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This Week in Legacy: Legacy Eternal Weekend 2021

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 discussing all about the results from this past weekend's THREE Eternal Weekend 2021 events. There's a lot to cover here! In addition to that, we've got some info on this past weekend's Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy event (which I attended), and of course... our Spice Corner.

There was obviously no Legacy Challenges this past weekend because of the Eternal Weekend events, so we don't have any of those to cover.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

My Eternal Weekend Experience - Battling in a Battle of Wits

Going into this past weekend I had felt I had a solid plan of playing 8Cast in the one event I would be able to take part in this weekend, and while I've enjoyed the deck a lot there was a lot about it wearing on me that by the time I played it at Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy on Saturday I was feeling super burnt out about it. In a discussion with good friend and TO Robert Wilson was a comment about playing something spicy, and well, I certainly had that one on lock. A plan was set into motion.

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One of my favorite things about All Access Token events is the fact that I get to play Battle of Wits due to the fact that the deck is exceptionally outside of my rental limit through Cardhoarder (this current list is 2,370 tix) and just impossible for me to play, so I take every opportunity during these weeks to get some play in on it and experiment with different variations of the Battle of Wits list. There's a ton of different things you can do with it that make it ultra fun and interesting and actually reasonably powerful. There is so much redundant tutors/draw/card selection effects now that continuing into the future we will just have more and more for the deck to pick up. Yorion, Sky Nomad was also a huge boon to the deck because it's functionally a free 4/5 flier with upside always and it gives the deck something to do if it peters out of gas.

So... I opted to play this deck in the Sylvan Library EW event, and I also streamed it over at my Twitch. I'm currently working on pulling this down so I can chop it up and push it to YouTube.

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The biggest takeaways from this event and this particular list was that the addition of Young Pyromancer was prettty meh. It generally either died or got stuck in my hand or had nothing to really synergize with. There are a lot of permanents in BoW, so I really couldn't make that synergy work that I wanted to with Risen Reef. That being said, I think I would also prefer to trim the fat some more on this list and bring it down more closer to 260 cards if possible.

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As far as cards that performed? Elvish Reclaimer hands down was probably the best card in the entire deck followed by Knight of the Reliquary. I consider these cards auto includes in Battle of Wits lists at this point. In addition, all of the Pitch Elemental effects were really strong, especially Solitude, but I also had some sweet games with Fury as well.

I ended my night in this event at a 4-6 record, which frankly I considered to be pretty good considering that I was playing a 280 card deck in every round. Thankfully I have a PC that can handle this deck, otherwise it would have been stone cold unplayable on an older PC. Some of my favorite highlights of the event however were getting to kill twice with the actual card Battle of Wits, but also getting to utilize my opponent's Aluren in play to build up a board state of Recruiters to finish the chain off with Solitude on their Acererak the Archlich, to be able to set up to deploy Yorion on all of the Recruiters in follow-up turns. I also managed to put The Prismatic Bridge into play versus a Bant Control shell and that pretty much won me the game.

I did however play against a lot, and I mean a lot of URx decks involving Ragavan, Dragon's Rage Channeler, and Murktide Regent. I frankly, did not enjoy the gameplay these decks promote, but I also felt like these games were more decided by the power level of DRC and Murktide Regent than anything related to Ragavan. I lost most games to DRC feeding into Murktide while keeping Delirium, and that felt incredibly back-breaking pretty much all the time. Expressive Iteration was back-breaking for the URx decks to resolve every time. I don't think the focus of what we want Wizards to take away from these events data-wise is just on Ragavan. The critical mass of Tempo shell cards and the interlocked gameplay they have is exceptionally powerful, and while there are decks that can beat them (Death and Taxes and Elves for example) the ways that Tempo shell pilots can adjust is really incredible.

Regardless of how the format is looking, I had fun this weekend because I chose to play something fun that I wanted and didn't force myself into a burnout situation. And at the end that's all that matters for me.

Eternal Weekend: Wasteland 11/19

The first of the Eternal Weekend events this past weekend was the Wasteland event, which had 353 players in it overall thanks to data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project. This is down a fair number from last year's first EW event, but given the state of things and the weekend being the same as MTG Vegas is pretty good. This event was pretty rough on time though taking place at 8 PM EST and being 10 rounds (but it worked out great for other time zones, so that's cool).

For the purposes of this and all the Eternal Weekend events I will only be covering the Top 4 decklists for each event.

You can find all of the Top 16 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

URx variants made up a huge portion of the overall metagame, and while they both had fair win rates, the win rates for UR Delver normalize closer to 50% because of the fact that there were simply enough of the deck in the event to have a ton of mirror matches. The non-mirror win rate was slightly above 51% and frankly the "UR Delver" decks looked very good in this event. 8Cast also had a solid breakout performance, and a lot of players on the deck (a fact which will only increase over the weekend). GW Depths also had a strong showing, and while D&T was populous, it didn't quite get there in this event as it has in past events.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st MentalMisstep
UR Delver 2nd Clone9
GW Depths 3rd zhinonono
8Cast 4th LuisMJ
UR Delver 5th Beenew
Bant Control 6th wumbowizard
UR Delver 7th Gul_Dukat
Elves 8th Xwhale

A lot of UR Delver in this Top 8, with 4/8 of the slots taken up by the deck. At the end of the event it was a UR vs UR match with Stefan Schütz (aka MentalMisstep) taking it down to win the Wasteland painting! Let's take a look at both lists.

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Slightly more copies of Delver of Secrets in this deck than we've seen as of late (stock has been two copies) with also copies of Gut Shot in the main as well. Fairly similar lists overall here though. Still, congrats to Stefan for taking down the event and winning the painting that most symbolizes one of the pillars of Delver gameplay!

In the Third Place slot we have GW Depths.

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I just wanted to point out the copies of Seeds of Innocence in the sideboard here because of how good that card is versus the 8Cast decks which were really rampantly popular this weekend. Definitely very good against those kinds of decks, because it's sometimes also just Wrath of God and Armageddon in one card.

Speaking of 8Cast, that's what the Fourth Place list was on.

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A common thread for these decks has been the slow burn to get rid of the Echo of Eons / Lion's Eye Diamond package in the deck and replace them with stronger cards because the Echo/LED package was pretty poor and would always generally get sideboarded out of games. This version brings in some strong cards like Aether Spellbomb and while we have a tension and occasional issue with Chalice of the Void and other one mana value cards in the deck, it's pretty worth having them in the deck like this.

Eternal Weekend: Bayou 11/20

The second event was the Bayou event, which took place at very early in the morning on Saturday and had 319 players in it, thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection project.

You can find all of the Top 16 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

This event is where things over the weekend began to slightly shift, as we saw URx variants with a huge meta share again but with fair to middling win rates. Instead it was Elves that really ran through this event, taking raw advantage of the Delver players and likely of their sideboards if they weren't running cards like Blazing Volley or End the Festivities. 8Cast also had again a solid performance. The best and interesting thing about these weekends is how quickly things can shift, and this event would certainly prep the players on Sunday for this particular metagame.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Elves 1st JoergHeinrich
Blue Zenith 2nd Talisker
4C Control 3rd AnziD
Elves 4th Maraxus_of_NL
Mono Green Cloudpost 5th into_play
Elves 6th fluffy21
8Cast 7th Squiddward
UR Delver 8th ScarletStorms

Only one Delver pilot in the Top 8, but plenty of little green men as the Elves players take over at 3/8 of the Top 8. At the end of the event it was indeed Elves that won the Bayou painting in the hands of JoergHeinrich (sometimes also known as EronRelentless and a strong Elves player)!

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Elves can very easily prey on Delver if they're not prepared for the matchup, thanks to cards like Allosaurus Shepherd and Endurance out of the sideboard. The deck plays through Daze well and can ignore a lot of countermagic and needs to focus primarily on beating removal in post board games. Congrats to Joerg for winning the event and I am thankful to him as well for all the work he puts in during data collection as well!

The Second Place finalist was on a Yorion Zenith list.

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Yorion with a lot of redundancy is a powerful combination and Green Sun's Zenith is far more redundant than most things out there these days. Having played against this deck, I officially dub it "4C Yorion Trade Binder." Hint: it's very good.

Down in Third Place we have the only and only Anuraag Das on 4C Control.

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Anuraag is prepped for a ton of different things with this deck, utilizing the strength of cards like Expressive Iteration to push through the deck while having things like Dress Down to answer specific threats as well as all the removal spells this deck gets to play (eight exile effects is a lot). Anuraag has been playing this deck a lot so it's not a surprise to see him do well with it here.

In the Fourth Place slot we have another good friend of ours in Peter van der Ham on Elves.

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This list is pretty muich stock and close to what Joerg was also playing in this event, with some minor sideboarding differences. Peter opted for an extra Grist in the sideboard, which is pretty sweet considering how much I enjoy that card.

Eternal Weekend: Sylvan Library 11/21

The final event was the Sylvan Library event, which took place on Sunday at 1 PM EST. This event had the most players at 554 players thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project, and somehow managed to still be less than the last year's third event when it capped at 629-ish players. Still, this isn't a bad turnout at all.

You can find all of the Top 16 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

UR Delver broke through the roof in this event in both win rate and popularity, followed directly by 8Cast, which had a middle of the road win rate performance. This event definitely shifted hard back to the URx Tempo Shell being exceptionally versatile, as someone on Twitter mentioned about having Lava Dart cast against them on Elves. The flexibility of the shell allows it to determine what it wants to beat, and generally for the most part it can do it, and that's pretty insane.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st badluckbandit
Doomsday 2nd nevilshute
Blue Zenith 3rd twilder3
Death and Taxes 4th Akaleth
Jeskai Ragavan 5th moatzu
Blue Zenith 6th Gerschi
8Cast 7th HerrGevatter
UR Delver 8th burrarun

UR Delver rose back up to take two spots, as did the Jeskai deck, as well some Blue Zenith, D&T, 8Cast, and Doomsday. At the end of the event though it was a knock down drag-out between UR Delver and Doomsday, with one of the co-hosts of the Dark Depths Podcast Billy Mitchell (badluckbandit) winning this event and the Sylvan Library painting.

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Billy stated on Twitter that the list above was based on Javier Dominguez's list from the Showcase Challenge a while back with basically zero changes. Don't change what isn't broken! Big time congrats to Billy on this win. I am definitely looking forward to the next episode of their Podcast.

The Second Place finalist was Doomsday.

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Doomsday is definitely one of the more powerful combo decks in the format right now, and is definitely one of the best Dark Ritual decks. I also really like the Shelldock Isle combo in the sideboard for a free Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

The Third Place deck was Yorion Zenith.

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This is much like the list from the second EW event, so it's very similar. Again we see a card like Seeds of Innocence because of how strong it is versus decks like 8Cast and the like. Rough time to be an artifact player for sure.

Finally in Fourth Place we have Death and Taxes.

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All hail the Sky Noodle. Seriously though, just watch a few matches of how this deck plays out, especially against the Delver decks in the hands of a really experienced pilot and it's easy to see how strong this deck is right now. Timeless Dragon is an absurdly powerful new addition to this deck's construction.

What Does Eternal Weekend Say About the Format?

The data collected this weekend was extremely important to the ongoing conversation about the health of Legacy and of what changes that Wizards may make to the format in the wake of these events. Thankfully we were able to acquire pretty much all of the data from these events thanks to the team on the Legacy Data Collection Project and also a lot of extra people who showed up and submitted their events to us. We are deeply grateful for all the support in this regards, and it made getting through the weekend much better (albeit if there were some glitches and hiccups). You can find our updated combined sheet of the entire metagame since June when Modern Horizons 2 released here.

But what does this data say? There's some pointing at the fact that Delver had a very middle of the road performance across the three events (a post by our good friend Phil Nguyen based on our data collection has some great graphs on that) and that for the most part things didn't seem much different in that regards than normal. Indications pointing to the playability of D&T and Elves and how those decks warp around the UR Delver shells because they are good against them have come up. There's concerns that there could be no changes in the existing format at all.

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The central focus of this discussion continues to be of course... Ragavan. Ragavan decks were incredibly popular over the weekend, but looking at the data combined for UR Delver, the non-mirror win rates for the deck weren't exceptionally high (approximately 53%). It seems as though everything is fine. Other decks had strong win rates that weren't Ragavan decks, such as GW Depths and 4C Control. So is the format actually adjusting?

I suspect that the answer to this question is actually a real unknown. We know that there are decks that can do well versus the URx decks, as we've seen them in Elves and the current incarnation of D&T. But we also know how well Delver and URx decks are capable of adjusting from event to event let alone week to week in being able to pick and choose what they want to answer. We don't really know the long term effects of this outside the existing data and just watching to see week to week how Delver adjusts to what did well the week before.

Let's look at the actual data though. As of right now in our combined data set (all data through this weekend's EW events), UR Delver variants have an approximate 52-53% winrate with mirrors and a 53% winrate w/o mirrors, however the low end of approximations for this deck is currently 50.71% and the high end is 55.83% which means that the true win rate is likely still in the middle but could be higher towards the 55% marker. Conversely, D&T still maintains an approximated sub 50% (48.7%) win rate and Elves has a 50.5% approximate win rate.

Delver variants and URx Tempo shell variants however are so extremely popular that if you combine them into one big URx category they take close to 23-24% of the existing metagame of the data that we've collected. There's a lot of reasons that players play this deck, but for the most part there's an inherent understanding that this deck is one of the best decks in the entire format and it isn't even close. I am reminded of similar-ish metagames in Vintage in regards to the era of Karn, the Great Creator and of Mystic Forge, where the KarnForge decks were so egregiously powerful and were clearly the best deck in the format at the time, but the format itself gravitated towards BUG Midrange being exceptionally well positioned versus Karn while having a good Dredge matchup as well (something that doesn't happen too often). While the data showed that BUG was in control of the metagame, it was only in that position because the metagame required it to be in order to keep the truly busted deck in check.

This doesn't happen often in Legacy, as there are far more strange rogue strategies and things that decks that prey on the "best deck" in the format also fall prey to, for example D&T being good versus Delver but also Elves being good versus Delver is bad for D&T because D&T's Elves matchup is pretty abysmal. Decks like 8Cast have a solid blue pile matchup, but when you start playing a bunch of those you run into mirror matches which are by far one of the worst play experiences in the current format, and the Delver players continue to dance around that with cards like Meltdown when it feels it needs to keep those kinds of strategies in check. Delver's adaptability in this scenario is very pronounced.

It will be interesting going forward to see what Wizards does with the Legacy BnR and whether anything will actually meaningfully change in the format. I unfortunately suspect that the change could just end up being a ban of Ragavan, but I feel that is the incorrect move and just a ban on Ragavan does nothing to delay or stop the consistency engine of DRC, Expressive Iteration, and the clock of DRC + Murktide Regent together, all while being tied together with the protective glue of Daze. In that event, URx Tempo shells would still be the top of the format, and more than likely still very busted.

Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy 11/20

This past weekend was also a paper Legacy event in Columbus, OH. Held by TO Robert Wilson, the Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy Series continues to be one of the more fun and interesting ways to promote local competitive play. Robert puts everything he can into these events, ramping it up even more and more. This event he had coverage of the event going on Twitch with full commentary and everything, and the First Place prize got an original custom card art that was commissioned by our very own Adriano Kitani (who does all the MTGGoldfish thumbnails). You can find out more about these Tournament series on their Twitter.

I myself attended this event, but didn't have a very good event overall playing 8Cast and going 1-4 into dropping before the last round so that I could join good friend Nathaniel Snyder on camera for coverage. I had a ton of fun getting to do this actually, because the match I was commentating with him on was another good friend of ours in David Lance, a truly experienced Death and Taxes player whose match involved a Clinic on how to beat UR Delver with D&T. Unfortunately, I believe that I heard that the footage did not get saved to Twitch VOD (because the setting was not turned on) so I don't know if the footage got recorded either, but if not these things happen!

Now let's get a shot of the Top 8 here, with a bonus shot of another good friend Brian Coval taking a siesta.

All in all this was a super fun event regardless of how I did, and the players at the top were very interesting, so let's take a look at the Top 8 breakdown.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Lands 1st Randy Shin Lintz
Jeskai Ragavan 2nd Chad Harney
UR Delver 3rd-4th Bill Comminos
Reanimator 3rd-4th Kevin Adams
UR Delver 5th-8th Alex Bastecki
Death and Taxes 5th-8th David Lance
Food Chain 5th-8th Joe Palazzo
Loam 5th-8th Jon Sauline

Pretty solid Top 8 here, with a number of URx Tempo shells in the Top 8, but also some sweet spice like Food Chain and Loam (which is also... a Ragavan deck). At the end of the event it was Randy Shin Lintz (a good friend of mine) who took down the event on Lands.

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Randy had a solidly interesting metagame perspective of expecting a lot of UR Delver/Jeskai decks so he opted to play multiple Endurance in the main instead of any main deck Valakut Exploration. Very strong choice here and it seems to have really paid off. Randy's deck is also pretty much entirely Japanese foiled too, so it's even better!

The Second Place pilot was Chad Harney on Jeskai Ragavan.

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This deck is leaning hard on the trifecta of Monkey, DRC, Murktide, and the power of the Tempo shell that surrounds it. Definitely a strong deck in the hands of a strong player.

Now for some spice, as we also had in this Top 8 a showing by another good friend of mine Joe Palazzo on FOOD CHAIN.

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Joe is a well known Food Chain player and always plays the deck whenever he can, and he's very good at it too! Always great to see a sweet list do so well.

Also as always I try to look for some really spicy stuff in the rest of the decklists for these events, and seeing Enchantress did not disappoint me.

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Overwhelming Splendor. That's it. That's the card.

Around the Web

  • I know I can always count on Phil Gallagher to have something sweet, and this week it's Sundial of the Infinite. Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Bryant Cook has a mishmash ANT/TES Burning Wish variant this week. Check it out here.
  • A great video on 4C Yorion Zenith. Check that out here.
  • We've got a tournament report on Mono Red Painter for EW: Sylvan Library. Check that out here.

The Spice Corner

Another Thought Lash deck with Cemetery Illuminator!

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Grief + Ephemerate combo straight out of Modern, powered up by Legacy spells!

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Let's ask the question: Does Burn need a Monkey?

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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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