Knight of the Reliquary
25, Nov, 23

MTG LOTR Holiday Release Card Makes Waves in Highly Competitive Format!

Article at a Glance

A few weeks ago, the Lord of the Rings Holiday release introduced a variety of new MTG products to the community. For fans of collector boosters, there were new Special Edition collector boosters with significantly enhanced odds of opening Surge foil Realms and Relics cards. There were also new Jumpstart cards for players to build their decks with. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the Holiday release, though, was the fact that four new Scene Boxes were released.

Each of the four Scene Boxes contain six borderless cards and six art cards that, when combined together, are designed to form a unique picture directly depicting a scene from Lord of the Rings. This is an interesting concept and if you’re looking to solely make use of new and exciting Lord of the Rings cards from the Holiday release, you’re in luck as well. Each of these six borderless cards is a mechanically new and unique card for players to enjoy.

Unlike the original Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set, though, these cards specifically have the Lord of the Rings Commander expansion symbol. This means they are, in fact, not Modern legal. However, they are still legal in Legacy and Vintage in addition to Commander. Generally, this isn’t a big deal, as the bar for a card to see Legacy play is pretty high. Yet, one particular Scene Box card is seeing significant Legacy play in a multitude of archetypes. This card is none other than Legolas’s Quick Reflexes. Back when this card was initially leaked, we predicted that it would be an elite protection spell and so far, the card is living up to the hype.

Protecting Marit Lage

Legolas's Quick Reflexes

Up to this point, the style of decks that have best maximized Legolas’s Quick Reflexes have been combo decks built around Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage. With both Thespian’s Stage and Dark Depths in play, you have a relatively easy path to creating a 20/20 with Flying and Indestructible. This is because Dark Depths has a triggered ability that allows you to sacrifice it and create Marit Lage as long as Dark Depths has zero ice counters on it. While Dark Depths naturally enters the battlefield with 10 of them, when you copy Dark Depths with Thespian’s Stage, the copy will have zero counters.

As a result, you can copy the Dark Depths with Stage, sacrifice the original Dark Depths via “legend rule,” then end up sacrificing the copied Dark Depths to get your 20/20. The thing is, as strong as a 20/20 with Indestructible can be, it’s not immune to all removal. Swords to Plowshares is one of the premier removal spells of the format and it can deal with Marit Lage very efficiently. Of course, that is unless you have Legolas’s Quick Reflexes at the ready.

If your opponent cast Swords to Plowshares, you can just respond with Legolas’s Quick Reflexes. Because of Split Second, your opponent can’t simply respond once more with an additional copy of Swords to Plowshares or a Force of Will to prevent your Creature from gaining Hexproof. This by itself would be pretty strong.

Legolas’s Quick Reflexes does even more though, as it’s an extremely pushed card. You get to untap the Creature you target, and whenever that Creature becomes tapped, you can have it deal damage equal to its power to another Creature. This ability, combined with Split Second, allows you to use Legolas’s Quick Reflexes proactively as a pseudo removal spell. For instance, if you cast it targeting your Marit Lage token pre-combat, you can attack to remove a Flying blocker out of the way with no fear of getting blown out by Swords to Plowshares or Solitude.

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Knight of the Reliquary Synergy

Knight of the Reliquary

In some cases, the hard part of playing the Depths decks is actually being able to assemble Thespian’s Stage and Dark Depths together. This can be especially difficult in the face of Wasteland. To help with this, the Dark Depths combo decks typically play Elvish Reclaimer and Knight of the Reliquary which can help search for the requisite Lands.

Obviously, Legolas’s Quick Reflexes can help make sure you get to untap with Knight of the Reliquary to begin activating its ability, as Knight does not have Haste. Legolas’s Quick Reflexes does a lot more than that, though. Because this protection spell untaps Knight, as long as Knight isn’t summoning sick, you can activate it to find a piece of the combo, untap it, then tap it again to find the other piece. You even get to deal a bunch of damage to an opposing Creature with your large Knight in the process simply by tapping it!

If that weren’t enough, Legolas’s Quick Reflexes helps a lot at shoring up weaknesses against cheap Flying Creatures like Dragon’s Rage Channeler or a flipped Delver of Secrets. This is because the Creature you target gains Reach, allowing you to ambush a Flying attacker out of nowhere.

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Other Decks Playing Legolas’s Quick Reflexes

It’s clear that Legolas’s Quick Reflexes has made a big impact on Dark Depths combo decks. In Sunday’s Magic Online Legacy Challenge, three Depths combo decks made top 32, all of which made great use of Legolas’s Quick Reflexes. These aren’t the only decks making use of the powerful Instant, however.

Unsurprisingly, the card is an immediate staple for Legacy Infect lists that were already making use of protection spells like Vines of Vastwood. Split Second pairs exceptionally well with pump spells like Invigorate, helping ensure you can go for the kill without getting blown out.

Legolas’s Quick Reflexes is also seeing some play in Legacy Elves decks. Protecting your important Elves can be nice in a deck that relies on Gaea’s Cradle to make mana. There are also some shenanigans that can be had with cards like Nettle Sentinel and Birchlore Rangers in play.

For example, you can cast Legolas’s Quick Reflexes targeting Nettle Sentinel, untapping it. Then, you can tap Sentinel and another Elf to make a mana, dealing two damage to an opposing Creature in the process. If you use that mana to cast an Elf, Nettle Sentinel will untap once again. Now you can tap Nettle Sentinel and the new Elf to make another mana, dealing two damage to an opposing Creature yet again. With enough Elves to cast in hand or a Glimpse of Nature to keep things rolling, you may be able to have Nettle Sentinel do a great Plague Wind impression. Legolas’s Quick Reflexes is simply an amazing card and is likely to remain a Legacy staple for the foreseeable future.

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