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Top is No Longer on Top - Massdrop East/West Article #15



Hey, this is Jarvis Yu, Gold Pro, and member of Massdrop East. I'm back for my third article to discuss what's been occurring in Legacy lately.
For those of you who might not know, Sensei’s Divining Top was banned in the most recent Banned / Restricted list update for the Legacy format. This kills the control deck known as ‘Miracles’ (based on using Sensei’s Divining Top to avoid drawing Miracles until wanted, and also enabling a 1 mana instant speed Wrath of God, and making 4/4 Angels at instant speed).
This has led to a huge paradigm shift, similar to the one that happened when Flash was unbanned / errataed (back in 2007).
Miracles was the fun police of the format. It kept combo (via Counterbalance / Sensei’s Divining Top soft-lock) and midrange (Terminus and Jace, the Mind Sculptor) down alike. I would expect a massive resurgence in decks like GW-based Knight of the Reliquary Midrange, UW-based Stoneforge Control, Storm, Grixis Delver, and Lands.
The following decks have gained the most from Miracles’s removal from the format:
‘Abzan Midrange’ (aka Dark Maverick)
4 Windswept Heath
4 Verdant Catacombs
3 Savannah
1 Bayou
1 Scrubland
2 Forest
1 Plains
1 Karakas
4 Wasteland
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Dark Depths
4 Mother of Runes
4 Deathrite Shaman
1 Birds of Paradise
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Scryb Ranger
2 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Batterskull
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Sylvan Library
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Life from the Loam
3 Thoughtseize
2 Cabal Therapy
1 Sylvan Library
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Maze of Ith
1 Life from the Loam
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Council's Judgment
1 Zealous Persecution
1 Garruk Relentless
2 Surgical Extraction
Historically, this deck was the natural predator to decks like Delver variants while sporting a decent matchup versus slower blue decks (see Shardless Sultai and the like).
Similar to its role in Death and Taxes, Mother of Runes needs to be killed on sight. Otherwise, every single creature in the deck is protected from spot removal. Knight of the Reliquary allows for a small toolbox Lands-esque package (Karakas / Wasteland / Thespian’s Stage / Dark Depths), but also just quickly grows to an enormous size versus decks where you use your Wastelands aggressively.
There’s also a small Stoneforge Mystic package of two Stoneforges, 1 Batterskull, and Umezawa’s Jitte which let some of your punier creatures become reasonable in combat. Bryant Cook’s Storm
4 Burning Wish
4 Infernal Tutor
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Gitaxian Probe
3 Cabal Therapy
3 Duress
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Ad Nauseam
4 Rite of Flame
4 Dark Ritual
4 Lion's Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
3 Chrome Mox
4 Polluted Delta
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
1 Badlands
1 Swamp
1 Island
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Hurkyl's Recall
2 Echoing Truth
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Grapeshot
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Past in Flames
1 Cabal Therapy
1 Massacre
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Dark Petition
Storm’s resurgence is not surprising (given it is also a very cheap deck to assemble on MTGO). There’s also a world of difference in the results you get with this deck depending on the amount of experience.
Knowing when to go all-in versus trying to grind your opponent out of counterspells with discard is a difficult judgment call to make.
There’s also another Storm list that eschews Burning Wish for a maindeck Past in Flames, Tendrils of Agony and an increased number of cantrips. They are laterally different by this point, with both having their own pros and cons. Grixis Delver
2 Flooded Strand
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Polluted Delta
1 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
2 Underground Sea
4 Wasteland
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Young Pyromancer
2 Gurmag Angler
1 True-Name Nemesis
4 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Dismember
4 Daze
4 Gitaxian Probe
3 Cabal Therapy
2 Surgical Extraction
1 True-Name Nemesis
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Darkblast
2 Submerge
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
2 Pyroblast
1 Grim Lavamancer
2 Baleful Strix This is the defacto ‘best’ deck right now. Grixis has some of the best options for sideboarding and flexible role assignment . Before, Grixis Delver was a contender in spite of its matchup versus Miracles in game 1 not being great. Previously it had planned to overload Miracles with annoying permanents like Winter Orb (to attack mana and keep Dazes and Spell Pierces alive). This is no longer a necessary plan, so this is my pick for the ‘best’ early metagame deck.
4 Rishadan Port
4 Wasteland
4 Thespian's Stage
4 Dark Depths
2 Taiga
1 Sheltered Thicket
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Windswept Heath
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Forest
4 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Glacial Chasm
3 Maze of Ith
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 Barbarian Ring
4 Gamble
4 Crop Rotation
4 Punishing Fire
4 Exploration
4 Mox Diamond
4 Life from the Loam
1 Manabond
4 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Sphere of Resistance
1 Chalice of the Void
2 Tireless Tracker
1 Pithing Needle
1 Karakas
1 Bojuka Bog
3 Krosan Grip
1 Ancient Grudge
35 Green/Red Lands is ‘Old reliable’ for me, but I do think it is well-positioned now. The only current matchups to fear are ones with Lotus Petal (Reanimator // Storm // Sneak and Show). The major player that was keeping this deck at bay before was Miracles (due to Counterbalance // Top softlock, access to lots of basic lands and haymakers like From the Ashes postboard). A Sheltered Thicket is included because it’s a split card: Tapped Taiga and ‘bad’ cycling land (it is fetchable, and it’s only a tiny bit worse than Tranquil Thicket). Looking at the online results as well (from 5-0 decklists lately), there's still a fair amount of Sneak and Show, Black-Red Reanimator, Sultai Delver, and Elves doing well. This indicates to me that you can also just know your deck better than your opponent knows their deck and still experience a fair amount of success even if your deck isn't perfectly metagamed.
Post Pro-Tour, I plan on testing a lot of Lands and Grixis Delver myself, due to their appeal to me. But I do really look forward to seeing what else happens in this shaken up Legacy format! Thanks for reading, and please post any questions or feedback below!
We had an exciting reveal of two Amonkhet masterpieces , check out the video here:
If you are curious about our team, check out our intro: or, read our previous weekly articles:
1. How to Prepare for an MtG Pro Tour by Ben Weitz (
2. Approaching New Magic Drafts by Ari Lax (
3. Constructed Testing for Pro Tour Aether Revolt by Jarvis Yu (
4. Breaking into Eternal Formats - Case Study: GP Louisville by Jon Stern (
5. In Good Company - Top 8 at GP Vancouver by Eric Severson (
6. Adapting to Full Block Kaladesh Limited by Jiachen Tao (
7. Sorry My Felidar Guardian Ate My Homework by Mark Jacobson (
8. Taking a Mardu Vacation - Top 8 in New Jersey and Heading to an Eternal Extravaganza by Jarvis Yu (
9. A Guide to the Grind by Pascal Maynard (
10. Asking Aggro-vating Questions by Timothy Wu (
11. The Meat and Potatoes of Jund by Paul Dean (
12. Hidden Values in Magic: The Gathering for Kids and Parents by Scott Lipp (
13. The Importance of Preparation in Competitive Magic: The Gathering by Ricky Chin (
14. How to Find Amonkhet's Star Players by Ari Lax (

May 13, 2017
Good luck to the Head Beagle!
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