Deck Tech: U/B Proteus Staff with EJ Walsh
EJ Walsh can come at the opponent from a number of angles--including Emrakul!
There are a lot of ways to cheat an Emrakul into play in Legacy—multiple archetypes have revolved around trying to make the 15/15 connect. Today, Edward “EJ” Walsh is piloting one of the more unique decks in the room, summoning the Eldrazi with Proteus Staff. His creatures? Bitterblossom and Mishra's Factory, which have each already proven themselves to be capable Legacy beaters in today's world.
Unsure what would be best with Dark Ascension in the mix, or even if anything had changed, EJ decided to take the opportunity to play something special. “A friend of mine, Ryan Quick, drew up this deck,” he said. “We've been playing with it for a while, and I figured this event was as good as any to try it out.” Styled like a traditional U/B Control deck, the combo takes up only a few slots but ends the game with decisive power. What's more, the enablers—Bitterblossom and Factory—can often function as win conditions by themselves within a control shell.
In fact, EJ has already notched a win without Emrakul. “It does depend what you're playing against,” he explained. “Against the aggro decks, you're definitely on the back foot—your goal is to resolve a Shackles or Bitterblosoom early and get your combo online as soon as possible. It can also play out in a more grindy fashion, though.” His last round pitted the deck against Storm, and EJ took the hard-fought match in two. “Game 1 I won with my combo, and game 2 I just ground him out with Bitterblossom and Chalices,” he said. “Especially against control decks, you don't have to rely on the combo.”
One of the deck's major selling points has been its sideboard, which EJ loves. He's packing playsets of two very powerful Legacy hosers, Chalice of the Void and Back to Basics. Each has performed very well today. “Chalice is obviously good against combo, but everyone's trying to be as efficient as possible—mana costs have dropped, and everyone is concentrating on ones.” A quick turn 2 Chalice shuts down several strategies in the format. As for Back to Basics? “There are so many dual lands, everywhere. All the Maverick decks only run two basics, and the the combo decks are mostly nonbasics.”
Supplementing Emrakul, EJ has a couple of other big men in the board. “Against anything with Jace or Mind Control effects, you swap and go to Progenitus—you definitely don't want them bouncing Emrakul to your hand,” he explained. “Sundering Titan can be brought in against those heavy dual decks, as he's immediately effective—even if they answer him, he does something.”
In the future, EJ thinks he'll packs just a few more Edict effects. While he's already got a few, Drew Levin taught him a lesson in Round 2 about the effectiveness of a certain rodent. “Nimble Mongoose has been an unpleasant reality today,” he said. “I wish I had two more Edicts—probably Innocent Blood, just because it doesn't get hit by Spell Snare.”