“I thought triple-sleeving my cards would be good enough, but I guess next tournament I’ll just have to go quad-sleeved instead,” said Magic: The Gathering player, Phillip McCrackin, when asked to comment on his unusual game loss.

This past weekend was the Twenty-Fifth Annual Municipal Legacy Championship in Dornoch, Ontario. At the event, Magic players from across the township met in the at the rec center’s (cafeteria overflow annex) to battle each other with the most POWERFUL cards one can acquire.

Following a gruelling afternoon of (3.5 rounds) of Magic, players Phillip McCrackin and Alistair Barnett found themselves facing off in the finals of the tournament. McCrackin came into the round confidently but was clearly not prepared for what his opponent had to offer. A newcomer to the Municipal Legacy scene, Barnett brought with him a unique brew featuring a “combo” using the brand new “Leyline of the Guildpact.”

With this card, a player can start the game with it in play, giving their lands all basic land types, and their permanents all colours. When a player taps a creature like “Bloom Tender” for mana, they will produce five additional mana. As Bloom Tender taps for five mana, a player is then able to create a combo with “Umbral Mantle,” which lets the equipped creature untap for the cost of three mana, eventually netting the player infinite mana as they repeat this tap-untap cycle. Now, infinite mana is nothing new to MTG, but the unique tech introduced here is a rather inconspicuous card that has actually been around since the Alliances expansion: The player then equips Umbral Mantle onto “Soldier of Fortune.” Soldier taps to make a player shuffle their library for the low cost of just one red mana. Since Umbral Mantle lets the Soldier untap, the player can then activate this effect repeatedly, forcing the opponent to shuffle their library an infinite number of times, which is exactly what Barnett did.

After the first couple of shuffles, McCrackin thought little of it, “I was a bit confused, but I’m also VERY quick at shuffling cards. Heck, I play Commander too. And like, three-quarters of those games are just shuffling.” But he soon began to see the strategy unveil itself. Not wanting to receive a Slow Play warning, he diligently and efficiently randomized his cards to the best of his ability, much as he’d done for the majority of his waking life since taking up Magic: the Gathering. But even the most skilled card shuffler has their limits. McCrackin was forced to shuffle his library over and over, in an unending loop, until his sleeves began to wear out. Gradually, the outer sleeves split and fell apart, followed by, sadly, his custom-made “RTFC” sleeves that he so proudly pointed out to his opponents. Last to break down were the Perfect Hard inner sleeves, leaving nothing but a deck of naked cardboard. “I should have noticed sooner. It WAS generating a lot of heat, but I guess I was in The Zone.” Seeing a raw Legacy deck shuffled in this manner would surely make any Magic card connoisseur shiver in disgust, as the grade of the cards descended from a near perfect 10 all the way down to a 1. Then, as the cards could take the shuffling no longer, they ultimately disintegrated into a dust of fibers.

With no cards left in his library, McCrackin was defeated upon moving to his next draw step, and Alistair Barnett was declared the new Municipal Legacy Champion!

During the winner’s interview, Barnett had this to say on his unique strategy, “I actually didn’t even know this combo existed, I just wanted to run my playset of Leyline of the Guilldpact. I spent $160 on them for my Modern deck, and I’m going to get my money’s worth out of it one way or another.”

Could Guildpact Literal Mill Combo be the New Meta in Legacy? Stay tuned for coverage from the Dufferin County Legacy Showcase Challenge in Shelburne coming up next week!

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