Deck Guide of the Day: Sultai Opposition

Today, right before the European Eternal Weekend, we’re going to talk about a Legacy deck. This deck made Top 8 of the Bazaar of Moxen in the hands of Pierre Canali.

The centerpiece of this deck is a card you almost never see in competitive play. Opposition used to be a multi format all star. The combo with cards like Squirrel’s Nest, Deranged Hermit, or other token producers is obvious, but Canali uses Opposition as a lock piece in what looks closer to an Elf deck than anything else. Not only can your creatures keep their mana sources locked down, but their big creature is never getting across.

opposition

Opposition is essentially a green card. There aren’t many decks that have played the powerful enchantment without pairing it with green. Being able to play mana accelerators that turn into Vindicates later in the game is already an excellent shell. Mana creatures tend to go dead late in the game and are usually poor topdecks. When they have powerful abilities to go with their mana production, in addition to being Opposition enablers, mana creatures start looking awesome.

The two best are Noble Hierarch and Deathrite Shaman. Both help to give you additional reach and can provide the blue mana you need for Opposition.

noble-hierarchdeathrite-shaman

The card advantage duo of 2 drops is what really stands out to me about this deck. Elvish Visionary and Coiling Oracle are card advantage engines wrapped around small creatures. Just look at what these creatures have to offer if you have an Opposition in play!

elvish-visionarycoiling-oracle

The deck also offers a number of combos with these Elves. And the key enabler is Wirewood Symbiote. It isn’t nearly as powerful here since you aren’t actually planning to combo, but returning Visionary or Oracle to your hand to continue to generate an advantage every turn can help to win attrition battles. Keep in mind that you can use the Symbiote during each turn, so you can bounce and replay an Elf during your turn, bounce it again during your opponent’s turn, and then cast, bounce, and cast again on your own!

wirewood-symbiote

Shardless Agent is just a step above the value of an Oracle or Visionary. It costs an additional mana, but hitting an additional creature or powerful spell to go along with your 2/2 is going to put in some serious work with Opposition. It certainly doesn’t do quite the same crazy tricks as it may in Shardless BUG with Brainstorm and Ancestral Vision, but value is value. Craterhoof Behemoth is also here, just like in the regular Elves strategies throughout Legacy. There is only one copy in the deck, because you don’t want to draw multiples, or often even the single one you have, when you can tutor for it, but it’s important to have that potential win condition.

shardless-agentcraterhoof-behemoth

Green Sun’s Zenith is the glue that holds these types of decks together. When you see the Zenith, you can be sure to find some Dryad Arbors (at zero) as well for the turn 1 ramp spell. You also have the Hierarchs and the Shamans to search for at 1, the Symbiote silver bullet to enable some crazy combos, all of those two mana card advantage creatures at 2, and then a Craterhoof Behemoth when you have lots of guys in play and are ready to win the game. Garruk Wildspeaker is a head turner. Garruk didn’t see tons of play in Standard and has barely been touched in Modern, so to see it in Legacy is a bit unexpected. It combines with Gaea’s Cradle to produce a ton of mana, and continually creates creatures to use under Opposition. If your opponent is also reasonably locked, you can tick Garruk up and prepare to win the game as quickly as possible.

green-suns-zenithdryad-arborgarruk-wildspeakergaeas-cradle

Gitaxian Probe is a free spell that gives you information while also making it as if you’re playing a 56 card deck, and the combination with Cabal Therapy is huge. Probe plus Therapy is a turn 1 play that can win the game on the spot, while a blind Cabal Therapy is a powerful tool on its own. You’re also playing a deck with tons of card advantage creatures, so sacrificing one to flashback Therapy and wreck their hand is awesome here. Abrupt Decay is all purpose removal. It kills many problematic creatures and it’s the best answer to Counterbalance you have. It’s only truly great against the UU enchantment, but it has uses in most matchups.

gitaxian-probecabal-therapyabrupt-decay

Now here’s the full decklist:

Creature (20):

4 Noble Hierarch
3 Deathrite Shaman
1 Wirewood Symbiote
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Coiling Oracle
3 Shardless Agent
1 Craterhoof Behemoth

Spells (21):

4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Cabal Therapy
3 Abrupt Decay
3 Opposition
3 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 Green Sun’s Zenith

Lands (19):

2 Bayou
2 Dryad Arbor
1 Forest
3 Gaea’s Cradle
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Tropical Island
1 Underground Sea
3 Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard (15):

1 Reclamation Sage
2 Dismember
1 Scavening Ooze
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Thoughtseize
3 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Spellskite
3 Winter Orb
1 Pithing Needle

The comments on this deck generally revolved around it “looking like a pile of cards”, which only makes it that much more awesome to see it have tons of success in one of the world’s biggest Legacy events. There are so many different directions you can take this deck and I feel tons of slots, both in the main and sideboard, are up for debate.

Thanks for reading,

Andreas

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