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This Week in Legacy: Spectacular September Metagame Update

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 a collection of data for a metagame update for a September Metagame update. In addition to that, we've got only one Challenge to talk about from this weekend as the Saturday Challenge did not fire. We of course, also always have a Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

September 2021 Legacy Metagame Update

It's been a bit since we last did a metagame update, and we're now several months into the metagame of Modern Horizons 2 that I think it is time to look back and do another one of these. Let me preface this by saying that we did have some events not fire over the past month and also in the past two months at least two events data was unable to be collected within the Legacy Data Collection Project. This data is also only from Magic Online, as we maintain separate sheets for any large paper events due to the infrequent nature of those.

In regards to the project itself, we are always looking for people to assist with collecting data, as it really does help us get an understanding of what the metagame is like.

You can find a link to the combined data set sheet here, provided by the Legacy Data Collection Project. The "Charts" tab of this sheet is where all of our charts in this article come from, so looking at that can help put some of this all in perspective.

Since the release of Modern Horizons 2, much of the format has been exceptionally overwhelmed by Tempo style decks, which are classified as decks that utilize cards like Daze, Brainstorm, and Force of Will / Force of Negation. These decks are at the top of the format by a huge amount over the next big contender in Midrange/Control strategies. Decks such as UR Delver and Jeskai Ragavan are much much more popular it seems than the Control variants and with the added power of cards such as Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Murktide Regent it isn't hard to understand why.

Let's now take a look at the subarchetype breakdown which is ultimately even more interesting. For the purposes of displaying this data, the cutoff of the data was at least 28 copies of a deck.

Out of all the Tempo decks in the current format, over half of those are UR Delver variants. UR Delver has shown itself to be an exceptionally popular deck and easy for players newer to the format to pick up and learn the basics of the format on. This does lead to an over population of Delver strategies typically. The other big deck of the format is the Jeskai Ragavan deck and that has far less player actively on it, but that in of itself could be mainly related to the continued price of needing both Ragavans and stuff like Urza's Saga on Magic Online and those cards stressing rental service accounts. I do think we are beginning to see how people are perceiving the deck and it is starting to pick up more active players.

Bant Control and D&T also remain reasonably popular decks with copies above 100, as well as Doomsday, Elves, and Sneak/Show. The rest of the subarchetypes in the current format do seem pretty varied but they're very pressured by the decks at the top of the format.

Now let's look at some win rate data. I'm also going to copy/paste an image of the table so that it helps us understand this graph a little better.

The big takeaway here is that while UR Delver has a huge position in the metagame, overall the deck's performance in the past few months has been reasonable. However, a lot of this has to do with the direct fact that there is a lot more UR Delver than other decks, which makes the win rate of the deck progressively move towards 50% due to the fact that even in a mirror there has to be a winner and a loser of a match. So while UR Delver's win rates may not look too insane, the actual reality of it is that we have to keep that aspect in mind when looking at it. The most interesting and ultimately concerning point here is the Jeskai Ragavan deck, which has not only a positive 55+% win rate but also a CI Min potential of above 50%. In the time that we've been collecting data, we have yet to really see a true outlier like this where a deck has a positive CI Min potential like this in a popular deck. The Jeskai Ragavan deck is mainly a collection of a lot of really powerful Modern Horizons 2 cards, wrapped around the Tempo shell and reinforced by strong removal such as Prismatic Ending and Swords to Plowshares.

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While there does seem to a wide spread of things to be doing in the format right now, it seems pretty clear that shells that utilize the new trinity of Ragavan/DRC/Murktide are among the best things to be doing in the current format, and while there is plenty of fun to be had in the format still, playing anything that feels suboptimal will definitely feel like a challenge and could result in players feeling ultimately frustrated with the gameplay as well. The most common thing I hear about these cards from players is that the gameplay has grown stale and just isn't fun. Does this sound familiar at all? It might. We just dealt with something like this within the Oko era where gameplay felt like this, and I do believe that a lot of this stems from the fact that players have increasingly become less tolerant of these kinds of changes to the format and the format is getting much easier to figure out much more quickly.

There have been lots of things going around on how to address the current format and what needs to change. It's fairly clear that a change is actually needed too, because we are hitting a point where some Challenge events on Saturdays are not firing, and while in some cases there can be other reasons why it may not have fired (such as bigger events taking place), having a consistent two weeks in a row now of not firing and hearing what other players are saying about the format is showing that players are unhappy enough with the format to not play.

However Wizards chooses to address this it will be interesting to see if they manage to take the plunge and do so. As most people know, I tend to fall more into the camp of getting rid of cards like Daze from the format, but I am also seeing some understanding of why people really dislike cards like Ragavan. That being said, there are multiple cards that really stress and warp the format currently primarily from Modern Horizons 2, so the answer may not be as clear cut and there may be multiple changes either through bans or unbans that could need to take place to find that careful balance of Legacy playability again.

My ongoing worry here however is when we go further down the line and get another set that potentially has a game breaking card in it that conveniently plays well with Daze. And with Wizards continuing their string of F.I.R.E. design, I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen again, no matter what happens now with the current threats.

Next week we'll be having a stellar Round Table article with some very prolific Legacy creators to talk about the current format and their thoughts on it, so be sure to check that out!

Legacy Challenge 9/26

We did have one Challenge this past weekend, however we did not get any data for this Challenge from the Legacy Data Collection Project due to some technical issues and not enough data collectors on hand to help out. (This is a plug if you are playing Legacy Challenges to come help us collect data!) What this really means is that this event doesn't contribute to our overall data set and we don't have fancy graphs for it.

We do know that this event had 67 players in it at least, and you can find all of the Top 32 decklists for the event here.

Let's dive right into the Top 8 since we don't have much in the way of graphs.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Colorless Cloudpost 1st Funnyman31399
UR Delver 2nd kentaro_hokori
UR Delver 3rd Bullwinkkle6705
Doomsday 4th wonderPreaux
Sneak and Show 5th ht991122
Curse Stompy 6th mcguirecj
Death and Taxes 7th Magic-Michael
Omni-Tell 8th ziggy_stardust

Certainly some interesting Top 8 business here. Some Delver, some combo action popping up and some prison elements. Pretty interesting enough to see the winner of this event being Colorless Cloudpost!

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The Eldrazi menace rears its head once more! All seven of them! It's been a minute since we've seen the colorless versions of this kind of deck doing exceptionally well, due to the overwhelming presence of cards like Prismatic Ending and Wasteland in the current format. I really like the Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth here as it gives the deck some great leverage in its mana with cards like Eye of Ugin that don't make mana on their own naturally.

In Second Place we've got UR Delver.

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Again we see these lists that are cutting down on Delvers for the powerful threats from Modern Horizons 2 backed by additional cantrips in Mishra's Bauble. Also seen here is two main deck Gut Shot, primarily looking at the mirror and other Ragavan decks.

Down the Top 8 we had a showing by Doomsday featuring new card Consider.

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Consider is becoming exceedingly popular for this deck and has definitely proven its worth amongst the Doomsday player crowd, which has been very vocal about their support of the card in general. It offers the deck some really powerful utility.

Also in the Top 8 we've got Curse Stompy!

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One fun inclusion here is the card Sphere of Annihilation as a Karn board wish target. Yet another deck as well where Urza's Saga is a clean insert and provides the deck a huge alternative angle in winning the game.

Outside of the Top 8 we had this sweet sweet spice in 10th.

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So... Steppe Lynx Turn One into Turn Two Skyclave Pick-Axe, fetch Crop Rotation fetch Berserk is just like... hot amounts of lethal. This deck is sick.

Further down the Top 32 we had a showing by RUG Cascade.

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A lot of this deck is akin to what is going on Modern with a similar strategy by cascading into Crashing Footfalls for sheer value. The nice thing Legacy gets from this equation is both Spirit Guides as well as Dack Fayden for churning through the deck. Definitely a super sweet list.

Around the Web

  • Jake Romanski talks about his finish at the Legacy Pit Open on Lands. Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Marcus keeps posting sweet High Tide content. Check that out here.
  • In Response has a new episode! Check out the Perfect 5/7!
  • The Legacy Community is FANTASTIC.

The Spice Corner

Mono Green Depths?!

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When in doubt JUND EM OUT.

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It has been a hot minute since I've seen Sword of the Meek and Thopter Foundry along with Tezzeret. Sweet deck.

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Kind of a neat approach to a Lands build with both Outland Liberator and Slogurk, the Overslime.

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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 /r/MTGLegacy Discord Server and subreddit.

Until next time!

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