Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about a card that I overlooked at first.
Tasigur, the Golden Fang has already proven itself in Standard, only a few weeks into Fate Reforged. When I first started skimming through the spoilers, I didn’t think much of Tasigur (I almost exclusively look for Legacy playables). With what the metagame looked like at the moment, I didn’t really see much use for the new delve legend. At the time, if you were filling the graveyard quickly, you’d much rather be casting Treasure Cruise than putting Tasigur into play. Discard spells were underperforming due to the fact that your opponent would simply cantrip into a Treasure Cruise to reload a turn or two later. Dark Confidant was weak to Forked Bolt, and less efficient at creating card advantage compared to Treasure Cruise. Playing both of them wasn’t much of an option either. Have fun losing eight life on your upkeep when your opponent is playing Chain Lightning and Monastery Swiftspear. Pretty much the only reason to be in black was Dark Ritual.
Oh, how things have changed. Treasure Cruise is gone, leaving us with lots of room to experiment and try out new ideas (as well as old ones). The more I think of it, the more I like the idea of playing Tasigur now. It’s easy to focus too much on the second ability, missing the fact that Tasigur is really a 4/5 that will often cost only one or two mana. The way I see it, the second ability is a sweet bonus that will often take over a game. Tasigur is an efficient beater, and functioning as a mana sink when games go long is all upside. I have a few ideas on how to build a legacy deck with Tasigur; let’s try to figure out what we want to be doing, shall we?
I’m fairly certain I want to play blue, as a few months of Treasure Cruise has taught us, Brainstorm and Ponder are incredibly efficient at enabling delve (not to mention Gitaxian Probe). Once we’re playing all these cantrips, Young Pyromancer seems almost too perfect, especially considering that we’re already in black, meaning we have access to Cabal Therapy. Playing red also means we get to play Lightning Bolt, one of the best removal spells in the game, especially in an aggressive strategy where it can be used to finish off an opponent. We could go in a different direction, moving into green rather than read for a more midrange approach. However, Tasigur eats up the graveyard and fills the role of a cheap, undercosted creature more than well already. Team America (BUG Delver) is a powerful and consistent deck, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it play Tasigur as Tarmogoyf 5-6. For now though, I want to focus on a Grixis build, as I think Tasigur, the Golden Fang adds more to that deck.
Dark Confidant is indeed powerful, but flipping over Tasigur is painful, and I think we’d rather be beating down anyway. Besides, Tasigur is quite capable of creating card advantage, albeit at a much higher mana investment. That being said, Dark Confidant is still very good, and I could definitely see playing it in the sideboard to bring in in the matchups where he’s at his best.
Once we’ve decided that we want to be turning sideways, I want to be packing Delver of Secrets (I hear that little wizard is good when your deck is filled with cheap instants and sorceries). I know the same can be said about Monastery Swiftspear (well, except for the wizard part, that is), but Swiftspear is much better suited for a pure aggro strategy, which really isn’t where we want to be. On turn six, when you’re hellbent and topdeck a Delver of Secrets you can still ride it to victory. That is much harder to accomplish with a Monastery Swiftspear. Delver of Secrets is much better in a tempo-oriented strategy.
Here’s how I imagine a Tasigur list in legacy.
Grixis Delver is a favorite of mine (I have a thing for Cabal Therapy), and Tasigur, the Golden Fang fits right in. Until now you had to play Dark Confidant, which isn’t the most effective clock, or Monastery Swiftspear, which is much more mediocre later in the game now that Treasure Cruise has left the building. Tasigur can be deployed on turn 2 to provide early pressure, while still being a solid draw later on. Being a legendary creature does make him vulnerable to Karakas, which is something to keep in mind. For this reason I have included a few copies of Wasteland in this list. Wasteland also happens to be one of the best cards in the format on its own. This deck does play discard spells already, so we don’t want to be focused on attacking our opponents’ mana bases. When you’re short on mana, having a full grip doesn’t necessarily mean you can cast any spells. In the same way, when you’re empty handed you don’t need many lands in play. My point is this; be careful not to spread your resources too thin. That’s not to say Thoughtseize and Wasteland can’t work together though. When used efficiently they can be great in conjunction with each other. Our discard spells provide us with information about our opponents’ hands. If I Thoughtseize my opponent on turn one on the play only to find out they kept a one lander with Brainstorm I will sometimes, smiling on the inside, snag their Brainstorm. Then I will untap on turn two, use Wasteland to mana screw them and hopefully steal the game.
The card disadvantage that comes with Force of Will is more of a real cost now that we don’t get to Ancestral Recall every other turn, and this deck has a lot of other tools to fight combo anyway, hence the three copies instead of the full playset.
Only four copies of Lightning Bolt as maindeck removal may be optimistic, but with twelve cantrips we should be able to find one most of the time. Our hand disruption and permission also do a decent job of dealing with problematic creatures, but I still wouldn’t mind fitting a fifth removal spell in the list. Another option would be to include a Spell Snare over some other form of counter magic, as it stops several of the most commonly played threats in the format, i.e. the unofficial powerful two-drop cycle.
A singleton Darkblast could be useful as its dredge ability allows us to use it over and over again, giving us an easier time versus something like Death and Taxes where our opponents will be deploying multiple X/1s. It also feeds delve and can potentially give us free cards by milling Cabal Therapy. It should be mentioned that it makes it more difficult to get maximum value out of Tasigur’s second ability by giving up control of what cards end up in our graveyard, increasing the number of options for our opponents. That is likely a minor issue, but a relevant one none the less. The bigger problem is that Darkblast just doesn’t do much versus a lot of decks. I’m not a fan of dead cards, but the combination of Young Pyromancer and Darkblast should win a lot of games versus some decks. Verdict: Save it for the sideboard.
A card that gives us more control over our graveyard and gives us a much needed answer to Tarmogoyf is Murderous Cut. If I were to fit in a fifth removal spell this would be it. Having access to a reliable way to deal with a Tarmogoyf once it’s in play would be a definite improvement to the deck. I wouldn’t be too worried about needing to feed delve either, if the Treasure Cruise era has taught me anything. It’s a fourth delve spell that delves half as much as Treasure Cruise. We can support it.
Hymn to Tourach steals more games than Thoughtseize, but doesn’t have the same synergy with Cabal Therapy, and leaves far more to be decided by variance. Liliana of the Veil deals with True-Name Nemesis and is good versus Miracles, as well as many combo decks, but ultimately too slow for this deck. For the sideboard I’m looking at something along these lines.
This is far from a finished sideboard, but it gets the general idea across; no Leyline of the Void or Dragon’s Claw style permanents, just a bunch of one and two ofs to make the deck more efficient at executing its game plan post board. I haven’t tried this list yet, but I’m hopeful. Let’s see if Tasigur turns out to be the Tarmogoyf Grixis Delver has been searching for.
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