Maverick has a huge amount of play to it, a deck that rewards pilots who stick with the archetype through thick and thin. Here are some tips & tricks you may not know about when first playing Legacy Maverick.
i. Scryb Ranger is most well known use is most likely that of being able to attack with your own Knight of the Reliquary, deal damage and then untap the Knight in your second main to make use of its ability (like wastelanding your opponent).
ii. Scryb Ranger also works really well with Mother of Runes, giving the her another activation. Let’s say you block a Snapcaster Mage with Mother and before damage tap her to give herself protection from blue until end of turn. If your opponent responses with a Swords to Plowshares to save their Snapcaster, this isn’t going to work out well for you. Now you do get the chance to untap your Mother of Runes and give herself protection from another colour of your choice (in this case White), but if they are casting Swords in response to your first activation, giving protection from White is not only going to stop the Swords, it’s also going to stop the ability on the stack of Mother of Runes giving herself protection from blue. This trick only works if your opponent tries to Swords your Mother after her first ability resolves.
iii. If you start with a forest and a mana dork then a turn 2 Scryb Ranger is pretty much ‘free’ to cast at the cost of a land drop. Say you have a hand with Ranger and another 2 drop you can untap for your turn, cast the Ranger, untap your mana dork and return your forest to then replay it and add another 2 mana to cast your 2nd 2-drop.
iv. Scryb Ranger can also be cast in response to an opposing Wasteland targeting a Forest dual land (Savannah, Bayou, Tropical Island, Taiga), allowing you to then return the dual to your hand rather than it going to the graveyard.
v. Scryb Ranger can create an endless chump blocker in Dryad Arbor. You can block with the Arbor and then return it as it’s a forest to your hand before hand. Once it’s back to your turn you can safely play it, rinse and repeat until you have the tools to better your position.
vi. Scryb Ranger can also help your mid to late game by always making sure you can trigger Tireless Tracker in each of your turns. How is this thing not even a rare?!
vii. Because the ability on Scryb Ranger doesn’t say you can only target creatures you control, you can snipe down opposing an Phantasmal Image or exile an Eternal Scourge!
Tireless Tracker ability says whenever you sacrifice a clue not, sacrifice a clue. This means if you have a number of clues on the field and your opponent makes you sacrifice them through something like Emrakul’s annihilator trigger, Tireless Tracker will still get the counters from the clues you’ve now sacrificed. This can be key when trying to figure out which threat to keep around to calculate if you have lethal the following turn.
Green Sun’s Zenith
Green Sun’s Zenith says “Search your library for a green creature card with converted mana cost X or less” which means you don’t always have to cast x equal to the mana cost of the creature you want. This means you can play around Chalice of the Void by casting GSZ for x equal to 3 or more and still be able to grab a 2CMC creature like Qasali Pridemage.
GSZ isn’t a must meaning you can actually use one to try and bait out something like Containment Priest. Although you’d be down a copy of one of the greatest tutors in Legacy, a small x GSZ that baits out a Priest could allow you to then play out a creature in hand with the leftover mana.
To stop yourself from decking, you can also Green Sun’s Zenith for x=0. This ‘shuffles’ GSZ back into your library, meaning you’ll always have a draw the following turn.
Bojuka Bog can be a life saver when it’s come onto the field at instant speed either through Knight of the Reliquary or even Crop Rotation, but once you get it’s ETB that’s it…or is it? With Ramunap Excavator seeing more and more play you actually have a way to get multiple instances of its ETB. If you really need to exile your opponent’s graveyard in your turn, you can Wasteland your own Bog and then play it from your graveyard thanks to Excavator, triggering its ETB once more.
Punishing Fire can be devastating in a fair metagame, but can be quite susceptible to graveyard hate like Surgical Extraction. If your opponent targets Punishing Fire with Surgical Extraction in response to the trigger to return it, you can use Swords to Plowshares on one of their creatures to cause your opponent to gain life and trigger the Punishing Fire again, giving you a chance to return the Punishing Fire to your hand before it gets exiled to Surgical.
Worth noting for new players, Punishing Fire can be returned to hand by activating Grove of the Burnwillows for G or R mana. This is the main interaction that really sets Punishing Maverick aside from other variants, the pure value of recursive removal is very powerful.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Mostly used to go wide with a force of 2/2 soliders, you may be able to get away with a sneaky 5 damage before you create that 2/2. With Karakas in the deck, you can turn Gideon into the 5/5 Legendary creature he was born to be, attack and then post combat return him to your hand with Karakas. You can then recast Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and get your beloved 2/2 Knight.
Nissa, Vital Force
If you target a Legendary Land like Dark Depths or Karakas with Nissa, Vital Force +1 ability, in your opponents turn you can block a creature that either may kill the land or is equipped with a Umezawas Jitte and then return it to your hand with Karakas because it is a Legendary Creature Land!
Maze of Ith
Maze of Ith allows you to not only defend against opposing creatures, but also give your own creatures pseudo vigilance. A creature is still deemed an attacking creature at the end of combat (after damage has been dealt), meaning you can deal damage with your creatures then untap them before moving out of the attack phase and into the second main phase. This is especially good with creatures like Knight of the Reliquary where you can then make use of its activated ability. [Glaciers]
Questing Beast doesn’t care about Maze of Ith (as damage cannot be prevented), but you can read about that below
Karakas isn’t there to just be a defensive ability used against Marit Lage and Griselbrand, it can come in handy when wanting to save some face. If you have a legendary creature in Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Gaddock Teeg and Karakas in play, you have access to chump blocks ‘forever’, meaning you can block creatures, deal first strike damage (if it’s Thalia) and then return the creature to your hand before damage. This means if Thalia is equipped with Umezawa’s Jitte, you can deal first strike damage, receive counters and then save Thalia if needed by returning her to your hand. [clips4lyfe]
If you play Ramunap Excavator, you have the option at times to return 2 Legendary creatures in one turn. Because you can play lands from your yard you can Karakas legendary creature #1, Wasteland your own Karakas and then play the Karakas from your graveyard to deal with legendary creature #2.
When going for the double Wasteland line with Knight of the Reliquary and Ramunap, make sure you tutor and use the Wasteland first before casting Ramunap from your hand or finding it with Green Sun’s Zenith. This means your opponent cannot respond to Wastelands ability with killing the Ramunap. [clips4lyfe]
Stoneforge Mystic & Batterskull
If you have access to 5 mana and want to return and replay a Batterskull through a Stoneforge Mystic, don’t return the Batterskull first. To play around your opponent dealing with Stoneforge in response to the ability on the stack, you should activate Stoneforges ability first, hold priority and then return the Batterskull. This means if your opponent removes the Stoneforge, its ability is still on the stack when Batterskull is back in your hand.
If you’re in a dire situation and don’t want your opponent gaining an advantage through Jitte counters or lifegain, you can block an attacking, equipped creature with Batterskull and then before damage return the Batterskull to your hand. [Lorkac]
You can either have a Plague Engineer name its creature type or use Jitte to reduce a 3/3 creature’s power so it can’t block Questing Beast
Questing Beast means your creatures can’t be stopped by Maze of Ith, Glacial Chasm or protected from by Mother of Runes / Give of Runes / Mirran Crusader as damage cannot be prevented. It also means any 1+ power creature attacking into a True-Name Nemesis kills it.
You can read more about its abilities in my Questing Beast mini-primer.
Questing Beast is very interesting with Maze of Ith, where if you attack with your Beast and your opponent blocks, if a Maze of Ith then targets the Beast, it takes no damage but the blocking creature does.
Against a deck where you suspect Massacre is an out for your opponent, once you have a good board presence you can sacrifice your Plains to make sure they can’t get full value off it.
You may have lethal with a Knight of the Reliquary without realising it with Safekeeper in play. This is the same for Wasteland as there may be times hitting yourself is how you win.
If you’re getting the Dark Depths combo online through Elvish Reclaimer, make sure you go for Thespian’s Stage first as you don’t care if Dark Depths comes in tapped after. If you go for Stage second, you’re going to have to wait a whole turn for it to untap.
Sylvan Library says put back two cards drawn this turn, meaning if you’ve used a draw land in your upkeep like Horizon Canopy, you can put back the card you drew off it for a replacement card with Sylvan Library.
If you have multiple Sylvan Library in play, you can stack the triggers so you can resolve them separately, using a fetchland or shuffling the deck with Knight of the Reliquary or Elvish Reclaimer between the two triggers to see fresh cards on top [rebelwithapen216]. Just make sure you’re keeping those cards drawn separate from your hand.
Have a tip or trick for Legacy Maverick that you know but don’t see here? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll add it to the list.