I’m writing this because in the wake of the Wrenn and Six’s dominance/banning and the buzz surrounding all the decks opened up by the ban, this deck has kind of managed to fly much farther under the radar than it should. After seeing Phil Gallagher play this deck, playing it myself and experimenting with it, I can say that Urza Echo is a pretty good deck that has the potential to supplant Bomberman as the primer Chalice Combo deck in Legacy.
4 Urza, Lord High Artificer
4 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
4 Karn the Great Creator
4 Narset, Parter of Veils
4 Echo of Eons
3 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Mox Opal
4 Lotus Petal
4 Urza’s Bauble
4 Mishra’s Bauble
4 Seat of the Synod
2 Ancient Tomb
2 City of Traitors
1 Lion’s Eye Diamond
1 Mycosynth Lattice
1 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Mystic Forge
1 Walking Ballista
1 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Defense Grid
2 Ratchet Bomb
2 Mystical Dispute
So what is this pile of cards and what is it trying to do?:
Urza Echo is an artifact based combo deck that uses fast mana and artifact synergies to do something utterly broken within the first 1-2 turns of the game. These plays can include any/all of Chalice of the Void on 1, playing a fast Urza or Karn, Emry milling Echo (ie drawing Timetwister), playing Echo with Narset out to Mind Twist the opponent, and using LED + Echo as if they were Black Lotus and Timetwister. This deck is well set up to do at least one of these things incredibly quickly and with a fair bit of redundancy and resiliency to countermagic and discard .
The Core of the main deck:
3 Lion’s Eye Diamond: This is the best card in the deck and the one that gives the deck it’s explosiveness. LED + Echo lets you just dump your hand and completely reload for free and gives you massive amounts of card advantage as you often do this before your opponent gets to play out their hand. Lion’s Eye Diamond also synergies really well with Karn by giving you the mana you need to quickly play anything you grab with Karn. Also LED does not need to tap in order to be sacrificed for mana; so if you think Black Lotus isn’t broken enough can tap it to Urza then sac it for a total of FOUR MANA.
4 Karn the Great Creator: The best win condition for any artifact based deck capable of generating loads of mana.
4 Urza, Lord High Artificer: Urza turns all your artifacts into Moxes, and gives you a huge Construct and a card advantage engine all for four mana. You essentially get to play Vintage instead of Legacy when he’s in play; he’s broken and one of the biggest draws towards this deck over Bomberman.
4 Narset, Parter of Veils: In addition to giving you card selection/advantage with her minus and shutting off cantrips with her passive, Narset is a combo piece in this deck; and one that happens to dig for the rest of the combo at that. If you cast Echo with Narset out, your opponent shuffles their entire hand and graveyard into their deck and draws ONE card. Or, if your opponent already drew a card on your turn for some reason (usually a previous Echo), they shuffle everything back in and draw ZERO cards. Either of these usually wins you the game on the spot and can be done on turns 1-3 pretty easily. She’s also a big reason to play this deck over Bomberman.
4 Chalice of the Void: If you’ve played Legacy before you are familiar with this card. You play it on one or two and laugh as 1/3 of your opponent’s deck no longer works. The fact that you are an incredibly fast combo deck that gets to play Chalice gives you a lot of resiliency as you can stretch your opponent’s Force of Wills really thin.
4 Emry, Lurker of the Loch: This was the addition that finally made this deck good. She’s really easy to play on turn 1, can rebuy devastating artifacts such as Chalice of the Void, can generate lots of card advantage by replaying baubles, can generate mana by replaying Lotus Petals, extra Mox Opals, or LEDs, and she occasionally just draws you Timetwister by milling Echo of Eons. Dreadhorde Arcanist is getting a lot of buzz right now and Emry is a much better Dreadhorde Arcanist.
4 Echo of Eons: The deck’s signature card; this deck is designed to get this thing to do the best Timetwister impression possible and abuse the power of such an effect. You’ve heard me mention the card’s synergies several times before: LED+Echo is comparable to Lotus+Timetwister, the addition of Narset makes this a game ending play, Emry can just randomly mill it. Not to mention that if you can hardcast Echo, it goes to your graveyard, allowing you to dump your new hand and then flashback Echo for another 7 cards all while just burying your opponent in card advantage. The ability to abuse LED without first resolving a four mana spell that this card provides is probably the biggest draw to this deck over Bomberman.
4 Mox Opal: Moxes are great; Moxes + Timetwister is just obscene. The price for this power is you need to have Metalcraft to enable it. This usually requires you to be careful of when you crack your Baubles or Lotus Petals.
4 Lotus Petal: More fast mana and Metalcraft enablers
7 Baubles: These enable Metalcraft, let you quickly draw through your deck, become Moxes with Urza out, and turn into a card advantage engine with Emry. Also the information about what your opponent has that they give you is quite useful.
1 Flex Slot: I’m playing Bauble #8 right now. Engineered Explosives and Welding Jar are other considerations for this slot
The caveats to the main deck’s flex slot are:
- The cards you put here need to be good ways to enable Mox Opal
- They shouldn’t be 1 drops or else they will conflict with Chalice of the Void
Karn Targets (In order of the frequency they are fetched up)-
1 Lion’s Eye Diamond: In addition to all the previously mentioned synergies, this is a pretty good way to guarantee that you can cast Lattice when you fetch it. Black Lotus makes getting the 6 mana needed to cast Lattice and get it through soft counters pathetically easy.
1 Mycosynth Lattice: This card’s synergy with Karn is well documented at this point. What I want to mention here is how powerful Lattice can be in this deck even when Karn isn’t in play. Lattice + Urza makes TONS of mana and Karnstructs large enough to one shot the opponent.
1 Ensnaring Bridge: The best way to lock down a board of creatures to give you time to combo off.
1 Wurmcoil Engine: If you know Karn will die before you can get Lattice off, this is just a huge threat that can beat some decks by itself that can be recurred with Emry
1 Mystic Forge: A powerful card advantage engine for four mana
1 Walking Ballista: An answer to any creature that’s annoying you that can be recurred with Emry (Thalia, Delver, Sanctum Prelate, the Elves! deck in general)
1 Tormod’s Crypt: Free graveyard hate that can be recurred with Emry
2 Ratchet Bomb: These are here to be boarded in to answer Chalice of the Void on zero. If your deck has more colorless sources in the mana base, I’d look at playing Engineered Explosives in this slot or trying a splash for Abrade now that Wrenn and Six is gone.
2 Defense Grid: These get boarded in against anything playing Force of Will/Negation
Other Sideboard cards-
2 Flusterstorm: 1 mana counterspell that you can cast through a Chalice on 1, usually boarded in against Griselbrand decks or similarly fast combo decks
2 Mystical Dispute: See above
Playing the deck:
The way I see it, the most common, difficult parts of playing the deck can be boiled down into a few categories: Mulliganing, Sequencing, Playing through Force of Will/Negation, and Sideboarding.
Mulliganing: The best advice I can give here outside of “practice”, is that this is a combo deck that is trying to do something powerful, quickly. This usually means one of these: Chalice of the Void on 1, playing a fast Urza or Karn, turn 1 Emry, turn 1 or 2 Narset, and/or dumping a hand of artifacts onto the table and casting Echo with LED. A hand that can do any of these things is usually a keep. If you do mulligan below 5 cards, you also do have the option of abusing to the London Mulligan to find a hand with LED and Echo to essentially unmulligan yourself.
Sequencing: This in general, refers to playing out your hand in such a way that minimizes the potential for blowouts. The most important forms of this are: knowing when to play City of Traitors, knowing when to crack Lotus Petal/Baubles playing around soft counters when you can, playing around Lightning Bolt or similar cards on a Karn, Narset, or Emry when you can, and playing around Wasteland when you can. Truth be told, this mostly contextual and comes down to experience with Legacy.
Playing through Force of Will/Negation: It’s no secret that the best way that the best tool fair blue decks have against you is Force of Will. This is a deck that is trying make a bunch of mana quickly and pour it into a powerful play or two on the first turns of the game; a free hard counter is a natural foil to this. Fortunately for you, your opponent will at most be on about 4-6 Forces in their 75. Compared to this your “must answer threats” total to about 16-24 depending on how effective/easy to kill Narset and Emry are in the matchup. This means that you beat Force by jamming threats in rapid succession while having mana open to blank your opponent’s soft counters. Eventually, your opponent will be out of Forces and you can easily resolve a threat through Daze/Spell Pierce with your abundance of mana.
Sideboarding: The secret here is to not sideboard too much. When your good draws are powerful by Vintage standards, it is most often on your opponents to react to what you are doing. The purpose of your sideboard beyond Karn is to give you countermeasures against opposing hate.
With that in mind, Defense Grid comes in against Force of Will decks, Ratchet Bomb comes in against anything putting Chalice of the Void on 0, and the counterspells come in against combo. Against Chalice decks, board out Chalices for Ratchet Bombs, Mystic Forge, Ballista. Against fair blue, Defense grids come in and you shave a Mishra’s Bauble and a Lotus Petal. Against Combo, you take out 2 Baubles, an Emry, and an Urza for the 4 counterspells. Against fair non-blue decks, no changes unless you see something that randomly wrecks you.
If you notice a lot of Null Rods and/or Collector Ouphes in your meta, you might want to change up the mana base to try to splash for Abrade or Shenanigans; you could also just try to do something broken before those cards come down. At the end of the day, little can beat turn 1 Narset, crack LED, Echo.