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Legacy Winter Wonderland


It is no secret Modern Horizons has been making waves, with Wrenn and Six dominating Legacy since its introduction and Force of Negation right behind it. The innocuous Arcum's Astrolabe has provided a stellar way for decks to maneuver in Modern already but will certainly find a home in Legacy soon enough.

Looking back to SCG Philadelphia, we saw three copies of a Four-Color Control deck in Legacy sporting a full set of the Snow Artifact.

If there is one thing that remains true in Legacy it is how incredible Basic Lands are when Wasteland is dominant. Being able to fetch your basics with no fear of casting your spells changed the fabric of how games played out. While I think this deck is fantastic I do believe it suffers from the normal control downside of never being able to close out games. This allows for some of the meatier Delver decks or the Combo decks to claw their way back in. A few times I was able to work around a compromising position against the Four-Color Snow deck because of this. Past that, the deck is forced into playing four colors in order to provide enough answers to everything in addition to playing Wrenn and Six to beat the greedier Wrenn and Six decks. While Four-Color is definitely a powerful deck I am way more drawn to the deck that Zach Allen and Harlan Firer built.

Basic Lands are inherently going to excel in formats where Wasteland is prominent. One of the downsides to playing a multicolored deck is trying to ensure all your lands match up with your pips to be able to cast everything. In Legacy with Ponder and Brainstorm it is much easier than in other formats but Astrolabe lets you fetch at will for any basic you need at the moment and lets you fix your mana every turn. Plains now represents Plow, Brainstorm and Spell Pierce. Having this flexibility lets you really sit into your role as control deck and answer cards as you need. Astrolabe cycling is also a great bonus.

Right now in Legacy we can safely guess Swords to Plowshares is very well positioned. With Depths decks on the rise to combat the growing number of Delver decks, Swords to Plowshares lines up well against both.

A deck like Stoneblade didn't feel powerful enough but also contained a fatal flaw shared by all Tundra decks. There isn't a good way to beat Planeswalkers once resolved. While Council's Judgment is an excellent tool, relying on it to solve all your issues is quite a strain. Enter Magmatic Sinkhole. Already used by some Delver decks in small numbers, Magmatic Sinkhole allows us the flexibility of having extra removal and ensuring we can manage planeswalkers without investing a ton of mana. With 10 fetches and 8 cantrips, filling out the graveyard won't be that difficult, either. Even casting for two mana on occasion certainly isn't the worst but generally you'll be able to play it for cheap.

How does this deck solve the slow kill issue? Enter Monastery Mentor. This card has gone in and out of favor since the banning of Sensei's Divining Top but fits very well here. Against combo decks or slower midrange decks it gives you an opportunity to close out games in a couple of turns. It might sound weird in a world full of Lightning Bolt that Mentor would be good but the secret to this deck is actually Teferi. Teferi has changed pretty much every matchup. Against the combo decks it ensures your counterspell will always hit and it forces the Delver decks to play at a slower pace. One of the ways to win against the Delver decks is to force their hand and make them play slower. Picking off threats one at a time never lets them get any traction until you're able to slowly set up lock pieces and the win. A secret bonus is being able to bounce your Astrolabe for infinite value. It helps you refuel after spewing or helps you lock up close games.

Narset has found a home here, and while the static ability is fairly mediocre it provides an important angle of being able to find needed spells. A three-mana Impulse sounds way worse than it actually ends up playing out. Drawing through two cards helps reset Brainstorms and post board can ensure finding that needed Verdict or extra counterspell. Most of the combo decks are more resilient to a single Force of Will so making sure you can recover is important. Having haymakers to go toe to toe with others keeps you in games longer.

Back to Basics is a card I'm not a fan of in general but playing so many basics ourselves leans us into an easy KO for some of the greedier decks. Some decks like Lands can prove problematic for grinding and Back to Basics ensures an easy route to victory. For decks like Sneak and Show that play Boseiju, having access to a way to interact without playing Wasteland is a needed component toward trying to win those matchups.

When we dive into the sideboard we get access to one of the best White cards in Palace Jailer. I've written quite a bit about this card before but having a source of card advantage that can't be Blasted or Spell Pierced offers quite a bit of power and longevity. It's really the key to beating Wrenn and Six as it allows you to tear through your deck to find your answers or try and work through an Emblem. While winning against an Emblem isn't the likeliest of scenarios it is still much easier to do when you're drawing two cards a turn. Past that, being an effective removal spell helps shift matchups where opponents are sitting on counterspells and one creature to be able to beat you.

It is still entirely possible I register Temur Delver for this event, but testing and playing this deck has been a blast. Control decks aren't always the best choice in Legacy but this deck has been well positioned in the format. Swords to Plowshares is excellent and can you really deny the allure of Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Even in a world of Lightning Bolt we have so many premiere targets that the value of the card goes a bit down. I've enjoyed the flexibility of this deck and I'm looking forward to (hopefully) playing it for the weekend.

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