursue would be that of a delve-aggro deck - Grisly Salvage always allows Tasigur, the Golden Fang to happen on turn 3 with mana for Hymn to Tourach up if we want it - and the neat synergies recursive creatures and Cabal Therapy have with all three of our core cards.
Please Cast Your Vote Now
Well, here you have them, 2015's contestants in your favorite Magic game show - You Choose The Brew! Now it's your turn - which of these decks should I pursue and provide possible first draft lists for next time? Vote in the poll below and you could see preliminary decklists to indicate where I'll be going with your favorites among our candidates two weeks from now!
You have til Sunday to make your choice - choose wisely!