I was recently inspired by a Cedric Phillips rant to try playing Storm in Legacy. I think that Cedric was really spot on with his evaluation of the current state of Legacy, and I agree that Storm is currently well positioned. I especially agree with his disdain for decks like Maverick, which plays the least playable basic land ever printed.
I borrowed Forrest Ryan’s copy of the GP Ghent list and took it to a few smaller Legacy tournaments. I found the deck to be both fun and challenging, and I was really enjoying playing it. I had to follow a lot of interesting lines and plan my kill turn a few turns in advance, which I found pretty enjoyable. My favorite play that I’ve made with the deck by far was Burning Wishing for a Gitaxian Probe that I boarded out to go off for exactly 20 the following turn.
But the fun stopped during the fourth round of the Legacy event I played last Thursday.
When my opponent sat down across from me I wasn’t convinced that he know where he was. He shuffled slowly, tanked on simple decisions and was playing double-sleeved despite not having any foils in his deck.
He was playing RUG Delver, which is one of the primary matchups that I wanted to play more on the Storm side. In game one he played a turn one Delver on the play, amateurly Brainstormed to flip it on turn one, and easily killed me before I could find the discard spells necessary to go off.
He continued to play a turn one Delver and Brainstorm to flip it on turn two every game in our match. This is actually the only reason there even was a game three, as his premature Brainstorm in game two made my discard spells MUCH stronger.
Even though he lost that game, his Brainstorm in game three was considerably worse. He had a Trop in play, Brainstormed on upkeep, revealed Force of Will (thanks for the info, bud), then didn’t have a land to play.
He showed me he had disruption, threw away his only way of hiding it, and Brainstorm locked himself off of lands all on turn one.
And he still won very easily.
The moral of the story, kids, is that everybody should just play RUG Delver. It doesn’t matter if you’re incompetent. It doesn’t even matter if you’re missing the dual lands – just buy them before an event and you’ll win back the money very easily. The deck is just insane.
Now, you might be thinking that playing RUG makes you a dog to the decks that I was trying to beat by playing Storm, but I would disagree with you.
The Maverick matchup isn’t nearly as bad for RUG as people seem to think it is if you know how to play it. I’m the type of guy that will always pack 4 Stifle, so Maverick is easier for me than those who don’t (Maverick is literally a pile of activated abilities). But even without it the matchup is fine.
If you’re really worried about it, pack a Dismember in the main and max out on Submerges in the sideboard. With this much removal you should really only be losing if you fail to recognize which creatures of theirs are important. If that’s your problem, then I’ll give you a hint – Mother of Runes, Knight of the Reliquary and Scavenging Ooze.
I’ve noticed that a lot of Maverick players have been adopting Cavern of Souls, which I feel is laughable. If they want to beat RUG, which is one of very few decks that actually cares about countering their creatures, they should just be fetching basics so that they can’t get Wastelanded to death. Cavern is unreal good in Standard, but a deck like Maverick should be much more worried about removal spells and Wastelands than the Dazes that they can easily play around.
In addition to being favored against Maverick, RUG clearly has an advantage against most combo decks. Sometimes they can just draw more disruption than you, but for the most part you are very capable of fighting them. To be entirely honest, there are only two decks that I’m worried about while playing RUG:
You have Islands. Fish hate Islands. Fish kill you dead.
Unlike Maverick, pretty much every creature out of Merfolk matters. You want to jam as much removal as possible if you want to realistically beat this matchup. Personally I’ve been packing three Red Elemental Blasts on my board and have had two Dismember in my 75 as of late.
Of course, Merfolk is by and large being hated out by everybody else as is. Even still, the REBs have a pretty low opportunity cost as they are good against many flavors of combo and the mirror as well.
The other matchup that concerns me tends to have less overlap with the rest of Legacy…
Death and Taxes
Before I begin this section, I will make it clear that D&T is not a real deck. Anybody playing it is blatantly disrespecting the Legacy format at large, and this is the exact reason that it can be such a tough matchup for RUG.
With a manabase of mono-Plains and a playset of Aether Vial, D&T can make a joke out of counterspells and Wastelands. Jotun Grunt and it’s gigantic backside couples with its ability to hose Tarmogoyf and Nimble Mongoose are also quite problematic.
The one advantage that RUG has in this matchup is that D&T relies on the activated/triggered abilities of Mother of Runes, Mangara of Corondor and Aether Vial. Stifle really shines against decks like this.
If you’re not playing Stifle… Well, good luck. The one thing you can do is have Sulfur Elemental on board. It might look like a wasted slot, but it’s also good against Maverick and is worth boarding in against certain combo decks where tapping out for Tarmogoyf can be a huge liability.
Like I said, though, D&T is not a real deck, so you shouldn’t have to play against it. But lord knows that I always find a way to play against the only guy in the room playing it.
While I think that I have grown some as a player simply by picking up Storm for a spell, I just can’t bring myself to not play RUG in any event where it matters. It can be tuned to beat basically any metagame and its bad matchups are few and far between.
If you take the time to actually learn how to play the deck and Brainstorm well, like so few other players have done, then you will see great success with the deck. This I promise you.
Good luck, high five.