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This Week in Legacy: M25 Impacts and New Tech

Welcome to another this week in Legacy! This week has been somewhat of a big one. Not so much in terms of tournament results, but more so the revelations brought out by Masters 25. There have been some impressive reprints making a lot of decks incredibly accessible. We’ll have a browse through these significant reprints and think about what decks they’ll find themselves in. And then, per usual, we’ll jump through some recent innovations occurring around the world.

Masters 25

There’s been some huge reprints to run through. Probably the most interesting, to me, is this guy:

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Only the most dedicated Legacy Painters (or Aluren players) really justified expenditure on the Portal Three Kingdoms card. Why shell out so much cash for Recruiter, which only finds its place in niche decks, when you can buy Tarmogoyf, Force of Will. or duals? With the death of Painter thanks to Top’s banning, as well as the printing of Recruiter of the Guard making Mr. Imperial replaceable in Aluren (and the then-trending White-Red Death & Taxes) the card looked ready to languish in binders everywhere. With his reprinting though, the spotlight is back on the tutoring 1/1 and I’m sure many of us are looking to find places for his application.

And everyone knows where he’s best to me:

I’ve visited this deck a lot of times, but have been primarily looking at the Black-White version now featuring Kitesail Freebooter. I think that version is a little better at breaking up combo thanks to the addition of Freebooter, while this Recruiter-based list can find a little more strength against Lands (Chalice on two + Magus is essentially game over) and additional Explosives gives the deck somewhat of a chance against Dragon Stompy and other decks with plenty of permanent-based hate. The sideboard, too, has a great toolboxy nature to it, and the deck certainly feels like the natural successor to old Imperial Painter – a toolboxy deck with both a combo kill and a powerful fair idiot beatdown plan. I’d like to see how Devout Witness goes. Trinisphere decks are quite atrocious matchup, but this, if it sticks, can keep those at bay continuously.

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Another way to take this list is ala Katayose Takahito, that I featured in the Spice Corner once before:

This is even more Painter-esque, with Bridge to lockdown the opponent and then assemble the combo kill. The allure of beating down with fast Monastery Mentor though is half the appeal of these Bomberman shells in my mind, though, so I personally wouldn’t go down this route. But it has shown its validity.

Another place for Imperial Recruiter may also be in his old home – Painter. Without Top though, it’s probably best to take the shell in a Blue-Red direction. Inserting him as additional Painters + a toolbox in the Blue-Red list I was tinkering with two weeks ago may be a good starting point.

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Nonetheless, speaking of Ensnaring Bridge (and Chalice of the Void), these have also found themselves reprinted, pushing down the price of some of the more expensive components of Legacy’s Stompy decks. Let’s have a look at a deck featuring these two cards:

T-t-tezzerator! This list is a little more streamlined than past Tezzerator lists, opting out of Grixis for a more streamlined mana base. The innovation I like the most in this list is the inclusion of Collective Brutality:

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Brutality is actually secretly the best spell-based disruption printed for Black Stompy decks in recent times. Past disruption, like Hymn to Tourach, stretched the mana bases of these decks significantly, but was the only feasible option since Thoughtseize and co. clashed with Chalice. Brutality gets around this, while also offering removal against that Delver or Deathrite that came down before Chalice. And Stompy decks always have useless trash to escalate with, be it additional Chalices or one-ofs that aren’t particularly applicable to the matchup.

The last of the big reprints in my mind is Rishadan Port:

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The most expensive component of Death & Taxes crowding out many from finishing the deck (especially on Magic Online) is now going to be considerably cheaper. Expect Death & Taxes to be the de facto best entry-level deck moving forward and many new Death & Taxers coming to a local game store near you.

The Search for the Best Search

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Miracles has found itself the de facto best Search for Azcanta shell so far. But there is a variety of other Blue controlling decks rapidly adapting the card, from Stoneblade to some versions of Czech Pile. Let’s have a look at these:

This list comes from the Legacy Preservation Series 1k that occurred on February 24; you can find the results of that 68-player event here.

This is an incredibly natural fit in a similar way to Miracles. Stoneblade decks are also adept at making land drops and appreciate the mana boost and selection that Search for Azcanta provides. Search can even pick up the equipment of Stoneforge as well! In the end, these decks remove the Miracle cards and Predict engine and replace them with more proactive elements in Stoneforge and True-Name. But largely this is proof-of-concept once more that a reactive control deck based on Swords to Plowshares is still a great home for Search.

In Germany, results from the Eternal Clash in Flensburg also brought Search into the limelight – in Czech Pile. Find the results of that event here. All three Pile lists played Search; two played the card as a sideboard grind card similar in nature to Sylvan Library, while the other played one in the main! And honestly, this is exactly where I’d want it:

I actually don’t like Search in the sideboard much. Once the Red Elemental Blast effects come in, they start to look a little bit like a liability, though Blasts can be overloaded with prime targets like Jace and Snapcaster in the mix. I’d sooner prefer a non-Blastable effect like Liliana, the Last Hope or Sylvan Library. But in the main, Search looks fantastic. The mill effect can churn through useless lategame Hymn to Tourachs and also create graveyard synergies for Snapcaster Mage and Kolaghan’s Command. The ramp that Search provides is excellent to let the deck cast its sometimes clunky-looking expensive spells. And then of course, once Search is active, there is plenty of gasoline to find with it. I do think Search may be even more feasible in a Czech Pile that is a little ‘Bluer’ than ‘Blacker’, utilizing Counterspell over Hymn to Tourach, because Search naturally pairs well with reactive spells (being able to hold them up, then activate Search if nothing happens).

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I’m sure there’s plenty other shells that Search is viable. We’ve seen it in control shells, and even Sneak & Show has found that Search for Azcanta is excellent at finding its combo pieces. I think even a Stompy shell (think As Foretold Stompy or Splinter Twin) could also appreciate it as a filtration option that gets around Chalice.

I Just Want to Draw Cards

I’ve also gone into an interesting investigation of raw card advantage options recently after playing around with friend Steven Stamopoulos’ 4c Delver deck. Last Thursday I played four rounds with this pile of cards:

I tried to bring the RUG-ness to the 4c and it turned out I just kind of ran out of cards and died to a flurry of removal from D&T and 4c Loam throughout the night. I missed my Nimble Mongoose dearly. But the card that shone the most in this shell for me was Night's Whisper.

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This card felt incredibly as something to slide into the curve, keep the cards rolling and the tempo pushing ahead. It made me closely consider these type of cards. I came across a few lists, from Japan, that had similar ideas:

This comes from one of Hareruya’s frequent Legacy Cups; it’s a greedy, greedy Esper Deathblade list. The card most notable to me in this list was Chart a Course.

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This card fell by the wayside a little bit, but I think this list highlights the fact that Chart transforms idiot mana dorks into raw cards – I can see the strength of the additional mana dorks in Noble Hierarch as a way to feed a turn two Chart. Furthermore, Lingering Souls and Chart have delicious synergy. Not only does Souls create Spirits to attack with, but it also is a great card to pitch to a non-triggered Chart! Perhaps Maxtortion’s old Esper Delver could consider Chart for similar reasons thanks to this interaction.

This list comes from Hareruya’s Legacy Holiday Cup. Other than the Disrupt, which I can’t really get behind, I like a lot of the innovations this list has. Firstly, Predict.

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I’m more in love with Predict in Delver shells than most people and this list, with it’s nine cantrips (adding Preordain) makes activating Predict’s full effect pretty feasible. I also like the double Set Adrift, which works as a nice little package with the Predicts, appreciating it’s ability to stock the graveyard. I also like how Young Pyromancer has been chosen in this shell to give it less of a Burn feel than typical Blue-Red Delver with Stormchaser Mage. Pyromancer gives the deck a way to actual control the lategame and takeover with the token army, especially with Predict churning through the deck.

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The sideboard has a bizarre-of Weaver of Lightning which I kind of… Like? I imagine this card is a house against Death & Taxes and other Delver decks, and unlike Grim Lavamancer, who eats up the graveyard that’s required for Set Adrift, he can function without the graveyard. For this cost Izzet Staticaster is usually the go-to though…


Thanks for reading This Week in Legacy once more! As always here’s some links to enjoy the rest of the week:

  • Eternal Durdles has episode twenty-five out here.
  • Hoogland plays an hour of… Cheerios?! Watch the stream replay here.
  • Phil Gallagher has lots of great news concerning Thraben University. Find that here.
  • Watch the replay of the Dutch Open Series here. If anyone has deck list for this event I’d love to hear from you!
  • Julian Knab is back with some Legacy videos! Catch up with him at!

‘Til next time.

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I’m Playing This Week

I was talking about Predict. And we know I like Predict in RUG. So let’s just go ham on that.

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The main deck looks the smoothest I’ve ever had. I’m back on Dismember, even though I hate it to pieces, but there’s been a lot of Knight of the Reliquary running around in my metagame that I want to kill.

The Spice Corner

To honor her unbanning in Modern, I present, from friends in Sydney, Australia “Mark’s Value Train”. It’s just Czech Pile with Bloodbraid Elf, but that in itself is pretty cool!

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