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The Keeper, legacy primer - Bent Arrowni
       April 2007

 

Teaser- Anyone who hung around this site back when Vintage was in diapers may remember Oscar Tan and the Control Player Bible of Vintage. I went into the Winter Tournament in the Starcitygames with this deck under another name to avoid false pretensions or comparisons, but now that its over I want to introduce you to the Legacy Keeper.

 

It will be probably  too late by now for you to use this deck in the Grand prix given the lack of testing, the nature of the deck and the existence of other well established archetypes. This is kind of a shame because the deck is really good.

First of all deck's credentials: Second place in the Winter Legacy Tournament after going undefeated eight games in a row (although I only played 5). I passed through a Faerie Stompy, a Gamesalvagers, a Angel Stompy and a tri-colored aggro control. In the end I lost to White Stacks in a rather close match that I may address later on.  I have tested many other matchups that I want to share with you along the lines.

I'll justify my claims about calling this "wake deck" the Legacy Keeper. It comes from the very definition of the deck itself: Play the strongest cards in the format, a bunch of tutoring and draw effects and great silver bullets in the build, then out control the opponent to victory. This is exactly the focus that this very deck has but adopted to the needs of a Legacy deck rather than Vintage's.

Which are this strongest cards I'm referring to? They would be FACT OR FICTION and REGROWTH, both restricted in Vintage, both excellent in control, both great in combination with the other -REGROWTH to pick a FACT OR FICTION thats in the graveyard to gain insane card advantage or a Fact revealing a REGROWTH in one of the piles, making it almost impossible to make a right pile by the opponent. The other sleeper card that I play is LIVING WISH, that is probably the strongest yet more underplayed bomb in the format - I engaged in a conversation with Tash (creator of the Gamesalvagers) about this very fact-, I hope players will see its potential as more decks use it to overcome random builds.

This is the list that I used in the SCG Winter Tournament:

 

// NAME: Wake

 

// Lands

    3 FLOODED STRAND

    3 Forest

    3 Island

    2 Plains

    3 SAVANNAH

    2 TROPICAL ISLAND

    3 TUNDRA

    2 WINDSWEEPT HEATH

 

// Creatures

    2 GRAND ARBITER AUGUSTIN IV

    1 IRIDESCENT ANGEL

    2 MEDDLING MAGE

    4 SUNSCAPE FAMILIAR

    2 LOXODON HIERARCH

 

// Spells

    2 DECREE OF JUSTICE

    2 DEEP ANALYSIS

    4 FACT OR FICTION

    4 FORCE OF WILL

    3 LIVING WISH

    2 MIRARI'S WAKE

    1 PLOW UNDER

    2 PROPAGANDA

    4 REGROWTH

    3 SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES

    1 KROSAN GRIP

 

// Sideboard

SB: 2 MEDDLING MAGE

SB: 1 LOXODON HIERARCH

SB: 1 SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES

SB: 2 ENGINEERED EXPLOSIVES

SB: 1 ETERNAL WITNESS

SB: 3 JOTUN GRUNT

SB: 1 MAZE OF ITH

SB: 1 SAKURA-TRIBE ELDER

SB: 1 THE TABERNACLE AT PENDRELL VALE

SB: 1 UKTABI ORANGUTAN

SB: 1 VERDELOTH THE ANCIENT

 

It is also a rather unrefined build of the deck, but it got many aspects of the strategy right and it shed a lot of light in what I should've played instead. I'll explain now how I got to this build.

 

It all started when my friends and I started to discover the marvelous world of Legacy. Back then we were testing Vintage for fun but never got into real tournaments, and Vintage was still THE format that was full of innovation and interesting new builds each month. Legacy was more of a quirk; we possessed lots of Vintage cards but no power so in our Vintage tournaments we played things that looked like Legacy. At first it was hard to let go the old restricted bombs, but then we started to look at new interesting cards that solved problems in more creative and interactive fashion. Soon enough the format was a whole new world to explore.

Back when the format shift started I was no stranger with new Legacy, powerless Vintage was a lot like it and we already knew our rules. Actually I found kind of funny that people lost to goblins and did not play City of Traitors from the beginning, knowing already several decks that outclassed the little red men before hand. Other decks were completely new to me: Like Madness before it, Threshold surprised me with a solid and steady game plan and High tide showed a face of combo that I never witnessed before. I still preferred classical uber fast combo but was too lazy to come up with them on my own -I never intended to innovate in the format, I still thought it was cute but nothing serious.

The wake came with my first actual deep into the format, trying to port three alternative decks that I saw with equal potential: Affinity, Ichorid and URG control. Nop, my first wake deck wasn't in that batch. The two aggressive decks were fine, but the URG failed to do anything remarkable; you see, I already knew what I wanted to do with the deck, I wanted to use Nightscape Familiar to fuel a 3CC FoF and use a bunch of cheap draw and burn to destroy the opponent covering my plan with counters. The deck failed at this and got scrapped.

My friend Penguin had this pet Wake deck lying around that was mostly used in multiplayer, running CUNNING WISH, Mirari and STP; around the time in which I was testing Affinity he told me to pick it up and port it to a competitive Legacy shape. I had nothing better and thus started my work on it.

One thing I knew I wanted for sure was acceleration, so I started to define the deck around that. My first build had Birds of Paradise and it was weak, it did not last two days; my second build had EXPLORATION (fueling lands sounded like the kind of plan you would love to fuel Wake) and I used a shinny new card named LIFE FROM THE LOAM as a drawing engine but I did not love the results at the end of the day; my third build tested SUNSCAPE FAMILIAR as acceleration and oddly it stood that way the longest. This deck recycled my idea of boosting FoF so they came into the build immediately, then I added Impulses, MANA LEAKs and any other strong card in the colors that got a boost from the wall or had a well established record being played in other formats. Oddly enough BRAINSTORM got cut on this phase.

At this point CUNNING WISH had left my build in favor of LIVING WISH that provided more solid alternate win conditions, I loved the fact that Living costed one after the wall discount leaving me in a good position to cast whatever I wished for immediately afterwards. Slowly I came to realize how boosted the deck became after playing one of those walls: I was using cards that were restricted in Vintage cheaper than they were supposed to be. Turn three FACT OR FICTION was a broken play of the level of turn one Lackey: The games often were decided right there. There was a change of focus in the deck and it slowly started to look like the build you can see up there. Penguin insisted that I could play LOXODON HIERARCHs in the sideboard for game 2, the testing proved that I was better playing them main and with that my final game plan became defined.

The one weird inclusion in the deck happened when I was already testing in MWS, when I noticed that thanks to my walls a Grand Arbiter Augustin could follow at turn three, which was a potentially devastating move. I added the IRIDESCENT ANGEL as an alternative kill and PLOW UNDER as my personalized Time Stretch as silver bullets to play after using wake.

My sideboard really stayed the same save for the inclusion of JOTUN GRUNT to combat Threshold, it may actually be the weakest part of the build I took to the tournament.

 

During the tournament itself I picked bits of wisdom from different opponents that made me question  some of my card choices: Many of those were made in early stages of the deck building and others included cards that were ignored while preparing the deck.

Now let me show you the Keeper that I developed from what I learned in the tournament:

(http://www.magicworkstation.com)
// NAME: Legacy Keeper

// Lands
3 [ON] Flooded Strand
3 [TSP] Forest (1)
2 [TSP] Island (1)
2 [TSP] Plains (1)
2 [R] Savannah
2 [B] Tropical Island
3 [R] Tundra
2 [ON] Windswept Heath
1 [JU] Nantuko Monastery
1 [FS] Horizon Canopy

// Creatures
4 [PS] Sunscape Familiar
2 [RAV] Loxodon Hierarch
3 [PS] Meddling Mage
2 [TE] Tradewind Rider
2 [DIS] Grand Arbiter Augustin IV

// Spells
1 [SC] Decree of Justice
4 [IN] Fact or Fiction
4 [AL] Force of Will
3 [JU] Living Wish
2 [JU] Mirari's Wake
2 [TE] Propaganda
4 [R] Regrowth
3 [AT] Swords to Plowshares
2 [LG] Sylvan Library
1 [TSP] Krosan Grip

// Sideboard
SB: 1 [JU] Nantuko Monastery
SB: 1 [RAV] Loxodon Hierarch
SB: 1 [PS] Meddling Mage
SB: 1 [TE] Tradewind Rider
SB: 1 [AT] Swords to Plowshares
SB: 2 [FD] Engineered Explosives
SB: 1 [LG] The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
SB: 2 [TSP] Harmonic Sliver
SB: 1 [OV] City of Brass
SB: 2 [6E] Serenity
SB: 2 [IN] Mana Maze
 

I draw your attention to the little but important changes in the maindeck that make this build different from my previous one. I also need to point out that it may be important to find blue cards in the sideboard because to keep the blue count high is fundamental in this deck.

The first thing you will probably note on the deck: "Are you crazy? 21 lands?" I will admit that this idea will go against the belief that most players have about how a control archetype should be like, but it has worked for me in 100% of the test games. If you are really paranoid of being mana screwed add another land, and if you must, add a second one but don't go further, if you cut more slots you compromise how the deck works.

To those who doubt about the possibilities of pulling control with such number of lands I will point out that REGROWTH, LIVING WISH and SYLVAN LIBRARY come at the second turn and they all can double as lands under certain conditions. I also have acceleration in the form of SUNSCAPE FAMILIAR and Grand Arbiter Augustin, which coped with my wicked drawing engine solve most of the problems. Unlike Landstill, you won't depend on paying mana to activate attackers and sacrifice WASTELANDs to damage the opponent, your base won't need to go higher than 23 -in my testing a madness deck with four WASTELANDs runs way worse than this deck with the same number of lands. As a plus you will have a higher threat density and more slots to devote to control and victory conditions.

Now lets go into the card choices:

 

FoW: Stop stuff and gives tempo, it comes online early, gives you an edge against combo and prevents your opponent from going all out. Now I'm sure most of you don't need to justify FoW but I do: One of the biggest weak points of Keeper is to run a blue count high enough to use this card, in my current build the deck only has the blue count high enough when playing the anticombo setting -the one I run main. My personal recommendation is to test your aggro and control match siding FoW out and building a transformational SB of sorts, it may have good results.

 

MEDDLING MAGE: Stops stuff, its blue. Gives you the edge against combo on game 1, can give you random wins against certain opponents if you nail key cards -ex. UMEZAWA'S JITTE, CRUCIBLE OF WORLDS, LION'S EYE DIAMOND. This came in as a replacement of MANA LEAK in early testing.

 

 

SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES: Pinpoint removal, gives you something to do in turn 1, hoses recurring engines. This card is your edge against aggro, not because of its effectiveness but because of REGROWTH. Aggro expects you to eventually run out of answers, when it doesn't happen they start to lose the game. I play 3 in main, but one may be replaced by ENGINEERED EXPLOSIVES.

 

FACT OR FICTION: Its blue, draws a lot, win games. This is the primary drawing engine of the deck, its very powerful and has great synergy with REGROWTH. Its important to note that this is the blue card of the deck and basically your excuse to play blue altogether. Unlike STANDSTILL, this card its self sufficient and helps a lot in unfavorable board situations.

 

KROSAN GRIP: Evades chalice for 2, kills many problematic cards you are likely to run into. If you consider that you are likely to drag some games to the long run, its important to have an answer en case some unexpected card shows up. The split second catches many players off guard.

 

PROPAGANDA: Its blue, annoys aggro. This card is a headache against goblins and it singlehandedly wins against Ichorid and storm-goblins. Its good to have it around even if its not necessary to stop swarms, its one of the slots that you can customize.

 

DECREE OF JUSTICE: Used to overcome strong defenses after playing a MIRARI'S WAKE. I would run two if not for my need for a high blue count. Not the card you want to have every hand.

 

LOXODON HIERARCH: A 4/4 body that wins you life and comes often at turn 3. Its a solid win condition and with Wake it becomes bigger than most creatures out there, it regenerates your team if it must, it makes up from the life loss caused by fetchlands and help you race aggro. I need a blue equivalent of these creature to make it the do all be all of this deck, as you cannot play many without disturbing your blue count. More often than not he will be the one winning games for you.

 

NANTUKO MONASTERY: Currently in testing, great with crucible and serves as a excuse to up the land count. You could be playing some of these instead of win conditions to have more land, in a build with Crucible they may be the way to go but they don't combo well with the Wake. Solid card at least as a wish target. Also against Landstill you can enjoy having them breaking the STANDSTILL for you.

 

 

MIRARI'S WAKE: It gives mana, pumps your creatures and gives you inevitability. A deck like this needs a card that goes over the top and wins you games you should have lost, its a fact that some games will be dragged many turns and you need a serious kill, the wake fulfills that role. I don't think for a second that this is the only card for the role but its a neat option that has proved itself. The Wake by itself serves to chain FoFs, REGROWTHs, LIVING WISH and other nasty tricks even better than your average Familiar; it pumps your creatures which makes you capable of knocking Mongooses down with Agustin and beating face with otherwise minimal threats. The best thing about Wake is that you are not dependant on it compared with Landstill and CRUCIBLE OF WORLDS, its also a enchantment, thus hard to remove for most decks.

 

TRADEWIND RIDER: The Rider is one of the cards set to fill the blue quota, recently added by the suggestion of Toastofdoom who also beat me in the Winter tournament, it seems that if I'm forced to run blue it serves as a good excuse to run strong blue cards (and it also gives me flying defense against many pesky critters), I wish I had this guy back in the tournament because is one of the single  most important improvements of the deck. This guy gives yet another use to my walls (and another reason to run mages over leaks), bounces disks before untapping, resets smokestacks and vials and blocks. Its very strong in combination with Agustin but they are too cost restricted and beat for too little to be used in the same build as without upping the curve.

 

SUNSCAPE FAMILIAR: The glue of the deck. Boosts your already good cards to the point of brokeness, blocks, works as an accelerator. I cannot stress how strong the combination of this card and the three engines of the deck can be, you don't really depend on this but is the equivalent of AETHER VIAL to an aggro deck: You want it there every game. Blocks Lackey, doesn't die to MOGG FANATIC, saves you from early beatings.

 

SYLVAN LIBRARY: Your secondary drawing engine, this replaced DEEP ANALYSIS as it came earlier in the game and helped you settle a position rather than securing it. While I don't run BRAINSTORM this takes a similar advantage from my fetchlands and thanks to my life gain it can draw cards if it has to -in certain matches this is the way to go. This is the most important adition to the deck after the tournament and I believe it should stick around. Due its non-blueness I only run 2.

 

LIVING WISH: The tutoring that gives you the edge against most of your matches, it can pick several great weapons, secondary win conditions and mana fixers among its many uses. Without this the deck if far from the same, it gains the added bonus of costing less under the familiar allowing to cast whatever you wished for after it in many cases.

 

Sideboard-

 

I haven't chose a definitive sideboard build for this deck, but there are three cards you have to be playing:

 

HARMONIC SLIVER/UKTABI ORANGUTAN: Artifacts are usual in many decks and you need a targeted spot removal against that, the Harmonic is slightly harder to cast but it takes out enchantments (not humility though) and the Orangutan has a bigger body. I don't love one more than the other, this is a metagame call. Running two (maybe one of each) may be recommended.

 

ENGINEERED EXPLOSIVES: This is a good card that comes out early and solves multiple issues, I personally use it to hose Chalice of the Void that can be very annoying when put in 2. I run two in sideboard but I would consider them in main.

 

THE TABERNACLE AT PENDRELL VALE: Affects goblins and storm tokens even if it only gets to pass a single upkeep with them, with Propagada its effect puts the game on hold for aggro. A very strong card that every LIVING WISH deck should have.

 

Others I've found interesting:

 

CALL OF THE HERD: At times you just want an effective beater online as early as possible, and the herd does the word while providing a built in card advantage device on it. If you need to switch the plan to aggro control its a great card to have around.

 

MANGARA OF CORONDOR: This creature, though insanely slow can be your swiss knife against many different threats (specially pesky recurring lands such as Academy Ruins). It would be cute to squeeze a Karakas to the build and make it a recurring Vindicate, but I rather run basics and fast answers than to dedicate the space to cuteness.

 

CRUCIBLE OF WORLDS: Your manlands become effectively immortal and your fetchlands become a recurring drawing engine that is greatly paired with SYLVAN LIBRARY, this also helps to foil many denial strategies, but you don't want to become Landstill so I don't favor playing many of them.

 

The cards that I don't play:

 

STANDSTILL: This card has no real synergy with SUNSCAPE FAMILIAR as it affects the ability to play spells one after another -a thing in which the familiar excels. Yet its a solid card to play. I see a STANDSTILL-esque build with these taking out creatures and using REGROWTH to recycle this. I will test such build along the lines.

 

BRAINSTORM: This card was tested right after someone told me that BRAINSTORM is great with anything running fetchlands, nevertheless I've always failed to fully capitalize its effects. The reason may be that save for the first turn I almost always have something more interesting to cast. To run BRAINSTORM you would need to remove copies of cards of taking out things altogether, that would hinder your ability to use multiples.  But if you really must, the Iridescent and the propagadas are open slots, you can run it on those.

 

CUNNING WISH: Anoter interesting thing would be to play CUNNING WISH instead of LIVING WISH in the deck, it does at least two things better: It evades chalice and it adds to your blue count. Its vastly inferior providing alternative win conditions, but it fills most of the roles. This is another variant I'm likely to explore later on,  its weaker against Trinisphere.

 

CRUCIBLE OF WORLDS: I think this is more or less a functional replacement of Wake but in artifact form. My issue with it is that it has next to no synergy with the Wall and that it requires me to run more land. As illustrated in my sideboard up there its interesting as a tool against control, but due its form of gameplay you lean more on more into the realms of landstill becoming weaker against graveyard hate. It would be rather obvious to run this with STANDSTILL but I rather keep it as an autonomous win condition and not to depend on it. If you play the CUNNING WISH version of this dec don't forget to run CONSTANT MISTS and ENLIGHTENED TUTOR in the sb.

 

IRIDESCENT ANGEL: It flies, it beats, its blue. An alternative blue win condition that protects itself from most removals out there, it has the added bonus of being almost inmune to PERNICIOUS DEED contrary to DoJ. It also has a good synergy with Agustin so I don't run them separated.

 

LIFE FROM THE LOAM: The deck as it is doesn't abuse of LftL as well as others do. You are better off naming it with your mages.

 

GRAND ARBITER AUGUSTIN IV: Annoys everyone, blocks, allows to play IRIDESCENT ANGEL, its blue. The deck needs more creatures capable of dealing damage, so this is better than MANA LEAK more often than not. There are bound to be times in which you won't draw your Walls and you will want to boost a cheaper FoF or a wake, this doubles as such. Currently out to test TRADEWIND RIDER.

 

INTUITION/GIFTS UNGIVEN: Both powerful cards in ther own right, both non permanent expensive spells that cannot kill. If I was to test this, the route would be to run AURIOK SALVAGERS and use this cards to replace card advantage and go for a combo kill. REGROWTH is good with Gifts but I can see problems with the mana investment, the deck could become too dependant in the familiars with may weaken the build overall.

 

AURIOK SALVAGERS: Not a bad replacement for the kill as it doubles as a body, falls in your colors and is very resilent as a combo, it also takes advantage of you already running LIVING WISH. Most of the pieces to play it are useful on their own but the LED really hurts your slot number. It would be interesting to test, although it doesn't have lots of synergy with the main engine of the deck. And there is already one interesting deck running this...

 

General Strategy:

 

Now you ask me how to play the deck, I will simply say that you have to adapt a lot to whatever you opponent plays but that your plan will be more often than not to make an opening in tempo and defeat the opponent before he can recovers.  Unlike the early Keeper in Vintage you don't establish full control of the board if you don't have to, the goal is to reach the point in which you can overpower the opponent with pyour cards and win from there. This can be achieved by attacking with a couple of MEDDLING MAGES, a Hierarch or by running into an early wake and boosting a bunch of angels for the kill.  Your battle plan is a lot like Threshold's, but unlike that deck you can throw all kind of answers to different decks and turn the tide almost from any situation.

Notice how I play only four of each of the strongest cards in the deck, this is because I need space for adaptation rather than consistency. If I played four Hierarchs my attack power would increase, but I would be more vulnerable to decks that can handle fat creatures (like decks with a lot of spot removal), if I ran more artifact removal my deck would be better against Stacks but it would have a worse matchup against HIGH TIDE and so on. No matter which build of the Keeper you decide to make, keep open space for flexibility, thats why we play wishes and regrowths, to recurr the most harmful cards you can throw at your opponent, to select whats redundant and whats not. This is no Rifter, the plan is not to fare well against one type of deck, the goal is to fare the best against everything.

This is why I cannot stress enough the important of mulliganing correctly, keeping a hand of seven is probably what costed me the game I had with Toastofdoom in the Winter tournament finals. Your deck will do a good job against your opponents as long as you keep it aggressive against their personal strategies: Accepting a hand with four casting cost spells against goblins is a bad plan.

This doesn't mean that the deck will do bad against unknown metas, I've played against a very wide array of decks, from Welder Stacks to Aluren and my results have been very good; it takes some serious deduction skills to know every dangerous deck there is, but a lot of info comes from the very first plays (I caught a Salvagers deck once very off guard because he played a LION'S EYE DIAMOND and a CABAL THERAPY in the first turn and predicted what he was playing, luckily for me it wasn't kobolds). The thing that will hurt this deck the most will be a deck not unlike itself, one that has many possible strategies, next to no key cards and not too many four ofs.

So this deck will reward lots of testing and tunning in the card choices, things that as you see in this article did not manage to do entirely in my first tournament. Returning to my game against Toastofdoom in the finals (I hope the log will be floating around for you to see), I made the mistake of naming CRUCIBLE OF WORLDS with one of my mages instead of SMOKESTACK, I initially figured that since the Crucible allowed more broken plays it was a better target, but I never considered that the white stacks builds run scarce creature removal, and that SMOKESTACK could kill my mage while the Crucible would just hurt my mana. I was under a a wrong assumption from misunderstanding the deck of my opponent which made my deck weaker by consequence.

 

Why to play Keeper:

 

Simply because its one of the best decks in the format and because just playing it will make you better at the format as a whole no matter which deck you play. The deck allows a great amount of flexibility that is perfect for anyone who can predict a format -which means the deck will only grow stronger as Legacy solidifies. A well-constructed build will have no terrible matchups and each one of your individual matchups can be improved by switching cards (by giving up results against other types of decks), which means you can prepare the most against the decks you find harder to defeat by giving up strenght in matchs that you know better. You also get the satisfaction of playing control against the fastest and most resilent decks in the format and succeed. The Keeper is one of the decks that rewards the skilled player for doing his homework, so its a great fall back in tournaments.

 

The matchups:

 

I still have a lot of things to comment about this deck but I think you rather hear about results and maths than more of my estimations. The following results were achieved by using several different builds up to the most recent one that is posted just over the card choices:

 

Goblins- The fastest aggro deck in the format, red synergy and deadly turn one plays.

Your cards in the match: THE TABERNACLE AT PENDRELL VALE, PROPAGANDA, LOXODON HIERARCH- SWORD TO PLOWSHARES.

The weakness to exploit at goblins is that not every single hand they have can possess every single aspect that makes the deck a winner. You will rarely see a hand that has a powerful turn one play, drawing power, mana denial and tons of goblins at the same time, so you attack the deck knowing it won't be able to cover every flank. Aether Vial does very little against you considering that its easy to destroy and that you barely run counters -and no standstill.

W/L ratio: 65/35.

 

Threshold- An aggro-control deck great at winning tempo and with big creatures as a kill.

Your cards in the match: LOXODON HIERARCH, NANTUKO MONASTERY, MIRARI'S WAKE.

This is one of the important negative matchups of the deck, I have won against it but is a difficult and sometimes uphill battle, however, I have not tested my latest build against this so my calculations may be a little off now, if anything else the match has improved. Keep yourself from running into Dazes and you will be fine. Once the Wake is in play the creatures they run are suddenly not bigger than yours which is a good thing to overpower them.

W/L ratio: 45/55.

 

Landstill- A dedicated control deck which plays using manlands and CRUCIBLE OF WORLDS.

Your card in the match: NANTUKO MONASTERY, FACT OR FICTION, SUNSCAPE FAMILIAR.

Among the control decks I've faced, Landstill is the only one against which I have truly negative results, this is because it runs more control elements than me and that I don't run real threats that are played earlier than STANDSTILL. I also happen to think this is the replacement for Solidarity as one of the big three in the format. Recently I managed to defeat this deck by using NANTUKO MONASTERY after the STANDSTILL came to play, this is not realiable since they run wastelands and more often than not your monasteries (that I assume you don't run too many) get wasted and the game goes on. However, thanks to the respectable clock that the Monastery poses at times they will find themselves forced to break the standstill for you. From there its very likely that they will lose since gaining card advantage against you in their only real strenght over you.

W/L ratio: 45/55.

 

Gamekeeper- A resilent combo deck with a heavy black component and a kill involving AURIOK SALVAGERS.

Your card in the match: SWORD TO PLOWSHARES, MEDDLING MAGE, TRADEWIND RIDER, FORCE OF WILL, GRAND ARBITER AGUSTIN IV (if you run it).

This deck is the best slow combo deck today and it has good games against almost everything, if control is not your preferred drink I would recommend this. I have played against this deck and is very resourceful and self sufficient, the card that won me the hardest game against it is Agustin, but many factors are involved in stalling the combo. Try to keep their Sylvans off the table.

W/L ratio: 60/40.

 

White Stacks- A prision deck with several anti aggro cards and heavy mana denial.

Your cards in the match: KROSAN GRIP, MEDDLING MAGE, SUNSCAPE FAMILIAR, TRADEWIND RIDER, SWORD TO PLOWSHARES.

This deck is really good and has no bad matchups so I would keep an eye open against it. The goal here is to run light on spells, which must not be confused with high on permanents, this is in one of the matchs I would consider siding the Facts out. Otherwise, just bash them like everyone else and keep resources to defend from massive mana denial.

W/L ratio: 55/45.

 

High Tide- The mono blue slow combo deck of choice.

Your cards: MEDDLING MAGE, FORCE OF WILL, GRAND ARBITER AGUSTIN IV.

For some odd reason this matchup has been a cake walk in testing, but I don't trust its all that positive in the least. The idea is to use Meddling in their enablers and then in their bounce while you bash them, this is really a very straight foward match, your regrowths will get the FoW or countered mages from the yard giving you an extra edge.

W/L ratio: 65/35.

 

Faerie Stompy- A mono blue aggro deck that uses chalice of the void and big fliers.

Your cards in the match: LOXODON HIERARCH, ENGINEERED EXPLOSIVES, SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES, KROSAN GRIP.

Not unlike goblins this deck fluctuates from great hands to not-so-incredible ones, most of your tricks will help you here as ther lose lost of cards to gain tempo and protect their early threats. This is a rather straight foward, positive match; just control them until they cannot harm you anymore and beat them.

W/L ratio: 70/30.

 

Iggy Pop- A fast storm combo deck that uses INFERNAL TUTOR and ILL-GOTTEN GAINS.

Your cards in the match: FORCE OF WILL, MEDDLING MAGE, LOXODON HIERARCH.

This is harder than Solidarity as a match, they are still not fast enough to pass your earliest defense but they may be able to pierce through them as they don't play as much cantrips and they mulligan more aggressively. You still have a good anti combo package to beat them, but don't rely too much in regrowth and FoW since they discard lots of stuff.

W/L ratio: 60/40. 

 

Belcher- An ultra fast combo that uses EMPTY THE WARRENS and GOBLINCHARBELCHER as kill cards.

Your cards in the match: PROPAGANDA, THE TABERNACLE AT PENDRELL VALE, MEDDLING MAGE, FORCE OF WILL.

Sadly I haven't tested properly against TES, but Belcher is by far the hardest combo to beat. At times your only chance of winning is having them hit land early in their activations, however you can counteract them if they give you any opening. My take with Belcher is that it barely gives you room to make mistakes so you have to think throughly what you do. The games will end fast anyways, take your time to make choices. When they go through the Empty the Warrens route things are actually a lot more simple, you play PROPAGANDA and the Tabernacle and you buy a fair share of turns.

W/L ratio: 50/50.

 

Aside this I have fought against many other decks, but they are mostly positive matchs (among them Aluren, Angel Stompy, Dead Guy Ale, Growth and WRB aggro controls); with the remarkable exception of Pox that actually has enough mana denial to shut you down if you are careless, however I have not tested the match throughly and its very possible to win.

So well, with this I conclude the first Legacy Keeper primer, I trust that this article sparked at least a bit of curiosity on one of the many strong decks out there and helped you consider potential choices specially in the one I came to present, thanks to Penguin, Anton, all the guys who played in the winter tournament and suggested different cards and to Turbulent Dirge and Starcitygame for hosting it. Thanks to wizards for the cards and to God for my cool, cool hair.

 

See you next time.

 

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