Legacy isn’t easy to get into if you’re a brand-new card. It’s a tried-and-tested format with an extremely high bar for new cards to even to be considered for testing. The power of a spell can be perceived by players in many ways, but what it all really comes down to is the results it obtains or the positive change it has on an archetype. When new sets arrive and new cards are spoiled, players tend to explore the set, find their new card and test it against the format of their choice. Questing Beast is that card for me – one that, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was something unique… but is it good enough?
What at first glance looks like a wall of text that’s going to ring in some readers over the coming weeks of testing, I believe Questing Beast has something to offer the famed club that is the Legacy format. I’m going to break the card down into each individual element and highlight its power – but also scrutinise its weaknesses.
4CMC Legendary Creature:
At the cost of a 2GG, Questing Beast would serve as a top-end, Green Sun’s Zenith-able threat for all archetypes of Legacy Maverick. Maverick isn’t unaccustomed to four-drop creatures. Thrun, the Last Troll is a perfect comparison of a threat that has seen play in Maverick over the years, with Shifting Ceratops also popping up in testing over the past few months. Hell, the deck has been known to play top-end threats like Sigarda, Host of Herons and Titania, Priest of Argoth so I don’t believe the CMC is going to be an issue when players evaluate if this card is Legacy playable.
In saying that, it’s fairly well known 4 CMC spells should be winning you the game. Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Natural Order. Karn, the Great Creator. Aluren. Sneak Attack. There is a pretty stacked list of powerful cards that more or less win the game on the spot for its controller in the majority of cases.
Just because this creature has a CMC of 4 does not mean you should throw it on the field when you first have the mana available. This creature is one of legend and so can be saved with Karakas. Against decks like Miracles, you may want to keep this in your hand for a turn so you can play it as an evasive threat that can be saved at instant speed from cards like Swords to Plowshares, Terminus or edict effects such as Liliana’s Triumph.
This really only means 3 things.
i. You can save this creature with your own Karakas from removal / board wipes like Terminus.
ii. Your opponent can use their own Karakas to remove this creature from the field. However, with Giver of Runes in your deck, this could be much harder for your opponent.
iii. You probably don’t want more than 2 in your deck during testing and most likely 0-1 post testing.
Evergreen / Keyword Abilities:
I want to begin with haste because it’s the first ability to be relevant when this creature is in play. Haste isn’t something you see a lot of in Legacy these days. Outside of Burn or UR decks running Goblin Guide or Monastery Swiftspear or the ever-dying Ichorid, most opponents tend to not plan for a swift attack out of nowhere while setting up their turn. The only four drop with haste that sadly doesn’t see much play anymore is Bloodbraid Elf.
Unlike Knight of the Reliquary and other threats within Maverick’s arsenal, Questing Beast doesn’t care about being bounced by a Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Teferi, Time Raveler. This is pretty huge for Maverick, a deck that can get stuck behind summoning-sick threats, giving your opponent the turn(s) they need to stabilise.
Not only can this creature attack the turn it comes into play but it doesn’t need to tap to do so. Vigilance isn’t an ability you see during your average Legacy tournament. Perhaps your local Death & Taxes player is playing Serra Avenger or your Stoneforge Mystic opponent is running Batterskull, but most of the time you’ll see pseudo-vigilance. An example of pseudo-vigilance is attacking with a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, then returning it to hand with your own Karakas and reply it in your second mainphase or Vial it into play. Similarly, Flickerwisping a creature ends up with the same result.
This means the beast is fantastic on a board that’s stalled by cards like Baleful Strix, Plague Engineer or True-Name Nemesis as you now have a threat that you’re able to get aggressive with. Note that damage from your creatures now cannot be prevented; this nullifies opposing Mother of Runes and Giver of Runes. If you’re playing Palace Jailer, you know how vital vigilance can be when you’re wanting to protect the crown.
A very niche bonus of vigilance is that like Serra Avenger in Death & Taxes, this creature can attack with a Manriki-Gusari and still activate Gusari after damage has been dealt.
It’s interesting to see this creature have deathtouch over something like trample, but with the way this creature is going to assassinate some planeswalkers, it all comes together. This does mean when you need to cut ties, Questing Beast will trade with the Gurmag Anglers, Hogaaks, Reality Smashers and larger Eldrazi of the format.
Questing Beast can’t be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less:
In my opinion this is Questing Beasts biggest appeal. Maverick has a tough time against board states containing cards like Baleful Strix, Ice-Fang Coatl and Plague Engineer. Snapcaster Mage and Young Pyromancer & Co. also help your opponents buy time to set up a winning position. Even Dreadhorde Arcanist keeps a large amount of Maverick’s creatures from getting through. Having a creature that doesn’t care about any of these cards is (as much as I hate this term) a game-changer. This also turns off most of the defences in format defining decks like Death & Taxes, GB Depths, Elves (you’ll be back) and the mirror.
Combat damage that would be dealt by creatures you control can’t be prevented:
Combat damage cannot be prevented from ANY of your creatures. If your opponent doesn’t understand this and blocks with their True-Name Nemesis, Mirran Crusader or Mother / Giver of Runes protected creature, they’re going to have a bad time. I don’t think this is going to be a situation that comes up often, I am more pointing out it’s going to be tough to defend this creature for your opponent. This also turns off Glacial Chasm for Lands players, Energy Field for UW Combo pilots and for those Enchantress players, your Solitary Confinement. A huge thank you to Discord user AlexR who also pointed out this effect nullifies opposing Maze of Ith‘s, as the creature is only untapped and the damage is (not so much) prevented.
Whenever Questing Beast deals combat damage to an opponent, it deals that much damage to target planeswalker that player controls
This is really flavoursome. A Beast known for questing continues the main storyline of a creature based deck (hitting face) while dealing with side-quests (planeswalkers). This has always been a crossroads for players who run equipment and think Should I deal with the ‘Walker or trigger this sword? Dealing 4 damage kills a huge amount of current planeswalkers in the format like a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Jace, the Mindscupltor, and Narset, Parter of Veils.
Power / Toughness: 4/4
This creature cannot be bolted – great. This creature’s power isn’t affected by the status of the graveyard – fantastic. However, Beast CAN be dealt with a ping from Wrenn and a Bolt which, for the time being, may be the new ‘dies to Bolt‘ test in Legacy. There is only a handful of creatures in the format above 3 power but the shift towards cards like Magmatic Sinkhole doesn’t help Beast’s chances to take full control of a battlefield.
What meta is this good against?
If your local metagame is grindy, this card is going to pay in dividends. Questing Beast looks like a midrange all-star and punishing against decks like Death & Taxes, Miracles, 4C Control and RUG Delver.
What part of the meta isn’t this good against?
Fast combo doesn’t care about this card. What you’re wanting is grindy, fair-side magic for Questing Beast to shine. Even with haste, this card is going be sided out a lot if you’re playing against fast combo like BR Reanimator, ANT, TES, Elves and Depths.
What takes the cut to make room?
This is always the tough part of trying out new cards – asking yourself Where does it fit? What is it better than?. To be clear, this isn’t some sort of replacement for Knight of the Reliquary. If you’ve been playing Shifting Ceratops, I would exchange that slot. If you’re a fan of Tireless Tracker or Renegade Rallier, I would remove those to test Beast.
Questing Beast is a really interesting, pushed creature that I believe deserves some amount of testing in Legacy Maverick. For many decks, this creature may as well be a 4 CMC vanilla creature but in the right meta, Beast can be near impossible for your opponent to keep up with. I don’t see this pushing Maverick into multiple Top 8’s or realistically any decks that play it at large tournaments, however it seems like a great threat to try out at a local level.