Strictly Eternal 101 – Fish are Friends, Not Food

Strictly Eternal 101 – Fish are Friends, Not Food

Howdy folks, it’s Joe again for another fine fresh episode of the The Deadliest Catch. Wait. No. That’s not quite right. We’ll get it one of these days, I’m sure, but for right now it’s another weekly dig at a spicy Legacy list.

This week we’ve got a list that we affectionately call “Calamari.” No, we’re not deep frying Magic cards and making them taste like sweet sweet desire (although that might be delicious, who knows). Instead we’re jamming creatures like Elder Deep-Fiend!

This is a Nic Fit list; all Nic Fit decks are based heavily on sacrificing Veteran Explorer to flashback Cabal TherapyLegacy overall is filled with decks that run very few basics (1-2 max), with some decks running no basics at all. This means the ramp provided by Veteran Explorer is often one-sided. Even playing against decks that have multiple basics (Death and Taxes comes to mind) they often can’t use them well because their game plan is too efficient to make use of the extra mana.


This version is a BUG-flavored list. It leans on good BUG creatures like Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Baleful Strix while also playing Fierce Empath with Primeval Titan and the aforementioned Elder Deep-Fiend.

Let’s take a look at the list, shall we?


Creatures (19)

3 Baleful Strix

2 Deathrite Shaman

1 Elder Deep-Fiend

1 Fierce Empath

2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest

1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

1 Primeval Titan

2 Tireless Tracker

2 Vendilion Clique

4 Veteran Explorer

Planeswalkers (4)

2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

1 Liliana, the Last Hope

1 Nissa, Vital Force

Instants/Sorceries (12)

2 Abrupt Decay

4 Cabal Therapy

2 Collective Brutality

4 Green Sun’s Zenith

Artifacts (1)

1 Sword of Feast and Famine

Enchantments (4)

1 Mirri’s Guile

2 Pernicious Deed

1 Search for Azcanta

Lands (24)

2 Bayou

3 Forest

2 Island

3 Misty Rainforest

1 Phyrexian Tower

2 Polluted Delta

2 Swamp

2 Tropical Island

2 Underground Sea

4 Verdant Catacombs

1 Volrath’s Stronghold

Sideboard (15)

1 Collective Brutality

1 Emrakul, the Promised End

2 Lost Legacy

2 Mindbreak Trap

1 Pulse of Murasa

2 Sorcerous Spyglass

3 Surgical Extraction

2 Toxic Deluge

1 Umezawa’s Jitte

This list is incredibly spicy. One thing to notice right off the bat is that the main deck is actually 64 cards! No cantrips! Insanity! Rioting in the streets!

Actually, the toolbox nature of the deck (Green Sun’s Zenith being a big part of that) means that it’s pretty easy to just jam a few more cards than normal in the deck without repercussion.

As I am wont to do, I took the list for a little spin on XMage for some fun, and to see what kind of trouble I could get into. I played against several decks, and a few things stood out. Primarily how busted and crazy Search for Azcanta is.

If you’ve never played with this card, it can be hard to evaluate properly. If you HAVE played with it … you already know. Search for Azcanta is an insanely powerful Magic card. In a game against Tin Fins (a hybrid Storm/Reanimator deck) I managed to keep my opponent completely off having things to do solely on the back of a flipped Azcanta. It filtered me to exactly what I needed at every moment; no other card would have done that. (It’s also worth noting that I managed to not only flip Azcanta in both games, but my opponent also apparently forgot about Leovold, Emissary of Trest in a game with a reanimated Griselbrand in play.)

I played against a few other standouts, including Red/White DnT with Magus of the Moon, which actually wrecked me hard in one game. Even with a Search for Azcanta filtering my draws I drew nothing but green cards and had no way to cast them. (I did manage to put them in a poorer position in the follow-up game; Vendilion Clique holding an Umezawa’s Jitte. Rough spot for them, for sure.)

However, the best game I think I played the entire time with the deck was against another BUG Nic Fit list. One thing to note about programs like XMage and Magic Online is that each player has a clock. One of the big reasons behind using shortcuts to play, and automatically passing priority in certain scenarios, is that it saves time. By default, the clock is set to 25 minutes per player; managing your time is an important thing to know.

This game versus the BUG Nic Fit list took literally all of our time. Thankfully I was slightly ahead on clock, so no matter what I could win the match on time. But that was only because I spent the entire game fighting tooth and nail to scrape out a win. This opponent played the who’s who of Planeswalkers: Jace, Nissa, Garruk (the big scary green/black one), and even Liliana Vess made an appearance.

I played Elder Deep-Fiend. In fact, throughout the course of the game I cast the same Elder Deep-Fiend three times, including a scenario where my opponent attempted to kill it with Garruk, Apex Predator and I sacrificed it to Phyrexian Tower to put it back on top of my library with Volrath’s Stronghold, drew it with a Clue token I had set up from Tireless Tracker, and then re-cast the giant squiddie immediately with Emerge to tap down his field.

In the end I lost the game, but I won the war. Elder Deep-Fiend proved invaluable to this strategy. Even though I lost to his Jace, the Mind Sculptor ultimate, the game was still pretty insane.


Wrapping Up

That’s all the time I have for the spice list of the week. I am hoping to always find a few more spicy lists here or there. I have yet to accurately discuss my experience playing Jeskai Delver with Steppe Lynx, so there’s always an opportunity to find something fun in the format to mess around with.

Furthermore, I’m probably gonna write another opinion piece at some point. The topic? Gitaxian Probe.

Ruminations abounds.

Join me next time on Martha Stewart Living!

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