As I wrote last week, B/G/x decks now populate Legacy—and you can get as crazy as you want with them.
4c Midrange, also known as “Czech Pile,” has enjoyed an increase in popularity as well, and my friend Noah Walker, a long-time Delver player, has even moved away from his favorite Human Insect to pilot it.
He was kind enough to share his changes with me.
I did some testing as well, and after some Leagues on MTGO, I made some changes of my own. Here’s the final list that I played last weekend to the Top 8 of a local tournament.
This is basically a Blue-Black Control deck that splashes for Abrupt Decay and Kolaghan’s Command. So the question becomes: Is it worth it?
The answer is, yes. Counterbalance is unbeatable for these kinds of decks, and you simply must have an answer for it. Also, Stoneforge Mystic is very annoying, and Kolaghan’s Command deals with it well, and is awesome in a deck with 4 Snapcaster Mage.
The deck is made up almost exclusively of card advantage cards, aside from the removal and counter spells. You want to get as much value as possible and grind your opponent out of the game.
The original Czech Pile before Fatal Push—videos here—had Lightning Bolt, a card that is certainly better than Fatal Push since it can deal with Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Mirran Crusader. Fatal Push is better for your mana base, however, and is similar enough most of the time.
You aren’t playing any Wastelands, since the current metagame features way fewer decks that are worth Wastelanding, and again, the mana base can be a issue in 4c decks. I want it to be as consistent as possible.
We also cut all the creatures that don’t produce card advantage right away. Tarmogoyf, as good as it is, gets killed too easily, and you don’t really need that much pressure. You can just slowly kill your opponent with card advantage.
Leovold, Emissary of Trest is an amazing card—we all know that—but in this deck you want to play at instant speed, and we felt that Vendilion Clique is better as a result. You’d rather apply pressure while leaving mana untapped for Counterspell.
And if you want to tap out at sorcery speed with Force backup, a great planeswalker like Jace or Liliana is just be better.
Noah’s list had 2 Spell Snare instead of 2 Thoughtseize in the main deck, though after playing the deck, Snapcaster-into-Thoughtseize was a play I’d make often post-sideboard, and I was boarding out Spell Snare too often. So the switch wasn’t that hard to figure out.
The last change I made to Noah’s list was to remove basic lands from his deck. He had a Swamp and an Island, though those lands were clunky and hurt more than they helped. You can’t work with just 2 lands, so you need to have a diverse mana base, and if your opponent is planning on Wastelanding you they’ll find the way—a couples basics won’t stop them.
As I said in my article about Sultai Delver, you have hundreds of possible options from which to build your sideboard, so instead of delving into our specific choices, I’ll just discuss the most important matchups.
After playing this matchup a lot, I’m comfortable saying that it is a truly favorable matchup. I went 5-1 against it, and my only loss was to a teammate that spent the day before the tournament testing the matchup with me. It’s very hard for them to put together a plan to beat this deck, and you only lose to an unchecked Counterbalance.
I’m boarding out Deathrite Shaman, since it’s the only card that doesn’t produce card advantage and they have so many ways to deal with it. Keep your lands in hand and maximize your Force of Will. The matchup is great, and that might be the best reason to play this deck.
Death and Taxes
This matchup is close/favorable. Your only nightmare is Mirran Crusader, but you’re equipped to beat everything else. If you live in Denmark where everyone plays D&T, then you might want to play a couple of Lightning Bolts to deal with it.
The matchup is close/unfavorable. They gain an edge when they tempo you out with early pressure and Wasteland plus Daze—to beat them you want to be as efficient as possible and have early answers. As good as Thoughtseize is, sometimes losing 2 life can be too problematic, and you don’t have time to mess with their hand when you’re behind on board.
Baleful Strix does a wonderful job of dealing with the board while cantripping. As a result, it’s your key card in the matchup.
This deck is a ton of fun to play. Playing a non-stock list in Legacy is also a huge advantage, since there are thousands of legal cards, and your opponent won’t know what to play around or how to sideboard properly. Give it a shot!