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This Week in Legacy: Cold as Steel

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! This week we're diving into Week One of Modern Horizons 2 on Magic Online and we're also going to look at a few cards that we missed last week that were spoiled as the article had already been submitted. One of the primary things we'll be looking at here is the fact that Modern Horizons 2 has given way to the rise of AFFINITY in Legacy with a few key printings. We've also got the data from this weekend's Challenge events including the Showcase Challenge, and of course... a Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Colder Than Cold Steel

We're now week one into Modern Horizons 2 on Magic Online and this weekend was an incredibly interesting weekend. From Delver pilots fitting in their new hyper efficient threats to players trying out plenty of new cards, we saw a return of an archetype that hasn't really had much chance to flourish in Legacy before, and that is AFFINITY.

Source - Kellen Pastore on Twitter

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One thing was very clear throughout this weekend is that the few cards that this shell got (notably Urza's Saga, Thought Monitor, and Nettlecyst) have put an Affinity Aggro shell back on the table for Legacy. This deck and all the variations of it (and there are a number both straight mono blue and blue/white or blue/black) are incredibly fast paced decks, deploying out a small army and backed up by the immense amount of card draw provided by cards like Thoughtcast and Thought Monitor.

Of the things in this deck though it became clear that as I predicted when I reviewed the card that if someone found a way to really build around Urza's Saga then the card would be good and it definitely was just that. This is the perfect shell for this card, as it makes the best use out of making a Construct token and the use of a tutor effect as well as there are plenty of things to tutor that cost 0 or 1.

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The card however that was super surprising is Nettlecyst, a card we missed on reviewing simply because it was spoiled later in the season after last week's article was out already. What makes the card really interesting is not just the Cranial Plating-like effect but the fact that it comes with a creature at the same time and at a super competitive casting cost.

While the format can certainly adjust to this deck, this is a deck to keep an eye on. There are plenty of ways to attack it and those ways generally involve artifact destruction. Already I've seen and heard inklings of sideboard cards like Pulverize making their way into some shells like Delver, so this is a deck that if you really want to beat it you can, but it is a deck to really keep in the back of your mind. It seems like an incredible amount of fun and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Modern Horizons 2 Cards We Missed

Since the article last week was submitted prior to the end of spoiler season, we do have a few cards that are worth talking about (and a few we forgot to mention in the first place), so let's get right to it.

Prismatic Ending

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This is a card we missed a little in the hubbub of all the new cards in this set, but this is definitely one of the most versatile pieces of removal in a long time. This can scale up or down as neatly as you want it to, and can even play through Chalice of the Void very easily as well. I expect this to see a lot of interesting play for sure.

Murktide Regent

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This is a really powerful card and I'm just honestly a little amazed this card even exists. Delve blue cards have never been a good thing for the format, and while Ethereal Forager has arguably been fine, this is a roleplayer on a more aggressive level than that card is. While Forager is great in grindy games where you're recouping card advantage this card just shortens the window in some games to a very few amount of turns. Furthermore if you have more than one of these, the second ability will grow the first one you had out. Dealing with this thing is very hard and there are very few good answers between red Blast effects and Swords to Plowshares.

Expect to see this thing however. It's already begun as of this past weekend.

Tide Shaper

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Another neat one dtrop for the Merfolk deck that likely exists as a more controlling variant, this one is interesting in that it doesn't really do anything when it comes in off Aether Vial. You absolutely have to cast this, but the nice thing about this is that it also acts as a mini Blood Moon style effect on your opponent's lands while it is in play. Getting to shut off Tabernacle or a Dark Depths or just really any colorless land like Posts is pretty interesting and it turns on the Islandwalk clauses in all the Lords.

Dauthi Voidwalker

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There are a lot of things going on with this card, and while I think this card is a great card and it has a lot of power behind it, it also has a pretty restrictive casting cost for Legacy (BB) and that alone might relegate it some of the more fringe strategies of the format. It is nice however that the first ability is basically Leyline of the Void, and that it also combos with Helm of Obedience so there is likely something there to play a 8 Leyline / Helm deck. The cast clause is interesting but not insane in Legacy. I suspect this being a 3/2 Shadow unblockable is the best thing on rate for this card for sure.

Strike It Rich

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On the outside this doesn't look like much but creating a Treasure token for one red mana is pretty solid, and this can generally be a card that can be used to turn on cards like Mox Opal and the like in decks that care about it. I know Bryant Cook has already extolled the virtues of this card in a shell like The EPIC Storm for sure. Definitely a very interesting and powerful card.

Legacy Challenge 6/5

Our first Challenge of the weekend was on Saturday morning and was the first one with Modern Horizons 2 in the format. This event had 69 players in it thanks to the efforts of the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

Quite a bit of UR Delver in this event overall and we expected that slightly with the very hyper efficient cards that were just added to the format for the deck. As we mentioned earlier however, Affinity showed up in a big way here and put up some numbers in this event.

Let's look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Affinity 1st Minest110
Bant Control 2nd AnziD
UR Delver 3rd sakuragi21722749
UR Delver 4th Kazuga
UR Delver 5th wambocombo2020
RUG Control 6th ARAPAKO
Affinity 7th Slasher21
UR Delver 8th taki

Half Delver Top 8 here but it's not the Delver that's cool, it's the presence of the new Affinity deck to the point where it took the whole event down!

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This variant is super neat, utilizing new cards like Esper Sentinel and even Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp in it. Retrofitter Foundry plus Sai, Master Thopterist is really strong. This looks like a super fun deck for sure.

In Second Place we have Anuraag Das on Bant Control.

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Main deck copies of Endurance is pretty sweet. The card is very powerful and certainly worth main decking and I keep finding all these little reasons to love the card even more. We also see Prismatic Ending here as the versatile removal it really is. Strong list by a strong player.

Let's take a look at one of the UR Delver lists to see how this deck has adjusted to MH2.

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Incredibly low to the ground here, with both Dragon's Rage Channeler and the Monkey Overlord Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. Two copies of Murktide Regent is also incredibly aggressive. This is a really powerful list for sure.

We also had in the Top 8 a RUG Control/Tempo variant.

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More Monkey! Besides Ragavan we also get to continue to see the power of cards like Expressive Iteration and how strong that card really is.

Outside of the Top 8 we got a good look at some established decks playing with MH2 cards. Let's start with Elves!

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Between Yavimaya, four Endurance in the sideboard, and Grist, the Hunger Tide things definitely look very interesting for the little green men. Definitely an explosive and powerful set of additions to the green decks.

Also outside the Top 8 Reeplcheep hit us with some Mono Black CURSES.

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Sudden Edict as just a better Edict effect is pretty cool to see. I'd be curious if longer term if Reepl would be trying out Dauthi Voidwalker as well in the deck.

Finally we have Reanimator.

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Super spicy seeing Grief as additional copies of Unmask in the deck (even though it can't target yourself), and also Serra's Emissary in the sideboard, which seems interesting as a target that protects you from certain card types.

Legacy Showcase Challenge 6/6

This weekend was also the rescheduled Legacy Showcase Challenge. These events are QP only entry, and the Top 8 of the event gets a spot in the Showcase Qualifier at the end of the season. This event had 197 players in it, and was the second event with Modern Horizons 2 in the mix.

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

UR Delver was massively popular in this event, and it definitely over corrected its matchup for Affinity in the process of seeing a lot of play. Pretty insane stuff, and it had a really strong win rate as well. The shot in the arm this deck got is probably far too good, we will really have to see.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st stainerson
UR Delver 2nd Phill_Hellmuth
Death and Taxes 3rd matyo804
Hogaak 4th MoxSquirrel
Esper Vial 5th jtl005
Affinity 6th RNGSpecialist
UR Delver 7th Bullwinkkle6705
Lands 8th alli

Despite the Delver prominence this Top 8 did only have three of them, but two of them were in the finals! Let's look.

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Fairly similar lists overall here. It definitely seems like our low to the ground hyper efficient threats are here and they are large and in charge for sure. The over-correction for Affinity is real though from cards like Shattering Spree and even Meltdown!

Also in the Top 8 we've got Esper Vial!

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This is a solid list by a solid pilot in Jeff Lin (one of the original progenitors of Esper Vial). Sanctifier en-Vec shows up as one of the new cards here, but otherwise not much else from MH2. Still a very strong list.

Down at the bottom of the Top 8 we've got Lands!

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Endurance yet again as an option is really strong. I suspect this is a card we'll be continuing to see for a very long time in Legacy.

Outside of the Top 8 we've got a SWEET Storm deck using Song of Creation!

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New cards Strike It Rich and Galvanic Relay abound in this list. This is a super neat looking list and looks like a ton of fun to pilot. Song of Creation is one of my favorite cards from Ikoria so I'm super thrilled to see it see play.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Phil Gallagher has a sweet list with Esper Sentinel! Check it out here.
  • Our other good friends at MinMaxBlog wrote a great bit on a Steel Stompy League with MH2 cards. Check it out here.
  • Boston Schatteman going 7-0 in the Legacy Bracket of 90sMTG as the new Monarch with Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. Check it out here.
  • The Canadian Threshold has a new episode out, so go check that out here.
  • I was in a video! Check out our Top 10 Legacy Cards from Modern Horizons 2 with me and Seth right over here.

The Spice Corner

Urza's Saga in Lands? It's more likely than you think.

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Torpor Pox!

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Grixis Peer into the Abyss!

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Squad Birds go!

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What I'm Playing This Week

I'm real curious about cards like Grist and Archon of Cruelty that I want to jam them into the Sneak Attack Nic Fit shell!

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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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