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This Week in Legacy: Sticky Gecko

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 diving into some recent deck developments by taking a look at the surge in Madness variants in the format! In addition to that we've got some events to talk about including a regular Challenge and the Showcase Challenge as well as another paper Legacy event to announce. Oh and of course, in some multiverse we've got a Spice Corner (and maybe an Alligator Loki, I'm not really sure).

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

With Lizards Like These, Who Needs Friends?!

Modern Horizons 2 is still making its presence known on the format over time, and part of that effect is seeing how this set has created new or bolstered fairly new archetypes. One such archetype that is seeing a surge in play lately is Madness, an archetype that has been attempted by several for a while now due to the presence of Anje's Ravager. Bolstered by the printing of an additional Rootwalla effect in Blazing Rootwalla, Madness is showing that a true aggro variant style of deck can exist in Legacy. But how does this deck work? Well, let's take a look at the list.

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One of the most important things to grok when looking at this list is that it is important to understand that Hollow One is actually one of the worst creatures in the deck, and instead makes for just a solid payoff in the turns where broken things happen. As we have cards like Burning Inquiry (or in some variants, more copies of Looting type effects in Careful Study) a card like Hollow One can be actually pretty difficult to resolve, but it is one of the best cards that does what it does for being a free 4/4 occasionally.

The best effects and enablers of this deck are of course Lion's Eye Diamond and Putrid Imp. Both make triggering the Madness abilities trivial, and LED can not only trigger the Madness effect of a card like Anje's Ravager but it can also generate mana to cast that card with Madness (provided you are responding to the Madness trigger or cracked the LED to trigger Madness first).

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The best threats in the deck are the fact that many of them are free, but Anje's Ravager certainly ranks up there among one of the best, due to the sheer value it creates every turn by attacking. Refueling your hand every turn with more threats is exceptionally powerful and provides the deck a way of churning through its deck to keep the train of attacks coming. It gets even better with multiple Ravagers in play being able to trigger Rootwallas and other Ravagers. Furthermore, effects like Ox of Agonas being able to be recurred and being big threats in their own right when escaped is exceptional as well.

As its name implies, Madness utilizes the Madness ability a lot with the addition of four more Rootwallas with both Blazing Rootwalla and Basking Rootwalla. These are good at triggering cards like Vengevine primarily, but they also make for fine beaters on their own with their pump effects. Because of how Madness works however (as the card being discarded is placed into Exile zone first before you choose to cast it), it is important to keep in mind that much traditional graveyard hate does not work at all against this deck. Cards like Leyline of the Void are mildly annoying to the Madness strategy, but more than often than not the Madness pilot has prepared for this by sideboarding out cards like Vengevine and Ox of Agonas or Anger and are able to quickly pivot into situations where the Leyline just doesn't matter. One shot graveyard effects as well are hard to interact with versus this deck because they often don't tend to matter (Surgical on a Vengevine is fine enough but doesn't stop a few Rootwallas and a Ravager, etc.). What does matter against this deck is simply either removing their creatures and forcing them to reload, such as major effects like Terminus or The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale (the deck doesn't run many lands so more than often they cannot pay for Tabernacle]]. Chalice effects are also pretty good given they can shut down the deck's ability to get going, and countermagic on key pieces such as LED and Putrid Imp are also powerful. If you can essentially delay the deck a few turns it is hard for the deck to kick the engine back on and keep going.

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That being said, this is definitely an incredibly fun and powerful addition to the Legacy format. Legacy as a format has very few options in the form of an Aggro style variant deck, and having a pretty legitimate one is really interesting. There are several different options too for variants of this deck, such as splashing blue in for Careful Study for more controlled draw effects, or even going full on R/G without including cards like Putrid Imp. For now, the most consistent performing variant appears to be the Jund variant with Putrid Imp and Once Upon a Time. If you're looking for a deck on Magic Online that is fun, frantic, and fairly cheap (Approximately 200 - 250ish tickets on Magic Online) then this is something I would recommend. It has a lot of really fun lines and some really tense and wild games can be had with it.

Paper Legacy - Leaving a Legacy Open & Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy

As we begin returning to more in person paper Legacy events, we'll keep you updated on them as well! Our first event to talk about is the return of the Leaving a Legacy Open series, hosted by Jerry and Pat of the Leaving a Legacy Podcast. This event will take place on Saturday August 28th at Gamingetc in Acton, MA. Entry for the event is $50 and is a Competitive REL event. You can find the details on their Facebook event here. Be sure to check it out!

The second event is the return of yet another BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP LEGACY! This time, the event is at The Warp Gate in Westerville, OH on Saturday August 14th. I personally cannot make it to this one, but you can find out more information about it over on their Facebook event page here.

Also, I did mention this event in my Vintage article last week, but there is also the upcoming Oklahome Land Run events upcoming. You can find all the relevant details in that article here.

If you've got an event you'd like me to discuss, feel free to reach out!

Legacy Challenge 7/17

We had two events this weekend, the first of which was the early morning Saturday Challenge event. Thanks to the efforts of the Legacy Data Collection Project, we know this event had 72 players in it.

You can find all the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

As has been the case for a while now, we've definitely got a lot of UR Delver at the top end, but one of the best performing decks in the event didn't really even make the cutoff (at just three players) in Jeskai Ragavan Saga. It's still my opinion that this deck is possibly one of the best decks in the format right now, but the price point of the deck makes it really difficult to rent on Magic Online. One of the worst-performing decks in the cutoff was Death and Taxes, with just above 30% approximate win rate out of five pilots.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st Diem4x
Jeskai Ragavan Saga 2nd Julian23
Jeskai Ragavan Saga 3rd ZYURYO
Bant Control 4th trunks132
Bomberman 5th kanican
UR Delver 6th JS2
Elves 7th EronRelentless
Sneak and Show 8th HNmagician

Definitely an interesting Top 8. Lot of Tempo strategies, but also some combo as well. It's worth noting that not only did Jeskai Ragavan Saga convert well here, but it put two pilots out of three on the deck into the Top 4 of the event. Pretty solid. At the end of it all, it was UR Delver however that won the day.

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I think we are definitely reaching a point where we have a settled stock 75 for UR Delver, as this list seems to indicate. The copies of Unholy Heat have definitely found their way into becoming a stock part of the deck overall. The card is certainly very powerful for sure. I also very much enjoy seeing Court of Cunning in the sideboard. Card is definitely interesting for the very grindy matchups.

The other finalist was our good friend Julian Knab on Jeskai Ragavan Saga.

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This deck is exceptionally powerful and has a lot of solid game plans to achieve a win in a game. What definitely amuses me here is the presence of Blue Elemental Blast to take care of what I can only assume is both Ragavan and Dragon's Rage Channeler. Supremely amusing for sure.

Also in the Top 8 we've got Bant Control.

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The interesting tech here is the two copies of Dress Down in the main. This can certainly enable some interesting shenanigans with Uro, but it can also really mess up some things from opponent's stuff as well, such as shutting off a Dragon's Rage Channeler or taking away Ragavan's triggered ability. I like seeing the card a lot because I think it's definitely strong.

Further down the Top 8 we've got kanican's favorite dish: GYRUDA Served with a side of Bombs.

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I still haven't quite figured out the Kaervek, the Spiteful in this deck other than the fact that it's a -1/-1 effect that is even mana value to put into the deck because of Gyruda's restrictions.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we've got some Elves by EronRelentless.

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Elvish Reclaimer is a definitely powerful addition to the deck and we've seen different variants of Elves play it or not play it since it was first printed. The card adds a much grindier function to the deck and lets it set up plays effectively. Also in the sideboard is both Prismatic Ending and Swords to Plowshares, both of which are pretty effective at dealing with various threats with Swords being a solid answer to Murktide Regent.

Outside of the Top 8 we've got some Aluren action with Acererak the Archlich!

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This definitely looks very strong. Acererak presenting a fairly difficult to interact with win-con outside of creature removal is certainly very interesting, and even then creature removal can be beaten with additional copies of the card (or in this case Living Wish for another) or by having your own Karakas to bounce in response to the removal. Definitely a strong card for this deck.

Further down the Top 32 we've got a wild Yorion Standstill variant.

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Grixis Standstill..... Painter?! This is certainly something for sure.

Legacy Showcase Challenge 7/18

This past weekend was also the Legacy Showcase Challenge event. This event is a premier play event and cost 40 Qualification Points (QPs) to enter. The Top 8 of this event become queued for the Showcase Qualifier Championship event at the end of the season. We know from our data collection that this event had 247 players in it, so quite a turnout!

You can find all the Top 32 decklists for this event here.

UR Delver was overwhelmingly popular, taking up nearly 20% of the overall metagame of the event out of 247 players. It had a pretty reasonable performance and conversion rate as well, but again it was the Jeskai Ragavan deck that really put up the performance numbers. Bant Control was middle of the road, and D&T had a much more positive win rate event here. Both Ruby Storm and Sneak and Show had some poor performance numbers within the cutoff. Overall though this looked like a pretty solid event.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Ragavan Saga 1st Theo_Jung
UR Delver 2nd kentaro_hokori
Bant Control 3rd McWinSauce
The EPIC Storm 4th Vivarus
UR Delver 5th TristanJWL
GW Depths 6th mmapson125
UR Delver 7th MZBlazer
Bant Control 8th burrarun

Not a bad Top 8. Plenty of Tempo and a lot of UR Delver, but some solid inclusions by Bant Control, Depths, and even The EPIC Storm! At the end of the event however, it seemed like a flip from the day before with Jeskai Ragavan Saga taking the crown.

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This deck continues to prove that it likely is the best deck in the current format, and I feel like once greater supply arrives of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Urza's Saga that we will begin to see that effect more of how good this deck really is. Sofar though, it has shown itself to be very strong.

Our other finalist was on UR Delver.

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True-Name Nemesis is a cool inclusion, as we haven't seen it around too much as of late in all reality. The card's settled into a weird position in the overall metagame, but it still has its uses for certain matchups, especially with Prismatic Ending hanging about the format.

Further down the Top 8 we've got Alex McKinley (Vivarus) on The EPIC Storm.

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I love the inclusion of new cards Galvanic Relay and Aeve, Progenitor Ooze in the sideboard. I've heard Galvanic Relay likened to a Necropotence effect that you don't have to spend life on and that is very apt description of the card for sure. Definitely a solid list.

Also down the Top 8 we've got our good friend Michael Mapson on GW Depths.

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This is definitely a strong list. Main deck Endurance is really powerful in a deck that can leverage it well like this deck can. Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth also really cemented the power level of this deck quite a bit.

Outside of the Top 8 we've got a showing by D&T by way of Sky Noodle Express Airways.

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As this is a Yorion deck this can overload a little on some things. [[Solitude] is one of the bigger reasons to be on this build for sure as is my understanding of this variant. It provides a lot of strong gameplay leverage and is a long term grindy card as well. Kaldra Compleat is exceptionally powerful and I think we're already beginning to see the effects of this card on a deck like D&T.

Further down the Top 32 we've got the master of Slivers, danielnunes.

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I love the inclusion of Plated Sliver here as a toughness pumping effect that can help push out of Plague Engineer range. Daniel is certainly the master of the Slivers, so it's cool to see him out there kicking some butt.

At the very bottom of the Top 32 we've got a sweet Cascade deck.

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Crashing Footfalls is a super sweet card to Cascade into for sure. Making Rhinos for days!

Around the Web

  • 1mrlee has some Elementals for us! Check it out here.
  • Affinity with Portable Hole! Check it out here.
  • Bryant Cook has a little Ruby Storm up his sleeves for his, featuring Wish. Check that out here.
  • The /r/MTGLegacy subreddit has a great crowd sourced thread on places to play Legacy in person, so check that out here.

The Spice Corner

Sky Noodle Affinity is something for sure.

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Now this... this is SPICY. And I don't just mean the Food tokens.

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The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round... someone REALLY missed Hullbreacher in Commander.

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Ruination Rioter is not a card I expected to see today!

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Wait, Justin Gennari is that you?!

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Always retweet Enchantress.

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So much Grief, so little time.

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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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