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This Week in Legacy: Dawn of the Dream-Den

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 about the first week of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and how Companion has already impacted the Legacy format! We also have a mess of events to touch on, such as the Legacy Super Qualifier from last week, as well as the start of multiple Legacy Challenges per weekend. Our deck focus this week is on a brand new deck, known as Gyruda Stompy (aka Gigan's Clone Army), and of course we have our Spice Corner.

Also want to point out that the Ikoria release on Magic Online was not without its issues, as a card interaction between effects such as Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace being bugged with Gyruda, Doom of Depths required that the card be temporarily banned in every  format until the issue could be fixed. However, that fix should be out by this week and Gyruda will again be legal in every format. Furthermore, this also pushed back the Legacy Showcase Qualifier event that was supposed to take place last weekend to this coming weekend!

Without further ado, let's dive right into this week's article!

Rise of the Companions

This past week saw the release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths on Magic Online, and thus the talk of the weekend was mainly one thing: Companions.

Yes, Companions were virtually everywhere in many formats this weekend, but in Legacy especially they showed up in force, down to three that saw the most play.

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As players acquired the cards and more and more people got their opportunity to play with these cards, the overwhelmingly resounding opinions of MTGO Legacy players became pretty well known over the course of the weekend:

Companions need to go.

The major issue with these cards is that while they may sound like they are restrictive in their deck-building costs, in reality they really aren't, and instead present incredibly powerful build around strategies that come with the major upside of being able to start the game with a completely free 8th card in your hand. This makes playing decks not playing with this mechanic already at a bit of a disadvantage because in effect you are starting a card down from your opponent without one. This makes the advantage of these cards virtually insane, as they offer the decks they go in some very powerful effects.

Lurrus especially has proven to be the best of these three cards, and it's not because the card plays well with Lion's Eye Diamond like some people assumed. No, it's because of Delver of Secrets.

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Assuming that Delver would or could not cut cards like Gurmag Angler, True-Name Nemesis, or even Oko, Thief of Crowns to play Lurrus seems in hindsight to be completely incorrect. Delver so quickly adopted this card and its restrictions by being able to play cards like Mishra's Bauble to gain card advantage when Lurrus is in play. This kind of CA gives the deck not only the ability to draw more cards but also to be able to recur important creatures like Arcanist or Delver. Post board, this lets you loop cards like Tormod's Crypt, Nihil Spellbomb, and Goblin Cratermaker.

Furthermore, the combination of Zirda, the Dawnwaker and the Bomberman shell was vastly underrated as a place for the card by many, leading to the rise of the Fox in that deck as one of the most powerful strategies to be playing. Being able to quickly kill your opponent with fast mana, Zirda, and Walking Ballista is aleady pretty strong, but being able to use Karn to bypass access to permanents that don't have activated abilities is really very strong.

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Simply going infinite with Monolith is just good enough for Zirda to be good, but it also just presents yet another haymaker threat for this deck to cast in a deck full of alternate game plans to win a game (Karn, Salvagers loop, etc).

And finally, a card that sat outside the radar of some in Gyruda, Doom of Depths reared its ugly head over the weekend, in a deck we'll be talking about further down that abuses the effect of cloning Gyruda for chaining triggers.

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In short, we've never really seen a set release quite like Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths in quite some time. While 2019 brought us things like Oko, Oko's release was stymied in the format slightly by the existence of Wrenn and Six which had yet to be banned. Oko was still taking time for people to figure out that it was good. Even at the beginning of this year with Underworld Breach lasting about a month and a half the best versions of the Breach decks weren't immediately known upon release. They had to be figured out.

Ikoria represents a shift in that ideology and the speed at which players figure out the best cards from the set and the most busted ones. These cards are so blatantly powerful that it feels incredibly wrong not to play them. Even a card like Yorion, Sky Nomad saw play a lot this weekend simply because the effect and free value of it was simply worth it to Miracles pilots to play 80 cards to enable it. This has left a sour taste in many player's mouths over this, and I've seen a lot of desire over the weekend already to consider bannings on cards such as Lurrus, and possibly Zirda.

Now, I've always been of the mind that we should most certainly give the metagame time to adjust, since it has only been over a weekend of play. That being said, I would not be surprised to see one or more of these Companion cards become banned in Legacy after some time, and scarily enough I can possibly see at least one of them (Lurrus) getting banned faster even than Underworld Breach did. These cards are so incredibly broken and powerful, and what makes them worse is that they're effectively free. And we all know how broken free things are in this game.

That being said, after having played with the cards more myself, I am not thrilled with the existence of Companion as a mechanic. While it may possibly be exciting for Standard (and even then from what I've heard it's not too fun there either), the effects presented by these cards are so good that they warp the format around their very existence. This quite frankly is frustrating, because this makes yet another set under the F.I.R.E. design philosophy that has presented broken cards to eternal formats such that those cards completely shake up and warp the format before eventually needing to get banned. While having occasional shakeups is fine, this is tiring because it feels like it is happening virtually every set that is released. It becomes even more frustrating for players who like to play paper Magic purchasing cards only to have the possibility of them being banned before they even get a chance to play them (and given that the US release of Ikoria is pushed back to next month there's an even greater chance of this happening).

While we all know that Wizards is not testing for anything but Standard/Limited formats, I do believe that they need an advisory group (a great idea suggested by my good friend Rob Wilson on one of Mark Rosewater's Twitter threads) that can voice their opinions about cards from a Legacy/Vintage perspective. Many players play Legacy for the fact that it is often considered one of the most stable formats in metagame development, and the advent of 2019-2020 has changed all of that. While we can't go back in time, we can go forward with the idea that we can build sets again that don't completely break entire formats upon release.

While Ikoria might be fine in the long run, one thing is for certain, it definitely represents a shift in the game. Whether that is for good or bad, only time will tell.

Community Legacy Update

There's not a lot going on right now paper-wise, obviously, but big shout out to Legacy Double Dash yet again, every week at

Deck Focus - Gigan's Clone Army

An absolutely brand new deck to the format, this deck is based on using the new Companion card Gyruda, Doom of Depths as a combo deck. Let's take a look at a sample list.

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The game plan of this deck is relatively simple. Get to six mana, and cast Gyruda, Doom of Depths. At that point, you have to hope to hit a clone effect such as Spark Double, Sakashima the Impostor, and the like in order to chain Gyruda's triggers.

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The most important clone effect to hit is Spark Double, as it can make a copy of Gyruda that is Non Legendary. This is important, as any additional clone effects that you might mill into can then copy the Spark Double version, which will also make those copies Non Legendary as well. In addition, copying Dack's Duplicate that copied a Spark Double clone will also create clones that have Haste and Dethrone as well. Eventually you can hit a card like Dragonlord Kolaghan in order to simply turn all the Clones sideways and kill your opponent.

This deck is appealing because it plays out similarly to a deck like Belcher, where it is doing a lot of very broken things but its primary combo piece is always available because of Companion. There is a lot of different versions of this deck right now because many players are trying different things with the deck. One of the biggest things about this deck is that it has access to Cavern of Souls and Lion's Eye Diamond to push through its combo piece, allowing the deck to force itself through countermagic. The downside of this combo is that if your opponent has a way of removing Gyruda in response to the trigger, then you may hit just a Clone effect and do nothing. There's very little in between with this deck and it is very high or low.

Another thing to note about this deck is that fighting it with traditional hard graveyard hate does not function well. Cards like Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace do nothing against Gyruda, due to how Gyruda is worded. As Gyruda only cares about the cards that mills it is able to track those cards to another public zone. However, cards like Grafdigger's Cage, Karakas, even Swords to Plowshares can stop this combo. Just don't play both Leyline and then play your Grafdigger's Cage because then your opponent's Gyruda will be able to do its thing just fine.

This is a pretty fun deck, and one that I've been at the forefront of helping to centralize discussion on, even going as far as to create a Discord Server for the discussion of this archetype, which you can check out here.

Legacy Super Qualifier 4/16

We had yet another Legacy Super Qualifier this past week, this one the first event with Ikoria cards legal. Now, many of the cards didn't show up too much simply because this event was the day after Ikoria cards became available on Magic Online and players were simply acquiring cards. With that being said, let's take a look at the Top 32 breakdown.

There was quite a bit of the 4C No Red Snowko deck that's been popularized by folks like Anuraag Das and the like showing up in this event's Top 32 as well as plenty of Eldrazi. This event also saw our first look at Lurrus Delver. Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C No Red Snowko 1st Lampalot
4C No Red Snowko 2nd Lord_Beerus
Lurrus Delver 3rd Gul_Dukat
Oracle Merfolk Combo 4th AliraSirin
Aggro-Loam 5th HeyNongMan
Esper Vial 6th Jtl005
Burn 7th SirBonezoni
Hogaak 8th JakeShoes

This was a relatively interesting Top 8, so let's run down the lists! At the top end of it all we had both Lampalot (aka Michael Bonde) and Lord_Beerus both of which were on 4C No Red Snowko. Congrats on the PT Qualification both of you! Let's run down both their lists.

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Both of these lists are relatively the same except for a few cards, such as the presence of Jace, the Mind Sculptor in Michael's deck. Lord_Beerus also seemed to come prepared to deal with some of the more absurd combo lists with things like Meddling Mage and also Companions with Karakas.

Regardless these are some powerful lists and two very powerful players.

In Third Place we have GP Niagara winner Daniel Goetschel (Gul_Dukat) on Lurrus Delver!

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The big takeaway from this list is the presence of cards like Mishra's Bauble, which when combined with Lurrus allows a really powerful card advantage engine that can simply be re-bought every turn. Furthermore this also allows the deck to know what their opponent is going to draw every turn and what they have to play around. Out of the sideboard we see some creative deckbuilding with cards like Goblin Cratermaker which still fit within Lurrus' deckbuilding restrictions.

In Fourth Place we have a Merfolk deck taking advantage of the Paradigm Shift + Thassa's Oracle combo.

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This list is really cool, being able to attack on the angle of the regular Merfolk beatdown plan but also able to just combo off and win the game. Solid list indeed!

In Fifth Place we have Aggro-Loam!

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This is pretty common for what most of these lists look like now, with the exception of no Kunoros in the sideboard. Still, a really powerful deck.

In Sixth Place we have our good friend Jtl005 with his signature Esper Vial deck!

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Jtl has been tearing it up on this deck quite a bit and his results with it definitely show the level of deckbuilding and thought go into his card choices. Solid finish!

In Seventh Place we have BURN!

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There's not much to say about this except that it's pretty awesome to see Burn here. There's no frills, no spice, just Lightning Bolts and Lightning Bolt accessories.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Hogaak!

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Again there's no bones about this list. It's simply Hogaak being Hogaak and is relatively stock to the BUG variants.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event. For sake of completeness we're doing one table this time, and limiting 2019 cards to 10 or more copies (otherwise the tables would be a million miles long).

Card Name Number of Copies
Ice-Fang Coatl 33
Arcum's Astrolabe 28
Force of Negation 28
Oko, Thief of Crowns 28
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 24
Veil of Summer 24
Prismatic Vista 21
Dreadhorde Arcanist 19
Once Upon a Time 14
Karn, the Great Creator 12
Narset, Parter of Veils 12
Dead of Winter 10
Force of Vigor 10
Thassa's Oracle 6
Lurrus of the Dream Den 4
Cling to Dust 2

As expected for an event like this people stuck to what they knew with a few strong players trying new things like Lurrus, but for the most part this event was mostly decks we've seen before.

Legacy Challenge 4/18

We also had our first Legacy Challenge event with Ikoria legal, and this was our first Saturday Challenge event under every format getting two Challenge events every weekend during Season 2. This event showed us our first best look at the power level of Companions, because there were a LOT of them. Let's take a look at the breakdown of the Top 32.

At the top representation with 7 decks was Lurrus Delver, and while 4C No Red Snowko was there too, followed close behind was the Gigan Clone deck and Zirda Bomberman. This is the first time I think I've really seen such a format penetration of cards from a new set. Even Underworld Breach took a bit to really be broken within a few weeks. These cards were there right from the get go and doing well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C No Red Snowko 1st RobGladiator90
BUG Delver 2nd Antarctica
Zirda Bomberman 3rd Zyuryo
Gigan's Clone Army 4th Sora1248
Yorion Miracles 5th LynnChalice
Zirda Bomberman 6th Mei0024
Lurrus Delver 7th Griselpuff
Reanimator 8th Subi

The majority of the lists here were Companion based lists, which is incredible to consider. However, at the top of the event in first place was 4C No Red Snowko.

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Again, there isn't much to these lists to speak of, but still a solid finish!

In Second Place we have BUG Delver!

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Playing Grafdigger's Cage seemed like a really solid call for this deck, given the prevalence of the Gigan Clone deck this weekend. Note this event took place before the temporary ban, whereas the other Challenge this weekend was after.

In Third Place we have Zirda Bomberman!

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This deck is wildly powerful. Zirda's ability to abuse the mana rocks like Basalt Monolith/Grim Monolith is exceptional when paired with cards like Karn, the Great Creator being able to simply fetch a win condition out of the sideboard. This deck makes Bomberman truly nuts.

In Fourth Place we have Gigan's Clone Army!

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I really like the sideboard Leyline of Anticipation here as a way to combo off on your opponent's turn in response to cards like Chalice of the Void for zero, etc. Leyline of Lifeforce too is incredibly cool.

In Fifth Place we have a really sweet deck by LynnChalice in Yorion Miracles!

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Having Yorion as a Companion is an interesting concept since you have to play 80 cards main deck. Luckily for cantrip shells, they can do this quite easily and simply load up on relevant cantrips. Utilizing Yorion to blink your entire board seems pretty strong with Ice-Fang Coatl, Arcum's Astrolabe, etc.

Moving past our Sixth Place since it was also Zirda Bomberman to Seventh Place where we have Bob Huang (Griselpuff) on Lurrus Delver!

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Again this deck seems to be pretty powerful and it's also cool to see Sprite Dragon here as well. This card is really strong it seems.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Reanimator!

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There's a Vilis, Broker of Blood in the sideboard. That is all.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event. It's definitely interesting as a trend.

Card Name Number of Copies
Force of Negation 32
Dreadhorde Arcanist 29
Oko, Thief of Crowns 26
Ice-Fang Coatl 24
Veil of Summer 22
Arcum's Astrolabe 21
Prismatic Vista 19
Gyruda, Doom of Depths 16
Karn, the Great Creator 16
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 16
Lurrus of the Dream Den 11
Plague Engineer 10
Sprite Dragon 9
Zirda, the Dawnwaker 5
Cling to Dust 1
Yorion, Sky Nomad 1

This is definitely interesting as there is a lot of difference between the Super Qualifier and this event, namely in the number of Dreadhorde Arcanist present.

Legacy Challenge 4/19

We had TWO Legacy Challenges this weekend and they both had results posted on time, so let's take a look at Challenge #2 and its Top 32 Metagame Breakdown.

The biggest deck of this event's Top 32 was Lurrus Delver, and it definitely showed how powerful this deck really is. This event took place after Gyruda was temporarily banned due to the issues with Leyline, so there was none of our friendly Demon Kraken. Now let's take a look at the Top 8 of this event.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Lurrus Delver 1st JPA93
Lurrus Steel Stompy 2nd MartinMedMitten
Yorion Miracles 3rd AnziD
Lurrus Delver 4th Hoey07
Elves 5th KanonenFutter
Lurrus ANT / Hybrid TES 6th VeilOfBummer
U/R Delver 7th Zumekun19850204
TES 8th Bryant_Cook

Again there were a lot of Companions in this event, both mainly Lurrus, Zirda, and Yorion. At the end of the event it was JPA93 who took it all down on Jeskai Lurrus Delver!

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This deck is pretty cool, leveraging Lurrus' restriction into hate permanents like Meddling Mage and Lavinia, Azorius Renegade. Strong deck indeed!

In Second Place, another Lurrus deck this one based around the Steel Stompy shell!

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Wildly interesting usage of Lurrus here being able to recur cards like Arcbound Ravager. Really inventive.

In Third Place, we have Anuraag Das on Yorion Miracles!

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It is wild to see 80 card decks do well, but Yorion appears to be the real deal.

In Fourth Place we have Lurrus Delver!

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This list forgoes playing Dorat (I mean, Sprite Dragon, but clearly the Dorat version is superior), and simply goes ham on Dreadhorde Arcanist.

In Fifth Place we have Elves!

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There's not much new here other than the fact that Once Upon a Time is very powerful in this kind of deck.

In Sixth Place we have a sweet Lurrus ANT/TES Hybrid build!

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This kind of deck is great for Lurrus because it requires absolutely no build around to make good, and no main deck changes to accommodate it.

In Seventh Place we have U/R Delver, with no Companion!

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There isn't much to say here because Dreadhorde Arcanist is indeed very powerful.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have our good friend Bryant Cook on The EPIC Storm!

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Bryant is also playing the little kitty, as it seems just incredibly easy to slot into these kinds of decks.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event as well.

Card Name Number of Cards
Dreadhorde Arcanist 45
Force of Negation 29
Veil of Summer 22
Lurrus of the Dream Den 17
Karn, the Great Creator 16
Arcum's Astrolabe 14
Sprite Dragon 12
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 8
Zirda, the Dawnwaker 4
Thassa's Oracle 3
Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger 2
Cling to Dust 1
Yorion, Sky Nomad 1

Yes, that is a whopping 45 copies of Dreadhorde Arcanist, which was nearly a 4-of in every Lurrus Delver or other Delver shells in this Top 32. I have not seen a card push this high in Legacy in a while, so that's certainly very wild to see.

Around the Web

  • Our friends over at The Eternal Glory podcast posted a new episode on Ikoria. Check it out here.
  • posted a comprehensive set review of Ikoria for Maverick. Check that out here.
  • Stompy Alignment Chart!
  • 90sMTG posted a video showing off Lurrus Grixis Delver. Check that out here.

The Spice Corner

Our first list comes from Jeff White (pokemoki) abusing Zirda with Kinna, Bonder Prodigy!

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ReCalibrator brings us a sweet GB Plug list with Arasta of the Endless Web!

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One word: Karnifacts.

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What I'm Playing This Week

I've been on the Gyruda game but until that gets fixed on Magic Online I'm going to be playing around with John Ryan Hamilton's Zirda Bomberman list!

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Wrapping Up

That's all we have for this week folks! Join us next week as we continue our journey into the Legacy Format!

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition I'm always on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server as well as the /r/MTGLegacy Discord Server and subreddit. I also gave away a sweet deckbox on Twitter recently to celebrate 500 followers on Twitter, and my winner posted the spoils. Go check that out here!

Until next time, keep casting Kitty Kats!

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