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This Week in Legacy: The Final 2022 Metagame Wrapup


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 doing a final look at data on the current Legacy metagame for 2022! Definitely an interesting time in the format. In addition we've got two Challenges from this past weekend to discuss.

Also, be on the lookout for next week's article as we do our final Round Table of the year, and this one is a real banger!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Final Legacy 2022 Metagame Review

It has indeed been a wild year for Legacy, and while 2023 is right around the corner (and let me tell you it doesn't feel like it) the year has been one of tumult for the Legacy format overall. Between a number of releases that have greatly impacted the Legacy format to a division in the card pools of paper and MTGO based formats, this year can really only be truly described as strange.

Before we dive into this past month's Metagame review, let's take a look back at some of the big impactful parts of 2022.

First Half of 2022 - The Release of Kamigawa / New Capenna / Commander Legends

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The first half of 2022 was a pretty interesting time, but much of the effects of this half would not be completely felt until the second half of the year as players caught on to certain cards and as certain cards became available to play on MTGO.

Right out of the gate we had Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty and while at first this set didn't seem to have much, it was the revelation of the power level of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker that proved to be one of the biggest additions to the format all year. Fable's power level was very apparent once you played with the card and while it doesn't seem like much on paper, the power of the card is absolutely stellar. Other cards from Kamigawa such as Hidetsugu Consumes All found brief homes in the format, and instant staple effects like Lion Sash were readily adopted into their respective decks. One card that would become playable in the second half of the year came from this set in the form of Touch the Spirit Realm.

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It was not the main Kamigawa set that caused a lot of waves in this release though, it was the Commander product that came alongside it. Kappa Cannoneer was immediately recognized for the power level boost it would give the deck 8Cast and has defined the archetype to today. Kappa's power level was heavily lamented and people decried that it would break the format, but as was apparent the format definitely bolstered itself and found ways of managing the new turtle menace.

The second Standard set of the year was Streets of New Capenna, immediately gifting us with a new powerful tempo card in the form of Ledger Shredder. This set also provided cards like Unlicensed Hearse which has gone on to become parts of numerous decks here or there. Outside of a few cards that were fringe though, this set did not have as much for Legacy. The Commander product for this set didn't have much, outside of Currency Converter which became a minor fringe card in some major archetypes that was tested heavily by Lands players, but did enable some cool shenanigans for decks like Standstill and even Loam Pox builds.

Arguably though the biggest and most impactful set of 2022 in the first half of the year was Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate, but the true effects of this set would be fully felt until the second half as much of the set was not on Magic Online at the time of release. Much of this is due to the fact that there was a resource crunch due to the transition of MTGO to Daybreak Games. Daybreak has been playing catch up with this set trying to get the whole thing onto MTGO so it would be available and has been trickling in cards with every set release.

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At the time, much of the set was regarded as lower powered, but as it would turn out much of this set would greatly impact the Legacy format. The advent of cards like Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes, and most especially the power level of the Initiative mechanic would be incredibly impactful on the Legacy format, and there's still even cards now that aren't yet available such as Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward and Sailors' Bane. Only time will tell just how impactful of a set this was.

Second Half of 2022 - Dominaria / Unfinity / Warhammer / Brother's War

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The second half of 2022 is where so much of Legacy gets a little muddy in regards to the division of paper and Magic Online. Two big paper releases occurred during this time, both of which do not have cards available yet on MTGO.

The first Standard set of this era was Dominaria United, and while much of the set did not look insane (outside of Legacy staple Leyline Binding of course) the biggest card of the set ended up being Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. Finding her way into the sideboard of Doomsday lists and even at the head of a Black Stompy deck that also utilized the Helm/Leyline combo, Sheoldred was very powerful and still remains a very powerful card. Several other cards from this set found their way into fringe decks or archetypal solutions, such as Ajani, Sleeper Agent in Infect. Much hype was leveled at Karn's Sylex and that card has remained to this day completely unplayable in the current Legacy format.

Before we talk about the two big supplementary products, let's dive into the other Standard set of the year which is The Brother's War. BRO offered some really interesting designs and cards, archetypal stuff like Loran of the Third Path in D&T and Phyrexian Dragon Engine in Painter decks. We've also seen plenty of decks adopt Brotherhood's End as a new sweeper + Meltdown style effect that helps free up sideboard slots for those kinds of effects.

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Now, the two big supplemental products of this half of the year were Unfinity and Warhammer 40,000 Commander. The basis of Unfinity turned a lot of Legacy players on their heads, as for the first time we would be getting cards from an Un-set that were actually Eternal legal cards. Whether this is a good thing or not can be left up for debate (as it's outside of the scope of a historical review such as this), but for the first time we had to contend with designs that were a little wackier than normal. The biggest of these were Stickers and Attractions, and while Attractions seemed to be relegated to pure meme fun (which is always kind of hilarious), Stickers did seem to have a playable card in the Goblin. In addition, Comet, Stellar Pup has begun showing up here or there in paper Legacy events, as the card seems quite strong. Unfortunately, we've not really been able to see the effects of Unfinity due to the fact that none of the set is currently on Magic Online. Whether this will ever show up is an interesting conundrum. I do expect it will eventually and we may get to see at that point how strong any of these Eternal legal cards may be.

Warhammer 40,000 on the other hand, presented more than a few interesting cards to paper Legacy. Cards such as Triumph of Saint Katherine and Mawloc have definitely shown up in paper events, but we don't know yet the current extent of their power level until they're available on MTGO. The good news here is that we do know these decks will be arriving on MTGO, the problem with that is that due to contractual agreements with Games Workshop they have to program every deck, and that is a lot of new cards (over 160 new cards) to program so it might be a bit, but it's definitely on Daybreak's work radar.

The Transition to Daybreak Games

It is worth noting this because 2022 also marked the year that Magic Online was fully transitioned to the care of Daybreak Games. I just want to say how thrilled I am with Daybreak's care of the platform thus far. There's much open communication about the state of the platform now, and Daybreak is really listening to a ton of the player feedback across the player base of Magic Online. It's a really great thing to see, and I am very appreciative of Daybreak and how awesome they've been during and after the transition.

A Look at Legacy in the Final Months of 2022

Now let's take a look at where Legacy is at in the final two months of 2022. This data set includes November-December, and there are a few events missing in here in December due to technical difficulties in having players available to watch replays. One of the big things I'd like to look forward to for 2023 is to have more players capable of doing replays so that we have consistent data collection. If we can have this then we can expand further into other avenues such as bringing this sort of data into more of a web based application for players to utilize.

Of course, I have also asked Daybreak Games to consider simply publishing every result from a Challenge event instead of us having to gather data in this fashion, so that is a solid possibility. If you'd like to lend some support to this, I'd suggest taking a look at this forum post.

You can find the aggregate data sheet here. Please note that once 2023 rolls around, my long term goal and plan with this aggregate data is actually going to be to perform a hard reset of the aggregate sheet and start fresh with 2023 data. Part of this is because of overdue long term data classification changes that we've been needing to make (things such as removing archetypes that have had 0 results in the past year, separating out Uro vs Non Uro 4C Control decks, etc.).

Let's look at some graphs.

The rise of White Stompy has certainly been felt in the current format as for what seems like the first time ever the Stompy macro archetype has overtaken Midrange/Control decks and is only 110 decks off from Tempo decks. Of the 283 decks in Stompy, 110 of them are the new White Stompy deck. This is quite a jump for something so new to the format, but Initiative has proven its power level already. Combo decks still are showing up in the format, as are GSZ Fair decks and Graveyard strategies. Of the macro archetypes, the least populous in the past two months has been Aggro.

Let's take a look at the Subarchetype data.

Delver is still the king of the castle in terms of sheer representation, but creeping right up next to it (and yet still over 200 decklists away) is White Stompy. Between these two, White Stompy had an incredible win rate in the past month, boasting a 57.4% win rate with mirrors and a 58% win rate without mirrors. Delver by contrast had a 52.1% non mirror win rate, so is it wholly possible that we are seeing a normalization of Delver as a whole? It's very interesting to see, but despite the depressed win rate of Delver, the deck still remains very good and has the tools to adapt to a number of different situations, so it will be interesting to see what happens going into 2023.

White Stompy's numbers may ultimately end up concerning in the long run, as the deck is still very new and putting up results based on the fact that players are still trying to adjust to the deck's presence. In the short term, the deck looks very powerful and exceptionally strong, but that may change the further we get out and the more time we give the format to adjust. I don't know yet that we need to see a ban for this deck, but if we did it would likely end up being White Plume Adventurer over any other card (even Seasoned Dungeoneer) as it is the cheapest Initiative creature by far. I don't know that we're at that point yet, but there's certainly a lot of polarizing discussion on the Initiative as a mechanic to be had.

Curiously, Reanimator also had quite a bit of results, but it's win rate was slightly medium at best. Elves also had a solid positive win rate (53.3% non-mirror) and some great results in the past two months as well. 4C Control has become the defacto brand of control since the release of Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes on MTGO, and it's win rate overall looks middle of the road (good old even 50%).

Going down the list though there is a lot of different decks down to the cutoff of 30 decks, and not all of these decks are blue decks. Decks like Red Stompy, GW Depths, Painter, and D&T are all very much non blue strategies, so it's quite interesting to see how much non blue decks have grown in the current format and how powerful they are, reducing the number of overall blue decks in the format. Despite this, the format is still definitely very centered around Force of Will and Brainstorm as large pillars of the format.

I am curious to see how 2023 will play out. Will we see a ban of Initiative cards or will the deck settle into its place in the format as players understand the deck better? Will something new get added to MTGO that was only available in paper and will that shake the format up yet again? Will Comet, Stellar Pup ever catch those squirrels? It all remains to be seen as we leave 2022 and jump into 2023 for sure.

Legacy Challenge 12/17

The first Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event, which had 55 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 data sheet here.

Both UR Delver and White Stompy were pretty popular in this event, but neither did actually all that well in terms of win rate. Delver did put a few copies in the Top 8 though but was overall dragged down in the event.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Jeskai Delver 1st TueBo
Painter 2nd Julian23
Sneak and Show 3rd MoMo321
UR Delver 4th homhom86
RUG Tempo 5th JPA93
Painter 6th Oxdizzle
UR Delver 7th 2plus2isfive
Reanimator 8th snoopy-magic

Definitely an interesting Top 8, and while UR Delver did have two copies here, it was a Jeskai version that won the whole event.

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Gaining access to cards like Swords to Plowshares may seem the antithesis of trying to hit hard with Delver of Secrets and friends, but the advent of Murktide Regent has certainly changed that equation quite a bit and made it a lot easier to plow through any life swings caused by a good removal spell. In addition we see here some Jeskai tech for the White Stompy matchup in a trio of sideboard copies of Hushbringer. Seems quite powerful indeed.

The Second Place finalist was our good friend Julian Knab on Painter.

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One of the new cards breaking into the Painter shell as of late is Phyrexian Dragon Engine from Brother's War and it looks quite good. Castable on the front end quite easily, but then does some solid shenanigans with Welder and Engineer value. Definitely very powerful. This deck has become the go-to shell for Painter these days and it's an exceptionally strong deck.

Further down the Top 8 we had a showing by RUG Delverless Delver Delver?

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Nimble Mongoose being a card here is just exceptional. Truly truly exceptional.

Legacy Challenge 12/18

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Sunday event. This event had 90 players in it thanks to the information collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the incomplete data sheet here. Due to technical issues with MTGO we did not get the full data for this event, so there are no charts for it. If you can help out with the data for this please let us know!

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Elves 1st AlessioC
RUG Delver 2nd Giovasc91
White Stompy 3rd Promidnightz
White Stompy 4th micrograms
The EPIC Gamble 5th Killah_SUV
White Stompy 6th HankTheObese
UR Delver 7th silviawataru
White Stompy 8th TaylorSpain

Quite a few Initiative lists in this Top 8, as 4/8 of the Top 8 is made up by these decks. It is certainly interesting seeing the trajectory of this deck. Whether a change needs to be made is another story. At the end of the event though, it was Elves that took it all down.

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A very hard turn to the old school Nettle Elves that has been seeing a slight resurgence. This version definitely seems to have a much better matchup versus White Stompy decks as the 1-for-1 removal of that deck is fairly useless versus Combo Elves, and the deck often gums up the board enough that it can steal the Initiative typically and then hold it with the usage of tricks like Wirewood Symbiote and blocking with something like Elvish Visionary. Seems very strong right now.

In Second Place we've got RUG Delver.

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Goyf! In 2022 Legacy! Seems pretty amazing honestly, but Goyf seems like a great creature that can gum up board states versus the ground attackers of Initiative like White Plume Adventurer and having cards like Stifle in the game seems like a solid way of preventing the Initiative from entering the game. Definitely a solid list here.

We did have a number of White Stompy lists, so let's look at one by our good friend Matt Brown.

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Walking Ballista is an incredibly solid hedge against a number of these decks trying to play cards like Unchained Berserker, Hushbringer, and Blood Knight as ways to either steal the Initiative or prevent it from being a thing. Very powerful hedge indeed. Archon of Absolution is a sick tech for the mirror that prevents players from attacking if they can't pay but it also has protection from white making it hard to deal with in the mirror. Super sick tech for sure!

Around the Web

  • Bazaar of Boxes has some Red Stompy vs White Initiative! Check it out here.
  • Our good friend xJCloud has some solid content on White Initiative Stompy. Those of you who know xJ's articles know they're always super high quality so go throw the man some love and check out his article here on MinMax.
  • Eternal Durdles asks the question "How Do I Become a Side Event End Boss?"
  • In Response has a new episode, tackling the White Initiative deck! Check it out here.
  • Phil Gallagher has a bit of Displacer Kitten Combo. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

Kind of a sweet Bant Lands build by alli. Shark Typhoon and Hall of Heliod's Generosity seems exceptionally sweet.

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This is one wild Maverick list. Saga and Haywire Mite as a target is pretty cool.

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I can hear Phil Blechman rapping about Junders now.

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A Through the Breach deck is usually not too spicy, but we also got some Initiative cards in it too.

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Mono Black Initiative / Helm Combo. Let's gooo!

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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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