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This Week in Legacy: Hour of Devastation, Ixalan and Tournament Results

Another week, another This Week in Legacy. This week we'll be looking at a few of the cards spoiled in Hour of Devastation and leaked from Ixalan, and have a bit of a think concerning their Legacy applications. There's also a few tournaments to run through - the recent Legacy Challenge, the Legacy Win-a-Mox event at last weekend's GP Sydney, and the 79th KMC event!

Ixalan and Hour of Devastation Spoilers

There's a few interesting cards from the recently spoiled (and leaked!) sets that are likely to have quite a bit of utility in Legacy. Let's jump in with Hour of Devastation first:

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This card is highly reminiscent of a few creatures recent and past. Vendilion Clique has been a staple of Legacy as a disruptive three-drop that can ambush creatures or provide disruption. Unlike Nimble Obstructionist, however, Clique does both of these simultaneously, compared to Obstructionist's essentially split card nature. A more recent example is Spell Queller, who has importantly been seen in the SpiritBlade lists that have been getting some traction, involving Meddling Mage, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Mausoleum Wanderer, and others.

Nimble Obstructionist could definitely find itself in those shells, as having a Stifle tacked onto a flying body when triggered/activated abilities are irrelevant is nice, but stiff competition from Clique, True-Name and even Spell Queller in these slots may leave a little to be desired.

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"Magus of the Crucible" as a nod to Crucible of Worlds, Ramunap Excavator is certainly going to find itself tested in many places. The most obvious home is 4c Loam as a pseudo-Green Sun's Zenithable Life from the Loam that can also just beat down the opponent while you're Waste-locking them! However, Knight of the Reliquary sits comfortably as the three-drop most likely Zenithable (and with somewhat similar utility), not to mention other stellar cards like Renegade Rallier and Tireless Tracker already fighting for those spots.

Speaking of Tireless Tracker, Lands sideboards may also find Ramunap Excavator as a relevant man-plan. Unlike Tracker, however, he cannot accumulate value when the graveyard is nuked via Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void, which is one of Tracker's greatest perks. I nonetheless have high hopes for this guy!

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The epitome of flexibility, there is one place that would immediately love to get a hold of this card, Dragon Stompy. Having used medium cards like Sudden Shock and Magma Jet to pad out the powerful Fiery Confluence previously, Abrade very nicely slots in to even the main deck as a way to either beat up on fair decks or blow up dangerous equipment like Batterskull that are often Dragon Stompy's weakness. With Abrade, Dragon Stompy has an incredible amount of flexible tools now at its disposal: Chandra, Confluence, and now Abrade. That's not to say other decks won't find a place for Abrade. Blue-Red Delver has always had Smash to Smithereens as its artifact destruction of choice, and the Lava Spike tacked on may still help it be the card of choice. However, more tempo-oriented versions of Blue-Red Delver that have been seen (involving Pyromancer and even Stifle) will very much appreciate the flexibility of Abrade.

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These are all somewhat pricey for Legacy standards (three mana usually means Ancient Tomb needs involvement, but these have something in common; they make Dark Depths thaw out incredibly quickly, by either stopping the counters or becoming a copy of Dark Depths ala Thespian's Stage. I'm not sure where Solemnity will slot in, and maybe there's some White-Green version of Turbo Depths that can exist thanks to this card, replacing Hexmage for this. Mirage Mirror on the other hand looks somewhat reasonable in a RUG Lands core, especially with Intuition to find it or Academy Ruins to revive it. The five mana to get it going is a bit pricey, though at least it has other random utility (copy Griselbrand, anyone?).

Next, looking at Ixalan. Note that these are all approximations based on the pretty low-res pictures leaked so far.

Kopala, Warden of Waves
Legendary Creature - Merfolk Wizard

Spells your opponents cast that target a Merfolk you control cost 1 more to cast. 
Abilities your opponents activate that target a Merfolk you control cost 1 more to activate.

Kopala, I suppose, could appear in Merfolk and is somewhat similar to Kira, Great Glass Spinner except notably gets pumped by the variety of Lords in the deck. In Legacy, however, True-Name Nemesis is the premier three-drop in the deck and may crowd out the possibility of this being a reasonable inclusion. Karakas doesn't help things either. Perhaps he's more of a Modern card.


Tocaf's Honor Guard
Creature - Human Soldier

Creatures entering the battlefield don't cause abilities to trigger.

Kimalla's Sunwing
Creature - Dinosaur

Creatures your opponent's control enter the battlefield tapped.

These two creatures scream "Death & Taxes!" but are likely to be relegated to the pile of "just not good enough." The Honor Guard is essentially a land-bound, one-mana less Hushwing Gryff, and has notably poor synergy with Stoneforge Mystic and Recruiter of the Guard. Kimalla's Sunwing, on the other hand, is a flying, more expensive Imposing Sovereign, that competes with Thalia, Heretic Cathar too. Flying is very appealing, and maybe this is enough to push the Sunwing to Vryn Wingmare level of playability. But I'm not too optimistic about it.

This card is going to be incredible. The first decks that can immediately appreciate this are Stompy variants, who loved the power of Pithing Needle but were often forced to Phyrexian Revoker, prone to removal, due to Chalice of the Void considerations. This card can also brutalize an opponent with a hand of fetchlands too, so it may even be good enough for the main deck! Even generic decks such as Delver or other midrange decks can utilize this. Delver in particular will be very happy with the flexibility of Pithing Needle crossed with a potential Sinkhole. This is going to be a staple of the format moving forward, I'm looking forward to it indeed.

26/06/17 Legacy Challenge

Next, on to some tournament analysis! The Top 8 breakdown is below, and find the full lst to the Top 32 at the Wizards site here.

Deck Player Placing
Jeskai Stoneblade Mzfroste 1
Burn ReneRandrup 2
Miracles Gul_Dukat 3
4c Control Danker 4
Grixis Delver ElfKid 5
Grixis Delver SorboOne 6
Stax Charlie-in-the-Mox 7
Food Chain funkydude787 8

There was a few interesting results - the first being Mzfroste's win with a somewhat-antiquated looking Jeskai Stoneblade list, perhaps signaling the deck is more viable than first blush. The second-placing Burn list, however, is certain to raise some eyebrows. It included Pain's Reward.

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I'm not sure if skewing the mana base is truly worth Pain's Reward, but I'm sure it's trying to emulate perhaps the days when Treasure Cruise was in the format and was used in Burn to reload. Bidding exactly the opponent's hopefully low life total should lead to the Burn player drawing enough pieces to finish them off. I'm sure the Pain's Reward is pretty awful when behind, however. Nonetheless, an interesting bit of technology for sure.

SorboOne Top 8ed with a sixty that should look pretty familiar...

SorboOne has likely had a look at my Grixis Delver version and others similar to come to the same conclusions about the strength of Gurmag Angler and the lack of Thought Scour. The sideboard is notably very Black-intensive, however, and I do like the Hymn to Tourach to bust apart combo decks, though supporting BB may require a Badlands in the mix, perhaps.

Charlie-in-the-Mox brought hardcore Stax to the Challenge, and has been running a similar build for quite some time. New additions include Inventors' Fair, impressive with Crucible of Worlds, Grasping Dunes, again, impressive with Crucible of Worlds and a sideboard touting Hangarback Walker and Thought-Knot Seer. Another interesting choice is the full set of Ratchet Bombs, but I suppose they're very flexible pieces of removal that synergize well with the artifact-heavy plan.

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Looing outside the Top 8...

Wichtelman brought Mono-Black Reanimator; interestingly, Cabal Therapy was used in place of Faithless Looting as the extra discard outlet of choice. I'd expect Unmask, but I'm sure Therapy is somewhat reasonable... especially once you look at the sideboard. Cryptbreaker and Pack Rat join the party as discard outlets that also make great fodder for Cabal Therapy. I doubt the main deck is significantly better than typical Red-Black (Looting adds a lot of consistency in a deck otherwise lacking in it), but the sideboard choices are perhaps space that can be explored.

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79th KMC

On the 17th of June, the 79th KMC went by. Always a hotbed of innovation, the Top 8 broke down as:

Deck Player Placing
Grixis Delver Fukudome Yuu 1
NO Bant Niwa Takahiro 2
Dragon Stompy Sawase Koichi 3-4
BUG Delver Takashima Tatsuya 3-4
BUG Delver Fujihira Kohei 5-8
Jund Tutui Seiya 5-8
Sneak & Show Yasuda Masayuki 5-8
Esper Deathblade Nishikawa Seigo 5-8

Find lists here. As always there was some exciting stuff, with an otherwise stock Jund deck sporting Stormbreath Dragon and Thundermaw Hellkite and the Dragon Stompy deck embracing its prison elements even further, sporting Bottled Cloister in addition to Ensnaring Bridge. These Dragon Stompy decks are truly becoming more prison-control decks compared to the days of beating down with Goblin Rabblemaster.

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The most bizarre list that came out of the tournament was NO Bant by Niwa Takahiro, however! Quite a blast from the past!

The majority of numbers look like complete oddities to me (three Brainstorm? Four Stifle? Three Geist of Saint Traft?!), but Niwa Takahiro certainly showed that in a world without Miracles, Natural Order for Progenitus is once again a formidable game plan. I personally would look more to a BUG shell to get the power of [[Deathrite Shaman] for this kind of strategy, similar to The Brainstorm Show's recent list.

One of the cooler cards in the sideboard is Arachonogenesis. Part Fog, part Natural Order fodder!

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GP Sydney Win-a-Mox

I'd lastly like to highlight the Win-a-Mox event that occurred at GP Sydney. With 80 players participating (including myself), it was pretty epic tournament. I'll speak more on my experience in a moment, but first the Top 8. Find lists here.

Deck Player Placing
Infect Kallan Ward 1
ANT Brandon Owen 2
4c Control Alessio Mezzetti 3-4
Grixis Delver Anthony Tran 3-4
ANT Thomas Koch 5-8
Burn Chris Ball 5-8
Lands Chris Entwistle 5-8
UR Delver Tim Evers 5-8

The winner of this event is someone I've known to crush any Legacy event I see him at — Kallan Ward. I first met Kallan at a side event some time ago; I was on Death & Taxes, he on nicely foiled-out Infect. I was thoroughly slain. From there he has continued to have great success in Legacy, Top 8ing CanCon and now winning a Mox Pearl! A huge congratulations to him, it's a victory well-deserved.

His sixty was relatively straightforward, though his entirely one-of sideboard had a few oddities, notably, the Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Umezawa's Jitte. Jace is a solid choice for matchups that can become a huge slog - such as 4c Control - and also gives the deck access to an alternative win condition. Umezawa's Jitte, as always, dominates creature-based matchups, but also gives Infect a bit more utility than most decks. The pump ability of Jitte helps Infecters get even closer to that perfect ten poison counters. Although Kallan admitted to me they're likely to be on the chopping block next time he's running the deck, they're certainly interesting, and I personally have tried Jitte in Infect myself and been impressed.

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Canberrean Tim Evers has been carrying the torch of Matthew Brown's innovative take on Blue-Red Delver. Lovingly called Blue-Red Control feat. Delver of Secrets by Canberreans, Tim has tweaked a few numbers after Top's banning. His incorporation of Jace is a pretty natural fit, but the spiciest addition I see is Into the Roil as something to bounce away problematic permanents that the Blue and Red colors cannot deal with, such as Enchantments, and then counter them on the way back down. The basic-heavy mana base makes Kicking Into the Roil very possible too. Tim's list is also a perfect home for Abrade in the Smash to Smithereens slots.

Other interesting pieces of technology in this Top 8 were 2nd-placing Canberrean Brandon Owen's utilization of Hope of Ghirapur over the more typical Xantid Swarm in ANT, as well as Chris Ball's sixteen land, four Simian Spirit Guide quadlazer Burn list!

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Once again, here concludes This Week in Legacy. But, as always, this ain't the end of the content. Enjoy some more Legacy from around the net:

That's a lot! Enjoy!

'Til next time!

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I'm Playing This Week

Last weekend I had blast playing Bomberman through many, many GP side events, despite the combined record of the deck being 10-5 (3-1, 3-1, 4-3). It nonetheless felt very powerful, and matches were incredibly close, with me just missing out on beating Lands and ANT in two close Game 3s. My current list is:

During the event I was playing two Cities, but found myself strained for Red mana at times, especially when Mox Opal isn't always assured. You can find all my tournament reports with the deck on The Source thread. The Disenchants may soon become Forsake the Worldly as testing proceeds. Churning through the deck when it's a dead card is pretty important!

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I'll likely be continuing to slam this through the grinder and keep the tuning going, but another deck is beckoning for me...

This list is very different to past versions of the deck I've played. It notably cuts Whirlpool Rider / Balustrade Spy to be less of an all-in combo deck. This Manaless version is willing to grind out the opponent and "combo" win via resurrecting huge Grave-Trolls, locking out the opponent with Chancellor or maybe killing with Flayer into Amalgams acting as Lightning Bolts. In forsaking this, the main deck has room for Force of Will in the main to improve combo matchups as well as Leyline of the Sanctity which is huge game against Storm. The only consideration I may have moving forward is Ashen Rider over Flayer, to really make this list not combo-centric at all.

The Spice Corner

As Foretold Stompy is the new hotness. From the depths of the Miracles Cabal, and on to The Source, it has now 5-0'ed twice Online and looks to be a pretty powerful Stompy option. Powering out Jace, Chandra, Moon, Chalice, and three-mana Balance all looks pretty great to me.

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