Howdy folks! It's Joe again, and this time we're continuing our series into looking at the current best decks in the Legacy format with a look at a deck that is somewhat contentious in the format right now thanks to
Deathrite Shaman, 4-Color Control otherwise known as Czech Pile.
History of the Czech Republic
Czech Pile's emergence in the format came fairly soon after the release of Conspiracy: Take the Crown with the printing of
Leovold, Emissary of Trest. Despite Leovold's dominance in Reid Duke's GP Louisville winning BUG list, Leovold himself was already doing work in 4-color lists piloted by pros such as Tomas Mar (the infamous Czech behind the pile), Noah Walker, and Oliver Tiu.
However, the sheer dominance of Miracles overshadowed the strength of this deck, and it wasn't until the banning of
Sensei's Divining Top that the deck began to come more into the limelight and really take off. Today it is generally considered one of the Top 3 best decks of the format.
How the Czech Pile Rolls
Czech Pile is at its basic core a control deck. Specifically a blue/black control deck that splashes green and red to have access to various silver bullet cards in those colors such as
Kolaghan's Command, and
Lightning Bolt in addition to
Leovold, Emissary of Trest.
Czech Pile is a card advantage, silver bullet answer deck that often seeks to grind games out with its sheer ability to provide a response to just about anything that comes its way. The deck's weaknesses however, are that it sometimes has issues closing games out quickly and without
Deathrite Shaman to string things together, the 4-color manabase it plays can be highly susceptible to threats like
Blood Moon and
Back to Basics.
Let's take a look at some of the differing lists for this deck before we talk about the core cards this deck uses:
Czech Pile - HJ_Kaiser | Competitive Legacy League 5-0
1 Abrupt Decay 1 Badlands 4 Baleful Strix 1 Bayou 2 Bloodstained Mire 4 Brainstorm 1 Dead // Gone 4 Deathrite Shaman 1 Diabolic Edict 1 Fatal Push 4 Force of Will 3 Hymn to Tourach 1 Island 2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 3 Kolaghan's Command 2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest 2 Lightning Bolt 1 Murderous Cut 4 Polluted Delta 4 Preordain 4 Scalding Tarn 3 Snapcaster Mage 1 Swamp 1 Tropical Island 3 Underground Sea 2 Volcanic Island 2 Diabolic Edict 2 Flusterstorm 2 Marsh Casualties 1 Painful Truths 2 Pyroblast 1 Red Elemental Blast 4 Surgical Extraction 1 Toxic Deluge
This particular variant leans hard on the major core pieces of the deck and can pretty much be considered relatively "stock" for the variant, with the exception of a few spice inclusions such as
Dead // Gone. This version showcases the classic strength of the archetype with its advantage engine in
Snapcaster Mage and
Baleful Strix combined with
Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
Another variation on this deck brings in the combination of
Grove of the Burnwillows and
Punishing Fire, while eschewing the hate effect of Leovold for a more straightforward control aspect with an alternate game plan of being able to burn the opponent for at bare minimum 2 life per turn.
Punishing Czech - Clashed | Legacy Challenge 5-1
1 Abrupt Decay 1 Badlands 3 Baleful Strix 4 Brainstorm 1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance 3 Dack Fayden 4 Deathrite Shaman 1 Diabolic Edict 1 Fatal Push 4 Force of Will 3 Grove of the Burnwillows 2 Island 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 1 Kolaghan's Command 1 Lightning Bolt 1 Liliana, the Last Hope 4 Polluted Delta 3 Preordain 3 Punishing Fire 2 Rise // Fall 4 Scalding Tarn 3 Snapcaster Mage 1 Swamp 1 Thoughtseize 1 Toxic Deluge 1 Tropical Island 3 Underground Sea 2 Volcanic Island 1 Abrupt Decay 1 Diabolic Edict 1 Hydroblast 1 Inquisition of Kozilek 1 Marsh Casualties 1 Nihil Spellbomb 1 Notion Thief 1 Pernicious Deed 1 Phyrexian Revoker 1 Pulse of Murasa 2 Pyroblast 1 Spell Pierce 1 Surgical Extraction 1 Sylvan Library
As you can see this version tends to lean more on planeswalkers like
Dack Fayden and Jace in addition to the powerhouse that is
Liliana, the Last Hope to achieve its goal. The very spicy inclusion in this list is the 2 copies of
Rise // Fall.
The Core of the Deck
Now that we've seen the deck, let's talk about the core requirement cards here.
This deck would legitimately not be able to function without 4 copies of DRS. It allows the deck access to its splash colors for fixing as well as provides the deck a win condition for when it needs it.
Blue Deck Spells - Brainstorm / Force of Will / Preordain
Spells that generally end up in nearly every blue deck in Legacy. As of late, Czech Pile has been leaning harder on
Snapcaster is an important part of this variant, due to being able to flash back any silver bullet answer spell as well as provide a body to attack with. One of the most powerful lines with this guy is using
Kolaghan's Command and then flashing it back to get back a Snapcaster.
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
Leovold is an incredibly strong card that not only attacks, but provides much hate and grief for your opponent to get rid of. Sometimes this guy will win games all on his own.
This little birdy does quite a bit for this deck, from providing protection for its planeswalker threats to drawing cards, it's very powerful.
The Removal Suite - Lightning Bolt / Fatal Push / Kolaghan's Command
These spells are all generally strong silver bullets for this sort of deck.
Kolaghan's Command especially is extremely versatile when used in conjunction with
The Discard Suite - Hymn to Tourach / Thoughtseize
Another way that Czech Pile attacks its opponents is through attacking its opponent's hands, and
Hymn to Tourach and
Thoughtseize both do that quite well. Hymn used with Snapcaster can sometimes be back-breaking for an opponent to deal with.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
The premier four-drop threat in Legacy, Jace provides card selection, creature removal, and a win condition that also denies the opponent their best cards based on the situation at hand.
Beyond this core of spells, the sky really is the limit on what you can do with this deck, as it's basic ethos is running basically all the best cards in Legacy.
Thanks to the rise of decks like Lands and Sneak/Show,
Diabolic Edict has found its way into many different sideboards as a solid answer to decks that rely on singular threats to get the job done. Edict is a nice clean answer to Marit Lage, Reanimator, and all sorts of decks like this.
While generally being a powerful card in the Storm matchup,
Flusterstorm's utility is also solid enough when trying to push through a threat and making it stick while your opponent wastes their countermagic trying to get rid of it.
The graveyard hate of choice these days, Surgical provides a lot of utility as well versus combo decks by being able to strip a combo deck of its combo pieces post discard.
Deluge is a powerful catch-all answer to creature threat decks such as Elves! or other various creature based strategies like Death and Taxes.
That's all the time we have for this article, but I hope you are enjoying my continued delve into the Legacy format and showcase of some of its stronger decks. Next time we're going to be diving into the combo world with Legacy's most powerful spell-based combo variant: Storm!
Until next time, may all your Magic be eternal!