Legacy Maverick’s Matchups
Maverick’s matchups differ between its unique builds. The favoured and unfavoured matchups of green & white Maverick may not be the same as those for Punishing or GWB.
However creature based combo decks such as Elves and Sneak & Show, hard control decks like Miracles and Grixis and combo decks that can consistently win on T1 or T2 such as Reanimator and Storm are generally the weakness of each Maverick archetype.
Traditionally Maverick has been favoured against the other fair Stoneforge Mystic decks, Delver variants, Chalice strategies like Mono R Prison and land based decks such as Dark Depths archetypes.
4C Loam is a deck that’s commonly compared to Maverick and is always an interesting matchup. A T1 Chalice or Dark Confidant can just run away with the game if you don’t have removal or a plan to get through the following turn but the consistency of Maverick tends to take over in the mid to late game and make the Loam matchup favoured.
Even though the deck has poor matchups like any other, Maverick does have the tools to win G1 against its unfavoured matchups. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Gaddock Teeg and Scavenging Ooze are hatebears that can pressure an opponent’s game plan and may even seal the win if they go unanswered.
I really appreciate Miranda’s Keith’s comment on sideboarding which is “Sideboard guides are cool, but I think it’s good practice to come up with your own and compare notes and ideas. It’s rare that lists are identical, so you want to be able to think in your toes when you make tweaks to the main deck and sideboard.”
It’s hard to do a best and worst card breakdown for an archetype where pilots tend to run different 75’s to one another but I’ll still try and name a few.
2021 Maverick Matchup Series
Elves has a really effective go-wide strategy that Maverick most of the time just cannot keep up with. Without early removal and an online Umezawa’s Jitte within the first 3 or 4 turns you’re not going to have a great time against a deck that can play around Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Wasteland quite easily. Gaddock Teeg can shut off Green Sun’s Zenith and Natural Order but their ability to Glimpse or Visionary into a natural Craterhoof Behemoth is only a few turns away.
Post board cards like Ethersworn Canonist, Containment Priest and Zealous Persecution are great in this matchup alongside maindeck Gaddock Teeg and removal in Swords to Plowshares.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Qasali Pridemage and Ramunap Exavator are usually my clear cuts as they don’t do enough in the matchup to warrant a post board slot.
Sneak & Show
Sneak & Show is a pretty poor matchup for Maverick. Your 1 of Qasali Pridemage / Knight of Autumn and Gaddock Teeg only go so far and trying to get them under a Thalia & Wasteland lock is only a small speed bump most of the time. You do have access to Karakas, but if your opponent has access to Sneak Attack and 2 sources of red mana they can play around it with Emrakul.
Post board Banishing Light / Oblivion Ring & Ethersworn Canonist are great, if you’re playing a splash then Red Elemental Blast, Pryoblast or Thoughtseize are also great. If you’re playing Sanctum Prelate, naming 3 can be huge in this matchup stopping Show & Tell, Cunning Wish and Kozilek’s Return.
Reanimator can be a really difficult deck to beat when it combo’s off in the early turns esspecially on the draw. But if you’re able to land a T2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and follow that up with more hate like Scavenging Ooze you have a good chance. You do have access to Swords to Plowshares and Karakas G1 but if a Griselbrand is getting on the field and your opponent is drawing cards it’s not going to turn out well.
Post board graveyard hate in Surgical Extraction, Leyline of the Void, Faerie Macabre, Nihil Spellbomb or Tormod’s Crypt are all great answers. Gaddock Teeg can most likely come out as he only hits Unmask while you’re safe to part ways with your Stoneforge Package.
Against Phoenix we actually have a lot of quality cards. Ethersworn Canonist and graveyard hate in Leyline of the Void, Surgical Extraction or Faerie Macabre in the board and maindeck cards like Sword of Fire & Ice and Jitte for Pyromancer and keeping your life total stable. Thalia and Scavenging Ooze also play a huge role G1 in winning, alongside Wasteland and Knight of the Reliquary.
Typically Mother of Runes can be cut due to the lack of removal in the deck along side Gaddock Teeg and Qasali Pridemage. Their fast starts of getting 2 or 3 birds in the air can be brutal however we do have the hate postboard to better deal with their all-in tactics.
Most players agree Ant is a better matchup for Maverick compared to TES [The Epic Storm], however any fast combo deck is going to be tough without the right early hate in G1. The usually suspects of Thalia and Gaddock Teeg are great and even better when paired with graveyard hate post board or creatures like Canonist and Prelate. Thoughtseize and red counter magic are also solid and tend to be better than the cards we take out like Swords to Plowshares.
Burn can get you but the matchup is most likely favoured for us. Try to fetch basic lands early on and keep Wasteland up to hit your own dual lands in response to a Price of Progress. You’re usually on defence until you can attack with a Jitte or a huge Knight of the Reliquary. Qasali Pridemage is great in this matchup to deal with Eidolon’s of the Great Revel or Sulfuric Vortex‘s and if you get the chance in the mid-late game to get a Scavenging Ooze online you are next to unstoppable. Using Swords to Plowshares on your own creatures (especially big Knights) is a pretty common defensive tactic against Burn to buy time while beating down.
Post sideboard it’s interesting. Canonist is usually the main card that comes in but only plays the role of a speed bump. I’ve seen players side out their whole Stoneforge Mystic package to make the Smash to Smithereens the Burn player has brought in useless but I believe the advantage equipment gives is too big to side out. Please don’t side in Surgical Extraction, that will not end well. Sylvan Library comes out as we cannot take advantage and risk being burnt out.
A little like the Burn matchup, it really depends against Eldrazi Aggro and if they give you time to setup. A turn 1 Eye and a couple of Eldrazi Mimic into a turn 2 Thought-Knot Seer can be an early end to your G1, but being able to get an early Knight of the Reliquary online can really put their plans in a hole. Wastelanding every turn against Eldrazi is a huge advantage that Maverick has, especially when you always have Ramunap Excavator to play with. Thalia, Mother of Runes and Gaddock Teeg aren’t great in this matchup and can be replaced with extra removal such as Path to Exile or Council’s Judgement.
Knight is by far your best card in this matchup. Post board you really only need to bring in extra removal to hinder their aggressive starts.
UR Delver is much like Burn in that the fast starts are just so hard to turn in your favour. Unlike Death & Taxes Maverick doesn’t have many (if any) flyers to act as blockers so a turn 1 Delver is a little more intimidating. The majority of the time if you get to play a Knight bigger than a 3/3 you’re going to have a good chance to get the win, but decks that are now playing a mix of Delver, Pteromander and True-Name Nemesis sometimes are just too quick to take control of. Swords to Plowshares plays a huge role in this matchup alongside Stoneforge Mystic however maindeck Abrades can really catch you in G1.
Removal post board comes in with Canonist on the fence. Being able to deal with TNN across all types of Maverick is a big boost and should allow you to push through a win in G2.
Mono Red Prison
Aggressive fetching for basic lands or getting a mana dork online turn 1 is a huge advantage against Mono R Prison. Most Prison pilots keep a hand based on 1 or 2 hay-makers which if you can fight through will leave them with next to nothing. You need to prioritise your mana first and foremost and then hopefully have a threat like a Knight of the Reliquary to block any damage coming through.
G1 really comes down to do they have a Magus of the Moon or Blood Moon online before you have access to your basics. If you do, do have a great chance of getting the win. Remember that a basic forest will most of the time always be priority as it turns on Green Sun’s Zenith, however fetching for a Plains to then Swords a Magus isn’t a bad idea if you have another basic available. Gaddock Teeg can also stop some pretty important cards like Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Fiery Confluence.
Also note your Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch‘s can attack under an Ensnaring Bridge. With Jitte in the mix you can also use counters already on the Jitte to turn Stoneforge Mystic into a 0/1 to attack with exalted under a Bridge too.
Fun fact: Note that Goblin Rabblemaster’s ability makes other Goblin creatures attack each combat if able. This means if you have a Jitte or Batterskull on the field the tokens still have to attack into it. This means you could block a 1/1 Goblin with a Jitte equipped Thalia, get the counters from first strike and kill the Rabblemaster before it’s even dealt damage. You’re most likely winning here anyway but hey it’s a cool interaction.
Eldrazi Post is different to the aggro version as it’s got a much better mid to late game. Walking Ballista and All is Dust can be backbreaking if you’re not setup to beat these cards. Knight and Wasteland are still MVP’s in this matchup along with Qasali Pridemage / Knight of Autumn to keep them off artifact mana and Sorcerer’s Spyglass’s. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger might also be in the deck as end game bombs but you should be able to keep them off their mana in G1. Gaddock Teeg also plays a small role in keeping All is Dust and Ugin off of the stack.
Post board it’s a similar to how you side for Aggro but more so for versatile removal like Abrupt Decay, Assassin’s Trophy or Council’s Judgment.
Miracles is…rough. Thalia and Gaddock Teeg give Maverick some form of hate G1 but too many games end with Terminus into Jace, the Mind Sculptor for the win. Mother of Runes help protect your bears but a mix of Swords to Plowshares and Snapcaster Mage ends that relationship fast. Council’s Judgment also brings another level of fear into your heart as it cannot be stopped my Mother of Runes or Teeg. It’s tough to get damage through. You want to get a board of multiple threats but you also don’t want to over extend into a sweeper like Terminus or Supreme Verdict.
Most players actually side out a number of lands in Gaea’s Cradle and a Wasteland and most (if not all copies) of Swords to Plowshares. Knight of the Reliquary is still one of our better threats in the matchup because it’s a must-answer threat. It’s interesting to see Maverick players side out Mother of Runes due to her ability being stifled by the sweepers in Miracles, but her ability to protect Gaddock Teeg, Thalia or Sanctum Prelate is just so important for the way I play the matchup I would never drop her from the maindeck. Ethersworn Canonist can stop Snapcaster’s efficiency and also slows down a Mentor plan. Choke does a much better job than Wasteland at hitting effecting their mana and Planeswalkers out of the board are also great – especially those who creature tokens each turn. Assassin’s Trophy, Abrupt Decay and Council’s Judgment are also a fine removal spells to bring in as they can hit Mentors, Planeswalkers or even Enchantments like Back to Basics, Counterbalance or Search for Ascanta. Surgical can hit removal or sweepers and can be considered if you really don’t want to face them in multiples. Lastly if you’re on the red counter magic then it’s going to be great in this matchup.
Grixis Control can be a pretty 50/50 matchup as they also have a great if not better ability to grind out a win. They’re heavy on removal and with access to black Fatal Push can cleanly answer your beaters like Knight of the Reliquary no matter how big it is. Baleful Strix and Snapcaster Mage keep them ahead on card advantage while also buy them time to find the correct spells to deal with your boardstate. This means they quite a number of ways to protect their Planeswalkers in Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Liliana, the Last Hope. Trying to hit their manabase can also be difficult as the deck tends to play around 3 basics. Post-board you’re looking to remove all Swords to Plowshares and replace them with more versatile removal in Council’s Judgment, Abrupt Decay or Assassin’s Trophy. Zealous Persecution isn’t bad either as it can sweep away multiple Snapcaster’s and Strix’s and give you a chance at taking down a walker or dealing a large chunk of damage. Gaddock Teeg & Qasali Pridemage don’t do an awful lot in this matchup, mainly stopping Force of Will or Jace being cast and Pridemage trades with an owl. Planeswalkers are also a great way to attack them through a different source, especially those that creature creature tokens each turn. If the token isn’t an x/1 and your opponent doesn’t have a Last Hope on the field it can be tough for them to deal with a creature every turn.
Maverick tends to have a small advantage against Delver strategies. Qasali Pridemage & Gaddock Teeg tend to be dead draws in this matchup and Thalia can be a little underwhelming on the draw. Sylvan Library is also interesting as their aggressive starts make your ability to use Library much worse. However with fetches you can still setup your draws on multiple turns to dig a little deeper for removal or threats. Removal, Choke and any red counter magic are fantastic in this matchup. Council’s Judgment can be slow but if you see True-Name Nemesis you’re going to want it in your 60. RUG Delver is probably one of Maverick’s best matchups as they don’t have sufficient removal for threats out of Lightning Bolt range. Grixis Delver can be a little tricky as Fatal Push is a great piece of removal against us and Gurmag Angler allows them to make use of their graveyard. It doesn’t feel great when you’re early on with Wasteland only to have a large fish starring you down a few turns later.
Death & Taxes
The Death & Taxes matchup is most likely favoured for Maverick as we have answers to Aether Vial and equipment in the maindeck. This really negates the effectiveness of how fast D&T can swarm the board and turn their soft creatures into equipped threats. However it really comes down to the first 2-3 turns of each game to see who’s favoured. Did either of you get a Mother of Runes online? Did you get to start with a mana-producing creature and did they start with Aether Vial? If Death & Taxes on the play goes Vial into Rishadan Port and you haven’t played a mana dork it can be quite difficult to not fall behind quickly. Green Sun’s Zenith is a much better late game draw than Vial, but Aether Vial starts are typically the best turn 1 play a deck playing Aether Vial can have. If Death & Taxes are on the Wasteland plan, we have a great ability to get ahead with mana dorks and then make use of the graveyard through Ramunap Excavator and Knight of the Reliquary. Death & Taxes also control the skies with Flickerwisp & Serra Avenger, one of the decks best avenues of getting in damage against Maverick once the ground stalls.
Mother of Runes, Green Sun’s Zenith, Qasali Pridemage, Knight of Autumn, Stoneforge Mystic & Umezawa’s Jitte and of course Swords to Plowshares are your best cards (yes that’s a fair amount of cards). Post board we tend to side out all Thalia, Guardian of Thraben (easily answered by Karakas), Gaddock Teeg (see Thalia & his effect doesn’t do anything) and Scavenging Ooze to bring in creature and artifact removal and Planeswalkers. Prepare for the grind in games 2 and 3.
Stoneblade can be tough for Maverick if they’ve assembled True-Name Nemesis with equipment or cast a Jace, the Mind Sculptor into an empty field. However Stoneblade can be restricted quite well with Thalia and Gaddock Teeg in play. Wasteland isn’t the greatest in this matchup as they usually have a high count of basic lands and may even play Back to Basics in the maindeck. Qasali Pridemage / Knight of Autumn play a huge role in keeping equipment off the table while also applying pressure. Post board they most likely have access to Containment Priest, Disenchant and some more removal / sweeper effects like Supreme Verdict.
Lands is favoured for Maverick with our maindeck land hate and Knight of the Reliquary. Ramunap Excavator also plays a roll in either coming from behind after being Wasteland’ed out a few times or to keep our pressure on by Wastelanding each turn.
Mother of Runes with Thalia and Wasteland does create pressure for their Life from the Loam or Punishing Fire engine to start churning, and by adding in Knights and they will often be crop rotating away mana sources in an attempt to get Maze of Iths. Scavenging Ooze is also a huge threat to their Loam strategy and can lock them out pretty quickly. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale may seen hard to beat but once you have Gaea’s Cradle online you have a 1 land answer.
Post board you have some extra removal for cards like Exploration or Molten Vortex and graveyard hate to hit Life from the Loam and Punishing Fire.
4C Loam puts up a bigger fight than Lands. A turn 1 Dark Confidant or Sylvan Library can allow the Loam player to get ahead quickly on cards and really destroy your ability to get into the game in a matter of turns. Wasteland is ok against their not so great manabase but if you get caught out you’re only going to be growing their own Knight of the Reliquary bigger and bigger. They also have Planeswalker as threats and Chalice of the Void to turn off some of your removal like Swords to Plowshares. Scavenging Ooze and Ramunap Excavator also play a huge role in dealing with their graveyard and manabase.
Knight of the Reliquary is great at pressuring not only their life total and manabase but also pressures the usability of Sylvan Library and Dark Confidant as their life becomes less of a resource.
I would side pretty much the same against 4C as I would against Lands will a strategy more aligned with dealing with their threats and early plays (Assassin’s Trophy, Council’s Judgment and Abrupt Decay hit Dark Confidant, Sylvan Library AND any Liliana they might play). Surgical Extraction isn’t really needed in this matchup as their isn’t 1 specific card that’s going to really hurt their ability to win.
Depths is a really interesting and usually a grindy matchup. Their hand disruption in Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek can take care of your answers in Swords to Plowshares and Knight of the Reliquary and open up a safe route to creating and beating down with their 20/20 within the first 3-5 turns of the game. Much like 4C Loam an early Dark Confidant or Sylvan Library can turn on the pressure to find removal or a huge beater fast. I’ve found the matchup to be favoured for Maverick as we have an array of answers for their gameplan. Knight of the Reliquary plays a huge round with Ramunap Excavator also being vital to shutting off any quick wins your opponent may find. Swords to Plowshares is pretty key especially for the T2/3 all-in lines from Depths.
Post board Abrupt Decay, Assassin’s Trophy and Path to Exile are great. Make sure you look out for Rite of Consumption in games 2 & 3 as it’s a great way for the Depths player to sneak the win through removal like Path or Karakas.