Czech in China – *10th* at Beijing Orlov Legacy with Czech Pile

Hello! This is Gao Jun from Shanghai, China. I’ve been playing MtG since 2014 and Legacy since 2017.

Last December, I participated in the 5th Beijing Orlov Legacy Tournament series. For those unfamiliar, the Orlov Tournament is one of the biggest Legacy tournaments held in Mainland China – this year, we had 152 players, including some famous international Legacy players, competing for an insane $9000 USD prize pool.

I finished in 6th place after eight rounds of Swiss, progressing me to Day 2, where I would ultimately finish in 10th place. I was psyched, as this was my first time ever cashing a major MtG tournament – I ended up leaving Day 2 with a decent $175 in cash for my troubles. This tournament report was first published in Chinese on TeamLX‘s public WeChat and props to my friend Stephen Tang for inviting me to write an English version. I hope you guys enjoy it!

(Editor’s note: for those with WeChat, TeamLX’s WeChat can be found via QR code here. In addition, the original bilingual VODs and AnziD’s redub of Beijing Orlov Legacy can be found here and here respectively.)

Deck Building:

I’m a huge fan of BUG decks – I first entered Legacy with Shardless and then bounced around between BUG Delver and BUG Midrange/Control, and continued to work on the archetype even post-DRS banning. After further discussion with people on Discord, Reddit, The Source, and local players, I built two BUG Midrange decks, which totally fell flat at GP Shizuoka’s Day 0 PTQ and Day 1 Main event. This pushed me to think of a new solution.

Leovold, Emissary of Trest Snapcaster Mage Kolaghan's Command

After the release of Guilds of Ravnica, a number of players revived Czech Pile with Assassin’s Trophy and piloted the deck to a series of strong results, taking players such as Tomas Mar to an MKM Top 8 and Christopher Walton to his Eternal Weekend North America Top 8. After looking at a bunch of lists online, I decided to run the deck through some GP Shizuoka Side Events. I ended up going 4-1-1, giving me plenty of confidence in the deck, and chose to make it my weapon of choice for Orlov. I decided to move away from BUG control to Czech Pile for two reasons: firstly was the importance of Pyroblast in dealing with the Accumulated Knowledge Miracles menace; secondly the utility of Assassin’s Trophy and Abrupt Decay in answering permanents that Grixis often could not handle.

Pyroblast Pyroblast

The list I played is as follows:

Creatures: (10)
4 Baleful Strix
3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
1 Gurmag Angler

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Force of Will
3 Hymn to Tourach
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Thoughtseize
2 Abrupt Decay
2 Assassin’s Trophy
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Fatal Push
1 Diabolic Edict
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Liliana, the Last Hope

Lands: (21)
4 Polluted Delta
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Bloodstained Mire
3 Underground Sea
2 Tropical Island
1 Volcanic Island
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
1 Island
1 Swamp
1 Forest

Sideboard: (15)
2 Flusterstorm
2 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
3 Surgical Extraction
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Marsh Casualties
1 Ensnaring Bridge
2 Tarmogoyf
1 Liliana, the Last Hope

In terms of discard, I chose one Inquisition of Kozilek, one Thoughtseize, and three Hymn as I was concerned with the life loss in the absence of DRS’s incidental life gain.

Thoughtseize Inquisition of Kozilek Hymn to Tourach

Removal-wise, I felt Lighting Bolt was inferior to Fatal Push due to the prevalence of must-kill 1-4 converted mana cost creatures with 4+ toughness.

Fatal Push Abrupt Decay Assassin's Trophy

Regarding the sideboard, I expected to face a lot of incidental tokens, which led me bring a 1/1 split of Engineered Explosives and Marsh Casualties. The Tarmogoyfs were boarded in verses Eldrazi as a hedge against the deck’s resurgence post-Shizuoka.

Day 1:

Day 1’s format consisted of 152 players battling it out through eight rounds of Swiss, making it the largest Legacy tournament in mainland Chinese history. Many famous players around the world took part in the event, including Julian “The Master of Elves” Knab, Cardboard Live CEO Wilson Hunter, and the author of This Week in Legacy Sean Brown (cheers to you Salt Mine guys!). Finally, a big thanks to James Hsu – those of us in China really appreciate you for making all of these things come true!

julian and wilson

Round 1: Mono-Black Reanimator with Dark Depths (2-0)

Game 1 started off with a Thoughtseize, off which I saw that my opponent had Swamp, Urborg, and a Grave Titan. I decided to hedge against any reanimate spells and ended up winning with a full-grip of Force’s 4-ish turns later. Game two my opponent played a Swamp and then played a Lake of the Dead to resolve a Pack Rat, which I instantly Decayed. A few turns later my opponent Entombed an Iona, cast a Vampire Hexmage, and then reanimated the Iona naming black. However, he forgot to use his Hexmage to kill my JTMS, so I bounced the Iona and got there.

Iona, Shield of Emeria Lake of the Dead Pack Rat

1-0

Round 2: Eldrazi Aggro (1-1)

This round was pretty difficult. G1 I tried to disrupt my opponent’s development, but instead I got quickly smashed by two Reality Smashers. G2 my opponent didn’t pressure me very hard in the beginning and I was able to use Strixes, an Ensnaring Bridge, and a Liliana, the Last Hope ultimate to stall for time. My opponent used Eye of Ugin to tutor for an Ulamog, but couldn’t mill me out in time before the zombies got there. G3 was started after time was called and we drew.

1-0-1

Ensnaring Bridge

Round 3: Death & Taxes (2-0)

I was paired against my friend who was on D&T. The game started quickly and he resolved a surprise Chalice on 1. However, I was still able to function due to my varied CMCs and eventually got him as he couldn’t find any threats to close me out. Game 2 I forced his Vial but had to play through a Chalice on 1 and 2. A timely K-command rescued me, Hymn discarded his equipment, and afterwars Liliana took over.

2-0-1

Round 4: BG Slow Depths (2-0)

G1 lasted for around 35 minutes as we went through the motions of:

  1. Stage copying Depths
  2. Trophy destroying the “Stage”
  3. Loam it back
  4. Hymn you
  5. Force your Loam
  6. Resolve Loam
  7. Dig for another Assassin’s Trophy

Two Strixen and a Jace later, I eventually got him.

Life from the Loam Dark Depths Thespian's Stage

Game 2 my opponent successfully resolved a Sylvan Library, but I immediately Surgicaled his Loams and afterwards an Assassin’s Trophy during a Dark Depths + Stage activation led to a concession.

3-0-1

Round 5: Eldrazi Aggro (1-2)

Eldrazi again. My opponent is a member of MTGSheep which is one of China’s MTG Pro teams. I’m not as lucky as I was in Round 2 and got stomped.

3-1-1

Round 6: Miracles (2-1)

First fair blue deck of the tournament, but I’ll take it. Game 1 my opponent realised I was on Pile and tried to resolve a Back to Basics, but it got nailed with a Decay immediately. With nothing to stop me I ground him into submission.

Game 2 was also heavily focused on resource denial, but my Liliana, the Last Hope couldn’t keep up with a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I eventually drew into Pyroblast, but fell way behind when my opponent resolved a counterbalance. I ultimated my Liliana, but my opponent’s Monastery Mentor was able to stall me out. Eventually a second Jace, the Mind Sculptor and a Teferi managed to put me away. Time was up, but as neither of us would make Day 2 in the event of a draw, my opponent graciously conceded to me.

Liliana, the Last Hope Counterbalance Monastery Mentor

4-1-1

Round 7: Grixis Delver (2-1)

Game 1 my opponent’s Delver flipped smoothly and he Dazed both my Thoughtseize and Strix. Delver, Lili and True-Name Nemesis put me away.

Game 2 I used discard and removal to control his threats and resolved a Leovold. My opponent cast a Brainstorm with Leovold on the board and swiftly conceded when he realised what he had done.

Game 3 my opponent once again resolved multiple Delvers, a Liliana, and a Gurmag Angler, but his Delver’s never flipped. This gave me time to sweep the board with an EE, then Edict away his Gurmag to grind him out.

5-1-1

Round 8: Eldrazi Post (2-)0

Win and In. When I saw the name of my opponent I realized that I was against Eldrazi Post and immediately thought:

“Fuck”.

Game 1 I got lucky as Ancient Tomb life loss + Gurmag Angler beats let me steal a win.

Game 2 my opponent was on tilt and took overly conservatively lines which played into my Hymn, Strix, Goyf game plan.

Glimmerpost Cloudpast Ancient Tomb

With a 6-1-1, I successfully qualified for Day 2!

standings

Day 2:

Day 2’s format was quite different from Day 1. The Top 16 players were divided into four groups according to his or her Day 1 result, and within each group a round-robin would be played to determine a Top 4. The Top 4 would then play in a Best-of-5 semi-finals and finals.

Round 9: Ice Zebra Station 1-2

A VoD can be found here.

I would like to highlight some mistakes that I made in this match. For Game 2, I should’ve played Scalding Tarn first and kept Hymn on top after a Ponder, and should’ve more aggressively countered his Dark Rituals. For G3, I should’ve used Ponder to shuffle my library in order to try to find Edict to beat the top-decked Dark Depths. But alas, the dream was dead.

Shallow Grave Living Wish Children of Korlis

Round 10: Mono-Black Reanimator with Dark Depth (same as Round 1 in Day 1) (1-2)

This time my opponent got his revenge.

Game 1 I flooded and Game 3 I died with no Green source to cast Assassin’s Trophy.

Round 11: Eldrazi Aggro (same as Round 5 in Day 1) 2-1

Game 1 I got smashed by an early Reality Smasher but then resolved a Baleful Strix and my opponent failed to find more threats. I used Hymn, K-Command, Decay, and Snapcaster Mage to get there.

Game 2 I was up big with Goyf and Baleful Strix, but screwed up when I didn’t all-in as my opponent top-decked a game-winning All Is Dust.

Game 3 my opponent mulliganed and drew the wrong half of his deck (the Chalice part) and I got there with Hymn into Snap Hymn, followed by Goyf and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Conclusion:

That’s all for my report! I think Czech Pile is fine if your metagame is full of grindy decks, but not so great if you have to face a lot of Eldrazi, Depths, or Goblins. I’m still working on the list, so If you have any ideas, please feel free to add me on Twitter and Discord. The Chinese Legacy metagame is quite interesting, so next time you’re in China for a tour, don’t forget to bring your Legacy deck!

chinese legacy

By Gao Jun

Twitter: @ReinhardtGao
Discord: ReinhardtGao|Save Green Decks#3639

Edited by Stephen Tang and Sean Brown. Find the original Chinese version here.

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