Remember how last week, I said we’d talk about Legacy in advance of the Baltimore Open? I guess we could’ve done that if you just want to read about what flavor of Miracles I’m streaming on MODO this week. With an Open to prepare for, I’m not exploring anything wacky like Ral ZarekStasis; I’m sticking to real decks. I did get a chance to mess around with a proxied up copy of Shardless BUG, and I must say, that deck is quite fun to play (but they’re still the enemy!), and if my ‘goyfs that I ordered on eBay ever came in the mail, I may have played that deck… but sometimes, this happens:



Word to the wise: if you see $80 Mint Tarmogoyfs, they are probably too good to be true. So Shardless BUG is ruled out, for now. Other decks I would consider for the weekend include: OmniClash, UWR Delver, and, as always, Miracles. Spinning tops is my most likely choice for the weekend, as I’ve been jamming a lot of MODO matches with it. I recently 4-0’d a daily, though it felt like a cheap win, since one opponent was playing shocklands, one disappeared for 10 minutes of our match (and timed out), and one wanted to give me the win and split packs in the finals because he had a fantasy football draft to go to. I have the whole thing up on my Twitch, but the only worthwhile match to watch is the one where I beat Shardless BUG and steal his Ancestral Vision (okay, the RUG Delver one was actually a decent duel, until the dude decides to just bounce). UWR Delver is a deck I badly want to try, though it is quite different than the types of decks I normally play. I’ve heard that it plays similarly to RUG Delver, but I’ve never played that before, because: no ‘goyfs. Unless I scrub out of Standard Open and play in the Legacy Challenge, I don’t know if I’ll get enough practice games in with the deck.

So with that said, I don’t really have any new ground I’d like to cover in Legacy. I will just say this one thing, regarding Miracles: Joe Lossett was right. I’ve been watching his Twitch channel a lot, lately, and he’s heavily been advocating Misdirection, going up to three copies in his 75! It really helps with the Shardless BUG matchup, which is one that I used to really hate before trying out Joe’s advice. He’s really good at Miracles, by the way. (I know it’s long, but it’s worth watching! And yes, that is just one game, not a match.)

Beggars and Paupers

What could be the farthest thing away from Legacy as possible? Well for starters, let’s only play with commons. That rules out any tier one Legacy decks. And then let’s ALSO make sure that they’re all Standard-legal! That’s right, I’m currently playing in our very own Zach Barash’s Standard Pauper tournament, and I figured I’d talk a bit about my first round match. The match, itself, ended up going horribly lopsided, and not in my favor, but I want to talk about it, because many readers of our blog have entered, and this is a matchup that many of you are going to see in this tournament. When Zach posted some info about the format, he mentioned PDCMagic. The finals of the most recent tournament on the front page of that site features two very similar decks that try to grind their opponent out with the powerful ArchaeomancerGhostly Flicker combo. Here’s what I played:

BUG Flickermancer

Creatures (25)
Elvish Visionary
Gatecreeper Vine
Saruli Gatekeepers
Ubul Sar Gatekeepers
Ravenous Rats
Bloodhunter Bat
Borderland Ranger
Mist Raven

Spells (35)
Prophetic Prism
Ghostly Flicker
Gnaw to the Bone
Victim of Night
Forbidden Alchemy
Dimir Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Haunted Fengraf
Sideboard (16)
Aerial Predation
Basilica Screecher
Beckon Apparition
Devour Flesh
Gnaw to the Bone
One-Eyed Scarecrow
Trestle Troll

Being completely new to the format, I did not initially realize the dearth of interactions. Yes, I saw that with Archaeomancer and two copies of Ghostly Flicker, you can create a loop. Yes, I saw that any of the creatures with an enters the battlefield ability can be inserted into this loop at no extra charge. But I didn’t realize just how quickly you can put your opponent into a stranglehold one you can Flicker twice in a turn (especially with Dispel backup). Here’s the replay of my match:

In game one, he doesn’t get a single Flicker or Archaeomancer trigger. It’s just all beatdown with two-power dudes, while I helplessly mull to five and get stuck with a pair of colorless lands. I stave him off for a few turns, but get run over by Gatekeepers (with all of them hitting their triggers). Because I lost to mono-dudes that game, and didn’t do a whole lot myself, I didn’t really understand the true power of the deck, until I experienced it first-hand (used against me, of course!) in game two. Not realizing the importance of Ghostly Flicker to the deck led me to not bring in all of my Dispels, which was horribly incorrect. In any case, as you see in game two, this deck has the power to lock the opponent out of the game by Flickering Archaeomancer and Ravenous Rats on the opponent’s draw step. THIS IS WHY WOTC DOESN’T LIKE TO PRINT INSTANT SPEED DISCARD! I went through the motions for a few turns, but it looked pretty hopeless, so I scooped ’em up. After the match, Kevin (my opponent) mentioned that he thought the Rats lock was a big key to the mirror. After what I just went through, I certainly agree! So, ladies and gents, expect to see quite a bit of this deck throughout the tournament, and make sure you’re packing some good answers to break up the combo. My other piece of advice is NOT to pick up this deck cold just because you saw that it took first and second in a recent tournament. I did, and while some of the interactions are fairly obvious, the Flicker decks give you a lot of play, and you will be using a lot of weird cards that you are not used to playing with, if you generally play more… traditional constructed formats. If you want something that you get the hang of more quickly, I would suggest trying the blue-based aerial aggro decks. The beauty of this event is, you can try something new each round, which I plan to do. (Fear not, though, your Eternal column isn’t turning into a Pauper column, I promise!)

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