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

Oracle Opposition

Enchantments (3)

Planeswalkers (3)
Garruk Wildspeaker

Creatures (20)
Coiling Oracle
Elvish Visionary
Noble Hierarch
Deathrite Shaman
Shardless Agent
Craterhoof Behemoth
Wirewood Symbiote

Spells (15)
Abrupt Decay
Cabal Therapy
Gitaxian Probe
Green Sun's Zentih
Lands (19)
Dryad Arbor
Gaea's Cradle
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Misty Rainforest
Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard (15)
Nihil Spellbomb
Pithing Needle
Reclamation Sage
Scavenging Ooze
Surgical Extraction
Thorn of Amethyst
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.

The MatchUps

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
Pierre is in the suit

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.

New possibilities

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!

Pierre Canali


Editors note. If you would like to see the match where I punted terribly against Pierre you can here…

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9 thoughts on “Oracle Opposition

  1. How often did you find yourself wishing you had access to a second Wirewood Symbiote? It seems like one of the more powerful cards in the deck and I can’t help but feel a 2nd copy is warranted.

  2. @Alexender, it’s is funny, you are the 4th person to ask that question. But thanks to Green Sun Zenith, I never felt the need for a second Symbiote.
    Even when it died, he had the job done before.

    1. Hah, then I will try to take your word for it. Opponents who are more familiar with Elves, or skilled in general, will recognize the Symbiote for the true danger that he is. I’ve no question that the insect is easy to tutor into play, but just how often he gets removed and you wished there was a second to take its place.

      Are there any other cards that you spent time testing or considering? I feel like the Agents could potentially be replaced, but I could be very wrong there. Thanks for your time!

  3. I have played the deck in two local events here in NY.

    went 4-0 the first night, against
    (i had – 1 trop +1 Cradle for that night)

    last night I played it again, but cut 1 visionary for a 2nd symbiote
    made some sb changes this time as well (had played an extra surgical and a Marsh casualties… I can’t recall if I had the 4th abrupt decay in the sb this time. will have to look at the physical cards.

    went 4-0 again
    aggro loam

    i have been sideboarding differently in the eldrazi match-ups and miracles match-up than what Pierre has suggested.

    I’ll update a bit later as I’m writing with my phone but would welcome any questions.

  4. Thanks for sharing, it’s a good read! Will you share your esper opposition list as you develop it? I’d absolutely love to get a look at that.

  5. @Alexander, Difficult to answer without more testing.
    @Parsimonious, I will try to share, but I won’t have time to do it anytime soon 🙁

  6. Congrats on doing well at the BOM. Your deck was my favorite and I am going to try to build my own Opposition deck. Would love to see your Esper list when you have it.I was thinking about creating a UW list with Battle Screech.

  7. Dear Pierre Canali,

    Thank you for your report, for sharing your idea online, and for showing (once again) that there is a wonderful part of the game called “Deckbuilding”, which is often forgotten by Magic players.

    I am an italian Magic Player who has been playing this game since he was 14 (now I am 30). I stopped, and restarted, and stopped again once I noticed that MtG was becoming a “one-card- game”, more than a strategic games.

    I consider myself a good player, unfortunately I don’t have so much time for testing… and unfortunately, I still consider the part of building your deck as the most fascinating aspect of this game.
    I seldom played common decks, and this choice of mine probably didn’t allow me to reach good results.

    However, I managed to get some satisfactions in these years. I link below the greatest, probably.


    But let’s stop talking about my past as grandfathers do, let’s focus on your deck.

    First of all, I am happy to see that cards as opposition and winter orb are still performing well. I had the same idea with the deck I play in legacy since 2 years already, a kind of prison-deck based on creatures singletons and fauna shaman.
    There are a lot of miracles deck in Milan, this is why I started playing Winter Orb 2x in side long time ago.
    I focused my attention on Eldrazi when they came out: the strategy of my deck is to protect FaunaShaman with Mother of Runes, and this is not easy with colorless buddies. I considered Painter Servant, Glissa the Traitor, and of course Opposition.

    The main difference is that, while for me is a powerful singleton, in your deck it is the main strategy. Because of this, most of your creatures can cycle themselves, so you are not so exposed to wrath-effects, even if it is a creature deck. In my deck instead they don’t cycle themselves, but they try to lock the opponent (Meddling Mages maindeck e.g.)

    My few opinions on the build, but please remember I still need to play the deck so they are based on first impressions:

    – Garruk Wildspeaker: great card in this deck, but don’t you think 2 copies would be enough?
    It is not so useful in some match-ups
    It doesn’t do that much alone, unless you have Cradle on board, or Zenith in hand, or both

    – What do you think of Leovold, Emissary of Trest?
    it is a problem if it fits with opponents hand
    It cycles himself and all the other mates
    It can be brought on stage with Zenith

    – Marsh Caualties
    Great card, also because D&Taxes will be back on main stage with these brand new prints (the 2/2 that denies spells costing x is really interesting)
    I would suggest also to give a try to Curse of Death’s Hold ! 🙂

    – Thoughtseize 1x
    Wouldn’t you prefer flusterstorm? It can protect your opposition. Moreover, thoughtseize can be avoided, and it makes tempo disadvantage against tempo / aggro decks.
    Also Invasive Surgery could be interesting, since it seems you can get delirium quite easily post-side.

    – Spellskite
    It is a great card, but is it performing without any way to tutor it?

    Regarding your sentence:
    “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)”
    Opposition is nice against Miracles but unfortunately it can be “ignored” by a good miracle player: in the upkeep, for example, if he has Terminus on top + Sensei on board, he can still get the mana and wipe away your board.

    I apologize for writing so much, and I thank you again for sharing your deck in this website.


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