I always feel a particular amount of pressure and excitement leading up to the invitational. Part of that is the money, points, and prestige at stake. The other part is the intense metagaming that factors into choosing decks for these events. Below I’ll outline a few points about choosing a deck for each separate format.
Three tips for the legacy portion of the Invitational.
1) There will be an even larger than normal representation of interactive blue decks, particularly Delver decks. Many of the best players will choose interactive blue decks since they understand that these decks are often the best way to leverage playskill in legacy. These decks reward constant play and many pilots only play Delver decks across their entire legacy experience. They attempt mastery through repetition. Consequentially, the stock of certain Delver decks goes up if they are favored in the “mirror”. For example, UWR Delver has historically done well against other Delver decks and would be a good choice. But, UWR Delver is particularly poorly positioned at the moment because Stoneforge Mystic isn’t great and almost every other Delver deck has Deathrite Shaman and Delver of Secrets [editor’s note; The flip side of Delver is Insectile Aberration for our new players reading this.] as dominant one drops. A restructuring of UWR to incorporate something like Monastery Swiftspear and possibly Monastery Mentor could prove to be the resurgent boost UWR needed. So, often a few conditions of a deck’s validity will be met but other, more important and more general conditions will dictate that the same deck isn’t well positioned. In this same accord, Delver decks that play black for discard somewhere in the 75 are generally good choices because they have better combo matchups.
2) Prepare for the higher concentration of combo decks. In the same vein, there’s a percentage of players who will try to metagame the fair blue decks and play a deck that interacts on a totally different axis. Great examples of decks that do this well are Lands, Enchantress, and Chalice of the Void decks. A deck like MUD, flush with two mana lands and Chalice of the Void, can quickly go over the top of Delver decks but is much worse against something with a wide variety of answers. Miracles is a good example. Their counter suite, Jace, the Mind Sculptor\ and Terminus allow the deck to answer an array of fringe strategies. I generally wouldn’t devote too many sideboard cards to something like merfolk or mud or lands. You’ll likely only play one match against these decks even if you make day two. Decks like these are basically combo decks in that they’ll try to ignore much of what the opponent is doing and invalidate a lot of their interaction by attacking the game on a different axis. Between conventional combo decks like Show and Tell and Storm and other, fringe decks, like Lands, Dredge and MUD. There’s a wide range of decks you can play against in the legacy portion of an Invitational.
3) Use your sideboard cards economically. The best sideboard cards are ones that can be extremely effective against multiple strategies. For example, Rest in Peace is effective against Tarmogoyf, Deathrite Shaman, Snapcaster Mage, Dig Through Time, Lands, Dredge, and even some aspects of Storm (Past in Flames). Pyroblast is great against any fair blue deck, kills delvers, and is one of the best cards against Show and Tell. It is also worth noting that the monoblue omnitell combo deck plays a couple Volcanic Islands for red sideboard cards like Pyroblast and Pyroclasm. They can’t Pyroblast your Pyroblast or Red Elemental Blast and thus you’ve been able to sideboard proactively and reactively at the same time. This is less relevant if you’re not playing blue, but red and blue are often hand in hand in legacy. Another great sideboard card is Flusterstorm. This card is the best one to have in hand when playing against another interactive blue deck. It also singlehandedly beats Storm and is great against Omnitell. Flusterstorm being able to get two spells if timed right raises it’s stock against Burn a ton as well.
That’s all for legacy, I’ll let everyone make their own deck choice. I’m currently stuck between grixis control and Jeskai stoneblade for my deck for the legacy portion of the Invitational. Lastly, legacy is first for the NJ Invitational. So you’ll play people with no experience and this increases the chances of playing against Burn or some other powerful linear deck. Hope to see some of you guys down there this weekend!
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