L.A. Dreams: The Hawkward Truth About Legacy
If you had asked people what is a great draw 3 spell for legacy just a few weeks ago, there would have been a lot of people answering with Standstill. You spend 2 mana, draw 3 cards after your opponent casts anything? It seems pretty good. It is a good card, but had some major flaws. It’s power scales disproportionately to your opponents skill level.
Good players learned how to play against the two mana enchantment often forcing you to pop your own Standstill. It was pushed into decks with stoneforge because you can have a much stronger clock on people before casting your Standstill so that they could not really afford to play around it as much. This was still very underwhelming because they could still kill your clock and leave you back pedaling with a dead card in hand. Especially a dead card that often can’t be played until turn 3 or 4 in a Stoneforge strategy.
Then everyone began to hype Ancestral Visions. It’s only a single blue mana, and you draw three cards without losing to mental misstep? I liked the sounds of this! This fit the curve on turn 1 where you can just tap out for this since you’d have mental misstep for their turn one play. You also never had to worry about your opponent getting 3 cards for free off of you. Yes they can Misdirection it, but they only net one card if they do.
I’ve played with Ancestral Visions in my deck for a bit now. I can honestly say, it’s where Standstill was a few weeks ago. A few pros made a small upgrade and people are following without thinking. That’s not to say the card sucks by any means, but I am sure people don’t realize just what the cost you pay is.
You are tapping out a sorcery speed. If you are on the draw and know you need to spell snare you are in trouble. Sometimes even on the play you would rather have Spell Snare. Ancestral Visions is powerful on turn one, but it does take 4 turns to get the cards. So every turn after the first you’re taking the time to cast this spell for no benefit until a long way down the line. Drawing them when you are top decking is literally just garbage. When you really need the draw you have to wait. Losing cards and waiting for some draw is not what I want to be doing with stoneforge.
It is at this point that I will be called crazy by a lot of people.
PLAY SQUADRON HAWK IN LEGACY. This only really applies to the stoneforge decks that want to stick to U/W since that’s the deck that wants the Ancestral Visions and Standstill.
I would probably even just play hawks and stick to U/W instead of splashing for something like Dark Confidant. If splashing for Black isn’t worth it in Standard I’m pretty sure in a faster format I’d rather have better mana and more counters.
One of the biggest debates I’ve had on this idea is that Hawk will never draw you into your good spells. That would be true, except that Hawk becomes an incredible threat with stoneforge in the same deck. My question to people is what sword makes the hawks bad? When you really think about Legacy, how many fliers do you run into? Blinkmoth, Ornithopter, a leveled Coralhelm Commander? If they can’t kill your sword, your hawk will be getting in.
The second argument I hear is that it cost 2 mana at sorcery speed. So does Standstill. Standstill only cost 2 once, but it also makes the game more reactive and doesn’t give you a body that can carry swords.
You know what point legitimately concerns me about hawk? The fact that it’s not blue so I can’t discard it to Force of Will. 24 Land, 4 Stoneforge, 4 Hawks, 2 Equipment, 4 Swords to plow means that I have 22 Blue cards in the Deck. While I have had some issues with not having a blue card, I’ve had the same issue when I ran Ancestral or Standstill.
You are planning for the games to go a bit longer, so why not have creatures to beat down with once they deal with stoneforge? When the creature draws you 3 cards, not counting brainstorm/jace and fetch combos, you have no reason not to even consider the strategy.
I have found feast and famine to be my second equipment of choice so far. Being able to hard cast Force of Wills after playing a jace is just so amazing. I have a fair bit more testing to do.
One of the things I have changed most from other stoneforge decks is the amount of fetchlands. I want my mana. I want my life total. With those things in mind why am I going to run 7-9 fetchs? I’m currently at 5 and may try 4 and 6 at some point.
It’s very possible I fit Umezawa’s Jitte into the main deck since I have so many creatures to equip it onto.
Squadron Hawk CAN win races against Tarmogoyf and Knight of the Reliquary if you do things right. I sign off with my accidental discovery of legacy Hawks in a Legacy Daily where I didn’t have brainstorms before the event started.