So I have been playing several brews with these cards lately, and I just want to see what everyone thinks. Between Leovold or Lavinia (in decks where mana color is not an issue), which is better main? What matchups are better for Leo vs Lavinia?

My analysis in playtesting is as follows:

Vs Shops...
Lavinia is solid on the play turn 1. Thereafter, it's fairly useless since it doesn't block creature spells.
Leovold is a better blocker for golem, but slower vs spheres due to cmc 3 vs 2. Leo makes you draw off a wasteland, but it's hardly profitable. He's solid vs ballista unless you are playing X/1s, in which case the draw 1 is not great. Both creatures are less than stellar here.

Vs oath...
On the play, lavinia stops turn 1 oath. Lavinia also stops FoW and misstep on your claim (unless they pay for it). Lavinia is not stellar as she triggers oath and they don't have that much overcosted stuff they are casting with ramp anyway.
Leovold gives you a card off oath trigger and orchard. It stops cantrips and ancestral. It's usually in play much later than lavinia and does nothing vs counterspells. Both seem negligible in the matchup.

Vs dredge...
Lavinia stops dread return, flashback therapy, misstep, FoW, unmask. It doesn't seem to have much use but isn't 100% dead, unlike...
Leovold stops nothing. They can dredge to replace bazaar's draws, so no dice there. They don't target you with anything but therapy, so it's a corner case you get any benefit.

Vs survival...
Lavinia stops FoW, misstep, free rootwalla, free hollowed one. Stopping the rootwalla and thus vengevine is pretty decent.
Leovold stops bazaar draws, but not survival. You never get targeted, so the other ability is negligible.

Vs PO...
Lavinia stops all the PO and spells the opponent ramps into, all the moxen, the FoW, the probe, and missteps. Really solid in this matchup.
Leovold stops the card draw, including PO. You draw a ton off a tendrils before a single copy resolves. This is also a solid matchup.

Vs blue control/mentor
Lavinia stops FoW, gush, moxen, treasure cruise, DTT
Leovold stops all the card draw, even cantrips, but not counterspells. Both seem equally strong vs this matchup.

Vs humans/fish...
Lavinia really does nothing.
Leovold really does nothing but have a 3 toughness butt, which isn't bad vs 2/1s.

Anything I'm missing? Am I wrong in any analysis? Other big meta players I'm forgetting?

Which is better if you decide to run, say, 3x main of either. Is a mix better?

That seems about right to me. There are a couple of other points in Lavinia's favor though, I think:

  • She will semi-frequently capitalize on an opponent who is in a dicey mana situation, a little bit like how you would play Vindicate because it's a versatile answer to powerful threats, but it would also sometimes come down as a Stone Rain on an opponent who missed a land drop and just lock them out of the game. Even on the draw, if your opponent keeps like a land and 1-2 moxes and doesn't find any more lands for a couple turns, Lavinia can frustrate their ability to play spells other than the ones she rules out completely.

  • At least for me, being two mana instead of three really changes what I want to get out of her. With Leovold's cost and stats, I kind of expect him to be a credible threat in addition to a disruptive card, so I'm always kinda bummed when he gets out-creatured and can't attack safely. At two mana Lavinia feels more like a Confidant or Meddling Mage to me, where the effect is worth the cost and getting some hits in is a bonus that you get sometimes. Maybe that's just me though.

Don't get me wrong, I still like Leo very much. I think they're both good enough to maindeck, but if they were competing for the same slots in a deck I'd probably go with Lavinia. She seems to do something in almost every matchup even if it's not a total slam dunk.

Considering the cost, I'd say probably Lavinia is the best one to play in higher numbers. Her effect is AWESOME in the early game, meh in the mid and bad in the late game. So if you play her, you want it early. Leovold in the other hand, has a great effect through the whole game.

I agree with most that you said, I only disagree on the xerox section. Leovold shuts down completely URg xerox until they can find an answer or somehow flood the board entirely. It's a roadblock and it's ridiculous at stopping them from doing anything. I've got to situations where I couldn't see an out (because I kinda underrated him on the MU), and then leovold with no more cards in hand against a xerox opponent with dack, pyro, 4 or 5 tokens and a few cards in hand just bricked everything they had.

Maybe Lavinia on turn 1 or 2 against some xerox hands would be as good as Leovold. But when she may be good in certain spots, leovold is just bonkers against almost any scenario (except for like 10 tokens staring you at 8 life or something like that...). Again: all of this against xerox.

They do kinda slightly different things, and I'd go with Lavinia is they both costed generic mana. To be worth playing Leovold, he must be very in-color IMO. If you play Lavinia, you should play it to land it early. In the early game she can lock your opponent out of the game by itself, and it gets worse in the late game (at some point of the game she's really not useful at all without wastelandS).

In the deck I'm mainly thinking about, I look to close out the game in the first 4 turns or sooner. Mid-game isn't really where I want to be, and late game I'm probably up a creek outside of an ancestral->gas turn.

My primary colors are BUG. I have white available in lotus petal, black lotus, 2 mana confluence, 5 fetches (for savannah if I add white), savannah, and 4 nobles. I am fairly green/black heavy, but I actually get as much white as I do black counting nobles (black gets 3 bayou and a jet). I run 1 trop and a sapphire as well, so I have the same access to blue regardless of if I go 4 color or stay BUG.

I have 3 slots open (and a 4th if I drop from 4 thoughtseize down to 3). So I can be on 3-4 main lavinia, 3 main leovold, or eshew them both and go with something else. I currently run 3x Leovold, and he's been SBed out in most matches. He's great vs blue draw decks, but seems meh elsewhere. I am leaning towards Lavinia just because of the "Oops, you kept a land, mox, lotus hand - I win," games.

I don't really want to post a decklist (just noting my mana base to emphasize mana colors aren't the issue) because I want to discuss this more in the abstract than in the context of my current pet deck.

It seems like in a deck wanting to win the fast game and leverage an early advantage rather than a long-game advantage, Lavinia gets the nod. But I still want to see what the thoughts are on the spectrum of these two solid creatures.

@thewhitedragon69 said in Leovold vs Lavinia:

Stopping the rootwalla and thus vengevine is pretty decent.

Just one correction, I guess. Against Survival, Lavinia stops Rootwalla but doesn't stop Vengevine. If your opp casts 2 Rootwallas for free with Bazaar with Lavinia in play, he still gets the Vengevines back.

last edited by fsecco

So, for maindecking sounds like Lavinia is better if you have access to the 4 colors. Leovold is a completely different thing for xerox decks, I'd run it sideboard in the very least (if you want to improve that matchup).

BTW fsecci is right, I didn't pay attention to that. Vengevine triggers on cast, and lavinia counters cards that weren't paid mana to cast, so they are still casted. Lavinia + cage or something like that completely shuts off survival's free creatures engines.

@gutocmtt She stops double Hollow One into Vengevines which is good enough for me. Also countering the Root-"Chump Blocking"-wallas can also be relevant.

@fsecco Yeah, I agree completely. I've played with survival against lavinia and it's good at slowing survival down and it can even blank some hands we keep.

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