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This Week in Legacy: Paying the Tax Collector

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 talking about all things Death and Taxes, and the current resurgence of the deck in Legacy under its supreme leader Yorion. We've also got some updates on the Legacy Data Collection Project, and also we have one event to talk about in the Legacy Showcase Challenge event. The Saturday Challenge did not fire (came close with 58 players) again, but there was also an event on Saturday in the AnziD Legacy 1.2K that we'll also be talking about.

Without further ado let's dive right in!

Death and Sky Noodles

Death and Taxes as a deck has often gone through many different adjustments over the years as it continues to pick up a new card here or there every so often. The deck is very much the definition of a metagame deck, in that it often doesn't fully solidify as it reacts to whatever is happening with the current metagame. A lot of the power of D&T starts in the deckbuilding phase. It sounds pretty simple, but in all reality, it isn't. There's a lot of intricate understanding of things such as having enough lands and mana to cast your spells, what your curve looks like, what options you have. These are very meticulously developed by many of the D&T community's best and brightest.

The deck has had a solid resurgence as of late in the current format and a lot of that falls on the back of one John Ryan Hamilton (also known as xJCloud), who has been at the forefront of development of the deck for a very long time.

John has been a firm proponent of the usage of Yorion, Sky Nomad in D&T for many different reasons even going back to December of 2020. He wrote about this card and why the deck should play it over on MinMaxBlog. A lot of the knowledge gleaned from this article still holds true today, and is showing up in force as D&T has grown to adopt the lovable Sky Noodle. In fact, of this past weekend's 24 D&T players in the Legacy Showcase Challenge, 22 of the players on the deck were on Yorion.

Let's take a look at a current list from the master of disaster himself, John Ryan Hamilton.

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The biggest changes this version of the deck has gotten over time is the Modern Horizons 2 printings of both Kaldra Compleat and Solitude. Both of these cards present a lot of strong options to D&T, with Kaldra giving the deck an incredibly powerful clock that is hard for decks to deal with and is easy to protect. Solitude is a generically powerful card, but D&T has a lot of flexibility in that it can be fetched to hand with Recruiter of the Guard.

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At its heart, this version of D&T is a Recruiter of the Guard deck. It leverages the card well and enables it to have answers to many different situations. Yorion provides the flexibility here, by allowing the deck to run multiple copies of answers and not have to choose between certain equipment (as 60 card D&T often has to decide between Kaldra and Sword of Fire and Ice). Yorion itself is extremely powerful, being a way of getting on board and blinking a bunch of things to either reset or reuse certain triggers.

The Recruiter package combined with the added deck space allows for the functionality of running multiple threats+answers to various things. For example, Spirit of the Labyrinth is a powerful card versus plenty of decks in the current format (especially those playing Uro) and having four copies of it in this build is very strong combined with the Recruiters that can also find them. More specialized effects such as Sanctum Prelate and Charming Prince don't necessarily need to be as card heavy, but offer some flexibility by still being able to be tutored for if need be. Skyclave Apparition continues to be one of the most powerful cards in the deck, offering it a wide array of answers to various aspects of the current format.

Yorion D&T certainly looks like the future of the current incarnation of the deck, and while that might change in the future, for now the Sky Noodle appears here to stay. By providing flexible functionality with the tutor package and powerful equipment, it is not hard to see why this is the weapon of choice for D&T players.

Update on the Legacy Data Collection Project

The last time I talked about this project I had made mention of the usage of Patreon to support the project. Well now there is even better news about the project! We've had a lot of dial turning with this to try to get this to a happy medium where players can easily discuss this data but also provide support for the players collecting the data, and now all of the data is open and free to the community at large, while also maintaining the Patreon to support the players collecting data.

Mainly what this means for this column is that I will be going back to re-linking the data sheets for each event!

If you enjoy seeing the data provided, please consider pledging! It really helps support this project. You can find the Patreon link right over here.

AnziD Sub Special Legacy 1.2K 8/7

Our good friend Anuraag Das ran a sweet free (with Twitch subscription) entry event over the weekend. This event ended up with 44 players overall and was a 1.2K prize pool event. This event was also run as a Double Elimination Swiss event, so basically you kept playing until you lost twice and then were out of the event. I love Double Elim events from the standpoint of allowing for cleaner records long-term in the event (no draws, etc).

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

There was a lot of D&T action in this event, and many of the format's more prolific D&T players (as we talked about earlier) came out in force. Overall though there was a lot of Spell Combo decks, and D&T made up most of the Vial decks (with the lone remaining Vial deck being Goblins).

Let's look at how the final Top 8 standings of this event looked.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Death and Taxes 1st John Ryan Hamilton
Bant Control 2nd Niv Shmuely
Izzet Tempo 3rd Bart Van Etten
Jeskai Ragavan Saga 4th Eli Tucker
Death and Taxes 5th Jason Murray
White Eldrazi 6th Lee Hung Nguyen
Lands 7th Julien Daniel-Moliner
Aluren 8th Brent Traut

The D&T players really came out in force for sure as John Ryan Hamilton (xJCloud) went on a real tear in this event, taking it all the way to the top on Yorion Taxes.

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We talked at length about this deck above, and it's great to continue to see John have great success with it.

Also at the top of this event was Bant Control!

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Four copies of Prismatic Ending is one heck of a statement. Definitely an interesting list all around.

Be sure to check out all of the lists on the linked decklist page above. Looked like a super fun event for sure!

Legacy Showcase Challenge 8/8

We did have a Legacy Showcase Challenge this weekend! For those that don't know, the Showcase Challenge is a Qualification Point entry premier event, costing 40 QPs to enter. The big draw of this event is that the Top 8 of this event qualifies for the Legacy Showcase Qualifier event at the end of the season. This event, thanks to data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project, had 210 players in it.

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

UR Delver had a massive presence in this event, 50% over the next most played deck in Death and Taxes. D&T was pretty well over the third deck in Bant Control as well. Despite the popularity, UR Delver converted only two players to the Top 8 overall.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st nathansteuer
Goblins 2nd Caedryn
Omni-Tell 3rd Yamaro
Death and Taxes 4th YawgmothPT
UR Delver 5th Alesha_
Sneak and Show 6th KlashBack
GW Depths 7th Didackith
Doomsday 8th sawatrix

This Top 8 is something for sure. Lot of interesting variety in both Combo, fair Blue, non-Blue fair, etc. At the end of the event however, it was nathansteuer who won the event in a swift 2-0 victory on UR Delver.

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A Delver deck with only TWO copies of Delver of Secrets?! Steam Vents?!?!?! The madness of it all. Seriously though, congrats to nathan for pulling it off with such an unorthodox view of the archetype. It's definitely very sweet.

HOWEVER, in Second Place we have one of Legacy's all-time coolest and most storied history of decks... GOBLINS.

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We were pretty fortunate to sit down with the pilot of this deck, aka Eli Goings who goes by GoblinLackey1 on every other place but Magic Online to talk about his history with Goblins and why the little red creatures are so dang awesome.

First of all, Eli, thanks for joining us. Now, tell us where to find the Goblin King! I’m kidding. Tell us about yourself!

Hey Joe! Thanks for having me. I’m a soon-to-be graduate student, currently waiting to depart to my masters program in Glasgow, Scotland. I’m a student of ancient history and archeology, and love strategy games of all kinds. Magic’s been a part of my life since I learned how to read, and I’m extremely happy I’ve finally been able to spike such a good finish in a big event! I do somewhat regular Magic content on Twitch and on Patreon, though I’ve slowed down a bit lately because of preparing for my trip.

How long have you been playing Goblins, and what drew you to the deck?

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I started building Goblins in 2016, and actually finished the deck around the start of 2017. I’ve been playing it more or less nonstop since then. A couple of things drew me to Goblins. I knew I wanted to try Legacy, and I really liked the look of the Aether Vial decks. My initial plan was to just build Goblins and then pivot into D&T with the Vials, Wastelands, and Ports, because D&T seemed stronger (but more expensive in the creature department). However, once I got Goblins together, I just couldn’t put it down. I eventually did have all of D&T, but never once actually registered it in an event because I loved Goblins too much. I find the play patterns of Goblins too dynamic to become bored of the deck. It offers insane replayability by its nature. You shift roles many times from matchup to matchup, or within the same games. I affectionately call it a combo-control-midrange-prison-aggro deck. It offers some of the experience of playing every Legacy macro-archetype.

How did you arrive at the list you played for this event? Are there any changes you’d make going forward to it?

I arrived at my list by getting absolutely demolished the day before. I went 1-2 in Anuraag’s 1.2k event, and then went on a 2-9 losing streak in leagues, even losing conventionally good matchups like D&T. I played basically all day, testing all sorts of lists, as I really wanted to have a list I could be happy with for the Showcase. I had taken a week long break from MTGO already, so I was cramming as much as possible. All my losses taught me how exactly I could build my manabase to accommodate Masked Vandal, a card that has proven critical in the current metagame. Vandal solves so many problems, namely Kaldra Compleat and Urza's Saga. It also is incredible in plenty of other situations. I’ve sniped Sylvan Library, Valakut Explorations, Alurens, Vials, Omnisciences, Baleful Strix, the list goes on.  I also arrived at a realization with regards to how Vial decks are being built in general. At this point, Yorion D&T is by far the most successful Vial deck, and I believe it achieves this by having 4x Recruiter (equivalent to Matron) and then using flicker effects to copy the Recruiter, giving the deck both consistency and flexibility. With Goblins, I was running into the issue where if my first copy of Matron wasn’t allowed the luxury of finding Ringleader, or my Ringleader didn’t find me another Matron, I would lose control of the game because I couldn’t effectively respond to what my opponent was doing, ending my ability to pivot to whatever role I needed to take in the moment. My solution to this was Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. Kiki allows you to generate ridiculous value in a long game, and is weirdly resilient vs certain decks. As a five CMC creature, it dodges Fatal Push, Abrupt Decay, Prismatic Ending, and Skyclave Apparition. I also thought it was an elegant solution to Bant Miracles leaning heavily into Dress Down as a control card. Kiki makes Stifle effects look embarrassing. The Goblin Sharpshooter was another meta call. You can actually find my stream VOD not more than a week ago when I called Sharpshooter unplayable, and in a “normal” meta, I think it is. However, I really wanted more cards that generate value simply by sitting on board, turn after turn. Sharpshooter fits the bill, and in particular will dominate any boardstate against D&T. Given that there are very few Plague Engineers in the top 5-6 decks at the moment, I felt like I could take the risk of Sharpshooter over the 2nd copy of Pashalik Mons, which I normally prefer.

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As far as changes, I would really like to fit a copy of Mogg Fanatic in the list somewhere. Having zero ways to clear a turn one Ragavan or Mother of Runes on the draw (outside of Pyrokinesis) is not a comfortable place to be. Fanatic has phenomenal utility in the deck (always going to the graveyard for Vandal, double triggering Sharpshooter, Pashalik, pumping Piledriver early, etc). I’m not quite sure what the cut would be though.

How do you feel about the current state of Legacy and also how Goblins fits into the current format?

Legacy is quite narrow at the moment, which I’m not a fan of. There are clearly four very strong decks, and everything else is a good bit weaker than those decks (being UR Delver/tempo, Bant Miracles, Jeskai Saga, and Yorion D&T). Of the four, I think D&T is consistently underrated, and Jeskai is heavily overrated as it’s only very strong against other blue decks in my experience. Doomsday is worth mentioning as well, but the deck’s seemingly unsolvable Delver matchup really holds it back. I’ve been an advocate for banning Daze for awhile now, and I think the current results bear out how reasonable that is. Delver is consistently dominant in Legacy outside of small blips like the Breach era, but if you nerf Delver decks only, I would not be surprised to see Doomsday dominate the format. Daze hits both decks at once and reduces the play/draw importance in Legacy, which is pure incidental upside. The die roll feels way more important than it should right now.

As far as Goblins goes, I’d say it’s benefiting from these top blue decks pushing out Goblins’ worst matchups, and allowing its better ones to flourish for the most part. I can’t recall losing once to Bant Miracles in the past month or two, and I feel like I’ve solved the D&T matchup for the time being. I feel favored against Jeskai Saga as well. I’ve done a good bit of 1 on 1 testing vs UR Delver with friends, and found it to be essentially a coinflip matchup. The die roll will have tremendous influence in the match, as resolving a Vial around a Daze when on the play is massive, and Ragavan goes from scary to a complete nonfactor when I’m on the play. If I ever get to resolve a Mogg War Marshal, I get to ignore Ragavan for the rest of the game. Murktide Regent is terrifying in game 1, but I’ve hedged for that with a whopping four Red Elemental Blast effects in my sideboard. Goblins is also really assisted right now by the more popular combo decks being Doomsday and Show and Tell variants. Since the printing of Muxus, I think I’m actively favored against S&S, and even more so with my current build because I have four Blasts, and two Vandals for Omniscience and Sneak Attack. Doomsday is frustrating to play against a lot of the time, but in the long run I’ve maintained a 50/50 or better record against it. Cavern Lackey into Muxus or Sling Gang can race anything but a turn 1 kill, and Goblins has just enough interaction between REB, Mindbreak Trap, Surgical Extraction, and Wasteland/Port to typically slow the Doomsday player down, or at least build a slower pile that might lose a sudden Sling Gang or Warchief + Piledriver kill.

I’m a little concerned about the coming weeks for Goblins. D&T and Delver both have massive targets on their heads, and unfortunately for me, Goblins gets hit by many sideboard cards that people play for both of those decks. I’ve seen a lot of Hydroblasts lately, which is really obnoxious for me if I don’t have Cavern or Vial. All the cards that are good against Ragavan are also good against Goblin Lackey, and because of how popular Ragavan is, people are less likely to keep hands that just die to a turn one Lackey. I hope people continue to play Null Rod over other available hate for their D&T matches, Null Rod doesn’t really affect me that much on average.

Of the tier two decks, GW Depths is unquestionably the hardest to beat, and I’d qualify it as the most difficult matchup I’ve ever tried to solve with Goblins. At least with the turn one combo decks like Belcher or Oops All Spells you can stock the sideboard with haymakers to flip it. Very little works against Depths. Outside of that, I’m hoping to dodge stuff like TES, Reanimator, GB Depths, and Ruby Storm. I beat Ruby Storm in the Showcase 2-0, but I got insanely lucky game one, and then game two I just had the perfect hand of Lackey, Mindbreak Trap, Pyroblast, Pyrokinesis, Sling Gang, Cratermaker, Badlands. Every angle was covered aside from a turn one-two protected by Defense Grid. 

Any awesome stories you’d like to share about this event? Any cool games or plays that stand out?

I’m really proud of how I navigated my match against BUG Stiflenaught. My biggest weakness as a player is not adapting well to decks I’ve never seen before. My opponent had Urza's Saga, Uro, and then four Dress Down (confusing with the Sagas), Stifles, and Dreadnaughts. Game One I looked absolutely the most dead. They had an active Uro, a Grist, two Urza's Sagas, Dress Down’d when I blocked Uro with my Piledriver, removing the protection from blue, and I was at 7 life to their 16, five cards in hand to my one. They even had a Life from the Loam going with the Sagas! However, that one card was Kiki Jiki that I had found off Matron, and I had a Matron and a Ringleader in play. My first Kiki activation on Ringleader was Stifled, but after going to 1 life from Uro, I managed to resolve a 2nd Kiki activation, this time on Matron fetching Muxus. Muxus hit Matron, Expert, Lackey, Sharpshooter, and Sling Gang, an absolute god-tier hit. The Expert killed the Grist, and the Matron fetched up my Pashalik. My opponent couldn’t push any damage through my massive wall of 1/1s, and they conceded to the oncoming deluge of damage from Sharpshooter + Sling Gang + Pashalik + Kiki on Sharpshooter that would easily deal 40+ damage by sacrificing my board. 

Do you have any sweet Goblins tips for anyone new looking to pick up the deck?

I’ve done a lot of writing on my Patreon for sweet tips, but that stuff tends to come once you’ve gotten some reps in with the deck. I think my biggest core principles for Goblins are 1. Make sure your mana is good and 2. Don’t jam a bunch of 1x silver bullets just because you can. I played a whopping 17 red sources this weekend and I still lost in the finals because my game one seven had zero red sources or Vials, and so did my game two seven and six card hands. Being forced to mull to a medicore six and a medicore five is an easy way to lose a fine matchup. It is the biggest failrate point of the deck, aside from Ringleader whiffing. I also specifically did not play Cabal Therapy in my sideboard like I wanted to, because I found that Therapy on top of splashing green for Vandal is just undoable. As far as silver bullets go, I will say that I’m playing more of them right now than I typically do. I prefer two-three copies of lots of things, and then only three-four one-of Goblins for Matron. However, a lot of these one-ofs are actually like additional copies of similar cards in the deck. Kiki is like the fifth Matron/fourth Ringleader, Sharpshooter is like a 2nd Pashalik, Vandal is like a third Cratermaker that hits specific targets that Cratermaker can’t, Gempalm is like a fourth Munitions Expert, etc. You want to be Matron'ing for Ringleader a large portion of the time anyway. Don’t fall for getting too fancy. Respect your curve, make sure you play enough two drops. The easiest way for Goblins to lose is having hands that are all three+ CMC value creatures, then you just get tempo’d out by just about anything, even the control decks. 

Thanks again for joining us! You are indeed the GOAT (Goblin of All Time) and I really appreciate your time. Drop some deets on social media below so people know where to find you.

Thanks so much for having me! 

My Twitter:
My Twitch Stream:
My Youtube Channel:
My Patreon:

Down the Top 8 we've got Omni-Tell in Third.

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The big draw here is the presence of Paradox Zone in the sideboard. I really like the idea of this card in more grindy matchups where it is simply creating a body every turn. Definitely seems incredibly powerful.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we've got a showing by GW Depths.

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This is a solid list. GW Depths is definitely one of the better non-blue decks in the format right now. It boasts a lot of really powerful plays.

Outside of the Top 8, we get to see what Delver is like without... Delver?

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Zero Delver. Already getting close to cutting all the bad cards out of the Delver shell. It turns out the worst one was Delver all along. (This is a joke, but this list is still sweet).

Further down the Top 32 we've got a sick Yorion Zenith deck.

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This deck is wild and I love it.

Also down the Top 32 we've got TURBO CASCADE....

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Turbo Cascading into Crashing Footfalls seems like one heck of a good time!

Around the Web

  • The Dark Depths Podcast had on John Ryan Hamilton as a guest, and it was GLORIOUS. Check it out here.
  • Phil Gallagher gives us some EPIC ROBOT STORM. Check it out here.
  • The MTG Paper Legacy Discord has a sweet Twitch Channel, so go check that out here (and throw them a sub!)
  • Two Gamblers Gambling their lives away. Check it out here.
  • The Legacy Pit has some sweet Esper Vial vs RUG Delver action. Check that out here.
  • A great primer on Aluren combo got posted, so go check that out here.

The Spice Corner

Urza's Kitchen is now airing next season on Legacy as well as Modern! Now starring guest host Gordon Ramsay.

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This is some sweet Nic Fit Chain of Smog goodness!

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Okay this deck is sweet. Like... Fauna Shaman aggro?! Horned Kavu?!?!?

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Perennial Humans player Eddie Zamora with YORION HUMANS.

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Lot going on in this Pox list, but there's definitely a Liliana, Waker of the Dead and Urza's Saga support, so that's super cool.

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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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