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Thread: 5th in the 2/13/22 Legacy Challenge

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    5th in the 2/13/22 Legacy Challenge

    You can view this report on it's home site here:

    On Friday, 2/11/22 I was informed that I was positive for COVID. Two days later, I was 6-1 and locked for top 8 of the Sunday Legacy Challenge. What's the secret to making this happen? Funny you should ask.

    Just play Lands, the deck is absolutely cracked. Here's a decklist:

    On Saturday I woke up at 4am thinking I'd play the Saturday challenge because hey why not, I had the day off because I was sick. But the challenge didn't start until 5am my time, so I went down for a quick snooze before it started and... woke up at 6am. Not really a bad outcome to be honest - I got to spend the day watching Jarvis play Modern (thanks Anuraag for the great stream!).

    On Sunday, the challenge happened at a much more reasonable hour and I even had some time to think about my decklist. So here's the thinking behind some of the choices:

    No Spheres - Sphere of Resistance has been worse and worse for a while and I think I'm finally willing to just let it go. Back in 2020 Freya beat Sneak & Show in the finals of the Leaving a Legacy Open with her (S)Fearless Lands and today I wanted to follow in her footsteps. The thinking here is to just play 4 Depths and a pile of tutors so you can combo faster than your opponent. We do have 4 Endurance, 3 Blasts, and 2 Surgical Extraction, all of which can help against combo, but these cards also have application in fair matchups. The plan worked pretty well in this event, which actually ended up being unfortunately full of combo.

    3 Expedition Map
    - Most people played just one Map until Anthony Rivera won the AZ Legacy Masters with a 3 Map build. While I'm not sure 3 Maps is correct (2 seems like it might be enough), they do provide a ton more selection and they let you chain Sagas into Maps repeatedly. This can be a big game against control, for example. Since it puts the land in hand, Map's stock also goes up with the printing of this next card...

    1 Boseiju
    - I might have played 2 but I lent one to a friend. The card is very good but it didn't end up coming up much for me this event. Overall quite excited for it going forward.

    1 Field of the Dead, 2 Valakut Exploration in the sideboard
    - I wanted a hedge against Death & Taxes and the control decks. It turns out all the blue pile players were in Philly, but still. Playing 0 Spheres gave me room to tech for those matchups.

    4 Endurance in the sideboard
    - Is there a matchup where this card isn't good? Some people are even playing it in the maindeck of Lands, but I was too attached to my Pyrite Spellbomb to cut them for the cow (deer?). I wanted the full four since it functions as both anti-combo and anti-delver tech.

    I hadn't played a ton of Lands until about a week or two before this event. After doing decently well in a couple challenges during the Ragavan era I kind of lost interest in Legacy and mostly just played weird Lands builds at my local stores. But after the ban I slowly started playing more online, and the deck has changed a bit. It seems that these days Valakut Exploration has fallen out of favor, and people are really making Urza's Saga work as the long-game plan. The deck plays a little differently built like this, but in a good way. We care a good deal less about resolving any particular spells and have a lot of selection with multiple Maps. This means that whatever land-based game plan we want to enact, we can usually find the pieces to do it.

    So, armed with this pile of digital assets, and with my head still slightly throbbing from the disease of the decade, I paid my 300 play point fee and registered for the Challenge.

    Round 1 - UW Delverblade

    I'm always nervous in these events. It's gotten better since I started playing them more often, but my stomach gets tight and I constantly feel like I need to take a deep breath. That physical tension is the main reason I sometimes don't play at all, and it's at its worst right at the start of the event.

    Still, no pain no gain, so lets do this. I start off on the draw and keep a 6 with Map, Crop Rotation, Saga, Maze, Grove, and Boseiju. A slow hand but serviceable. I play out Map and my opponent plays some fetchlands. I look them up and I'm in luck - their entire list is online. It's a UW deck with Delver, Stifle, and a Stoneblade package.

    They play Stoneblade, find Kaldra, and start beating down. I muster some meager defense with my constructs, but I can never seem to get my mana together to do anything. When I finally make a hail Mary pass to Marit Lage, Stifle jumps in with the interception and I lose.

    - 2 Crop Rotation, 1 Expedition Map, 1 Forest, 2 Dark Depths, 1 Karakas, 1 Bojuka Bog, 1 Crucible

    - 3 Endurance, 3 Pyroblast, 2 Valakut Exploration, 1 Pithing Needle

    Tempo decks that play Swords to Plowshares suck. Didn't they get the memo that you shouldn't give your opponent life when you're playing tempo? My usual plan against Delver is to just make a 20/20 and kill them, but white Delver builds always cramp my style there. So I shave a few Depths and bring in the Valakut Explorations, planning for a longer game.

    Once again I mulligan, and my 6 has Diamond, Endurance, and an assortment of lands including Stage and Wasteland. I lead on a fetchland, but when I crack it on my second turn, they stifle the activation. This, however, gives me the window to waste their newly-fetched Tundra.

    Unfortunately, they have a Surgical for my Wasteland, which is extra sad because I just drew Life from the Loam and was looking forward to locking them. Instead, I land an Endurance. From here they spend a lot of resources trying to deal with my green sources - a Meltdown hits my Mox and a Wasteland hits my Taiga. I'm not really in danger of running out though, so I just keep loaming and attacking and they just scoop pretty soon therafter. I'll take it!

    In game 3, I keep my first 7 of the event. I've got Crop Rotation, Loam, Blast, Map, and plenty of colored sources. The beautiful thing about Lands is how the whole deck is always at your fingertips. This 7 has two tutors - I could do anything with this.

    My opponent leads on a fetchland and I play a Grove. On their next turn, they fetch a Volcanic Island and cast Brainstorm. Then they follow that up with Karakas. To me this means their mana is shaky and they're brainstorm-locked. So when I draw a Diamond for the turn, I get to play Diamond, pitch a land, rotate my Grove for a Wasteland (holding up Blast for countermagic), waste them, and then play a land and Loam back my Wasteland.

    My opponent misses their next land drop, I waste their Karakas, and they scoop. Let's just say if I ran Alcatraz, Clint Eastwood would never escape. 1-0

    because I'm playing a prison deck, get it?

    Round 2 - Sneak & Show

    I look up my opponent (is this shady? It seems no different than just walking around a room during an event but it feels slightly off) and I see that they usually play Sneak & Show. Not fun.

    Game 1 I'm on the draw and my 7 has Exploration, Stage, and Karakas. One card off a turn 2 Lage, and with a little insurance as well. I draw Depths for the turn (praise Lage), and they scoop two turns later. Nice!

    - 1 Crucibe, 3 Punishing Fire, 1 Tabernacle, 1 Shadowspear, 1 Maze of Ith, 1 Bojuka Bog, 2 Life from the Loam

    - 3 Pyroblast, 2 Surgical, 3 Endurance, 2 Force of Vigor

    I'm on the draw again and my 7 is a little less exciting, but it does have Exploration, Crop Rotation, Stage, and Yavimaya. That means another turn 2 20/20, though this time it's weak to countermagic and I do have to draw another mana producing land.

    Instead of the land I draw a Mox Diamond, so it takes me a minute to assemble everything since I have to use a Map to find the Depths. But turn 3 Lage is almost as good as turn 2, and my opponent picks 'em up.

    Looks like the 4 Depths and pray plan is working out pretty well so far! 2-0

    Round 3 - Lands

    I keep 6 with Diamond, Loam, Map, Wasteland, Port, and Forest. Not amazing but it can do stuff. My opponent has turn 1 Diamond into Exploration into Saga into Loam. Basically the Lands dream start, and exceptionally good in the mirror.

    I Bog their Loam but they keep copying their Sagas with Stages and finding more Sagas with Maps and I can't waste them fast enough. Eventually robots kill me.

    - 3 Punishing Fire, 1 Spellbomb, 4 Dark Depths, 1 Tabernacle, 1 Maze of Ith

    - 2 Valakut Exploration, 2 Force of Vigor, 2 Surgical, 4 Endurance

    My sideboard is full of graveyard hate and the two Valakut Exploration are exceptionally good in this matchup. I'm feeling pretty confident overall.

    I keep a pretty slow 7 with multiple green sources, Loam, and Valakut Exploration, but no acceleration. I get pretty lucky though and draw an Exploration on my second turn. My opponent plays a Retrofitter Foundry and a Sylvan Library, but I'm soon running away with it as Valakut Exploration finds me a second regular Exploration. They don't have the Force of Vigor they'd need and even though they Boseiju my VE, I've got Loam, Map, and multiple Sagas going off on them. They scoop before I make the first construct.

    In the third game, my hand has Crucible, Rotation, Endurance, Diamond, Wasteland, Maze, and Blast Zone. This hand has answers to anything the opponent can do and has its own engines as well. Not broken, but solid.

    My opponent kindly fixes my mana by playing a Yavimaya, but they also have the perfect mirror start of Exploration plus Loam. Luckily my Endurance puts an end to their Loam and they're left with 1 card and an assortment of lands in play, none of which really do anything. When they play a Saga to get something going, I have Force of Vigor plus a now-endless stream of Wastelands thanks to Crucible.

    They do draw their own Endurance, but they can't endure the endless stream of robots. Another victory for the deer (cow?). 3-0

    POV - Endurance is about to tuck your graveyard

    Round 4 - Jeskai Hullday / Daybreacher / Narset's Undoing / whatever

    Does this deck have a name yet? Does it deserve one? I leave those questions to those wiser than I. All I know is that it's a deck that plays Swords to Plowshares and can't kill me very fast.

    In game 1 I keep a 6 with Crop Rotation, Crucible, Diamond, Port, Fetch, and Dark Depths. They lead on a Scalding Tarn, so I lead on Port + Diamond. On their second turn, they play another fetchland, and this one is Arid Mesa (the worst fetchland in all Jeskai decks). On their end step I port their Tarn. They oblige me by fetching a basic Island.

    My turn two sees me drawing a Diamond so that I'm able to play a Crucible with mana to spare. They fetch a Tundra with their Mesa in order to clear a Brainstorm. So here's the board at the end of that turn:

    What's the play? You could just grind out value with the Saga and hold the Crop Rotation for down the road. However, with Crucible in play, it's valuable to keep your opponent off 3 colors of mana, because then they can't cast Prismatic Ending to destroy it.

    So in their upkeep, I rotate my Port into a Wasteland and tag their Tundra. That means that they will not hit a third color for the turn and Crucible will live to see another day. They respond by casting a Snapcaster for their Brainstorm, which strikes me as a slightly desperate move. My suspicions are confirmed when they pass through their turn without another land drop, and the Brainstorm sits there uncast. At that point the game is essentially over and they scoop.

    - 1 Crop Rotation, 1 Life from the Loam, 1 Tabernacle, 1 Depths, 1 Shadowspear, 1 Maze of Ith

    - 3 Pyroblast, 1 Field of the Dead, 2 Valakut Exploration

    My opener has Exploration, Pyroblast, and Field of the Dead, plus a pile of other lands. Pretty solid. However, I don't have enough colored mana to play Exploration with Blast to protect it, so it gets countered.
    From there, the game moves along slowly, with me porting them and inching up to 7 land names. I also assemble the combo along the way, but I can't port them entirely off of white so I don't go for it since I want the land names.
    Unfortunately, despite several layers of interaction (Pyrite Spellbomb is great) they eventually do their whole Narset + Day's Undoing thing. Which isn't really a huge deal since they already had 6 cards and I was on 3.

    I'm starting to make zombies and getting close to taking them off white altogether when they land a Blood Moon. I actually have reasonable outs to that with 3 Map and a Boseiju, but then they steal my Mox with Dack. I'm a bit over it at that point so I figure we'll just go to game 3 and I'll bring in some Force of Vigors.

    My game 3 hand again has Exploration and Pyroblast, but the rest are 5 lands with no real engine. I have a Depths but no Stage, and no other payoffs. However, the matchup is pretty slow so I figure I can just ride it out and hope to draw into something. I've got 1 Field, 4 Saga, 4 Stage, 3 Map, and 3 Crop Rotation, after all, and any of them would turn this hand into something reasonable.

    Exploration resolves and my deck shows me the love by giving me a Field and a Stage. Soon I'm making zombies like no one's business and my opponent can't tap out because I'll Lage 'em. When Loam joins the party, they pack it up. 4-0

    Round 5 - Doomsday

    I'm getting worried because I notice the names that are undefeated are almost all combo players. And as luck would have it, I have to play against Doomsday this round. Just the normal turbo kind, not the fancy Murktide kind, but still.

    I know what my opponent is on, so I keep a hand that makes a turn 3 20/20. This is a little slow, however, since the doomsday clock ticks to midnight on turn 2. So they resolve Doomsday and have basic Island and basic Swamp in play.

    From here, the highlight of this game was me spending 5 minutes clicking my Boseiju wondering why I couldn't tag their basic Island with it. I even restarted my client thinking something must be wrong. Eventually I asked my opponent, "is there any reason I wouldn't be able to channel Boseiju here?"

    "My lands are basics, so, you can't target me with that," they say.

    Wow I'm dumb. Lage will not answer the prayers of her idiot apostle, and she's still a turn away when Thassa's Oracle foretells my demise.

    reading the card explains the card

    Out - 3 Punishing Fire, 2 Life from the Loam, 2 Maze, 1 Karakas, 1 Tabernacle, 1 Bog, 1 Crucible, 1 Exploration

    - 3 Pyroblast, 4 Endurance, 2 Surgical Extraction, 2 Force of Vigor, 1 Pithing Needle

    My opener threatens Lage on turn 3 and has Endurance. Snap keep. You've probably noticed that I look at every opener and think about when it makes Lage. With this many Crop Rotations and Maps in the deck, basically every opener can summon the Witch, it's just a matter of when. A good thing to be aware of, especially in combo matchups.

    I do some cute Port stuff, and even play an Urza's Saga, and on the turn the cast Doomsday, I'm ready to rotate for Depths and summon our Dark Queen. Who's doom is it now, huh??

    Unfortunately, that question remains undecided, since they have a Force of Will for my Crop Rotation. I use the floating mana to copy my Port so now I have two of them. When a Wasteland joins the party, I'm able to keep them to no lands in their main phase. Apparently they weren't anticipating this and they scoop.

    In game 3 I'm on the draw and I have a turn 2 Marit Lage backed up by Endurance. My opponent mulligans to five cards and I start to think I might finally win a match against this godforsaken deck.
    Their five-card hand has turn 1 Ritual into Doomsday. They have Force for my Endurance and Marit Lage is a turn too slow. 4-1

    Round 6 - Reanimator

    It was a bit of a bad beat but well, we never really expected to win. I shake it off and focus in. This round for sure we'll get paired against Delver and it'll be a walk in the park.

    No such luck. I'm on the draw an my opponent leads on a Chancellor trigger. Which is unfortunate because my hand is actually pretty solid against Reanimator - I've got two Crop Rotations. But it's no use, I can't cast them in time. They reanimate a Chancellor, which is more or less fine - I'll have Lage next turn. But then they get a Griselbrand, and then Griselbrand brings his kids from Korlis to visit him. It's a whole thing. I die wrapped up in Tendrils of Agony.

    - 3 Punishing Fire, 1 Crucible, 1 Spellbomb, 1 Maze, 1 Blast Zone, 1 Shadowspear, 1 Tabernacle

    - 2 Force of Vigor, 4 Endurance, 2 Surgical Extraction, 1 Pithing Needle

    Of all the combo decks, Reanimator is one that I actually feel my sideboard can do decently well against. I've got a lot of turn zero interaction, and Lage is still a 20/20 at the end of the day.

    I'm on the play and my seven has Crop Rotation plus a Diamond. I keep this knowing that I can beat a Chancellor, but not discard + turn 1 reanimation. My opponent has the discard, so I use the Crop Rotation to get a Karakas. They don't seem to have anything to reanimate, though, since they cast Faithless Looting and put nothing in their yard.

    They continue loot and sometimes destroy my artifacts with Shenanigans, all while I'm slowly assembling my own combo and drawing a Surgical to back me up. I get there first and create Marit Lage, a 20/20 black Avatar creature token with flying and indestructible.

    So now it's game three and I'm on the draw. Showtime! My 7 has Crop Rotation, Exploration, Endurance, Dark Depths, and a bunch of lands, including a green source. That's turn two Marit Lage with two pieces of interaction for you viewers at home. We keep those.

    My opponent mulls to 5 and opens on Faithless Looting, pitching Griselbrand and passing the turn with three cards in hand. I weigh my options.

    We could play Taiga into Exploration and hit their Badlands with a Wasteland. This would leave us with only one layer of protection since we won't have any green mana so we couldn't cast Endurance and Crop Rotation. But it puts them on 1 land so they'd need exactly Reanimate or else some free mana to do anything exciting.

    I take a safer route and just play Taiga and pass. That play lets you beat discard + reanimation, and stopping them from reanimating is probably good enough to buy you the turns it takes to make Lage.

    As it happens, they don't have discard, they just have Exhume. I evoke Endurance, and then Exhume it back. A few turns later we win. 5-1

    Round 7 - Reanimator

    My breakers are great (my Doomsday loss is the only undefeated player), so 5-2 should make it. But no one likes betting on breakers, so lets do this. Luckily, I know what my opponent is on. I also know they're a master so... it won't be easy!

    I mull to 5 trying to find a Crop Rotation. They discard it. Listen, it's Reanimator, no one wins game one, lets all just move on.

    - 3 Punishing Fire, 1 Crucible, 1 Spellbomb, 1 Maze, 1 Blast Zone, 1 Shadowspear, 1 Tabernacle

    - 2 Force of Vigor, 4 Endurance, 2 Surgical Extraction, 1 Pithing Needle

    I start game 2 with a Surgical Extraction and an Exploration, plus Stage, Port, Wasteland, and Taiga. Plenty of mana denial, good outs to find the combo, and some interaction. Solid.

    I lead on just Taiga in order to represent Crop Rotation, since they don't have any lands in play yet for me to kill. They seem to want to take it slow, just playing a fetchland and a petal. Over the next few turns I port their fetch and they sac it. Eventually they go for it but I still have the Surgical so I tag their Griselbrand and summon the Witch on the next turn. Just how we drew it up.

    In game 3 hand is weird but pretty strong I think?

    We can't really make mana very well, but we have two forms of free interaction. I keep.

    My opponent is on the play and leads on the classic Swamp into Ritual into Entomb into Animate Dead on Griselbrand. I have the Surgical and I see their hand - Faithless Looting, Reanimate, and a fetchland.
    On my turn I needle their fetchland (no need to needle Griselbrand any longer). I draw into Ports and Sagas and there is some token defense from my opponent but the game is essentially over. 6-1 and locked for top 8.

    Quarterfinals - Reanimator

    I'm ecstatic to be in the top 8, but playing against Reanimator again is a bit much. I guess all the blue players are in Philly so the combo kids are running the Challenge.

    I know what I'm up against and I mull to 4 to find anything reasonably fast in game 1. They have discard plus turn 1 Griselbrand. Woooo. Hopefully they spent their luck on this and I can take the next two.

    - 3 Punishing Fire, 1 Crucible, 1 Spellbomb, 1 Maze, 1 Blast Zone, 1 Shadowspear, 1 Tabernacle

    - 2 Force of Vigor, 4 Endurance, 2 Surgical Extraction, 1 Pithing Needle

    My game two hand has Endurance and Crop Rotation, plus Depths, lands, and Exploration. Good to go. They loot some creatures away and then cast a discard spell. I respond by getting rid of their graveyard. From there they have Serenity, which is pretty great against my Diamond + Saga, but they aren't really able to put a lot else together. I make Lage and win.

    It's time for game three and my initial 7 has no interaction. My 6 has Crop Rotation but no green mana. My 5 and my 4 have nothing but lands and Force of Vigors. I finally end up keeping a 3 card hand of Yavimaya, Crop Rotation,
    Thespian's Stage, and a vial of my mother's tears, cried over her son's brutal defeat in the quarterfinals of the 2/13/22 Legacy Challenge.

    I lose. My breakers are still great, so I end up in 5th place. Good enough for me. 6-2.

    my feelings about this tournament in a nutshell

    Final Thoughts

    Although the matchups weren't exactly ideal, we still managed to pull out a decent finish. And while the event was overshadowed (rightly) by the Legacy 10k in Philadelphia, 5th out of 93 people is still a solid showing.

    I know I say this all the time, but Lands feels like a great deck to be on right now. We won the 2/12/22 Challenge and had two players in the top 8 of this one. A big part of this of course is that combo continues to be at an all time low. The most common combo deck, Reanimator, is the one that we've historically been fine against, and with the right sideboard we can consistently beat them if we want to. Doomsday is played only by a few eccentric masters who sleep under waterfalls, and Storm is basically dead except for Bryant Cook, who will keep winning events with it because he doesn't just sleep under waterfalls, he is the waterfall.

    Despite all the combo in this specific event, I have no regrets playing a list without Spheres, and I actually loved how streamlined the deck felt in my matches. I'd run back the same 75 again in the next event, though maybe I'd find room for the second Boseiju.

    Thanks as always to the whole Lands community for being amazing and especially to Tim for lending me the 4th Endurance. Much love to all the legacy players out there and don't forget to live, laugh, and loam.
    Don't recall, Don't imagine, Don't think, Don't examine, Don't control, Rest

  2. #2

    Re: 5th in the 2/13/22 Legacy Challenge

    The winner of the Saturday challenge had maindeck spheres and tombs, which was one of my losses on curses. Why do you think they had different opinions? How would the meta be different for you to want them?

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