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Priemer’s Primers: Diamonds in the Rough

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Legacy

Eldrazi seem to be everywhere these days. They’ve devoured Standard, swarmed all over Modern, and with the introduction of a new basic land in Wastes, not even Commander is safe from this colourless menace. But what about Legacy? Often regarded as the last bastion of Blue decks, can a deck devoid of colour really stand up and carve a place in the Legacy metagame?

With the newest crop of Eldrazi creatures, we have had something of a revolution in the way Eldrazi decks are played. For years, when you heard “Eldrazi in Legacy”, you assumed either a ramp strategy such as 12Post, or they were going to Sneak Attack or Show and Tell in Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. However, these new kids on the block offer a way to go low, a way to go aggressive, and a way to outclass the majority of creatures in the format. Modern has been reveling in the fact that Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin act like Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors for this new batch of monsters, but in Legacy you have access to actual Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors. So what happens when you have 16 Ancient Tombs? You get a monstrosity like this!


Stompy strategies have come and gone over the years, but I think when it comes to raw speed and power, the Eldrazi are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Having access to 16 Ancient Tombs gives you the ability to power out your Eldrazi at blinding speed, well before the opponent is able to deal with them. Thought-Knot Seer is by far the best example of a creature that balances punching power with disruption, since it can pick away the best card in your opponent’s hand when it enters the battlefield, and unlike Vendilion Clique, they only get to draw a replacement if they have a way to get rid of it. Given those options are pretty much limited to Swords to Plowshares or Jace, the Mind Sculptor’s -1 ability, the odds are good that your turn 2 Thought-Knot Seer will be sticking around for a while. A 4/4 on turn 2 is all well and good, but what about your turn 1 play? Stompy decks have to hit the board early, and there is no more aggressive turn 1 play in this deck than Eldrazi Mimic. This innocuous little 2/1 takes on the stats of any subsequent colourless creatures you play, which can get out of hand very quickly given the size of the creatures we’re playing. As well, since it only costs 2 generic mana, should you have multiples and and Eye of Ugin in your opening hand, you get to play all of them for free, setting up a massive life point swing on the following turn.

One of the most aggressive options for the deck, and one of my personal favourite follow-ups to an Eldrazi Mimic, is Reality Smasher. This is a 5/5 trampler with haste that you can play as early as turn 3. Reality Smasher is one of the best ways to push damage through defensive creatures like True-Name Nemesis and even outsizes former aggro hosers like Batterskull. On top of that, Reality Smasher protects itself since whenever they want to target it with a spell such as Swords to Plowshares, the spell is countered unless the opponent has to discard another card. With Thought-Knot Seer ripping apart their hand, we still get value even if they can answer our Reality Smasher.

Another way we get value in this deck is Matter Reshaper, which can come down on turn 2 and put up a wall against some of the smaller Tarmogoyfs out there. Where you really get the most bang for your buck is when your Reshaper dies, since you get to reveal the top card of your deck, and if it costs less than 3 you have the option to put it into play. Otherwise, you get to put it into your hand. While the sheer size of our creatures means that more often than not the card will be going into our hand, the fact that should we flip a land we get to ramp even further. This is especially important in regards to City of Traitors, since this doesn’t actually count as playing a land and thus won’t cause the City to sacrifice itself.

Up next is Oblivion Sower, the first revealed of the new age of Eldrazi, and arguably the best ability to have in Legacy. Due to the nature of Legacy, Brainstorm and Ponder are the biggest game in town. However, Oblivion Sower can disrupt all of these setups and plans by simply casting it. Barring Stifle, you’ll get to exile the top four cards from the opponent’s deck and get all the lands from their exile pile. This is fantastic for screwing up opposing Brainstorms, and the sheer size of Oblivion Sower outclasses nearly every fair creature in Legacy.

Speaking of sheer size, we have Endbringer and Endless One. Endbringer is a unique one in that it comes down on turn 3 and then proceeds to play both offense and defense while also getting incremental advantages over the course of the game. Either by picking off opposing X/1s like Young Pyromancer or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, shutting off attacking or blocking on the opponent’s side, or simply drawing extra cards, Endbringer gives the deck a lot of flexibility while simultaneously bashing in for 5 damage each turn. Endless One, on the other hand, is just a big dumb beatstick that can come down at any point in your curve. More often than not, fair Legacy decks simply can’t handle a 6/6 on turn 3, and the fact that Endless One only gets scarier the longer the game goes makes it an excellent topdeck when you’re flooding out. Endless One is also great in that it synergizes very well with Eldrazi Mimic and Eye of Ugin. Even on turn 1 with Eye of Ugin, Endless One will enter as a 2/2 for free, which works quite well against slower decks where you have to put early pressure on their life total.

No Stompy deck would be complete without a package of prison cards to lock out the opponent while punching them in the face with beatsticks. Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere are the default go to prison cards since they have such a high impact on the 1CMC-centric nature of Legacy, with Trinisphere working double duty by forcing the opponent to pay 3 mana if they want to play cards like Force of Will. In addition, the deck runs a set of Warping Wail, which acts as both removal against cards like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Deathrite Shaman, and the majority of Death & Taxes, as well as protection against sweeping sorceries like Toxic Deluge and Terminus. While the 1/1 Eldrazi Scion token mode isn’t the best, having a blocker at instant speed never hurts against the more aggressive decks.

The manabase is the biggest reason to play Eldrazi over other Stompy variants. Previous Stompy decks lose a lot of their power by not drawing their Sol lands, but since Sol lands make up 2/3s of the manabase, we never have to worry about that. In addition to the whopping 16 Sol lands, the deck also runs a set of Cavern of Souls and Wastes. Cavern of Souls is a safeguard against opposing countermagic should we not have a Trinisphere in play. As well, it also taps for colourless should we face a matchup that doesn’t have counterspells, making it even easier to cast our diamond-costed fatties. The basic Wastes are a failsafe against Blood Moon and Wasteland, as both can do a good job of keeping us off of colourless mana. Blood Moon is especially powerful since it turns our other lands into Mountains, which otherwise wouldn’t be an issue except that they no longer tap for colourless, which is problematic. With Wastes, we get around this and still have the ability to power out our creatures.

Because the maindeck is so focused on disruption and beatdown, the sideboard is primarily devoted to fighting faster combo decks, control decks like Miracles, and decks that can swarm around our single threats. For example, Ratchet Bomb is a catch-all answer to Young Pyromancer decks that generate a ton of tokens, as well Empty the Warrens decks like TES. A Ratchet Bomb on 1 can also hard lock Elves and force them into playing around it, which will often give you enough time to punch through their defenses with Reality Smasher. Finally, Ratchet Bomb gives the deck an, albeit slow, answer to Blood Moon, which is one of the biggest hosers for this style of deck.

For faster combo decks like Dredge and Reanimator, the sideboard includes four copies of Surgical Extraction. While a nonbo with Chalice of the Void, the impact of Surgical Extraction can totally shut out these faster graveyard decks. Show and Tell decks can be something of a nuisance as they can go bigger than your already impressive arsenal. However, thanks to Spine of Ish Sah we can destroy anything they put into play off Show and Tell. As well, Spine acts as a way of killing Jaces and Liliana of the Veils in slower decks like Shardless BUG and Miracles. To compliment the prison package, Pithing Needle can shut down anything from planeswalkers like Jace to Wasteland to Sensei’s Divining Top, making it an incredibly flexible card to handle nearly anything midrange decks can throw at us. Finally, to handle faster threats like Delver of Secrets, we have a pair of Dismember. While eating 4 life may seem like a big deal, against Delver decks which typically go all in on attacking with one threat over and over, picking it off early can save a ton of life in the long run.

The Eldrazi have steadily taken over Magic, from Standard to Modern to Commander, and with this deck it appears that Legacy will be no different. The sheer bulk of your threats compounded with a slew of prison cards and enough Sol lands to consistently power them out in the early turns makes this a seriously threatening deck. While these new threats from Kozilek’s brood are still emerging into the format, I believe these abominations have what it takes to make a major impact on Legacy as a whole. If you’re in the mood for something truly fun, then give in to our new Eldrazi overlords and starting Stomping!

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