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This Week in Legacy: Leaving a Legacy

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 diving into the results from the Leaving a Legacy Open VI, hosted by Pat & Jerry from the Leaving a Legacy podcast, and of course as always dive into everything else going on in the world of Legacy. Our deck focus this week is going to be on Death and Taxes, everyone's favorite meta deck, and we of course have an extremely spicy Spice Corner this week thanks to someone I played against on Magic Online this past week!

In addition, I was on a podcast last week! Jon Medina of Bazaar MTG had myself, Jerry Mee, and Steven Hendrickson (of the Thirst for Knowledge cast) on the show to talk about the state of Legacy in regards to GPs and SCGs and all those fun things. You can check that out here!

Even more exciting is that I've been nominated in two categories for the MTG Content Creator Awards! One of those is for Best Article and the other is for Best Writer. You can check out the entire list of nominees here!

Without further ado, let's dive right into the thick of things!

Leaving a Legacy Open VI

This past weekend 146 powerful wizards descended upon Acton, MA at Gaming, Etc. for the Leaving a Legacy Open VI 5K Legacy event. While the event was just five players shy of being a 5K, the awesome folks at Gaming, Etc. upped the ante and made it a 5K anyways as far as prizes are concerned. In addition, proceeds from the event also went towards charity benefiting a food drive.

Pat and Jerry were kind enough to help supply us with some lists, some sick beats, and some metagame breakdown on how everything all went down.

The Top 8

Let's dive right into the Top 8 of this event, shall we?

Deck Name Placing Player Name
"Fearless" Lands 1st Freya Sanford
Eureka Tell 2nd Matt Orfanello
Death and Taxes 3rd-4th Joe Parker
TES 3rd-4th Bryant Cook
Eureka Tell 5th-8th Louis Gentile
4C Miracles 5th-8th Ben Borodawka
Infect 5th-8th Kevin Sprague
Grixis Delver 5th-8th John Li

This is a pretty cool Top 8, with a fair amount of representation across several axes of the format. What makes this Top 8 even sweeter is the fact that the overall winner of the event, Freya Sanford on Lands, was the only Lands pilot in the entire event. Way to represent an archetype! This Top 8 also had appearances by the creator of The EPIC Storm himself, Bryant Cook and also two pilots on the U/G Eureka-Tell variant of Show and Tell based decks.

This event was 8 rounds and a grueling cut to Top 8, with Freya Sanford taking down the entire thing on R/G "Fearless" Lands (so-called because Freya had no real hate pieces for spell-based combo in her sideboard). Let's take a look at her list!

The winner of this event gets what they consider their "MVP" card immortalized in the trophy! Freya's choice? Tireless Tracker.

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Part of being "Fearless" here is as noted before, the absence of hate cards that specifically work against spell-based combo decks, such as cards like Sphere of Resistance, Trinisphere, and the like. Instead, Freya opted more for a package that hinges on cards like Tireless Tracker presenting a powerful threat in matchups where 20/20's just can't cut it, and cards like Choke and Pyroblast to combat blue-based decks.

We had the fantastic opportunity to sit down with Freya and talk about her day and Legacy in general.

First of all, thanks for joining us! Before we jump into talking about the event, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into Magic and conversely how did you get into Legacy?

Thanks so much for having me! My name is Freya and I started playing Magic around the time that Ravnica: City of Guilds and Time Spiral were Standard legal I think, but that was only very very casually using my friends collections and index cards (yes, index cards lol). I played my first in-store events and started accumulating my own collection the day before the Morningtide Prerelease which was late January of 2008 so almost exactly 12 years ago.

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I actually got into Legacy because of my love for Lands. I remember when Treasure Hunt was spoiled, I wanted to find a powerful deck that could abuse the blue sorcery to draw a ton of lands and remember stumbling on a deck that would have been called something like 43 Lands or 42 Lands back in the day. Now, while Treasure Hunt didn’t catch on, I still loved the deck’s grindy nature and the ability to abuse a sometimes-underappreciated card type to break the symmetry of the game. I never thought I would be able to afford the deck, though, and ended up getting into Dredge because it was once one of the cheapest decks in Legacy, but the more all-in nature of it didn’t end up appealing to me. I did, however, end up coming across someone very serendipitously who was willing to trade their Tabernacle and I ended up trading the Lion’s Eye Diamonds I had acquired along with some standard minutia for the card when it was worth about 300 dollars. After that, I gradually worked my way towards trading for the rest of the cards and ended up finishing it at GP New Jersey when Treasure Cruise was tearing up the format, so about 5 years ago.

Now, congratulations are in order. This event looked pretty stacked, and you swiftly defeated many powerful wizards on Lands. What drove you to play Lands for this event?

As I mentioned above, I have always been very fond of the archetype and try to make it work whenever and wherever I can. Months ago, I was actually planning on playing Once Upon a Time Depths again as I did at the last one of these Leaving a Legacy events, but during that time, I played against a few of the 4C Miracles decks and found that matchup to be very difficult and that deck had been pretty dominant at that time. I knew I could build a list that could attack the fair blue Metagame with Lands and that is what I set out to do.

About a week before the event, I noticed that decks like Underworld Breach had started to disrupt the Metagame and made it so Combo and Delver were both simultaneously making a comeback at the expense of 4C Miracles’ top spot. While I did not want to change around the deck too last minute and still felt confident enough in my ability to win all the fair matchups and brute force my way through a few combo matchups, that I only decided to switch the placement of one Dark Depths with one Field of the Dead, such that I was on 4 Main Deck Depths instead of three and one and one Field of the Dead main deck with one sideboard. This small change made me feel better equipped to face both the new combo menace and the corresponding Delver resurgence and increase my Game One percentages noticeably.

Looking over the list, what choices did you make in deck-building construction to account for the expected Metagame of this event? Any specific choices that stand out?

As I mentioned above, I went into this build looking to hate out any of the delver and fair blue decks while conceding some ground to the already hard to win combo matchups: in essence, “leaning in” to my best matchups. To do this, I first opted for a build that could lean into Field of the Dead by playing an above-average land count at 36, a higher than usual “different names” count by abusing functional equivalents like Horizon Canopy/Nurturing Peatland, the split of four different green fetch lands, and even the choice to play three Rishadan Port and one Ghost Quarter rather than four of one and zero of the other as I might normally do. Obviously, the other choice related to this was the choice to play a total of two Field of the Dead in the 75, which was also new for me. Lastly, as you can see from my sideboard (and my punny deck name) I opted to go with zero Sphere effects as part of my “lean in” plan which made room for two Choke and two Pyroblast, which are cards I often find to be just a little bit too narrow but I think the format was blue enough to justify it and the fact that these cards also function as soft-hate against combo was helpful. Being able to Choke an Omni-Tell player with only blue sources in their deck or Pyroblast an Echo of Eons out of Storm can be a big deal.

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The other new card in the sideboard for me was Sylvan Scrying and I have been getting a lot of questions about this one but it goes hand in hand with what I’ve been saying about “leaning in” to what works both against fair decks and against combo decks: While I can’t lock Storm out of the game with Spheres as I normally would, I can board in the Sylvan Scryings, board out slower cards like Punishing Fire and Field of the Dead, and focus on reliable turn two or three combo kills of my own, forcing my opponents to attempt to go off early while they are stuck with answers like Abrupt Decay in their hand for cards like Sphere that I don’t even have in my deck to begin with. Conversely, against something like 4C Miracles, I board out all but one Dark Depths to make room for the Sylvan Scryings and the extra Field of the Dead, giving me an effective eight copies of Field of the Dead (Four Crop rotation, Two Sylvan Scrying, Two Field of the Dead), which is a card I find can really make or break any game lasting longer than turn 4-5.

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Also, while not new to me or this deck, I’d like to take a moment to also highlight my use of four Tireless Tracker. This is one of my favorite cards and I honestly believe one of the best cards in any Lands sideboard and I very rarely register a deck with less than four in the board. Not only does it draw a lot of cards, apply pressure, and eat a Swords to Plowshares against control, it also can provide early life total pressure and draw you into additional hate against combo decks. I bring in all four against combo and control and some number against really any deck without Lightning Bolt.

How do you feel about Lands in this current metagame? Anything you’d change going forward in this list?

I heard a lot of murmuring at the event about Underworld Breach and some people I trust observed that it was under-represented at the event and this was most likely due to people being unable to get the cards together or unable to properly test it enough in advance to feel confident. If this deck continues to be powerful and warp the metagame, Lands will suffer. We have some ok interaction in the form of Bojuka Bog, but things that we try to play to otherwise hate out combo such as Sphere of Resistance or Pyroblast do not do as much against this deck and can be navigated around with a little patience. Hopefully, a corresponding rise in Delver decks geared to beat it will mean that Lands players will still have their preferred prey taking up a solid share of the metagame, but if it turns out that is too much of a tall order, I would honestly rather be on a GB Depths variant with access to discard and a quick, reliable combo for that particular matchup.

Overall, I still feel good about this list and was pleasantly surprised at my performance against combo (I played against and beat 4-6 combo decks, depending on how you define Infect and Elves, which straddle the line between combo and aggro) and would want to see how the format continues to evolve before making any significant changes and Legacy is moving lightning-fast these days so any prediction I make will surely be swiftly invalidated.

How do you feel about Legacy in general right now? Any changes you would consider for the format? The Underworld Breach decks seem to be running around everywhere and are quite frankly a little scary.

I got a little ahead of myself with the last question, but yes, Underworld Breach seems very strong and could become a defining force of the metagame. I think Legacy overall, however, is in a good spot and as long as no one archetype takes too dominant of a hold in legacy, I think it will still be enjoyable and competitive. I think I owe part of my success with Lands this weekend to the fact that it has fallen out of favor and become a bit more “dark horse” especially the RG variant instead of a UG or BUG variant and as long as people can come into an event like this and utilize their expertise with their “pet deck” as I did and see some level of success, I think no drastic changes need be made.

What’s your take on Legacy from a community and event perspective? This year has kicked off already with some news about GP level events and SCG having dropped the format. How do you think this will impact Legacy going forward?

Legacy is a community of passionate people with a deep well of love for old cards and old archetypes and I think as long as folks continue to support local events and utilize social media to plan larger events, we can keep seeing regular events happen even without direct Wizards or SCG support.

Any final shoutouts you want to make before we go? Be sure to drop any social media links below as well!

Related to the last question, as I would like to thank the Leaving a Legacy podcast and Michelle, owner of Gamingetc for hosting the event this weekend and it is this type of publicity and support that will keep people excited and interested in this format.

Additionally, be sure to check out the Lands Facebook group that I created and moderate: New England Real Estate Coalition. We are big enough and de-localized enough that I should probably remove the “New England” bit but there’s a lot of history in the name as you’ll see if you do some digging so for now it stays. Regardless, joining that group is the best way to get in touch with me and join a solid community of folks who love the archetype.

Thanks for joining us, never forget that you are awesome!

Thanks again for having me. I think you’re awesome too!

Moving on to the rest of the even, in Second Placewe had Matt Orfanello on U/G Eureka-Tell!

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This deck is exceptionally strong and managed to put two players in the Top 8 of this event. As things continue and Veil of Summer continues to provide a powerful element of disruption to the format, this version of the Show and Tell based decks has the potential to be the best strategy for that card. Also, it plays Eureka! What's not to love about that?

In the Top 4 we also had a showing by Death and Taxes! Let's take a look at Joe Parker's list.

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Brightling! I love it! Such a cool card in the Morphling cycle, and it's cool to see it show up here. In addition, not only is there a sideboard Walking Ballista, but also a Karn, Scion of Urza! Very cool stuff indeed.

Down the Top 4 as mentioned before saw The EPIC Storm creator Bryant Cook tearing up this event on his signature deck. From having watched Bryant's games on coverage, it is super cool to see such a powerful master of Storm combo.

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This deck continues to be powerful though, and if you are an aspiring Storm mage, it is a great idea to watch Bryant in his matches. This deck has come very far ahead as one of the premiere storm based strategies in the format since the printings of Wishclaw Talisman and the banning of Wrenn and Six, and it certainly is awesome.

Further down the Top 8 we had a showing by the 4C Miracles "Snowko" deck that has become the defacto variant of Miracles since the banning of Wrenn and Six and the advent of Oko, Thief of Crowns.

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While this list is pretty close to most variants of this deck, there are some cool inclusions such as a singleton copy of Counterspell and Engineered Explosives in the main deck. Also showing up in the sideboard in Throne of Eldraine card Deafening Silence. which I can only assume is there to help combat against decks like Jeskai Underworld Breach to prevent them from being able to cast Breach and relevant disruption in a single turn.

Metagame Breakdown

In addition to the Top 8, Pat and Jerry were kind enough to provide some metagame information as well. Let's take a look!

This was a reasonably diverse event, as paper events often tend to be. Paper events of this stature often are diverse due to the fact that many players show up playing either their pet deck or the deck that they own. Thus, the diversity tends to be a lot higher than Magic Online events (and even then, those aren't doing too bad right now either). Still, at the top of the heap was U/R Delver and D&T as the most played decks of the event, but there were a few surprises. One of those came in the form of the Jeskai Breach deck (that we talked about last week) showing up in a small capacity, and a decent number of various Blue Fair decks and also Prison/Chalice Strategies.

Speaking of the Jeskai Breach deck, one of them managed to place in the Top 16 in the hands of Anthony LaVerde.

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All in all this appeared to be a fairly interesting and fairly diverse event, and not only that the coverage for the event was super solid with Pat, Jerry, and Legacy stalwart Zac Turgeon on the coverage. You can check out the VODs of the coverage on the Leaving a Legacy Twitch Channel and keep an eye out on their YouTube channel because it will all be uploaded there as well!

I want to thank Pat and Jerry for not only providing us with some great info on the event, but also for putting on the event. It is events like this that the Legacy community should be looking to support and prop up for competitive Legacy outlets.

Community Legacy Update

We've got some more killer community events happening around town!

In New Jersey on May 16th is the Terra Eternal Championship event, sponsored by The Bearded Dragon and the one and only Joe Brennan. You can check out that event here on reddit with more info to come!

Ryan Freeburger wanted me to mention The Revised Open in the DC Metro area at Dice City Games on February 23rd with streaming courtesy of The Legacy Pit. Ryan sent me this sweet poster with the deets.

Also the incomparable Jeremy Aaronson has posted an update talking about the Legacy 40k event in October this year. You can check out his status update on that here.

A reminder that if you have an event you'd like me to talk about or anything else community related please don't be afraid to hit my Twitter DMs or Discord or wherever you can find me! I'm always down to feature community events.

Deck Focus - Death and Taxes

Our deck focus this week is on Death and Taxes, a deck that has had a long and storied history within the Legacy format. Too long even to really fully recount here, but as it stands D&T is one of those decks that is piloted by some of the most dedicated and diehard fans of the strategy.

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At its core, D&T is not only one of the cheaper decks in Legacy, but it is also one of the most metagame dependent decks. Quite often, playing D&T starts at the deckbuilding stage, through the subtle determination of identifying what in the Metagame needs to be attacked and how best to handle it. This deck had a rocky time during the era of Wrenn and Six, as the presence of the Planeswalker plus Plague Engineer proved to be very hateful against a deck playing numerous X/1 creatures. This led players during this time to look at cards like Giver of Runes over Mother of Runes, giving up the ability to protect itself for 2 toughness and a creature type not often named with Plague Engineer.

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As always however, D&T continues to adapt and evolve to meet the demands of the overall metagame, and as I noted before some of the most diehard pilots in the entire format. D&T players like John Ryan Hamilton are heavily dedicated to the art of taxing and hatebears, playing the deck in high-level events whenever possible, and it's quite easy to see what the draw of this deck is to players. As a non-blue deck that is capable of holding its own, this kind of strategy can be very appealing to people if they find themselves disinterested in casting Brainstorm and the like. In addition, D&T holds true one of Legacy's great limiters in the form of Wasteland, using a combination of mana denial and tax effects to slow the opponent down while using cards like Aether Vial to play creative synergy and pummel the opponent into submission.

D&T also continues to be one of the format's best places to play the card Stoneforge Mystic, as not only is Batterskull present and powerful, but cards like Umezawa's Jitte offer the deck exceptional ways of dealing with creature based strategies in addition to being able to just close out the game quickly.

Furthermore, it's worth noting that D&T is also very cheap in cost. The deck contains no Reserved List cards at all, and many of the cards it plays have seen numerous reprints in Masters sets and the like. Quite frankly as it stands, the most expensive card in the deck is actually Stoneforge Mystic and that is solely on the fact that it was unbanned in Modern and has not seen a reprint. That being said, it is likely that it will see a reprint at some juncture in the future, meaning that the price on it will drop substantially, loweing the overall price of D&T yet again.

In short, this is a deck you might enjoy if you like playing non-blue strategies and like strategies that operate on the axes of mana denial and tax effects, and also the price might be a solid invitation as well. However, this deck's learning curve is rather high and the deck takes some getting used to learn appropriate lines. The upside of this is that there is a plethora of superb information out there on the deck, from websites such as Thraben University (run by Phil Gallagher) to a solid Discord server and Facebook group.

Legacy Challenge 2/2

We had yet another Challenge this past weekend, this one just a regular Challenge event. Let's see how it all shook out!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
BR Reanimator 1st Tye8FL
Jund 2nd Egget
Mono Red Prison 3rd Rehmster6066
Jund Hogaak 4th Larrum
Jeskai Breach 5th Arongomu
Stryfo Pile 6th Stryfo
Jeskai Breach 7th Soulstrong
BUG Urza 8th IArgimon

This is a wild Top 8! Four non-blue decks in the Top 4 of this event! Insanely awesome to see and a wildly interesting mix of decks here. Of course, we did have two Top 8 showings of the Jeskai Breach deck here as well. This is a deck to keep an eye on for sure.

At the end of it all, it was BR Reanimator that ended up in first! Let's take a look at the list!

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This list is sweet, and I am loving the tech of Magus of the Moon in the sideboard of this list. BR Reanimator is a deck that is never on the radar until it is, and it does a great job of reminding people of its existence.

In Second place, we have actual factual Jund! This is a list that is not aiming to play the Punishing Fire's that have been typical of the archetype. Instead this list just wants to make your stuff dead and kill you with aggressive threats like Bloodbraid Elf and Tarmogoyf.

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In Third place we have a showing by Mono Red Prison! This deck continues to be very strong as the metagame continues to shift. Bonecrusher Giant is a solid card for sure.

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One thing that's really cool here is the two Chandra, Awakened Inferno in the sideboard. It's a super strong threat that's difficult to deal with and very powerful.

In Fourth, we have the Jund variant of Hogaak!

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One thing that the Jund version of this deck does well is the use of cards like Putrid Imp and Faithless Looting. It allows the deck to make consistent early plays and still be able to make late game action happen.

Further down the Top 8 we have a player so legendary the deck he plays is named after him. It's Chase Hansen, otherwise known as Stryfo, playing his signature Stryfo pile!

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Further down the Top 32, we have a showing of the Red/Black Titan, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger hanging out in Grixis Control!

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Now let's take a look at how many of 2020 cards appear in this Top 32! This will only contain cards from Theros: Beyond Death!

Card Name Number of Copies
Underworld Breach 20
Thassa's Oracle 5
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 4
Cling to Dust 3
Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger 2
Ox of Agonas 1

Underworld Breach continues to be the new hotness on the block, and I suspect we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg of the development of this card and the Jeskai versions of the deck. Regardless, I shall continue watching the metagame in this regard for this information and reporting as best as I can.

Around the Web

  • Big shoutout to Steven and Lawrence having Rob Wilson from Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy on Thirst for Knowledge this week, in addition to the hilarious critiques of the Vial Elementals list. This episode was hot fire, so check it out!
  • The guys over at Eternal Durdles had some excellent commentary about Ox of Agonas in Legacy and some wacky brews, check that episode out here!
  • Shoutout to the Legacy Pit for their 1 year anniversary over this past weekend! Keeping paper Legacy alive and well, these guys are great so go check them out here!

The Spice Corner

I was jamming some games in the Magic Online practice room this past week and came across this wild deck. I reached out to them on chat and asked if they would be interested in sharing and they were! Thanks to Reyny for this sweet concotion featuring Thassa's Oracle and Paradigm Shift!

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Urza? Check. Emry? Eheck. URO? CHECK!

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What works really well with Dreadhorde Arcanist? Making 4/4 Rhinos!

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And finally, for when you really need to turbo that Death's Shadow damage out... there's always Berserk!

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What I'm Playing This Week

Most of you folks know that I am a big fan of off the beaten path strategies and also a big Nic Fit player, so it's no surprise to find out that I'm testing Dryad of the Ilysian Grove with Scapewish (a variant of Nic Fit that utilizes Burning Wish + Scapeshift). I'm still slowly figuring out what I want out of this list, but sofar I'm pretty happy with it.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week! Thanks to everyone for their continued support of the column and my work. You're all super awesome people! Join us next week as we continue our journey into the wonderful 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 Discord Server and Subreddit!

Until next time, keep on cracking LED!

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