Learning 4c Czech Pile from the Master

This might come as a surprise, but when I started playing Magic, my go-to format was Legacy. The town where I grew up had a huge Legacy player base. So when I showed up for my first tournament with this Merfolk deck that was popular in Standard at the time, it was a bit awkward. Luckily, the welcoming players there lent me a playset of Dazes, Force of Wills, and Aether Vials, and I was good to go.

That’s how my lifelong obsession with Merfolk started—back when Merfolk was actually good in Legacy. I was doing pretty well and became known as the Merfolk kid. I managed to acquire my own Dazes, Force of Wills, and Aether Vials, and a few other cards. I kept playing Legacy for many years before venturing into more competitive formats.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to play Legacy much now. It’s not exactly supported as a competitive format, and since I’m competing at the highest level I just don’t have time for it. But lately, I’ve been getting into it once again. I bought a deck online, and attended a few local tournaments in the Czech Republic.

Legacy used to be really big in Czech Republic when I started playing Magic. It has died out a little bit, but a solid core of about 20 people gather twice a week at our local store for a 4-round tournament. Many of them play the same archetype every week. There’s one person who always plays Miracles, one who always plays Ad Nauseam, etc. One of them is a friend of mine, Tomas Mar, who always plays his sweet 4-color deck. Personally, I like to call it 4c Czech Pile. It was recently played by Oliver Tiu and Noah Walker at GP Louisville. Our own Andrea Mengucci wrote about his updated version here.

I played the deck at one of our local tournaments and online. I would fully recommend it for any Legacy aficionado, as I think it’s quite good. It’s also pretty hard to play. I’m definitely not playing it anywhere near close to perfectly, and I love that challenge. Here’s the deck list.

4c Czech Pile

I took some time to talk to Tomas himself. He is the expert, after al.

Ondrej: You’re well known among European Legacy players, but I think most of my readers will be unfamiliar with your name. Could you introduce yourself?

Tomas: Sure, my name is Tomas Mar. I’m 20 and I am a student from Prague. I have been playing Magic for a long time. I started collecting cards when I was in preschool. It didn’t matter if it was Magic, Lord of the Rings, Pokemon, or Star Wars. I started playing casually in elementary school. Around 3rd grade I started attending Standard and Extended tournaments (I never liked Limited and thought it was a waste of money). Eventually I realized Legacy was the superior format. Through trading I managed to save up money and bought my first deck. I have been playing ever since, and have attended countless Legacy tournaments in Europe. I have Top 8s from tournaments like Ovino Geddon, the MKM Series, Prague Eternal, and more. My biggest accomplishment was winning Ovino XI or winning the MKM Super Series, but that was Vintage.

Ondrej: I know you have played blue Delver decks in Legacy for a long time. Recently, you decided to cut the namesake card, so now we have to come up with a different name for the deck. Can you talk a bit about your history with the deck and what led you to cut Delver?

Tomas: My all-time favorite deck in Legacy used to be Canadian Threshold, which is basically R/U/G Delver with Nimble Mongoose. I played it at my first GP in 2011 in Amsterdam. I had a good run, but eventually lost a win-and-in for Top 8 after I tried to use 2 Bolts to kill my opponent’s Knight of the Reliquary. It turned out to be a 7/7—bummer. I finished 24th in the end. Unfortunately, after the printing of Deathrite Shaman, Nimble Mongoose got much worse.

Given that both Deathrite Shaman and Abrupt Decay turned out to be pillars of Legacy, I started liking the B/U/G variant of Delver. I also liked Pyroblast, as back then every deck played blue. So I tried a bunch of variants, and I have been playing 4 colors for a couple of years now. Like you said, I got rid of Delver quite recently. The problem is that nowadays there are so many card advantage creatures in Legacy like Baleful Strix, Snapcaster Mage, and Leovold. Planeswalkers are also great. Therefore, the room for your instants and sorceries gets reduced. Delver is a good card, but you have to restrict yourself when deck building, and I didn’t want to do that.

Ondrej: What are deck’s the best and worst matchups in your opinion?

Tomas: With access to 4 colors it is quite easy to tune your deck for the metagame. The big problems are the decks that are not heavily played, like Burn. All your creatures die to Lightning Bolt, so it’s hard to race. Price of Progress is also a nightmare. Other than that, it’s more that there are problematic cards like Life from the Loam, Blood Moon, or Chalice of the Void. Those cards are usually great against you, but the decks that are playing them are easy to beat if they don’t draw those specific cards. So if decks like Lands, Aggro Loam, or Eldrazi don’t have a great draw, including one of the cards mentioned, it’s not hard to defeat them. It’s tough to say what is the best matchup. Probably some sort of less aggressive creature deck. It’s especially great if they don’t have a lot of disruption like Stifle, Choke, Hymn to Tourach, and Wasteland.

Ondrej: I have played a bit with the deck and I have to admit that I was struggling a bit with land sequencing. There are 4 colors in the deck but you usually run a low number of lands so it’s not easy to figure out how to play them. Do you have any recommendations?

Tomas: Usually I start by searching for 2 Underground Seas as the deck is mostly U/B. This is especially important when Wasteland gets involved. You just don’t want to be stuck without both of those colors. The 1 Badlands I’m playing raised some eyebrows in the past, especially when I was playing Daze, but you go Sea into Tropical into Badlands often. In those cases, you want to have double-black for Hymn or Liliana.

Ondrej: What are some tips and tricks that you, as an experienced player, would recommend to those of us who are new to the deck?

Tomas: There is a lot of card draw in the deck, so you often don’t have enough time to play all of them. Because of that, you don’t need to squeeze as much value out of your Brainstorms as the other decks. Feel free to run it out more often than usual. Interesting situations often come up with Loam plus Brainstorm as you can play Brainstorm in your upkeep to get rid of unneeded cards. There are also a bunch of cool plays with Leovold. For example, you can kill their Leovold on their turn so they don’t draw a card, or use Decay on Top as a Time Walk. There are a bunch of cool things going in with the deck and I could write a whole article about it. Just play a lot and you will figure it out in a while.

Ondrej: It’s a consensus that Miracles is the best deck in Legacy. How is the matchup against that deck? Can you give us some tips on how to play it?

Tomas: The matchup is pretty good but it comes down to play skill. Pre-board you are favored, post-board it gets closer as both sides get rid of their useless cards. Instead, they bring in counterspells (Pyroblast, Flusterstorm) to battle the card advantage spells. The games are long. Miracles doesn’t have many high impact cards, only Mentor, Jace, and Entreat, so those are the most important to deal with. Other than that, you need counter only hard card advantage spells like Snapcaster or Predict. The one mistake I see players make is to counter Sensei’s Divining Top. I think it’s correct to counter it in like 1 out 30 games. Games typically play out such that you counter the important spells, but Miracles doesn’t have any pressure while you get damage in with Deathrite and Strix, and eventually you win the game this way.

Ondrej: Last question—I know you change the deck a little every single month. Are there any changes you’re considering or cards you’re trying out?

Tomas: I’m still thinking about adding a couple threats to the main deck. Either Tasigur or Tarmogoyf to make matchups against aggressive decks like Burn, U/R Delver, and Eldrazi better. I’m trying to muster up the courage to cut one of the other creatures but so far haven’t gotten to it. Also, the sideboard is still unfinished. I’m constantly tinkering with it. In the past I used to have it all figured out. I knew what cards to bring in and take out. Now I just think I have a bunch of good cards but no real plan.

Ondrej: Sweet. Thanks for the interview and good luck in your future tournaments!

Like Tomas says, there is really no clear sideboard guide for the deck yet, but I’ll try to give you one anyway. Sideboarding in Legacy changes based on different card choices even more than in other formats. For example, in grindy matchups you don’t usually want your FoWs, but when they have a lot of really high impact cards like Jace, True-Name Nemesis, etc. you might consider keeping some in.

Miracles

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I think you can also side out more Forces. Keeping in Lightning Bolt is also a consideration as it’s a good way to deal with Mentor and Jace, since Miracles players usually don’t play around that card post-board.

Delver Decks

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There are a bunch of Delver variants and the sideboarding changes for each. Against the U/R version you don’t really want the Loam plus Waste package. Instead, Forked Bolt is quite good. In the complete mirror match I’d say that Flusterstorm is pretty good.

Sneak and Show

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Death and Taxes

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Hope you have fun playing this deck. I certainly have these past weeks.

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