Hope Eternal—20SS Legacy: Death Rites

Hi! I am Jess Stirba, and I am here to talk about Legacy today!  So, I entered the latest Twenty Sided Store tournament with my Junk homebrew.  Junk was my first Legacy deck ever, back when it played Hymn to Tourach and Gerrard’s Verdict.  It fell out of the meta in favor of Maverick’s Green Sun Zenith package, but Thalia and Deathrite Shaman have both revitalized the archetype.  So, here’s my list:

Creatures:  4 Noble Hierarch, 4 Deathrite Shaman, 4 Dark Confidant, 4 Tarmogoyf, 3 Knight of the Reliquary, 2 Scavenging Ooze, 2 Qasali Pridemage, 2 Thalia, Thraben Valiant

Spells:  4 Swords to Plowshares, 3 Sylvan Library, 3 Mox Diamond, 2 Abrupt Decay

Lands:  4 Verdant Catacombs, 4 Windswept Heath, 4 Wasteland, 3 Bayou, 2 Horizon Canopy, 1 Savannah, 1 Scrubland, 1 Forest, 1 Swamp, 1 Plains, 1 Maze of Ith

Sideboard:  4 Lingering Souls, 4 Thoughtseize, 2 Thalia, Thraben Valiant, 2 Malestrom Pulse, 1 Pernicious Deed, 1 Abrupt Decay, 1 Bojuka Bog

Round 1: Li, playing UW Delver

Li was playing in his first Legacy tournament with a deck of his own devising. He seemed a little flustered by it, but his deck was solid and he made maybe one mistake the whole match.  Game one I won off the backs of Tarmogoyfs and a Deathrite Shaman, if I can read my notes right, after getting rid of his Stoneforge Mystic before it could drop in Jitte.  Game two he took back, after dropping in a Batterskull, followed by a Clique and a Sword of Feast and Famine.  The final turn I was at 4 life with an active Deathrite Shaman, a Maze of Ith, two Dark Confidants a Thalia and a Library.  The three cards I saw were Lingering Souls, Qasali Pridemage and Abrupt Decay.  Since the two Confidants were going to burn me either way, I figured buying the extra turn with Lingering Souls was worth keeping some pressure on my opponent, and I left the Abrupt Decay on top of my library.  It turned out Li had two Force of Wills in his hand, plus some more blue cards, so he double Forced Lingering Souls, untapped and Plowed my Thalia for the win.  It was a sweet play, and he definitely deserved that win.  Game three I got there off a Thalia with triple exalted backup, which is hard to profitably block.  Li ended up going 2-2, which is pretty damn good for his first tournament!

Round 2: Tony, playing Jund

This was clearly not Tony’s first rodeo, and Legacy has always been a format to fear him in.  I remember losing to his RUG deck during the reign of Stoneblade… Lavamancer was really good against Elfball!  Anyway, this time he was playing Jund in Legacy, which has been somewhat on the rise as of late.  Game one I got there off the back of Deathrite Shaman (an all-star card) and game two his Deathrite Shaman managed to neuter mine for the kill (a kill delivered by 3 Bloodbraid Elves and a Liliana of the Veil).  Game three I dropped a turn one Confidant (on the play), and then we both stalled the board out, me with an Ooze, a Confidant and a Shaman, him with a Goyf, and something else that I don’t remember.  Anyway, to break the stalemate he had to put out two Dark Confidants, and after shocking him from 6 to 4 with my shaman he died to the double trigger.

Round 3: Ryan, playing Reanimator

One thing Junk seems to be good at is beating people who fumble.  It’s not a super aggressive deck, but it’s good at tightening the noose.  Sadly for Ryan, variance somewhat hosed him game one, so that by the time I killed him all I knew was he was a blue black deck with some dig… and that could have been a couple of different things.  I sided in Thoughtseize, to get a handle on what he was playing, and resolved t1 Shaman into t2 Confidant.  After he killed my Confidant, he finally showed me his game plan, reanimating my Bob, which I promptly Abrupt Decayed… and then playing Animate Dead on it, only to again have it Abruptly Decayed.  At 3 life he finally managed to find an entomb, but by then it was too late.  Over the two games I took a combined total of 3 self-inflicted damage.

Round 4, finals: Dylan, playing Tezzeret

I’ve played Dylan before on this deck… it’s an awful matchup for me, and it doesn’t help that he’s one of the best Legacy players at the store.  Since he runs maindeck Damnation, Jace, Tezzeret and Wurmcoil, there is a fine balance between playing out your cards to put him on a clock while not over-extending into a wrath.  Game one I got him down to 10 before he stabilized behind a Jace and a Wurmcoil engine.  I sided in Lingering Souls, Thoughtseize, Pulse and Deed for a Knight, my Goyfs and Thalia.  After the game Dylan seemed a little surprised I had taken out the Thalias, but as good as the first strike may be against his deck of deathtouch, his 8 lands that tap for two mana and at least 6 mana rocks made her tithe seem more of a burden to me than to him.  Game two I won by seizing his draw from his hand and just bleeding him out one Deathrite Shaman at a time.  Game three I mulliganed from a bad hand into a decent one with no one drops, but a sylvan library.  Dylan was off to a quick start though, playing a t1 Pithing needle on Deathrite Shaman, an early Tezzeret and just beating me down with one of his mana rocks.  Anyway, I had almost stabilized at 3, having killed off his Jace and Tezzeret while weathering a Perish, but he still had a ton of mana (included an unanimated mana rock), two or three cards in hand, and a 5/5 mana rock.  I had a Knight in my hand he had bounced the turn before, and I found a second one off Library, so I played them both out as 5/5s, knowing I was dead to a second Perish, but that I could now live through him dropping a Jace, a Tezzeret, or him wrathing.  Unfortunately, he wrathed and then dropped a second Tezzeret, animating his final mana rock for lethal.  Short of mulliganing down to 5 in search of a better early game (which would have just been pithed into uselessness anyway) there was just not much I could do against two wraths and three planeswalkers… which is one of the reasons that deck is so damn strong.

Anyway, on the whole I still like my deck.  It doesn’t have the raw power of one of the big-mana decks (like Show and Win, Tezzeret or Metalworker) and it’s not as fast as Maverick or Zoo, but what it excels at is winning long, grindy games.  Having seven sources of draw lets me keep up on card advantage with some of the blue decks, and my sideboard options include some of the best removal ever printed, plus Lingering Souls (which dramatically increases my percentages against Delver variants and Jace decks).  But!  Best of all, I built this deck.  I know why every card is in it, I know what they all do, and I know what to expect off a blind reveal to Dark Confidant.  So, while Junk may never make it back to the big leagues, it’s still my weapon of choice in Legacy.

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Comments
6 Responses to “Hope Eternal—20SS Legacy: Death Rites”
  1. Li Xu says:

    Looking back, I can’t believe I let that Bayou live for so long when I had a Wasteland, shows me for being greedy and wanting to play my 3-drops. Thanks for the games though Jess, definitely the most interactive match I had all day (vs Matt being the second).

    • thejlina says:

      Wanting to play your 3 drops isn’t necessarily greedy… I’ve wasted people in similar situations and then regretted it when they drew live lands and I was stuck with fewer ways to develop my board position. And Junk’s a little more resilient than most when it comes to that, because now that it’s playing deathrite shaman, and with me having a plains out, any land I drew would either let me cast a shaman or let me waste one of your lands…. and I run 23 lands, so I’m going to be drawing lands more than you anyway. So I don’t think, in that particular matchup, that it was a clear “mistake” or definitely the “right” play.

      Anyway, it was indeed fun!

  2. Zac Clark says:

    WAIT IT”S MODERN ON SUNDAY!…. I”M OFF!

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