A Guide to Green-White (GW) Maverick in 2023
Maverick is a green-white based deck at its core. Straight GW is the build I would advise all new players to play and use to get comfortable with the deck. Once you’ve got your reps in and know what your local metagame is like, you can then build out towards another colour splash. But what is Maverick at its core? I couldn’t have put it better than S3raphix:
“Maverick is a GWx creature-based midrange deck that contains both aggressive and controlling elements. The most important aspect of the deck is a toolbox of “hatebears”, disruptive creatures that hinder the opponent’s game plan, which can be tutored for and protected. In a sense, the goal of Maverick is to lock out the opponent with an overwhelming board presence.”
“Maverick is built on synergy rather than raw card power, and is flexible enough to have game against almost any strategy. While intuitive to play at a basic level, Maverick is a difficult deck to master, as it is very interactive and has many lines of play available. If you want to play a deck with creature interactions and toolbox elements, Maverick could be the deck for you!“
Maverick is one of the last strategies in Legacy that still harnesses the power of mana-acceleration through mana-producing creatures. The advantage of building out your mana in your early turns shines through the ability to have access to the following T2 plays.
- Play a 3CMC threat like Knight of the Reliquary or Endurance
- Green Sun’s Zenith for a 2CMC hatebear like Gaddock Teeg, Collector Ouphe or Scavenging Ooze
- Play a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Wasteland your opponent
An early jump on mana gives you the advantage you need as a fair deck. It gives you a real chance to get in front of the non-fair decks in the format. What I mean by this is setting up your hatebears such as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Collector Ouphe or Gaddock Teeg before your combo opponent goes off or control gets a board-wipe on the stack.
GW Maverick is a very fair deck when you compare it to some of the Tier 1 decks of the format. You will most likely lose many games in a combo-heavy meta. You don’t do anything ludicrous like putting a horde of 1/1 Goblins or a 7/7 Flying creature into play on turn 1 – You’re playing Maverick for the grind. You want to slow down your opponent enough to pressure them through a board-state made up of large & disruptive creatures.
Maverick has had its time in the limelight, reflected here by combo-expert CCG
Maverick is the most underplayed deck in Legacy. Everyone I know who plays that deck consistently crushes.— Cyrus Corman-Gill (@CyrusCGmtg) April 11, 2019
Why bypass a colour splash and play GW?
You might have heard players say they find the manabase appealing, that it’s nice to play off basic lands or that it makes mulligan decisions easier. I’ve always enjoyed coming back to GW when the meta shifts to then work out where I’d like to move towards (black, red, potentially blue like in the Oko era) but sometimes I wonder if I stuck on GW.
Here’s an insight from Clips4Lyfe which really nails down the reasoning:
I feel the phrase “cleaner mana base” gets used a lot but misunderstood a bit.
1. Maverick has a very sketchy mana base that’s often exploited vs decks like Delver or even 4c Control with Loam. The average GWB 23 land build has 5 T1 colour-less sources (4 Waste and Cradle), plus a basic Plains and Scrubland as non-green sources. In Abzan that’s only 16 green sources. 15 T1 green sources with Arbor not usable T1. Most blue cantrip decks that can utilise 1 land keeps off the power of Brainstorm and/or Ponder play 15-16 blue sources. 3 Once Upon a Time (OUAT) is not as good at fixing your manabase as 8 cantrips. 4 Zenith for T1 arbor helps a bit but is very very dependent on not getting removed which is a tall order vs most fair decks.
2. Fetching basics not only plays around Wasteland directly, but as a supplement to playing around Wasteland you get to curve into 3 drops and Zenith for 3 better vs fair decks (and play around Daze naturally as a consequence of that). The flip side is important too. What am I gaining from adding another colour? Is the grass really greener on the other side?
Red: Blasts, Punishing Fire. How do these fit vs the meta and are they improving bad or even match-ups at the cost of more non-games due to mana development? Red should improve the tempo, control and show and tell match ups at least, so essentially the same decks if we remove Sneak ‘n’ Show from that list.
Black: Grist and Orcish Bowmasters. Thoughtseize and Plague Engineer are IMO side benefits and meta dependent. I’d ask the same question. IMO, black should improve the tempo match ups and maybe control. It’s debatable whether black significantly improves your D&T match up assuming it’s Orc and Plague vs SFM with Jitte, with the addition of a more exposed mana base vs the vial strategy that can mana deny you on occasion even with Yorion.
I feel like my match up vs tempo and blue control is already edged in my favour per my personal results and feel of the match ups. Unfortunately I haven’t been logging data so no numbers. So I personally don’t feel it’s worth exposing myself to more non-games due to mana issues and dying with cards in hand rather than making good match-ups better. The caveat to that is I don’t think any version is going to have a good match ups vs 4c Bean Miracles due to the nature of how strong that deck is against us. But I do think Grists’ stock is at its worst vs the newest variations of control because of Leyline Binding, Uro, Forth all easily answer Grist or go over the top of just making vanilla 1/1s each turn. Grist is much better when the meta is Jeskai control, UB shadow, etc. – Clips4Lyfe
What’s a Green-White Maverick list look like in 2023?
Well funnily enough we’ve just had a player Top 8 a Legacy Challenge with straight GW-Maverick. However, the version here from a EvanW was playing some real spice with Titania, Protector of Argoth and Argoth, Sanctumn of Nature!
Green-White Maverick Deck-Tech
I’m proud to announce Clips4Lyfe was generous with their time and was happy to talk GW in preparation for Eternal Weekend 2023. This should give you a great understanding of not only why to play GW, but where it’s played in the metagame.
Here’s the 75 Clips4Lyfe is currently running:
🏆 Top GW Performances in 2023:
November 2023 | Legacy Challenge 10th Place | Evan W
November 2023 | Legacy Open CLC 10th Place | Jeferson Arruda
Maverick, and more specifically Green-White Maverick has had some highly respected players over recent years. itsJulian navigated the deck to multiple 5-0s and has a great tournament report from GP Amsterdam in 2011.
Dan Neeley is also a grand-master of GW with a countless number of 5-0 leagues under his belt.
Below you can see Dan’s list from a 2019 Legacy Premier where he took the deck to a very impressive 7-1 finish:
Maverick Coverage & Gameplay Footage:
If you’re wanting to find gameplay and coverage, check out the coverage section or even better, check out my Twitch where I stream Thursday’s at 7:30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) and Sunday mornings around 10:30am AEST. I usually stream Legacy Maverick, with all my videos also ending up on my Youtube channel.
The straight GW build of Maverick is still, in the right hands, a very powerful and consistent Legacy deck. Although extremely fair in comparison to the rest of the format, the deck has the tools to hate out the unfair decks and pressure your opponents with a quick clock.
The consistency that Green Sun’s Zenith brings to the 75 is probably the most important factor when it comes to Maverick’s ability to have a decent win/loss percentage against the Legacy field.
Legacy GW Maverick is a great starting point for anyone wanting to try the archetype, and an even better experience for those who enjoy creature-based magic.
If you’re wanting more information on the deck, be sure to join the Legacy Maverick Discord which has a side room for Green-White enthusiasts.