Fighting Fair with Maverick
At the SCG Legacy Classic in Philadelphia taking place over the March 17th weekend, TK Strachan was able to finish in a fantastic top 16 (13th) with Maverick. You’ve be able to hear his thoughts below on his card choices, how the deck performed for the classic and what changes he’s looking to make for the future.
I was able to get in some questions about the deck and card choices via Reddit which gave me some insights into his choices and reasoning.
Hey congrats on the finish! Loved hearing your thoughts. I feel like once you become a Maverick players you find out Scryb Ranger is literally the best card in the deck.
Q. The deck is traditionally pretty weak to go wide strategies (Elves, Young Pyromancer) and True-Name Nemesis even post board when you have access to removal such as Zealous Persecution. How often have you lost the Monarch and not got it back? Do you find the synergy between Jailer and Kaya, Ghost Assassin in the board outweighs that downside when you compare it to Tireless Tracker?
A. Yes, I do board it out against mostly swarm decks (Death and Taxes, Elves) and all forms of Delver. I do not believe I can keep the monarch long enough if they have a Young Pyromancer or a True-Name on the battlefield. Those types of match ups is where Stoneforge becomes better than Palice Jailer. Jailer is mostly there for midrange – control decks.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Q. I’m also down to 3 Thalia in the main but I made sure I replaced her 4th slot with another combo / control killer in Sanctum Prelate. How have you found the combo / control matchup since dropping the 4th Thalia?
A. I’ve never liked 4 Thalia, and I understand it for consistency why pilots choose to run the full playset. The combo match-up is still fine. I have to remind myself that we lose to those match-ups from time to time.
Q. Maindeck over Assassin’s Trophy? Do you have any cards you’re really concerned about pre-board that is a reason to run Decay over Trophy? Is the un-counterability or the extra mana from Trophy the reason you like Trophy? (not saying it’s incorrect I’m literally curious about the reasoning)
A. Ah the classic AD vs AS debate.
Abrupt Decay – My versatile removal for random bullshit permanents in fringe decks. Granted, its true purpose is against Delver-based decks when we can tap out to cast it and not worry about it getting Dazed or F.O.W, Miracles and Grixis Control when we need to removal Back to Basics or Blood Moon, and LTLH. AD is at most 2 if there’s a shit-ton of Delver flying around (with the new hotness of the month being UR Delver). It also hits Counterbalance, which is still important.
AS – I believe that Maverick should not run this card. Its a false good card. On paper it reads kill Jace or Dark Depths, but by the time you cast it, a brainstorm is about to resolve, which is card disadvantage. This card is best suited in decks that does not care about the drawback of basics, like BUG lands, or in combo decks like Golgari Waste. I would rather run Council’s Judgment than this card. This card is 3+ as it’s power level increase
Mainboard vs Sideboard is purely on the pilot’s preference depending on the meta. If you have a lot fair blue decks. You can run 1 main 1 side.
Q. How’ve you found Horizon Canopy over some sort of other utility or basic land? I’ve seen some players move towards Volrath’s Stronghold in its place. How good has this been for you?
A. I’ve lost to Horizon Canopy too many times to count against Delver, hence why I have 1 copy so far. I’ve experiment with Volrath Stronghold, and I find that it was very slow. It also expose our black resources, which I had to bear in mind. Gaea’s Cradle – I love and hate the card. There are times I want to be explosive and faster than traditional builds, however I don’t want to start giving up percentage points regarding keep a full 7. The other card I yet to play is Throne of the City. In theory, we can get the monarch back if its ever taken from us, and could be grab from Knight of the Reliquary.
Planeswalkers in the board
Q. How have you found these? The new Vraska is really interesting and I wanted to know a little more about what it’s great against compared to other planeswalkers like Garruk and Nissa, Vital Force? Kaya seems sweet to also get value off Knight of Autumn, but the inclusion of it with Palace Jailer seems sweet.
A. In the past. My PWs where Garruk and Gideon. As the meta evolves and decks get more tools, it feels like these PW are subpar in power level. Granted, they are still good PW, but I wanted to opt for something better.
- Garruk – He’s my most preferred, just because he’s the only green PW that deals damage to a creature. Sometimes I use him to clear off a Strix and attack with a knight to Jace. He’s better against white-based control archtypes (Miracles, Death and Taxes to an extent).
- Gideon – Before I used to love him for the ability to kill of other PWs, but now he’s medium against both Miracles and Grixis Control now that they run more PW removal. Granted, he’s a powerful planeswalker in our arsenal, but I think I would want to try to end the game with me having more cards than my opponent.
I was having a conversation with my discord, and I found that I wanted a way to draw more cards than my opponent, and that is how we arrived to Kaya and Vraska. These girls are some serious force to reckon with, and i’m getting more data from these two over time
- Vraska – when I tried Junk Aggro Maverick, she’s been my most preferred way to remove problematic threats other than LTLH. In theory, she’s both CA and removal, and her ultimate does win the game, very similar to LTLH. The only cards she can’t remove are the same cards we can’t remove with Abrupt Decay. So have 2 ways of versatile destroy effects are fine. I don’t like Ass. Trophy. After testing it a lot, I find that its bad against Miracles.
- Kaya – We have multiple ways of winning the games through certain axis, but if our main axis gets eliminated, we a different wincon. Her ability to start discard the opponent’s hand while we draw more cards is great, as the game grinds we have more cards than our opponent. We can use the lifeswap five times before we have to blink her, which against burn-based decks every lifegain is one burn card wasted. The blinking is clutch, a KoA, a PJ, a SFM, can break boardstalls. I’ve used Kaya to reset a Delver or reset a Scooze.
Mother of Runes vs. Sylvan Safekeeper
Q. What are your thoughts on 4 Mother of Runes vs. something like 3 and a Sylvan Safekeeper?
A. Ask your opponent how they feel about mother of runes vs Safekeeper. Granted Safekeeper can be green sun and better aginst heavy base removal. But most of the time mother of runes is back-breaking. I’ve gone back and forth between 3-4 copies, and for now, for consistency sakes, i’m on 4.
Tireless Tracker & Ramunap Excavator
Q. How do you feel about Tireless Tracker and Ramunap Excavator? I believe you play the Jailers in their spot, which is a little more straight forward card advantage and a removal spell in one, where as the other two have the advantage of being GSZ targets.
A. Ramunap Excavator – I don’t believe Maverick needs to run the snake anymore. The top meta decks mana base has evolved to where the wasteland game-plan isn’t as backbreaking unlike in the DRS days. Back then, you absolutely need to run him cause the overall mana base of the format was greedy as fuck. More players are over respecting Blood Moon and Back to Basics. The match-ups where you want Ramunap are Eldrazi variants and 12 post variants. Hence why it was it was replace with Knight of Autumn. Also if I want to run more wasteland recursion, I would insert Renegade Railler.
Tireless Tracker (aka Green Dark Confidant sorta kinda) – Before this card was printed, I was running Dark Confidant in my maverick build because I wanted more draw power. I still feel that way to this day: Maverick struggles with drawing cards. In a stock list, its between 4-6. Now I’ve increased it to 6-8. Tireless Tracker shouldn’t be a singleton card, you would run it as 2x. The matchups where you want to her the most is Grixis, Aggro Loam, Death and Taxes, Miracles, and other grindy decks. The one thing I dislike the most is that you would need to play her on T3 as you want to make a clue immediately. I would rather have a monarch engine than to clues.
A huge thank you to TK for his words and another big congratulations on his finish at the classic.