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This Week in Legacy: Revenge of the Sky Noodle

Howdy folks! It's time for yet another This Week in Legacy! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week our focus in on all things Yorion! The Sky Noodled has made its way into its own part of the Legacy format and we're going to be talking about some of the more popular builds with the card. In addition, we've got two Challenge events to discuss, as well as our Spice Corner.

Before we get started, I do want to point out one small correction from last week's article. Apparently there was a bug in the MTGMelee side of things with the Dice City Revised Open event, and the final standings reported had an issue in how those standings were constructed for the Top 8 of the event. The Eighth Place list reported by MTGMelee and imported into MTGGoldfish was incorrect, and the actual Eighth Place list was Theodore Lockman on LED Dredge. This error has since been corrected on the MTGGoldfish side of things, but I wanted to point it out to give Theodore the proper recognition. You can check out Theodore's list over here.

Now, without further ado let's dive right into this week's topic!

The Sky Noodle Rises

Since the rules to Companion were given errata, functionally changing the mechanic and how it works, many of the decks that utilized Companions had largely dropped off, falling into a niche part of the format. Decks that utilized cards like Gyruda as a combo piece ceased to exist, with the card moving into a support role for decks like Bomberman. The only Companion to largely weather the storm was Yorion, Sky Nomad.

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Prior to the Companion rule change, Yorion decks were far much more prevalent, with 80 card decks pervading the format in Snowko Control variants. After the rule change, Yorion needed to adapt as well, becoming more of a centralized role player in various strategies, but mostly disappearing from the format en masse as Snowko adopted the 60 card variants once again. However, Yorion decks are still around the format, and we're going to talk about how the card has influenced various strategies.

Death and Taxes

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While it seems unlikely that Yorion would be powerful within the Death and Taxes shell, as it is a deck without cards like Brainstorm and Ponder to mitigate Yorion's extra 20 cards, but in all reality, Yorion provides a level of playability to D&T that is incredibly deep and interesting. One of the things that Yorion provides the deck is the ability to play a much more robust toolbox shell based on the card Recruiter of the Guard. Because Yorion D&T builds can play all four copies of Recruiter, it can afford to play a few bullet cards in the main deck for specific matchups (such as Remorseful Cleric for graveyard matchups). Because of this, the deck gains an increased ability to devote more space in the sideboard to the worst of the worst matchups (specifically anti-combo cards).

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Furthermore, one of the biggest benefits of the card in the deck is giving the deck a much more stable manabase as well as the ability to grind through the fairer matchups. Yorion itself presents a great option for having a free card to cast in these matchups, and functions well with the bevy of enters the battlefield effects that Death and Taxes plays.

For further information on this variant, our good friend John Ryan Hamilton (xJCloud) wrote a great little primer on this variant of the deck, which you can locate here.

Stryfo Pile

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Ever the early adopter of various new cards and strategies, it is relatively unsurprising to have witnessed the transformation of Stryfo's creation from a 60 card deck into an 80 card deck. Being a Brainstorm/Ponder deck gives the deck a lot of options to help mitigate the natural variance of adding 20 more cards to a deck. Yorion provides a deck like Stryfo Pile a lot of ways to utilize every draw, by playing more redundant effects (like the presence of four copies of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath) and more ways to filter through the deck. Cards like Dack Fayden give the deck a lot more ways to filter and push through the deck to find more of the best cards the deck is running. Combine Dack with Punishing Fire and also cards like Cling to Dust and it's easy to see how good this deck and Yorion's changes to it are.

Stryfo Pile is a highly unique deck with a very unique playstyle, and is not an easy deck to just pick up and learn, but it is exceptionally rewarding for those that do and can do well with it.

Combo Variants

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Yorion's final niche in the Legacy format as of late has been in various fair control/combo decks. These are often decks such as Aluren and Food Chain, but also decks that utilize the cards Academy Rector and Arena Rector. Yorion fills a similar role in these decks, providing the decks a long game grindy option in fair matchups while allowing the decks to play more silver bullet cards in the main deck, allowing the decks to devote more sideboard space to problem matchups.

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The biggest thing of these combo/control decks with Yorion is allowing these decks to play a fairer control game in many matchups, but to have the combo looming over the game to win with if need be. Another deck that has seen relative amounts of play in the same vein is Worldgorger Dragon Combo. Being able to portray a fair game in Game 1 can be crucial to these kinds of decks, as they can often win that way and then be able to hold the combo in reserve for Games 2-3 where the opponent may not actually be prepared for it.

A Sky Noodle Like Any Other

Yorion certainly has managed to settle into a position of the format where the card is just fine, and not an overpowering dominance in the format like Companions were in their brief time before the rules changes. This has allowed the card to be adopted as a powerful strategy within the format, but one that does have a measure of downside to playing an extra 20 cards in the deck. This is great, honestly, and it's great to see a card like this be played in a part of the format as an enhancement to an existing strategy.

Legacy Challenge 11/14

We had two Challenges like always this past weekend, and our first one was our early morning Saturday one, so let's jump right into the Top 32 breakdown!

This event had a large amount of RUG Delver, one of the format's current predators, and it was certainly heads above the rest of the decks in the Top 32 metagame. However, there were a few contenders, one of which was several Death's Shadow variants (of very differing natures) as well as both RUG Stifle and Snowko. The rest of this event however, looked really good and incredibly diverse.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Elves 1st T_Kudo
RUG Delver 2nd JPA93
Infect 3rd BlueHope
U/B Planeswalkers 4th Umeck
RUG Delver 5th Ayukawa
Snowko 6th Poriden
Elves 7th Prima-Plum
Yorion Stryfo PIle 8th LynnChalice

Elves converted exceptionally well in this event, considering that both of the Elves players in the Top 32 made it into the Top 8. The rest of this Top 8 was pretty good really, and had a healthy mix of decks in it, as well as some real spice.

At the end of it all, Elves continued to perform, winning the entire event!

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Elves splashing blue for Oko is certainly something, but it's really Leovold that makes for an interesting card to splash for. The other incredibly hilarious and amusing thing here is the presence of Elvish Champion in the main deck, since the fact that many of the Snow decks are playing Snow-Covered Forest for their own cards like Oko/Uro, etc. Giving everything Forestwalk seems like a really solid and incredible thing to do. The four Nettle Sentinel/Allosaurus Shepherd lists certainly are popular now and are very powerful.

The Second Place of this event was none other than MTGO End Boss JPA93 on RUG Delver.

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This is a pretty stock RUG Delver list. utilizing the two copies each of Tarmogoyf and Hooting Mandrills as the typical green creature threats. What is interesting is the presence of a Karakas in the sideboard, but with more and more people playing various Legendary creatures like Thalia+Uro, it makes a lot of sense. Blazing Volley is also another card that deals with things like Elves, which is another good reason for cards like Elvish Champion out of Elves.

The Third Place list in this event was well worth looking at, as it was Infect!

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Modern Horizons certainly gave Infect strategies a little oomph in the form of Scale Up, but what is really interesting here is the presence of the a white splash in the sideboard for cards like Swords to Plowshares and Teferi, Time Raveler. Teferi does a great job of protecting the deck from removal and forcing through its pump spells, and Plow gives the deck a measure of removal for beating certain cards like Uro, Griselbrand, and the like. It's great to see Infect doing well as a strategy. The deck is very strong and capable of some very powerful plays.

The Fourth Place list in the event is some truly awesome spice by Umeck.

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This deck has been making the rounds in Umeck's hands for some time now, and it's sweet to see it do so well. I love seeing decks like these do well, because it's a testament to the skill and deck mastery that Legacy is known for. This deck has certainly got it all, from Ashiok, Nightmare Muse to even a few copies of Karn, the Great Creator. The other big hitter here is Ethereal Forager, which has shown itself to actually be pretty decent in the format overall. This is a way cool list, and well worth looking into further.

Outside of the Top 8, I mentioned the Death's Shadow variants, and this particular one really caught my eye.

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Berserk + Death's Shadow is a super cool combination and can make a swing off a single Shadow lethal. In addition Lim-Dul's Vault can also allow this deck to dig through the deck, while also giving a way to pay life continually to boost Shadows in play. This is definitely a super cool list, and it's great to see it place so highly.

Also outside of the Top 8 there was a sweet Ninjas... Reanimator list?

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One amusing thing about this list is the fact that Yurko can flip an Elesh Norn or Inkwell Leviathan off the top and deal a lot of damage this way. That in of itself is pretty amusing and wild. This deck is really super fun and interesting, sort of a mashup between the typical Xerox Ninjas deck and U/B Reanimator.

Legacy Challenge 11/15

Our second Challenge event of the weekend was the normal afternoon Challenge, so let's dive right into the Top 32 breakdown!

Snowko variants made up a fair amount of this metagame in this event, with plenty of RUG Delver and Omni-Tell variants as well. However, there really was a great amount of variety and diversity here just like in the first event. We'll talk more about this in the Ban Watch section.

Now let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Omni-Tell 1st BananasThrower
Karn Echo 2nd Yamakiller
The EPIC Storm 3rd Vivarus
U/R Delver 4th OceanSoul92
U/R Delver 5th MedVedev
Sharkstill 6th Leofa
Hogaak 7th Pietrone10
Omni-Tell 8th NumotTheNummy

This was an interesting Top 8 in that while Snowko had a big presence in the event overall, it didn't convert all that well to the Top 8. Instead, a lot of combo and fair decks alike did well in this Top 8, with Omni-Tell rising to the top at the end of the event.

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Omni-Tell variants have diverged into two big color pairings, one with Simic colors and some more midrangey cards like Coatl and Uro, and a more focused combo variant in Azorius colors with cards like Teferi, Time Raveler. This particular list is playing green for the aforementioned cards as well as things like Eureka which can act as an additional copy of Show and Tell. This is an exceptionally strong list and has a lot of power in its wish package. Sublime Epiphany is very solid even just as a wish target to cast for mana, but when cast for free can simply be incredibly strong.

The Second Place list of this event was none other than Karn Echo.

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This setup seems to be relatively stock for this deck right now, but I'm sure that once Hullbreacher is available there will definitely be a shift in deck construction. Still, this deck is stupid powerful, capable of throwing out turns that are closely on par with fast Vintage hands. Furthermore, pretty much everything this deck does is generally game-ending good, from Sai, Master Thopterist being able to bypass graveyard hate and generate a small army of creatures to the sheer power of Karn, the Great Creator giving the deck a fast win when necessary.

In Third Place, we have Alex McKinley (Vivarus) on The EPIC Storm.

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Alex is one of the primary authors working on content via The EPIC Storm's website, and is one of the deck's most prolific players besides Bryant Cook. It's great to see Alex continue to push the envelope with his play and the deck, and I often find the very minute things about this deck interesting. It's great to see that the deck is continuing to do well, and it's a great Storm deck to get into as there is plenty of content for the deck to watch and read up on to learn the deck well.

Further down the Top 8 we had a showing by Sharkstill.

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This is pretty close to the list that Marcus Ewaldh ran in the Dice City event last week. I love that Shark Typhoon and Moat go so well together, and the Kaheera sub-plan is cool for a deck that doesn't naturally play any main deck creatures. This is certainly a cool list, and looks like a lot of fun to play.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a showing by a variant of Goblins known as Turbo Muxus.

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The major goal of this deck is to mainly capitalize on just how powerful Muxus, Goblin Grandee is by getting the card into play quickly, either via hard casting the card with mana accelerants or cheating it into play with Goblin Lackey or Warren Instigator. This list is super cool and I really dig the Final Fortune in the sideboard here. Such an incredibly crazy card, but seems super fun.

Ban Watch

We had yet another two Challenge events to add to our Ban Watch chart, and it's certainly interesting to continue to watch the trajectory of these cards. Let's take a look at the chart.

Oko dipped up and back down this weekend as did most of the cards on this list, and even Astrolabe continues to be up and down. I have a feeling that right now that things are fine, and we'll see a bit of the cards from Commander Legends impact the format prior to getting the release of Kaldheim. I suspect that nothing will happen with the actual ban list for a while however. Despite having so much data to look at from Eternal Weekend, Wizards seems to have decided that things are just fine in the format right now, and it seems like that is possibly the case. While there are a lot of things that people definitely dislike about the current format, there's a lot of relative diversity in archetypes and different decks to be out there playing, and it seems like Magic Online is definitely showing that right now. At this point I'm doubtful anything changes before Kaldheim releases unless something from Commander Legends exceptionally breaks the format (which is pretty doubtful).

Regardless, I've personally been having a fair amount of fun with the format right now, and there is a lot of interesting things to be playing, so it's quite possible that this is just our new normal and the format has evolved further than being able to be dealt with by a simple ban or two. There are a lot of cards that have been introduced in the past two years that have accelerated the nature of the format, and I'm not really sure we'll ever get back to that pre-War of the Spark Legacy and the way that format existed, even if we were to ban some of these cards that people don't like. It's awkward to say that, but I feel as if it's more likely of an outcome to this and that this is a change in the evolution of the format very akin to when Innistrad was released and the advent of cards like Delver of Secrets.

At the end of the year here next month we'll be doing another Round Table to speak more to community folks about the state of the format, so be looking forward to that!

Around the Web

  • Our good friends at MinMaxBlog are back in action, now supported by Cardhoarder! Check out Max's article on Doomsday over here.
  • Our good friend GoblinLackey1 posted a primer update for Legacy Goblins. Check it out and be sure to subscribe to his Patreon over here.
  • I was on the Dead Format last week! Check it out!
  • Speaking of Podcasts, our friends at Eternal Durdles are back in action, so go check out their latest episode!
  • Also, our friends at In Response dropped Episode 11 of their cast, so check that out over here.

The Spice Corner

Lands with Scute Swarm and Jegantha, the Wellspring is super duper cool.

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Sharks and Replenish in the 5-0s is what I always like to see.

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What I'm Playing This Week

I'm still banging around on Karn Echo for a bit. This deck is incredibly fun.

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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 on 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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