Hi everyone, my good friend Tom Kellock asked me to write a small article about my recent top 8 with a sweet opposition deck at Bazaar of Moxen Strasbourg Legacy Main Event.
I will tell you how to side against most of the decks, what I would change in the decklist and what other possibilities also exist to exploit Opposition with totally different builds
But first, a short introduction for those who don’t remember me from back in the day.
I am a 33 years old entrepreneur, really curious about life and always trying new experiences. I like to challenge myself, learn things, visit new countries, start new jobs and meet new people. I was a salsa teacher for 8 years from 2000 to 2008 and a professional Magic player simultaneously from 2004 to 2008. I attended 20 Pro Tours and many GP’s including a 1st place at Pro Tour Columbus in Extended with a weird Meddling Mage Affinity deck and a GP top 8 in Milan in Limited Ravnica/Guildpact/Dissension. At the same time, I started to study poker intensivly. In 2008 I made the transition to poker full time where I played live tournaments all over the world and grinded Cash Game online, mainly 5/10 heads up.
In 2012 I switched (again) to entrepreneurship and founded my own company.
My new born baby and my company are taking alot of my time, but I still find a little bit of time to play Legacy, Vintage, Modern and online cubes.
Enough about me, here is the deck I played
The Deck List
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Coiling Oracle
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Noble Hierarch
3 Deathrite Shaman
3 Shardless Agent
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Wirewood Symbiote
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Cabal Therapy
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Green Sun's Zentih
2 Dryad Arbor
3 Gaea's Cradle
3 Tropical Island
1 Underground Sea
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Verdant Catacombs
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Pithing Needle
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Surgical Extraction
3 Thorn of Amethyst
3 Winter Orb
The deck is really competitive (even if doesn’t look like it) and very fun to play.
You guessed it, the plan is simple:
1- Cast mana creatures and cantrip creatures who don’t look like a threat. People will never counter them. A couple of turns later, they’ll start having regrets when they realize that the Coiling Oracle dealt 2 damage, drew me a card and flashbacked a Cabal Therapy.
2- Play a finisher; Opposition, Garruk, or a deadly Craterhoof (thanks to Green Sun Zenith!)
These card are very difficult to counter due to Cabal Therapy and the fact that they are too expensive to be affected by Counter Balance.
In the early game, when you need to dig through your deck for one of the three finisher cards mentioned above, you can fetch one of your five Symbiote (1 actual Symbiote and 4 GSZ) to generate a nice and cheap draw engine thanks to Coiling Oracle (which is an elf!) and Elvish Visionary.
The point of the deck is not to lock your opponent out entirely like in the old days (if this was the case, I would play a couple of Static Orb), the goal is to tap all of you opponent’s creatures against aggro and tap all of their lands against control.
I don’t know how good or bad the MU against Death and Taxes and other decks in the format are because the deck is brand new and we didn’t have the time to test, but below is what I know for sure.
Good Match Ups :
A lot of decks in the format can’t deal with Opposition, and if it hits the board, you have almost guaranteed victory.
This doesn’t look like a good MU, but believe me, it is! I beat three Lands deck on my way to the top 8, and only one match was tough (against Tom). His only chance is to play a Tabernacle and destroy your Cradle with Wasteland. Even with that plan, your mana creatures pay for themselves and you can patiently wait for Opposition to lock your opponent’s only kill, Marit Lage.
- – 4 Cabal
- – 4 Probe
- + 3 Winter Orb
- + 1 Extraction
- + 1 Needle (naming Wasteland)
- + 1 Ooze
- + 1 Spellskite (against Punishing Fire)
- + 1 Sage (mainly against Mox Diamond, but can be useful against Sphere/Chalice etc)
It is very difficult for the Miracles player to deal with Garruk/Opposition/Craterhoof. On top of that, Cabal Therapy and Decay are very powerful. Don’t overextend until Opposition hits the table and you are able to tap all the white sources on their upkeep (now the mana pool is empty before their draw step and they have the opportunity to cast Terminus naturally)
- – 4 Probe
- – 1 Elvish Visionary
- +3 Winter
- + 1 Sage
- + 1 Needle (naming Top)
Keep in mind that Winter Orb again works like it used to: If you tap it with Opposition at the end of your opponent’s turn, you will be able to untap all of your lands.
If Opposition hits the board, it is game over. Thought-Knot Seer is you opponents only hope to remove an Opposition from your hand before you cast it. The good news is that you have a lot of chump blockers to wait until you draw Craterhoof or Opposition. The 1 or 2 copies of Endbringer are usually too slow to be an issue. Chalice of the Void is not an issue either. As long as you have your 2 mana cantrip creatures and an Opposition.
- – 3 Garruk
- + 1 Needle (Jitte if you don’t have Symbiote/Opposition or Ratchet bomb or Wasteland or Endbringer)
- +2 Dismember
Pretty much the same match up as Eldrazi. Except that you have to play around counters to cast your Opposition.
- – 4 Probe
- – 3 Garruk
- +1 Thoughtseize
- + 1 Spellskite (best card in the MU)
- + 2 Dismember
- + 3 Thorn
Bad Match Ups
UR delver is the worst match-up because they play at least 2 Price of Progress. Like Burn, it is a bad MU, but not unwinnable.
During BoM Strasbourg I lost only one match and it was against a very good Elf player. During the Quarter Final I met the only other elf player in the room. There is nothing much you can do, just a bad MU.
A lot of combo decks in Legacy are creature based (Sneak &Show, Infect…) so Opposition can stop them. Storm does not use creature or lands so there is not much you can do, except after sideboard with more discard and Thorn of Amethyst.
What I would change
I think I would play one more green mana source, probably a Bayou. I made a lot of mulligans during the day, but fortunately, the deck can handle it very well. I also want to try Marsh Casualties in sideboard against Elves and Infect.
I don’t see any other major change without more testing.
I think the main reason I love this deck is that it proves that Legacy is full of space for creativity. People used to think that no new deck will ever appear and that four mana enchantments are not playable in this format.
If you like to deckbuild as much as I do, you will understand all of the new possibilities.
What I will try next is an Esper Opposition deck featuring Baleful Strix, Meddling Mage, Stoneforge Mystic, Intuition, Cabal Therapy, Lingering Souls, FoW and the combo Sword of the meek / Thopter Foundry.
Thank you to Jean-Baptiste M. who built the first version of the deck and to everyone for reading. Feel free to ask me anything on Twitter @pedrocanali or in the comment section below, and I will gladly answer any questions regarding salsa, poker, entrepreneurship and even Magic!
Editors note. If you would like to see the match where I punted terribly against Pierre you can here…