Giving Legion's Landing A Second Chance

by Simon Nielsen on 14 September 2018, Friday

Simon Nielsen

Giving Legion’s Landing A Second Chance

Guilds of Ravnica is knocking on the door, and do you know what I am most excited for? It’s not shocklands, or guild mechanics, or split cards. It's seeing Goblin Chainwhirler dragged away from its dominance on the format and getting to play with all the sweet token strategies that I haven’t been able to abuse for the past six months. 

Look, Goblin Chainwhirler won’t simply disappear from the format. But without key powerful Red cards to support it, I’m fairly certain we will have a metagame with less than 50% Chainwhirler decks. There will still be Mono-Red decks, and they will probably play Goblin Chainwhirler, but it'll be a situation where you can build decks that hope to dodge Chainwhirler while being good against the rest of the field. At present, that strategy is just doomed to fail.

One of the most exciting cards from last year that I think didn’t get nearly enough love is Legion's Landing. It's a great supporter for token strategies or for just aggressive white decks in general, and it's a great enabler for cards with Ascend as it gives you two permanents for 1 mana. If you can follow it up with two creatures on turn 2 (as Servo Exhibition used to do), you could have access to four mana on turn 3, and in the late game an extra token each turn helps you outgrind the opposition.

It should also be noted that Goblin Chainwhirler will probably no longer see play in aggressive midrange decks that are perfect for tearing apart synergistic strategies like Legion's Landing decks. It will most likely be "Red Deck Wins" archetype decks, where your deck of cheap lifelinkers will be favored against them whenever they don’t draw Goblin Chainwhirler. So even if Chainwhirler decks are a part of the metagame, your matchup against them might not be that bad. Obviously there will be metagames where Chainwhirler decks are too prevalent for Legion's Landing to succeed, but that just means the power level of these decks will change from week to week, just like any metagame deck. 

I expect that all of these decks will also play Tocatli Honor Guard in their sideboards. Not only does this card stop Goblin Chainwhirler’s trigger, but also Viashino Pyromancer if they play decks like the The Flame of Keld currently in Standard, or Goblin InstigatorVolley Veteran and Siege-Gang Commander if they play Goblin tribal!

You will also notice that I have lots of copies of Conclave Tribunal in all these decks. I think this card is perfectly suited to decks that also want to run Legion's Landing. While it might seem suboptimal to tap creatures you were meant to attack with in order to remove a blocker, having the option is always a huge boon. Oftentimes it will let you develop some creatures on turn 4 as well as clearing out a blocker. I love how well it works with History of Benalia: both in that the Knight token you make from its second chapter ability often isn't useful that turn but can now be used to cheapen Conclave Tribunal, and that if there's no blocker you need to remove, you can attack first with your vigilant Knights and then convoke out the Tribunal postcombat!

These are the Legion's Landing lists I’ve been tinkering with:

Vampires!

A straight-up Vampire deck is the obvious direction for Legion’s Landing. So far, we haven’t seen any playable Vampires spoiled, so we will have to do with those in Ixalan block. Luckily, there’s plenty!

Before Goblin Chainwhirler got printed, this was the Vampire deck by which I was most impressed, updated with Conclave Tribunal:

 

Simon Nielsen's Possible Vampires (Standard (Guilds of Ravnica) - Others)

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A simple deck that aims to fill the board with Vampire tokens and buff them up. Champion of Dusk offers a powerful way to refill on cards and dig for more buffing effects. Conclave Tribunal is absolutely perfect here, as we don’t even plan on attacking with our 1/1s until we set up for one big turn.

I could easily see that that we might shave some of the lower-powered cards to include some more removal spells, like Cast Down or Baffling End, as this deck can have problems with stabilizing the board early before it gets to deploy its pump effects.

I imagine that an aggressive approach with Vicious Conquistador is also very much possible, but we will have to wait until Godless Shrine is printed in Ravnica Allegiance before the mana will function for this.

Boros Tokens

I like how both Legion's Landing and Leonin Vanguard want you to deploy two creatures on turn 2. At first I pictured a Naya deck with both Saproling Migration and Goblin Instigator but realised that the mana would be very dicey and that I didn’t really want any other green cards. So I decided to just stick to Red-White.

Another interaction I’m very hyped about is History of Benalia into Heroic Reinforcements. I think the latter is actually a very underrated constructed card. We know how great it was in M19 Draft, and I think we can translate the same success to Standard with the right build.

If you go turn 3 History of Benalia into turn 4 Heroic Reinforcements, the second Knight token will also gain haste, and by itself this combination attacks for 10 damage in one turn while still leaving four bodies behind.

This is my list:

Simon Nielsen's Possible Red-White Aggro (Standard (Guilds of Ravnica) - Others)

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I don’t yet know if the mentor cards are actually good, but I think they’re at least worth trying. Boros Challenger only needs to put one counter on something before its already decent body becomes worth it. And it’s the perfect card to play on turn 2 and curve into a turn 3 Legion Warboss as this automatically gives you an attacking 1/1 to pump.

It’s quite easy to get to ten permanents and receive the city's blessing in this deck, and I wanted to not only take advantage of that with the very powerful Pride of Conquerors, but I also wanted to include a 1-drop with Ascend. I initially thought Skymarcher Aspirant edged out Snubhorn Sentry, though I do consider these cards to be very close in power level. I was thinking that being able to chipshot damage early on (and later with flying) was better than the impact a one mana 3/3 has on the midgame plus being more resilient to removal because getting in early damage makes your go-wide plan much more effective. But then I realised that Snubhorn Sentry is the perfect card to go with Boros Challenger in the early game, as it can often attack into small creatures and can get buffed twice before you receive the city’s blessing.

It’s possible that we should instead go with a Benalish Marshal-based heavy-White build, but then I think we couldn't run any red 2-drops as our manabase would just become unplayable. Luckily we still have Adanto Vanguard and Knight of Grace.

Song of Freyalise

It seems to me like there is some sort of overlap between what Legion’s Landing wants and what Song of Freyalise wants; for instance, both of them work well with Saproling Migration on multiple levels. I think this card has been very underexplored because of the presence of Goblin Chainwhirler, and I’m intrigued to try it.

Song of Freyalise seems especially spicy in combination with Emmara, Soul of the Accord. This is what I brewed up as a White-based approach to the shell:

Simon Nielsen's Possible Green-White Tokens (Standard (Guilds of Ravnica) - Others)

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This deck is certainly on the more experimental side, especially I have yet to have experience with Song of Freyalise so I don’t know quite how to build around it. I do think Shalai, Voice of Plenty seems like a perfect fit.

Benalish Marshal might be greedy on the mana, but we must remember that Song of Freyalise fixes for it very effectively. Also, I decided to run Dauntless Bodyguard as my extra 1-drop as this deck actually has multiple creatures that are very valuable to protect. Plus, it’s an extra Knight, and I can see scenarios where you try to play both Sagas in the same turn and get as many Knights into play as possible so they both hit their third chapter ability at the same time for one very powerful turn.

I honestly have no clue if Satyr Enchanter is even remotely playable, but we do need some card draw, we incidentally have sixteen enchantments and it works super well with Conclave Tribunal. I wonder if this approach could be explored even further, but we will need to see which new enchantments get printed - preferably ones that also produce creatures.

An alternative approach to this strategy could be a Green-based version with Llanowar Elves, explore creatures, and possibly Wildgrowth WalkerSong of Freyalise is also a way to give your Gigantosaurustrample! But obviously this version wouldn’t play Legion's Landing, so I couldn’t quite include it in this article, now could I?

I hope you find these decklists inspiring. I’m very excited to tinker with the Boros list right now, but honestly the brewer’s itch of a brand new format is just waiting to be scratched!

 




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