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Tales of the Squire – NELC Action and GP Trial Fun

If any of you lovely readers follow Jupiter Games at all you know that a few weekends ago (Feb 11th and 12th) was a time for Legacy.  Jupiter held two events, one being their monthly Northeast Legacy Championship (NELC) Qualifier, and the other being a Grand Prix Indy Trial.  I knew I wanted to play in both and did exactly that. I’m not going to give you a tournament report because I want to focus more on the deck I played on Sunday and just give you a brief talk about the actual tournament play. So lets’ get right into it!

Saturday I had my 75 all sleeved up and ready to go. I decided to play BUG with Delvers, Goyfs, and Bobs but unfortunately for me, the deck did not decide to cooperate with me.  I managed a round 1 bye and then had to face off on camera for round 2. In both games I only had Delvers that just did not want to flip and no library manipulation to help them out.  At any point in game 2 if my Delvers would have flipped, I probably could have won, but nope. The day went downhill from there and I just dropped relatively early.  While people went around asking what I was playing I told them, when they all proceeded to tell me that BUG is not really good right now. Well thanks guys, if you would have told me a day or two earlier I would have audibled to something better suited. Oh well. So with that in mind I decided I needed something else to play and luckily my friend Seneca was not going to be playing on Sunday and was willing to let me borrow his deck. Here is what Seneca played to a top 16 performance on Saturday:


Creatures: 

Aven Mindcensor

Knight of the Reliquary

Mother of Runes

Noble Hierarch

Qasali Pridemage

Scavenging Ooze

Scryb Ranger

Stoneforge Mystic

1 Tarmogoyf

 

Legendary Creatures

Geist of Saint Traft

Vendilion Clique
Instants/Sorceries:

Swords to Plowshares

Green Sun’s Zenith

 

Artifacts: 
Sword of Feast and Famine

 

Legendary Artifacts: 
Umezawa’s Jitte


Planeswalkers: 
Jace, the Mind Sculptor


Basic Lands:
1 Forest
1 Plains

Non-Basic Lands:
Horizon Canopy
Maze of Ith
Misty Rainforest
Savannah
Tropical Island
Tundra
Wasteland
Windswept Heath

Land Creatures:
Dryad Arbor

Legendary Lands:
Karakas

Sideboard: 
Ethersworn Canonist
Choke
Stony Silence
Wheel of Sun and Moon
Enlightened Tutor
Path to Exile
Spell Pierce
Gaddock Teeg
Bojuka Bog
Tower of the Magistrate

 

I am not 100% if this is the exact 75 that Seneca played but I know that Ryan McKinney had been talking with his friend Adam Cai, who designed the list, and that is why Seneca was playing it.  I know that some changes had been made from Adam’s original list with the addition of the one Tarmogoyf, cutting a Mother of Runes, and playing 2 Qasali Pridemage.

After the event I asked Seneca if I could borrow his deck then Ryan, Sen, and I sat down to figure out if the list was optimal, and the brewing commenced.  The thought was that Vendilion Clique was being sided out most games and that Tarmogoyf was never a target for Green Sun’s Zenith it was only cast while in hand. Adam then signed on the facebooks and McKinney started asking him more questions about the list and I became the guinea pig to run the list in an event, and not just friend-on-friend testing.  Here is what I played:

 

Creatures: 

Aven Mindcensor
Knight of the Reliquary
Mother of Runes
Noble Hierarch
Qasali Pridemage
Scavenging Ooze
Scryb Ranger
Fauna Shaman

1 Loyal Retainers
Instants: 
Swords to Plowshares

Legendary Creatures:
Geist of Saint Traft
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Planeswalkers:
Elspeth, Knight-Errant

1 Garruk Relentless

Sorceries:
Green Sun’s Zenith

Basic Lands:
1 Forest
1 Plains

Non-Basic Lands:
Horizon Canopy
Maze of Ith
Misty Rainforest
Savannah
Tropical Island
Tundra
Wasteland
Windswept Heath

Land Creatures:
Dryad Arbor

Legendary Lands:
Karakas

Sideboard: 
Ethersworn Canonist
Choke
Stony Silence
Wheel of Sun and Moon
Enlightened Tutor
Path to Exile
Spell Pierce
Gaddock Teeg
Bojuka Bog
Tower of the Magistrate

As you can see the list no longer runs Stoneforge Mystic and any equipment and the blue is cut down to simply Geist of Saint Traft in the main and Spell Pierce in the board.  Adam has been testing out Fauna Shaman with the Loyal Retainers and Elesh Norn combo in the deck so I figured I would give it a shot.  We came upon the missing cards for the deck and I was ready to play it on Sunday.

I ended up splitting the finals on Sunday with Goblins giving him the byes to the GP and the Library of Alexandria while I took the Mox Emerald.  Throughout the day I was very happy with how the deck played but now I want to focus more on individual cards.

Mother of Runes:

Most of us know how great Mother of Runes can be, but I honestly hated it when I would draw more than 1 in a game.  The deck is trying to be aggressive and if the opponent is wasting two removal spells on a creature or on Mom herself I was completely fine with that. Normally the RUW decks run the most removal spells with 4 Lightning Bolts and 4 Swords to Plowshares and taking away two of those usually is a great thing seeing as my deck was running just a lot of creatures.  I’m glad that we cut down to just 3 Moms but I do not think I would go below that.

Aven Mindcensor:

Have you ever had this card played against you? If so, you know how annoying it can be. If not go and sit down with your favorite deck featuring fetch lands and tutor effects and keep looking at the top 4 only. Hmm that fetch land may not be finding you the land you want.  Mindcensor is just a real annoying creature for decks to deal with.  Normally you are trying to flash it in while they are fetching or casting Stoneforge Mystic and they even have to counter it or just deal with their search effect and then kill it.  I feel that Mindcensor is filling the same role as Stifle would, except it has a body.  Obviously Stifle can do a lot more than stop the fetch effect.  I actually was too nice to my round 5 opponent in game 1. He had three fetches that he cracked at the same time while I was holding Mindcensor, but in my confusion and such I asked him to hold on and he went back to one fetch at a time.  Oh well, I still won that game but know I played wrong there.

Knight of the Reliquary, Noble Hierarch, and Qasali Pridemage:

Those cards are all pretty basic in GW decks and usually decks play 4, 4, and 1 respectively but I think Pridemage has so much versatility that I wanted to make sure there were two in the deck.

Scryb Ranger:

Pro blue is pretty awesome for dealing with Delvers and Cliques; flash is always a nice surprise especially if you can untap your Knight to grab that utility land  or something.  I used Ranger a few times to get around mana screw and have it kill Cliques.  This card is an obvious GSZ target and in this list was also a Fauna Shaman target.

Fauna Shaman plus the Elesh Norn package:

While in all theory it’s awesome to be able to reanimate an Elesh Norn and blow your opponent out (also, who doesn’t love Survival on a body?) unfortunately Fauna Shaman was just too fragile, and I never had creatures I wanted to discard to her. Knight of the Reliquary is too awesome to bin and most other creatures are utility.  Shaman would be nice if holding Elesh Norn so you really only needed one activation with her to get the “combo” off.  I guess overall it’s just too cute for this deck. Most players know you are up to something crazy when you cast Fauna Shaman and she usually dies right away or faces down a Spell Snare. Although, Elesh Norn on her own can be a beast and while 7 mana is pretty high for a legacy deck, I did manage to cast her against my opponent in one match where she functioned as a one sided Wrath of God.  The deck is capable of casting her with the help of Knight, Hierarch, and Scryb Ranger but alone I do not think she deserves a spot in this deck.

Geist of Saint Traft:

This card is probably one of the best creatures you can be casting at 3 mana and that is why a lot of decks are playing him right now.  Yes, he does die easily to a blocker, but if protected, he can go the distance.  He single handedly won me a spot into the Top 8 because my opponent in Round 5 kept a hand with lands and double Lightning Bolt and double Swords to Plowshares. I landed Geist on turn 3 and he laughed at the removal.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben:

Tempo decks love to spend as little mana as possible to do everything and Thalia is not happy with that.  Thalia was a card that I did not really enjoy in the deck and that was because there was only one copy of her in the deck.  Even with the 3 copies of Fauna Shaman, I never had Thalia as much as a I wanted.  This list only runs 8 spells that are affected by Thalia whereas Delver decks are usually running about 18 or more.  Both games against Bryant Cook in the quarterfinals I had Thalia and I think she alone caused him so many problems that I was able to take down the games.  In Game 2 he had Pyroclasm which would have wiped my board but the one extra mana made my Spell Pierce turn into the Mana Leak I needed it to be.  If I did not have Thalia, I would have had to double Spell Pierce (which I had) but then my Knight would have died to Swords the following turn. Also you know how I mentioned Geist is all amazing?  Well I still think that, but Thalia can deal with him with that lovely first strike.  Plus if protected by Mom and Karakas, Thalia can be deadly for some decks.  This deck is also dead to combo in game 1 with the only option being to race it, but Thalia can be just enough to get there. If I was to play this deck again, which I hope I can, I will be adding a second copy of Thalia.

Green Sun’s Zenith:

I have always loved this card and think it is one of the best cards in the deck.  It’s sad that we can’t run all green creatures because then GSZ would be that much better.  But GSZ opens the deck up to be able to run the utility creatures like Scryb Ranger and Scavenging Ooze.  This card has seen play in every format it’s allowed to be in as well. Who doesn’t love having 8 copies of Primeval Titan in your Wolfrun deck?

Elspeth, Knight-Errant:

Elspeth is pretty boss when it comes to jumping Geist or Knight and obviously making tokens to protect herself is amazing, but I was not super impressed with her during my 7 rounds of play on Sunday.  I only cast her once or twice, but I was far enough ahead in those games that she just sped things up, which I suppose is nice as well.  I do think though that she fits better in this deck than Jace does but I’m sure other people will not agree with that.

Garruk Relentless:

Making Wolves and fighting creatures is pretty awesome.  A lot of problem creatures in the format die to this guy because of what the format has shifted too and even if he doesn’t fight them, he can make blockers for those pesky creatures.  Sometimes he just functions as a 4 mana removal spell for Insectile Aberration but still that is fine as the deck does not have a lot of flyers.

 

Well I don’t think I missed anything from the deck, but if I did I’m sure you can figure out why it is in the deck and why the sideboard is as it is.  I do wish the Fauna Shaman package was better but overall the deck is very good and has a fast clock because of the size of Knights and Geist just crushing the competition.  If you have any more questions about the deck please feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to answer all the questions. Hope the see you at the NELC Qualifier this weekend!

 

 

 

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