Maverick’s Silver Bullets
One of the greatest things about Legacy Maverick is no two lists are the same. Tutor engines like Green Sun’s Zenith & Knight of the Reliquary allow pilots to play a deck that is heavily positioned toward their local meta. The power of a silver bullet – whether a creature or land – is only exemplified when paired with the correct meta.
Have a meta filled with Wasteland proof manabases? Try out a Ghost Quarter over the 4th Wasteland.
Have no combo at your local store? Move Gaddock Teeg to the sideboard or drop down on the full playset of Thalia’s to cater for more fair deck beaters.
Below is a list of some of the silver bullets you’ll see from time to time across different decklists. I’ve broken the list up between colour combinations, so feel free to skip to:
This is a working list and will be updated as the deck and format evolves. If you do have a card you’d like to see on this list, send me feedback through the Contact page!
Safekeeper is known to show up in Dark Depths archetypes but not so much in Maverick. Some pilots drop the 4th Mother of Runes and run the Sylvan Safekeeper as a tutorable source of protection. If I was running the Dark Depths combo in my Maverick 75, I’d most likely look to a 3/1 split of Mother of Runes / Sylvan Safekeeper. Safekeeper also has the advantage of giving your Marit Liege protection from Karakas, something Mother of Runes cannot do. A small but relevant upside is Safekeeper also sticks to the board through a Dread of Night, so it can still protect hate pieces like Gaddock Teeg or Ethersworn Cannonist against any combo decks that bring in the 1-mana enchantment.
Terravore is a card that dominates against the mirror and also against graveyard reliant or based decks like 4C Loam and Lands. The trample is also relevant if you’re wanting to get those last points of damage through something like an opposing True-Name Nemesis or Baleful Strix. Maverick has a wide variety of 3-drop tutorable threats however Terravore is one of the only beaters that can trample your opponent to death. Maybe ask yourself if you’re going to be casting Green Sun’s Zenith for 3, how often are you going to get this and not going to grab Knight of the Reliquary?
Another beast that sadly is just not good enough compared to the premier 3 CMC creatures in Maverick’s colours. However, this card is a house against Grixis and BUG style decks that would have a hard time dealing with this reoccurring threat without the ability to exile it. If you’re looking for a beater with trample and replayability, Vinecrasher is a fun card to play with.
Courser of Kruphix
Courser has always been an interesting one. Its ability works pretty great alongside Sylvan Library, however the downside of letting your opponent know what’s ahead is very relevant. Knowledge is power, and giving away what’s about to be in your hand, what you brought in from the sideboard etc. can also have a negative impact as it can give your opponent a small advantage. Courser is great in an aggressive meta. The 3/4 body is hard for red decks to deal with while it can block anything from Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Dark Confidant’s to Young Pryomancer and its offspring as well as Goblin Guide and Monastery Swiftspear.
Eternal Witness saw play in Maverick when it first entered the Legacy scene. However since the printing of Renegade Rallier, Eternal Witness’s ability has been a little outclassed with Rallier bringing the permanent directly back onto the battlefield instead of into your hand. Of course Rallier cannot get back a Swords to Plowshares or a 3CMC or higher creature, but the tempo gain of getting another permanent on the battlefield for free is a huge gain for the deck.
Titania, Protector of Argoth
It’s uncommon these days to see a 5-drop creature in Maverick, and really up to the pilot. Sigarda, Host of Herons and Titania, Protector of Argoth are the two most popular bombs that we see today. Titania is a house and can win a match in a matter of turns after she hits the field. Just like Sigarda, you can protect Titania with Karakas and then replay the elemental creature for another ETB effect. I find Titania to be great against the midrange & control decks of the format as she can end the game in the space of 1 or 2 turns after she hits the field.
Crop Rotation isn’t seen too often in Maverick outside of the decks that run the Dark Depths combo. Crop also works really well with lands such as Bojuka Bog, Karakas and Sejiri Steppe. The ability to find one of these utility lands at instant speed or even the other half of your Dark Depths combo can really catch your opponent off guard. Crop Rotating into Dryad Arbor in response to a spell like Diabolic Edict is another great line if you’re wanting to save a threat.
Players started trying out a number of Explorations in the deck once Ramunap Excavator showed it was good enough to break into the maindeck of Maverick. Ramunap Excavator & Exploration means you can play and activate a Wasteland, Ghost Quarter or Horizon Canopy multiple times a turn. A turn-1 Exploration also acts as a mana dork in the sense it allows you to play a 3CMC creature like Knight of the Reliquary on turn 2.
Palace Jailer has been the talk of the town, especially since the beginning of 2019. Jailer is a source of card advantage, an exile effect on an opponent’s creature and on top of that, a beater. Who doesn’t love a 3-for-1? I mean, what’s not to love?
Well. I’ve found True Name Nemesis and go-wide strategies (Young Pyromancer, Bitterblossom, Elves to some degree) to be great against our own strategy, cards which are also very good at getting around our defences to taking the monarch themselves.
Jailer can also be outclassed against decks like Miracles when an end-step Snapcaster Mage into Swords to Plowshares is nearly a concession on the spot. However, patience is key to Magic and those who bear it will be able to use Jailer to their advantage. Maverick is a deck that rides high on its consistency, so adding in a very swingy ability like the Monarch just doesn’t sell it enough for me. However, there is also the argument that the consistency of the deck is exactly how you keep the crown from your opponent’s grip.
Clear card advantage isn’t something you actually get access to in Legacy too often. Jailer is exactly that, if you take the right line at the right time. I’ve heard of players actually comparing Palace Jailer to a Planeswalker that doesn’t get effected by Gaddock Teeg or Thalia’s taxing effect. Against Grixis and Miracles where you’re most likely taking out your Swords to Plowshares, it can be nice to have an exile effect for a Gurmag or Mentor when you want to keep the removal you brought in (like Assassin’s Trophy or Council’s Judgment) for their Planeswalker.
In Punishing Maverick, the recurring removal in Punishing Fire might be enough to keep in Jailer against go-wide strategies, but it’s not great against decks with True-Name Nemesis. Maverick also doesn’t have much defence in the air, so you really need the removal right then and there to not lose the crown against cards like Baleful Strix and Flickerwisp.
Thalia, Heretic Cathar
Thalia is a house against Eldrazi, Sneak & Show and any fair decks. It’s a great way to slow down an Elves player, turn on Wasteland against a Miracles fetchlands or stop any sort of ambush viper shenanigans against Snapcaster decks. She is also a threat that can be saved via Karakas BUT is also a prone target to your opponent’s Karakas. I believe Thalia HC sees more play in the GW variants than the 3-colour versions, however not being a green creature means she isn’t able to be fetched with Green Sun’s Zenith.
Prelate has seen more play with Death & Taxes builds, but I believe it also has a place in Maverick. I play Sanctum Prelate in my maindeck over the 4th Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, as my local meta has a pretty large amount of Punishing Fire / Life from the Loam decks as well as Miracles. Prelate is a house against Loam strategies (2) and can do a tonne of work against low-to-the ground Delver decks (1). It can also save you against Miracles, working alongside Gaddock Teeg and Mother of Runes to lock out your opponent from ever removing them. Most Storm decks don’t have a maindeck answer to Prelate on 4, usually causing a concession on the spot. Prelate also helps the Sneak & Show matchup shutting off Show and Tell, Cunning Wish, Intuition and Kozilek’s Return when played on (3).
Recruiter of the Guard
Now, Recruiter of the Guard may not seem like the type of card Maverick needs, but it can be a great way to play and find more white silver bullets in your list. Cards like Palace Jailer, Thalia(s) and Mother of Runes cannot be found with Green Sun’s Zenith, but can be found with Recruiter of the Guard. This is more for those players wanting to have some sort of tutorability, not just for white cards (as this can also fetch the majority of creatures within your deck). Right now Recruiter is set as a Death & Taxes tutor but I believe it could see play in GW Maverick down the line.
Aven Mindcensor has been seeing play on and off for a few years, more so found in Death & Taxes lists. However, with the resurgence of Stoneforge Mystic decks and players fortifying their manabase to be ‘wasteland proof’, the ability to Stripe Mine an opponent off a fetchland or ‘stifle’ their Stoneforge Mystic is pretty huge. A 2/1 flyer that can be flashed in is also very relevant when you have opponents who may tap out and think they are in the clear from a creature hitting back the following turn. The big advantage of Mindcensor in a mana dork deck is that on the play you have the ability to respond to a T2 Stoneforge Mystic with Aven Mindcensor.
Containment Priest is an interesting sideboard choice as it does turn off the main engine of Maverick in Green Sun’s Zenith. A great card against Elves, Reanimator, Dredge, Sneak and Show and even Death & Taxes, Containment Priest can be a viable sideboard card in the right meta. Elves and Sneak & Show have traditionally been horrible matchups for Maverick, so having a sideboard card that hits both matches is very appealing. I believe Sanctum Prelate actually fills that roll and is also great against Miracles, another poor matchup for the GWx. The rise of Pheonix decks, however, did make me rethink if Priest was needed in my board, but other than online I didn’t see this archetype grow enough to warrant changes to my sideboard.
Purge is a great sideboard card if you know your meta is heavy on black and red decks. Liliana of the Veil, Liliana, the Last Hope, Griselbrand, Blood Moon, Marit Liege, Dark Confidant, Dread of Night, young Pyromancer, Gurmag Angler & Death’s Shadow are just some of the cards that come to mind that can be answered very cleanly by Purge.
Toxic Deluge over Zealous Persecution is a tough call as Deluge also hits our own creatures. This decision is up to whether you believe you need the extra versatility of Deluge to kill threats like Stoneforge Mystic, Insectile Aberration or Gurmag Angler against local decks. Zealous and Deluge’s main purpose would be to kill TNNs, which ZP does just fine. Zealous also has the upside of being used as a defensive way to save some of your creatures from a spell like Pryoclasm or Electrickery. Lastly, sometimes getting both WB online instead of just B for Maverick is tough, so mana considerations might also play into your decision to play one or the other.
I’ve really enjoyed having hand disruption in GWB Maverick against hard control and combo decks. Thoughtseize can be great to deal with sweeper, Planeswalkers or equipment that otherwise you may not have an out to. However, Julian thinks otherwise – a quote below sums up his thoughts on discard in a deck like Maverick:
“One particular thing that doesn’t excite me at all is the option to splash for discard. If you’ve been following my Elves streams you probably already know that I consider discard to be quite weak against current day combo decks. ANT especially is very well-equipped to just play through quite a lot of discard.”
“Show and Tell-based combo on the other hand has long evolved from the A+B deck it’s used to be; in-between its namesake, Sneak Attack, Omnscience, Cunning Wish, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Griselbrand (and Flusterstorm) the deck is surprisingly resilient when it comes to playing around both discard AND hate bears. Discard is still okay against this kind of deck, especially when paired Surgical Extraction but Thoughtseize is not as great as it used to be several years ago.” – itsJulian.
Voice of Resurgence
Voice is great in a blue-heavy meta, but unfortunately in a format filled with exile effects like Swords to Plowshares and ‘sweepers’ like Terminus, the full potential of Voice of Resurgence isn’t found. Voice is also great against Grixis Delver & Grixis Control where you’re able to produce a body that is at least a 2-for-1. Sadly, Voice is just outclassed by other silver bullets within Maverick’s range of creatures and currently doesn’t see competitive play.
Some would say Rallier is just the better Eternal Witness for Maverick. Rallier allows you to ramp with a fetchland, and get a creature back onto the field – or even an equipment piece like Jitte. Rallier also gives you the option to Wasteland your opponent, play this and get Wasteland back into play for another hit. Unlike Eternal Witness, you cannot get back instant, sorcery or Planeswalker spells with this ETB effect, however with the permanent going straight onto the field and not in hand, I believe Rallier will always be the better choice for Maverick players due to its temp advantage.
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
Kambal has been popping up in GWB Maverick sideboards recently to deal with combo and xerox decks. While against a deck like Storm or Sneak & Show where you may rather Sanctum Prelate or Canonist, Kambal does provide a great clock against your opponent. Being an x/3 creature means he’s not only going to hit your opponent but also stick around against Punishing Fire, Pyroblast or Marsh Casualties.
A Second Gaddock Teeg
Gaddock Teeg is great against a range of well-known and popular Legacy decks like Miracles, Storm, Elves and even Aluren. The ability to have another in your deck post-board against decks with sweepers or exile effects is very powerful, but you have to consider if another bear like Ethersworn Canonist is just better. Maverick is a deck that performs so much better IF it can go wide, so having a different piece of hate to put onto the board alongside Gaddock is usually better, in my opinion, than having a 2nd sometimes stuck in your hand. But as always, it depends. Make sure you have a good look at your local legacy meta and see what would work better for you.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Garruk doesn’t only produce threats but can also fight and get rid of them. I really like Garruk against Delver decks as we sometimes don’t have a straight answer to the 3/2 flyer. Garruk can also protect himself, however does come into play within Lightning Bolt range. Having the flip ability, though, gives you some tempo against decks that are trying to 1:1 your threats with removal, and can take over the game with its -1 tutor effect for the right silver bullet.
Nissa, Vital Force
Fun Fact: If you target a Legendary Land like Dark Depths or Karakas with Nissa’s +1 ability, you can block a creature that either may kill the land or is equipped with a Jitte in your opponent’s turn, and then return it to your hand with Karakas because it is a Legendary Creature Land!
Sword of War & Peace
Sword of War & Peace sees play from time to time, and can be a great addition to the deck in the right meta. Giving your creatures protection from format all-stars like Swords to Plowshares & Lightning Bolt is significant, and can be a mirror-breaker against Maverick and Death & Taxes. However, with Sword of Fire & Ice being the staple sword in Stoneforge Mystic decks, Sword of Light and Shadow has actually been popping up more recently as the 3rd equipment choice.
Sword of Light and Shadow
Sword of Light & Shadow has been seeing more and more play in the maindeck of Maverick as a 3rd piece of equipment. The sword doesn’t just give your creatures protection from Swords to Plowshares and Fatal Push, it allows you to get a huge amount of damage past Baleful Strix, Gurmag Angler, Monastery Mentor & a huge amount of creatures in both Death & Taxes and the mirror.
Batterskull sometimes shows up in Maverick lists, but as you already have a great way to get damage dealt with creatures like Knight of the Reliquary and Tireless Tracker, Maverick tends to want access to cheaper equipment that’s going to assist those creatures getting damage through removal and opposing creatures. Death & Taxes sometimes doesn’t have the firepower to close a game without Batterskull on the field, but this extra beater isn’t really needed when you’re playing Maverick. If you play against a lot of Delver, Batterskull could be a fine pickup, however the uptick in Abrade could leave you with a sour taste in your mouth.
Stronghold is an interesting effect that allows you to really grind against Control decks and also get back silver bullets like Qasali Pridemage in equipment wars or against artifact heavy matches. Against Grixis Stronghold seems to be the best positioned as they don’t have a way to destroy or interact with its ability.
Bog is great when it’s in your deck and you have a Knight of the Reliquary in play or a Crop Rotation in hand – otherwise, it’s a little lacklustre. If you’re playing the Dark Depths combo, you may be playing a small Crop Rotation package where you can tutor up Bog at instant speed from as early as turn 1. When you already have Scavenging Ooze in the maindeck, as well as access to ‘better’ graveyard hate spells such as Surgical Extraction, Faerie Macabre, Tormod’s Crypt or even Containment Priest in the sideboard Bojuka Bog just comes up a little short.
Pro Tip: If you have Ramunap Excavator, Bog and Wasteland in play and you need to exile your opponent’s graveyard this turn, you can target your own Bojuka Bog with your Wasteland and then replay it from the graveyard for another ETB effect.
Maze of Ith
Maze of Ith can be a great way to buy time in the early turns as well as keep an opposing beater from hitting you. In a meta of True-Name Nemesis, your opponent is going to have the last laugh – otherwise, Maze can really help you win matches. Maze should not be counted as a land in the deck but more so a spell. This is because Maze of Ith does not produce mana, and therefore should not be labelled a mana source within your land base. With the rise in popularity of Palace Jailer, Maze of Ith can be a great defensive tool to make sure you can keep the Monarch by dealing with an opposing threat. Just don’t rely on it to perform against a Wasteland deck.
Pro Tip: Probably the most known trick in the book, but we may as well state it here. If you attack with a creature, it’s declared an ‘attacking creature’ until the end of your combat step. That means after you’ve dealt damage, there is a moment where you can then untap your creature to give it pseudo vigilance. This also means that with creatures that have an activated ability, you can attack with them and then untap them after damage. This works great with Knight of the Reliquary, as Maze gives you the ability to attack with your Knight, get some damage in and then untap it to use its ability to Wasteland your opponent or find a flex land like Karakas. You may even be able to get in a small amount of damage with Mother of Runes in the right moment.
Tower of the Magistrate
Tower is a pretty sweet card. It gives you the ability to target an opposing creature with an equipment attached and cause the two permanents to part ways. Most commonly, this card is going to act as spray and wipe (aka. Germ killer) but can also help keeping your opponent from getting Jitte counters, or saving your own creature from a blocking Phyrexian Revoker, Baleful Strix or other artifact creature.
Throne of the High City
Throne of the High City is a really interesting way to get the Monarch. With Knight of the Reliquary online, it might not be difficult to get the monarch at instant speed and can even be activated before your opponent’s end step to keep them from drawing a card, so hopefully, you get your creature back. Throne most likely takes the place of Horizon Canopy 1 or 2 within GW Maverick but may be a little greedy to run in 3-colour versions of Maverick.
Horizon Canopy is a nice way to negate some amount of flooding, and even better with cards like Ramunap Exavator in your deck. It’s not a great card to have against a heavy Miracles meta where Back to Basics can catch you out, and it can also be really rough when it’s in your opening hand against a Wasteland opponent. However, the ability to ‘cycle’ it later in the game is pretty great and most lists have space in their utility land threshold to run one or two. Just make sure you have enough sources of W and G in your deck without having to rely on this for its mana-producing effect. Against aggressive decks like Burn or Delver, the damage can really add up and even take a turn off your opponents clock.