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This Week in Legacy: I Headbutted a Troll and I Liked It, Part 1


Howdy folks! IT'S TIME YET AGAIN FOR THIS WEEK IN LEGACY! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're cranking up the amp to 11 with the beginning of our Legacy set reviews for Kaldheim. This set is already shaping up to have some interesting cards, and we're only really a week into the spoiler season. We've also got two Legacy Challenge events to discuss, and of course as always our Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's party on!

Something Unintelligibly Metal - Kaldheim Set Review, Part 1

The unbelievably metal world of Kaldheim is upon us, a world filled with Viking legends, Gods, and even a wayward Phyrexian Praetor. As always, there are some cards to talk about. One of the big important things from this set is the continued use of the Modal DFC cards that were first introduced in Zendikar Rising. However, unlike in Zendikar, these MDFCs have different card types on the back faces other than lands. This is likely the most important mechanic in the set for an eternal standpoint. However, there is also the return of the Changeling mechanic, and the new mechanic Foretell seems interesting enough thus far.

Another thing to mention is the return of Snow as a mechanic in this set. Snow is already fairly contentious in Legacy, with cards like Arcum's Astrolabe and Ice-Fang Coatl, but so far most of the cards seen don't really look like they'd slot into Snowko variants all that well. The bar for inclusion into these decks is pretty high as it stands as they often tend to play some of the best cards the format has available so breaking into that shell is actually pretty hard unless the card is just absolutely busted (see cards like Hullbreacher and the Day's Undoing shell). Regardless we'll be keeping a close eye on the Snow cards for sure.

Let's take a look at the cards that are interesting already.

Valki, God of Lies // Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

At first glance, Valki doesn't actually look like a very impressive card as it's simply a Legendary Brain Maggot with some upside in being able to become one of the things it exiles. The interesting thing about this is being able to snag something like an Uro on Turn 2 and then have Valki become Uro on Turn 3, and that is pretty silly. However being a 2/1 and Legendary is fairly fragile to stick around until the next turn to make it useful.

What drives this card for sure is the back half of this card being a Planeswalker, and while seven mana might look rather steep, there is a bit of a workaround. Currently within the rules as confirmed by Matt Tabak, if you were to Cascade into Valki, God of Lies, after being presented with the option to cast the spell you can choose which half of the card you wish to cast. This means that with a card like Shardless Agent, you can actually cascade into Valki and cast Tibalt.

In that context, Tibalt seems incredibly powerful coming down on Turn 2-3 off of a Cascade trigger. Immediately coming in at 5 loyalty, Tibalt can jump to 7 loyalty and effectively draw two cards. As we're well aware, cards like this that enter at such high loyalty are often difficult to deal with. The -3 ability is a form of protection against certain things, but it's also sort of a Control Magic effect thanks to the emblem you get when Tibalt enters the battlefield.

The question of whether this is enough of a power jump to boost Shardless BUG back into a place in the metagame is rather unknown. I suspect not, but I also think that this definitely finds a home in the deck if it does do anything. There's also just possibly a build that wants to try to cascade into this as quickly as possible because it can easily take over a game, and isn't even a color that can be dealt with by the typical cards like Pyroblast (pack your Hydroblasts kids!).

Our good friend Peter van der Ham took an extra step here and created a decklist for this card, which you can find the image of here. I've also replicated the list below for easy exporting.

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Kaya the Inexorable

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One of our other Planeswalkers in this set, Kaya seems interesting on the surface as her +1 ability is rather strong especially with creatures that have enters the battlefield abilities. Five mana is rather steep, but I could see this seeing play in a deck like Maverick or a GSZ deck like Nic Fit that plays into value creatures. Having a Vindicate effect stapled on is also pretty good, and the ultimate if able to be pulled off is back-breaking.

Notably this does not work so well with cards like Arena Rector and Academy Rector because those cards have to exile themselves from the graveyard to fulfill the trigger effect, so no amount of stacking triggers is going to change that part.

Ranar the Ever-Watchful

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Coming out of the Kaldheim Commander decks, at first glance Ranar doesn't sound all that impressive, as the Foretell ability is pretty much useless in Legacy. However, the second ability is exceptionally interesting, as has been noted by our good friend Peter van der Ham on Twitter. The big card that this ability combos off with is Food Chain. Ranar + Food Chain + any creature is essentially infinite mana, since any time you sacrifice a creature to Food Chain you make a 1/1 Spirit (with each Spirit sacrifice being an addition of one mana). Ranar + Food Chain + Misthollow Griffin is infinite 1/1 Spirits, giving the deck a new and unique way to approach winning the game. At 2/3 as well, Ranar can be tutored for via Imperial Recruiter, and also being blue it can be pitched to Force of Will if needed.

Peter was kind enough to give a decklist for his idea as well, and you can find his full review + that here. I've transcribed the decklist as well below.

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Snow Dual Lands

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One of the biggest revelations of Snow being in Kaldheim was the advent of having 10 "enters the battlefield tapped" typed Snow dual lands at common. These lands being typed means you can fetch for them with fetch lands. So inevitably the question becomes, will these possibly see play in Legacy? My bet is on no, after having witnessed the advent of tri-color ETB tapped lands in Triomes which see little to no play at all. Having the Snow supertype does not make these inherently more playable than a three color land for mana fixing purposes, as fetching for dual lands in Snowko often means you need the mana right then and there. Playing any number of these also means that your opening hands could be much worse as well by virtue of them showing up. The barest sliver I could see these being played in a competitive variant is if the deck is playing a card like Field of the Dead and needs a Snow land that is a different name for Field purposes.

I will however point out the elephant in the room that these lands do make for fantastic budgetary options, and while you will likely lose some percentage points having them (as most of the time you'll want to fetch on your opponent's turn to make it worth it, running into the possibility of Wasteland), this is superb if you are wanting to get into a blue deck in Legacy and can't yet afford actual dual lands, but maybe have access to Forces and fetch lands from Modern play. These being common also means their price will be insanely low so they'll be relatively everywhere.

Faceless Haven

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

If Shark Typhoon didn't exist for Standstill decks, I'd very much be all over this card for those kinds of decks since this is just infinitely better than both Mishra's Factory and Mutavault in that regards by making a 4/3 with Vigilance. There still could be a place for it in those decks just because of how strong this effect is. Triple snow is rough to activate, but the deck's goal is to generally go long and drag the game out, so maybe isn't too bad. Would still rather cycle a flying Shark however.

Search for Glory

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While this tutors for quite a few variety of things, it's a three mana tutor and the life gain upside isn't really that good. I don't think taking a turn off to use this in Legacy is where one wants to be, as most of the time it is simply that.

Ravenform

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is certainly intriguing. Foretell allows you to put the spell from your hand to exile for two generic mana, and then allows you the ability to cast this spell at a later turn (not in the same turn, which is important). What is intriguing about this card is the first time we've ever seen a blue spell be able to directly exile an artifact. While Polymorph effects are certainly within blue's range of color pie effects (and this is certainly a Polymorph because it replaces the permanent with another permanent), those effects have always been directed at creatures only.

The one place I could theoretically see this card is actually in the Karn Echo sideboard, as that deck plays Sol lands that easily enable the Foretell ability, and it's a card that deals with a lot of problematic things such as Chalice on 0, Collector Ouphe, etc. Beyond this, I don't see much utility for this in other decks, but it is certainly playable in the Echo deck.

Of course, the deck could also just play a card like Echoing Truth or Brazen Borrower, but I like the option this card gives by being able to let the Karn deck answer something without having to worry about wheel'ing away the answer either.

Bloodsky Berserker

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is interesting as the whole "second spell" mechanic seems to work pretty well for Legacy and this is akin to a card like Sprite Dragon and even gains a form of evasion as well. Not being able to be Pyroblast'ed is also pretty decent. I could see a deck that might reasonably want this as a fringe option.

Eradicator Valkyrie

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

If this card had been a 3/4 I think I would have felt better about it. Sure, this thing can't be Elk'ed by Oko, but being a 4/3 puts it in range of more removal spells like Lightning Bolt as well as being able to not profitably block or attack into a flipped Delver of Secrets. Ultimately this falls short of the mark, but could have been very close to being a playable card.

Realmwalker

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is intriguing simply because it is an Elf, thanks to the Changeling ability. Being able to have an onboard Glimpse of Nature effect essentially is actually somewhat interesting, and I would not be overly surprised if this saw any amount of play even as a 1-of toolbox card to supplement Glimpse.

Tyvar Kell

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Speaking of Elves, this card deals a lot with them, but is unfortunately not quite there for Legacy purposes. While this is likely pretty good in newer formats like Historic, Tyvar falls pretty short of the mark in Legacy as it takes too long to ultimate (and Elves generally has you dead before you even would be able to do so) and the +1 and 0 abilities aren't very good.

Still, Tyvar is pretty swole, that's for sure!

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

I don't think this is overtly playable in Legacy (although the effect is pretty strong for a 6 mana trample/haste 6/6) but look at that art and frame treatment! Incredible work all around.

Until We Meet in Valhalla

That's all the Kaldheim for this week, I'm sure we'll have plenty more to talk about next week when the spoiler season continues for sure!

Legacy Challenge 1/9

Our first Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event, and that event had 65 players overall with one playing dropping on an unknown deck in Round 1. Let's take a look at the graphs.

The cutoff here for the graphs was >= 4 players, and as we can see it was actually Hogaak that was fairly popular here, despite not converting so well to the Top 32 (28% conversion rate for 2 pilots out of 7 total). Elves was also pretty high up there as was our typical format bogeymen of RUG Delver and Snowko. RUG had a really solid event here however, with an estimated win rate of 60.47% w/ mirrors, with a range from anywhere from 45.90% to 75.11% based on the sample size. In the long run this doesn't produce a ton of conclusions outside of the fact that we know that RUG is doing exceptionally well right now.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
RUG Delver 1st Andreas_Muller
RUG Arcanist Tempo 2nd NooxTom
Snow Day 3rd LeoFa
Snow Day 4th McWinSauce
Doomsday 5th Azerate218
Oops! All Spells 6th unicornparadise
Nic Fit 7th Koike
Elves 8th AlphaBlade

This is certainly an interesting Top 8, with a number of blue fair decks like Delver/Snowko, but also some combo decks and even a Nic Fit variant! At the end of the event however, it was indeed RUG Delver that took it all down.

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I think this variant is likely to be the most common we'll see these days as more players gravitate off of the green creature plan and more into the Young Pyromancer plan. It simply seems to be a little more efficient and powerful against other Oko decks for sure.

The Second Place finalist of this event is a RUG Arcanist / Krark variant.

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The big selling point here is Of One Mind which is pretty solid with Krark+Hierarch/Young Pyromancer. Krark has certainly settled into what seems to be a pretty playable card for the format overall, much more than I think it was initially thought to be and that's honestly super cool.

Also in the Top 8 we have a Snow Miracles variant that people are calling "Snow Day", which is a Hullbreacher based deck.

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The take on this deck is certainly unique, with the advent of having two Dreadhorde Arcanist for sheer value alongside the Snow cards and the Hullbreacher / Day's Undoing combination. This is certainly a strong and interesting list for sure.

Also in the Top 8 we had a sweet Jund Nic Fit variant.

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Juri, Master of the Revue and Greater Gargadon is certainly a stupendously interesting thing for sure. Everything about this list is super cool, and this is a list I'm sure to try out in the future here at some point.

Just outside of the Top 8 we had another showing by the Jeskai Mentor deck that's been popping back up.

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This deck is super neat for sure, it's fun to see Counterbalance back in the mix, and the synergy with the main deck Mystic Sanctuary is not lost (by being able to fetch and put something on top that matches the CMC in response to the CB trigger). Court of Grace and Peacekeeper in the sideboard are also super cool.

Legacy Challenge 1/10

Our second Challenge event of the weekend was the mid morning/afternoon Sunday event, which had 106 players overall. Let's take a look at the graphs.

Similar cutoff in the graphs, we can see that Snowko had a big portion of the metagame here with 13 decks and was the only deck to crack 10% metagame share in the event. However, despite popularity the deck didn't quite have a hugely fantastic event and the spotlight was stolen by a lot of other decks instead.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
U/R Delver 1st OceanSoul92
BUG Zenith 2nd Bedell
Omni-Tell 3rd MaxMagicer
Sneak and Show 4th JPA93
The EPIC Storm 5th wonderPreaux
Oops! All Spells 6th Martin_Dominguez
G/W Reclaimer 7th fishduggery
Colorless Cloudpost 8th kosaka7

This Top 8 is certainly interesting, with a fair amount of variety from Show and Tell based decks to Storm and Oops, as well your Delver and BUG variants and Land based decks like G/W Reclaimer and Post. At the end of the event it was U/R Delver that won the whole thing.

Unfortunately we have no actual lists from this event, because they have not yet been published to the Wizards MTGO decklists website. Hopefully this fixes itself sometime this week and the lists can be seen!

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Rich Cali had some great content on Brainstorm in a more Modern age. Check that out over here.
  • Maxtortion and Negator77 with some great insightful content on Depths vs Doomsday. Check that out here.
  • SUSHI LOAM.
  • Happy Birthday to Thassa's Oracle! The DDFT Wiki had this great article on the subject over here.
  • Our good friends Maxtortion and Minniehajj with their newest MinMax Battle Series, which you can check out here.

The Spice Corner

Our first entry this week is Stiflenaught Delver!

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It seems fairly rare to see a Pox 5-0 as of late, so it's worth looking at when one does happen. The LEGENDS cards in this deck of course are what makes it fun!

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Living Wish Yorion Snow is super interesting for sure.

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Speaking of Living Wish, how about a deck that also plays Aluren? Hilariously, the win conditions are all stuffed in the sideboard here, so Wish fetches the win condition for Aluren.

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What I'm Playing This Week

Not really sure what I'm doing this week, likely spending some time Turn 1'ing people.

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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 on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! In addition I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the /r/MTGLegacy Discord Server and subreddit.

Until next time!



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