6-Point Articles GP Niagara Falls Grand Prix Niagara Falls News Tips and Tricks

1st place at Grand Prix Niagara Falls with U/W Stoneblade in Legacy

Runed Halo

I’m not occupied with enjoying actual video games of Magic. I really like a great Splinter Twin mirror and I take pleasure in enjoying actual video games of Magic, but when your objective is to win an occasion, that you must win so many video games in a row. Making an attempt to truly grind by means of win after win for a whole event is extraordinarily arduous. I wish to have a neater approach.

To keep away from enjoying video games of Magic, make it so your opponent’s playing cards line up poorly versus yours. It doesn’t matter if their hand is sweet and yours isn’t. In case your playing cards line up properly versus theirs, you could have such an absurd benefit. Usually, I might name this exploiting their playing cards, as the best way you neutralize what your opponent is doing is so brutal.

Runed Halo

One instance is Lantern Management, proper when Grixis Shadow was choosing up steam and other people have been calling for Shadow’s ban. I keep in mind continuously enjoying towards decks with main-deck Runed Halos, Leylines, and extra removing spells and playing cards like Auriok Champion/Wall of Omens/Kitchen Finks, and so on. In a format the place virtually everyone seems to be hedging exhausting to destroy creatures, Lantern is the right selection. Your Shadow matchup gained’t be excellent, however you’ll do nicely versus everybody else packing their deck for Shadow.

Lantern was so good as a result of it interacted on a unique axis within the days of Shadow’s dominance. It didn’t matter in case your opponent had a bizarre brew, as a result of all decks have been hedging to beat what they perceived to be the decks to beat.

In case you are making an attempt to know how you can “steamroll” a event that you must be very conscious of methods to exploit what individuals are doing with out being exploited your self. Typically the exploit is clear. In case you forged Chalice for 1, your Delver opponent could also be lifeless of their tracks. You exploited their 1-drops, however figuring out that Chalice exploits Ponder isn’t actually very useful. The opposite exploits are like puzzles it’s essential put collectively your self.

I recall listening to Brad Nelson as soon as say he was enjoying Gruul Ramp at a Professional Tour. One of many matchups was excellent, until your opponent found out a wierd strategy to play towards the deck that exploited the ramp deck. Because the ramp deck was a brew, Brad wasn’t very fearful that folks would uncover this and felt that towards opponents enjoying “usually,” the matchup was very favorable for him. So we will additionally exploit methods by enjoying in sure methods. To do that, that you must take into consideration what’s going on within the matchup and check out totally different and bizarre methods.

Rite of Flame

One other method to exploit is to subvert individuals’s expectations and get them to board poorly towards you. Once I play U/R Presents/Baral Storm in Trendy, I virtually all the time aspect out Presents Ungiven and Previous in Flames, and aspect in Items of the Puzzle and Empty the Warrens. I discover lots of my opponents mulligan to graveyard hate when it doesn’t do something towards me, and I get an enormous edge due to it.

This can be a widespread expertise for TES gamers in Legacy as properly. There are two distinct Storm decks: ANT and TES. ANT is a slower, grindier deck that makes use of its graveyard, whereas TES has actually no playing cards in the primary deck that work together with the graveyard besides Ceremony of Flame, and solely a single Previous in Flames within the sideboard to seize off Burning Want. Right here you’ll be able to achieve an enormous edge by deceiving your opponents, just like siding out and in of Sealed decks. Presenting an all-in aggro deck and siding right into a midrange deck causes them to sideboard suboptimally.

I’ll end this by sharing a few foolish examples. One is enjoying a primary Island within the Grixis Delver sideboard. Individuals had achieved this earlier than, however Omar Beldon informed me to do this and I used to be discovering how obscene it was when individuals would Ghost Quarter me flip 1, assuming Delver has no lands, go all in to forged a Blood Moon/Again to Fundamentals, and even Path to Exile my Deathrite on the primary flip. By simply making a small change to subvert individuals’s expectations, the rewards have been big.

One other got here in a recreation versus Lands. Most Delver lists run three of 1 twin and two or three of the opposite. I used to be enjoying seven duals in my deck and pretended for a lot of turns I used to be out of lands by failing to fetch off fetchlands, and arrange a flip the place my opponent went all in on a Tabernacle, quite than arrange Punishing Hearth to kill my deadly menace, and I sneakily fetched my ultimate Sea.

The purpose of those examples is as an example how it’s potential to realize an immense edge by making an attempt to think about what you are able to do to take advantage of your opponent’s playing cards. Should you can efficiently do that, the rewards are there.

However GP Niagara was not a narrative about exploiting playing cards. I performed a cookie-cutter U/W Blade deck and performed Ponder mirrors all weekend.


1 Arid Mesa
Four Flooded Strand
6 Island
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Plains
1 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Tundra
1 Windswept Heath
Three Snapcaster Mage
Four Stoneforge Mystic
Four True-Identify Nemesis
1 Vendilion Clique
Three Jace, the Thoughts Sculptor
1 Batterskull
Four Brainstorm
2 Council’s Judgment
2 Counterspell
Four Pressure of Will
Four Ponder
2 Spell Pierce
1 Spell Snare
Four Swords to Plowshares
1 Umezawa’s Jitte

1 Celestial Purge
2 Containment Priest
1 Disenchant
1 Engineered Explosives
Three Flusterstorm
2 Palace Jailer
2 Supreme Verdict
Three Tormod’s Crypt

I performed 5 U/R/(x) Delver Wasteland decks. One was fairly bizarre with Nivmagus Elemental, Swamp, Jace, the Thoughts Sculptor, Kolaghan’s Instructions, and Snapcaster Mages. I performed two Grixis Management decks. I performed two Tundra mirrors. One was EsperBlade and the opposite was Fabiano on Miracles. I performed 42AD, the storm grasp, lands with Rishadan Ports, Metal Stompy, Depths.

With a spherical 1 bye and conceding to Edgar the final spherical for seeding functions, that was my Swiss portion.

Then within the Prime eight, I performed towards Sneak and Present, Fabiano once more, and Dying and Taxes within the finals.

The one video games that might be exploited have been towards Fabiano. We had open deck lists within the Prime eight, and I learn by way of Gerard’s Miracles record. I observed there have been no Mentors fundamental. I might freely Plow his Snaps and Cliques with out considering twice.

Extra importantly, this meant my Snapcasters have been exhausting for him to work together with (on a number of ranges). Usually, I can forged Snapcasters vs. Miracles, however they will use Mentor to reply it, or they will use their very own Snapcasters. If I Plow then I’m bare to Mentor. With out Mentor, my Snapcasters are obscenely highly effective. Within the matches the place he would play flip 2 AK, I might reply by Snapping Brainstorm alone finish step, somewhat than put in Batterskull with a SFM (as Snap-Brainstorm helps me strain his JTMS extra and arrange my very own JTMS/Sculpt countermagic/TNN).

I additionally had a big mixture of countermagic (fundamental 2 Pierce, 2 Counterspells, 1 Snare, Four FoW, sideboard Three Fluster) making it very arduous for him to mess around/learn me, whereas his countermagic was three Pierce, one counterspell, two Counterbalance, 4 Drive of Will essential. He used Meddling Mage sideboard to disrupt the combo, so it was extra snug for me to navigate in that sense.

Chalice of the Void

I selected such a easy deck principally as a result of I needed to play a Ponder deck, but in addition needed to crush anybody who tried to forged Chalice of the Void or use Wasteland towards me. In Legacy, there are such a lot of decks that you simply can’t convey a 75 that’s properly suited to fight every thing. I really feel fairly snug so long as I don’t die to Chalice, so I principally hedge my deck option to beat it, and I don’t consider the opposite Ponder decks are literally good vs. Chalice. Many disagree and say they really feel nice. In case you are 60% towards Eldrazi and go Three-2 versus them, that isn’t a suitable report in case you are making an attempt to Prime eight a GP. It’s 15 rounds and also you want a 90% win-rate—you possibly can’t simply be okay towards Chalice decks and hope for one of the best.

The Delver matchup, however, is just not good for U/W Blade. You have got little or no removing recreation 1, and your whole threats are clunky versus Daze/Bolt/FoW, and will not be good at stabilizing by way of disruption. Submit-board I get Verdicts, so I can simply catch again up on most boards and never die to creatures I couldn’t take away. The truth that in my 5 or so matches towards it, my opponents generally had lifeless Wastelands on the board, helped a ton. I feel Delver gamers must be prepared to sideboard Wasteland out extra typically. In case your opponent isn’t actively fetching nonbasics, Wasteland is only a brick, and also you want all of your spells to squeeze the opponent. Most of my opponents depart in Wasteland, and I get free worth out of that.

Plague Wind

Shifting ahead, loads of dialogue round Blade is on splashes: pink for Blasts, black for Zealous, and inexperienced for Noble. I consider black is stronger than it seems to be, because the 2-mana Plague Wind is absurd in True-Identify mirrors, and this deck can wrestle with Delver recreation 1. As I stated, your threats are clunky and dangerous at stabilizing vs. Daze/Bolt, and also you don’t have a lot removing. Sweeper results can actually assist make up for this and swing the matchup round, therefore the 2 sideboard Verdicts.

I do know Eric Landon actually enjoys the inexperienced splash for Noble. I’ve by no means tried it, so I can’t say something helpful about it besides that Liliana, the Final Hope does exploit Noble Hierarch in a means I’m not tremendous snug with.

The purple splash is highly effective. I felt that the playing cards I might reduce for pink Blasts weren’t big upgrades. I used to be making marginal upgrades, however the purple Blasts are absurdly robust, and particularly environment friendly at answering Arcane Artisan from Sneak and Present.


One essential facet about sideboarding in Legacy is differentiating between builds of decks, i.e., between TES and ANT, between Omnishow and Sneak and Present, and so forth. as these decks, regardless of being very comparable, play out very in a different way and are weak to totally different playing cards. Graveyard hate is nearly ineffective towards TES however distinctive versus ANT. The best way to know your opponent is on TES is in the event you see Ceremony of Flame, Chrome Mox, or Burning Want. These are pink flags. Some ANT gamers might play these playing cards, however this can be very fringe. In case your opponent makes use of Infernal Tutor to fetch up a Previous in Flames or Tendrils primary, they’re ANT. TES solely performs Empty as a storm card essential, in order that they would wish to fetch out Tendrils from the board to kill you.

On to how you must sideboard in another way: TES makes Goblins so much. You need to aspect in all of your Explosives and Zealous, whereas ANT will go for Empty sometimes however it isn’t their plan A or B, particularly vs. Stoneforge. Versus ANT graveyard hate could be very worthwhile. They’re additionally a bit grindier so that you need to mull much less versus them if attainable or they could simply outgrind you.

The opposite decks that look very comparable however are very totally different: Omnishow and Sneak and Present. You possibly can inform they’re Omni in case you see Instinct, Impulse, or Crafty Want. Omni means they’re usually going to attempt to kill you with Omniscience so you possibly can’t actually matter on playing cards like JTMS or Jailer as a lot to take away creatures. Most significantly, they don’t have an actual sideboard, which suggests you don’t have to worry Arcane Artisan so far as I’ve seen. When you have Surgical, it’s obscenely good versus Omnishow whereas it’s merely okay versus Sneak, primarily resulting from Instinct.




These plans are usually not set in stone and there might simply be higher choices on the market. It additionally depends upon the Delver construct. If they’re enjoying Stifles, you’re extra inclined to have Flusterstorm. If they’re a grindier B/U/G deck, I might be extra inclined to go away in all my JTMS. For those who see plenty of Winter Orbs, you may want Disenchant. Drive can also be okay, however evaluating Drive of Will vs. truthful decks is complicated, so it’s type of the lazy individual’s tactic to aspect it out and never assume an excessive amount of. Versus Stifle decks Drive arguably will get some worth. A pleasant trick to take advantage of Stifle is to attempt to fetch once they Ponder. Then in the event that they Stifle you’ll be able to Flusterstorm each.


Once more, the best way you sideboard is contextual. Versus Gerard I stored in zero Plows, once I usually hold in three.



That is in all probability mistaken, and FoW might be good however I at present don’t have a greater plan as Legacy is extraordinarily complicated. All the time concentrate on what your opponent is doing and board accordingly.

Sneak and Present

Attempt to remember if they’re Omni. Versus Omni, you principally board the identical, however you possibly can minimize Plows safely until you see Artisan.



Once more I’m not 100% on this plan however it’s the greatest I’ve provide you with up to now.

Dying and Taxes



In case you are on the play, Counterspell is ok. I might in all probability minimize the third FoW for a single one, however I’m unsure what’s right.

Grixis Management

Siding right here is absolutely tough as Plow is horrible, however if you wish to turn out to be the monarch getting access to a removing spell could be good to cope with Strix.



It’s attainable that Plains is worse than a Drive. Primary Plains might be good so you’ll be able to forged your Four-drops versus Hymn however you would wish extra expertise. Clique might sound awkward versus Strix and Final Hope however it’s so good on so many boards that I might hold Clique in.

The Mirror



That is in all probability incorrect, however like my earlier examples I’m not positive of a greater solution to sideboard with my present expertise. I would wish to play extra to know what issues extra.

Shout outs, to Boston and Hans Jacob for lending me playing cards, and to Eetai/Peter for purchasing me meals. It’s very a lot appreciated. And to everybody else who made the weekend as nice because it was.

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