After I racked a point at GP Copenhagen two weeks ago, the possibility of reaching Platinum this year came up. With three extra pro points in the following two GPs, I would be able to lose one more match at the PT; that might sound complicated but, in a nutshell, I now had a reason to attend GP Lille.

I only booked my flight a few days before Lille. I had not planned to go and haven't played Legacy in a long time. The last Legacy tournament I played was GP Strasbourg in 2013 where I finished 13th with Miracles. Since then I was in the booth to cover GP Paris in February of 2014 and two editions of Bazaar of Moxen - two prestigious Legacy events held in France.

I have always been an advocate of Miracles. Since I picked it up in 2012, I played many local tournaments and two GPs with it (Ghent where I finished in the Top 64, and Strasbourg), and worked on it to reach the last version I played. Back in Strasbourg, it was the best version I came up with. Since then, the format evolved, people started to play the deck, and added red to run Pyroblasts and Wear // Tear. Then Khans of Tarkir came out along with Dig Through Time. Everyone expected me to play Miracles in Lille.

I brought the cards of my GP Strasbourg version, hoping I could discuss the deck with others before I submitted my final version. I got to talk with Olivier Ruel the day before the tournament; he had been testing his version for a couple of weeks online and was quite pleased with it (he ended up losing in the Finals). It was quite far from my version, but I had to admit than my version was just outdated.

From playing Miracles for so long, I knew that I needed to know what I was doing. In my version, all the cards had a purpose and I didn't feel like I could pick up another version of the deck and do as well as when I played my own. I also felt very uncomfortable playing mirror matches against others with more experience with the newer versions.

I then got to talk with Martin Juza and Lukas Blohon, with whom I'll be testing for the next Pro Tour. They were both convinced Omni-Tell was the best deck. To support their argument, they mentioned Shota Yasooka who Top 8ed at the last Legacy GP in Japan with it and Brad Nelson who picked it up and made the Finals of a big tournament. I was looking for an alternative and after I checked with Cartapapa (another one of my sponsors) to see if they could lend me most of the deck (card availability could definitely have been an issue), I decided to go for it.

I get no credits for deckbuilding or sideboard ideas; I played the same 75 as Martin. Before the tournament, the only games I played with the deck were mirror matches, which ended up being extremely useful.

DECKID=1243411

For those who really have no idea what the deck is about, here is a quick explanation:

Your goal is to go through your deck with cantrips and draw spells (Preordain, Brainstorm, Ponder, Gitaxian Probe, Impulse, Dig Though Time) to assemble Show and Tell and either Omniscience and/or Emrakul and some ways to back them up (Force of Will, Flusterstorm). Once you have that, play Show and Tell, drop Omniscience, and if you don't have a win condition in your hand yet, play your draw spells for free to either find an Emrakul that you will cast for free (and then get an extra turn), or a Cunning Wish that will get you an Eladamri's Call (that you'll cast for free as well) to then find an Emrakul. You can win as soon as on your second turn with the help of City of Traitors.

When things go right, you really don't have much to think of as it's really only a two-card combo. However, it not always that easy, and just like anytime you're playing a deck with Ponders and Brainstorms, the slightest decision can turn out to be crucial.

The big difference in the decklist compared to Shota's list (that you can find here) is the Flusterstorms instead of Spell Pierces in the maindeck.

Spell Pierce can counter Sensei's Divining Top, Counterbalance, Jace the Mind Sculptor and AEther Vial to only name a few. However it's not nearly as good as Flusterstorm in a counter war. When you try to resolve your Show and Tell, Spell Pierce might just be useless as your opponent could have two mana up to pay for it. Even worse, Spell Pierce doesn't do much against opponents' Flusterstorms. You need your own to win the Flusterstorm wars, and the more you have, the more likely you are to win them.

Having four Flusterstorms gives you a huge advantage in the mirror and against anyone relying on their own Flusterstorms to beat you. But that has a price, and that price is not being able to counter Counterbalance.

Going into the tournament, I knew I was going to face the mirror match, Miracles, and all kind of cheap counter decks (Temur, Sultai, Merfolk) and some other combo decks. That's what Legacy is made of, and it's just what happened.


Day 1

Round 1 to 3: Byes

Round 4: Sneak and Show, 2-1

It was a feature match and if you followed it live on the coverage, you could see that I took a lot of time to make my moves. I have this "condition": I have a hard time starting tournaments. It takes me a while to get into "tournament mode" and to get focused. The first round I play is often the hardest and I'm super relieved every time I win it, not to mention that it was my first official game with the deck.

Sneak and Show is very close to be a mirror match. Your Flusterstorms are better than Spell Pierces in the counter wars...but worse against actual Sneak Attack. When you resolve Show and Tell, they can lay down a Griselbrand and have access to seven to 14 new cards to look for counters for your followups if you don't have Emrakul along with your Omniscience. My opponent also had Trinispheres (that he didn't draw).

Sideboard :

+2 Pyroblast

-1 Intuition
-1 Impulse

Against Sneak and Show, you don't really want to lay an Emrakul and pass the turn since they will be likely to kill you on their turn as you give them a free threat (Emrakul, Griselbrand, or Sneak Attack). The thing is, you can also take advantage of their Show and Tell to play Omniscience and kill them on their turn or on the following turn (more on that later).

Pretty sure that's a tough matchup, but I can only imagine that Sneak and Show is a worse deck overall in the format.

4-0

Round 5: Omni-Tell, 2-1

The one matchup I was ready for since it's the only match I went in depth before the tournament.

It usually comes down to who is the most prepared when Show and Tell is played. There's usually a counter battle that follows Show and Tell (unless the non-active player doesn't have an Omniscience in hand), for the active player to be able to win with his Emrakul and keep the non-active player to foil his plan.

Just as a reminder, you can win when your opponent cast Show and Tell on their turn by laying down your Omniscience and casting a Cunning Wish. You either need to have it in your hand or look for it with instant-speed draw spells, mostly Dig Through Time. Then you either look for Wipe Away if they haven't cast Emrakul right after playing Omniscience (to keep them from playing it later), or for Mindbreak Trap that will Exile Emrakul (he would still get an extra turn), or try to go for the instant-kill with Release the Ants. That one takes more time to set up as you need a Brainstorm to put an Emrakul from your hand on top of your library, you'll win the clash for as long as your opponent doesn't reveal an Emrakul as he will scry the cards to the bottom for every clash. Overall, not the best option.

Omni-Tell players usually don't have the four Flusterstorms, so we have an edge in game one.

After discussing it for a while with Martin our sideboard plan was the following:

+2 Pyroblast
+1 Red Elemental Blast
+3 Young Pyromancer
+1 Lightning Bolt

-1 Intuition
-1 Impulse
-4 Show and Tell
-1 City of Traitors

The trick is to take out all the Show and Tells and rely on Young Pyromancer to win. Of all the mirror matches I played, all my opponents kept theirs and had a very hard time setting up their win as I kept my own way of winning ( Omniscience) but I wouldn't draw my own Show and Tell to allow them to win.

There are different ways the post-board matches can play out:
-They play their Show and Tell and run into your trap (since you're likely to have more active spells than your opponent).
-You manage to kill them with Pyromancers as they don't have the time to set up properly.
-They manage to find their Boseiju, cast an uncounterable Cunning Wish at the end of turn, find a Wipe Away, and then follow up with an uncounterable Show and Tell (on Omniscience) and Wipe Away on your own Omniscience. You won't have the chance to play any spell in that sequence.
-You fight with Elemental Tokens.

These are usually epic matches that see some crazy stacks.

So our plan is to win without Show and Tell and with Pyromancers...what happens if your opponent does the same? Lukas Blohon decided to play on another level, switching Young Pyromancers for Monastery Mentors (he had a Tundra instead of an Island), making the manabase a little worse, but the creature battle hard to lose.

5-0

Round 6: Grixis, 1-2

In the feature match area against Martin Müller, current WMC champion.

He's playing Grixis, a deck with cheap threats (Delver of Secrets and Young Pyromancers) as well as cheap disruption (Daze, Spell Pierce, Force of Will, Cabal Therapy). While game one is winnable since they have some dead cards (such as Lightning Bolt), the matchup is tough after board when they add extra counters and Pyroblasts.

Sideboard :

+2 Lightning Bolt
+2 Pyroblast

-1 Intuition
-1 Impulse
-2 Cunning Wish

The question here is whether or not we should add the Pyromancers. They have so many counters that setting up the combo sounds difficult. Juza and I decided to not bring them in as they may just not be good enough.

5-1

Round 7: Sultai, 1-2

Sultai has a few dead cards in game one (such as Abrupt Decay). Just like Grixis, it gets a lot tougher after board.

Sideboard (same as Grixis):

+2 Lightning Bolt
+2 Pyroblast

-1 Intuition
-1 Impulse
-2 Cunning Wish

5-2

Round 8: Omni-Tell, 2-1

6-2

Round 9: Merfolk, 2-0

I wasn't looking forward to playing this match, but it turned out ok. It's not as bad as Delver decks as they have to play more creatures and therefore less disruption. Cursecatcher is a pain though.

Sideboard:

+2 Lightning Bolt
+2 Pyroblast
+1 Red Elemental Blast

-1 Intuition
-1 Impulse
-1 Flusterstorm
-2 Cunning Wish

7-2


Day 2

Round 10: Maverick, 2-0

Green-based decks are usually good matchups. They do have a lot of creatures that can give you some problem such as Thalia, Gaddock Teeg, and Ethersworn Canonist, but their clock is so slow that you usually manage to play around pretty much everything.

Sideboard :

+2 Lightning Bolt

-2 Flusterstorm

8-2

Round 11: Miracles, 2-1

Back when I was playing my version of Miracles, I remember Omni-Tell to be a very hard matchup. You didn't have enough pressure to force them to go off without much backup and they're running too many cheap counters. Now Miracles is running four Counterbalances in the maindeck and, as we've seen, Miracles with Monastery Mentor have a faster clock, along with Ethersworn Canonists and Meddling Mages in the sideboard.

It's overall a complicated matchup that depends a lot on how fast they can set up their Counterbalance.

Sideboard:

+2 Pyroblast
+1 Red Elemental Blast
+1 Lightning Bolt

-1 Intuition
-1 Impulse
-1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
-1 City of Traitors

If your opponent isn't running Monastery Mentor, you should add the Young Pyromancers. It's hard to know beforehand if they're running them or not. Young Pyromancers are tough to deal with for Miracles as they are likely to board out their Swords to Plowshares and cut on Terminus as well. The problem is that your Pyromancers don't match well against Monastery Mentors.

I won my round 11 against Miracles but lost my round 13 to it.

9-2

Round 12: Sultai, 1-2; 9-3
Round 13: Miracles, 0-2; 9-4
Round 14: Omni-Tell, 2-1; 10-4
Round 15: Grixis, 1-1-1 (unintentional draw); 10-4-
1

With that fresh look at the deck and at the most common matchups, I got to face the situations where it's easy to make mistakes with the deck. Here are some useful tips to play it:

- Learn how to play with and against Flusterstorm: Flusterstorm is a tricky card and sometimes doesn't do what you want it to do. When your opponent has mana up and is potentially holding a Force of Will or a Flusterstorm of his own. Try to figure out (before the tournaments if possible) how many copies you should put on which spell, when your opponent has mana up and so on. Also, remember that only the first Flusterstorm (the one you cast) triggers Counterbalance, none of the copies will.
- Mulligans: The deck is very resilient and you would keep pretty much any hand with an Island. Don't hesitate to ship your hand when it doesn't have library manipulation or is too stacked on high end stuff and no Brainstorm.
- Fetchlands: It doesn't look like it, but fetching the wrong lands in this deck could be extremely relevant. How? The deck is almost Wasteland-proof and the Volcanic Islands are only there for sideboard purposes. Sometimes you want to have your two Volcanic Islands in play to be able to play two Pyroblasts on the same turn. You're often short on lands (only 18 in the deck, sometimes less when you take out City of Traitors which aren't great in the waiting game), and you'll want to keep a fetchland up to shuffle after a Brainstorm or a Ponder. In that case, if you have your two red sources in play, you won't be able to fetch a Volcanic Island, and you'll have tapped your Volcanic Island for something else.
- Play around Surgical Extraction: After board, some decks run Surgical Extraction along with Snapcaster Mage. Just make sure your win conditions don't stick in your graveyard for too long and exile them yourself with Dig Through Time. You have Emrakul to shuffle your threats back in your deck but it's not a situation that will come up often.

The deck was fine overall, even though there are cards I have never played. Through the Breach was never really an option to wish for, and I only used Release the Ants once (when I could have won some other way anyway). I'd probably play more creatures in the sideboard like a 4th Young Pyromancer or even a mix with Monastery Mentors. I don't know if it's necessary, but when you're looking for a win con when you board in creatures and can't find them, you give a lot of time to your opponent to find a way to kill you.

If I had to play the tournament again, I'd definitely test the sideboard options more. With transformational sideboards, it's hard to know when you haven't tested much whether or not you should change your strategy if you don't know the results beforehand. Against Grixis/Temur/Sultai decks, even now, I wouldn't be able to tell you how good Young Pyromancer is. I relied on Martin and Lukas' results, but I would have loved to have experienced that firsthand.

I would have gained a lot by having played the deck a little more as I would have avoided some mistakes. I'm pretty sure, looking back, that I could have won two of the rounds I've lost.

I finished at 10-4-1, a finish that netted me $300 but no pro points. With no actual Legacy play in the last two year, it could have gone worse. While that finish didn't really get me anywhere to improve my position in the race for the WMC Captaincy or my quest for Platinum, at least I can't say I didn't try.

I'd like to thank Cartapapa, Fantasy Sphere, and Yoann Buzenet for lending the cards for the tournament!

Next up : Magic Origins Prereleases!

Cheers,
Raph