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This Week in Legacy: May the Metagame Report

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're going to be diving into the current state of the Legacy metagame! It's our May Metagame Report! In addition to that, we've got two Challenges to talk about, one of which was the Showcase Challenge for Legacy from this past weekend.

Also, just a reminder that registration is live for The Legacy Pit Open II event! Head over to their website to find out more information!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The May Metagame Report

Since it's been a minute since we last looked at the overall data, it feels like a great time to see what Legacy is looking like from the Challenge metagame perspective over the past month. This data is based on the aggregate data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project from 1/29/22 (the date of the Ragavan ban) through this past weekend's Challenges. You can find this aggregate combined sheet here. Currently, this data set comprises 3,475 entries with an estimated number of almost 20,000 matches of Magic. This data continues to grow and grow over time and it is presenting an interesting look at the Legacy format.

Let's start by looking at a high level overview of the macro archetypes of the format.

As we've come to expect over time, a big majority of the Legacy format is currently ruled by both Tempo and Midrange/Control strategies, many of which are very traditionally blue based strategies. Overall this means that Legacy is currently a very overwhelmingly fair format over this time period, as combined even the combo archetypes don't even come close to the Tempo/Midrange/Control archetypes combined. Fair based GSZ decks are also very popular as well, given the rise of decks like Lands and GW Depths.

Let's take a look at the subarchetype breakdown.

As has been expected, UR Delver's dominance of the format is very clear. At a little over 20% of the metagame, UR Delver has an estimated 54.3% win percentage without mirrors, and a lower end min win percentage of 51.64%. With the sample size given, it is clear that UR Delver is a very strong way to approach the Legacy format right now.

The next most popular deck goes all the way down to 8.1% of the format with Jeskai Control. This deck being a relatively newer deck this year having already pushed to this kind of meta share is very interesting, and its general win rate is reasonable enough at 50.5% w/o mirrors. This is a powerful deck in the format right now, and well worth keeping an eye on.

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Death and Taxes comes next in the list at 5.6% of the metagame and it too has a pretty strong win rate at 51.5% non-mirror win rate. Much of this is because D&T has such a positive Delver matchup that it is a very strong option of play in the current metagame.

Moving down the list past D&T, we're seeing decks like 8Cast, Reanimator, and Elves all having reasonable metagame share, but only 8Cast really having a strong win rate. Lands/GW Depths are low metagame numbers, but their win rates and finishes are very strong. ANT also has a strong win rate for its percentages, mostly on the back of DemonicTutors killing many events with the deck as of late.

What this data tells us overall is that Legacy is very slanted towards UR Delver and the format is piling decks around it that tend to beat it, while also having plenty of decks that beat the decks that beat UR Delver. The problem that I see with this is not the fact that this format has a clear best deck that makes metagaming pretty easy, it's that the best deck in the format has a very clear commanding lead and one of the strongest win rates in the format even with the entire format gunning for its very existence. And while UR Delver has its occasional off weekends, while still having a very high skill floor to learn on, it continues to push itself in many ways across the entire format. I suspect and hope that something out of this shell does get changed before too long, because it has definitely continued to be one of the defining parts of the current metagame.

The Resurgence of Blood Moon Aggro

It's always interesting to see when decks wax and wane in and out of the metagame, and as of late the "Blood Moon Aggro"/Mono Red Stompy Prison variants have had a little bit of life breathed into them, thanks to a few new cards from both Streets of New Capenna and Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. While Chalice of the Void decks in general had been on a reasonable downswing thanks to the presence of Prismatic Ending in the format, much of the format's current revolving around UR Delver has allowed these Chalice decks to rise back up again, namely in both the 8Cast decks and in Blood Moon Aggro Stompy variants.

The two cards though that have really helped this archetype are Unlicensed Hearse and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.

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The Hearse is a card I definitely had eyes on during spoiler season. It has a lot of power to it, being able to deal with Uro and shrink graveyards for both Escape purposes as well as being able to shut an opponent off Delirium or Delve by forcing their graveyard to shrink every turn, while late game being able to be a powerful creature is quite strong.

Fable on the other hand, was not quite on the radar, but seeing it in play has been very illuminating. It creates both mana and card advantage which is really strong, but also creates bodies on the board as well that are expendable enough as tokens. It's also great that these tokens are 2/2s, allowing them to play well with Unlicensed Hearse by being able to Crew that card. It does quite a bit of things, and on the back it creates copies of either its token that make more Treasure tokens or it makes copies of things like Goblin Rabblemaster or Legion Warboss to generate more threats and game-ending turns.

All of this has made for a very potent and powerful combination for these decks, allowing them to yet again flourish in the current format.

Legacy Challenge 5/14

We had two Challenges this past weekend, one of which was the early morning Saturday event. This event had 63 players in it, thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the datasheet here.

Jeskai Control had a slight popularity lead over UR Delver in this event, with both decks having a reasonable win rate. Doomsday also did reasonably and so did Death and Taxes.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
8Cast 1st fuya
Elves 2nd MomsBasementStreams
4C Control 3rd trunks132
Oops! All Spells 4th BERNASTORRES
Sneak and Show 5th snoopy-magic
Death and Takes 6th Granham
UR Delver 7th Bryzem1
Jeskai Control 8th wiky

Definitely an interesting Top 8 here with a fair amount of diversity going on. At the end of the event, it was 8Cast that took it all down.

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Lightning Greaves as an option for equipping to Kappa Cannoneer the turn it comes down to at least get in for 5 points of damage is pretty strong, and then just giving it shroud in general lets it get around decks that may be able to pay the Ward cost (such as 8Mulch/Lands). Very strong combination of cards for sure.

The Second Place finalist was on Elves.

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This is more of the traditionally known Nettle Sentinel builds, not running Elvish Reclaimer. I can't say either way which is truly better, but I know that both decks can certainly do their thing well enough as long as cards like Allosaurus Shepherd exist.

Further, into the Top 8 we had a 4C Control variant.

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The Wandering Emperor is such a sweet card. It's very powerful and does a lot of really strong things, that most of all mostly dodges cards like Prismatic Ending and Pyroblast.

Also in this Top 8 we had Oops! All Spells.

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One of the cool things about this deck is the evolution that led to it playing Memory's Journey, which is a solid card that can filter cards back into the library if need be in response to things like Surgical Extraction among other things. It's a cool piece of tech that does some strong stuff and makes the deck a little more resilient to certain effects.

Legacy Showcase Challenge 5/15

We also had a Showcase Challenge this past weekend. These events are Qualification Point only events, costing 40 QPs to enter. The Top 8 of these events gets to move onto the Showcase Qualifier at the end of the Premier Play Season. This event had 158 players in it, thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

Delver had a 24% metagame share in this event, over the next top deck at 10% (Jeskai Control) and it had a solid win rate to boot. Jeskai Control did well, as did Blood Moon Aggro variants featuring Unlicensed Hearse and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Control 1st twinlesstwin
UR Delver 2nd Thrall90
UR Delver 3rd Mogged
UR Delver 4th nathansteuer
Blood Moon Aggro 5th KelMasterP
Cephalid Breakfast 6th Thalai
Goblins 7th Caedyrn
Slivers 8th danielnunes

Definitely a Tempo heavy Top 8 here, but there was also a lot of really solid and fun things going on in this Top 8, all of which we're going to talk about, starting with the winner of the event on Jeskai Control!

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This variant is definitely more on the "Wheels" plan than other Jeskai lists we've seen, leaning on Hullbreacher and Narset, Parter of Veils to put the opponent out of cards with Day's Undoing. Definitely a powerful combination of cards there. Again we also see The Wandering Emperor making a splash here too.

The Second Place finalist was on UR Delver.

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Delver continues to be a powerful part of the format right now, and I am definitely seeing more and more lists with Mystic Sanctuary in them due to how strong that card is with Expressive Iteration and being able to rebuy Iterations throughout the game. Very powerful stuff.

Further down the Top 8 we had World Champ Javier Dominguez on Yorion Breakfast!

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This deck is pretty sick.I love how there are multiple strong ways of getting back Thassa's Oracle between both Dread Return and Unearth. Definitely a super powerful strategy that looks like it has adjusted well to the 80 card life.

Also in this Top 8 we had the number one Goblins afficionado Eli Goings (aka GoblinLackey1) on well... Goblins!

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We've also seen Goblins pick up both Unlicensed Hearse and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and both of those cards also seem very strong in this shell as well. Fable providing mana and cards as well as bodies to work off both Gempalm Incinerator and Munitions Expert is very strong indeed.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have the very powerful Daniel Nunes on the one and only Slivers.

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This deck is so cool, and Daniel is such an accomplished Slivers player that it's incredibly seeing his persistence pay off with the deck. The deck did gain yet another Rainbow land for tribes out of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty in Secluded Courtyard, so that part is really intriguing to me. I am also digging the Maze of Ith and Unlicensed Hearse (again that card keeps showing up) in the sideboard here. Very solid result!

Around the Web

  • TonyScapone has some sweet video action on The EPIC Gamble! Check it out here.
  • Eternal Durdles is talking up Commander Legends teasers from Mark Rosewater. Check it out here.
  • This past week marked a momentous occasion of four years ago with Gary Campbell becoming the oldest GP competitor to win a Legacy GP! Check out the Deck Tech of his deck, Mono Red Prison here!
  • IN RESPONSE has some Ledger Shredder content. Check it out here.
  • Bazaar of Boxes 3 has its Series 3 tournament on YouTube. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 deck lists over here.

Big Blue deck with Slogurk and Omnath is pretty sweet.

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This DRS/Shadow deck is super sweet.

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Mob Nixilis in Nic Fit!

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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 MTGLegacy Discord Server.

Until next time!

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