So here we are. It’s June 2020, companions have been slowed, and Maverick is in a pretty interesting position. The deck never really had a matchup that was highly favoured. Maverick pilots are going into most matches knowing anything can happen, nothing is certain. I know this type of thinking can be applied to most decks, but I find it a little bit different for an archetype as fair as Maverick in a format as unfair as Legacy. No permission, minimal card manipulation, and victory only through combat damage. It’s great to see creature-based archetypes like Maverick are still taking out some tournaments in May 2020.
Below we have some great results from Green-White, Green-White-Black, 4-Colour Maverick and also BANT Depths.
Let’s get straight into it.
Weekly at Tongmeng (Shanghai, China) | Shen,yizheng | Decklist
Maindeck Lurrus of the Dream-Den?! I believe this isn’t only the first time I’ve seen Lurrus in a Maverick build, but also maindeck in a Legacy deck. Sadly, due to the bannings I will not get the chance to try this out, but it looks really fun. Aside from Lurrus, the creature base is pretty typical for GW Maverick, with Questing Beast as the top-end threat. The double up on Scavenging Ooze is fantastic in a Lurrus / Dreadhorde Arcanist / Tarmogoyf metagame and could even be correct post-companions. I like the choice of Qasali Pridemage over Knight of Autumn in this list as it has the added bonus of being brought back with Lurrus. Post-Lurrus, it’s still up to the pilot when deciding which is better. You can find some of the pros and cons in the FAQ section.
Shadowspear is a piece of equipment I’ve wanted to try out for some time. Maverick isn’t a deck that needs Batterksull as a mid-late game threat due to its high volume of big creatures, so Shadowspear seems like a great move in its place. Batterskull can be a little awkward at times, caught in your hand if your Stoneforge Mystic is killed on the spot. Shadowspear allows your 10/10+ Knight of the Reliquary to finish off the job through small defences that Maverick can have issues with, such as tokens from Young Pyromancer. Lifelink also should not be taken for granted as it can make combat math for your opponent quite complicated.
Yavimaya Hollow has come up a handful of times in Maverick, but I really like the choice here. With Lurrus around, Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push are seeing a ton of play. At the cost of a single G, Hollow allows you to effectively counter these spells and keep pressuring your opponent. Hollow also gives you some confidence attacking into open UB mana, as Ice-Fang Coatl is no match for instant-speed regeneration. There are so many 2-1s in Legacy right now; it’s really important for Maverick players to try out some new, high-value tech to keep up with their opponents.
Garruk Relentless is a nice flashback to simpler times, a planeswalker that protects itself and can wreak some havoc on a mid-game battlefield. I’ve been a huge fan of Garruk as it deals with a plethora of threats and passes the Arcanist test.
Soul-Guide Lantern is a nice piece of graveyard tech. It doesn’t hit both graveyards like Relic of Progenitus (which can really restrain the power level of your Knights and Ooze) and also has the ability to replace itself if exiling one card like Life from the Loam was enough. In a Lurrus-less meta, this still seems fine against Arcanist, Loam, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and some slow Reanimator starts.
MTG Huizhou 62nd Legacy Games | Jun Wang | Decklist
Jun took a pretty stock-standard GW Maverick list to a top-4 finish, but on closer inspection, we can see some nice choices that they’ve tweaked. 1 maindeck Sanctum Prelate isn’t out of the ordinary, but it’s really nice in the current meta of low to the ground Delver of Secrets and combo decks. Being able to cast it a turn earlier than most other decks that sometimes play it (Death & Taxes, Esper Hatebears) is a huge appeal for me, as a T2 Prelate can be devastating for your opponent (especially if they are on a combo deck).
Jun has also chosen to play Batterskull and Umezawas Jitte as their Stoneforge Mystic equipment package instead of Jitte and another cheap equipment. I don’t mind Batterskull when you’re also playing a maindeck Collector Ouphe, as the germ can still perform well if the Ouphe is so in play. If you’re running Jitte and a sword, Ouphe can be a little more awkward.
We’ve seen a mix of Chalice of the Void and Deafening Silence in the board for some time now, but I’ve only recently started playing with both over relying on just Deafening Silence. Chalice gives you a really flexible card against combo, being great T1 for 0, but tends to only get better as you process through the early turns of the game. It is also better against a larger range of the format – Silence being great against combo, but a little narrow outside of that. I wouldn’t think of bringing in Deafening Silence against Miracles or another UWx Control deck, but I would be thinking about Chalice.
MTGO Legacy Preliminary | Dreadnaught33 | Decklist
Good friend of the GreenSunsZenith Jono Yanik has had yet another great finish with Maverick, finishing in the Top 4 of a MTGO Legacy Preliminary.
This list is pretty spice as you don’t often seen 4C Maverick. Due to the mana demands, Jono has gone with a 2/3 split of Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch, as Hierarch is unable to produce black mana. I like playing 2 Bayou in any GWBx Maverick list and switching out Horizon Canopy for Nurturing Peatland. You still want green sources to cast early mana acceleration but also have enough black sources in the deck to not get Wasteland’ed out of the game early on. Jono has also put a single Plague Engineer in the maindeck as an extra way to remove a creature or neuter a go-wide strategy from his opponent. Maindeck Abrupt Decay is pretty standard right now, and a great way to make sure Delver, Tarmogoyf and Dreadhorde stay off the field.
Leovold, Emissary of Trest is a card I thoroughly enjoy playing with and provides just the right amount of pressure and value you need from some of your creatures. Leovold is typically at least a 2 for 1, outside of rare cases of non-targeting removal like Council’s Judgment or sweepers like Dead of Winter, Supreme Verdict or Terminus. Leo really pressures the blue decks from as early as T2, shutting down Brainstorm and making Ponder considerably worse.
Kaya, Orzhov Usurper has been overwhelmingly impressive for me in GWB Maverick. Let’s have a quick look at some of the permanents Kaya can take care of:
- Arcum’s Astrolabe
- Mox Diamond
- Chrome Mox
- Aether Vial
- Chalice of the Void
- Mother of Runes
- Delver of Secrets / Insectile Aberration
- Endless One
- Gilded Goose, Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch
- Great in general against tribal decks (Humans, Elves, Goblins)
- Food tokens
Her ability to exile cards is also great against:
- Life from the Loam
- Punishing Fire
- Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
- Dreadhorde Arcanist
- Snapcaster Mage
- Graveyard-orientated decks in general like Dredge and Reanimator
You can see from the above data (that’s probably still missing some very relevant points) how well she is positioned right now.
Lastly, a card I want to touch on that I really like seeing in the sideboards of Maverick is Chains of Mephistopheles. Most Maverick pilots probably don’t have this card in paper due to its cost, but I think more players should be taking advantage of it on MTGO. It may not be great alongside Sylvan Library or Tireless Tracker , but Chains is a great way at disrupting the gameplan of most blue players.
MTGO Legacy Challenge | Fixit89 | Decklist
FixIt played a pretty interesting 4C* list that also utilised a Stoneforge package (Jitte & Batterskull). Pretty similar to Jono’s list, FixIt has chosen to splash for Leovold with a Tundra in the manabase which is a really interesting choice. As the deck performs so much better with T1 mana acceleration, I would typically opt for Topical Island over Tundra, as you’re bound to get hands where you have the Tundra and also a Noble, Bird or Green Sun’s Zenith. Obviously, this worked out for FixIt, evident with their Top 32 finish in a Legacy Challenge.
Bojuka Bog is a card I’ve also gone back and forwards on. It’s graveyard hate that isn’t instant speed – unless you have an active Knight (and even then, it doesn’t really turn on until turn 3). However, with the current metagame of most graveyard decks being grindy, I’ve really enjoyed Bog in my board as a piece of graveyard interaction. There are a few different cards you can play to interact with graveyard decks, but making Knight just that much more of a utility boss is great.
I might change up Bog for something faster like Soul-Guide Lantern if reanimator players move away from Gyruda and go back to classic BR Reanimator with the changes to companion.
MTGO Legacy Preliminary | AlabasterWolfie | Decklist
Legacy na Quarentena in Brasil | Diego Ganev | Decklist
BANT Depths hasn’t seen too much play recently, most likely due to the increase in decks playing at least 1 Karakas. This didn’t stop Wolfie though, coming through with a Top 8 finish in a Legacy prelim. GW Depths is very close to my heart, the only non-Maverick deck to have a dedicated primer on the site. BANT Depths doesn’t play too differently, reinforcing the midrange plan with Oko, Thief of Crowns and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. I have seen some players make use of the blue splash to shore up their combo matchup through sideboard cards like Flusterstorm, Meddling Mage and Lavinia, but Wolf has opted for a pretty light splash.
Diego, on the other hand, is playing a Meddling Mage in the board to help against some of the decks that rely on 1 or 2 cards to either win the game or stop you from winning. I like how Diego has gone with a maindeck Noble Hierarch, great in the opening hand and just a nice 1-drop to find off an early GSZ if you’re looking to build out your mana. Don’t underestimate the power of exalted either, especially in a format filled with 3/3 Elks
I really like these builds. Gaddock Teeg in the maindeck gives you some form of combo hate, but the rest of the deck really resolves around the combo, or if that fails, beating face with huge, hard-to-remove creatures. Sylvan Safekeeper is an absolute house in this deck, a GSZ target that provides protection as soon as it comes into play.
I really don’t think there are many reasons why you wouldn’t be playing BANT over GW Depths right now when looking at the power of Uro and Oko. If you’re after a sideboard guide for BANT Depths, check out Dreadnaught33’s sideboard guide here.
What I’m playing this month:
I did a donation decklist stream with a GWR Maverick build that I really enjoyed playing. Having Pyroblast in the 75 felt amazing, nearly good enough to run in the maindeck due to the high volume of blue in the current meta. I really liked how this deck was built with just a very light splash, Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows exempt from the 75 entirely. Sadly, since the printing of Dreadhorde Arcanist, Punishing Fire just hasn’t been the same. It already was a pretty mana-intensive way to remove small creatures and finish off planeswalkers, so I don’t mind playing without it.
Klothys, God of Destiny was another really important card, playing a similar role of Kaya in the black build. Klothys is currently very hard for opponents to answer, with cards like Council’s Judgment being played at an all time low. I think I’ll be playing and streaming a fair amount more of GWR Maverick over the coming months as Pyroblast really has an effect on how some matchups shift *cough* Show and Tell *cough*.
Current positions of some cards:
You have to have a pretty good reason to play a non-green creature in Maverick, as it most likely takes the spot of another bullet that could be found through Green Sun’s Zenith. For me, Mirran Crusader is one of those cards right now. Against a large majority of the field, Mirran is just a True-Name Nemesis that clocks your opponent even quicker. If you’re playing equipment, Mirran only gets better (show me a better partnership than Jitte and double strike – I’ll wait) and even with exalted, can close out games with 2 or 3 swings.
Mother of Runes does a fair amount of work protecting it from Swords to Plowshares and Lightning Bolt, but with the amount of Decay, Oko, Ice-Fang, Baleful Strix and other green-based decks, Crusader is currently the best non-green beater for Maverick IMO.
Stoneforge and equipment in general are currently seeing an all-time low. Since the printing of Oko and the rise in efficient removal, Stoneforge and Batterskull just aren’t the heroes they once were for fair Magic players. There’s no worse feeling than playing a T2 Stoneforge, then spending your following turns getting Batterskull into play, only to be rendered useless by a deathtouch 1/1 or become a 3/3 Elk.
I praise those who’ve found a nice mix of 2 Stoneforge and 2 equipment pieces in their 5-0 decks above, but it’s a real slog to get as much value out of SFM compared to previous metagames. If I was going to play it, I think I’d build a BANT Maverick deck with both Oko and a Stoneforge package. If you can turn Stoneforge into a real threat once you’ve found your equipment and gained value off it, or even turn your equipment into a threat that deals the last 3 or 6 damage you need, then I think that’s a great way to build the deck.
It’s a little surreal to find myself thinking Teeg isn’t doing enough to find a spot in Maverick’s 75. He’s not the same disruptive bear he once was. New printings have allowed so many of the decks Teeg used to cripple to evolve and render Teeg almost useless. Most Miracles decks now run a mixture of Oko, Teferi and Dead of Winter, a deck I used to love having Teeg against due to shutting off big hitters like Jace, Supreme Verdict and Terminus.
If you’re looking to have a 2CMC bear for combo right now, Collector Ouphe is really just an all-round star. Ouphe shuts off Lotus Petal, LED, Chrome Mox, Mox Opal and Wishclaw Talisman against Storm decks, Astrolabe and Mox Diamond against some of the 3+ colour decks, and Aether Vial and equipment against the fair decks. It just offers so much more against a wider variety of decks where Teeg would not be relevant.
Maverick has had some decent finishes in May, but with Legacy back to mostly a pre-companion meta, I’m not too sure where the deck currently stands. I don’t believe Maverick has ever had a matchup that’s highly in your favour, but a large amount of very close, 55/45 match ups. I think players really need to get creative with the card selection.
Cards like Kaya and Vraska are great because they provide immediate value. They both deal with an opposing permanent but also stick around to hopefully at least eat another card from your opponent. Fun fact: If you sacrifice a clue made by Tireless Tracker to Vraska‘s +2 ability, Tracker still gets a +1/+1 counter.
Good luck, stay safe and healthy, and I’ll see you next month.
Previous Maverick Monthly Content:
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