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This Week in Legacy: Pro Tour Announcements and SCG Atlanta

Welcome to another This Week in Legacy! This week has been pretty action-packed when it comes to Legacy. There are a few huge announcements for Legacy that have occurred in the past few weeks that I’d love to address and talk about, as well as major tournaments occurring thanks to the SCG Atlanta Team Open (with Legacy as one of the formats!) and the SCG Atlanta Legacy Classic! There’s also this week’s Legacy Challenge to run through and, as always, some spicy new technology. Let’s jump in.

Magic Online Results

On a slightly more negative note, Wizards have decided to make some changes to the way 5-0 lists from Magic Online are posted. You can find that announcement here. Basically, only five lists will be posted, each hopefully different enough due to being assuredly ten cards different. In my mind, this creates an illusion of diversity that I’m sure Wizards finds very important in Standard that has been under considerably strain recently. That being said, this illusion isn’t that bad for Standard – there’s a lot of premier events that are run for that format and clear reflections of the format can be found elsewhere.

Legacy and Vintage, on the other hand, have Online results as incredibly important, due to the limited number of events that occur in Paper. Stifling the number of deck lists that appear may lead to less new technology getting coverage, less evolution of our already slow-moving format and continuous staleness. I’ll be vigilant to keep the spice flowing, but I can’t really support this move. Read more on this with SaffronOlive’s excellent article, which certainly resonates with my views. If anything, I’m more worried for Vintage, who has a dwindling Paper presence and issues with metagame staleness already.

Pro Tour 25th Anniversary

For all Wizards flaws they’ve certainly thrown us Legacy players a huge bone – Pro Tour 25th Anniversary is going to be an amazing one, featuring Team Constructed (the format many SCG Team Events have been), which has one player playing Standard, one playing Modern and one playing… Legacy.

Yes, under the big lights will be Brainstorm, Ponder, Wasteland, and dual lands for the first time ever.

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Anders Thiesen wrote a pretty comprehensive article on both his excitement and how we Legacy players can get to this event, and I’d highly recommend reading that and the monster reddit thread that Julian Knab got going. Basically, most of us Legacy players will need to come in the Top 2 of a RPTQ associated with PT 25th Anniversary. Unfortunately these will all be Team Unified Standard but any player that has qualified for the RPTQ (via Standard or Limited) can bring along two people who haven’t qualified. So make some friends, Legacy players, or get on the grind, and the dream of playing Legacy at the Pro Tour can now become a reality.

Next, the GP schedule has been released for 2018. And compared to the Legacy drought of the last announcement, this is a buffet. The Legacy events for 2018 announced so far are:

Birmingham and Seattle have dedicated Legacy events, while Santa Clara, Madrid, Kyoto and Toronto have Team Constructed, which of course features Legacy. There are six GP experiences available to Legacy players now, which is pretty amazing – and this is only half the year. Although many of these I’m sure are thanks to the Team Pro Tour coming up, I’m glad to see Wizards have recognized the strong and vocal Legacy player base and recoiled from their previous reduction events.

Despite the harping on Magic Online data, I think it’s a good time to be playing Legacy.

SCG Atlanta Open

Let’s look at the results of the Atlanta Open. Since this was a team event (with teams of three playing Standard, Modern and Legacy) I wouldn’t put a huge amount of credit in the placings of these decks, but I certainly would like to highlight what decks people chose to metagame against the competition. Find the Top 28 Legacy decks on StarCityGames here.

The winning team should have a player that looks a little familiar. Right off the back of his GP Vegas Top 8, as well as after writing his excellent piece on his Lands list comes Jody Keith:

He ran back almost the same seventy-five back and his list is looking like the benchmark four Ghost Quarter list moving forward. He trimmed back a Thorn of Amethyst for a Crucible of Worlds interestingly, hedging a little more against fair, Surgical Extraction touting decks.

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But not only did Jody take Lands to the Top 8 – so did Kevin King and David Long! Many of the Lands aficionados were awarded with incredible finishes in this Top 8, and certainly speaks to the deck’s strength in ripping apart most fair decks. Kevin opted for a more streamlined, typical build (notably maxing Punishing Fire and utilizing Rishadan Port over Quarters) but David Long, always someone to innovate in the archetype after his splashing of Black, now looked to giving a few slots to spicy Burning Wish!

Burning Wish is really old school technology, giving the deck essentially seven Life from the Loams along with powerful silver bullets Hull Breach and Pyroclasm along with the monstrous Devastating Dreams to rip apart the battlefield, seen some time ago in Aggro Loam builds.

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Another interesting inclusion in David Long’s sideboard is Warping Wail; a quality removal spell and a counterspell against combo is a sweet, flexible card that can be cast off many of Lands’ colorless lands.

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Another Loam variant that also reached solid positioning was Kennan Haas’ Jund Depths deck, that we profiled before and he’s put tons of effort into. Nice to see it continually performing well for him!

Moving on to Reanimator variants…

Reanimator Depths is increasingly proving itself as the variant of choice moving forward after it’s debut in Japan, and ewlandon and Bob Huang’s fine-tuning on Magic Online. Andrew Phillips decided to incorporate a different package to the Unburial Rites and small White splash. He looked to Beseech the Queen to find the last piece of whatever combo he needed.

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With almost all the cards in the deck findable even when using Dark Ritual to cast Beseech, as well as the mono-Swamp mana base (thanks to Urborg) making it pretty easy to achieve triple Black, it’s definitely a solid way of giving this list a little more consistency. It also gives a little more credit to the miser Pithing Needle in the list.

Other interesting trends to see are the continued presence of Blade decks. Death & Taxes was prominently featured as was Jeskai Stoneblade. Storm only found one copy (TES) in the Top 28, while Miracles didn’t appear at all. This may certainly be due to the texture of a Team event however – decks requiring a little more dedication like Miracles and Storm see a little less play as people will often just “pick up” a Legacy deck to fill out the final member of the team.

SCG Atlanta Classic

The next day had one of the few Legacy Classics we get within the year, and a man certainly deserving of the win took it out.

If you don’t know Zachary Koch, you’ve been under a rock. The man is a huge contributor to the Legacy community thanks to his Legacy’s Allure series, interviewing some of Legacy’s heaviest of heavyweights to educate people on the intricacies of the format. He also has put some sterling effort into growing the Huntsville, Alabama scene. And he finished up Day 1 of GP Vegas 9-0. Although piloting Death & Taxes to some moderate success (though he died brutally to Monastery Mentor from Bomberman on camera twice in the same match in the Open), he took his signature Infect deck to the top of the Classic.

(Note the two missing sideboard cards are Surgical Extractions)

Although looking like a bit of an odd pile on paper, Zach’s list is pretty close to stockier builds, the main spice within the main being the small package of Green Sun’s Zenith that can fetch either Hierarch, Elf, or Viridian Corrupter, which is certainly helpful against any Chalice decks faced. It’s the sideboard where Zach has innovated quite a bit. The card that sticks out most to me is Dissenter's Deliverance.

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Oh man, I’m a big fan of this one. Infect is a deck where every card is at a premium and having an artifact destruction spell that not only gets around Chalice but also can be cycled away at a low cost is something everyone should be looking into. Krosan Grip is really no longer a necessity with Counterbalance gone, so blowing up Chalice and Jitte is more than enough.

Blossoming Defense and Sylvan Safekeeper are both pieces of defense against removal flush deck, particularly decks like 4c Control and Grixis variants. Although Spellskite usually gets the nod, Sylvan Safekeeper can nicely be tutored for with Zenith; Zach’s deck list again showing more flexibility than first blush.

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Lastly, who doesn’t love a good Teferi's Response blowout? With Lands and Death & Taxes represented quite a bit in the Open, this narrow-looking card actually seems deserving of a slot. Its upside is quite high.

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Coming in second is something that’s been on the rise too:

Death's Shadow is enabled by quite a few cards here, with Gitaxian Probe, Thoughtseize and removal in Snuff Out and Dismember all damaging one’s life total to make the Shadow into a monster. Not to mention this deck gets to back Shadow up with the usual suite of Delver, Deathrite and Gurmag Angler, which can get accelerated out pretty quickly thanks to all these free spells!

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The sideboard has a few cards I’m impressed with. Golgari Charm, Abrupt Decay, and most importantly Sylvan Library all get more mileage out of the Green splash from Deathrite. I particularly like Library as a card to enable Shadow and dig the deck deeper in grindy matchups. Liliana, the Last Hope has always been an excellent card with cheap creatures, and reviving Fatal Pushed Shadows is sure to be a backbreaking advantage to further the grind.

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Ceremonious Rejection I’m a little less a fan of, with it only being truly excellent against Eldrazi, and somewhat hit-or-miss against other Stompy decks (having Rejection in hand while getting Blood Mooned must feel kind of miserable).

Nonetheless, Death's Shadow continues to keep placing on the peripheries of the format. I’m sure it won’t be long before it takes a big finish.

Next, we again feature Blue-Red Delver but in a rather odd form:

(Excuse the misnaming, this is Blue-Red, not Grixis)

This has been seen on Magic Online before and in previous articles, and certainly amps up the more midrange aspects of Delver with five basic lands and four True-Names and Snapcasters. This list did, however, make room for Wasteland unlike the Matthew Brown-style lists that opted for Price of Progress instead. I find most interesting only five main deck removal in this list, though I suppose the Jitte’s and Snapcasters provide additional removal if needed. Also interesting is this deck’s big card draw spell – Hieroglyphic Illumination. As an instant it is certainly a strong way to spend mana late in the game, and can cycle or be pitched to Force when clunking up hands. If anything, this event is showing the power and flexibility of the Amonkhet Block spells that have cycling tacked on.

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The sideboard of this list importantly needs to be using Abrade. In Blue-Red shells that are aiming to control, rather than burn the opponent out, Abrade is perfect thanks to its flexibility over the more narrow Vandalblast and Smash to Smithereens. It’s also excellent with Snapcaster. I can imagine blowing up a Vial early against Death & Taxes and just Snapcastering back it again later to kill a random annoying creature.

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07/24/17 Legacy Challenge

Lastly, the Legacy Challenge. The Challenge was a smattering of Grixis-based decks (Grixis Delver, Grixis Control, 4c Control) and DNEELEY on Bant Deathblade took down the event – which is certainly a strong option in a sea of fair. That being said there was some spice to be found – Charlie-in-the-Mox continues to put up strong results with his Stax list, now featuring Drownyard Temple and Inventors' Fair as well as Dunes of the Dead as the deck’s final win condition in addition to Lodestone Golem. SorboOne again put up a solid result with Pyromancer-less Grixis Delver, while many other Grixis players took a page from Hoogland and found room for main deck Kolaghan’s Command.

The tribal decks also made some appearances. One Elves list particularly raises eyebrows:

Driven // Despair I guess is to act as “extra” Glimpses, sort of, but I’m not really buying it. It seems little win more, though it can convert a board of idiots into some additional cards (or rip apart the opponents hand with the Aftermath).

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Lastly, Goblins came in with an unimpressive 3-4 but the little guys always deserve a feature:

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Grenzo, Havoc Raiser makes an appearance here, and the solid mana base without Port is what DanPyre decide upon. I like Goblin players experimenting at least a little bit, because as we now know, Commander 2017 isn’t offering any respite from the deck’s struggles.


Thanks once again for reading this week in Legacy. Here’s some links to some other great Legacy content from the past week:

‘Til next time!

Sean Brown

Reddit: ChemicalBurns156
Twitter: @Sean_Brown156

What I’m Playing This Week

Watching Mentor decimate Death & Taxes on camera made me realize… Yeah, Bomberman is actually great. The Dark Confidant versions, although very popular currently, I haven’t personally tried a lot. Maybe it’s time now. Here’s my take:

As much as I’d love to try Sorin, Solemn Visitor or Gideon in the sideboard, Engineered Explosives just keeps impressing me.

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The Spice Corner

As Foretold Stompy has shown us the strength of As Foretold and Ancestral Visions as a card draw engine. Bomberman has shown us the power of Monastery Mentor and Ancient Tomb.

Let’s put these together, and 6-0 a tournament, said Ozaki Keita.

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This deck has a huge amount of card draw and answers. The numbers may need some tinkering, but this looks like a pretty exciting way to take the Mentor shell and push the newly-discovered As Foretold engine too.

Legacy’s pretty amazing.

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