When Wizards announced the new Pro Tour schedule and formats, I was excited. I’ve actually started liking Modern in the past year, so I was happy to see it back. Standard was also becoming a bit tedious with 4 PTs a year. Once I tweeted out that I was excited about the news because of the return of the Modern PT, I got a swift response: “Aren’t you excited about Legacy also?” Because there was so much in the original announcement, I kind of missed that Legacy would be part of the team tournament. Team trios will feature the three most popular Constructed formats: Standard, Modern, and Legacy.
I haven’t had many opportunities to play Legacy lately as I prepare for Grand Prix and Pro Tours. But now that there is a lucrative Legacy tournament in the future, that might change. I don’t know for sure if I’ll even play Legacy at the PT. At this point, I don’t even know who I’ll play with! But I figure that I have a bunch of experience with Modern and Standard, so it wouldn’t hurt to familiarize myself with Legacy, especially now that Sensei’s Divining Top is banned. I know that the ban happened a while ago, but Legacy moves at a slower pace than other formats so I’m almost certain it hasn’t fully developed yet. Even if I don’t end up playing Legacy at the tournament, I still want to be able to give my teammate good advice. It’s hard to advise someone if you have no prior experience with the format. I might tell him to play in a certain way, only to get blown up by a card that’s a format staple. This can be easily avoided if I spent some time practicing. Luckily, I have Magic Online, which is a wonderful tool. The Legacy decks there are relatively cheap compared to the real life environment. I already have a pretty decent card collection, so that isn’t problem for me.
The problem was figuring out which deck I wanted to start playing with. This also solved itself. Back when I was attending GP Birmingham, I was missing 4 Chalice of the Voids for my Eldrazi deck. So I messaged one of my friends who plays Legacy to see if he could lend them to me. He helped me out, and then we talked about Legacy a bit. He mentioned that he had a sweet deck, and I was intrigued. My friend’s name is Tomas Vlcek. He is known in the Europe Legacy community as the Miracle master. He’s had some good results with it in the past, but unfortunately he lost his favorite deck, so now he has to find a replacement. Here is the deck he showed me.
He wasn’t kidding when he said this deck was sweet! So what do we have here? It’s a new variation of an old Legacy archetype Nic Fit. Don’t ask me how it got the name—it’s the same as all the other ridiculous Legacy deck names like Maverick, Dragon Stompy, Death & Taxes, and 4c Czech Pile (I do like the last one). Nic Fit is an old-school archetype based around the interaction between Veteran Explorer and Cabal Therapy, and the fact that Legacy decks tend to play only a few, if any, basic lands. Back in the day, Phyrexian Tower also used to be in the deck, which produced really explosives draws. This version is a bit different though.
The biggest difference between this and the old variations of Nic Fit is the inclusion of the blue cards. You now have a normal B/U/G value deck that adds a bit of extra spice with the Explorer.
First off you have Brainstorm and Ponder—the Legacy mainstays. Over the years I’ve heard people arguing that Brainstorm should be banned, but to me it’s the reason I love Legacy. It’s one of the most complicated and fascinating spells in Magic. Ponder is also pretty good, and the skill cap on both cards is quite high. The key to this, and any other deck, is to master casting these cantrips to get the most value out of them.
Another very skill intensive card. With Cabal Therapy, you need to be at least familiar with the format. This has proved a bit problematic for me as I’ve been whiffing on Therapy quite a bit. Still, you have the combo with Explorer, so Therapy will never be truly useless.
Veteran Explorer is the key component of this deck, and it’s what sets it apart from other Legacy decks. Basically you’re trying to sacrifice it to Therapy to create value. You’re playing 5 basic lands, while the norm in Legacy is 1-2. Some decks even play 0! With that said, you really only have Therapy to combine with the Explorer, so be wary of that. Sometimes it’s correct to shuffle it away with Brainstorm or Ponder if you’re lacking the black spell.
Deathrite Shaman has been an absolute all-star in Legacy since it was printed. I kind of dislike that I’m playing only 3 copies here, but Tomas said that it’s okay, especially given the fact that I have a bunch of other 1-drops and Green Sun’s Zenith to search it up.
Speaking of Zenith, it’s another one of my favorite cards. I’m really sad that it got banned in Modern. Here it provides you with a toolbox. You have a bunch of options when it comes to playing it, but it should be easy to figure out what you need to find.
One creature you can’t search for is Baleful Strix. This innocuous owl slowly became a Legacy staple in the past couple of years. The reason for this is that Legacy isn’t really an aggressive format, so you want to milk as much value as you can out of every card. Strix is excellent for this, as it almost always will be a 2-for-1.
Moving onto the removal spells, you have a bunch of options. The numbers look a bit random to me, but I trust Tomas. Fatal Push and Abrupt Decay have been relevant for the past couple of years. The same can’t be said for Pernicious Deed, which is a true blast from the past. I remember the days when this was one of the most played removal spells. Now it’s much worse, but with the ramp of this deck it’s a viable option. Maelstrom Pulse is a solid answer to pesky permanents and so is To the Slaughter, which is here to deal mostly with opposing planeswalkers and the Marit Lage token. It’s likely the weakest main deck card but worth its slot. Toxic Deluge has been great for me, as it interacts cleanly with the likes of Young Pyromancer, True-Name Nemesis, and Leovold.
Speaking of Leovold, that card is absolutely bonkers. Whenever my opponent plays it I feel hopeless, so I’m playing 2 copies of it myself alongside Tireless Tracker. Standard players will be familiar with this one. With fetchlands, you have a bunch of Clues, and thanks to Explorer you have a bunch of mana to crack them.
As for the mana base, you have 21 lands, which should be enough with Explorer. The 2 spicier lands are Creeping Tar Pit (great answer to opposing planeswalkers) and Volrath’s Stronghold (for grindy games).
I haven’t played enough games to have a concrete sideboard guide, nor do I think such things are possible in Legacy. I’ll just go over each card in the sideboard and try to highlight its purpose. As for siding out, it’s pretty clear when you want to side out Explorer, and in most of matchups you want to shave some number of removal spells.
I’ll start with Force of Will. I believe Force of Will is a weak main deck card right now. At least online, you play most of your rounds against other grindy blue decks. You don’t want to 2-for-1 yourself in those. It makes sense to me to use it as a sideboard card against combo decks.
Flusterstorm is another great anti-combo card. I don’t think it’s as good against the other blue decks as you don’t really get into counter battles post-board. It’s decent if your opponent has Pyroblast, but I would probably still shy away from it.
Leyline of the Void, Nihil Spellbomb, and Surgical are here as your anti-graveyard cards. While you can bring in Nihil Spellbomb against Snapcaster Mage/Gurmag Angler decks because it replaces itself, don’t do it with Surgical! That’s strictly an anti-combo card here.
Jitte is for every single matchup where creatures are involved. It might not look like it, but you still have a bunch of creatures and Jitte doesn’t care if it gets equipped to a 1/1 or a 5/5. It might not be as good as it was, but it’s still a pretty strong card.
The last card in the sideboard is the sweetest one: Nissa, Vital Force. This is your over-the-top card in grindy matchups.
I’ve had a lot of fun playing Nic Fit this past week, but I think that’s all it is—a very enjoyable deck. While you do quite well against other slow, grindy decks because you go slightly bigger, you struggle against the rest of the field. Even the other grindy decks can tempo you out from time to time. I’ve lost a bunch of games to a Young Pyromancer protected by counterspells drawn off the top after I cleared my opponent’s hand with discard. So to sum it up, if you want to have fun, this deck is for you, but if you want tournament success, I’d look elsewhere.