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This Week in Legacy: Spooky Scary Metagame

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 taking a look at the overall Legacy metagame as of late. It's been a month or so since we last did this, so it will be interesting to see where things are at. In addition to that we've got some Challenge data to discuss as well as an interesting thing that came up over the weekend with some errata and mechanics being made deciduous (gesundheit!).

Just as a firm note, next week's articles will be my last ones for around two weeks. I will be on vacation for the first two weeks of November and in a position where it would be simply impossible to write anything, so I will be back on November 12th and follow that week with a mega article mainly devoted to the Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy Open on 11/12.

Also a big reminder that if you play on Magic Online to make sure you read all of this information for this week on the transition to Daybreak Games.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The October Legacy Metagame Report

It has been a bit since we did a Metagame report here on the state of Legacy, and with the recent Banned and Restricted announcement it does make sense to look in on the format. All of this data has been meticulously collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project, and you can find the primary aggregated sheet here. Since we're only caring about the most current timeline here, I am only looking back to 9/1/2022 for the data so we can get a full month and some change on what the format looks like from a Challenge perspective. As I will note below, this data set for the past month and change does not include this past Saturday's event due to incomplete data for it.

Now, let's take a look at some charts!

Legacy is still overwhelmingly slanted in the Tempo and Midrange/Control archetypes as the reigning portions of the format. This is nothing new and by now it is pretty well expected.

Let's take a look at the sub archetype data.

As we can see, a big number of that Tempo archetype solely belongs to UR Delver, the deck we are often talking about in regards to being one of the best if not the best deck in the current Legacy format. From just this past month's Challenges and the few Challenges this month, Delver's metagame share was at 20.9% in the competitive Challenge metagame. Not only that, with this presence comes a slightly over positive win rate w/o mirrors of 51.4%. Now, to put this in perspective, this is with everything else in the format functionally rotating around the existence of UR Delver as the core central pillar of the current format.

Much of the win rate here can be attributed to events where other players have overcorrected to play decks that demolish UR Delver, such as GW Depths, or events where some players just didn't do well on the deck.

As we look down the list here, the next highest deck on the list is Red Stompy, a deck that really rose to prominence here due to the fact that it got a lot of solid new cards and has been occasionally touted as having a great UR Delver matchup. In the data side of things, the great matchup is actually listed at being 48.94% vs UR Delver which isn't so great, but the deck suffers a lot from pet cards and players not solidifying under a single stock list like most Delver players have done. Delver tends to revolve around a single stock list with a few flex spots main and sideboard, while Red Stompy has a lot of deckbuilding that occurs at a higher level of building the deck for either the aggro variants (xJCloud style) or the more prison piece Planeswalker heavy lists. Because of this the deck doesn't have a uniform game plan vs Delver all of the time, and more than likely the version that has the best UR Delver matchup here is the aggro variant when built to maximize the 2R mana cost.

After Stompy we've got a few combo decks in Elves and Reanimator, and both of these decks don't necessarily have a phenomenal UR Delver matchup, but they do have pretty solid game against other decks in the format and Elves itself has a positive Reanimator matchup.

Following down to next is Yorion Zenith, a deck that again doesn't have a great UR matchup, but has solid matchups versus Red Stompy and also Jeskai Control.

The biggest thing to note here on the Control shells is the increase in 4C Control but the still ever present Jeskai decks. While there is a lot more Jeskai still, 4C keeps getting pushed and pushed by the mere existence of cards like Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes to where its UR Delver matchup is actually pretty good (64.29% against the deck in this data set).

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Overall I think this continues to paint the picture that Legacy is a format with one pillar (the Tempo archetype) that sits in the middle of the format and all the other pillars (Control, Combo, etc.) all sort of revolve around this single pillar instead of revolving around cyclically. There are certainly plenty of decks that can beat UR Delver, with decks like GW Depths being one of the most predominantly slanted matchups for Delver in general (33.96% vs GW Depths in this data set) but the general consensus is that you pretty much always have to keep Delver in mind in the format. Now, plenty of new card printings have done a great job of impacting this, from the aforementioned Minsc & Boo to cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse showing up out of decks like Doomsday. We are certainly finding ways to beat this ever-present deck, and there are some weekends where Delver doesn't have a great weekend for sure, but the threat is still there.

Now, does this data actually mean that Legacy in the past month and change or so is healthy? I think that it's a bit too small of a sample size to tell, which is why we look at the long-term aggregates, but also because things are changing so much for the format month to month now with new sets and new things being discovered in the format, that the format from a gameplay perspective seems unusually fine. Yes, people are a little unhappy with cards like Expressive Iteration and Murktide Regent, but even then we are not seeing a larger exodus of players from the format or MTGO due to these two cards alone much like we did during Ragavan era. However, the overall vibe of the format is a general unease of being simultaneously happy to play Legacy and unhappy with the management of it from Wizards, with feelings that cards like EI and Murktide should have been addressed way before this.

Still, I think the format is currently in a weird spot where it's also simultaneously not a lot of fun to play against those two cards but also super fun to play different kinds of decks and even seeing new decks/strategies popping up out of the woodwork based around new cards, and while I think we may eventually see some sort of ban, I don't think it will happen for a while much like how we had to deal with Oko and Snow strategies. This feels very much like a similar format in that regard, mainly because it feels like a lot of the same haymakerish play patterns apply to the format while also having fun decks to play, and I suspect the play experience from Leagues versus competitively slanted Challenges to local FNM level events are all pretty different at this juncture.

I'm perfectly happy to wait and see at this point and continue looking at the metagame month to month to get a good feeling of the format, because I feel that Wizards probably feels that the format is also currently fine and even if it isn't, there will be indicators of that where they will finally see what the problems are. I don't think those indicators are obvious at the moment and much of them are rooted solely in play experience (which can be very important as well) and play patterns (which can also be very important).

Errata Changes - Surveil and Landfall Now Deciduous

We had some interesting news this past weekend in regards to some changes made via errata to a bunch of cards. The primary changes here are that both Surveil and Landfall are now considered deciduous mechanics. Deciduous means that they can use these mechanics as necessary without specifically being tied to a specific flavor for a plane/set. What this does mean now is that many cards that had these mechanics functionally written out on them are now shortened to be keyworded or ability worded with the mechanic.

Landfall in general here doesn't have much application here due to the fact that there are currently not really any cards that care about Landfall itself or how many times a Landfall ability occurs due to the fact that it is just an ability word.

The bigger consideration here is Surveil as there are cards that do currently care about Surveil occurring.

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As such, plenty of the cards that now read as having Surveil (for example the biggest one being Consider) may have an option to interact with these kinds of cards and possibly operate with cards that utilize Surveil in the future.

Unfinity in Paper Legacy

Unfinity has been legal now since the 7th of October in Legacy, and while the set is not coming in full to MTGO just yet for the Eternal legal cards, we have seen some interesting stuff with the set in paper Legacy. We've seen a lot of meme posts here or there with Attractions (utilizing The Most Dangerous Gamer) and Stickers with Mind Goblin (thank you xJCloud) but the coolest thing I've seen thus far is a lot of brewing with Comet, Stellar Pup. This one came up in the MTGLegacy Discord by user Spidizzler... it's a Turbo Comet deck!

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This definitely is too good for the Spice Corner for sure and this could be worth pursuing as an interesting way to build around the Space Pupper.

Legacy Challenge 10/15

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event, which had 67 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project. Unfortunately due to technical issues we did not get the full data set for this event and we only have 54/67 lists total for it. If you think you can help fill in the blanks, let me know on Twitter. As such we don't have a fancy set of graphs for this event.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the incomplete datasheet here.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st sfz
8Cast 2nd bgg88
GW Depths 3rd DNEELEY
UR Delver 4th John1111
Painter 5th ganesh_69
Death's Shadow 6th Diem4x
UR Delver 7th silviawataru
4C Control 8th LeoFa

Lot of Delver or Delver-like strategies in this Top 8 here, with the winner of the event being on UR Delver.

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Pretty solidly stock list here, with some neat sideboard stuff like Ashiok, Dream Render going on.

In Second Place we've got 8Cast.

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Great list, bit of a shave on the Kappa Cannoneer main deck, but we've also got some sweet cards like Unlicensed Hearse in the sideboard alongside Hullbreacher.

Further down the Top 8 we've got Death's Shadow.

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Straight UB Shadow is wild to see because we don't see it that often anymore. Quite a bit of Discard and removal in this list, alongside Murktide Regent and friends.

Legacy Challenge 10/16

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the mid-afternoon Sunday event. This event had 90 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 datasheet here.

UR Delver was heavily represented in this event and had a very solid near 60% non-mirror win rate. Doomsday also did very well here, as did GW Depths and Reanimator. Below the cut, Mono Green Cloudpost did very well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st John1111
Doomsday 2nd Fuz65
Death's Shadow 3rd iKhada
Mono Green Cloudpost 4th Josku214
Mono Green Cloudpost 5th TrueFuturism
Reanimator 6th Legend_cay
Doomsday 7th wonderPreaux
Red Stompy 8th Diatomic

Pretty wild Top 8 honestly with some Cloudpost players (both of the players on the deck in the event no less) and some Reanimator, but it was UR Delver at the end that won it all.

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Leaning more on Bolt than Unholy Heat here in the main deck, but otherwise a relatively stock Delver list overall. Price of Progress in the sideboard really respecting stuff like Lands/Depths, but also Unlicensed Hearse in the sideboard.

In Second Place we've got Doomsday.

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Very solid Turbo Doomsday variant. No sideboard juke of Sheoldred here though, so that's interesting. Second Thassa's Oracle is interesting enough.

We had two Mono Green Cloudpost players in the Top 8 so let's look at the highest place.

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Very lean green and mean machine here. No frills, just Posts, mana advantage, and big flashy spells to ramp into. Pretty cool.

Around the Web

  • Punishing Waterfalls is putting more Cradle Control content out there! Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Phil Gallagher has a bit of a Vibe Check this week. Check it out here.
  • Doishy hosted an interview with Samantha Murphy, Top 8 Competitor from the Legacy Pit. Check it out here.
  • Speaking of Samantha, she was also recently on the Dark Depths Podcast talking about her Grixis Tempo Doomsday deck. Check it out here.
  • Phil Blechman has a Legacy Pit recap. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

Soldier Stompy showing up again is super sweet.

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LED-less Dredge is some real big energy!

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Replenish with Currency Converter is GAS.

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Seeing cards like Niv-Mizzet, Parun and Hullbreaker Horror in Omni-Tell gives me big Oath vibes. Pretty sweet.

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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 all my associated links via my Link Tree! In addition I'm always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the MTGLegacy Discord Server.

Until next time!

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