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This Week in Legacy: I Headbutted a Troll and I Liked It, Part 2

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 continuing to look at Kaldheim and what it means for Legacy! In addition to that we've got two Challenges from last weekend to talk about, one of which was the first Season Showcase Challenge event. Of course, we also have our Spice Corner.

Also worth noting that the Magic Online Mythic All Access Tokens are live still on the Magic Online store, and there is a Legacy Super Qualifier event this coming Thursday!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Vikings Gonna Viking - Kaldheim Set Review, Part 2

We're pretty knee-deep in the snowy winter of Kaldheim spoiler season at this point, and so we've got a bunch more cards to talk about, as well as an entire sub-class of cards (RE: SNOW) to discuss as well.

Reidane, God of the Worthy // Valkmira, Protector's Shield

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I knew right off the bat going into this article that this was going to have to be the first card I talked about. This card is the one and only piece of Snow hate in all of Kaldheim (as confirmed by Gavin Verhey on his "Good Morning Magic" stream), and of course... it's just not good enough for Legacy.

The thing is though, this is about what I expected out of this card, and what I expected out of any amount of Snow hate that could have come out of Kaldheim. My expectations were fairly low because it was already highly unlikely that Wizards would print such an effective Snow hate card that it would hate the mechanic out of even Standard. After all, they want people to play with the set mechanics in Standard, so it just was never possible that we were ever going to get anything powerful enough to hate the Snow mechanic.

The biggest thing this has going against it is the fact that it costs three mana but also the fact that it's a 2/3 and is unable to be tutored for by Recruiter of the Guard.

The back half of this card doesn't really do much more in Legacy unfortunately and definitely contributes to the fact that Reidane just doesn't quite make the cut for the moment. Now, I do expect that there is perhaps a chance to receive more Snow hate in Modern Horizons 2, but I do feel like that may be too late for Legacy to wait that long to deal with pressing issues within the format.

Weathered Runestone

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card however, is actually very surprising and interesting. On the surface, it looks just like a two CMC Grafdigger's Cage, and that might seem awkward at first. After all, two is a bit more than one when it comes to Legacy purposes, but the big thing about this card is that it has applications and playability inside of shells that play Ancient Tomb and Chalice of the Void. There's a great reason why these decks don't often run cards like Pithing Needle and instead utilize Sorcerous Spyglass and it is because of the interaction of needing to have Chalice set to one to counter things in the format.

Another thing to note about this card is that it specifies nonland permanents, and while at a glance this might sound like overkill, there are a fair number of decks that put noncreature permanents directly into play, from the use of cards like Sevinne's Reclamation (which is often putting Planeswalkers into play) to cards like Academy Rector/Arena Rector (out of Rector Nic Fit) and Curse of Misfortunes out of the Curse Stompy deck. This covers a wide array of things, and I definitely expect for it to see play.

Birgi, God of Tales // Harnfel, Horn of Abundance

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

My first thought when I saw this card (both halves) was that Ruby Storm is a deck that still exists and also just received a bit of an upgrade in the form of Jeska's Will from Commander Legends. The front half of this card outside of the Boast line functions so incredibly well with Ruby Medallion in that every spell you cast gains you a red mana and also having your mana not empty is pretty insane. Turning every spell into a mini ritual effect and your rituals into better rituals seems pretty downright absurd.

The back half of this card seems just as playable in the deck, as it's 2/3s of an Act on Impulse/Jeska's Will effect but is repeatable based on the number of cards in hand, which is nuts when you are able to refuel with Reforge the Soul or Jeska's Will's second mode.

I could definitely see this as a solid two-of in the deck, and maybe in other silly combo decks as well for the back half.

Port of Karfell

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

There's a whole cycle of these spell lands in Kaldheim and this one mostly caught my eye because of how it can potentially interact with Lion's Eye Diamond. Quite possibly not a thing, but does seem rather interesting to consider for sure. This is two LEDs worth of mana. Is that good enough? Probably not, but I'm curious.

Snakeskin Veil

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The real test of this card versus Blossoming Defense in an Infect world is whether or not the permanent +1/+1 counter and hexproof is better than +2/+2 until end of turn and hexproof. It just depends on how much you value that part of the card, but I do suspect this could see play in those decks given that putting counters on is attractive.

Starnheim Unleashed

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is interesting, because this is essentially an Entreat the Angels that doesn't need all the clever setup of putting a card on top of your library. Instead, you can just Foretell this and then cast it when you need to turn the corner (given that most Entreats are mostly draw step Entreats). While this doesn't interact well with Mystic Sanctuary, I suspect this could be pretty fun to test and try out.

Furthermore, this works really well with Teferi, Time Raveler and I am all here for that interaction.

Tibalt's Trickery

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is intriguing, and has a lot of text on it, but the first thing my brain considered when playing around with this was the usage of this card with Teferi, Time Raveler. Teferi shutting off the opponent's ability to cast a spell at instant speed means that this card effectively makes it counter the spell and then mill them 1, 2, or 3, and then exile until they hit a nonland, then do nothing, then put the cards on the bottom.

There is also some merit to a build that might want to set up countering its own spells to gain the benefit of casting something big off the top of the Library, but I do think the Teferi aspect makes this interesting for sure.

Mystic Reflection

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

On the surface this card looks neat, but I also don't think it really has enough play to be good enough in Legacy. Yes, you can make your opponent's Oko enter the battlefield as something like a Dryad Arbor, but you need a creature in play (and don't necessarily want to copy one of the opponent's existing creatures most of the time) to make this good, which makes it very awkward against decks where you would want this effect like Show and Tell and not having a creature to target with this effect.

That being said, there's a fun factor of this card in the fact that it operates well with cards that make multiple tokens on ETB (like Master of Waves), but I doubt that is any good in Legacy. I'm all in on a spice version though!

In Search of Greatness

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is another card that's a bit of a reader (seems like there's lots of those in this set) and is just sort of on the cusp of being decent, but doesn't quite make the cut. This does not count itself, so you're not going to get a free three drop right off the bat with this card, you need other permanents in play to make it good. It does specify just permanents though, so at best you get a permanent one drop spell for free the following turn if all you have is this and lands in play, but that is hardly breaking the bank on anything.

I suspect that people might test this card however, but I feel like it will be found out rather quickly that it just doesn't do enough.

Harald, King of Skemfar

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The litmus test for breaking into Elves these days is high for sure, since Allosaurus Shepherd sets a very real bar to approach being included, but Harald does seem rather interesting given that it's the appropriate creature type but also acts as a bit of a Once Upon a Time effect on a creature specifically for Elves, Warriors, or Tyvar cards (which is irrelevant in Legacy Elves). I could see this see play as a one of in the Elvish Visionary #5 slot, and the fact that it can be bounced repeatedly with Karakas to abuse the effect is also not too shabby.

Clarion Spirit

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

U/W Spirits is certainly a fringe strategy in the format, but their threats are relatively cheap and this does a halfway decent impression at being a Young Pyromancer-like effect for this deck. I could see a few of these kicking around that deck for sure.


$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

It's no surprise that with the advent of knowing about Snow being in Kaldheim that we've continually gotten a bunch of spoilers of Snow related cards. Many of these have driven some minor discussion around the community just a tad, so I felt it was indeed necessary to address the state of Snow cards in this set and how they relate to Legacy. Thankfully, this is pretty easy.

None of them are Legacy playable or format warping.

The biggest thing about Snowko decks in Legacy is that the bar for inclusion into these decks is incredibly high and that the only real Snow permanents in these decks are basic lands, Astrolabe, and Ice-Fang Coatl. The best cards these decks play (Oko/Uro, etc) are not even Snow permanents, they're just powerful haymakers and also backed up by some of the best removal and countermagic. I'm thankful that it seems like Wizards has recognized how powerful Snow was in these formats like Legacy and was able to design Snow cards that are just incredibly meh there, but are good for Standard play.

So, before panicking over the Snow cards just remember to not panic! None of these cards will likely see play in this format, and that's just dandy.

Full Steam Ahead!

As we finish out Kaldheim spoiler season, I'll be on the lookout for any further cards that may need to be mentioned, but we've managed to get the big brunt of the set at this point, and I don't overtly expect anything too crazy at this point. If there was a specific card that I missed or something you wanted me to talk about, then feel free to reach out and let me know! I always appreciate feedback on set reviews.

Legacy Challenge 1/16

Our first Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event, and this event had 71 players overall. Thanks to the efforst of the Legacy Data Collection project, we can look at some charts!

As noted, quite a bit of RUG Delver, and that just simply seems to be a measurement of the fact that the Delver play style and strategy is extremely popular with Legacy players in general. People just really enjoy playing the deck. Hogaak also had a solid showing in this event as well as the Hullbreacher "Snow Day" deck that has been gaining a lot of steam lately (more on that in the Showcase Challenge).

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hogaak 1st Udon1590
Hullbreacher Snowko 2nd trunks132
U/R Delver 3rd koura
Death and Taxes 4th yoshiwata
Sneak and Show 5th JPA93
RUG Delver 6th sakuragi21722749
Doomsday 7th ThornOfWrath
Hogaak 8th jundilion

Definitely a neat Top 8 here, and as noted that Hogaak did exceptionally well, from putting two pilots into the Top 8 but also winning the event overall. After what also seemed like a few weeks of poor performance, D&T kicked back up as well here, putting one pilot into the Top 4 of the event. As noted though, it was indeed Hogaak that took down the entire event.

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This is more of the Jund variant of this deck, mainly leaning on using Faithless Looting over Hedron Crab and Careful Study. This does allow the deck to be a little more conservative in post board games when needing to find sideboard cards. Also, there's a maindeck Anger for some haste shenanigans.

The Second Place finalist of this event was indeed the Hullbreacher Snowko variant that has been creeping up in play.

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This is close to the other lists that have been showing up of this deck, most of which are running a pair of maindeck Dreadhorde Arcanist as well as the Snow stuff plus the Hullbreacher combo with Day's Undoing. This deck has some real level of play to it, so this is something to keep an eye on going forward.

Also in the Top 8 as noted we had a showing by Death and Taxes, and this would not be the only showing of this deck this weekend.

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In all reality this seems like a fairly solid list. I'm a bit surprised to not see any copies of Spirit of the Labyrinth given how good that card is against the Hullbreacher and Uro piles, but the list overall seems pretty good.

Outside of the Top 8 we saw a showing by our good friend Reeplcheep on Curse Stompy.

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I enjoy seeing this deck a lot, as the amount of work that Reeplcheep has put into this really shows in every result they put up with it. Elspeth's Nightmare is SUPER spicy and sounds like such a sweet card for sure.

Also outside of the Top 8 we saw a neat 4C Yorion Vial list.

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This is like Esper Vial but splashing into green for things like Coatl/Decay but also Noble Hierarch for acceleration and sideboard cards like Collector Ouphe. Seems like honestly a super fun list for sure.

Legacy Showcase Challenge 1/17

This weekend also saw the first Showcase Challenge event of 2021 Season One, and thanks to the data collection efforts we know there was 166 players in this event. Great turnout overall, so let's take a look at the charts!

As was to be expected, RUG Delver was the most played deck, but it was the Hullbreacher Snowko deck that felt like it was everywhere in this event. A lot of players in this event likely had the All Access Tokens this weekend, so there was a lot more Hullbreacher (since that card's ticket price is pretty ridiculous) than I think anyone really expected. The deck is certainly exceptionally powerful for sure, but also didn't seem to perform that well in this event, given the win rate chart showing its potential win rate to be a little bit above and below 50% with an estimated win rate of below 50%. No, this event was certainly not so secretly dominated by the other popular deck in RUG Delver.

Let's take a look at the Top 8 and also the first 8 competitors that will be taking part in the Season One Showcase Qualifier event at the end of the season.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Death and Taxes 1st EronRelentless
RUG Delver 2nd Samwise_GeeGee
RUG Arcanist Midrange 3rd Baku_91
RUG Delver 4th Xwhale
Snow Miracles 5th kogamo
RUG Delver 6th kentaro_hokori
RUG Delver 7th Stormguyisme
Oops! All Spells 8th Patxi

RUG Delver absolutely pushed a bunch into this Top 8, taking up HALF of the Top 8 spots here. However, it was a stalwart Death and Taxes list that ended up crushing the event overall and winning the whole thing, in the hands of EronRelentless.

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This particular list does have Spirit of the Labyrinth, which seems pretty good against a lot of incidental stuff in Legacy right now. Silent Clearing is also a nice way to turn dead draws into better ones, while still fixing mana.

The Second Place finalist was none other than good friend and well known Legacy afficionado Jarvis Yu on RUG Delver.

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This list is neat, sort of adapting both the Young Pyromancer tech plus the typical green creatures. Why worry about playing one or the other? Play them all! Court of Cunning is also super neat in the sideboard here.

Further down the Top 8 we had a showing by Oops! All Spells.

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All these repeated Top 8's from this deck have me convinced that it definitely one of the better combo decks in the format right now, and while it seems like it should be very easy to hate on, this deck can push through quite a bit of disruption to win games.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a showing by Reanimator!

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This list continues to adapt the technology of having a side combo-esque kill with Children of Korlis and Tendrils of Agony. This often ensures that a reanimation of Griselbrand can just end the game quickly.

Also outside of the Top 8 we had a showing by Snow Painter.

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The nice thing about these kinds of Splinter Twin-esque decks is that they can operate as a control/midrange pile first and sometimes win the game fairly, but have the combo in the back pocket for when they need to really turn a corner.

January Metagame Update

We are now a little more than a month into the Legacy Data Collection project, so we've got a bit of an update in regards to overall metagame since then! We're now at 1,335 recorded entries and looking forward to many more within this year. This data covers the range from our first data collection point (12/6 Showcase Challenge) to the 1/17 Showcase Challenge event.

You can also follow along with all of this and see the tables in the linked document here.

Let's take a look at some Metagame share stuff then, shall we?

The biggest thing about the macro archetype data is that it gives us some information on where the format is slanted at a higher level overview. We can pretty easily see here that much of the metagame is currently slanted towards Fair blue Tempo and Midrange/Control decks. This jives well with the fact that plenty of people are playing Fair blue decks in general. In addition, Spell-based combo and Permanent-based combo decks are also way up there as well, between decks like Sneak/Show and Elves being very good right now.

Let's take a look at the Subarchetypes. This particular chart has a cutoff of >= 20 decks so that it isn't insanely hard to read.

No doubt about it that this fits into the narrative that both RUG Delver and Snowko are the two most popular regarded decks in the metagame, and RUG Delver is still more popular than everything else by a country mile. A look at the rest of the decks shows that while these two decks are popular there is a really big amount of diversity in the format right now, and plenty of decks that are seeing play.

Now let's dive into the win rate charts. I've shared these plenty of times already and these are Candlestick charts, typically used for Stock Exchange type stuff but repurposed to be error bars for the data at hand. This shows not only the range of potential win rates, but also the estimated true win rate.

It seems that with an increase in added amounts of data that both RUG Delver and Snowko both have a win rate range of a little over 50% win rate, with RUG showing an estimated true win rate of 52.7% and Snowko with an estimated true win rate of 52.6%. Now these can range in the true win rate, but thankfully as time has gone on the more data we have collected helps reduce the 95% Confidence Interval (CI) (which is represented by the vertical bar in the chart) to narrow down the actual win rate of these decks.

What this does mean is that those decks that have a longer vertical bar have a wider range of possible true win rates, and that as we collect more data those bars will decrease as the CI does. This is a great picture still of the current metagame, and only by moving forward can we continue to keep gathering data to ever improve how this looks.

Around the Web

  • Phil Gallagher posted a great video on Legacy decks to try out with your All Access Account! Check that out here.
  • Our good friend Peter van der Ham posted a video on U/R Delver w/ Clout of the Dominus. Check that out here.
  • Episode 14 of IN RESPONSE has been posted. You can check that out here.
  • 90sMTG showing off some Kaldheim spice this past week! Check out the video here.

The Spice Corner

Bant Midrange featuring Court of Grace!

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This deck is... is... wow...

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Aluren Nic Fit + Academy Rector nonsense? I'm here for it.

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U/W Spirits!

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What I'm Playing This Week

I have a MTGO All Access Token myself for this next two weeks, so what's the first thing that comes to mind? Pirates, obviously!

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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 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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