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This Week in Legacy: Baby Sharks

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're going to be talking a little bit about Sharkstill in Legacy! In addition to that, we'll be covering the two Legacy Challenge events from this past weekend as well as a cool event that Anuraag Das hosted over this past weekend. We also have our Spice Corner as always.

Without further ado, let's dive right into the thick of things!

Sharknado 2.0

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths might have had some of the most polarizing cards in the form of the Companion mechanic, but the set overall has had a very interesting effect in revitalizing older strategies within the format. One of those strategies is that of the card Standstill.

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Standstill as a strategy is more of a traditional Draw-Go style of play, typically deploying Standstill to the board and then having some form of being able to win without needing to cast spells, while at the same time accumulating cards in hand that would answer any situation as needed. Typically the deck's general win conditions would center around cards like Mishra's Factory and the like, giving the deck a way of having a creature as a beatdown while the opponent generally opted to play nothing so as to not crack the Standstill effect. This strategy has had some issues in the deck's past, as cards like Factory just ended up not good enough to win the game. Of course, now that Ikoria is here, enter Shark Typhoon.

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The power of Shark Typhoon is such that the card can be cycled for a creature and a draw effect while under a Standstill, making it so that the deck not only has a good attacker, but an attacker with evasion as well. The bigger thing about this card is that it scales up, allowing you to generate a much bigger threat as the game goes on. In addition, because Shark Typhoon is an enchantment, it itself can be rebought back into the deck by utilizing a card out of Modern Horizons in the form Hall of Heliod's Generosity. This has given the Standstill deck not only a new way to win the game, but also new life in the form of Sharkstill.

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This deck has gotten some further upgrades that simply weren't available during the times when Standstill decks were very powerful in Legacy, cards such as Force of Negation and Teferi, Time Raveler mainly. These cards give the deck a little extra oomph as a control shell, as FoN helps it handle faster combo decks and Teferi provides leverage in control matchups. In addition to that, Myth Realized is seeing play in some of these shells as a card that generates incidental value off casting spells in the early game, and can turn into late game beater when a Standstill is finally cracked. There have been some variants that have cut this card for just having Snapcaster and Shark Typhoon, but it is an option for having a perpetual creature that is hard to interact with by things like Oko.

Splashing red in the deck gives access to effects like Pyroblast and From the Ashes, as well as cards like Pyroclasm for dealing with faster creature decks like Elves and Goblins.

This deck plays much like a typical Draw-Go style deck, utilizing the early game to either set up further turns or to slam an early Standstill and then make land drops until the opponent decides that they can't hang back any further. It is often correct for the opponent to rip the bandaid off of a Standstill in play as early as possible, generally on the end step of the Standstill player if possible. This presents a situation where it is likely the Standstill player has to end up discarding cards to hand size and can't often make relevant plays. This also takes off the pressure of having to allow the Standstill player to accumulate resources.

Sharkstill is overall an interesting and powerful newithold addition to the Legacy format. It has breathed new life into the classic Standstill archetype overall, and has given Legacy again a classic control shell. If this is an archetype that interests you, then this is worth looking into. Just remember, Sharknado is coming!

Community Legacy Update - The No Labe/No Veil Event

Over the past weekend, Legacy afficionado Anuraag Das hosted an interesting Legacy event, an event where both Arcum's Astrolabe and Veil of Summer were both house rule banned. Anuraag streamed this event on his Twitch channel and was used as a method to see what a metagame might look like with both of these cards gone. We're going to look at this much like a Challenge and check out the overall metagame. There were 32 players overall in this event, so let's check out how it broke down.

It's really interesting to see how this ended up, with a fairly wide array of decks brought by many of the players. There was a big amount of Delver-esque shells however, between RUG, Grixis, U/R, and Deaths's Shadow builds (which are Delver shells at their core). It is important to remember though that this is merely a snapshot of a possible metagame without Labe/Veil, and I hope that maybe Anuraag considers running these regularly to gather more data. It would be interesting to really see going forward how a metagame for this type of environment would adjust.

That being said, let's check out the Top 8!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BUG Depths 1st Negator77
ANT 2nd Aigis
U/R Delver 3rd Tartanscarfman
Death's Shadow 4th F7Eleven
BUG Depths 5th Luinil__
Lands 6th SchulzCubed
Jeskai Miracles 7th Bob12528
Humans 8th Yosoyez

This is actually a super interesting Top 8 with a lot of Dark Depths in it. This actually makes a lot of sense to me, since Astrolabe being gone makes strategies that typically utilize Rishadan Port + Wasteland a bit better, but also because Depths can easily capitalize on an unprepared metagame. Perhaps with more preparation or expectation of a metagame, these decks would dip a bit more. Delver also being powerful also helps these decks because they are often good vs Delver.

At the end of the event it was BUG Depths that took it all down in the hands of Tom Hepp, BUG Depths Master.

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Tom's classic lists for this archetype generally include the fashionable one-of Stifle, which presents some clever mind games for opponents to play around. In addition, the deck makes use of newer card Elvish Reclaimer.

In Second Place of the event was Anthony LaVerde on ANT.

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One of the big things about this list is the inclusion of Peer Into the Abyss over main deck Ad Nauseam, with AN shunted to the sideboard. In addition having a one of Wishclaw Talisman as another copy of Infernal Tutor is pretty strong.

In Third Place we have U/R Delver.

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This is very clean and straightforward, leaning on the power of Dreadhorde Arcanist to leverage the powerful spells in the rest of the deck.

In Fourth Place we have Death's Shadow.

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It is interesting to see new card Ethereal Forager here as well as Drown in the Loch. This deck is one of the decks that gets a lot better by virtue of Veil being gone because of cards like Thoughtseize and sideboard Hymn to Tourach.

In Fifth Place we have another BUG Depths list.

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This is basically the same/similar list to Tom Hepp's First Place list, so there's not much to say, but it is a strong list.

In Sixth Place we have Lands.

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This is a pretty classic R/G Lands list with Punishing Fire, which gets a bit better when decks like Delver get better. I also love the sideboard Chandra, Awakened Inferno, which is likely really strong in control matchups like Miracles.

In Seventh Place we have Jeskai Miracles.

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This is a pretty old school Predict style list with Counterbalance. It's wild to see Mishra's Bauble which had seen most play during the Lurrus era, but it seems incredibly powerful with Counterbalance in being able to check the top card of the library.

Rounding out the Top 8 of this event was Humans, piloted by Humans afficionado Eddie Zamora.

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This is a powerful list, and especially cool to see new cards like General Kudro of Drannith showing up as well as Barrin, Tolarian Archmage. Seems like a really strong list indeed.

All in all, this seemed like a really cool event, and I'm glad to have seen it happened. I would hope that Anuraag decides to continue holding these types of events, as these kinds of experiments can provide interesting views into the possibilities of changes in the Legacy format overall.

Legacy Challenge 7/4

Our first Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Saturday Challenge, so let's dive right into the Top 32!

This is quite an interesting Top 8, with a lot of RUG Delver, but also a lot of other interesting things going on as well, with several of the one-off decks converting very well to the Top 8. Let's take a look at the Top 8 now.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
RUG Delver 1st Hutomomo
Ninjas 2nd TheHamburglar
RUG Delver 3rd Griselpuff
TES 4th Bryant_Cook
Death and Taxes 5th Yoshiwata
Sharkstill 6th Gernardi
Rector Fit 7th Overhaul
Infect 8th Shp2000DK

RUG Delver converted well in this event, putting two copies out of the nine overall in the Top 32 into the Top 8. At the end of the event, it was RUG that took it all down.

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One of the interesting things about this list is the fact that it is only running two Dreadhorde Arcanist, which often is a four-of in these decks. However, less of them affords the deck some space to play some Stifle in the list, which is a solid way to put an opponent on their toes in playing around Stifle. Often times, casting one in a Game 1 can mind game the opponent into thinking there is more in the deck.

In Second Place we have Ninjas.

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This deck is incredibly fun and it's great to see the shell doing well. Having access to newer cards like Drown in the Loch is very powerful and Brazen Borrower is a big boon to this kind of deck, especially in being able to trigger Ninjutsu as well as putting a removal spell back in hand in the case of Borrower.

In Third Place we have another RUG Delver list piloted by Bob Huang.

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This version maximizes on the Arcanists, and goes light on the overall creatures with Hooting Mandrills to support how powerful Arcanist and Oko are.

In Fourth Place we have the TES Master himself, Bryant Cook, on his signature deck.

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This list is very strong, and Bryant continually has performed well with this and has carefully continued to tune it. It's great to see Peer Into the Abyss in the sideboard here as well. The card is exceptionally powerful.

In Fifth Place we have Death and Taxes.

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I am digging the Restoration Angel in the main deck here. Seems very cool.

In Sixth Place we have Sharkstill.

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As most of these lists had been using Myth Realized in addition to Shark Typhoon, it's interesting to see a list without it, but Daze seems like a cool card for a list like this as well.

In Seventh Place we have Rector Fit.

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Overhaul Top 8'ed the Challenge last week with a similar list, and it's pretty cool to see them run it back yet again. The planeswalker of choice for Arena Rector seems to be just solidified down to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, which is pretty strong. Also, there is no Cruel Reality here, mainly because the card has bugs with it currently on Magic Online.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Infect.

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This is a pretty solid Infect list, very clean and powerful. I'm especially enjoying the Great Sable Stag in the sideboard.

Outside of the Top 8 we had some interesting lists show up, such as Ice Station Zebra (which is a Tin Fins variant).

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In addition we had a Mono Blue Delver list with Ethereal Forager and Stormwing Entity.

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Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event. I am now going to be looking only at 2019-2020 cards with 8 or more copies in the event. This seemed like a fairly happy medium to most cards and will likely be the standard going forward.

Card Name Number of Copies
Oko, Thief of Crowns 35
Dreadhorde Arcanist 31
Force of Negation 28
Veil of Summer 25
Plague Engineer 17
Prismatic Vista 14
Force of Vigor 11
Ice-Fang Coatl 10
Deafening Silence 8
Klothys, God of Destiny 8

Oko especially saw a lot of play in this event, with as much RUG Delver that was in it, but also in the various other decks that he appears in. Arcanist as well also saw a lot of play, with multiple Delver shells utilizing it in the event. Snow decks seem to be pretty non-existent, with very few Arcum's Astrolabe in the Top 32 (4 copies overall), so it's pretty interesting indeed to see how the metagame has evolved to the supposed Snow Menace.

Legacy Challenge 7/5

The second Challenge of the weekend was our regular Sunday Challenge event, so let's dive right into the Top 32.

While not quite the same as the Saturday event, RUG Delver was still out in full force for this event. It seems as if we're starting to find a solidifying point in the overall metagame, and that metagame is solidly skewing in the direction of RUG Delver. Most of this has to do with the fact that Veil of Summer exists, so other Delver flavors like Grixis lose out on cards like Thoughtseize, but also because of cards like Oko, Thief of Crowns being so incredibly good in the deck overall.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Painter 1st Chefen
RUG Delver 2nd Wurst_
Slivers 3rd Danielnunes
Aggro-Loam 4th KauffJ
RUG Delver 5th Silviawataru
U/R Delver 6th TonyScapone
Titanic Dryad 7th Sentiment
TES 8th TrasMussen2710

RUG Delver and Delver in general definitely crept in hard on this Top 8, but it also had a few other choice interesting decks. At the end of it all, it was none other than Painter featuring Klothys, God of Destiny that took it all down.

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This list is pretty cool, and I am loving the inclusion of Klothys, which seems incredibly strong. I also really like the Seasoned Pyromancer here as another way of filtering and drawing cards. Solid list indeed.

In Second Place we have RUG Delver.

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This list is pretty clean, going on a split of top end threats with Hooting Mandrills and Tarmogoyf. Very powerful deck all around.

In Third Place we have Slivers.

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Daniel is well known for playing this deck consistently, and it's great to see him in a Top 4 with it. Slivers is an exceptionally aggressive deck and can power through removal easily with Crystalline Sliver, and is one of the few tribes that can demolish Plague Engineer with all of the pump effects in addition to the fact that many of the best Slivers are also blue for the purposes of Force of Will.

In Fourth Place we have Aggro-Loam.

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Loam builds always tend to look very disjointed on paper, as most people don't often realize the inherent synergies in the deck at first. This list is pretty close to the common lists seeing play now, where they are mostly 4 color (WUBG colors) to incorporate 2019-2020 technology like Oko and Uro.

In Fifth Place, we have our second RUG Delver list.

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This list is only playing the two Hooting Mandrills and no Goyf but instead maxes on Dreadhorde Arcanist. It's exceptionally interesting to see the various deviations of this deck overall and what basically boils down to individual play style.

In Sixth Place we have U/R Delver.

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Four Accumulated Knowledge is kind of sweet. I wonder if there was any consideration to trying out Frantic Inventory since AK mirrors aren't really a thing right now, so it would likely just be the same effect. Still, sweet list overall. Especially digging the Aria of Flame in the sideboard.

In Seventh Place we have Titanic Dryad.

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This deck is exceptionally cool and it's great to have seen the evolution of it over time. This is a powerful deck if you're looking for something that is comfortably casting Primeval Titan in Legacy.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have TES.

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This looks very much like Bryant's list from the previous Challenge this weekend, with the abesnce of Peer Into the Abyss.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a solid showing by our good friend Jack Kendall of Elves fame on his signature deck, featuring new JumpStart card Allosaurus Shepherd.

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Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event. Again, we're only looking for cards with 8 or more copies here.

Card Name Number of Copies
Oko, Thief of Crowns 28
Veil of Summer 27
Force of Negation 22
Once Upon a Time 20
Dreadhorde Arcanist 18
Plague Engineer 16
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove 12
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 12
Elvish Reclaimer 10
Karn, the Great Creator 10
Force of Vigor 9
Arcum's Astrolabe 8
Emry, Lurker of the Loch 8

Oko again is continuing to see a large amount of play even as Snowko decks drop in popularity overall. There's a real question as to whether or not Oko and Uro are both banworthy cards in Legacy or not, something that is worth discussing and talking about. I doubt that these cards are currently banworthy, but I can see a case for the effect that Oko has had on the metagame overall. This is going to have to be something to analyze more in depth in a further article.

Around the Web

  • Rich Cali was on 90sMTG again with RUG Delver vs Maverick. Check that out here.
  • /u/Vaitka wrote a nice little piece on the Reality of the 2020 Legacy Metagame which you can see here.
  • Everyday Eternal had Worldgorger master Kyle on the cast this past week, which you can check out here.
  • Greens Suns Zenith had a great article on the playability of Gaddock Teeg in Legacy, which you can check out here.
  • The Eternal Glory podcast posted an episode on Origins and Level Up moments, which you can check out here.

The Spice Corner

Living End?!

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Song of Creation in a super sweet deck by SamuraiFunn!

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U/R Delver with Stormwing Entity!

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Painter with Ominous Seas?!

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What I'm Playing This Week

I too have been getting into Sharkstill this week!

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for the continued support of the column. I love Legacy, I truly do, and I love the community behind the format greatly. Join me next week as we continue our journey into the world of Legacy.

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

Until next time, keep singing Baby Shark!

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