Hello and welcome back to the June edition of the Maverick Monthly!
I hope you’re all safe and doing well during this pretty surreal time in our lives. June was an interesting month for Legacy Maverick. With the resurgence of a pre-companion meta, snow-based decks aren’t as dominant as many (including myself) thought they would be. In fact, the online meta has been pretty open, and RUG Delver has been the most consistent deck I’ve faced on MTGO leagues.
Let’s dive right in to see what’s been happening for each Maverick archetype.
Table of Contents
– GW Discord Discussions
– Abzan Maverick Discord Discussions
– Punishing Maverick Discord Discussions
7.What I’ve been playing
9.Previous Editions of Maverick Monthly
El-Pollo-Lolo | 5-0 Legacy League | Decklist
It’s safe to say Once Upon a Time is now a Maverick staple, at least in the GW variant. Pollo also went with a Stoneforge Mystic package boycotting Batterksull , opting for Umezawas Jitte and 2 swords in Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of Fire & Ice.
Both of these swords give protection from Ice-Fang and Oko (but Oko can Elk the sword), which is relevant in the current metagame. Both of these swords also provide card advantage if they connect with your opponent.
Sword of Feast and Famine is a great way to not only apply pressure through opposing Tarmogoyfs and Hooting Mandrills, but also create a huge mana advantage. With RUG Delver rising in popularity, Winter Orb is seeing more play, and the sword is a great way to mitigate its power.
I’ve moved Ramunap Excavator to the sideboard, as recurring Wasteland is currently not a viable strategy due to the abundance of basic-heavy manabases. However, it still has benefits, allowing you to draw a card each turn off Horizon Canopy, have a reoccurring blocker in Dryad Arbor, or even just make sure you hit your mana every turn thanks to fetchlands.
Quick Tip: You can use Ramunap to get multiple triggers off ETB lands like Bojuka Bog or return multiple legendary creatures with Karakas. Thanks to your own Wasteland, you can target either one of these and then play them from the graveyard to get additional uses out of them, thanks to Ramunap.
It’s awesome to see 4 Choke in the board. Pollo obviously put a pretty high amount of value on this card and wanted to make sure they saw it as early as possible. This way, if counter-magic takes down the first one, another wouldn’t be too far behind. Although many blue decks can rely on non-island basics and Astrolabe to cast their blue spells, I believe the meta is in a good position for Choke to have a massive effect on games. Delver decks have a pretty hard time dealing with it once it’s on the board and off the stack (look out for Petty Theft from UR Delver and Return to Nature from RUG).
Lastly, Faerie Macabre is a nice choice of graveyard hate as it synergies really well with Once Upon a Time. If you’re currently looking to have hate for Life from the Loam, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and general targeted interaction like Arcanist, Faerie seems like a great choice. Here’s a previous article where you can read more about the different types of graveyard hate Maverick has on offer.
GW Maverick Discord topics:
Discord user Magthrok asked Legacy specialist BalenciagaNBoba about the SFM package in GWB Maverick and their choice of maindeck Gaddock Teeg over Collector Ouphe.
“How are you feeling about the Stoneforge Mystic package at the moment? I mainly lurk in the Abzan channel because I run GWB with an essentially-GW maindeck, followed by a heavier black splash out of the side. Recently, I dropped the SFM package and it seems like most are down on it.” – Magthrok
“I love the SFM package as it makes every creature a threat. Every single mana dork is a threat when its carrying an equipment.” – BalenciagaNBoba
Stoneforge is far from the Legacy all-star it once was. Its power level and the effectiveness of the equipment package has dropped a fair amount due to recent printings like Oko, Thief of Crowns, Ice-Fang Coatl and Dreadhorde Arcanist. The upside of not running SFM is that it opens 4-6 slots within your deck to either play more maindeck removal or green creatures to increase the power of Green Sun’s Zenith.
For those still playing SFM, I’d enjoying hearing from you in the comments below regarding your current feelings on its position in the format. To give SFM some credit, it allows every creature to be a real threat once equipment are in play. Without the equipment package, your mana-dorks and some of your smaller creatures tend to feel ineffective in the mid-late game.
Gaddock Teeg vs. Collector Ouphe
“Any reason why you’d run Teeg over Ouphe? Teeg just seems like such a dead card at the moment (I don’t even have it in my 75 now) whereas Ouphe is AMAZING against a huge swath of the field.” – Magthrok
“I like Teeg as anti-storm/Force of Will/Sneak Attack tech. I also board it out a lot.” – BalenciagaNBoba
Gaddock Teeg can still win matches on its own, especially in game 1. Last week, I put out an article looking at Teeg in the Legacy metagame, and how Ouphe has slowly been going after his maindeck slot.
Does GW have a sweeper?
One of the downsides of not splashing a colour in GW Maverick is you don’t have access to any good-quality sweeper effects.
Holy Light and Marrow Shards are two that were brought up, but aren’t the greatest choices, as you can tell. Holy Light hits your own mana dorks and doesn’t really accomplish anything against decks like Death & Taxes.
Marrow Shards was a card I tried out as a hedge against Young Pyromancer decks, but sadly, never came up as a relevant spell during my testing. If you’re going to play GW, you just have to work on the strengths of the deck and move away from playing fringe cards to shore up some of the archetype’s weaknesses, like answering go-wide strategies.
If you’re looking for some GW Maverick content, itsJulian took GW Maverick through a league last month with an interesting Field of the Dead build.
AngelicExecution | 27th MTGO Challenge | Decklist
Angelic took a GWB Maverick build with a heavy black splash maindeck including Kunoros, Hound of Athreos, Vraska, Golgari Queen and 2 Kaya, Orzhov Usurper to a 27th finish in an MTGO Challenge.
Kunoros seems like a great meta choice right now. It stops Dreadhorde Arcanist, Uro and Snapcaster Mage (although, we haven’t been seeing too much of the mage recently), and also applies pretty fast pressure in the form of a 6-point life swing that can’t be blocked by a lone chump blocker. It can also be saved by Karakas, but this means it can be nurtured through an opposing Karakas, too.
Maindeck planeswalkers are the norm right now when splashing black, with Vraska and Kaya both great at giving Maverick some real value engines. Both of these planeswalkers can deal with a threat then stick around for even more value over the following turns. I spoke about the power of both of these planeswalkers in GWB Maverick in April’s Monthly Maverick and found there’s a huge amount of targets for Kaya’s -1 ability. One nice thing about news cards as well, is that players sometimes don’t even read them.
Titania, Protector of Argoth is something special. I’m a huge fan of her myself, however, I cringe at the fact that she’s a 5CMC threat that dies to Lightning Bolt. But she impacts the board immediately, getting back a land which, if it’s a fetchland or Wasteland, also means you’re getting another 5/3 threat very soon.
SaitoSan | 9th MTGO Challenge | Decklist
HeyNongMan | MTGO League | Decklist (Same as SaitoSan’s)
Saito brought something new to the GWB table with his Oath of Ghouls build that finished in the Top 10 of an MTGO Challenge. Oath is a nice piece of tech to fight against some of the value-orientated decks of the format, like Oko and Delver.
This is generally going to be one-sided, as your main removal spell in Swords to Plowshares exiles opposing creatures. If your opponent’s creatures hit the bin, Maverick has some graveyard manipulation in Scavenging Ooze, Klothys, God of Destiny and Kaya.
Satio’s also a big fan of the Dark Depths combo, something you see in Maverick from time to time as a backdoor strategy. It makes the manabase a little weaker, but it’s arguable that the amount of wins you can get out of nowhere thanks to Marit Lage makes it worth any awkward sequencing in your early turns. One card that isn’t in these lists is Questing Beast – in fact, no creature above 3CMC is to be seen.
Council’s Judgment isn’t seeing too much play in Legacy, but it’s a great way to deal with new, hard-to-remove threats like Klothys, God of Destiny. I’m actually a little surprised to see how many decks still can’t deal with an onboard Klothys. I thought more white decks would have picked up Judgment or Celestial Purge in their board by now.
Shout out to Saito for reppin’ the GreenSunsZenith merch! It means a hell of alot to see the support come through the different channels I have setup to support the costs behind running the site. I’ve just updated the GreenSunsZenith Patreon as well to try and give as much as I can to the community.
Ready to come back to paper action after all this mess is over! Miss the Gathering so much!
Let's keep playing fair magic!@DougesOnTwitch t-shirt is smooth, my friend, great quality, congrats! pic.twitter.com/6m6uyhS0JN
— Vinicius Saito (SaitoSan) (@viniciusjuve) July 9, 2020
Poriden | 3rd / 12th MTGO Challenges | Decklist
Firstly, a huge congratulations to Poriden on their Top 4 and Top 16 finishes in the MTGO Challenge. Their list for the two events was very similar, the only difference being a switch in fetchlands (3 Wooded Foothills / 3 Verdant Catacombs) and a sideboard change switching the 2 Pithing Needle / 1 Plague Engineer.
I also like the 5 duals (including 2 Bayou / 2 Savannah) in the manabase. I’ve been cut off black mana too many times from opposing Wastelands and believe the deck should have at least 3 sources of black in their manabase.
Poriden’s list wasn’t too different to what I’d currently consider a traditional GWB Maverick list. What really excites me is that we’re currently seeing a fair amount of Maverick decks only 1 or 2 cards different from a pretty stock shell. This is great for recording results over time, as Maverick lists in the past have been a little further away from one another.
I’m trying to find out who Poriden is to throw a few questions their way, so if you know, please tell me!
Ozymandias17 | 5-0 Legacy League | Decklist
Maindeck hand disruption? Very cool to see Loam / Legacy specialist Matt Vook take his GWB Maverick list to a 5-0 finish. He made some really interesting choices, with 3 Inquisition of Kozilek and 2 Dark Confidant in the maindeck, but no Gaea’s Cradle or Mother of Runes. Inquisition seems pretty strong, as it allows you to disrupt some combo decks in the early games, take a loan threat from a delver deck, or clear the way for an incoming creature. I like the idea of being able to take an Oko from the hand of an opponent before it can take over the board.
Got a 5-0 with this list. Took a Maverick list and played IoK over Mom since I think it's really underpowered. Discard was great maindeck. Might try to fit a swamp into the list since not having one lost me a game I would have otherwise won. pic.twitter.com/RlSe6KvnHf
— Matthew (@Ozymandias172) June 10, 2020
GWB Maverick Discord topics:
Why is everyone on 3 Mother of Runes and not the full playset?
Cpt-Qc had some great points, claiming they liked 3 Mother + 1 Sylvan Safekeeper as you can tutor it through Green Sun’s Zenith.
– First Plague Engineer hit
– Then Wrenn & Six
– Now it’s Oko + black splash (possible Plague Engineer / Toxic Deluge / Dead of Winter)
Plus, you can just run any evasive creatures and it’ll be the same thing most of the time. Some people have started playing Hexdrinker, for example.
The points above are a great representation of how the format has shifted, and targeted remove isn’t the main way most midrange decks are dealing with creatures. Sure, Swords to Plowshares, Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push are part of the meta, but as sweeper effects increase, Mother‘s effectiveness drops.
How are you guys feeling about Kaya, Orzhov Usurper out of the SB these days?
Magthrok found it really useful against Painter builds with Goblin Welder & Goblin Engineer. You’re able to hit them on both axis by taking away their graveyard as a resource when relevant, and also exiling permanents such as Welder, Grindstone and Lotus Petal.
Kaya doesn’t really have a dead matchup other than combo like UG OmniTell. The extra 2 life each turn can really help against decks like RUG Delver, where the lifegain turns into extra time for you to find answers. Kaya just lines up really well with the current metagame of Delver and Astrolabe.
How does everyone feel about our major GY options post-companion changes, specifically LOTV vs. Macabre vs. Surgical?
The big talking point here was if Faerie Macabre was just the best option if you’re also playing Once Upon a Time, but otherwise a good mix is what you should be running (Leyline of the Void, Surgical Extraction, Spellbomb, 2nd Ooze). If you’re having concerns about your graveyard hate, check out this article for some ideas.
Punishing Maverick didn’t have any top finishes in June, but archetype hero Mark Strassman has been having some success with a 4C variant.
This list includes Oko, Thief of Crowns (how could you, Mark?) and Meddling Mage (that’s better, Mark), which each help against a plethora of matchups. Mark’s also found Meddling Mage to be a great piece of disruption against Show and Tell, which has been popping up recently and is a significant up-hill climb for Maverick. Mother of Runes is another notable miss from this list as well- a card once a staple in the deck now starting to be pushed out thanks to current shifts in removal packages.
Punishing Maverick Discord:
Thalia maindeck vs. SFM maindeck / Thalia sideboard
Daddy Oliver wanted to know where the Punishing Maverick community stands on Thalia maindeck vs. SFM maindeck / Thalia sideboard – Daddy Oliver
Thalia has been making her way back into the maindeck of many GWR Maverick lists with the drop in popularity for Punishing Fire. I know several players who’ve increased the amount of mana dorks in their deck have also included SFM to ensure they can be threats in the mid-late game. I believe Thalia is needed maindeck alongside Teegand/orOuphe to keep combo at bay in G1.
Punishing Maverick Quick Tips:
- Using a Swords to Plowshares on your opponent’s creature is another way to trigger a Punishing Fire to return from your graveyard. – Daddy Oliver
- If you’re playing against Klothys, you can respond to the trigger target by casting Punishing Fire, then returning it to hand once the trigger has resolved thanks to your opponent gaining some life.
KungPowPow | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
Kung has a pretty cool list here, with a bunch of 1-ofs that really excite me. 1 Hexdrinker, 1 Leovold and 1 Kaya in the maindeck gives you a few different angles to attack and pressure your opponent. I like the 2/3 Bird/Noble split which plays around Plague Engineer and gives you some time when needed against Delver. This deck only has the one Tropical Island to cast the Leo off, but I think that’s OK as you have the 5 mana dorks and GSZ to get it onto the field. Chains in the board is a real heavy hitter against Brainstorm decks but sadly, you don’t often see it in Maverick due to its price in paper.
Samu_27 | MTGO League 5-0 | Decklist
This deck looks insanely fun to play. Samu is technically playing a 5C Maverick list here (Leyline of the Void), but I’m going to class this as a 4C good-stuff Maverick deck. I really like the mix of Swords to Plowshares, Lightning Bolt and Oko as maindeck removal.
Bolt currently takes preference over Punishing Fire as the premier red removal spell in GWR Maverick. It deals with Arcanist while giving the deck reach to kill opposing walkers or finish off opponents. I’ve been having difficulty against fast Delver starts where they have the counter for your first and only removal spell, and your clock on the ground can’t catch up to the aerial attacks.
Wait a second. 1 Knight of the Reliquary? No Thalia, Teeg or Ouphe in the maindeck? This build is very aggressive, looking to land a threat from as early as turn 1, then keep building out the board with threats until your opponent cannot deal with them all. Combo is going to be tough, which is reflected by the amount of combo hate in the sideboard. This is a more aggressive build of Maverick that you could try out if you don’t have many combo players in your local Legacy scene.
Tarmogoyf in Legacy Maverick isn’t something you often see these days. It’s a nice, cheap beater but it doesn’t offer any disruption. Elvish Reclaimer on the other hand can be a great clock AND allows you to change up and use it as a disruptive tool. For opponents who rely on Bolt to deal with creatures, Goyf can be hard to remove as it tends to be at least a 3/4 creature. As this build as taken a more aggressive approach to the archetype, Tarmogoyf seems like a great choice.
The Blood Moons are really interesting in the board – something you don’t see too often out of Maverick that tends to run only 2-3 basics itself. But on closer inspection, we can see a playset of Elvish Reclaimer alongside the 4 Noble Hierarch. Reclaimer is unique in that you don’t need to sacrifice a specific land like Knight of the Reliquary which can only make use of Forests and Plains. This means you can land a Blood Moon, then Reclaimer can find the basics you’re missing over the next couple of turns.
Friend of the Zenith Jono Yanik (aka. Dreadnaught33) took down a league with Applejacks!
For those not familiar with the deck, Orcish Lumberjack allows you to have some very explosive turn-2 plays. You’ve heard of Black Lotus? How about casting a Lumberjack on turn 1, then following it up with a turn-2 Titania, getting back the land you just sacrificed? The deck plays much like the Dryad Titan builds we’re seeing in Legacy right now, but as explained, with a small twist. Jono streams most weeks, taking fair green decks (Loam, Maverick, Titan) through leagues on Twitch.
Allosaurus Shepherd has caught the eyes of a few Maverick players since being spoiled in Jumpstart. a 1CMC creature than can not only protect your creatures from counter-magic but also Green Sun’s Zenith, Sylvan Library and other green non-creature spells (uncounterable Assassin’s Trophy or Choke anyone?).
I’m going to cut right to the chase and say this card looks like a really nice fit in Elves, but doesn’t really sit well with me as a creature Maverick has been waiting for.
1. Mana cost:
1CMC – A 1/1 for the cost of a G that cannot be countered and stops your other green spells from being countered is pretty special. If this was even one mana higher at 1G I don’t think it would be receiving the same amount of hype for green decks in Legacy.
2. Allosaurus Shepherd can’t be countered:
Creatures that can’t be countered set up to be quite powerful, especially in a format such as Legacy, where counter-filled blue decks dominate the format. Chalice on 1? No worries. Know your opponent just flipped a Daze or Force of Will to their Delver? We can still jam this. Counterbalance isn’t seeing too much play right now, but having the ability to get yourself out of a lock is a huge appeal.
3. Green spells you control can’t be countered:
This is arguably the best text on the card. Whenever I see blue decks play against Elves on blue decks, it’s Glimpse of Nature, Natural Order and sometimes Green Sun’s Zenith that have big targets on their back. For Maverick, there are a few decks that have to deal with Sylvan Library on the stack, or hope they can race me and make it ineffective. With a Shepherd in play, I can safely land a Library or green planeswalker without having to think about countermagic. But I may have to take removal into consideration.
4. Power & Toughness (1/1)
Shepherd is open to pretty much every removal spell Legacy has to offer. It’s going to be much more effective against decks like UG OmniTell than it is against UR or RUG Delver. Unfortunately, your opponent is most likely going to have removal ready for Shepherd.
5. Activated ability
N/A for Maverick – I don’t see myself spending 6 mana to make this guy a 5/5.
Maverick hasn’t actively played around with Vexing Shusher in the past, and Cavern of Souls only sees a small amount of play these days. Gaddock Teeg has done some solid work in the past to keep your spells safe from Force of Will, but Maverick has never really pushed hard on un-counterability. Veil of Summer is also an interesting card to compare with Shepherd. However, Veil needs you to have spare mana open to cast it, something that’s not easy to do when trying to play on curve with Maverick. It’s going to be exciting to see if someone does find a list that wants Shepherd, but I’m not going to be betting on it.
What I’m playing this month:
I’ve been tinkering around with a few different builds. I’ve been putting some time into Fiend Artisan, which has been promising in a GWB build.
Being able to tutor for Plague Engineer has been the biggest advantage (I was able to take out a Noble Hierarch and Blighted Agent against Infect on a board I was otherwise dead to). I also played around with some value creatures like Voice of Resurgence and Renegade Rallier, which allowed me to take advantage of the sacrifice effect of Artisan. It was pretty awesome to use my graveyard as a resource and return a Sylvan Library or Qasali Pridemage from the graveyard with Rallier. You can find all my streams with this build on my Youtube channel (find match timestamps and info in the description).
It’s great to see how Maverick is becoming a little more popular every month. Looking at new users through my various analytics tools, it’s really refreshing to not only see returning users, but also a bunch of new faces come onto the platform. I think the Discord also deserves a huge shout out for being so welcoming. It’s great to find some content I can integrate from the various archetype channels within the group.
As always, play fair, play well, and I’ll see you next month.
Previous Editions of Maverick Monthly:
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