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This Week in Legacy: The Infection of Legacy


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 doing yet another sweet Player Spotlight Series, this time with Legacy Infect Master Sam Dams (aka Fenruscloud). In addition to that we've got some Challenge data as well as an update on some paper event news.

Our Commander Legends set review will be next week, once spoilers are finished, so be on the lookout for that!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Infection of Legacy - Sam Dams, Infect Master

We've got yet another Player Spotlight Series on the docket for this month! I'd like to try to be doing one of these every month because I think they are fun and interesting to learn about the various players and people in the Legacy community. This month's Spotlight is on a true master of his craft, Sam Dams (Fenruscloud)! I'm going to let him talk about himself, as we like to do with these Player Spotlight Series, so here he is!

Introduction

Wow, it’s been quite the ride. Honestly, I never expected to be a known member of the Legacy community, and being asked by Joe if I wanted to be featured in the Player Spotlight Series still feels surreal. I’m very honored to be part of this and I would like to thank Joe for the opportunity, but also all of you. The amount of support I’ve gotten from everyone throughout my magic career is super motivating and it is what makes me love this game, but even more so, Legacy specifically.

So my dearest Legacy community, thank you. This one’s for you!

Getting to Know Magic: The Gathering

I’ve often read or heard stories about how people loved the game right from the start but I have a very different experience. I received my first ever MTG product from my friend Dimitri Van Antwerpen for my 19th birthday: the so-called ‘Unstable Terrain’ Zendikar intro pack. He gave it to me because, even though I had no interest in Magic at the time, I have always been a huge fan of nerd stuff, gaming, and fantasy stories. I was in university back then studying Biology so he figured he’d pick the Blue-Green intro pack as this was the color combination most centered around nature and the living world. Honestly, he did great picking out the theme for me.

I hated it.

I remember my first thought was something like ‘why the hell would you give me something I’ve never played before and have no interest in ever playing?’. OH, HOW TIMES CAN CHANGE! Funny thing is that I still play a ton of magic with Dimitri. I’m a huge EDH fan as well and we play that all the time. Most of my MTG friends do not play competitive Magic, unfortunately. God knows I‘ve tried dragging them down with me!

Getting Into Competitive Magic

There seems to be a pattern of me not having interest in a particular aspect of MTG and then ending up loving it anyway. For instance, after playing a couple of games of Magic (somewhat forced upon by my friends) it started to grow on me. I loved the lore and theme of the game, especially the Zendikar set and its fantasy-like world. Being a set filled with an elf theme certainly helped in that regard as I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. However, I had no ambition whatsoever to start playing Magic competitively. To me, MTG was like a board game to play with a bunch of friends.

I don’t remember exactly when I first got the question if I was interested in joining a Friday Night Magic Legacy event but I do remember that I only went because a couple of friends were going and I could borrow a deck from them. ‘No way I’m spending any money on a deck I’m never going to play right?’. Oh boy, if only I could travel back in time and talk to my younger self. Anyway, I played Goblins and went 3-0, winning the event. Don’t ask me about any of the details though. I didn’t really know what I was doing so I simply slammed down my cards whenever I could and the green men went ham. Of course, with a start like that I wanted more! Next sTop: an actual tournament. I don’t remember the number of rounds we played, but I do know it was with official decklists and a Top 8. I borrowed another deck from my friends: Affinity. Obviously I didn’t know what I was doing with this deck either but my buddies gave me one good tip: ‘See this card? If you have it in your opening hand just cast it for X=1 and dump the rest of your hand on the table.’ I did what I was told, and won the event. Thank you very much Mister Easy Mode: 

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Easy Mode: Engaged

After this huge amount of beginner’s luck I was hooked. However, I wanted to have a deck of my own. The ones I played were fine but I didn’t quite ‘connect’ with them. Nowadays, most Legacy players know me as the Infect player, but that was actually not the first deck I played. Remember when I said I loved the elf theme in the Zendikar set? My first deck was Elves! Important to know is that I was never able to Top 8 ever with the deck. However, I was enjoying competitive magic. I didn’t play at a high level though. Sure, I went to the occasional tournament in Belgium but traveling abroad had never even crossed my mind. I probably played around 10 tournaments in total before they printed the powerhouses known as Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise in Khans of Tarkir. If you’ve ever played Legacy during that period, you know just how insane those cards are. It was not a good time to be an Elves! player and I got hit by a harsh reality: if you want to maximize the odds of performing well at a tournament, you should probably play blue.

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When Dig Through Time was still legal, it was not a good time to play Elves!

Discovering My Magic: The Gathering pet deck: Infect

With how horrible Elves! was at that time in the meta, I started to browse through other decks to play. However, I knew that I would always want to play a deck that had green cards in it. I’ve always stayed true to my love for nature, even in the card game, so I knew that I would never not play green. Since I also wanted to play blue, I began exploring the meta. I quickly found that there were a couple of viable strategies and I started watching video footage of BUG midrange and Canadian Threshold. I’d seen these decks before and they were clearly powerful but it wasn’t until I saw a certain person named Tom Ross play that I thought ‘damn that is one cool deck’. I loved its gameplay from the first minute I watched Tom play.

I started trading away my Elves! deck to assemble all of the cards necessary for Infect and watched and read every single piece of content I could find. There were so many cool lines that you could take! Not a single game ever seemed to play out the same and if you watched Tom play it seemed almost invincible when navigated correctly. He made it look so easy too! The singletons gave the deck so much depth: Crop Rotation getting Pendelhaven during blockers to kill an unsuspecting attacking unflipped Delver of Secrets, getting Karakas to bounce Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, finding Inkmoth Nexus at the opponent's end step to kill that poor surprised soul on your own turn. I could continue for a while here and I could probably write a book about clever lines, plays and strategies you can make with Infect but suffice to say that this was the coolest gameplay I had ever seen. As soon as I had gathered all the cards for Infect, I started playing Legacy at a much more serious level. 

I had to learn the hard way though. When starting out with the deck I simply couldn’t win a game. The deck was so fragile! So brutally unforgiving when making a mistake! I loved every second of it. So before you think that I was some kind of natural with the deck: I wasn’t. I finished the deck in 2014 and was fortunate enough to be part of a group of dedicated Legacy players from Antwerp who had already been playing for years. Among them are players like Johan De Gruyter who went Top 4 at GP Birmingham 2018 and Yannick De Fleurquin who went Top 8 at GP Bologna 2019, who I’m fortunate enough to now call friends. I trained a lot. We played every single week (and still do). They crushed me time after time, and I learned from every defeat.

My first Top 8 with Infect was in 2016 at a Belgian Legacy Cup trial with 30 players. I was over the moon with joy. All that hard work finally paid off and it had only taken me ...2 years! Seriously though, Infect has a very steep learning curve. It was only after this amount of time that I started feeling really skillful with the deck and with every tournament I played I kept improving, which is still true today. Funny detail: my first Top 8 was in 2016 and Tom Ross’s last one was in that same year. Seems like I was just in time to keep the Infect train going!

Becoming a Known Member of the Legacy Community

As the years passed I played and reached the Top 8 in a multitude of tournaments in Belgium and The Netherlands, usually ranging between 50 to 90 players, winning several of them. With these consistent results, I started getting occasional questions from people about how to play the deck and whether or not I had a sideboard guide. I had already started writing tournament reports about my Top 8’s but at that time I only posted them in the dedicated Legacy Infect Facebook and Discord groups. I didn’t stream, have Twitter or even play on Magic Online, so I didn’t really know how to reach all of these people together. However, it became obvious to me that there was clearly a demand for more Infect content as the deck had lost a lot of representation with Tom Ross no longer playing much Legacy. That’s when I decided to create a how-to-play guide which you can still read up to this day, although I no longer update it.

I finished the document somewhere around November 11 2018 and a few days later, I won a big tournament in The Netherlands with more than 80 players. I think that’s the first time people started contacting me through various ways: personal messages on Facebook, Discord, Reddit, and others. The response from the community was honestly heartwarming, ranging from praises about the player’s guide I wrote to congratulations about winning the tournament and putting so much work into keeping the deck viable in the meta. The most surprising thing to me was that people who weren’t dedicated Infect players started reaching out as well. As I started creating more and more content, I knew it was time for the next step: installing Magic Online. If I can give one tip for everyone who wants to improve their game drastically: play online. You get to play vs the best of the best and my performance has improved immensely as a result. 

However, I believe I only became a known member of the broader community after I won the MagicCardmarket Series tournament in Paris on February 9 2020. With over 150 players, this remains my greatest achievement to date. What an awesome start of the year! My first trip specifically for Magic outside of Belgium or The Netherlands, being on camera multiple times with interviews, being cheered on in the Infect Discord while playing: the experience was intensely rewarding and when I won I felt like I had never felt before. I remember screaming out in joy immediately after the win and I looked so happy in the victory picture! With 2020 being filled with multiple MKM tournaments I was preparing to travel to each and every one of them to hopefully finish in the final 8, who would get invites to all future tournaments!

One month later, the Corona pandemic locked down the world.

Pandemic Times and What the Future Will Bring

I had been considering starting to stream for a while before Paris, but I knew that I had to begin as soon as possible after my win. Strike the iron while it’s hot! My first stream was on March 10 2020 and literally the day after that the Belgian government announced the first Covid related death. Meanwhile, Europe was shutting down basically everything about life as we know it. 

I guess I had started streaming at just the right time. With everyone having to stay at home, I saw my stream quickly growing and with me installing Twitter specifically for my Magic content, I was able to communicate much better with different members of the community. I’m very proud of all the various things we’ve done on my stream but I think I loved doing the ‘Legacy Masters Series’ the most. The concept here was that I invited a known expert of a Legacy deck who would play against me on Infect (of course) and we would discuss our play patterns, how the matchup felt, and which cards we would sideboard. The knowledge these players provided was awesome for anyone with the ambition to become a better Infect player and, for me personally, being able to communicate with these Legacy legends and getting them on my stream was a dream come true. Speaking of surreal experiences, being invited on podcasts and channels I’ve been listening to and watching for years like Everyday Eternal, Leaving a Legacy and Anuraag Das’s ChannelFireBall YouTube was awesome as well! I hope I didn’t bore anyone too much. I can get a bit carried away once I start talking about Infect. 

The latest thing I’ve set up recently is a Patreon, dedicated to both Legacy and Modern Infect. Modern is a format I started dipping my toes in recently and when Ragavan was still legal in Legacy I grew tired of the format for a while and started playing more Modern instead. The change in gameplay was refreshing and I’ve been playing it ever since. I even pushed Infect towards Golgari colors as I felt that was better in the meta (and still is). Again, I never expected my Patreon to attract so many people. There still seems to be a demand for more Infect content and I’m here to provide! I have no plans of quitting anytime soon! However, I have become a father recently to a lovely baby girl so we’ll see just how much time I’ll have left in the near future. 

It’s been 2 years of pandemic now and paper magic is slowly returning across the globe. Not playing in real life for this entire time, but streaming online consistently, has led me to a very weird realization that suddenly people recognize me wherever I compete. I went to Italy recently for a 4 seasons tournament, my first paper tournament since Covid, and multiple people came up to me to tell me they liked the stream and if I wanted to chat or have a drink with them. Coming from being a random magic player in international tournaments this felt quite surreal and, to me, it felt like this happened overnight. I can honestly say that the Italian Blue Dojo community made the trip an amazing experience and I can’t wait to go back to play some more magic with my new friends. Maybe I’ll be seeing some of you, the readers, at the next 4 seasons tournament in Italy in June? I’ll be there for sure, come say hi!

No better way to end than on that positive note. We truly have the very best community and I want to thank each and every one of you once again for your continued support, kind words and general awesomeness. You are the reason I can continue to make and improve my content and why I love this game so much!

Keep on Infecting everyone!

Cheers,

Sam Dams aka Fenruscloud

Paper Event News - Leaving a Legacy Open and Buffalo Chicken Dip Open News

We had some paper Magic news this past week with the announcement of the Leaving a Legacy Open VIII over at Gaming Etc in Acton, MA. The event is taking place on June 25th with pre-reg happening over on Gaming Etc's website. The event is also doing a food drive to benefit a local food bank, and it will be streamed over on Leaving a Legacy's Twitch channel.

We've also got some great news on the Buffalo Chicken Dip Open occurring on November 12, 2022. Registration is happening now for this event, so be sure to ping @BCDLegacy on Twitter to enter the event if you're interested. Our good friend Robert Wilson (TO of BCDL) posted the prizing that is currently in the event, but prizing will increase if the event reaches milestones of 100 registered players and its cap of 128 players.

1st Place - Name on the Golden Chicken Trophy and 3 Revised Volcanic Island (1 LP, 1 MP, 1 HP)

2nd Place - 1 Revised Volcanic Island (LP)

3rd-4th - 1 Revised Tropical Island (MP - 1 of the 2 is signed by the artist)

5th-8th - 1 Revised  Savannah (LP)

9th-16th - 1 Alliances Force of Will

What a stacked prize pool already! Looking forward to seeing how this event shapes up before November for sure.

Legacy Challenge 5/21

Our first Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event. This event had 61 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.

UR Delver had a strong presence in this event with a very reasonable win rate. There was also a lot of great decks below the cutoff here as we'll see in the Top 8, from Blood Moon Aggro to Goblins. Jeskai Control also did very well here as well.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Blood Moon Aggro 1st M0001
Jeskai Control 2nd Ozymandias17
UR Delver 3rd tomoro3333
Jeskai Control 4th twinlesstwin
Sneak and Show 5th JPA93
Mono Green Cloudpost 6th into_play
Goblins 7th MarceloSca
The EPIC Storm 8th Dein_Fruend_der_Baum

Lot of interesting stuff going on in this Top 8, with only one Delver deck popping up. At the end of the event, it was the Blood Moon Aggro/Red Stompy variant that took it all down.

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Interestingly enough no copies of Unlicensed Hearse here, which seems to have been a really good card for this archetype, but we do get to see Fable of the Mirror-Breaker in action and that card is pretty exceptional. Tangle Wire is also a pretty sweet inclusion here.

In Second Place we've got our good friend Matt Vook on Jeskai Control.

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Going deep on Mentor is pretty sweet, as is the singleton copy of Palace Jailer. What's even cooler here is the copies of Fire // Ice in the main deck here. Seems really strong with Mentors.

Also in this Top 8 we have Mono Green Cloudpost by Post master Tony Murata.

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This is such an exceptionally clean deck. It does what it says on the tin, just ramps and powers out massive Eldrazi and Primeval Titans. Very cool.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have Goblins.

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Getting to see more Hearse and Fable in these decks is super fun. They definitely seem like incredibly strong cards for these kinds of decks and we've seen some solid pilots already do well with it so I'm not surprised to see it here.

Legacy Challenge 5/22

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the mid-afternoon Sunday event. This event had 94 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 Jeskai Control and UR Delver were roughly almost 20% of the metagame here but they both had middling results as other decks that preyed on both of these popped up to beat on them. ANT had a strong showing in this event as did Elves.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st wonderPreaux
Painter 2nd Delthar
Blue Karn/Artifacts 3rd markdm
Blood Moon Aggro 4th xJCloud
UR Delver 5th Stranger99
Jeskai Control 6th nathansteuer
ANT 7th FleetFarmer
The EPIC Gamble 8th Cdnewlon

Definitely an interesting Top 8. Some combo, some fair decks, some prison. Lot of nice stuff here. At the end of the event the winner was none other than Doomsday!

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Much more traditional-looking Doomsday variant here, with going very deep on cards like Pact of Negation in the sideboard as well as four copies of Force of Negation. Very powerful.

The Second Place finalist was on Painter.

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Very much a solid list here. Loving the sideboard copies of Fury. More and more people are picking up on just how strong that card is and the things it allows you to do, and it's great to see.

Also in the Top 8 we had some not so 8Cast Artifact pile.

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Kind of bits and pieces of both 8Cast and Karn Echo here, with the Echo of Eons game plan as well as Kappa Cannoneer. There's also a light black splash in the sideboard for Plague Engineer.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have The EPIC Gamble.

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Grim Monolith is a cool include here, as is cards like Reckless Impulse which seems quite strong in this kind of combo variant. Galvanic Relay continues to be incredibly powerful.

Around the Web

  • As we get back into paper Magic events, it's great to have casts like Eternal Glory covering solid Topics related to that. This past week's cast is on interacting with Judges in MTG events and is well worth a listen. Check it out here.
  • Phil Gallagher out here going pretty crazy with Dwarves and Hammer Time in Legacy. Check it out here.
  • 90sMTG has got Roland Chang and Chris Banuchi throwing down. Check it out here.
  • Everyday Eternal has a new episode out! Check it out here.
  • The Legacy Pit has some Aluren vs Reanimator action. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

So in this list, it's super sweet synergy getting to pitch Master of Death to Ledger Shredder.

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Legacy Neoform Combo is some big-time energy.

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It's the return of the Riddler! I'm not sure why there's no Ovalchase Daredevil here, but there is a copy of Gustha's Scepter.

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Yoshimaru Stoneforge aggro!

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Jeskai Ledger Shredder + Unlicensed Hearse is super interesting.

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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 MTGLegacy Discord Server.

Until next time!



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