Wait…it won a Legacy Challenge…So where’s Maverick?
🏆🔥WON THE LEGACY CHALLENGE WITH MAVERICK! This is my 4th Legacy Challenge win and believe me this means so much more with Maverick. I have a lot of top 8's with this deck but never been able to take down a online event. Good games to all!!!🏆🔥 pic.twitter.com/FXb4kuaMEO
— Dan Neeley (@danneeley1) March 18, 2023
Welcome back to the GreenSunsZenith for a recap of what’s been happening for Maverick & Naya Depths in 2023. It’s great to see how active the Maverick Discord has been over the past few months even with a drop off in the number of Maverick’s at large-scale events. This goes to show it doesn’t matter the tier of the archetype, the community is always a class act and continues to support each other through thick and thin.
This content aims to be catch-up for players who don’t keep a finger on the pulse of Maverick’s performances and also to give those grinding the deck an insight into how to continue preparing for the 2023 metagame.
I’ve also made sure to touch on some of the new tech we’re seeing in Naya & the new kid on the block, Abzan Depths.
Updates from Mavericks
It was great to get Mark, Harry and Jono to give me their thoughts around Maverick and Depths both before and after the release of LOTR’s:
Mark Strassman | StrasDaddy on MTGO
Pre-LOTR Thoughts: End of May
How are you currently finding Maverick?
The deck has been performing very well for me, especially since the bans (of Expressive Iteration & WPA). You can tweak Maverick for a meta game and compete at a high level. The biggest concern I have for the deck is if Delver gets pushed out of the format, will control decks be able to keep combo decks at bay, especially since Top/Counterbalance is no longer a lock for beating many combo decks? Maverick can compete against certain combo decks if you plan for them, but a wide metagame full of fast combo decks is very bad for Maverick.
What are you running at the moment (May)?
MTGO latest 5-0: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/5614071#paper
Paper Top 4: Paper Top 4 Split 1K
On MTGO Legacy Leagues, Delver and Reanimator are often played. I think Packing 4 MD Endurance is a good idea on MTGO Leagues, but I would not bring 4 Endurance to a paper event.
Mawloc is a card that I think is great for Maverick and I welcome the eventual arrival of this card to MTGO. In a version of Maverick with Thalia that does not play Punishing Fire, I think Mawloc in multiples may be great, but for my list, 1 Mawloc feels right. Sorcery-speed removal works best under cards like Thalia, and Punishing Maverick plays more reactive than other versions of Maverick.
I think 3 copies of Minsc and Boo is the right number for now. Control decks are still popular, and I think they fear Minsc and Boo the most. It is hard for them to deal with a 4-mana permanent, and haste is important for killing opposing planeswalkers.
I have not yet tried Wrenn and Realmbreaker but Mucki (on Discord) spoke highly of this card in his tournament report and in Discord, so I am excited to try it.
I will also revisit Comet, Stellar Pup because LoamerBoy swears this card is good, but in my testing it’s been really bad in Maverick. The biggest advantage is that Pup is much less vulnerable to Lightning bolt and Karakas has no effect on the creatures. The downside is that it is random and you do not know what will happen.
I still like the way Urza’s Saga plays in the deck. Maverick needs a lot of mana to function, and having a land with modes to either help you ramp, or help allow you to pressure the board is really helpful. Saga’s ability to make threats at instant speed allows you to keep up mana for Punishing Fire, Endurance, Pyroblast, etc. and many of the tutor targets can be game-breaking.
Punishing Fire has been amazing for me, and I will play the card even when it’s bad in a metagame, so probably best to not have my opinion here. The biggest hole in the deck is two-drops, and Sylvan Library is the best two-drop in the deck.
Note: Not playing Thalia or Stone Forge Mystic often means your two-drop slot is anaemic, and this deck has a very high mana curve. If you trim anything from this list, do not trim any 2-drops!
Are you interested in any new cards / spoilers? If so what and where do you see them fitting into the deck?
The Ring mechanic seems interesting, especially since we can Green Sun for Frodo Baggins at 2-CMC.
Delighted Halfling seems like a good card, but I do not think it will find its home in Maverick. We do not run a lot of legendary spells and only adding colorless mana to cast other spells is a major downside.
Post-LOTR Metagame Thoughts: End of July
4 color and 5 color deck tests:
Bowmasters has been a real shakeup to format, and I believe it is here to stay. I have played multiple iterations of 4 color Maverick and even 5 color Maverick with varying levels of success typically adding 2 Bowmasters and a Grist to my Naya deck.
I have opted to play a playset of Delighted Halflings to adjust for Bowmasters, however, jamming 5-8 legendary spells in the deck (Minsc & Boo, Wrenn and Realmbreaker, Questing Beast, Teeg and Grist) often doesn’t justify a playset of Halflings in the deck.
The 5 color versions of the deck made Halfling an MVP card as I was playing cards like Dack Fayden, Omnath, Locus of Creation, Uro, Leovold, and even a Teferi, Time Raveler with Minsc & Boo, Wrenn and Realmbreaker, Questing Beast, Teeg and Grist. I had some good results with this deck, however, I felt like this deck was too inconsistent and was mostly good against decks that did not play Wasteland.
In conclusion Bowmasters ability to kill mana dorks makes the decks mana too vulnerable to consider more than 3 colors, and Delighted Halfling is nice, but doesn’t fully replace Noble and Birds.
The adjustments in my decks for Bowmasters are as followed:
In the Saga builds of my deck, I have opted to play 2 or 3 Delighted Halflings. The Saga build runs 5 or 6 Legendary spells which is nice, but Halfling is mostly there to survive Bowmasters and colorless mana can be used to create constructs.
In the Fury, Forth, Fable & Fire versions of the deck, I am running Carpet of Flowers in the board, and playing 3 copies of Mawloc in the main deck for Paper Magic, and on MTGO I am playing a 4th Punishing Fire and a 4th Fury.
In all versions of the decks I am still running 3 copies of Sylvan Library. I think this is necessary as I have too many non-creature spells to consider Once Upon a Time, and I think it’s still the best 2-drop in the deck.
The One Ring has had an impact on the format, however, it seems to be dwindling in numbers. I think this card has a place in the format, however, I do not foresee this card being dominant like Bowmasters as 4 mana in Legacy is a lot! In addition, Bowmasters is a pretty good answer to The One Ring, and Bowmasters are EVERYWHERE!
Forth Eorlingas has been an incredible card. The ability to get the monarch for just 2 or 3 mana is really powerful, and the ability to create an army late game makes this card one of the best new additions to the deck. I believe the Fury builds and the Saga builds should play this card.
This card can be awkward against Bowmasters, which is a real threat in this meta game, however, I think the card is powerful enough to make up for this. For more details, my Twitch VODs and YouTube Page have lots of great content where you can see the power of this card.
Forth Fury Fable lists:
These lists rely on Fury to clear the way for Forth Eorlingas. In order to run Fury, I believe as few as 13 red cards are necessary, and preferably you want as many red cards as you can get. I am currently running 17 red cards and the consistency has been high for using Fury early when I want it. See the lists below for references.
MTGO list: Punishing Maverick [No Mawloc]
Paper list: Punishing Maverick feat. 3 Mawloc (Less Reanimator in paper)
Experiment: Once Upon a Time Build (No sideboard just an idea)
Urza’s Saga Lists:
I still think these lists are very powerful and I think the deck is proven at this point. Several other Maverick players have had great success with this list, and I believe my success and Harry Hackett’s success with this list at the SCG 10k, and the Legacy Pit Open II cement this build as proven in Legacy.
With that said, I am testing Forth Eorlingas! in this deck, and I am trying an Enlightened Tutor sideboard like Maverick used to play before Thalia was printed. The main deck Soul-Guide Lantern and Haywire Mite add a lot of value already for Enlightened Tutor, and Pithing Needle has been nearly a staple in the sideboard for the deck. The Enlightened Tutor package came to mind when The One Ring Karn decks hit the format and Null Rod was looking great.
So far, the results have been really good with Enlightened Tutor package. The trick to using Enlightened Tutor is to only add Enlightened Tutor to your deck against combo decks where a true silver bullet exists in your sideboard. Against fair decks, add cards like Choke, Oblivion Ring, Engineered Explosives, etc. and take out dead cards, but do not add Enlightened Tutor from the sideboard against fair decks. Here are the Tutor choices I use, with a list of choices I think are worth considering depending on your meta.
- 2 Enlightened Tutor (MD Soul-Guide, Haywire Mite, Shadow Spear, Sylvan Library, Urza’s Saga)
- 1 Pithing Needle
- 1 Torpor Orb
- 1 Deafening Silence
- 1 Ethersworn Canonist
- 1 Null Rod
- 1 Torpor Orb
- 1 Enginnered Explosives
- 1 Choke
There’s also some other cards that could be considered:
- 1 Grafdigger’s Cage (Natural Order decks, more grave hate, Echo of Eons)
- 1 Maddening Hex (Great but slow)
- 1 Humility (if and only if you see tons of Show and Tell/Omnitell)
- 1 Plage Engineer (Great if you play Black)
- 1 Pyrite Spell Bomb (Great if you play Black)
- 1 Aether Spell Bomb (Great if you play Blue)
- 1 Worship (I wanted to play this against Elves, and I played it when Eldazi Stompy was played)
- 1 Circle of Protection: Red (For burn, but also stops Progenitus)
Saga Enlightened Tutor List: For MTGO take out Mawloc and add a 3rd Endurance.
Mark a huge thank you for your thoughts and ideas today – Any plugs or shout outs?
Show up to your local events if you can and you feel safe. I went to an event at my LGS and visited the Legacy Pit a few times recently and didn’t realize how much I missed my friends and person to person human interactions. A finite number of people are crazy enough to open a Magic store, or have an active play area for Magic cards, and this may become a relic of the past without our support.
Harry Hackett | Harry1232 on MTGO
Pre-LOTR Thoughts: End of May
How are you currently finding the deck?
I think Maverick is in a pretty good spot right now. Since the bannings, the Delver matchup has felt a lot better and Initiative has all but left the format. With certain cards in the maindeck and sideboard I feel that I have at least a decent shot against just about any tier 1 deck.
I would say that we are favoured vs Reanimator, Delver, Moon Stompy, Storm, Shadow, Painter and Control. 8-Cast, D&T, Lands, Depths, Breakfast, Orcs and Rhinos are all matchups that are about 50/50 and the only top tier decks I am really scared of in this meta are Sneak and Show and Doomsday.
What are you liking right now?
Recently I’ve been running a pretty basic list with Mother of Runes and Scryb Ranger over packages like Fiend Artisan or Stoneforge Mystic. Both of those cards/packages are very powerful but require dead cards/silver bullets that can be weak in certain matchups. In our current metagame with so much control and fair strategies in general I value having each card in the deck be individually powerful.
One card that has been impressive lately is Tireless Tracker. The meta has certainly slowed down since the WPA and EI ban and slower metagames are where Tracker shines.
Against control or in other grindy matchups an unanswered Tracker will almost certainly take over the game. Even when answered immediately it will often have made a clue, putting you up a card. Tracker is especially nutty when you have Knight out and are able to get multiple landfall triggers a turn as well as tutor up Cradle to crack them all.
Endurance has also been overperforming recently. In this metagame with more control decks being able to tuck Uro, negate Snapcaster triggers and flash in end of turn to kill ‘walkers has been great. Of course it is also great against Delver and other Murktide decks, as well as Reanimator and Doomsday. In the past I was on 1-2 Endurance main to fetch off GSZ, but I’ve increased that number to 3 recently. The card is good enough to play 4 of but it’s hard to find space along with Grist, KotR, Tracker and Excavator in the 3 drop slot.
A sideboard card I am loving in this metagame is Containment Priest. Priest turns off Natural Order, Show and Tell/Sneak attack, Reanimate Spells, Aether Vial, Dread Return. Of course playing Priest and GSZ at the same time is a bit of a non-bo, however we can still Zenith for Grist through Priest, and in a lot of matchups Priest just turns off the opposing deck meaning the cost off turning off Zenith is more than worth it.
Are you interested in any new cards? If so what and where do you see them fitting into the deck?
Since MoM released I’ve done a lot of testing with Deeproot Wayfinder as a GSZ target.
Returning a land to the field every turn as well as surveiling is really powerful, especially with cards like Wasteland, Horizon Canopy and Urza’s Saga. That being said the card is slow, has no built in evasion, and requires an impactful land in the bin to really be that great. In Wasteland mirrors the card can often take over the game but in other matchups it really hasn’t done a whole lot for me. As of right now I am off the card but keeping it in mind for the next time Delver is dominating the metagame.
Delighted Halfling, from the upcoming LotR set is a card that I doubt will be competitive but I can imagine a sweet 5c maverick deck using it to cast cards like Minsc and Boo and Leovold.
Post-LOTR Metagame Thoughts: End of July
I believe my last response was before Bowmasters and Forth were spoiled. Regarding those cards, Bowmasters has been amazing for me in Junk Maverick.
Hating on draws is great, pinging x/1s is great, and it has amazing synergy with Fiend Artisan. Opposing bowmasters are good against our x/1s, but I would say that this printing is a net positive for Maverick.
Forth Eorlingas is an incredibly powerful card that I’ve tried as a 1 or 2 of in Punishing Saga Maverick. The card was good although introducing the monarch felt risky at certain points. Decks like Initiative and control are definitely better homes for it IMO. As far as playing it in Maverick I think it is best as a sb card for grindy matchups. I could also see it slotting into a Cradle Maverick list in paper with 4 mawloc 4 Forth 4 Cradle etc.
This is the list I’m currently on with Tireless Tracker as the flex slot
Some final thoughts on Maverick
Before we head over to Jono to talk Depths, I think it’s worth talking about Maverick in the current metagame. One pain point I can see with the archetype right now is not having an ‘I-Win button’ like other Zenith decks in the format.
Cradle Control – Natural Order
GWx Depths variants – Dark Depths
Maverick – …? You could argue we have some of the following:
- Collector Ouphe against some decks where the opponent doesn’t want to continue
- Turn 2 Wasteland and Thalia at times?
- Potentially catching your opponent off guard with Endurance?
You really need to work for every single one of your victories and don’t have the ‘Oops I win in N.O or Depths. I think this is a big reason why players have been moving around to Cradle Control or to Naya / Abzan Depths.
HOWEVER, we’ve seen some great results not just from both Mark and Harry, but at some other large paper events in recent times.
I’d recommend taking advantage of some of the new printings from LOTR, specifically Bowmasters in Abzan builds and Forth Eorlingas in Naya buids. These cards are extremely powerful and work really well in Maverick.
My last tip is be ready for combo decks trying to go under the Bowmaster, Forth and Ring decks. ‘Free’ spells in Leyline, Force of Vigor, Surgical, Endurance and Mindbreak Trap are fantastic to buy you time to drop your bears and even 1 mana interaction in Blasts, Thoughtseize, Veil and Deafening Silence.
I’d advise against any spells in the board (other than GSZ targets like Teeg) that cost more than a single mana (and can’t be cast for a cheaper, alternate cost).
Enjoy this type of content?
Jono Yanik | Dreadnaught33 on MTGO
How are you currently finding Depths?
I have been trying to innovate here with cards like new Wrenn and Deeproot Wayfinder like you played on stream, that list from BobMans. I think it’s cool but probably underpowered in a fast format especially, but I did really like the utility and different angle it provides.
There might be a good way to build with these kind of cards I have found yet, perhaps leaning more into Saga and cards like Mom/equipment to push damage through. In general on Depths I feel like you need more “free” cards to keep up with the format such as Endurance, Surgical, or even cards like Solitude ,Mindbreak etc. The deck is in a fine spot but I’m still looking to innovate to attack on more angles.
How are you currently finding Maverick?
I’m having a lot of fun trying different things here, and I’m enjoying playing old favourites like Leovold and Punishing Fire in different builds of the deck. I can’t comment on too many new cards here yet to be fair but I do think there is power in some of the old tools we have along with busted recent cards like Once, Fiend Artisan, Grist, Mawloc, Endurance, etc.
I’d like to try a heavier red Naya version like Fable, Punishing Fire, Mawloc, Minsc, Blast in enough numbers that we could play Fury out of the board- Fury seems really good to me right now vs a lot of the top decks and Maverick could likely even hard cast it fairly often.
I will be trying Punishing Fire in Depths as well, kind of a way to play more midrange P-Fire also helps clear annoying things like Strix or Coatl or thopters without using Swords to Plowshares so Lage can get through. Veil of Summer is another card I’m testing out a lot lately and it’s been good in spots.
Douges | Kazurban on MTGO
Jono hasn’t had a great amount of time to play since LOTR so I’m happy to step in here and give some thoughts on Depths in the post-LOTR world.
In short, Depths has only strengthened in the new metagame with many of the new cards having an impact on the format not lining up against Depths strategies. Not only that, but we’ve witnessed the rise in Abzan Depths, a list running Orcish Bowmasters without dropping in power level.
LOTR was released online on June 20th, so let’s have a dive into some of the lists that have performed well since then.
July 22nd Legacy Challenge 1st Place | Naya Depths by Sol-e22558
The best part about this deck is that it could have been from pre-LOTR, you wouldn’t even know! What it shows is that Naya Depths has such a strong plan in either combo or beat down with Knights and Elves that you just don’t care about LOTR printings.
Super cool to see a list like this just come out and crush.
July 16th Legacy Showcase 4th Place | Abzan Depths by theMutz
Alright LOTR has hit Depths with Orcish Bowmasters giving Abzan players the dream of having a go-to, competitive Abzan Depths list.
Now Orcish doesn’t really do anything for the combo / strategy of the deck. Sure it might draw removal that opens up your Knights and Reclaimers, but the role of Bowmaster is to disrupt.
Grist is also a really nice inclusion when you have black in a Green Sun’s build, as you now have tutorable removal that also has a built in grind engine.
Thoughtseize is nice too, giving you information about what to play around, what to hold up and how to sequence your incoming turns that Thoughtseize most likely just bought you.
July 15th Face to Face Games 1st Place | Naya Depths by Kieran MacDuff
Again, a pretty stock Naya Dep…wait a second. Titania, Voice of Gaea & Argoth, Sanctum of Nature in the board?!
This is also a build of Naya that’s leveraging the power of Urza’s Saga. Even with just a single copy, Saga is pretty great in this build with Thespian’s Stage to make additional copies and Ramunap to replay. You also have multiple ways to fetch it AND Reclaimer / Crop Rotation to make use of it before you search via the 3rd trigger.
Pro tip for Saga in this build is stopping in your draw step if you can fetch one at instant speed untapped (sorry Reclaimer). Have a real think if tutoring a copy is going to change things, as this gives you the first trigger in draw step, then it triggers again in your MP1. This means you can get a token straight away and you’re also a turn closer to finding Pithing Needle or Shadowspear!
July 9th Legacy Challenge 1st Place | Abzan Depths by The3rdHorseman
See a trend? Bowmasters, Grist and Orcish continuing to show up in Abzan Depths lists and helping the deck run into top performances!
I believe right now is a fantastic time for Zenith fans to be playing Depths. Not only do you have options to NOT play LOTR cards in the Naya builds, you can also take advantage of Bowmaster in the Abzan shells. LOTR hasn’t really impacted Depths strategies in negative ways but there are some moment of disruption to think about (Bowmaster hitting Dryad Arbor, Boo token, Ring giving your opponent a turn of protection).
Lastly, but one of the more exciting announcements is Legacy Weekend #3 in the Green Sun’s Summit! Join me alongside some of Legacy’s biggest names for a weekend of co-streams!
A HUGE thank you to my Patrons for supporting content like this, I really appreciate you having my back through the thick and thin of Maverick in the metagame.
A big thank you to Mark, Harry and Jono for coming on and giving their thoughts. I really appreciate their insights as fantastic GWx pilots.
Take care, play fair.