As I am sure many other Legacy aficionados can attest, we all have pet cards and strategies. A couple months ago I talked about Astral Slide here. This week I want to talk about another old favorite, Opposition.

I played Opposition while it was briefly in standard as a 7th Edition printed card. The variant I played was essentially RUG Madness. I had everything from Merfolk Looter, Wild Mongrel, Arrogant Wurm, Basking Rootwalla and Roar of the Wurm as my creature suite. I also had access to Squirrel Nest and Nut Collector if I felt that I needed them. The deck was miserable for my opponent and fun for me, which is everything I could ever ask for in a deck.

Back then we had Circular Logic for countermagic which was near impossible to pay for once you hit turn three or four. Porting this over to Legacy gives us new toys and tools to play with including Force of Will, Counterbalance and Monastery Mentor. Where are my manners though? Without further ado I present you with this week’s brew.

Esper Opposition

Lands (20)
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Underground Sea

Creatures (3)
Monastery Mentor

Spells (37)
Cabal Therapy
Entreat the Angels
Force of Will
Future Sight
Gitaxian Probe
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Sensei’s Divining Top
Swords to Plowshares
Sideboard (15)
Enlightened Tutor
Helm of Obedience
Leyline of Sanctity
Rest in Peace

I loved Opposition back in the day of Standard alongside madness. It presented an early aggressive start if that was the match up that you were in, and also gave you a lot of inevitability against the slower decks like Psychatog and UG Madness if you were able to resolve an Opposition. I have tried to run Opposition in Legacy before alongside Lingering Souls for creature advantage, Academy Rector to tutor for whatever you needed and Cabal Therapy as a sacrifice outlet as well as disruption of whatever your opponent was trying to do to kill you.

That version didn’t work so well, but what has changed since then to make me come back to this archetype? Miracles has become exceptionally popular and top tier winning with threats that come down turn four and later. Miracles is the perfect example of a deck that can slow down a game and eventually lock the opponent in a choke hold until they succumb to one of the slower win conditions that they run. Here we have the perfect game state to take full advantage of Opposition and take heavy control over Miracles. Now if you will join me for an adventure through the card choices.


Monastery Mentor is a great example of a card that can present a quick clock as well as go wide in order to overwhelm an opponent. Not only does the mentor allow us the potential for getting a large army of well trained monks for  one large killing blow, but he allows us to spam tokens in order to tap down blockers and lands keeping our opponent at instant speed spells or nothing. As a Miracles staple he was an easy inclusion—he works well with our game plan and present a quick clock for us once we have locked an opponent out.

Not a creature itself, but Bitterblossom allows for a steady stream of creatures which exponentially closes out the game with time. Every time we lose a life we get a creature (with flying) which can close out a game faster than we lose life. These free creatures also allow us to have Opposition online before it even enters the battlefield.


Here we have Counterbalance as a Miracles staple. Counterbalance can easily counter spells as we have a low curve similar to the strategy of many Legacy decks. Combined with Sensei’s Divining Top we are guaranteed to counter anything that is one mana. This, as with most any Miracles style deck, is the key to total control over the game versus many of the decks of the format.

Cabal Therapy serves as a good proactive disruption against combo and control decks, it also gives us a free spell to cast off Bitterblossom and Monk Tokens to clear the way for our lock pieces as well as our win conditions.

In additional to Cabal Therapy we have Gitaxian Probe in order to know exactly what to name and possibly get a two for one effect depending on what we see.


Swords to Plowshares is the lone removal spell. Jace, the Mind Sculptor can be considered as removal, but that is not his main role in this deck. Swords to Plowshares is extremely efficient since it only requires one mana to cast and completely removes the threat from the game for just a small tempo loss of our opponent gaining life which is easily mitigated by having the exponential clock of Monastery Mentor or Bitterblossom.


Here we have Jace, the Mind Sculptor, what more could anyone want or need? He protects himself, he keeps your draws smooth, he keeps your opponent from drawing spells that can answer him, and he wins games as a result. He is the most powerful Planeswalker ever printed and rightfully so considering his four abilities. One of the best parts is that he triggers prowess and helps Monastery Mentor create more pupils.


Opposition is the name of the game. Here we want to be able to shut down our opponent from doing anything sorcery speed. Combined with our token creators we can easily do this while we gain advantage and advance our board.

In order to gain advantage and get ahead with Opposition we need creatures to actually lock out our opponent. A few key cards we have to take full advantage of our desired lock piece are:

Bitterblossom—as described earlier in the creature section, this provides us with a steady stream of creatures in order to tap down attackers, blockers, lands, etc.

Monastery Mentor—as a deck full of non-creature spells this is fairly easy to get value from not too mention we have Force of Will and Gitaxian Probe to get value even without mana. Post-board we also have access to Misdirection to take advantage of another manaless spell to get value and protect our mentor.


Here in the sideboard we have additional control pieces as well as an alternate win condition.

Flusterstorm gives us an answer to many combo decks as well as the ability to win in the countermagic wars that Legacy can be known for. A Flusterstorm in the face of low mana curves of Legacy can counter everything from Hymn to Tourach, Tendrils of Agony as well as opposing Force of Will and Counterspell. An unfortunate fact of Flusterstorm is that is cannot counter non-permanent spells like Chains of Mephistopheles, Choke, Sylvan Library and the like which hate on Miracles fairly well.

Misdirection can be the anti-hate card as well as countermagic. This is one of the few possible answers that we have to Abrupt Decay as well as high mana cost or uncounterable spells like Fireblast and Exquisite Firecraft.

For alternate win conditions I have included Rest in Peace/Helm of Obedience. Rest in Peace works as incidental graveyard hate as well as the second half of the Helm of Obedience combo. Here we also have Enlightened Tutor in order to order up the other half of the combo, or just to find the other half of our Counterbalance lock that we may be able to deploy.

Thoughtseize is here for additional disruption against combo decks. I always prefer a proactive approach to a deck that casts cards like Duress and Cabal Therapy to clear the way of countermagic before proceeding to kill you.

Leyline of Sanctity is the last piece of the puzzle to ensure that an opponent running discard and Liliana of the Veil cannot slow us down or stop us from taking control of the game and locking them out.

Closing Thoughts

This is a brew that very recently came to mind when I dug through my collection in order to build High Tide. I found Opposition which reminded me of the one foil card that I ever enjoyed running. Since I recently wrote the article about making Miracles faster at closing out a game, I decided that we should slow down the game to the point where we could advance the board state and keep our opponent under lockdown until we decided the time was right to close out a game. I am what you might refer to as an individual that just wants to see the world burn.

Happy brewing to each and every one of you. If anyone has an idea for a brew that they would like to see, I will gladly take requests and challenges in the comments. 🙂

Aaron Gazzaniga manages a restaurant and in his off time has been an avid magic player/brewer since 2003. Having begun in Odyssey Standard Block and always favoring control and prison style decks, we come to this moment in time where Aaron finally gets to talk about and share his ideas.

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