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This Week in Legacy: Court is Now in Session

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 diving into the first week of Legacy with Commander Legends, and namely how many of the cards that we talked about are seeing play in the frenzy of the new set's existence on Magic Online. Of course, we've always got Challenge data to discuss as well as the outcome of the Swiss portion of the ManaTraders Legacy Series this past weekend. Oh, right, and of course a Spice Corner.

Let's hit the books, shall we?

The Ruling Court of Commander Legends

The first weekend of Commander Legends being available on Magic Online is upon us, and one thing is for certain about this set already: the supply of this set is insanely low. One of the sets premier cards in Hullbreacher is currently as of this writing pushing over 70 tix on MTGO (so $70) as the only ways of acquiring these cards are via the Commander Legends draft experience and through Treasure Chests. The awkward thing about this is that the experience of drafting and playing the leagues on Magic Online is not superb, as the prizes awarded are play points only, and there's no other way to get packs. So much of this is to the point where people are using play points to enter a draft and then dropping after the draft to do it again if they can pick up any of the higher priced cards, effectively helping the supply but also selling them for higher prices.

The side effect of that is that the first weekend didn't really have a ton of people with access to these cards to test them, but those that did certainly showed off how powerful they are.


As noted before, one of the premier cards of the set is of course Hullbreacher.

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A lot of hubbub surrounded this card this weekend and one thing became apparently very clear about this card in Legacy: it's exceptionally strong. A highly splashable Leovold-like effect that generates mana is absolutely insane. We've even got some screenshots from this weekend of instances of the card being absolutely absurd.

From our good friend Marcus Ewaldh's Twitter, we can see Hullbreacher absolutely murdering an Aluren deck by shutting off its ability to draw cards.

One decklist to keep in mind for this card as we've often discussed is the Karn Echo Stompy deck.

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The applications of this card are pretty limitless really, from its interactions with Echo of Eons to the sheer power of the card in fair matchups vs unfair decks or even as a value play in fair matchups, this is one of the bigger cards to watch closely from Commander Legends.

Court of Cunning

Another card that drove a lot of conversation this past weekend was Court of Cunning in various configurations.

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A lot of the conversation around this card was fairly tepid in the spoiler season, ranging from over hyped to underestimated, and even I myself wrote a huge amount of words on the topic of these cards. It's cool to see that this card is not only strong and interesting in Legacy, but also fits into a variety of strategies and build-around type decks. I have a few to share from this weekend, from folks such as Anuraag Das and Jeff White (Pokemoki). Let's take a look first at a Bant variant played by Anuraag on stream this past week.

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The big strength of a build like this is the ability to leverage putting Court of Cunning into play on Turn 2 and simply making your opponent have to have an answer for it or to be able to take the Monarch back that turn. This is incredibly unlikely, and spells like Daze further that tempo "protect the crown" type strategy very well. Once you get rolling with the card, all it's going to do at that point is fuel your ability to cast cards like Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath for its Escape cost, making closing the game out even easier by being able to protect the Court. Furthermore, casting multiple Courts not only allows you to get the Monarch back, but also allows you to increase the clock of milling your opponent out of the game.

Another variant of this that Anuraag posted over the weekend was in regards to a 4-1 with Monarch Miracles.

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This list doesn't have the Turn 2 ability that the other list does, but it does its job in protecting the Crown by using cards like Terminus to keep the board clear as well as its own Coatls and the like.

On the flip side of things, Jeff White (PokeMoki) also posted some interesting takes on using this card this past weekend, even hitting a 5-0 with one of the lists he posted.

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Again, this is a deck that is seeking to do its thing by protecting via Terminus, but the other big takeaway here is also the presence of another card we saw in one of Anuraag's lists in Sevinne's Reclamation. This card is incredibly powerful of taking advantage of the self mill aspect of Court of Cunning, and also helps return back destroyed Courts. Teferi, Time Raveler is also really strong here, preventing interaction at instant speed, but also being able to bounce problem permanents.

The other list posted by Jeff was an Izzet Dreadhorde Arcanist based build.

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The self mill facet of the Court is prevalent here, using it to fuel cards for Dreadhorde Arcanist to flashback, and utilizing things like Lightning Bolt to control the board. Jeff even pointed out that it is possible to use Stifle to counter the trigger from an opponent connecting with combat damage to reclaim the Monarch (provided there's only one trigger of course), and that in of itself seems pretty hilarious. For even more hilarity sake this list also includes a copy of Echo of Eons and some Hullbreacher to turn a late-game into a quick game over.

Opposition Agent

The final trifecta of cards from this past weekend was of course none other than Opposition Agent.

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As one of the other cards that were filled with excessive amounts of hype, Opposition Agent didn't quite show up in a ton of places this past weekend, but I think we can argue that supply and hype for Hullbreacher drove that decision. However, it did show up in at least one of the Challenges this past weekend, in the hands of Reeplcheep in Curse Stompy and also in Esper Vial.

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I expect as the weeks go on we'll definitely be seeing more of this card and of course Hullbreacher as well, likely in the same builds just as we see in the Esper Vial list here where it was paired with Agent as a silver bullet card to tutor for. According to Reeplcheep on Twitter, Opposition Agent was excellent though, however it was a little bugged.

Moving Forward

As we move forward, and as more supply moves into the MTGO economy I do expect we'll see more of these cards seeing play and especially this big trifecta of cards (Hullbreacher/Court/Agent) as people try to figure out what is good and what isn't. It's clear though that these cards will have a long-term impact on the format however, so be mindful of these cards going forward.

ManaTraders Legacy Series November

This past weekend was the Swiss and Top 8 of the ManaTraders Series from this past month. This past month was Legacy and based on the event, it looked like a lot of fun. Twitter user CCR_Grindcast posted some Metagame breakdowns of the Swiss rounds, so let's check those out here (images from CCR's Twitter post with this coverage, so be sure to check them out and throw them a follow for their hard work).

The biggest takeaway here is that there was a lot of RUG Delver in the Swiss rounds of this event, which is not to be wholly unexpected as the deck is incredibly popular. Riding right behind it was Snowko variants, with the rest of the Top 5 decks being comprised of Death and Taxes, Hogaak, and the Karn Echo deck. I don't think it's incredibly surprising to see an event with a lot of Delver or a lot of Snow at this point in the metagame. They're the two most popular decks for large events, after all.

The Top 8 of this event was also relatively infested with Delver and Snowko, so let's take a look at the generic breakdown of the Top 8 and the players involved.

Deck Name Player Name
Snowko Marc Vogt
RUG Delver Theo Jung
Death and Taxes Zan Sayed
RUG Delver Leonardo Ansuini
RUG Delver Alfonso Zarzoso
Snowko Bart Van Etten
Death and Taxes ModiSapiras
G/W Reclaimer Ben Jones

Snowko and RUG were clearly the big talk of the town in this event, with a nod to Death and Taxes hanging with the big kids club as well. It's worth noting that both D&T lists in this Top 8 were 60 cards variants, not the Sky Noodle variants that have been popularized in the past few weeks.

At the end of the event however, it was clear that RUG Delver was the winner, in the hands of Alfonso Zarzoso.

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The big takeaway from Alfonso's list is that the green is really just a light splash and only really for Oko, Thief of Crowns and for some sideboard cards. Instead Alfonso has geared more towards cards like Young Pyromancer and also having a few basics in the manabase as well. This feels rather smart to me, and looks like a really sweet list overall. Congrats to Alfonso for taking down this event!

Another list worth looking at in this event is the Snowko variant by Marc Vogt, as it includes new card Hullbreacher.

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This list is sweet, honestly. I like it a lot, from the fact that there's Jace even here to the fact that we have a one-of Stifle. The Hullbreacher here is just simply a value play, but it seems pretty good in that regard.

The final list from this Top 8 we'll look at is from Ben Jones on G/W Reclaimer. This is a sweet deck overall.

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Whoah, this deck is really cool as an iteration on the ideas presented originally in Titan Stompy, instead dropping the stuff like Chalice for a less painful manabase and deploying threats like Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and Primeval Titan. Newer card Yasharn, Implacable Earth appears here as well, which is a cool hate bear effect that does quite a bit of work in a fair amount of matchups.

Legacy Challenge 11/21

We had two Challenge events this weekend, the first of which included cards from Commander Legends. The first of these was the early morning Saturday Challenge, so let's dive right into the Top 32!

Lot of RUG Delver lists yet again here, which again is not much of a surprise to us at this point. However, beyond that there were a ton of different decks and some interesting stuff with new cards as well. Let's take a look at the Top 8 of this event, which is certainly interesting.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Death and Taxes 1st GanYanChn
RUG Delver 2nd Musasabi
Cloudpost 3rd Angers
LED Dredge 4th Ark4n
Bomberman 5th Kanican
Snowko 6th Vmi-Nav
BUG Zenith 7th Yashimoro
Snowko 8th Laessoe

Despite RUG's popularity it did only put one pilot into the Top 8, a Top 8 which also included decks like Dredge and Bomberman. However at the end of the event, it was 60 card variant of Death and Taxes to take it all down.

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Maxing out on copies of Skyclave Apparition is exceptionally strong. The card has really done quite a bit for the deck overall, as has the technology of playing Spirit of the Labyrinth to deal with cards like Uro and cantrips. It's cool to see Gideon, Ally of Zendikar out of the sideboard, as that hasn't been around for a little while.

The Second Place list in this Challlenge is RUG Delver.

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Having a main deck Klothys, God of Destiny is certainly interesting, but it's definitely a card that is very good right now in Legacy in a lot of games. It's incredibly difficult to deal with, and likely D&T is one of the few decks that can easily in the form of Skyclave Apparition. Another interesting card that hasn't shown up for a while is Sulfur Elemental in the sideboard, but it is a very strong card at dealing with Death and Taxes. Even if you remove the card with a Swords to Plowshares, the damage the card does is immediate due to being a -X/-X effect.

Also in the Top 8 we had a really great showing in Third Place by Cloudpost.

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This list is pretty awesome, and I gotta love the fact that there's a Boompile and Hour of Promise in this deck. Boompile in general seems ultra hilarious.

Also down the Top 8 we had a Snowko showing.

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This is a pretty typical Snowko list, but it's worth mentioning for a really amusing sideboard card in Elspeth Conquers Death. Seems like a fun and interesting card in an otherwise relatively stock looking list.

Outside of the Top 8 we have some Hullbreacher action in Merfolk.

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While this deck is still able to utilize the Thassa's Oracle kill with Paradigm Shift, focusing on a prison game plan with Hullbreacher and cards like Day's Undoing is super intriguing for sure. Also, there's a Geier Reach Sanitarium which can be used to make the opponent discard a card and generate a Treasure token with Hullbreacher in play. Also, there's two Court of Cunning in the sideboard!

Also outside of the Top 8 is U/R Delver with Krark, the Thumbless.

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I kind of like Of One Mind here, since Krark is a Goblin and Delver is a Human, so getting to possibly copy the spell is pretty solid. Surprised at no Arcanist, but Young Pyromancer also seems pretty great with Krark due to the fact that you're still getting a 1/1 even if you fail the flip. Excited to see how this archetype continues to develop, honestly.

Legacy Challenge 11/22

The second Challenge event of the weekend was our regular Sunday afternoon event, so let's not waste any time and get right to the Top 32.

Yet more Snow, yet more RUG Delver. These two decks continue to sit at the top end of popularity and strength in the format, but it's wild to note that nearly every Challenge event is pretty different in how well these decks are actually winning and doing in games. While it's quite often that both of these decks convert into the Top 8, they aren't utterly dominating the format. It still seems as if there is a healthy amount of counterplay, which is cool to see.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Depths Combo 1st Sprouts
RUG Delver 2nd SknerusMckwacz
Bomberman 3rd Kanican
Doomsday 4th IWouldLikeToRespond
Cloudpost 5th Twibs
Snowko 6th Woooter
RUG Delver 7th Yamakiller
Yorion DnT 8th KelmasterP

Pretty interesting Top 8 here, with some Snow and RUG in it, but also plenty of other stuff as well. In fact, it was none other than Depths Combo that won the overall event!

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This version of the deck is often referred to as "Rainbow Depths" as coined by the one and only Thomas Hepp (Negator77 on MTGO) due to the fact that it plays lands like Mana Confluence and Gemstone Mine. One of the big selling points here is being able to have access to perfect mana as well as access to cards like Stifle and Flusterstorm. This is a super cool list though, and worth a peek if you like Depths decks.

The Second Place of this event was also RUG Delver.

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One important piece of technology here in the sideboard of this deck is Torpor Orb, a card that is just very underrated right now in Legacy and underestimated. Orb shuts down quite a bit in Legacy right now, but mainly the best thing to shut down is Thassa's Oracle. This is definitely some tech. It's also worth mentioning the removal of the green threats in the deck outside of Oko for cards like True-Name Nemesis and Young Pyromancer.

The Third Place list here is well worth mentioning it on the back of the fact that this pilot Top 8'ed the other Challenge of the weekend on the exact same 75 in Bombermna.

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Gyruda eventually being good for Bomberman decks is not quite the future I saw for the card, but with the Companion rule changes and the death of the Turbo Gyruda deck, it is definitely interesting to have seen the evolution of the deck and how Gyruda impacts it. Putting up two Top 8s in a single weekend is nothing to sneeze at though, so major congrats to Kanican on both finishes.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have a Yorion Death and Taxes list including another new Zendikar Rising card in Luminarch Aspirant.

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Aspirant is a bit of a point of contention in the D&T community, as there is a fair discussion to be had about the power level of the card and whether it truly makes the grade for inclusion. Everything I've seen of the card enforces it as a bit of snowball type threat, but I can certainly see the argument that it doesn't do enough. Still, interesting to see it show up in a Top 8.

Outside of the Top 8 we have a wild Reanimator-like Arcanist deck.

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This deck is pretty wild and amusing to look at it. It's sort of part Reanimator, part Arcanist/Pyromancer tempo deck, and it's really interesting.

Also outside of the Top 8 we have a Rest in Peace/Helm of Obedience variant with Court of Cunning.

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I've definitely talked about Moat a lot in conjunction with these Courts, and I'm not surprised to see it here. Moat + Energy Field and Rest in Peace is pretty strong at keeping the Monarch, and having Rest in Peace makes using Court's ability to mill exceptionally offensive.

Ban Watch

We had yet another set of Challenge data, so we can add to our Chart. I'll be resetting this sooner or later when Kaldheim rolls around (or if something happens with the BnR but it's doubtful anything happens before Kaldheim), so let's take a look at the current data.

Things have really seemed to have waxed and waned on these cards over time, and while there's always arguments to be made over the fact that gameplay has certainly suffered under the F.I.R.E. era of philosophy, for the most part even that and the format itself seems fine right now. It's simply unlikely to expect anything to change right now. Despite all of this going on, interest in the format has seemed to remain rather high, so many players are adapting and evolving as the format also is doing so.

We'll be doing a final Round Table in December to well, round out the year of 2020, so be on the lookout for that!

Around the Web

  • Shoutout to Doishy for posting THE PERFECT DOOMSDAY Stream. This is wild, so check it out here.
  • RUG Delver with Rich Cali on 90sMTG! Check that out here.
  • Our friends over at Eternal Glory Podcast posted a new episode, so check that out here.
  • A really solid primer on BUG Hogaak popped up this week as well, so check that out here.

The Spice Corner

Commander Legends cards I didn't think I'd see for $600, Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh!

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What I'm Playing This Week

As soon as I can rent Commander Legends cards (unless someone wants to float me some Hullbreachers for a bit), I'll be playing around with this likely.

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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 on 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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