Undefeated at the MagicCon Amsterdam Legacy Cup

Amsterdam Winner

Abzan Maverick in MagicCon Amsterdam’s Legacy Cup

Hi all, I’m Stijn van Dongen and I’m honoured to be hosted here on Douges’ awesome website. As a boomer (started playing in ’94) I was never quite aware of Discord, and I had the Greensunszenith.com almost permanently opened in a tab somewhere. I’m proud I made it here!

MagicCon Amsterdam hosted a bunch of tournaments, and in addition to Pro Tour: Nadu, there was also the Legacy Cup! It was held on a Friday, and I happily decided to play instead of work. I’ve been playing many different combo decks for a long time, but I use that term in such a way that Infect and “Maverick with main deck smog combo” also counts. I was doubting between a Dark Ritual Force of Will deck on the one hand, and the option to go “fully fair” on the other. Seeing Achillies27 win the 9 June MTGO challenge convinced me: that list had everything I wanted!

• Three maindeck Thalia!
• Only two Endurance!
• No Stoneforge!
• No Bowmasters!
• Three Thoughtseize and three Choke in the board!
• The GSZ targets I love!
• Questing Beast!
• Cradle!
• Stage / Depths!

The only cards I really could have wished for as extras were a Ramunap and some Legolas’s Quick Reflexes. The list had a renegade Rallier and I was interested in trying that out, so I quickly dropped the Ramunap plan. As for the Quick Reflexes, I really didn’t see a realistic cut, so… it’s almost a full netdeck.

MH3 did inspire some changes though: I cut the Dismember from the sideboard, shifted Gaddock Teeg to the side, and played an Abrupt Decay main. This was because I worried about an abundance of Psychic Frogs, and because I’m a sucker for versatility. Here’s a link to the decklist on Moxfield

Before the tournament started I got my Birds of Paradise altered by Mark Poole, who had a booth (next to Mark Tedin). He added some extra birds, and the signature looked like a bird too – that sure sparked joy.

The description of the rounds is mainly true “in spirit” because I didn’t take detailed notes (like when I write that I played a Hierarch, it might have been a bird instead). Let’s call that dramatic effect. I’m also using opponent’s melee names.

Round 1 – Mark (NL) on Lands

I recognised this opponent from some very intense but friendly games in the past – then, they were on MUD stax while I was on high tide. I thought I’d surprise them by being on a fully different deck, but then they went turn one Grove of the Burnwillows, Exploration, Wasteland… this wasn’t MUD at all. But then again, I wasn’t tiding either: I fetched a basic Forest and played a Hierarch.

Mox Diamond

They dropped a Mox diamond and started Loaming, and I was lucky to snatch it with Ooze on my turn. However, Loam doesn’t grow Scooze, and it promptly died to Punishing Fire. The situation got real sticky for me quite rapidly, and they even got a crisp Tabernacle down while my lands kept disappearing.

At one point I could evoke an Endurance to get rid of the Punishing Fire and the Loam targets, which brought some air. Still, this match kept grinding. I kept refusing to die, and they kept failing to find a real wincon. After about 35 minutes I thought it’d be wise to scoop sooner rather than later, and when they found a Saga I packed it up. My insecurity already congratulated me with my great start.

Taxing spells out of lands seems ineffective, but they tutor a lot and have enchantment lands.. Some light boarding: -3 Thalia, +1 Opposition Agent, +2 Force of Vigor

Game two was a different story. I opened on Birds of Paradise, they responded with Mox Diamond and a Saga. I did a variation on the classic “turn two Thalia – Wasteland” by going for “turn two Abrupt Decay the Mox, then Waste the Saga”. I then got a Knight online and it was over in a jiffy. I believe I bogged them at an opportune moment, and they bogged back to shrink the Knight, but it wasn’t enough for them.

Game three was also rather quick: they had Mox Diamond and a fetch, then loamed. I opened on Reclaimer into T2 Wight of the Reliquary. Their T2 saw an Exploration, Stage, Saga, and their T3 they dredged Loam. The construct was staring down my tiny elf and Wight. Their next turn they used the Stage to pay for creating a construct in response to the final Saga trigger. They found an artifact I forgot about (boots? Needle on elf? Spear? At least it was not an expedition map) and they quickly passed.

Elvish Reclaimer

But I had a play: in their end step I turned my Reclaimer into a dark depths! Thanks, Wight. On my turn I played Stage from hand and made the 20/20 before their own Stage untapped. They didn’t find an answer and that was the match. A fun one filled with happy banter.

Round 2 – Gian Andrea (IT) on Rhinos

They went Tropical Island, nothing, go, which did not give me much of an idea what they were on. I opened on a Reclaimer, which got respected by a Force of Will. One mana hymn, y’all! I love when this happens because the Reclaimer isn’t even that essential to my game plan.

crashing-footfalls shardless-agent

Opponent didn’t come out blazing: turn two they suspended Crashing Footfalls. I decided to try to make them fear Reclaimer once again, and they did indeed Force of Negation my Zenith for 1. They were close to empty already… Chaining juicy three drops got me to such a board that when their rhinos crashed in, they were on chumping duty.

I got to survive 4/4 tramplers, got to lock down islands, got to take the payoff their deck is designed around, but don’t care about graveyard hate or artifact/enchantment hate.
+1 Maze of Ith, + 3 Choke, +3 Thoughtseize
-1 Ouphe, -1 Outland Liberator, -1 Scooze, -2 Endurance, -1 Once upon a Time, -1 Grist

Opponent mulled to six. I kept a hand with a Plow, a Wasteland, a Hierarch, Dark Depths, and Once upon a Time, thinking that I could probably disrupt them enough to find a plan that might involve the Depths combo. Once upon a time (or more precisely: Era uma Vez) found a Knight, which resolved turn 2! But their turn two had spirit guided a Shardless Agent and two rhinos into play, so my Knight wasn’t the biggest girl around.

I had fetched, so Agent feared my 3/3 Knight while rhinos trampled me down to eleven. On my turn I played Dark Depths from hand and passed. They drew, counted, and conceded.

We later flipped their top card and it was a Brazen Borrower… Lucky for me that they mulled to six! Opponent had one of those nice playmats where it’s the textbox of an old Tropical Island, and their deck was fully pimped with zendikar expedition fetches, beta basics, and many old border foil editions.

In game one they had a Beta Forest and I had the matching Alpha Forest, which led to some mutual admiration in card choices. This match saw a lot of “oooh can I pick that up to look at it?” and again it was a super chill match. Also I was secretly proud of having raced turn two rhinos.

I think the player next to me was from Norway, playing Slivers against a German on one of those new Cloudpost builds.

Round 3 – Just Fluffy (GR) on Esper Control

Opponent started on Wasteland so I decided to fetch my Forest to cast Reclaimer. Then they cycled Lórien Revealed for a Tundra, and cast Tune the Narrative! An instant for U that draws a card and gives two energy.


My internal alarms went off – is this some combo I don’t know about? When in doubt, waste their only coloured source, drop a Hierarch, and bring the exalted beats. It turns out that their keep was greedy, because they found no new lands and I had fetched a Wasteland ‘in reserve’ (to also get Reclaimer up to 3/4).

Boarding was kinda whack because I had no idea about their deck. They were 2-0 so there must be a real plan in there. Because I wanted to see, and was thinking combo, I boarded in the Thoughtseizes. Because I saw a Tundra I brought two Chokes. I decided “Teeg stomps many combos” so brought him in, too. Energy sounds like artifacts so let’s consider Force of Vigor. Let’s cut… well, cannot cut the hatebears because I don’t know what they’re doing. Cut some Swords because they’re not gonna have creatures? Cut a Knight, a Once, Grist, Questing Beast, etc., till we were back at 60. So janky.

It turns out they were on Esper Control. They plowed my bird, they prismatic ending’ed my Wight. They forced something pitching a Murktide (and I boarded out two plows…). But in the end, a turn three Thalia (the Mina Harker version) plus Hierarch taxed them a bit too much, and beat them down a bit too much, and I natty drew yet another Wasteland, and then they were really struggling under my good draws.


Then they almost insta-stabilised by naturally miracling out a Triumph of Saint Katherine! Known in the business as a natty-saint-Katty. But an exalted knight can be bigger than a 5/5, and she perished… It got shuffled away, and another showed up, but too late, my beats were too hard and mana pressure too strong. Somewhere, opponent tuned the narrative again! Turns out that was for Wrath of the Skies, which they had in hand. Thalia really did work saving me there, she really carried the game.

Banter and friendly trash talk was at 11 this round, we shared a drink afterwards and talked some more. This event sure had a great ambiance.

Round 4 – Sleir (FI) on GW Reclaimer Lands

Oh no Lands again! While I am told that this is supposed to be favoured for Maverick, I always feel like you really have to work hard for it. They can harass along so many axes and I always feel like I have so many suboptimal cards… But hey, 4x Knight of the Reliquary is supposed to be good here, I heard. So I tried to drop an early one but apparently this was the GW version with plows, so I hoped 3x KotR was still good.

I soon learned they were also the Reclaimer version, but that ate one of my plows. However it did find a Stage at one point, and a Crop Rotation later I was staring down a 20/20. They made it during their main phase, probably to dodge my Wastelands. The pressure….

I had four mana and a plan. Step one: play a fifth mana source. Step two: drop a Knight which had the job of finding Karakas. Step three: GSZ for 1 to find a BoP to put on chumping hero-blocking duty.


Unfortunately they had another Crop Rotation to phase out my birds. Talon gates are a cool new card (although the traditional Steppe would also have done the trick here).

I don’t like leylines against lands, same boarding as round 1:
-3 Thalia, +1 Opposition Agent, +2 Force of Vigour

Game 2 I had a nice T1 – Once upon a Time, and it saw some realistic options including an Opposition Agent (or Agentin der Gegenseite). I decided to take the Agent because even while it’s telegraphed it remains a rather potent hatebear. It arrived on the field on turn two thanks to some bayou fetching and Noble Hierarch.

They dropped an Urza’s Saga, which I was looking forward to grab an expedition map off of. At one point they loamed a fetch or something, which when dredging milled over a Chekov’s Pithing Needle. I summoned a knight while Saga was at two. Then, with the Saga search trigger on the stack opponent really went into the tank. Like really. It got to the point where I started to consider to ask for some expedience.

Urza's Saga

In the end they plowed the Opposition Agent, which annoyed me somewhat because it seemed like the obvious play. They remarked that “Knight is also very good against me”, and I could not disagree because a few turns later they were landless and lifeless. It turns out Urza’s Saga cannot find a Pithing Needle that has been dredged with loam.

The last game started with something of a savage beating. I had Reclaimer into Wasteland plus dork into fetch + Renegade Rallier + oh yeah there’s that Wasteland again.

Opponent soon had a Needle for the Reclaimer, and played a Saga, but with its first chapter on the stack I used Force of Vigor to undo their turn. We were both burning through our resources fast, and they’re resilient, with Loams on Saga’s and Ghost Quarter.

I managed to snipe the Loam with an Endurance, but then I needed to start some trading to not get overrun by saga constructs. In the end the board somehow stabilised with me having up to three Hierarchs, but somehow we were in a standoff where none of us could make realistic attacks (I’m sorry I forgot the details). How to break such a stalemate? Our trusty land duo of Dark Depths and its companion land…. Gaea’s Cradle? We both started flooding but in my case the flood was partially caused by melting ice, and that Depths was down to zero counters in four turns. Marit Lage went uncontested and it was on to round five.

Round 5 – Sebastian (DE) on Rescaminator

Hey, I know this guy from the Doomsday Discord! Not that I would ever frequent such dens of inequity. Kinda fun to have round five be against the fifth nationality of the day.

Game one I had some good times dropping T2 Thalia, evoking Endurance to stop a troll from coming back, and then getting Scavenging Ooze online for the ‘lock’. The creatures they can cast are no match for a 2/1 first strike and a 4/4.

They obviously use their graveyard, and have Islands. They also search their library a lot and only play a small amount of actual mana sources, the majority is fetches and cyclers.
+4 Leyline of the Void, +3 Choke, +1 Opposition Agent
-1 Collector Ouphe, -1 Outland Liberator, -1 Questing Beast, -1 Stage, -1 Depths, -1 Once, -1 Knight
The above doesn’t add up – to be honest I forgot what I took out exactly

Game 2 was a less happy one. My poor T1 Hierarch / Bird got fatally push / bolted, and their T2 saw my first encounter with Psychic Frog. I landed a Choke which I expected to bait permission, but it actually landed. However the first Frog eventually called a friend and one of my plows got Forced. Despite the Choke I was soon staring down a 3/4 and a 4/5 while opponent had all the benefits of paying 8 for Sylvan without having to actually pay 8. I perished.

-1 Choke +1 Maze of ith, because I don’t want to die to Frog with 3-drops in hand

On the play, what a relief! My turn one Reclaimer got forced, but turn two Reclaimer landed and got help from a Dryad Arbor out of a tiny GSZ. In the meantime they pondered but shuffled. I saw the Wight on T3, and played Thespian’s Stage from hand. Opponent frogged, but a 20/20 flying indestructible is an OK blocker. Froggy jumped into the air to also try and block one time, and a turn later it was over. I revealed my hand of two cards to opponent: Two Leylines… My turn 2 and turn 3 draws.

I felt sorry to have dashed my opponent’s 5-0, but I was thrilled to have reached mine! We discussed the joys of Bamberger Rauchbier and the Ulm belltower. Good times, made me wanna book a cottage on a hillside for a few days.

Rounds 6 and 7 – ID

It was sort of exciting to discuss the situation with the top 2 tables. We could see that the four of us were the only four at 5-0, but some of the others had bad experiences in the past where they accidentally ID’d themselves out of top 8.

Still, it seemed clear to us that we were also going to get paired amongst each other for round 7 if we ID’d now in round 6. We agreed to reconvene after round 6 to discuss the standing again for round 7, with the intention to just ID again. At the start of round 7 we were in luck: there were precisely eight players at 5-1, so in theory there would at most be four players who could match or beat our 17 points.

So it happened. I got last seed into the top 8! I recognised three others from the Dutch scene, so this top 8 had four ‘locals’ and four ‘travelling players’ – I believe we had contenders hailing from the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and the UK. Have legacy deck, will travel! The below photo is not a professional one, we snapped it with one of our phones.

The official photographer already wanted to leave by 21:00 or so, which means that the entire top 8 got a turn posing with the cup.

Quarterfinals – Zyrgonian (PT) on Mystic Forge Combo

By now it was after 21:00 and getting later. Opponent was very mild mannered, friendly and polite. I remembered seeing them play Monoliths and Vexing Bauble so I thought they were MUD staxx. They played first (higher seed) but didn’t do something impressive round one. I had a Hierarch. Then on G2 they dropped The One Ring, and drew an extra card. On my turn I did what Maverick does: use your three mana on T2 to GSZ for an appropriate hate bear. Collector Ouphe shut down this match really quick.

collector ouphe the-one-ring

I wanted more shots at a turn 2 bear so I brought in Teeg. They have a lot of setup (mana) for a limited number of payoffs (Ring, Karn, Paradox Engine) so I also wanted Thoughtseize. I’m cutting graveyard hate and creature removal.

+1 Gaddock Teeg, +3 Thoughtseize, +2 Force of Vigour
-1 Scavenging Ooze, -2 Endurance, -1 Grist, -2 Swords to Plowshares

They were on the play again, and for some reason had a pre-game Leyline. Their semi-mulliganed hand then started dropping Monoliths and Keys. I had a lucky T2 Teeg from hand, but that got hit by Dismember.

I had a T3 Thalia and a Wasteland for their Saga, but Thalia got shot by a Walking Ballista. What savages would dare shoot at Mina Harker? Bad times. But it turns out the Ballista in the yard was good news for me, because when they finally started popping off with Paradox Engine and a Ring, I asked them to demonstrate a kill to me. To show they had virtually limitless mana they dropped a bunch of one-drops on their board, mostly saga targets, and then they went on drawing cards. I again asked them how they were going to win (because I noted the Soul-Guide Lantern on board, which got dropped to generate mana, and the Ballista in the graveyard, which shot Thalia). Opponent thought more, drew some more, and then they played Urza’s Saga, intending to just start bashing me with 30/30 constructs wielding Shadowspear.

paradox-engine skysovereign-consul-flagship

They wished for a Skyship Sovereign with Karn to kill a 2/2 Knight (OK leyline isn’t entirely dead) on my side, then played a new Karn to lattice lock me. They were wise enough to drop a new copy of the One Ring, and then passed the turn.

Despite the Skyship killing my Knight, I had enough exalted beatz to kill the Karn, freeing me from the lattice lock. I then cast a GSZ and found Collector Ouphe, and suddenly their board was effectively nothing… Their life total was so low that they couldn’t use tombs for the Saga. Opponent scooped it up.

There’s three important lessons in the above:

• Don’t scoop when your opponent is going off. Make them do it. Your outs, at that moment, prominently include “them messing up”
• When ballista is in the graveyard they can exile it with the ETB trigger of Soul-Guide Lantern, then wish it back to their hand with Karn. If Ballista is dead, and they already played the Lantern, they’re out of a direct damage kill because the Lantern only sacrifices to exile opposing yards, not all yards.
• Mycosynth lattice has a lot of text, and one line is that all cards are colourless – also while they’re in libraries. Me casting GSZ was legal, me searching my library was legal, but me finding collector ouphe was actually not legal because the Ouphe wasn’t green! I learned this later when discussing the play in the Maverick Discord. During the game neither of us noticed, nor did the Judge sitting next to us. I’m sorry for having profited from it, but I’m also sufficiently confident that I could also have won without the GSZ (but the Ouphe made it waaaay easier I will readily admit).

Talked some more with opponent to wait for the other QFs to finish. They could name one city in the Netherlands, and I said “my kids were born in that hospital” and they said “I once worked there” and I said “so did I” and yet again I found myself talking natural sciences with an opponent. Sentimentality alert: this must be that “the gathering” part they’re always on about.

Semifinals – Diego (IT) on Cloudpost

I’m worried! I never played against this yet and while I was a big G-post fan a while ago, I mentally cut post from my library of decks I consider myself somewhat capable with, because I had no time to keep up with all the changes.

Now I was about to get those changes served to me by an opponent who was obviously doing quite well with the deck, they were undefeated this far. But hey, before starting we were already joking around together. This is such a chill event.

I do not recall too much from game one, except that I got lucky drawing two copies of Wasteland by T3. If they don’t have a Crop up, they generally dislike getting Wasted. I got a Knight out, which had quite sizeable stats, but they hit their new prime time: Sowing Mycospawn.

sowing-mycospawn planar-nexus

But in this situation I would’ve been much more afraid of Prime Time. Now they killed one of my lands, and wasted another, and that was it. The 3/3 body was just a one-turn chump, they failed to find more gas, and knight stomped them.

+1 Teeg for the Karn and One Ring
+3 Thoughtseize to disrupt their ratio of setups versus payoffs
+2 Force of Vigor for their Karn-targets and Flutes/Needles
+1 Opposition Agent because they tutor a lot

-1 Scavenging Ooze because they don’t realistically use the yard
-2 Endurance for the same reason and the body doesn’t feel relevant
-2 Swords to Plowshares because what’s the target?
-1 Grist because it seemed kind of irrelevant
-1 Bojuka Bog because I finally remembered I could cut irrelevant lands

This game they didn’t find an early Nexus, and I had a T1 Reclaimer. They fluted the Reclaimer on turn two, so it went on beatdown duty after I dropped a trusty Thalia. On their T3 they exiled a Spirit Guide to drop a Ring, so I pointed out that Thalia taxed the Ring…so they exiled a second Spirit Guide. It was funny, you had to be there. It was 23:00.

They drew some more cards than I did, and I got a Knight out but that also got fluted. I managed to hit two Flutes with one Force, opening up my terrain tutor team, but beats seemed more relevant and I got them down to a low life total of about two or three, spread over a Reclaimer, Thalia, and a Knight.

I think they got Eye of Ugin and had collected enough cloudposts to start tutoring for stuff. I had the tempo but they had the inevitability. I needed them to stumble for one turn, finding at most one blocker. And finding exactly one blocker they did – a 5/5 walking ballsita from hand (insert cry emoji).

Aw no, that could block the Knight and then shoot the Reclaimer and the Thalia. Fortunately, hanging out in the Maverick discord paid off big for my final play of the evening:

1. Pretend to have freshly drawn the land I’m playing on my turn;
2. Act relieved to have found a fourth mana source;
3. Happily announce a Green Sun’s Zenith for X is three;
4. Wait until opponent says OK, then find Collector Ouphe.

Nice Ballista. Would be a shame if it forgot how to shoot invaders. This play is a difficult-to-get square on the GSZ bingo card, and I’m glad I got to pull it off for such a spectacular payoff.

7-0 in matches! Pumped! But it was close to 23:30 by now, and I worried about no longer being able to get home. My finals opponent, Andy (UK), also really wanted to call it a day. He was also undefeated, and we decided to split the finals. I got home by 2:00.

About the deck:

• I’m glad I added Wight of the Reliquary because having a good two-drop is so relevant. It’s a high-impact GSZ target when mana is tight, and the vigilance is rather relevant. Get into the red zone AND turn a reclaimer into half of a 20/20? Or prep a Wasteland for next turn? Yes please. I’m not sure cutting a Knight was the right move, but I didn’t know what else to cut.
• Hot diggity Opposition Agent was hot in this field. I might consider going down to two Chokes and up to two of those Agents.
• Chokes… gotta love ‘em, but the matchup I resolved them in, they weren’t great. A hate-enchantment doesn’t block Frogs.
• The Depths package was really good, it happened a lot. Sometimes it was just a “slam the door” move, and sometimes it was a “surprise, I appeared to be losing but now I win instead” inversion. I’m really interested in keeping Depths in if I were to keep playing this deck.
• The Depths is extra good because of the Reclaimers. The Reclaimers are nice because often they’re just very cheap respectably big bodies, and they have the nice tendency of sometimes drawing Force of Will’s or removal. Your opponent doesn’t know that your Reclaimers are not that essential to your plan, they probably figure that you’re more of a dedicated Reclaimer strategy. It’s nice to have such plucky little lightning rods. And if they do stick? Might as well use them.
• Thalia did some heavy lifting in a few rounds, but I do realise I got lucky in only seeing Orcs like twice all day.

Wrap-up and sentimental stuff

I’m so glad to have gone undefeated in such a significant event. I’ve been playing magic since 1994 (opened a Taiga and an earth elemental in my first starter – the deck built itself), and I’ve been an avid fan ever since. I had never top 8’ed a constructed event yet. Back in the 90s and early 00s I was something of a local pre-release endboss and often did well in our arena leagues, but a top constructed finish had always eluded me.

After Lorwyn I quit playing tournaments, and only got back in in 2022, playing about once every two months – and only in legacy tournaments (because I can use my old cards). It finally brought me a constructed result, and with such a fair deck to boot! This was a box I’d always hoped of ticking.

About Douges

Hey! Douges here - Founder of the GreenSunsZenith. I've been playing Magic since 2013 and Legacy since 2014. I'm a Death & Taxes pilot turned Maverick aficionado who created the GreenSunsZenith as a resource for both beginners & experts of the Legacy Maverick archetype. I've been fortunate enough to be a guest on several Eternal & Legacy podcasts including Everyday Eternal, Deep Analysis with Brian Coval & Phil Gallagher, The Canadian Threshold, Archetype Influencers and the Dark Depths Podcast You can reach out to me through my social links below. I stream via Twitch on Thursday nights (7:30pm AEST) & Sunday mornings (10:30am AEST). Please let me know if you don't find anything on the site that you'd like to see. If you'd like to support the GreenSunsZenith, I have a Patreon account you can support the platform through :)

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