The hidden gem of Khans

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The two cards that Legacy folks discussed most during the Khans of Tarkir spoiler season were arguably Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time, and after a couple of weeks of the format being legal, both have had at least some success. It might be because it’s the brand new thing and everyone wants to try them out, or it might be because these cards are genuinely good. I for one welcome our new Delve overlords, and I’m excited to see brews of the coming weeks.

Bob Huang, of Team Ameica fame, took a deck featuring 4 Treasure Cruise to the StarCityGames Open tournament in New Jersey and came home with the trophy, amassing an impressive 13-1-2 record over the weekend with his deck. This time, Huang did not play Team America, however, he played UR Delver.

monasteryswiftspear.fullAside the 4 Treasure Cruises, Hunag’s deck contained another playset of a brand new Khans of Tarkir card – Monastery Swiftspear. I have to say I didn’t even notice it during the spoiler season, I thought Prowess was an underwhelming ability, but concluded that it’d be crazy if you had three or four creatures with it in play in limited, but otherwise the whole card feels a bit “meh”. On the surface, Monastery Swiftspear is a better Goblin Guide, but with a worse typing, but in reality, she did a lot of work for the deck. Huang himself writes in his article about the deck:

“People asked a lot of questions about Monastery Swiftspear (I call her Taylor Swiftspear), and she definitely did some work in this deck. When she’s on the battlefield each cantrip essentially deals 1 damage, and your Lightning Bolts can potentially do 4 damage. Treasure Cruise is also pivotal as it helps to fuel her back up. She was regularly a 3/4 and she even hit 5/6 once or twice”

I’m not one to argue, and I think it’s fantastic that a red uncommon creature from a new set makes a splash in the metagame. These decks already had Young Pyromancer to play with, and now they’ve got Monastery Swiftspear too. In my post “A euology for an old friend?“, I speculated that Treasure Cruise and friends means the final nail in the coffin for old Nimble Mongoose, but now it seems even Tarmogoyf is leading an even more dangerous life in the format than before. That said, with the reprint of the Onslaught fetchland and the lowered need for €100 rares, Legacy is perhaps cheaper to get into now than it’s been in quite some time!

Time will tell if the new breed of UR Delver will survive the Khans Legacy metagame. According to Huang himself, the deck had a much harder time against unfair combo decks than fair decks. Since the reactive soft counter of choice for most tempo decks in the format, Spell Pierce, is such a non-bo with Monastery Swiftspear, he elected not to play any of them even in the sideboard. What do you think of Huang’s list? What about Monastery Swiftspear? Leave a comment!

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6 Comments

  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  October 8, 2014

    I like the list. It very much looks like a list I would like to play should I ever make a return to the civilized formats. Though admittedly I would play a few less counters and a few more Fire blasts*, and perhaps a final fortune as well.

    I very much like the Swiftspear! Red definitely needs a good go-getter for R since it’s archnemesis Blue got the Delver of Secrets. 1/2 doesn’t feel as red as 2/1 though, but I guess it fits with the whole Jeskai theme – and besides, 2/1 haste and prowess with no drawbacks for R would probably be a little too good.

    *Weird, at first, I was only kidding about the Fire Blast, but thinking a bit more about it the card actually makes somewhat sense, not only does it deal a good amount of damage, it also fills up your graveyard for Treasure Cruise and gives your monk an extra +1/+1. You’d probably need to rework the mana balance for it to work, but it would give you the advantage of surprise.

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  2. Wannabepurgatog

     /  October 8, 2014

    The beauty with the deck is the synergy between the creatures and the other spells, where He maximises out every card pound for pound. I think and hope that this deck is here to stay. It’s also fun to see new cards pop up and shake up things a bit.

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  3. psykopatmullvad

     /  October 9, 2014

    I like this new Delver-list. I think Swiftspear is a well design card that deserves some play on the bigger scenes.

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  1. The Superior Cruise | Goyf Wars

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