Played a fantastic tournament this weekend: Unified Legacy team event at the Zephyr Gaming Cafe in Shanghai, China.
The rules of engagement: teams of 3 players, up to 4 copies of a card shared between all players (“Unified”). 3 vs. 3 each round for 4 rounds, with the top 2 teams playing in the 5th round “finals.”
13 teams, or 39 players, showed up to this event. Kudos to the organizers for generating this type of interest for a
dying dead vibrant format such as Legacy.
The Unified concept allowed for some interesting deckbuilding challenges.
Most teams opted to play non-overlapping card decks. Our team, however, was assembled last-minute. We did not have this luxury.
My two teammates were locked into Grixis Delver and Eldrazi. I had the choice of playing either Death & Taxes or Slow Depths.
Grixis Delver player needed all 4 copies of Wasteland. It made more sense to play Slow Depths over Death & Taxes, substituting my 2 Wastelands for Ghost Quarter / Pithing Needle. Playing Death & Taxes without Wastelands seemed really bad.
We both also needed Thoughtseize in our decks, and settled for a 2-2 split, rounding things out with Inquisition of Kozilek.
Here’s what I ran, after a few vigorous hours of sideboard mapping:
3 Mox Diamond
2 Nurturing Peatland
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Pithing Needle
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Snow-Covered Swamp
4 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
4 Dark Depths
4 Thespian’s Stage
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Once Upon A Time
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Crop Rotation
4 Vampire Hexmage
4 Elvish Reclaimer
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
3 Dark Confidant
1 Liliana, the last hope
2 Veil of Summer
2 Sylvan Library
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
1 Assassin’s trophy
2 Plague Engineer
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Pithing Needle
Our team was as follows:
Seat A: Eldrazi
Seat B: Grixis Delver
Seat C: Slow Depths (me)
Out of 13 teams, we finished with a respectable 2-2 record, good for 5th place. Thank goodness for my teammates, as they certainly carried me.
Round 1 – Win
A vs 4c Control
B vs Elves
C vs BR Reanimator
Round 2 – Loss
A vs BUG Hogaak
B vs Sneak & Show
C vs Maverick Depths
Round 3 – Loss
A vs Reanimator
B vs Dredge
C vs Death and Taxes
Round 4 – Win
A vs Merfolk
B vs 4c Delver
C vs BR Reanimator
My own matchups with Slow Depths
I know it doesn’t really matter, but hey, might as well…
Round 1 — BR Reanimator: Win 2-0
Lose the die roll. In Game 1 he was too aggressive with Griselbrand + Thoughtseize and got himself down to 5 life. I bounced Griselbrand with Karakas and started beating down with 2 Reclaimers. He tried to reanimate two Chancellors but I Sejiri Steppe’d one Reclaimer with the other for lethal.
In Game 2 he didn’t get much going, I had the answers. He played a Turn 1 Rotting Regisaur but it didn’t really matter, I had extra Hexmages to hold it off. When Surgicalling him I saw that he brought in Xantid Swarms and no Silent Gravestones, which seems like a bad plan. I don’t believe Regisaurs are very good since he should expect me to keep some number of Decays for Gravestones and Animate Dead.
Round 2 — Maverick Depths: Lose 0-2
Just a bad matchup and I’ve never performed well all year when facing Maverick Depths. They have So. Many. Answers.
Lose the die roll. In Game 1 I misplay a little. He had Reclaimer, KOTR, and Birds of Paradise on board. I Needle naming Karakas, thinking that I couldn’t shut off his combo. But then I had a brain fart and attack with Marit Lage into his Birds. He blocks and easily kills me next turn with his own combo. He thought I was representing Crop Rotation, and I should have only done the above things had I had that.
In Game 2 he just had more gas, and I drew the wrong parts of my deck. I think I should have brought in Goyfs in this matchup but didn’t.
FWIW our whole team lost, misery loves company & just a bad round for us overall.
Round 3 — Death and Taxes: Lose 0-2
Lose the die roll. Game 1, I was a turn too late to combo off, Thalia and Ports were too much.
Game 2 I sided in 10 cards, and early on the Goyf + Hexmage beatdown plan was working. I could have jammed for the combo blind on Turn 2 with Hexmage / Depths and gotten there (he didn’t have a Plow as he tells me after the game), but I waited a turn and he had a protected Revoker on Hexmage going.
I had a critical misplay in wasting an Abrupt Decay on his Revoker instead of going for his Flickerwisp. Brain fart on my end, as he had active Wasteland and killing his Revoker to unlock Hexmage-Depths did nothing. The ‘Wisp ended up going the distance over 5-6 turns, whereas I could have just killed it and grinded it out.
Round 4 — BR Reanimator: Lose 1-2
Very close games and quite exciting, actually. Lose the die roll for the 4th straight time. Turns out going first mattered a lot in this matchup…
Game 1 he mulls to 5 and wins. Sire of Insanity was…literally and figuratively insane.
Game 2 he mulls to 5 and loses.
Game 3 he keeps his 7 on the play and wins. I didn’t know he would board in Moon Magus and jam it on his second turn. This is due to my own inexperience with what Reanimator sideboards play.
I open my turn 1 with Nurturing Peatland instead of the 2 Verdant Catacombs I had in my hand. Magus beats gets there.
Had I played slightly less greedy I would have had all the answers — Reclaimer, Abrupt Decay, Surgical Extraction, Veil of Summer in hand. Such is life.
Not a great result for me personally, but I had a blast.
- 1st Place: RUG Delver, Urza Control, BG Depths
- 2nd Place: BUG Hogaak, Sneak & Show, Maverick Depths (our second round opponents)
Unified Legacy introduces some interesting deckbuilding challenges. There are also other considerations — if you see your other opponents playing Blue / Plowshares decks, then your actual opponent is unlikely to have these things, etc. It helps make the Legacy format feel more diverse, for a day at least.
Our Eldrazi-Grixis-Depths trio was decent, and I just needed to play a little (fine, a LOT) tighter. I tend to miss lines with the deck and it just means I need more practice. Slow Depths is not great in the current meta, but I have fun with it.
Not ashamed to admit that my teammates carried us to a respectable 2-2 finish. Especially my Eldrazi teammate who was kicking butt all day vs. the fair decks in the room. My Grixis Delver teammate and I wished we could have swapped our opponents each round — he had some rough matchups.
This was my first time playing in a team event. It was fun to chat with my teammates between matches and cheer them on. I’m not big on offering or asking for advice DURING games — that’s just personal preference — but it’s worth exploring that more in the future.
Special shout-out to Yizheng Shen, a.k.a. The Chicken Master, for organizing this amazing event and helping me form a team on a last-minute basis. Yizheng has been doing a lot of great things for Shanghai Legacy.
Ended the day with some bomb-ass Shanghainese hot pot, so I can’t complain.
Thanks for reading!