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This Week in Legacy: European Legacy Masters

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 all about the European Legacy Masters event which took place in Bologna, Italy as part of 4Seasons this past weekend. We'll also be touching on the 4Seasons event itself, an event which boasted nearly 500 players. Of course, we'll also be talking about the Challenges from this past weekend as well as a little bit on the current metagame in regards to White Initiative.

Without further ado, let's dive right in.

European Legacy Masters 2022

This past weekend was without a doubt one of the most interesting and action packed events of the year, despite being a 76 player event. The European Legacy Masters (Twitter) event, held in Bologna, Italy as part of the 4Seasons tournament series, is an invitation only event series that brings together players from all across Europe in one big showdown. This year being the inaugural event, there were many players invited to play based on past accomplishments in the format in addition to qualifying events held throughout this year to get a good baseline for the event series' first year. Next year's events will be qualification based.

The sheet amount of Legacy stalwarts from Europe in this event was absolutely staggering and it was awesome to see so many great names vying for that winning spot. Players such as the great Andrea Mengucci, Kai Sawatari, Rodrigo Togores, Peter Van der Ham, Julian Knab, Marc Eric Vogt, the list literally goes on and on and on of just absolutely stellar Legacy players that I simply cannot name them all because... wow.

Kai and Mengu chilling during a deck check

It is absolutely incredibly positive to see the Legacy community forming around these events, and I am loving it. To say this event was a success is nothing short of an understatement. Oh wait, there's more? This event was also streamed? That's right there was even coverage for this event, showcasing the raw talent of all these incredible players.

The prizing for this event was also incredibly awesome. In addition to the sick trophies for the winner and runner-up, there was an exclusive playmat for all of the Top 8, sleeves, a deckbox, and a binder in addition to store credit. The ELM folks in conjunction with our good friends at the In Response podcast also designed some sweet proxy duals by taking photos of real locations all around Europe and using those as the basis of the proxies.

This idea of using real world locations is absolutely sweet.

Check out those trophies!

Now, let's take a look at some of the statistics from the event. You can find the data sheet created for this event here. Big thanks to the ELM organization for helping me out with this data, I could not have done this without you!

Despite being the most represented deck of the event, UR Delver's win rate was actually pretty poor at 47.06% non-mirror win rate. White Stompy was the next highest deck with a strong win rate of 54.76% non-mirror. 4C Control did reasonably well, and the rest of the most popular decks did rather poorly overall. Elves suffered a lot as did Jeskai Control.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
White Stompy 1st Samuel Zahorcak
Reanimator 2nd Marco Vera Gonçlaves
UR Delver 3rd-4th Alberto Manchado
White Stompy 3rd-4th Rodrigo Togores
Cephalid Breakfast 5th-8th Daniele Terra
Doomsday 5th-8th Kai Sawatari
Cephalid Breakfast 5th-8th Erik Szanto
4C Control 5th-8th 4C Control

It's always wild when you pull up a Top 8 and the first thing that really sticks out at you is TWO COPIES of Cephalid Breakfast. Absolutely stunning. At the end of the event though it was a true slugfest between the format's newest hot bad boy and one of the format's oldest stalwart strategies: White Stompy vs Reanimator.

Of course, White Stompy went on to win the event in the hands of Samuel Zahorcak, crowning him the inaugural champion of the European Legacy Masters series.

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This version of the deck is very much leaning on the prison-like elements of the deck with both cards like Elite Spellbinder and Anointed Peacekeeper in addition to Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. The wildest part of this deck is the three sideboard copy tech of this card.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is some real next level tech right here. Giving this creature pro-white in matchups where Swords to Plowshares is a thing is absolutely nutty. Super sweet.

Now let's take a look at the other Finalist, on Reanimator.

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Very solidly straightforward list right here. The sideboard juke of converting into a Show and Tell type deck is quite good and continues to be a great way for Reanimator to sidestep graveyard hate.

Of course, we cannot wrap this up without talking about one of the Cephalid Breakfast decks with the leadup I gave earlier on them.

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This list looks very strong. The dichotomy of Cephalid Breakfast being a strange Tempo Stoneblade-esque list that also plays out a combo is very cool and you can see a lot of that power level here. Not only do you have the raw power of the cantrips in this kind of shell, but there's also Stoneforge Mystic and Urza's Saga that can fetch Shuko as part of the combo piece as well. Wildly cool deck that doesn't get enough credit for its existence.

4Seasons Bologna Main Legacy Event

I'm going to touch briefly on this one this week because we'll be giving it a much better look next week once we have all the data from the 4Seasons event, but the Legacy main event at 4Seasons that took place alongside all the other shenanigans last weekend of the ELM was nothing short of a truly massive Legacy event for 2022. 484 players are nothing to sneeze at for sure.

Be on the lookout next week for a more definitive breakdown of this event, and a big thanks to the ELM team and 4Seasons for providing the data for these events. It's insanely awesome.

Taking Some Initiative - A Metagame Focused Look

While I usually reserve some metagame looks for mid-month stuff, the chatter on this is a bit heavy and frankly I'm sort of not super surprised. The topic? Mono White Initiative cards and the power level of multiplayer mechanics in 1v1 matches.

One of the biggest pieces of criticism in all of this has largely been focused yet again on Wizards and supplemental products for Commander and their legality in Legacy. Personally, I enjoy such cards existing and I enjoy the opportunities created by cards like this. There have been plenty of great cards out of supplemental products that people don't immediately consider to be a thing when talking about Legacy. Cards like Flusterstorm were originally in Commander product (and later in Modern Horizons) and people don't really bat an eye at its existence. There are an immense number of solidly interesting supplemental cards that have added a lot of value to the format, and really one of the big sticking points of Legacy in my mind at least is being able to play with every set in the game as per the definition of an Eternal format.

Unfortunately, we do have to understand and respect the fact that sometimes things do slip through the cracks. It's very clear that the Initiative mechanic was definitely designed for a multiplayer format, and that its sheer power level was balanced against that, giving the player in a pod of 4 a chance to have that value passed around via combat damage and making for an ultimately more dynamic game experience overall (I don't think this is what was achieved with the mechanic in Commander, but that was certainly the intent). Taking that amount of value and power level that was meant to be accrued every 3-4 turn cycles around the table and compressing that down to 1v1 definitely does compound the power level of the overall mechanic.

There are a number of factors here that have led to where the current discourse is centered, a good majority of that based on the fact that some of the legal cards using this mechanic were banned out of Pauper. Having this sort of precedence available for a format to point and say "This broke this format" carries a lot more weight than it likely should, especially when Legacy has so many more tools available to it than Pauper does in terms of answers.

Of course the question just becomes whether or not anything may or may not get actually banned from the White Initiative decks, and I have a strong gut feeling the answer to that is probably not, and at the end of the day I'm really okay with this. There's a lot of big hype about the deck since the cards just got put on MTGO, and we still don't have cards like Triumph of Saint Katherine yet (which according to Daybreak, the WH40K decks have to be released as full decks so that's something that is coming eventually) that banning something at this juncture like this doesn't seem smart. It's only been two weeks and we should ideally wait and see what happens, especially with both Eternal Weekend North America and Eternal Weekend Online happening this weekend.

At the core though, these developments have proven to be not only controversial but to some quite exciting as they attempt to navigate and determine the best way to combat this new player to the stage, and that kind of innovation is always awesome. For once, I would like to see where this would go as playing Legacy just excites me right now. If something does need to end up getting banned, I would like to see that occur with a lot more data to prove that this deck has been a terror, but it's nowhere near as insane as people are making it out to be. I suspect this deck will definitely settle down a little bit as players figure out the best way to attack its weaknesses.

For now, let's see what happens! Legacy seems like an incredibly exciting format to play right now and there's a lot of solid archetypes to explore.

Legacy Challenge 12/3

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event. This event had 53 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

For once, UR Delver was not the most represented deck, not by much but still. White Stompy was the top of the food chain here in regards to popularity and it's win rate was reasonable enough (51.11% vs non-mirror). UR Delver had eight players, but the win rate was actually pretty atrocious (37.14% vs non mirror). It is worth noting that this Challenge is timed to appeal heavily to a lot of the European and Asian players on MTGO, and this past weekend was the 4Seasons event in Bologna plus the European Legacy Masters, so that alone can impact attendance and a lot of different factors involved in that. 4C Control had an incredibly solid win rate here, as did Elves.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st Enrichetta
4C Control 2nd LeoFa
4C Control 3rd McWinSauce
RUG Cascade 4th ZYURYO
Elves 5th trasmussen2710
Oops! All Spells 6th Talisker
White Stompy 7th 416FrowningTable
Reanimator 8th snoopy-magic

Quite a Top 8 here for sure. Lot of wild variety in some Combo, some fair, and even some Stompy. At the end of the event it was Doomsday that took it all down.

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The sideboard juke of Sheoldred, the Apocalypse evolving to just a full four copies in the sideboard is kind of wild. Also Engineered Explosives here as well. I think this deck is probably very well positioned right now to win games, especially with White Stompy around as this feels like a great deck versus those decks. It has a lot of ability to bide its time and go off in a single turn even under the life loss presented by the Initiative creatures because the Doomsday deck can easily craft itself a turn where it can win in one turn instead of having to do a "pass the turn" pile. Primarily this deck also plays Daze and Force of Will, so simply being on the play and casting Doomsday Turn 1 with a Daze in hand can be absolutely brutal to protecting their combo.

The Second Place finalist was on 4C Control.

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This is very much akin to Ozymandias's list from the Showcase Challenge. The biggest things here are cards like Dress Down and Terminus. Terminus being able to sweep away a board of creatures especially versus the White Stompy deck can be very powerful, and Dress Down being able to make it so they may never introduce the Initiative to the game is quite strong as well. We also see a bit of Torpor Orb out of the sideboard here.

Further down this Top 8 we have a showing by RUG Cascade.

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Always fun to see an idea from a different format find its way or inspire building in other formats. I've always ascribed to the notion that you can infer things about decks for other formats (thanks to wisdom by good friend Arianna McKee), and it does ring true here. Bringing forward a Modern deck into Legacy is always incredibly interesting to me, and while the idea behind this is nothing new (as we've seen players try this with good results in Legacy already) the fact that it's getting more people interested in it is nice to see.

Legacy Challenge 12/4

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event, which had 98 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here. We did not get a full complete data set just yet for this event, so there's no good graphs for this one. If you think you can help us out with this, please let us know!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st spiralprince
Elves 2nd reiderrabbit
8Cast 3rd Superm0nkey
GW Depths 4th Didackith
Displacer Kitten Combo 5th Iwouldliketorespond
Infect 6th toondoslav
Oops! All Spells 7th MCScards
Painter 8th noodle_boi

Fairly interesting Top 8 here, with some reasonable variety. At the end of the event it was a UR Delver list splashing green specifically for one sideboard card option that won it all.

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The advantage of this kind of splash is being able to go bigger in matchups where you can do so more easily and have a repeatable threat in Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes. We're also seeing here some of the wildness that Delver players are going to in order to combat White Stompy decks with cards like Unchained Berserker which have protection from white in order to steal the Initiative away from the Initiative deck. Pretty wild.

The Second Place finalist was none other than Reid Duke, master of the Elven craft.

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Reid is an old school Elves player so it tracks that he is piloting the more combo-heavy Nettle Sentinel version of this deck here instead of the more avant garde Nightmare on Elf Street lists championed by Newton Hang and company. It's interesting to see how the combo variant plays out here, because it has a very real potential of being faster and better versus the Initiative decks just by the sheer speed the deck can sometimes win with. Landing a Progenitus in post board games seems absolutely brutal for the Initiative deck to contend with.

Further down the Top 8 we have Displacer Kitten Combo, piloted by our good friend Marcus Ewaldh.

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A very sweet Esper Stoneblade build on one hand, but also converts into a combo kill out of nowhere with the Kitten and Teferi.

Around the Web

  • Phil Gallagher has a wacky brew. This one you gotta see to believe.
  • The Eternal Glory Podcast has a new episode! Check it out here.
  • Everyday Eternal did some remote podcasting on Julian's end this week. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 deck lists over here.

Jamming two White Plume into a 4C deck here is wild. Also two Temporary Lockdown in the sideboard.

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The theme this week just so happens to be "how many decks can we base Initiative creatures on" and the answer is it seems to be: A LOT.

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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 all my associated links via my Link Tree! In addition, I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the MTGLegacy Discord Server.

Until next time!

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