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This Week in Legacy: Stop! Hammer Time!

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 discussing Hammer Time in Legacy! Yes, a Modern deck ported over to the Legacy format! In addition to that we've got some sweet paper data from our friend Philipp Klein for the Austrian Legacy League, and we've got some data on this past weekend's Challenge / Showcase Challenge.

It is worth noting that neither of the Challenge events were able to get full data (and I'll be talking about that as well today) so neither event will have the fancy graphs in it.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Stop! Hammer Time!

I've always been a big fan of using other formats to inform deckbuilding in Legacy (and vice-versa, I think this sort of thing is interesting and it happens all the time), and we've seen that for a while now as one player in particular has made a tried and true effort to push the concept of bringing it from the Modern format one of its more defining decks at the moment and that is Hammer Time. The player of course, is CrusherBotBG, and the work they've done on this deck has proven that Hammer Time has the potential to be a solid deck in the Legacy format as well.

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To those unfamiliar with the strength of this deck, Hammer Time primarily functions on an aggressive affinity-esque axis but abuses the primary interaction between two cards: Sigarda's Aid and Colossus Hammer.

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What this does is creates a situation where you can play a one-mana value artifact and immediately equip it to a creature and swing without having to pay the eight mana usually required to equip. The fact too that Colossus Hammer costs one means that you can also fetch it into play with an Urza's Saga and equip it to something. The deck also plays around in the space with cards Puresteel Paladin, enabling Metalcraft to do something similar while also providing a bit of a draw engine for the deck.

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The deck includes a number of cards that are different than the Modern version, primarily because it is allowed to lean on the strength of one of Modern's more infamous banned cards in the form of Mox Opal. Opal speeds up the deck immensely, providing a strong early game that can come out of the gate and potentially win with a creature and two hammers on Turn 2. Furthermore, having access to cards like Karakas and Wasteland open up avenues of the deck that aren't available in Modern and being able to retrieve cards like Retrofitter Foundry off Urza's Saga is very powerful as well.

I think this deck has a lot of potential in Legacy. It's doing something highly unfair and cheating on mana to do it and while it's fairly winning with creature combat in a sense, it's doing it in a very Legacy-like power level kind of way. This is something to definitely keep an eye on and while CrusherBotBG might be crushing in some events, I wouldn't be surprised to see other players start picking it up and doing the same.

Austrian Legacy League 2/24/2023

Our good friend Philipp Klein threw me some data this week on the Austrian Legacy League weekly that they are holding because the event got 32 players, which is a super sweet achievement for local weekly Legacy events! I put together a quick data sheet for this event based on what he sent me, so you can check out that data here. Here is the Top 8 players of the event.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Cephalid Breakfast 1st Daniel Pernusch
Grixis Scam 2nd Fabian Schweighofer
UR Delver 3rd Philipp Hinterreiter
Red Stompy 4th Franz Wolfslehner
RUG Cascade 5th Jonas Bauernfeind
Grixis Phoenix 6th Philipp Klein
Maverick 7th Christian Muenster
GW Depths 8th Andreas Wolfsgruber

I will note out of the lists that Philipp gave to me, the one that stood out the most was the "Grixis Scam" list which placed Second overall. Philipp was kind enough to provide Goldfish deck pages for each of the Top 8 decks for us.

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This deck is kind of sweet. Feign Death when combined with the pitch elementals is pretty cool. Digging everything about this.

Congrats to the Austrian Legacy League on such a solid achievement! May you continue to get more and more players every week.

The Challenges of Challenge Data

A bigger thing that has come up as of late as we've progressed through the end of 2022 and 2023 is the issue of Challenge data and the collection of it on a regular basis. We've had a number of events as of late where collecting data becomes an "after the fact" situation because either timing issues (people not having the time to spend watching replays) or sheer MTGO issues (MTGO crashing on people watching replays).

It is important to recognize that what this project is doing is absolutely exceptionally tedious work and it does require a lot of time spent by players in the event. For anyone that might be wholly unaware, a good majority of the data in an event is collected primarily through the watching of replays at the end of the event by players in the event. This is only possible if a player is in the event and they don't close out of it after the event has ended, they can go back and watch individual match replays of all the matches in the event. Players outside the event can't do this, so it is a lot of time. Having more players able to watch replays however equals less time overall for the group as players can take on groupings of players and organize so that it works for them in the long run. More people involved in this aspect means that also if a technical glitch occurs (PC crashes, MTGO crashes, etc.) that there are still people that can possibly take the time on to get the data.

Another important aspect here is reporting results at the end of the event. Reporting these events in the Legacy Data Collection Project Discord absolutely helps the data team input the data faster. Even better, taking screenshots of the final round-by-round data is equally helpful and important.

The "After the fact" data collection is a bit more awkward as it often results in posting on Twitter and in the Discord looking for people to share the data from what they played against, but also possibly results in some members of the Data team contacting players on MTGO itself. I personally dislike cold calling people on MTGO for this, because sometimes it's just simply annoying to keep asking someone. It can be a bit bothersome.

At the end of the day this project doesn't work without people to collect the data. The data doesn't simply magically appear out of nowhere. Lots of hard work goes into it week to week. The more regular people we have collecting data, the better and easier it is to get that data. If this is something the community wants to see, then having people help is immense.

On a related note, I do think it is important to touch on the subject of "automation" as it will inevitably come up. A discussion I've had multiple times with people in the Data discord is "Why don't you automate this? Why not run a scraper bot to grab the data?" The answer to this is pretty straightforward and it's that we as a project value our relationship with Daybreak Games (and to a further extent Wizards of the Coast) that even this style of crowdsourced data collection is allowed to occur. Using scraper bots and the like is one surefire way to get the project as a whole shut down and to get people's accounts banned. We don't want that at all.

The most automation that we do within the project at this juncture is that we have a process in place for capturing the round-by-round data (i.e. this person played this person in R1 and this was the result of the match) as this is how our data sheets calculate things like Wins/Losses and all the other Head-to-Head data is based on that data. This is done by taking a screenshot of the round data, which is separately processed via OCR into a format that can be copied into the data sheet. No other tools are involved in this on the MTGO side other than the Windows snipping tool to take a screenshot. This is important primarily for disclosure purposes as to how we process data in the project.

In short, one of the best things that could happen longer term is if Daybreak Games would simply publish all of the lists for a Challenge/Showcase Challenge/Premier level event for Legacy. I've made this suggestion via their forums over here and upvoting that suggestion is a great way to tell Daybreak that this is something that is desired. If this does happen, it helps the Data Project in many ways by only really requiring us to capture screenshots of the round data so we can put data out about win percentages, and also it allows our data classifications to be more accurate and fluid.

If that is not to happen though, the biggest thing we need to make this project successful is simply more people who are able to watch replays when playing in these events, and also more players reporting their matches at the end of the event. I realize that replay watching is incredibly tedious overall, but again it is worth noting that the more people who are able to do it, the quicker it goes in general.

Something to consider, at the very least.

Legacy Challenge 2/24

The first Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Saturday Challenge. This event had based on what we know of it 53 players thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the incomplete datasheet here. Based on the information we do have (which is reasonable at 47/53 decks), we do know that both UR Delver and White Stompy had representation alongside Grixis Delver variants. The Grixis variants seemed to perform a bit better, and White Stompy also did very well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Grixis Delver 1st ecobaronen
White Stompy 2nd mattsoree
Reanimator 3rd XxShuicunexX
Painter 4th ganesh_69
Grixis Delver 5th TueBo
Reanimator 6th Martin_Dominguez
Reanimator 7th satu2112
White Stompy 8th almostomniscient

Lot of Reanimator here in this Top 8 for sure. Bit of White Stompy too. At the end of the event, it was a Grixis Delver list that took it down.

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These lists are generally very primarily UR based but the splash has always been mainly for Snuff Out. We're starting to see a bit of divergence here with some sideboard cards like Gurmag Angler and one more Underground Sea to enable the black splash.

In Second Place we've got White Stompy.

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The Mother of Machines! Elesh Norn in this list in both main and sideboard is pretty cool. It seems like a quality strong card for these lists as it helps shut down the mirror while also doubling the triggers off the Initiative creatures. Five mana does seem steep but in a list with both the Initiative and Ancient Tomb it definitely seems doable.

Further down this Top 8 we had some Painter, this time of the red Painter variety.

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Lightning Greaves is some sick tech for sure to prevent certain pieces of removal from hitting your creature. I also have really liked Phyrexian Dragon Engine in this deck because it's quite powerful to weld in and out. We can only wait for Chaos Defiler for so long here!

Legacy Showcase Challenge 2/25

The second major event of the weekend was the Showcase Challenge event. This is a Premier level event, with the Top 8 of this event feeding into the Showcase Qualifier at the end of the season. Because of this, these events do require Qualification Points (QPs) to enter. Based on what we know in the data we have, this event had 218 players thanks to the efforts of the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the incomplete datasheet here. We don't have as much data on this one (only 121 decks / 218 at the time of writing) but we are working after the fact to try to get the data. We do know that both UR Delver and White Stompy were heavily represented though.

Lets take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Sneak and Show 1st JPA93
Riddlesmith Combo 2nd Killabee
Painter 3rd _IllNano_
UR Delver 4th Secretaznman
The EPIC Storm 5th karatedom
White Stompy 6th HeyNongMan
UR Delver 7th Supercazzola
Painter 8th Ark4n

This is a much more varied Top 8 for sure. At the end of the event the winner in just the most wild finish was the end boss JPA93 on Sneak and Show.

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Atraxa showing up is super cool. I wonder how good it felt in the deck for sure. This is just a super powerful list overall. Also digging the Brotherhood's End in the sideboard here.

In Second Place we had Killabee on Riddlesmith Combo!

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Killabee practically created this deck, and we get to see all sorts of new tech around it such as Vindictive Flamestoker and The Mycosynth Gardens. This deck is very powerful and does a lot of silly stuff.

Further down the Top 8 we had The EPIC Storm.

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The power of being back on cards like Orim's Chant and Silence over Veil of Summer is pretty huge as the deck doesn't have to overtly stretch its mana too hard and it gives it access to Prismatic Ending out of the sideboard which is just a very powerful catch-all type answer for this kind of deck.

Around the Web

  • Everyday Eternal is on tour! Check out their travel vlog here!
  • has a great article on Abzan Maverick in 2023. Check it out here.
  • Eggs!

The Spice Corner

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

Yorion Enchantress? Yes. Yorion Enchantress.

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Skrelv's Hive in Infect is honestly kind of sweet.

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Mono Blue Vedalken Shackles and just all the countermagic? Neat.

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This Madness build has some real energy around it. Tempo Madness!

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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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