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This Week in Legacy: Brewing, Brewing, Brewing!

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 bit about the concepts of brewing in Legacy and how best to approach it. In addition to that we'll be talking about the Challenges and the Super Qualifier from this past weekend. Unfortunately it still appears as if the Magic Online decklists page is broken so lists are still not being published, but we'll do our best and we'll have as much data as we can spare on these events. As always, we have a Spice Corner.

Let's dive right in shall we?

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

Legacy is a wide wide format, and it can be very interesting and rewarding to brew in, but it can also be pretty frustrating too if you don't have a firm basis on the format itself. Sure, one can slap together a 75 of 75 Legacy legal cards, but without understanding the context of Legacy it can and more than likely will be something that could potentially fail. However, persistence and understanding are some of the best ways to keep approaching Legacy and brewing. I guarantee that many of the decks we have found and talked about have grown out of brewing phases (such as Esper Vial, Ninjas, etc.)

There are a number of ways that one can brew within the format's context however, and we'll be taking a look at a few brews and breaking them down to understand how one might approach the deckbuilding aspect of getting to this point. One of the first things to consider is to pick a card/strategy that is a common staple in the format and work around from there. This is the best way to hinge on a general strategy or card power level that is known to work in the format and already has some form of merit.

For example, one of the most commonly heralded strategies in the format for putting just about anything behind it is the Stompy shell (Ancient Tomb + Chalice of the Void). These decks have a game plan consisting of fast mana and ways to abuse that mana. In fact, the first brew we're going to look at here is a Stompy shell brew, and it's one that I was fortunate to come across in playing games on Magic Online this past week. The pilot was gracious enough to share it and grant permission to discuss the deck via this article.

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So what this pilot did is they started with a solid basis of cards: Chalice, Tomb, the prison pieces like Trinisphere and put those at the forefront of the shell they were building. From there, they looked at aspects of the deck that influenced what they wanted to be doing. For example, cards like Propaganda and Ghostly Prison to discourage attacking. Winter Orb helps with mana denial, and so does Crucible of Worlds + Wasteland. The win condition here can be either Court of Grace, or getting to a point in the game where swinging with a massively lethal Cosima, God of the Voyage is possible.

This is certainly a neat deck. One thing that immediately jumped out at me however when looking at this list was there could be some construction changes made that would allow the deck to play a card like Force of Will, or at the very least sideboard copies of it, such as changing to all copies of Propaganda as well as potentially changing out cards like Armageddon for cards such as Dovin's Veto (something that would add to the blue count but also allow the deck to have a fast counterspell effect if it needed it). This would allow the deck to insulate itself against other fast combo decks that would be able to crawl under a deck like this before it could potentially get off the ground. However, you could also just consider that those matchups are hard anyways, and write them off and focus on the fair matchups instead, which is what this deck is mainly trying to do right now. What makes this nice is the fact that this shell is very configurable and those changes could be made for testing to see how they work and easily reverted if they didn't pan out, or if there is far less fast combo in the format than fair decks, then there would be no need for Force of Will in the 75.

I certainly hope this particular pilot keeps testing on this list, it looks like a lot of fun and seems very interesting to play.

Another common strategy is not only to brew around a specific strategy/card, but also to look at the inherent synergy of the cards inside of that strategy. This is a list I've had for a long while from my good friend Nathan Golia of the Eternal Durdles podcast, and it's a Faithless Looting based Vengevine list that utilizes the Adventure mechanic to trigger both Vengevine and Arclight Phoenix.

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What is interesting and cool about this kind of deck is utilizing things like Rosethorn Acolyte's Adventure half to set up casting Faithless Looting and then casting Merfolk Secretkeeper's Adventure half to mill to hit Arclight Phoenix, but then to back that up the following turn with casting the creature side of the Adventure creature and another creature to trigger Vengevine. It's this kind of dual synergy that really seems to make this deck tick. The main card this deck can definitely be built around however is Faithless Looting because it is the most powerful enabler of this type of deck alongside Careful Study.

A final strategy is to look for things like creature type synergy (tribal) and the like within a deck. Decks like Ninjas, Humans, and Slivers all arose out of these kinds of powerful synergies. One such card that is powerful to build around in this regards is Aether Vial because it does a powerful job of enabling those kinds of strategies. A great example of this is the 5C Warriors deck that I played and recorded with the deck's creator Paragon249 a few weeks back.

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Aether Vial provides the hard backbone for this strategy, backed up by the inherent creature type strategy between Warriors such as Najeela, and Bramblewood Paragon. It uses these synergies along with Changelings to develop a strong aggressive game plan fueled by the power of Vial.

Another good example is the Vial Elementals deck that I have been known to play on occasion.

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This is another "inherent creature type" synergy, but the synergy isn't quite being as aggressive as the Warriors deck is, instead it's using that synergy to ramp and create situations of pure value between the power of Risen Reef and the toolbox nature of the deck with Reef + Flamekin Harbinger. Vial helps this by providing essentially a mana bonus on the creatures so it's capable of being a bit greedy with its manabase.

Regardless of wherever you start with brewing in Legacy, the biggest rule is to never give up if you think you have a solid idea, but also to know when you are barking up the wrong tree (don't bark up trees though, they don't like it when you bark at them). If you're finding frustration or heartache with a brew, make changes to tweak as needed but also don't be afraid to scrap an idea and start over. The biggest thing that can go wrong is to have tunnel vision about a brew and to never be able to look at it objectively. This can happen if one gets a little too emotionally attached to the brew, so it is important to keep calm and objective about what your goals are with a deck.

Finally, have fun with it! Having fun with brewing can be immensely rewarding unto itself. Seeing a deck perform and do interesting things is fun!

Legacy Challenge 3/20

We did have some events last weekend even if we don't have decklists to go with them from Wizards. Thanks however to the data we collected within the Legacy Data Collection project because we have all the data from this weekend's events at least. The first Challenge event of the weekend was the Saturday morning event, and it only had 45 players in it. It is worth noting that (as we'll talk about shortly) is that there was Legacy Super Qualifier on the same day and in a time frame that overlapped with this event, so the low attendance has a factor of players sleeping in to play the other event.

You can find the sheet for this event here. Let's take a look at the breakdown.

RUG had a fairly big presence here, with six copies out of 45 people. Bant Control, Hogaak, and Cloudpost variants all popped in after that respectively, but in all reality, vb  things seemed pretty good and fairly diverse for such a small field. In fact, the Top 8 below had quite a bit of diversity going on.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
RUG Delver 1st Andreas_Muller
Elves 2nd TrincoTeq
Death and Taxes 3rd yoshiwata
Eldrazi 4th fatto10
Dredge 5th Wizard_2002
Depths Combo 6th wara
RUG Delver 7th Kuranari-Jackpa
4C Control "The Queen's Gambit" 8th lynnchalice

Sure there are two Delver here, and Delver did win the event in the hands of Andreas_Muller, but the Top 8 looks really healthy and interesting. It is definitely looking like that while there are certain decks that will remain perennially popular, that other decks are capable of holding them down, which is nice to see. Congrats to all of the Top 8 competitors in this event overall!

While we don't have any officially published lists, I do have at least one list from this event and it's the 8th place list by Lynnchalice, which is really sweet. The nickname we're giving this deck is "The Queen's Gambit" because well... long may she reign.

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Legacy Super Qualifier 3/20

As noted before, we had a Legacy Super Qualifier event over the weekend as well. This is a PTQ level event with the top two spots nabbing an invitation to one of the Arena Championship events. This event drew quite a crowd, with 308 players battling it out. This as it stands was one of the largest events we collected data for from the Data Collection project and we definitely have all of it!

You can find the sheet for this event here.

Quite a presence by both RUG Delver and Bant Control in this event, but their win rates didn't actually seem all that great by looking at the charts. It seems as we noted before, there's definitely some popularity in decks here, but it does seem like those decks are being hit by their predators in decks like Death and Taxes, Elves, etc. This shows that the decks putting up "numbers" are just represented because people like playing those strategies, but that those strategies also have a lot of counterplay to them. This is a great place for Legacy to be, in my opinion.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Esper Vial 1st jtl005
Death and Taxes 2nd Nodintree
Elves 3rd fluffy21
ANT 4th RonColpoCinese
RUG Delver 5th MenosGrande
Reanimator 6th Alrawn
Depths Combo 7th Moonmadness-_-
Eldrazi 8th Boin

Thoroughly crushing this event was none other than Jeff Lin (jtl005) as the ONLY Esper Vial player in the event. Other than that, we had D&T, Elves, ANT, even Reanimator in this Top 8 and it really looked very nice here. Further down the event you can see the glut of the Bant and RUG decks but these decks that rose to the top are solid. Thankfully we do have Jeff's list as well, because he posted it on Twitter!

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This list is sick, with a ton of counterplay and interesting toolbox cards going on. As always, Esper Vial is primarily a Recruiter of the Guard toolbox strategy, and Jeff is a veritable master of this deck, so it is great to see him do well in a big event like this. Congrats to Jeff and to everyone else in this Top 8! 308 players is nothing to sneeze at for 9 rounds of Magic!

Legacy Challenge 3/21

Our second Challenge event of the weekend was the Sunday event, and it had 81 players in it overall. A lot of players coming down off the PTQ event so this is a little low but not terrible still for this event (only like 10 players off on average).

You can find the sheet for this event here.

Again we see a lot of popularity in various Delver strategies and Bant Control, but again they didn't seem to break the bank. Again, this metagame looks and feels pretty interesting and fun, and while it definitely seems like people are coming together on decks with Sylvan Library and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, there's still a lot of cool decks to be playing.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lands 1st mechint
Karn Echo 2nd JPinter
Bant Control 3rd kauffj
Death and Taxes 4th EronRelentless
4C Control "The Queen's Gambit" 5th MadMaxErnst
RUG Delver 6th Ozymandias17
Lands 7th matyo804
Ice Station Zebra 8th killersuv

This is a super cool Top 8, with another showing of "The Queen's Gambit" as well as Tin Fins variant Ice Station Zebra (Depths Combo + Tin Fins). However it was Thomas Mechin on Lands who managed to take it down in a wild finals versus Jeremy Pinter on Karn Echo. We have Thomas's list thankfully from Twitter.

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Valakut Exploration has certainly reinforced the backbone of the Lands strategies since the release of Zendikar Rising, and continues to provide the deck with a very powerful angle of attacking the opponent. Even games where the opponent may have graveyard hate can be won by triggering the end step trigger and dealing damage to the opponent, which is exceptionally strong overall.

I also managed to get my hands on JPinter's Karn Echo list, so that is pretty sweet as well.

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The Brazen Borrower in the list is really cool to see, I am definitely digging its inclusion. Ravenform has been exceptionally powerful in a lot of games for myself as well, and just seems to really fit the deck quite well. JPinter streamed and recorded all of their matches, so you can check those out over on their YouTube channel here.

On Content Creation and Reddit

I couldn't quite get around talking about this subject I felt, as it is a subject that affects me as well as the other content creators around the Legacy sphere. This past week stirred a bit of drama in regards to a posting made by the moderators of the /r/MTGLegacy subreddit (a subreddit I post these articles to every week) concerning the posting of content links and mainly video links to the subreddit and around rules on self-promotion.

A lot of discussion was had on this, and at the end, some changes were made to how they plan to approach these kinds of posts. You can find a summary of that here.

My stance on this is pretty clear that there are many different kinds of content creators in the Legacy world, and their content not only entertains existing Legacy fans but also helps draw in potential new Legacy players. I'm happy that the moderators of this subreddit are being amenable to a compromising approach to how this will work going forward. I definitely implore them to continue to work with us and other content creators because it will only ever improve the quality of the discussion on the subreddit to have content to discuss.

For now, however I will be continuing to post content to this subreddit (mainly the article links, but any videos I post will get posted there as well) and engage with the readers there as I see comments (because I greatly enjoy engaging with readers!).

Around the Web

  • One of the indomitable masters of Elvencraft, Newton Hang, showed up on the Legacy Pit to sling it out with some little green men. Check out one of the videos here!
  • The finals of 90sMTG competitive bracket came to a head with the master Roland Chang vs Jason Murray. Check it out here.
  • In real world events, the Missouri MTG Legacy 100K event if you haven't seen already has been moved back to October 23rd based on all safety guidelines and current vaccine rollout. Check out the details here. This event is still as far as we know sold out, and the waiting list is extensive (and I believe no one new is being added to the waiting list either).
  • Off we go sailing the Ominous Seas!

The Spice Corner


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Show and Hullbreacher? It's more likely than you think.

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What I'm Playing This Week

I'm still working on Karn Echo for a while, as I'm likely to hopefully play the deck in paper come end of July (provided all things vaccine related and safety-wise occur) at the Missouri MTG 40K event.

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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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