The September 28, 2015 B&R Announcement can be found here, for Legacy it says that Dig Through Time is banned and Black Vise is unbanned. If you came here looking for some sweet discussion on Black Vise, I apologize, there will be none – the card is unplayable. Moving on, the banning of Dig Through Time! YES! The card was format warping in a very similar way that it’s sister card Treasure Cruise was on the metagame. While they functionally work differently and were resources in almost opposite decks, one thing was clear for both cards, they’re incredibly overpowered.
What does this mean for Legacy?
With Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise absent from the metagame, I imagine we’re going to see a dramatic shift away from Omnitell and Grixis (or 4-Color) Delver and more towards what were seeing before these printings. The decks with the most to gain out of Dig Through Time‘s banning were Shardless BUG, RUG Delver, Sneak & Show, Miracles, Death & Taxes and Lands – it’s a big list!
- Miracles – Likely the format’s best deck once again. In the interim period between Treasure Cruise‘s exile from the format and the rise of Dig Through Time Miracles really found itself in the format. I’m willing to bet that it happens once again, the Omnitell not being a decent match-up paired with Grixis Delver running main deck Pyroblast effects it’s not surprising that we saw Miracles take a steady decline. With Dig Through Time gone, I wouldn’t expect to see either deck doing well. The Show and Tell variants will be Sneak & Show which can be fought fairly and the Delver variants will most likely be RUG Delver with some BUG Delver here and there – both of these things are perfectly acceptable. Miracles sole worst match-up just received a huge boost from Omnitell’s neutering – Lands. If I were to start playing Miracles, I would consider Blood Moon or even possibly Tsabo’s Web.
- Shardless BUG – With opposing card advantage engines like Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time removed from the format, Shardless BUG becomes a terrific option again. We’re going to see a slower format that is more defined on incremental advantages, this is where Shardless strives with Ancestral Vision and Hymn to Tourach slowly making games un-winnable for the opponent. With the natural top dog of the format being Miracles once again, I can’t imagine the deck with four main deck Abrupt Decay being too bad either!
- Sneak & Show – While it didn’t lose too much, it’s going to gain a lot of Omnitell pilots. Once again, it will be the formats best Show and Tell deck, however, it’s uncertain in my eyes if it will be as good as people think it will be. The deck is still very clunky in comparison to Omnitell, eight enablers and eight creatures can create some awkward draws at times.
- Death & Taxes – Now that the format’s premier Show and Tell deck is Sneak & Show, Death& Taxes is able to fight the combo deck much easier. It was very difficult for them to combat Omniscience, but Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Griselbrand can be dealt with in a number of ways that are more common in that color. In fact, I would say they just went from having a bad match-up to a positive one over night – dig out your Containment Priest and Karakas! (See what I did there?)
- Lands – Much like Death & Taxes it now has the ability to fight it’s only bad match-up in a manner that it can handle. With Karakas, Maze of Ith along with just being able to kill with a 20/20 Indestructible creature in the same amount of time, I think it’s safe to say that Lands players will have more top 8’s in the near future. Especially with the formats soon-to-be most popular deck, Miracles, coming back to power.
- RUG Delver – Stifle was incredibly bad for awhile due to the increased number of basic lands in the format, Miracles and Omnitell both run a considerably high number of them.While Miracles still has a ton of basic lands, it still hits miracles triggers and Stifle still hits Stoneforge Mystic or Batterskull triggers against Death & Taxes. I believe that we’re about to see an increase in Stifles and more appropriately a rise in RUG Delver as the formats best Delver of Secrets deck.
What does this mean for storm?
For starters, the Show and Tell variant is slower in both the combo turn and the turn it actually kills – it’s also less consistent. Which means Xantid Swarm is playable again (You can read about my issues with Xantid Swarm in the Dig Through Time metagame here), especially when Miracles is likely going to be the number one deck. Having a card that stops Sensei’s Divining Top from floating a Counterspell is very helpful. I’ll admit, Xantid Swarm is mostly for the Show and Tell match-ups but it certainly has splash damage applications in the Miracles match-up – it’s not a haymaker, but it’ll be effective. An issue with Xantid Swarm is that it’s great against traditional control decks, but not blue-based decks that attack from multiple angles. Which is why it was fairly weak against Grixis Delver in the Dig Through Time format when they had Young Pyromancer paired with Cabal Therapy, if I’m correct with my predictions, I believe we’re about to see a lot of Shardless BUG reappear to combat Miracles.
This isn’t great for our insect friend, however, TES has typically had a pretty great Shardless BUG match-up!
- TES isn’t graveyard based, meaning that Deathrite Shaman isn’t nearly effective.
- A lot of lists only play a pair of Wasteland, meaning that they aren’t attacking our mana!
- Shardless BUG can’t play soft counterspells due to Shardless Agent, which makes the actual combo-ing off much easier.
- Hymn to Tourach and Liliana of the Veil are slow, but very good. It’s a double edged sword, if they live long enough for a few of these to happen, you’ve probably lost. That said, it’s not too difficult to win through just one of them. That said, they’re slow and TES is a speed based deck, it’s entirely possible to kill them or just drop an army of Goblins before they can do anything.
For the reasons mentioned above, I feel comfortable bringing back our insect friend, even in the face of discard. This is definitely one match-up where it’s better to be playing TES rather than ANT, since Shardless BUG has natural graveyard hate in Deathrite Shaman and more time to get their heavy hitting discard spells online. Past in Flames can steal games where Shardless BUG has discard spells but no Deathrite Shaman, but I wouldn’t consider this to be the norm.
One match-up that will be incredibly popular again will be Death & Taxes! A great match-up for TES due to it’s speed and it’s ability to find Massacre with Burning Wish in game one. A card l’m considering is Dread of Night, because the match-up isn’t the same as it was before Khans of Tarkir – Vryn Wingmare now exists, it’s essentially another Thalia, Guardian of Thraben effect. Most of the creatures in Death & Taxes are X/1’s of some sort other than Stoneforge Mystic and Ethersworn Canonist, while Phyrexian Revoker is left unaffected. These things have left me teeter tottering on Dread of Night‘s playability, part of me thinks it may be better to play cards with a broader application for more match-ups. If I ran more bounce spells and possibly Thoughtseize, I would have more Burning Wish targets that could also be sided in for match-ups such as Lands.
Lastly, RUG Delver, it’s not a great match-up – I certainly want to live in the fairy tale land where it doesn’t exist. But it’s not nearly as bad as people think it is, there’s seven or eight fetch lands (depending on the build) for you to sit on and even a basic Swamp to search up in the face of Wasteland. TES didn’t have these things the last time RUG Delver was playable, it’s mana base is much more stable and there’s always the fact that RUG Delver just can’t beat an Empty the Warrens. With weak initial blockers in Nimble Mongoose and Delver of Secrets, it’s easy to crash in early without being outclassed or constantly dwindled down. If you’re incredibly worried, you could play Carpet of Flowers, but I don’t think that’s necessary.
What’s the plan for the deck?
Well, it’s not going to require an overhaul as to say if Brainstorm were banned. We’re simply just going to swap some sideboard cards around, the main deck is likely to be left untouched. I haven’t quite figured out what I want to do with my sideboard, but I’ve come up with a few that I’m unsure on.
Proposed Sideboard 1:
While these look fairly similar there’s a lot of thought put into why they’re different. With sideboard one, the Bayou has been pushed into the sideboard from the main deck to increase game one consistency while providing an additional mana source against Lands, Death & Taxes and RUG Delver. Meanwhile, sideboard two has a Thoughtseize over the third Xantid Swarm. This provides a disruption piece as a Burning Wish target and a card to swap with Empty the Warrens in the combo mirror. Sideboard one has to play three bounce spells to help counteract “sphere” effects against Lands and Death & Taxes since it doesn’t have the luxury of Dread of Night. The black enchantment isn’t really great in few numbers which is why I would never play just one, that and the losing the ability to cast Infernal Tutor for a second copy. Some TES pilots prefer zero Void Snare and a second Chain of Vapor, which is fine, but they lose the ability to answer a surprise Leyline of Sanctity and then have to proactively side in Chain of Vapor in blue match-ups which feels awful.
The rest of the Burning Wish targets are fairly standard, although, part of me wonders if sideboard two could afford to cut Massacre for another sideboard card with the inclusion of Dread of Night. The answer could easily just be use sideboard one, but cut a Xantid Swarm for a Thoughtseize, I’m just unsure if it’s worth it. Feel free to leave some feedback. That’s all for now, I’ll chime in once the format develops itself a bit more and I’ve done some testing.
Until next time, keep storming!