Palace Jailer Wins the Pro Tour!

Palace Jailer
Palace Jailer made two of the Top 4 Legacy decks at the Pro Tour… including the winning Death & Taxes!

Death & Taxes is a “High Tier One” Archetype in Legacy… Thanks to Palace Jailer

New addition Palace Jailer helps to catapult this strategy to a legitimately defining deck in Legacy.

Death & Taxes has performed for years… But largely as a metagame deck. For example, the presence of main-deck Karakas has helped the deck to foil Sneak and Show. Sneak and Show’s key creatures — Griselbrand and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn — are perfect targets for the Legendary Land.

But with Palace Jailer and other toys from Conspiracy: Take the Crown, the power level and flexibility of this already-viable deck has increased substantially.

Palace Jailer doesn’t quite work like Fiend Hunter

Fiend HUnter
Fiend Hunter

“Um… How do I become the monarch?”

“Well… Did you play with any cards that make you the monarch?”

Patrick notes that the Jailer offers exactly the kind of edge Mike loves. While Palace Jailer looks like another take on the Fiend Hunter mechanic, it actually relies on a unique Conspiracy: Take the Crown mechanic. Many players just won’t read the card and will snap Lightning Bolt the Jailer hoping to get their creature back… not realizing that they aren’t the monarch.

That makes Palace Jailer essentially a white Nekrataal that exiles creatures with no targeting restrictions. Not only can this card smash almost any creature in a 187 — permanently — it can work well with Flickerwisp and other old standbys of the Death & Taxes archetype.

Casual Sets contribute heavily to Death & Taxes

Containment Priest
Containment Priest

From Commander 2014
This card is an absolute monster against Sneak Attack, Show and Tell, or reanimation strategies.

Council's Judgment
Council’s Judgment

From Magic: The Gathering – Conspiracy
Council’s Judgment is like a Vindicate or Maelstrom Pulse that does extra damage against folks who don’t read the card. Here’s a hint: When the opponent casts this, agree with them. Otherwise, you could lose more permanents!

Recruiter of the Guard
Recruiter of the Guard

From Conspiracy: Take the Crown
This tutor helps search up cards like today’s Palace Jailer. Simply awesome in a deck with cards like Stoneforge Mystic, Containment Priest, and Aether Vial. Recruiter of the Guard can get you the right tool for the right matchup at the right time.

There was lots more to the Pro Tour than Death & Taxes and Palace Jailer. Check all the tech out here:

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Top Legacy Podcast

Brainstorm is the most popular spell in Legacy

Legacy will return to the Pro Tour in 2018

For the first time in a decade, Legacy will return, as a format, to the Pro Tour.

This time, it will represent 1/3 of the formats in the upcoming Team events (alongside Standard and Modern). With 2017 winding down, Patrick and Michael thought it a great time to showcase the most popular cards and strategies of the Legacy format.

Legacy and “the Brainstorm Experience”

As stated above, Brainstorm is the most popular spell in Legacy. Part of that is that, unlike some other formats, you can actually play four copies of Brainstorm!

If you are in the market for a Brainstorm, there are many similar options. Ponder is the second most popular spell, for instance. Unlike Brainstorm, Ponder allows you to shuffle your library without an additional card.

That said, Brainstorm has a couple of things going for it beyond some of the competition. Most importantly is Brainstorm’s synergy with fetchlands. Instead of just fixing your next draw, Brainstorm can actually correct your draw! Rip a creature removal spell against a combo deck? Brainstorm can potentially fix your hand by shuffling away the errant removal spell.

If you’re super into Brainstorm, beyond even the first four copies, you can select from Preordain, Serum Visions, Thought Scour, and many more.

Legacy is the Home to Very — Very — Cheap Spells

  1. Brainstorm – Brainstorm, the most popular spell in Legacy, not only costs a single blue mana, it potentially digs you to additional lands.
  2. Ponder – Whatever we just said about Brainstorm’s casting cost goes for Ponder early game as well.
  3. Force of Will – While Force of Will claims to be five mana, it is in fact played for zero mana more than half the time.
  4. Deathrite Shaman – The most popular creature in Legacy costs only one mana (whether it is black or green); further, Deathrite Shaman is itself a mana source.
  5. Surgical Extraction –
  6. Swords to Plowshares – Swords to Plowshares has not ceased costing a single white mana since Alpha.
  7. Flusterstorm – Flusterstorm is a powerful, largely Legacy-centric permission spell. Part Force Spike, generally much better than a Spell Pierce, Flusterstorm boasts the best of both cards… The single blue mana in their collective top-right corners.
  8. Gitaxian Probe – <
    Similar to Surgical Extraction, Gitaxian Probe is super cheap at only one Phyrexian blue mana… And like Surgical Extraction, Gitaxian Probe will be played for even less than one mana — zero — a high percentage of the time. This will especially be true in combo decks looking to drive through their libraries and / or play multiple spells in a single turn.
  9. Snapcaster Mage – The second-most popular creature in Legacy is a bit of an oddball. The only two casting cost card in the Legacy Top 10, Snapcaster Mage nonetheless lets you re-cast one of the other super cheap / hyper efficient spells on this list.
  10. Daze – Like Snapcaster Mage, Daze has 1U in its upper right; unlike Snapcaster Mage, you will very rarely pay any actual mana to play it. Not only that, playing Daze on your own turn will sometimes set you up to re-play the same land, untapped.

The extraordinarily low casting costs of this format’s spells depict many fast, hyper-efficient early game, decks; some of which play fewer than 20 lands due to their low curves and ability to see more than one card per turn.

Where will Patrick and Michael Start in Legacy?

You can probably guess.

But they still tell you.

To find out, check out this week’s podcast right here!

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Probably Playing Karakas

Double topics this week… We start on Standard, but then uncover why Patrick is probably playing Karakas in Legacy.

G/W had another big week (especially with Number One Seth Manfield taking down Grand Prix Costa Rica) but the coolest new technology appeared in the hands of Tom “the Boss” Ross:

R/W Humans by Tom Ross

2 Anointer of Champions
2 Consul’s Lieutenant
4 Dragon Hunter
4 Expedition Envoy
4 Knight of the White Orchid
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Town Gossipmonger
3 Kytheon, Hero of Akros

4 Always Watching
3 Gryff’s Boon
4 Declaration in Stone

14 Plains
4 Battlefield Forge

3 Hanweir Militia Captain
4 Reckless Bushwhacker
1 Gryff’s Boon
1 Silkwrap
2 Stasis Snare
4 Needle Spires

To the surprise of no one, Tom Ross hit #SCGATL with “eighteen Plains” … or rather, fourteen Plains and four copies of Battlefield Forge. Those Battlefield Forges do act as (painful) Plains main deck, but don’t have much immediate reason to tap for red.

After sideboarding, Tom brings in four copies of Needle Spires. This is nothing new… The post-sideboard version of R/W Humans wants to go up to twenty-two lands as it increases costs. Battlefield Forge and Needle Spires get along well, of course, with one powering up the other.

But why go up to twenty-two lands to begin with? So many of these white Humans decks side in Gideon (which is much more expensive than anything in Tom’s main)… But Tom didn’t play Gideon at all!

If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. The B/W Control deck has plenty of cards like Ruinous Path and Anguished Unmaking to handle Gideon; Tom figured out to attack the format at a different angle. Instead of Gideon he brought in an actual red card, Reckless Bushwhacker.

Basically, Tom comes in swinging as hard as possible to begin with. Bam bam bam one drops et cetera. The opponent is expected to hit a sweeper…

And then Tom waits.

And waits.

And waits as he fills his hand.

After sufficient resource repair, Tom can send up a massive turn based on dropping all the power in his hand and finishing with Reckless Bushwhacker. Probably for lethal.

Further in the Standard section…

  • Updates to Saito’s flying deck
  • Why would you ever want to play Invocation of St. Traft?
  • How to exploit a metagame where there are two fewer removal cards per deck?
  • How to increase the mana consistency of U/R Eldrazi

We then switch gears to do a little Legacy brewing for this week’s upcoming Grand Prix.

Will Patrick play a deck with Jace, the Mind Sculptor or one with Cavern of Souls? One thing is sure: His deck will be able to return a legendary creature to its owners hand!

Listen to “Probably Playing Karakas” to find out:

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Eternal Masters Exclusive Preview: Toxic Deluge

Toxic Deluge
Toxic Deluge is our exclusive Eternal Masters preview card!

“Toxic Deluge. Two and a black. OWN your opponent.”
-Patrick Chapin

Toxic Deluge is a card that has never been legal in regular packs for regular [Standard] play. This is a card that was originally printed in the 2013 Commander product; but like Scavenging Ooze and True-Name Nemesis has found multiple homes in multiple competitive Constructed decks. Doing one better than even the storied Scavenging Ooze, Toxic Deluge has seen heavy play in both Legacy and Vintage, often as a sideboard bullet.

Toxic Deluge can go wide or tall. It is one mana cheaper than Languish when you need a Languish… and in fact one black mana cheaper than a Languish. It is a sweeper that can go way over Languish’s -4/-4. It is good against Mother of Runes, and in fact Mother of Runes-based strategies that can tax a defender’s speed.

It can go not just tall, but very, very tall. Facing down Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn? If the opponent isn’t somehow smashing you with a Time Walk or a hasty attack (i.e. from a Show and Tell) Toxic Deluge can kill even a 15/15 creature! Do you have to pay fifteen life? Sure; but you would have had to pay fifteen life anyway, right?

Toxic Deluge can kill indestructible creatures! Blightsteel Colossus — or in some cases even a Marit Lage token — can be flooded out by this sorcery.

Toxic Deluge can kill lots of creatures… But can work with your own creatures sometimes! Give everyone -1/-1 and you can kill the opponent’s Snapcaster Mage and True-Name Nemesis… But leave your Tarmogoyf and Knight of the Reliquary!

Because it costs exactly three mana — and is a black card — Toxic Deluge is a good match to the popular Dark Petition… And especially perfect as a one-of for a strategy full of “Tutor” cards.

This is a card of great flexibility that has made a mark on both Vintage and Legacy. Top Level Podcast is proud to present it for Eternal Masters in this short bonus episode:

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The Painful Truths about Monastery Mentor

Painful Truths
Painful Truths

“Why would you put Shardless Agent in your deck and hope for incredible luck to hit Ancestral Visions when you can just play Painful Truths?”
-Owen Turtenwald

Patrick made a new Esper Control deck in Legacy featuring Painful Truths and four copies of Monastery Mentor!

This episode of Top Level Podcast largely focuses on Patrick’s deck and card choices:

Monastery Mentor
Monastery Mentor

Monastery Mentor is a weird sleeper card… It’s been legal for about a year, but has not yet broken out to the degree that is probably worthy. Patrick talks about the massive amounts of damage that Monastery Mentor is capable of doing in a short period of time.

“Monastery Mentor is not the same as Young Pyromancer” says Patrick. The 1/1 Monk tokens are substantially better than their Young Pyromancer cousins; when given the chance to kill a 1/1 Monk or a Deathrite Shaman, it is often correct to let the Deathrite Shaman live!

Esper Control by Patrick Chapin

2 Cabal Therapy
2 Painful Truths
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
3 Gitaxian Probe
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Ponder
2 Snapcaster Mage
2 Spell Pierce

4 Deathrite Shaman

1 Council’s Judgment
4 Monastery Mentor
4 Swords to Plowshares

1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
4 Flooded Strand
1 Karakas
2 Island
1 Plains
1 Scrubland
1 Swamp
1 Tropical Island
2 Tundra
1 Underground Sea

1 Engineered Explosives
1 Cabal Therapy
1 Painful Truths
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Flusterstorm
1 Vendilion Clique
3 Abrupt Decay
1 Misdirection
1 Notion Thief
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Zealous Persecution
1 Containment Priest
1 Council’s Judgment

For a huge discussion on this great new Legacy deck (aka basically just Patrick’s Standard Esper deck from last week) check out “The Painful Truths about Monastery Mentor”

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The Rise of Dig Through Time in Legacy

Dig Through Time
Legacy lost Treasure Cruise but kept Dig Through Time.
Dig Through Time is just starting to take the place of “the broken blue delve card” of the format.

Thank God there are not Legacy Pro Tours any more!

The absence of Legacy Pro Tours allows the format to largely avoid bannings and evolve on its own. The recent removal of Treasure Cruise from Legacy has yielded immediate diversity.

Patrick Chapin (from the Pantheon house on the road) joins Michael J Flores for a first look at the Legacy format, post Treasure Cruise banning.

… Starting of course with a Delver of Secrets-free Grixis Control deck featuring Dig Through Time!

“My only sadness is that he is not playing Cruel Ultimatum.”
-Patrick Chapin

Come hear the Legacy chats about Dig Through Time in Grixis + seven other decks in…

“The Rise of Dig Through Time in Legacy”

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Your hosts

Patrick Chapin – @thepchapin
Michael J Flores – @fivewithflores

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