U/B Shackles by truckis on MtGO

Creatures (4)
4 Snapcaster Mage

Non-Creature Spells (36)
4 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Ponder
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
2 Diabolic Edict
4 Fatal Push
4 Force of Will
2 Spell Snare
2 Vedalken Shackles
2 Back to Basics

Lands (20)
1 Flooded Strand
8 Island
4 Polluted Delta
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Swamp
2 Underground Sea

Sideboard (15)
2 Engineered Explosives
2 Flusterstorm
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
2 Notion Thief
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Thing in the Ice
2 Thoughtseize
1 Toxic Deluge


Legacy control decks tend to have very different flavors and cards, but share an overarching strategy: control the game until you can safely win the game. Like the deck we’re featuring today, most of these decks aim to bury the opponent in card advantage while trading one for one until the opponent is simply overwhelmed.

This deck, like many other blue control decks in format, uses both Snapcaster Mage and Jace, the Mind Sculptor as two very reliable ways of consistently gaining card advantage when cast. Snapcaster Mage rebuys any spell cast earlier in the game, while Jace, the Mind Sculptor is a must-answer planeswalker that provides card advantage turn after turn, while controlling the board and offering a win condition on its own.

What separates this control deck from many others is two cards: Vedalken Shackles and Back to Basics. Vedalken Shackles demands that you play a high proportion of islands, but it offers a powerful creature kill spell that steals creatures, uses them to block the opponent’s other creatures, and can be a win condition on its own. As the game progresses, it quickly steals the opponent’s best creature for the duration of the game. Back to Basics also contorts your mana base to a certain extent, but it rewards you heavily for playing a lot of basics. Legacy is constantly filled with greedy mana bases, so being able to punish them gives this deck a different game plan.

Like all other classic control decks, this deck relies heavily on draw spells and counter spells to enact its game plan. For draw spells, this deck plays the usual suspects in Ponder and Brainstorm, but also has the full 4 copies of Ancestral Vision, with no way of cheating it into play. Instead, this deck must wait the full number of turns, showing that the deck wants to and is happy to play the long game. For counter spells, Force of Will is expected, but Spell Snare is slightly less common and the full 4 copies of Counterspell is perhaps even less expected, again showing that this deck is more interested in consistency through the long game than short-term power.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:


-2 Spell Snare

+2 Diabolic Edict


-1 Liliana, the Last Hope

-2 Thing in the Ice

+2 Thoughtseize

+1 Toxic Deluge

This is day 250 of Spellsnare.com’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 249 here, where we featured a Modern control deck that forgoes blue entirely!

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