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May 17, 2015

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Going Deep With Standstill

Normally, I play Miracles in Legacy, but that’s boring to write about (and Ron Elliot Mackenzie’s job anyway). Instead, I’m going to write about a deck I’ve been playing at the Legacy daily events in Ottawa recently: Landstill! Or, Mono blue control splashing Lightning Bolt. Since watching Lam Phan Top8 GP New Jersey with Landstill I have wanted to play the deck. Yet, I wanted to build a trolly version of the deck (as if it isn’t already) with some spicy cards and create a sort of checklist for myself. Legacy Bingo, really. Here’s the completely serious and refined decklist, with thought and testing put into every card selection:

Going Deep – Adam Benn

Spells: (30)
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Standstill
Stifle
Spellsnare
Spell Pierce
Counterspell
Treachery
Dig Through Time
Pyroblast

Planeswalkers: (1)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Creatures: (5)
Snapcaster Mage
Ninja of the Deep Hours

Lands: (24)
Wasteland
Mishra’s Factory
Mutavault
Volcanic Island
Desolate Lighthouse
Island
Mountain
Scalding Tarn
Flooded Strand
Arid Mesa

Sideboard: (15)
Keranos, God of Storms
Relic of Progenitus
Spell Pierce
Spell Snare
Red Elemental Blast
Treachery
Pithing Needle
Pyroclasm

Yea, those aren’t typos. Join me, friends, and let me tell you a tale of value. Once, there was a Snapcaster Mage who flashed back a Spellsnare on a Tarmogoyf, only to find himself a lonely 2/1 in the universe, stranded on an empty board. Thankfully, he was rescued by a Ninja of the Deep Hours, and returned to a hand that had drawn a Counterspell, and had another Snapcaster waiting with open arms. The next time he ventured out in the world he was not alone, but joined his Ninja friend in attacking for two after countering a spell. They would be happy together for quite some time, as a Standstill ensured no one would ever break up their romance. Not even the 2nd Ninja of the Deep Hours could break the mood (Standstill).

In all seriousness, once this deck gets going it is very difficult to stop it from producing obscene amounts of card advantage. For those unaware, the Ninjitsu ability on Ninja of the Deep Hours doesn’t break the Standstill, allowing you to hit a missed colourless land drop by returning a Factory, or by returning a Snapcaster Mage for the ultimate value play. Drawing a card off a hit in Legacy is a big deal, especially when your opponent is letting you cast Ancestral Recall if they try and play any spell.

I say try because you are just going to counter everything they do anyway – just look at the amount of counters in this list! Even going late with Spell Pierces, it is often possible to have taxed their mana sufficiently enough to make them worth it. Even if mana is not the issue, they will most likely be trying to cast multiple spells per turn at that point, and Pierce will get them. Spellsnare helps you make up being on the draw, and helps to fight Tarmogoyfs, which are actually quite a problem for the deck if they resolve (hence the sideboard and Treachery, obviously).

The Treachery is there mostly as a joke, but after I stole a Wurmcoil Engine I was otherwise 100% losing to, untapped 5 lands, and played a Standstill, I’ve fallen back in love with this dumb cube card.

Normally I’d never play it, and probably play the Sudden Shocks if Delver was more popular in Ottawa, but at any given event here there seems to be at least 2 MUD and a UG Post deck in the room. Treachery gives you a way to pretty handily win against those matchups that we might otherwise easily lose to a single resolved threat. Finally, you haven’t lived until a Treachery resolves against your opponent’s Monastery Mentor, and you get to untap with several lands up, Dig, Counterspell, and Bolt in hand. 

The Desolate Lighthouse should obviously be a Faerie Conclave, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, we have to fuel those Digs somehow. I actually think I might move up to 3 Digs and just move the Pyroblast to the board. This deck can get to Dig mana very easily, as the game plan is to interact early and often, countering essentially any threat our opponent plays and sticking a Standstill as soon as possible.

As much of a joke as this deck seems to be, I’ve had fairly good results with it, finishing in 2nd or 3rd at the 4 small events I’ve played with it. Storm, for example, is a great matchup, as we have so many ways to produce advantage and various counterspells to make their duresses and Cabal Therapies worse. Other fair, slower midrange decks are easy as well, but we definitely have a tough time with Aether Vial decks such as Death and Taxes or quick, disruptive decks like RUG Delver. We probably cannot beat dredge, either, hence the relics. In any case, this deck is extremely fun to play, and even when you are losing you often get to make a lot of interesting decisions and see a lot of neat interactions and board states! If you have any questions feel free to ask. Enjoy griefing your fellow legacy players!

Cheers, 
Adam.

[TEDitor’s Note: Don’t forget to check out Adam’s article on Standard Pusheen Junk as well!]