On April 22nd I had the privilege to tick off a (MTG) bucket list activity and play in Hareruya’s God of Legacy tournament. This was a 220+ player, 9 round Legacy tournament with a cut to Top 8. This event was foreign to me in more ways than one, having a real impact on my ability to metagame beforehand.
I expected 8-Cast & UR Delver to be two of the main decks, with that classic Japanese-twist on the format in between. To give you a small insight into this, in round one, the player on my left looked to be playing a pretty stock Black-White Deadguy Ale list, only to spot multiple Daze’s in the graveyard later in the match.
Here’s a deck-tech explaining my choices for Abzan Maverick prior to the event:
I went into the event with a few goals in mind:
- Enjoy myself. I think this is overlooked too often by players at competitive events. This was also what pushed me over the line to play Maverick instead of Naya Depths.
- Finish in the top 32. I felt this was going to take a 7-2/6-3 finish which I believed I could hit.
- Stay hydrated. This was a small one, but too many times I’ve gone without water for even one round and it’s affected my ability to play.
Round 1: Jeskai Control
On the draw (OTD)
My opponent started off with fetching for 3 basics (2 Islands, 1 Plains) which was a giveaway of UWx control. At first I was pretty worried about this being a UW deck with maindeck Back to Basics. However, after they Brainstorm locked themselves on T3 missing AND missed their 3rd land drop, I knew that was the stumble I needed. I had a great start with T1 Esper Sentinel into T2 Thalia which not only taxed them, but helped draw the additional threats we needed to finish the job over the following few turns.
In game two I had a similar start however my opponent was able to answer my early threats. I played a Palace Jailer onto an empty opposing board just to start drawing additional cards, yet it was met with a removal spell into Narset the following turn. I don’t believe I drew another card from the Monarch until 5-6 turns later, but in the meantime Kaya, Ghost Assassin hit the board and really took over.
Although I couldn’t draw additional cards with Kaya, being able to make my opponent discard before I played threats was the advantage I needed. Kaya wasn’t removed, I was able to reset her to keep my opponent discarding each turn and the threats I found in the meantime got me over the line.
Round 2: 8-Cast
I had an aggressive start with T1 Esper Sentinel into T2 Esper Sentinel & Noble. On T3 I was able to GSZ for Ouphe and from there my opponent took a few draw steps before conceding. This is exactly why you play a bullet like Ouphe in Maverick’s maindeck as it can get you a few free win’s here and there – exactly what you need in an otherwise very fair deck.
In Game 2 my opponent opened with Ancient Tomb, Lotus Petal, T1 Sai + made 3 Thopters. This was a real slap in the face as I had just mulliganed a 7 that’s only real plan was getting a Plague Engineer online on T3. The opening I kept was weak to flyers and but had removal for Sai in Path to Exile. I was able to remove the Sai, but the Thopters not only started getting in, they helped my opponent cast a T3 Kappa which was too hard to deal with.
Game 3 was a long one. I remember a Knight of the Reliquary taking care of multiple Urza’s Saga’s and a turn where everything seemed to swing in my favour, only for my opponent to claw back into the game.
A Plague Engineer from their side kept my Knight from attacking (as a 7/7) for multiple turns, buying them the time they needed to build their board back up. I wasn’t able to draw into a second threat for a fair while, so trading with the PE to get another threat going wasn’t on the table. I drew into Questing Beast but its clock just wasn’t good enough as my opponent had found a Kappa and a few flyers to get in the last points of damage.
Round 3: RG Initiative
My opponent was on the play and started with a T1 Chalice for (1) into T2 Underground Adventurer. This was huge as it not only turned off my mana acceleration and removal in Swords, but the Underground was a big threat thanks to the initiative. I was able to GSZ the following turn for a Noble, take a hit from the Adventurer and build out my board from there. Fortunately I kept a hand with Outland Liberator, which was able to come down, be a blocker for a turn and take out the Chalice. From there I was able to Swords the Adventurer and then steal the initiative with Questing Beast.
After their great start, my opponent didn’t draw well and only had a Simian Spirit Guide in play which couldn’t even block the Beast. This game opened my eyes to how playing out a match that might seem out of favour can turn very quickly. T1 Chalice into Underground is very hard for some decks to beat, but thankfully Maverick has the tools to play patiently and take its chances when the spot opens.
In Game 2 my opponent mulliganed to 6 but opened with a T1 Fable (off a City of Traitors) into a T2 Minsc. I had the line of hitting the Goblin token with a Sword on my T1, but opted to develop my board instead. One of the big reasons for this was I didn’t (at the time) have any other way to pressure their mana, and felt the Swords was better kept for a real threat.
I was punished for that play by allowing the Goblin to make the mana required for a T2 Boo, but thankfully Karakas kept the Boo from doing anything meaningful. From there a well timed Wasteland into another put my opponent back on 1 land, the Sword dealt with the flipped Fable and Karakas negated Minsc for the rest of the game.
Round 4: Infect
In Game 1 I kept a very slow hand in the blind [Once, Fiend, Knight, 5 land]. I felt like I had a high chance of finding a mana-accelerant off the Once but only found another land. When my opponent opened with Misty and pass I was very happy to not see some sort of threat. However, the T2 Blighted Agent caused some panic as I knew I had to find removal ASAP.
This was a really weird game, where my opponent found multiple infect creatures (2 Elf’s, 1 Agent, 1 Inkmoth) but no real pump spells. My opponent swung in putting me to 8 or 9 infect, then on my last turn I was able to make use of Fiend Artisan, trading a Dryad Arbor in for a Plague Engineer naming Phyrexian.
Thankfully this was another case of a silver bullet hosing a strategy in G1 (just like Ouphe). Fiend Artisan really showed its power here as it would have been next to impossible to win this match otherwise.
In game 2 there was a huge moment.
The beginning was very similar to game 1, other than my opponent using a Scale Up early on to bash in for 6 infect. Plague Engineer and Thalia took over the game from there and I felt very much in the drivers seat. Then came a questionable attack.
My opponent was on 7 with only a Noble Hierarch in play. They had an Inkmoth that was turned off by the PE and 3 mana open.
I swung in with PE, Thalia and a 4/4 Artisan for exactly lethal. My opponent went to block the PE with Noble, then used Vines to pump it and kill the PE.
This then gave them the opportunity to untap, have the Inkmoth online and potentially get in for the last lethal damage.
Thankfully the Thalia was just too taxing and they couldn’t do it, but my heart did skip when that Vines hit the table. What would you have done? Taken the extra turn and dealt lethal over 2 turns?
Round 5: UR Delver
In Game 1 I kept a risky hand vs mana denial decks. Canopy, Wasteland Thalia, double GSZ, Knight
After using Canopy to cast GSZ for 0, my opponent Bolted the Dryad Arbor. I untapped and cast GSZ for 1 for Noble, which was hit with Chain Lightning and then Wasteland went after Canopy. My mana was done and I don’t believe I got to a stage where I could cast Thalia before I went down.
In game 2 I had a strong board with Esper Sentinel and Thalia, however, Sulfur Elemental destroyed my board and from there it was all UR’s game. I had an Endurance to hold off their creatures until a Murktide quickly got out of hand.
I got Delver’ed, hard.
Round 6: Doomsday
Not too much to say here. Game 1 was a T3 Win and in game two, I went to build out mana on T2 with GSZ (after a T1 Deafening Silence) which was hit by Dark Ritual into Opposition Agent. My name was another ‘Zenith and 2 Fiend Artisans so you can see where this is going. My opponent hard cast Doomsday on T3 and won on T4.
Doomsday is just one of those matches. Not worth having specific cards in the board for but thankfully you have some overlapping hate in Thoughtseize / Chalice / Deafening Silence etc.
Round 7: Reanimator
In Game 1 my opponent discarded Archon and passed turn. I didn’t have an answer and on T2 it was reanimated and took over the game. In Game 2 my opponent went for reanimation without hand disruption and I had Surgical into threats.
Game 3 was actually pretty interesting.
I kept a hand of Cradle / Esper Sentinel / Scrubland / Knight / Once / Swords / GSZ. My opponent opened with Grief, took the Swords then went to Reanimate it.
Thankfully I was able to find an Endurance with OUAT in response to my opponent reanimating the Grief to buy some time. Phew.
I got Esper onto the field, however this was removed thanks to Wear // Tear. This meant I didn’t have green mana as Cradle was now offline.
My opponent and I had some draw go before I made the play of evoking Endurance just to tap Cradle for a G and GSZ for Noble. By getting my mana online and my opponent not winning that exact next turn, I was able to put myself in a great position and ending up taking out the match. I do remember having to Surgical my own Grist after my opponent tried to target it with Reanimate – very lucky.
Round 8: Infect
Very similar to the previous round vs Infect, the first game was early removal into PE to seal game 1.
In Game 2 the Engineer wasn’t needed thanks to early removal and Deafening Silence.
This was a lot more back and forth than the earlier match and thankfully my deck just picked the right spots to draw the cards I needed.
Infect can be pretty scary if you don’t have removal in your opening hand, however new printings in Esper Sentinel, Grist, Deafening Silence and Plague Engineer (with the new rules) have IMO made the matchup favourable.
Round 9: Rhinos
Over the course of game 1 I believe 6 Rhinos hit the board. I had 3 Swords in my opening but trading a card with a token is not where you want to be. Volcanic and Misty without a T1/T2 play made me think they were on a ‘slow’ omni-sneak opening. I played a Knight on T2 as a 2/2 which in my end step, was the target for Dead.
Knight’s usually really good, but Borrower or Endurance + Dead / Fury makes it really hard to keep Knight around.
Game 2: I kept a slow hand (6) and got really punished. Again footfalls had a huge impact and Fury took out any chance of me developing a board. My Palace Jailer was stolen by a Inevitable Betrayal.
I find this matchup really hard to navigate, it could even be one of the hardest ‘fair’ matchups for Maverick.
- You need creatures that are bigger than 4/4’s (sometimes 5/4s) yet you can’t rely on Knight of the Reliquary due to Endurance.
- Fire / Fury take out your mana dorks
- Swords to Plowshares trades very poorly with Rhino’s and Shardless Agents (so many of their cards are 2:1’s which allows them to recover from their own pitches.
- There isn’t a real hatebear bullet for this matchup. Chalice seems like it could be strong but Brazen Borrower can deal with that quite easily before ‘going off’.
Having to most likely spend Swords to Plowshares on tokens doesn’t feel great.
I’m really happy I stuck with Maverick as my deck of choice. To play in a 200+ player Legacy event isn’t something that many players get the chance to experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the day.
I have my sideboard guide for the list up on Patreon but will be out in the open next month.
Didn't hit my goals but finished top 50 (222) at God of Legacy with Mav 💚
Picked up 4th Mox, met some super nice people AND was gifted a 🇯🇵 Endurance from @Tanabota_jojo AND taken out for dinner?! 🙏
Thanks Rich for the DD token!
— DougesOnTwitch🎥 (@DougesOnTwitch) April 22, 2023
I didn’t make any memorable misplays which is a great takeaway from a 9 round event. Water intake was probably where I dropped the ball but otherwise, nuts and jerky make for great in-between-round snacks.
A HUGE thank you to those who came and said hey, wanted cards signed and of course a huge shout out to Toya for gifting me a Japanese Endurance and Alfred for not only tracking down 2 Japanese Reclaimers and a Yavimaya but gifting those too.
My opponents were fantastic, the event ran really smoothly (other than Companion crashing before round 8 which judges handled very well, having to turn to slips for the remaining two rounds) and it was genuinely one of the most enjoyable tournaments I’ve played in.
As always, take care and play fair,