Hello and welcome back to the Maverick Monthly – a breakdown of the Legacy Maverick archetypes and where each has found success over the past month. July has seen a resurgence in GWB and 4C variants, while GW and GWR have been left behind. No doubt there are still powerful things to be done across all archetypes, but it’s tough not to be splashing multiple colours with little to no downsides.
I hope you’re all well, doing OK, and finding some time for yourselves in this pretty surreal time. Let’s jump straight into it.
Table of Contents
GW Maverick is in a tough spot. It’s hard to not be splashing for additional colours, especially when you gain access to so many powerful removal spells and planeswalkers in black.
Achillies27 put it well in the GW Maverick discord:
One of big draws of a straightforward GW Maverick list is the consistency of the manabase. It’s a little easier to run the Dark Depths combo or some extra utility lands thanks to the double-up on basics and the 2-3 Savannah. I know there are some really skilled GW players who will continue to grind with the deck, and I commend you for that. But right now, it seems like splashing colours is very popular and powerful.
Here’s a GW Maverick list from Qilex who played in a recent Discord tournament. If you’re playing against a large amount of snow-based decks, I don’t mind moving Ramunap Excavator to the board as the Wasteland lock is likely not viable. I like the mix of options in 1-ofs in the board – my only consideration would be increasing the number of Deafening Silence. This is a card you want in your opening hand as much as possible against the decks where you board it in, so the more copies, the better. Chalice of the Void fits the same slot, so I like that Qilex has at least mixed their options when it comes to T1 interaction against combo.
Freundla24 | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
Look, this list is from August, but I wanted to show that GW Maverick still has what it takes to 5-0 a league. This list is pretty sweet; a maindeck Sword of Light and Shadow over Batterksull seems great as it’s cheaper and allows you to turn your creatures into threats more efficiently. In a metagame with so many removal spells, it’s not reliable to think Stoneforge Mystic is going to cheat in your 4/4 Germ – even if you’re running the full 4 copies.
The 1-of Once Upon a Time is interesting as you tend to see the full playset, which increases the chances of you having one to cast for free. Shadowspear is great out of the board when you’re wanting your Knight of the Reliquary to power through tokens and not allow your opponent to buy time.
Naosukesamurai | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
Really cool to see Naosuke trying out Fiend Artisan as a 2-of alongside an extensive package of targets.
Voice of Resurgence isn’t a Legacy staple, but you’re going to get some value when paired with Artisan. I’ve been a fan of trialing Voice in Artisan builds but I will admit, with Swords to Plowshares as one of the main removal spells in the format, you’re going to be left a little wanting at times. Voice was a standout against UR/RUG Delver, but it never was able to reach its full potential against the decks that usually had a Swords at the ready.
I haven’t seen Liliana, the Last Hope in the maindeck in Maverick for some time. But when you’re running 2 Bayou and 2 Birds of Paradise, it’s a little more realistic that you’ll have access to double black mana from as early as turn 2. Liliana is great against both creature-based decks and control strategies, as she can be a win condition on her own if left unchecked.
Maindeck Bojuka Bog has seen a rise in play over recent months, increasing the effectiveness of Knight of the Reliquary and your G1 matchups against Loam and Dredge. A mere 2 Wasteland is not something you see every day in Maverick. However, I don’t see this as unreasonable with Ramunap maindeck, a Ghost Quarter in place of the 3rd Wasteland and a current metagame with many basics around. A build like this drops your percentages on early wins thanks to Wasteland, but I feel this new take can really help you grind out against Snow, where you most likely board out some Wastelands.
Assassin’s Trophy takes the spot of Abrupt Decay in Samurai’s maindeck. This is a pretty interesting choice as Abrupt Decay has been very good in my experience, especially with Spell Snare running around. Trophy has strengths though, destroying threats like Hooting Mandrills, Thought Knot Seer and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and interrupting an opposing Dark Depths from turning into a game-ending 20/20.
I’m leaning towards a third Plague Engineer in the board due to the uptick in decks like Elves and Goblins. I’m finding my current board doesn’t have enough to bring in against creature-heavy matchups when I want to take out some dead maindeck spells.
Saito has been doing really well with the archetype, putting up consistent results with Abzan Maverick. Two maindeck Kunoros, Hound of Athreos is not something I’ve seen before, but it’s obviously a great way to turn off Dreadhorde Arcanist. It also makes the race against creature decks favorable thanks to lifelink and menace. Menace means Kunoros can’t be blocked by a single Ice-Fang, which allows you to attack into open mana more freely – an issue I’ve been facing against snow-based decks with unprotected threats like Knight.
It's has been great, my friend. It shuts down grave strategies by himself, while providing a body that passes through creatures like True-name, allowing to race a Delver, shutting Arcanist, while still being up to block something.
The problem is that you have to use it in a 1/2
— Vinicius Saito (SaitoSan) (@viniciusjuve) August 10, 2020
The Dark Depths combo is a hotly contested topic in Maverick – some players calling it win-more while others invite the backdoor win into their plan. The combo pieces apply some pressure on the deck’s manabase, but Once Upon a Time helps smooth things out. I’ve been a fan of Depths in the past, but I haven’t felt I’ve needed the combo to win my matches. Saito is also running 25 lands + Dark Depths to make sure he has the best chance of not running into mana issues.
One card I’ve really liked out of Saito’s sideboard in this build is Shriekmaw – especially brutal when you play Oath of Ghouls. In a deck with mana acceleration and Cradle, it’s not difficult to also cast Shriekmaw as early as turn 3.
Hundinggjornersen | Legacy League 5-0 | Decklist
Hund took a pretty standard GWB Maverick list through a 5-0 league. We don’t often see Council’s Judgment in the board these days, but it’s nice to have an out to Progenitus against N.O BANT and Elves. It’s fine as 1-for-1 removal, but sometimes you’d rather have a cheaper removal spell like Abrupt Decay.
Speaking of, I feel it’s safe to say you should be running some number of maindeck Engineers and Decays if you’re running the black splash. Sideboard cards are more open with Hund going for T1 interaction in Thoughtseize.
Achillies27 | Legacy Challenge Top 16 | Decklist
Achillies has dropped his GW Maverick list for now, adding black after coming back to Legacy after a small break.
Another 5-0 with this list, pretty good matchups though to be fair. That makes 3 5-0s since I returned to legacy! All of these cards are great. Kaya is amazing, Plague engineer is great, paths are great. pic.twitter.com/IQ1O5ncBA4
— Connery Knox (@achillies27) July 26, 2020
I really like how simple the sideboard is for mapping between matches. The 3 copies of Path to Exile are fantastic against RUG Delver, a deck that traditionally doesn’t run basic lands and has threats ranging from Delver to Hooting Mandrills. You also have the advantage of opponents opting for basics in games 2 & 3 to play around Wasteland, which makes Path even more effective.
I’ve really been enjoying GWB Maverick, as the maindeck access to Abrupt Decay, Plague Engineer and Kaya allows me to compete with many of the creature heavy decks in the format right now. Achillies is another fan of Once Upon a Time and has incorporated it into this list at the cost of a land, a Green Sun’s Zenith, a Noble and a Library.
Mother of Runes has also been a card many Maverick players have been dropping from their lists. Sadly, MoR just isn’t that great right now, with so many decks having access to multiple ways to deal with her in cards like Dreadhorde Arcanist, Oko, Thief of Crowns, Plague Engineer and Dead of Winter. Mother is great when you put your opponent in a position where they have to initiate removal when they don’t want to, but I feel that role has switched. Opponents now have multiple ways of dealing with a Mother or your threat first, then dealing with the other thanks to cards like Oko and Dreadhorde.
Many of the big Punishing Maverick players have been on 4c versions of the deck. I played Punishing Maverick 3 times in July with 2 4-1 finishes with this list.
Pyroblast, Red Elemental Blast and Klothys, God of Destiny feel great right now, and are huge reasons why you should be playing the red splash. However, Mark has shown that adding an additional colour can reap some huge rewards. I feel that a banning to a card like Oko would initiate some traction back to GWR and away from the blue splash in Maverick altogether. So for those Punishing Maverick enthusiasts… there is hope.
StrasDaddy | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
Mark has been putting up some really impressive results with his 4C-Maverick list.
He’s dropped down on Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to make room for other threats, and also due to the high non-creature spells (17) found in the deck (thanks to additional removal in Oko, Thief of Crowns and Punishing Fire).
Meddling Mage out of the board really helps the deck with the combo matchups like Doomsday and Show & Tell. I really like keeping the creature count high and making sure your disruptive pieces can also apply pressure. This is something I’ve been missing with the switch from Ethersworn Canonist to Deafening Silence in most sideboards.
Klothys has been a huge threat for Maverick – a near-impossible threat for some decks to deal with once it’s hit the battlefield. Mark’s Green Sun’s Zenith package is pretty minimalistic, not running cards like Scryb Ranger, Sylvan Safekeeper, Hexdrinker or Questing Beast.
It’s great to see Stoneforge Mystic back in action, especially in a deck with so many mana dorks. This means you can turn your early mana accelerates into threats in the mid-to-late game thanks to the equipment package at the ready. Oko can also turn these 0/1 creatures into real pressure as you find the need for their mana-production less needed as games go long.
Here are some comments from Mark in the Punishing Maverick discord;
Why did you go with 6 mana dorks?
5 mana-dorks vs 6 is mostly about the number of 3 drops I have to run (8 right now) and a little less about fixing mana. I think you’ll want to have a 2nd blue source if you run Oko maindeck, but if you sideboard Oko, you can add Oko against decks that don’t play Wasteland.
I think you’ll want the ability to fetch a 2nd blue land to land Oko. When I ran 1 Bayou, 4 Deathrite Shaman, 1 Noble, 1 Birds, I often struggled to land my black sideboard card (Zealous P, Engineered Plague, etc.) against Delver, taxes mirrors. Losing the Bayou early with a shaky keep was always scary.
I like having two sources if I plan to use the card against unfair decks. If you still dig Mother of Runes (I don’t blame you, it’s an amazing card), your 1-drop count is probably okay. Any game where I miss a 1-drop, I feel like I am more likely to lose. The 6 mana-dorks is mostly about helping ensure I have a T1 play, and that I can land a 3-drop.Turn 2 Oko is kinda crazy, so if you can test non-Mom and more mana dorks, you might like it.
How do you feel about the Dark Depths combo in Maverick?
The Dark Depths/Thespian’s Stage combo is something I’m not sold on quite yet, but it has been pretty good. It’s hard to evaluate if it’s too inconsistent to be good, or if the games you win from it (where you wouldn’t have won otherwise) make it worth making the room and dealing with the dead draw.”
I believe Mark finished with 5-6 trophies for the month, so he’s obviously onto something very strong here. If you’re wanting to hear more about Mark’s builds and thoughts on GWR Maverick right now, check out the first episode of Inside the Maverick.
Note: Apologies for the volume, this will be rectified before the next Inside the Maverick with Achillies27
What I’m playing this month:
I’ve been trying out a few different versions of Maverick but have had the most success with GWB. I’ve been playing around with Achillies GWB list and have been really enjoying it. Leyline of the Void can steal some games compared to other graveyard hate. In one of our matches, we mulled to 2 cards (Leyline, land) and were able to stumble out winners against Reanimator.
Maverick is in an interesting spot. It’s great to see so many players testing 4-5 colour lists but at the same time, seeing solid results from some of the 2-3 colour versions. I think if you’re prepared to really grind against BUG/Snow control, have a solid plan against RUG Delver and build your deck to really harness consistency, then you have some results to look forward to.
Previous Editions of 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