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Mike Hawthorne runs us through the strength and synergy of Legacy's New Horizons, giving us a map of the deck's abilities and interactions.
The Bant shard nearly overflows with complementary synergy. Here’s why:
- Blue’s counter magic and card manipulation are a powerful force.
- Green’s creatures and board presence never fails to produce competitively playable fatties.
- White has always been known to play well with Blue and Green, being allies on the Color Wheel, and it produces low cost removal and splashes creatures to create valuable abilities.
With these colors in mind, this article is about my favorite deck in Legacy.
New Horizons makes use of counter magic and big creatures in order to overwhelm an opponent with card advantage and resource denial, all while allowing a giant creature to finish off the game.
The key cards in the deck are:
These cards play together nicely in New Horizons, better than in any deck I have ever played.
Altogether, it appears to be your standard, everyday tempo deck, but it's more like a tempo deck on steroids.
Let’s go through some of the interactions that may go by overlooked.
Spells Spells: Spells
Brainstorm, in my opinion, is the best card in Legacy. Played correctly it can do some absurd things. A good friend of mine by the name of Josh Rayden truly opened my eyes to this card. I watch people constantly play it wrong and I often find myself thinking about whether or not I could have played it better in a game.
If you honestly don’t believe that Brainstorm is absurd, then there's a good chance you’ve been playing it wrong this whole time. Used wisely, with a shuffle effect and two useless cards in hand, it turns into an Ancestral Recall. Regardless, a local grinder and the insulin to my sugar, Martin Lohman, once said, "I'd rather play the best card in this format wrong than not play it at all." Think about that.
For more on how to play Brainstorm properly, please read AJ Sacher’s article Pondering Brainstorm. It will make you a better person.
Brainstorm is extremely powerful in this deck because of all the shuffle effects we have access to. Seven Fetch lands and 4 Knight of the Reliquarys allow you to always fix your hand when it needs fixing.
Ponder is a lot weaker for many reasons, but it’s the closest thing we have—aside from Jace, the Mind Sculptor—to Brainstorms 5-6. In a tempo deck seeking a silver bullet, it’s a brilliant way to help find what you need. It’s also a helpful shuffle effect in of itself.
The obvious tempo choices are Force of Will and Daze. Force of Will helps you keep the combo decks in check and allows you to protect your own spells or stop your opponent from resolving theirs.
Daze is great in this deck because you never—aside from Elspeth, Knight-Errant—need to have more than four lands and it helps keep an opponent's curve in check.
Mental Misstep has been written about once or twice. I first played this card the day after it came out. Troy Thompson has been playing New Horizons for a while and was the person to turn me on to the deck. He helped me snap shove Mental Misstep into the 75 without much testing so we could compete in a Grand Prix Trial.
After the event I turned to him and said:
"I'm not sure I like Mental Misstep in here."
To which he responded with:
"What did you counter with it today?"
"A Sensei's Divining Top, a Ponder, a Brainstorm, a Grindstone, a Swords to Plowshares…"
Before he could respond I realized what I had just said.
This card is format defining and has warped permissions. I regret trying to convince Tyler Tyssedal otherwise. [editor’s note: Forgiven.]
Now for the creatures.
Vendilion Clique is a creature with a unique ability like none I've ever seen. Flashing him in after an opponent's draw step or during combat, this little flying 3/1 paves the way for a bigger guy, can force your opponent to tap out on their turn, and prevents them from casting their silver bullets. In the worst case scenario, it pitches to Force of Will.
Terravore. This guy is a giant. In tempo mirrors he is absolutely enormous. I've seen him as big as an 18/18. For three. The best part about this guy is that he tramples, eating chump blocks for breakfast with a tasty side of pain. As Tarmogoyf's big brother, he usually kills with one or two swings.
Knight of the Reliquary is the All Star of the deck. You are rarely attacking with this gal unless you are looking to end the game. She (yes, she’s a girl) makes both Terravore and herself bigger all while fixing your mana. Her ability to search up any land is absurd.
Say, for example, you have a Vendilion Clique in play and four untapped lands with an active Knight of the Reliquary. Want to kick it into control mode? Attack with your Vendilion Clique and then, during your opponents draw step, turn that Knight of the Reliquary sideways, float and sacrifice a land and search up Karakas. Send that Vendilion Clique back to your hand and recast it. Simply decide which spell you don't want your opponent to have, rinse and repeat.
Sometimes you become flooded with lands. Just float a mana with an untapped land and sacrifice it to Knight of the Reliquary and search up a Horizon Canopy. Enjoy your new card and bigger Knight of the Reliquary.
She's also is really effective at paying for Daze. People often play Daze into an untapped Knight of the Reliquary—a mistake I see in nearly every tournament I play.
Tarmogoyf rounds out the deck nicely as the least powerful creature.
Yes. I said it.
Tarmogoyf is the LEAST powerful creature in the deck. When someone casts Swords to Plowshares targeting my Tarmogoyf, my heart warms with happiness. Tarmogoyf is a great threat but he serves his purpose well when becoming the target of a removal spell. Tarmogoyf often clears the path for Knight of the Reliquary or Terravore to stick around.
New Horizons plays a solid set of removal with four Swords to Plowshares and two Engineered Explosives.
Engineered Explosives is great against Counterbalance and helps you two-for-one your opponent on a regular basis.
Elspeth, Knight-Errant fits very nicely into this deck due to the pressure she applies. I have been playing one in this deck for awhile, and I believe that as the format shifts into more control/Jace, the Mind Sculptor decks, this card gets even better.
In some situations it allows you to continually produce a little guy and just swarm an opponent out of the game, while in others it makes a giant Knight of the Reliquary soar in for lethal.
Elspeth, Knight-Errant has helped end a lot of games coming out of tight situations.
Now onto the most controversial card in the list: Stifle.
In Minnesota we have a great Legacy scene with a lot of really good players. After traveling with my group of Magicians and talking of Magic, Stifle continues to be a card of great controversy.
Let’s take a look at some of the important cards that can be Stifled.
and pretty much every good card with the creature type Goblin.
I love this card. It’s insanely versatile. Sometimes you want to lock your opponent out of the game by way of land destruction, so Stifle becomes a one mana Stone Rain. Other times you want to prevent Dredge from producing another creature to sacrifice to Dread Return or make Cephalid Coliseum a really bad Island.
It allows you to prevent a key Unsummon from Jace, the Mind Sculptor wrecking you. It even prevents them from digging for answers. This card fits like a glove in this deck. It is also easily sideboarded out in its bad matchups.
Onto the lands
They are all fairly self explanatory.
Wasteland punishes greedy decks not running basics. Couple that with Stifle and a fetch or two and you become a one sided Armageddon the rest of the game.
Horizon Canopy is great because it produces two of your colors, fixing your mana while allowing you to draw extra cards in the late game.
Seven fetchlands give you some shuffle effects and allow you to get the proper colors.
Karakas is great for more than just bouncing your own Vendilion Clique. It bounces Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and does good work against Kira, Great Glass-Spinner. Targeting a Kira with Karakas and then casting a Swords to Plowshares allows you to get rid of it without having to put an unnecessary card in the graveyard.
Every card, including the tutorable lands, in New Horizons comes together in a way that allows you to gain a progressive advantage until you've opened a window large enough to shove a fatty through.
Legacy is a format that is ever changing. I believe that playing what you’re comfortable with is of the most importance when choosing the proper deck. It’s a format where you should not feel bad about reading your opponent's cards and asking questions on the myriad interactions, so I would encourage you to try out New Horizons and all it has to offer if the cards seem appealing to you.
Also, don't be afraid to go against the norm and play something creative.
Just make sure you get some testing in.
In couple days I will be traveling to Providence, Rhode Island with Tyler Tyssedal and most of the Minnesota crew to play in the Grand Prix. I will likely be playing this deck and plan on having a great time doing so. If you see any of us, please don't be shy. This game brings together some of the funnest people around. That fact is best enjoyed with other people.
Until next time,
- Mike Hawthorne
4 thoughts on “A Knight on the Town: New Horizons in Legacy”
the insulin to my sugar
Without him I would die…
I just realized this is a 61 card deck. Is that right?
almost made m want to shift away from the little green men.