Going into the event, I actually didn’t spend as much time testing as I have for other events in the past, simply because it was right before my first 2 final exams (by the time the tournament finished, I had less than 12 hours until my first final).
That said, I still wanted to play it, as I basically had an infinite amount of Legacy points, so playing in the playoffs is essentially free. And lots of good players always show up and you get to play at a really high level. So whenever I’m able to, I play in the playoffs or the challenges. Also now that Wrenn is banned, I’m super excited to continue jamming Maverick in as many events as possible.
When preparing for a paper event or an online event, my approach is generally the same – pick a deck, play it a lot online, and then see if there are any tweaks that should be made to help certain matchups. I often look at whatever lists are doing well in challenges or 5-0ing leagues and steal some of their ideas. If the paper event is big enough, I generally expect the meta to be similar to what’s online – although, with less fast combo and more Death & Taxes and Miracles, because people love playing those decks.
Also, Burn does show up in paper so you want to be prepared for that, while it’s practically nonexistent online (even though IMO it was in a great spot during the Wrenn meta – now, not so much). If I’m gonna be playing something new in paper, I like to make sure I have played it in paper, not just online, at least a few times before the actual event so I get used to all the game actions and triggers, etc.
My decklist is a little bit different from the stock Maverick, and that’s mostly because after the Wrenn ban everything changed and I wanted to try all sorts of things. I had been pretty much exclusively playing ANT during the Wrenn era, so I was excited to start beating people with Noble Hierarch again.
I tested GWB and GW, and while I never got screwed by having to fetch non-basics, I think I’m just at the point where I enjoy being able to fetch multiple basics and don’t have to worry about any land hate. Also, the main reason for running black was Abrupt Decay for Oko, which I honestly haven’t had the most trouble with. Other than annoyingly stalling the game out, it doesn’t feel unbeatable just by running regular GW and a Shifting Ceratops.
So I once again played GW maverick. I also tested running Once Upon a Time or not, and when I first switched to OuaT I 4-1ed and 5-0ed twice (followed by an 0-4… but we won’t talk about that), so I felt like I might have been on to something. I then tried regular Maverick again, and it felt crappy compared to OuaT, so other than a few leagues of “stock” Maverick, most of my preparation was with OuaT.
Once Upon a Time:
The biggest thing you’ll notice about my list is I’m running 4x Once Upon a Time, and there are a few reasons for it.
The first being it’s new and powerful, and the second is that I read a comment on Reddit saying that every green deck in every format should be playing it, so I figured I’d do my part and test it out. OuaT allows us to keep more risky opening hands and it allows us better threat selection. Specifically in our opener, OuaT functions as a land, mana dork, or threat. Obviously, you can’t be sure which one it will be, and that can lead to some awkward situations where if OuaT gets you a land your hand is amazing, but if it doesn’t then you will probably lose.
This situation doesn’t come up too often, but as a general rule, my decision here (unless I’m feeling very greedy or the hand would be particularly busted) would be to keep a one-land hand where the land produces green and has OuaT, but I won’t keep one if the land does not produce green. This is because (I haven’t done the math) if all we need is a dork or any land, the odds are fairly high that OuaT hits what we need (28 good hits being the 21 other lands, 4 dorks, or the 3 Green Sun’s Zenith), but if we need OuaT to hit exactly a green-producing land, there are not as many ‘outs’ – being the 14 green producing lands (and this includes Dryad Arbor).
Mid-game is where drawing OuaT might feel awkward. But in general, it still isn’t too bad as you can generally play the other cards in your hand until you have spare mana for OuaT, and if you don’t have any other plays, your hand was probably bad enough that OuaT is your best bet to get something good. Late game OuaT is fantastic as it lets us get an actual threat instead of being at the mercy of our draw step and hitting lands/mana dorks. In a lot of these situations, OuaT operates similarly to GSZ – however, it has the upside of being free on turn 1 and being instant speed.
OuaT also hits non-green creatures, which is a big plus in added consistency in finding Thalia’s, or Faerie Macabre’s from the board.
Birds of Paradise
I just like having the option of Green Sun’s Zenith for a flyer that costs one mana, so I always run 3 Noble, 1 Bird. A few of the benefits are that Birds can chump block a Marit Leige, Delver, and hold equipment better. If you are running black, Birds is another source of black mana which can sometimes be hard to come by.
Collector Ouphe (in the main):
This is because online there is a tonne of Storm, Reanimator, random artifacts that are annoying, and artifact combo-y decks like Echo of Eons Urza that can sometimes be hard to beat game 1. People don’t think to counter GSZ for 2 a lot of the time, and by the time it resolves, they can’t use their artifacts. This is especially dirty against Urza and Painter decks that use Artifact Lands!
I am playing Faerie Macabre over Surgical Extraction because you can hit Macabre off of OuaT. This makes it more consistent for you to have the grave hate when you need it. This also has the added benefit that reanimator players always name Surgical with Cabal Therapy in game 2, and never name Macabre until they see it. This has won me a couple games already.
I am running this card because I wanted an answer to Oko and True-Name Nemesis that actually felt like a good card, so council’s judgement was out of the question. You should try Shifting Ceratops. 4 mana seems like a lot, but that’s only because you’re used to it getting countered! It is Oko’s natural predator, and it also races TNN and protects against Delver!
2 Mother of Runes:
This is because I think that with Plague Engineer around, Mom is not a good enough card in lots of matchups, and I think Giver of Runes is very often bad as well.
Chalice of the Void and Deafening Silence:
These offer us turn-1 interaction against all of the fast combo decks. Chalice of the Void also is powerful in the Miracles and Delver matchups, for obvious reasons. Deafening Silence is just the best anti-storm card that you are able to play on turn 1.
Batterskull is nuts, and I think if you are playing the card Stoneforge Mystic, you should play it. The card is hard for anyone to answer, and just wins the game against decks like Delver or Burn. Umezawa’s Jitte is clearly a must have for obvious reasons. I’m running a “board of x and y,” because I found that the swords of x and y were sided out often, and needed to make room in the main deck with this build. I also have not been impressed with Sword of Fire & Ice, so moving it to the side felt good, and sword of Light and Shadow is either horrible (in lots of matchups), or absolutely amazing (against Death and Taxes), so the board is a perfect place for it to live.
On to the actual event:
I played a league the morning of the event, 4-1ed, so I was feeling good and ready to crush some noobs in the event. I might misremember some of the games – I didn’t take notes and wasn’t planning on doing a tournament report, so sorry if some details are incorrect!
Round 1: CyrusCG on ANT (2-1)
This matchup is good for us, even better with OuaT, even better when we know our opponent is on Storm. I lost the first game on turn 1, which is uncommon for ANT, but it do be like that sometimes.
I won the second game by keeping a hand with 2 Macabre’s and a Scavenging Ooze, which meant he could not go for a graveyard win, and his Cabal Rituals would probably not have threshold. This can still be risky though, as ANT can often Ad Nauseam instead of Past In Flames if they know you have grave hate. However, I also had a OuaT, which found me a Thalia for my turn 2 play. I then won after my opponent Abrupt Decayed my Thalia, and I drew another one.
The third game I was on the draw, and we both mulliganed. I kept a 6 with Deafening Silence, Thalia, Gaddock Teeg, a land, Noble Hierarch and Knight of the Reliquary. He did not Thoughtseize me turn 1, so I landed Deafening Silence on my turn 1, I then drew a land and played Thalia (after he Thoughtseize’d Gaddock Teeg), and then I continued to draw well and eventually won.
Tournament Record: 1-0
Round 2: Control4Daze on ANT (2-0)
The matchup is still good, and I continued to draw lots of hate.
Tournament Record: 2-0
Round 3: ANT (2-0)
The matchup is still still good, and I continued to draw lots of hate.
Tournament Record: 3-0
Round 4: UR Delver (2-0)
Favourable matchup, hardcast Batterskull, win the game. Game 2, do the same (if I remember correctly).
Tournament Record: 4-0
Round 5: GB Depths (2-1)
This match almost went to time, but I got there. Going into game 3, my opp had less than 5 mins on their clock, and probably played a bit worse knowing that time was a factor, and I’m pretty sure they F6’ed through one of my Wastelands when they should have responded. That said, the matchup is pretty favoured, so this result was expected, although it took a bit longer than normal to get there.
Tournament Record: 5-0
Round 6: Reanimator (1-2)
My opp mulled to 5 game 1 and won, mulled to 6 g2 and lost, and mulled to 5 g3 with a turn 1 Griselbrand. It do be like that – the matchup actually didn’t feel too bad, and I was very close to winning the first game as he stumbled a bit. And the third game – if I had mulliganed aggressively to Faerie Macabre, the game would have been easy, but I had kept a marginal hand that could do something against a turn 2 Griselbrand, but not a turn 1 one. It had bog, Deafening Silence, another couple lands, and Knight (I think).
He beat me both games that he mulliganed to 5, so that should tell you how this matchup goes often.
Tournament Record: 5-1
Round 7: JPA99 Sneak and Show (2-1)
I was hoping not to have to play JPA this tournament, as I always lose to him in challenges and the matchup is not very good. It’s not unwinnable though, clearly. He didn’t draw super well, and I drew pretty well. Game 1 was interesting, as he went for sneak attack-emrakrul, and I sacced everything except my knight and 2 nobles, and then killed him after 2 turns with a night while he failed to find another fatty. The other 2 games were pretty boring; game 3 involved me playing several small disruptive creatures (I think Gaddock Teeg and Ouphe – maybe Thalia) and hoping I didn’t get pyroclasmed… and I didn’t get pyroclasmed.
Tournament Record: 6-1
Round 8: Daryl_Ayers Death and Taxes: (0-2)
I mulliganed both these matches to a land-light hand and proceeded to get sad by the power of Death and Taxes. This meant I had to win my next round to get top 8, as 3 x-2s would get in, and my breakers were actually dummy thicc as 8 of my 9 opponents finished in the top32, so I was pretty sure I would get in on breakers. Still, losing to Death and Taxes (which I feel is a very strong matchup for us) was disappointing, to say the least. He went on to win the whole thing though, so I guess it doesn’t feel too bad to lose to the champion.
Tournament Record: 6-2
Round 9: Griselpuff GB Depths (2-0)
I knew my opponent was on GB Depths, which was good news. He actually had already qualified, and scooped to me since I would probably get there on breakers, so that was nice of him!
Tournament Record: 7-2
Quarters: UR delver from round 4 (2-0)
Game 1 I keep a great hand, and win with batterskull again.
Game 2 I keep a good hand, and forget to play around Blood Moon, get Blood Mooned, and then draw basic plains, and a few turns later draw basic forest. I think I used up whatever luck I had left in the year on this game, so that explains why I lost in the semi finals.
Tournament Record: 8-2
Semis: UR Delver (1-2)
I mull to 6, so does he. I keep a hand of Horizon Canopy, Wasteland, GSZ, OuaT, Knight and Swords to Plowshares.
I cast OuaT, and find Noble Hierarch, other creatures, and no lands. Then I play Canopy and Noble. My opponent stops for a solid 30 seconds, and then makes the manliest Force of Will ever. He then Wastelands my Canopy and… uh… it’s downhill from there. I eventually draw lands, but in this matchup, tempo is so important there is no coming back. However, I don’t think we mulligan that 6 as we would have been fine against either bolting our t1 dork or Wasteland, and “Force of Will your Noble Hierarch” is not a common play.
I mull to 6, keep a hand with some lands, Green Sun’s Zenith, and a Knight of the Reliquary. I resolve a Knight, he bounces it with Brazen Borrower, and then I replay the Knight. He Brainstorms with Dreadhorde on his turn and then concedes.
I keep a hand with 5 lands, Shifting Ceratops and a Knight of the Reliquary. This hand is mediocre, but having lands and Knight is always good. If this hand had a form of acceleration, it would be a snap keep. I drew pretty medium, and he played a Delver and a True Name and started clocking me. Then he bounced my Knight and I was too far behind to get back in the game.
Tournament Record: 8-3
I’m super excited to play in the Legacy champs, and super happy about how I played (barring a couple of mistakes), and I am super happy with the deck. I’m also stoked that I got to play against some of the biggest names in paper and online legacy – and win!
Right after the tournament finished, I rushed to study for my statistics final which was at 8:30am the next morning, and I am pretty sure I crushed that too, so was a good couple of days.
Also before anyone says, yeah I got super lucky in matchups on the day, and I’m okay with that 😀
Cards that overperformed:
Collector Ouphe in the maindeck was fantastic, although it might be due to playing 3 storm matches in a row this event.
Batterskull also is just dumb how good it is in fair matchups, even casting it from hand. I think Batterskull is super powerful and underplayed.
Cards that underperformed:
Pridemage. I don’t think I need to have a second piece of artifact/enchantment removal, and I’m probably going to put Aven Mindcensor in this slot instead, as I see Julian running it and I have no shame in copying it to see how it performs. The only reason I was running Pridemage is because I moved the Ouphe maindeck over my 3rd Mom, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to have access to a second artifact/enchantment removal creature, but it comes up so rarely. I might run a second Prelate in this spot too – I don’t know.
Thoughts on the deck, GW vs GWB and GWR:
I like basics, and GW lets you freely fetch basics. I also haven’t felt like straight GW is lacking in power, or at least not in areas where splashing black or red would help meaningfully.
That said, Abrupt Decay is powerful, and so is Punishing Fire, so I could be just playing an under-powered deck because I like it more – I won’t lie. Overall, right now I feel like GW is the strongest, with GWB being slightly worse because it just gives you more awkward draws, and GWR being difficult for me to really measure as I haven’t spent much time playing it – although I absolutely love Punishing Fire. Also, Plague Engineer is a big reason to be in black, so it is hard to say for sure which is better, but my own personal choice is GW.
A huge thank you to Achillies for taking the time to put this together, an MTGO name becoming more and more well known for their solid performances with Maverick.