Legacy decks these days do nothing, and not in the [card]Null Rod[/card] kind of way. At the previous two SCG opens Maverick, UW Miracles, and Stoneblade covered over half of the Top 8. While all three decks do have ways to interact with combo, none of them have enough of a clock supported by disruption to consistently beat combo decks. As long as the metagame continues in this direction, now is the perfect time to play combo. Let’s look at some of the options for Legacy combo decks.

First, and unfortunately least, is Elves. The biggest problem with Elves is its vulnerability to removal in addition to other disruption. All three of the aforementioned decks have [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card]. Miracles and Stoneblade even have [card]Terminus[/card]. There are benefits to a creature-based combo deck. The ability to beatdown when the combo is disrupted, and the potential to grind opponents out with [card]Elvish Visionary[/card] and [card]Wirewood Symbiote[/card] is valuable, but I do not believe they outweigh the costs. If you do want to play Elves, it is important that the grind-out, beatdown plan be legitimate. With that in mind, a [card]Mirror Entity[/card] build seems like the way to go right now. The build designed by Chris Anderson (the same one Channel’s own Caleb Durward has had success with) seems like a great starting point:

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Green Sun's Zenith
2 Misty Rainforest
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Nettle Sentinel
1 Regal Force
4 Heritage Druid
2 Mirror Entity
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Dryad Arbor
4 Glimpse of Nature
1 Viridian Shaman
4 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Wooded Foothills
3 Birchlore Rangers
3 Forest
4 Llanowar Elves
1 Crop Rotation
3 Priest of Titania
2 Gaea's Cradle
2 Quirion Ranger
2 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Pendelhaven
2 Savannah
Sideboard
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Mortarpod
1 Qasali Pridemage
4 Faerie Macabre
1 Gaddock Teeg
2 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Meekstone
2 Humility[/deck]

While I like the tenor of this list, there are a couple of choices I dislike. [card]Humility[/card] in the sideboard was good at a time, but not while [card]Show and Tell[/card] decks have a creatureless kill in [card]Omniscience[/card]. In addition, I've never liked [card]Priest of Titania[/card] in Elves. A two-mana card, with no immediate board impact, that often just eats a removal spell is not what I want in this deck, even if untapping with it does usually lead to victory. I would max out on [card]Quirion Ranger[/card]s instead.

Next up is [card]Ad Nauseam[/card]—one of the better positioned combo decks in Legacy. It goldfishes quickly. It has discard to fight through disruption and help win the combo mirror. The majority of Storm lists have recently turned to the [card]Gitaxian Probe[/card]/[card]Cabal Therapy[/card] synergy to compliment [card]Duress[/card]. This package makes [card]Ad Nauseam[/card] much better as you do not have to lose the life from [card]Thoughtseize[/card], and Probe can often be cast for mana.

One element players do seem to disagree on is the inclusion of [card]Burning Wish[/card]. The list that took down Grand Prix Ghent had Wishes, but the majority of other recent lists popping up in Top 8s have not had them. Overall, I haven’t been a big fan of Wish in Storm since it doesn’t find [card]Ad Nauseam[/card] and isn’t great at finding [card]Ill-Gotten Gains[/card] when it removes itself from the game. Some people have been championing [card]Dread of Night[/card] in the sideboard against Maverick, but missing [card]Ethersworn Canonist[/card] seems like a huge downside. I prefer boarding in a mix of bounce and [card]Massacre[/card]. Some Miracle and Stoneblade decks are boarding [card]Counterbalance[/card], and I think the best way to beat it is [card]Doomsday[/card] for [card]Shelldock Isle[/card] and [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card]. Here’s a list I recommend:

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Lotus Petal
4 Lion's Eye Diamond
1 Chrome Mox
4 Dark Ritual
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Ponder
4 Brainstorm
4 Duress
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Infernal Tutor
1 Grim Tutor
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Ad Nauseam
2 Island
2 Swamp
3 Underground Sea
4 Polluted Delta
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Bloodstained Mire
Sideboard:
3 Chain of Vapor
2 Massacre
1 Cabal Therapy
2 Tormod's Crypt
1 Shelldock Isle
1 Cloud of Faeries
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4 Doomsday[/deck]

Trying to make a version of this deck with [card]Doomsday[/card] main is certainly reasonable. Throughout Legacy’s existence, combo players have generally agreed that if anyone ever finds a way to properly construct and play [card]Doomsday[/card], it will be good. Unfortunately, this is so difficult to do that no one has managed to pull it off yet. If any of you brave souls have enough time on your hands to tune and tweak the deck to death, godspeed.

Ad Nauseam is not the only combo deck killing via storm these days. While I have not had a chance to play with it yet, I am really excited by the look of the [card]Show and Tell[/card]/[card]Omniscience[/card] deck that has been making waves. Sneak and Show is quite powerful, but is vulnerable to a lot of cards like [card]Humility[/card]. [card]Omniscience[/card] offers Show and Tell decks a much needed alternate win condition with the [card]Petals of Insight[/card]/[card]Grapeshot[/card] kill. My only problem with this deck is its weakness to opposing disruption. [card]Daze[/card] is easy to play around and [card]Force of Will[/card] may not be sufficient. I would start with Simon Gortzen’s list from GP Ghent and tweak from there:

[deck]Man Deck:
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Island
3 Volcanic Island
1 Tropical Island
3 Ancient Tomb
2 City of Traitors
2 Griselbrand
2 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
2 Lotus Petal
1 Personal Tutor
4 Ponder
4 Brainstorm
4 Preordain
4 Force of Will
4 Omniscience
4 Daze
4 Burning Wish
3 Show and Tell
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Sideboard
1 Living Wish
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Petals of Insight
1 Grapeshot
1 Show and Tell
1 Pyroclasm
1 Karakas
3 Red Elemental Blast
2 Defense Grid
1 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Surgical Extraction[/deck]

The list definitely looks like a solid start, but there are a couple different things I’d like to try. First, a black splash for [card]Thoughtseize[/card] seems like a good way to squeeze in another real disruption spell. [card]Daze[/card] is easy to play around and not particularly good in a deck that wants to hit its first three land drops. Second, the [card]Burning Wish[/card] for [card]Living Wish[/card] for [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] plan seems a bit too cute. If you have [card]Omniscience[/card] in play you can just Wish for Petals, keep casting it until you find a second Wish, and then [card]Grapeshot[/card] them out. If you don’t have [card]Omniscience[/card], [card]Burning Wish[/card] for [card]Living Wish[/card] for [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] just to find something to put in with [card]Show and Tell[/card] is probably too slow. In addition, it saves a sideboard slot to just run [card]Time of Need[/card] instead. If [card]Omniscience[/card] really is vastly better than the other options for putting in under [card]Show and Tell[/card], I’d also be tempted to cut the [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card] and [card]Griselbrand[/card] from the main and play some tutor for [card]Omniscience[/card] instead, like [card]Enlightened Tutor[/card].

While we’re on the topic of blue/red combo decks, I can’t figure out why Painter Stone ever fell off the radar. The deck has breakneck speed with the ability to grind people out with [card]Goblin Welder[/card]. Like Visionary + Symbiote, Welder + [card sensei's divining top]Top[/card] is a great way to draw a steady stream of cards. In addition, unlike other blue/red combo decks, Painter actually gets to play [card]Red Elemental Blast[/card] main deck because [card painter's servant]Painter[/card] on blue allows it to counter or kill anything. The two biggest downsides to Painter are that like Elves, it is vulnerable to removal and it can lose to random things like [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card]. Unlike Elves, [card]Terminus[/card] is not as big of a problem, because you kill the turn you cast Painter, but [card swords to plowshares]Swords[/card] is a big issue. As far as Emrakul goes, the good news is that [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card] is a pretty solid main deck choice. You can activate Relic with the Emrakul trigger on the stack to make sure the opponent actually gets decked. Here’s a potential list of Painter:

[deck] Main Deck:
4 Painter's Servant
4 Grindstone
4 Sensei's Divining Top
4 Brainstorm
4 Goblin Welder
3 Intuition
3 Lion's Eye Diamond
3 Mox Opal
3 Relic of Progenitus
3 Red Elemental Blast
4 Force of Will
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Great Furnace
2 City of Traitors
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Polluted Delta
3 Volcanic Island
1 Island
1 Mountain
Sideboard:
3 Pyroblast
4 Show and Tell
3 Griselbrand
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Mindbreak Trap[/deck]

One potential direction for Painter could be a hybridization with Omniscience. Both decks are blue/red, want lots of library manipulation and tutors, and like two-mana lands. My guess is the hybridization would probably involve an [card]Omniscience[/card] main deck with [card]Intuition[/card] and [card sensei's divining top]Top[/card] instead of the traditional tutors, and Painter, Stone, and maybe Welder in the board. Once people see Omniscience and board out removal, Painter and Welder will be safe to dominate. It might look like:

[deck]Main Deck:
4 Omniscience
4 Burning Wish
4 Intuition
4 Ponder
4 Brainstorm
4 Sensei's Divining Top
3 Show and Tell
4 Force of Will
4 Lotus Petal
3 Red Elemental Blast
2 Preordain
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 City of Traitors
1 Island
1 Mountain
3 Volcanic Island
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Flooded Strand
2 Misty Rainforest
Sideboard
4 Painter's Servant
4 Grindstone
1 Show and Tell
1 Grapeshot
1 Overmaster
1 Pyroclasm
3 Goblin Welder[/deck]

As long as all the fair decks in Legacy are fighting each other, combo has a great chance to dominate. There is no better feeling than casting a [card]Dark Ritual[/card] when your opponent’s hand contains [card]Terminus[/card], [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card], or [card]Lightning Bolt[/card]. However, finding the best combo deck isn’t always easy. Hopefully one of these ideas on directions to take some of the best combo decks in Legacy will help you take down your next Legacy event.