Hello and welcome to another event coverage article which covers something slightly different to the PPTQ grind- today we are going to be looking at Legacy and Modern!
On the 18th of February, instead of trying to win a Standard PPTQ in my own back yard, I attended the Northern League Invitational – a very special event indeed. In this article I’m going to talk about the event itself, the decks I played and give Modern and Legacy a bit of air-time as they don’t feature as much on the PPTQ/RPTQ circuit as Standard and Limited.
What is Northern League?
In 2016, Northern League (NL) ran a circuit of monthly Legacy and Modern events at a number of stores. As the name suggests, these events were all held in the north of England (the Realm) each offering the participants, not only a share of a lavish prize pool, but also an opportunity to qualify for the Northern League Invitational to be held in February 2017. The winner and finalist of each of these circuit events earned an invitation.
The possibility of dying on turn one is a scary prospect, but let me assure you that this old wives tale was completely demystified after a couple of events. Of the decks available in the format, only a few of them can achieve the big W on turn one, and they often aren’t a popular choice because of the risk of being tipped off balance. Legacy allows you to dig out a lot of your ‘really old cards’ and combine them with some ‘not so old cards’ to play some truly high-powered Magic! As well as busted combos, threats, removal, disruption are all insanely powerful and I can assure you that if you think attacking with Griselbrand and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on turn one is sweet – preventing your opponent from doing it when they try to can be just as rewarding. You can play almost any card, but so could your opponent, which leads to some interesting strategies – or Jace, the Mind Sculptor Fatesealing your opponent out of the game. With GP Louisville kicking things off for 2017, there are a number of articles available that take you through current strategies and decks for the format. I’ll be limiting the content in this article to my thoughts and the deck I played for NL.
I’ve played a range of decks in Legacy but of late I’ve stuck with Miracles and have become a player in the Realm (and possibly wider) known for playing this deck at tournaments. Miracles is considered the purest form of a control deck amongst the decks commonly played in Legacy today. It plays arguably the best card selection, creature removal, powerful win conditions and incredibly strong disruption in the form of Sensei’s Divining Top and Counterbalance. Beyond this quick pitch, I’m not going to go into a holistic explanation of how the deck plays. There is almost infinite content on the approaches players at local and professional level have taken with the deck since it burst onto the Legacy Scene a few years ago. Let’s look at the list I finally settled on for the event:
2 Arid Mesa
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Volcanic Island
3 Monastery Mentor
3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Engineered Explosives
4 Sensei's Divining Top
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Force of Will
3 Surgical Extraction
2 Blood Moon
1 Izzet Staticaster
2 Vendilion Clique
I’m relatively confident that Miracles is the best deck to play in this format. It takes some practice but it has the tools to make at least a good game against pretty much all the commonly-played deck. There are some decks you’d rather not face. Decks like Eldrazi or Metalworker can definitely get the jump on you easily and you have to work hard in these matchups, but they’re not unbeatable. Overall you get out what you put in with this deck. Skill and strategy are integral to the deck’s performance which is where I want to be for competitive events.
The opportunity for your nostalgia of previous Standard formats and their game-defining archetypes to be relived is a strong pull for many to this format. The card pool isn’t quite as wide as in Legacy, but you do get to combine cards from the last 13-14 years of Magic to do battle (8th Edition onwards). I remember when it was announced as a new format my local group at the time had a preliminary tournament (no banned list existed yet!) I remember fighting through decks with Rite of Flame and Seething Song; Umezawa’s Jitte and Jace the Mind Sculptor; Golgari Grave Troll and Dread Return; using Green Sun’s Zenith, Stoneforge Mystic and Punishing Fire. While those cards are not allowed in the format’s current iteration, the format is quite widely played and has seen the centre stage at Pro Tour and World championship level. Having said this, Wizards have had to keep some tabs on the format to keep it somewhere between Standard and Legacy in terms of power level and diversity. The Modern Masters reprint sets have helped players make waves in the format by providing easier access to some of the cards (and an exciting Limited format). Today Tarmogoyfs, Arcbound Ravagers and Goblin Guides can still be seen entering the battlefield at a range of events including a handful of Modern Grand Prix events during the year. Again, most of what will follow focuses on my perspective and the deck played for NL.
I was slightly at a loss of what to play for the Modern portion of the event. I believe that in this format, deck familiarity is very important factor. A lot of the linear, non-interactive decks such as Death’s Shadow, Burn, Affinity, Ad Nauseum and Dredge are really powerful so if you know how to play them well then you can ride them to victory in spite of hate. The trouble is that I don’t have a lot of experience with these types of decks and I have a much stronger preference for interactive decks. In the end, I went with a White/Blue control deck, hoping to dodge Tron and Lantern.
4 Wall of Omens
2 Snapcaster Mage
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Vendilion Clique
2 Restoration Angel
2 Ancestral Vision
4 Path to Exile
2 Spell Snare
1 Blessed Alliance
3 Mana Leak
1 Detention Sphere
2 Sphinx's Revelation
3 Cryptic Command
3 Supreme Verdict
1 Gideon Jura
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Blessed Alliance
1 Runed Halo
2 Stony Silence
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Ghostly Prison
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
The event was hosted by IQ Gaming, Huddersfield and a total of 34 invitees amassed to battle it out. The tournament structure was as follows
- 4 rounds of Legacy
- 4 rounds of Modern
(as initiated at Pro Tour Kaladesh)
- Quarterfinal 1: 5 vs 8, 6 vs 7
- Quarterfinal 2: 3 and 4 play the winners of Quarterfinal 1
- Semifinal: 1 and 2 play the winners of Quarterfinal 2
prizes were provided by 7th City Collectibles and divided as follows:
- 1: Winner’s trophy and £750.00 store credit
- 2: Runner-up trophy £300.00 store credit
- 3-4: £100.00 store credit
- 5-6: £75.00 store credit
- 7-8: £50.00 store credit
There were also bonus prizes for swiss records by format, so each player had two opportunities to pick up bonus prizes during the swiss rounds
- 4-0: £100.00 store credit
- 3-0-1: £40.00 store credit
- 3-1: £20.00 store credit
British Magic Time provided livestream coverage for the event. Where relevant you’ll be able to see some of the videos from the Youtube coverage playlists embedded into this article.
Rounds 1-4: Legacy
Round 1 – vs Burn
Game one: My opponent is known in the Realm for playing this deck so I have a good idea what I’m up against. Unfortunately, I have to mulligan to five. I choose to keep a hand that has zero lands – Brainstorm, Swords to Plowshares, Swords to Plowshares, Force of Will, Ponder. I don’t think four cards will be better than this and it only needs one mana to function. I scry an Arid Mesa on the top, which I have to keep. I then awkwardly pass the first turn on the play. My opponent opens with Goblin Guide and I’m able to use Swords to Plowshares to stave it and an Eidolon of the Great Revel off. My second land comes to me in the form of Volcanic Island but I’m outdone slightly by multiple Price of Progress just before I can assemble the Counterbalance lock.
- -2 Terminus, -2 Jace, The Mind Sculptor
- +2 Flusterstorm, +2 Disenchant
Game two: I think the match is a bit harder after boarding, mostly because of Exquisite Firecraft. I don’t have any particularly strong cards in my sideboard for this matchup. I’m on the play and again keep a hand with multiple Swords to Plowshares and Monastery Mentor. After dealing with his faster creatures, I quickly finish the game with Mentor on turn five with the assistance of Sensei’s Divining Top.
Game three: Another mulligan yields a hand that is ok but not great, at least can remove some creatures. It’s a shame my opponent plays about five or six in the first three turns. I’m unable to keep up with such pressure. Turn three is Terminus or bust and I don’t get topdeck the sweeper I need.
Round 2 – Manaless Dredge
Game one: I don’t know my opponent is playing Manaless Dredge so when I win the die roll, I foolishly choose to go first (this deck will always choose to go second so it can draw up to 8 cards and discard a combo piece in the cleanup step). In spite of this, I’m able to carefully use Terminus in my opponent’s draw step to get rid of the Narcomoeba and Ichorids that appear on the battlefield before my opponent can cast Cabal Therapy or Dread Return and net some zombies. I then am able to put us in a race situation between Monastery Mentor and some leftover zombie tokens and random creatures, which I win.
- -2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor, -1 Ponder, -1 Plains
- +3 Surgical Extraction, +1 Izzet Staticaster
Game two: I make a mistake and cast Surgical Extraction on Phantasmagorian thinking I’m a genius, but it’s done its work by the time I’m able to extract it. I realise later that it’s better to just extract Narcomoeba’s and Ichorids to remove the possibility of my opponent getting any creatures into play.
Game three: I remember to choose to draw. I don’t actually have Surgical Extraction, but I have plenty of Force of Will and a quick Monastery Mentor. The game goes into a bit of a grind, but I think the key play is when I use Izzet Staticaster on a set of tokens to remove all four Bridge from Below from my opponent’s graveyard. Low on resource I’m able to reassemble the students and under mentorship of great prowess they close the game out.
Round 3 – vs UWR Stoneblade
Game one: My opponent is able to mount pressure with Stoneforge Mystic, Batterskull and True-name Nemesis. Fortunately, we play Terminus for a reason. There’s then a bit of back and forth as I haplessly try to dig for the Counterbalance lock, but I eventually manage to get there.
- -4 Force of Will, -2 Terminus, -1 Jace, The Mind Sculptor
- +3 Pyroblast, +2 Disenchant, +2 Vendilion Clique
Game two: I again work to the same game plan as before, but by the time I appear to have stabilised, I’m on a measly five life. There’s a crucial turn where I play Monastery Mentor instead of holding up five mana for Force of Will. I’m hoping to fade a draw step and then end the game quickly. My opponent draws and casts True Name Nemesis. I can’t find a second blue card with the Top but I do find a second top. There’s still a chance to play multiple Tops over the next couple of turns to race the Nemesis (I can take one hit). I make five students with Mentor, attack with a Mentor and big student for six. My opponent draws and plays Meddling Mage, naming Top (still no second blue card for Force of Will). I’m now unable to show off the prowess of the mentor and students to win the game.
Game three: This is a quick affair. I’m able to get the Counterbalance Top lock online early and even Pyroblast a True Name Nemesis that slips through. My opponent draws multiple equipments which don’t help without any threats to carry them. And I’m able to obtain the concession once I resolve Mentor.
Round 4 – vs Infect
Game one: My hand is quite weak, my only defence is a single Swords to Plowshares but my opponent plays conservatively which gives me time to use Sensei’s Divining Top to dig for useful cards. I eventually manage to float a Terminus on top which allows me to get sweep away a Glistener Elf, Noble Hierarch and a Blighted Agent. My opponent tries to protect with Force of Will, but I Force back. It transpires my opponent has another Force of Will and blue card to ensure Terminus does not resolve. With my back to the wall I try the old Swords, Snapcaster, Swords sequence blocking the Glistener Elf and killing the Nexus and the Agent, but my opponent immediately follows up with another Nexus which I’m unable to answer.
- -2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor, -1 Counterspell, -1 Engineered Explosives, -3 Monastery Mentor
- +1 Izzet Staticaster, +2 Blood Moon, +2 Vendilion Clique, +2 Disenchant
Game two: I keep a great hand which includes multiple Swords to Plowshares, Top and Counterbalance. I choose not to play Counterbalance on turn two, instead leaving up mana for Swords to Plowshares. While I get to kill his threats and ‘not die’, my opponent resolves a Seal of Primordium in anticipation of Counterbalance. Luckily he doesn’t play any follow-up threats and I’m able to dig for a Disenchant to use on the Seal and lock him out of the game with Counterbalance.
Game three: Time is a bit short so I play very quickly. I fetch basics and pray that my turn three Blood Moon resolves. From this point it’s 20 points of Ambush Viper damage as my opponent repeatedly discards cards in his clean-up step. I have to Force of will a Seal of Primordium at one point (he draws basic Forest) but this game was largely uninteractive. I even assemble an Izzet Staticaster to control any board he might assemble.
Rounds 5-8: Modern
Round 5 – vs Tron
My opponent is known in the Realm for playing Tron. Unfortunately, it’s one of those decks that I don’t think I’m able to beat without crossing my fingers a bit given my deck choice. It is winnable, but the onus is on me to draw well and I have to hope they don’t draw particularly well.
Game one: My opponent mulligans to five, which gives me a real shot at taking this game. I’m able to apply pressure with a Kitchen Finks, but it turns I don’t draw any lands. I use a Path to Exile on my own Wall of Omens to try and get myself out of mana screw, only for my opponent to then deploy a Wurmcoil Engine. I use a (normally completely dead) Supreme Verdict to reduce the amount of life my opponent can gain and fortunately I’m then able to use Engineered Explosives on the Wurm tokens to continue my beatdown plan. I get there by the skin of my teeth with the assistance of Restoration Angel and Celestial Colonnade.
- -3 Supreme Verdict, -1 Gideon Jura, -4 Wall of Omens, -2 Spell Snare
- +2 Negate, +1 Dispel, +1 Crucible of Worlds, +2 Surgical Extraction, +1 Vendilion Clique, +2 Stony Silence, +1 Disenchant
Game two: This time my opponent doesn’t have to mulligan, but I do. My hand is quite reactive, but I have a Negate and Mana leak. I use a Ghost Quarter early to prevent my opponent from assembling Tron, but I don’t draw more lands. So I’m unable to continue to apply pressure. My opponent resolves an Oblivion Stone which he can use to protect himself from any board presence I do amass and I just fall behind to the inevitability of Karn and Ugin.
Game three: Again I have to mulligan, but I keep on the merit of having Crucible of Worlds which will enable me to go bananas if I draw a Ghost Quarter. Unfortunately, my opponent also goes on the LD plan with Karn, World Breaker and multiple Ulamogs. I think I get about six lands exiled in this game – not that I drew particularly great spells. Total annihilation!
Round 6 – vs Lantern Control
Game one: I’m on the draw and keep arguably a weak hand, partly because I forget that my opponent is playing Lantern. He plays turn one Inquisition of Kozilek, taking my Sphinx’s Revelation. I draw four lands in my first four turns, and from then on he’s able to use Lantern of Insight and Codex Shredder to ensure that I continue to draw only useless lands.
- -3 Supreme Verdict, -3 Path to Exile, -1 Blessed Alliance, -2 Wall of Omens
- +2 Negate, +2 Stony Silence, +1 Crucible of Worlds, +1 Disenchant, +1 Vendilion Clique, +2 Surgical Extraction
Game two: My hand is better and I get some early pressure in the form of Vendilion Clique. Lantern is out so I know the top card of my opponent’s deck and I decide to clock my opponent with Colonnade. Unfortunately, I’ve miscounted my opponent’s mana and he is able to use Inventor’s Fair to search up Ensnaring Bridge and protect himself long enough to take over the game. If the previous round was total annihilation, I’m not sure what this was. I definitely threw the game by miscounting my opponent’s mana.
Round 7 – vs Eldrazi Tron
Game one: I almost sink into the table as my opponent plays a turn one Urza’s Tower. Luckily he follows up with an Eldrazi Temple, and now the Supreme Verdict in my hand isn’t looking too shabby. I’m fortunately able to use my anti-creature cards to deal with the Eldrazi and counterspells to deal with Ugin and big mana cards before firing of a huge Sphinx’s Revelation earning the concession.
- -1 Supreme Verdict, -2 Wall of Omens,
- +1 Crucible of Worlds, +1 Disenchant, +1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
I don’t want to overboard against creatures in case my opponent assembles Tron and slams a Karn/Ugin, but I think there’s a bigger danger of going anti-tron and then losing to multiple Eldrazi. I saw Chalice of the Void in game one (it didn’t do much) but it’s nice to know, so I decide to board in the Disenchant.
Game two: Starts very much like the first game – my opponent gets some hits in with aggressive Eldrazi, I clear the board and I fire off a Sphinx’s Revelation for four. I draw some pressure but my opponent is able to resolve Ugin and multiple Reality Smashers to put himself back in the game. I flashback the Sphinx’s Revelation and draw into Elspeth, Sun’s Champion which is able to wipe the Eldrazi away. My opponent chooses to bolt me instead of Elspeth with Ugin as I’m on an appealingly low amount of health, but I’m able to use Blessed Alliance and Kitchen Finks to keep afloat, and Elspeth finishes off the game.
The standings go up. I have a reasonable chance to make Top 8 if I win my final round and tie-breakers go my way.
Round 8 – vs Abzan
I’m quite confident with this matchup. I think my deck is well set up against it.
Game one: My opponent applies early pressure with multiple Grim Flayers which I sweep away with Supreme Verdict. Annoyingly, Liliana of the Veil starts tearing away at my hand but I’m able to use Cryptic Command to bounce it in response to the discard ability to force my opponent to discard it. I then stabilise at about 8 life with two Kitchen Finks to my opponent’s empty board. My opponent is at five. He topdecks a Seige Rhino and then a Tarmogoyf while I draw only lands and lack the Celestial Colonnade I need to finish the job.
- -1 Negate, -1 Vendilion Clique, -1 Supreme Verdict
- +1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, +1 Crucible of Worlds, +1 Condemn
Game two: I have Ancestral Vision in my opening hand so I feel advantaged. After dealing with some relatively mediocre pressure from a 2/3 Goyf it goes off and I’m able to chain Cryptic Commands on Liliana’s into a giant Sphinx’s Revelation for the win.
Game three: My opponent lands Liliana early but luckily I have Crucible of Worlds to replay all the lands that I discard into my graveyard. After finally dealing with Liliana using Celestial Colonnade, my opponent summons multiple Tarmogoyfs and a Siege Rhino. Luckily I Sphinx’s Revelation into Elspeth, Sun’s Champion who clears his impressive board and amasses an army of soldiers to finish the game.
The top 8 is announced. I am 8th which means four more rounds if I want to claim the trophy. Time to put the Flooded Strands and Snapcaster Mages back into my Legacy deck and shuffle it up again.
Top 8: Legacy
Quarterfinal 1 – vs Miracles
What better way to start the Top 8 than with a Miracles Mirror. We are allocated 90 minutes for this match. My opponent is on the play
Game one: I keep a hand with Top, 2 Mentors and some cantrips. My opponent opens with Top, Counterbalance and has multiple Force of Wills in case I try to resolve anything important, such as the Mentors and an Engineered Explosives for 7 (but only two colours) to try and get round Counterbalance.
- -3 Swords to Plowshares, -3 Terminus, -2 Plains
- +3 Pyroblast, +1 Izzet Staticaster, +2 Vendilion Clique, +2 Flusterstorm
I leave in one of each white removal spell so I have an out to Stoneforge Mystic/Batterskull or indeed a resolved Monastery Mentor from my opponent. I actually don’t have enough cards to board out. Plains is actually a liability in this matchup as you need as much blue as possible but don’t want to flood out.
Game two: I play a Mentor with Force backup on turn three. My opponent concedes very shortly afterwards.
Game three: I make and maintain a statement by playing Volcanic Island on turn one and always leaving it up. I don’t actually have the Pyroblast, but it’s extremely important that I deter my opponent from playing Counterbalance or Jace. It appears both of us are frantically digging with Ponders to try and sculpt better hands and eventually I do find that Pyroblast. I manage to get Counterbalance on the table which my opponent does his best to navigate his way round. We arrive at a position where he is playing off the top 3 cards trying to kill my Counterbalance. He eventually manages to fuse a Wear//Tear, but his moment of triumph is deflated when I manage to find a replacement Counterbalance next turn. He concedes the match.
We are actually finished ahead of the other quarter final. So much for the old stereotype of Miracles mirrors going to time.
Quarterfinal 2 – vs Eldrazi
This was covered fully as a BMT feature match so I’ve kept the commentary below short.
Game one: When my opponent casts Thought-Knot Seer using the Cavern of Souls, I probably should not have emptied my hand just to make more monks. The reason I did this was to force the game into a race, but in hindsight, I think this was incorrect. In order to have won, I’d likely have to wait until I can play two spells in one turn. This is because I needed not only a lot of prowess in one turn for requisite pressure, but also and the ability to also leave two blockers back to not die on the swingback. As it happened, my opponent drew Umezawa’s Jitte and none of that ended up mattering anyway.
- -4 Counterbalance
- +2 Disenchant, +2 Blood Moon
Despite Cavern of Souls, I still need to keep in Force of Will as I want to be able to stop Chalice of the Void and All is Dust, which I know they board in to deal with Mentor
Game two: My opponent ended up drawing pretty badly. Might have won with a single threat given that All is Dust is a Plague Wind for them.
Game three: This game really shows how Mentor can take down the Eldrazi. I run out of white tokens and have to start using Zombie tokens.
I think the version of Miracles that I’m playing is as prepared as possible to face Eldrazi among the variants that frequently float around the Legacy metagame. Engineered Explosives gives me additional outs against Chalice of the Void, and also kills Endless One. Monastery Mentor can potentially amass enough blockers to hold off/smash through the big Eldrazi.
Once the other quarterfinal is done, the Top four players agree to split the prize pool evenly. That’s over £300.00 with 7th City Collectables, which probably amounts to a new deck – I’ll likely save it for Amonkhet cards when they come out, unless I’m tempted to try a new Modern deck! There’s still the matter of the Northern League Trophy to be sorted.
Semifinal – vs Sneak and Show
Again, this was covered fully as a BMT feature match so the commentary below is again short.
Game one: After I manage to stop my opponent’s initial onslaught, I decide to play both Mentors to apply as much pressure as possible. Despite getting blown out by Cunning Wish into Kozilek’s Return, I still think it was correct to apply as much pressure as possible this way. The other option of playing a single Mentor, a Top and holding up Swords to Plowshares gives my opponent at least three additional turns to combo off.
- -4 Swords to Plowshares, -4 Terminus, -2 Plains
- +2 Flusterstorm, +3 Pyroblast, +2 Vendilion Clique, +2 Disenchant, +1 Surgical Extraction
I don’t have faith in the white cards in this matchup. Some people board Young Pyromancer to sidestep me taking out all the removal, but I think you can match them with Mentor and I’ve kept in Engineered Explosives in case they either do this, or have cards like Defense Grid
Game two: I have a ton of countermagic, a Flusterstorm, three Force of Will, but no pressure. Unfortunately, it’s all for nothing as my opponent draws Boseiju. I did not sideboard Blood Moon and have no outs to this card.
Mark Winckle then goes on to defeat Rob Catton in the finals and become the Northern League Invitational champion.
Post event thoughts
This event was fantastic! It was a bit heavy on the number of rounds (11 in total for me!), but I’ve played in a nine round ‘old style’ PTQ and two rounds in the top 8 so I guess it’s comparable to that.
Top 4 was a decent result. Part of me regrets not playing Bant Eldrazi or Affinity for Modern. Three out of four of the matchups I played, I felt like a huge underdog and only got through that portion of the event by being lucky in the matches. Having said this, you can’t control the pairings board and it’s not necessarily a testament to the control deck having tons of poor matchups. I’ll really need to sort out what I want to play in modern as I have two Modern GPs coming up later this year – one in Las Vegas and one in Birmingham!
The quality of the livestream coverage was fantastic and I’m really glad British Magic Time (BMT) put it on for this event. I’ve had the opportunity to watch the Youtube recording of the livestream again. It was a challenging event to cover and I’m impressed with the team effort this time round. It was great to see a number of Deck Techs going on during the day which covered a range of interesting Modern and Legacy decks. Although I normally help them plan their events, for this one I stepped aside due to the fact that I was competing. I stayed after the event for a few hours to help the team de-rig the equipment, which, if you’ve seen coverage behind-the-scenes, involves a lot of equipment.
Special mention should be made of Alex Gershaw, the person behind all of this. He’s a strong pillar of the Legacy community in the Realm and it is his hard work and ambition that has gone into planning and putting on an event circuit for Magic players who love Legacy and Modern. It’s incredibly challenging nowadays to ride all the risks that come with scheduling events, now that there are multiple stores running PPTQs, GPTs in between Pre-releases, Set Releases, Game Days and their own marquee win-a-box events. The invitational made it greater than the sum of its parts and was a fitting way to bring the 2016 circuit to a close. In terms of the future of Northern League, Alex shared his plans in an interview with British Magic Time
Thanks for sticking with me through this long article covering an immense event. It’s not often you get to play in split-format events, let alone Modern and Legacy so hopefully you have found this interesting. This certainly sets the scene for me to join fellow master, James Wise on the road to GP Birmingham and bring you some more Modern event coverage articles. For instance, I’m likely to explore some more decks by playing in some GPTs while the rest of the PPTQ season unfolds.