We are back with this month's Infernal Tutoring article! As always, the Legacy Metagame is evolving. Miracles beat Storm in the finals at Eternal Weekend, with a top eight consisting of Sneak And Show, Czech Pile, Turbo Depths, Grixis Control, Elves, and Turbo Depths. Grixis Delver beat Maverick in the Leaving a Legacy 3k championship with a top eight consisting of Red Stompy, Miracles, Goblins, Miracles, and Sneak and Show. While the meta has been extremely diverse, it seems that Miracles has taken over the spot as the number one deck to beat in Legacy, yet again. Bryant Cook wrote an amazing article recently called Combating Miracles. This article really dives into the matchup, so check it out if you already haven't! For our part here, I'm going to dive into some new scenarios involving how to deal with some new threats in the Legacy Metagame, and some old threats that we all wish would go away already. (I'm looking at you Counterbalance)
A few words on Kazu Negri (@FlametongueKazu):
Kazu has been playing competitive magic since Innistrad’s release, and Modern has been his favorite constructed format since its inception. Known most for his affinity for combo decks, he has made a name for himself as a featured player of the SCG Tour. He has multiple SCG top 8s including a win with Modern Storm, and has had moderate GP success as well including a Modern top 8. He can commonly be found running around or at your local Dunkin’ Donuts.
- 4 Burning Wish
- 4 Infernal Tutor
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Ponder
- 4 Thoughtseize
- 3 Duress
- 1 Empty the Warrens
- 1 Ad Nauseam
SITUATION #1 - Belcher
In our first matchup, we are playing against Belcher! Belcher is a deck that most people thought was dead with the banning of Gitaxian Probe. With the recent printing of Experimental Frenzy, the deck gained a lot of momentum. With Experimental Frenzy in play, the Belcher player can usually play the majority of their deck because they only play a single land. Belcher tries it's best to power out a turn one Goblin Charbelcher or a turn one Empty the Warrens. With no discard spells or cantrips, the deck goes all in on turn one. This makes the deck very fragile, but in a room full of non-blue decks, it is very powerful.
In this scenario, we kept a relatively slow hand and were able to make the opponent discard a Goblin Charbelcher with our turn one Thoughtseize. The opponent then played out their hand with an Experimental Frenzy ready to go. Lucky for us, our opponent passed giving us a small window to win. We need to do something this turn or we will most likely be dead on our opponent's next turn.
SITUATION #2 - Miracles
Our next scenario is against Miracles! Our previous game plan against Miracles was to play the slow game and grind the opponent out with cards like Past in Flames and Cabal Ritual. The recent addition of Accumulated Knowledge has made us shift our game plan slightly though. It isn't nearly as feasible to try to play the long game against Miracles, because they will crush us with card advantage. We want to beat Miracles before they can stabilize.
In this scenario, we were so close to setting up a kill, but the opponent played a Counterbalance followed by a Back to Basics while our lands were tapped, which really slowed us down. On the turn prior, our opponent played a Ponder and chose to not shuffle. After going to their next turn and drawing the second card that they put back with Ponder, the opponent cast Predict, targeting themselves.
SITUATION #3 - Miracles Continued
Our final scenario actually happened in the same game as the last one! We ended up resolving the Ad Nauseam on the opponent's turn. After our Ad Nauseam finished resolving, our opponent played a Brainstorm. The opponent took about five minutes to resolve the Brainstorm, which probably meant that they were really trying to figure out what card to put on top of their library. The opponent then played a Plains and passed the turn to us.
This situation showcases how frustrating it can be playing against Counterbalance. The good news is, we were able to resolve the Ad Nauseam, but now we still have to be very careful on our turn, or we could get punished and potentially throw away the game. How would you start the turn? How would your line differ if the opponent's Counterbalance revealed a zero CMC card, a one CMC card, or a two CMC card?
As I wrap up this article, I just want to encourage everyone to keep your head up against the Miracles menace. The more that you learn the intricacies of the matchup, the more you start to see that we have all of the tools to beat them, even while facing down a resolved Counterbalance. Playing against Miracles will definitely stretch you mentally, but that is all part of becoming a better Legacy player. In almost every match of Magic, your opponent will put their shields down, giving you a window to win. While you won't always be able to exploit that, it goes to show that no deck in Legacy is perfect.
Until next time, keep storming on!