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This Week in Legacy: It's Alive!

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 a deck that is resurging in Legacy in the form of Reanimator! In addition to that, we've got at least one Challenge event to talk about from this weekend as well as a Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Digging the Graveyard Shift

Legacy certainly has had some interesting shifts in dynamics as of late, and while the format still has quite a bit of UR Delver in it, one deck that had seemingly dropped off the map has started a resurgence back into the limelight, and that is Reanimator. Specifically, the B/R Reanimator variant. There's a solid slew of reasons behind why Reanimator is getting popular to play again, and one of the biggest ones is actually the popularity of UR Delver. Let's look at a UR Delver list to see what we mean.

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In larger events such as these Challenges and even in most League lists we're seeing, the only maindeck countermagic in these decks is four Daze and four Force of Will. This puts a lot of stress on the player playing UR Delver to always have countermagic in Game 1, which is not always super reliable to have hard countermagic always. Even post board as more recent lists are turning back to cards like Surgical Extraction and Grafdigger's Cage is reliant on the Delver player having it or drawing the extra hate. One of the biggest things that were drawing mainly on Reanimator to begin with was the further presence of Force of Negation in the format. As many of the decks that played both Forces has dwindled (mostly the control shells), the Delver shells have started going back to sideboard more of them to help combat the matchup.

Let's take a look at the current stock Reanimator lists and talk about this deck a bit.

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Another thing that has helped this deck however is the added presence of some stronger Reanimation targets than what has been traditionally available outside of Griselbrand (the best target).

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Both of these cards have plenty of places where they shine as Reanimation targets even over Griselbrand due to the effects they provide to a game. Especially in matchups where Karakas is a factor, either of these cards can fill a nice role of closing a game out quickly either by attrition via Archon's triggers or by simply denying the opponent the ability to win the game entirely (such as naming Creature for Emissary in matchups where creature combat is the primary path to winning the game).

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In addition to these cards playing a pivotal role in the deck's resurgence, the card Grief from Modern Horizons 2 also has settled into the construction of the deck due to the sheer power of the card. People have figured out the deckbuilding constraints of this card and its role in the deck as extra copies of disruption like Unmask and Thoughtseize. There are even plenty of games where pitching a Grief and taking disruption then reanimating the Grief for further disruption is as good as winning the game.

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While this deck's game plan is still pretty linear, it has adjusted its sideboard because the majority of the cards it wants to answer are normally spell-based answers to graveyards such as Surgical Extraction and flash permanents like Endurance. Endurance is generally pretty difficult to deal with if actually cast, and Endurance is certainly one of the top creatures in the format right now, but many of the decks playing the card are only playing one to two in the main deck and maybe one or two more in the sideboard. As such, cards like Silence are very good at beating decks that want to play Surgical or Endurance because it makes it impossible for that player to interact if they can't stop the Silence from resolving. And even if they can, the chances of them also having a green card to pitch to Endurance is rare, or the player may not have an answer to a Discard effect.

This is just one of the many factors that has led to Reanimator growing in popularity. A lot of this also has to do with the fact that decks like Death and Taxes (an 80 card version no less) are popular, as are 80 card decks like Yorion Zenith. These decks often have to worry about mulligans to their sideboard cards in 80 card decks and this makes it a little rougher to manage against Reanimator.

All in all, things are looking really well lined up for this deck at the moment. As with any linear deck however and especially with any graveyard deck these things can change as the meta adjusts to it, but Reanimator is still a popular and solid option against the current metagame and it is also in a solid ticket range of price on Magic Online (roughly 400ish tix).

The Pauper Format Panel - A Future Idea for Legacy?

This isn't quite super Legacy related news, but it is tangential for the future of the Legacy format. We got news recently about the formation of the Pauper Format Panel, a group of six community members managed directly by Gavin Verhey to help tackle both design related challenges and Banned and Restricted list challenges for the Pauper format.

This is something that I know at the very least myself and others such as Robert Wilson of Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy have been interested in potentially seeing long-term for Legacy. A group to help advise and have an open channel of communication with in regards to these formats (not just Legacy, I would like to see something like this across multiple formats) and help figure more of a long-term solution for the mission of the format. I'm very curious about how this project will go, and I'll be watching it closely and hoping that potentially a success in Pauper could make for a successful venture for Legacy and other formats.

Legacy Challenge 1/8

We did at least have one Challenge event this past weekend. The Sunday Challenge event fired with 99 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 and Reanimator were highly populous in this event, but both decks had a fairly sub par win rate. In fact there were only two UR Delver lists in the Top 16 and at the lower end of the Top 16. Doomsday had a very solid win rate overall in this event as did Jeskai Control as we will see by the Top 8. This is intriguing to see as we continue to see this weird situation where players are really trying to push on the Ragavan decks hard and it seems like it is succeeding to an extent, but we will really have to see if something either changes in the format or UR Delver pushes back on this. It's definitely interesting though to watch how the metagame in the Challenges is developing over time.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Control 1st ziggy_stardust
Doomsday 2nd monkeyscantcry
Doomsday 3rd wonderPreaux
Reanimator 4th DNSolver
Jeskai Control 5th jankyb
Death and Taxes 6th YawgmothPT
4C Control 7th trunks132
Mono Green Cloudpost 8th TrueFuturism

No Delver or even Ragavans in the Top 8 here which is thoroughly interesting. I can't really say for the sake of one event if this represents a shift in being able to attack the card, but you never know going forward what might happen. At the end of the event it was a sweet Jeskai Control list that took down the event!

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This deck is pretty sweet. The Jeskai portion of the deck is primarily rooted in the sideboard material for cards like Meltdown, blast effects, and Blood Moon, all of which seem really good against the current crop of decks in the format. Main deck Hullbreacher + Day's Undoing is not something we've seen in a while and that is pretty sweet too.

The Second Place finalist was on Doomsday.

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Ethan Formichella is a prolific Doomsday specialist, so it's not hard to see that experience paying off here. The biggest thing of note here is the power of four copies of Personal Tutor in being able to search up Doomsday with the card. Very powerful and definitely one of Legacy's stronger combo decks at the moment.

Also in the Top 8 we've got as we talked about this week, Reanimator.

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This version of the deck really goes deep on the discard outlets with zero Thoughtseize in the main deck and instead playing a full four copies each of Grief and Unmask. Very powerful indeed.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we've got Mono Green Cloudpost.

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Very clean list overall and pretty strong deck here. The sideboard is super clean and it's easy to tell exactly what kind of decks this deck wants to key in against in post board matches.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a sweet showing by a Mono White Painter list.

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I always dig seeing Oswald Fiddlebender in this format. The card is way more powerful than most people might think it is. Ingenious Smith is another card that continues to impress me as well. It seems that Adventures in the Forgotten Realms has had more of an impact than people think it did.

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Phil Gallagher threw up another D&T tutoring league. Check that out here!
  • Douges talks about Playing Fair in 2022 Legacy with Maverick. Check it out here.
  • Great video on Curse Stompy! Check it out here.
  • Since we had a great talk about Reanimator today, here's a Reanimator video!
  • Phil Gallagher also has the deck for those of you that wonder "Can I play four copies of Moat in Legacy?" Yes you can!

The Spice Corner

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

Changeling Tribal is a sweet idea for sure. Mix it up with a dash of Urza's Saga? Even cooler.

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When in doubt, JUND EM OUT.

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Dragon is always a sweet thing to see in the deck dumps. Now with more Tourach, Dread Cantor in the sideboard.

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Pretty sweet full on Chain of Smog combo Nic Fit variant. Has pretty much every major card that combos with Chain.

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There's always something about the old "Ham Sandwich" meme that rings true. Old school Canadian Threshold with Nimble Mongoose and Tarmogoyf certainly fits that mold.

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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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