Understanding the Maverick: Achillies27

Understanding the maverick

A huge thank you to Achillies27 for taking the time for this interview. Maverick’s in a great spot right now with a large amount of paper and MTGO pilots putting up great results. This was something new for the GreenSunsZenith to put together and will be a running piece of content which many more Understanding the Maverick’s in the near future. For now, enjoy this piece with MTGO player Achillies27.

Hey Achillies, thanks for your time. Where are you from and what do you do?

I’m from North Bay, Ontario, studying for my Bsc. Majoring in Psychology at University of Waterloo right now.

When did you get into Magic?

I started playing Magic regularly in 2017, although that was just playing casual with my friends, so I don’t really count it. I started going to FNMs and drafting in Waterloo in my first year of uni during 2017-2018. Then I built a standard deck (UW Control) to go to a team trios GP with two friends. I had probably played the deck <10 times in sanctioned events before the GP, so, big surprise, we got crushed. We were really just going there for fun though so it was still a success, and we actually won our first two rounds so that was absolutely wild.

How and when did you get into Legacy?

After that, I decided to start playing more constructed formats, and I started with Modern because there are more tournaments and GPs, etc. However, at the same time, North Bay started hosting biweekly Legacy events that I wanted to take part in so I asked if I could borrow a deck. I played Sneak and Show for my first week, going 1-2 or 2-2, I don’t remember. This was right before the Deathrite ban.

The next legacy week was after the Deathrite ban so I borrowed a different deck, which happened to be Maverick. This was straight GW Maverick if I remember correctly. I did fine – I think I went 2-1. I asked to keep borrowing the deck because I loved the toolbox elements to it and how any matchup was winnable (except stuff like Belcher). I borrowed it every event after that, and sometimes the guy I borrowed it from would change some of it, so some weeks it was Punishing Maverick and some GW.  My first ever event win was with Punishing Maverick at the last Legacy biweekly event I was able to attend before heading back to university and I felt super proud. Right after this though, I went back to university and was unable to play Legacy, so I just played more Modern Burn online. I don’t know how many matches of Burn I played in the 6 months leading up to the Toronto GP in February this year, but it had to be at least 100 leagues. I then went on to lose to Titan-Breach turn 4 when they were on the play, and that set the tone for the rest of the GP (lol). Needless to say, I was tired of Burn and Modern in general, so my friend who had lent me Maverick before lent me Czech pile to play in side events for the rest of the weekend. I think through the 3 legacy side events I played over the weekend I only dropped 2 games, going 6-2-1 overall. So friendship ended with Modern – now Legacy is my best friend.

So after that, I used all my extra tickets from me 5-0ing like 15 Modern leagues before the GP to buy Maverick online, and started grinding Legacy leagues with Maverick. I think I started out with a few 2-3s, but eventually I got the hang of it and I had somewhere around 10 trophies in the period before the legacy GP, all with Junk Maverick.  I had played 80 MTGO leagues between the Toronto GP in February and the Niagara GP on Easter. The point I’m trying to get across with this one is that although I’ve only played legacy for 1 year, I’ve played a huge amount of games in that time, so I think I have a pretty good sense of how to play different matchups, and the general mechanics and sequencing involved – in Maverick specifically, at least.



In such an unfair format – Why Maverick?

As far as why Maverick, I kind of answered it earlier in that I had it lent to me, and I really liked the gameplay of the deck. The toolbox aspect of it made me feel in control of the games, and every game I lost felt like it was due to a mistake on my part, not just drawing poorly. This was obviously in stark contrast to playing Modern Burn, in which while you do have decisions to make, you are much more in the hands of your deck. I also think that the idea of Legacy as an unfair format is just not even close to accurate, at least with how the meta is right now. Fair decks are performing much better than unfair decks in a lot of events, so fair vs. unfair never really came into mind when I was picking a deck; I just enjoyed Maverick and went with it. Money did come a little bit into it, as building into Maverick is much easier than building into Czech pile, which was probably my second favourite deck that I’ve played competitively.

You’ve had some really nice results online in leagues and challenges. What’s your best result in paper?

My most prized result is that 2nd place in the Legacy Challenge last week. I feel like I played really well, and obviously got somewhat lucky with matchups/draws, but it just felt so good to get that far in such a competitive tournament. I’ve not gotten to play very much paper Legacy, as I don’t actually own any legacy decks, so most of my good finishes in Legacy are just local events. I’ve won a few local Modern and Standard tournaments too, but I’ve scrubbed out of the GPs and PTQs I’ve been a part of so far. Here’s hoping Eternal Weekend goes better!

You’ve played both GW and GWB. Could you go into detail about when you feel one is better over another?

I was playing GWB Maverick online because I saw DNEELEY’s list and my boy swagohod told me he was really good, so I just bought that exact 75 online. After scrubbing out of GP Niagara with GWB Maverick, losing to lots of Stoneblade and Miracles, I decided I’d try out GW Maverick because being in the colour white and not running Council’s Judgment seemed like a mistake. I’ve since been jamming GW Maverick and doing great with it. I think GWB has its place, but perhaps in a meta of more unfair decks and fewer Wasteland decks. I also just hate playing Thoughtseize because whatever card you take, it’s always just on top of their deck so it feels so bad.

Would you take GW or GWB into a Legacy GP or event of similar size?

I have and will continue to bring whichever form of Maverick I feel is strong at the time to whichever legacy GP/big tournament is coming up, unless something big changes everything.

What do you think Maverick is missing that would really push it up to T1?

I think Maverick is so close to T1 that I don’t think it is missing any specific tools to make it better – it just depends on the meta. If there are too many turn1 kills like Reanimator, or too many Miracles players around, Maverick struggles. If the meta is lots of Delver, Cloudpost, Storm and Death and Taxes, Maverick will show up at the top tables more. Like if you ask me, I think Maverick is tier 1 right now, but I also don’t know much about how people decide what is what tier.



Maverick’s had some great results since the banning of Deathrite Shaman. What do you think of some of the cards spoiled from Modern Horizons? Any you’re interested in for Maverick?

I never played Maverick with Deathrite Shaman, but I think the banning helped Maverick even though we played it. It made it easier for Maverick to punish the greedy 4c decks, while Maverick could survive being straight GW, making it much less vulnerable.

I think Collector Ouphe is the best card for Maverick from MH1, at exactly one copy in the 75. Everything else from the set seems pretty mediocre for Maverick. If Ranger-Captain of Eos was green it could maybe make it, as it provides some good value for its mana cost. But not being tutorable makes it a gigantic amount worse and so I don’t see any reason for Maverick to play it. Sword of Truth and Justice is close but will be meta-dependent to see if it is worth running over Sword of Light and Shadow.

I think the key to getting good at anything is just spending a ton of time on it practising, and Magic is no different. If you want to get good at Legacy, just play whenever you get the opportunity.

Maverick tip: Always Wasteland them if you get the chance. The turn you don’t Wasteland them is the turn they cast All is Dust, Jace, the Mind Sculptor / [insert card] that ruins Maverick’s day.

What are your thoughts on Maverick’s matchups against the Legacy field?

Miracles:

Horrible for Maverick overall. I think GWB is best against it though, with Thoughtseize being a key player. I haven’t ever played Punishing Maverick against Miracles so I can’t speak to its strength, but Red Elemental Blast is really good, and Punishing Fire helps against Planeswalkers. Regardless though, GW is the worst against Miracles; it has this habit of just playing creatures on curve, which sucks against the deck running 4 Swords to Plowshares, multiple Snapcaster Mage, 3 Terminus, 2 Council’s Judgment. A lot has to go right for GW Maverick to win the matchup, but it is possible. I think GW is about 40%, GWB 45% and as I said, I don’t know enough about Punishing Maverick to really call it on that one, but probably 45%.

Death and Taxes:

Opposite of Miracles, super great for Maverick. I think all variations are at least 55% to win against D&T. We are normally a turn faster at getting a Umezawas Jitte, red has Punishing Fire and Wrenn and Six , which I forgot about when talking about good cards from MH1 (I think it is very strong and might be enough to justify red on its own, much like that list that was posted on Reddit), and black has Zealous Persecution. On top of that, all of our creatures are just bigger so if neither of us have good draws, we can lean pretty heavily on a Knight of the Reliquary that will probably end the game being an 8/8 or larger. The ways Maverick can lose this matchup are if the opponent gets Jitte counters first, or if the Maverick player keeps a land-light hand and gets Wastelanded or Rishadan Ported out of the game. Otherwise, the matchup feels very good for Maverick.

Izzet Delver (and this all applies to other Delver variants):

Great matchup for GW Maverick, good matchup for GWB Maverick, and just by looking at the cards, I’d say a good matchup for Punishing Maverick. One way we lose this is the same as D&T, keeping greedy hands and getting Wastelanded out of the game. The other way is when they open with turn 1 Delver of Secrets into double Daze/ Force of Will and they do Delver things. Dreadhorde Arcanist is a very strong card, but I haven’t had too much trouble with it as it generally only gets one attack off if I have an active Knight, since it’s generally just big enough to kill it. This is another 55% matchup for Maverick, with GW>WRG/GWB, because the stability of being able to fetch basic Forest and Plains is what helps so much in this matchup.

Grixis Control:

Very close matchup. I would say heavily draw-dependent. I have never played Punishing vs. Grixis, but GW and GWB both feel around 50% – maybe a bit below depending on the specific build of Maverick and build of Grixis. I think post-board GWB is better than GW because again, Thoughtseize helps a lot. I also think I win way too many post-board games playing GW Maverick against Grixis, because they seem to think Blood Moon is better against me than them. Seriously. Stop bringing it in. Grixis has multiple double-black/double-blue spells. Maverick is happy to run off basic Forest and basic Plains, and they will fetch them against you. I could see an argument if you’re playing against the 3 colour variants of Maverick, but even then, they still run 4 mana dorks, 4 Green Sun’s Zenith, 8 fetches and at least 2 basics. Blood Moon hurts Grixis more than Maverick. The way Maverick loses is if Grixis sees a lot of Fatal Push, Hymn to Tourach, and finds their Toxic Deluge. I typically completely side out of Stoneforge Mystic in this matchup because Kolaghan’s Command makes me sad.

Sneak and Show:

Put in Knight of Autumn if you have it, unless you just die to Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Omniscience is the card we are scared of – we have many ways to deal with Emrakul and Griselbrand. I feel favoured in this matchup, and GWB is definitely the best because Thoughtseize is SnS’s worst nightmare. I feel favoured with GW Maverick, which is probably the worst out of the 3 variations due to no Thoughtseize or Red Elemental Blast. 55% for GW Maverick – maybe a bit higher for the others. We basically win if they stumble at all. We lose to turn 1 or 2 Show and Tell a lot though, which is why I say only 55%.




Elves:

There are 2 reasons I lost the challenge 2 weeks ago. One is because I’m not very good, and the other is because Julian was on Elves and really did me dirty with all his dudes that tap for mana. They have to keep a real stinker for us to win, or we get a Jitte / Sword of Fire & Ice on a flyer by turn 3. Otherwise, we just lose. Punishing Maverick is probably the best, especially with Wrenn and Six. GWB is better than GW because Thoughtseize (seeing a trend?) and Zealous Persecution, and GW pretty much only wins with Stoneforge Mystic turn 2 / double Plow into something good. The matchup sucks. The problem being that even post-board GW just has to guess what kind of win they have. Natural Order? Gaddock Teeg. Glimpse of Nature? Ethersworn Canonist. And while we do this, we aren’t clocking them because Wirewood Symbiote is a good Magic card, or because we have played some 2/2s that they are happy to trade with their Nettle Sentinel. I’ve got no idea what the % is on this one, but it is important to note that all Legacy decks have a fail rate and Elves is no different. This matchup, and all the bad ones for Maverick, are still winnable. That is one of the reasons why Maverick is super cool; even the bad matchups still have some play to it.

Storm (ANT):

I think we are slightly favoured, although it still has the Sneak and Show problem of if they have it, they just win. They also have the problem of Gaddock Teeg game 1 being GG. We have an incredibly high density of hate pieces post-board and even pre-board if we count GSZ, which we should. GWB>WRG>GW. Thoughtseize is great, REB is fine, 4 Canonists shores up the matchup rather well post board for GW. Somewhere in the 50-55%.

Storm (TES):

A little different play-style, but still around 50-55%. The main difference is their ability to go off with Grapeshot even while Teeg is out, and their ability to go off on turn 1 or 2. That said, they can whiff much more often than ANT, so it’s a give and take. GWB is the best by far here because Zealous Persecution is an amazing card to have against TES. They go for the Empty the Warrens win often, and ZP will make them cry. The punishing and GW builds are a bit worse, but can still punish TES for not going off turn 1 really well.

BR Reanimator:

Also horrible. Pre-board they either have to stumble, or we have to hit natty Karakas. Post-board feels much better, especially with the Bojuka Bog. That said, still overall a 40% or worse matchup for Maverick. It is more about them losing to themselves than you winning. I think with the London mull this matchup gets better, because I know I’m gonna be jamming 4 Leyline of the Void with London mull.

12 Post Variations:

We are favoured, but we can lose if we keep the wrong type of hand (i.e., no Knight / GSZ and mana dork, no Wasteland). We can also lose if they have Walking Ballista in their opener and use it to kill things before we can get rush out our Knights and Wastelands. Still probably a 55-60% matchup – just play Knight, and Wasteland them until they miss a land drop. GSZ for either Ramunap Excavator, Knight or Teeg depending on the circumstance (generally Knight before any of the others, though).

Side note: I think WRG with Wrenn and Six and no Punishing Fire is actually good – much like the Reddit post says. I will be testing it.

For most of these matchups, GW is the worst, which is why I am testing out different decks right now. GW has the benefit of not getting Wastelanded out, and never losing to Blood Moon / Back to Basics. These were big parts of the meta but it seems it has come down a bit, so we might need a bit more power.

 

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