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This Week in Legacy: Player Spotlight Series - The Eternal Durdle


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 looking at another Player Spotlight Series. This time we're joined by two content creators who create some epic podcasts with the crew of Eternal Durdles. In addition to that we've got some info on a recent paper event from over the weekend (OK Land Run) as well as Challenge data from this past weekend. We're also going to be talking a little bit about Unfinity revelations from this past weekend as well.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Player Spotlight Series - The Eternal Durdle

This month's Player Spotlight Series focuses on a pair of content creators who operate one of the coolest podcasts around, focusing on Legacy and Magic news with some of the best hot takes the Internet has to offer. That's right, we are joined by Zac Clark and Phil Blechman of Eternal Durdles! As we often like to do with these articles, I'm going to let these guys take the stage and share their story.

Zac Clark

Early Zac Clark

I got into MTG in 1994 after playing a lot of DnD and buying a “Magic” book, and realizing that CCGs were a thing I could do on long car trips with my brother.

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Eventually, I was running local tourneys in South Jersey at Legends Comics and Games in the Deptford Mall. Richard Garfield personally administered my Judge test in 2000 at Pro Tour Nemesis. After 2001, I quit the game for college and popped back in a couple times but it didn’t stick until I walked into 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn in 2012.

The Return of the Zac

I was already a pretty prolific blogger (RockerTycoon was my Local Music blog, but I had like 7 blogs going at that time). I started working on writing articles about Magic. I shopped them around a bit but the overwhelming response was, “JUST WHO ARE YOU?” I had no tournament results nor was I known very well even in my local community, I just wanted to write about the game and my experience. So I decided I’d just work on my own website.

ETERNAL DURDLES

Eventually, I started Podcasting alone just doing interviews about Legacy, not exactly sure where or what that would become. Nathan Golia mentioned that he would like to join in, and we got that ball rolling pretty much each week. Phil started on as a co-host one week when Nate was on vacation or sick and couldn’t make it so I recorded myself alone just talking to the mic for an episode. He reached out and was like if you need a sub you should hit me up I’ll talk about Legacy. Nate and I decided it would be smart to have a third Voice on the cast especially because Phil’s style meshes well against Nate’s and mine.

Nate left the cast just before we got the video end figured out. Now Phil and I do a weekly show covering the news with an eye on Legacy for Magic: the Gathering. We often invite guests and do set review tourney recaps and unhinged rants on why “X” card should be banned this week.

In the Here and Now

In my MTG career I’d say my hyper-competitive days are largely behind me. I chased the Pro Tour for a while and got 2nd place in a PTQ, After 20+ years of Magic that felt like about as close to the sun as I can fly.

My wheelhouse is really finding the niche in the meta and exploiting that in deck building, It’s rare that it’s been a skill put on display but I’ve had a few brushes with greatness in Standard, Legacy, and Vintage. Now I mostly play Legacy, EDH with my friends, and Vintage/Premodern/Old School. I’m a lover of nostalgia especially if it’s bent around Magic. I love a good 90’s Playlist.

Phil Blechman

Phil Blechman's Gaming Origin

When Phil (aka ForceofPhil) was a fat child, he collected Pokémon cards. He collected every card from the original 151, except for Blastoise — an omen of his tendency to play blue decks later in his Magic: The Gathering career.

His first time competing at the competitive card tables was at age 8. He didn’t know how to play Pokémon, but his dad let him play in the event at the local rundown mall that held a flea market every Sunday. Phil was promptly gamed by a teenager with no shame and dropped out of the tournament. Phil went on to sell his entire Pokémon collection a few years later to a hobby and paintball shop for $20.

Phil graduated to playing Yugioh in his adolescence. The game was in its infancy and Phil’s creative deckbuilding flourished until the game power crept itself with name-stamped decks that obsoleted the previous years’ designs. He played Six Samurai, Gladiator Beasts, Lightsworn, and Gravekeepers, but found his niche in Herald control — an omen of his tendency to play control decks later in his Magic: The Gathering career.

Once Phil went to college, he had enough understanding of game design to recognize all of Yugioh’s flaws and all but left the game. As he walked through what is now Destiny USA mall in Syracuse, NY, he saw a game shop and wondered if people still played Yugioh. A giant cardboard cutout of Sorin Markov greeted him at the entrance as the original Zendikar had just been released.

Phil returned to the Yugioh tables to learn nothing had changed. However, several Magic players who also played Yugioh were willing to trade Yugioh for Magic cards — what a deal. Phil built monoblack vampires with Contaminated Grounds as his first foray into the world of planeswalkers. He bought his very first pack and opened a Jace Beleren — an omen of his tendency to play Jace, the Mind Sculptor in every competitive event of his Magic: The Gathering career.

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Phil knew the power of drawing cards and decided that was all that mattered. In his very first FNM, he played a Bant Beleren deck. He cast Harrow into Mana Leak mana to counter his opponent’s Vengevine, then untapped and cast a Sun Titan to rebuy a Jace Beleren. His opponent has never been seen since.

Eventually, Phil expanded his horizons into the Legacy format, where he traveled to events with arguably the two best storm players on the planet at the time: Royce “Royce from New York” Walter and Bryant “The Whirlwind” Cook. Phil decided he would master the ways of Lion's Eye Diamond and became a Storm Bro.

At a side event of an SCG Open, Phil realized he had no idea what the hell he was doing playing storm. With Royce and Bryant birding over his shoulder, Phil continually missed protected kills. Phil proceeded to accidentally board his entire sideboard into his deck before presenting it to his opponent. Royce asked, “Did you just present a 75-card deck?”

The answer was yes and Phil was lost. He sucked at everything. As he wondered the tournament hall aimlessly, he ventured to the competitive tables where he saw Jace, the Mind Sculptor next to a Sensei's Divining Top. The player sitting behind them deftly moved cards between their hand and the top of their deck before a Terminus flipped onto the table followed by a slew of Angel tokens. It was the most elegant display Phil had ever seen in all his years around card games and he knew this was his future.

That day, he sold his Storm cards and bought Miracles.

Eternal Durdles & Rap Parodies

Phil joined Zac and Nate as a co-host of Eternal Durdles after the show was some 70 episodes in. Phil used this platform to become the pinnacle musical artist of Magic: The Gathering rap parodies.

The parodies started as a joke and a means for Phil to work his linguistic muscles while differentiating the podcast from others in the space. Phil’s background as a writer, journalist, and slam poet all wove together on sick beats to hopefully garner some laughs. His discography has turned into a journey of sorts into the Legacy format’s past; his parodies inadvertently document major moments in Legacy’s history.

From the format shift caused by War of the Spark to the bannings of Deathrite Shaman, Underworld Breach, and Ragavan, to the errata of the Cascade rule and Companions, to the ongoing ban discussions caused by the Delver shell, to songs for specific decks or sets like Reanimator, Miracles, Doomsday, The EPIC Storm, Strixhaven, and more, to theme songs for Legacy streamers like DougesonTwitch and 90sMTG and fellow Legacy podcasts like Cantrip Cartel, Phil has rapped Legacy’s history.

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Other notable legacy players who have been featured on ForceofPhil’s tracks include AnziDmtg, Nate Golia, and MeTheKaptain. Phil’s influence is also heard through his editing of other Legacy format podcasts, including the Eternal Glory podcast.

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Phil has not given up on Miracles as his deck of choice. He emphasizes A-B-C deckbuilding methodology for his deck updates (join the Eternal Durdles discord to learn more). His most significant innovation to the archetype is utilizing Thwart with Mystic Sanctuary to push the power of Counterbalance and Entreat the Angels.

Unfinity Spoilers

This past weekend at San Diego Comic Con was a real whirlwind of activity in regards to spoilers coming forth from Unfinity which is scheduled to be released on October 7th. One of the big things about this set is the advent of the "Acorn" functionality which distinguishes cards that are not legal in black border Magic. What this means is that there are cards in the set that are black border legal in Eternal Magic formats like Legacy and Vintage.

This is where things get a little weird. Here's where we get to talk about Stickers.

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So yes, just to clarify that this is something that will be legal in Eternal Magic formats like Legacy and Vintage. The way that Sticker cards work is that they give the player a new resource counter called Tickets, and if instructed the player can spend those Tickets on a Sticker from the Sticker sheets. A player can only Sticker cards that they own, so no shenanigans with stealing opponent's cards and stickering them. There are forty-eight different sticker sheets in Unfinity, however in Constructed game play you have to bring ten unique Sticker sheets and then randomly choose three before the start of each game. The Stickers themselves are using a very light glue (like Post It Notes) that can be used numerous times, however you can also use slips of paper to represent the abilities (as confirmed by Mark Rosewater). There's even going to be an online tool to randomly pick three sticker sheets for constructed in case it comes up.

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Each Sticker sheet has three name stickers, two ability stickers, and two power/toughness stickers. Power/toughness stickers can only exist one at a time on top of an existing power/toughness, they are not additive. Sticker effects only exist in any public zone (the battlefield, graveyard, exile, and Command Zone), but they return to the sticker sheet if they go to any non-public zone (hand or library). If a sticker goes back to the sticker sheet it can be used again with a different sticker effect.

Now, before everyone starts freaking out about this (and believe me, people are), it becomes important to put these things in perspective. Stickers are functionally fancy ability counters that persist across zones (think the card Skullbriar, the Walking Grave as a black border comparison), so the concept itself is pretty reasonable from the standpoint of working mechanically within the rules. That being said, I do not think many of the sticker cards or cards that care about stickers will actually be playable cards in Legacy. The ones we have seen thus far that are Eternal legal are exceptionally safe cards (Carnival Carnivore costing 5B is huge) and I expect that many of the cards that are legal are simply not pushed nearly enough to be playable in Legacy. Commentary from Mark Rosewater sofar seems to indicate this as well, which is nice to have.

In fact, the biggest issue that was presented was the use of stickers and glue-like material that could potentially damage cards, but the fact that you can simply use pieces of paper (or even fancy custom tokens if you want) to make the changes seems pretty fine to me in terms of being able to answer that concern. There is a further smaller issue concerning the usage of the Name stickers and effects like Pithing Needle and how that interacts, but I expect that more than likely that won't be as big of an issue in the long run.

In short: don't panic. It's going to be fine.

OK Land Run Legacy Championship 7/23

This past weekend was the OK Land Run Legacy Championship in Oklahoma City at Game HQ. This event had 67 players in it, which is awesome to see! You can find all of the decklists for this event over here on MTGMelee. I will note that there were a lot of decklists not submitted for this event on MTGMelee (meaning they were likely paper decklists not made available on Melee), making the Melee dataset incomplete, thus there is no data set for this event to piece together.

You can however, see the Top 8 for this event below.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
UR Delver 1st Benjamin Lukas
The EPIC Storm 2nd Tyler Ragels
Grixis Control 3rd Stephen Harvey
GW Depths 4th Matthew Sartin
UR Delver 5th Gerrick Alford
Lands 6th Tyler Klein
UR Delver 7th Cody O'Brien
Burn 8th Curtis Thompson

Legacy Challenge 7/23

We had two Challenges this past weekend, which was the early morning Saturday event. This event only had 46 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.

UR Delver had a strong presence here, with a very solid win rate. Reanimator had a presence as well with a middling win rate, while Blue Karn based decks (namely Displacer Kitten) and Elves did exceptionally well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st duke12
Stoneblade 2nd davy2892
Elves 3rd EronRelentless
UR Delver 4th 2plus2isfive
Death's Shadow 5th Diem4x
Mystic Forge Combo 6th Cherryxman
Yorion Displacer Kitten 7th Carroz
Doomsday 8th daibloXSC

Quite an interesting Top 8, with a smattering of Delver, as well as Elves, Shadow and even Displacer Kitten! At the end of the event however it was UR Delver that crushed its enemies.

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Definitely a super clean list here. We can see some of the beginnings of fighting against the mirror and other decks playing Pyroblast with a few copies of Hydroblast in the sideboard here. Makes a lot of sense if you expect to run across Pyroblast a lot.

The Second Place finalist was on Jeskai Stoneblade.

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I like to call this deck "The Rob Wilson" special, because it's definitely up his alley of gameplay. SFM paired with Murktide and DRC is pretty solid for sure.

Also in this Top 8 we've got a showing by Mystic Forge Combo.

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This deck is definitely incredibly wild, utilizing Mesmeric Orb and Basalt Monolith to loop through the deck and cast Echo of Eons repeatedly until there's enough mana to cast Karn or even Paradox Engine to go off with. Groovy decklist!

Near the bottom of this Top 8 we've got Yorion Displacer Kitten.

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Interesting that we are now seeing this card getting some results now that the card is more in the population of Magic Online. I don't think we've seen the best shell for it yet,but this looks really powerful. Having both Teferi and Karn to combo off really doubles the chances of doing so, and the rest of the cards in the deck are all really powerful.

Legacy Challenge 7/24

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Saturday event, which had 90 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.

UR Delver had a strong presence here as well, and a really solid win rate. In fact, many of the decks above the cutoff had relatively poor win rates overall, despite some of them even making it to the Top 8, just being dragged down by other pilots.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Painter 1st Delthar
UR Delver 2nd Theo_Jung
UR Delver 3rd HouseOfManaMTG
Yorion Displacer Kitten 4th Carroz
Cephalid Breakfast 5th makuto86
Elves 6th EronRelentless
Jeskai Control 7th twinlesstwin
4C Control 8th Ark4n

Lot of control options in this Top 8, but at the end of the event it was Delthar on Painter who took it all down.

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This list is sweet. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker seems like a solidly cool inclusion into this deck (given that the Goblins make Treasures, which can be welded out) and so does Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance. Just a really awesome looking deck.

The Second Place finalist was on UR "Delver".

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This is more of the bigger "Delver"-less deck where Ledger Shredder and Dragon's Rage Channeler are the big low end threats leading up to Murktide. We've seen a lot of success from this list in the past, so it's not surprising to see it do well here.

Further down the Top 8 we had some Yorion Breakfast!

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Breakfast is incredibly cool, and this list looks really solid. Nice control combo plan that can pivot really easily throughout the course of a game for sure.

Near the bottom of this event we've got repeat weekend Top 8 competitor EronRelentless on Elves!

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Very clean and powerful list. Definitely seeing the inclusion of cards we've talked about in regards to Elves as of late with Shriekmaw in the sideboard as a solid answer to Murktide Regent. Four copies of Endurance is a heck of a statement!

Around the Web

The Spice Corner

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

Tempo Doomsday with Ledger Shredder is pretty sweet.

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SNEAK ATTACK STOMPY.

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This Esper Humans Vial deck is pretty daggone cool.

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It's always great when bugs are fixed on MTGO. Most recently Vengeful Pharaoh was fixed, leading to this beautiful decklist by Reeplcheep.

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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 all my associated links via my Link Tree! In addition I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the MTGLegacy Discord Server.

Until next time!



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