Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / This Week in Legacy: Legacy Round Table - Harvesttide Festival Edition

This Week in Legacy: Legacy Round Table - Harvesttide Festival Edition


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 reassembling the Legacy Round Table with some great guests to talk about the state of Legacy! In addition to that we've got only one Challenge event from this weekend to discuss, as the Saturday morning event did not fire yet again. As well, we've also got a Spice Corner.

The Legacy Round Table - Harvesttide Festival Edition

It has been a while since we had our last Round Table, and the format is going through some interesting times right now so I figured it was the perfect time to reassemble it. For those unfamiliar with these articles, I assemble these by putting out a call on Twitter for other content creators and Legacy players to join in and provide their thoughts on a question by question basis. I do no cherry picking of answers here for these and allow for the players who ask to join to share their thoughts honestly and forthright. The most work I do out of this is editing for grammar and card names, so what you see is what these players/creators wrote.

Our Round Table this go-around is stacked with some incredibly talented Legacy players and content creators, so let's dive right into who we have this time!

Name Social Media Links
Julian Knab

Everyday Eternal Podcast

Twitter

Twitch

Bob Huang

Twitter

Elopunters Twitter

Jarvis Yu

Twitter

Twitch

YouTube

Metafy

John Ryan Hamilton

Twitter

Twitch

YouTube

Follow xJCloud's Wife instead for ultimately more hilarious content.

Rodrigo Togores

Twitter

Twitch

YouTube

Dave Long Twitter
Caleb Durward

Twitter

Twitch

YouTube

Ryan Freeburger

Twitter

The Legacy Pit Twitter

The Legacy Pit Twitch

The Legacy Pit YouTube

Adam Wallace Twitter
Michael Mapson

Twitter

Twitch

Dark Depths Podcast Twitter

An incredibly solid crew of people here for sure. I appreciate each and every one of them! Thanks again to all of them for offering to join in on this, and without further ado let's get right to the questions!

Question #1 - How do you feel about Legacy at the moment? Is the format healthy? Are you having fun?

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Julian Knab: The gameplay I enjoy quite a lot. It’s a common theme when the metagame becomes centered around very few decks. The matchups become very teched out, you develop a much deeper understanding. I guess that’s part of the appeal of Standard. I’ve felt the same about old Top Miracles mirrors, as well as Lurrus mirrors. Super technical, strategic. I get a lot of that rush from playing UWr Saga mirrors and vs UR Delver.

That being said, Legacy has and should always be wider than that. When it comes to the expectations with which people come into and keep playing the format, the format doesn’t deliver on that.

Bob Huang: I have mixed feelings about Legacy at the moment. On one hand, I don’t think it’s particularly healthy but I am having loads of fun mainly because I found a deck that I like (Mono U Affinity). Daze + Ragavan + DRC + Murktide is pretty clearly the best thing to do, and those decks have consistently had the highest win rates since MH2. However, there are some under-the-radar decks that have been doing quite well. For instance, Bomberman and Esper Vial have 59% win rates since MH2 and are underplayed. Similarly, Doomsday is incredibly powerful and requires heavy hate to beat if you are not on UR/x shell. So there are a few things to do that aren’t UR/x that are justifiable, but I still feel the majority of players are on suboptimal decks and likely to be frustrated.

Jarvis Yu: This is a really complicated question, and mostly a matter of how to frame the question. Many people have different ways of defining ‘healthy’. One ‘metric’ that’s often used is how many ‘different’ decks exist and succeed. The issue with this metric is that decks that share the same core of ‘broken’ Izzet cards (Dragon's Rage Channeler, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Expressive Iteration and Murktide Regent) often get labeled as ‘different’ decks when in fact their core strategy is mostly the same. In that sense, the format is ‘unhealthy’ (especially if you take a look at this tweet). I think the trick to beating these decks is to look for the type of deck that they don’t have sideboard cards for every week. That may be something like Mono Blue Affinity (if you catch them on a week where they don’t have Null Rod / Meltdown in their sideboard) or Lands (if they don’t have Alpine Moon, Submerge or Karakas). I’m generally having fun trying to figure out what other people will go to, but I’m extremely spiky in that regard, and am aware this experience may not be for everyone.

John Ryan Hamilton: Legacy is in... not the best spot. The URx shell (monkey + DRC + Murktide + EI + cantrips/counters + whatever filler you want) is grossly homogenizing a lot of the fair blue strategies, and is pretty clearly the best thing to be doing in the format. Other decks have made waves in the meta (D&T, Lands, etc) and can prey upon the shell week to week, but the URx deck(s) is very flexible and can pretty easily shift to toughen up its weak spots. So no, I don't think the format is particularly healthy. But I am having a lot of fun. I think D&T is legitimately in the best position it’s been since I started playing in 2013. Hard for me to complain personally when I'm doing well with my favorite deck (but I fully understand why a lot of people aren't having fun).

Rodrigo Togores: Legacy is at his usual spot. The format is great and fun, you can always find a deck that you can play and have fun. I have been enjoying playing Selesnya Depths and other decks. But there are too many unhealthy moments. The Daze + Ragavan decks are strong. There are many early drops that can be game winning with Daze backup. Cards snowball faster than ever and Daze ends up trading zero mana for any amount of mana your opponent paid. If they want to play around Daze they will lose a lot of tempo to the snowball cards. You get to play a decent number of fun games but also a huge amount of non-fun ones. Daze is a card that must get banned for a better Legacy. I know it’s a pillar of Legacy since forever, but the Legacy nowadays it's not the same as in 2010; Wizards of the Coast will not stop printing those snowball cards. You can keep banning those but 4 months later a new and more busted one will just replace it. That means we will have to ban new cards every 6 months after a bad format or just solve the issue by banning Daze, the card that pushes those printings and the “Delver” shell. 

Dave Long: I think Legacy is in an ok position but certainly not great. The Modern Horizons 2 cards have largely invalidated existing archetypes which were unable to incorporate these cards. In addition, black has largely been pushed out of the meta which limits the variety of play experiences. Further, the URx tempo decks remain head and shoulders above the other decks. While there will always be a best deck, I think legacy would be improved by the banning of one to two cards from the URx tempo decks (more on this in the later sections).

Caleb Durward: The good news is that slower decks like D&T, Elves, Lands, and control are all playable. That’s great! Chalice of the Void is perhaps the worst it has ever been, and Graveyard decks have been hurting a little thanks to Endurance and Urza's Saga adding more maindeck hate, but overall there’s a variety of decks I like and I’ve been having a blast streaming Legacy lately.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The main issue, meta-wise, is that URx Tempo decks are much better than usual. Typically Delver-style Daze + Wasteland decks take up around 16% of winning decks. A bit lower during Eldrazi’s heyday, and a bit higher during Deathrite’s, but for the last four years it’s been pretty steady (including 2021 overall). That said, the last few months it cracked 20% (with 16% being JUST straight UR, which is unheard of). And that’s looking at the situation optimistically. The more recent the results, and the more you filter towards major events, the worse it looks. A nerf is required. 

Ryan Freeburger:  Tempo Mirrors are my favorite thing to play in Legacy. Two well-piloted Tempo decks, vying back and forth for supremacy, is just the pinnacle of Legacy as far as I’m concerned. So naturally, I’m having a ball playing Legacy right now. Not only do I get to play Tempo mirrors on a regular basis, but there are also multiple variants of Tempo deck to play against! I’m in heaven! Yet, while I am loving Legacy at the moment, I can’t in good faith say that the format is healthy. My beloved Tempo decks are putting an unacceptable amount of pressure on the format, and the format is showing clear signs of warping under that pressure.

Adam Wallace: I think Legacy is pretty unbalanced right now. You can be competitive with a lot of different strategies, and I don’t think the format being very blue is a huge surprise to anyone who’s shuffled two dead cards away off of a Brainstorm. The biggest complaint is a lack of diversity in the fair blue decks. The URx tempo shell is pretty clearly the best thing to be doing. There’s still fun Legacy gameplay to be had, but there’s also no doubt it could be better.

Michael Mapson: My feelings about Legacy right now are very mixed. Is the format healthy? I'm not convinced. Am I personally having fun? Yes. The first thing I like to see in a format is that the major macro archetypes of combo, midrange/control, aggro/tempo are all represented, with some variety among them. No deck should be consistently putting up dominating numbers and the metagame should naturally evolve as decks rise up to beat one another. While there are a variety of decks doing well right now, a lot of them are essentially the same thing. I can name at least 6 different decks that are just variations on the Ragavan, DRC, Expressive Iteration, Daze, Force of Will, cantrip core. While I enjoy theorizing about which of these will be best from week to week, that's not for everyone and playing vs essentially the same core gets old. It would also be less of an issue if these decks weren't consistently overperforming. Like I said though, despite an unhealthy format I'm having a good time. This is largely because  I'm finding a good bit of success playing GW Depths, which is one of my favorite decks from any format. As much as I don't like having essentially one archetype be so overrepresented, that also makes it easier to metagame. I wish more people were interested in trying to beat the tempo decks instead of playing them but also understand wanting to play the "good cards".

Question #2 - Let's address the Elephant Monkey in the room. Do you think Ragavan is good for Legacy?

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Julian Knab: It’s a bit of a trick question because I think very rarely are cards actually *actively* good for Legacy, beyond their novelty factor. When I think in that category, stuff like Green Sun's Zenith, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Flusterstorm or Abrupt Decay come to mind. Given this context, I don’t think Ragavan adds positive value to the format. It neither allows new play styles nor solves problems.

Bob Huang: No, it’s not a particularly fun magic card. It basically does not have enough of a drawback against the majority of the format, and the upside is too high. Remember when people were playing Thief of Sanity for three mana? Now we have a version for one mana, and it’s just too much for too little. Even if you are theoretically well positioned against it (Elves, D&T), it can still steamroll you if it’s backed up by creatures and counterspells.

Jarvis Yu: It’s hard to tell, because it’s confounded by the fact that DRC, Ragavan, Expressive Iteration, and Murktide Regent all warp the game in very different ways. There are games that Ragavan will definitely snowball out of control (especially in conjunction with Daze), and there are games where Ragavan hits a land for the first three turns and not much happens. This confounding factor makes it difficult to evaluate, but from a ‘fun to play against’ perspective, I think it definitely fails that mark.

John Ryan Hamilton: Ragavan has some horrible play patterns, in equal parts being a snowbally 1 drop in a Daze format, as well as the random nature of the card advantage it provides. I think the card fully fails the fun test, but from a power level standpoint it's a tougher analysis. Ragavan is really good in blue mirrors but looks embarrassing in nonblue matchups, and I *love* cards that make the blue decks start cannibalizing each other. If it weren't for the rest of the new cards, I'd say Ragavan by itself would be a really exploitable direction for the blue decks to go, but the combination of the rest of the new toys they have (DRC/Murktide/EI) bumped the power level of the shell through the roof across the whole matchup spread, so it's hard to say Ragavan is the only card at fault there. No, I don’t think Ragavan is good for Legacy (but I'm down to let it hang out a bit longer and watch the blue players squirm. We had to suffer Oko for 500 days).

Rodrigo Togores: Ragavan is a strong card, getting one card from the top of the deck is so random. It puts a lot of mental pressure on the opponent. They can get just a land, the treasure or a key spell, or even just a cantrip. Even if they hit a land, they could hit a critical dual land that you only play one and that could make you lose a splash color. If they hit a cantrip or a good spell it could just be game over because of the card advantage. It's really hard to evaluate if you have to play into Daze to kill it, let it connect or chump and trade, this last scenario is even worse if they have a second one in hand that’s dead. All this is even stronger with the surprise factor the Dash mechanic gives to it. You don’t have one turn to figure out how to deal with it, you always must be ready for a Dashed monkey.

Dave Long: No. I think Ragavan is the latest, and one of the most egregious, in a recent line of snowballing, undercosted threats. The added randomness of the trigger leads to even more frustrating gameplay. In addition, it readily slots into the “Delver” tempo decks which have been the best deck for the vast majority of the time since Innistrad.

Caleb Durward: No. While Ragavan isn’t as good as DRS (needing to connect is a big downside), it still has a similar “answer this or fall behind, and also your Wasteland is bad” element. But I don’t think it’d be as much of a problem if DRC, Expressive and Murktide weren’t so good. Or maybe it’d still see just as much play, but at least have a wider variety of shells. 

Ryan Freeburger: I don’t think Ragavan is inherently bad for Legacy. Nor do I think it is inherently incapable of existing in Legacy. I think its design is quite interesting, I think its limitations are both tangible and immediately apparent and I think the floor on the card is a lot lower than a lot of people think it is. However, that low floor comes with a corresponding high ceiling. And when the card is good, there aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary to adequately express how good it is. The card can be utterly backbreaking off even one hit in the right match-up. And one could reasonably take the ceiling’s existence as justification for why the card isn’t good for Legacy. I don’t know that I buy that. I think the card’s true impact in the format is being muddled by the simultaneous existence of Expressive Iteration and Murktide Regent in the format.

Adam Wallace: Ragavan does some really cool things, and I’m down with a lot of them. The exile effect is a pretty interesting way to give us a little disruption/card advantage while still feeling red, and the flavor is a home run- Wizards of the Coast hit the nail on the head when it designed this card as a pirate monkey. There’s just a little too much text on it for being an efficiently statted one drop. The monkey is just so much more powerful than other cards that it makes gameplay and deckbuilding revolve around it in a way that’s not particularly fun.

Michael Mapson: First, I would be remiss to not point out that Ragavan is a monkey and not an elephant. Ok, bad jokes aside, I’m going to go with the unpopular take here and say it is good for the format. I actually think it's an interesting card to play both with and against. It adds a lot of relevant decision points on both sides. In addition to just being an interesting card I think the fact that it's typically at its weakest against fair non-blue decks, does a lot to add points to those strategies. While I do think Ragavan is good for the format I do not think the combination of Ragavan plus Daze is.

Question #3 - How do you feel about the impact of Modern Horizons 2 on Legacy now that we are a few more months in from the last Round Table we did?

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Julian Knab: I enjoy playing with Urza's Saga a ton, as it’s a slow, vulnerable engine of significant but not insurmountable advantage. Murktide on the other hand is the stupidest card since Allosaurus Shepherd. It’s diametrically opposed to what I think makes Legacy great, closing out games WAY too quickly given its mana cost. It’s too significant a factor in all fair matchups, as it nearly immediately closes out games vs slightly struggling opponents. If you’ve been following my thoughts or listening to Everyday Eternal, you know that one of the most important KPIs of good Legacy to me is whether advantages are granular enough. If they are not, gameplay gets tiresome and frustrating EVEN in cases of evenly-matched decks. Murktide murders that expectation. The heavy downside Murktide causes is already enough for me to discard Saga’s awesome impact on the format, giving MH2 a net negative evaluation.

PS: I enjoy DRC quite a lot.

Bob Huang: Fairly negative overall. I dislike that Prismatic Ending has made fair black decks almost obsolete (sorry Abrupt Decay). I dislike that Endurance is similarly too much of a catch-all control answer to delver/combo. I dislike the snowball/OP UR/x cards. The one major success I would say is Urza's Saga. While that card does fit in blue shells, it’s much more powerful in artifact based shells so it’s interesting to have some fair non-xerox strategies get a large boost in power level. It is likely a bit too powerful, but luckily strong hate cards like Null Rod and Meltdown exist for the more linear variants of the deck.

Jarvis Yu: So we were promised less FIRE (especially in the Standard sets), and I think it’s mostly been true. I do not believe Modern Horizons 2 was held to that standard, and it definitely shows. Having the power points in free spells and Urza's Saga (perhaps as broken as its namesake set) does a lot of peculiar things to every format, including Legacy. Prismatic Ending obsoleting every black removal spell because it’s a clean answer for virtually every permanent in the format (besides Murktide Regent) is particularly egregious.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

John Ryan Hamilton: I'm kind of sick of the best thing in the format being "Cantrips + Forces + whatever stupid pushed cards got printed in the last 6 months." MH2 did a ton of damage in that regard, giving the best deck in the format anywhere from 3-6 new toys to tinker with. I also think Prismatic Ending low-key did some damage to Legacy. Chalice of the Void had been headed out the door of Legacy for a few years now, and Ending really just kicked it while it's down, a poor casualty of a card that just tried to help keep blue decks in check. Ending also continues to obsolete nonwhite options in blue control decks (RIP Abrupt Decay). Zooming further out in scope, I like the addition of a few cards to the Legacy card pool. I'm a big proponent of printing cards that make nonblue decks better, given that blue decks are always the best thing to be doing. Cards like Kaldra Compleat and Solitude (yeah I'm biased, who knew) were strong additions to D&T, Endurance is an interesting card that both helped (attempt to) check Delver strategies as well as provide a nonblue color access to reasonable Doomsday hate. Affinity became relevant for the first time in a decade, and even Urza's Saga is an arguable win for nonblue decks. Although it sees play in the U(W)R Saga decks, it was also a shot in the arm to a lot of nonblue strategies, and I think it fits Legacy's power level fairly well.

Rodrigo Togores: Modern Horizons 2 is a good set from the design point, many cards make it to multiple formats. But not in the way they should, they cannibalized those formats. Nowadays or you play a deck busted with MH2 cards or your behind, efficient creatures, strong lands, amazing removals and a lot of free spells (and those are never good for the game). Most decks have gotten something out of MH2 and all formats' power levels have been bumped a lot. But I think so much change and power creep at once is not healthy. Players had to completely rebuild all eternal format decks to be able to compete with these super-efficient new printings. Even Delver of Secrets got soft banned from the format because just attacking for three on turn two is not good enough. I like them printing new and strong cards, but the problem is that they should ban those cards faster. Almost after one month you know what cards are a problem. This would allow them to print more interesting cards and make formats fun longer if you don’t have to be six months playing miserable games.

Dave Long: To be honest the advent of the Horizons sets is one of my largest critiques of MTG recently (aside from organized play…). I think these sets are at such a high power level that they rapidly invalidate existing cards leading essentially to rapid rotation in non-rotating formats. Looking at the results over the past few months it has become very clear that decks that did not gain roughly eight new cards from Modern Horizons 2 have largely disappeared (with the exception of doomsday). In addition these sets blur the lines between Legacy, Modern, and Historic to a large degree due to the excessively high power level of these recent additions. Looking at a format like legacy which spans sets across Magic’s entire 28 year history it seems a shame that the twelve best threats are all from the same set. 

Caleb Durward: I don’t want to sound too negative because I have been having a ton of fun, and in particular Urza's Saga has led to interesting games and decks. Yet, even though a lot of the cards are satisfying to play with, they’ve also invalidated some older pillars of the format. For example, Prismatic Ending hitting Chalice, or Ragavan/Murktide/DRC obsoleting older threats like Delver and Tarmogoyf. Expressive Iteration is both exciting and scary because of how difficult it is for new cantrips/draw to compete with what Legacy already has. One of the main draws to eternal formats is that your cards/decks will be playable for a long time, but we lose that if too many cards get obsoleted too quickly.

Ryan Freeburger: I’m still generally positive on the impact of MH2 on Legacy, I think Dragon's Rage Channeler, Urza's Saga, Prismatic Ending, Endurance, Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth and Solitude are all valuable and exciting additions to the format. And I’m sure there are more cards in that set that will have time to impact Legacy in a future shell. Wish I could express that optimism for our aforementioned simian friend, but I don’t want to belabor that point any further. Nor do I think the sins of a single card should condemn the entire set’s impact. I’m looking forward to enjoying MH2 after we deal with the Tempo deck’s current stranglehold on the format.

Adam Wallace: Modern Horizons 2 introduced some very interesting cards to the format. Urza's Saga is a very powerful build-around, the pitch elemental cycle is an appropriately powered free spell cycle, and overall the set was done pretty well. I think they missed just a little too high on the power level of the set. Prismatic Ending comes to mind as pushing out a lot of other flexible answers, and the biggest offenders are pretty clearly Murktide Regent and the one-drop red threats. A really unfortunate result of these cards is that there’s less diversity between the fair blue xerox piles in legacy and modern. If you’re aggressive you play URx and if you’re reactive you play UWx, and this takes away a lot of the fun of deckbuilding.

Michael Mapson: This isn't something I had thought about before but I don't think I like the effect the set had on the format. While I really like the addition of some of these cards I really hate others. Cards like Dragon's Rage Channeler and Urza's Saga get significantly better if you build with them in mind there's also very little cost to play with them. This leads to them showing up everywhere and I don't think cards that homogenize the format are a good thing. I also think the set in many ways was the nail in the coffin for playing black which I don't like. Prismatic Ending has largely replaced previously played black removal spells. Discard has become increasingly less effective as time has gone on but is downright embarrassing against Ragavan, Dragon's Rage Channeler, and Urza's Saga to the point that now it's nowhere to be found in the starting 60 of anything other than reanimator. Even black's threats have been made obsolete with Murktide Regent taking slots that might have gone to something like Gurmag Angler or Tombstalker. As much as I appreciate what they're doing for Modern with these sets, I do wish this one hadn't had such a strong effect on Legacy.

Question #4 - What changes do you think need to be made to the current format?

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Julian Knab: Historically speaking, Legacy has had a few power spikes that abruptly shifted the format onto a next level. When those don’t end in bannings, the “new Legacy” establishes itself, and as new players shuffle in, becomes the accepted standard. Looking back at the “Class of 2011/12” (Innistrad block), the only thing comparable to it feels like the Era of F.I.R.E. we currently still live in. This time however, a lot of things got banned - in large parts because the community successfully vocalized their dissatisfaction. Thus it feels we are making it very clear to WotC that this next big shift in power level will not be accepted.

No matter which side of the Ragavan-discussion you sit on, I think the much bigger thought is to not grow tired and give in to a power level you perceive as unhealthy. Players have made it quite clear that a ton of printings of the last 2-3 years were too pushed, and that’s a great thing.

However, there’s also a push to instead hit utility cards like Daze, instead of the overpowered threats. I think that would be a really sad thing to do, as it basically constitutes an acceptance of the new power levels, at the cost of cards that greatly enrich Legacy. Daze especially is a great example because it provides one of the most interesting gameplay experiences, and shapes the format in a very healthy way; I’m not even remotely talking about combo, but its (and Force of Will’s) role in “Battlecruiser” tappout Magic. WotC never really vocalized their “mission statement” for Legacy, but given the history of the format, this is one of the most fundamental differences with e.g. Modern, and what has made it a more “nuanced” format. I enjoy that quite a lot and would love to maintain that kind of gameplay experience.

Bob Huang: What I’d like most is to see better balance between fair non-blue and fair blue options, with combo roughly ~25% of the format. Right now there are roughly ~33% combo decks in winner’s meta, so I’m fine with that. Brainstorm is around 60% of the winner’s meta which is a tad high, I think optimal would be closer to 50%. So, I’d ban Ragavan + Murktide. I’d also put Prismatic Ending, Uro, Thassa's Oracle and Endurance on a “watch list”. Prismatic Ending is the most offensive one to me since it means almost all fair blue control/midrange decks will be UW/x going forward. Personally I would prefer to ban the new snow-ball cards rather than ban Daze, but I understand that others feel differently. I would like to unban Mind Twist but it’s unplayable so not a big deal. There are more cards I’d unban, but I don’t think unbanning Reserved List cards and increasing the barrier to entry is wise at this time. Perhaps if Legacy moves to become a proxy format, I’d reconsider. The other cards on the banned list are either good for blue or combo, so I’d leave them banned for now.

Jarvis Yu: Again, I am generally quite anti-ban because I believe it’s bad for consumers. If other people are really not enjoying the format and a cluster of cards is actually dominating (again see the tweet), then perhaps there’s a reasonable call to action for Wizards of the Coast to take something out of that cluster. If you forced me to decide on a card, I would select Expressive Iteration because I believe the issue is that ‘Delver’ can outcard many decks now. Also, in recent years, the Wizards of the Coast ban philosophy has significantly changed. My guess is that it’s a direct result of FIRE, but they are much more willing to ban and unban things, whereas before 2019-2021, bans were rare and not often seen.

John Ryan Hamilton: Gotta pull the trigger on *something* in the URx shell. I'm not going to pretend I know for certain what's the best choice (Monke/DRC/Murktide/EI/Daze/whatever). I lean towards a daze ban because it seems like we're never going to stop getting super efficient card advantage producing threats and WotC will never ban them fast enough, but whatever. We’ll all suffer for Daze’s sins for another few years before it gets kicked to the curb. Just put the cards on a dartboard and hit one. I also think Thassa's Oracle is on thin ice. Doomsday is (maybe not so) secretly keeping a lot of the decks that prey on the URx decks from being completely viable options, and the hate cards for the deck are extremely narrow and/or nonexistent outside of blue. Really feels like it's the de facto best combo deck and it’s not super close, and if some wind gets taken out of the sails of the Daze/Force + pressure decks I'm always concerned about Doomsday's power level getting too high.

Rodrigo Togores: The biggest card that has pushed the format for the past years is Daze, be it Deathrite Shaman, Wrenn and Six, Dreadhorde Arcanist or Ragavan. All those fast cards got banned because Daze made them so strong to cast as soon as possible. After banning Daze you can ban other cards, but I would try a format without Daze and then keep looking into it. They say Daze tempo decks would be dead without Daze. That not true, you have eight Forces and you can play cards like Spell Pierce and Spell Snare again. The other reason some players give to not banning Daze is that combo will be unstoppable. Combo has not been tier one in years (with the exception of the gone Underworld Breach) and most combo decks are linear, and if one of them becomes too good it's easy to hate. The only combo deck that can be successfully played nowadays is Doomsday that plays the full playset of Daze.

Dave Long: I think the present format has largely been solved and that the URx tempo decks are significantly above the field. The tempo archetype has been the best archetype in Legacy for the majority of the time since Innistrad largely due to the powerful combination of Daze and Wasteland. The power level of the recently printed Modern Horizons threats is too powerful when backed up by the tempo elements. I would like to either see Daze banned or alternatively to continue to ban the latest and most powerful threats (a la Deathrite and Wrenn and Six). If a Daze ban was unacceptable, I would like to see either Ragavan and Murktide Regent banned or Ragavan and Expressive Iteration banned. I think that simply banning Ragavan would be a severe blow to the non-blue decks as Ragavan is at its most powerful in the blue mirrors. As a result, I would like to see a Ragavan coupled with another ban.

Caleb Durward: I’d hit any two of Ragavan/Murktide/Expressive Iteration and see how things settle from there. I think if you start banning old format staples like Daze or Brainstorm you lose an important part of Legacy’s identity. While the current situation is a bit much, usually Daze + Wasteland decks are a healthy “top deck” to have since it keeps fast combo in check and allows slower decks to compete.

Ryan Freeburger: As I’ve probably made clear from my previous responses, something needs to change to reduce the power of the Tempo deck. We have four commonly discussed targets: Ragavan, Murktide, Iteration and Daze. First off, I’m utterly uninterested in a Daze ban. In addition to not being the problem, Daze is a positive check on the format and even if it wasn’t, I believe it qualifies for the same protective status of Brainstorm and Force of Will, where it is part of the format’s identity. It’s not going to happen. That leaves us with the other three. I think 1-2 of these cards need to go. My first preference would be Expressive Iteration. It used to be that Delver decks had to try and keep up with the control decks of the format, with cards like Painful Truths, Predict, even Night's Whisper. Instead, now we have a main deck worthy mini–Dig Through Time. After iteration, Ragavan is the next on the chopping block. I don’t need to list all the problems with that card, I’m sure my fellow contributors have done that for me, and I’m still not sold that it needs to go. Though I’m certainly not going to fight for it to stay. I’m happy to let Murktide stay so long as the other two are gone. We may need to revisit that in 3-4 months but for right now, I’m fine with letting it stay. So, final count: Ragavan and Iteration banned. Murktide and Daze, living to fight another day.

Adam Wallace: Wizards of the Coast has shown a willingness to design high-powered cards specifically targeting eternal formats over the past few years. I think this gives us a huge opportunity to explore unbannings, so I’d probably knock fifteen or so of the non-reserve list cards off the banlist. Half of these cards would be unplayable, the Mind Twists and Hermit Druids, but the other half would directly compete with all of the other broken stuff available in Legacy. Quite a few of these cards fight for the same resources, with cards like Deathrite Shaman and Wrenn and Six or Dreadhorde Arcanist and Murktide Regent having natural counterplay and deckbuilding tension while giving you reasons to explore different color schemes.

Michael Mapson: Ban Daze. I understand the calls of people to ban Expressive Iteration or  Ragavan instead but to me that's treating the symptoms when we should be treating the cause. I know people hate Ragavan because it snowballs but honestly that's the way design is moving right now. I’m not saying that's a good or bad thing but it's a fact. Instead of running into this issue where we just have to ban every new threat that comes out we should look at what is allowing them to start accruing advantage to begin with and that's Daze preventing interaction. People also say that the issue is whenever Delver gets card advantage it gets too good but nobody ever stops to address why that is. It’s the fact that it lets the deck play so well in the late game in addition to its insane early game. They’re just going to keep printing card advantage spells, so neutering the early game makes more sense, which again leads us to Daze. I would also not be upset with a Murktide Regent ban but if Daze goes I think that’s enough. In addition I would like to see Lurrus of the Dream-Den get unbanned.Honestly it could end up still being too good and ruining everything but I would like to see the effect it would have, I think it would be positive, and at the very least might bring back black cards.

Question #5 - What is your ideal card to be printed specifically for the Legacy format?

Julian Knab: I’m not a fan of trying to solve problems in Legacy through printing targeted cards. Cards like that often tend towards being highly restrictive on gameplay and in the end a net negative to gameplay experiences. We don’t need more Chalices or Plague Engineers, even if they were to hit the most powerful deck(s) in the format. They’d just be a further escalation of power levels.

Instead, I think WotC should significantly drop their reservations about putting more restrictive mana costs on cards. Strengthen color identity and promote limiting the colours of Magic you play. And while you’re at it, Red & Black really need help. Both are very much just utility colours in Legacy, and have been for quite a while. Their cards still show up here and there, but rarely ever as the “meat” of a Midrange deck. Outside of the somewhat playable Goblins, Black’s and Red’s midrange cards for the most part just suck. Red especially has the problem of WotC still being committed to making it a “shitty blue”, and that’s a real problem for it.

Bob Huang: Don’t really have any designs in mind, but in general I like cards like Urza's Saga and Sylvan Library, and perhaps even Thalia as cards that are good against the field and slot into fair non-blue decks better than fair blue decks, while still encouraging interactive gameplay.

Jarvis Yu: I would like to see more role-players that aren’t so easy for the cantrip heavy decks to adopt. I thought Urza's Saga would fall into that criterion but it turns out that it’s relatively easy to make it work. Solitude was an example of a good printing to power up decks like Death and Taxes. Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth falls into the same category. Basically, I don’t think you need to ratchet the power level of every single card to an 11 for them to see play in Legacy.

John Ryan Hamilton: MORE CARDS THAT AREN'T CONVENTIONALLY GOOD IN CANTRIP SHELLS. Also, permanent-based hate cards have been getting worse and worse as time goes on, both because of cards like Prismatic Ending allowing more flexible maindeck answers, and decks like Doomsday being harder to interact with using anything other than countermagic. Not really sure what a 2021 power level lock piece card would need to look like (and it might just be a horrible unfun card) but I think that slice of the metagame pie could use a boost. (Also also, unrelated, print Rest in Peace on a 2/2 for 1W because I'm selfish.)

Rodrigo Togores: I would like cards that the Daze decks don’t adapt and push to banning. Cards that make you take decisions and don’t win the game right away. Also, there is some point that the game is turning into sideboards being full of floodgate cards that win the game right away and don’t let your opponent play Magic. Those cards are unfun to play against. Games revolve in having one or those or being able to deal with them or lose and not be able to play. Also, a personal wish I would have is a black Pyretic Ritual that’s a sorcery. Would be a good addition to Doomsday to search off Personal Tutor.

Dave Long: I would like to see some recent additions to black. Veil of Summer was a major blow to the discard effects and prismatic ending has largely invalidated abrupt decay.  The lack of other relevant cards in black has led the color to essentially just be the color of Dark Ritual and Doomsday. In nine rounds at the Legacy Pit Open, my opponents cast zero black spells against me.

Caleb Durward: Oo, oo, I have one for this! A long time ago someone asked me what my invitational card would be, and I said a 2R 2/1 flash that Red Elemental Blasts upon entering play. It could be a 1R 1/1, or have a relevant creature type like Goblin or Human, but the idea is to have a vial-able and recruiter-able hoser for blue decks.

Ryan Freeburger:  I typed up a lot of deck lists for the Legacy Pit Open, both for Goldfish and just to get them into CBL. You know what I was struck by? The lack of black cards in the format right now.  In the entirety of the Top 16 of the LPO, there were a total of 56 black cards played, out of a total of 1,240 cards. That includes the Surgical Extractions. That’s a pathetic 4.52% of the cards. In comparison, there were a total of 333 blue cards which is a much more impressive 26.85%. That’s more than five times the number of black cards. So ideally, I’d like some sort of help in that area. Preferably a new card in the vein of Bob that has an impact when it hits the board rather than needing to make it to the upkeep. I’d also like to see better green cards in the vein of Endurance too rather than the Simic ones we’ve been seeing more recently. We only had 76 green cards in that Top 16 and most of them were Uros, Coatls or Carpets. A Simic mythic, a Simic rare and an old card that preys on blue decks. Some standalone green cards that are just good cards wouldn’t go amiss.

Adam Wallace: I’d like to see black get some help. Swamps are played right now to pretty much just cast Dark Ritual and hardcast your free graveyard hate and it’d be good to give fair decks some powerful black build-arounds. It’d also be nice to see powerful cards that don’t slot directly into existing xerox shells or even directly punish the Brainstorms and Scalding Tarns that define the format. I’d also like the new printings that come to eternal formats while bypassing standard legality to be a little more gradual and less pushed.

Michael Mapson: I’m going to echo in the chorus of a powerful black card. Specifically I think it would need to generate card advantage on a cheap body. Sinkhole Bear comes to mind even though I would hate having it cast against me. I would also love it if they could print a good two drop for GW depths other than Sylvan Library.

Wrapping Up

Definitely a lot of great discussions here, and I think this puts a lot of what is going on in the current format in perspective. We are all relatively aware of the fact that there are some issues in the current format, but largely we cannot easily agree on how best to address those issues. This for me is capable of driving honest and thought-provoking discussion on how we should approach the format from the function of "format identity" and what Legacy should be like, and what value we place on how bannings take place.

I again want to thank every one of these players for providing their thoughts and perspectives on the format. You are all super awesome people and I appreciate all of you!

Community Event Updates

There isn't a ton of info here, but I do know that there was an event in the state of Washington held by Geek Fortress known as PUGET Sound Battleground 3. This included a Legacy event that had a cap of 100ish players. I don't know too much about this event, so if you have any information on this please let me know!

Legacy Challenge 10/3

We did have at least one Challenge this past weekend, however the disconcerting thing is that this Challenge fired late and only fired with the minimum number of players at 64 players. Given what has been going on with the format as of late and how the Saturday events have had trouble firing, I'm not thoroughly surprised at the state of things here, and it is again a note that something needs to change and soon in this regards.

Furthermore, this is another event where the Legacy Data Collection Project did not get complete data on due to not having enough people to spend some time to collect data via replay watching and the like. This is an issue that I am hoping to resolve soon by looking into getting more players that would be willing to spend this time to help out with this project. Thankfully, we were able to sleuth the data from reaching out to people and get things in order. Big thanks to RonColpoCinese for putting in a huge amount of the detective work needed to make this happen.

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

Both Jeskai Ragavan and UR Delver made up a huge chunk of the event, with Tempo taking 25% of the metagame. Despite not breaking into the Top 8, Jeskai Ragavan continued to have a solid win rate performance, while UR Delver had a slightly below 50% performance. Lands was also pretty populous, but did not perform well at all, the same with the Bant Control lists despite one breaking into the Top 8. Definitely an interesting event with it firing so late and the current state of the format.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Blood Moon Aggro 1st SuperCow12653
UR Delver 2nd Bullwinkkle6705
4C Control 3rd AnziD
Colorless Cloudpost 4th Funnyman31399
Mystic Forge Combo 5th wambocombo2020
Bant Control 6th Boucha
Reanimator 7th medvedev
GW Depths 8th Martin_Dominguez

Pretty cool Top 8 overall here. A few control shells amidst a single "Delver" pilot (w/o actual Delvers) that rose to the top, and a winner in Blood Moon Stompy.

Loading Indicator

Despite the presence of Prismatic Ending and whatnot, it seems that this player hit all the right notes and was able to go all the way with this list, which is far more of an aggressive basuta style Red Stompy variant than the traditional Blood Moon Prison variants we have seen in the past. Fury seems really strong in this deck, as does Den of the Bugbear. Solid list overall.

As mentioned before we had a single Delverless Delver list that ended up in Second Place.

Loading Indicator

This is much like the Jeskai Ragavan deck without the white splash for Swords or Ending. Instead we get Unholy Heat and Aether Spellbomb. Very amusing here is the shaving of Daze to a 3-of.

Also in the Top 8 we have our good friend Anuraag Das with his signature 4C control variant.

Loading Indicator

The Life from the Loam tech here is really strong, enabling cards like Wasteland to be good in the deck. This is definitely a super fun looking list to play.

Further down we had a showing by the Mystic Forge combo deck, which we haven't seen in a hot minute.

Loading Indicator

This deck can do some pretty powerful stuff, but had fallen off the map as the Delver/Ragavan pilots started amping up on cards like Meltdown and Null Rod. It has a lot of powerful games and can do some really absurd stuff on Turn One.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a showing by Affinity.

Loading Indicator

Again, this is a deck we haven't seen in a bit due to a lot of hate leveled at it being able to push it down and out, but it is certainly a powerful deck that can do some strong things.

Further down we had another new Innistrad: Midnight Hunt showing in Slogurk, the Overslime.

Loading Indicator

This is unique as it's mainly just a Bant Control/Lands style shell with a single Slogurk (which is really all you need to enable it, since you can keep bouncing it with Karakas) in the main. Brainstone is also sort of cute as a one-of fetch off Urza's Saga.

Also further down we had a full on RG Lands showing featuring another Midnight Hunt card in Wrenn and Seven.

Loading Indicator

Wrenn is certainly very interesting for a Lands based strategy. I am digging the inclusion here as it seems pretty reasonable to cast and abuse within this shell.

Around the Web

  • 90sMTG has our good friend Phil Blechman on video at Gamestoria this week! Check it out!
  • Everyday Eternal has a great episode on Julian's showcase win. Check it out here.
  • Anuraag Das is asking you to just ban the Monkey already.
  • Our good friend Bryant Cook has a solid video on Innistrad: Midnight Hunt improvements to Doomsday. Check it out here.
  • Some of my good friends over at "Playing With Power" (normally a cEDH content channel) have started publishing some Legacy content! Check out one of their first videos here.

The Spice Corner

Yorion Miracles with... Solitude and Prophetic Prism!

Loading Indicator

Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. This pile is SPICY.

Loading Indicator

Phoenix and Chain of Smog PLUS Dragon's Rage Channeler? Yeah, this is something.

Loading Indicator

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!



More in this Series

Show more ...


More on MTGGoldfish ...

Image for Budget Magic: Good in Soul Sisters? (Crimson Vow Standard) budget magic
Budget Magic: Good in Soul Sisters? (Crimson Vow Standard)

If you predict a card will be good in Soul Sisters from every set for years, sooner or later, Wizards will print something that *is* good in Soul Sisters, and you'll be right. Is Crimson Vow finally the set?

Nov 30 | by SaffronOlive
Image for Podcast 357: Izzet Time for Mental Misstep in Modern? podcast
Podcast 357: Izzet Time for Mental Misstep in Modern?

The crew discusses Unfinity, the Modern banned list and answers #MTGFishmail!

Nov 29 | by mtggoldfish
Image for Unfinity Spoilers — November 29 | Eternal Legal Cards! daily spoilers
Unfinity Spoilers — November 29 | Eternal Legal Cards!

Unfinity cards are here, including new cards legal for Eternal formats!

Nov 29 | by mtggoldfish
Image for Weekly Update (Nov 28): Spot Removal Tier List weekly update
Weekly Update (Nov 28): Spot Removal Tier List

This week in MTG news: Spot Removal Tier List.

Nov 29 | by mtggoldfish

Layout Footer

Never miss important MTG news again!

All emails include an unsubscribe link. You may opt-out at any time. See our privacy policy.

Follow Us

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Twitch
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • RSS
  • Email
  • Discord
  • YouTube

Price Preference

Default Price Switcher