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This Week in Legacy: Escape From the Underworld, Part 2


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for This Week in Legacy! I'm your host with the most, Joe Dyer, and this week we're settling in to talk about the rest of the Theros: Beyond Death spoilers and what from that set may make a splash in Legacy. We have a lot to talk about!

I'm also going to be covering the Legacy Challenge from this past weekend on Magic Online, as well as talking through another deck that is making great rounds in various places, including winning Eternal Weekend Paris this year. I'm speaking of course, about the current state of Grixis Delver this week!

Remember, if you ever have a subject you'd like me to cover, a deck you'd like me talk about, or an event you'd like to me notify people about then please always feel free to reach out to me!

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

The Death of the Gods

Theros: Beyond Death spoiler season is all wrapped up, so let's take a look at what the rest of the set has to bring.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath [THB]

This card is pretty cool and seems pretty powerful in regards to the U/G Titan lists that have made the rounds (see last week's Spice Corner) as it functions well with cards like Life from the Loam as well as being able to dump a land directly onto the battlefield. While it might not show up in large quantities it does have some potential in these kinds of lists. Late game getting a four mana 6/6 with the upside of gaining life and drawing (or possibly dredging) and getting to drop another land is pretty interesting indeed. I don't know that we'll see this at all, but it is curious to consider how this card might play out.

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger [THB]

The other Titan of the set is also somewhat interesting. What is cool about this card is that for two mana it can get around Veil of Summer to make the opponent discard and then has the potential upside of making them lose 3 life as well. While this isn't better than most discard effects because the opponent does get to choose, the fact that this is another effect that can be repeated later in the game and you get a 6/6 for the effort is interesting. This is comparable to Gurmag Angler in a sense since it's a four mana Delve 5 that enters with a small upside. It will be interesting to see if this shows up anywhere, for sure.

Whirlwind Denial

Whirlwind Denial [THB]

I'm a little bit in denial over this as I don't really think this card will see much play. This is mainly this set's Cancel for the most part and while it's intriguing that it can counter abilities (like triggered abilities and activated abilities) this is still a format where Veil of Summer is reigning supreme right now and as such a three mana mass Cancel just doesn't cut it.

Soul-Guide Lantern

Soul-Guide Lantern [THB]

I actually really like this card as it's half a Nihil Spellbomb with the draw activation and half a Tormod's Crypt. I would play this in decks that would have normally played Relic of Progenitus as an additional form of graveyard hate. What's nice about this card is the clause that it exiles each opponent's graveyard as opposed to targeting, which means it can get around cards like Leyline of Sanctity which does see play from time to time out of Dredge and various other graveyard decks (since most of the hard forms of permanent based hate like Crypt, Spellbomb, even Ravenous Trap all target a player). The fact that it's an artifact is upside as well with cards like Karn, the Great Creator floating around the format from time to time.

Eidolon of Obstruction

Eidolon of Obstruction [THB]

My only gripe with this card is that it feels like it does too little to stem the bleeding from a powerful planeswalker coming down and the fact that it's not a 2/2. Yes, I know there is precedent for two mana 2/1 first strike creatures in Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, but this effect feels more like a bear. Is this good enough is the real question, and I feel like the answer is not really. The tax is nice for one turn, and maybe gives you a chance to interact with their planeswalker, but more than likely the decks playing things like Oko and Teferi will be able to answer this first then deploy their planeswalker. And while this is often fine as drawing removal is delaying them, I really would have liked to have seen this be a true bear like Collector Ouphe and be a 2/2 "Loyalty abilities of planeswalkers can't be activated" instead. The biggest downside of this is that it is an Enchantment creature, so being susceptible to enchantment removal is also pretty bad. However, this could likely show up in decks like Enchantress given that it's an Enchantment to trigger those drawcard effects, but at the same time Suppression Field exists and is likely better all around.

It's worth noting though that it is nice that Wizards is trying new things to attempt to corral the problem of powerful planeswalkers, so let's hope this trend continues and we get something truly good against them.

Calix, Destiny's Hand

Calix, Destiny's Hand [PTHB]

Speaking on Enchantress, destiny foretold that I was going to have to speak about this card. I don't actually think this card is any good in Enchantress decks, much for the reasons of those that we already discussed, namely cards like Suppression Field seeing positive play in those decks. Being a symmetrical effect makes playing a card like Calix pretty bad as Enchantress really tries to maximize on its mana production as best as it can. While the ultimate is cute, for four mana you get Replenish which basically does the same thing without having to tick up over three turns and it's not like Enchantress is hurting for selection when it can draw upwards of three cards per spell.

Thassa's Oracle

Thassa's Oracle [THB]

Now, this is a card. My mind spun the wheel with all the ways that this card can be abused and primarily the biggest one is of course Doomsday. This effect becomes a much cleaner way to win with Doomsday than Laboratory Maniac because of how the triggered ability is worded. If there are no cards in your library when this ability resolves, it doesn't matter at all if they kill this creature in response to the trigger, even if it reduces the amount of devotion to zero it will still win the game. Of course, this can also be heavily abused with decks that rely on using things like Balustrade Spy or Undercity Informer as paths to victory (decks like Manaless Dredge, Oops! All Spells and the like) as it is a very clean way to win that gets around things like Leyline of Sanctity and doesn't run into the issue of having to be overly complicated to win the game like how Oops has ran win conditions like Garna, the Bloodflame + Laboratory Maniac + a draw effect. This just wins the game in one clean swoop.

I would not be surprised to see this show up in these fringe combo decks and that's fine. It's a cool card and does cool things.

Destiny Spinner

Destiny Spinner [THB]

Speaking of Enchantress, this card is actually pretty solid for the deck for the sheer fact that it is a Gaea's Herald that also makes your enchantments uncounterable as well, in addition to being an enchantment itself to trigger Enchantress effects and also green for the purposes of Green Sun's Zenith. Late game, this becomes a win condition by turning lands into big beaters to slam into the opponent with. I really like this from that perspective and do expect we'll see Enchantress pilots adopt this card.

Taranika, Akroan Veteran

Taranika, Akroan Veteran [THB]

This card is sweet for specifically one deck in Legacy: Soldier Stompy. Being a Soldier and on curve is pretty cool, and the effect is incredibly strong given creatures like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Thalia, Heretic Cathar, but also helps ensure that cards like Preeminent Captain survive combat to continue being used. I expect this will be an interesting card for that deck, which is great when tribes like that get help.

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Wait, Fblthp?! How'd you get in here?! This isn't your set! Shoo! Shoo! Okay folks, sorry about that. Guess he was just a little Totally Lost.

A Delver By Any Other Name

Our deck focus this week is a deck that goes back to the printing of one of Legacy's most infamously defining sets. Innistrad. While this set would live on as one of the best draft formats of all time, it would also provide Legacy a card that would forever go on to define parts of the format in Delver of Secrets.

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There would go on to be various ways to build Delver strategies throughout Legacy, but the one we're going to talk about today is based on the color shard of Grixis. Grixis Delver has had a rocky few years, going from being just a fringe variant during the era of Treasure Cruise to a format dominating powerhouse during the era of Deathrite Shaman. Again it lost out during the few months that we had Wrenn and Six around but has since turned around and shaped back up in a format containing cards like Oko, Veil of Summer, and Arcum's Astrolabe.

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There a few iterations of this deck now but the most common things about all the builds these days is the inclusion of cards like Bedlam Reveler and Brazen Borrower in addition to the powerhouse that is Dreadhorde Arcanist. Even the stock spells of this list have solidified for the most part into the iteration of 4 Brainstorm, 4 Ponder, 2 Preordain, 3 Thoughtseize, 2 Fatal Push, and 4 Lightning Bolt.

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Brazen Borrower especially is an interesting and very powerful addition to this deck, as a bounce spell that deals with things like Marit Lage that can later be turned into a threat is very strong. As more Depths decks have evolved and have made room for things like Elvish Reclaimer and the like, edict effects such as Diabolic Edict and Liliana's Triumph lose a lot of equity, so having a universal bounce spell that can also be applied to other situations (like bouncing Chalice of the Void g1 when needed) is very strong. Versatility is what makes modal cards like this so good, and long term I expect this card to continue to show up in Delver variants from now on.

The downside of Bedlam Reveler is that it can compete with Dreadhorde Arcanist for graveyard space when trying to cast it at the appropriate time, which is one of the reasons why one of the new Theros: Beyond Death Cards could be reasonable to see play in this deck.

Ox of Agonas [THB]

The upside of the Ox in this deck is that it can be cast late game if you get to 5 lands (which is more reasonable than getting to 8 lands for Reveler) but can also work really well as a mid game draw three from the graveyard for Delve 8 RR. The upside of Escape here is that Escape works with any cards in the graveyard, while Reveler only works with instants and sorceries. It will be interesting to see if this card breaks into this shell since it seems pretty perfect for it.

In the sideboard of these new variants is a little one-two combo of cards that is excessively interesting when you remember that Delver is a Daze deck.

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These two cards combined can develop into a very powerful card-drawing engine by using Daze to pick the Mystic Sanctuary up when applicable and then using it to put Painful Truths back on top of the library in order to continue drawing cards. In grindy matchups the life loss might seem to be a bit much, but life is a pure resource here and the card advantage of 1-for-1 (1 mana per card) is pretty powerful and helps keep this deck in the game instead of running out of steam. This combo is absolutely worth it in this shell.

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Most of the current sideboard of the deck is black or red for various cards such as Plague Engineer / Dread of Night (for combating Death and Taxes + tribal decks), or Leyline of the Void for combating graveyard decks like Hogaak/Dredge which are gaining in popularity. In addition, Pyroblast helps deal with cards like Oko (generally unfortunately having to wait until Oko actually resolves if there's a possibility of Veil of Summer) and other powerful blue spells while Abrade/Kolaghan's Command function on defeating cards like Chalice of the Void (which is one of Delver's big weaknesses).

All in all, this is a powerful deck and if you were teetering on a Delver strategy to be on right now, I would greatly suggest Grixis as the way to go. It's proactive and powerful and is doing very well even despite the presence of things like Veil of Summer making Thoughtseize worse overall.

Is there a deck you'd like to see talked about? Please feel free to let me know!

Community Legacy Event Update

I've got some more community Legacy updates from the Interwebs!

First off there's a Legacy 1K in Minnesota on January 20th! You can check out the details here.

Also, on January 25th at Asgard Games in Houston, TX there's a Legacy charity event benefiting the Houston Food Bank! This is a regular REL event, but it's for charity, so go check out the details here.

There's also a sweet Team Constructed (Pioneer/Modern/Legacy) event in Shanghai on February 9th. Check out the details here.

Also, speaking of sweet community events, Connors Eilerson took down the Legacy Showdown at Face to Face Games recently on a sweet deck, a deck known as Apple Jacks. You can read the full details here.

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As always if there are any events upcoming you'd like me to talk about, please feel free to reach out to me!

Legacy Challenge 1/12

We had yet another Format Challenge this weekend on Magic Online, so let's dive into the results!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Esper Hatebears 1st JTL005
UG Omni-Tell 2nd WhiteFaces (Callum Smith)
Eldrazi Aggro 3rd Antarctica
Grixis Delver 4th Bozo_0388
BR Reanimator 5th Pokerswizard
Jund Hogaak 6th _LSN_
Death and Taxes 7th Egget
Grixis Delver 8th Condescend

This is certainly an intriguing Top 8, with a fairly diverse range of represented strategies. The winning list is certainly exceptionally interesting however. Let's take a look.

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There's a lot of spice to be had here, let alone the creature base being pretty strong with the abusing of Soulherder and Flickerwisp, but most intriguing is the singleton Tithe and Peacekeeper in the deck. It's certainly an interesting deck. Congrats on the finish!

In Second Place, we have our good friend Callum Smith (aka WhiteFaces) who made for a strong showing on UG Omni-Tell! This deck is very powerful.

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One fun card showing up in this deck is Drawn from Dreams which is sort of like Dig Through Time when Omni-Tell was at the height of its era. In addition, the addition of Veil of Summer is incredibly strong for this type of strategy.

Placing Third here is a good old fashioned Eldrazi Aggro Stompy deck!

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In a world where people are jamming Cloudpost effects and big Eldrazi, it's thrilling to see that good old fashioned T1 Eldrazi Mimic x3 T2 Thought-Knot Seer can still just get there. I attribute this a lot to the rise of decks like Grixis Delver and the like where Chalice has a potential to be very good versus those decks, in addition to the potential of cutting off Snow decks off of mana if their manabase falls apart without their Arcum's Astrolabe.

Also showing up in this Top 8 is Jund Hogaak! This version utilizes more effects such as Faithless Looting over Hedron Crab/Careful Study like the BUG variants do, but the game plan is relatively the same.

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Also appearing in this event is a showing by Ninjas, in 14th place! This deck is hype, and Retrofitter Foundry is one heck of a card.

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Further down the Top 32 there is also a solid showing by Mono-Red Prison!

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Despite the fact that Astrolabe exists, Mono Red can be quite good since it is pretty strong against a lot of the greedier decks like Grixis Delver, with the combination of both Chalice and Blood Moon driving the deck, not to mention the powerhouse that is apparently Bonecrusher Giant being able to kill something and then come down as a 4/3 for three mana. Not to mention the fact that Karn will just randomly win games on its own by being able to get the now Modern-banned Mycosynth Lattice.

All in all, it's interesting to follow these events as it appears the online metagame is correcting itself for Astrolabe effects and Oko. It will be interesting going forward to see how this continues to evolve.

Around the Web

Let's take a look around the web at what's going on in Legacy lately!

  • My friends Steve and Lawrence had a great discussion over the nature of cantrips and not-cantrips in decks on Thirst for Knowledge.
  • My good friend Min wrote a great thorough case study on the use of Ice-Fang Coatl vs Accumulated Knowldge in Miracles on MinMaxBlog.
  • Our good friend Habibi put out a call for Legacy content creators to work with her on her podcast, so if you create Legacy content, be sure to check that out!
  • Also, Anuraag Das covered the most recent Legacy 3K at the Channel Fireball Gaming Center. You can check that out over here.

The Spice Corner

This week we've got 12-Post featuring Karn, the Great Creator and Elvish Rejuvenator!

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Modo user perseel continues to whet my proverbial whistle by 5-0'ing yet again with Vial Elementals. This deck is hype!

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What I'm Playing This Week

I'm still on the Hogaak train this week, having been playing leagues with the deck over the past week. Deck's pretty fun, but I've had some middling success with it.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week! Join us next week for our continued journey into the Legacy format! It's going to be pretty great! Next week I'll be talking about my experience playing at the Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy event in Columbus, OH!

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

Until next time, let's keep playing awesome Legacy!


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