Welcome to the first article of the Monthly Maverick series! Maverick is an archetype where no two decklists are the same and – I believe – is currently in a competitive position in the Legacy metagame. As such, it’s great to look at new innovation and cards being played by pilots who are also putting up strong results. Since the printing of Plague Engineer, Wrenn and Six and Giver of Runes , we’ve been hit my friends. Maverick and fair decks alike have been put in a vulnerable position that only we the pilots can get ourselves out of. We may not have had the help of Squadron Hawk and the forces of virtue on our side BUT Maverick has prevailed over the past month!
Green-white Maverick hasn’t had the tools added to its arsenal that GWB (Plague Engineer) or Punishing Maverick (Wrenn & Six) have gained access to, but the archetype is still powering through the format. What I consider the most consistent version of Maverick, GW is a great place not only to start your journey as a Maverick player but also master it. Dan Neeley is a fantastic player and human that’s been dominating with the deck since… ever – and also did a Q&A with me when he went 53-12 through MTGO leagues with the deck in May this year. Below are some other pilots who’ve had some great performances with the archetype this past month.
5-0 MTGO League GW Lists
Achillies27’s list is a pretty stock standard GW Maverick 75 that you’d expect to see in a league right now. Batterksull is a card many players have mixed opinions on in Maverick, with some suggesting – unlike Death & Taxes – we don’t need the 4/4 beater due to our own threats in Knight of the Reliquary, Scavenging Ooze and Tireless Tracker . However, without Batterskull, how good is Stoneforge Mystic right now? I’m beginning to understand that without Batterskull, Stoneforge Mystic is finding itself less and less in top-performing Maverick lists. This list does have Gaea’s Cradle as well as another way to power out an early Batterskull, but there can be times where without either, you have a 5 mana artifact stuck in your hand for a few too many turns.
The Vivien, Champion of the Wilds in the board is a really interesting choice and I give kudos to those players who’ve found a spot for her in their 75. When first spoiled, Vivien seemed like a perfect fit for Maverick on paper, but after some pretty vigorous testing, Sylvan Library just came out as a better card in that slot. Chalice of the Void is also a newer addition to the sideboard – great against fast combo and the U decks of the format. 1. Collector Ouphe is the newest card in this deck and great against any players battling it out with Karn, the Great Creator, Lion’s Eye Diamond‘s or Aether Vial‘s.
Fun Fact: Achillies27 was the first Maverick player I interviewed in the ongoing series Understanding the Maverick, where I take some of the great Maverick pilots and gain some behind-the-scenes information about how they first got into Magic, Legacy and finally Maverick as a deck.
Huntsinc has come to the table with a different take on GW than most builds with the full playset of Stoneforge Mystic, as well as the new recruit, Giver of Runes. Blast Zone as a utility land is also a little touch of spice and a great way for GW to deal with (what traditionally has been an issue with the deck) go-wide strategies like Elves or Young Pyromancer decks (however Wrenn & Plague Engineer has caused both of these to go into hibernation for now). Blast Zone is also a great way to deal with True-Name Nemesis and Jace, the Mind Sculptor in game 1 and can be used multiple times with Ramunap Excavator.
I enjoy how Hunt has taken the consistency of GW Maverick and made sure that stays the same post sideboard with multiple copies of all hay-makers. It’s nice to have a sideboard full of 1-ofs to make sure you can answer everything you face, but without multiple copies you’re most likely not going to be drawing into the specific spell you need in post-sideboard games in a deck without classic manipulation like Ponder and Brainstorm .
BnB has also had success with GW Maverick taking out a league with the list above. Another full playset of Stoneforge Mystic portrays how important they believe it is to consistently find equipment of their choosing each game. Opting for Sword of Feast and Famine over Batterskull, BnB has notably prioritised protection over lifegain. Speaking of, a duo of Scavenging Ooze is most likely out of respect for the uptick in graveyard strategies currently online, making sure it’s not all lost if your first copy of Scooze is removed.
A full 4 Choke will make any UW Blade or greedy U player cry, making sure they have that 39.9% chance it’s in their opening hand come G2 & 3. Reclamation Sage over Knight of Autumn is most likely a bow to Blood Moon, as only needing a basic Forest or mana dork online before a Moon is slammed on the table makes it much easier to deal with. I really like the thought given there and not just going for the more valuable line of running Knight of Autumn.
Sunlance is a card I haven’t seen since the dark days of playing Death & Taxes, but it’s a great way to deal with current threats in the format such as Delver of Secrets, Dreadhorde Arcanist, Dark Confidant, Vampire Hexmage, Goblin Rabblemaster & Goblin Legion – the list goes on. What Sunlance doesn’t give you is the flexibility of Path to Exile, which also deals with Marit Liege, Griselbrand and of course, all white creatures of the format.
Hey it’s me! 🙂 This was the list I took to a 6-2 finish in the Format Playoff. Sadly for Australians like myself, this tournament was a 2:00am start on Sunday morning BUT luckily for you all, I recorded each match which you can view here. The biggest maindeck choices I made were 2 Sanctum Prelate and 2 Abrupt Decay. The Prelates were a hedge against Combo and Mono Red Prison (Prelate on 4 shuts off Chandra, Karn and Fiery Confluence) and to a smaller extent Miracles, while the Decay were respect to Wrenn & Six and Dreadhorde Arcanist. One cut I really miss is Sylvan Library. It wasn’t fantastic when Narset, Parter of Veils was being played so often, but now she’s also experienced the Karn effect, Library seems great against the format. I also didn’t play any number of Stoneforge Mystic, opting for 2 maindeck Umezawas Jitte to help get my creatures across the line and hopefully even deal with some opposing threats.
The sideboard was pretty standard with 4 graveyard hate pieces of interaction, 4 removal spells in Garruk Relentless, Path to Exile and Plague Engineer and 7 spells for blue and combo in Choke, Thoughtseize and Canonist. Without Sylvan Library, I didn’t have a great % of drawing the 1 of Ethersworn Canonist in my post-sideboard games, so looking back, I would have opted for a second Gaddock Teeg. I went for Garruk Relentless as my Planeswalker of choice as he protects himself, can remove creatures, creates threats every turn AND once flipped, can also help me find a creature to close out that game. The casting cost of just a green mana was also a huge appeal for a meta where I expected some number of Moons and Wasteland. MTGO player Bcs8995 took this exact list to a 5-0 League finish later in the month.
With the uptick in black spells, I wouldn’t mind seeing more GWB players trying out Nurturing Peatland over Horizon Canopy in that flex-land slot. Peatland adds another black source to your manabase that can still cast your mana-producing creatures on turn 1.
Right now, I believe Green-White-Black is in the best spot of all Mav. archetypes, with access to Thoughtseize, Plague Engineer and Abrupt Decay being so great at keeping your opponent off their plan.
Waz took the above GWB list to a 6-2 finish in the August 25th Legacy Challenge, opting for a sneaky maindeck Plague Engineer, 4 Giver of Runes in place of Mother (don’t tell Mother) and NO STONEFORGE MYSTIC PACKAGE WHAT IS HAPPENING?!
By cutting out your Stoneforge Mystic package, you get access to a whopping 6-7 slots maindeck. This has opened up room for a maindeck Palace Jailer for removal and card draw & Plague Engineer to help fight off True-Name and go-wide strategies. I just can’t get around Palace Jailer in Maverick without some decent answers to TNN, flyers and go-wide strategies. The Crown can be very back and forth and bring an element of unease to your game plan. Putting that into an archetype that is rich in consistency just doesn’t feel right and can backfire on you very quickly. To those who have found a way, I commend you. To those who haven’t, I understand.
Waz also ran Vivien, Champion of the Wilds with 1 maindeck appearance and 1 in the sideboard, where we can also see a card that isn’t often found in Maverick nor many Legacy decks for that matter, Chains of Mephistopheles. Chains is utterly backbreaking in a format traditionally dominated by card draw in Brainstorm, Jace the Mindsculptor‘s and Griselbrand. Sure, Chains is going to most likely cause a Judge call when it comes to the interaction with Sylvan Library, but it’s great to see this constricting enchantment brought to the table.
Veil of Summer is a really interesting card that I’m glad Maverick players are still testing out and finding room for in their sideboards. Not only great against counter-magic and Tendrils of Agony, Veil completely 180s the effect of opposing discard. Thoughtseize me? How about instead you go down a card and I cycle this into another card? More so found in GW builds, Council’s Judgment is a fine, flexible piece of removal for the sideboard and can come in to deal with anything from True Name Nemesis to Umezawa’s Jitte to Wrenn & Six.
I have had a few people request my current Maverick list. I will be honest, I haven't been playing as much as I should be. Here it is for reference, I have a 5-0 but it didn't get posted and a few 4-1 finishes. I have spent most of my time playing the Jund Plug List for fun. pic.twitter.com/nrKyPyw7Ve
— Dan Neeley (@danneeley1) August 2, 2019
Dan’s 5-0 was with a really interesting, basic heavy and Wooded Foothills build of GWB Maverick. A pretty stock list, to the delight of many, many players, Dan found a way to include a basic Swamp AND take the deck to an unbeaten record. There have been many times where I’ve wanted to fetch for a basic Swamp over a dual land, usually because it was either about to be a target for Wasteland or the threat of a Back to Basics wasn’t far away. However, with testing the basic swamp and Prismatic Vista build myself, it did come across as a little clunky at times. As good a feeling it was to have access to all my colours in basics, an early Swamp cut me off from casting spells a lot of the time. Sadly, The Swamp meant I wasn’t able to start casting 2 spells a turn where, if it was a dual land, I wouldn’t have had the problem. It’s great to see Dan trying it out and obviously doing well with it, I just hope more players catch on to try and figure out the manabase as a collective.
It’s been a quiet month for Punishing Maverick. When Wrenn & Six first entered the format, many pilots came out of leagues with 5-0 lists that looked really promising. But since then, I feel Punishing Maverick has been caught out as the worst Wrenn deck right now. Ramunap Excavator filled the role of being able to utilise lands in your graveyard, Punishing Fire already dealt with creatures such as Baleful Strix or opposing mana dorks and Wrenn’s ultimate doesn’t really reach its full potential in Punishing. 4C Loam however has been gaining traction, if interested check out their active Facebook group.
Green-White Depths is really the new kid on the block, some player referring to the archetype as ‘GW Maverick Depths’. It’s Maverick without the Stoneforge Mystic package, Thalia and less silver bullets but a huge focus on creating and protecting a Marit Liege with the Dark Depths combo. Mana dorks pave the way for Elvish Reclaimer and Mox Diamond to enable explosive starts and Knight of the Reliquary gives the deck another threat that, when left unanswered, closes out the game within 2-3 turns.
Giver of Runes gives the deck a huge boost as it’s able to protect your 20/20 token from colourless sources like Karakas and Maze of Ith, making sure you’re winning the turn it comes. Path to Exile is the preferred sideboard removal spell as Swords to Plowshares can give your opponent a whole turn when pushing their life total above 20. Unlike the black versions with hand disruption, your only maindeck hate against combo is either combo-ing faster than them or finding your 1 of Gaddock Teeg ( Green Sun’s Zenith definitely helps this).
From MTGGoldFish’s records, it looks like MTGO user Ovate had the first success with the deck – and the likes of SolNox,SteFaNoGs and Sharkcaster_Mage (Rodrigo Togores) has had some great success with it online, with Togores taking it to a 4th place finish in the August 12th Legacy Challenge.
Lost today in the top 4 of the legacy challenge with Maverik Depths. Deck feels good if you play most good matchups(and most metagame are good matchups, at least on MTGO). Lost in top 4 to Four Color Wrenn, card is pretty stupid, just out value everyone… pic.twitter.com/VY1QGI0yik
— TogoresMtg (@TogoresTcg) August 11, 2019
Dan and I also had some pretty good success with the deck taking down a league and really enjoying the style of the deck as huge fans of Maverick.
5-0! with GW Depths on stream tonight 🔥😊👌
Hogaak GB Depths 👍👍
Sneak & Show 👍👎👍
Thanks for the list @TogoresTcg. I added 2 Duals & 2 Decays in the board but didn't need them. Going to run this back Sunday #mtgcontent #mtglegacy #mtg pic.twitter.com/dE8f3Xv80Z
— DougesOnTwitch🎥 (@DougesOnTwitch) August 21, 2019
5-0 with GW Depths/Maverick Depths. I feel like this deck is pretty good. Small sample size but but 13-2 through 3 leagues.💪🏆😀 pic.twitter.com/yMCeOx2yBi
— Dan Neeley (@danneeley1) August 22, 2019
The deck wasn't very good but still managed to 5-0. Several situation where Scrubland needed to be a green source. I just like to cast Knight of the Reliquary. 😀🏆😀🏆 pic.twitter.com/yqvlWgSkQn
— Dan Neeley (@danneeley1) September 3, 2019
This wouldn’t be Maverick without some level of spice. Alex has been toying with a GW Vial list that has 5-0ed and showed it may have a place in the eternal format. For those who enjoy Death & Taxes, this type of GW list seems right up your alley. With Vengevines & Squadron Hawks to feed your Fauna Shaman for value, you’re able to fetch up bullets and Aether Vial them in at instant speed. This deck looks super sweet although Peach has mentioned he believes there is work to be done on really cementing a solid 75.
brewed a spicy one. lets see how bad it is. pic.twitter.com/z9yaKIieiI
— Peach / Alex (@jetpack_blues) August 30, 2019
NOTE: The above is actually a Modern list that my weary eyes did not pick up on.
Below is Alex’s list he’s been toying with in Legacy. The idea is there, the tools are there, we just need to get some more players behind this deck to see where it can end up.
5-0 list beat
grixis ctrl 2-0
BUG narset/leovold 2-0
(went 4-1 previous league)
Already made a few changes especially to the sb pic.twitter.com/qBhwuXn9cr
— Peach / Alex (@jetpack_blues) May 7, 2019
What I’ve been trying out in Maverick:
I’ve been testing Obelisk Spider as a way to deal with the current meta. Not only is this card great against flipped Delvers, Flickerwisps, Squadron Hawks, Tomik, Distinguished Advokist and Serra Avengers, it’s pretty hilarious against Dreadhorde Arcanist. One block and Arcanist becomes a 0/2, no longer able to flashback any cards within their graveyard. It’s most likely correct to just run straight removal in my sideboard like Path to Exile but to be honest, the Spider does work and has been surprisingly impressive thus far.
With the uptick in basic lands and Wrenn archetypes, I’ve dusted off Rishadan Port to combat those decks. Wasteland gets a lot worse when your opponent ends up getting back the land the following turn OR has a ‘wasteland-proof’ manabase. Port on the other hand has been great at mitigating that strategy. In a deck with Green Sun’s Zenith as its engine, I’ve been really happy to be in a position where I could deny my opponent their mana and then untap and cast an important threat. “Wasteland, go!” isn’t where I want to be until I’ve got something in play that’s also punishing my opponent. Port works great against Loam decks as well, that may have the luxury of grabbing back any lands you’ve send to their graveyard but need to dig for Wasteland to deal with Rishadan Port. If you’re a reader, I did a paper on Rishadan Port and how it can be used to its fullest in Legacy.
I’ve had a Turbo Depths player cast a turn 2 Pithing Needle Pithing Needle against me in G1, naming Wasteland, only for my Port to take over and deny their ability to create the 20/20 on their watch. Port has been fantastic for me against UW Control and those Miracles players left battling it out online by taking them off their basic Plains for a turn or forcing them to use their fetch lands.
Sadly, Ceratops is close to the chopping board. Not only can this beast – sorry, Dinosaur – go straight past a TNN or Baleful Strix, it’s a Jace killer. No longer can your opponent tick Jace up to 5 and hide behind a Force of Will. The reach and 4 toughness is great against a field of Delver and D&T but right now, it’s just a little too heavily costed for Maverick.
Well, that’s what’s been happening in the world of Maverick this past month. Did I miss something? Are you trying out new tech? Let me know in the comments below how you’re attacking your metagame with Maverick.