Maverick Monthly: October & November 2020 Edition

Maverick Monthly

Welcome back to the October and November edition of the Maverick Monthly – a recap on where the Legacy Maverick archetypes are positioned in the metagame, which versions have been performing the best, and which have fallen out of favour.

October was a little quieter than usual, with just Green-White Maverick and Abzan putting up results. So I delayed this piece to extend coverage to include November results.

Thankfully, there’s a fair amount – so let’s get right into it.

Table of Contents

1. Green-White Maverick
2. Abzan Maverick
3. Punishing Maverick
4. BANT Maverick
3. What I’ve Been Playing
4. Conclusions
5. Previous Editions of Maverick Monthly

Green-White Maverick

MatsOle | 5-0 Legacy League | Decklist

MatsOle is, as most are aware, a very experienced Legacy player who’s taken his GW Maverick list to a league 5-0.

Gilded Goose over Birds of Paradise is a really interesting choice as mana dork #5. I believe it’s due to the mid to late game advantage of having a small mana sink and the benefit of incremental life gain. Gilded Goose can also block aggressive creatures like Delver of Secrets and Goblin Lackey without having to trade. The life gain from the food tokens is also relevant in a format currently dominated by Insectile Arbitrations and 3/3 elks, and can help you stay out of range of a lethal Lightning Bolt.

Skyclave Apparition is one of the newest cards that’s made its way into Maverick, and I believe it’s here to stay. I’ve had some game-play with Apparition and it’s been phenomenal. Being able to turn a 3/2 Delver into a 1/1 creature or an Oko or Uro into a vanilla 3/3 has been fantastic. The flexibility of Apparition is what really pushes this card. I’ve already removed permanents from Sylvan Library to Aether Vial and its resolution was a defining moment of each game.

Skyclave Apparition Winds of Abandon

Winds of Abandon out of the board is a really interesting choice. I’m still not sure if I want to be playing something like another Path to Exile for the faster decks like Delver, but having a 2CMC removal spell is great against Urza Echo and Eldrazi decks with Chalice of the Void. In the longer games, it’s a huge advantage to be able to wipe one side of the board.

Hexdrinker is a card I’ve been really impressed with. It’s not often you get to Green Sun’s Zenith so early for a threat that if left for a turn, might be un-answerable for your opponent. My only tip for players wanting to play Hexdrinker is be patient. Wait for the right moment where you know you can either make it a 4/4 with protection from instants or protect it in the meantime with a card like Mother of Runes.

Mats has also always been a huge advocate of Sylvan Library, and that hasn’t changed here with 3 copies. I feel Sylvan Library is key for Maverick to keep up with the value decks of the format right now. Against snow control, you’re going to be able to be quite aggressive with card draw in the early-mid game. And because of this, you want to make sure you see a copy of Library in your early turns. The best part of running 3 copies is you’re going to see it more regularly in your opening hand and early draws than running 1 or 2 copies. You can also use the first one to make sure you aren’t drawing into your additional copies.

GSZStore

AlexWest | Top 20 Legacy Challenge | Decklist

Alex took his GW list to a Top 20 finish; a maindeck with not only Questing Beast, but also Shifting Ceratops and Thrun, the Last Troll . What a lineup. This is a much higher curve than most lists but obviously worked out well – a move that I think would give you a much better G1 against decks like Snow and Delver.

Questing Beast Shifting Ceratops Thrun, the Last Troll

Questing Beast is currently the curve-topper that’s been seeing the most amount of play. Haste is huge – it can’t be blocked by Ice-Fang and Plague Engineer and allows you to pressure your opponent’s life total and planeswalkers at the same time. Being Legendary means you can also save it from removal thanks to Karakas, or reset if it’s been turned into an elk.

Shifting Ceratops has the added bonus of being uncounterable and accessing the skies thanks to reach. Pro-blue is very relevant in a format filled with Coatl, Oko, Jace, Teferi and Uro, allowing you to make sure your punches hit hard.

Thrun is actually my favourite card in Magic. It was one of the first creatures I saw when entering the game, and I’ve appreciated it ever since. Thrun is the toughest of the 3 to remove as it cannot be targeted by any removal and can be saved from sweepers thanks to Karakas. The big issue for Thrun is getting damage through Young Pyromancer tokens or defensive Uro’s.

Elvish Reclaimer also joined Hexdrinker as a cheap, aggressive creature that gives you a little more flexibility with its activated ability.

It’s also interesting to see Alex channel his inner D&T and move towards Spirt of the Labyrinth to fight against blue decks. Thalia isn’t as effective as she used to be, so pivoting towards a plan to stifle your opponent’s ability to draw additional cards each turn is a great strategy. Maverick has traditionally been a great deck to grind with, but recent printings have really pushed it out of favour against decks like Snow and BUG Zenith.

Most of your cards are 1:1 trades outside Sylvan Library or Knight of Autumn, which means you’re likely running out of cards while your opponents could be doing the exact opposite. It never feels great using a Swords to Plowshares on a creature like Ice-Fang Coatl after they’ve replaced it with a fresh card. The 3 power of Spirit also lines up with with the current metagame, putting up a better fight than Thalia against Dreadhorde Arcanist and elks.  Spirit turns off your own Library, but this is something Maverick players are pretty used to (Gaddock Teeg & Green Sun’s Zenith, Collector Ouphe and equipment), and thankfully, doesn’t come up too often.

Make sure to use the draw in your opponent’s turn if you’re also running Tireless Tracker or Horizon Canopy and have a Spirit in play.




Abzan Maverick

Achillies27 | 2nd Place Legacy Challenge | Decklist | 5-0 League | Decklist | 5-0 League | Decklist

Achillies27 and results with Maverick: name a better duo – I’ll wait. Achillies has been trying out some spice with Kaya, Ghost Assassin and now Nissa of Shadowed Boughs. From what I’ve seen, Kaya has been great at creating card advantage and potentially resetting cards like Knight of Autumn or Plague Engineer.

Connery has also been testing different numbers in removal – either a 3/3 spilt of maindeck Swords to Plowshares and Abrupt Decay (with a Swords in the board) or a 4/3 split to have a better G1 against decks like RUG Delver.

Achillies has really been making a mark on the Maverick community, with his lists becoming the stock go-to (as you’ll see in the results below).

5-0 Legacy Leagues

LoggySD | Decklist | Klarostorix | Decklist | Lightless0624 | Decklist | Lardolux | Decklist | Stuuch | Decklist | Sakuragi21722749 | Decklist

I thought I’d bundle these 5-0 lists together and talk about some of the differences between them.

Choke has a card that has lost popularity over the past few months due to Astrolabe, but it’s always refreshing to see it tucked away in a sideboard. One of the other big issues is the increase in cheap threats that you need to instantly answer. This means you’re spending more time answering the board and can’t afford to take a turn to play a card like Choke. If you’re follow up to an Oko or a Dreadhorde Arcanist is a Choke, you’ll probably have a hard time coming back from the advantage these cards create.

For more flexibility in the board, you could try Ethersworn Canonist over Deafening Silence. Deafening Silence isn’t great against a deck like Elves, but Canonist can really stifle their ability to go wide. The main issue here is the difference in CMC. Maverick has a huge amount of play on turn 2 (Thalia, Teeg, Ouphe) but can often lose the game before these cards hit the field. This is where Deafening Silence is such a huge advantage, as it increases the amount of T1 disruption. Chalice is a good example of another powerful turn-1 play against combo decks playing Lotus Petal and Lion’s Eye Diamond.

Ethersworn Canonist Deafening Silence

I think it’s fair to say Elvish Reclaimer is the most powerful 1CMC green creature in Legacy right now. It’s a real threat that boasts some great utility in the right build, as seen by the new GW Reclaimer deck in the format. It’s always interesting to see it in Maverick lists that aren’t embracing its full value (Bojuka Bog). But I think that just gives you an idea of how good it can be, even in a traditional list.

Garruk Relentless is a planeswalker I really admire but haven’t seen recently in Maverick lists. He does everything you want: protect himself, provide some virtual card advantage and (hopefully) assist you in winning the game. Flipping Garruk is something that happens quite often, so the ability to search for a silver bullet like Plague Engineer is really powerful.

Nissa of Shadowed Boughs

Nissa of Shadowed Boughs is a planeswalker I have no experience with, so can’t really comment on her. But it’s great to see she’s had some sideboard play in successful lists. It’s tough to play her when you have access to Vraska, Golgari Queen and Kaya, Ghost Assassin, but at least we’re seeing players give her a run and see how she performs.

It’s good to see a mix of graveyard hate from Leyline of the Void and Surgical Extraction to Faerie Macabre. If you’re not sure which is best, you should check our the primer on graveyard hate for Maverick.

Lastly, Gaddock Teeg has been in and out of 75s since the printing of Collector Ouphe and a shift in the meta away from Terminus and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. However, the past few leagues I’ve played have left me feeling like I need to play Teeg again. Terminus and Jace are making a comeback, and decks like Urza Echo have a very hard time beating Teeg. The best part of playing Teeg in your board is you have essentially 5 copies when boarded in thanks to Green Sun’s Zenith.

Punishing Maverick

Raxraxraxraxrax | 4-1 Paper League | Decklist

Rax took a sweet GWR Maverick list through a paper league running maindeck Lightning Bolts and Klothy’s, God of Destiny. With Arcanist and elks all over the format, Bolt is currently much better positioned compared to Punishing Fire. Punishing Fire becomes very slow when played alongside Thalia, a creature that’s made its way back into the maindeck of most GWR builds to have a better G1 against combo and control. Being mana-efficient is very important right now, so the move towards Lightning Bolt as additional maindeck removal is a smart choice.

Klothys, God of Destiny Lightning Bolt

Having access to 5 copies of Klothys is also brutal for these snow decks in G1. I played GWR Maverick through a league (VOD here with timestamps) and really liked the power of Kloyths. It kept me in games I had no business being in and allowed me to attack my opponent through a different route of straight combat damage. Blast effects out of the board are also a huge appeal for splashing red, as fighting on the stack is something Maverick isn’t well-known for. Blasting an Oko on the stack is hands down the best way for Maverick to deal with it.




BANT Maverick

Kazurban | 5-0 Legacy League | Decklist

Hey, this is me 🙂 I had a really fun time playing something a little different in BANT Maverick. The huge appeal for this deck is that you’re able to cast a T2 Oko, even beating your opponent to one on the draw. Maverick is one of the last decks that can play a T2 Oko (outside of Infect or BUG Zenith), which is a huge advantage in the current metagame. Uro is really nice to have in the deck, but I’ve never actively gone to GSZ for it. Uro can be crucial against Delver and gaining some card advantage against other midrange decks, but most of the time, it’s just a nice find off the top of the deck. Meddling Mage was another blue spell I wanted to try out as it felt really good against decks like Doomsday and Show & Tell (especially the UG builds). I won’t give too much away for those wanting to watch the league below:

Ozimandias17 | Top 16 Legacy Challenge | Decklist | 5-0 Legacy League | Decklist

Huge congrats to Matt, a very well-known Loam and Legacy player who played in the top 16 of the Legacy Challenge with BANT Maverick. Both lists were very similar with some minor changes to the board. I liked how Matt chose to play Felidar Retreat in his board as a way to ensure he could grind against decks like snow. I haven’t had the greatest experience with it, but I’ve only tried it out a handful of times (either not finding the 1 copy or not hitting land drops after landing one).

Brainstorm  Felidar Retreat

Matt also chose to play Brainstorm in his lists – something I’m a huge fan of and believe isn’t being tested enough in Maverick. With fetchlands, Green Sun’s Zenith and Knight of the Reliquary, you have an ample amount of ways to shuffle away cards that are irrelevant in the matchup.

The big downfall of decks like Maverick is you need to play with the hand you keep. There isn’t a way to get rid of the 2 Swords to Plowshares you kept against Storm or Collector Ouphe against Elves. Brainstorm gives you an out to this, something Maverick has been struggling with for years. I’ve played a few leagues with a BANT & 4C Brainstorm version of Maverick and thoroughly enjoyed the outs Brainstorm gave me that otherwise would not have existed. Do be weary though, as playing a full playset of Brainstorm alongside your other non-creature spells can be awkward with your own Thalia’s and lead to some awkward turns.

 What I’m playing this month:

In October, I was mostly playing GWB Maverick with lists similar to those above. I like to run at least 2 Sylvan Library to make sure I’m seeing it in the majority of my games as it makes the 50/50 matchups much more in your favour. With so many decks now having access to card advantage, you really need to make sure you don’t fall behind. In most Maverick builds, a fair amount of your play is 1:1 outside of cards like Knight of Autumn, Plague Engineer or Kaya, Orzhov Usurper, so ensuring you have a way to create incremental card advantage is vital.  Library was one of my favorite cards against Death & Taxes, but with the rise in Spirit of the Labyrinth, its equity has been hit in the matchup.




Conclusions:

Maverick is in a tough spot right now. RUG Delver is a very 50/50 if not 45/55 matchup, and decks like Snow and BUG Zenith are grinding much better than Maverick can right now. I think it’s great that there’s still some good showings from GWR and BANT Maverick as it gives players the chance to change things up. Skyclave Apparition has really given Maverick (especially GW) another powerful tool and out to troublesome cards like Uro and Oko. I think it’ll push more players towards GW in the coming months. I hope you’re all well. Enjoy your upcoming holidays and time with family, and I’ll see you next month!

A huge shout out to my community of Patreons. You’re all very much appreciated when it comes to helping pay for site costs each year and upgrading some equipment and software for the site & stream. If you’d like to show any sort of support, here’s the GreenSunsZenith.com’s Patreon page.

Take care and play fair,

Douges.

Previous Editions of 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

About Douges

Hey! Douges here - Founder of the GreenSunsZenith. I've been playing Magic since 2013 and Legacy since 2014. I'm a Death & Taxes pilot turned Maverick fan who created the GreenSunsZenith as a resource for both beginners and experts of the Legacy Maverick archetype. You can reach out to me through my social links below. I stream via Twitch on Thursday nights (7:30pm AEST) & Sunday mornings (10:00am AEST). Please let me know if you don't find anything on the site that you'd like to see. If you'd like to support the GreenSunsZenith, I have a Patreon account you can support the platform through :)

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