1. Hey Rascal – a huge thank you for coming on the GreenSunsZenith. How did you first get into Magic?
I played Yugioh for a long time with a friend. The game started to get power crept like crazy, so he left to play Magic and I joined him. This was when the M10 core set came out and we were both getting into Standard, but I waited for rotation (Lorwyn out, Zendikar in) before I actually started playing.
2. When did you get into Legacy? What deck(s) have you played since starting?
I started in Mirrodin Besieged, a bit after the Survival of the Fittest was banned. I’ve played mostly GWx Green Sun’s Zenith piles that aren’t Nic Fit. My first deck was NO ( Natural Order) Bant. I think around Dark Ascension or Avacyn Restored, it started falling out of favour and I swapped to something Maverick-ish.
I think I was on some Terravore pile called ‘New Horizons’ or something a bit before I fully settled on Maverick. I played Maverick while it was meta and you had Linvala to beat the mirror, but stuck to the deck even when it wasn’t “tier one” anymore. I played black when we got Deathrite Shaman and Abrupt Decay and then stuck to black for a long while even after Deathrite Shaman was banned. I swapped to GW Depths when Wrenn and Six and Veil of Summer became a thing, and then added Oko, Thief of Crowns to that after a while.
I played the deck a bit after Wrenn was banned. I enjoyed the combo kill and having Crop Rotation, but I hated top-decking Mox Diamond. I missed Noble Hierarch and having hate bears, so I went back to Maverick but keeping the Okos I’ve grown to love. I played some other decks during this time on the side. I used to own Enchantress, Burn, and Doomsday (back when we played silence effects – oh man, how we’ve gone full circle. We also had Sensei’s Divining Top and Gitaxian Probe at the time). Our store also used to allow proxies, and I’d constantly play this value pile with playsets of Baleful Strix, Snapcaster Mage, Spellseeker and 4 Liliana, Last Hope – but this was before War of the Spark came out.
3. What drew you into playing Maverick?
I started playing Magic in Alara/Zendikar Standard and I constantly played Naya except for when I made the classic blunder of trying out Bant instead (can you imagine playing blue for Rhox War Monk / Rafiq of the Many when red gave you Lightning Bolt and Bloodbraid Elf? Lol). Almost everyone locally was on Jund, but I spent around $200 on a set on Baneslayer Angel so I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to play them.
All my decks had Nobles, Path to Exile, Knight of the Reliquary and other cool stuff like Elspeth. When Scars of Mirrodin came out, all that stuff rotated out of the format. Knight had grown to be my favourite card and playing vampires in Zendikar/Scars Standard just wasn’t as fun.
A friend pointed out there’s a deck in Legacy that plays Noble Hierarch, Knight of the Reliquary, Elspeth, and upgraded Paths, as well as the new Green Sun’s Zenith that looked sweet. I played Natural Order Bant and just kept hopping to cool fair Knight/Zenith decks until Maverick just stuck with me.
4. I’ve heard from the Canadian Threshold guys you have some solid paper results. What are your best results with Maverick in your eyes?
I don’t travel much. I’ve played one Legacy GP in my life and I went 0-3 lol (RIP Legacy GPs). Recently, I think I’ve top 8’d the last four 1Ks at Stronghold (our local store) and ‘won’ 2 of them in a row (‘won’ in air quotes because I didn’t even play the finals of one as we split).
I also won a GPT for GP New Jersey with Maverick, back when Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time were legal, even beating Omnitell with Dig in top 8. Playing that matchup made me want to throw my deck in the garbage as I got Polymorphist’s Jest’ed. I won 2 byes and then unfortunately wasn’t able to go to the GP at the last second.
5. How do you feel about the different archetypes?
The last time I played straight GW that wasn’t Depths was back when this deck was tier 1 and we were playing Linvala, Keeper of Silence to beat each other. GW is obviously strong as the core of the deck is very reliant and you’re not making your mana base worse. The reason I didn’t play it when I played Abzan is because it lacked a lot of sideboard cards I wanted, and the reason I don’t play it now is because it doesn’t cast Oko, Thief of Crowns.
This is my most played version of Maverick. It was mostly for strong sideboard cards that other colours couldn’t give you, discard like Thoughtseize and sweepers like Plague Engineer or Zealous Persecution. Noble not producing black was a real issue, especially when DRS got the axe and I still wanted to cast cards like Liliana, the Last Hope. I feel kind of odd playing Abrupt Decay and Thoughtseize when Veil of Summer exists, but I guess then they have to bring in Veil vs a GW creature deck, so it wasn’t too big of a deal. If Oko gets the axe, I’d probably go back to Abzan (or GW Depths) before I went back to straight GW Maverick.
I’ve never played this deck in my life outside of standard Naya – if you count that. I came close when Wrenn was legal, but I could just tell that card wasn’t long for this world, so I didn’t bother picking them up. I think the Grove of the Burnwillows combo is a smidge overrated, but Pyroblast is probably one of the best sideboard cards you could be playing in the format. People joke that Veil of Summer is just Pyroblast that draws a card, but stopping Show and Tell or stopping a busted blue walker is just so much more valuable.
I’ve always hated this version, and then Oko, Thief of Crowns was printed. I actually like Oko’s flavour. I like what he does. I just think he has too much loyalty and he’s too cheap, so he’s miserable. The fact he always goes up while other more expensive walkers need to minus 3 and be left at 1 loyalty to deal with something is crazy.
I have games where someone plays an Oko and it’s the only thing that matters – it gains the player, like, 20 life. The reason I was even playing GW Depths over Maverick was because I couldn’t imagine trying to beat Oko with a fair deck, but it got to the point where I just started playing Oko myself. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath seems like a really insane card too, but double blue is so hard and we don’t play cantrips to fuel escape, so I’m not sure if I can keep it in my deck. I love Ice-Fang Coatl even though I only have 3 other snow cards.
As I’ve learned from Scryb Ranger, sometimes you just need a flyer (ground stalls happen a lot) and this one replaces itself. Who knew that they’d allow Elvish Visionary to have 3 extra abilities as long as it was blue? The downside to Bant over Abzan is that I lack specific sideboard cards like with GW. There’s no discard; you have counter magic like spell pierce, but I hate holding up mana with this deck for a counterspell. You also have no sweepers, so something like Elves is almost impossible. But let’s be honest: Elves is a nightmare even if you’re on Abzan.
I’ve played a Leovold, Emissary of Trest once in GW + Oko Depths. This is the extent of my 4c experience. I have never played 5 colour Maverick.
6. What do you feel Maverick is missing to push it to T1 in the majority of players’ eyes?
The main thing is just people playing the deck. I don’t think this deck is worse than something like Death & Taxes, but if so many more people play D&T, then of course it’s going to get more results.
In terms of cards to help push it, I wouldn’t mind seeing more green hate bears or better sideboard stuff so we don’t have to play garbage in our GW deck like Oblivion Ring for Show and Tell or Council’s Judgment to get rid of True-Name Nemesis or a walker that already got value.
I realise asking for a green hate bear might be greedy because we just got Collector Ouphe, but the only real zenith-able hate pieces are Gaddock Teeg or Ouphe (there are others like Scavenging Ooze, Qasali Pridemage, etc., but those aren’t like lock pieces or w/e). I’d kill for something like a GW Thalia, Guardian of Thraben so it’s Zenith-able.
7. What do you feel are Maverick’s best and worst matchups?
I feel like Maverick’s strength is to not get caught off guard by random stuff and have pretty even matchups due to its toolbox nature, so it can adapt to fight what it’s playing against. Our worst matchups are ones where our tools just don’t work – like OmniTell or Miracles. We’re not fast enough to stop them getting into their game-plan, while at the same time, our disruption just doesn’t do much of anything (Thalia is only a small speedbump).
OmniTell just plays basic lands we can’t hit with Wasteland, and we have almost no way of beating Show and Tell -> Omniscience -> Emrakul outside of wonky stuff like ‘hold a Knight of Autumn or Oblivion Ring‘, take the hit and crack back for lethal, or put in a Deafening Silence and then pop it with Force of Vigor. There’s no hatebear we can put in that can stop them from casting 0 mana Emrakul off Omniscience except for literal Meddling Mage on Emrakul. However, Maverick is more equipped to deal with resolved Show and Tell just putting in Emrakul where a fair blue deck might just scoop (less true now that Oko is a thing, I guess).
Miracles can also just play basics and then go Terminus into Jace, the Mind Sculptor into fate seal for the win. Elves is also pretty rough but a bit more manageable if you play black. We also don’t play Force of Will so we can just lose the die roll to lose the match, but that happens.
I feel really good whenever I play against a deck gunning to beat blue (Cloudpost, Chalice decks, etc). Sure, sometimes Eldrazi just has it and they smear spaghetti all over your face, but I generally win these games pretty easily. Knight of the Reliquary just walks all over some decks like Lands or Depths, and if they have a really fast token, you also have Swords to Plowshares, Karakas, and Wasteland. Death and Taxes also feels like a pretty good matchup, especially now that I play Force of Vigor to easily pop Aether Vial, equipment, and Revokers for 0 mana at instant speed.
I don’t play this deck because it has a ton of matchups it just crushes (having a card like Trinisphere or Chalice of the Void be garbage against you feels good though). I play this deck because it’s a pretty even fight against the vast majority of the field I feel like.
8. How have you personally tried to make some of your local matchups better? (Any spice cards, leaving out notable cards)
I don’t know if this is specifically local, but I’ve been tilted out by True-Name Nemesis and other board stalls that I’m just playing Shadowspear in my deck to kill my opponent and win any race we get into. When grindy control decks were popular, I was playing a bunch of planeswalkers over the Stoneforge Mystic package. It felt so good going Ajani Mentor of Heroes uptick into Elspeth, Knight-Errant (this isn’t good though – why do all the Ajanis suck? I’m so sad).
I’ve played Liliana, Last Hope a ton before War of the Spark came out because it dunked on a lot of players locally. My favourite is when DRS was legal. A lot of people locally were on decks with Lightning Bolt so I was playing Harm’s Way to save my DRS and kill their creature or blow out Forked Bolt, etc. Usually, I’ll try to find an optimal list and I’ll play the same 75 on MTGO and at my local then tune the list as I go.
A huge thank you to Rascal for coming on the GreenSunsZenith to give us an insight into their way of piloting Legacy Maverick. I know the guys over at the Canadian Threshold podcast are big fans of you and the work you’ve done with Maverick locally so again, it was great to have you.