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This Week in Legacy: October Legacy Classic and Kaladesh Technology

Welcome to another This Week in Legacy! This week we’ll be looking towards the results from the October Magic Online Legacy Classic, which featured a few interesting decks and card choices. We’ll also further investigate how Kaladesh may influence Legacy. Will there be Copters flying around the skies owned by Delver of Secrets? We shall see. 

October Legacy Classic Breakdown

Anyway, let’s have a look at the breakdown of the Classic that occurred on the 8th of October.

As an aside, the Magic Online Legacy metagame is a bit bizarre currently, due to the lack of Conspiracy: Take the Crown cards available. Sanctum Prelate and Recruiter of the Guard have yet to make their appearance Online, and hence the Online metagame is not running parallel with that of Paper Legacy. To me, this is pretty frustrating. Although Rishadan Port’s price already exacerbates the differences between Online and Paper, creating a set with such high-impact cards for eternal formats but not making them accessible Online for testing in a reasonable time frame (especially with the Eternal Weekend events coming soon) I find pretty baffling. For the sake of eternal players, I’d love to see better incorporation of cards from sets like Conspiracy or Commander into Magic Online in a timely fashion, since these sets are often a lifeline to format-defining cards. I know Treasure Chests are something to look forward to, but, at least for Conspiracy 2, it feels like too little, too late.

Anyway, unlike other Legacy Classics, which have often shown a bevy of diversity in all the decks, this event was flush with Miracles, six going 5-2 or better. A lot of them were quite interesting builds, however, deviating from the standard Mentor builds that have been most popular. Four of these lists opted to go in a more pure-control direction, at least in the main deck, the only win conditions being Snapcasters, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and some number of Entreat the Angels. If anything, they feel like successors to the old Reid Duke-style lists, who encouraged the running of as few win conditions as possible – especially with two of the lists running Supreme Verdicts, just like a true classical control deck. Mentors were often found in the sideboard, though.

The first-placing list was bocci, who has always put up some strong results with Death & Taxes. And this time was no different:

The lack of Prelate and Recruiter is evident, of course, but bocci’s showing proves that even without these cards the deck is damn powerful. And there’s certainly some innovation here too. His most interesting incorporation in the main deck is Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.

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This move certainly looks like a hedge against the expected metagame of midrange and control strategies such as Miracles and Shardless, and I’m sure Gideon would be an excellent surprise against many opponents, despite the difficulty casting him at times (especially with a Thalia in play). Bocci has also incorporated a full set of Flagstones of Trokair to go with his three Armageddons in the sideboard. Again, this is looking like a person who really, really wants to crush Miracles. His main deck also has a very tight threat suite; Serra Avenger’s presence as an excellent but mediocre-looking role-player evident once more and Thalia, Heretic Cathar found some slots.

One of the Shardless BUG lists incorporated a new card too:

Grim Flayer!

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A card that has seen a huge amount of play in Modern has now found his place within the flex slots of Shardless BUG, with Delirium easy to achieve thanks to the deck’s artifact creatures and planeswalkers. He can also set up a nice Cascade into Ancestral Visions if needed. However, I’m a bit more of a fan of him in perhaps a BUG tempo shell (i.e. Delverless BUG Delver), where the board is clear and the Flayers can get in damage (and trigger) unhindered even when not a 4/4, compared to Shardless where the board often stalls. Here’s my theory-crafted list.

With seven different card types in the main deck (even though Library and Liliana are one-ofs), Flayer should be quite easy to turn on and make into our Goyfs five through six, often with the upside of filtering through our deck when needed. This list is also a bit more proactive and aggressive than typical Shardless BUG, having a lot more one-mana plays. It should make the combo matchup a bit more reasonable, especially with sideboard Flusterstorms and Invasive Surgery (which get pretty impressive with Flayer!). However, we do lose the impressive turn one Delver draws with Daze, Wasteland, and Hymn back up, though I’ve found BUG lists that capitalize on the Delver draws are the worst due to the lack of Lightning Bolt for reach.

I’d love to hear anyone’s feedback if they’ve tried a list similar to this! Also, inspiration goes out to this thread on r/MTGLegacy as well as Tomas Mars Delverless BURG Delver I featured two weeks ago.

The next list we’ll look at is the lovely RUG Delver list of Jonathan Alexander. I’d like to give a shout-out to him for continually showing to the world that Canadian Threshold is alive and well, and that with innovation and strong play it will remain an excellent contender. Have a look at his blog The Weekly Wars where he outlines a lot of excellent information on RUG Delver and Storm. Also, he has a brilliant three-part episode on Humans of Magic (here, here and here) with James Hsu that I would highly recommend.

Anyway, on to his actual list:

There are a few statements that Jonathan makes with his list:

  • Two Tarmogoyfs main. Because Tarmogoyf is the biggest, dumbest idiot in the deck. I find this decision completely understandable, as flooding on creatures generally turns out very poorly for RUG Delver, as tapping out for Goyf on turn two can often lead to death against combo.
  • Three Spell Snare is not a number common to many, but fits what RUG Delver wants to do incredibly well. It trades a one-mana card for an opponent’s two-mana card, netting a tempo advantage, and gives flexible answers to Chalice of the Void, Counterbalance, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and opposing Tarmogoyfs, which are all problematic cards for RUG.
  • One Counterspell. Jonathan’s list has an incredible amount of countermagic, and he rounds this out with the most classical of all. Once your deck is flush with one-mana threats holding up Counterspell becomes easier because no longer are you tapping out for multiple Goyfs. I can imagine it being a liability when one’s mana is under attack though, such as against Delver or Death & Taxes.
  • One Winter Orb. This harkens back, in my mind, to the old Miracle Gro lists (the original list you can find here in 2001 GP Las Vegas), the most classical of tempo decks, who abused Daze and Gush with Winter Orb to cripple opponents but themselves remain unscathed to the Orb’s effects. This card is a powerhouse in many matchups, locking together with the mana denial RUG is well-known for to make Daze continually powerful even into the late-game. Jonathan has a couple more in the sideboard for when they really shine, such as against Miracles.
  • One Seal of Fire. Sometimes, you need to kill small creatures and also beat 5/5s. Seal lets you kill those pesky Pyromancers and fight with your Goyfs against Anglers and Smashers. It’s also gotten the nod over Tarfire, I suppose, because Deathrite cannot eat it and shrink Goyf, and it gets under Chalice of the Void.
  • One Tarmogoyf / two True-Name Nemesis in… the sideboard? A Goyf in the sideboard looks weird because he’s generally well-known to be the best cookie-cutter creature in the main of many Legacy decks. But not in RUG, where he can be too slow. I’d imagine Goyf is brought in against decks such as Eldrazi or Death & Taxes, where just having a big blocker and playing to the board is important. The two True-Names I’d imagine are there to cut through control matchups, acting like additional Geese in some ways.

Anyway, read his thoughts on RUG in his recent primer to get reasoning behind his choices from the man himself. In the end, his list is incredibly conscious of what RUG Delver truly should be: the purest tempo deck in the format. As always, kudos to him for keeping one of my favorite decks on the map.

The last interesting deck from the Legacy Classic is Junk Nic Fit… Featuring the 12Post engine!

Of course, this deck can’t fit in the full package of Loci, as it has to run a big suite of basics that Veteran Explorer can search out. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of mana to be made here, but the deck also has a strong package of disruption and removal thanks to utilizing the black-green core that Explorer asks for. Therapy gives this ramp deck some early interaction to blunt combo, and unlike other Post variants that have to rely on cards such as Repeal or Moment's Peace, this variant has access to powerful sweepers such as Toxic Deluge and pinpoint removal like Abrupt Decay. Zenith makes a notable appearance too not only as additional copies of Primeval Titan (I’m surprised there’s no Dryad Arbor, though!) but can find some impressive options like Oracle of Mul Daya, Gaddock Teeg, Reclamation Sage, and… Dawnstrider! I guess a repetitive Fog is pretty good in some matchups.

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In the end, this is a very impressively crafted list, blending the complementary synergies of Nic Fit and 12Post into one deck.

Driving Around in Legacy

In Standard, Vehicles have been running around a fair bit and have made a significant impact on the format. Is there a place for these cards in Legacy? IslandSwamp showed off last week how Shops decks were abusing Skysovereign, Consul Flagship to break through board stalls via removing small creatures/planeswalkers or just flying over, and perhaps the Sol Land decks of Legacy can abuse these cards in a similar fashion. However, it must be noted that Vehicles can be a bit awkward in a format like Legacy that doesn’t have too many creatures laying around to Crew tVehicles, and one-mana, instant-speed Wrath of Gods can leave a battlefield littered with Vehicles but nothing to crew them with.

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This Vehicle is the one I feel has the most potential, because its enters-the-battlefield effect is quite potent against many of the format’s creatures. Five mana is quite a bit though, and perhaps retooling the mana base to accommodate it would be necessary.

If I did include it, I might opt for a more Sol Land-heavy build of White Stompy, including Lodestone Golem, who is an excellent driver. Blade Splicer’s token also makes for a good driver too!

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A card that has been defining Standard since Kaladesh’s inception looks impressive in Legacy due to its mana cost (two generic mana) castable off an Ancient Tomb or City of Traitors. It’s also a pretty nice flier to attack with over stalled boards. In fact, I like this one quite a bit with token generators such as Goblin Rabblemaster or even Hangarback Walker. Imagine Rabblemaster’s previously useless Goblins getting into the chopper.

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Cruiser also looks like an excellent top-end threat to close out the game in a similar kind of shell. It reminds me of cards such as Thundermaw Hellkite and Stormbreath Dragon, despite it not having true evasion. Turn two Fleetwheel Cruiser with follow-up creatures to Crew seems pretty awesome.

And so we come to… Vehicle Stompy? Excuse me, because now I’m going to post a self-indulgent brew for the second time today

If you’ve been exposed to Ravager Shops in Vintage, this list draws a lot of inspiration from there, and you’ll know exactly how Arcbound Ravager and Hangarback Walker are an excellent tag-team, and perhaps this list can abuse the token synergies of Hangarback with Vehicles, or just replace Ravager and Hangarback with some other filler creatures, as without Workshop they are quite a bit lackluster. Perhaps more key is the power of the full eight manlands in the deck to Crew Vehicles even when the board is empty. Is this better than Eldrazi or other Stompy variants? Probably not, but the synergies apparent here are certainly something that can be delved into. Turn one Copter into turn two anything feels pretty damn powerful, to be honest, especially when a janky Mox Diamond or other low-impact card is looted away. There’s also some spicy little Crucible of Worlds action here too. Loot away lands with Copter, then replay them for value. 

As an aside, a few other cards from Kaladesh have found themselves vaguely relevant in Legacy.

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Another excellent Soldier to add to that tribal deck, his mana cost of 2W is perfect with Sol Lands. 

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This instant has started to see some traction in some Infect lists. Many lists appreciate being able to play 2.5 Vines of Vastwood, and although this card cannot stop the opponent from equipping Jitte or do other cool Vines tricks, it’s serviceable in most roles and can have some upside at times. Replacing my third Vines with this card will be something I’ll be trying in my Infect lists going forwad.

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It’s been tied to bounce spells, it’s been tied with Homeward Path, it’s been tied with Brooding Saurian to cheat some fatties into play. In the end, it’s probably best not to try, as the card is quite dubious indeed.


Hope you enjoyed the analysis into the recent Legacy Challenge and a closer look at some Kaladesh cards and how they might fit into the format. Per usual, I’m always happy to hear some feedback, especially when I present some rather dorky-looking brews.

‘Til next time,

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

And catch me on The Salt Mine: An Australian Legacy Podcast, for more banter about Legacy!

What I’m Playing This Week

After waiting for lists to finally distill into a stable configuration, I’m finally ready to return to my love and Death & Tax some people.

Prelate, at least in my opinion, has proven to be the most powerful new addition and having two in the main of most lists seems to be slowly becoming standard, as it is much more powerful than a simple silver-bullet. I’ve also included main deck Serra Avengers to smooth out the curve like many lists have realized too.

I’ve opted for two Recruiter of the Guard. Feedback from many have called three Recruiters a bit too slow and clunky, and drawing one per game is all you really want to do. It has opened up a lot of sideboard options though, with a few powerful silver-bullets like Crusader, Mangara, Relic-Warder, and Faerie Macabre (blowing someone out with Vial at 3 when they cast Reanimate is sure to be a treat) finding their way into my sideboard. I would like a second Containment Priest, though. Probably the most controversial choice in the main deck is the two Thalia, Heretic Cathar. Many people are still on the fence concerning her strength in Death & Taxes, myself included. Although desirable to curve into on turn three, you can only have so many three drops, and running a singleton as a tutor target is lackluster, since you’d always prefer a Crusader or something similar in the late game. These are the slots most up for contention and, if she proves her worth, the list will likely remain as-is. If lackluster, Crusader and another creature (perhaps the fourth Stoneforge, Mangara, or a third Recruiter) will be finding their way into the main deck.

I’m also very keen to test Imperial Taxes once more, especially since I no longer have to fork out for Imperial Recruiters. I’d be looking at a list like this:

I cannot resist me some Pia and Kiran Nalaar action. Looping the card with Karakas is way too dirty. Three Caverns also looks like overkill, but the deck is now flush with Humans. I’m wary of Flickerwisp getting a bit awkward though.

The Spice Corner

This is actually not the first time a deck like this has seen play. For the budget-conscious, Death's Shadow Delver is a very spicy concoction that abuses Thoughtseize, Gitaxian Probe, and shocklands to make a monstrous Death's Shadow that can be Berserked to finish off your opponent. Very cool, and it looks like it can play a typical BUG Delver game otherwise.

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