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This Week in Legacy: GP Santa Clara, MKM Frankfurt and SCG Columbus Classic

Welcome to a New Year of This Week in Legacy! I’m back, and there’s quite a few Legacy events already. This week I’ll be running through the monster Legacy weekend of January 6-8th, with the multi-format Team Trios event of GP Santa Clara, the Legacy main event of MKM Frankfurt, and the Legacy Classic at SCG Columbus all occurring.

Gand Prix Santa Clara

This was the first ever Team Trios GP the world has experienced, which puts Legacy right next to Modern and Standard in the limelight. It feels like we’ve come quite a long way from Legacy being the unloved child in the family of formats, but 2018 is looking like an amazing year for it, with it getting it a bit more support from both Wizards and StarCityGames.

Deck Player Placing
Grixis Delver Jeremy Frye 1
Sneak & Show Jonatan Anghelescu 2
Czech Pile Ricky Sidher 3-4
Turbo Depths Dan Mabee 3-4
Grixis Delver Andrew Baeckstrom 5-8
Grixis Delver Zack Witten 5-8
Sneak & Show Andrew Murch 5-8
True-Name BUG Jacob Wilson 5-8

Of course, Team Trios certainly leads to a somewhat skewed metagame with “safe,” straightforward decks like Grixis Delver, Czech Pile and Sneak & Show likely being overrepresented. That being said, there was some interesting technology in a few of the Top 8 lists: the first-placing Grixis Delver list had a main deck Abrade as the fifth removal spell of choice and tweaked the mana base to include Badlands (but still only eighteen lands in the deck). Jonathan Anghelescu (also known as Magic Online Sneak & Show master JPA93) deservingly reached second with his usual weapon of choice, bringing a straightforward list with two Omniscience main as the only real spice.

Probably the most interesting list was the one brought by Jacob Wilson:

Jacob Wilson revived Reid Duke’s True-Name BUG list, with its typical core of eight mana dorks, cleaning up some of the numbers and adding more recent (and efficient) cards like Fatal Push and relegating cards a little too narrow, like Umezawa's Jitte, to the sideboard. But otherwise,  the deck is much the same. Many dismissed True-Name BUG as a one-trick pony, and only capable of wining because of Reid’s skill and it being a deck “built by him.” But Jacob here shows that, although he too is an amazing player, this is a deck for everyone and a deck that can still put up results.

MKM Frankfurt

Moving along to Europe, the MKM series continued on with its first stop in Frankfurt for 2018. 

Deck Player Placing
Czech Pile Tomas Mar 1
Affinity Stompy Amadeus Grun 2
BUG Control Marius Hausmann 3-4
Sneak & Show Sebastian Fritzwanker 3-4
Big Eldrazi Timo Wolf 5-8
Turbo Depths Felix Oswald 5-8
Elves Sebastian Bartl 5-8
Grixis Control Tristan Polz 5-8

The man, the myth, the Czech legend Tomas Mar took down the event with – you guessed it – Czech Pile. Although the main deck card choices look relatively straightforward, once you look at little closer at the mana base and the sideboard, one quickly realizes Tomas’ innovations:

Tomas has opted for zero basics and zero utility lands like Wasteland, instead opting to beef up his fetchable dual lands, maxing out the number of Seas. Interestingly, Tomas also does not have a Bayou as one of his mana sources, leaning on the Blue-intensive Tropical Island as Green source of choice. Which makes sense when one looks at Tomas’ sideboard: Sylvan Library wants Green mana fetched early (but you often want to cantrip off your early mana too, so Tropical makes sense) and the odd one-of Tarmogoyf, desired in matchups like Eldrazi where the deck needs a bit of beef, or perhaps even against combo as a fast clock, similarly needs early Green.

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Coming in second place is essentially a brand-new deck. For Legacy, that is. “Aggro Shops” has existed for a long time in Vintage, but Amadeus Grun successfully ported the Arcbound Ravager / Walking Ballista-based deck to Legacy.

I’m surprised at some of the choices in this list, but others are quite appealing. Firstly, the core of Ravager, Ballista, and Hangarback I am a huge fan of, and I’m sure their combined utility gives the deck a solid back up plan even when it’s not doing the Chalice and Thorn on turn one free win game. Ravager of course also makes Mox Opal excellent, eating redundant copies. Opal is perhaps the most unique acceleration piece a deck like this achieves. Whether Opal is better than Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple is of course questionable.

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The odder choices are Vault Skirge – this is a pretty mediocre card for Legacy purposes, but I feel as a one-drop that gets around Chalice and fuels Metalcraft, it does just enough to oil the gears of this list that it is worthwhile. Phyrexian Revoker is similarly maxed out as a curve-filler. Steel Overseer makes all these filler creatures into something more threatening, however. Skirge turns into a large lifelinking weapon over the course of time, while Overseer interacts positively with Ravager, Ballista, and Walker. Interestingly, one of the hallmark creatures of mono-Brown decks, Lodestone Golem, only sits at two copies in this list, representing how this list wants to play out its hand rather fast, rather than lock down the opponent. Golem is generally very powerful in these shells though (and against the Legacy format in general), and I’d be looking to find room for two more, maybe replacing some number of Thorns as the Golem fulfils a similar role.

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In the sideboard the deck seems to be able to go full prison, bringing in Ensnaring Bridge and inevitably aiming to kill in one swoop via Ravager + Ballista after the board has stalled out. Spyglass and Ratchet Bomb are pretty standard affairs as flexible answers in colorless decks, but Spellskite is also certainly neat as a way to stop Bridges from being blown up or defend other valuable creatures (like Overseer) that can soon run away with the game.

If I was constructing this list, I’d probably build it like so:

The last deck I’d like to particularly focus on from this event is Felix Oswald’s not-so-Turbo Depths deck:

This deck is half Rock-esque Black-Green midrange, with eight discard spells, a Green Sun's Zenith toolbox available to it, and Deathrite Shaman as one of the core creatures (as a three-of, however). The other half is what you’d expect from Turbo Depths – land tutors, the combo package, and a bunch of utility lands. There is more utility lands than typical in this list, however, with Maze of Ith and Rishadan Port available for tutoring (and copying via Stage), giving this list somewhat of a Lands-esque feel in some situations I’m sure. One card I truly do like in this list, and has been seen in the past in Living Wish versions of this deck, is Ramunap Excavator, reviving the combo again and again. Dryad Arbor is also present, and with Excavator it can chump block and be sacced to Therapy only to be returned again and again.

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The sideboard also has an interesting package if the game goes long – Cabal Coffers + Eye of Ugin + Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Against any deck that is aiming to stall out the 20/20, Urbog and Coffers can fuel a boatload of Black mana to tutor for Emrakul and cast her, giving this deck inevitability by having just these three cards in the sideboard. Quite neat.

Other decks of note are the Elves list, sporting Dwynen’s Elite, Tribal Forcemage (!!) and sideboard Flusterstorm, along with Tristan Polzl showing Grixis Pyromancer is still a deck to be reckoned with. Find the rest of the lists here.

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SCG Classic Columbus

Lastly, let’s have a look at the SCG Legacy Classic from Columbus, with the following Top 8 and here the Top 16.

Deck Player Placing
UR Delver Richard Thompson 1
Lands Matthew Dilks 2
MUD Ramy Mansour 3
Grixis Delver Frank Ivanavic 4
Burn Robert Sparen 5
Death & Taxes Andrew Drotleff 6
Big Eldrazi Brennan Murphy 7
Grixis Delver Rick Courtney 8

Winning the event was a somewhat stock UR Delver list, featuring Thunderous Wrath and Vapor Snag like the second-placing list from last year’s Legacy GP. Interestingly this list found room for a third “big” threat in Cryptic Serpent which is quite reasonable, since Serpent and Reveler don’t have tension with the graveyard like the Delve creatures do. Also of note was the 3rd-placing classic MUD list, a bit of a blast from the blast.

The colorless list I’d like to highlight is the 7th placing Big Eldrazi list, however:

What I like most about this is very obvious – three main deck Sorcerous Spyglass. For a deck that wants to drag things as long as possible until bombs can be slammed into the opponent, Spyglassis perfect for slowing down the acceleration provide by cards like Vial or Deathrite or defending the Post lands from a timely Wasteland, while not interfering with Chalice. To me, in this list, it’s a perfect fit.

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In 9th place… This looks a little familiar, doesn’t it?

Congratulation to Austin Hoth for taking 73/75 of my RUG Delver list from #RUGLyf Part 5 to an impressive finish! Austin tweaked the list changing a Dead // Gone to a more typical choice of Forked Bolt and replaced the additional cantrip with a third Pierce, something I have done before as well. Really happy to see the RUG train keep rolling and people inspired to pick up what I’ve written about. Austin, feel free to get in contact and speak about how the deck felt for you!

Moving on, at 13th is Omin-Show. Everything is rather typical, until you look at the sideboard:

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Searing Wind? I guess that’s one way to burn an opponent out after an Emrakul attack… It’s only castable with Omniscience in play, so it seems a bit too cute as a choice over a card like Kozilek’s Return (which was actually included too but…). Style points, though!

Merfolk is again getting a strong placing, and this list, main decking Chalice, is where I feel the deck is best. Furthermore, Spyglass once again finds its place as a better option over what was once Pithing Needle due to not interfering with Chalice.

Oddball choices in this list include… Grip of Phyresis to battle equipment?!

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That brings us to the end of This Week in Legacy for this week. There’s still tons of events to cover, such as the Japan’s The Last Sun event and the recent Axiom event in the UK. There’s also technology coming out of Magic Online’s weekly challenges too! And Rivals of Ixalan is almost here! But for now, enjoy some content from elsewhere on the web:

‘Til next time.

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I’m Playing This Week

The amount of times I feature RUG here… But one last time, sorry! Because I’d love to talk about playing Legacy in Japan. Although it was only a brief weekend tournament experience at the Hareruya tournament center in Takadanobaba, I have to say I was amazed at not only the courteousness of the Japanese players, but also the incredible amount of spice present. I got smashed to pieces by Dredge with zero Breakthrough and Gitaxian Probe, Street Wraith and a full set of Petals and also battled my way against Jund using Sword-Point Diplomacy as a card advantage engine.

Anyway, I made Top 8 of the small event with this:

I have to say… I love me a sideboard Counterspell, and I was also impressed with Predict as a non-permanent way to accrue card advantage. Chain Lightning I was a little less enamored with (instant-speed matters!) and may soon change that to my second Dead // Gone once again.

The Spice Corner

A preview of Japan’s The Last Sun event:

A few interesting main deck choices, including Angel of Sanctions and Recruiter of the guard,  but more interesting is that sideboard – Kitesail Freebooter as Human-colored hand disruption and… Rasputin Dreamweaver?! Rasputin creates infinite mana with an Eldrazi Displacer and soo… Ballista you for a billion?

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