Hi guys, my name is Claudio Bonanni. Some of you might know me since I was lucky enough to win the Legacy GP Lille two years ago and just some weeks ago I played in another cool tournament in Italy, the Italian Legacy Championship. This is where all the best players who have reached the top rank in their league during the year are invited to play for the title of “Italian Legacy Champion”. Last year I won this trophy, so I have the duty to try and defend the title! I really enjoy playing this format, so trying to be the best player is a matter of pride for me. When you think about Legacy you need to keep in mind that there are many interactions while you are playing and many opportunities to build your own deck.
Deck Tech: Landstill UWr
2 Spell Pierce
2 Spell Snare
4 Force of Will
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Monastery Mentor
2 Snapcaster Mage
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Engineered Explosives
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Arid Mesa
2 Volcanic Island
3 Scalding Tarn
4 Flooded Strand
3 Mishra’s Factory
1 Faerie Conclave
1 Red Elemental Blast
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Containment Priest
So let’s start! The deck I chose for this event was UWr Landstill, yes you hear me well…Landstill! I’ve always been in love with this deck, so I decided to build something along these lines. I love to drop the enchantment and see what happens. Most of you I’m sure know this deck, but for those who are not familiar I’ll try to explain how it works. Landstill is basically a control deck, that allows you to play a really good mid-late/late game and close it with some spicy cards like Mishra’s Factory or a Planeswalker. Well, this is what would happen some years ago, but now we have other strong finishers like Entreat the Angels or Monastery Mentor, which provides you with the best way to close the game.
But, why play Standstill in a meta full of cheap threats like Delver or Deathrite? Well there are four reasons:
- It is completely unexpected: this gives you a huge edge, since many players are afraid to play their threats because of sweepers like Terminus or Toxic Deluge.
- Two is not enough: people tend to not play their Standstill if there are some creatures in play. Well let me say that this would be wrong. If your opponent starts with a Shaman and you are able to cast your beloved enchantment…damn it, you should! Almost all other decks are not well equipped to fight in the late game as well as you are, so you just need to wait until you develop 5/6 mana to play a Brainstorm in their end step or Swords his dude, let them go in discard and finally cast some bombs (even another Standstill) during your turn. Many people are scared to play their good cards because they might be Dazed or Forced, but what happens if you resolve a Standstill? Yeah, you will probably win the game!
- Better than others: there are many random and control decks in this meta, so often the person with the most powerful cards will win. In a control mirror you are the better equipped since almost all of your cards are designed to be better during each turn. Even your manabase provides you all the mana you need to fight in the long game. Cheap counters and hard counters like Spell Snare and Counterspell are perfect for this task.
- Last reason: Standstill, still Standstill! 😛
Sensei’s Divining Top: First of all Top is a colorless card which means that we are able to play it even if we don’t have blue mana and it allows us to consider keeping an opening hand without a blue source (this is obviously risky). The second important thing to keep in mind is that it provides us with the perfect way to cast Terminus, create tokens with our Mentors and find what we need when we need it. However, the most important aspect about adding Top to a Landstill deck it comes with the possibility to develop our mana under Standstill. Starting a game with Top, followed by a Standstill might be the best way to bring you victory.
Counters: I hope that I don’t need to tell you why we are playing 4 Force of Will. More interesting is the split between Counterspell, Spell Snare and Spell Pierce.
Counterspell: is the best counter since forever, it gives us the perfect answer in almost every situation, even more so if we are fighting against Combo or Control decks.
Spell Snare: is a hard counter against all those decks who have cards like Hymn to Tourach, Chalice of the Void or Counterbalance (which usually takes over the game alone). However, we don’t have many copies since against Delver and Show and Tell decks it is quite useless.
Spell Pierce: where Spell Snare is bad Pierce is usually good! It is a cheap and perfect for answer in the early game. Even if in the long game is not great, it’s still fine during almost all counterwars.
4 Swords to Plowshares: The best removal spell ever. This deals with every card, no exceptions (exceptions exist…)
3 Terminus: Here there is something to talk about. It is true that Terminus has been the best sweeper for Miracles, however in this deck it might not be the best since sometimes you might draw it with Standstill. For that reason I decided to cut one of them for the second Engineered Explosives.
2 Engineered Explosives: Engineered Explosives might be slow, but it is great at handling cards like Chalice, Aether Vial and all others permanents that might cause trouble. Starting with Engineered Explosives on turn one, followed by a Standstill is a great way to win a game.
2 Monastery Mentor: this card is amazing, it is able to take the game away so quickly, with just a few spells. We could play a split between Entreat the Angels and Mentor, but I don’t like to draw Entreat the Angels when it is not the right moment to cast, and even more so, I don’t like opening hands with many miracle cards!
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor: when Mentor is mediocre, Jace is almost perfect, for example match-ups like Shardless Bug or other decks that can answer Mentor easily. All control decks play Jace for a reason.
Manlands: yeah, I love manlands! 3 Mishra’s Factory + 1 Faerie Conclave are good finishers in a tournament full of Decays. You’ll be surprised how good these cards are, indeed, they are able to kill many planeswakers with just two mana. NOTE: I’ve choose to cut one Mishra for one Conclave because this deck needs 2/3 blue mana, otherwise you can’t cast Snapcaster flashback into Counterspell or other countermagic.
Sideboard choices have been always a controversial point. I don’t think there is always a “best” sideboard, but there is a “good compromise”. The most important thing when you are building a sideboard is not build it like “60+15 mode” but a full 75. What do I mean? That you should create a good balance between your maindeck and your sideboard, thinking about which cards might fit better than another in your 75. By the way, I’ve chosen to dedicate my SB to the mirror/combo matchup, since Landstill has been weak against combo decks because we don’t have any pressure. I’ve played combo for a while and I learned that the best way to fight them is try to attack them from different angles, by lock pieces, a fast clock and countermagic.
The only choice I would like to speak about is 4 Blast and 1 Mountain. I think that in this meta 4 Blast are a must for all control decks since there so many Leovold, Emissary of Trest and True-Name Nemesis. They are also perfect for fighting combo decks as well as a control mirror. However, in the future I would cut the Mountain since I really don’t like to waste a slot in a SB on a basic land, instead I would prefer to cut an Island or even a Conclave for the third copy of Volcanic Island in the maindeck. I know that might seem greedy but from what I saw we are more likely to lose a game because we don’t have blue mana than win by blanking an opponent’s Wasteland.
Here we are, I’ve tried to point out some thoughts about the deck, which is not a tier 1 but it might be a really good alternative in a strange meta like this, where there are many decks and random stuff going on. The advantage to play an “Ancestral” would probably put you on the road to the win. The most controversial card in the maindeck in my opinion is Ponder. Even if I consider it a great card (sometimes even more than Brainstorm), in this deck mostly about instants it might be clunky. But since there aren’t many shuffle effects I’ll try them again. The worst scenario for a deck like this is to draw removal spells when you are fighting against control or combo, and draw slow counters against fast aggro decks. So, Ponder is still for now the best choice to adapt your lines against every situation. I’m considering playing this deck again in the near future. The only change I would make to the maindeck is cut one Spell Pierce for a spicy Pyroblast, which increases our MU against combo, Delver decks and control mirrors. I really hope that you enjoyed reading this article, and that you’ll give this deck a try in the future.
For any questions contact me!
All the best,