Aug. 1st, 2019

Fighting Fair with Flavors of Maverick

Competitive Edge
Fighting Fair with Flavors of Maverick

Recently I’ve been trying to avoid Modern as best I can, since Hogaak has basically taken over. And while Jund has risen to be a new-old star of the format yet again, the fair gameplay that I’ve grown to love doesn’t come out too often. So, I’ve tried to get that feeling from Legacy, and it’s been pretty good to me so far. Today we’re going to be looking at Maverick, everyone’s favorite Green/White deck, and all the variations that this strat has to offer. If you’re curious how a bunch of little kid creatures can combat the likes of ANT, Grixis Control, and more, you’re in for a treat.

The Rundown

First up, we’re going to talk about some common themes that Maverick has, regardless of what version you have. Maverick is a creature-based, toolbox style deck. The lists consist of several green colored hosers that are made to beat out any strategy you might face, as well as a playset of to grab out any and all of these bad boys (or actually, mainly girls, an Ooze, etc.). You want to get out one of these hosers in the right matchup. We’ll get into that more in a bit. We also have a playset of , to act as an avenue to a toolbox of lands that we run, as well as being a beater herself. She can get quite large, and definitely can be in charge.

We’re running as a way to disrupt our opponents fast starts, often after dropping , or using to fetch up a . Either way, Wasteland after ramp on the play is about as good as it gets. Not to mention that we can grab it off when we need to. Some lists vary for the next part, but most lists run a package of , somewhere between 2 and 4, as well as a collection of interesting equipment. Some smattering of , , , and can be expected if you see some Mystics. These help our beatdown plan as well as provide value via card draw (Fire and Ice), or complete board control (Jitte), or lifegain in a grindy matchup (Batterskull).

We also have in the list, which helps against combo like different Storm variants, and just generally disrupts our opponent. We don't have many non-creature spells, so in many matchups her effect is essentially one sided. And if she has equipped, you can get some fun interactions. Since Thalia has first strike, she gets to deal combat damage first. Then, in between first strike damage and normal damage, you can take counters of the Jitte to get rid of whatever pesky blockers might be in the way.

We also are running , usually between 2 and 4. These help protect your creatures against whatever nasty stuff your opponent is planning on doing, which means your disruption can potentially stick around longer.

The game is this: disrupt, and beat down. Your creatures can do both. And they can chip away until your opponent is toast. As simple as that.

The Toolbox

is probably one of the most important toolbox pieces in the 75, across all different versions of the deck. This is because it turns off so much. It turns off , and , which is great in relevant matchups. In the mirror, it turns off opposing s, though you do need to be careful of sequencing your hand so you don’t get trapped by it. But the best use of has to be how it just turns off Ad Nauseam Tendrils in game one, and severely crippled them in subsequent games. This is because ANT has no mainboard way of dealing with the Kithkin Cleric. And it turns off its main win condition, , since it’s cmc 4. In later games, they might bring in a bounce spell or to be able to deal with it, but that’s a lot of resources and time that you’ll be given.

Next up we have a super flexible card with , which in the last year has largely if not entirely ousted as the card of choice to deal with pesky artifacts and enchantments. Being able to kill a , maybe an opposing , is just very disruptive to players trying to abuse some mana. If you’re up against Burn, it can be a great way to get a turn or two back via its life gain ability. And if you so happen to need a 4/3 while it’s sitting in your hand, so be it. In a toolbox deck, flexibility gives some serious points, and has at least 3 going for it.

When people think of Maverick, they probably immediately think of this card. I know I do. In terms of toolbox beaters, she is the best around. First, she can get brought out via . Second, when using fetch lands and Wasteland, she can get pretty huge. And lastly, she can grab some samplings from our suite of Lands. We're running , , , with other potentials like or . Each of these have their own special niches where they really shine. can deal with almost anything Sneak and Show can put out (minus ), as well as a whole host of other threats. is basically a free cycle. is crazy ramp, which you can use on to find something huge (well, basically another ). is something that not too many decks run, but it has some interesting interaction with . Maze can only be used on attacking creatures, but technically the damage step occurs while the creature is still attacking. That means that you can attack with the Knight, untap it after damage, and keep it up ready to be used as a toolbox for your opponents turn.

is probably the best overall creature to get out across the board. It supports so much. It seems like a weird addition if you haven’t played much Maverick, but this card is one of the most important cards in the deck. It allows for some flexible and crazy lines. First up, it has protection from blue. That alone can blank and , which is pretty darn good. Next, it’s evasive, which is great when you hook up an equipment to it. And lastly, and most complexly, there’s the untap ability. With , it allows you to use another instance of Knight's land fetch ability. If you use it on , you get to get a bit of ramp, since you can tap your Forest before returning it to your hand. If you're down to a single land, this might even make it so you're not really missing land drops, since you can just the Forest you just bounced back onto the battlefield. The fact that it has flash means you can surprise opponents with a blocker, as well as have the Ranger untap something else to block (since you can use its ability on their turn as well). Super flexible, and one of the best things to get out.

There are other toolbox pieces that we'll see in other lists, like to help deal with annoying things in graveyards, even to deal with just lots and lots of stuff.

Running Through Lists

The first version we’re going to be looking at is just a plain Green/White version, with no splash. The idea of being straight GW is that the consistency that you gain from not having to deal with extra colors is better than any extra utility you might gain from a splash. Our mana can be a lot smoother when only focusing on two colors, which also gives us some leeway to use some more powerful lands. Here's a fairly standard list

GW Maverick

Pretty much all the usual suspects are in this list, with an addition of in one of our slot position, acting kind of like a psuedo for against lots of strategies. We have our highroller in place for ramping out crazy mana. We also have as a way to gather value over both creature and non-creature strategies, as we can try to be the monarch as long as possible.

Next up, we have an Abzan list that splashes black

Abzan Maverick

Splashing black allows us to also use fun stuff from the board like . We aren't running , but have a to help us eke out some board control or extra value with . Other than that, fairly similar to the previous list.

Next up, we're splashing some more for

Bant Leovold

In order to support some more colors, we need to start slotting in . The upside is that we can now have a new avenue of disruption / value with Leovold. Luckily already was getting us some blue that we weren't using, so the splash isn't as strained as some other decks might be.

Lastly, we have a more recent Naya list, splashing entirely for

Wrenn and Six Maverick

Here we're trying to get tons of value out of the newest (and only second) two mana planeswalker, . Being able to recur things like , or , or even just fetch lands just screams value. We're also running as a way to get back . Because of this, we also are using , since its 2 cmc. Being able to ping with gives us a whole new avenue of grinding out or opponent, while still toolboxing and being able to beat face when needed.

Wrapping Up

Because of the nature of the deck, Maverick is so flexible. It has so many slots that can be mixed and match, its hard to come up with a bad version. There are so many utility creatures that might make sense in any given meta, which is one the reasons that the deck is so good. Being able to fight fair against some of the most broken strategies in magic is a good feeling that just keeps on giving. Until next time!

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