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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
Nov 06 2014 1:00pm
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     It can be very intimidating when you look at a format as big as legacy and only have 15 cards to improve your chances against maybe 10-15 different decks. I mentioned in my previous article that unlike other formats Legacy has more that a few top decks. Any deck in the hands of an experienced player can be a competitor and you need to make sure you are prepared for whatever the meta will throw at you. So when building your board you want to have cards that are good against certain archetypes and less so against specific decks.

     So what do you have to be prepared for? What archetypes are out there? First the general deck styles and then I will talk about specific decks and cards that would be good against them. In legacy there are a few major archetypes.

Combo- This is broad but it includes decks like The Epic Storm, Ad Nauseum/Tendrils, High Tide, Reanimator, Sneak and Show, Belcher, UR Painter, Lands, and even Elves.

Control- This includes decks like Jeskai(UWR) or UW Miracles and Esper Stoneblade(or Deathblade)

Tempo/Control/Aggro- This is a hard one to nail down but includes decks like Temur, Sultai, Jeskai Delver, Shardless Sultai, and Death and Taxes.

Aggro- Mono red burn, UR Delver, and Affinity. Slivers can also be lumped in here and the other one that has died down is Zoo.

     I am sure I missed some there and even incorrectly classified them but that is just further proof on how complicated legacy can be. So you can see why getting a sideboard right can be crucial and yet very difficult. Sometimes the legacy meta can shift depending on the part of the country or what country you are in. Also on MTGO the meta is sometimes dependent on what players can afford. (which is why I play burn on MTGO) I will be focusing on what I think the meta will be like in New Jersey for the GP. In the past east coast legacy is generally full of what people call the fair decks. That just means less of the combo and more of the other strategies. No matter what though there will still be a handful of players bringing combo to the party and some of them will be very very skilled with it. I play burn on MTGO  so let me show you the list I am currently using.

     Ok let me break down the sideboard for this deck.

                             Pyroblast Red Elemental Blast Vexing Shusher

      These cards come in for the control match up. Each one is great against counterspells but there are other reasons to use them as well. Both of the blasts can take out troublesome blue permanents like Delver of Secrets or Show and Tell. The goblin can also be an extra threat when needed but he is pretty spectacular against Counterbalance.

                            Relic of Progenitus Mindbreak Trap Ensnaring Bridge

      The relic is your graveyard hate which will help against reanimator, Tarmogoyf and Nimble Mongoose, and Storm because of the flashback they use. Trap is also your anti combo card acting as a counterspell against their win condition whether it be Grapeshot or Tendrils of Agony. Bridge is your anti aggro card so you don't have to waste all of your burn on their creatures. It is also great against Sneak and Show, Reanimator, and maybe even Elves.

                                              Smash to Smithereens Dragon's Claw

     Smash is your answer to artifacts, most notably equipment. Public enemy number 1 and 2 are Batterskull and Umezawa's Jitte.  Those cards are really hard for burn to beat because well lifegain is a pain. Speaking of Life gain. I put 1 claw in the board to help against the mirror. That sideboard was not very hard to build. There are other directions you can go but Red only has so many answers for things.

     So what about a deck like Death and Taxes? In my last Article I mentioned certain cards that I believed were essential, I will now go other options available. When planning out the sideboard for this deck I will always put in Rest in PeaceWilt-Leaf Liege, and Council's Judgment. Other cards can vary but those seem to always be needed. So we have our graveyard hate, our discard hate with built in anthem, and extra removal for anything. What else does this deck need? How about for the deck I just went over? What would we need against burn? Skull and Jitte are good but they can be blown up by Smash to Smithereens so we may need another answer.

                           Kor Firewalker Circle of Protection: Red Leyline of Sanctity

      I am expecting that there will be a ton of burn at the GP because it is cheaper to build and those that don't have legacy decks may want to get in with that. It is also a good deck though not as easy to pilot as people think. I know I want something to bring in against it. First up is Leyline. This card can shut down all of the burn that a red mage can throw at you. Though it can leave you vulnerable to their creatures and Price of Progress does not target. You do still have 12-13 no basic lands so that can be an issue. The other plus of the leyline is that it helps you against other decks as well like storm, tendrils, etc... As of right now I have 2 in my board but it might not end up in the final. Now the firewalker is becoming more and more appealing. With the surge of UR Delver and the fact he can put you so far ahead against burn he might make his way into the board. COP Red could be too narrow but it is always an option if I feel that threatened by bolts. What would I throw in the board for combo decks?

                                                    Ethersworn Canonist Enlightened Tutor

     I would also bring in the Leylines if it was storm or tendrils. The tutor is there as a tool kit and there is some disagreement if it is really needed. It does search for almost everything in my board though and in the combo match up it can get you the canonist and leyline to ensure you topdeck your answer. Fortunately Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is already a great maindeck help against combo as well as the general mana denial strategy. For Control I could have something like this.

                                                           Pithing Needle Manriki-Gusari

     The needle is another answer for their Walkers and also for any Sensei's Divining Top shenanigans. Manriki-Gusari is great for the other stoneblade decks allowing you to pull ahead and destroying their hopes of victory. Council's Judgment is another card for them as it can eliminate any threat they have even the unblockable, unkillable, and untargetable True-Name Nemesis.

                                                         Grafdigger's Cage Mangara of Corondor

     These cards along with Rest In Peace are what you bring in for Reanimator and Sneak and Show. Mangara has been underused recently and I feel like he can be really good against the bigger decks with troublesome permanents. He is also good against Lands and MUD and Tezzeret type decks. Cage can also be brought in against elves to stop them from using Natural Order. Elves is a really hard match up and I thought about adding something to the board to even it up. Though I am just unsure about how many elf players will be there. Elves can be complicated due to it having about a million triggers(Actual million, I counted) One card I saw recently that looks like it could really hose them would be...

                                                                                 Magus of the Moat

     This guy completely shuts them down and costs a lot less than actual moat :) He could even suit up with a sword or Jitte or even Batterskull if you are feeling frisky. As I said I am just not sure if he is completley needed but he is in the back of my mind as the GP draws nearer. Another suggestion was adding in 1-2 of these...


      This card helps against many different decks allowing you to "even" the playing field and by that I mean tip the scales heavily in your favor. I am pretty sure I want at least 1 in my board for the GP. Chances are if I go the route of Cataclysm and other spells then I will eliminate the Enlightened Tutor package. So here are my 2 options..

Enlightened Tutorx2 Pithing Needlex1 Leyline of Sanctityx2 Wilt-Leaf Liegex2 Grafdigger's Cagex1 Ethersworn Canonistx1 Manriki-Gusarix1 Mangara of Corondorx1 Rest in Peacex2 Council's Judgment x2

 or take out the Tutors, 1 Liege, and 1 Leyline and add...

Kor Firewalkerx2 Cataclysmx2

     The second option might give me a better game against Burn, UR delver, and Elves. I will be testing more and conferring with those in my playtest group. I would also like to hear your opinions. What do you think I should throw in my sideboard? Should I worry about a deck that I have overlooked? Is there some great tech that I have overlooked? Let me know I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time...Thanks for reading!


My input by CZML at Thu, 11/06/2014 - 13:28
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Spirit of the Labyrinth seems great against both Delver and combo strategies. It also works well with the Enlightened Tutor package. Might even be maindeckable, but definitely worth considering in the board. More fragile than Leyline and doesn't do much work vs Burn but otherwise very good. I like Firewalkers because they're good against both burn and UR Delver strategies, especially Young Pyromancer. I'm a bit worried about Leyline's consistency, as turn 4 might be too late if you don't have it in your opener (or turn 5 if you have Thalia or use Wasteland).

Liege seems excessive, both for costing 4 and because Liliana of the Veil and Hymn to Tourach (the main cards you want it against) seem to be experiencing a downswing in popularity as neither are particularly good against Treasure Cruise.

Mangara might be better as an O-Ring because most people will likely be boarding in spot removal and you won't always have Vial+Wisp or Mom or Karakas to protect her. She's likely better than Ring if you get to untap with her and use her ability, but she seems very fragile.

Very good points CZML, I by Plainswalker83 at Thu, 11/06/2014 - 14:42
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Very good points CZML, I still want to hold on to 1 Liege because even though the discard option might be less viable the anthem can still be very important. I am unsure if I should expect (Sulfur Elemental) but I do expect some (Volcanic Fallout) The Leyline is also there to improve my game against TES or ANT and Mangara can be fragile but he will also not come in against decks that can and will kill him off. I did originally have O-ring but chose Council's Judgement instead. I may even take a few cards out and add in good ol' (Disenchant) I think (Sulfuric Vortex) will see more play and that will shut off skull,Jitte, and the firewalker.

Makes sense by CZML at Thu, 11/06/2014 - 18:25
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My issue with Judgment and Mangara is that neither beats Sneak and Show's line of Show and Tell into Sneak Attack, and while Oblivion Ring doesn't necessarily beat that either it makes it so that if they want to kill you by putting Griselbrand into play and drawing into an Emrakul they have to activate the Attack at instant speed the second time (so if they need to draw into a Petal or land with Griselbrand they're SOL). Ring also does the same thing against Omni-Tell. In addition, it's uncounterable if you put it in off of S&T, which is likely to be very relevant compared to Judgment (less so compared to Mangara).

I definitely like a Disenchant in the board for Stoneblade and Vortex decks.

True, but they are not in the by Plainswalker83 at Thu, 11/06/2014 - 19:36
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True, but they are not in the board for sneak and show. Honestly that is a very good match-up already so I don't really need extra hate for it. Judgement may get cut to 1 but it is there for things like true-name. I have no other answer to that card except to race it. Mangara serves a permanent O-Ring and I think the way things are going now I may want extra removal like a path or sunlance. I appreciate the feedback it is always good to bounce ideas off of other players. I will be testing more extensively this week, I will see where that gets me. Only 9 days till the GP and I need to make sure I can be as ready as possible.

That makes sense by CZML at Thu, 11/06/2014 - 19:55
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I definitely support Judgment as an answer to True-Name. Mangara seems like a nice catch-all in matchups with other problem permanents.

I like Path because decks with basics will be aggressively fetching for them anyway against you, so the drawback is mitigated a bit. There aren't many creatures in the format that don't die to Sunlance except for Tarmogoyf, however, so they each seem quite potent. Dismember might be an option as well if you're looking for the best of both worlds.

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Why would you equip Magus of by ScionOfJustice at Sat, 11/29/2014 - 06:39
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Why would you equip Magus of the Moat with equipment versus elves?

I do believe he meant make it by Paul Leicht at Sat, 11/29/2014 - 08:15
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I do believe he meant make it an unblockable attacker but of course he shuts his own ability to attack off. So perhaps the author forgot that or was envisioning some weird combo?