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The Sweetest Deck in Legacy

If you know me, you know I’m not big on Legacy, I just don’t find Delver of Secrets very fun. I love playing with lands, but I don’t want to play the Lands deck. I want to play lands, planeswalkers, and powerful creatures. Who doesn’t want to play with Leovold, Emissary of Trest? That card is so sweet. I had a friend of mine show me his Legacy deck because he said he was playing Sultai. I love that color combination and I expected to see a Sultai Devler deck. However, when he showed me his decklist and I saw Leovold, Emissary of Trest, Liliana, Jace, Life from the Loam, and Crop Rotation, I was sold. I quickly begin bombarding Lincoln with a plethora of questions about the deck. Lincoln doesn’t get to travel much, but he’s a local and smashes the local Legacy scene. Before he began explaining how the deck worked, I was already in love. Afterwards, it’s all I want to play.

I mean . . .  Look at this beauty. IT HAS CEPHALID COLISEUM!


I was able to kidnap Lincoln and force him to answer all my questions, I wanted to know everything about the deck. I wanted to understand it and how it works. He gave me a lot of insight on the deck, things I didn’t even see until he told me. Check out what he has to say about this amazing Legacy brew.

These are the questions I asked him.

1. I know you’ve been working on this deck for a while, how long exactly and what made you want to build your own deck in Legacy?

Well, I’ve been working on versions of this deck since late 2013, early 2014. Essentially, I have always enjoyed playing permission decks, and I’ve had a fondness for lands, and lands with abilities (and my opponents’ lack there-of) for a while. After returning from a longer break from Magic as a whole, I found Legacy and fell in love with the format, partly because of the incredible complexity, but also because I could play with all my favorite cards like Stifle, Vindicate, Mox Diamond, Mishra's Factory, Wasteland and many others.

The deck evolved to drop White and add Green, and it’s been morphing toward its current shell ever since. My personal best finish with the deck is a Top 16 finish at GP Las Vegas. I keep stats and spreadsheets on matchups and results with the deck. I play a lot of local Legacy and that has helped me tune the deck. I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like to primer events.

2. This deck has a lot going on, could you explain some of the niche strategies this deck can do that some people might miss?

Of course! Though, I’m sure I’ll miss some myself, this deck feels like it always has an out. There are quite a few interactions in the deck that can be combined to fit the situation at hand. Part of the fun of the deck is figuring out which combination of tactics will best meet the challenge. It’s kind of like a puzzle in that way! Here are a few of my favorites:

3. Sixty-one cards! What’s the reasoning behind this and for the people that won’t play more than 61 cards, what card could they cut?

Statistically speaking, 61 cards makes very little difference in finding a specific card you’re looking for (about .2-.4%, depending); however, if having one extra card (an option that wins a certain scenario 10% of the time), then you will beat the odds. This is particularly true when you have access to efficient card filtering with Brainstorm, Ponder, Cephalid Coliseum, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.There is an old article about this on Gathering Magic that explains the reasoning (using science) far better than I can. I am a believer in statistics.

If you must cut a card, my go to would be Stifle, Leovold, or Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

4. What is this deck’s worst and best matchups?

Best: Lands, Stoneblade decks, Turbo Depths, some variations of Nic Fit, Sultai Delver, Reanimator, and Storm.

Even: Miracles, Death and Taxes (much easier after sideboarding, you can many more board wipes) Eldrazi (You either get steam rolled or win. Very few close games), and Maverick.

Worst: 8-Moon, Sneak and Show, Mono-Red Sneak Attack, Burn, and Temur Delver.

No matchup is unwinnable with this deck, which is why I love the deck so much. It’s so versatile.

5. Sideboarding is difficult and it looks particularly hard here. Do you have any cards you go to right away to shave for some sideboard cards?

Intuition almost always goes away (unless you’re up against a combo deck, or a deck where you’re not too worried about instant-speed graveyard hate.) Usually some number of Life from the Loam gets cut depending on how aggressive the opponent is — more aggressive = more cuts. Baleful Strix and Abrupt Decay are instant cuts against Storm. Life from the Loam is cut completely against most decks with a high basic-count (unless you feel you’ll need to make more than one 20/20.) Force of Will is an instant cut versus most bugx midrange/control decks. Stifle usually gets cut against Red decks and non-storm combo decks. Karakas comes out against non-Depths/Griselbrand/Leovold decks. Wasteland sometimes comes out against high-basics decks and some combo decks. And, sometimes I’ll do things differently just because I think my opponent will be surprised and play into the plan, you should do this too. Keep yourself open and don’t be afraid to adapt.

The cards to bring in are much more straightforward since they are almost all hate cards. I sometimes sideboard up to 12 cards — the deck is very flexible and will forgive you for side-boarding errors, even though you may be giving up a few percent if you’re not doing it 100% optimally.

6. Thanks Lincoln for taking the time to answer these questions for myself and the audience. Is there anything you’d like to say before you go?

You’re very welcome! Without reading your article ahead of time, the only things I’d say are let me know how you do with the deck. That goes to you and anyone else that plays it. Let me know what works against the matchups in your games. I’m always interested to hear innovative ideas and strategies so feel free to let me now in the comments. If you want to follow the deck closer, I post about it at Buglands.

Wow, thank you very much Lincoln! This is going to be my deck of choice at the next couple of Legacy events I play. I love Sultai, I love lands, and I love drawing cards. This deck does all those things and makes a 20/20 token on top of that.

Lincoln has an excellent Magic application called, TopDecked, that you can download for Android and iOS. I’ll be frank with you, I’ve never liked any MTG Apps in all my years of playing Magic.

This.

One.

Is.

Worth.

It.

It tells you all Magic events near you, allows you to submit your decklist through the app for some events, print out your decklists, and you can save your decklists on the application, so you’ll never lose them. It’s changing the way Magic players use technology, both casually and competitive. My favorite part is getting pairings delivered to your phone at most premier tournaments (automatically). I always get notified before the tournament organizer says anything. This is great for finding your seat quickly or if you’re in the restroom/smoking/busy doing whatever. It will notify you if you give it permission. You can also find and register for events, build and share decks with ease. The best part? My Gathering Magic articles are on the application, so you will never miss an article from me. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Well ladies and gentlemen, that’s all I have for you today. I’m in love with this deck and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it. If nothing else, you’ll know what I’m playing in Legacy if you get paired against me!

Much love,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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