SCG KC Report: T8 Standard & T16 Legacy

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“It’s just gonna get Spell Snared.”

“It’s just gonna get Spell Snared” said the man I shared a bed with in Kansas City the night before.  He may have spent the evening before fueling up on Vodka infused energy drinks, vomiting in the Jack Stack men’s room, and getting the back of his credit card signed as “Mr. Penis Esq.”, but Pat knew Legacy, and I agreed with him.

Shirtless, yet bespectacled, I couldn’t convince Pat McGregor that Aggro Loam would be a good deck for him to play.  He’s got a fantastic history with the deck—winning such things as a Black Lotus and a Star City Games Legacy Open on the back of Life from the Loam and Countryside Crusher.  I wonder how much rent and ramen it has provided him.  “Land, Mox Diamond, Chalice for two has to be good right now”, I tried reasoning.

“It’s just gonna get Spell Snared. Where’s Forrest’s Enchantress deck?  That sounds exactly like what I should be playing straight cold while hung over,” Pat said sarcastically through the hotel room fart haze of five men who had all consumed an unhealthy amount of alcohol and cow the night before.  I stopped caring and headed for the event site, seeking fresh air and skipping breakfast as I was still pretty sated from prior night’s cow feast.

Pat McGregor

I was also pretty high on the fact that I top 8'ed the Standard portion of SCG KC the night before with Wolf Run Ramp. But I was still at a loss for Legacy.  

I could build any number of decks in the 30 minutes I had after I signed up for Legacy—but still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  My local foray into Bant Aggro left me pretty unimpressed, and Natural Order hadn’t show up on the radar in a couple weeks.  My gut told me play Wastelands.  My logic told me I was going to face Snapcaster Mage and Stoneforge Mystic all day.  The tempo thresh decks with Delver of Secrets // Delver of Secrets looked pretty janky, but Pat had proved to me what a beating the insect side of Delver could do in some Standard testing.  I guessed resolving any threat above 3 and 4 mana was unlikely.

I signed up and grabbed a table to myself, pulled out my Bant deck and my iPhone.  I opened up my Google docs Legacy folder and searched around. Wasteland, Qasali Pridemage, Scavenging Ooze, Grim Lavamancer.  

There it was, everything I wanted to do.  Pridemage beats Stoneforge, Ooze beats Snapcaster, Lavamancer beats Delver of Secrets.  The decklist was old, but seemed appropriate.  The sideboard needed some help, but I’m not a moron and I can figure somethings out for myself.

Pat showed up with the rest of our entourage: Mike Hawthorne, Josh Rayden, and Julian Booher.  Mike looked around and said “There’s nobody here for Legacy.  Pat, you might want to play a real deck.”  The table became a mess of cards as Pat switched to RUG Tempo. People swapped cards they needed and I employed the child labor of Julian Booher to help me double sleeve my deck:

Nate Siftar runs the Thursday night Legacy tournaments at the local store in Minneapolis where I play.  He doesn’t get to play much, but when I saw him play a Zoo deck with Wasteland, I was pretty intrigued at how he got it to work.  The decklist above has evolved a bit from his original vision, but it plays giant Green creatures—which I am fond of—and just experienced a bit of success with the night before.


Round 1:  My opponent plays a Turn 1 Cloudpost, which throws me for a giant loop.  I’m thinking some sort of Scapeshift deck when he eventually adds more lands with an Andrios, Roaming Explorer.  I’m not doing anything impressive but attacking with cats and holding burn when I finally see the writing on the wall.  Tap Cloudpost, Tap Cloudpost, Tap Forest, Tap Taiga:

“I’ll get two Glimmerposts and gain 8 life”, my opponent said as my shoulders gave in and I nodded politely.  I had the Path for the Titan, but the following Emrakul, the Aeons Torn was too much.    

I lost the next game after Wastelanding him a bunch.  Wurmcoil Engine does fine damage at a cheaper cost than Emrakul and it made my Price of Progress look pretty silly.

I found Pat after round one. He was wearing a half-smile, half-eyeroll expression:  

“I lost to Modern Cloudpost,” he said.  I nodded knowlingly and explained my doubly ironic loss to the very Jolly Green Giants that I beat faces with the day before.

Round 2 I faced Drew Levin.  Drew and I have squared off a number of times in the past, and I had knocked him out of contention the night before in Standard in what was likely a very positive matchup for him.  

He’s a fine guy most of the time, but I find his in-game mannerisms and banter to be condescending.  He also seems to have an attention seeking quest to get himself onto SCG video coverage that doesn’t appeal to my “Midwest Lutheran sit-in-the-corner and try-not-to-get-noticed” upbringing.  

Every time prior we have played Legacy, I had been playing Zoo, so he accurately guessed I was on cats.  I surmised he was likely Blue with Snapcaster, but it could be anything beyond that.  Game 1 he put the screws to me with a Wasteland that I had trouble recovering from.  I card disadvantaged myself by using two excess Path to Exiles on my own creatures as he was trying to kill them.  

I saved the third for his Stifled Phyrexian Dreadnought, which he telegraphed with Trinket Mage.  

Games 2 and 3 I was able to control his graveyard with Scavenging Ooze and Relic of Progenitus.  We had each other in top deck mode, and I was getting the most of that despite him playing Brainstorm.  I had topdecked the timely Pyroblast for his likewise-timely Jace, the Mind Sculptor—allowing my Knight of the Reliquary to get through.

 I forgot to draw a card from my Relic activation and did my math wrong when I attacked a 5/5 Knight into a 5/6 Tarmogoyf—so I understand the frustration Drew had as he marked the drop slot on the match slip after the second round.  

There’s nothing like playing a game of Magic against an opponent who makes multiple obvious errors. And still losing.  I’ve been there before, but am glad to be on the other side of it this time.  There had been some in-game discussion about my “joke deck,” which I wasn’t very fond of, so I wasn’t terribly sympathetic.

 He got up and left disgruntled—which allowed me to steal his pen.

My Round 3 opponent was insulted when I told him that my loss was to Primeval Titan.  “You don’t have to be a jerk, I was just making small talk.”  I told him that I wasn’t lying, I actually lost to Primeval Titan and Emrakul from Cloudposts.  He giggled, and I destroyed his BUG deck in two games.

Round 4 was a fairly easy affair against Painter's Servant / Grindstone Combo. Zoo has so many ways to disrupt the combo. Even more-so post board. I had the [card Red Elemental Blast]Red Blast[/card]s for his Show and Tell sideboard package as well.

Round 5 was
a text feature match which can be found here.

Game: 1 I beat him when he had no permanents.  

Game 2: He had permanents which made it more awkward, but I was able to put him in a position where he only had equipment and Mutavaults in play to attach to them.  Batterskull’s equip cost is pretty silly when you don’t have a Stoneforge around.  He was able to hit me once with a Mutavault and Sword of Feast and Famine, but he wasn’t able to untap into anything. I alpha striked him on my next turn.

Round 6 was rough, as I wasn’t able to keep a good hand against UW Stoneforge.  He was able to draw out Game 1 with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and I probably should have scooped, but a Qasali Pridemage at anytime could have helped a lot.

I got him under Choke in Game 2, and Game 3 was getting drawn out due to Jace as well.  I had a Choke on the table, but it wasn’t doing much as I didn’t have action. My opponent was drowning me in card advantage.  Time was eventually called, and no one was able to win in 5 turns.  He had board position on me, my hand was blanks, and I was sure he would be able to win in a couple extra turns. So I scooped.

I almost dropped, but Ian Ellis reminded me that I could still win some cash if I stuck it out.  I was hungry, tired, and disheartened at my losses, but sat down to Round 7—facing an unknown matchup.  

I was able to resolve an early Wild Nacatl and Ignoble Hierarch, taking 4 chunks of life away from my opponent, who was just sitting on basic Islands and Swamps.  

He eventually used Engineered Explosives to take them out and I resolved a Scavenging Ooze and Sylvan Library.  I drew some extra cards from the Library, as I didn’t see my opponent pressuring me in any way.  I lost the Ooze and Library to another Engineered Explosives.  My opponent hard cast a Leyline of the Void, and the jig was up.  

I was able to burn him out of the rest of Game 1. I was able to put him on Leyline of the Void/Helm of Obedience combo.  Game 2 went much the same way, even though he had a turn zero Leyline.  I made sure to space out my mana costs to avoid an Explosives blowout and he wasn’t able to setup much action.  I sided out quite a few Grim Lavamancers, Tarmogoyfs, and Knight of the Reliquary in case he did have the Leyline.

Round 8 was the final round, and my little buddy Julian Booher and I had a “fake feature match”.  We sat up there, but it isn’t covered in any way.  Pat was on video coverage with a “win and in” situation vs. Alex Bertoncini.  
Julian was on UW Stoneforge and knew I was attacking with cats.  We had a good natured battle, knowing we weren’t really playing for anything.  I won the roll and rolled him with a pretty unbeatable hand of Wild Nacatl into Ignoble Hierarch with burn for his Stoneforge Mystic and face.  

Game 2 he walked me into overextending to his Wrath of God, winning easily from there.  

Game 3, my hand was sick and he mulled to 5.  I assumed an easy win, but he took out my Turn 1 Nacatl with an early Swords to Plowshares, which slowed me down tremendously as I now had to play around Wrath of God— which he eventually had.  I made him empty his hand to Force of Will my lethal double Lightning Bolt, and then topdecked the Chain Lightning I needed to reduce 1 life to zero.

I finished in the money at 15th place.  

Pat lost his last round and finished 10th.  Mike Hawthorn, Ian Ellis, and Gene Richtsmeier rounded out the other Minnesotans in the Top 32.  Josh Rayden was busy getting us Chipotle and wearing the battery of his phone down by watching this on endless repeat:


The metagame is going to be dominated by Snapcaster Mage for a little while.  The UW pairing with Snapcaster Mage and Stoneforge Mystic contains strong synergies that can naturally beatup on aggressive creature decks.  A Sword in the yard is as good as a Sword in hand most of the time, and fighting creatures through what amounts to 12 Plow/Path effects can be brutal.

With Lavamancer and Pridemage you can keep the Stoneforge part of the package largely in check.  Ultimately, however, I was disappointed with Knight of the Reliquary.  Strictly put, costing 3 mana is now an issue with more Daze and Wastelands in the format.  Beyond a Wasteland lock, which is always good, Knight's uses are minimal, and his impact on the board is likewise unflattering.

Going forward, I would likely try to reduce my costs by cutting the Elspeth and some number of lands and Knight of the Reliquary.  Once the Knights are gone, I would lose Wastelands.  I would probably replace everything with more burn.  You can make a case for more aggressive creatures like Kird Ape, Steppe Lynx, or Goblin Guide, but you still run into the 12 Plow/Path problem, and I can't find myself playing Goblin Guide in a format with Brainstorm.  I would likely look for more burn in the form of maindeck Fireblast or Price of Progress.

“It’s just gonna get Spell Snared.”


I’m not going to do a round by round account of Standard, as I’m mostly here to talk about Legacy, but I do have some thoughts to share about Wolf Run Ramp:

Game 1 of Round 9 mirror match. I had the turn 3 Primeval Titan.  You can’t stop that.  Game 2, Garruk and Acidic Slime slowed down his mana development allowing me to hit Titan first—even on the draw.

UW faced off in the finals for Standard, so expect there to be a lot of attention to the way UW and Wolf Run Ramp interact.  I would expect Wolf Run Ramp will have to move away from Dungrove Elder to expand it’s mana base to compete.  Either more Red for Slagstorm or Blasphemous Act, or add White for Day of Judgement.


I've already name-dropped everyone, but I want to give a shout-out to my travel-mates. Thanks for making sure the van smelled like Iowa, even when we weren't driving through Iowa.

Oh, and I haven't mentioned Forrest, here is Forrest Ryan:

That’s what I know.

Mark Hinsz

@hinsz on Twitter

8 thoughts on “SCG KC Report: T8 Standard & T16 Legacy

  1. Batterskull doesn't "beat" Mirran Crusader, it is just the best option you have when you face one. I should have explained that more in the article, because indeed it doesn't block or stop it in any way other than racing.

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