And a Spirit of the Labyrinth in your shoe. No, I’m kidding, don’t hide cards in your shoes. That might get you disqualified and suspended. But with everyone and their mother eager to take the existing Death and Taxes shell and just jam Spirit of the Labyrinth in there, to replace some number of Mirran Crusader, Aven Mindcensor, Flickerwisp, Serra Avenger, and even Thalia, herself, I have more dasterdly plans. It all started in the Miracles thread on The Source, when someone asked how we handle Death and Taxes when they get their new Brainstorm Hatebear. One of the commentors mentioned that Spirit will make our Cliques hilarious against D&T. That’s when the gears in my head started churning for ways to abuse this interaction. Pound for pound, Clique is probably one of the top ten creatures in the game. Spirit goes and ratchets the power of the fairie wizard triad up to a whole new level by turning their enters the battlefield trigger into straight-up, instant-speed discard! (okay, fiiiiine, it’s technically not discard, just like Terminus technically isn’t a wrath.)



Here Are Some 3/1s, Fuck You

Creatures (12)
Mangara of Corondor
Spirit of the Labyrinth
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Thassa, God of the Sea
Vendilion Clique
Venser, Shaper Savant

Spells (25)
Aether Vial
Sensei’s Divining Top
Force of Will
Spell Pierce
Swords to Plowshares
Lands (23)
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn

What’s going on here?!! Teferi, Mage of frickin’ Zhalfir? Doubleyou tee eff? I’ll admit, I may have gone a little deep on that one, but I’d like to try it, since it forms an almost inescapable lock with Clique, Spirit, and Karakas. You empty their hand of all but their land cards using the Spirit-Clique interaction, with Karakas to rebuy Clique’s ability. Then you close the door with Teferi; just keep redeploying Clique on their draw step and they will be unable to cast their spell in response, thanks to Teffy. He also can be flashed in, late in the game, to suddenly turn on Thassa and provide an impressive clock.

The biggest tension that Spirit of the Labyrinth causes in any blue deck is that Brainstorm, Ponder, and Jace are three of the best blue cards ever printed, and Spirit doesn’t play nice with any of them. Fortunately, there’s a spicy little number called Portent that can fix our card selection woes. With a whopping TWELVE (four each on Vial, Portent, and Top) one-drops that make one-land hands acceptable, along with 23 lands, I anticipate that you will not need to mulligan very often with this list.

My love for CounterTop is well-documented, and this combination just adds another nice little layer of lockdown. I think we have a pretty good Counterbalance curve, with seven two-drops and five three-drops. My expectation is that Thassa will also play nicely with the Top, as it will give you the potential to see five cards deep every turn, and eliminate any potential chaff. She will also aid Spirit in connecting, since Spirit lacks evasion, and if I’ve learned anything from Clique, evasive 3/1s are good in this format.

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “This looks sweet Tim, but where’s the sideboard?” Remember how I promised to stop writing about Miracles? Uhhh.. yeah.. about that.

I wish I knew how to quit you, Jace!



Entreat the Angels
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Rest in Peace

You can almost perfectly board into Miracles! This is probably an awful idea and I should just make a real sideboard, but the number of cards that go in and go out seems to work out really well.

Evil Tim’s Week Fortnight in Review

Yep, we skipped last week. I’m just going to pretend I did it on purpose as an excuse to use the word, “fortnight.” I didn’t have a very good showing in either day of the Open last weekend. Here’s some overly long bullet points, much of which is bad beat stories (don’t say I didn’t warn you!) that I will write for cathartic purposes to recap the whole thing:


  • Deck choice: I decided to battle with the Saito/Corvese UW Control list. All in all, I was very happy with the deck, and if I were to play Standard again, before BNG (moot point, I guess, because I won’t), I would bring this deck to battle in a heartbeat. I really enjoyed the dearth of efficient removal, with quad Last Breath in the main, and the ability to side into either three Doom Blade or three Dark Betrayal, depending on whether you’re facing Mono-Black or some other deck with creatures, and the ability to splash these six removal spells off nothing but the scry lands that you were going to play, anyways.
  • High point: I rattled off three straight wins to start the tournament. That was about as good as it would get, for me, this weekend. Unless you count the Smoke Burger and duckfat fries at Alewife. That was ACTUALLY as good as it would get, which is pretty damned good. The fact that their pours of Old Rasputin clock in at 16 oz (seriously, who pours a full pint for an Imperial Stout? That’s bonkers!) is also pretty sweet. So yeah, go to Alewife if you’re in Baltimore. Also, everyone I played was awesome. Usually you play against at least one shithead over the course of a tournament, but on this weekend, everyone I played on both days was super cool. Thanks for that, guys, that’s part of what keeps this fun!
  • Best win of the day: This one came in round two. I finished round one in rather quick fashion and decided that my backpack was heavy. I hadn’t checked into the hotel yet, since I took the early morning train in on Saturday. Since I had plenty of time and the hotel was roughly a five minute walk from the venue, I went to reduce the load in my backpack. Going at a leisurely pace, I come back just in time for my match, and discover that I may have removed something important from my backpack. Like my deckbox. No, not the Legacy deckbox. The one that matters on Saturday. The head judge ruled that I would not be penalized with a game loss and would be eligible to receive a time extension BUT I had to make it back in 10 minutes. Cue lots of sprinting back to the hotel, and sprinting back, getting that jello-like feeling in my thighs, knowing full well that jello would turn to cement if I stopped moving for even a second. I charge through the double doors into the event room to see the clock at 40 minutes and some number of seconds. I run across the room waving my deck box in the air like a madman, hoping that a judge will see me. I get there just in time. Then win. It felt like I was destined for some sort of greatness on this day after that kind of victory. Turns out, I wasn’t!
  • Low point: Losing three straight just after winning three straight. For a second there, I actually thought I had the hang of this format.
  • Punt of the day: I’ll admit to tilting a little bit after losing game three of round five off mis-sequencing the colors of my lands to get a black source. I ended the game with two Doom
  • “Okay, we’re done, here” moment: I was keeping an Assemble the Legion in check via Jace’s +1. Then Purphoros hit the table and I took 14 damage on his upkeep. Yes, I died to a deck build around Assemble/Elspeth + Purphoros. At that point, I had decided that I had enough for the day.


  • Deck choice: UWR Delver. When I saw that the Durdle Magus had True-Names on him that he would not be using, the temptation to play the “best deck” (or most popular deck, anyways) was too high. This was probably a mistake. See: “Punt of the day” for more on this.
  • High point: Did we actually have one of those, today? I’m not so sure we did. Maybe after winning the first round, since that was the only point in the day at which I had a positive record. The BUG control list I played against in round two was pretty cool, so I’ll give an honorable mention to getting to go through the list, after the match. It was this sweet Loam-Deedstill-Superfriends sort of thing. I think I may take it out for a whirl soon, either in the paper or digital realm. Also, see my comment for Saturday about how great the crowd was (at least that I interacted with).
  • Best win of the day: Probably the no-show. Best non-win was letting my opponent back up after he took control of my Stoneforge carrying a Sword of Fire and Ice and swung at me when he was at one life and I was at an arbitrarily high number. I told him that I don’t think he’s going to enjoy the outcome if he attacks. I still won, but I guess the Magic gods decided to punish me, afterwards, for showing mercy.
  • Low point: Playing against not one, but TWO quasi mirrors where my opponents were playing a non-zero number of basics and having it make a BIG difference in the outcomes. One of those opponents was actually playing four basics in place of all the Wastelands, which enabled him to run a full set of True-Names and a Geist for extra oomph. I had a board state against him where I had a Tundra and three Wastelands to his four basics. It was miserable! Honorable mention: playing against two decks that had a million edict effects. Everyone was ready for True-Name, this weekend, and it shows, when you look at the top eight!
  • Punt of the day: choosing a deck that I knew was the deck with the crosshairs on its back; not choosing Miracles, when I knew it was a somewhat favorable field to bring the RIP-Helm version out. There are a lot of ways in which you can fail a homework assignment. One way is to just not do it. Another way is to do it incorrectly. Hell, maybe your dog ate it. But an awful way is to do the whole assignment brilliantly, and then just decide not to turn it in. Last week’s metagame analysis was my homework assignment. By disregarding it and choosing any deck all willy-nilly, I basically chose not to turn my A+ paper in. So, in short, if you’re going to take the time to do your homework, for the love of god, please turn it in!
  • “Okay, we’re done, here” moment: losing to a guy that hadn’t played since 1999 (or so he claimed). He actually played incredibly tightly and I thought there was no way that he was a decade and a half removed from the game, but he was a nice guy, and I don’t see why he would lie about something like that. Kudos to him. Also, to be fair, this wasn’t a “Wow, I can’t believe I lost to this guy,” moment. It just happened to coincide with the fact that I had a lousy record and the offer of a ride home that was about to leave.
  • Renaming/redefining a macro archetype: As per Anthony Loman, all decks that run Stoneforge Mystic and True-Name Nemesis will heretoafter be referred to as “Generic Legacy Deck.” And god, am I ever sick of Generic Legacy Deck!


  • Streaming schedule: I’ve been getting into the Dailies on a fairly regular basis, now, with my time of choice being weeknights at 11pm EST. Yeah, it’s a pretty shitty timeslot. I really miss the days of the rotating schedule so that I could sometimes have a Daily that starts at 8 or 9pm, but it is what it is. I’m shooting for hitting around three Dailies per week, so come check it out!
  • Decks: When we last left off I had set aside Miracles for High Tide. I’m still calling on the tidal forces to put my Islands on steroids, but in the interim (last Thursday, to be exact), I picked up MODO True-Names. Now I can reassemble UWR Delver, aka Generic Legacy Deck! While I haven’t actually put it together yet, I could also put together Esper Stoneblade (aka Generic Legacy Deck) or Esper Deathblade (aka Generic Legacy Deck).
  • Results: So far, I’ve only gotten to bringing post-True-Name UWR out twice, as I’ve only had it together since the tail-end of last week. I’ve gotten a 3-1 and a 1-2 drop off a bad punt. My connection had just crapped out, and while flustered and trying to get Twitch up and running again, I haphazardly pressed F2 on a Tarmogoyf that I very easily could have Dazed. I experienced a similarly bad punt a couple nights ago with High Tide, where, for reasons unbeknownst to me, many of my “stops” were removed and I wasn’t offered a chance to Turnabout their creatures before attackers were declared. I’ve also put up a couple 3-1s with the Tide.

Monday Night Legacy

  • Deck choice: I was off from work and out of town on MLK day, so I skipped MNL, but this past week, I brought UR Omnitell, again. I kind of want to play it for one more week, but I promised that I’m going to try to switch to a new archetype every other Monday (and by that, I mean every other Monday that I play).
  • Performance: After starting off my run with UR Omnitell with a 3-1, losing only to Dredge by one turn thanks to the die-roll, I went a mediocre 2-2, facing Generic Legacy Deck three times, and our own Durdle Magus, playing RUG in the other round. There was one rather notable punt against former Pondering columnist, Li, that I think is worth mentioning, because I could easily see other people making the same mistake. After playing nothing but Miracles for an extended period of time, I’ve become conditioned to favor Flooded Strand over other fetches, opting to crack the other fetch first and leave the Strand on the table if either fetch can get my desired land. This sounds obvious, but you cannot prioritize your fetches the same way in a UR deck! I lost on account of cracking a Scalding Tarn for an Island and then being unable to fetch my basic Mountain with the Flooded Strand on the table (he had Wastelands). Yeah, it sounds really stupid as I read this to myself, but old habits die hard; make yourself extra conscious of how existing play habits might affect you when you change decks if you’ve been on the same list for a long time.
  • On-deck circle: Tezzerator and BUG control seem like strong possibilities, but I am a few cards short on both. Nothing major, but they’re the type of card that might not be in stock at my LGS, and I would not receive in the mail, on time. If neither of those happen, I may try Joe Bernal’s Supreme Blade list. There’s also that list at the top of this article, but Spirit won’t be legal for another week, and I may not immediately have a playset. I may also have a look and see how far away I am from Enchantress.

That’s all for this week, folks! I’ll be back next week with my Legacy/Modern Theros set review, a new paper deck, and possibly even a new MODO deck! Baltimore didn’t go as well as I hoped, but the good news is, the Open Series is coming back to New Jersey in a couple of weeks, so I’ve already forgotten about Charm City, and I’m looking forward to a little home-court advantage.

UPDATE: Okay, there’s one more thing I want to talk about, and I’ll be brief on it. Dear folks at WotC, it has come to my attention that you have a major decision to announce at midnight, this coming Monday. Please make the right decision. That is all 🙂

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