With preparation for the Invitational and Season 1 of the SCG Tour now in the books, I’ve finally found some free time to check in on my favorite format, Legacy. Currently, the format is in a scramble to find homes for powerful new cards including Dreadhorde Arcanist and Wrenn and Six. I played Izzet Delver in a small local event recently, but for some unexplained reason I felt the call back to the depths.

Here’s what I played to second place in the MTGO Legacy Challenge over the weekend.

Golgari Depths

Creatures (11)
Dark Confidant
Vampire Hexmage
Sylvan Safekeeper

Spells (22)
Sylvan Library
Mox Diamond
Crop Rotation
Sylvan Scrying
Abrupt Decay
Lands (27)
Misty Rainforest
Verdant Catacombs
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Thespian’s Stage
Dark Depths
Sejiri Steppe
Bojuka Bog
Ghost Quarter

Sideboard (15)
Pithing Needle
Plague Engineer
Liliana, the Last Hope
Veil of Summer
Abrupt Decay
Assassin’s Trophy
Surgical Extraction
Toxic Deluge

Metagame Position

To be honest I would have played this deck regardless of the position in the format, but when I started reviewing lists it seemed promising. Izzet Delver seems to have taken the spot as top dog on the back of Dreadhorde Arcanist Once that card gets active in a game, it’s going to be an uphill battle. But Depths decks punish Delver.

Wasteland is the only realistic interaction they have in game one. After sideboarding, most lists have no way to remove the 20/20 Marit Lage token. Delver could play either Vapor Snag or Dead // Gone, but lately they don’t. To me it looks like they are super soft if the token hits play before they take over the game with card advantage.

The second new hotness in the Legacy metagame I will group together as multi-color Wrenn and Six decks. Similar to Arcanist in Delver, if the engine is online your secondary gameplan of Dark Confidant will be nullified. However, I’m seeing major holes in these decks skimping on cards like Diabolic Edict as the decks are more built for card advantage. This makes our primary game plan of making a 20/20 super potent against a huge chunk of the fair blue decks.

The rest of the format looks largely similar as the past, with Miracles and Death and Taxes being the Swords to Plowshares decks to be worried about.

New cards

I didn’t end up playing a copy of Nurturing Peatland in my deck. But I can see playing one somewhere, most likely over Bayou as fellow depths master Dave Long did. I don’t think this is an affect you need out of your lands in this deck, especially how I like to build it without Life from the Loam.

Plague Engineer is the strongest new card for the deck—this card is super strong. It acts as both sweeper and pseudo-removal for larger creatures. I was playing Marsh Casualties against Death and Taxes and True-Name Nemesis because it is cheaper to cast through Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Plague Engineer still costs three mana, which is slower against True-Name; but it costing the same against Thalia while leaving a deathtouch body behind is huge.

I haven’t got much data on Veil of Summer, so I’m undecided if it’s worth a slot or not. It counters Diabolic Edict, but if the edict of choice becomes Liliana’s Triumph, that’s a huge knock against this card. But the card does more useful things if your sideboard has room.

A repeatable Crop Rotation on a one-mana creature sounds too good to be true, right? There are a bunch of things working against Elvish Reclaimer, so Sylvan Scrying will probably keep its slot. This deck operates on super low mana, so the cost to activate is a real problem. Plus the land comes into play tapped, which slows down your combo. I’m willing to be wrong, but I think this one will miss the mark, unfortunately.

Sideboard Guide

I am not a personal fan of sideboard guides, but here is a generic starting point against all the fair decks.


I start by taking out my card advantage. This matchup generally isn’t about grinding in that way. Dark Confidant also taxes our life total, so it’s easy to remove. I would consider Plague Engineer and Veil of Summer also depending on builds.

Out: 4 Dark Confidant, 1 Sylvan Library
In: 2 Pithing Needle, 1 Abrupt Decay, 1 Assassin’s Trophy, 1 Duress

Wrenn and Six multi-color decks

I don’t like playing scared and cutting Dark Confidant, even though it dies so easily in this matchup. If Bob ever survives, it will take over the game. I don’t like Mox Diamond against Kolaghan’s Command decks unless they also have Blood Moon—in that case I would start cutting Crop Rotation.

Other cards I don’t mind are additional Decays and Veil of Summer, but this is a good starting point.

Out: 4 Mox Diamond, 3 Sylvan Scrying
In: 2 Pithing Needle, 2 Plague Engineer, 2 Liliana, the Last Hope, 1 Duress

Death and Taxes

I can take or leave Thoughtseize in this matchup. It’s better to play to the board because they have too many good cards to try to discard. I also cut Sylvan Scrying because it’s pretty clunky against Thalia draws and you will find pieces in long games.

Out: 4 Thoughtseize, 3 Duress, 3 Sylvan Scrying, 1 Bojuka Bog
In: 2 Pithing Needle, 2 Plague Engineer, 2 Liliana, the Last Hope, 1 Veil of Summer, 1 Abrupt Decay, 1 Assassin’s Trophy, 1 Toxic Deluge, 1 Karakas


I don’t like Mox Diamond here, but you can get really punished by Back to Basics, so I like keeping some. Crop Rotation is a liability against Counterbalance and Flusterstorm.

My prefered approach to this matchup is heavy discard into Dark Confidant or combo. I like Surgical Extraction as a plan. They play so few answers that a Surgical on Swords could be lights out, and they also play few win conditions so you can exile all their Jaces.  I would also consider Veil of Summer as another way to blow out Swords or clear the path for a back-breaking turn.

Out: 2 Mox Diamond, 2 Crop Rotation, 3 Sylvan Scrying
In: 2 Liliana, the Last Hope, 1 Abrupt Decay, 1 Assassin’s Trophy, 2 Surgical Extraction, 1 Duress

Always be fluid in sideboarding. Understanding the matchup is more important, as the margins with this deck specifically are very small. I look forward to pushing this archetype and seeing how this format develops with the huge influx of new cards.

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