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This Week in Legacy: Post Neon 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 format after the banning of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and the release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. In addition to that we've got some Challenges to talk about as well as a Spice Corner AND a Paper event to announce!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Legacy in February-March 2022 - Metagame Report

It has been a minute since we've looked directly at the overall Legacy Metagame, but it has been more than a few weeks since the banning of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and the release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty that it felt like a good time to look and see where we are at with the overall metagame.

All of this information comes to us from the Legacy Data Collection Project, which has been continually going strong now that we are back to handling two events per weekend. As always though, we need players who are willing to help collect data, most notably from watching replays at the end of the event. The more people who do this on a regular basis, the faster it goes. In addition, the Patreon continues to go well with a core group of supporters helping us pay back the players who help collect data for their time. This is definitely a tedious thing and it's no easy thing to collect all of this.

The link to the current Combined Sheet of all events from 1/29/2022 until present is located here.

Let's start by looking at the bigger picture of what Legacy looks like from a macro archetype level.

As has been the case for a while now, Legacy remains firmly rooted in the popularity of the Tempo archetype as a whole over any other macro archetype. However, coming close to this is the Midrange/Control archetype which is actually a lot closer than this has been. Right behind these two are the various Combo categories, which if you grouped all of these together do make up more copies of decks than UR Delver (at 412 copies), but it's hard to quantify Combo like this because there are so many different categories of Combo decks (with each one having their own little niche of cards that deal with them). Likewise, if you put all the Fair decks together they end up being more than the Combo decks, so there is still a solid balance of Legacy being predominantly skewed currently towards Fair decks that win with combat.

Now let's take a look at the top subarchetypes of the format and their respective win rate data.

As expected, UR Delver is the top dog of the current format in popularity while also sitting right under the cusp of 55% win rate (in fact having a 55% win rate w/o mirrors). Due to the overwhelming popularity of this deck we have a much greater sample size of this deck than the next most popular deck in Jeskai Control.

So what has exactly become of Legacy since the banning and new set? Well, let's dive deeper into it.

UR Delver's Position in the Metagame Seems Unchanged

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This is probably the biggest thing in the current format since the banning, is that UR Delver does not seem to have shown much signs of slowing down since the banning of Ragavan. While the deck didn't get much in the way of new new cards from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, the major thing the deck got was being able to free up slots once devoted to the Ragavans needed for the mirror matches and fair blue matches for more flexible options. Delver still is one of the more powerful things you can be doing in the current format, and while it's still somewhat early enough, I think we will continue to see this be the case. Now, it should be noted that the banning of Ragavan was never going to depower Delver to a point where other decks could potentially step in. It was more of a play pattern ban in the long run and not a ban targeting the actual shell of the deck to depower it.

The current biggest offender in the deck still seems to be the combination of cards like Murktide Regent, Dragon's Rage Channeler, and Expressive Iteration. Murktide in general continues to feel fairly problematic, and is a threat that rewards these decks for simply playing the game of Magic with the cards in their deck, and doesn't require much warping of their deck strategy to make good. The real power level of this card is centered in its secondary ability that grows it even further when more instants and sorceries are exiled. The sheer fact alone that this card is now also seeing play in a deck like Doomsday is pretty telling for sure.

Control is Popular Enough, But There Are More Options Now

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Prior to Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty we started seeing something of a resurgence of control shells not featuring Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath starting to pop up with the Jeskai Control variants and their Day's Undoing combos with HullbreacherKamigawa brought us a different aspect of the format that was rather unexpected in the form of the card Hidetsugu Consumes All for Grixis Control variants to be able to compete better against Uro (which was one of the main issues for Grixis in general). Now it seems like we are seeing a great divergence in the various Control shells, with Jeskai, 4C (either in Dark Bant or Bant Splash Red variants), pure Bant Control, and now Grixis Control. This is only a good thing for the format as having diverse control color options is very nice. If anything, the major defining card here is probably no longer much Uro, but more Prismatic Ending, which makes it difficult to justify playing non-white Control, but the new Saga card seems to have provided Grixis some flexibility here. We will have to wait and see if this sticks.

GW Depths is Amazing

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Probably one of the most interesting things about the current format is the rise of GW/Naya Depths as one of the most likely best decks in the format. This deck was already trending to be very good prior to the banning, and continues to showcase how powerful it really is. The diverse array of threats this deck boasts alongside its powerful 20/20 game ending threat is exceptionally strong, and more recently the deck started pulling in new cards like Outland Liberator due to how exceptionally powerful the back side of that card is and how relevant that effect is in the current metagame. In addition, the option of moving more into the red splash for Red Blast effects in the sideboard has given the deck far better matchups versus cards like Murktide Regent.

If there is one deck to really keep on your radar in general, it is GW Depths.

The Artifact Decks Are Out There

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While 8Cast and other various artifact based decks have proven to be very solid contenders over the past few months, the printing of Kappa Cannoneer in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Commander has proven that these decks are much much better and that the metagame will need to adjust a little bit more to contend with them. The biggest thing keeping down Kappa Cannoneer currently is the price of that card alone on Magic Online at still a little over 100 tickets on the client due to how supply of that card works (with it only being available in Treasure Chests at a fairly low drop rate).

Still, the thing about these decks is the fact that the hate for them is pretty varied and is easy to come up with that many decks can contend with them, so I am not overtly worried about the Turtle at the moment. It requires a great amount of investment to play (and the fact that Improvise is not even close to the same thing as Affinity) that there are many ways to combat this strategy. It's strong, but can be dealt with.

Death and Taxes Remains Popular As Well, and Performs Well

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D&T continues to have a firm presence as well in the current format, retaining a solid win rate of 53-54% and just seems to absolutely be crushing big events all the time. This is one of the decks in the format that ultimately really rewards format specific knowledge and knowledge of deckbuilding plus game play lines as has been evidenced by the finishes of heavyweight players like xJCloud and Luinil. This is definitely a deck one should consider having a plan for in the current format, because odds are you will run into it in an event, and a great D&T player can absolutely crush most matchups they come across.

It's also worth noting that it is pretty much set in stone at this point the defacto version of D&T is the Yorion variant. One of the biggest telling points here is the sheer amount of results that the deck has put up over time compared to the 60 card version. This does make the deck a little more pricy, but it is definitley going to be the best version of the deck if you want to be learning and playing the deck at a higher level.

The Combo Decks of the Current Format

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Much of the current crop of Combo decks are all very powerful decks and they all have a firm niche in the current format. A lot of the combo variants like Sneak and Show and Storm are low in popularity in the current metagame outside of pure deck specialists on these decks, while decks like Doomsday, Reanimator, and Elves all have received big shots in the arm from more current sets, especially Modern Horizons 2. While Storm is back on the rise in both The EPIC Storm and ANT flavors, as those decks got some solid cards from MH2 as well (Galvanic Relay comes to mind), the top three combo variants all lean on some very poweful cards to achieve their goal.

Doomsday especially is exceptionally powerful, moreso with the recent changes to the deck in implementing new technology such as Murktide Regent and Malevolent Hermit. This version, developed to beat Delver up by giving the deck a tempo-like gameplan while also having their win condition with Thassa's Oracle is very very good.

Reanimator seems like a strange inclusion here given the fact that Endurance has been a big part of the format since its printing, but Reanimator also got a lot of technology as well from Modern Horizons 2 in the form of Grief. Having up to eight copies of an Unmask effect here is making Reanimator much better against decks trying to hinge all of their sideboard game plans on a single card. Furthermore, cards like Archon of Cruelty and Serra's Emissary have allowed the deck to have exceptionally strong cards that also dodge Karakas as the most common hate card versus Reanimator for Griselbrand.

Elves is also very strong still, as there is just in general far less copies of Plague Engineer in the current format, but also because the sheer power of Allosaurus Shepherd continues to allow the deck to thrive. Developments in the deck such as the Reclaimer variant and Grist, the Hunger Tide have helped this deck still be extremely relevant.

Is Legacy Fine?

The key question is whether Legacy as a format is fine or not. I think the format is reasonably okay at the moment, and the printings from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty definitely did a small amount of things to help push variances in the format. UR Delver still remains the top deck and I think we expected this after the banning, but there is a lot of things to be doing in the current format that isn't Delver and those decks remain very interesting to me.

I do believe though that at some point players will feel the heat from things such as Murktide Regent and that possibly could be the next card on the chopping block. Delve in general has never been super well balanced on proactive threats and spells, and I feel like eventually the sheer power of a card like Murktide will be felt by the player base.

That being said, from a data perspective if Delver continues to remain at 54-55% sustained win rate in the future, then a change may need to be made. Until such time though, I'm willing to give the format time to breathe for a bit to see what comes from the fallout of Neon Dynasty's impact on the format as well as whatever may come from Streets of New Capenna.

Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy 8 - 4/9/2022

In paper Legacy news, we've got yet another Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy event being hosted at Comic Town in Columbus, OH coming up on 4/9/2022. These events are great and are a lot of fun to attend. Not only do you get to play some sweet Magic, but you get sweet buffalo chicken dip as well.

Thanks always to TO Robert Wilson for providing us all the information. Rob even crafted up this sweet graphic for this event.

If you're in the area, be sure to pre-register and come out and play! Guaranteed this event will fill up to cap (generally 64 players) so get your pre-registration in early! Also, these events are always full proxy events, so anyone can join in the fun!

Legacy Challenge 2/26

We had two Challenges this past weekend, the first of which was the Saturday early morning 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 data sheet here.

Both Jeskai Control and UR Delver tied for top spot of popularity here, with some variations on the Jeskai Control scheme present. Both decks had solid performances overall. We also saw a bit of Sneak and Show crop up with a reasonably solid win rate in addition to ANT and even 8Cast. D&T had a rough go in this event but was quite popular overall.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Control 1st Wurst_
UR Delver 2nd ARAPAKO
UR Delver 3rd Bryzem1
8Cast 4th Flow_true
Jeskai Control 5th Killah_SUV
ANT 6th DemonicTutors
Sneak and Show 7th HNmagician
Elves 8th runkor

Definitely an interesting Top 8 here with some solid players. At the top end however, it was a Jeskai Mentor variation of the Jeskai Control shell that took down the whole event.

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This is definitely an interesting deck. Mentor and Murktide seem like they go pretty well together, and this is more of a straightforward control list than the Jeskai Hullbreacher decks generally are (since they are leaning on the synergy between Hullbreacher and Day's Undoing). I really like the sideboard copy of Sevinne's Reclamation. That card is super sweet.

In Second Place we had UR Delver.

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This seems to be relatively close to the current stock of Delver lists, with Brazen Borrower picking up a lot of the utility alongside cards like Mishra's Bauble and Unholy Heat. Main deck Pyroblast continues to be a hedge in the mirror versus Murktide Regent.

Down the Top 8 we had a showing by 8Cast.

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Turtle sighting! I have to wonder if only running two here was a conscious choice or if it was because the pilot could not get their hands on four copies of the card. It definitely seems like they are looking to capitalize more on the Thoughtcast effects here and use Cannoneer as a clock finisher. Still, incredibly solid deck for sure.

Further down we had a showing by ANT.

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Malevolent Hermit out of the sideboard is incredibly powerful. This card is a real sleeper, providing a lot of value in various matchups, most notably Delver where the card is almost always a 2-for-1. Very strong option to have in those matchups.

Down at the bottom of the Top 8 we had Sneak and Show.

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This is so old school it's not even funny. I love it. Release the Ants is such an old school level win condition for this deck, and seeing cards like Rushing River?! Totally sweet.

Legacy Challenge 2/27

The second Challenge of the weekend was the Sunday event, which had 85 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 held a commanding presence in this event, with a strong win rate to boot at a 58.90% non-mirror win rate. Jeskai Control sat next, but didn't do so hot in this particular event. Lands was also well represented and did really well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Lands 1st Promidnightz
Jeskai Control 2nd Paradise_Lost
Esper Vial 3rd jtl005
Mono Green Cloudpost 4th TrueFuturism
Jeskai Control 5th jankyb
Lands 6th isthetim
UR Delver 7th dunkin90
UR Delver 8th Bullwinkkle6705

Half of this Top 8 is both UR Delver and Jeskai Control shells, while the other have is Land based decks and the miser Esper Vial (the one and only Jeff Lin who created that deck). At the end of the event it was Promidnightz (Matt Brown) who took it all down on Lands. This is Matt's second Challenge win in the past three weeks, so congrats to Matt!

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This list is pretty strong. We get to see double Boseiju here, which seems to be a pretty solid spot for this kind of deck. Also in the sideboard is Thran Foundry which is some sweet graveyard hate, but it also doubles as a way of putting cards back into a library in response to a Thassa's Oracle trigger which is super cool.

In Second Place we had Jeskai Control.

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This is more closely aligned with what this archetype has been up to lately, utilizing the Day's Undoing synergy with both Hullbreacher and Narset, Parter of Veils. Again though we get to see Sevinne's Reclamation come back out, and that is sweet because that card is really very strong.

As noted before, also in this Top 8 we've got jtl005 (Jeff Lin) on Esper Vial.

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I always really dig seeing this deck as it is a really unique strategy overall. Gilded Drake as a four of in the main is probably the most amusing thing about this deck, but it works quite well. We also get to see Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths here which is sort of like a repeatable Fact or Fiction if you can blink this with something like Soulherder or Yorion, Sky Nomad.

Also in the Top 8 we had Mono Green Cloudpost.

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This deck is quite strong when it wants to be. We get to see how Boseiju has implanted itself in this archetype as well here, giving this deck a very low opportunity cost way of dealing with Back to Basics or even Blood Moon. Definitely very powerful effect to have here.

Around the Web

  • Our good friends at the Eternal Glory Podcast have a great new episode up following up on Neon Dynasty stuff. Check it out here.
  • Naya Depths with Dreadnaught33 over on!
  • Speaking of GSZ, Douges also has a primer on GW Depths in 2022. Check that out here.
  • Solid video on Mulch Lands. Check that out here.
  • Eternal Durdles recaps their SCG Philly fun times! Check it out here.
  • Experimental Synthesizer is a sweet card, so check out this video by Bryant Cook on Citadel Storm.
  • Check out the continuing Saga of the Legacy Pit's Vlog over here.

The Spice Corner

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

This big Yorion Stoneblade deck has some sweet cards in it, from The Reality Chip to Kaito Shizuki.

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This is a really neat Dryad of the Ilysian Grove deck for sure.

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Synthesizer Painter!

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Shorikai, Genesis Engine is ready for battle!

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Mulch Lands with four Manabond is super cool.

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Enchantress is always sweet, especially when you get new cards like Hallowed Haunting and Gloomshrieker.

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What I'm Playing This Week

Heading back to my roots this week with practice on Ben Bauer's Smog/Karn Fit list. This deck is sweet and has been really strong in practice.

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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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