This weekend I decided that for the legacy challenge I would want to play a version of Lands slanted towards combo because of the recent uptake in the Creature/Temporal Mastery version of Doomsday so ended up registering a list close to something that @Alli_on_mtgo posted a few weeks ago with 3 main deck Sphere of Resistance and 3 Rishadan Port. There were a few card changes due to the deck being just over my Manatraders limit such as the Shifting Ceratops in the sideboard.
I think that a lot of the card choices are pretty common knowledge at this point but some selections change with the introduction of the main deck Spheres + Ports. The main one is playing Bolt > Punishing Fire + Grove. When you introduce Sphere + Port while still having 4 Saga in the main deck then your mana is a lot more constraint and the difference between 1 and 2 (or 2 and 3 under Sphere) can become a pretty big deal so Lightning Bolt becomes more appealing then Punishing Fire. The selection of tutorable 1 drops for saga are also quite important and I have been happy with having access to all 4 in game 1s with the only thing that could change being the addition of a 2nd map.
Side note that you should be playing 1 or 2 Boseiju in the deck but I was unable to find one after being unable to rent it from manatraders for the event. The addition of Boseiju would also allow you to cut the Return to Nature for a more specific hate card in the sb such as a 3rd choke or a 2nd surgical.
Round 1 – Curses
Round 1 I mulligan to 5 on the play to a hand of Sphere, Ancient Tomb, Depths, Stage, Port. I make turn 1 Sphere and my opponent leads with Saga + Chrome Mox + Chrome Mox + Chalice for 0 and while they are stumbling to cast their spells efficiently I make a turn 3 20/20 and we move to sideboarding.
I sideboard in the 4th sphere and some naturalize effects for a Maze, Spellbomb, Tabernacle and a Mox (I Generally like cutting 1 Mox vs Karn/Teferi decks and I expected my opponent to have Karn)
Game 2 I mulligan to a hand of Force, Exploration, Mox, Forest, 2x Saga but my opponent had a turn 2 Karn + Coating into turn 3 Curse of Misfortunes which was too taxing and I lost pretty quickly.
Game 3 I keep a 7 of 2x Mox, Ancient Tomb, Depths, Exploration, Loam, Shadowspear and make as many permanents as I can on turn 1 while loaming back my lands. Opponent’s turn 1 was Saga go while my dredge found me a Saga of my own and a stage so I can set up for a turn 3 20/20. My opponent makes a Construct on turn 2 then passes with edict mana up. My 20/20 falls to a Sudden Edict but I am far enough at this point that my loam + Exploration can make a 20/20 every turn and eventually overrun my opponent
Round 2 – 60 Card D&T
On the draw I keep a hand of Misty, Maze, Tabernacle, Exploration, Loam, Crop, Shadowspear. Opponent mulligans to 6 and leads with Plains + Esper Sentinel, I draw Taiga for turn and decide to let my opponent draw a card from sentinel so that I can deploy Exploration + Tabernacle. Opponent doesn’t pay for Sentinel and instead makes Plains + Stoneforge Mystic to get Lion Sash. I draw Urza’s Saga, play 2 lands and cast Shadowspear. Opponent doesn’t pay for their mystic, casts Sash and passes and quickly gets overpowered by Construct tokens.
I sideboarded in some artifact destruction and unholy heat for some spheres and lands. I mulligan in game 2 to a hand of Mox, Bolt, 2x Saga, Depths, Stage so lead with Mox + Saga after my opponent’s turn 1 of Plains pass. They follow up with Stoneforge for Lion Sash and I draw Exploration to allow me to turbo out my hand by playing the second saga to try and take over the game with constructs. Opponent makes Sash and Wastelands my Saga on 1 counter but my drawstep was Loam so instead of making a construct I fetched up Pyrite Spellbomb for the sash, cast loam and make 2 more Sagas which quickly got out of hand for my opponent.
Round 3 – Greenpost
On the play I kept a hand of Forest, Taiga, 2x Saga, Wasteland, Exploration, Shadowspear and deployed Forest + Exploration + Saga. My opponent responded with Forest + Needle on Saga which shut down my entire gameplan, this is a spot where the Boseiju would’ve been excellent if I had access to it. The next few turns involve wastlanding my opponent to try and keep them low on mana but I fail to draw relevant cards for many turns and eventually lose to a cast Ulamog.
I sideboard some forces + return to nature for Spheres and keep a mediocre 6 of Saga, Forest, Mox, Force, Exploration, Loam. I forced my opponent’s t1 needle so that I could try to make constructs and win the game quickly but that was shut down by a second needle and I lost pretty quickly to Primeval Titan.
Round 4 – Mono Red Prison
Game 1 I keep a reasonable hand and die to Turn 1 Blood Moon (another spot where Boseiju means that I am not dead on the spot.)
Sideboard in some Forces + Return to Nature again as well as Unholy Heat and keep a 7 of Yavimaya, Saga, Port, Wasteland, Crop, Bolt, Loam. I lead with Yavimaya so that I can crop for a basic against Blood Moon but had an even better outcome than that.
Game 3 I mulligan to 6 and am given the below 7 cards to pick from after my opponent quickly kept 7. I considered what to put on the bottom for a minute before putting Maze on the bottom with a potential turn 1 Blood Moon in mind but eventually settled on Maze with the assumption that I am likely to draw a non saga land in the first 2 draw steps.
My opponent made a turn 1 moon and I was rewarded by drawing a Taiga. I made Waste + Map and my opponent followed up with T2 Magus. I draw unholy heat, make Taiga and pass. My opponent’s turn 3 was a Goblin Rabblemaster. I EoT Force the Moon and crack my map for depths, untap and make a 20/20 which was good enough.
Round 5 – UR Delver
Game 1 OTP I mulligan to a quick hand of Mox, Foothills, Saga, Stage, Wasteland, Exploration. I make Mox, Exploration, Saga which my opponent responds with Steam Vents + DRC. I draw Dark Depths, waste them and make a 20/20 and we head to game 2.
I decided to keep Spheres in on the basis of seeing the Steam Vents and assuming they are locked under Choke + Sphere while also bringing in Red Blasts, Endurance and Heat. I keep a 7 of 2x Exploration, Sphere, Wasteland, Forest, Foothills, Endurance, my turn 1 Exploration gets dazed and my opponent replayed their Island and makes Delver. I untap, make the 2nd Exploration and a Sphere. Opponent has little followup pressure and I get to eat a Delver with Endurance before starting to Wasteland their fetches, Loaming back waste and hitting their duals and the game quickly ends
Round 6 – Elves
I know that my opponent is on Elves so keep a good 7 of Taiga, Saga, Exploratio, Loam, Bolt, 2x Crop. I lead with Taiga + Exploration + Saga to which my opponent leads with Fetch > Forest > GSZ for Dryad Arbor. I untap, crop my saga for a fetch, fetch, loam back my 2 lands and bolt the Dryad. Opponent Bojuka Bogs me and makes an Allosaurus Shepard, I draw Wasteland, kill their Bog, cast Loam and pass with Saga mana open. Opponent makes an Elvish Visionary so I decide to main phase make a construct and then crop my Saga before it sacrifices to go get a Tabernacle + Pyrite Spellbomb and the game quickly ends from the constructs.
Game 2 my opponent mulligans to 5 and puts a Leyline of the Void into play while I keep a 7 of Wasteland, Forest, Taiga, Tabernacle, Yaviyaya, Exploration, Loam. I lead with Exploration + Tabernacle after my opponent’s T1 Forest > Heritage Druid. They played Verdant Catacombs and passed, I drew a 2nd Loam so made 2 lands and passed, EoT they fetched Dryad Arbor. They untapped and made Cradle + Shepard so I copied my Thespian’s Stage into a Dryad Arbor to be able to block if needed because I have enough mana to pay for Tabernacle each turn. I untapped, wasted their Cradle and passed. They sacrificed the Druid and attacked for 1 while my next draw step was Dark Depths which prompted the concession.
Round 7 (QF) – Jeskai Hullbreacher
I keep a hand of Mox, Sphere, Loam, Tabernacle, Taiga, Depths, Saga OTD and am happy to have my Sphere resolve after my opponent’s t1 Island Ponder but it meets a quick demise at the hands of Prismatic Ending. I make saga and loam back my depths while my opponent makes Karakas + EoT Hullbreacher. I draw exploration and make my 2 land drops holding up Crop. Opponent untapped, casts Brainstorm and then casts Day’s Undoing with Force backup and we move to game 2.
I sideboard in some Chokes, Unholy Head, Red Blasts and a Return to Nature (because I didn’t want to have 0 outs to a sideboard Blood Moon, another spot where Boseiju would’ve been great). I keep a 7 of Mox, Crop, Choke, Stage, Wasteland, Taiga, Misty. I make T1 misty and my opponent makes T1 Island Ponder. I untap and slam a Choke which gets Force of Negationed, the opponent plays Tundra + Prismatic Ending on my Mox so I get to untap, waste their Tundra and make a Sphere. A couple of turns go by of playing lands and my opponent casting a Ponder before I crop rotate for a Saga EoT. I make 2 constructs over the next 2 turns and go fetch up Pyrite Spellbomb to protect against a Hullbreacher while Wastelanding their Volcanic Island. My opponent responds with a Meltdown for x=1 to destroy my constructs + Spellbomb off of their lands of Island, Plains, Mountain. I cast Loam on Saga + 2 lands to start trying to make constructs again and my opponent spends their turn on a Prismatic Ending on my Sphere and a Surgical on my Loam. I draw exploration so am able to develop my lands while holding up a Saga activation and also make a stage into a saga. I make some more constructs while turning my Stage/Saga into a Forest that can make constructs and beatdown my opponent while they never find more lands.
Game 3 I mulligan to a mediocre 6 of Bolt, Forest, Taiga, Waste, Stage, Port with the hope of porting them into a longer game and having a bolt for a Hullbreacher but thankfully I drew T1 Exploration so begin developing my lands. Opponent casts some cantrips and I draw another port so begin the mana denial plan. They continue to draw lands and cast a Snapcaster mage in response to my first Port activation in their next upkeep and flashback a Brainstorm. I have only drawn lands so turn my Stage into a Port EoT to continue the mana denial. Next upkeep they use the mana to cast a Hullbreacher in response to Ports which I use my Bolt on and continue taking small beats from the Snapcaster. My next draw step was Saga which meant I could Port twice and then copy saga with my Stage/Port which allowed my opponent to cast a Teferi which I had the pyroblast for. I start making constructs while continuing to port my opponent who casts a few cantrips. My draw step Sphere was countered by a force of negation while I fetched up a pyrite spellbomb to have some protection against hullbreacher, unfortunately they had Narset which found a Prismatic Ending for one of my constructs. I untapped and turned my stage/saga into a basic with the search trigger on the stack and went to get a Pithing needle on Teferi to keep the pressure up. I attack Narset with my 3/3 construct but snapcaster jumps in the way. I double port my opponent but they still had mana to cast a Day’s Undoing which drew me into a bolt. I untapped, killed the Narset to stop them digging deeper and then double ported holding up a construct activation, my opponent cast a brainstorm and fetched afterwards passing with 7 cards in hand. I made a construct and untapped, went straight to combat with two 4/4 constructs and my opponent at 12. They flashed in a hullbreaker but decided not to block which meant that making another construct meant that my pyrite spellbomb was lethal post combat!.
Round 8 (SF) – Yorion D&T
OTD I keep a 7 of Sphere, Exploration, Mox, Wasteland, Blast Zone, Saga, Taiga and am surprised to be met by Plains go, I draw crop and proceed with Taiga, Mox, Exploration, Saga, Sphere. My opponent untaps, wastes my saga and passes, I draw a tabernacle and make 2 lands. They miss their land drop so I crop for a saga and start going to town, a few more missed land drops and we are going to game 2.
I sideboard in some forces, return and heat but have to mulligan to a mediocre 5 that never really gets going and I get buried quickly by Stoneforge Mystic making Batterskull and Lion Sash.
I keep a 7 of Crop, Exploration, Force, Depths, Port, Taiga, Yavimaya and lead with Yavimaya, Exploration and Port. Opponent has Plains pass, I draw bolt, make my other 2 lands and pass. Opponent plays a land and Stoneforge Mystic so I decide to bet it all on no Solitude by Crop Rotating for Stage. That’s all she wrote!
Round 9 (F) – UR Delver
Finals of the challenge, I’ve been here twice before and lost both times… third time’s the charm?
I’m on the play and keep a 6 of Foothills, Blast Zone, 2x Bolt, Loam, Mox and start by casting loam on my 2 lands. Opponent leads Scaling Tarn > Mountain > Dragon’s Rage Channeller. I dredge over 2 more lands including a saga so I bolt the DRC and get my lands back. My opponent makes Polluted Delta and passes so I decide to draw, make saga and pass to which my opponent double bolts me to set up a large Murktide Regent the following turn. I dredge to try and find an answer to the 5/5 but miss and pass with construct mana open. Opponent finds a Wasteland for my saga to stop me searching and gets in for 5, I continue dredging to try and find an answer to Murktide or a stage to go with my depths but can’t find anything.
Game 2 I keep 2x Saga, Forest, Spellbomb, Crop, Exploration, Loam. My Exploration resolves so I have an explosive start with Loam to blow out my opponent’s T1 wasteland and run away with the game through the pair of sagas + Shadowspear.
Game 3 I keep a hand of Loam, Pyroblast, Mox, 2x Wasteland, Port, Stage. My opponent lead with Volc > DRC so I waste and run out my Mox, they crack a delta and cast ponder which I decide to Pyroblast to be as efficient a possible. I draw and play tabernacle which is met with Fetch for Island + Delver, I make Saga + Loam which gets FoN’d leaving a card on top with DRC. Opponent reveals Ponder to Delver, pays for their creatures attacks me to 14 and passes. I draw and cats exploration, play 2 lands and hold up a construct which holds off the DRC. Opponent didn’t find wasteland which allowed me to make 2 constructs, find Shadowspear and get in for 5 lifelink, opponent can’t find an answer and I remember to pay for my constructs and swing in for the win!
Was very relieved to have finally won a challenge and to do it with my favorite deck at the moment makes it feel even better. The best part was winning a set of Kamigawa so that I could play a Boseiju without buying it! Am still not 100% sold on the main deck Spheres but Port definitely felt very good and feel like it could make a comeback to the deck now but could entirely depend on the build.
Was not previously sold on 4 Saga being the correct number but after this event I can’t see myself not registering 4 again, the card just does so much by creating another axis to attack on much faster than Field of the Dead could.
Went 5-2 in the Sunday challenge and 15-5 in manatraders bringing me to 28-8 over the last 3 days which is not a bad record and I am looking forward to running it back in the Manatraders swiss this weekend! @mattbrown_mtg