Welcome to the August edition of the Maverick Monthly – a recap on where Maverick currently is in the Legacy metagame, which archetypes have been performing well, and which have fallen out of favour. Let’s get right into it.
Table of Contents
GW Maverick hasn’t been seeing too much play over the past few months. With a decrease in archetypes that punish greedy mana-bases, most Maverick players have been piloted 3, 4 and in some cases 5 colour builds. When black and red give you access to removal that’s currently very well positioned, it’s hard to sleeve up a straight GW list and believe it’s going to be just as good. However, we’ve seen some players push through and record some great finishes with GW Maverick this past month.
Jacopo Izzo | 2nd LAW Beach 2020 | Decklist
Jacopo finished 2nd in a recent tournament with a pretty standard GW Maverick list. Maindeck Knight of Autumn and Qasali Pridemage may have been a meta-game call, as you don’t usually see both alongside each other. This is due to a decline in Stoneforge Mystic strategies and decks like Death & Taxes at an all time low. I really like the clean board. 4 copies of Choke means you’re not only going to see it regularly against the decks you want it, but you probably don’t care too much if the first copy gets countered.
The only change I’d make if I was playing this would be increasing the amount of Sylvan Library in the maindeck to 2. This card is my winner for best green card in Legacy right now – one of the best ways for Maverick to compete on value against archetypes like snow.
GW Depths showed its face in the Legacy showcase, a deck I haven’t seen at the top tables lately. This is a deck I have a soft spot for and wrote a primer on last year that still holds up.
Capriccioso | Top 20 Legacy Showcase | Decklist
MTGO user Capriccioso took an interesting list to a top-20 finish in a recent Legacy Showcase. This deck has been built to ensure maximum amounts of consistency with playsets of Mox Diamond, Crop Rotation, Once Upon a Time, Green Sun’s Zenith, Mother of Runes, Elvish Reclaimer and Knight of the Reliquary. You then have some silver bullets to fetch with Green Sun’s which gives you 5 virtual copies of powerhouses like Gaddock Teeg and Ramunap Excavator. However, I’m not too sure on the choice of Mother of Runes over the traditional playset of Giver of Runes. Giver allows you to play in Karakas and survives through a Plague Engineer. I feel these are two huge advantages and reasons why you typically see Giver over Mother in this matchup.
The only other card I really like in any GW based 60 is Scavenging Ooze. Ooze is a threat to not only your opponent’s life total, but also the resourcefulness of their graveyard. This deck has access to instant-speed Bojuka Bog through multiple sources, but Ooze is consistent pressure and disruption. Ooze also has the advantage of keeping its counters after being turned into a 3/3 elk, which can be a huge advantage in the current metagame.
I really like the 1 copy of Sylvan Safekeeper. Not only is this card ‘instant speed’ protection off GSZ, it also allows you to win out of nowhere thanks to Elvish Reclaimer and Knight of the Reliquary. Safekeeper also works really well alongside Ramunap, giving you access to double Karakas or extra ETBs off Steppe if needed (Sacrifice your own land, then replay it from the graveyard).
GWB Maverick is where I and many other Maverick players have been finding the most amount of success. Abrupt Decay, Plague Engineer and maindeck planeswalkers have been all the rage and are well positioned in Legacy.
Achillies27 | MTGO 5-0 | Decklist 1 | Decklist 2
Achillies has come back from a break and has been slaying the online metagame with 8 trophies to his name so far. He’s been a huge fan of Kaya in the maindeck – a planeswalker that I don’t think has the respect it deserves from the Legacy community. Too many times you can get a free win off her not-too-hard-to-reach ultimate thanks to opponents not reading or understanding her ability. As an example, I’ve had players attack me instead of her and then died to her ultimate the following turn.
A split of Chalice and Deafening Silence is a nice choice too, as it gives you a few different ways to attack combo, or at least slow them down enough for you to create a dominating board state. My only change is again, an increase in Sylvan Library as it’s just a house when you land it but with Achillies record, this list looks to be doing just fine without additional copies.
Kaya, Ghost Assassin has also popped up in his sideboard, a 4CMC ‘walker that hasn’t seen too much play in Legacy outside of some Deadguy Ale and NicFit shells. It’s interesting, to say the least. The ability to reset some of your elk’ed creatures after dealing with an Oko is nice – the drain effect can keep you in some tight matches, and her discard is great against the grindy matchups. I really like that you can reset hers to make sure you don’t lose her, but it’s a tough discussion between her and Vraska, Golgari Queen for best 4CMC walker right now.
I recently did an Inside the Maverick with Achillies27 where we went over his current Maverick lists, the current Legacy metagame and how he was boarding against different matchups.
SaitoSan | Challenge 4-2 | Decklist
Another good friend of the GreenSunsZenith, Saito is back with maindeck Kunoros, Hound of Athreos and sideboard Shriekmaw. These are two cards I haven’t seen a ton in Maverick, but SaitioSan has obviously found a really nice mix of extra black threats and removal in these two creatures. As a player who came from GW Hatebears in Modern, it’s great to see Aven Mindcensor in the board to help against decks like Elves, and generally to try and snipe a fetch. Having an extra blocker for Delver can also be very relevant.
Saito is also running the Dark Depths combo which is protected by a single Sylvan Safekeeper and 3 Mother of Runes. I really like Safekeeper as it’s protection you can find off GSZ and works instantly. I’ve been wanting to run Thoughtseize in the board, but I am a little wary of Veil of Summer right now. Maverick finally has some nice choices when it comes to 1CMC interaction with combo / control in Thoughtseize, Chalice and Deafening Silence, so it’s interesting to see players have success with each piece.
Qilex | Top 4 Discord Legacy | Decklist
Punishing Maverick is back on the menu! Recently, we’ve seen a trend of Punishing Maverick players move toward an extra splash for cards like Abrupt Decay, Plague Engineer, Leovold and Meddling Mage, so it’s great to see Qilex top-4 a Legacy discord event with a pure Punishing Maverick build. Klothys, God of Destiny is the standout card in this 60, a very hard-to-remove permanent that can win games on its own. I think Klothys and elemental effects out of the board are two of the best reasons to be running a red splash in Maverick right now.
Fiery Justice out of the board is a fantastic sweeper effect that can take care of anything from a Dreadhorde Arcanist and Delver of Secrets to 5 different Elves on board. Its reach that allows you to clean up the board while also finishing off a planeswalker, something Maverick really misses when you’re playing without red. This also triggers Punishing Fire from the graveyard as your opponent gains life – insert shocked Pikachu face. Cindervines is also an interesting choice over something like Force of Vigor. They have different advantages, as Cindervines can be backbreaking against combo like TES or ANT, and Force allows you to tap out but still have some form of interaction against a variety of decks.
I really like this list, and no, not just because it’s the first to be covered with 2 maindeck Sylvan Library. The only change I would consider is a mix of Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast to fight against cards like Meddling Mage in Esper Vial.
Ozymandias17 | Challenge 5-3 | Musasabi | Challenge 4-3 | Decklist
MTGO users Ozymmandias17 (Matt Vook) and Musasabi took this list through a Legacy Challenge finishing with respectable 5-3 and 4-3 finishes. This is essentially a GWB build with a light splash (1 Tropical Island) for a maindeck Leovold, Emissary of Trest. I find Leo more than fine to splash for – one of the best 3CMC targets for GSZ against a variety of decks from Snow-based archetypes to combo and, of course, Elves. Ramunap is great to make sure you have access to the Tropical Island, even if it’s been subject to a Wasteland. But with the increase in basic-heavy, Wasteland-proof manabases in the meta, I’ve been running Ramunap out of my board.
The inclusion of Containment Priest in the board is great against Elves, Reanimator and any of the Aether Vial decks that have been on the incline (Goblins and Esper Vial mainly). It’s also strong against the ever-growing BANT N.O decks showing up online and opposing Green Sun’s Zenith archetypes. It’s also not the worst as a flash creature against Sharkstill. The amount of games I’ve had my Standstill opponent have to make the first move due to a Scryb Ranger in play has been enough for me to believe it’s worth thinking about.
What I’m playing this month:
I’ve been jamming a few different versions of Maverick as usual but if I had to choose one, it’s GWB Maverick. But as the list is very close to Achillies’ list, I’m not going to dive into it – I’m going to comment on a list I’m currently 7-0 with on MTGO.
This is a GW-based Field of the Dead Maverick list. It’s built to grind against some of the best decks in the format right now – most notably, the snow variants. Field of the Dead is pretty hard for these decks to answer in game 1, as they don’t have a great clock to win the game before it comes online. Gideon, Ally of Zenikar in the maindeck allows me to fight on a different axis than purely through creatures, and is a great way to negate the power of Plague Engineer in game 1. I’ve been wanting to play Thalia, Heretic Cathar again, as it helps improve matchups like Sneak & Show and Elves. It also increases the power of Wasteland, giving me the chance to Wasteland fetchlands against decks like Snow where otherwise, Wasteland would be considered next to useless.
Elvish Reclaimer allows me to access Bojuka Bog as early as T2, and is a great early game threat. It also helps through Blood Moon as its ability doesn’t need a Plains or Forest to be around. This also means I can turn Wastelands against basic heavy decks into other utility lands if needed. The choice of Temple Garden over Savannah #3 is based around Field of the Dead. The same reasoning applies for the mix in snow-covered and normal basic lands. Ghost Quarter is a choice based on some recent matchups where Pithing Needle on Wasteland has been hard to answer (outside of maindeck Knight of Autumn). Ghost Quarter works well with Field of the Dead and gives me another out against Turbo Depths and Cloudpost’s needle effects.
The issue I have with playing a straight GW Maverick list is the lack of additional removal in the maindeck. Arcanist is currently a huge part of the metagame, and is a threat you need to answer right away. Even after one swing and free spell, the games feel all but lost. With the black splash, you have additional maindeck removal in Abrupt Decay and further disruption in Kaya and Plague Engineer. For GW, you only have Swords to Plowshares to rely on and no great way to find a copy. Dreadhorde is another reason why I like Thalia, Heretic Cathar right as they need to have removal before they can attack in.
I’m not sure if this build with a Field strategy is better than a straight GW Maverick list, but I’ve been really enjoying playing the deck and seeing how it’s been working out. Field has been really impressive even as a 1-of, and Gideon has been pulling his weight.
A huge thank you to those who’ve supported the GreenSunsZenith.com through donations and our Patreon, merch store and singles store. I really appreciate every single one of you and what your support & donations mean.
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Stay safe out there – Douges
Maverick is in a tough spot. You’re already a fair deck in an un-fair format, and your ability to grind has been overshadowed by the value of Snow and RUG. But don’t let that turn you off the archetype. You can see from the above results there are many ways to aggressively attack the metagame and do well, no matter the build you’re playing with. Maverick is always going to have some amount of game against the format’s most notorious archetypes, and the more you play, the more you’ll realise that.
If you’re building a Maverick list, you need to consider:
- The metagame you’ll be up against (What colour build is best)
- How you’re going to answer those decks (which silver bullets are warranted in the maindeck)
- How you’re going to sideboard (Do you have enough cards to side in and out for most matchups?)
- Your role in the matchup and your plan in game 1 (Who’s the beatdown?)
Play well, play fair, and I’ll see you next month.
Previous Editions of Maverick Monthly:
July 2020 – Maverick Monthly
June 2020 – Maverick Monthly
May 2020 – Maverick Monthly
April 2020 – Maverick Monthly
March 2020 – Maverick Monthly
January & February 2020 – Maverick Monthly
November & December 2019 – Maverick Monthly
October 2019 – Maverick Monthly
September 2019 – Maverick Monthly
August 2019 – Maverick Monthly