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This Week in Legacy: Legacy Round Table - The End of the World As We Know It Edition


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! It's the Holiday season and I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're assembling the biggest Round Table of the year and perhaps the biggest one we ever have on this column for one final go at the Legacy format at the end of 2021. Should be super interesting! In addition to that we've got one Challenge to talk about as well as the Showcase Qualifier event from over the weekend. Also, we've got a Spice Corner (Spider-Man didn't mess that one up for us... yet)!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The 2021 EOY Legacy Round Table

We're nearing the end of 2021 so I figured it would be great fun to re-assemble the Legacy Round Table for one final crack at the format. This is probably the biggest amount of people we've had yet in a single Round Table article, so we limited this to just three main questions to have to talk about.

Before we get going though, let's meet our lucky contestants!

Name Social Media Links
Robert Wilson (TO of Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy)

Personal Twitter

BCDL Twitter

BCDL Twitch

BCDL Facebook

Pendrellvale.com (Lands Resource Site)

- Alli

- aslidsiksoraksi

Pendrell Vale Website

Alli on Twitter

aslidsiksoraksi on Twitter

Peter van der Ham

Twitter

YouTube

Nathan Lipetz

Twitter

Twitch

Blue Dojo Italian Legacy Community

- 4Seasons Tournaments

- MarcoMale

- Niccolò Covoni

- AndaloLorenzo

Blue Dojo Twitter

Blue Dojo Discord

4Seasons Twitter

4Seasons Twitch

Niccolò Covoni on Twitter

MarcoMale on Twitter

MarcoMale on Twitch

AndaloLorenzo on Twitter

Chen Zhino Twitter
Bryant Cook

The EPIC Storm Website

The EPIC Storm YouTube

Twitter

Matthew Vook Twitter
Roland Chang Twitter
Brian "BoshNRoll" Coval

LinkTree

YouTube

Marcus Ewaldh Twitter
Eli Goings

Twitch

YouTube

Patreon

Sam Dams

Twitter

Twitch

Patreon

The Canadian Threshold Website
Alex McKinley Twitter
Ryan Freeburger

Personal Twitter

The Legacy Pit

- Twitter

- Twitch

- YouTube

- Website

- Discord

Dave Long Twitter

Dark Depths Podcast

- Michael Mapson

- Billy Mitchell

Podcast Twitter

Michael's Twitter

Billy's Twitter

Milan Bhayana Twitter

That's a lot of folks that have a lot to say about the current state of Legacy, so let's not keep them waiting and jump right into the questions!

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

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Robert Wilson: I’m going to answer these questions from two perspectives: individually, and as tournament organizer for Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy. Personally, I’m enjoying the format as the UR shell has solidified a beatable best strategy that while omnipresent, is not oppressive, and encourages gameplay to the board. It's hard to say a format is “unhealthy” when the 80-card mono white cube deck is among the best in the format. It’s clear the decks not utilizing the UR shell are either good against it or play in such a manner as to invalidate key cards in some way. As a tournament organizer, it’s clear that players do not like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and its effect on the format. Particularly players dislike the mental anxiety of having their own cards randomly taken and used against them. A card like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is only as good as the cards around it. In Legacy, cards are hyper efficient due to their low mana value relative to their power level. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer ultimately can generate a very real, albeit random, card advantage engine that’s difficult to keep up with, especially when this engine quickly recoups card and mana disadvantage. What this really ends up doing is creating a “splinter-twin” like effect pushing out rogue and fringe strategies effectively constraining the card pool and stifling diversity. Therefore, you’re seeing two types of decks: those utilizing the UR shell and those that are good against it. The result of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer’s effect on the format has been an obvious drop in player participation on MTGO. While we haven’t had a drop off in attendance for paper events, I am concerned how long the format can absorb this type of negative community sentiment.

PendrellVale: I personally enjoy the current Legacy format and I am having fun when I play in premier events online. Lands is one of the better decks at the moment and that helps of course. We are well positioned because people are greedy with their mana bases, fair blue decks are targeting each other, and the winners’ meta is fairly small with few combo decks.

In terms of overall format health then I don’t think that Legacy is in a good spot. Legacy is dominated by a few cards all from Modern Horizons 2 (Ragavan, Murktide, Urza's Saga). But also, Prismatic Ending has made cheap and grindy (non-creature) permanents worse. I feel like Ending and Daze put a stranglehold on what cards that are playable in Legacy and the format seems smaller than ever before.

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There is also a lot of negativity around the format (especially on Twitter). It seems like Ragavan has made fair blue mirrors “random and coin flippy” and this has pissed off a huge portion of the Legacy player base. I hope that WoTC will make some changes soon because it’s annoying to read all the negative points about the format. It is also alarming that many players seem to have stopped playing Legacy, and the Saturday challenge has stopped firing.

The last bad point about Modern Horizons 2 is that the cards are expensive online and it seems like people don’t want to buy in particular Ragavan as everyone expects it to get banned. This means that the decks that are played in Leagues are not UR but mostly fast combo decks such as Reanimate, Doomsday and Ops all Spells. It feels like the meta in Challenges and Leagues are totally disjoint and this is something that I dislike as I want to be able to practice for high stake events in Magic Online Leagues.

Peter van der Ham: As far as the current state of the Legacy format goes, I believe that we're still in the wake of a disruptive wave of new cards, which followed shortly after the format’s largest bannings. I feel that having one of the already top tier Legacy decks (Blue Red Tempo) becoming Modern Horizons 2 tribal, adding a completely new threat base, clearly shows that the influx of those cards was too much - as they’ve made a large swat of alternatives obsolete. That being noted, the format has been able to absorb these new cards and stay relatively healthy with no decks dominating on expected win rate. The most important point here is that, as the format currently stands, there are more tier-1 decks (decks that I’d be confident to register for a tournament without feeling that it would be detrimental to my expected results) than I can remember being in the format for quite a while. It is refreshing to see decks like 8-cast and Painter be viable options for large tournaments alongside Maverick and Elves.

This is however not considering that the current format features a very large meta-share of Blue Red Tempo, which has significantly defined what viable deck builds are. This could be seen as an issue, though I believe there are some softening circumstances to judge this with. The first of which is that I don’t think that the direction in which Blue Red Tempo is pushing the meta, more focus on creatures and early removal (e.g. Gut Shot), is a detrimental one. Without Blue Red Tempo as a deck to attack it seems that non-blue fair decks would be having a worse time in the meta. The second circumstance is that the deck which is currently taking the lion’s share of the tournament slots is the always present and popular tempo shell. Even at times when this deck wasn’t at the top of the format, its variants have typically remained to have the largest meta share. During the times when Top Miracles was the clear best deck it saw less play than the tempo strategies (decks containing Daze were as represented as all decks containing Jace, and more than twice as represented in the winning meta-game than decks containing Terminus).

From a gameplay perspective I feel that there are some feel-bad moments when either a Ragavan or an Uro is taking over the game regardless of what else is going on; but outside of that I feel that the format is very open and I actually believe that I can have an enjoyable and competitive tournament with a wide range of decks. The games are largely determined by in-game choices and deck-building nuances, which is where I love for the Legacy format to be. 

Nathan Lipetz: Legacy feels miserable these days; leagues are full of utter nonsense and competitive events are stacked with MH2 piles. There seems to be a few top decks that can compete with each other but still feels very dominated by URx Tempo. Playing legacy these days gets very repetitive and predictable.

Blue Dojo: The opinion of the Italian community is that the format is currently not healthy. This is the easy answer that immediately comes to mind but the reality seems to be a little different. Judging by instinct we can all recognize a format that grows and moves around a small pool of cards and it is easy to be misled by this at first glance. After a great discussion with the entire community we realized that, as very often in magic, it is difficult to give an opinion that is totally black or white. The reality seems to be that the format is not as sick as many imagine and that the meta is quite varied, especially on a paper level. However, we cannot ignore the great contribution that MH2 has given to some decks, Delver above all, by inserting new cards with a great power level that radically have the cornerstones of deckbuilding. We strongly believe that in addition to the mere strength of the single card, the identity of color that it should possess is important, which lately is not too much considered. In our opinion this phenomenon is leading to a great chromatic polarization in deckbuilding, where UWR is identified as the dominant triad of colors, whether we are talking about Aggro / Midrange, whether we are talking about Control and black becomes a mere support color. for combos, this is not healthy! Defining whether the format is fun or not is an even more difficult task than diagnosing it. There are many aspects that we have to consider in this case and by answering these questions as a Community it is impossible for us to give only one result.

Chen Zhino: Legacy is still a skillful format. But the format is not healthy, Modern Horizons 2 definitely delimited the edge of meta, which gives a huge block to other decks' living space. And the Tier 1 decks have too much homogenization. You can’t really regard that UR delver, UR saga, Jeskai Ragavan as 3 different decks. The format of course is not healthy. Modern Horizons 2 truly gave legacy a new tube of blood, but the set designer considered Modern's format instead of Legacy.

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I played Turbo Depths, Rainbow Depths(really miss negator77), WBG depths before Modern Horizons 2, And I put Ending, Yavimaya, and Endurance to my deck for the first time, in fact this new deck shell still keeps 66% win rate in my record. So from my side, it’s hard to say that I’m not happy. But I haven’t played Legacy leagues after the EW course. It's a little tiring and boring.

If Legacy is a fringe entertainment format, you will feel that it is right when you play leagues, but when you play a challenge or a bigger showcase, you will find that it’s not the same thing at all, but now it’s even a weekly challenge where fewer and fewer people want to join.

Bryant Cook: Legacy is a solved format. Even before Modern Horizons 2 dropped, UR Delver was 18% of the format according to MTG Goldfish (data is watered down/tampered by WoTC as well) and then it gained Murktide Regent, Ragavan, and Dragon's Rage Channeler solidifying its stance on top of the format. That said, there have only been small windows within the last decade where Delver wasn’t the best deck and when it wasn’t, it was easily the second best choice.

“Fun” is really a subjective thing and I don’t think personal enjoyment should influence B&R decisions. These decisions should be handled very analytically with considerations for format health/balance because what may be fun for me isn’t for someone else. Magic is a game where individuals can get different things out of it and sometimes what your opponent brings to the table isn’t for you.

Matthew Vook: Over the past 2 years, Legacy has had periods of high power level followed by a lowering of the power level after bans. Despite prior high power metas being incredibly narrow and requiring you to play the broken cards, the blue mirrors were still fun to play most of the time. During Companion meta Zirda and Gyruda would beat everything except the Lurrus decks. In the Lurrus mirrors or Snow/RUG Delver you could build your deck to beat the expected metagame and the blue mirrors and would be rewarded. Post MH2 we are in another similar high power meta but with some differences. URx decks are the most generically powerful, consistent, and well rounded decks to play. You can overpower them with decks that play heavily to the battlefield with Elvish Reclaimer (Elves and GW Depths) or Urza's Saga (Lands, 8Cast) or go over the top with Yorion combined with removal and ETB creatures (Yorion Zenith and D&T). The issue is that all of the non-blue decks are incredibly unfavored against Doomsday. So we are pretty much in a similar meta to Companion meta, except that Doomsday is much harder to play than Zirda/Gyruda so it has less players. Despite the whole meta targeting URx, the deck still does very well. Most of the anti-URx decks are also easy to hate out if players have the right sideboard cards for them. This leaves competitive players with a rather narrow range of choices. They can 1) play URx and be the most consistent deck with a solid power level, 2) play a more inconsistent deck that beats URx unless they are prepared for it, and lose to Doomsday, or 3) play Doomsday and beat all the non-URx decks but lose to URx. I don’t think this dynamic is good for the metagame.

Legacy is still fun overall, but I don’t like how much games revolve around MH2 cards. I also think the URx mirrors are the worst they have ever been. The now banned cards from the past 2 years like Wrenn and SixDreadhorde Arcanist, Oko, or Lurrus were 2 or 3 mana. Despite the frustrating games they could create, they were consistently frustrating in the same way, and you could build a game plan around that. You could tune your main deck and sideboard with them in mind because there was a narrow range of things they would do each game. You could use turn 1 and 2 to find answers to them, and you could further delay them with Wasteland. The difference between Ragavan at 1 mana and these 2 and 3 mana cards is huge. There is no preparing for a turn 1 Ragavan if you are on the draw, and it horribly exacerbates the play/draw dynamics. You aren’t going to mulligan an otherwise reasonable hand on the draw just because you have cantrips instead of removal. And even if you do have removal, Ragavan can be protected by Daze. The difference that a single Treasure token can make in URx mirrors is huge, not to mention that the game can be massively swung if a cantrip, removal spell, or creature is randomly exiled by Ragavan. You also have to constantly play around a Dashed Ragavan in the mid and late game. Ragavan makes the URx mirrors the worst they have ever been in a uniquely random and unfun way.

Roland Chang: I feel like Legacy is in a funk, in need of some changes to shake things up, even if it’s one change at a time. At this point, the format feels neglected by Wizards and they could progressively change the format slowly instead of doing absolutely nothing. With attendance suffering online, disinterest in the format is becoming harmful and to some extent, toxic. I spent years fighting a similar mental battle to try and understand why Wizards would not make necessary changes for Vintage. Perhaps, they see another reason supporting their inaction and their data points to a healthy metagame - I sure don’t.

Regardless, I will still have fun, especially at in-person events, where I can interact with the community, meet new players, and have some intense games of Magic. Every player has it within them to expand their range during these challenging metagames. For example, I challenged myself to pilot Yorion Death and Taxes in an effort to understand how to beat it, but also found success while playing it in 1Ks and 2Ks locally. I will still likely be a Delver player, even if changes are made, but I consider this time as an opportunity to grow different skills.

Brian Coval: I don’t think the format is healthy. URx is clearly the best thing to be doing. Deathrite Shaman and Dig Through Time are both banned in Legacy, and Izzet gets both in Ragavan and Expressive Iteration. The metagame currently is URx, decks built specifically to target URx, and people naively hoping that the anti-URx deck will keep it in check so they can play what they want. It’s a twister rock, paper, scissors where rock also frequently beats paper.

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Is it fun though? Yeah! Modern Horizons 2 cursed us with Ragavan, but it also gifted us tons of sick new options like Urza's Saga giving new life to old archetypes and spawning new ones all its own, Thought Monitor, Endurance (and friends), Archon of Cruelty and Serra's Emissary, Grist, Dress DownTimeless Dragon, multiple playable Merfolk, rejuvenated 2-Card Monte with Dauthi Voidwalker and Madness with Blazing Rootwalla, Storm got Aeve and Galvanic Relay, Food Chain Goblins exists now because of Ignoble Hierarch, Kaldra juiced up ailing Stoneblade decks… and that’s just scraping the surface of that set’s impact. There’s so many awesome things to be doing in Legacy right now. My personal play experience has been that local paper events and Magic Online league play have been a delightful adventure through the possibilities of the format. It’s only in competitive Swiss-round tournaments that I get bored of the format. Building your deck to “beat” URx might get you a weighted coin flip at best. Knowing you’ll have to win that coin flip 3+ times in an 8 round event to make top 8 is tiresome. I’ve opted out of PTQ’s, weekend challenges, and only played 1 of the 3 Eternal Weekend Legacy events due to the nature of the format right now over long Swiss tournaments.

Marcus Ewaldh: I come from a perspective of durdly combo and control decks. Fun to me is having a balanced format where many viable decks can compete and games are not decided solely on matchups, winning the die roll or curving out. Barring a few overly pushed cards I do think that the current power level is high but also balanced across the top decks. What I dislike is the game play and that the best thing you can do when your opponent casts a threat is to cast one of your own. Gone is the era of leaving up Counterspell for a few turns patiently waiting for that one big spell. Every spell these days is that “one big spell” which even replaces itself and has to be answered right away. You are lucky if you answer trade 1-for-1 with mana parity. On top of that the “cost” of not using your mana every turn is huge. Grinding granular advantages like trading up a mana with a Spell Snare or killing your opponent with a Snapcaster Mage is just not a thing anymore. This in turn puts a huge pressure on which threats you can play in the format. You either have to play the most efficient cards backed up by Daze or the stickiest cards backed up by force of negation. or try to ignore your opponent (Allosaurus ShepherdThassa's Oracle, Time Spiral (!!!) ). You can also play Death and Taxes. I don’t know why you would though. Uro is the closest thing to control we have at the moment and it makes me a bit sad.

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There are no playable sweepers in the format because each and every threat requires an immediate answer! I know this is just boomer-talk but most of the banned cards from previous sets are all snowbally undercosted threats (Lurrus, Oko, Dreadhorde) so I don’t see why a 1-drop like Ragavan should stay. Unless we start unbanning things.

Eli Goings: Legacy is a bit difficult to evaluate right now. Thanks to recent-ish evolutions in Elves, 8cast, and Yorion GSZ, the Delver menace seems to have been stretched just a bit too thin, and at least to me, feels more beatable than it had. Whether or not these evolutions actually constitute health is hard to say. The meta is somewhat containing Delver (though it still won ⅔ of Eternal Weekends), but at what cost? There are lots of archetypes and color combinations that are flat unplayable more or less due to URx’s power level. After taking a few weeks’ break, I found the format utterly intolerable to play. Lately, that has abated a bit and I’ve been enjoying it in small doses, and really enjoyed looking at some friends’ matches. I also made some changes to my own deck that have been very successful, which always feels good. I would still massively prefer sweeping changes to Legacy compared to no changes though. There’s just too much homogenization at the top tier of cards. There’s now such a huge swath of cards in Legacy that every deck in that color or strategy simply needs to play, and play as many copies as possible. Even in a deck as reliant on its internal construction as Goblins, I’m playing 5 Pyroblast effects, with 2 maindeck. Every control-midrange deck plays Plow + Prismatic Ending and Uro, every tempo deck plays Ragavan + DRC + Murktide. Tons of decks play Urza's Saga and Endurance. Legacy already had a lot of “must play” cards in the form of FoW, Brainstorm, Ponder and other classic staples of whatever super-archetype you were playing (i.e. Ancient Tomb decks, Lotus Petal/Dark Ritual decks), but there was decent variety between them both in cards and strategy. This isn’t really the case anymore, and deckbuilding is hypercompressed because of it.   

Sam Dams: The main issue for me with the current Legacy format is that there is 1 very clear strategy which you should be doing if you want to give yourself the best odds of winning a tournament and it all relies on cards printed in Modern Horizons 2 (MH2). Whether you play UR Delver or Sagavan, which I consider to be basically the same deck, all of your best threats come from the same set. Just below this are decks that have good win rates vs these strategies like Elves or Death and Taxes for example. Pretty much everything else has become irrelevant in the current meta. In the past, I expected up to 20 different archetypes to potentially sit at the top tables of a tournament yet now I just expect there to be 2-4 MH2 tribal decks, filled up with strategies that are good vs them and maybe 1 or 2 others. Just look at the Eternal Weekend results: out of 24 players in top8, 8 were playing MH2 tribal and 10 had good matchups vs delver (8Cast, DnT, Bant/4c Control and Elves). This left 6 slots for other decks though I would argue that Yorion Zenith can be put in the list of ‘decks that do good vs Delver’, which would decrease this number to 3: 1 copy of Doomsday, Cloudpost and GW depths. To summarize: you either play Delver yourself, or you play something which is good against it. There always has to be a best deck in the format, which is fine, but not when it is this oppressive. Even when all other decks are actively doing all they can to beat Delver. It still has the potential to trample over these strategies.

This is not what Legacy should be and it is clearly not a healthy situation. The current Legacy format feels more like Standard which is not why people play it and it shows. Legacy players don’t enjoy the current situation and the Legacy Saturday Challenge not firing for weeks is a direct result of this. Hence, I personally don’t think whether or not the format is fun is important. In fact, I still enjoy it myself, but even if you still think Legacy is fun you should be worried. If everyone quits, there simply will no longer be a format to enjoy in the near future. We’ve seen imbalance before in our beloved format, yet I’ve never seen this amount of dropout ever. This is the main reason why I’m worried about the current state Legacy is in.

The Canadian Threshold: At the local level, we're still having a lot of fun. However, when you look at a spikes meta like challenges or showcases, it is a lot of magic dominated by modern horizons cards that while not overly unhealthy we are not too excited to play.

From the perspective of “can X deck beat Y deck”, there’s balance in the format, but that’s at the cost of everyone warping their deck to beat Delver, even more so than usual. Is that healthy?

Alex McKinley: Legacy is not fun. The format feels incredibly stale with only micro changes happening week over week. The cards and decks are so strong that any slight advantage starts an almost unstoppable snowball. A solved metagame can be interesting for players playing at the top level to try to get slight advantages by playing something unexpected. Local metas may seem better, but that is almost always because of card availability issues rather than what is the best. We know that playing Ragavan, Daze, and Expressive Iteration is the way to play Legacy where one is most likely to win in an open field. Certain decks have fine to good match ups against it, but have unwinnable match ups in other spots. This is the rock paper scissors of Tempo vs Doomsday vs Lands/Death & Taxes and there is not a ton of room for other decks at the table. This stifles metagame diversity and there is no "evolution" of the format like one might see in current Modern, where the top deck changes every month. I do not believe the format is even close to healthy, especially when the results of almost every challenge are extremely similar week over week.

Ryan Freeburger: In “The Dark Knight”, there is a scene where the Joker is trying to blow up a building but his detonator isn’t working. He keeps staring at the building, pressing the button but nothing happens. Legacy right now feels like I’m just waiting for the explosion. MTG Goldfish puts Izzet Delver at an insane 23.2% of the Meta. If we add up all the meta game shares for Ragavan tempo deck, we end up at over 25% of the Meta. A quarter of the meta features our Simian “friend” and his coworkers. The recent Showcase Qualifier had an insane 37.5% of the meta on a Ragavan Tempo deck with a 44.4% conversion rate into the Top 8. I’m not sure what more data we need to say that the format needs a change. Even if these numbers weren’t so patently egregious as they are, poll any group of legacy players and you’ll find a community overwhelmingly begging for a change. This all comes at a drastic cost as well. I’m quite lucky to have not one but three local weekly legacy events in my area, some proxy and some not. Their numbers aren’t doing too hot. They’ve gone from consistently 20+ people every week to barely firing at 8-12 people. Indeed, several of my friends report that if not for the tradition of getting Mexican food after one of them, they wouldn’t come at all. And while it's certainly good Mexican food (S/O to Mi Pueblo and the Level Up Games crowd), I would prefer that queso and chips not be the reason people are coming to play my favorite format. Hopefully this changes too because I can’t even say I’m having fun right now. Playing tempo mirrors is still fun, but I’m pretty done with being the only person having fun playing them. 

Dave Long: I think the format is unhealthy. URx is the best deck and has warped the meta around it. A large number of archetypes are no longer viable. I haven’t been enjoying the format of late and the number of players showing up to local events has been steadily falling. I’ve largely switched to playing modern while we wait for some action from WotC.

Dark Depths Podcast: We have really mixed thoughts about the format. We both are still enjoying the format quite a bit but we are likely biased. UR Delver and GW Depths are easily among the top performing decks right now which means we’ve both been putting up consistent results, and who doesn’t like winning? On the other hand the player base overall seems less than satisfied and we would prefer a format where more people are having fun and we could watch the format grow again rather than shrink like it has been. While we have differing thoughts on how unhealthy the format is, we agree though that delver is a bit too prevalent and non doomsday combo is not prevalent enough. On top of that the relative absence of black decks is also still concerning.

Milan Bhayana: I’m a big fan of Legacy right now, I think the gameplay is at a really great spot especially in Delver mirrors or pseudo-mirrors which I’ve been playing a lot of in testing. The lack of metagame churn I primarily attest to the inelasticty of the general metagame. I’ve found that D&T and GW Depths both consistently beat Delver, however in an open tournament it’s hard to justify playing either of those decks due to the presence of players still on combo despite the metagame hostility to combo decks.

Question #2 - What changes do you think need to be made to the current format?

Robert Wilson: Personally, I’d like to see a more managed approach to the format. WOTC’s current management position of Legacy seems to be letting the format go for an inordinate amount of time to “sort itself out” then making infrequent seismic changes. I would prefer WOTC using a “targeted and more frequent” ban approach than its current “glacial pace but fundamentally shifting the format” approach. I’d start with banning only Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and then waiting a month or two, not seven or eight months, if additional changes are needed. From a tournament organizer standpoint, I’d like to see proxies become more widely accepted at all levels of play. I won’t get into the financial or ethical concerns of proxies here. But, Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy tournaments allow full proxy/playtest cards to remove the financial hurdle that comes with the Legacy format. Proxies allow the spikes to play whatever they want that may be good in the meta and the brewers to use the wide-open card pool as their personal playground. If the format is to survive in paper long term, this is the move that needs to happen. The events I typically run cap at 64 players, but I’m working towards the ability to do larger 100-200 player Open style events that allow proxies. With a smaller group it’s very easy to self-police within the community, but the elephant in the room here is “how do you keep competitive integrity using proxies at an Open level type of event?” While I believe I’ve solved that issue, I still have logistics to work out, so I won’t go into detail here. Hopefully, I can bring this plan fully to life and look forward to sharing it with the community when the time is right.

PendrellVale: This can really be approached from two perspectives: the immediate need and the more long-term structural issues. Right now, Ragavan has to go. If Deathrite Shaman was too strong for Legacy then so is Ragavan. Also, WoTC should have learned from Tibalt that people really dislike losing games to their own cards. I am guessing that WoTC is considering more cards than Ragavan though (otherwise they would have announced this ban a long time ago). I can imagine that key threats in the top decks are potential targets for a ban and this include Uro, Urza's Saga, Thassa's Oracle, Allosaurus Shepherd and possibly also Murktide Regent.

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Thinking more long-term, however, I believe that unless something is taken away from the blue shell then Legacy will always be dominated by fair blue decks. As time goes on that will only continue and be amplified. You can see why if you look at the core engines of the different archetypes. Blue decks are built around cantrips and counterspells, where non-blue decks are built around cards like Aether Vial, Life from the Loam, or Green Sun's Zenith. But cantrips and counterspells ask nothing of your deck except that it be blue, and they are universal answers to virtually every kind of threat. Non-blue engines, on the other hand, require your deck to be built specifically to take advantage of them, and they don’t necessarily come with answers to everything. As a result, non-blue decks get less cards from each set, and blue shells can easily co-opt those cards if they want to (blue decks have started playing Loam and/or GSZ now, for example). All this means unless there are major changes such as banning Ponder, Preordain, Daze, and Force of Negation, or maybe banning fetchlands, we will likely be in this same spot again in 6 months.

This is why I would personally go beyond the threats and also look at the free interaction in blue decks. It’s fundamentally unfair that blue decks can tap out every turn and still have interaction up but the non-blue decks cannot do the same. Urza's Saga is fantastic in Lands and it has really helped us combat the blue decks. Why is it so good? Well it’s primarily because it’s uncounterable (and also that it cannot be answered by Prismatic Ending). In my opinion they should either print more cards that are uncounterable or ban one of the free counters. If it was up to me then I would ban Daze but I would be more than happy if Force of Negation got the axe instead. Finally, I don’t think that Legacy should be a format where people die on Turn 1 and some decks such as Ops all Spells are a little bit too consistent with their T1 kills. I would address these decks at the same time as a Daze / Force of Negation ban.

Peter van der Ham: The influx of new cards in the past years, and especially with Modern Horizons, was too big of an influence on Legacy - a format that should be vast and inherently resistant to change (much like its community). But I don’t think that necessarily means that action has to be taken now that the cards are a part of Legacy. I don’t think Ragavan should be banned, and I feel that it has partly been put up as the fall-guy for the massive changes that were created by the addition of Modern Horizons 2. I don’t think Legacy was significantly more healthy before Modern Horizons 2, or many other points in its existence, than it is now.

Everyone will remember that time that Ragavan got protected by their Daze and then hit their best card; but it’s hard to appreciate the games where your opponent’s Ragavan don’t get to attack, just like it’s not always obvious that you won because your opponent got stuck with copies of Daze that did nothing the entire game. I don’t blame people for taking a negative stance after this has happened a few times to them, and I’m all for making more people happy to stay involved with Legacy, but I’d personally only want to promote bans if absolutely necessary.

On Daze. as it is a very good card and one that gets some fingers pointed at it for being an issue for pushing tempo decks in the format: I believe that it’s an integral part of the shape of Legacy. I’m convinced that such strong and format defining cards should be seen as an important distinguishing feature of the format, rather than as a bug, and that it’s important for a format’s identity that some old cards get the untouchable status. If cards like DazeLion's Eye Diamond, or Wasteland should get the axe, we might as well just give up and play more Modern format.

The sentiment that the current Legacy format is stale and solved has also been regularly expressed lately, with the notion that it is therefore time to look at the banlist. These remarks surprise me since we have never, in the history of Legacy, had so many bans and relevant new cards as we have seen in 2021. Especially non-Magic Online Legacy players are already having a hard time keeping up with the changes, and are still exploring where to take their favourite decks when tabletop tournaments return. Suggesting bans with the intent to shake-up the Legacy format feels very misguided to me, and artificially accelerating the format’s development even further makes no one convinced to invest in developing or investing into their deck of choice.

That all said, I do think that there’s something that should change. My gripe with the current state of Legacy is that the cost of keeping your deck up to date is unprecedented, especially on Magic Online - once known for offering a space to build and play with various decks. The availability of Modern Horizons 2 cards is something I feel should be addressed, as it is keeping some people from playing with the exciting new cards and is negatively affecting the community sentiment about them.

Nathan Lipetz: I would like to see Daze and Ragavan banned, but also that Wotc stops printing obviously absurd cards that completely warp the format. Ragavan is an absurd card by itself but can be handled by the fair decks. Daze supports the past and future problems too efficiently. Daze is better against fair decks than most combo decks. I hate the argument that you can play around in Daze; you really can’t when you are under pressure from all the powerful 1 drop creatures in the format. I strongly believe that if you just ban Ragavan, Daze will still be too powerful of a card for the future of the format. I also don’t think cards should be untouchable just because they are old. While Daze may not have been too good for the format in the past, I think it certainly is now and will continue to be in the future.

Blue Dojo: Although the opinion within the community on which is the correct change to be made to the format is not unique, it seems to be the fact that a change is necessary.

Getting to the heart of the problem, it seems that a good part of Italian Legacy players identify in Ragavan 90% of the evils of the format and the reason why taking a break and getting away from the gaming tables is the best choice and how to blame him. Ragavan is just yet another low-cost creature capable of taking advantage that in combination with Daze can make the game hell for our opponent from the first turn. All of this is very true and there aren't many arguments that could contradict the above paragraph but, we don't think that's the real problem with Legacy at the moment. Although many identify Ragavan as the real problem of the format, we feel we can shift our attention to a card that is much more problematic in our opinion: Murktide Regent.

Murktide is a simple card and belongs to that category that we learned to love and manage when Tarmogoyf came out. In short, nothing new, a huge dragon able to quickly close our games and save us in many cases from certain death because, we know, the attack is the best defense right? Here lies the problem. Evasive, huge and difficult to remove. The Dragon forces each player to focus the choices of his own removals and therefore of his deckbuilding on it, with an already written outcome. The only color that at the moment is able to elegantly manage our Dragon is the Bainco which with MH2 has received one of the strongest removals ever printed, Prismatic Ending, which however needs at least a third color to be able to give the maximum and which could it ever be if not the Red? Following this reasoning we will soon find ourselves having a deck that uses all the strongest cards of the moment: Ragavan, Murktide, Prismatic Ending, Expressive Iteration etc. etc. From our point of view it is vital that all color combinations are given an equal opportunity to be playable, for this reason we believe that if anything is to be removed from the format the first name must be that of Murktide. The monkey ban alone would not solve this situation and we would still have a domination of all UWR shells and the consequent exclusion of all other combinations both from the tempo decks and from the controls.

Chen Zhino: Ban Ragavan. That’s what the Legacy community needs. Turn 1 Ragavan+Daze is too OP to 99% decks. Many of my friends stay away from paper MTG just because of Ragavan.

Ban Murktide Regent. I don’t think Expressive Iteration has problems, it takes some experience and skills to use this card. But Murktide is really a brainless card. 2 mana 8/8 only removed by plowshares? I advise WSZ to never print Delve anymore, plz.When other colors still try to keep up with BLUE, blue’s efficiency is already the next level.

Maybe Thassa's Oracle should also be considered. A deck only loses to the Delver shell and has a high win rate to any other decks; that's really strange. Oracle ‘s ability is too difficult to interact with. I know there are many people who want to ban daze so it can both weaken Delver and Doomsday, but free spells are the biggest difference between modern and legacy. And I believe DD players will find new answers for DD deck because they are the smartest in the Legacy community.

What I have to say is that the result of our bans should be to rebalance the environment and make it healthy, so that most players can have a good gaming experience. It is difficult for people to change their deck choices, so only when more people participate can we discover new things.

Bryant Cook: I think the most obvious choice is Ragavan in a format where it’s protected by 8-12 “free” counterspells. Ragavan has a similar issue to Dreadhorde Arcanist where if unchecked,they both become a real problem. Unlike Modern, the pirate monkey is much easier to protect and harder to block which is why I think when people compare the two formats it’s more like apples & grapefruits.

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A more interesting choice and a choice that would actually hit the tempo shell in a meaningful way would be Daze. Over the last handful or so of years, we’ve had a constant parade of bannings due to the tempo shell in Legacy. We’ve put bandaids on the problems instead of addressing the real issues with these decks.

With the Wizards current card design philosophies the threats will continually get better and the expectation that many Legacy players have is, “well then don’t print them.” That isn’t a reasonable stance for a company looking to draw in new players and revenue. Daze has become a growing concern with the rise of the power-level in threats, which is why it was fine for sometime and is now a problem.

Legacy doesn’t exist as a “place to play your old cards.” It’s an expanding format and sometimes your old cards will become obsolete or too-powerful with newer additions. Legacy has also always been that way. A much younger version of myself was heart-broken when Tarmogoyf replaced my beloved Werebears, but it taught me a valuable lesson — things change. The best way of surviving is to adapt with the times and to expand your knowledge.

Doomsday is the second or third best deck in the format and many fear what it would do to a weakened Delver format. By removing Daze, the rest of the format rises around both Doomsday and the tempo shells. Current Doomsday lists are so strong that they opt to not play answers to resolved permanents because they have SIXTEEEN ”free” counterspells — this should be a warning flag.

To circle back to the original question, I would remove both Daze & Ragavan. That said, Ragavan would likely be less of a nuisance and possibly fine for the format without Daze protecting it.

Matthew Vook: I think Ragavan is an easy ban. It is the most powerful card in the URx shell which has overall been the best deck since MH2 released. It horribly exacerbates the play/draw dynamic and removes the downsides of Wasteland and Daze. It is a very unfun card that you have to constantly play around at every stage of the game. It adds nothing to the format. URx will still be viable without it, and it doesn’t doesn’t enable any new or exciting other archetypes. If WOTC gave refunds to players who bought Ragavan I don’t think you’d see a single player complain about a ban (and the card would still have value because of Modern). I’ve heard players argue that Ragavan is bad against non-blue and that Delver would actually get better if Ragavan was banned. I think that is nonsense. Ragavan is specifically bad against Elves and D&T which is obvious in their deck construction. Ragavan is very good against Lands, GW Depths, and to a lesser extent 8Cast while being the most important threat in the blue mirrors and against combo. I think a lot of players really underestimate how important it is that Ragavan protects the first land you play and the way that it negates opposing Wasteland. Even if you don’t hit spells from the opponent’s library the value of the Ragavan treasure is huge.

I don’t think any other card is remotely close to Ragavan in contention for a ban, but Murktide Regent often gets brought up in these discussions. Murktide Regent is obviously a strong and overly pushed design, but I think the format can reasonably counteract it without Ragavan. A lot of the discussion around Murktide Regent is also overly hyperbolic and not truly reflective of how the games frequently play out. Murktide Regent is a deceptively mana intensive card. It requires you to invest mana in the early turns and usually comes down from turn 3 to turn 5, and often not as an 8/8. Obviously the time line can be accelerated with DRC triggers and fetchlands, but I think a lot of players overlook the key role that Ragavan plays in the power of Murktide Regent by allowing it to enter play earlier in the game. Ragavan also greatly impacts the context of the game state at the point where Murktide Regent enters play. Ragavan leads to very asymmetrical mana development at little cost. It maximizes Wasteland and Daze to create a low mana environment for the opponent while the URx player can still cast spells with Ragavan Treasures. When the opponent has little mana to work with, Murktide Regent is more narrowly answered almost exclusively by Swords to Plowshares or Pyroblast. Without Ragavan there is a much greater cost for the URx player to cast Daze/Wasteland, and less countermeasures to mana denial from the opponent. In a format without Ragavan the opponent will frequently have been able to better develop their mana at the point that Murktide Regent enters play. I think this change to game state will also reflect a change in the metagame. I think it would open up the meta substantially and allow more 2 and 3 mana cards like Endurance, Baleful Strix, Ice-Fang Coatl, and Teferi, Time Raveler which can delay casting Murkitde Regent or postpone when it can deal damage to the opponent. Any of the cards that would replace Ragavan (Delver, Young PyromancerTarmogoyf etc.) don’t enable Murktide Regent in a similar manner because they only provide power and toughness instead of asymmetric mana development. The rest of the format got a power boost with MH2, and I think delaying Murktide Regent by 1-2 turns in a format without Ragavan is a much better solution than outright banning it. 

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Expressive Iteration is another card players bring up in ban discussions recently, but I think it would be insane to ban. The card is less powerful than Brainstorm, Ponder, and Preordain. While it does cost 2 mana, at the earliest it can be played turn 3 when you have the possibility of hitting a land drop. I don’t see how a 3 mana 2 for 1 is overly powerful in a format with Uro, Teferi, and Narset. If Delver wanted a similar card I don’t think Baleful Strix, Sylvan Library, Predict, or Chart a Course would be unreasonable replacements. EI is also so much worse when Delver doesn’t have the additional mana provided by Ragavan.

Roland Chang: The changes need to be banning Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Dragon's Rage Channeler, and potentially Expressive Iteration. These obviously undercosted and overpowered cards from MH2 polarizes Delver variants to one extremely streamlined version, Izzet. And because of that, it has led to the metagame warping around that version to find a way to respond to it and defeat it.

Brian Coval: I’ve encountered 3 schools of thought on this one. There’s the “stop whining about a 50% deck lol” camp. They look at raw data, win rates, conversion rates, and say there is no problem with Legacy right now. Play experience and event attendance don’t hold value to this group.

There’s the “ban Ragavan” camp. That’s the least-intrusive way to take the immediate pressure off the format. It chops the most egregious starts off of the URx decks and restores the terms of engagement back to something more recognizable from previous Legacy environments. If you want to warp the way the game is played starting on turn one, you need to absorb the deck-building cost to do that e.g. Ancient TombDaze, Dark RitualAether Vial, Exploration, Mox Diamond, etc. Currently to warp the game around your turn one play your deck just needs to include Volcanic Island. Ragavan even perfectly offsets the normal cost of Daze, which is playing down a mana for the game.

The third camp wants a deep cut into the fundamental problems of the Delver shell and the format at large. The “Delver shell” is starting to look like Mishra's Workshop in Vintage. There’s a long list of embarrassing cards restricted in Vintage because WOTC won’t restrict the enabler: Workshop itself. A significant number of the cards banned from Legacy in the last 10 years are cards that pushed Delver over the line, usually by giving it raw card advantage. This camp wants Ragavan and Expressive Iteration gone, but they also want a hard look at Daze. Some of the most extreme want Brainstorm and Fetch Lands out of the format.

I’m in the second camp with a hopeful foot in the 3rd. I am holding out hope that WOTC will surprise us with a well-conceived, multi-level ban update that hits a large number of cards. In Worldwake Standard, everyone knew Stoneforge Mystic was busted. The ban announcement also hit Jace, the Mind Sculptor, since without SFM to pressure Jace the card would also be oppressive. They did the same in Ixalan Standard, banning a bunch of obvious cards from Temur Energy but also surprise-banning Rampaging Ferocidon, recognizing the fact that with Energy neutered Mono-Red was poised to be equally oppressive. I would love a cascading ban shakeup that considers the present problems, recurring problems, and the next-order consequences of fixing those problems. Take the current pressure off with Ragavan and Expressive Iteration, preempt the next busted Delver threat by hitting Daze. Does that make combo too good? Take Thassa's Oracle and Griselbrand with them. Does Elves become oppressive in that environment? Hit Allosaurus Shepherd too. I’m not arguing that specifically this set of cards is the answer, I’m just describing the type of shakeup and underlying reasoning I’d be excited by. But whatever else ends up happening, I think Ragavan and Expressive Iteration are out of bounds.

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Marcus Ewaldh: First I want to adress how bannings are regulated. It’s clear that the formats are solved faster and that the new cards are pushed to the limit. Ragavan is too pushed and has to go, but there are at least fuve cards lurking in the background waiting for people to complain about them.

Eli Goings: I have two perspectives on this. Either we just try to correct the course of Legacy, depower Delver “normally” to open up the format a little bit, or we really flip the script and transform Legacy into something else so the format can move into actually new directions. If we go for the more realistic, normal option, I say ban Murktide Regent and Ragavan, with Prismatic Ending and Uro on a watchlist in case Control ends up being too good when it doesn’t have to warp itself entirely around beating Delver. To me, Murktide is just patently absurd on rate, and simply makes the format too punishing for missing a beat. Everyone knows that Delve is an egregiously powerful keyword, and Murktide being a Delve card that synergizes with more Delve cards is just…flat dumb. 2 mana 8/8 flier that gets bigger when you play more of them is a joke of a Magic card. Ragavan is obviously warping (Gut Shots in every Delver player’s maindecks is a pretty clear sign), and its play patterns seem to be universally reviled. The more radical option would be to go after Ponder + Preordain to flatly depower blue decks across the format and potentially set it on a different course. I realize a lot of people play Legacy explicitly for the cantrips, but cantrips are also the underlying problem of almost every problem Legacy has had over the past year or two (Arcanist being the most obvious example). Would Ragavan and Murktide be that bad without cantrips aside from Brainstorm? I’m not sure they would. The average Ragavan hit becomes worse, and you are worse at filtering away redundant Ragavans rotting your draw steps. Murktide becoming worse is self-explanatory. Even if only for a short time, I’d love to see what happens to the format if the only good cantrip is Brainstorm

Sam Dams: If you ask me, many creatures printed in MH2 were so blatantly overpowered that I wouldn’t mind if they would ban a bunch of them. Ragavan and Murktide are clearly the first targets but Dragon's Rage Channeler is close. However, Ragavan should always be number 1. I simply cannot fathom how a mana dork that steals cards can be legal in a format where you can protect it with at least 8 free counterspells? Not to mention that losing against your own deck is probably the worst feeling ever, making it a horrible experience to play against. Delete. This. Card. Now!

There’s more potential targets, but I think Ragavan and Murktide would be a good start.

The Canadian Threshold: Keep Modern cards Modern. If Legacy was a format that WOTC considered alive I think it would be fortuitous to be light on the bans and see where the pieces lay regarding another round, but given that this is currently a format that is mostly community based, that only (hopefully) gets action from community noise, I think we need to make the one update we’ll get from wizards a substantial one. ⅔ of the cast would love to see a big chop of Modern Horizons cards such as Ragavan, Expressive Iteration (Editor's Note: Definitely a Strixhaven card!), Prismatic Ending, Urza's Saga, etc. to both eliminate some of the play patterns we don’t much care for, but also demarcate Legacy from Modern which have become increasingly similar. While it may be unrealistic, seeing a return to a toned down power level with less Banedrifters would be sweet. Cards can still do cool things, without being a whole package. Plenty of recent cards would exist in an interesting design space if you removed half the text.

It is also worth noting that we are a PRO-DAZE podcast.

Alex McKinley: The current format needs bans — badly. I believe that most people agree on that front. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer provides too much advantage in a viscerally unfun way for the format. Sometimes, it is okay if a card is banned not because it is too good, but because it produces what most would consider to be unfun games. This has been a valid reason to ban cards in the past, such as Tibalt's Trickery in Modern. I believe that more than just Ragavan needs to go however. The tempo shell eats constant bans and then comes right back up to dominate the metagame over and over again. I think Daze has to go. Brainstorm (and fetch lands), Force of Will, and Wasteland are actual pillars of the format and are the only unbannable cards in the format. From this, the tempo shell consists of threats, Daze, and a couple of removal spells. It is clear that removing threats from the Tempo shell does not nerf it enough to not be a problem in the format. Expressive Iteration is also a card that might need to go. Historically, whenever the tempo shell has had access to card advantage, the shell becomes overwhelming to the format. Expressive Iteration also holds up many of the blue control decks and pushes them in unhealthy directions. If one were to also add compensation bans for other strategies, banning Allosaurus Shepherd and Thassa's Oracle would be warranted. Banning Murktide Regent is nonsense. It is just a creature that attacks and blocks quickly. If other cards did not eat up so many resources, Murktide Regent would be much more answerable — especially in the format of Pyroblast.

Ryan Freeburger: I’m half tempted to copy and paste a previous answer to this question as I don’t believe that my opinions have changed since then. Something needs to happen to the U/R Tempo Shell. It is unacceptable that it continues to exist in it’s same form. We’ve got four bans on the table here. Daze, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Expressive Iteration and Murktide Regent. Without wanting to sound like a broken record, I’ll reiterate my opinion that Daze is untouchable. There are several cards that are in the format that were printed today, they would be banned extremely quickly (Looking at you Brainstorm). Daze is one of them. I don’t think that's deniable. However, it has become part of the fabric of the format and is a pillar of the format. It is an undeniable part of the format’s identity and the identity of the format should be protected. It's why people love legacy, the unique identity that has long since been cultivated by players like you and me. So keep your hands off Daze Wizards! Take the Monkey and Iteration instead! UR Tempo Shells have enough tools without both being able to take your opponent’s cards and having access to a mini Dig Through Time. And every time I see a base Bant deck that has splashed red purely for access to Iteration, I start to question why we didn’t see this card needing a ban before MH2 came out. They can keep the flying 8/8 though. I’m not overly concerned about that one. As a final note, I know there are other concerns that people have laid upon my table. Thassa's Oracle, Allosaurus Shepherd in particular. I’m sure someone has called for Griselbrand too. I won’t go into detail but I don’t think any of those need action taken upon them, the combo decks are fine. Are they powerful? Yes. Is that a problem? No. This isn’t Underworld Breach and Flash territory, this is combo decks being combo decks. Part of the format identity for Legacy is powerful combo decks and that shouldn’t be changing either. 

Dave Long: I would like to see bans to either Ragavan or Daze. It is possible that Expressive Iteration also needs to go but I would be willing to wait on that one. I’d also like to see black return to the format as a playable color in non-doomsday shells. It is possible that the bannings would lead to more equal distribution of the color pie but most likely new cards would be needed. I also hope the pace and density of straight-to-legacy or straight-to-modern products is reduced as it leads to homogeneity across formats and removes much of the nostalgia associated with eternal formats.

Dark Depths Podcast: We couldn’t come to a consensus here so we’re going to respond separately. (Mapson) Monkey is fine, ban Daze. People get mad because Ragavan snowballs games so they want it gone. I get that, I really do but Wizards is incentivized to keep pushing out those snowball-y threats and they’ve already shown that's what they’re going to keep doing. The issue with Ragavan is that it's so hard to punish because it’s often backed up by Daze. If you wait to “safely” try to interact with it you’re often too behind. That was the same issue that we had with Dreadhorde Arcanist and it will be the same problem we have with every cheap snowballing card that can fit in the UR archetype until something happens to Daze. I know some people, like my co-host, are worried that without Daze combo will run rampant. I just don’t think that's realistic. Combo outside of Doomsday, which happens to be a Daze deck, is in such a weak spot right now, I think giving it a boost would be nice. It’s also not as though free counterspells would disappear, players would still have Force of Will and could return to running some number of Spell Pierce or Force of Negation main.  I think this would just be such a positive move. I also think having to figure out which suite of counters to play any given week would be a boon for the complexity of the format. If I can beat combo decks with my GW creature deck I think Blue players with Force of Wills and cantrips can figure out how to do it too. (Billy) Personally, I don’t feel there needs to be any bans but for the sake of others, I’ll pretend I do. I would start with Ragavan for sure. Past that I would like to see a suite of bannings that maybe weaken the format as a whole, targeting cards such as Uro, Thassa's Oracle and maybe but probably not Daze. My concern with Daze though is that it keeps the format in check and getting rid of it gives the combo decks too much of an edge, so hitting it likely results in cascading bans. A lot of people have also mentioned Expressive Iteration as a potential target but I think we would just see another card advantage spell get printed to take its spot in time. At some point you just have to be ok with the evolving floor of card design.

Milan Bhayana: Honestly from the perspective of a competitive player I don’t think Legacy needs any changes to fix the metagame, the issues more stem from people’s unwillingness to adjust decks. However, balance isn’t the most important thing to most Magic players. The general enjoyment of Legacy is certainly down among the general player base right now, which makes me inclined to ban Expressive Iteration or Murktide Regent in an attempt to rebalance the format.

Question #3 - What are your hopes for Legacy in the New Year of 2022?

Robert Wilson: Personally, I hope there is some shake up within the ban list to energize the format and I hope it comes to a place of equilibrium like Modern. While I’m enjoying the format and I think it’s healthy, if people aren’t playing the format, then that’s a problem. Modern works because most decks got a little something in Modern Horizons 2 and the tide raised more ships than it sank. That wasn’t the case in Legacy. I think a more aggressive management stance would benefit Legacy to help mitigate the power creep of recent and future printings. From a tournament organizer standpoint, we must understand two realities: the reserve list is a real financial barrier that isn’t going away and that Legacy is primarily a community driven format. As a community driven format, Legacy is somewhere between a competitive format like Modern and a community format like Commander. We play Legacy mainly because we love the format and not necessarily for some of the incentives other formats get due to increased WOTC support. What Legacy is lacking are larger organized play incentives like frequent large tournaments and pro level invites. These incentives don’t exist or are comparatively rare for Legacy. As a result, I’d like to see WOTC support Legacy in the form of acting more frequently and transparently regarding the community’s concerns. While I don’t think our concerns are ignored, I do question the infrequency of transparency regarding decisions. I think the format would greatly benefit from increased support in these areas.

PendrellVale: For the format as a whole I would hope that WoTC decides to use the big ban hammer in January and makes some real changes. It was so nice to play Legacy last winter after the Dreadhorde and Oko bans and I hope that we can get back to the positive vibe about the format that we had last January. I also hope that we get more competitive Legacy tournaments both online and in paper. This means more online PTQ’s and Showcases and more Legacy GP’s!

For Lands specifically I would like more tools to combat spell based-combo. I am always looking for new Lands with spell based effects and, since Urza's Saga was printed, I am also looking for new one mana artifacts. Here are some new cards that would be very interesting.

  • Orb of Resistance: 1 mana artifact that makes all Instants and Sorceries cost 1 more mana to cast.
  • True Believer’s Utopia: Land that taps for white but also has Sacrifice this land: You (and maybe also permanents you control) gain hexproof until the end of turn.

Finally here is a long time favourite from the Lands discord.

  • Mountainborg: Land that turns all lands into Mountains.

Peter van der Ham: You may call me optimistic in hoping for these, but there are a couple of important steps to make Legacy as great as it deserves.

First and foremost, the return of Paper Magic is expected at some point and we can’t wait to (safely) play actual tournaments again. But the biggest drive for most players I know is some sort of goal to strive for, which means a robust global organized play circuit with big open tournaments and smaller invite-only ones. For the Legacy community this historically came in the form of the yearly Legacy Grand Prix; which would excite current players, get veterans back into the game, and incentivize non-Legacy players to dip into our format. This would be my number one hope for Legacy in 2022 and beyond, the return of a single Grand Prix for at least each of Europe, Asia, and America.

The second long shot is undoing the Reserved List. I don’t want to write too much on that here as it has felt like a lost cause for ages; but it would open the format to new players, and in turn would incentivize Legacy tournament organizers to invest into a community. 

Lacking this as an option, I would like to see the accessibility of the format on Magic Online to be addressed, with a more proactive approach to adding expensive cards to treasure chests, and being more willing to increase their rate of being opened. Magic Online has long been touted as the place to get into the Legacy format, and to try different archetypes one could invest in for their paper counterparts. If this is no longer the case, I believe that a major driver for playing eternal formats on Magic Online is taken away, especially as table-top events return.

Lastly my hope is that we will continue to see new cards make it into Legacy. The most important note is that they should be cards that broaden the spectrum of playable archetypes or variants there-off, without making (many) cards obsolete. Ideally just one or two new cards that stick in one of the top tier of shells each year, and then a couple more the further down into the tiers we move. I hope that the release of new cards into Legacy, and Magic as a whole, is slowed down. We would be better off having fewer, but well balanced, releases than a large quantity of cards. Not only have the released cards from 2021 felt all over the place with regards to power level, the quantity has also been mind-boggling. With some of the new cards from early this year, like Maddening Hex, still not implemented on Magic Online - which shouldn’t ever happen.

Nathan Lipetz: Change. I hope for change. The current format is solved and the gameplay is repetitive and stale.

Blue Dojo: What we are asking for 2022 is the possibility for Wizard to manage the ban / sban process in a more fluid way. We know perfectly well how difficult it is to manage a format like Legacy and none of us expects the solution to arrive immediately and be perfect. We will be very happy to be able to actively contribute to the balance of the format, perhaps having the opportunity to re-evaluate choices made in the past, transforming the banned from a closet of useless things to a bench from which it is possible to exit if conditions permit. We also hope that the love for the game is stronger than Ragavan and that players will not stop supporting their local realities, if this format still exists it is only thanks to the communities.

Chen Zhino: I understand that the designers of MH2 didn’t think much about Legacy, but at least the official has to pay attention to it in a timely manner, otherwise this kind of thing might happen again when MH3 comes.

I just hope WSZ gives more ”Hear, Think, Feel” for Legacy. I hope more old players come back and new players join in this format.Otherwise I can only greet wsz every day. WSZWCNM.

I also hope that players can pay more attention, communicate with the content creators of the Legacy community, also about Joe Dyer’s This Week in Legacy and Legacy Data Collection Project. Everyone has been devoted to Legacy for passions and loves, this is not easy.

Bryant Cook: Outside of a banning to happen sooner rather than later, I’d appreciate more transparency. Maybe move ban announcements (with format updates even if there isn’t a banning to that particular format) to be pushed with set releases so that we’re not feeling so high-and-dry. With the increased potential transparency from Wizards, I think they should look to do more trial test periods on MTGO. If they’re contemplating a Ragavan ban, push it for a few weeks, collect data and then make a decision. WOTC has a ton of users who are playing daily and don’t use all of the tools that WOTC has at their disposal. This method is exactly how Amazon improves their user-interface for their website.

If Wizards could do any one thing, I think the “wait and see” approach they’ve had in recent years would be fine if it was more frequent. A lot of these formats just feel neglected until the communities reach their breaking points. For example, why did the Chatterstorm banning take so long in Pauper? We’re reaching a similar territory again now with Ragavan/Daze in Legacy. Affinity’s dominance in Pauper now is even worse than Izzet Tempo in Legacy (it’s the first AND second most popular decks by a wide margin).

Matthew Vook: The most important things for me are a Ragavan ban and a return of the Saturday MTGO challenge firing. I’d like to see variety in the Delver decks and control decks which have been very homogenized post MH2. It really sucks that UR Delver is the only version and it has the same threat base. It was interesting to see RUG, BUG, and Grixis Delver with variations in threat choices. I’d like new printings that enable other decks besides just slotting into the Delver shell. It would be nice to go a whole year without a card that breaks the Delver shell into tier 0 dominance. I’d like to see printings that cause a resurgence of old archetypes. Black has been very underplayed in Legacy recently outside of Doomsday and I’d like to see a return of more fair UBx decks. I really enjoyed when BG Depths and Grixis Control were major metagame players. Maverick is another deck that has been underpowered for a while and I’d like to see some printings that make it viable again. I’d also like to see a return of Chalice of the Void decks.

Roland Chang: I hope that Wizards will make the changes or some change, even if it’s banning one problematic card at a time. With Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty on the horizon, I hope new and innovative mechanics will be introduced to the game and that a few printings will alter the Legacy metagame.

Brian Coval: Bans were already covered, so I’ll skip that part of my hopes here.

I hope to see the Reserved List abolished (fantasy land) or some clever workaround figured out. Whether the list is abolished or not, I’d like to see large-scale embracing of proxy-friendly Legacy events. Vintage has been universally proxy-friendly since I got into the format circa 2008. A Bayou now costs more than a Mox Sapphire did then. The mana base of Izzet Delver costs what a whole set of Power 9 cost in 2008. What are we doing expecting players to acquire these cards? How is anyone going to buy in? Why would they even try if they can’t get a taste of the format? Let EVERYONE play, all the time.

I hope to see large-scale paper tournaments again. COVID is obviously affecting all paper Magic play going into the 3rd consecutive year. Wear masks, get vaccinated if you can, socially distance, listen to scientists, all those things that will help us get through this. Once the COVID variable is effectively managed, I hope the big TOs support the format. Give us a few Grand Prix per year, an SCG open every season, give us Eternal Weekend, Eternal Extravaganza, the Power Nine series, The Legacy Pit, Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy, Bazaar of Moxen, 4 Seasons, and all the other regional eternal events around the world. Let us play for stakes. Eternal Weekend Paris in December of 2019 was one of the last big things I did before the world shut down. That trip was so special and I resolved to prioritize getting back to Europe and getting myself to Asia to experience those communities… and it just hasn’t been an option since. I desperately want that back.

Marcus Ewaldh: Paper events with coverage, Abolished Reserved List, some bans and unbans, a GP and some card draw. <3

Eli Goings: I want Legacy to be able to push somewhere different. I’m tired of Legacy being the same song and dance every year, with an extremely repetitive series of developments. Even when Legacy gets thrown “upside-down”, it’s almost always in the same ways. The cardpool in Legacy is so deep, and yet incredibly shallow because of power level. I’d like to see that cardpool get used a bit more. More than anything, I want all of my friends who used to play Legacy to come back to the format. The format used to feel wide in terms of players and content creators, and every year I see more and more people selling out or simply quitting. The level of activity is just so low. The format needs a shot in the arm for 2022, in whatever way that might happen (except no more stupid power crept nonsense please).

Sam Dams: Balance in the Force and the Return of the Jedi (Editor's Note: This man really gets what I want)! What I mean by that is banning the clearly overpowered cards so people return to Legacy. Also, I’d love for Legacy to remain stable for a longer while. It’s fine if a card occasionally finds a home in our format but when a Legacy deck changes all of their threats into creatures printed in the latest set you know something has gone horribly wrong. I want to see top8s with 8 different strategies and I want Legacy to feel like an eternal format again with a variety of playable cards that showcase the rich diversity the awesome game of Magic: The Gathering has to offer. Not new-standard where you can play 2-3 decks if you want to win a tournament.

The Canadian Threshold: Outside of Question Two, obviously a return to large paper tournaments and some kind of continued support for the format from WOTC. The GP circuit, before it was blown up, had gradually increased the number of Legacy GPs over the years which were always very well attended. Closer to home we would love to see the return of bigger Legacy events at Magic Stronghold and the Harry Wong Memorial hosted by the Connections Games and Comics. Crossing the border (finally) to safely attend the Puget Battleground IV and a Mox 5k and see all our Seattle friends would be amazing.

Alex McKinley: I hope it becomes interesting again! I want to play a format that is not constantly crushed by one good archetype. I would also hope for continuing support on MTGO by Wizards with the MOCS and challenges. Playing the MOCS circuit is one of the most rewarding events in Magic as it feels like it rewards the correct skills. I would love to be able to have fun doing it in my favorite format again.

Ryan Freeburger: It should go without saying that I would like a ban for Legacy to be my Christmas Present, my Daisy Red Ryder if you will. But barring that particular gift, I would love to find a few other gifts under the tree. I would like to see something printed that brings Black back to a place of prominence in the format, not just as a tool for combo decks. I would like to see some new powerful green cards that aren’t just quickly adopted by base blue decks and can help decks like Maverick become relevant again (Sorry TK and Strassman). Oh and WoTC, be a dear and abolish the reserve list while you’re out. If you’d be so kind.

Regardless of what WoTC decides to do this year, I am optimistic that Legacy will continue to thrive. I believe that community events like the Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy Series will continue to thrive. I believe that larger paper events like The Legacy Pit Open Series, the Missouri MTG events and Eternal Weekend will continue to happen (And if EW could be in person this year, that would be great). And I believe that more TOs and more community members will make events such as these and we will continue to grow Legacy, whether or not WoTC gives a damn about it or not. Regardless of the state of our format, the state of our community is strong. Let's go out and show it in 2022.

Dave Long: Beyond the bannings I mentioned above, my biggest hope is for the return of large paper Magic events. Paper legacy has a very different feel and meta than online legacy and I think the presence of not only paper events but also coverage would be absolutely fantastic and could serve to reinvigorate the format.

Dark Depths Podcast: Our biggest wish is honestly just to have meaningful paper events. It’s unlikely legacy ever returns to the Grand Prix circuit, but having a TO run a series of big Legacy events again would be the dream. On top of that we’d love to see players return to the format. Something that might help keep players interested is a return to regularly scheduled ban announcements, so we could feel like there’s hope for change. We would also like to see some strong black cards to hopefully revive that color again. Lastly and most controversially, we would like to see them at least experiment with allowing Lurrus and possibly Zirda back into the format (even if it's with a caveat saying they might be rebanned in 3 months).

Milan Bhayana: My hope for Legacy is for a growth in the format once again. I really think the general gameplay of Legacy is some of the best in Magic, and the mass of decisions given make Legacy the most skill testing format. It’s unfortunate how the price barrier to entry in Legacy has kept out so many new players, and my greatest hope for legacy in the next year would be the lowering of that barrier.

Legacy Challenge 12/19

We had one Challenge fire this past weekend, which was the Sunday event. This event had 69 players in it, thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

In terms of both popularity and performance the Yorion Zenith deck had both slightly over UR Delver this week, with Delver sitting just under 50% win rate. Elves and Bant Control also had some positive win rates, as did the Jeskai Ragavan deck.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Yorion Zenith 1st kurohiren
Death and Taxes 2nd toondoslav
Bant Control 3rd Rhodomyrtus_81
UR Delver 4th JPA93
GW Depths 5th maxbv
Reanimator 6th Funnyman31399
Jeskai Ragavan 7th Mikebrav
Yorion Zenith 8th kauffj

Pretty fair Top 8, with only two combo-esque decks popping up in the Top 8 (GW Depths and Reanimator). At the end of the event however, it was a fight between the Sky Noodles as Yorion Zenith took the winning spot over Death and Taxes.

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This deck is versatile and has a lot of strengths, one of which is mainly being able to fetch basics and utilize the strength of Abundant Growth with those basics, making this deck hard to tear down with a Wasteland based strategy. It's definitely a super cool deck.

As noted the Second Place Finalist was on Death and Taxes.

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D&T is slowly settling into a much more stock looking list with how the Yorion variants are constructed, especially with the Urza's Saga based builds. This deck is definitely exceptionally powerful though.

We had a showing by Bant Control as well in this event, featuring a combo we haven't seen in a hot minute.

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The Hullbreacher/Day's Undoing combo hasn't been around too much so it is pretty interesting to see it here. To make matters more interesting it also has Narset too.

Further down the Top 8 we had a showing by GW Depths.

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Nissa, Vital Force in the sideboard is a pretty cool idea that I can dig. Seems just fine in control based matchups where making a 5/5 every turn is something that to be respected, and an ultimate activation can often be lights out.

Outside of the Top 8 we have our good friend Marcus Ewaldh showing why you can just play High Tide in 2021.

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I haven't seen a Teferi's Realm in pretty much forever. I love it! Marcus is a true treasure of a player.

Going down the Top 32 to 12th we have a sweet Madness build.

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Cooking with Asmor! Just a super sweet way of approaching this deck. I love it.

Legacy Showcase Qualifier 12/19

This weekend was also the Season 3 Showcase Qualifier event. This event is invitation only via making Top 8 in the Showcase Challenges throughout the season as well as winning a Last Chance Qualifier. Because of the nature of this event, the overall metagames for these events tend to be super inbred and narrow in scope as it draws many that are either just generically good players or those players who are deck specialists on a particular archetype. A lot of times this means the players will skew their deck construction based on how they know the metagame will react. This event had 24 players in it, and the winner of this event gets a MOCS (Magic Online Champions Showcase) invitation as well as a PT invite to the Neon Dynasty Arena Championship.

Unfortunately, Wizards tends to not publish the data for these events (we don't really know why), but you can find the data sheet for this event here.

As I mentioned before, the metagames for these kinds of events tend to be very narrow and players will generally show up with whatever they feel the most comfortable with, but also what they think will win. This leads to a pretty disproportionate amount of decks like UR Delver because it is generically powerful and regarded as the best deck in the format, and players on the deck can easily grind wins with it if they're at the top of their game (as players who reach this stage generally are). There generally is not enough data in these events to draw actual conclusions because of the nature of how the event works.

Let's take a look at the Top 8 regardless.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Reanimator 1st kanister
UR Delver 2nd Thalai
UR Delver 3rd Beenew
Elves 4th Julian23
Reanimator 5th golphinus
UR Delver 6th MZBlazer
Blood Moon Aggro 7th bomberboss
UR Delver 8th Snusnumrick

Quite a bit of UR Delver, but the real interesting piece here is the one and only kanister winning the event on Reanimator. Since Wizards doesn't publish the lists, I pulled the list into Goldfish so we can see it.

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A big point of looking at this list is understanding how much of the list is skewing the deck construction to accomodate a particular metagame. Multiple copies of Archon of Cruelty are very difficult for decks like Delver to get rid of once they're on the table, as they come with built in ways of getting rid of Delver's threats and clocking them at the same time. A lot of this deck's game plan hingest mainly on the fact that many of these players in a smaller event are also going to skew their deck construction for the specific metagame (UR Delver and friends) and may otherwise skimp heavily on graveyard hate that allows decks like Reanimator to be strong. Kanister is also a very strong player and basically the combination of all of this makes for a perfect storm that leads to a win.

I will note however that due to the current way things work with both the FIRST and SECOND Place players being part of the current Magic Pro League, neither of those players were eligible for the qualification because they are already qualified for the Neon Dynasty Championship event, so technically the qualification was passed down to MTGO user Beenew! Congrats Beenew on your qualification!

Around the Web

  • Our good friend Kyle Vjorn wrote up a tournament report on his First Place run with the 4C Saga Loam list from the NRG 5K. Check that out here.
  • Our other good friend Alex McKinley was on Everyday Eternal! Check that out here.
  • The folks at IN RESPONSE have a solid Christmas episode with fellow podcaster Julian Knab. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

More Cemetery Illuminator!

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Definitely a very interesting take on a 5C Control list.

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BUG Shadow with four maindeck Grist, the Hunger Tide seems cool.

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Welding Food for Fun and Profit!

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Utilizing Esper Sentinel as a one drop protected by Daze and having four Murktide is really intriguing.

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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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