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This Week in Legacy: Put Away Your Brainstorms

Eternal Weekend Asia happened shortly after writing last weeks article where I discussed the best decks in the format. The results of this tournament were shocking because there are only 4 copies of Brainstorm in the Top 8. In fact, there are twice as many Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis and four times as many Dark Depths as Brainstorms in the Top 8 of this 665-player legacy tournament that took place in Japan.

Does that mean Dark Depths strategies are by far the best thing you can be doing in Legacy? I'm not ready to say that, but I do think competitive legacy players should consider putting their Brainstorm aways.

Historically, Brainstorm decks have been the most powerful, consistent, and popular thing to do in Legacy. But, the results of this tournament, the Legacy Mythic Championship Qualifier in Las Vegas, and this weeks Magic Online Legacy Challenge all indicate that you no longer need to play Brainstorm in order to compete at the top levels of Legacy. In fact, it might be incorrect to play Brainstorm decks at the moment because they tend to be less proactive than the non-Brainstorm strategies.

Let's take a look at those three large Legacy tournaments and some of the proactive non-Brainstorm strategies that did well in them.

Eternal Weekend Asia

Three of the four Dark Depths decks in the Top 8 made it into Top 4, so it is no surprise that the winner of Eternal Weekend Asia 2019 was a Dark Depths deck. I've spoken quite a bit about the deck leading up to this week and there isn't much more to say other than I suspect people are going to start to adapt. I don't think this is problematic or indicative that the deck is better than being just one of the Tier 1 decks. If you take a look at the Top 16 of the event you will see a variety of top tier decks.

The most interesting thing about the results of this tournament, other than the lack of brainstorms, was the 7th and 8th place finishers. 

Hogaak Dredge in 7th place shows that the results of this dedicated Hogaak strategy that we have seen in the past couple months are no fluke. This deck prays on fair decks and with the right draws can quickly combo kill, giving it game versus Legacy's fast combo decks.  Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis was rightly banned in Modern this past week but that doesn't mean that fans of the powerful dredge/convoke/trample 8/8 creature can't continue to crush people's dreams on turn 2. This is a great opportunity for any Modern Hogaak player to move into Legacy by slowly saving or trading toward the dual lands needed to optimize the deck for Legacy.

In 8th place we have a more fringe deck in Mono Red Painter. It's cool to see an old fringe strategy that has started to poke its head up again with the addition of Karn, the Great Creator place so highly in a large, competitive tournament. It appears that the list is playing four copies of Arcum's Astrolabe for no other reason than to cycle through cards with Goblin Welder. Durdly but awesome! 

If you are unfamiliar with this deck it is primarily a combo deck that uses Painter's Servant and Grindstone to mill the opponent's entire deck. It has some other angles of attack, like flipping Wurmcoil Engine and any artifact by using Goblin Welder, but the mill combo is the primary game plan. 

Legacy Challenge


This week's Magic Online Legacy Challenge was massive with over 140 people competing in 8 Swiss rounds before Top 8. One player, KyFly managed to not drop a single match in Swiss with a brainstormless brew, JUND Phoenix. It is super cool to see something almost completely new go undefeated in the Swiss rounds of such a large tournament. KyFly also made it all the way to the finals before finally taking a loss. Congrats on the great run with such a unique deck.

This is not the first time that Arclight Phoenix has seen play in Legacy. The blue version of this deck ran cantrips with Dark Ritual and Buried Alive to combo out three Arclight Phoenix very quickly. However, the power level of the deck was not quite up to par so it has mostly fallen out of favor. This JUND version has completely cut all blue cards and upped the density of rituals and payoffs. Rite of Flame and Bedlam Reveler give the deck some additional quick and powerful draws that don't have to include Buried Alive. This deck, similar to its blue counterpart, can utilize its spell density with Young Pyromancer.


Legacy MCQ Las Vegas


Another big Legacy tournament this week, Legacy Mythic Championship Qualifier Las Vegas, was won by Noah Pardes on Bomberman. Bomberman is a Chalice of the Void stompy deck as well as a combo deck. The combo uses Auriok Salvagers and Lion's Eye Diamond to make infinite mana to cast lethal a Walking Ballista. It also has the ability to use its bombs, or 0-mana can trips, to create a game winning boardstate with Monastery Mentor. Karn, the Great Creator is another win condition. The deck attacks on many angles and is super powerful. Many people would say that this is the best Chalice of the Void deck rather than Mono Red. Either way, it won the MCQ at Magic Fest Vegas proving that the deck is powerful and that Legacy is really trending away from the format where you cast Brainstorm or get called a casual. The sideboards were left out from the posted deck-lists of the event. I imagine there are going to be about ten Karn, The Great Creator targets and some graveyard hate.

Continuing with the trend of putting away our Brainstorms, This MCQ had two Black-Red Reanimator copies, one of which was piloted by yours truly. Some people asked how I would be on the deck after mentioning last week that it would look different. So, here is the 75-card deck that I played in this tournament.


Eric Landon, or “ewlandon,” is a long-time Magic and Legacy enthusiast. He is a full-time Magic streamer and Mythic Championship hopeful (hopeful to qualify someday). 

You can find his schedule on or catch him live on Twitch at He is also a co-host of Everyday Eternal, a regular Legacy podcast that can be found on most podcast platforms.

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