Maverick Deck Tech

Maverick Deck Tech

What is Maverick?

Maverick first appeared on the scene in 2009 with the release of the second set of the Shards of Alara block: Conflux. Most of the cards from the archetype come from Conflux. Here is a sample of one of the original Maverick builds:

Maverick

Creatures (26)
Eternal Witness
Gaddock Teeg
Knight of the Reliquary
Mother of Runes
Noble Hierarch
Qasali Pridemage
Scavenging Ooze
Scryb Ranger
Stoneforge Mystic
Terravore
Thrun, the Last Troll

Artifacts (3)
Batterskull
Sword of Fire and Ice
Umezawa’s Jitte

Enchantments (1)
Sylvan Library

Instants (4)
Swords to Plowshares

Sorceries (4)
Green Sun’s Zenith

Lands (22)
Dryad Arbor
Forest
Gaea’s Cradle
Horizon Canopy
Karakas
Misty Rainforest
Plains
Savannah
Wasteland
Windswept Heath
Sideboard (15)
Bojuka Bog
Choke
Circle of Protection: Red
Enlightened Tutor
Ethersworn Canonist
Life from the Loam
Maze of Ith
Path to Exile
Phyrexian Metamorph
Sword of Light and Shadow
Tormod’s Crypt

Maverick was originally a Green White deck that incorporated a wide range of strategies to disrupt and overwhelm opponents. The core of Maverick decks include Mother of Runes, Knight of the Reliquary, mana dorks, and Green Sun’s Zenith to build a deck that provides a steady stream of consistently protected threats and numerous ways to find them.

While Maverick used to be a Legacy staple powerhouse, it has fallen on hard times over the last couple of years with the introduction of Terminus, Rest in Peace, and Deathrite Shaman, all of which can lead a graveyard dependent creature deck to an early defeat. In the end, Maverick is a creature based deck, so strategies that prey on creature decks can cause Maverick problems with relatively minimal disruption.

However, despite all of the opposition that has been printed, Maverick has also received significant power ups as well. Maverick can now add Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Council’s Judgment and incorporate a new color and play its own copies of Deathrite Shaman and Abrupt Decay. With the inclusion of Black, we can cut Sylvan Library and add another bear: Dark Confidant. Playing Dark Confidant lets us continue our natural game plan of providing a steady stream of bodies to confuse and overwhelm our opponent. This adaptation shows that Maverick has enough versatility to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. By adding a bit of diversity and additional utility to the deck, it can cause headaches for your opponents as they attempt to figure out what direction your attacks will be coming from.

Why Maverick?

I have been playing Maverick, in one for m or another, for over a year because it offers me the greatest customization and plays to my personal play style. Knight of the Reliquary has become my favorite Magic card to play, and Maverick is a great deck to abuse her utility. Maverick has all the tools it needs to put up a fighting chance against every deck in the current meta, and even though it auto-wins against only a handful of decks, it has the ability to avoid auto-losing to every other deck it faces. The resilience it has to stay alive against surmounting odds is a great reason to devote time and effort to learning how best to pilot Maverick in Legacy. It is important to emphasize that in a format as diverse as Legacy, having no auto-losses is an incredible achievement.

The Deck

The list I will be showing off is one of the many variations I have successfully played over the last year to show the versatility and flexibility of the archetype and how it can evolve to greatness in an ever changing meta.

This version of Maverick includes Black for additional flexibility and incredible removal in both the main deck and sideboard. Dark Confidant is a consistent way to outdraw your opponents; Abrupt Decay to deal with many of the problematic permanents your opponents might play against you; Zealous Persecution helps against tokens and give you that extra push you might need to alpha strike an unsuspecting opponent; while Thoughtseize, Tidehollow Sculler, Surgical Extraction, and Extirpate are great at destroying hands and graveyards.

Maverick’s greatest strength lies in the variety of utility it has available. Scryb Ranger provides you with some very useful utility and synergy with many of your other utility creatures like Knight of the Reliquary, Mother of Runes, and Deathrite Shaman to get an additional activation when needed; having Protection from Blue is a boon against a flipped Delver of Secrets to either block or swing through a wall of opposing fliers. Scryb Ranger also protects against Wasteland by bouncing your Bayou, Savannah, or Dryad Arbor, a truly invaluable utility when fixing your colors can be so crucial early in the game.

The Stoneforge Mystic package included in this version is geared specifically towards to my local meta, however all of the swords, Batterskull, and Umezawa’s Jitte can be useful depending on the opposition you are expecting. The package is useful for helping you find the right answer to any given situation and should be adapted depending on what you expect to play against. Batterskull gives both an extra body and valuable life gain against opposing attrition and poke style decks. Sword of Fire and Ice gives valuable protection against True-Name Nemesis and Young Pyromancer and her swarm of tokens. Sword of Body and Mind, a personal favorite, and Sword of Feast and Famine is fantastic against Shardless BUG decks. Sword of Light and Shadow helps swing through Monastery Mentor and his Monk companions to help bring back an endless wall of chump blockers while gaining a steady stream of life and avoiding two of the most prevalent removal spells in the format: Swords to Plowshares and Abrupt Decay. For a deck that loves to have just the right answer to any given scenario, the Stoneforge Mystic package sounds like a great addition.

The fifth mana dork in this deck is Noble Hierarch, but it can just as easily have been Birds of Paradise. I have played with both and find that choosing either one depends on the situation and how you plan on playing the deck. This list is only running two Knight of the Reliquarys and Wilt-Leaf Liege on the sideboard, so my play style with this deck is to get some larger creatures swinging instead of getting a mass of creatures to overwhelm my opponents, in this case Noble Hierarch is a good choice to combine with Qasali Pridemage for the extra Exalted triggers to scare my opponents in to blocking and protecting my smaller creatures from blockers. This is another example of the variety that Maverick can include when building it, I can choose to either lean on Exalted or change strategies and go with a larger board presence. Birds of Paradise is a flyer that can be equipped with the sword of your choice and can provide the right mana when I need it.

Dealing with Opposition

A good Maverick deck will always include some form of disruption to slow down or prevent your opponent’s deck from functioning properly. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Gaddock Teeg are great inclusions for the main deck, allowing you to come out ahead of your bad match-ups while minimizing the amount of luck you need to win. Making your opponent’s Brainstorms and Ponders cost an extra mana, or making Tendrils of Agony, Terminus, or Supreme Verdict uncastable allows you to just continue beating down your opponent with your bears.

Matchups

Delver

Maverick preys on decks that focus on Delver of Secrets. Many Delver decks focus on Spell Pierce and Daze, both which lose their value against an experienced player when they get mana dorks or play conservatively. Maverick also provides a steady stream of threats and even the most attrition-based build of Delver has a difficult time keeping pace with the sheer number of bodies Maverick can play.

Miracles

Without an early Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Gaddock Teeg winning game one against Miracles can be an uphill battle. Wasteland becomes a bane on your color fixing, since Miracles runs so many basics that Wasteland is almost never worth activating to destroy one of their non-basics. I have won many matches against Miracles on the backs of Dryad Arbor with the help of Windswept Heath and Verdant Catacombs to put them right back on the field after a timely Terminus. On the sideboard, Pithing Needle, Tidehollow Sculler, and the second Gaddock Teeg All help make the match more balanced, but it is still an uphill battle.

Combo

It is important for any competitive deck to reduce the damage bad match-ups will do to them, and Combo match-ups are the bane of any deck that doesn’t run a suite of counter magic. Maverick runs the hard disruptions of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Gaddock Teeg against Ad Nauseam in game one, stall tactics with Maze of Ith and Karakas against Reanimator, but the sideboard is filled with additional protection and further disruption for the worst match-ups. Ethersworn Canonist can shut down Storm and Elves, Tidehollow Sculler and Thoughtseize help rip combo pieces out of their hands, and Pithing Needle to shut down a troublesome Goblin Charbelcher, Sensei’s Divining Top, or Kuldotha Forgemaster.

The Tricks

Maverick has a prodigious amount of tricks available to it. Being able to swing with a large Knight of the Reliquary, deal combat damage, and then activate Maze of Ith to untap Knight of the Reliquary to give it pseudo-Vigilance is a boon when you are trying to provide a steady stream of increasing pressure to your opponent. Being able to perform a similar interaction when flashing Scryb Ranger on to the battlefield after a Knight of the Reliquary goes unblocked to untap the knight and activate her ability to gain an extra two points of damage by fetching for a Fetch Land and then another land can confuse your opponent and deal a surprising amount of damage without your opponent knowing what hit them. If your opponent has a lone Batterskull on the field to block your Knight of the Reliquary and you have a Qasali Pridemage, you can attack with Knight of the Reliquary trigger Exalted, and before blockers, activate Qasali Pridemage‘s ability to destroy the Batterskull allowing your Knight to connect with your opponent. You have an equipment on the battlefield, but no creatures on the field to equip it to; with a Windswept Heath or a Verdant Catacombs you can fetch Dryad Arbor at the end of your opponent’s turn to avoid their sorcery-speed removal and on your turn equip and swing in for a nice surprise attack.

Conclusion

While many see Maverick as a dead or dying deck that should not be taken seriously when comparing it to the current top tier powerhouses, but it is important to see that with some skill and ingenuity, Maverick has the power needed to compete with almost any other deck seeing play today. This is a deck that rewards good lines of play, and while it does not play itself, the flexibility and utility the deck offers just needs a little bit of patience to pilot to success based on what part of the deck you happen to draw.

Software Engineer and MTG Player

2 Comments

    1. Hello Sander,

      I will make sure the articles have dates of when they are posted.. To answer your questions..
      This article was written in the 1st week of January, 2016 and this deck is still being played in the Sunday Tournaments that SouthFloridaMagic runs at Docking Bay

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