Legacy is a tough format. Similar to Modern, being familiar with your deck and the format is going to yield better results; but it has a playstyle all its own. I’ve been playing a lot of Grixis Delver recently for the SCG in Worcester that just passed. Let’s take a look at some of the potentially interesting lines you could take and see where they line up. Some of these plays will seem obvious, but that’s to be expected. I did the best I could to include a wide range of circumstances.
For starters, here’s the list:
Grixis Delver - Legacy | Rudy Briksza, SCG Worchester
- Creatures (15)
- 2 Gurmag Angler
- 2 True-Name Nemesis
- 3 Young Pyromancer
- 4 Deathrite Shaman
- 4 Delver of Secrets
- Lands (18)
- 1 Tropical Island
- 2 Flooded Strand
- 2 Misty Rainforest
- 2 Polluted Delta
- 2 Scalding Tarn
- 2 Volcanic Island
- 3 Underground Sea
- 4 Wasteland
For the first scenario, you’re playing against Reanimator. You’ve mulliganed to six and kept Deathrite Shaman with your scry. Your opponent mulliganed to four and bottomed. After casting Gitaxian Probe you see this hand
What’s your plan?
[showhide type="links1" more_text=" My Play:" less_text="Hide Text" hidden="yes"] Obviously this is a fantastic scenario. Our opponent has most everything they need and we are pulling a Deathrite Shaman with the draw off Probe. However without a Green source we’re not well insulated against a big monster. I think the best hope here is to play Deathrite Shaman and as long as our opponent is going to miss on a land this turn will likely Faithless Looting off Lotus Petal. I’d wait for the casting of Looting to Daze and the rest of the game should be elementary. Trying to Daze Petal seems like it could be wonderful but it’s more likely that our opponent could draw a land to get out of this at some point and I don’t want to give them the option of casting Faithless Looting later in the game. [/showhide]
In this game our opponent is clearly playing Reanimator. They’ve mulliganed to six and led out with a nice Careful Study here. We have a couple of different options but which path do you want to take? While I thought about this for awhile there’s really only three lines here. We could fetch for Tropical Island play Deathrite Shaman and pass with two counterspells in hand. But if our opponent has a land plus Reanimate and either a Daze or Force of Will we could lose. We could play Misty Rainforest and pass and that gives us insulation from being Dazed back but this falls short if our opponent has a land plus Reanimate and a Force of Will. The third line is potentially the greediest but has a high upside. Pointing Wasteland at Underground Sea with Force of Will means if our opponent has nothing they will fall to pieces as our follow up is Deathrite Shaman with a hard Daze and Force of Will.
[showhide type="links2" more_text="My Play:" less_text="Hide Text" hidden="yes"] I decided to Wasteland our opponent here. It’s pretty likely they don’t have another land (as the deck plays about 14 usually) and we have protection with Force of Will. Our opponent’s hand on this mulligan has to be fairly good and they quickly bottomed with their scry so it leads me to believe this is safe. I took a riskier line here but based on the deck and my my hand I felt comfortable doing this. If my opponent kept seven it might change my play but I was fairly confident with this line. [/showhide]
Here we are Game 2 against an interesting control deck. Our opponent is playing a Grixis shell but has included the Punishing Fire engine with Grove of the Burnwillows. This gives some interesting sideboard options but mainly it’s a chance to use Dack Fayden. Both of us kept seven and our opponent has led off with Scalding Tarn, then passed. We have plenty of options available to us but I think there’s really only one line here that fits the bills against our control deck.
[showhide type="links3" more_text="My Play:" less_text="Hide Text" hidden="yes"] I would lead off with Volcanic Island and Delver of Secrets. We could lead off with Gitaxian Probe to get full information but we’re not 100% sure that it’s needed at the moment. If we need to Force of Will a card in the coming turns I’d always rather pitch a Gitaxian Probe and keep Ponder. I also like keeping Gitaxian Probe since it allows us to draw Cabal Therapy and ensure some hard hits. I don’t think leading with Ponder here is correct because we’re not exactly sure what kind of answers or threats we are looking for. You could leave open Pyroblast for a Ponder or Baleful Strix but that seems fairly weak. Letting the control opponent direct the game is going to end poorly and getting on the board immediately could yield better results. Even if our Delver of Secrets gets Bolted, Punishing Fired, or Pyroblasted, I think it’s the safest play and opens up the maximum amount of lines for future turns. [/showhide]
You’re on the play Game 2 against Elves. Both players have kept seven, what’s your play?
[showhide type="links4" more_text="My Play:" less_text="Hide Text" hidden="yes"] Leading off with Lightning Bolt mana here by fetching Volcanic Island and playing Delver is very appealing. It also gives you the option to turn two Bolt plus Wasteland if the opponent doesn’t have a basic Forest in play. However I think leading off Underground Sea into Delver here opens us up more. While Lightning Bolt is very appealing I think Marsh Casualties as a Wrath of God is going to be more impactful. With plenty of draw spells left in the deck it will be easier to find a second colored source but having the option to fetch for the second Black source here is infinitely more appealing to me. [/showhide]
This play comes to us from Jacky Wang and I think is one of the harder lines. It’s Game 1 and you’re on the draw. The opponent pays two life for Gitaxian Probe to see your hand. They think for a moment then fetch with Polluted Delta to fetch Underground Sea and cast Dark Ritual.
What’s your play?
[showhide type="links5" more_text=" My Play:" less_text=" Hide Text" hidden="yes"] Force of Will pitching Delver of Secrets on Dark Ritual. I think when you break this down it gets a little easier. If your opponent's hand contains a discard spell like Cabal Therapy or Duress, you’re dead anyways if you don’t counter the Dark Ritual. If your opponent has Lotus Petal and another set of Rituals; you’re dead anyways if you Force of Will. I think it’s more likely they have a discard spell here and I think waiting for one is dangerous. I think the most likeliest of scenarios is that your opponent has the discard spell and the best path to victory Game 1 is to Force this Ritual and move to untap and cast Ponder or Deathrite Shaman on our turn one. If this line doesn’t play out I think that’s to be expected and to move on. Sometimes it’s just a bait to eat Force of Will but I’m willing to take that chance here. [/showhide]
What would you do in these scenarios? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!