“Playing colours is for suckers.” This is the mantra of the MUD player, Legacy’s premiere non-coloured deck. This mono-artifact monstrosity is equal parts prison deck, beatdown deck, and combo deck, that it is an absolute beast to play against. Get your Ancient Grudges ready, because this week I’m breaking down MUD!
That right there is one of the most punishing decks in Legacy for the unprepared opponent. MUD typically has two game plans that it wants to pull off. The first is to stick one of their prison cards, such as Chalice of the Void or Trinisphere to slow down or straight-up lock out their opponents, giving them ample time to get their second plan underway: play giant mechanical monsters and smash faces. Through Metalworker, Grim Monolith, “Sol lands”, and the recent addition of the Cloudpost/Glimmerpost package, MUD is able to power out Wurmcoil Engines and Sundering Titans as early as turn 3. With pesky cards like Swords to Plowshares rendered useless by their prison cards, MUD can make short work of their opponents with just a few attacks.
What also makes MUD so powerful is that Metalworker is such an absurd ramp spell that it makes even the 12-drop Blightsteel Colossus a reasonable turn 4 play. As well, with Staff of Domination and three artifacts in hand, Metalworker can generate infinite mana by constantly floating six mana, untapping it with Staff, then untapping the Staff to repeat the process. You can then use Staff to gain infinite life, draw your deck, and dump your deck onto the battlefield. Another unique feature is that thanks to Kuldotha Forgemaster, you can tutor for a wide array of powerful artifacts at instant speed. Your opponent is tapped out? Fetch out Blightsteel Colossus on their end step. Is Storm about to combo off on you? Tutor for Trinisphere and throw a wrench in their plans. Virtually any artifact is up for grabs so long as you can activate Forgemaster, making life very difficult for MUD’s opponents.
Lastly, MUD is notable for being pretty much the only deck capable of running Karn Liberated. This gives the deck the ability to interact with the opponent’s hand, stripping away resources every turn and shutting off any chance of them fighting back. Karn also gives you ways to fight through Ensnaring Bridge, and can even be a win condition on its own in longer, grindy matches.
WHAT MATCHUPS DO I WANT TO FACE? WHICH DECKS SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT?
Because of how abusable Chalice of the Void, Trinisphere, and Lodestone Golem are in this deck, MUD absolute wants to face decks that rely on 1-drops. Delver, Burn and Storm get completely hosed by a turn 1 Chalice, and Trinisphere makes casting most of their spells nearly impossible. More importantly, once you get one of your three Wurmcoil Engines going, the six points of lifegain every turn keeps your life total well out of range of any of their spells. Even combo matches such as Sneak & Show and Reanimator become good matches postboard when you bring in Ensnaring Bridge, Duplicant, and Tormod”s Crypt.
Dredge is a particularly tricky match-up, and one that’s worth noting. On the one hand, if your Dredge opponent isn’t prepared for MUD, it’s a very easy match-up. Simply play Chalice on 1, Trinisphere, or Tormod”s Crypt and you should be fine. However, Dredge is one of the only decks that sometimes runs Ingot Chewer. This card is a beating for MUD, getting around Chalice of the Void to open up their other spells while simultaneously giving them zombie tokens that they can use to rip apart your hand. Your ideal setup is keeping a hand with as many prison cards as possible with as much redundancy as possible. This way, even if they have Ingot Chewer, you have too many must-answer targets for it to be effective.
Your bad match-ups are pretty much any deck running Abrupt Decay and hand disruption like Thoughtseize. Jund and BUG are particularly strong against MUD’s early game in that Abrupt Decay picks off the majority of its prison beste online casino spells, as well as Metalworker and Grim Monolith. Also, through hand disruption they can take away your high-impact finishers. MUD doesn’t really have much in the ways of card draw save for a single Staff of Nin, so losing those big cards can leave you open to getting beatdown by their creatures. Jund is especially bad for MUD because it has the Red to run Ancient Grudge, which might as well be a cheaper Vindicate with flashback in this match-up. However, neither Jund nor BUG really have a way to deal with Wurmcoil Engine outside of Liliana of the Veil, so should you survive long enough to get one into play it will be game over rather quickly.
One match-up that’s not so much bad as it is awkward is Death & Taxes. Between Phyrexian Revoker for your Metalworkers, Rishadan Port/Wasteland to control your Sol lands, and Swords to Plowshares for your threats, Death & Taxes does just as good a job of controlling your board as you do controlling theirs through Chalice and Trinisphere. Not only do most of their threats cost 3 mana, neutering Trinisphere’s effectiveness, they also have Aether Vial to get threats into play through Chalice of the Void. The easiest way to beat Death & Taxes is to stick a Chalice of the Void on 1 to protect your creatures from Swords to Plowshares, ramp out as many monsters as you can, and pray they don’t get the Mangara of Corondor/Karakas lock.
WHAT CARDS DO I WANT IN MY SIDEBOARD?
MUD’s sideboard is typically a collection of hate cards to compliment the prison package in your maindeck. Phyrexian Revoker is your catch-all for everything from Stoneforge Mystic to Liliana of the Veil, and is great for keeping cards like Sneak Attack under control. Ensnaring Bridge and Duplicant are there to counter Show and Tell decks. When they cast Show and Tell, you can either prevent them from attacking you with Bridge, since you’ll almost never have enough cards in hand to allow them to swing in, or just exile their creature outright with Duplicant. In tandem with Revoker, these cards pack a wallop against Sneak & Show and make it almost impossible to lose.
All is Dust is a one-sided sweeper against the various fair decks in the format. Wiping away a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, True-Name Nemesis, and Deathrite Shaman for a paltry seven mana is nothing to laugh at, especially since you can clear away any blockers and crush your opponents with your giant monsters. On the other end of the sweeper spectrum we have Ratchet Bomb. This card is great for clearing out tokens from Empty the Warrens, Batterskull, and Bridge from Below. Even something simple like ticking it up a counter against Elves or up to two counters against Merfolk can blow out the opponent whenever you want.
Tormod”s Crypt is the cheapest and most efficient means of getting rid of the opponent’s graveyard. This card is a major headache for any deck trying to live out of their graveyard, which there just happens to be many in Legacy. Lastly, a miser’s Spine of Ish Sah fills a similar role as Karn Liberated and All is Dust in that it can pick off annoying permanents like Energy Flux, Sneak Attack, or Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Usually this slot is more of a personal choice or metagame call. I’ve seen everything from a fourth Wurmcoil Engine to Platinum Angel to even Portcullis as the 15th card. Pretty much any colorless spell is up for grabs, so the sky’s the limit.
FINAL VERDICT: WHY SHOULD I BUILD MUD?
MUD is the deck for people that love playing control but don’t want to spend the thousands of dollars on a traditional dual land-centric manabase. You get all the lockdown potential of a prison deck with the late game of a ramp deck. The majority of decks in the format just aren’t set up to properly combat MUD, and you can get a lot of wins simply by sitting down at the table. Plus you get to run Sundering Titan and Blightsteel Colossus! Who can say no to that?
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