by Dan Rae
I want to start off by saying that ever since the tournament use of Stoneforge Mystic, Squire has gotten a lot press. Once Stoneforge has become “useless” people will refer to her as a Squire. While this obviously doesn’t matter because cards get nicknamed all the time, for example:
Dark Confidant is usually referred to as “Bob”. Birds of Paradise are simply “BoP”, and I’m not sure if other people call Sphinx of Uthuun, “Fact or Fiction Sphinx” or not, and while that name may be longer, I hate saying “Uthuun”. This term does not work for everyone because Fact or Fiction may be foreign to them.
But why does everyone have to call a creature that has become worthless a Squire? Why not call it a Vodalian Soldier?
While playing at a local Legacy event I had a player talk about how every color has a Squire except red. He claimed that blue had Snapcaster Mage and white had Stoneforge Mystic. How can someone say that the white Squire is Stoneforge Mystic? Shouldn’t the white Squire be Squire?!? Sorry for the rant about Squire but I found it funny how the white Squire is not even the actual card…oh well. Someday people will appreciate the power of Squire. I bet Wizards will make a From the Vaults: Squire when they realize the card’s power. Maybe if I can convince Ken Adams to buy my Squires and put some in the case, people will start to play Squire. I don’t know if it is worth giving up all my Squires.
So if you read my last article (and I hope you did) I said I would talk about my tournament report from the latest Jupiter event. Well as you read the title I bet you can figure out that will not be the case. My event did not go as planned. I had a crushing defeat round 1 and I’m not just talking about my deck getting smashed. I mentally checked out as soon as the round was over. That is something that is very important in the magical world. If you become tilted, you need to try to overcome that tilt immediately or else it will cause you problems. I recently saw a player slam his deck down and storm outside because the deck “didn’t draw properly.” That is pretty intense, no doubt about it. Magic is definitely a game of luck, having the right cards is helpful and playing them right is needed as well, but sometimes you just do not draw what you need or get mana screwed. I definitely know I get frustrated when my deck draws poorly but it does not help to dwell upon it. I don’t want to give you tips or advice on what to do when you become tilted because it is different for each person. You need to find what works for you and stick to it. I just hope that isn’t throwing your deck across the room and punching another player. So please players, don’t get tilted and let it ruin your tournament.
As the title of this article suggest, I’m not really sure what is happening in Legacy. As soon as Mental Misstep was banned there was much rejoicing and everyone felt the format would come back to its former glory. The old decks that had been “killed” by Misstep were able to come back and do what they did best. A player didn’t need to play blue to win an event. But wait, Wizards printed Snapcaster Mage and along with it blue maintained its dominance. Now I realize blue has always been the dominant color and I am okay with that because I love the color. I just feel wrong if I am playing a format like Legacy and there are not blue cards in my deck. I even tried to find a way to get Jace, the Mind Sculptor into my Lands builds. The last two decks that won Jupiter Games Legacy Events both had at least three Snapcaster Mage in them. Eli Kassis even found a way to make Snapcaster better by including a single Mana Leak in his UW list in order to have a “hard” counter to flashback with Snapcaster. Let’s be serious people, no one ever plays around Mana Leak in Legacy and only having to have one blue open (plus the obvious colorless) is a big factor. Now I am not calling for a ban of Snapcaster Mage or anything because there are only five creatures on the banned list for Legacy and two of them deal with ante. So I do not see Wizards taking action against this creature anytime soon.
So what about those decks that Mental Misstep killed? Well they did not come back exactly, but newer versions of those decks were created. Tempo has become the thing to play again. People are dusting off their Nimble Mongeese and Stifles to bring them back to their former glory. I have heard of players even playing lists which only included 17 or 18 lands, with four of those lands being Wasteland. How is this even possible? We are going from decks running 43 Lands to decks now playing only 17. Well, talking with those players they said they have had success with the mana base, and that is because their mana costs never break 2. Now that is not including cards like Force of Will and Dismember which can be played using alternate costs. Why get mana flooded when you can cast all your spells off of just one land? Now we have not seen those decks break the format and become the “decks to beat” but still the format has shifted greatly. Players can cast their one mana spells again without fear of that pesky Mental Misstep, and there is a nice two mana spell which lets them be cast again from the graveyard. What more could blue tempo decks ask for? Oh damn, Wizards printed another blue card in the same set! If you have not played with this card yet or think it’s not that good then I really wonder what world you live in. This guy is definitely not a secret, he actually delves into them (yeah, I’m that lame sometimes).
And what a butt this Delver has!
Now I don’t even want to go into the fact that this nice looking wizard has turned into a crazy insect, but wow Delver is the card all tempo decks want. Most legacy decks, especially blue ones, like their instants and sorceries. So why would you not want to cast a creature on turn one and then beat the opponent down the opponent for three? I have been testing Delver for a bit now and I do really like him in my BUG list. I will talk more about that list a bit later in this article. Back when Misstep was around, people wouldn’t play the full set of, if any, Force of Wills in their legacy lists. My invitational list didn’t run any Forces and that was on the back of Mental Misstep. Now the card that is jumping back into the spotlight is Spell Snare. Spell Snare has always been good in Legacy but with the format becoming more tempo, Spell Snare is a great addition to any deck. You can cast Thoughtseize on turn 2 and hold up that blue to counter their Stoneforge Mystic. Or you know, any combination where you counter their two drop at any point in the game with a single blue. You know what would go nicely with that type of counter? You guessed it, Snapcaster Mage!
While I do not hate that Mental Misstep is gone (I actually enjoyed the card very much), I do not think that many of the decks have come back from their demise from Misstep. Zoo is not really played much anymore but combo has come back, but then again the only player I have ever see do good with combo has been playing the deck forever and made some top 8s while Misstep was around. That Bryant Cook has true conviction when it comes to his TES deck, but good for him. I wish I could pilot combo as well as he does (or draw as well as he does, I swear he made a pact with the devil to get such good opening hands). The format truly has shifted but I do not know if I like how it has shifted honestly. I think I’m still getting used to it and hopefully I can find a deck that I enjoy playing. I fear that I will always be destined to play bant and only do well with it. While I love bant, I do like enjoy playing other decks.
So with the format shifting I have been trying to test new cards and get my BUG list to be where I want it to be. I posted on Facebook the other day that I don’t want to jump onto the Snapcaster Mage bandwagon because I hate following the masses when it comes to my decks. I took Squadron Hawk and put that little guy in Legacy and it worked for me. When Survival was the huge deck in legacy, I had all the cards to play it, but I simply did not want to. I just would flip through my binder and see my Korean Survivals and move right past them looking for something else. I don’t know if that is me being wired wrong or not, but whatever. I like to think that I’m not the only person who won’t just play what is being posted online. So back to playing some weird cards in my lists. I cannot say that I am the one who thought of this card but I have been testing it hardcore. Meet the monkeys! Hidden Gibbons.
Now the first note I want to make is that this card has a little bit different oracle wording that what is actually on the card. The opponent just has to cast the instant, you can then counter it and still get yourself a 4/4 Ape. With Legacy becoming the tempo format that it is everyone is enjoying their instants. Brainstorm is still going to be played and now that Stifle and Spell Snare are back, why not get an Ape to beat down your opponent. So I have been testing Hidden Gibbons in my BUG list and took it to a local legacy tournament to see how it did. Here is the list I ran:
I took my old list and cut Liliana of the Veil to see how the monkeys fare. Round 1, I had a turn 1 Tropical Island into Hidden Gibbons. My opponent had out a Misty Rainforest so I felt good about the play. Just my luck, the opponent was playing GW Maverick and the monkeys would not see action. The rest of my day did not turn out so well. I do not think that Hidden Gibbons led to my poor results, so I am going to continue to test the card and hopefully come up with some positive results. If anyone reading this article has actually tested this card, let me know how it has worked out for you. Hopefully I can take the monkeys to the top and continue to have a love for odd cards. Most likely if you play me in the next Jupiter event I will have some number of Hidden Gibbons in my deck. Hopefully the monkeys will beat your face in.