10 Legacy Playable Cards in War of the Spark
- Robert Swiecki
The final showdown between Bolas and the Gatewatch has begun and with the War of the Spark, Legacy gets some new toys. Cabaltherapy's got the breakdown on which cards might make a splash in the storied format.
In order to make this list, I feel the need to make some disclaimers. There are so many playable decks in Legacy right now and pinpointing which card will impact the format is near impossible. That being said, the easiest play is to pick those newcomers that either are strictly better versions of a card that sees play or appear to be obvious inclusions to specific decks. While Dovin's Veto looks pretty powerful, it will most likely not see any play in Legacy because its field of application is too narrow; even if it would a good answer to Show and Tell and Sneak Attack in Blade decks. The other problem is that one never really knows the potential of a card in yet to be built decks. The Legacy community is a highly productive one and I would not be surprised to see Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God, Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge, Gideon Blackblade or Fblthp, the Lost at some point in Legacy, but until they do, it's hard to know whether they have what it takes. With all this out of the way, let's dive into my top 10 picks.
10. Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
First, Tomik's stats are solid. A 2/3 with flying for two white mana is a pretty good rate. The only deck that really can afford playing it though is Death and Taxes. The question, therefore, is whether Death and Taxes wants a Tomik. Its ability shuts down Dark Depths, which is usually not that big of a problem for Death and Taxes because it already runs Swords to Plowshares, Karakas, and Flickerwisp. It does protect lands from Wasteland and largely prohibits Life from the Loam strategies and random cards like Crucible of Worlds. Overall, I would not be surprised to see Tomik as a silver bullet because it brings a decent mix of an evasive creature and a utility hate bear to the table.
9. Living Twister
Did Countryside Crusher get sucked into a Molten Vortex? Living Twister might not be strong enough for modern day Loam decks but it looks like a nice addition to its card pool. Shooting down planeswalkers or winning against Ensnaring Bridge or Moat are valid arguments in favour of this beater. Paired with decent stats and able to be grabbed by Green Sun's Zenith, I could see it fighting for a spot in any deck that runs Life from the Loam; its main rivals being Knight of the Reliquary and Tireless Tracker. Let us not forget that it has some nice interaction with comes into play triggers of lands, such as Bojuka Bog, and can protect own lands from Wasteland.
8. Dreadhorde Arcanist
This one is probably the toughest one to evaluate on the list. There are so many powerful two mana creatures in red that just do not see any play because of the nature of their decks. Cards like Harsh Mentor, Abbot of Keral Keep, and Dire Fleet Daredevil have never had really the chance to prove themselves in a competitive Legacy environment – maybe except for the Daredevil that occasionally sees play in Moon and Taxes lists. They always play second flute to Snapcaster Mage and Young Pyromancer. The zombie-wizard does not look weak though but there are some evident problems with its design. A trampling 1/3 demands some kind of power buff or only a handful of spells will be playable with his ability. I could see it being a possibility in Mardu or Rakdos midrange decks that play Faithless Looting and Bedlam Reveler.
7. Return to Nature
It is time to bin Naturalize. It's as simple as that. This card is certainly playable as a one or two off in many decks looking to answer enchantments and artifacts and so Return to Nature might find itself a spot in a sideboard. Removing a card from a graveyard is a useful addition to Naturalize's effect and works well against Reanimator or at saving cards like Punishing Fire and its engine from Surgical Extraction by removing the targeted copy in response.
6. Liliana's Triumph
The reason why this card isn't higher on the list is that Liliana's Triumph is not really a ground-breaking card. Of course, it will replace Diabolic Edict in Legacy because decks that happen to run the Edict also tend to play Liliana. It is a strict upgrade, nothing more and nothing less. Grixis Delver, Grixis Control, and most midrage decks that have access to black can play it to combat Reanimator but most importantly Marit Lage.
5. Tyrant's Scorn
Tyrant's Scorn is not a better removal spell than Liliana's Triumph per se but it is a totally new removal spell that deals with small critters but also punishes big ones like Gurmag Angler, all the reanimated creatures, and Marit Lage. Dimir midrange, Esper, and Grixis decks might want to try it out since it plays nicely with Snapcaster Mage; bouncing the wizard to save it in combat or simply in order to recast it and flashback another powerful instant or sorcery. It will be difficult to find a spot though and it might as well be too weak among the plethora of removal spells available in black. Nevertheless, I could see it playing a role in some matchups, especially when not having access to white or red.
4. Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
We might as well call it Young Pyromancer, the Planeswalker. Saheeli, Sublime Artificer creates token and transforms them into copies of other creatures. She could be a solid addition to control decks that can easily pay an extra mana to have a harder to answer permanent than Pyromancer. The second ability looks a bit underwhelming though because strategies that could play her will generally not have powerful or useful creatures and copying a critter will not trigger comes into play abilities. Though a second True-Name Nemesis attacking twice can seal the deal quite fast. It remains to be seen if a deck wants Saheeli or if she takes up an awkward space between Young Pyromancer and Monastery Mentor without a real place to call home.
3. Narset, Parter of Veils
Yet another three mana planeswalker that seems to be a chunk better than Shaeeli. Narset, Parter of Veils is equipped with Leovold's ability and generates card advantage with its second one. Shutting down Griselbrand and opponents' cantrips while looking for counter magic and removal spells is not a bad deal for merely one generic and two blue mana. I could see it being relevant in Blade decks and other control piles to combat Miracles' ridiculously powerful Accumulated Knowledge draw engine. There could also be a world where Miracles might want it for mirror matches. Generally speaking, she is not a shabby walker that should work in a highly value-oriented decks.
2. Blast Zone
Blast Zone is an awesome utility land for Turbo Depths, 12 Post Eldrazi, and Lands. Of course, it has some weaknesses and is not as flexible and easy to use as Engineered Explosives but it can be fetched by Sylvan Scrying, Gamble, Expedition Map, Knight of the Reliquary and it can even be replayed via Life from the Loam. It is, however, possible to remove its one counter via Vampire Hexmage to destroy token creatures; even though such a line of play demands a heavy use of one's own resources. Blast Zone could easily occupy the top spot on this list because of its obvious application and uniqueness but it is no match for an even more powerful card. War of the Spark, however, brings us a land that does not only spark the interest of Commander players but throws in a mighty ability that opens up new possibilities for decks that can take full advantage of their lands.
1. Teferi, Time Raveler
Here it is. The best card for Legacy. Teferi does what he is exceptionally good at: Preventing opponents from playing spells, altering board states, and crafting powerful potions that enhance even the slowest spells and makes them unbelievably good. Do you want to play Ponder during the opponent's end step or do you want to clear the board with an instant speed Supreme Verdict? All three abilities are absurdly good; he bounces a problematic permanent and lets you draw a card in doing so. Teferi, Time Raveler will definitely find a home in some Legacy decks and create new ones that try to exploit his board presence to the fullest. Miracles, Blade decks, ANT – yes, even ANT – and all other decks that can afford running blue and white will have at least consider adding one or two Teferis to their main deck or sideboards.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.
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