Day 1 Undefeated Decklists
by Event Coverage Staff
Ben Stark 9-0
Grand Prix Atlanta 2012
Alex Hon 9-0
Grand Prix Atlanta 2012
Justin Geary 8-0-1
Grand Prix Atlanta 2012
Michael Majors 8-0-1
Grand Prix Atlanta 2012
Orrin Beasley 8-0-1
Grand Prix Atlanta 2012
Tinac Xing 8-0-1
Grand Prix Atlanta 2012
Gaudenis Vidugiris 8-0-1
Grand Prix Atlanta 2012
Philip Lorren 8-0-1
Grand Prix Atlanta 2012
Round 10 Feature Match - Ben Stark vs. Alex Hon
by Steve Sadin
After 9 Rounds of play on Saturday, 129 players finished with the 7-2 record required to advance to Day 2. But only two players finished the day with a flawless 9-0 record – globetrotting Pro Tour champion Ben Stark, and Georgia native Alex Hon.
Ben Stark and Alex Hon battle to remain undefeated
Hon won the roll and got off to a good start with a Delver of Secrets, and a Lightning Bolt to take out Stark's first turn Noble Heirarch – however, those would ultimately turn out to be the last spells that he would cast all game.
Ben Stark's second turn Wasteland left Hon without a single colored source, and it wasn't long before a Scryb Ranger, and an Umezawa's Jitte allowed the Pro Tour champion to take the game before Hon ever drew another colored land.
Ben Stark 1 – Alex Hon 0
Stark Mulliganed down to five, and then began the game with a play that he immediately realized was a mistake – he attempted to Wasteland Hon's untapped Volcanic Island on his own turn.
Hon immediately Stifled the Wasteland, and then (because Stark used his Wasteland on his own turn, instead of during his opponent's upkeep) he was able to play a Tarmogoy that he protected from Path to Exile with Daze. A second Tarmogoyf soon followed, and it was joined a turn later by two copies of Delver of Secrets.
But just as it looked like Hon was about to run away with the game, Stark flashed in a Scryb Ranger and used it to help him cast a Knight of the Reliquary. With no answer for the Knight of the Reliquary, suddenly Hon was left without any profitable attacks.
A second Knight of the Reliquary further solidified Stark's ground forces -- but it again looked like Ben was in big trouble when the Delvers transformed into Insectile Aberrations, and Hon went to kill Stark's Scryb Ranger with a Lightning Bolt.
But Stark quickly demonstrated just how powerful an active Knight of the Reliquary (or, more accurately, two Knights) can be – as he activated one to get the mana he needed to Swords to Plowshares one of his opponent's fliers, and then activated it again (a parting gift from his dying Scryb Ranger) to pay for his opponent's Daze.
A couple of attacks with his now gigantic Knights, and a surprising Maze of Ith later and Stark was able to successfully come back from his mulligan down to five, and his first turn mistake.
Ben Stark 2 – Alex Hon 0
Round 11 Feature Match - Sam Black vs. Sean Glover
by Blake Rasmussen
Sam Black's Zombie Bombardment (Black Bombardment? Bloody Bombardment?) deck has been the talk of the tournament so far, sacrificing his way to a 9-1 record and a slew of confused yet impressed opponents in his wake.
Sitting across from him in Round 11 was Sean Glover, a Virginia Beach, Va., native having quite the tournament himself. Coming in with three byes thanks to winning a sealed Grand Prix Trial before making the trip this weekend, he had still skated through most of the weekend so far. Glover admitted that he didn't play Legacy much and found himself making a lot of mistakes, and yet he was 9-1 coming into round 11.
Black led with a Thoughtseize, revealing two Price of Progress, Chain Lightning, Brainstorm and Force of Will, putting Glover on Blue-Red Delver.
"This hand is miserable," Glover said, laughing a bit.
"It looks pretty bad," Black said, taking Brainstorm. "I'll do what I can to help you out."
He fell to 17 and fetched up yet another dual land. Tidehollow Sculler took Chain Lightning. Glover's hand may not have been getting better, but his Price of Presses certainly were.
Glover continued to make land drops with no play, while Black added his "just unbeatable" Goblin Bombardment (check out the Deck Tech with Sam Black coming soon for more on that) to the board and followed up with Faithless Looting. The Looting pitched a Gravecrawler, which quickly jumped back into play before Black passed priority, a trick he's been pulling all weekend.
Sean Glover's UR Delver deck had served him well so far, but in Round 11 he faced off against All-World deck designer Sam Black.
Another Tidehollow Sculler took Snapcaster Mage, further limiting Glover's options. He found a few more with a Ponder. When Black tried Blood Artist the next turn, Glover bolted the Tidehollow Sculler with Snapcaster Mage under it. After attacking, Black started throwing Gravecrawler at Glover with Bombardment, hitting for two at a time thanks to Blood Artist. Once he had cycled the Zombie through all of his untapped lands, he had just enough creatures left to kill Glover exactly.
"Goblin Bombardment's a sweet one," Glover said, once his life total was exhausted.
"True," was all Black said.
Black 1 – Glover 0
"I don't think I have anything for this deck," lamented Glover as he paged through his sideboard.
"I'm surprised you don't have anything. Everyone always a bunch of mediocre cards," Black said.
"Oh, I have a bunch of mediocre cards," Glover said.
"Then you must have what everyone else has," Black said. "Which is not Night of Souls Betrayal."
That, Black said, had been the strength of his deck so far. Players didn't seem to have any good way to combat his unique list, and most of their sideboard options were considerably worse than his.
But what Glover did have was a turn one Delver of Secrets that Black matched with a Gravecrawler. As both players started on basic lands, it could have been a scene out of an FNM.
Delver failed to flip, and when Glover tried to Brainstorm, Black attempted to Tragic Slip the Delver of Secrets. Glover paid a steep price to keep it around, pitching Snapcaster Mage with Force of Will to start attacking.
This time the Delver flipped thanks to a Price of Progress, and a Goblin Guide let Glover crash in for five damage. Suddenly that Force of Will didn't seem so costly as Black fell to 13.
The Insectile Aberration fell to a Go for the Throat in Glover's upkeep, but he still had the Guide. However, thanks to fetchlands and attacks, both players were now at 13, meaning the Goblin Guide was actually a bit less impressive than Gravecrawler.
It became yet more impressive when Black landed Goblin Bombardment followed by Blood Artist.
"That's pretty good," Glover said, pouring over his options, finding no help.
Things looked even worse, if that was possible, when Goblin Guide revealed a Bitterblossom. If Glover couldn't break up the Bombardment and Blood Artist, it wouldn't matter how often his Guide crashed in.
In the dark, knowing nothing else, you really couldn't do better than playing whatever deck Sam Black handed you before a tournament.
Except Black had something even better. Lingering Souls put two more bodies on the board, both of which could actually block Goblin Guide. Even worse for Glover, at 9 life he was actually one point away from dead on board thanks to the Bombardment/Blood Artist combo.
When Brainstorm found nothing, Glover saw his fate sealed.
"The deck is sweet," said Glover, on behalf of basically everyone in the known universe.
He, like everyone else, is looking forward to the deck tech we've got cooking with Sam Black. It's coming soon, we promise.
Black 2 – Glover 0
Sunday, 10:59 a.m. - Legacy is kind of awesome photo essay, pt. 2
by Blake Rasmussen
We had so many cool interactions from yesterday, plus a few more choice situations from today, that we couldn't fit them all in just one part. Enjoy more of what makes Legacy awesome.
First one to cast a spell loses?
Remember when two card combos that win the game were good enough?
Enchanted, I'm sure. (Also sure her opponent is less enchanted by this board state.)
I hope you like the stack.
In Legacy, Blue creatures get humbled by the Meekstone, while Green creatures slip right on by. Typical.
Sunday, 12:01 p.m. - Guess whose Day 2 Custom Shirt
by Blake Rasmussen
Tournament organizer Jeff Williams always tries to do something interesting for Day 2 of his Grands Prix. In the past he's had prizes such as dog tags for every player who made it through the grind of Day 1. Based on player reaction at Grand Prix Atlanta, Williams has it out of the park with this weekend's Day 2 prize.
Every player who made Day 2 received this very morning a personalized T-shirt with their name or whatever they wanted printed on the back of it. Williams' crew was up till 6 a.m. making sure all 129 players had their own shirt printed for them before the day even started.
Some players went with their names or Twitter handles, making them pretty obvious, but others went cheeky, choosing other players names or some kind of nickname for their shirt. To celebrate this very cool Day 2 prize, we took photos of some well-known players and their shirts. Some are easier to tell than others, but all of them are undeniably fun. Can you guess whose is whose?
(Hint on the blank one: It was left blank on purpose.)
| Player Choices
- Todd Anderson
- Sam Black
- Brian Kibler
- Tom Martell
- Brad Nelson
- Gerry Thompson
- Owen Turtenwald
- Conley Woods
Click on the Image to Reveal if you're correct.
Round 12 Feature Match - David Ochoa vs. Shaheen Soorani
by Blake Rasmussen
"Ugh, I guess it's time for me to lose game one," moaned on again off again pro Shaheen Soorani as he shuffled up. "This matchup (Stoneblade vs Reanimator) is just so bad for me. Maybe if you mulligan down to 5 I'll have a chance, but you're playing with Brainstorm, Ponder, and Careful Study – so you almost never have to throw back a hand."
"Well, if you really feel that way, we can just go ahead and go to game two now. I won't mind," replied four time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor David Ochoa.
Soorani cast a first turn Thoughtseize and took a Careful Study, leaving Ochoa with 2 Griselbrands, Force of Will, Entomb, and a couple of lands. Ochoa untapped and, not wanting to walk into a Counterspell, wasted no time before Entombing a Griselbrand into his graveyard.
A Snapcaster Mage a couple of turns later allowed Soorani to Thoughtseize away a Force of Will, and leave Ochoa with two Griselbrands, and a Blazing Archon in his hand.
"Read 'em and weep. My high card probably beats yours," joked Ochoa as he re-hid his hand full of nigh-uncastable creatures.
Ochoa drew a Reanimate, and Soorani had no choice but to Force of Will it, pitching a Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
"Why'd you have to do that? That Jace was basically all that I had," said Soorani.
A rare action thinking shot
Lingering Souls sped up Soorani's clock a bit, but he still needed to hope that Ochoa didn't draw a reanimation spell anytime soon, or else he would find himself in a very dire situation.
Soorani was able to get a few uncontested hits in, but before he could swing in for lethal Ochoa drew the Reanimate that he needed to bring Griselbrand right back into play.
Soorani still had some room to maneuver, as Ochoa's life total was low enough that he couldn't draw extra cards off of his Griselbrand immediately. And when Soorani drew and cast a Stoneforge Mystic to find a Sword of Feast and Famine, it seemed like he would soon be able to take the game... but it took Soorani a full turn to realize that he could equip his sword to a Lingering Souls token and prevent Ochoa from gaining life with Griselbrand.
"I'm so stupid. I guess that's what I get for not playing with my deck at all before the tournament."
By the time Soorani realized the correct play, it was too late – as Ochoa had drawn a ton of extra cards, and used an Animate Dead to bring a Blazing Archon into play.
A few hits from the Blazing Archon later, and Ochoa was up a game.
"Sad times, I gave it away" moaned Soorani in the best Droopy voice that he could muster.
David Ochoa 1 – Shaheen Soorani 0
Soorani cast a first turn Inquisition of Kozilek, and after staring at Ochoa's hand of 3 Brainstorm, Thoughtseize, Reanimate, Show and Tell, Underground Sea for a while, he ultimately decided to take the Thoughtseize.
Ochoa began ripping through his deck with Brainstorms beginning at the first opportunity possible– and while he was able to find the lands, and the counterspells that he needed to keep himself in the game – he didn't find any of the pieces that would allow him to get a quick Griselbrand into play.
Meanwhile, Soorani did what he could to get things going, but to no avail. Stoneforge Mystic got countered by Force of Will, and Intuition a turn later met an identical fate.
Cabal Therapy naming Show and Tell hit, but Soorani could tell that he was in trouble when he left Ochoa with a hand of Vendilion Clique, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
Soorani didn't have to wait long for the first of them to hit play as an end of turn Vendilion Clique knocked a Jace, the Mind Sculptor out of Soorani's hand, and left him with Surgical Extraction, and Force of Will.
Ponder dug Ochoa into the City of Traitors that he needed to cast his Jace, the Mind Sculptor – however Soorani had drawn a blue card off of the clique to Force of Will it away.
On Ochoa's next draw step, Soorani thought for a bit before ultimately using a Surgical Extraction on Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Turns out Ochoa had just drawn one, so he had to kiss it goodbye.
Despite his good fortune with the Surgical Extraction, Soorani could find no answer for the Vendilion Clique and died in the air a few turns later.
"I guess that's what I deserve for not playtesting Legacy more."
David Ochoa 2 – Shaheen Soorani 0
Sunday, 12:43 p.m. Deck Tech: Sam Black's Bombardment
by Blake Rasmussen
These days it seems like absolutely no one is on the same level when it comes to deck building as Sam Black. Starting with Pro Tour Philadelphia last year, Black has been on a deck designing tear that places him among the most innovative and just plain best idea men in the game.
His Philadelphia Infect deck practically broke Modern, his Spirits deck in Hawaii placed several players in the Top 8, and the Bant Spirits deck that was the breakout deck of Pro Tour Avacyn Restored was mostly attributed to Black as well.
No player has been on as hot a streak as Sam Black has been when it comes to deck building.
So it comes as no surprise to find Black sporting a completely original deck here at Grand Prix Atlanta. Nor is it particularly shocking to see him winning with it. He finished Day 1 with an 8-1 record.
Since I can't do the awesomeness of this deck any kind of justice, here's the deck list in all its Black, Red and White glory.
Sam Black Bombardment
Day 2 Grand Prix Atlanta 2012
The deck is, at its core is a Zombie deck Black said was inspired by the printing of Faithless Looting, but when paging through the list there are a multitude of inspired choices that set the deck apart for its synergy and power.
Gravecrawler and Bloodghast have always been strong cards to combine with sacrifice effects, but Black took it a step further by lining up with the equally sacrificable (I'm going to pretend that's a word) Lingering Souls and Bitterblossom tokens.
The ease with which he can move creatures to his graveyard and back again makes Black's Cabal Therapies better than they have a right to be. Black said in one match he actually was able to strip four spells from his opponent's hand with Therapies by turn two. When your deck is capable of that, what does it even matter what the opponent is playing?
But the synergies don't stop there. Blood Artist is a cheap way to combine the sacrifice effects into a quick combo-esque kills, somewhat similar to the old Arcbound Ravager + Disciple of the Vault. Moreover, the Blood Artist helps make up for the fact that most of Black's creatures can't block, which he said was an issue early in testing the deck.
Black's two primary sac outlets, Goblin Bombardment and Carrion Feeder, are, he said, easily the two best cards for the job. Carrion Feeder is a zombie, helping out Gravecrawler, and Goblin Bombardment often just means an opponent is dead.
In fact, Black called Goblin Bombardment "just unbeatable." Imagine having Bombardment, Blood Artist and either Gravecrawler or Lingering Souls going. How long can an opponent possibly withstand that?
The final component was Tidehollow Sculler, a card Black said was added later in testing. Originally the deck had blue mana for Careful Study and Gitaxian Probe (to improve his Cabal Therapies) and barely touched on White, mostly planning to discard Lingering Souls and flash it back. However the mana wasn't working out as he would have liked it and he eventually cut Blue entirely, making room for Tidehollow Sculler who, conveniently, is also a Zombie.
Some people who look at the deck (myself included) see a ton of black mana and a low curve and wonder why Dark Confidant only merits two sideboard slots. The answer, it seems, is key to understanding why the deck has been so good for Black this weekend.
"I just don't want people's cards to be good against me," Black said.
Dark Confidant, he said, is typically just a good Lightning Bolt target, which he otherwise mostly lacks from the main. Only Tidehollow Sculler is really a card that can be Bolted for value, and even then sometimes the Sculler simply takes the Bolt. Even Blood Artist, at worst, drains for one life if it dies.
Black said the Confidant comes in against decks without much removal. He said that, since his deck is already good against decks that do have removal, he might be behind against ones that lack it (High Tide, etc.), so he wanted a way in his sideboard to punish those decks.
Even graveyard hate hasn't been particularly good against Black. In a feature match against Ian Duke, Duke landed a turn one Relic of Progenitus. Even then, he couldn't get much value out of it as Black carefully played around it. As much as the deck does use its graveyard, Black said cards like Bitterblossom make it less and less dependent on it.
Black's one loss on the day came against a RUG Delver opponent who was dead to any land on Black's side for several turns, as they would have returned Bloodghasts with his opponent at two life. When he instead drew Blood Artist, the Delver player not only killed the Artist, but stifled the life draining trigger.
Even with the sheer coolness factor of Black's Bombardment deck (I'm calling it that because I love alliteration. Black actually said he doesn't usually name his decks), he still thinks he figured out the best deck in the format "one day too late." The mystery deck Black speaks of is something he said doesn't even exist yet, something that, for now, exists only in his head.
"It's a giant card pool that's completely unexplored," Black said, playing down the notion that Legacy is anywhere close to figured out. "You can definitely do different things from what's being done now."
Round 13 Feature Match - Ben Friedman vs. Ryan Bogner
by Blake Rasmussen
This match was a bit of déjà vu for all involved. Ben Friedman and Ryan Bogner were friends who had shared a hotel room last night and warmed up this morning by playing this very matchup against one another, but that wasn't the weird part.
The freaky Friday moment for these two was that they played against one another in Grand Prix Minneapolis in this exact round (13!) with the exact same records. Friedman won that match and went on to Top 8, a scenario that was certainly in play this weekend, no matter who won.
"So basically this is like a huge grudge match," Friedman said.
Friedman has had some success at the GP level, including the Minneapolis Top 8, while Bogner was constantly right on the cusp. His Reanimator deck would need some help against Bogner's controlling Esper Blade deck to flip that script this weekend and open the door to his own Top 8.
Bogner Brainstormed to begin the match, followed by a Careful Study that Friedman was quick to Spell Pierce.
Parrying a bit more in the early turns, Friedman attempted to Thoughtseize while Bogner hid two cards with Brainstorm. Ponder, Daze, Griselbrand and two lands were all that was left of Bogner's hand, and Ponder soon hit the bin.
Ben Friedman beat Ryan Bogner in Round 13 of GP Minneapolis on his way to a Top 8. Could he repeat the feat in Atlanta?
The friends then spent the next few turns playing lands and improving their hands with Brainstorms, trying to sculpt an opening to make a move. Bogner blinked first, using Thoughtseize on himself to discard Griselbrand and attempted to cast Animate Dead. That meant Bogner had to reveal his hand, including the Daze he was planning to use to protect the spell. Friedman was able to play around it by using Force of Will instead of the Counterspell he had in hand.
Freidman then started his clock with a Vendilion Clique, countering several reanimation spells and Brainstorming along the way. A few turns of that were all it took to take Game 1.
Friedman 1 – Bogner 0
Bogner's turn one Entomb predictably found Griselbrand, which led to a pretty bad exchange for him. Reanimate attempted to bring it back, but was halted by Surgical Extraction. Bogner attempted the Force of Will, but Spell Pierce shut the door, helping the Extraction to cut off any future Griselbrands.
And just like that Bogner was left with only a Force of Will in hand, while Friedman used Stoneforge Mystic to find and play Batterskull.
Ryan Bogner didn't have much to smile about as he lost yet another Round 13 to Ben Friedman.
Not yet completely resigned to his fate, Bogner Entombed an Iona, Shield of Emeria and attempted to Reanimate it. Snapcaster Mage was flashed in to bring back Surgical Extraction, but Bogner had the Blue card for Force. Iona jumped into play and Bogner fell to just three life. But when Bogner named white Friedman flashed him Jace, the Mind Sculptor to seal the win.
"I just always beat you right when you're on the edge of the Top 8," Friedman said by way of apology.
"Someone has to," Bogner said.
Friedman 2 – Bogner 0
Sunday, 1:42 p.m. - Quick Hits: Which deck has the best matchup against Reanimator?
by Steve Sadin
Sam Black - "It's not a deck that anyone here is playing. It's a deck that I thought of this morning, and I wish I were playing at this tournament."
Gerry Thompson (and Brad Nelson) - "Maverick that’s tuned to beat Reanimator has the best game one matchup, but RUG Delver can sideboard in a ton of hate and get the best post board matchup."
Ben Stark - "I'm not much of a Legacy player, and I do like Maverick's matchup against Reanimator, but I'd have to think it’s Blue White Black Stoneblade because they have so many good, cheap answers."
Shahar Shenhar – "Stoneblade. Between Snapcaster Mage, cheap answers, and a Surgical Extractions out of the sideboard - it's easy to tune your Stoneblade deck to beat Reanimator"
Sunday, 1:55 p.m. - Day 2 Metagame Breakdown
by Blake Rasmussen
Though all of the talk coming into the weekend was about Griselbrand Reanimator, the clear winner on the weekend has been RUG Delver, which accounted for nearly one out of every four decks to make it to Day 2, with nearly as many entrants as the next two most popular decks combined.
Those two decks, Maverick and Reanimator, were pretty well expected coming into the weekend, as was Esper Blade, the only other deck to hit double digits. From there, there's a precipitous drop off, though seven Elf decks making Day 2 is a strong sign for the little Green men.
And while RUG Delver has clearly put up the best numbers this weekend, with 27 archetypes (25 if you lump the Delver decks together) represented throughout Day 2, Legacy has certainly proved itself to be a diverse format.
|BGW Hymn to Tourach
|Mono Blue Control
|RWB Zombie Bombardment
|Sneak and Show
Round 14 Feature Match - Owen TurtenWald vs. Fred Edelkamp
by Steve Sadin
After thirteen rounds of play, reigning Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald found himself with an 11-2 record, and within striking distance of his 12th Grand Prix Top 8.
His opponent this round, Fred Edelkamp, is yet to earn his first premier event Top 8 – but with several Grand Prix Day Two finishes this year, he's gotten close a number of times. Now he just needs to win two more matches, or get a win and a draw (with good tiebreaks), to advance to the Top 8 here in Atlanta.
Edelkamp mulliganed, and kicked things off with a Delver of Secrets that immediately transformed into a Insectile Aberration – while Turtenwald waited until turn two to play a Thoughtseize, taking a Daze, and leaving Edelkamp with a hand of Geist of Saint Traft, Snapcaster Mage, and Daze.
Knowing that he needed to end things quickly against Turtenwald's Reanimator deck, Edelkamp played an end of turn Snapcaster Mage (without flashing back anything), then untapped and played a Karakas and a Geist of Saint Traft which got countered by Force of Will.
Turtenwald and Edelkamp
Turtenwald cast a Careful Study discarding a Girselbrand, and played a Karakas of his own to legend rule away Edelkamp's would-be-gamebreaking land. Edelkamp was able to get another hit in that left Turtenwald at 3, but he had no way to stop the reigning Player of the Year from bringing a Griselbrand back with Animate Dead.
Edelkamp had a brief opportunity to draw a Swords to Plowshares that he could exile the Griselbrand with, but when he failed to draw one it didn't take long for Turtenwald to fly to victory.
Owen Turtenwald 1 – Fred Edelkamp 0
Edelkamp started the second game with a Delver of Secrets, used a Ponder to help it transform into Insectile Aberration and then played another Delver of Secrets to further speed up his clock.
Turtenwald used a Vendilion Clique to lure a Force of Will out of Edelkamp's hand, then untapped and Entombed for an Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite which he promptly attempted to Reanimate. But this time, Edelkamp was ready. In response to the Reanimate, Edelkamp used a Surgical Extraction to exile the Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite – leaving Turtenwald with "just" a Show and Tell, and a Griselbrand in his hand.
An attack later, and Owen was on 4. And while he was able to resolve his Show and Tell, putting Griselbrand into play – Fred was ready with an answer for that too, as he put an Oblivion Ring into play, and forced a concession.
Owen Turtenwald 1 – Fred Edelkamp 1
Turtenwald's first turn Thoughtseize stripped a Daze out of Edelkamp's hand, then used his second turn Thoughtseize on himself to put a Griselbrand right where he wanted it, in his graveyard.
Turtenwald successfully Reanimated the Griselbrand a turn later, however – a Delver of Secrets, a Vapor Snag, and a Force of Will were exactly enough for Edelkamp to take the match.
Owen Turtenwald 1 – Fred Edelkamp 2
Sunday, 3:21 p.m. - Maverick Deck Tech with
Ben Stark Pat Cox
by Steve Sadin
When three time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor and legacy aficionado Pat Cox emailed his friend Ben Stark a rough draft of the Maverick decklist that he was planning on playing at Grand Prix Atlanta and asked him for input he got a very... um... curt response.
"I don't know anything, and I'm not telling you anything." Was all that Ben's email said.
Fast forward to today, and Ben Stark has just locked up his 6th Grand Prix Top 8, while Pat Cox has spent the last 8 hours lounging around, having missed Day Two.
Pat Cox on his Maverick deck
However, I didn't know that Pat had built the deck until I asked Ben if he had time to do a deck tech with me, and he immediately sent me in his good friend's direction.
When I asked Pat how the deck functioned, the first thing that he explained to me was that it was, first and foremost, a Knight of the Reliquary deck.
"Against fair decks like RUG Delver, or Stoneblade, you want to start the game with an accelerator (either Heirarch, or Green Sun's Zenith), into a Knight of the Reliquary – and then you want to start Wastelanding them immediately."
"If they have a first turn Delver of Secrets, or some other big threat, then you can get a Maze of Ith and buy a lot of time with that, but in general the Wasteland plan is the best thing you can do. You plow their Delver of Secrets, you waste their lands, and then you take over because your threats are bigger."
However, not every deck in Legacy plays fair. In fact, many decks are capable of putting a Griselbrand into play as early as turn one, or killing their opponents before they've played their first land. And against them, you need to change your approach a bit.
"If you're playing against an unfair deck, the most important thing to do is to get a turn two Thalia, Guardian of Thraben into play."
If a Maverick deck does manage to get a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben into play – then that will frequently buy them enough time to lock their opponent out with Knight of the Reliquary (searching up Wasteland, after Wasteland) – or by simply beating them down with big creatures, and buying a bit more time with naturally drawn Wastelands.
When I asked Pat what type of hands he would mulligan, Ben Stark decided to cut in and offer his 2 cents on the matter.
"I mulligan almost any hand that doesn't have an accelerator. If your hand doesn't have one of them, you need to know that the rest of your cards are exceptionally good in the matchup for you to even consider keeping."
When asked what changes he made to the deck for this tournament in particular, Pat explained that he didn't overhaul the deck in any significant way, but he still made a couple of tweaks for the metagame that he expected to face.
"We put Gut Shots, and Linvala, Keeper of Silence into the sideboard for the Maverick mirror, and Elves – and we moved Gadddock Teeg to the sideboard because it doesn't do much against any of the major matchups. We also went up to three copies of Qasali Pridemage in the maindeck because sometimes you need to win the Umezawa's Jitte wars."
The only other tweak that Pat made for this event was to swap out his Tormnod's Crypts for Faerie Macabres.
"I think that Faerie Macabre is the best anti graveyard card for Maverick, but it's close. You have plenty of good midgame anti-graveyard options like Scavenging Ooze, so you really just need something free to help you survive the first few turns. Crypt can be countered, but this can't – however, Faerie Macabre can be Thoughtseized, so I can maybe see having a mix of the two."
Before we concluded our interview, I asked Pat about the card that stuck out to me the most in his decklist – the one Life from the Loam in his sideboard.
"In any kind of attrition matchup where you and your opponent are Wastelanding each other, Life from the Loam is great since it allows you to get back you Wastelands, and your Duals that they've wasted."
So if you're looking for a deck that can contend against, and in some cases dominate, even the fastest decks in Legacy and you don't want to play with Force of Will– then Maverick may very well be the deck for you.
Grand Prix Atlanta 2012 - Top 8
Sunday, 3:36 p.m. - Round 15 Round-Up
by Blake Rasmussen
Ben Stark vs. Fred Edelkamp
Ben Stark, sitting in first place going into the last round, opted to play to improve his standing going into the Top 8. Standing in his way was Fred Edelkamp, who had been paired up from 36 points against Stark. Three Swords to Plowshares in the early game gave Stark the initiative in Game 1, and he cleaned up with Sylvan Library and Fauna Shaman providing him all the gas he needed.
In the second, he resolved Green Sun's Zenith for Scryb Ranger while Thalia, Guardian of Thraben bottleknecked Edelkamp's mana. The Ranger held off a pair of Insectile Aberrations while Stark beat down. Geist of Saint Traft, however, finally gave Stark some pause. A turn full of blocks and a key Swords to Plowshares and a searched up Maze of Ith (ala Knight of the Reliquary), turned the tide on a key talk.
Stark was the clear No. 1 seed, but Edelkamp could still sneak in to the Top 8 as the 8th seed.
Ben Stark continues his dominance
Daryl Ayers vs. Ben Friedman
Ayers aggressively used Wastelands and Stifles to easily win Game 1 and to start running away with the second game. However, a Perish followed by a Jace, the Mind Sculptor nearly turned the second game in his favor. But when Ayers ripped a Brainstorm to find Lightning Bolt, he was able to Stifle a Snapcaster Mage trigger to force the Bolt through for the final points. That locked Ayers in to the Top 8.
Daryl Ayers, Ben Friedman, Jesse Hatfield and Michael Majors all had to play for a shot at the Top 8.
Jesse Hatfield vs. Michael Majors
After splitting the first two games, Hatfield flipped an early Delver of Secrets and resolved a Tarmogoyf to put the pressure on, but an Inquisition of Kozilek reduced his hand to just three very uncastable Temporal Manipulations. From there, Majors had an opportunity to seize the game away. An Umezawa's Jitte-wielding Stoneforge Mystic slowly wrestled the game back in Major's favor while Hatfield struggled with his mana. When Swords to Plowshares cleared a Tombstalker out of the way, Jesse Hatfield extended his hand, clearing the way for Majors to join the Top 8.