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Insider: Looking for Legacy in Dragon’s Maze Part 2

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We've had quite a few more Dragon's Maze cards spoiled since my last article. Let's delve into the Legacy potential for some of these spoiled cards. As usual I will use the following criteria to evaluate a cards Legacy potential:

  1. Power -- In order for any card to see Legacy play it either needs to match or surpass the power of an existing card, or provide a completely unique effect.
  2. Converted Mana Cost -- The lower the better. While this is important in all formats, it is especially so in one as efficient as Legacy.
  3. Pitchable to [card Force of Will]Force[/card]? -- While this obviously isn't a deal breaker, blue cards should be scrutinized more simply because blue is the most powerful color.
  4. Similarity to Staples -- Does it do something similar to a card that already sees play

Notion Thief

This little guy is my hidden gem of the set. His ability is incredibly powerful and he is a major blowout to the most commonly played card in Legacy, Brainstorm. The wording on him is a bit confusing, but after discussing with a few local judges and players and reading up on him I'll try to explain. While the card specifically says it doesn't effect the first card drawn every turn, it also specifies that this is specifically in regards to the draw step. This means that if an opponent brainstorms during their opponents turn, all three of those cards would be drawn by the owner of Notion Thief despite the fact that the opponent has not drawn a card for that specific turn.

  1. Power -- This guy has flash, 3 power, and a built in plagiarize that constantly sticks around.
  2. Converted Mana Cost -- His CMC of 4 is a bit high for a Legacy-playable, but he is pretty much an "anti-JTMS" play as he brutalizes the Jace player. This card now means that playing Jace into an empty field can be a blowout -- for the other player, which has never before been the case.
  3. Pitchable to [card Force of Will]Force[/card]? -- He's blue so he pitches to Force of Will.
  4. Similarity to Staples -- Notion Thief isn't really similar to any staples, but his ability is so good against commonly played cards that there is almost no way he won't see some Legacy play.

Verdict: He has a very high chance of seeing Legacy play. His color combination includes the two most powerful colors in Magic. His ability is very good against the most commonly played cards, he has flash, and he provides a decent clock (with 3 power). I'm currently brewing up a U/B control deck to put him in which I'll test heavily in the upcoming few months.

Gaze of Granite

This pseudo-Pernicious Deed has some NicFit players, but many others seem cold to it. The beauty of Deed was that you were investing your mana in two installments; 3 mana 1 turn, and x mana the next. Gaze of Granite requires you to invest it all in one shot. The upside/downside is that Gaze of Granite hits planeswalkers. This does provide a wishable (via Glittering Wish) sideboard kill card for some tough situations, however, it also means that the Nic Fit player can't play their planeswalkers and just keep wiping the field. The biggest concern is usually JTMS and for the 7 mana required to Gaze away a JTMS you could simply cast Karn, Liberated and exile the Jace permanently.

  1. Power -- The card's effect is very powerful and in colors that have the ability to mana ramp faster than any other.
  2. Converted Mana Cost --The CMC is 3 + X which is a bit high in legacy, though the style of deck to play it often hits 6 mana by turn 3.
  3. Pitchable to [card Force of Will]Force[/card]? -- Nope.
  4. Similarity to Staples -- This card's similarity to Pernicious Deed has been stressed by quite a few, however, the extra ability to kill Planeswalkers doesn't make it superior to splitting up the mana requirement over 2 turns.

Verdict: A powerful ability that already sees Legacy play, though it seems worse than Pernicious Deed, so whatever deck plays it will be more likely to run it as a 1- or 2-of.

Hidden Strings

This is an interesting twist on Twiddle. You get two twiddles in one card, with the one issue that you can't untap the same permanent twice. While it is a common, this along with Ral Zarek could be used in a Stasis shell (because griefers do love to play Stasis). This is a common, so its ceiling is pretty low, but I would pick up foils if they are super cheap.

  1. Power -- The power level isn't off the charts, but it is something that has seen play before. As usual it works really well with permanents that tap for more than one mana.
  2. Converted Mana Cost -- The CMC is 2, which is exactly the same as 2x Twiddle, it may be too low impact for 2 mana, but at the very least it can be used to ramp or fog.
  3. Pitchable to [card Force of Will]Force[/card]? -- Yes
  4. Similarity to Staples -- This card is very similar to Twiddle (though you get two tap/untaps), which used to see a lot of play in Tolarian Academy decks. Despite Academy being banned, this card still plays well with artifact mana like Grim Monolith.

Verdict: A useful spell that can allow for ramping and other shenanigans, I see it as playable if a blue mana ramp archetype crops up. It has a much higher chance of seeing in play in a deck like Modern Mono-Blue Tron, though it could show up in a Stasis or High Tide deck.

Spike Jester

A 3/1 with haste for BR is a pretty good deal. It's similar to Hellspark Elemental, though you trade trample and unearth for not dying at end of turn. This will see play in the modern 7 spell decks that typically run 3 damage burn spells to kill the opponent quickly, giving the deck a bit more reach. Being an uncommon, the ceiling is pretty low though I would target foils at pre-release events as they will most likely be valued with all other foil uncommons.

  1. Power -- The power level is on par with the abilities. It's not a bad deal for RB, though giving it trample would have made it much better than Hellspark Elemental.
  2. Converted Mana Cost -- The CMC is 2, which is exactly the same as Hellspark Elemental, so requiring 2 different colors is a fair trade for a creature that doesn't have trample and sticks around.
  3. Pitchable to [card Force of Will]Force[/card]? -- No
  4. Similarity to Staples -- This card is very similar to Hellspark Elemental which really only sees play in super fast aggro/burn decks, though they typically remain mono-red. However, with all the red fetches the decks already play to fuel Grim Lavamancer splashing some Badlands wouldn't be difficult.

Verdict: More likely to see Modern play, but does fit well into an already existing archetype in Legacy (though that archetype is tier 2 at best).

Skylasher

A 2/2 uncounterable with flash, reach and pro-blue. This guy can hold off Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration and Vendilion Clique, so he has potential.

  1. Power -- A 2/2 uncounterable creature with flash isn't exactly broken, but it's not terrible either.
  2. Converted Mana Cost -- The CMC is 2 which is the same as Scryb Ranger, which this card is very similar to.
  3. Pitchable to [card Force of Will]Force[/card]? -- No (EDITED)
  4. Similarity to Staples -- This card is similar to Scryb Ranger in that it can completely halt Delver of Secrets. You trade flying and the ability to untap a creature by bouncing a forest for an extra power/toughness, reach, and an uncounterability clause.

Verdict: This is similar enough to Scryb Ranger that it will most likely be tested, however the only deck that runs Scryb Ranger is Maverick, which would prefer to untap creatures than just block Delvers/Cliques. I don't see it becoming a mainstay in any decks.

4 thoughts on “Insider: Looking for Legacy in Dragon’s Maze Part 2

    1. Thanks for the catch. Clearly it’s not pitchable to FoW..at least without a Painter’s Servant in play naming blue..then it is..but ya..that’s just an oops on my part (I’ve corrected it)

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