A big hello and welcome back to the first edition of the Maverick Monthly for 2021! This is where we recap how Legacy Maverick archetypes are positioned in the metagame, which versions have been performing the best, and which have fallen out of favour. Since the banning of Oko, Dreadhorde and Astrolabe, Maverick has made a solid comeback into the format with multiple archetypes putting up strong results.
Let’s get right into it!
Table of Contents
Recent Maverick Content
I’ve been working on the Maverick matchup series this past month, most recently with Phil Gallaher and the Death and Taxes matchup. I also had the pleasure to be on Deep Analysis, a YouTube series hosted by Brian Coval, where I joined Phil talking about the ins and outs of Legacy Death & Taxes and Maverick.
I’ve also been streaming a tonne of Legacy, including a good load of Maverick and other fair strategies. I’ll make sure to link those VODs below – you can find the rest on my YouTube channel.
Dreadnaught33 | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
Green-White Maverick is the deck in its simplest form, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s underpowered. The printing of Skyclave Apparition has been huge for the deck as additional, maindeck-able removal that can be found off Once Upon a Time. Jono’s 75 is a pretty solid list if you’re looking to take Green-White Maverick into a league or tournament.
The big advantage of green-white over a splash version of Maverick is the manabase. Wasteland is well-positioned in the format right now, so not having to worry about being taken off a colour is a great feeling. The deck doesn’t pressure you to fetch for duals early on and can easily run off basics for the early-to-mid game. Most versions have a split of 2 Forest and 2 Plains, but Herzog has been doing well with a 3/2 split.
The Stoneforge Mystic package is much better positioned without Oko in the format, and with a large portion of fair decks showing up in leagues. Equipment gives your creatures a second purpose and a way to go wide with multiple threats. Thalia may not be great against Death & Taxes, but a Thalia equipped with a Jitte demands an answer. Jono has opted to not play a sword and stick with a small package of Jitte and Batterskull. Most Delver decks have Brazen Borrower to deal with Batterskull and artifact hate in the board, but it’s still a solid threat against Delver and midrange that gives you access to very important, incremental life gain.
Mother of Runes is great to see in this list as well. I’ve found Plague Engineer isn’t being played as much as I thought, putting Mother back on the table as a very hard-to-beat creature once untapped. Being able to protect your Gaddock Teeg against Miracles or Stoneforge Mystic against Delver is very real right now. With the amount of fair decks running around like Death & Taxes and Maverick, Mother is a huge boost for your plan against Swords to Plowshares and other removal.
Playing without Mother of Runes, I’ve felt my disruptive creatures have really been left out in the open. I’ve seen some players move towards a Sylvan Safekeeper as a Green Sun’s Zenith target in the place of Mother, but in my testing, it’s nowhere near the protection Mother gives you. Safekeeper is not a reasonable way to protect your creatures in the early game when you want to be making your land drop and deploying more threats, and that’s the biggest reason why I rather Mother.
I’d argue GW Maverick is currently one of the best variants of Maverick to be grinding in leagues, and a great recommendation for anyone wanting to build Maverick.
Achillies27 | 3-1 Legacy Preliminary | Decklist
He did it. Yorion Maverick. The funny thing is that the list isn’t filled with a bunch of random Green Sun’s Zenith targets or lands for Knight of the Reliquary – Connery has just built out the consistency of the deck. 4 Once Upon a Time to compliment Green Sun’s Zenith and playsets of Noble, Mother, Thalia, Stoneforge Mystic and Knight of the Reliquary means a fair amount of your matches are still going to play out the same way.
Let’s have a look at some of the not-so-stock maindeck choices that Achilles has found room for:
- 2nd Knight of Autumn
- 3rd Plague Engineer
- Bojuka Bog
- Basic Swamp
- Sword of Light & Shadow
- Both Collector Ouphe and Gaddock Teeg in the main
Both Knight of Autumn and Plague Engineer have some synergy with Yorion, with the ability to be reset later in the game.
It makes sense to have more disruption against combo decks, therefore Collector Ouphe and Gaddock Teeg is a great way to make sure you have multiple options through Green Sun’s Zenith. The basics swamp is something you rarely see in Maverick, but if you want to cast an early black spell against a Wasteland deck but also make your land drops for Yorion, it’s a nice addition to have in the manabase.
Looking at this list, I can confidently say the extra 20 cards doesn’t make this look any less consistent than a 60-card maindeck. Very cool to see Achillies play around with Yorion builds.
Achillies27 | 26th Legacy Challenge | Decklist
If you’re looking for a GWB Maverick 60/15 list to start with, Achillies has you covered. Connery has been grinding leagues with his 75 to gather some really interesting data for the community (you can find his stream here on Twitch).
Alright, 119 games of this exact 75 later, and we have some aggregate winrates for each major archetype. Nothing here really surprises me, especially the matchups with more than 10 matches played. I think I'll adjust the list slightly and start a new spreadsheet now pic.twitter.com/MS8iJfa2lm
— Connery Knox (@achillies27) March 8, 2021
One big card you might not see in Achillies’s list is Abrupt Decay, a removal spell some would say is currently pretty well-positioned. I reached out to Connery to get his thoughts:
“There’s nothing that I feel like I need Decay to answer. In general, I think Maverick is supposed to be playing threats out proactively, so I prefer my cards to do that. I don’t like having to hold onto reactive spells. The exception is obviously Swords to Plowshares, but that’s because it’s the best removal spell ever printed and it’s not close.
I also wanted to play Stoneforge Mystic, which can be useful in the same matchups that Decay is – it just normally has a higher ceiling.”
I’ve really enjoyed Decay as an early out to multiple threats such as Delver of Secrets, Aether Vial or Sylvan library, but I can see where Achillies is coming from. Although there are some great moments where Decay is relevant, there has also been a tonne of games against decks like Sneak & Show or ANT where they’ve rotted away in my hand. Not only that, there’s been situations where I didn’t have early pressure which would most likely fill the space if Decay wasn’t in my list. Stoneforge is also a great way to turn early mana dorks and irrelevant bears into actual threats your opponent has to expect.
When adding additional non-creature cards to Maverick’s maindeck, you need to have a damn good reason. For every card like Abrupt Decay that you add into your 60, you’re potentially missing out on 5 copies of a green creature thanks to Green Sun’s Zenith – and arguably more if you’re also running Once Upon a Time.
This type of discussion is exactly what makes Magic great. I’m A fan of a card like Abrupt Decay right now in my 75, but I’d also recommend the list above to anyone looking to take GWB Maverick into a competitive event.
Grobbs | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
The 5 duals from Grobbs is fast becoming the norm for Maverick players splashing a colour. I’m not sure when the trend started, but I’ve seen a large portion of GWB players move towards 2 Savannah, 2 Bayou and 1 Scrubland.
This gives you a little more wriggle room against opposing Wasteland decks, especially D&T and Maverick, where you may be wanting to cast Thoughtseize or Decay in your opening turns. I’ve had some tough games where I’ve been aggressively taken off black in the early game and left with cards in hand I can’t cast. So based on personal experience, I’m a big fan of 3 sources of black in my manabase. Nurturing Peatland is another option, but not being fetchable can sometimes come back to bite you.
Sylvan Safekeeper as Mother of Runes #4-8 is really interesting as it has three big advantages: it can be found through Green Sun’s Zenith, it works straight away, and your opponent is most likely not expecting it (and therefore, not going to cast removal in response to GSZ). The issue is, it still loses to Plague Engineer on human and other sweeper effects and, as I said above, isn’t great in the early game. In saying that, there’s some nice synergy between Safekeeper and Ramunap Excavator. Safekeeper also allows you to win from nowhere if you have a Knight or two in play.
Torbor Orb is a card I’ve seen many talk about but never seen in a list. It stops your own Knight of Autumn, but thankfully doesn’t interact with your Plague Engineers. Most likely for Thassa’s Oracle, Torbor Orb has some nice play against Death & Taxes, Elves, Goblins, Esper Vial and some other creature based decks. Sadly, it’s not at all what you want against an opposing Uro.
Zealous Persecution in the board is pretty nice, and something I’ve been wanting to move towards over Plague Engineer #3. It doesn’t give you a body to keep and pressure your opponent with, but it can give you more power when dealing with an opposing board with multiple creature types. For instance, Engineer against Elves is fantastic and most likely going to get you across the line, but Zealous allows you to clear away Wirewood Symbiote (Insect) and Dryad Arbor (Arbor) at the same time. The same thing can help against Death and Taxes (Human, Spirit, Horror, Elemental), Maverick mirrors, Hogaak and Esper Vial (and is also a pretty fantastic combat trick).
Kazurban | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
It’s always nice to get a trophy – it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I very much appreciate it. Kloyths is a house at applying pressure because it can’t be answered with popular creature removal. Punishing Fire is back in a good spot (but not at its best) in the metagame, with a large portion of the field being creatures with toughness 2 or less. Recurring removal is great to have access to in a pretty creature-heavy metagame and gives the deck longevity.
Red Elemental Blast in the board is also a nice additional for Maverick, a deck that usually doesn’t have a say when it comes to the stack. I know Loamerboy is having a really successful time right now with Punishing Maverick, and I can 100% understand why – it might just be the most underrated version of Maverick. It’s a great answer to Uro as it’s one of the only ways for Maverick to deal with it without your opponent gaining some amount of value.
Dreadnaught33 | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
Jono’s been crushing it lately with Green-White Depths, but here he’s taken a pre-ban GWR Maverick list to a 5-0 finish.
Like most non blue legacy players, it's been tough to win consistently, but I managed to trophy tonight on my favorite version of maverick, naya! The 4 bolts were great, blasts were great, mom played awesome, and I even managed to blowout my ESPER vial opp in R5 w/Fiery Justice! pic.twitter.com/DLUzcqLK08
— Jonathan Yanik (@jyanik33) February 1, 2021
2 Spirit of the Labyrinth in the maindeck was most likely to tackle the Dreadhorde / Oko stew metagame. The 2nd Scavenging Ooze is also most likely due to these threats (and Uro), but even without these cards, 2 copies of Ooze is something I’d like to see more of from Maverick lists. Ooze is becoming one of my favorite silver bullets against both combo and midrange decks. When Maverick players are trading resources, out of cards and drawing 1 card a turn, Ooze is by far one of my favorite creatures to draw into. The best part about 2nd Ooze? No one expects the 2nd Ooze.
Fiery Justice in the board is a really interesting sweeper effect that I’ve found to be pretty strong against go-wide strategies like UR (Pyromancer) Delver, Goblins or Elves. With the new meta, I’d expect Punishing Fire to be good enough to fight these strategies, but it’s always a nice card to have as an out to bigger creatures.
I reached out to Jono to ask about changes he’d make to the deck in the new metagame.
“I’d cut the Skyclaves as it’s hard to cast and protect in Maverick and unlike Death & Taxes, there are no flicker effects for tokens etc. The Lightning Bolts are cool though, and if we stick with Bolt, I’d likely try to get more aggro as well – perhaps with more Hexdrinker or even consider Goyf. In general, I think Punishing Fire might be better, but it’s up for debate. Punishing Fire helps you go longer but Bolt ends games faster. I’d also cut the Spirits to make room for a 3:3 split of Stoneforge Mystic and equipment, and make some adjustments to maindeck / sideboard Ouphe and Teeg.”
Blakmetal666 | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
Blak has gone with a really light red splash with no Punishing Fire. This also means no Grove of the Burnwillows, which makes the overall manabase much more stable. The Stoneforge Mystic package does help as an additional ways to remove creatures, but no extra removal on top of Swords to Plowshares is pretty interesting (and most likely why they’re running two copies of Fiery Justice in the board).
Qasali Pridemage has been making a small comeback in the maindeck, likely as it helps those creatures attacking with equipment and can be used at instant speed (something Knight of Autumn lacks). You can read more about Qasali vs. KoA in the FAQ section.
Capriccioso | 10th Legacy Challenge | Decklist
2 Cavern of Souls?! 2 Sylvan Safekeeper in the maindeck?! Thrun, the Last Troll?! This list is really interesting.
This is another GWR Maverick list with a very light red splash (Klothys, 4 Pyroblast in the board). A full playset of Skyclave is something I haven’t seen yet, but it’s obviously worked out well for Capriccioso. The deck is also not playing Gaea’s Cradle, showing that the expensive land isn’t necessarily needed to jam Maverick in paper. 1 Deafening Silence in the board is a little unusual as it’s a card you really want to slam on turn 1, therefore is usually seen as a 2-3-of in the sideboard. The full playset of Pyroblast should help keep some combo decks at bay however, especially if they are followed up with Sanctum Prelate.
Vico Henning | 5th Dead of Winter @ Webcam (Hannover, Germany) | Decklist
Well, with Oko, Thief of Crowns removed from the format, BANT Maverick has lost a fair amount of appeal. The deck still has access to some great 3CMC haymakers in Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Hullbreacher, and some powerful sideboard cards in Meddling Mage against tough matchups like Show & Tell and Doomsday. Lavinia, Azorius Renegade is another interesting hatebear that I’ve been seeing pop up recently and can help against some of the combo decks, including Elves.
I think there’s a fair amount of creative space open for BANT fans. Teferi, Time Reveler has shown up before as a maindeck walker that can protect your creatures from Terminus and countermagic. Dovin’s Veto in the above list is very spicy – a card you’d never expect to be in Maverick’s maindeck. The Armageddon in the board is most likely due to the old metagame as a way to disrupt decks with basic-heavy manabases.
Heroesdownfall | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
This is a GWB based version of Maverick with Leovold and a Tropical Island to make sure you can cast Leo from your hand without needing a mana dork. Opposition Agent in the maindeck is pretty spicy – it’s a card I’ve been wanting to try in the black splash for some time now. Qasali Pridemage again over Knight of Autumn (board) helps the Stoneforge strategy (exalted is subtle but can really add up) and takes some pressure off the amount of the 3-drops in the maindeck.
Archon of Emeria in the board is really cool to see over something like Ethersworn Canonist or Deafening Silence. We’ve seen Archon take on Vintage to great success, so hopefully we see more of it come out of the board from fair Legacy decks. Felidar Retreat always seemed great on paper but never worked out for me, either not hitting land drops after landing one or just never seeing it enough to get real data from it. I’m a big fan of a planeswalker like Gideon in its spot as it doesn’t rely on other cards to work and does something as soon as it comes into play. I think Retreat has some real potential and I hope it’s been good for Hero, but sadly, it hasn’t been up to par in my testing.
Wara | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
Damn cool to see GW Depths take down the Legacy challenge. This deck has come a long way since Wrenn & Six days, no longer running Giver of Runes or Tomik for added protection.
Legacy Challenge 2.27
R1 BUG Control 〇×〇
R2 D＆T ×〇〇
R3 4ｃControl 〇〇
R4 RUG Delver××
R5 Grixis Control 〇×〇
R6 Grixis Delver ×〇〇
R7 BG Depths 〇〇
SE1 Maverick 〇〇
SE2 Blood Eldrazi ×〇〇
SE3 RUG Delver ×○○
— わらび (@warabimoti3503) February 28, 2021
The list above is really clean. 3 Sylvan Library to make sure you can dig for your combo, maindeck Skyclave Apparition for additional removal and a solid backup plan if Depths isn’t your way out. I think this is a fantastic list to take through tournaments if you’re into GW Depths and due to that, I don’t have too much else to say about it. I’m a huge fan of GB Depths variants and GW Depths and they both have advantages and disadvantages.
There are some interesting ways to play this deck – as a midrange deck with a combo finish, or a combo deck that has a solid plan-B beatdown strategy. It really comes down to the player and how they feel about piloting it, but I think having the choice is pretty refreshing in a format that has many ‘solved’ archetypes.
Maverick looks to be in a pretty solid position. I’m a huge, huge fan of the format right now and really can’t put my finger on the ‘best’ version of Maverick. Each build has its pros and cons, but I will say that BANT has the most work to get up to speed with the others. A big congratulations to all those putting up results with the deck – it’s a damn good time to be a Maverick player.
Play fair, take care.
Previous Editions of Maverick Monthly:
December 2020 – Maverick Monthly
October & November 2020 – Maverick Monthly
September 2020 – Maverick Monthly
August 2020 – 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