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This Week in Legacy: 2021 Year in Review

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week I'm going to be taking a look back at 2021 and some of the big topics of Legacy of 2021 as well as what some of my most viewed articles of 2021 were! It's exciting stuff looking where we've been. We've also got one Challenge worth of data to look at from this past weekend as well as the NRG Series Trial!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Looking Back at 2021

2021 was a pretty wild and tumultuous year for the Legacy format amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic all around the world. This year saw a lot of things such as a return to paper Magic events as well as a lot of upheaval in Legacy. Let's take a look at the big topics of 2021 and how they've shaped this year.

1. Modern Horizons 2 Release - June 2021

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If there ever was a topic that defined the year of 2021, it was the release of Modern Horizons 2 and how it has changed the Legacy format. Half of the year has been dominated by a metagame involving this set because of its release in June of 2021, and much of the ongoing discussion of the format, what changes it needs and what bans it might need are intrinsically tied to this set and the powerful cards that it added to the format.

While Modern Horizons 2 did take center stage with cards like Ragavan and Urza's Saga, other roleplayers were added to the format in this set from cards like Solitude enabling a redundant 80 card variant of Death & Taxes to Endurance giving many decks a flexible graveyard hate plus Delver blocking option. Furthermore, Grist, the Hunger Tide made a reasonable splash in the format as well, cementing itself into the Elves shell.

2. The Return of Paper Legacy Events

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One of the other big topics of this year was a return to paper Magic events in general, but more importantly a return to paper Legacy events. As more and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 we started seeing a big return to paper Legacy, the biggest of which was the Legacy Pit Open. The Pit Open was one of the largest paper Legacy events of 2021, with a record breaking 349 players! You can go back and read the follow up we did on this event in this article here.

It became abundantly clear that many players truly desired to sling some cardboard in person, as we also saw plenty of events held in Italy by the 4Seasons Tournaments series as well as Blue Dojo. On our home front in the US, we saw not only a return of the Leaving a Legacy Open series, but also my home series of Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy as well as the Midwest's own NRG Series.

The two major events of the year however did get postponed or canceled (in the case of the 100K) and those were the 40K and 100K to be held by MissouriMTG. Jeremy is an awesome guy and we hope to see a return to some of these events next year and hope that the 40K can go off without a hitch in March.

3. Eternal Weekend Returned to Online

One of the generally biggest paper events of every year is US Eternal Weekend, which took a trip last year to be held online due to the pandemic. Again this year this event was held on Magic Online presumably still due to Wizards not really wanting to dive right back into large scale events because of the pandemic. Eternal Weekend was held online again this year, amidst concerns about the format's health and a vague statement by Wizards of not wanting to make any changes prior to the event. While the numbers for the event were a little lower than last year, Eternal Weekend 2021 still seemed like a fun weekend and allowed people to play the format with the All Access Tokens.

You can check out the followup article for that event here.

4. The Most Popular Articles of 2021

This year I had a lot of content, and only took one week off this September while I was on vacation! There was a lot of great articles this year, and I have tackled a lot of interesting topics from the bannings of Oko/DHA to Unban discussions (which people felt VERY strongly about) to theoretical events on MTGO. The most popular article this year however was "The Dawn of a New Age" as it discussed the bannings of Oko, Astrolabe, and Arcanist in depth and where the format might go from there.

In addition to that one, the original article detailing the issues with Oko also ranked very highly, as well as the "Unbananza" article. I felt very blessed by the community this year as we navigated the trenches of the format, and I greatly enjoyed all of the feedback over the year. There are a lot of people with some strong opinions in the community and it was great to engage with you all.

For me, my favorite articles of this year were the Round Table articles. I started these originally as a way to kind of address some of the current issues in the format last year, but they were so popular that I kept doing them, and I really enjoy getting involved with other content creators and collaborative efforts like this. It is awesome to be able to provide a space for the community leaders to express their thoughts and feelings on the format, and I love reading them.

5. The Evolution of the Legacy Data Collection Project

This year also saw a big evolution of the continued existence of the Legacy Data Collection Project. This year we launched a Patreon for the project and with a little fine tuning and balancing were able to find a happy medium of being able to provide the data content to the community while being able to properly reward the players who spend their time handling the raw data collection. For me, this was a huge thing as it really lent notion to the fact that the community really appreciated this data.

Furthermore, we saw and met our biggest Challenge of the year this year in Eternal Weekend 2021 with multiple 300+ player events that we all managed to get all the data for. This is such an accomplishment and I'm really proud of all of the people who are involved in this project for their work this year.

6. The Column Artwork of 2021

One of the best things about working here with MTGGoldfish for me is absolutely the work that Adriano Kitani puts in week in and week out to make our article thumbnails look as amazing as possible. The work for my columns this year was no exception. There were plenty of solidly awesome thumbnails this year, and even when I think Adriano has outdone himself he somehow manages to stick the landing yet again with the next piece.

Definitely a man worth a follow on Twitter and worth commissioning artwork from! Adriano even recently did a large scale image for a portrait painting of a Brainstorm card for my good friends over at Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy that was given away as a prize for their event.

Legacy Challenge 12/12

We had our regular Sunday Challenge fire this weekend with 82 players thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Blue Zenith based decks (blue decks utilizing Green Sun's Zenith and Yorion) were very popular in this event and have been creeping up in popularity as of late in general, slightly overtaking UR Delver in terms of pure representation. However, UR Delver had a really strong performance in this event with a close to 60% non-mirror WR. Elves also performed exceptionally well with only four pilots. Definitely an interesting event.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Elves 1st TrincoTeq
UR Delver 2nd JPA93
Reanimator 3rd Slatorade
Elves 4th Testacular
Blue Zenith 5th McWinSauce
UR Delver 6th Stranger99
UR Delver 7th dunkin90
UR Delver 8th ccarlson32

Quite a bit of UR Delver in this Top 8, with half of it being made up by the deck. Elves made up half of the rest with Reanimator and Blue Zenith. At the end of the event however it was Elves that took it all down.

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Really strong list here, more leaning on the Elvish Reclaimer plan. I really love the numbers in this deck for sure. The main deck Bojuka Bog is pretty sweet here. I am digging all of this.

The Second Place finalist was JPA93 on UR Delver.

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This is the typical Steam Vents setup with two Delvers and two Mishra's Bauble. It's a very powerful list, so don't change what isn't broken.

We also had one showing by Reanimator in this Top 8.

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Both Serra's Emissary and Archon of Cruelty are really sweet cards that see play in this deck now. It's definitely awesome that there are other sweet reanimation targets that aren't Griselbrand for sure.

Also in the Top 8 we had McWinSauce on Blue Zenith. This is definitely a deck they've been playing a lot and have been really hitting those Top 8s.

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This deck is really strong and has a lot of really powerful cards it plays. It's also incredibly fun to play as well. All hail the Sky Noodle!

Outside of the Top 8 there are a bunch of sweet decks and too many to count (I definitely recommend checking out the deck dump for this one) from Dauthi Helm to utley26 on Painter.

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This list is really strong. Main deck Ethersworn Canonist seems pretty strong right about now in the current format. Definitely a fun list.

Also down the Top 32 we had a typical Blood Moon Aggro variant that wasn't playing Blood Moon and instead loaded up on a bunch of aggressive threats and Laelia, the Blade Reforged.

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NRG Series 5K Trial 12/11

This past weekend was another great event held by NRG in Milwaukee. This event was a 5K Trial event and it had 145 players total in it, which is super sweet to see. NRG also streamed this event, and you can find the video of it here.

You can find all of the decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Lot of UR Delver in this event, with the deck making up double over the next most represented deck in Death and Taxes. D&T is a solid foil to the UR Delver decks so I'm not surprised to see strong players picking it up in paper. Both decks had a strong performance overall in the event, as did Lands and Loam based decks.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Loam 1st Kyle Vjorn
UR Delver 2nd Travis Williams
Elves 3rd Ivan Espinosa
Death and Taxes 4th Matt Dow
Mono Green Cloudpost 5th Connor Herbart
UR Delver 6th Theodore Jung
Lands 7th Adam Washburn-Moses
UR Delver 8th Corey Baumeister

Quite a bit of UR Delver in the Top 8 here, alongside D&T, Elves, Cloudpost, Lands, and... a SWEET Loam list by my good friend Kyle Vjorn from the MTGLegacy Discord in FIRST PLACE.

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This deck is super duper sweet. While it eschews a core Loam-esque card in Knight of the Reliquary, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is a solid replacement for that and being able to have access to Force of Will in the Mox Diamond deck is pretty strong. There's a lot of this list that I just really enjoy for sure. Congrats Kyle on the win!

The Second Place finalist was on UR Delver.

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Definitely what we've come to expect from UR Delver. End the Festivities showing up as the replacement for Blazing Volley is pretty great to see as well. This pilot also came very prepared for the 8Cast deck with 2x Meltdown in the sideboard.

Also in the Top 8 we've got Death and Taxes.

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A great new addition to this deck is Cathar Commando because it is a really strong Qasali Pridemage effect in mono white that can be tutored with Recruiter of the Guard. I also really love Timeless Dragon in these lists. Really incredible deck right now for sure.

We also had a Mono Green Cloudpost deck in the Top 8.

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Really strong and straightforward deck here. We don't see this deck too much because of all the Wasteland in the current format, but there's plenty of ways that this deck can beat those decks and get above them with the mana ramp it has access to.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we also had a great showing by Lands.

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Kaheera being a Companion here is very intriguing as there is less of a focus on things like Elvish Reclaimer and a much greater focus on things like Urza's Saga here. Definitely a lot of really cool stuff going on here for sure.

I definitely recommend checking out all of the lists in this event. There's a lot of sweet lists and it's great to see some awesome paper Magic.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Doishy sits down for a nice cup of tea, and a little Doomsday. Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Max Gilmore wrote a nice piece on Ragavan in Legacy. Check that out here.
  • Song of Creation. No other words.
  • Our good friend Phil Gallagher is rocking a little Dauthi Helm in Legacy. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner


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Doomsday with Bolas's Citadel and Tendrils is hot.

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Witherbloom Chain of Smog Delver w/ Murktide is definitely interesting.

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Retrofitter Thopter Conversion is pretty wild.

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Spirits is not a tribe we see often, but seems really good with stuff like Skyclave Apparition existing now.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for continuing to support the column and join us next week as we continue our journey into Legacy!

As always you can reach me at Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the /r/MTGLegacy Discord Server and subreddit.

Until next time!

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