Intro to ANT

January 7, 2017

An intro to Legacy and an ANT Primer

Emanuele Giusti

22 Years Old
Winner of GP Rimino 2008
Winner of GP Brussels 2010

More Posts (4)

Hi everybody!

In my last articles I talked a lot about the various standard archetypes and their developments especially about Jund, but today I want to leave aside the standard format and focus on Legacy.

For those unfamiliar with the format, you need to know that in legacy you can play cards from all the expansions except for some banned cards.
You can find the banned list here

Then it’s a format that allows you to build a lot of decks/archetypes, because we have all the cards of magic available, in my opinion it is very fun to play! And Wizards even began to organize GPs in the format, making it much more competitive than before, as it was seen as a niche format like vintage.

The reason why legacy is so funny is that whatever happens there, there will be always many tier 1 decks, but none of them is dominant over the other. In addition there are also many tier 2 decks that can win against some tier 1 decks. From my point of view, legacy is a kind of a “Rock-Paper-Scissor” format. To clarify a bit of these ideas, here are three different types of decks:

UGr Threshold by Samuele Estratti


4 Delver of Secrets
4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Tarmogoyf


2 Spell Snare
2 Spell Pierce
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Stifle
4 Daze
4 Ponder
2 Chain Lightning


4 Wasteland
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Flooded Strand
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island


2 Sulfuric Vortex
2 Dismember
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Surgical Extraction
2 Flusterstorm
3 Submerge
3 Red Elemental Blast
1 Rough-Tumble



The strategy is quite simple, you have to put pressure with one creature like Nimble Mongoose or Delver of Secrets (that is always flipped thanks to cards like Ponder and Brainstorm )and take your time to kill opponents thanks to counters and mana denial with Stifle and Wasteland
This deck is perfect for people that want to win in a few turns but meanwhile they want to counter stuff or simply destroy the opponent’s mana sources.

Omni-Tell by Jesse Liu


1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn


3 Cunning Wish
3 Pact of Negation
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Enter the Infinite
4 Show and Tell
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
2 Gitaxian Probe
3 Dream Halls
4 Omniscience


10 Island
3 City of Traitors
2 Polluted Delta
2 Flooded Strand
2 Misty Rainforest
1 Scalding Tarn


2 Defense Grid
4 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Eladamri’s Call
1 Flusterstorm
1 Intuition
1 Pact of Negation
1 Release the Ants
1 Rushing River
1 Sapphire Charm
1 Slaughter Pact
1 Trickbind



The strategy is the same as all combo decks, search all the pieces as soon as possible and do the combo before you run out of life. Here, the combo is with 3 Cards: you need Show and Tell for Omniscience to cast Enter the Infinite put Emrakul, the Aeons Torn as top card and win with Release the Ants always winning the clash thanks to the big guy on top! Or if you are lucky you can put the 1-of Emrakul in play with Show and Tell and win but that rarely happens.

Esper Deathblade by Todd Anderson


1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Vendilion Clique
4 Dark Confidant
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Stoneforge Mystic


2 Abrupt Decay
3 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Ponder
2 Thoughtseize
1 Detention Sphere
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Batterskull
1 Umezawa’s Jitte


1 Bayou
1 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Karakas
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Scrubland
1 Tropical Island
2 Marsh Flats
2 Tundra
3 Underground Sea
3 Wasteland
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta


2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Meddling Mage
1 Notion Thief
1 Detention Sphere
1 Disenchant
1 Force of Will
3 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Supreme Verdict
2 Thoughtseize



This is a control deck that plays only creatures that make card advantage plus removal, counters and a huge closer like Jace, the Mind Sculptor which is a big problem for everyone. If you like the card advantage strategy this is absolutely your deck!

As you can see these three decks are completely different but at the same time competitive and each one is a good choice for a tournament, just depends on your game style!

After this quick introducition to legacy I want to talk about the deck i play in tournaments here in Italy.
Here’s the list:

ANT by Emanuele Giusti


1 Ad Nauseam
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Dark Ritual
1 Preordain
1 Past in Flames
1 Tendrils of Agony
3 Burning Wish
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Duress
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Infernal Tutor
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal


4 Polluted Delta
3 Scalding Tarn
1 Badlands
1 Island
1 Swamp
1 Volcanic Island
1 Tropical Island
2 Underground Sea


2 Chain of Vapor
2 Empty the Warrens
1 Past in Flames
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Massacre
1 Pyroclasm
1 Cabal Therapy
3 Defense Grid
1 Reverent Silence
1 Shattering Spree



The deck works like this: with the various rituals, get enough mana, and then with Infernal Tutor and an empty hand, search for Past in Flames and recast all the rituals, then close the game with Tendrils of Agony or, if you don’t have enough rituals but still managed to make seven mana, take Ad Nauseam with the Tutor to find the rituals that you need and another Infernal Tutor or Burning Wish to close the game, always with Tendrils.

This main deck is quite standard but I did some changes in the sideboard and now I’ll explain my choices:

Almost everyone has in their sideboard Abrupt Decay as the solution to all the problems that cost 3 or less but I prefer Chain of Vapor because it only costs one mana and can solve problems like Leyline of Sanctity, the only difference is that Abrupt Decay is stronger against those who play Counterbalance but against those decks we can still discard it or close the game before they assemble the combo. (Sensei’s Divining Top plus Counterbalance

Nobody plays Defense Grid, but in my opinion it’s very useful because aside from preventing the opponent from playing counterspells on your turn, it forces him to play cards like Snapcaster Mage, Vendilion Clique or Brainstorm in sorcery speed.

I play two Empty the Warrens against Mono Red or UGr Threshold, because Ad Nauseam is useless unless we win on the first turn, we never have enough life to play it so against these decks, we put in an Empty instead of Ad Nauseam and one remains in the side as a target for Burning Wish

I think this deck is very strong and now I’ll try to explain why:

This deck can win on the first turn if the opponent doesn’t play, or doesn’t have in his starting hand Force of Will and with Gitaxian Probe we can understand when we can go for the combo, besides being a combo and playing cards to search the pieces you also have a discarding part which has the double function of protecting the combo and at the same time to slow down the strategies of other decks. Like all combos there are cards that can stop it, but main deck only a few decks use it and in any case due to Burning Wish we can find a solution, for example if we play against decks with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben which usually also have Mother of Runes to protect her from removal we still have a solution thanks to Burning Wish for Massacre. So that’s why I recommend you try this deck and you will not regret it.

I hope you enjoyed, Comment here and ask any question and I’ll answer them.

See you !


Recent posts