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Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / This Week in Legacy: Here There Be Monsters, Part 1

This Week in Legacy: Here There Be Monsters, Part 1

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another This Week in Legacy! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're going to be talking a little bit about Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths! I'm very excited about this set, as giant monster movies and kaiju in specific are a big favorite of mine, and there are already some interesting cards to talk about! In addition, our Deck Focus and Level Up Lesson this week have been combined, as we talk about the ins and outs of the deck Elves!with our special guest Jack Kendall. In addition, we've got yet another Legacy Super Qualifier to discuss and as always our Spice Corner.

Unfortunately the regular Legacy Challenge results did not get published by the time this article was due like they normally are so we have to make do without those this week.

It's also worth noting that this coming weekend is the next Legacy Showcase Challenge on Magic Online, so be on the lookout for that if you'd like to enter into it!

In case you missed it, last weekend I was on the MTGGoldfish Podcast with Seth and Crim, talking about Legacy and Vintage! You can check that out over here!

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

The Realm of Monsters

We are deep already into Spoiler season for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and already we're seeing some interesting cards to talk about for Legacy. One of the more important things to talk about from this set is the introduction of the Companion mechanic. Companion is a mechanic that functions based on your deckbuilding by placing the card with Companion into your sideboard. At that point, as long as your deck meets the deckbuilding restriction set by the card with Companion, you start the game with the Companion creature "outside the game" to where you are able to cast the card once from this place in the game. This is important to remember as we talk about some of these cards. It is also worth noting that you can only have one Companion in a game as you declare it at the start of the game. This mechanic is pretty clunky frankly, and I'm not sure that I really like it personally, but it is coming and we have to consider the implications of these cards on eternal formats.

In addition, we have Cycling back, so break out your Fluctuators!

Also, as noted, we are only talking about cards specifically from Ikoria this week. I will be talking about more cards from this set and from Commander 2020 next week.

With that in mind, let's dive right into the thick of it.

Gyruda, Doom of Depths

Gyruda, Doom of Depths [IKO] Gyruda, Doom of Depths <384> [PIKO]

Sofar this is the card that I have seen out of Ikoria that has the most potential to be broken (and I'm definitely not the only one who thinks this). The deckbuilding constraint that Gyruda places on you to have access to this card isn't all that steep, and allows you access to be able to play a potent set of Magic cards.

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The biggest place for this card to shine is in shells that utilize Ancient Tomb + Chalice of the Void. Following this deckbuilding constraint means that this deck can have access to Gyruda as early as Turn 1 with LED openers while being able to Chalice the opponent off their removal.

When I first saw this card my gears started turning really hard, and a starting decklist posted by user OnTheWind from the /r/MTGLegacy Discord server got me even further into thinking of how busted this card has the potential to be. The starting decklist from Wind evolved into an interesting concept of how best can we abuse Gyruda's ability: Clones.

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The idea of this type of deck is to heavily abuse Gyruda's milling ability by continually milling until you hit a haste enabler in Dragonlord Kolaghan. One of the big parts of this is Spark Double, since it can make a clone of Gyruda that is non Legendary. This is important because it creates more bodies in play, but also creates a non Legendary clone effect. This allows your other clone effects to clone your Spark Double copy, and due to a fun ruling on this card those will also not be Legendary (which just makes resulting clone effects even better).

Furthermore, due to how Gyruda is worded it basically jumps around graveyard hate like Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace even, since it specifies reanimating from among the cards it milled, meaning Gyruda doesn't care where it pulls the creature from, all it cares about is the cards it milled. Because of this, there is no downside to having your own Leylines to allow you to be able to abuse Exhume as a one-sided reanimation spell. The major speed bump to this is removal like Swords to Plowshares (thus using Chalice) and also cards like Grafdigger's Cage. But I definitely think this is one of the sleeper hits of the set.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Lurrus of the Dream-Den [IKO]

Here is another card that has some power to it when used as a companion. The biggest use case of this card is again with Lion's Eye Diamond, and while the deckbuilding constraint might feel extreme, it can actually be dropped into a sideboard such as ANT/TES with absolutely zero changes to the rest of the decklist. This alone makes the power of this card seem pretty good. Furthermore, you could even play this in black Delver shells as a companion (such as Grixis Delver) by dropping the Delve threats of the deck to gain a 3/2 lifelink that lets you rebuy Delvers or Dreadhorde Arcanist every turn if you needed to.

This is a highly intriguing companion and I definitely expect people to brew around and slot this into existing decks (such as ANT/TES) with absolutely zero downsides. Frankly, this could be a card that ends up getting banned because of just how powerful it really seems. I'm willing to be skeptical and wait and see though.

Sprite Dragon

Sprite Dragon [IKO] Sprite Dragon <382> [PIKO]

This is another card that I find to be very interesting, as it seems to just be essentially better in every way than Stormchaser Mage, but also slightly more interesting than even Young Pyromancer in U/R Delver. It's worth making the distinction that this card plays really well with reactive countermagic like Daze just like Young Pyro does, but this card goes tall as opposed to going wide, and it also flies. This makes it really strong versus decks that often are trying to gum up ground combat (which happens to be very good against Young Pyro).

I'm a big fan of this card myself, and I definitely expect people to be playing it.

Vadrok, Apex of Thunder

Vadrok, Apex of Thunder [IKO] Vadrok, Apex of Thunder <383> [PIKO]

This card has some interesting applications, one of which is that it casts not just instants/sorceries but also can cast Planeswalkers as well. This makes it more akin to like Sevinne's Reclamation for four mana on mutate, which is pretty interesting for a shell playing things like Dreadhorde Arcanist (and also just giving your Arcanist Flying and First Strike seems pretty good as well). Jeskai colored decks like this are in a rough spot right now, but this is something I think to keep an eye on.

Drannith Magistrate

Drannith Magistrate [IKO]

While this is definitely geared at Escape and Companion, this being two CMC in white and having reasonably protected stats makes it worth looking at for DnT shells. This shuts down quite a bit, such as anything looking to cast from the graveyard like Flashback or Escape (*cough*Underworld Breach*cough*). While this is probably just another pretty Elk, it does seem worth looking at for these kinds of shells.

That being said, if Oko does eventually kick the bucket this does show some potential against combo, as well as things like Uro.

Fiend Artisan

Fiend Artisan [IKO]

I actually really like the design of this card. It's certainly a really intriguing design overall and at a very low cost. I feel like this could slot easily into something like Maverick where it could be a potential late game threat that is quite large or also a tutor card in addition to Green Sun's Zenith that finds any creature. There is potential here for sure.

General Kudro of Drannith

General Kudro of Drannith [IKO]

This is a neat card for Legacy Humans, as it gives the deck an anthem effect while also providing a really interesting trigger effect on a reasonably costed body at three CMC. It also has a really interesting activated ability, so I feel like it's pretty cool to see Humans get something like this. Graveyard hate + creature removal in one stapled to a 3/3 body in a relevant tribe is definitely meaty.

Luminous Broodmoth

Luminous Broodmoth [IKO] Luminous Broodmoth <375> [PIKO]

Four CMC is rather steep, but the effect of this card is really just very cool. Being able to cycle non-fliers into fliers is really interesting, and if you have a way of removing the counters you can then you can keep doing it. Plus, the alt art has Mothra on it, and Mothra is great.

Rielle, the Everwise

Rielle, the Everwise [IKO]

This card has a lot of wild potential, from cards like LED to Breakthrough. You can do a lot with looting based effects with this and there has to be something that makes this effect good. It's certainly very interesting and again a really wild design.

Fblthp, the Lost

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Community Legacy Update

While there isn't much going on in the paper community due to everything going on, there have been plenty of incentives going on either via paper play via webcam (which you can read about over here) or our community focus this week provided by Matthew Goslar, who is running FNM style events for Legacy on Magic Online! Without further ado, take it away Matthew!

A little bit about me:

My name is Matthew Goslar.  I currently live in Phoenix, AZ and make a living buying and selling Magic cards while being a caretaker for my parents.  I also recently started a Fantasy/MTG inspired apparel company called Reaper King and am wholeheartedly obsessed with MTG and the community involved.  I'm currently #4 in the world in Planeswalker Points for the season, I play for Team Collector Legion based outside of Los Angeles, and my biggest accomplishment has been qualifying for the Beta draft for the 25th anniversary in GP Las Vegas.  

When stores started closing in the Phoenix area I started seeing a lot of misguided posts of people trying to meet up at other people's homes or the park to play games of paper Magic because Arena either “didn't do it for them” or they simply didn't have the means to play electronically.  I have offered up an extra laptop and bought a couple webcams for people in the community so they can safely play paper Magic online during this time.  

I decided that we needed to do more and started 3 weeks ago with a Standard FNM on Arena.  We had 14 people in the Discord server and it REALLY felt like a real Friday Night Magic. People showed up late asking if there were still spots, there were some judge questions, misreporting, and lots of friendly banter in the chat.  Surprisingly, it felt like a real FNM. The next week I decided to run two separate formats and was able to run an 8 person standard Arena event and an 8 person Legacy Magic Online event. They were quick, fun, and actually supported local stores and charities.  How? Well, the entry fee per person is $6 with $5 going to the prize pool. The tournaments scale from 3-4 rounds based on record and cutting to top 8 if there are 17+ people. If you receive credit you can choose which LGS you would like to receive your credit at (geography doesn't matter!).  Some people chose to give their credit to Love Without Boundaries or the MTG Judge charity for full time judges that are currently out of work. Some people chose their local store while others chose ones that probably need more help during this time. On Friday, we ran another 8 person standard event and had 14 people for Legacy.  We've grown every week a little bit and had players from Arizona, California and Pennsylvania. As we continue to grow, we're going to try other formats, more days, and can't wait until we have enough people for Top 8s to fire every time.

What have we learned?

Wizards of the Coast NEEDS to make good Third Party tournament software for non-sanctioned events.  It allows for tons of growth and fun for people during times like this. The MTG Companion app is okay, but if you close your phone or device while it's running it just loses all the info for the event.  Challenge is okay, but you can't drop players without messing up pairings and the tie-breakers aren't the same as the DCI Reporter. Pen and paper works well, but gets difficult after 16 people and is basically impossible to calculate tie-breakers.  MTGMelee seems to be the best, but requires that players make an account and enter their own matches. It's a great idea, but I'm trying to run these tournaments with the least amount of friction as possible and closely replicate the FNM experience. 

People don't like voice chat as much as I thought.  I set up rooms for people to talk in general and separate rooms if you'd like to talk with your opponent during a match, but people generally haven't chosen to use them and instead they talk in chat and continue to watch a movie or listen to music during the rounds.

Overall, I'm enjoying these events and would love to get more players from all across the world to join.  Feel free to direct them my way or have them follow @BobaFoxBox on Facebook for more information.

Matthew Goslar

Twitter: @bobafoxbox // @reaperkingco


Other Events

It's worth noting that the other Legacy 40K that cropped up recently put up registration finally for August 1st/2nd in Girard, OH. You can check out all the details of this event over here.

As always, once things settle back into some normalcy, be sure to utilize Bolt the Bird for calendars!

Deck Focus and Level Up - The Little Green Men

Our deck focus and Level Up Lesson this week is primarily focused on a bunch of little green men this week. No I'm not talking about aliens, but I am talking about Elves!

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While one might think that Elves is an aggro ramp deck, this isn't actually true in Legacy. Elves is actually a creature combo deck, utilizing the synergy between its creatures to draw cards and deploy a win condition that ends the game pretty much immediately. The deck does this on the basis of the cards Glimpse of Nature and Natural Order with the card Craterhoof Behemoth.

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Elves is a powerful deck that draws a ton of cards by chaining creatures but also with the synergy of cards like Wirewood Symbiote and Quirion Ranger. Everything about Elves is considered more of an engine based combo deck as opposed to A+B combo, since sometimes the deck can simply win off attacking with creatures. This deck also heavily abuses the card Gaea's Cradle as it is capable of deploying enough creatures quickly to maximize the power of Cradle.

One of the largest blows to the current popularity of Elves has been mainly two cards over the past year. The printing of both Wrenn and Six (now banned) and Plague Engineer. While W6 ended up being banned, Plague Engineer alone is potent enough to put a damper on the plans of Elves, as many of its accelerants and creatures are one toughness. This does not mean that Elves is unplayable however, but it does mean that it is a concern the deck needs to worry about impacting its gameplan.

This is still a wonderfully powerful deck however, and this allows us to roll right into this week's Level Up Lesson on the deck, featuring guest Jack Kendall!

Level Up Lesson - ELVES!

Hi Legacy enthusiasts, before I jump right into my section on Elves!, I figured I should provide a little background on who I am and my competitive background with Elves! 

About Me

I am a player that resides in the Bay Area that has been playing competitive Magic since 2015. After growing frustrated with the continuous rotation of cards out of the Standard format I picked up Legacy Elves near the end of 2015 and have been playing the deck ever since. Over the years I’ve top 8’ed a good portion of local $2K+ events (mostly at the Channel Fireball Game Center), but lion’s share of my best results come from playing Magic Online. Last year I was also lucky enough to qualify for the MOCS Legacy Format Online Championship (probably one of my best results to date). 

What I’ve learned playing Elves!

While, I’m going to assume most of you already understand most of the basic tips and tricks that come bundled in Elves! (the Wirewood + Visionary combo or the Quirion Ranger + Dryad Arbor tricks), I figured I would provide some of the less obvious things I’ve learned over the time since I first picked the deck up in 2015.

Lesson 1: You do not need to always bounce your Elvish Visionary with Wirewood Symbiote.

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That’s right, too often many players will think it’s always correct to bounce your Visionary with Wirewood on your opponent’s end step or during the combat phase after blocking every single time, and while we all love drawing extra cards (who doesn’t!) there are reasons to not always do it. One reason to not bounce; we already have additional Elvish Visionaries in hand. Sure, we would have an additional draw if we decided to bounce instead but often in the early stages of the game we also want to develop our mana, and by having Visionary on the board we are that much closer to having the required 3 Elves to activate Heritage Druid’s ability or generate an extra mana with Gaea’s Cradle. Remember the end goal of this deck; to safely cast a Craterhoof to win the game, and in order to do that we need to be hitting the magical numbers of either 4, 9 (Green Sun’s Zenith for Craterhoof Behemoth) or 8 mana (a naked Craterhoof). Another reason to delay bouncing, (or not bounce at all but only in very rare circumstances) is that we don’t want to lose our draw engine.  While it is not nearly as common in todays metagame, be conscious of the possibility of discard in your opponent’s hand and the impact it will have on your game plan if they are able to an important piece of our “best-friend” combo.

Lessons 2 & 3: Be proactive about using your Green Sun’s Zenith.

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You know what the best thing about Green Sun’s Zenith; it goes back into your deck! And with Elves! playing so many redundant copies of card in our deck, I would say we are one of the best decks at top decking the cards we need. So put on a brave face and fire off that early Green Sun’s Zenith to ramp with a Dryad Arbor your first turn because when you do draw it off the top of your deck again, you’ll be that much closer to slamming that Hoof on the table or being able to safely generate enough mana for that big Glimpse of Nature ending. 

That also brings me up to my next point, don’t be overly conservative about saving your Green Sun’s Zeniths. It’s easy to be fearful we won’t find a way to search up Craterhoof again, and it will feel safer to keep it that Green Sun’s Zenith in hand but by fetching up our best-friend team (Wirewood Symbiote and Elvish Visionary) we should have more than enough looks to either hit another Green’s Sun Zenith, a Natural Order or a Glimpse of Nature.

Lesson 4: Find a mana dork.

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There’s a reason that when LSV played the deck, he played a total of 7 mana dorks, (okay, well also Deathrite Shaman was also legal but regardless ;) ) and that is you want to put as much pressure on the opponent as quickly as possible. To do that you need to establish a mana advantage. Being able to string together a turn two Glimpse of Nature, almost always starts with a mana dork/Dryad Arbor, combine that with Quirion Ranger, Nettle Sentinel and a Heritage Druid and you are off to the races. Mana dorks are also just as relevant later in the game, and often be the difference between to hitting 4, 8, or 9.

You can find me on Twitter at @jjkbb2005.

Legacy Super Qualifier 4/2

We had yet another Legacy Super Qualifier last week. Again, this event was for two PT qualifications, and yet again boasted a turnout of over 200+ players. We have another one of these coming up on 4/9 (so, tomorrow morning) at 7 am PDT / 10am EST, so if you want to enter into one of these be sure to do so!

Let's first take a look at the Top 32 Metagame Breakdown, shall we?

The big takeaway from this event is that it was wildly different than the event from last week, where Delver seemed to be at the top of things. Instead this week it was the Astrolabe Snow decks, primarily BUG colored in nature that were well represented. alongside Eldrazi and Miracles.

Let's now take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C Miracles 1st Pokemoki
U/R Delver 2nd BReal2
BUG Snowko 3rd AnziD
BUG Snowko 4th Brener
U/G Omni-Tell 5th RngSpecialist
BUG Depths 6th Twin_MTG
Grixis Delver 7th ZerzaB11
Eldrazi Stompy 8th Yamakiller

This Top 8 had quite a bit of decks that contain Oko in them, and furthermore a lot of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. It's slightly concerning as to whether or not this is truly a problem or not, but we are on the cusp of a new set release that can have a chance to change things again. I still believe that the format overall is still settling and is continually in a push and pull metagame where players are still figuring out things as evidenced by these week to week events.

At the end of the event, it was down to 2 players who qualified for the PT. The first is Pokemoki on 4C Miracles!

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This list seems pretty powerful and it definitely showing the power level of both Oko + Uro. What I think is really great is the power of Sevinne's Reclamation in this type of deck with multiple three drops it can return to play. Very powerful indeed. Congratulations to pokemoki on making it to the PT!

In the other PT spot is BReal2 on U/R Delver!

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This is yet another powerful list, showing just how strong the U/R variants have become over time with additions of cards like Dreadhorde Arcanist and Brazen Borrower. Congrats to BReal as well on making it to the PT!

In Third Place we have Anuraag Das (AnziD) on BUG Snowko!

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There is a minor white splash here, making it not so truly BUG, but for the most part the splash is pretty light. Having access to Dead of Winter and Uro/Oko as well is really strong and this deck seems pretty great overall.

In fact in Fourth we had yet another of these variants being piloted by Brener.

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This list is reasonably similar to Anuraag's with the addition of Drown in the Loch in the main and no Sevinne's Reclamation.

In Fifth Place we have U/G Omni-Tell!

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This deck is incredibly strong, and probably the best Show and Tell deck that exists right now. Sad to see no Eureka here as an additional copy of Show and Tell, but it's still a very cool list.

In Sixth Place we have BUG Depths!

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This list is pretty cool, and I like the addition of Uro here, as an additional way of ramping out lands that match the plan of Depths.

In Seventh Place we have Grixis Delver!

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This list is pretty great as well. I really enjoy the whole Mystic Sanctuary + Painful Truths in the sideboard. Very strong cards!

Rounding out the Top 8 we have the inevitable Yamakiller on Eldrazi Stompy!

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This list is super clean and continues to showcase the power of Once Upon a Time in this shell.

Now let's take a look at the 2019 and 2020 cards in this event!

Card Name Number of Copies
Veil of Summer 34
Prismatic Vista 30
Arcum's Astrolabe 29
Oko, Thief of Crowns 29
Once Upon a Time 27
Ice-Fang Coatl 26
Force of Negation 24
Deafening Silence 21
Plague Engineer 19
Dreadhorde Arcanist 18
Teferi, Time Raveler 12
Dead of Winter 11
Brazen Borrower 8
Collector Ouphe 8
Elvish Reclaimer 4
Field of the Dead 4
Narset, Parter of Veils 4
Soulherder 4

2019 Cards

Card Name Number of Copies
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 20
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove 4
Cling to Dust 1

2020 Cards

There was certainly a lot of Astrolabe and Veil this week, as well as a lot of Oko. Even more interesting was the overall bump in Uro. It's crazy to consider how much 2019 - 2020 has affected the format overall. We are going to have to keep watching the format and hopefully there won't be a need for bannings.

Around the Web

  • Our good friends over at the DDFT Wiki posted a sweet new article on Doomsday 2020, that you can check out here.
  • The guys over at Eternal Glory posted a new episode! Go check it out!
  • PTA Meeting featuring xJCloud.
  • Fringeworthy put out a neat video on Legacy Dice Factory over here!

The Spice Corner

Our first list this week comes from our good friend xJCloud featuring a spicy Boros aligned D&T build!

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It's not often you see just mono Discard/Removal Junk just like Modern used to have, but here it is in Legacy form!

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Another take on the Thassa's Oracle + Paradigm Shift deck is using it with Helm of Obedience + Rest in Peace combo!

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I have only three words for this next deck: ENTER. THE. ARENA.

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What I'm Playing This Week

I unfortunately haven't had much time to play as of late with everything going on and working from home and also busting my butt on content. I should have something ready for next week's section here though!

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! Thank you for your continued support of the column with your readership! You are all truly awesome! Join us next week as we continue our journey into Legacy.

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! Also you can always find me on the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the /r/MTGLegacy Discord Server and Subreddit.

Until next time!

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