This Week in Legacy — Deck Tech: Czech Pile

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Howdy folks! Joe here again with some new hot takes on getting more Legacy content into your brain! This week we're going to start with a new concept: Focusing specifically on certain deck techs for various Legacy archetypes. In addition, at some point I'm going to be working on a budget Legacy guide as well as transitioning from Modern to Legacy columns. I got a lot of great suggestions from people, which was very helpful for where I should take this column in the future.

This week, however, we're going to be focusing on a rather new addition to Legacy, but certainly one that has got people talking: Czech Pile.

What is Czech Pile?

Czech Pile, otherwise known as 4C Control, is a primarily Blue/Black–based midrange control deck that splashes Red and Green for certain spells/functionality. The deck is notorious for just "piling in" all of Legacy's best creatures and spells—from Snapcaster Mage to Kolaghan's Command—all tied together by everyone's favorite one-mana Planeswalker: Deathrite Shaman.

The origins of the deck take place right after the printing of Conspiracy: Take the Crown, with the advent of Leovold, Emissary of Trest. The deck's style was popularized by Tomas Mar (who is the infamous Czech the deck's name refers to), as well as by MTGO user pellenik and Pro Magic players like Oliver Tiu and Noah Walker.

The strategy of the deck is relatively simple: Play all of the best cards in the Legacy format. Because of this, the deck has answers for almost every situation by being able to leverage the strength of its cantrips, Snapcasters, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Modern all-star Kolaghan's Command finally has its strength realized in Legacy through the prominence of this deck.

The deck is not without weakness however, as sometimes the deck has trouble closing out games quickly because it seeks to grind with its opponents. The deck also has one of the most color-intensive, nonbasic-heavy manabases in the entire format, so Blood Moon is a serious contention to the deck.

In addition, the deck is also one of the most expensive decks in Paper at the moment, due its hardcore manabase. However, if you enjoy decks that grind well, play a good control game, and have generally good match-ups against most of the format, this deck may be for you.

The Core of Czech Pile

At its base, the core cards of Czech Pile are generally considered to be the following:

4 Deathrite Shaman
2–4 Baleful Strix
2–4 Snapcaster Mage
1–2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
3–4 Force of Will
0–2 Counterspell
2 Fatal Push
0–2 Lightning Bolt
0–2 Abrupt Decay
1–2 Kolaghan's Command
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
20 lands

In general, these are the most commonly accepted core slots of the entire deck. For the most part, the deck hinges greatly on the presence of Deathrite Shaman, without which the deck would likely not even exist, since the color splashing only works because of the little Elf that Could.

Decklists

Let's take a look at some different decklists, shall we?

Czech Pile — Chris Hawker | 6th Place SCG Legacy Classic Washington 10/29/17

Creatures (13)
3 Baleful Strix
4 Deathrite Shaman
2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
4 Snapcaster Mage

Planeswalkers (3)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Liliana, the Last Hope

Instants/Sorceries (24)
4 Brainstorm
2 Fatal Push
4 Force of Will
2 Hymn to Tourach
3 Kolaghan's Command
2 Lightning Bolt
4 Ponder
2 Thoughtseize
1 Toxic Deluge

Lands (20)
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
3 Bloodstained Mire
1 Island
4 Polluted Delta
3 Scalding Tarn
1 Swamp
1 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
2 Volcanic Island

Sideboard (15)
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Diabolic Edict
2 Flusterstorm
1 Golgari Charm
2 Hymn to Tourach
1 Hydroblast
1 Izzet Staticaster
2 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
3 Surgical Extraction

As we can see, Chris's decklist shares many of the core cards presented earlier; however, Chris opts to shave Abrupt Decay from the main deck to the sideboard in favor of a more proactive plan in Thoughtseize and Hymn to Tourach. Hymn in general is an incredibly strong card—especially when paired with Snapcaster Mage—capable of tearing apart an opponent's hand quickly enough that games can simply be over then and there.

Also maindeck, Chris is running Liliana, the Last Hope, which is super spicy and very interesting.

Now let's see what happens when someone tries to "play" with the formula so to speak.

Czech Pile — Clashed | 6–0 MTGO Legacy Challenge 10/22/17

Creatures (12)
3 Baleful Strix
4 Deathrite Shaman
1 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
1 Notion Thief
3 Snapcaster Mage

Planeswalkers (6)
2 Dack Fayden
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Liliana, the Last Hope

Instants/Sorceries (20)
4 Brainstorm
1 Diabolic Edict
2 Fatal Push
3 Force of Will
1 Kolaghan's Command
3 Ponder
3 Punishing Fire
1 [[Rise // Fall]]
1 Thoughtseize
1 Toxic Deluge

Enchantments (1)
1 Search for Azcanta

Lands (21)
1 Badlands
3 Grove of the Burnwillows
2 Island
4 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Swamp
1 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
2 Volcanic Island

Sideboard (15)
1 Bitterblossom
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Duress
1 Flusterstorm
1 Hydroblast
1 Invasive Surgery
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Pulse of Murasa
2 Pyroblast
1 Rise // Fall
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Thoughtseize

This list is crazy insane with the hot combination of Notion Thief and Dack Fayden and the Punishing Fire + Grove of the Burnwillows setup as well, but the real spice is in the one-of Search for Azcanta. This card is legitimately powerful, providing a strong filtering effect pre-flip, and a powerful card selection engine post-flip.

Let's take a look at a third list, shall we?

Czech Pile — J.A.Eliso | 5–0 MTGO Legacy League 10/24/17

Creatures (14)
3 Baleful Strix
4 Deathrite Shaman
1 Gurmag Angler
1 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
2 Leovold, Emissary of Trest
3 Snapcaster Mage

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Instants/Sorceries (25)
1 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
1 Diabolic Edict
2 Fatal Push
4 Force of Will
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Kolaghan's Command
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Ponder
1 Thoughtseize
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Unearth

Lands (20)
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
2 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp
1 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
1 Verdant Catacombs
2 Volcanic Island

Sideboard (15)
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Arcane Laboratory
1 Diabolic Edict
2 Flusterstorm
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Hydroblast
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Nihil Spellbomb
3 Pyroblast
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Sylvan Library

This list seeks to grind a little more value out of things while giving the deck a way to quickly close out games in the form of Gurmag Angler. Unearth is a nice addition to recur every other creature in the deck, from dead Baleful Strix to a perished Leovold, Emissary of Trest. In fact the card is especially useful because early game it can be cycled if it isn't needed and then flashed back by Snapcaster Mage when it is.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it folks, a little look into Legacy's newest kid on the block. We're going to do some more of these brief looks at various decks ongoing, and I most assuredly will take requests. I wanted to get Czech Pile out of the way because it is relatively new to the format and it is a reasonably strong deck that really rewards grindy play and effort into understanding lines.

Until next time, folks!

Joseph Dyer is an avid Legacy enthusiast. He's admin of the /r/NicFitMTG subreddit, as well as a regular participant on the Source and MTGLegacy subreddits. His knowledge of the Legacy format is deeply rooted in constant analysis, playtesting, and lots of discussion of the format. Joseph's primary accomplishments include a 10–5 finish at GP Columbus 2016 with Rhino Fit, and a 32nd place finish at a SCG Columbus Legacy Classic with Sneak Fit. 

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