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This Week in Legacy: I'm a Superstar Online


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 going to be talking about the ins and outs of playing Legacy on Magic Online. We're going to take what we started last week and talk about how to get into MTGO, how to be aware of some of the important things in the application itself. In addition, our deck focus this week is going to be on one of the cheaper decks in the format, a deck that stays strong with the graveyard. I'm talking of course about Dredge in all its variations both Manaless and Mana-based. As always, we have a Legacy Challenge to discuss and a Spice Corner to talk about.

Before we jump into the thick of things, we have some houskeepeing to take care of! I got some great comments last week, and I wanted to point out that the Mono Black Planeswalkers list that I showcased in The Spice Corner. This list was a donation list to MedeaMagica (aka Phil Gallagher from Thraben University). I wanted to point it out because it sounded as if the donor didn't exactly understand the interaction of Maralen the Mornsong and Ashiok, Dream Render. These two cards do not interact at all really, since Ashiok specifies effects your opponent's control. Phil mentioned swapping the Maralen's out for Plague Engineer, so if you plan to pick up the deck, be aware of that!

Also would like to mention that registration for MissouriMTG's 40K Legacy event in September came... and went in 30 minutes. That's right, all 250 spots in the event went right out the door in just 30 minutes, with 500 people on the waitlist for the event. This event is going to be insane, and I'm so excited to say that I got my spot and will be attending. I'm really looking forward to this event, and we'll be talking about preparing for this the closer we get to the event overall. I think it would make for a great topic to follow.

Without further ado, let's dive right into the article, shall we?

Online I'm From Hollywood

One of the first things up front that we need to cover getting into Magic Online and Legacy is getting into a Magic Online account in the first place. Upon the release of Throne of Eldraine, Wizards of the Coast changed how account creation works by allowing users to create new accounts for free via the client. However, there are a number of restrictions placed upon the free account that make it pretty much impossible to use it for playing Legacy. In order to get seriously into things, you will need to pay $9.99 (plus applicable tax) for the Account Upgrade Kit. This will allow you to perform every relevant action necessary to get into Legacy, including purchasing cards and trading.

Changing MTGO Settings

As with any application, Magic Online has a myriad of settings that can be adjusted. Primarily the most important of these to adjust for Legacy purposes are the "Stop" settings. These settings impact when the game automatically passes priority or forces a stop so that you might be able to take an action. You can find these settings under "In-Duel Settings".

By default these settings are set in a variety of ways, and turning them on or off will affect when the game stops. Hovering over each of these phases will give a brief explanation of how these stops work. These settings should be adjusted to your liking, since everyone tends to treat them a little differently.

Account's Created, Now What?

Now that you have an account and you're all set up, it's time to talk about starting to get into Legacy. One of the things that is important to note about this is either purchasing cards or renting them. Let's talk first about purchasing cards.

One of the best ways of purchasing cards is to use a third party service like Cardhoarder. However, there is always the option of purchasing Event Tickets from the Wizards Store and using those to purchase cards from bot chains like Cardhoarder. One important thing to note about any new account making large purchases is that occasionally exceptionally large purchases will trip a security flag restricting an account. If this happens to you, don't panic! Simply send a support request and get it taken care of. This is in place generally to prevent people from abusing accounts or using another person's information to purchase cards, etc.

That being said, once you have an idea in mind of what cards you're purchasing and have taken the appropriate steps to do so, they will all appear under your "Collection" tab. From there, you can build your deck using the tools available. One nice thing to do here is to use a third party website to create your decklist (like... I don't know... MTGGoldfish for example...) and then download that decklist to your computer. From there you can import the decklist into Magic Online and it will populate the decklist without having to go hunt and peck through your Collection to put cards into your deck.

On the flip side of this, card rental is now an option, either through services provided by Cardhoarder or ManaTraders. These services both function on the basis of paying money on a regular basis to have access to rent cards. As a new account signing up for these services will generally require some amount of verification (examples include scans of things such as Driver's Licenses) to prove you are who you say you are. This is mainly a security measure to ensure that you don't take cards and not return them.

There are a multitude of differences between both existing rental services, so the best thing to do is to do research on both services to determine which is the right for you. After you've selected a service however, both have deck building tools where you can import decklists from various sources (such as MTGGoldfish, which includes a super easy "Buy from Cardhoarder" link) to rent your cards. One of the biggest perks of rental services is being able to change your decklist as needed based on the Meta game, but also to try out different decks! This can help with figuring out what kind of deck you might like to play in the format as well.

I Got a Deck! Ready to Play!

Once you've gotten together a deck, you're ready to start playing! One of the most important things to remember on Magic Online is the use of your keyboard shortcuts and bindings. These are important to helping you get used to managing your time. In matches played on Magic Online, both players have a clock of 25 minutes each that counts down every time a player has priority. Getting used to managing this time is very important. At first, this might be difficult, but understanding the various keyboard shortcuts can go a long way to improving this.

One good way to get a hang of this is to play in the Tournament Practice Room under Constructed Play. These matches are free to play and have no investment monetarily so you can learn and play at your leisure. Once you're ready and have a grasp on these things, you can start jumping into Leagues. Leagues provide a great competitive environment and allow you to play as you can. In addition to Leagues there are also weekly Challenge events. These events are higher stakes and are multiple round events with a cut to Top 8. In addition, there are also Preliminary events throughout the week that award Qualification Points (QPs) to enter events like PTQs and Showcase Challenges.

Now It's Time for Some Legacy!

I hope this little setup guide was super informative, and that it helped you with understanding how to get into playing Legacy on Magic Online. There is a fantastic community of players on the platform and it is a great way to learn and become a better player, putting into perspective some of the Level Up Lessons we've been doing on this series. So get out there and have fun playing Legacy!

Level Up Lesson - A Vial a Day Keeps the Oko Away

Our Level Up Lesson this week is all about the card Aether Vial and the various things that Vial does that can be used to your advantage.

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One of the first things to know about playing Aether Vial is that the creature you choose to put into play is not revealed to the opponent until Vial's activated ability resolves. This means that if the opponent allows the activation to resolve, there is no point of interaction that the opponent can have before the creature in question enters the battlefield. For the purposes of cards like Sanctum Prelate for example, your opponent can't attempt to cast a noncreature spell with the converted mana cost that Prelate has selected as Prelate will already be on the battlefield by this time. It is important to note then that the most appropriate way of resolving this activation is to simply declare you are activating Aether Vial and then ask the opponent if it resolves. Shortcutting by putting the creature into play without confirming resolution of the ability is giving up information to the opponent about what they need to play around and the opponent can ask to back up to respond to the activation at that point. Activating Vial and then asking to confirm the resolution of the ability will put the onus on your opponent to determine what card they need to play around or what you potentially might put into play.

Furthermore in that same vein, it is often recommended by a number of DnT players that it is typically fine to bluff putting a creature into play by activating Vial on the opponent's end step. Because the ability states "may", upon resolution of the ability you choose whether to put a creature into play or not. If you choose not, nothing happens! This can sometimes provoke a response however from your opponent to cast a spell in response to the activation in fear of not being able to cast it later when it's more important.

Another interaction to note is being able to save a creature like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and get it back into play safely.

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We all know that you can save your Thalia, Guardian of Thraben with a timely Karakas activation, but what if you need your Thalia back in play quickly? Well, you can obviously Vial it back in (assuming you have a Vial on 2 counters), but what if the opponent has a piece of removal for both Thalia and for the Vial? For example, if your opponent blows up the Vial in response to the Karakas activation, you're dead in the water unless you happen to have a second Thalia in hand. There is still a way to get your Thalia back into play however. The proper sequencing here ends up being activating the Vial and then holding priority. Then you declare activating Karakas targeting Thalia. This way, if the opponent does have removal for the Vial as well, you are still able to put back in Thalia off the activation since the game will look back in time to see how many counters Aether Vial had on it upon activation even though it's not in play anymore.

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Most of Vial's other basic tricks are fairly well known, but worth reiterating that the card can be used in scenarios to create defensive blockers or to even make it difficult for an opponent to interact (for example, Vial'ing in Ethersworn Canonist) when an opponent is deep into a combo turn with either Storm or Breach and suddenly they can't cast any more spells. This can also work with creatures that provide some form of hand disruption, from Kitesail Frebooter to even Thought-Knot Seer by being able to flash in at opportune times, such as when an opponent's Terminus Miracle trigger is on the stack. While Vial decks with Eldrazi aren't typical in the format right now, there is some merit to brewing in that realm with that sort of disruptive package that makes long and grindy matchups super interesting.

Community Legacy Update

Continued reminders to submit your Legacy events to Bolt the Bird! This is a fantastic resource for local Legacy and community-driven efforts, so please take a moment to check their calendar for upcoming events!

As always if there are any big events you would like me to specifically cover please feel free to reach out! I am always willing to provide coverage to events!

Dice City Games Revised Open

Last weekend was also the Revised Open at Dice City Games! This event had 90 players and was live-streamed courtesy of the crew of The Legacy Pit! You can find the coverage video for this event over on The Legacy Pit's Twitch page, as well as likely in the future on their YouTube Channel.

I want to take a moment to thank Ryan Freeburger for working with me in getting me the information needed to cover this event. This is a great example of the Legacy community being super awesome!

Now, let's take a look at the overall metagame for the event.

This is an interesting overall metagame, and it's worth noting that Breach was 6.7% of this paper metagame on six players, five of which were on Jeskai and one of which was on Grixis. Still, outside of this, it's interesting to see how this Meta game looks and it honestly doesn't look half bad. There definitely appears to be a lot of diversity in strategies here and nothing insane really stands out too much. It is worth noting that the Top 16 of this event will be published to MTGGoldfish, so you will be able to see how the top of the event played out.

Let's shift focus however, to the Top 8 of the event.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Grixis Delver 1st Dylan Gellis
Punishing Maverick 2nd Mark Strassman
4C Miracles 3rd-4th Paul Lynch
GB Depths 3rd-4th Dave Long
Infect 5th-8th Adeet Phanse
Death and Taxes 5th-8th James Pogue
4C Miracles 5th-8th Milan Bhayana
Jeskai Breach 5th-8th Anuraag Das

This looks like an interesting Top 8, with Miracles decks over representing a ton with two copies of the deck, one of which ended up in the Top 4. At the end of the event however, it was a slugfest between Punishing Maverick and Grixis Delver, with Dylan Gellis taking home the trophy on Grixis Delver.

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This list is pretty close to what has been showing up in this archetype as of late, especially with the four Leyline of the Void in the sideboard to combat decks like Breach. Instead of a card like Bedlam Reveler, Gurmag Angler has retaken its spot as the Delve creature of choice.

In Second Place was Mark Strassman piloting Punishing Maverick!

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This list is super cool, and again it is really neat to see cards like Klothys, God of Destiny showing up in these decks. Furthermore, Questing Beast is just such a slam dunk of a creature in these Green Sun's Zenith deck it isn't funny. The card is just super powerful.

Down the Top 4 of this event we have Depths/Lands afficionado Dave Long on his standby deck of GB Depths w/ four Dark Confidant.

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This list looks pretty cool as well, and is definitely Dave's wheelhouse, so it's not surprising to see him do well with it.

In the bottom half of the Top 8, we have a showing by Infect piloted by Adeet Phanse.

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It is certainly interesting to see how Infect has evolved over time, with the adoption of Oko, Thief of Crowns making for a very powerful Plan B if the Plan A of infect damage falls apart.

At the very bottom of the Top 8 we have a truly awesome Legacy player on the Jeskai Breach deck, a deck that he has been helping develop since the card's availability. It's of course, Anuraag Das.

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As we will talk about later down this article, these decks are continuing to evolve in new and interesting ways, and time will tell if they really are busted in the format or not. Still, I'm not surprised to see Anuraag here. He has been a very solid pilot of the deck since Week One and has been instrumental in helping to develop the archetype.

Overall this looked like a fun event, and I'm certainly looking forward to hearing about more of these events from Dice City Games and The Legacy Pit. Again, I want to thank Ryan Freeburger for getting me information about this event and working with me! If you yourself are a TO or involved in an event and would like to provide coverage of it, then please don't hesitate to reach out to me!

Deck Focus - Working the Graveyard Shift

Our deck focus this week is going to be on the variants one of the format's most defining graveyard decks. I'm going to be talking of course, about the dreaded Dredge in all of its forms.

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Dredge at its core is a deck that utilizes the mechanic of the same name as printed in Ravnica: City of Guilds in order to utilize the graveyard as an additional hand. The deck presents a unique way to attack on a different angle, using recurring threats like Narcomoeba and Ichorid to feed cards like Cabal Therapy and Bridge from Below, which can generate a small army of Zombies in short order.

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Much of Dredge's power comes in Game 1 where many decks can feel unprepared for the deck's assault of draw, targeted discard, and recurring threats. This makes the deck very powerful and aggressive. Post board however, is what typically separates Dredge pilots from Dredge masters. Graveyard hate can be potent vs Dredge, but quite often multiple pieces of hate are required to beat the deck. Knowing which pieces of hate to play around is one of the most important things of understanding how to play Dredge and in addition how to sideboard with Dredge. A good way to determine this is to keep an eye on the trends of which decks play which pieces of graveyard hate.

Permanent forms of hate, such as Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace are in general more of a speed bump against Dredge than one-shot hate like Tormod's Crypt or even Surgical Extraction. These can require hard answers from the Dredge player like Wispmare or Wear // Tear. One other way to attack hate is to play cards that force the opponent to be able to interact with the graveyard such as Silent Gravestone or Leyline of Sanctity (which doubles as making it hard for decks like Storm to be able to interact via discard and Tendrils of Agony).

Dredge is a unique graveyard angle deck due to the fact that it can come in two distinct flavors. One of those is a typical mana based Dredge utilizing Lion's Eye Diamond as one of the key cards. The most typical interaction with LED in this deck is using LED for mana while holding priority in response to either a card like Breakthrough or Faithless Looting. This functions to put Dredgers in the graveyard before the card drawing spell resolves, allowing you to replace individual draws with dredges. This version is extremely explosive, able to get on board as early as Turn 1-2 with the best of draws. The downside of this variant however, is that it can be susceptible to various pieces of soft countermagic like Daze. Force of Negation is also pretty powerful versus Dredge since it also exiles the spell, making the potential power turn of Faithless Looting + crack LED for triple red with the intent to flashback Looting a rough proposition. One of the ways that this deck can lose Game 1 even though it has a powerful Game 1 matchup, is to aggressively ensure the opponent has no way of getting either Dredge creatures into the graveyard in the first place, typically by countering early action.

The other flavor of Dredge is actually one of the cheapest decks in the Legacy format, because it runs no mana producing sources at all. This version is known as Manaless Dredge, and it has its own unique sets of rules to playing it.

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The biggest caveat of playing Manaless Dredge is the fact that the deck has to be on the draw during games, even if they win the dice roll and are given the option of being on the play. Because the deck has no mana sources, it has no way of casting any spells on Turn 1 to start the Dredge train. In order to do so, the deck must draw and then go to cleanup and discard to hand size. However, there are a number of cards such as Phantasmagorian that help the deck get cards into the graveyard quicker once it makes that initial discard. Phantasmagorian is a unique card, because discarding the cards is a cost, one that can be paid multiple times by holding priority as long as you are able to discard three cards to activate it. Because this deck functions off hand size, it functionally is unable to mulligan because it ends up delaying itself for several turns by doing so.

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Manaless Dredge is also a deck that enforces the concepts of needing to maintain graveyard order in the format. Nether Shadow specifically cares about the number of creature cards in the graveyard above it in order to enter the battlefield from the graveyard. Because of this, it is important to note that whenever you are instructed to put cards into the graveyard from your library that you are allowed to look at those cards first and then decide what order they will enter the graveyard. So for the purposes of Golgari Grave-Troll, when you dredge with it, you can look at the top six cards of your library and then place them into your graveyard in any order you desire. This is a thing that I often see many newer Dredge pilots not doing and it is important to mention it. This is also another reason why playing a deck like Dredge on Magic Online can help improve play with it because it can help visually represent some of the concepts of playing it that aren't immediate in paper.

Manaless Dredge is a very solid Game 1 deck even against decks with countermagic unlike LED Dredge, due to the fact that the deck can often win Game 1's without even casting a single spell, by sheerly developing a board state of Zombies that will eventually overwhelm the opponent. However, Manaless Dredge as a deck has a very difficult time with cards like Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace however. Because the deck does not run any mana sources even post board, it has very narrow methods of dealing with those cards. One of the best ways was printed in Modern Horizons with the advent of Force of Vigor. This card was a great addition to the deck, however it does often need to be in your opening hand to be good. The deck has adapted technology from Vintage in the use of Serum Powder out of the sideboard to give the deck a chance to locate the card, but it is worth noting that casting Force of Vigor does set you back a few turns because of the need to also exile a green card from hand to cast it.

In the current world of Legacy, LED Dredge is a much better option instead of Manaless Dredge, because of decks like Breach existing more and more people are playing hard permanent hate like Leyline of the Void and that makes Manaless a much a harder sell. However, if you're looking for a cheap Legacy deck in a metagame full of blue pile decks, Manaless can be a great deck to beat upon the soft countermagic decks of the format.

As with any deck in the format, Dredge definitely has a difficulty level associated with it, and many times it can be described as not truly "playing Magic" due to how unique the deck attacks the format. However, the deck is pretty powerful and definitely boasts one of the most dedicated communities to the dark arts of digging up the graveyard, giving this deck a ton of great resources on playing and sideboarding.

Legacy Challenge 2/23

We had yet another Legacy Challenge this past weekend, so let's get right to it!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Eldrazi Post 1st GGoggles
BR Reanimator 2nd IggKrajc
Eldrazi Post 3rd Twibs
Jeskai Underworld Breach 4th Sarusta
RUG Delver 5th SilviaWataru
Esper Vial Hatebears 6th Jtl005
Aggro-Loam 7th Hymykuoppaorava
Oracle Thought Lash Combo 8th MartinMedMitten

This was certainly a super intriguing Top 8, after last week's Oko filled Top 8. The format is still in a lot of flux it seems as the top decks try to adjust to the presence of cards like Underworld Breach and Thassa's Oracle. This kind of overcorrection warrants a little discussion as to whether we consider Breach to be format warping or not, as players are finding decks and strategies such as Eldrazi that fight it well. The saga of this card has been heavily intriguing, and I don't think we've truly seen how far this strategy will go just yet.

At the end of the event (which thankfully didn't have the same issues as last week's Challenge) the winner was GGoggles on Eldrazi Post!

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This kind of list seems like it's in a really solid place right now, given that Chalice of the Void vs the Breach decks feels incredibly powerful, but not only that the deck backs up that plan by deploying massive threat after massive threat which can capitalize on the time Breach takes to set up. This seems like a strong way to attack the format right now for sure.

In Second Place, we have Black/Red Reanimator!

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Despite all the hate leveled at Breach, Reanimator can still pull one out when it needs to. This list is clean and strong, and I love it.

At the bottom of the Top 4, we have the Jeskai Breach deck itself in the hands of Sarusta.

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The evolution of this deck is exceptionally interesting as people are continuing to refine it. The inclusions of Teferi, Time Raveler and of course Sevinne's Reclamation are both really strong ideas. Post board it's cool to see cards like Lavinia, Azorius Renegade which can server as a mirror breaker by making it impossible to resolve 0 drop artifact spells like Lion's Eye Diamond and Lotus Petal by countering them. One other highly interesting thing to note about this list is the complete lack of Thassa's Oracle as a kill condition. In fact, every Jeskai Breach deck in this Challenge does not have the card as a condition for winning the game. As it seems, silencing the opponent and then using Lightning Bolt over and over is also just really good.

Further down the Top 8, we have a Delver list, but it's not Grixis and it's not UR, it's RUG Delver!

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This list certainly shows how strong cards like Dreadhorde Arcanist are, especially when backed up by Oko.

Also down in the Top 8 we have Aggro-Loam, playing not just Oko but also new cards Klothys, God of Destiny and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath!

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It's also wild to see a copy of Kunoros, Hound of Athreos in the sideboard of this deck. Seems like Theros: Beyond Death is really pushing some great cards in some of these lists.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have a deck that showed up in our Spice Corner very recently, it's the Thassa's Oracle / Thought Lash / Paradigm Shift combo deck!

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The use of Lotus Petal and Ancient Tomb here is very reminiscent of decks like Sneak and Show, except this deck is sticking a combo that is hard to easily interact with outside of countermagic. To compensate for this vulnerability, this deck is just straight UB Control and playing Thoughtseize to clear the way. Seems pretty cool!

Now let's take a look at the 2020 cards that appeared in this event. Currently we are still only looking at cards from Theros: Beyond Death here.

Card Name Number of Cards
Underworld Breach 20
Thassa's Oracle 4
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 3
Kunoros, Hound of Athreos 2
Klothys, God of Destiny 1

There were five Jeskai Breach decks in this Top 32, so those decks make up 100% of the Underworld Breach in the Top 32. The only copies of Thassa's Oracle in the Top 32 was the Thought Lash deck in 8th place. Still, it's interesting to see just how these cards are getting played and how they're showing up overall.

Around the Web

  • Big shoutout to our good friend Habibi and her Eternal Frenemies Stream. She has been doing some killer content lately, so check it out!
  • There was a sick Pre-Innistrad Legacy event held over in Europe attended by our good friend Callum Smith (WhiteFaces) and a great post on reddit by /u/FCowper recapping the event. If you're interested in seeing how Legacy looked before Delver of Secrets became a thing, this is for you!
  • Shoutout to Reid Duke for a weekend of Eternal MTG content, as he participated in the Legacy Challenge over the weekend! You can check out the finer details of his stream and recaps here.
  • Legacy Goblins master GoblinLackey1 did an interview about the deck on Nikachu's YouTube Series MTG Masters. You can check that out over here!

The Spice Corner

In what might be one of the more amusing decks I've featured here. It's Monoblack Painter's Servant combo!

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Orim67 once again showing us how to Oops! All Spells!

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RIP HELM!

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With the Dryad of the Ilysian Grove in this list, I half expected to see a singleton Vakalut, the Molten Pinnacle. Alas, I was denied.

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What I'm Playing This Week

I got out to play some paper Legacy this week! I am starting to work on my preparation long term for September by being out to play the format some more. My weapon of choice this week? BUG Zenith Oko. This deck feels absolutely incredible.

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My local Legacy FNMs are generally four round events. This last event I went 3-0-1 (ID'ing with my last round opponent because it was late and we both wanted to go home), with the following matches:

  • Round 1 vs Adam Minniear on Mono-Red Prison (WIN 2-1)
  • Round 2 vs Dorian Napoles on Aggro-Loam (WIN 2-0)
  • Round 3 vs Logan Yu Blythe on Bant Miracles (WIN 2-0)
  • Round 4 ID

All in all I was really happy with how things went this week. The deck feels really strong, and I got to see Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath in action quite a bit and the card is most assuredly incredibly powerful. I posted a more in depth wrapup of this event over on my Patreon!

Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week folks! I hope you are enjoying the content as much as I enjoy writing it! Join us next week as we continue our journey into the world of Legacy!

As always you can reach me on Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon! I'm also always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server in addition to the /r/MTGLegacy subreddit and Discord.

Until next time, keep escaping Uro!


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