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This Week in Legacy: The 2020 Legacy Mailbag


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 the mailbag for my EOY 2020 Mailbag article! This is where I go to answer questions that come in that I posted about over on Twitter. I'm sure it's bound to be interesting! In addition to that we've got two Challenges from this past weekend to discuss, as well as a look at the NRG Series $2500 Showdown which was a split event between Legacy/Modern (we'll be looking for any sweet Legacy lists for sure). As always we have our Spice Corner.

Also, this weekend is the Season Three Showcase Qualifier event on Magic Online! This event is an invite-only event comprised of all the players that made Top 8s of the Showcase Challenges throughout the season and the winner gets an invitation to the MOCS/Arena Split Championships (PT level events).

Without further ado let's dive right into the thick of it!

The Legacy Mailbag

At the end of November I sent out a call on Twitter asking for questions for this year's mailbag article, and we sure got some interesting ones this year! Let's take a look at the questions!

Question #1

So my answer to this is that I don't think that spell-based combo is actually doing that bad (given collecting data on the various archetypes as of late) but I think specific spell-based combo decks are what are having issues with the blue decks. Cards like Force of Negation and Veil of Summer have certainly impacted many of these decks, the primary of which is ANT (which is what a lot of people tend to gravitate to when you say spell-based combo). However, decks like TES, Omni-Tell, and Doomsday have cropped up in response to this, adjusting their game plans greatly to fight blue decks on their new axis. In addition, classic decks like Sneak and Show continue to perform in events on Magic Online because of how powerful its linear plan is.

That being said, these decks definitely have had an impact where their metagame share is lessened by the overt presence of blue decks, but these decks are taking the opportunity to transform/evolve into different things, so I wouldn't be overly worried about it in the long run as I do believe that combo will always be a pillar of Legacy for as long as it exists.

Question #2

Midrange piles/strategies have definitely gotten a lot better over the years, and Uro was a large part of driving that in 2020. There are also now just more answers than ever before, between premium removal in Swords to Plowshares, but also cards like Assassin's Trophy, Dead of Winter, Oko, Thief of Crowns, and the classic Abrupt Decay. Combine these answers with reactive cards like Force of Negation and Veil of Summer and Midrange definitely has gotten better just in 2019-2020 alone.

Question #3

It's always fun to remember that not all of the readers of this column are entrenched Legacy players, and many of them are just starting out in the format so questions like this are exceptionally genuine. To answer the question at hand, yes the copies of Lion's Eye Diamond in the LED Dredge deck are mainly used for being able to flashback Faithless Looting with the mana, but it can also be used to generate mana to activate Cephalid Coliseum. LED is simply as noted, a really powerful way to empty your hand for free, which can be used in conjunction with cards like Looting, but also when casting cards like Breakthrough (by cracking LED for mana by holding priority when casting Breakthrough to empty your hand, which then puts Dredgers in the graveyard to dredge with).

Hopefully this helps you out, John!

Question #4

I think it's important to note that Standstill based decks received some of their best upgrades in 2020 in cards such as Shark Typhoon, but the strategy doesn't lend itself to everyone's style of play. For this reason, it definitely still remains a bit of a fringe strategy, but Typhoon certainly boosted its playability and overall strength. I think any reasonable pilot can do well with this strategy.

Question #5

There's a lot of chatter in this regards going around, but I think if I had to start with anything to be banned right now it would end up having to be Oko, Thief of Crowns as a starting point. Obviously, there are a lot of cards that are problematic in 2019-2020, but Oko certainly has cemented itself in a position that I feel like it would be a great starting place and then go from there.

I would also maybe gauge some unbans, but those are a lot more contentious.

Question #6

This is certainly an interesting concept. I think the first thing I would start with is settling on a clearer definition of what Legacy is as a format by hashing out what the general scope of the format should be. What is the format about? What is supposed to give it identity? That sort of thing. Secondly, I would have established a sort of Advisory Group in regards to new designs/printings. The goal of this group would not be to handle what should or shouldn't be banned in the format, but to give advice on new card designs and what their impact on Legacy might be. I don't think that this group would be recommending anything not be printed, but just as Play Design handles testing cards for Standard, this group could playtest for Legacy and give their advice on how the new cards acted and interacted with the format. The third thing I would recommend is to be more transparent in the application of metrics for bannings and unbannings, meaning that I would like to see them approach these topics with more transparency in the data involved and how they come to specific conclusions about that data. Fourth and Fifth, abolish the Reserve List (obviously).

That's All Until Next Year

Thanks again to everyone who sent in questions this year, you were all great and I had fun answering them! That does it for this mailbag until next year's EOY mailbag, so see you in 2021!

NRG Series $2500 Showdown - Legacy

This past weekend was the NRG Series $2500 Showdown, a PTQ level event with a qualification for the Kaldheim Championship up for grabs. This was a split format event with four rounds of Legacy and four rounds of Modern w/ a cut to Top 8 being played in Modern. The Top 8 of this event shook out to the following players (and their respective Legacy choices).

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Snowko 1st Nathan Steuer
RUG Delver 2nd Connor Mullaly
Infect 3rd Sam Dams
Snowko 4th Zar0s
Cloudpost 5th Levi Sprung
Death and Taxes 6th John Ryan Hamilton
Snowo 7th Fabrizio Anteri
Eldrazi 8th Richard Neal

Split format events are always unique and lead to some interesting deck choices since the player needs to have a measure of strength in both formats to compete well. You can check out all of the decklists for this event over on MTGMelee's website.

Legacy Challenge 12/19

We had two Challenges this past weekend, the first of which was the early morning Saturday event. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Legacy Data Collection Project and the Discord, we know that we had 67 players in this event overall. Let's take a look at the overall breakdown of the event.

 

Snowko holding down a populous 26% of the overall metagame in this event is certainly interesting, and the deck did have some solid conversion to the Top 32. Despite this, however, it still only boasted an approximate Match Win Percentage (w/ mirrors) of 46.67% which is certainly interesting to note. RUG Delver also had a bit of a presence but at half the number of overall Snowko decks, and it only put up an approximate 47.22% MWP here. I say approximately because there is always a range of possible win rates within this area, due to the fact that we are looking at such a small sample size. Long-term data will only show whether or not Snow and RUG's win rates are good or not, but in this event at least it looked just fine.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
ANT 1st _INF_
RUG Delver 2nd Lord_Beerus
RUG Stifle 3rd Oddball
Cloudpost 4th into_play
Elves 5th El-Bebbos
Hogaak 6th hf_pappo
Lands 7th matyo94
Snowko 8th Dazai

This Top 8 is actually fairly interesting. There's a decent spread of various decks here, in fact right down to the fact that every deck here is a different archetype, which is really cool. At the end of the event however it was none other than ANT that won the whole thing.

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This is a solid looking list. The addition of Wishclaw Talisman here as an additional Infernal Tutor effect for redundancy is rather nice indeed. Pretty happy to see ANT putting up a result here or there, as I still think the deck has a lot of solid play to it.

The Second Place list for this event was RUG Delver.

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The biggest thing to note here is the lack of other green creatures and instead being all in on Young Pyromancer as a threat. The rest of this deck is exceptionally clean, and it's interesting to even see Hullbreacher in the sideboard here.

Also in the Top 8 is repeat T8 performer into_play on Mono Green Post.

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This is a super clean post list with some really powerful threats. It's pretty amazing how much cards like Once Upon a Time and Elvish Reclaimer have revitalized this archetype, but it is certainly a very powerful strategy currently.

Further down the Top 8 we have a showing by Lands.

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This list is pretty interesting, splashing into white for cards like Swords to Plowshares and Skyclave Apparition, but still being in red enough for Valakut Exploration to be a solid card. The sideboard also slightly splashes into blue for Meddling Mage and we also have some cards like Hushbringer and Sanctum Prelate. It's almost like it's a Taxes Lands list, and that's pretty sweet in and of itself.

Outside of the Top 8, we have a repeat Top 16 performance in... Burn?!

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This user got 15th last weekend in the Challenge on the 12th, and then 11th this weekend. They're definitely doing their part to make Burn happen, and that's pretty sweet to see. Also, this deck costs $153 in paper cards.

Legacy Challenge 12/20

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the normal mid-afternoon event, and this event had 74 players overall. Let's take a look at how this metagame shook out.

 

Snowko didn't nearly have as much presence here, but RUG Delver and U/R Delver certainly did. Despite this, the win rates of Snowko and RUG were slightly up in approximation, with Snowko on an approximate 56.67% win rate and RUG Delver on a close to 62% approximate win rate. This is what I mean in regards to the range of potentials with small sample sizes in that this event showed that these decks are good and in the case of RUG Delver overwhelmingly good. Still, long term time will certainly tell.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
RUG Delver 1st jacetmsst
U/R Delver 2nd UnderwaterBimbo
RUG Delver 3rd jankyb
Reanimator 4th Shalomas
The EPIC Storm 5th Bryant_Cook
Elves 6th reiderrabbit
U/R Delver 7th OceanSoul92
Snowko 8th Wurst_

Delver dominated this Top 8, at half of the Top 8 in just Delver decks. The rest of the Top 8 was actually mostly combo decks, with a notable showing by the one and only Reid Duke on Elves in Sixth Place. However, at the end of the event it was a Delver slugfest between RUG and U/R, with RUG taking the top spot.

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This version of the deck is going leaner on cards like Dreadhorde Arcanist and high on the Goyfs/Mandrills for the beatdown plan. We're also seeing a Stifle plan in the mix as well here. Highly interesting list all around.

The Second Place list was U/R Delver.

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Magmatic Channeler as a four-of here is super sweet to see and I'm really super curious how the card peformed for them. Also just seeing midrangey threats like True-Name Nemesis in U/R Delver is just like reliving an older period of Legacy again for sure.

Also in the Top 8 we had a showing by Reanimator!

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The most notable thing here is the continued Reanimator tech adoption of typical Tin Fins cards in Children of Korlis and Tendrils of Agony. This gives the Reanimator deck a way to quickly end the game by reanimating and sacrificing Children of Korlis to continue drawing cards with Griselbrand. Very strong stuff.

Also in the Top 8 combo game was The EPIC Storm piloted by Bryant Cook.

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Bryant is continually tinkering and improving this deck, and the current list here definitely is very clean and powerful. We see a solid piece of technology in the sideboard with four copies of Carpet of Flowers, which is great in metagames with a lot of fair blue decks.

Outside of the Top 8 we had a solid 5-1 Swiss showing by Cephalid Breakfast.

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Breakfast is such a cool combo deck for sure. For those that aren't aware of how this deck functions, it works on the basis of using Nomads en-Kor to repeatedly target Cephalid Illusionist in order to self mill. Then it utilizes Dread Return to put Thassa's Oracle in play to win the game. In addition to the combo, the deck can also operate on a Stoneblade aspect of the deck, given that one of the combo pieces that can be used is the card Shuko (which can repeatedly re-equip to Illusionist to trigger it) and that can be fetched by Stoneforge Mystic.

Around the Web

  • 90sMTG giving us some G/W Reclaimer spice this week. Check that out here.
  • Our good friends at Eternal Durdles have a new episode! Check that out here.
  • The Canadian Threshold also has a new episode! Check it out over here.
  • Also in podcast news, The Eternal Glory Podcast also has a new episode as well! Check it out over here.
  • Yarrrrr matey!

The Spice Corner

This week we've got Snowko RIP/Helm w/ Court of Cunning.

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Painter Dreadnaught!

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The final list of the Spice Corner is a super sweet Apple Jacks list! Orcish Lumberjack is great!

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What I'm Playing This Week

I'm likely to still be jamming Yorion Reclaimer when I can get some time to play this week! It's been a pretty busy season obviously, and with Christmas just around the corner I have a lot going on.

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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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