Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Through the Eye of a Storm - A Legacy Tournament Report by Adam Stewart.

  1. #1
    Site Contributor
    vercadium's Avatar
    Join Date

    Feb 2011

    Northern Ireland


    Through the Eye of a Storm - A Legacy Tournament Report by Adam Stewart.

    Featuring the Starcitygames Super Invitational Qualifier - Sunday 13th January 2013. Published February 2013.


    1.00 - Introduction.
    2.00 - Deck decisions.
    2.10 - A butterfly flaps its wings.
    2.20 - Prowess.
    2.30 - Dedication.
    2.40 - The formation of a storm.
    2.41 - Gitaxian Probe.
    2.42 - Abrupt Decay.
    2.43 - Empty the Warrens main deck instead of Tendrils of Agony.
    3.00 - Event preparation.
    4.00 - An expected journey.
    4.10 - Thursday.
    4.20 - Friday.
    4.30 - Saturday.
    4.40 - Sunday.
    5.00 - The tournament.
    5.10 - Round 1, Bradley Pearce, MUD.
    5.20 - Round 2, Steven Pickles, Affinity.
    5.30 - Round 3, Rory Fox, G/W Enchantress.
    5.40 - Round 4, Carrie Oliver, Esper Stoneblade.
    5.50 - Round 5, Liam Morrissey, Aggro Loam.
    5.60 - Round 6, Andrew Rouse, Dredge.
    5.70 - Round 7, Luke Sabin, Walking Dead.
    5.80 - Results and post tournament beers.
    6.00 - The end.

    1.00 - Introduction.


    I'm Adam. I'm a Magic: the Gathering player from Northern Ireland. I consider myself a competitive player and I mainly focus on eternal formats. At the moment this is primarily Legacy.

    Several months ago I saw that a store called Metagames was hosting the worlds first Starcitygames Elite Invitational Qualifier on Saturday 12th January 2013. It was to be held in Doncaster, a town in England. This is a big thing for the UK. The format would be Standard and it would have a prize pool of $3000. What caught my attention was a Legacy format event on the Sunday with a prize output of $2000. I was already intrigued when I heard it too would be an Starcitygames Super Invitational Qualifier. Given the cheap flights, bargain accommodation in the same hotel as the event was being held and frankly absurd prize potential (relative to event size/chance of success), I was easily sold.

    I was hopeful that a contingent of us would travel over for the event. Sadly, despite the interest many expressed, I ultimately got let down by those who had agreed to come; leaving me to pay for a twin room on my own. Fortunately it turned out that Oli Bird from the Republic of Ireland would be a head judge at the event which meant there would be at least 1 familiar face.

    Before you begin reading, note that I'm a pedant. This will be long, detailed and thorough as possible. I hope you will take the time to read it all; I'll try and make it as interesting as possible for you. With any luck we'll both learn something in the process!

    2.00 - Deck choice.

    Until a few weeks before I had considered getting a deck together for the Standard event, but ultimately decided against it. I simply have no interest in the format at the moment. I'm an analytic person and I work well with any information I collect. I don't watch much Standard, play much Standard or think much about Standard, so the quantity and quality of information I have on that format is poor. Sure, I know the decks, their important cards and their general strategy, but I felt without a full understanding of the format this would likely have been a fruitless endeavour and a waste of a £30 entry fee.

    Anyway, fortunately my knowledge of Legacy is pretty comprehensive. I've been following the format for several years now and I decided to focus my efforts there.

    I'll go over the main thoughts that led to my deck selection:

    2.10 - A butterfly flaps its wings.

    A single seed unleashes a flurry of growth.

    Prior to last year, I always gravitated to playing blue-based control in Legacy. I played 'Dreadstill', 'Landstill' during the Mental Misstep era, then 'Stoneblade' after its banning.

    When it comes to my deck choices. The less creatures the better. With the exception of a few like Vendilion Clique and Snapcaster Mage, I usually prefer to cast non-creature spells. Despite its brilliance, nothing quite bores me like a Tarmogoyf.

    I simply don't enjoy aggro and the combo decks I played back in 2010 like 'Sneak and Show' and 'Elf Combo' were (in my opinion) boring and too reliant on certain cards.

    I first tried 'The Epic Storm' at this point too - I made a proxied version of the deck to play around with, but my heart wasn't in it so I didn't give it enough time. Also, the deck wasn't quite as good then as it is now and, more importantly, neither was I.

    Nevertheless, It's a very well documented deck and I found it interesting enough that since then I followed its development.

    So I kept playing those control decks. I played 'Stoneblade' at Grand Prix: Amsterdam in 2011 - this was my first Grand Prix and large tournament. I was happy with my list. It was a great deck; it still is.

    I barely got a chance to eat anything that day.

    The problem with playing these type of decks is that every win is a battle. You accumulate small advantages until you can overwhelm them. Back then, the fastest way to finish up the game was by either beating them in the face with Batterskull, Vendilion Clique, or ultimating Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Neither are particularly fast in a format with such cheap and reliable answers.

    There's very few awful match-ups, but there's very few amazing ones either. When the only tournaments I'm going to get a chance to play Legacy in are probably going to be at least 7 to 9 rounds in one day, then having something that takes less time (and therefore less energy) is an obvious benefit. If you're lucky there might be time to catch your breath and have a much needed lunch.

    I came to realise that for these large events in varied formats, I wanted to play something powerful and proactive. I wanted to be the one asking the questions instead of constantly adapting to come up with the answers. When I made a good play, I wanted to win rather than not loose.

    2.20 - Prowess.

    She wished for a weapon but not for the skill to wield it.

    I'm confident that I never play terrible decks, but sometimes part of me begins to say "that isn't optimum Adam, you should just play X instead". Whenever I start to think like this, I am bluntly reminded by Belfast local, Simon Carmichael, that mastery of an archetype *is* a viable strategy.

    People are very quick to throw around words like "unplayable". There are people who truly do play awful decks with terrible cards, in which case this can be justified, but Simon's decks are often just "lower tier". While everyone else is switching decks trying to counter the next big thing, Simon is practicing; honing his skills and match-ups with his deck. He then places well at events with these "subpar" strategies.

    Logically it would be better to take the 'best deck' and master it instead. In practice this reasoning is flawed - I don't personally know anyone who has the time and/or capability to do that effectively given that the 'best deck' in a given meta-game changes quite frequently.

    It truly is often better to pick a good, consistent strategy and learn its nuances inside out.

    Legacy is very accommodating in this regard. You will hear many top players state that it is the format that allows you to lever your skill the most.

    I wanted to pick a deck that would help me develop as a player and was intellectually challenging - one that I could master over the years and that would reward me for doing so.

    2.30 - Dedication.

    Even the smallest spark may set a world ablaze.

    In Northern Ireland, basically no-one else plays Legacy regularly. Despite my avid interest in the format, I've been unable to kindle much of a following. While many appreciate what the format has to offer and have said they love the look of it, few have actually went and got a deck. The ones that did, don't play Magic any more.

    An exception to this is my good local friend, Christopher Irwin. He's a great, if nonchalant, guy. He's owned the Goblins deck for a few years now and, despite playing other decks I throw at him for testing, has stuck by it through thick and thin.

    Bless him - he's endured some of the most hateful situations. Between trying to fight through Mental Misstep with cards like Aether Vial and Goblin Lackey, to being subjected to ruthless beatings from Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

    That man loves his little green men.

    Up until early last year, we could get a couple of games in every few nights. That changed when I moved out of my parents house in Belfast and we both got full-time jobs. Now, I get to play Legacy when we meet up every now and then. Even then though, Chris enjoys the game on a more casual basis; the incentive for him to grind out 15 games in a row and/or play in tournaments just isn't there at the moment.

    It's not like I can practice Legacy on my own. Or can I?

    Most of the readers of this article will be familiar with the term "gold-fishing". This is where you play out your turns as if your opponent were a goldfish. Some people explain this by stating it's the Magic: the Gathering equivalent of Solitaire. This can be helpful to learn how some decks work, to gauge mana stability etc, but generally it's limited in usefulness.

    I work as a website developer and I have an hour long break for my lunch every day.

    I would often incidentally have my deck in my bag, so I'd get it out at lunch hour and Goldfish for something to do. I would get a few minutes of enjoyment out of this, but it's pretty difficult to accomplish anything when "goldfishing" a UW Control Deck.

    I've already expressed my growing desire to play a deck that is proactive instead of reactive. As you reduce the amount of interaction with the opponent, it becomes less critical to test with a real individual who intelligently reacts to you. Reduce the amount of interaction enough and other than a few relevant cards in which you know when they will likely be cast, you can almost ignore the opponent. I wanted my deck choice to meet this criteria.

    Here's how I can play productive games of Magic: the Gathering on my own assuming the decks interactivity is limited:

    I roll a die twice to see if I'm playing or drawing in the game.

    I keep a list of 10 decks I want to test against; they are numbered. If I'm on the play I will act as if my opponent is unknown. If any spell (e.g Gitaxian Probe) would let me know the contents of their hand, I roll a 10 sided die to select my imaginary opponent a deck from the list. Otherwise, I roll the die before they play their first land.

    Once my opponents deck has been decided, I'll either generate a hand to fight through using a program, or just make up a hand they could have with some cards I want to test against. For example, if I want to practice playing around 'soft' counters, then I'll give them a few Spell Pierce and/or Daze.

    Obviously this isn't a flawless approach, but it means that over the course of break and lunch I get to play at least 2 rounds (including side-boarded games) of pseudo-Legacy every day.

    2.40 - The formation of a storm.

    Graceful? Yes. Beautiful? Absolutely. Harmless? Definitely not.

    The reasons I detailed above drove me to learn how to play Storm. Specifically the variant that I have now been learning, building, testing and tweaking for almost a year - 'TES - The Epic Storm'.

    I planned on playing 'TES' at the Invitational Qualifier.

    It's proactive and extremely powerful.
    It's challenging to play and has lots of depth.
    It's difficult for my opponents to meaningfully interact with.

    'TES' is arguably the most explosive combo deck in Legacy that can still deal with disruption like Force of Will relatively easily; it can still interact with most hate cards.

    If they keep a loose hand, they die.

    If they turn up with a deck that is too "cute", slow and/or non-disruptive, they die.

    These occasional free wins are a great bonus to have on your side - punishing opponents slight mistakes with outright death is extremely effective at winning games.

    You will make plays that may look incorrect. 'TES' is one of few decks that wants to cast Brainstorm on turn 1 on occasion. Most others will want to be able to shuffle after. In 'TES' though, often you're just 1 card away from killing them on the spot, so it's worth the risk.

    Here's my list:

    The Epic Storm.

    4 Silence
    3 Duress

    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Gitaxian Probe

    4 Infernal Tutor
    4 Burning Wish

    1 Ad Nauseam
    1 Empty the Warrens

    //Artifact Mana:
    4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
    4 Lotus Petal
    3 Chrome Mox

    //Ritual Mana:
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Rite of Flame

    2 Underground Sea
    1 Volcanic Island
    3 Flooded Strand
    4 Gemstone Mine
    2 City of Brass

    3 Cabal Therapy
    3 Abrupt Decay
    2 Chain of Vapor
    1 Revoke Existence
    1 Grapeshot
    1 Past in Flames
    1 Ill-Gotten Gains
    1 Diminishing Returns
    1 Empty the Warrens
    1 Tendrils of Agony

    This article is already going to be erring on the side (more truthfully, it's probably fallen off the side and is drowning) of being too long, so while I have very good reasons for choosing 'TES - The Epic Storm' over 'ANT - Ad Nauseam Tendrils', it will have to wait for another time. The key point is that, despite having a lot of similar cards they are fundamentally very different decks in how they approach the game.

    'TES' was created by Bryant Cook in 2006 when he felt underwhelmed by the other Storm decks. He, along with other proponents of the deck have been fueling its development for the past 7 years. There have been many changes made since the original list (if you'd like to learn more about its history you can read the thorough primer at, so I'll only cover the most recent/relevant ones.

    There are three recent changes in the deck that have had a huge impact:

    2.41 - Gitaxian Probe.

    This is the best card printed for Storm decks in many years - information and storm count for the low cost of 2 life. Knowing when it's safe to "go off" is crucial.

    Probing someone at the start of game 1, seeing they have no relevant disruption, then vomiting your hand onto the table to create 16 goblins on the first turn feels so filthy that I wash my hands at the end of the round.

    Importantly, the odds of these explosive draws occurring with the previous information spells such as Duress (-1 Mana, -1 Card) are far less.

    The information allows you to make these powerful plays with much less risk. Since its printing, you feel much more in control with the deck instead of just crossing your fingers which you might have had to do in the past.

    Having this additional can-trip also benefits your interactions with Lion's Eye Diamond - giving you more opportunities to use its mana to cast cards from the top of your deck.

    2.42 - Abrupt Decay.

    The moment I saw this card I knew it was going to be crazy in Legacy and began acquiring foils. Hate cards in Legacy are very varied due to the huge card pool. Answering this hate in Storm prior to Abrupt Decay often required equally varied answers. Chalice of the Void needed Shattering Spree; some ran a Wipe Away to help deal with Counterbalance.

    Abrupt Decay does it all and it can't be countered; it consolidates most of our answers into a single card.

    Notable things it doesn't hit are Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Leyline of Sanctity. Fortunately, we have other ways of dealing with these cards.

    2.43 - Empty the Warrens main deck instead of Tendrils of Agony.

    Imagine shuffling up the above list. Draw 6 cards.

    Add a Tendrils of Agony to it. It more than likely does nothing; you'll end up imprinting it on a Chrome Mox or shuffling it back into the deck with Brainstorm.

    Now take the same hand and add Empty the Warrens. Playing out just a few of any combination of cards can suddenly grant you double figures of 1/1's without a high storm count. How many decks can deal with that in the first few turns?

    Going from a card you hate to draw, to one that is pretty good to draw is obviously a positive move. The addition of Gitaxian Probe is what really swung this change in favour of Empty the Warrens. In the past both Empty the Warrens and Tendrils of Agony have been in the main deck, but by only having one of the two you not only improve deck consistency but also reduce the amount of life you are likely to loose to Ad Nauseam.

    Its interaction with Cabal Therapy is just "icing on the cake".

    3.00 - Event preparation.

    I was familiar with my plan for all expected match-ups. I was well organised and had everything for the trip booked at least a month in advance. The deck was complete and as 'pimp' as I could make it in time for the event. All that was left to do was wait for the storm.

    4.00 - An expected journey.

    4.10 - Thursday.

    My winter break flew in faster than an Albatross on Amphetamine and it wasn't long before the date was upon me. I had booked several days off work for the occasion, turning it into a welcome holiday.

    I get up at 05:30 to start my journey to Doncaster. I kiss my fiancée goodbye and hop into the car with my father-in-law who had kindly agreed to give me a lift.

    The airport was a fairly uneventful affair. I sat down in the departure lounge and critiqued the design of some of the advertisements on the screen nearby. Old habits die hard. Soon after, boarding began.

    It was a small, propeller driven aircraft I found myself climbing aboard. After a struggle to fit my bag into the overhead compartment (much to the disapprobation of the growing queue behind me) I took my seat. The bloke sitting next to me sits down. I'm not a short person, in-fact I'm ~6ft tall, but the guy beside me looked like fucking Lurch from the Addam's Family. Once I found a position were I was comfortable and his knees weren't in my face, the journey quickened. It wasn't long before I was on the ground in Leeds.

    After leaving the airport, I jumped on a bus into the city centre. From my brief journey it looked like quite a nice place and I would like to visit in the future. I arrived at the train station. I can't say I was prepared for this - I've never been to a large UK railway station and I was somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of people, the lists of trains and their times. Everyone seemed to be in a rush with their agenda.

    I grabbed my train tickets from the automated machine. I had 2 hours left to kill, so I popped into the nearby Whetherspoons to get breakfast as I hadn't eaten that morning. Once he reached the stage were he could understand my accent, he finished taking my order for the largest breakfast they offered along with a glass of coke. It was a typical fry up and everything was great, minus the sausages which I foolishly expected to just be filled with meat. It was a Cumberland Sausage.

    My train ticket said "Doncaster 11:15", but when I went to the board the only train I could see was "Doncaster 11:20". I figured it must have just been held up for a few minutes, which based on my experience with Translink is something to be expected from public transport. I waited for 40 minutes or so then got on-board the train when it arrived. I had a table seat reserved, but I couldn't see any tables let alone seat numbers. It departed shortly after.

    After about 30 minutes I get asked for my ticket, only to be told I'm on the wrong train. Fuck.

    Apparently what I was meant to do was get the train to London, then get off at Doncaster. Obviously. This was something that Raileasy failed to mention anywhere in the documentation they provided me.

    Anyway, he was very nice and explained what had happened and accepted my apologies before stating that he wouldn't charge me due to the circumstances. He also clarified what I'd need to do on the return journey which was very helpful.

    I arrived at the much smaller Doncaster station and started walking towards the city centre. Aided by the power of Google Maps, I found the hotel and went inside.

    The interior was pleasant and I approached the reception desk stating "I'd like to check in please?".

    His response was "Metagames?".

    Perhaps it was my age, my mannerisms, or simply the Portal hoodie that gave it away. Regardless, I replied "Aye" in the way that us Belfast blokes do and received my key. He informed me that I was the first to arrive for the event - there goes my plans of getting drunk in the lobby over a few games.

    My room's on the third floor. Once I stop being an idiot and manage to get the room door open, I'm greeted by my home for the next 4 days:

    The room was quite polarising. On one hand it was large with a very comfy bed. On the other hand, the window frames were caked with about 2 years worth of blackened dirt and grime. Still, it doesn't take much to keep me content and given the price I didn't expect any better.

    I barely get my bag open when I get a wonderful phone call from Lyndsey, my fiancée, telling me that we were successful in obtaining a mortgage. Yes! I pump my fist and pace the room while I'm on the phone telling various relatives of the good news.

    With everything unpacked, I set up my laptop and have a game of League of Legends before going out to get some essentials. Despite being a weekend spent sweating in a large room with (mostly) other men, I like to maintain a modicum of personal hygiene if possible.

    I then take a trip to the LGS (Local Gaming Store) in Doncaster, a shop called "Zone Out" which is a 10 minute dander from the hotel. It was a nice place and the guy who ran it was cool, I engage in some chat about the magic community in the area as he regales me with tales of its drama. Zone Out also markets itself as a 'LAN Center'; it has 4 PC's upstairs.

    I go and get dinner on my way back to the hotel, which consisted of 4 pieces of chicken from, well, "UK Chicken". Inspiring naming at its best. I foolishly place my order before first examining the surroundings - there's just a heap of chicken sitting in a cabinet.

    The Indian serving me walks over to it and asks "would you like big bit or small bit?", I don't really understand this if it's just a matter of quantity. I'm concerned that the smaller ones might be hot wings so I reply "big", but ask "Can I have one piece as a drumstick?" he replies "no problem!", boxes my chicken, then I leave.

    I get back to the hotel and open the box. No drumstick. What a dick. The chicken had obviously been sitting for hours and was tough and dry - a waste of a fiver.

    I get a bath then start a new game on Morrowind for something to on my laptop, but discover that with all the new versions of my mods and unofficial patches that I really need a fresh install. Obviously I don't have the discs with me, so I end up buying it on steam for £12.99 despite first buying the game 10 years ago for £20. Such is life. The hotels wi-fi is impressive in its speed (if horribly unstable) so the download finishes in a few minutes. I take a dander around the hotel, but there's still no gamers to be seen. The Elder Scrolls keeps me occupied until sleep takes me.

    4.20 - Friday.

    I wake up and have my complimentary breakfast. It's admittedly starting to get a little lonely at this point. I play a few rounds of League of Legends throughout the day at the LGS as the FNM is Standard and no-one wants to draft, so to be honest there wasn't much to do. I grab a gift for Lyndsey and have a look around the shops before heading back to the hotel. I take a trip through the local market on the way back. It was a peculiar place, selling products such as this:

    In a sad turn of affairs, the highlight of the day is probably eating chocolate eclairs and sausage rolls in the hotel while darts is on the TV. 180!

    At around 19:00 they start setting up the hall, so I talk a walk around and see how things are shaping up. It's a nice room on the first floor.

    I have some Budweiser and play Morrowind for a while before having the greasiest kebab meat on chips of my life. I must confess it was quite delicious. The event starts tomorrow, so I prepare myself to watch a countless number of Thragtusk and Sphinx's Revelation being cast. Fun format! There's side events all day though so I'm looking forward to that.

    4.30 - Saturday.

    I walk down after breakfast and check out the now filled tournament hall during the players meetings.

    I check out the dealer present, Patriot Games, to see if he has the remaining cards I need to finish foiling the deck. He doesn't.

    I put my name down for the Legacy side-events and go to do the same for draft, only to find out it's elimination rounds. While I was looking forward to playing some limited, to be honest I'm not a great limited player and really need to learn more about the fundamentals, so I can't justify paying in for a draft only to loose round 1 and only have gotten just 30 minutes out of it.

    I fill out a few deck registration sheets for the weekend. Here's the 75 I would be registering (it's the same as the list I gave above):

    To be honest, despite watching some Standard, not much else happened on the Saturday (I completely forgot about the Vintage tournament otherwise I would have watched it). The Legacy players didn't turn up until later on that night as it seemed most of them weren't playing in the Standard event either. I had a few games with them while talking about the format and having a drink which was a pleasant end to the day. I took another bath while I read over my match-up notes, then played some more Morrowind before putting my head down for the night. I was excited about the Legacy IQ the next day.

    4.40 - Sunday.

    Since I preregistered, I only need make it to the players meeting. I get up early, grab breakfast then head back to bed. I get up and dressed and walk down to the tournament hall about 10 minutes before the players meeting is due to start. For some reason there's still an hour delay before it starts.

    It isn't long before the pairings for the first round are posted.

    5.00 - The tournament.

    This is my first tournament report, so I'm sorry I didn't keep track of my own hand and some other details. I'm having to rely on deduction from my limited notations and memory. I'll keep it as accurate and detailed as possible; hopefully you will find it interesting and/or informative regardless.

    5.10 - Round 1, Bradley Pearce, MUD.

    Bradley seemed like a nice guy. We have a chat while we shuffle, then it's down to business.

    I win the die roll.

    Game 1.

    I pay 2 life and cast Gitaxian Probe, I see the following:

    Grim Monolith
    Grim Monolith
    Myr Battlesphere
    City of Traitors
    Darksteel Citadel
    Ancient Tomb

    I play a Flooded Strand, sacrifice it and get Underground Sea. I play a bunch of spells, make 22 Goblins and then pass the turn. He scoops; we laugh.

    Game 2.

    I sideboard as follows:

    -4 Silence
    -3 Duress
    +3 Abrupt Decay
    +2 Chain of Vapor
    +2 Cabal Therapy

    He plays first, opening up with Ancient Tomb into Chalice of the Void, I ask him "on 1?" sounding semi-suprised in the hopes he'll choose 0 instead. He sticks with his initial (correct) choice.

    Due to this, I'm unable to cast my Ponder to find a second land which would allow me to Abrupt Decay the Chalice. I pass the turn.

    On his next turn, he plays Chalice of the Void on 0. Tough game.

    I pass the turn.

    He chuckles as he top decks Chalice of the Void and casts it on 2. This shuts off my Tutors which means it's likely lights out. I still have a fair amount of answers to permanent based hate if I draw well though, so I play it out anyway, if only for the information.

    He slams a Lodestone Golem and starts kicking my face in with it. I always forget that guy has 5 power. What a beating. This is my death knell as I'm on a 4 turn clock. He wins; we laugh.

    Game 3.

    He mulligans to 5 cards.

    I cast Gitaxian Probe revealing:

    Mox Opal
    Kuldotha Forgemaster
    Staff of Domination
    Sundering Titan

    I play a Gemstone Mine, cast Cabal Therapy and name Mox Opal. Big mistake*.

    He Wastelands me as expected, but draws a mana source before me and casts Trinisphere before I get enough mana sources to combo off.

    I almost had a chance to recover as I have both Chain of Vapor and Abrupt Decay. Even after he casts a second Trinisphere I wasn't dead as he had me under no pressure and while this was happening he had taken heavy amounts of damage from his Ancient Tomb.

    He points at the two Trinsphere and says to me "don't you just loose to this". I reply "no".

    I need to draw a 4th land (he blew up one with a Wasteland) in order to blow up one Trinisphere; then I can bounce the second one With Chain of Vapor the turn after, play out a load of artifact mana and mini-tendrils him with a small storm count.

    Instead he casts Lodestone Golem which thrusts the nail not just into the coffin, but through it into my decaying face.

    *A few thoughts on this ridiculous decision. Why even take the Mox Opal when it's not active? MUD plays like an attrition deck despite the powerful starts. While wrecking someones mana is very appealing and often the right thing to do, it isn't here. I'm playing a powerful combo deck, Why the hell should I care? Why don't I just concentrate on killing him? I should have just cast Ponder to look for more mana sources. My failure to assert my role as the aggressor cost me this match.


    5.20 - Round 2, Steven Pickles, Affinity.

    For the love of sanity, these games made me want to drop a breezeblock on my skull. Get ready for literally the worst plays of my life, documented here for posterity.

    I'm a little more cramped at one of the bottom tables. Steven and I don't talk much before the game begins, but he does let slip that he got destroyed by Goblin Charbelcher in his first round and also that he is new to Legacy.

    He wins the die roll.

    Game 1.

    To be honest, I can't work out or remember what happened in this game.

    Once he plays his first land, I'm feeling pretty good because of his previous comments; I know he's on Affinity now and it plays very little disruption. I can tell he's not comfortable with the format and I'm confident I can kill him before anything relevant happens.

    Regardless, the only relevant part is when I duress him after a Gitaxian Probe and take a Cranial Plating instead of Galvanic Blast. While Galvanic Blast is certainly the correct decision, my reasoning at the time was that "Cranial Plating represents the most damage". I didn't really care about either.

    I'm at 17 life with 2 lands on the battlefield when I play a Gemstone Mine and cast Lotus Petal, Lotus Petal, Ad Nauseam. I draw a ton of cards until I go to 5 life. I think I have the kill here from what I've drawn but I figure there's no other 5 costing spell in the deck, so there's no reason to not not flip a few more cards. Yeah, about that... I remember as soon as I flip the next card that he has a Galvanic Blast. I take 1 from the flip then get blasted in the face. What. A. Fucking. Idiot.

    I laugh as I lament my horrid mistake.

    Hoping that my stupid mistakes are over (spoiler: they aren't), I start to sideboard for the next game.

    At this point, I have no idea if he's being nice and trying to make me feel better about my mistake by making conversation, or trolling me. He mentions that he has no sideboard, stating that he threw the deck together from what he could get from trades etc.

    This is great because it means he doesn't have any combo hate to bring in. The odds are very good for me to win. I estimate I'm at least 80% to win the round.

    Game 2.

    I sideboard as follows:

    -4 Silence
    -3 Duress
    +3 Abrupt Decay
    +2 Chain of Vapor
    +2 Cabal Therapy

    I pay 2 life to cast Gitaxian Probe revealing:

    Master of Etherium
    Signal Pest
    Signal Pest
    Cranial Plating
    Ancient Den

    I play a land and Ponder.

    He plays Ancient Den, Ornithopter and Signal Pest.

    I play my second land and continue to sculpt my hand. I end up with access to Ad Nauseam, aiming to cast it next turn.

    He plays another Signal Pest and attacks with Ornithopter.

    On my next turn I tap 2 lands, cast Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame and then Ad Nauseam - again from 17. I pick up the top of my deck and begin flipping cards; I draw a ton and stop at 2 life. I get confused between the pile I had lifted off the deck and the pile that was my face-down hand. Despite working it out and putting the correct pile back on top of my library, I am quite flustered and agitated after the fumble. I'm not really "tilted", but definitely distracted. I just want to get this round over with, so I go to finish up going through the motions.

    I got quite unfortunate with my Ad Nauseam as I revealed no Lotus Petals or Chrome Moxen which would make things simple. I haven't played a land this turn however, so I put Gemstone Mine into the battlefield along with Lion's Eye Diamond. I cast Rite of Flame into Rite of Flame which leaves me with 6 red mana floating and a storm count of 6.

    I have a Burning Wish. I plan on casting it to get Past in Flames, recasting all 3 Rite of Flames and the 2 Dark Rituals in my graveyard, before casting the Infernal Tutor getting Burning Wish which gets Tendrils of Agony. I cast Burning Wish, maintain priority and, in a crazed moment, sacrifice the LED naming red instead of black.

    In this moment, all that was going through my head was red numbers. I have 6 red. Burning Wish needs 2 red. Past in Flames needs 4 red. I need to flash back the Rite of Flames after paying all this red. I need red. Go get red. Rrrreeeeeedddddd in the head.

    Once I've announced it, the damage is done.


    With only red mana floating, I can't flashback the Dark Rituals in my graveyard to get me to the 8 mana required for the loop, the Infernal Tutor or the Gitaxian Probe (because I'm at 2 life).

    I scoop. I sigh.

    Steven was quite nice about the whole thing and seemed suprised to be alive. That said, as I put away my deck box, I can't say I appreciated his comment to me of "make sure you read the cards next time". I give him the benefit of the doubt that he isn't being an asshole. I get a beer and go back to my room. Here's an unedited excerpt from the post-round notations I did on my laptop after the round:

    "Having a beer at the moment then heading down for round 3, really hope my play improves. Having fun but frustrating when the mistakes I make are just so fucking silly. Pull it together Adam you know you're better than this."

    I'm fairly certain I'm out of contention for top 8 now, but I'll be damned if I'm going home at 0-2 after putting in so much effort to get here to play Legacy and compete. I finish my beer, straighten out my thoughts and get ready to kick some ass. I make my way back down the event room for round 3. Someone is going to die.


    5.30 - Round 3, Rory Fox, G/W Enchantress.

    I sit down at the table, I'm feeling much more confident and relaxed.

    Rory is initially fairly quiet as we shuffle. I loose the die roll.

    Game 1.

    He plays a Plains and passes the turn.

    I pay 2 life and cast Gitaxian Probe. In response he casts Enlightened Tutor and gets Wild Growth. Gitaxian Probe resolves revealing:

    Verdant Catacombs
    Elephant Grass
    Green Sun's Zenith
    Sigil of the Empty Throne
    Wild Growth

    I play an Underground Sea.

    On his turn he plays a forest and casts Wild Growth, enchanting his Plains.

    I play a Gemstone Mine and pass the turn. On his upkeep I silence him.

    I then draw for my next turn and cast Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame and then Ad Nauseam.

    I draw an absurd amount of cards, play them to get my storm count to 11, then Burning Wish for Tendrils of Agony, draining him for 24 life.

    Game 2.

    I sideboard as follows:

    -4 Silence
    -3 Duress
    +3 Abrupt Decay
    +2 Chain of Vapor
    +2 Cabal Therapy

    We both mulligan heavily. I go down to 5 cards, he goes down to 4 cards.

    On his first turn, he plays a Forest then casts Wild Growth.

    I pay 2 life and cast Gitaxian Probe revealing:

    Wild Growth
    City of Solitude

    I play a Flooded Strand, sacrifice it to get an Underground Sea then cast Cabal Therapy naming Wild Growth.

    He plays a land and casts City of Solitude.

    I untap, then play a Gemstone Mine and Abrupt Decay his Wild Growth. He's suprised at this and compliments me on the play.

    On his next turn he casts another Wild Growth. I Abrupt Decay it too.

    Eventually, he casts Leyline of Sanctity.

    Turning this time I've been drawing a ton of mana production (at least 3 Lion's Eye Diamond and 2 Rite of Flame) so when I finally draw into an Infernal Tutor, I cast Chain of Vapor and target Leyline of Sanctity, bouncing it to his hand.

    With priority back to me, I play out my artifact mana then cast another Chain of Vapor targeting Lion's Eye Diamond. I begin sacrificing lands to the Chain of Vapor, bouncing artifact mana so I can recast it.

    I've cast so many spells by this point that I'm already at a near lethal storm count. I Infernal Tutor for Infernal Tutor, Infernal Tutor for Burning Wish, then cast Burning Wish.

    He asks "The Tendrils is in your sideboard right?".

    I freeze. Shit. I boarded it in. I get Ill-Gotten Gains instead.

    I cast Ill-Gotten Gains and return 2 Lion's Eye Diamonds and an Infernal Tutor to my hand. I play all three tutoring up Tendrils of Agony. Then I kill him.

    Turns out he had drawn 2 Mindbreak Traps back-to-back but couldn't cast them due to his own City of Solitude. We discuss how he could have sacrificed a land to the Chain of Vapor to bounce his City of Solitude.

    I probably should have done something different instead of bouncing the Leyline then 'tutor-chaining' in order to play around that possibility. He mentions that storm is his worst match-up and that his sideboard is packed full of cards to combat it.

    We chat for a while longer before I go back to the room to make some notes.


    5.40 - Round 4, Carrie Oliver, Esper Stoneblade.

    The pairings for Round 4 go up. I'm paired against Channel Fireball writer and Pro Tour competitor, Carrie Oliver. She came 2nd the day before in the Standard event; I know this is going to be a tough match.

    I win the die roll.

    Game 1.

    Carrie mulligans to 6 cards.

    I start by playing a Flooded Strand, I pay 1 life and sacrifice it to fetch an Underground Sea from my deck. I cast Duress and reveal the following cards in her hand:

    Polluted Delta
    Academy Ruins
    Stoneforge Mystic
    Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    Force of Will

    I take the Force of Will.

    For the next few turns, I sculpt together a hand. Carrie ends up getting Batterskull into play and bashing me in the face.

    She goes to 23 and I 15.

    Jace, the Mind Sculptor makes an appearance. I get fatesealed. She puts a Burning Wish to the bottom. I draw an Infernal Tutor, use it to find Ad Nauseam and draw cards from 15 until 6 life.

    We laugh as she says to me "Your library is really cheap!".

    I play a Gitaxian Probe and a bunch of other spells before killing her with Tendrils of Agony.

    Game 2.

    I sideboard as follows:

    -1 Empty the Warrens
    -1 Infernal Tutor
    -1 Ponder
    +1 Tendrils of Agony
    +2 Cabal Therapy

    In this game I get to cast Ad Nauseam from 19 life. In response Carrie casts Surgical Extraction and targets my Infernal Tutor. She looks through the deck a few times trying to find the 4th copy, changing the angle she's holding the deck at and commenting "it's too shiny" we both laugh and I tell her there is no forth copy in the deck.

    I go to 4 life before casting Burning Wish with a load of mana floating, storm count at 11 and 2 Lion's Eye Diamonds still on the battlefield. She asks me if the Tendrils is in the sideboard. I get Infernal Tutor with the Burning Wish, cast Infernal Tutor breaking both Lion's Eye Diamonds for black in response. I get Tendrils of Agony then drain her for 26 life.

    We have a chat after the game. Once she leaves the table, I go back to my room to drink another bottle of water and eat some double chocolate cookies.


    5.50 - Round 5, Liam Morrissey, Aggro Loam.

    I sit down from my round 5 opponent, Liam, he's a cool guy. He's not very audible as he talks very quietly, but we chat a little before the game begins.

    I win the die roll.

    Game 1.

    I start by playing a Flooded Strand, fetching Underground Sea and casting Duress revealing:

    Lightning Bolt
    Wooded Foothills
    Bloodstained Mire
    Countryside Crusher
    Life from the Loam
    Maze of Ith

    I can't recall what happened this game, but my notes show that I took a beating down to 7 life. I die before I can combo off. I can only assume that he must have drawn into some good disruption like Liliana of the Veil.

    Game 2.

    I sideboard as follows:

    -4 Silence
    -3 Duress
    +3 Abrupt Decay
    +2 Chain of Vapor
    +2 Cabal Therapy

    I lead with Gitaxian Probe, revealing:

    Burning Wish
    Countryside Crusher
    Countryside Crusher
    Seismic Assault
    Lightning Bolt
    Wooded Foothills

    I cast another Gitaxian Probe, followed by a load of other spells. I finish the turn by casting an Empty the Warrens with a storm count of 7; making 16 1/1 Goblin Tokens.

    I pass the Turn.

    He plays a land before taking 16 damage from the goblin horde, bringing him to 4 life. He doesn't draw or do anything of relevance and dies to the Goblins the following turn.

    Game 3.

    Liam begins by playing a Wooded Foothills, then passes the turn.

    I cast Gitaxian Probe revealing:

    Burning Wish
    Scavenging Ooze
    Seismic Assault
    Dark Confidant
    Chalice of the Void
    Grove of the Burnwillows

    This hand is much more threatening than the last, but I'm still feeling fairly comfortable.

    He casts Chalice of the Void for 1 and then Dark Confidant. I take 2 damage from the Dark Confidant bringing me to 16.

    I use Abrupt Decay to blow up the Chalice of the Void then combo off, cast Ad Nauseam going to 3 life, then kill him with Tendrils of Agony.

    After the match I ask if he thinks it's rude to say "Thanks, I enjoyed that" to an opponent when you're playing something "unfair" like Storm. He says that if you found the games enjoyable, then there's no problem and it's just being polite.


    5.60 - Round 6, Andrew Rouse, Dredge.

    Not meaning to be rude, but I can't really remember anything about this opponent or most of the round. Probably because I ran out of cookies and water before this round, my chosen energy source for tournament.

    I loose the die roll.

    Game 1.

    Andrew mulligans at least once before playing a land and perhaps a spell (sorry).

    I cast Gitaxian Probe bringing me to 18 life and revealing:

    Faithless Looting
    Celaphid Collosseum

    One of the greatest flaws in my knowledge of Legacy is that of Dredge. I don't know what cards are important and what they need to succeed. Due to this I have to play extremely aggressively against it. Fortunately, with TES this is the theoretical plan anyway. I know that with TES all I have to do is just kill them before they kill me.

    I have no certain recollection of what happened after, but I think I "time-walk" him with Silence 2 turns in a row. I've taken 2 hits from a Narcomoeba which meant I was at 16 when I cast Ad Nauseam. I draw cards until I'm at 6 life, then kill him with Tendrils of Agony.

    Game 2.

    I don't sideboard.

    I keep a high risk, high reward hand with a double Gitaxian Probe. I don't get the draw off them I need to in order to kill him quickly.

    When I do get to look at his hand it contains the following:

    Cabal Therapy
    Dread Return
    Nature's Claim

    We play a slow game were we disrupt each other. To protect from his discard I am resolving my artifact mana as I draw it. I play a Lion's Eye Diamond straight into his Nature's Claim, he mentions that "I don't care if this is bait". I gain 4 life and go to 20.

    Eventually I am able to resolve Ad Nauseam, at the lower amount of 12 life. He says "all that's left to do is hope you die". I smile, I love these moments.

    I'm still confident as the average mana cost of this deck is very low. I go to 5 life then drain him with a Tendrils of Agony for 20.


    5.70 - Round 7, Luke Sabin, Walking Dead.

    My oppoent, Luke, sits down and flops out his Yu-Gi-Oh playmat. I surveyed him, shook his hand and then we shuffled up while having a friendly chat.

    While shuffling he had uttered something along the lines of "That's what I get for playing Dredge". Touché, but I didn't buy it.

    The guy is a great laugh and I'm having such a good time that when it comes to time to draw our cards I actually have to force myself to snap out of it and focus.

    He says "let's try and win some money". This will be a good game.

    Game 1.

    I can't remember who won the die roll, but Luke mulligans pretty hard and keeps a hand filled with disruption, but with only 1 land.

    He tears apart the the Tutors in my hand while I continue to search for more.

    I cast Duress revealing the following:

    Faithless Looting
    Goblin Bombardment

    While I'm familiar with the deck, I'm unsure if there's any way for him to create a loop with the Goblin Bombardment so I take it just to be sure.

    At this point he still hasn't drawn a red source and eventually we both run out of disruption, but he has a Bloodghast in play and I've been casting my artifact mana to protect it from the discard.

    I go to 14 life at which point I am able to resolve an Ad Nauseam. I go to 5 life drawing cards which allows me to drain him with a lethal Tendrils of Agony.

    Game 2.

    I sideboard as follows:

    -4 Silence
    -2 Duress
    +3 Abrupt Decay
    +1 Chain of Vapor
    +2 Cabal Therapy

    I mulligan hard and end up going to 4 cards.

    He casts a Deathrite Shaman and passes the turn.

    Fearful of the little elf allowing him to start accelerating, I play a Gemstone Mine, Cast Chrome Mox and imprinting something that allows me to Abrupt Decay it. Sadly, I only have 2 cards left in hand after this and he has threats and disruption. It isn't long before I get overwhelmed.

    Game 3.

    I get Thoughtseized early in the game.

    I talked earlier about how I disliked Show and Tell and Elf combo because they are too reliant on certain cards. This was a perfect example of the redundancy of storm. When you cast Thoughtseize and have a choice between Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame, Burning Wish and Infernal Tutor, which do you take? There's no amazing option.

    He takes my Infernal Tutor, looses 1 life to fetch up a land, then casts Surgical Extraction on my Infernal Tutors.

    This means I effectively can't get Ad Nauseam. He has a Zealous Persecution in his hand too, which shuts off Empty the Warrens (I can't remember if I found this out before or after, but I wouldn't go for Empty the Warrens against this deck regardless).

    I weigh up the odds. I don't see any benefit of dragging the game out against a deck with so much discard. I cast whatever mana sources I have at this point and cast Burning Wish, breaking the Lion's Eye Diamond for blue and getting Diminishing Returns.

    I love Diminishing Returns - people really under underestimate its power; it's most frequent card that people have to pick up and read in this deck. Have you ever heard of Timetwister? It's one of the Power Nine. Even though it's considered the weakest of the 9, that title exists for a reason. Timetwister is banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage. Diminishing Returns does essentially the same thing and costs 1 additional blue mana.

    Lukes face is priceless at this point - he looks at me as if to say "What the fuck is this?". For a brief moment, it feels like a casual format as we shuffle everything back into our library. Despite being a non-interactive combo deck, we both know the gamble that's about to happen and it's obvious we're having a great time resolving the spell. A small crowd have gathered by this stage.

    I have 1 blue, 1 red and 2 black floating after casting the Diminishing Returns so I know my win percentage with this mana floating is higher than you might suspect, but I also have 2 Burning Wish exiled as I hit another with the Diminishing Returns exile effect.

    I use the blue mana in my pool to cast Brainstorm - I hit the Burning Wish!

    I cast a Rite of Flame and then another Rite of Flame. In response, he goes to 15 and casts Surgical Extraction on Rite of Flame, which leaves me with only 3 red and 2 black floating. I use a black mana in my pool to Duress him and make sure the path is clear; he has nothing. I cast Dark Ritual bringing me to 3 red and 3 black mana. I cast Burning Wish leaving me with 2 red 2 black mana. I get Tendrils of Agony and kill him.

    It's over. He congratulates me and we shake hands.


    5.80 - Results and post tournament beers.

    As I sat there waiting for the announcement of the top 8, I was satisfied that I had regained my dignity and redeemed myself. Here was the final standings at the end of the swiss:

    Cash was distributed among the Top 16. My record of 5-2 gave me 15 points, leaving me in 17th place. Sadly, my poor tie breakers due to loosing the early rounds meant I didn't walk away with £50 - much to amusement of Luke. We joked about it as I chatted with him and his friends before we grabbed a beer to watch his friend play Esper Stoneblade in the semi-finals. Luke told me that "I'm better with the deck than I think I am" which, considering I'm a very self-critical person, was great to hear and reassuring for the future. Not long after they depart for the road. We all shake hands; I've found some cool people to play Legacy with in the future. What makes me very happy about the Magic: the Gathering community as that it's possible to go somewhere on your own and still be guaranteed to meet like minded and fantastic people.

    Several beers later, I ended up having a good chat with the event organiser and his partner.

    We spoke about the attendance at the event. I suspect that, despite the advance notice, having this in early January made it difficult for some to budget for. But as an aside, I would add that if people want more/larger/valuable tournaments in the UK and Ireland then they need to be prepared to support those organising them and make it profitable for them to do so, particularly when they offer something to suit everyone.

    170 players showed up for the Standard Elite IQ.
    98 for the Legacy Super IQ.
    16 for the Vintage side tournament.

    After 20 minutes or so, some bald dude walked in; in my inebriated state I thought to myself that he looked like Erik Spikerman. I still don't know who he was but clearly the event organiser did. There was an awkward moment of silence. I didn't really take the hint and had to be told "we need to have a business talk in private" before I realised it was my time to leave.

    I went to eat at the Chinese buffet, but while it was still open, he informed me that the kitchen was shut and the things leftover didn't really interest me. I ended up getting a disgusting chicken kebab instead. Not getting a pizza here was easily the worst play of the weekend.

    I went to sleep and while the journey home the next day was long, it was smooth and nothing of interest happened. It did snow though!

    6.00 - The end.

    I had a great time in Doncaster; it's such a lovely town and the tournament was excellent.

    The deck was amazing; easily the best that I've played with at a constructed event. I wouldn't change a single card or its position in the 75.

    7 Rounds. 7 Unique archetypes. That's why I play Legacy.

    Don't be deterred from trying Legacy out because I'm playing something absurd and broken. Someone needs to be the bad guy. The notion that Legacy is usually people just killing each other on the first turn is simply incorrect. That can and does happen, but truthfully, very rarely. Most games are beautifully interactive and challenging. The deck I played was very powerful, but it's far from unbeatable. I'd urge you to proxy up a few decks and try the format out if you haven't before. There is a viable deck for every play style; it is an extremely rich experience. You truly owe it to yourself if you're serious about Magic; if only because you educate yourself by learning to play around things like Wasteland.

    If you've gotten this far, thanks so much for reading. I'm a slow writer and probably gave you lots of unnecessary information, but I hope you found it enjoyable.
    Last edited by vercadium; 03-30-2016 at 08:06 AM. Reason: Fixed image links.

  2. #2
    Bryant Cook

    Re: Through the Eye of a Storm - A Legacy Tournament Report by Adam Stewart.

    This is posted in the wrong section, good report though.

    EDIT: I think you sided wrong against a lot of decks bringing in Abrupt Decay where Duress would've been more relevant.
    Last edited by Bryant Cook; 02-18-2013 at 08:33 PM.

  3. #3
    mini1337s's Avatar
    Join Date

    Dec 2011

    Calgary, Alberta


    Re: Through the Eye of a Storm - A Legacy Tournament Report by Adam Stewart.

    Great report. Sure, lots of details, but solid content.
    What I like is that you analyze your plays, good or bad. A lot of people don't seem to do this afterward, often writing off mis/subpar-plays to luck, and missing what made their good plays work out in the end. It's a valuable skill, and will continue to benefit you for future tournaments.
    Best of luck with growing the Legacy scene in Ireland. If it can happy in a small province in Canada, Ireland certainly has the capability.

  4. #4
    Clergyman of Cool
    lordofthepit's Avatar
    Join Date

    Mar 2009

    Daisy Hill Puppy Farm


    Re: Through the Eye of a Storm - A Legacy Tournament Report by Adam Stewart.

    Great report! Bummer about your tiebreakers. :-(

  5. #5
    Site Contributor
    vercadium's Avatar
    Join Date

    Feb 2011

    Northern Ireland


    Re: Through the Eye of a Storm - A Legacy Tournament Report by Adam Stewart.

    Thanks for all the feedback so far.

    I'm so sorry for posting this in the wrong section - I hadn't even realised until I read Bryant's comment. If a mod could move it for me that would be great.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)