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Delving in SCG Syracuse

Written by Billy Mitchell on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Legacy

Delving in SCG Syracuse

Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell is an L1 judge and competitive player from the Philadelphia area. Outside of Magic, Billy is a high school math and science teacher. He can be found on Twitter @badluckbandit.

So after a few months away from the SCG Tour, it was nice to get a chance to throw down in Legacy for the weekend. I have spent the last few weeks getting back into the swing of things as a school teacher and didn’t have much of a chance to test or even really search through possible decklists. As always, when in doubt for Legacy tournaments, I hope my Delver of Secrets flip easily and my rounds end swiftly with an Insectile Aberration.

Even with the surge in Wrenn and Six control decks, this deck continues to impress me. While cards like Pteramander are no longer an option, Dreadhorde Arcanist really means that we can grind through control matchups and put real pressure on midrange decks as we transition out of the developing turns of the game. During my off-camera feature match during Round 2, I was able to grind through some very long and complex games against 4 Color Snow Control which I eventually won.

While this deck was serviceable, there were certainly some things that need tweaking in retrospect. A major strength of mine (at least I would like to think) is making small changes to a deck to find an optimal list prior to a big event. Since I was unable to test or theory-craft coming into the tournament, this is almost a card for card copy of a list that top 8’d a recent Legacy Challenge on Magic Online from KRICHA13. After playing through two days of competition, I do have a few suggestions.

While this a very good Dreadhorde Arcanist deck, this deck does run out of steam quite often. Adding an additional draw spell over a copy of Spell Snare or Spell Pierce would help mitigate the Zombie Wizard stalling out in the midgame. My immediate thought is something like Preordain to keep momentum on your turn. I could imagine Sleight of Hand or Portent if Narset, Parter of Veils became more prevalent. I also think Faithless Looting might be fine but I would want to test that first since it is card disadvantage on the frontside.

The Prismatic Vistas are cute but not good. With the omnipresence of Wrenn and Six, Wasteland recursion is a huge concern and can easily lock you out of winnable games. Because you are aggressively fetching basics, Prismatic Vista will often not have a target past turn 4. While a well-timed Daze into Brainstorm can assist, Prismatic Vista is a liability which I don’t plan on playing again as long as my deck has three basics in it.

While Spell Pierce and Spell Snare were both outstanding all weekend, there were some times where they limited how proactive I was allowed to be in the early turns, especially while I was on the draw. Being able to counter Wrenn and Six is a necessity and the format is very high on unfair early plays. I think adding a Force of Negation to the main deck will help alleviate that pressure on my mana in the developing turns.

Abrade was not what I wanted. I was able to tag an unprotected Batterskull in a game 1 this weekend but otherwise it was a removal spell that was difficult to cast and even more difficult to resolve. Also, it lacks synergy with Dreadhorde Arcanist which further limits its potency. I think another Chain Lightning would be a great upgrade for the deck, serving as removal and a card to help turn the corner as we try to close out the game.

KRICHA13 was originally playing a Meltdown over my By Force. While I would love to pretend that By Force was a strategic and well-planned maneuver, the truth is I couldn’t find any Meltdowns the morning of the tournament and had to settle for a similar card. Meltdown is better as it can destroy problematic permanents such as Chalice of the Void and Walking Ballista for a lower cost than By Force typically can. Meltdown is also less limiting when facing multiple Chalices and Trinisphere. With all that said, I would rather just play a Null Rod. It has a lot of the same utility but actually prevents Karn, the Great Creator decks from resolving Mycosynth Lattice as a way to shut down your deck if they are behind on board. Null Rod is also better against Bomberman, the new(er) Mystic Forge deck, and respectable against ANT while still assisting with Stoneblade decks.

Tormod’s Crypt has not impressed me up to this point. The obvious application would be RB Reanimator and Dredge but good players are not losing to a single Tormod’s Crypt. An additional Surgical Extraction would have better synergy with literally the entire creature package post board (True-Name Nemesis comes out in those matchups) and Grafdigger’s Cage is a much more frustrating card for them to solve while you apply pressure. I’m not sure which of the two is better but I am confident they are an improvement over the Tormod’s Crypt.

With these changes in mind, our deck looks something like this:

I plan on playing a lot of Legacy in the coming weeks and to continue tuning this list. Eternal Weekend is in six weeks and I plan on bringing the best version of Izzet Delver to Pittsburgh. If you have any suggestions, let me know. Until then, I hope you spend some time attacking for 3 in the air!

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