New Builds for Legacy Maverick:
Maverick is unique to the Legacy format in that no two decklists are typically the same. From the traditional and consistent GW variant to Punishing or Dark Maverick, the archetype still has a huge amount of unexplored ground to cover. Marc König (who you may know as MTGO player Bahra) has recently tested a 4-colour variant that took down a Legacy league last weekend. The blue splash solely for 3 Leovold, Emissary of Trest in the mainboard was paired with the more commonly seen black splash for sideboard options in Thoughtseize and Zealous Persecution as well as 2 maindeck Abrupt Decays.
A lonely Tropical Island is the only way to cast Leovold off the manabase, however the addition of Birds of Paradise to run alongside Noble Hierarchs allows the Elf to come down as early as turn 2. Bahar has upped the number of mana dorks in the deck to push the consistency of casting 3CMC spells on turn 2. Vivien, Champion of the Wilds also made the cut with 3 copies in the maindeck! It’s awfully competitive for new cards to make their way into Legacy, so it’s been great to see more players testing out Vivien.
You can see Marc has cut the Stoneforge Mystic package to really populate the 3CMC space for hard-hitting, disruptive creatures. Vivien’s minus ability also works better with more creatures in the deck, so being able to replace equipment with more creatures seems like an understandable move. You can see as well many of the silver bullets of the deck are also being run in 2-ofs such as Gaddock Teeg, Knight of Autumn and Ramunap Excavator. All 3 of these creatures are great against the online meta which currently is being inundated with Eldrazi and Cloudpost decks running the new Karn planeswalker, Karn, the Great Creator.
I was lucky enough to get some time off Marc and get some answers for questions I had regarding the deck. Thank you to those in the Maverick Discord for also putting up some questions that you wanted answered.
Hey Marc congratulations on your 5-0 finish. What decks did you play against during the league?
Match 1: BR Reanimator [2-1]
Match 2: Miracles [2-0]
Match 3: Grixis Control [2-0]
Match 4: Elves [2-1]
Match 5: Eldrazi & Taxes [2-0]
I’ve seen your love this year with Legacy NicFit, your work on Esper Vial-Blade with Rich Shay and some great finishes with Mono W Prison. Why the shift to Legacy Maverick?
I’ve always liked the creature-based decks with lots of tricks like Mother of Runes and Flickerwisp. Maverick is a creature-based deck and has a lot of tricks too so it appeals to me.
Vivien, Champion of the Wilds has had a fair amount of buzz since its spoiling. What are your first thoughts on Vivien in Maverick? How successful were your minus-2 hits?
I think it’s too cute. The minus ability was inconsistent and the flash wasn’t that great.
I’m going to assume the 3 copies in the maindeck was high for testing purposes? How many do you see in the future (if any)?
I don’t see more than 1 copy of Vivien in a deck as it has no synergy with Green Sun’s Zenith.
4. Does the inclusion of Vivien have an impact on how many creature-based answers you have in your sideboard? An example being playing Qasali Pridemage over something like Abrupt Decay to deal with pesky artifacts and enchantments or Palace Jailer over a Planeswalker for the grindy matchups.
Not really. I didn’t think to consider it with my sideboarding but I didn’t really build my main deck to support the Vivien’s.
5. How did Leovold perform for you? What matchups (if any) would you board him out against?
Leovold was good. He gives another way of grinding vs. the removal heavy/control decks and he locks them out if they don’t have an answer immediately. I don’t think there’s a match up where Leovold doesn’t do anything, so I don’t usually look to board him out.
Did you get to cast him at instant speed in response to a draw spell / ability?
I did flash Leovold in vs a Jace 0 (brainstorm) vs. Miracles and it led to my opponent conceding on the spot.
6. Instead of a large amount of 1-of silver bullet Green Sun’s Zenith targets, you’ve opted for more 2-ofs in Gaddock Teeg, Ramunap Excavator and Knight of Autumn. Can you expand on why you went this route?
I wanted to maximise the amount of times I could go Turn 1 Mana Dork into turn-two 3-drop high-impact card. Green Sun’s Zenith makes my creature cost 1 more which can be a pretty big tax to pay, and with the extra Wastelands / 1 Ghost Quarter, I wanted to hit Ramunap more consistently than as a 1-of.
7. How did you find the higher curve (compared to more traditional lists) with having more 3 drops in the deck?
Well it worked great for me but looking back at it, I thought there were too many 3 drops and I would try to cut a few for the future.
8. How did you find the 4c manabase? More importantly, how key was the Dark Depths combo to winning any of your games?
The manabase was tricky but manageable. The Dark Depths combo stole a game or two but that was it. It performed about as expected if not slightly below expectations.
9. I know we are most likely past the days of Trygon Predator being Legacy playable, but as you added the blue splash, did any other cards come to mind that you wanted to try out?
No. Leovold is by far the best splashable blue creature.
10. What would you change (if anything) in the 75 if you took this through another league?
Cut Vivien and maybe 1 Leovold. I’d consider cutting the Dark Depths combo, especially if Post is playing up to 3 Thespian’s Stage.
I went ahead and played a league with Marc’s list and had a huge amount of fun. Although the games didn’t go my way, Leovold felt super powerful. Sadly I didn’t see Vivien in most of my matches or when I did, she was lacklustre. My issue was the large amount of times I had starting hands without a mana dork that resulted in being oversaturated with 3 drops stuck in hand.
I had a good think about the list and how I’d reduce the need for a T1 mana accelerant for the deck to really perform optimally. I changed a few things and took it through another league with better success [3-2 found below]. We took out the Dark Depths combo for a more stable manabase, reduced the amount of 3 drops in the deck, and ticked up some 3-ofs to playsets for consistency reasons. Here’s the full 75 with gameplay below:
4C Maverick Gameplay
A huge thank you to Marc for taking the time to answer my questions and for really pushing the boundaries of Legacy. You can find Marc through his stream on Twitch.
Leovold was actually more impressive than Vivien in the matches I played. Against Lands, Leovold put pressure on my opponent’s ability to use Maze of Ith, Rishadan Port, Wasteland and most importantly, Punishing Fire. Leovold’s impact against blue decks is significant and gives your opponent a huge headache when you Green Sun’s Zenith for 3. Against fair decks, Leovold also performs really well as it taxes your opponent’s removal like nothing else.
Marc cut 2 Mother of Runes in his list due to Leovold acting in a similar role. Instead of protecting your creatures from removal, you’re gaining card parity or, if lucky, card advantage from your creatures being removed. Leovold also has a wider shield covering all your permanents including lands that otherwise may be aggressively Wastelanded or Ported.
The manabase from my experience was shaky at best as any 4C deck is. Choke is such a huge bullet for Maverick to holster in its sideboard against blue decks to the point I don’t want to add in more Islands that aren’t synergistic with the pesky enchantment. The addition of mana dorks in Birds of Paradise did help our efforts to cast bombs like Leovold on turn 2, but if you have a Plains or Wasteland as an early land drop, you’re not going to be casting Leovold as early as you’d like.
Since the banning of Deathrite Shaman and the fall of BUG in Legacy, Leovold has had a pretty tough time in finding a home. Is Maverick that home? It’s really too early to tell. But for now he’s been a blast to play with and will be in lists for streams to come.