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This Week in Legacy: Is Legacy Saved?

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 taking a look at some of the aggregate data that has been collected on the Legacy format since the bannings of Expressive Iteration and White Plume Adventurer and asking the question: Has Legacy Been Saved? In addition to that we've got some Challenge data to discuss and of course, a Spice Corner!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The State of Legacy

We are now a little over a month's worth of events since the week of 3/6 last month where both Expressive Iteration and White Plume Adventurer were banned in Legacy. In that time with all the events that have happened, the Legacy Data Collection Project has collected around 1,151 entries on Legacy, giving us a chance to take a look at the current format as it relates to the Magic Online Legacy Premier Play environment. This data includes all Challenge events, Showcase Challenge events, Showcase Qualifiers, and any Super Qualifiers that may occur.

You can find this current data set here.

Let's start by looking at some of the big picture metagame graph data and then let's talk about where Legacy is right now.

In terms of raw metagame share, it is actually no surprise at all that we see a large uptick in a deck like Reanimator. Reanimator very recently got a new toy in the form of Atraxa, Grand Unifier and also had no cards that got banned that really affected it overall, so it moving in to fill a space here is not really a shock. It's also I believe one of the best decks in the format when graveyard hate is light, much how this used to be Dredge, I think Reanimator fills that role now more than ever.

Overall though, seeing Stompy decks as the predominant macro archetype over Tempo is interesting and I don't know that we've seen that before. I don't think this means much for just a month's worth of data and we will definitely have to continue watching this trend going forward especially since the delta between the two (214 Stompy vs 208 Tempo) is not very large.

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UR Delver continuing to be the most popular Delver deck is interesting, and I suspect we will begin to possibly see that flip as we go forward, as we will see by looking at the win rate data. 8Cast and Elves are also both quite popular, as has been Jeskai Control and the Gruul Stompy (Initiative deck). Of the decks at the top here (above 40 copies), the only deck actually playing any Initiative creatures in them is the Gruul deck, so I think we did achieve something out of the banning of White Plume Adventurer for sure. We've seen a resurgence of Sneak and Show, D&T, and even decks like Death's Shadow.

Let's take a look at some win rate data.

This is where things get quite interesting. While Reanimator is a popular deck, it's win rate is medium at a 50.6% non-mirror win rate. Also UR Delver which is the current most popular Delver shell only has a 49.2% non-mirror win rate. Contrast this to the RUG Delver deck, which doesn't have that much of a sample size currently but it has a 55.5% non-mirror win rate.

Of the decks doing well here though 8Cast has a solid close to 60% non-mirror win rate and Elves also has a great win rate of around 55.6% non-mirror.

So out of all of this information, what can we glean about how the format has continued to evolve? Can we answer the question of whether or not Legacy has been saved?

I think in a sense, we can answer that question at least and I think the answer there is yes (for now at least). Delver decks seem to be a manageable and functional portion of the format now, and Initiative has been knocked down a bit that while we are still seeing the mechanic it isn't something that has become a sub game like when White Plume Adventurer was around.

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Furthermore, I think we are seeing a heavy resurgence of many decks that were simply not around in the previous format while also continuing to see many of the decks that rose to prominence there (like Breakfast and Painter) continue to evolve and have some positive results. Many decks and pilots are being given a lot of breathing room for trying new things, and we're seeing decks that were considered rather niche rising up and experiencing success, from things like Riddlesmith (thanks to the tireless efforts of Killabee) to the Arena Rector Stompy deck made popular by HanktheObese.

It's also quite possible that despite the fact that UR Delver is the most popular current Delver shell... it might not actually be the best shell and we might see an even bigger resurgence of RUG Delver with its access to threats like Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes and Tarmogoyf.

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We've also seen an interesting hard evolution of the control shells, as they start to lean on cards like Staff of the Storyteller. And yes, we've seen a good number of interesting combo decks appear back in the format as well. And while they didn't make the cutoff here in our charts, we have seen small resurgences of decks like Lands and Naya Depths.

The buzz I hear from most Legacy players is very positive still, and I think we're in a great place for the time being. Whether that will be broken down the line by something else only time will tell, but at least with March of the Machine there isn't anything too insane thankfully and the format seems to be given some time to breathe a little.

We'll check back in next month to see where we are but for now... is Legacy saved? I think the answer is definitely Yes.

Legacy Challenge 4/15

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event. This event had 56 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

No single deck was the most popular in this event, and all three of the decks with five copies had pretty medium win rates (with only White Stompy decks having 50%). D&T did very well here, as did Elves.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
ANT 1st Garpona
Death and Taxes 2nd mephidro
RUG Delver 3rd MarioBBrega
Sneak and Show 4th JPA93
Elves 5th Testacular
Stoneblade 6th jibeta
Grixis Control 7th HJ_Kaiser
Riddlesmith Combo 8th Killabee

Wildly interesting Top 8 here. Only one Delver deck in the form of RUG Delver. At the end of the event it was ANT that won it all!

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Mix of old school and new school Storm tech here. I love the inclusions of cards like Dress Down and Pernicious Deed in the sideboard here for sure. Definitely a super cool list.

In Second Place we have Death and Taxes.

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I rather enjoy seeing tech cross decks once its figured out and that's exactly what has seemed to happen with Touch the Spirit Realm in these D&T decks. It's a very strong card and does quite a bit. Also, Umezawa's Jitte is back! Also also, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth in the sideboard specifically for Painter is spicy.

Further into the Top 8 we have our good friend Testacular on well, Nightmare on Elf Street.

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This deck is really quite wild every time I look at the lists. It certainly looks like a ton of fun. The singleton Urza's Saga here is spicy as all get out.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have Riddlesmith Combo by Killabee!

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I always love seeing how this deck has continued to evolve. It's such a cool deck to watch go off and it's definitely fun and difficult to play.

Legacy Challenge 4/16

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Sunday event. This event had 97 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

UR Delver was super popular here, but had a just okay win rate of 51.56% non-mirror. Elves also did fairly well, as did Reanimator.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Mystic Forge Combo 1st Mr_VVizard
Black Phoenix 2nd ScreenwriterNY
Reanimator 3rd otakkun
Stoneblade 4th Iwouldliketorespond
Doomsday 5th Raikonette
RUG Delver 6th learntolove6
Sneak and Show 7th JPA93
Reanimator 8th shindy

Despite having a lot of presence, the Delver list to make it to Top 8 here was RUG Delver (is this the return of Tarmogoyf?!?) and the rest of this Top 8 is pretty wild stuff. At the end of the event it was MYSTIC FORGE COMBO that won.

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This is a a deck we haven't really seen in a long long long while. This deck wins by getting Mystic Forge and Mesmeric Orb+Basalt Monolith on the board and then cycles through its deck to assemble a ton of mana to cast a lethal Walking Ballista, or in the post board casts Aetherflux Reservoir and wins that way. Very cool to see this squeak out a Challenge win.

In Second Place we have Grixis Phoenix.

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I have not seen a Grixis Phoenix deck either in a real hot minute as well, so it's kind of cool to see it show up here. Looks like a really fun and interesting deck.

Also in this Top 8 we had a good friend in Marcus Ewaldh on Jeskai Stoneblade.

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Staff of the Storyteller has been all over the format since people started really looking at it. I think it's a very interesting card and very grindy card advantage for sure.

As for the single Delver list in the Top 8, let's take a look at RUG Delver.

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This list looks pretty reasonable for sure. Goyf is great, and honestly cards like Spell Pierce have never seemed better in the current format with how much they counter (everything from Minsc & Boo to Staff of the Storyteller). Seems really strong for sure.

Around the Web

  • TonyScapone has a great video on The EPIC Gamble! Check it out here.
  • Phil Gallagher has Winota AND Najeela. Check it out here.
  • Everyday Eternal has a new episode! Check it out here.
  • Douges has a solid video on Maverick with Achillies27! Check it out here.
  • Eternal Durdles be showcasing some ABC Deckbuilding Theory! What it do!

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 deck lists over here.

Super sweet Shadow list.

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A danielnunes 5-0 with Slivers?! BE STILL MY BEATING HEART.

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Yorion Esper Vial is a deck I haven't seen in a hot tick.

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Esper Staff Control is kind of fun.

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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 all my associated links via my Link Tree! In addition I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the MTGLegacy Discord Server.

Until next time!

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