How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Sky Noodle

December 9, 2020

12 minute read

John Ryan Hamilton

Since the advent of Yorion D&T about a month ago, there has been a decent amount of pushback from some of the community, either doubting the strength of or valuing the consistency of a 60 card deck. In lieu of fighting the exact same argument over and over again, I wanted to put all of my thoughts in one place so people could hear exactly what I had to say on the topic.

Drawing your Best Cards?

Let's start with the elephant in the room: “You draw your best cards less often.” This is the exact argument I hear time and time again when it comes to . It's been the strongest argument for not playing > 60 cards in your deck since… basically forever. The problem with this is that it doesn't fully address the situation, especially when you add into the math. The crux of this argument hinges on the idea that for the most part, your best cards are much better than whatever the “next best” cards you could use to replace them, and decks are fundamentally designed to want to draw and use their best cards.

This assumes that

  • the power level curve of your deck is fairly high (IE: your 1st best card is waaaaaay better than your 30th best card)

  • that you don't have similarly powerful cards to fill out the 61st+ card(s) in your deck

Powerful cards have fairly unique identities. In Death & Taxes, this argument takes the form of “You always want to draw , , , , etc.” In the world of 2020 Legacy, however, this argument does not bear nearly as much weight as it did in the past. We live in a world where the fair decks have more answers for , the combo decks care even less about your , and D&T itself needs less. A world where is arguably not even the best 2 drop hatebear in the deck (sorry , is busted). A world where mana denial is less powerful than maybe any other point in the format's history (at least since I started playing in 2013).

To expand upon the above analysis a little before jumping into the next one: Let's start with . I've never been less confident in loose keeps than I am with present day Legacy. The fair blue decks often have 6 forces to potentially stop turn 1 , everyone has , and control has on top of that. The mirror has . The combo decks are more about speed and less about fighting through your hate, making your flash hatebears less relevant at rebuilding boards.

I'm not saying isn't a good card in D&T. It's clearly still an extremely powerful mana cheat that can empower some strong starts. However, Death and Taxes these days can and will use most of its mana throughout the game, and risky keeps with but low land counts just don't cut it anymore. D&T is very competent at casting creatures and killing your opponent now. It has to be.

More than just

You don't need in your opening hands to beat people. has aged even more poorly than . She lines up worse vs almost every fair deck than she did 2 years ago, to the point where I've been shaving vs fair blue decks in postboard games. Since Death and Taxes can't disrupt the mana of opposing decks as reliably as it could in the past, the “tax” presented by is just drastically less impactful.

Unlike during most of Legacy's past, D&T now has access to an extremely powerful secondary maindeck hatebear in . Essentially: the power level curve of the 2 drop slot in D&T lies pretty flat, having access to that many similarly powerful hatebears means that the opportunity cost of not drawing a specific one is a fair bit lower. (I think it's entirely possible that 60 card D&T lists should even be on a 3 4 splits, but that's an argument for another day.)

Finally we get to the mana denial package. now exists. Your s suck vs control decks, your s don't take them off colors anymore. Even delver decks are trying to consistently cast 3 drops, and as such prioritizes hitting more land drops in deckbuilding composition, weakening D&T's ability to cheese wins with a and a . Over legacy's lifespan, D&T's role has shifted from a soft lockout deck (mana denial + getting much weaker in past years) to a much more grind-centric, control oriented deck. Leaning on your mana denial less in turn lessens your need to always draw to better use your and .

Extension of 60 Card Decklists

The other point is that the 80 card deck will naturally have to play some less powerful cards to make up for the extra slots. I'm not very confident this is true within the frame of D&T. Decklists have been workshopped to be an extension of 60 card lists, with the addition of a more robust package.

D&T is a deck that largely plays with the hand it's dealt. Oftentimes, even in 60 card lists, we have to make due with drawing a medium hatebear in a matchup it's not cut out for. And for D&T, a motley crew of medium creatures is the name of the game. The package does not dramatically decrease the average power level of cards in the deck, because a lot of the cards are just medium situational hatebears, and they always have been.

In addition, people love to talk about how much less likely to draw your good cards, but don't seriously take a look at the numbers. We aren't playing out here, 80 is very close to 60. Even with cards that have no replacement in the deck, like , the odds of seeing it are approximately 8% lower. You still have turn 1 in a fair number of your games, your good cards are still all very clearly in the deck and you still draw them. Essentially, your good cards are all still in the deck, the power level of D&T's cards lies very flat, and the opportunity cost of the extra cards is fairly low.

Now, with all that said, am I advocating just putting 80 cards in your deck just because your best cards are less good so it doesn't matter? No, of course not. Regardless of the severity of the downside, if there's no discernable upside, what would be the point? That's where a lot of people get lost in the weeds of the argument. Yes, obviously you draw your best cards less often, making your deck less consistent is bad, these are easy knee jerk reactions to make if there's no upside to this deckbuilding choice. But these arguments ignore the literal reason this deck exists: .

Praise the Noodle

It's impossible to quantify just how relevant a big expensive flickerwisp as a free 8th card in all of your hands is, so people naturally like to echo the same argument for not playing more than 60 cards we've been hearing for years. But putting in your deck is a much different can of worms than playing the 61st card “because your deck has a toolbox.” fundamentally shifts and empowers D&T's roles across a broad swath of matchups.

Like I mentioned earlier, D&T is much more of a control deck than a mana denial deck now. Especially with the addition of , we can focus a lot more on answering what the opponent is trying to do in the early to midgame before turning the corner. With that said, 60 card D&T just isn't cut out to keep pace with the value generators of 2020. , , and can all bury you in card advantage while also winning the game for your opponent.

Long gone are the days of grinding out miracles with + + chains. That plan doesn't win vs control anymore. Before playing , I was leaning hard into cards like or to lean into the aggressor plan vs control and slam the door shut before they could stabilize, because you just can't keep up anymore.

Vs Control

Enter: . It's no small feat to singlehandedly flip the control matchup on its head, but does just that. It's hard to understate just how powerful the addition of an extra card in every opening hand is in D&T, especially one that can flicker your entire board, easily netting 2+ cards in the process. It puts a ton of strain on snow to always have an answer ready for it, similar to having or , except it's 100% to be in every hand now.

With how long the matchup goes, it's also not unreasonable to get a to 5 vs the control decks and have it be an uncounterable giant value creature (even without having a in play, which is even more gravy). The card is so individually powerful and consistent that it led to the deckbuilding decision of not having a single other card in the sideboard for the snow matchup.

Vs Tempo

's reach extends beyond the context of control. Delver matchups in the past have often come down to trading resources 1 for 1 and reaching a topdeck stage of the game. With in the mix to answer , or just have extra answers to arcanist, this is even more true. is the inevitability in the topdeck war. Even ignoring gaining advantage via the flicker effect, a late game flying 4/5 can often close easily vs delver. This let's D&T play the control role to its fullest extent without having to worry about the inconsistency of getting into a topdeck war against a cantrip deck.

Vs Fair Nonblue

Against slow boardstally matchups like the mirror or maverick, is an unrelenting card advantage machine. Again, adding into the mix gave D&T the perfect answer to the and subgames of the mirror, and games will very often progress to the board stall late game. In these scenarios, is borderline unbeatable, often chaining off multiple , s, s, or s to generate a massive swing.

Vs Combo

Going even as far as combo matchups, where is clearly the weakest, D&T can often find itself in a position where it exhausted every resource keeping the opponent from doing their thing, and now has to scrape together a kill from the random piddling creatures it has left. shows up here as another tool of inevitability. More relevantly than itself, however, is the addition of more sideboard space to support this weakness. Yorion D&T builds heavily slant the sideboard to fight various combo strategies, since itself is already such a huge role player in fair matchups. The matchups where hurts the most are ones where your best cards are largely irreplaceable. As I mentioned earlier, does a lot of heavy lifting as a secondary hatebear to , in both fair and combo based matchups, so not a lot of points are lost there.

Vs Other

The main weaknesses are matchups where is actively good, like or , where has notably felt less powerful than traditional D&T. Luckily these decks don't make up a huge portion of the meta as of right now, and is a good matchup even with the handicap of in your deck.


More than anything, all I can say is “PLAY THE DANG CARD.” And if you can't, watch someone else play the dang card. There's content of me kicking butt in the AnziD Legacy Open:

As well as a deep dive into the Yorion D&T vs Snowko matchup alongside @AnzidMTG:

Even easier than that, talk to the people that have been working and tuning this list for the past month. @JasonKMurry and I are both excellent resources if you want to pick someone's brain about the deck and the choices made therein.

I'm just truly tired of seeing the same “I want to draw my more” or “60 cards is more consistent than 80” arguments being rehashed time and time again with no substance or real counterargument to the points I keep trying to present to people. The deck is putting up very strong results and I think people are better served not brushing aside all the work I and others have put into the archetype. This is one of the best times to be playing D&T in a long time and is one of the most powerful D&T lists I've played in my 7 years on the deck.