Instant Analysis – Bazaar of Moxen Legacy 2011

Instant Analysis Bazaar of Moxen Legacy 2011
Have you ever won a piece of Power 9 playing in a Magic tournament? It’s a great feeling, and a nice little financial reward for beating let’s say 20 to 60 other players. Now what if you could beat 600 other players, and you won an entire set of Beta Power 9 for your triumph? If you could, you’d most likely be playing in the annual Bazaar of Moxen (BoM) tournaments, where the turnout is big and the prizes are bigger!

Last year’s BoM Legacy event had over 500 people, and many were wondering if the attendance would rise as Legacy has become more popular, or if it would fall because of rising travel prices and a depressed economy in most quarters of the globe. This year’s installment of the grand BoM took place last weekend (May 13-15) and we’re happy to report it was a smashing success. The Legacy trial for byes and cash on Friday May 13 attracted 144 people, and ended up being won by Show and Tell after 8 rounds of straight Swiss (no playoff; decklists not available). This year over 500 people were preregistered for the Legacy main event on Saturday May 14, and a whopping 633 people ended up battling it out for an impressive prize pool detailed below. Nine rounds of Swiss competition followed by a Top 16 playoff meant players were in for a long and grueling day of battle, and after 2am in the morning Matthias Frauenschläger (UBG Landstill) defeated Oliver Salten (Reanimator) in the finals. Congratulations are in order to Matthias for his victory and to the organizers for hosting a fantastic tournament. Join us as we retrace the tournament highs and lows and break down the largest privately held (non-Wizards of the Coast sponsored) Legacy tournament ever held anywhere!

Out of the 633 players in attendance the majority were from France, but many other countries heavily represented as well. Spain and Italy probably brought the second and third most competitors, and countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Czech Republic also represented fairly well. Russia, USA, Norway, Poland, and a handful of other countries turned out in small numbers too. The prize payout for the Legacy main event looked like this:
1 Full Set of Alpha/Beta Power 9
2 40 Dual Lands (Unlimited)
3 1 Black Lotus (Unlimited)
4 1 Black Lotus (Unlimited)
5 1 Mox Sapphire (Unlimited)
6 1 Ancestral Recall (Unlimited)
7 1 Time Walk (Unlimited)
8 1 Time Walk (Unlimited)
9 4 Underground Sea (Revised)
10 4 Underground Sea (Revised)
11 4 Tropical Island (Revised)
12 4 Tropical Island (Revised)
13 4 Tundra (Revised)
14 4 Tundra (Revised)
15 4 Volcanic Island (Revised)
16 4 Volcanic Island (Revised)
17 1 Underground Sea (FBB)
18 1 Tundra (FBB)
19 1 Tropical Island (FBB)
20 1 Volcanic Island (FBB)
21 1 Underground Sea (Revised)
22 1 Tropical Island (Revised)
23 1 Tundra (Revised)
24 1 Volcanic Island (Revised)
25 1 Taiga (Revised)
26 1 Taiga (Revised)
27 1 Taiga (Revised)
28 1 Taiga (Revised)
29 1 Bayou (Revised)
30 1 Bayou (Revised)
31 1 Bayou (Revised)
32 1 Bayou (Revised)
33 10 Boosters
34 10 Boosters
35 10 Boosters
36 10 Boosters
37 10 Boosters
38 10 Boosters
39 10 Boosters
40 10 Boosters
41 10 Boosters
42 10 Boosters
43 10 Boosters
44 10 Boosters
45 10 Boosters
46 10 Boosters
47 10 Boosters
48 10 Boosters
49 10 Boosters
50 10 Boosters

Europeans take their Eternal formats very seriously (much more so than Americans from my impressions while visiting), and players from all corners of Europe and beyond traveled to attend. I’m sure we will soon get a fantastic metagame breakdown from Cesar Fernandez (UAL) with decks played, percentages of everything, and the most played cards by color and so on, as the organizers and coverage team are generally very good. But for now we can take a look at the field and the Top 16 decks. The field was full of Merfolk, Bant, WG Green and Taxes/Maverick variants, UBG Tempo, Show and Tell variants of all kinds (Doomsday S&T, Sneak and Show, ShowPro, etc.), Dredge, and the expected assortment of many of the other decks of Legacy (Charbelcher, Tendrils, Landstill, CounterTop, ThopterSword, Elves, BWG Junk, Goblins, Boros/Burn, URG Tempo, Dreadstill, Spiral Tide, Green Sun’s Zenith in all shapes and sizes, etc.). Mental Misstep was definitely out in full force the first weekend it was possibly legal, and was selling for a blistering 10 Euros at the dealer tables (even though they’re around 3-4 Euros each on eBay currently)! I expect the price to cool off slightly once more packs are opened, everyone gets their playset or two, and demand drops.

The Top 16 was composed of the following:
1 – Deltour, Louis – 24 – Tempo UBG
2 – Hegemann, Erik – 24 – Dredge
3 – Puigdollers, Iñaki – 24 – Spiral Tide
4 – Kronberger, Niklas – 23 – Zenith GW
5 – Isupov, Alexey – 23 – Zenith Bant
6 – Garcia, Rafael – 23 – Zenith Zoo
7 – Togores, Rodrigo – 23 – Sneak and Show
8 – Catelain, Alexis – 23 – Merfolk
9 – Creiche, Selim M – 23 – UWG Landstill
10 – Gutbrod, Johannes – 22 – Sneak and Show
11 – Gregoire, Christophe – 22 – Merfolk
12 – Lindström, Martin R – 22 – Merfolk
13 – Frauenschläger, Matthias – 22 – Landstill UBG
14 – Salten, Oliver – 22 – Reanimator
15 – Lecocq, Edouard – 22 – Merfolk
16 – Kammer, Michael – 22 – Show & Tell

It looks like 9 of the Top 16 players were packing Mental Misstep in their deck, and 33 copies in total were found in the Top 16. I said it before in the Instant Analysis for SCG Orlando, but I believe the metagame will basically be warped around this card for the foreseeable future. Magic is often a game of tempo and mana bottlenecks, and cards like Force of Will, Daze, Spell Pierce, and Mental Misstep are all so good because they help force or circumvent early game mana bottlenecks, depending on the situation. This often puts the opponent on the back foot, from which they will often be the rest of the game and never fully recover.

Round of 16 Pairings and Results
1 – Louis Deltour (Tempo UBG) defeated 16 – Michael Kammer (Show and Tell)
8 – Alexis Catelain (Merfolks) Selim defeated 9 – Selim Creiche (Landstill UWG)
5 – Alexey Isupov (NOPro Zenith Bant) defeated 12 – Martin Lindström (Merfolk)
13 – Matthias Frauenschläger (Landstill UBG) defeated 4 – Niklas Kronberger (GW Zenith)
14 – Oliver Salten (Reanimator) defeated 3 – Iñaki Puigdollers (Spiral Tide)
6 – Rafael García (Zenith Zoo) defeated 11 – Gregoire Christopher (Merfolk)
7 – Rodrigo Togores (Sneak and Show) defeated 10 – Johannes Gutbrod (Sneak and Show)
2 – Erik Hegemann (Dredge) defeated 15 – Edouard Lecocq (Merfolk)

Quarterfinals Pairings and Results
1 – Louis Deltour (Tempo UBG) defeated 8 – Alexis Catelain (Merfolk)
13 – Matthias Frauenschläger (Landstill UBG) defeated 5 – Alexey Isupov (NOPro Zenith Bant)
14 – Oliver Salten (Reanimator) defeated 6 – Rafael García (Zenith Zoo)
2 – Erik Hegemann (Dredge) defeated 7 – Rodrigo Togores (Sneak and Show)

Semifinals Pairings and Results
13 – Matthias Frauenschaläger (Landstill UBG) defeated 1 – Louis Deltdor (Tempo UBG)
14 – Oliver Salten (Reanimator) defeated 2 – Erik Hegemann (Dredge)

Final Pairings and Results
13 – Matthias Frauenschläger (Landstill UBG) defeated 14 – Oliver Salten (Reanimator)

I thought Landstill would be a great choice for the tournament and I piloted what I thought was a pretty sick version, but to an embarrassingly miserable finish and my day was done early. Matthias Frauenschläger (Landstill UBG) and Selim Creiche (Landstill UWG) both had success with it though, no doubt jamming Mental Misstep for the early game to help keep the board clear for Standstill to draw a bunch of cards. I believe both players splashed Green because Life from the Loam is insane in Landstill, recurring your Wasteland and Mishra’s Factory, comboing very well with Jace and Brainstorm, and recovering from incoming Wastelands and Hymn to Tourachs. Wasteland is the most played card in Legacy and Loam helps you essentially shrug off an opponent’s multiple Wasteland draw, so it is a great reason to splash for Green right now. Matthias was rocking Pernicious Deed and Selim was playing Engineered Explosives, which along with Jace, Loam, and Standstill help the Landstill decks create massive card advantage if they can steady the board the first few turns Matthias’ UBG Landstill was playing more manlands and only one Wasteland, and a transformational sideboard with a quicker clock in the form of 4 Tarmogoyf and 4 Dark Confidant, which is a very interesting twist.

Another great choice for this tournament was Sneak and Show. The ones in the Top 16 were pretty standard compared to many lists you find on forums around the Internet, sporting Ancient Tomb and Lotus Petal (and even Seething Song) for acceleration. Really the only spells that can potentially be countered by Misstep in the deck are Brainstorm, Ponder, or potentially Sensei’s Divining Top, and all of the big boppers like Sneak Attack and Show and Tell are usually only inhibited by an opposing Force of Will. I personally witnessed one Sneak and Show player punt his way out of the top table in round seven or eight by passing priority after casting Sneak Attack with Emrakul in hand. He cast Sneak Attack, and then needed another Red mana to activate it so he sacrificed a fetchland, passing priority to his opponent playing Landstill, who then played Krosan Grip on the Sneak Attack to essentially turn the game and match around in his favor (after HE had previously punted it away by tapping mana wrong early and forcing him to pitch a Counterspell to Force of Will, when he could have just hard cast Counterspell had he tapped his mana correctly on his turn). So for the love of god, if you’re going to play Sneak Attack please sacrifice your fetchlands or have your Red sources ready to go before you cast Sneak Attack so you don’t have to pass priority after resolving what should be your game winning spell. This is another deck that can potentially gain from Mental Misstep as it can profitably play it to stay alive early as well as counter something like Swords or Path to Exile on a Blightsteel Colossus you have cheated into play. I think the best creature base for this deck right now is probably 4 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, 3 Blightsteel Colossus, and 3 Progenitus (all of which work very well with Intuition). Each offer their own merits based on the situation, so they are all pretty worthy candidates.

Something that should be obvious to you the reader is that Goblins as it currently exists is pretty much dead. Some people will still rock it because that’s all they have access to, but it is badly outclassed by a lot of the decks in the format right now. While it has nice game against Merfolk (which is often the most played deck) it just gets shellacked by many of the unfair decks in the format, which is why it has been notably absent in many of the recent Top 8’s and Top 16’s in Europe and the SCG circuit in the USA. I could not in good conscience recommend the deck in any incarnation over the next few months, but you’re bound to run into it every once in a while. If you’re a Goblins player who is struggling in this metagame I’d implore you to start trading the deck off for something else while you can still get good value for money cards like Goblin Lackey, Goblin Piledriver, and Rishadan Port.

One deck that I thought was underrepresented in the Top 16 in was Natural Order. As a strategy in Legacy this is the closest thing you can do to casting Tinker (like in Vintage), and the card is extremely powerful, and usually pretty easy to cast for the decks rocking it. I saw very few Natural Orders while browsing the tables at BoM before and during the tournament, although I’m sure at least a few people were playing it. It often ends the game in one to two turns, so I’m not sure if people just weren’t playing it or if it didn’t perform well. We could be poised to see a return of the ShowPRO (Show and Tell plus Natural Order into Progenitus) decks with Green Sun’s Zenith if the SCG Orlando Legacy Open and the BoM are any indication of where the field is headed. A lot of decks still can’t answer or race a Progenitus (not to mention Emrakul), so this is probably one of the better strategies going forward as the focus narrows on Mental Misstep and cards like Natural Order, Show and Tell, and Green Sun’s Zenith all sidestep the potent counterspell.

We’ll have more Instant Analysis articles throughout this coming week, as well as a tournament report from the Bazaar of Moxen, so keep it locked to EC for all your Eternal Magic news.