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By: Raddman, Graig W
Sep 27 2011 2:02am
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So just a few short months after the printing of Mental Misstep, we see it getting the ban hammer!

I know many of you absolutely hated the metagame with Misstep and while I'm not a Misstep hater, I can certainly understand your point.  It single handily removed High Tide, Elves and Goblins from the Metagame.  It also seemed to put Counterbalance decks on the back burner and even Landstill seemed meh for awhile.  It also made the format less dependant on Swords to Plowshares as the only removal source. 

Regardless of your position on the card, Wizards has decided to ban it and now it's back to the drawing board for this Legacy lover.

The good thing about the drawing board is now that board is full of website after website giving you information on how things were before the printing of Misstep.

Let's take a look at some winning decklists prior to New Phyrexia.


* Missing SB - 3 Submerge

Here is a pretty interesting list.  It appears to be in a semi-typical Thresh shell, but with the obvious absence of Tarmogoyf.  The splash of Tropical Island is to maximize his Engineered ExplosivesSpell Snare makes a return with the banning of misstep and is pretty much where Misstep would of fit into this deck.  The interaction of Grim Lavamancer and Basilisk Collar is one I've personally written about and absolutely love.

The other decklists to round out the Top 16 in this 211 player tournament were: Team America, NO RUG, Blue MUD, Tezz ThopterSword, Dredge, B/W Aggro, Landstill, Enchantress, Junk, Stiflenought, UWR Control, Merfolk and High Tide.



Alex Bertoncini - 1st Place SCG Open : Boston 252 players
4 Coralhelm Commander
4 Cursecatcher
4 Lord of Atlantis
2 Merfolk Sovereign
4 Merrow Reejerey
4 Silvergill Adept
1 Sower of Temptation
2 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
25 cards

Other Spells
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
1 Spell Pierce
4 Aether Vial
13 cards
13 Island
1 Mishra's Factory
4 Mutavault
4 Wasteland
22 cards

Lord of Atlantis

* Missing SB - 3 Submerge (see a pattern here?)

With or without Misstep, Merfolk remained a powerhouse and really didn't change much overall.  Many lists did adapt and run their own Missteps, but the deck functions as it should be and probably gets a little better with the banning.

The other decklists to round out the Top 16 were: Junk, Elves, Team Italia, Merfolk, NO Bant, Stiflenought, Junk, NO Bant, Thopter Sword, Dredge, Stiflenought Countertop, Painter's Stone, High Tide and Goblins.


High Tide
1st Place - Jesse Hatfield SCG Open : Atlanta 210 players
0 cards

Other Spells
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
4 Brainstorm
3 Cunning Wish
4 Force of Will
4 High Tide
1 Intuition
3 Meditate
3 Turnabout
4 Merchant Scroll
4 Ponder
2 Preordain
4 Time Spiral
4 Candelabra of Tawnos
1 Mind Over Matter
41 cards
12 Island
2 Flooded Strand
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Polluted Delta
18 cards

High Tide

This deck was running pretty hot before Misstep and I'm certain it will pick up where it left off.  In a typical combo fashion, it looks to set up draws, use High Tide and Turnabout to mass a huge mana count and eventually deck the opponent.  Not really my cup of team, but this deck seems to do nothing for several turns and then leaves you wondering how you lost.

The other Top 16 decklists from this event are:  Dredge, High Tide, Elves, Bant Aggro, Dredge, Zoo, NO Bant, GW Aggro, High Tide, GW Aggro, Cephalid Breakfast, Countertop Thopter, Countertop Bant and Zoo.


Painter's Stone
1st Place - Alexander Kwan SCG Open : Los Angeles 216 players
4 Painter's Servant
4 Goblin Welder
1 Trinket Mage
9 cards

Other Spells
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Intuition
1 Misdirection
1 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
4 Grindstone
3 Lion's Eye Diamond
4 Sensei's Divining Top
3 Mox Opal
4 Seat of Synod
2 City of Traitors
28 cards
3 Great Furnace
1 Island
3 Ancient Tomb
3 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
4 Volcanic Island
16 cards


Personally, this is my favorite combo deck.  Now that misstep is out of the way, Grindstones can be happily cast without much fear.  His back up plan of using Emrakul with Show and Tell is awesome and gives an answer to the loop problem this deck faces versus Progenitus.  If you plan on building this online, you better plan on getting that 2nd job you always dreamed about.  This decklist runs two of the most expensive cards online in Force of Will and Lion's Eye Diamond.

Other Top 16 Decklists from this tournament include: Cephalid Breakfast, The Epic Storm, Dredge, Burn, Elves, Merfolk, Charbelcher, Dredge, Aggro Loam, Merfolk, Dredge, Elves, Dredge, White Weenie, UG Vengevine.



1st Place - Blake McCracken SCG Open : Dallas/Fort Worth 157 players
2 Etched Champion
4 Frogmite
4 Master of Etherium
4 Memnite
3 Myr Enforcer
4 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
25 cards

Other Spells
4 Thoughtcast
4 Cranial Plating
3 Springleaf Drum
4 Mox Opal
4 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
19 cards
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Vault of Whispers
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
16 cards

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

Ahhhh, good ole Affinity.  Like it or love it, with the printing of Etched Champion and Tezzeret, this deck got more spunk.  Notice the clear lack of Arcbound Ravager in this list.  Legacy usually has a rough time dealing with Planeswalkers, if you don't believe me, ask Jace.  Also with most Legacy decks running spot removal, Etched Champion can go the distance.  While I don't have much love for affinity, this deck is relatively cheap to build and I can see the immediate attraction.

Other Top 16 Decklists from this event:  Merfolk, Team America, ANT, Merfolk, Maverick, Junk, Lands, Dredge, NO Bant, Zoo, Mono Red Grindstone, Countertop Thopter, Team America, Zoo and Bant Aggro.

I won't bother posting the decklist from SCG Open: Memphis, as Alex B. took it home again with Merfolk.  His maindeck appears to be exactly the same, while his sideboard did vary a little bit.  Three Team America decks made Top 8 in this event, so it's no surprise that Merfolk pushed through.

Here are the Top 16 Decklists from that event: Merfolk, NO Bant, Affinity, Team America, Team America, Merfolk, Team America, NO Show, Painter's Servant, Painter's Servant, NO Show, Junk, Eldrazi Post, Team America, ANT, and Junk.


The SCG Open: Edison, NJ saw Alex Hatfield dominate again with his High Tide Deck.  Other decklists from the Top 16 were:  Junk, RUG, Junk, ANT, Junk, Dredge, Affinity, High Tide, NO Bant, Team America, Countertop, Zoo, Team America, and Junk. 

The next tournament took us to the Nations Capital!



Team America
1st Place - Dan Signorini SCG Open :Washington, DC 290 players
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Tombstalker
8 cards

Other Spells
4 Brainstorm
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
2 Go for the Throat
2 Predict
2 Snuff Out
4 Stifle
3 Hymn to Tourach
4 Ponder
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Sylvan Library
30 cards
1 Bayou
1 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
2 Tropical Island
4 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
20 cards



Well it only took us 8 tournaments, but we finally have a winning decklist using Tarmogoyf.  Team America has been plastered all over the tournament scene and here we have a decklist using two of the best Legacy creatures.  Absent from this list is Vendilion Clique and even some lists were running Dark Confidant.  I love the Darkblast tech in the sideboard to win the Tarmo war.

Other Top 16 Decklists from this event were: Doomsday Combo, Enchantress, ANT, Goblins, Dark Horizons, Zoo, Zoo, Countertop, Zoo, Natural Horizons, NO Show Bant, Goblins, Bant Aggro, Welder Red, and Painter's Stone.


The final tournament I want to look at dates back to February 6th in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I was at this tournament, but only played in the Standard event.  Ben Weinburg took down the Legacy portion with his CounterTop RUG list, which can be found here.  Other Top 16 decklists from this event include: Forgemaster Combo, Junk, Countertop Thopter, Merfolk, NO Show, Countertop Progenitus, Goblins, Bant, Zoo, Reanimator, Sneak Show, UW Landstill,  ANT, Dredge, and Affinity.  It is interesting to note that this is the only tournament where Reanimator made a Top 16 showing. 

And just so you don't think I limited my research to paper tournaments, I went back and looked at the last 56 MTGO Legacy tourneys, dating back to April 4th.  I would of went back to Februrary 6th, but the website I use only started recording MTGO results in April.  Either way, this gives us a good snapshot of how the meta was before Misstep came online.

Here is the breakdown of decks that went 4-0 in Daily Events or got first in the Premier Event. We have 78 total placings in as some tournaments had more than one 4-0 deck.

  1. Maverick - 5 - 6.41%
  2. Reanimator - 2 - 2.56%
  3. ANT - 7 - 8.97%
  4. Landstill - 4 - 5.13%
  5. Team America - 7 - 8.97%
  6. Red Deck Wins - 2 - 2.56%
  7. Merfolk - 1 - 1.28%
  8. Countertop - 12 - 15.38%
  9. Zoo - 5 - 6.41%
  10. Canadian Threshold - 4 - 5.13%
  11. Elves - 5 - 6.41%
  12. PainterStone - 4 - 5.13%
  13. Hivemind - 7 - 8.97%
  14. Dredge - 2 - 2.56%
  15. NO RUG - 2 - 2.56%
  16. Death and Taxes - 3 - 3.85%
  17. Junk - 1 - 1.28%
  18. High Tide - 2- 2.56%
  19. Hypergenesis - 1 - 1.28%
  20. Affinity - 1 - 1.28%
  21. Bant Aggro - 1 - 1.28%


So what do all these decklists mean, what do all these Top tournament decks mean?  Well as you can see, Legacy is actually a pretty diverse format.  So how do we prepare post ban?  What decks are poised to do well?  What decks should we prepare for? 

In most of my research, these decks competed in a non-Stoneforge Mystic type of meta.  The real question is, will Stoneforge based decks continue to dominate with the banning.  Well to answer that, let's take a look at a decklist again.


I firmly believe that two cards will replace Mental Misstep in typical blue build decks.  One will be Spell Snare and the other will be Spell Pierce.  Snare is an obvious choice in a meta full of strong two drops.  Tarmo, Stoneforge, Landstill, Counterbalance, Jitte, Dark Confidant and Daze just to name a few.

I also believe that CounterTop type decks will probably transform into a Stoneforge Mystic type shell.  What I mean by that is, I can see Countertop decks utilizing the Stoneforge package as another means to a victory. 


So how will things shape up after the ban?  I believe two decks will start to emerge online once the bannings hit.  The first deck will be Elves.  This deck always makes a splash in Legacy and it will see a lot more play simply because it is a cheap deck to build.  The other deck that will start emerging again is CounterTop.  This deck isn't cheap to build, but it is pretty freaking good.  Look for all types of builds, some with Stoneforge, some that will rely on a Landstill type kill and maybe even some that try to power out Progenitus in a NO RUG shell.

The other decks that will be there like always are Zoo and Merfolk.  Although Merfolk only had 1 placement online during this period, it is a deck that always hangs around and you should be prepared for it.

Finally, I think Team America, Maverick and Bant type decks will be poised to do well.  If countertop starts rearing it's ugly head, look for Knight of the Reliquary to become a go to guy in many decks.  As a 3 drop, counterbalance usually has a problem dealing with it and in the Tarmogoyf war, Knight is KING!

For me personally, it might be time to dust off my trusty Thresh builds.  Heck, it might be time to drop the Canadian part and build something like this.



UGW Thresh
Decklist suggested by ImpinAintEasy for the future Metagame
3 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Terravore
2 Tarmogoyf
4 Nimble Mongoose
1 Trygon Predator
1 Dryad Arbor
12 cards

Other Spells
3 Green Sun's Zenith
4 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
4 Stifle
3 Spell Snare
2 Ponder
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Daze
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
28 cards
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Flooded Strand
1 Karakas
4 Tropical Island
3 Tundra
4 Wasteland
20 cards

Nimble Mongoose

Far from a finished product and completely untested, but this decklist gives you an idea of something that might fair well against CounterTop type builds. 

No matter what the future holds, one thing is for sure, we won't see Turn 1 wars over Brainstorm anymore.


As Always,

Thanks for Reading!

-ImpinAintEasy on MTGO-

-Graig W.-


"Snare is an obvious choice by char49d at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 03:20
char49d's picture

"Snare is an obvious choice in a meta full of strong two drops. Tarmo, Stoneforge, Landstill, Counterbalance, Jitte, Dark Confidant and Daze just to name a few."

I dunno how often I would run Spell Snare in order to counter Daze, it just doesn't seem like a great play. It also is completely dead to Force Spike ;)

I certaintly wouldn't put by Raddman at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 07:28
Raddman's picture

I certaintly wouldn't put snare in my deck with the intentions of countering Daze, obviously if I had the mana to pay for Daze, I would just pay for it and not counter the spell with snare. But, hopefully you got the point of how important snare is with the other examples of two drops I listed.

Thanks for your comment.

So much blue! by KaraZorEl at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 07:42
KaraZorEl's picture

I don't know if I could handle playing Legacy competitively...all those counterspell wars would wear me out.

Good Article, but... by Fred1160 at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 09:10
Fred1160's picture

Good article, but it needed some proofreading. I got a chuckle when
I read, "Not really my cup of team". Also, it should be "would've"
and not "would of" (this is a pet peeve of mine).
Minor quibbles aside, I thought it was good and informative. It's a
brave new world out there without Mental Misstep.
One thing I liked about that card is that it forced a shake-up of
the metagame and I think that's a good idea from time to time.

I always proof read my by Raddman at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 09:33
Raddman's picture

I always proof read my article 3-4 times before submitting. You can ask Josh, he almost never has to make corrections. I am surprised I missed those, although cup of Team does sound cooler than cup of tea lol.

Truth is, I was really trying to secretly promote my new Sports Drink called Cup of Team......look for it in your local supermarket soon.

Vial Goblins!! by apaulogy at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 10:34
apaulogy's picture

Banning Misstep made me happy for nothing other than it made Goblins and High Tide a deck again.

Snapcaster Mage seems good in a lot of decks.

Morale low? Need fuel? "Cup of Team". It kicks your ***.


Nice article.

Your Article... by Fred1160 at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 11:51
Fred1160's picture

Congratulations! You've just invented a new internet meme: cup of team.
I can see it now:
"Sorry, dude, but your decklist is not good enough to get there.
It definitely needs a cup of team."

Maybe two.

Or better yet......."There is by Raddman at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 11:59
Raddman's picture

Or better yet......."There is no I in team, but there is a "me" spelled backwards in every cup we serve! Try "Cup of Team" to Mike Flores the competition.

yeah by howlett23 at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 12:06
howlett23's picture

cup of team is definitely going to be on MTGO alot...if anything by me...

Let's hope by apaulogy at Tue, 09/27/2011 - 15:21
apaulogy's picture

the jokes stay PG...cause I have some dirty-birdies brewing in my head about Cups o' Team....