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This Week in Legacy: The Journey


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week I'm taking a more personal look at the Legacy format, and my own journey within the format. In addition to that, we have a player spotlight this week as well as talking about both Challenges this past weekend! As always we have our Spice Corner to wrap things up nicely.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Journey

I often spend a lot of time talking about many of the things going on in the community and other community members, but I don't generally talk about my own journey in the Legacy format as a content creator. I have spent much time pondering how I wanted to approach this subject, as it does include talking about some of the mental health conditions that come along with my journey. But as a close friend of mine recently told me, each journey is different and each journey is personal, and it's a good idea to internalize your journey and talk about these things.

I often suffer from impostor syndrome, a frightfully common thing for content creators in the MTG community. Impostor syndrome is often described as a feeling of inadequacy, of self-doubt. Most often this comes to light within the MTG community due to the concepts of results and results-oriented thinking. I have struggled with this because for all of my love and research I continually do in the Legacy format, I don't really have the results, leaving me to often feel out of place with the friends that I have made in the community.

I started with Magic roughly around the Tempest block era, having played very casually with my friends in Middle to High School. My view of Professional Magic was mainly through the World Championship decks released by Wizards and InQuest magazine. After High School however, I ended up quitting the game around the release of Onslaught block and the original release of Magic Online. I missed much of some of the more interesting sets in Magic during this time, such as Ravnica.

I came back to Magic around the release of Rise of the Eldrazi, drawn in by a friend I worked with who introduced me to the format known as EDH (later known as Commander). I dove heavily into EDH during this time, but many of the concepts of the Legacy format and Vintage format stuck in my brain from having seen early Pro Magic before I had quit the game. As the opportunity to play Commander waned locally in addition to not having time to seek out Commander groups due to the birth of my daughter in 2014, I decided to turn much of my Commander collection into Legacy by buying into a deck that had always intrigued me in the form of Manaless Dredge.

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Manaless Dredge did a few things for me as a player. It made me realize how much I enjoyed casting the card Cabal Therapy, but also helped me get to know the local players around the area that also played Legacy. I owe a lot to many of these players, names such as Lawrence Harmon, Frank Ivancic, Steve Sizemore, and countless others to helping me learn the format but also to help me realize how much I really enjoyed Legacy.

I eventually converted from Manaless Dredge to LED Dredge, having been able to turn some pricier EDH staples I still owned into the rest of the deck at an SCG Classic event in Cincinnati. Originally during this time I was going to build into Storm as a deck, and having Lion's Eye Diamond's as a path to that was the first step. However, upon my first attempts at playing Storm locally I realized I may not have wanted to play it because I didn't think I was smart enough to pilot it. I later have realized that it was merely my anxiety getting to me, as I have now learned the deck and learned more about playing it and am capable of piloting it reasonably well enough.

Realizing I didn't want to play Storm had me floundering for a bit on what I wanted to play in the format. I looked for other decks that played Cabal Therapy, because I had figured out that I really enjoyed casting the card. It was then that I discovered the deck Nic Fit, and I found that I really had fun playing the deck. I began to play the deck more consistently, learning from my locals and participating slightly online about the deck.

The first major event that I played Nic Fit at was Grand Prix Columbus 2016. This was my first GP, and has since been the only GP I have played Legacy at (due to being unable to travel to some of the GPs since then). I was fortunate enough during this event to play against a good number of Eldrazi Aggro, a deck that I had come to know well as one of my locals played the deck rather consistently. Luckily enough, I was able to make Day 2 of the GP on a 6-3 record (the minimum at that time to get to Day 2), and finished the event at a 10-5 record. I didn't cash this event, but I was happy with my performance.

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During this year, I began to gain an interest in writing about Magic, an interest that appeared thanks to one Jon Medina, who had taken over as a content manager for the website PucaTrade, which I had used for some time to trade cards on. Jon gave me a place to write about my favorite format. I had written many different things by this point, including fan fiction, but I hadn't really tried writing Magic content. I found that I enjoyed it greatly and continued to write weekly there for some time.

Eventually I also started writing for the trading site CardSphere, having covered the Team Vintage Super League during my time writing for them, which grew my appreciation and play of the Vintage format. I continued to play Legacy locally, but mainly switched decks around a lot, wanting to experience more with the format, and having the opportunity to do so thanks to my local store allowing playtest cards.

I started writing for MTGGoldfish as of October of 2018 for Vintage 101, having reached out after realizing the original column had not had any updates for some time. I also continued to write about Legacy for CardSphere until this past year, where I took over this column.

During the past few years, I have transitioned mainly to playing on Magic Online from playing in paper, mainly to try to support my content better but also due to time. This transition has definitely led to a lot of the anxiety I express when playing online. Leagues are not only generally strong competition, but they cost money to enter, and can generally lead to situations of anxiety of losing money by doing poorly in a league. I have suffered from this myself quite a bit, but I am continually learning and trying to figure out how best to account for this anxiety, which also stems from my lack of real results in the format. This is a continual journey to be undertaken, one that I know that I can make because of the support I've received from friends and those I love and trust. I have a great number of friends who have constantly given reassurance in regards to my anxiety and impostor syndrome feelings.

I love Legacy. I truly love everything about the format, and I love analyzing and seeing all the cool decks that the format continually brings to me. I have lived through the era of Dig Through Time, Sensei's Divining Top, Deathrite Shaman, and now 2019-2020 Magic and I just generally continually enjoy everything about the format, and I enjoy writing about it. I will continue to do so as well for as long as I possibly can.

As I move forward with this column, I would like to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to tell my story, and remember: every journey is important, every journey is personal and different, but it is important.

Community Legacy Update

I have a few updates on upcoming events online, as well as some updates on events that already occurred.

Pastimes Events is going to be hosting events as part of GenCon Online at the end of July here, and those events will include Legacy and Vintage. In fact, those events will also include access to every card on Magic Online to allow for a more level playing field. You can find out about this here.

Nerd Rage Gaming held a MTGO Open event over this past weekend, and they posted their coverage archive and Top 8 decklists.

Community Legacy Player Spotlight - Michael Mapson

One of the things that I am going to start doing more often is to help put a spotlight on various players in the Legacy format and allow them to tell their own story in their own words. A while back on Twitter, I asked about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) players in the format, and I was fortunate enough to talk with and learn from one Michael Mapson. I asked Michael to talk about himself and tell his story as a BIPOC player in the Legacy format, and it was incredibly insightful. I want to extend thanks to Michael for sharing his experiences with me. You can find Michael over here on Twitter!

And without further do, I'll let Michael take it away:

Magic Origin

I got started back in around 9th grade with Time Spiral block. My friend Adam was really into the game but only had his brothers to play with. He thought I would like it though so he gave me a shoebox full of cards so he could play with somebody new. Shortly after, I went off to Fine Arts camp for a couple of weeks. It turned out a lot of kids there knew how to play but nobody really had stuff on them. Our counselor went out one day and bought us all theme decks and I was hooked ever since then. Seeing people play with cards the way we did would probably make me cringe. We played with no sleeves on frayed dirt-covered picnic tables. We had so much fun though. Dust Elemental was my bomb rare and it won me so many games. Occasionally I think about trying to play it as a one of in modern just for kicks.

Getting into Real Formats

Shortly after getting into Magic my family moved to Pennsylvania. This meant I no longer had friends to play with. I found a LGS that I went to FNM at a couple times but the clientele and owners were all kind of toxic and the place shut down. I didn’t have an outlet for Magic for a bit, until Duels of the Planeswalkers came out... When the game came out, it also came with a code you could redeem for a Planeswalker card from your LGS. So I got online and found a new store that was way better than my old one. I didn’t go very regularly but was able to introduce some friends to the game now and have a regular group. Eventually when it came time to go to college I happened to pick a school that was in the same town as my new store (complete coincidence). Having more access to the store, I met and befriended the regulars. Over time they got me into EDH, and then Modern, and eventually one day into Legacy.

Legacy Decks

So the first deck I played was U/R Delver. I stuck with that deck for years and occasionally go back to it. When it was at its best with Treasure Cruise, I decided I don’t like winning and switched to playing R/W Imperial Painter. For years that was the deck most associated with me. I had the deck foiled out and Top 8’d and/or won a lot of local events. I loved the silly things you could do with Goblin Welder plus top, I loved the haymakers you could play from Chandra to Koth to Assemble the Legion. I have killed a lot of Miracles players with Assemble the Legion. After the banning of Sensei's Divining Top, I floundered for a bit and played various good stuff piles. Over the past year though I have found my home making Marit Lages. 

Modern

Despite Legacy being my favorite format, modern is definitely the one I’m more known for. In 2018, I came in second place at GP Hartford, losing to Matt Nass on his insane run. My weapon of choice for the weekend was Amulet Titan. At the time, people still remembered the deck from its Summer Bloom days but it had not come back into prominence yet. I was the first player to Top 8 a GP with the archetype post ban.

Why Do I Love Legacy

It often feels the most rewarding. The cards are powerful and blowouts can happen at any point but it feels like the games often come down to who had the best plan. I think this is more pronounced than other formats. I like knowing that if I make a small mistake here and there I can still win if I have a good overall plan

Wishes for MTG

More representation in the game. I really appreciate that in their professional leagues Wizards left slots for discretionary invites, but not giving more to Black players was pretty upsetting. Goes without saying but we need more diversity on cards too. Not just on Planeswalkers too but in the various artwork. More diversity in coverage. Having Cedric Phillips is great and that guy is truly amazing at his job but there’s no other black commentators? That seems suspect. The recent PT coverage looked like a step in the right direction. More diversity in WOTC itself, especially in a more customer-facing role. All the major faces of the company are middle-aged white men. It would be nice to see more women or minorities speaking for the company too.

Goals

1.) I would like to get back on the PT whenever it returns to paper.  

2.) I was approached about a position on Play Design at one point. I thought it would be really cool. I failed to get the job though. My position in life has recently changed and I’m not sure I could still move to Seattle for the job but I do think it would be really cool to consult on just one set or product.

3.) My schedule is pretty abnormal at the moment but if I ever get to a more normal schedule I would like to start streaming regularly. I’ve done a couple streams in the past and they were a lot of fun but my life has just been very chaotic, even during quarantine. I’m hoping by the end of the year things will be normalish though.

4.) You know Nick Miller’s job on SCG. I want it. Like really bad. I think I’d be very good at it too. I already follow most players closely. I love talking about new and interesting decks, discussing the nuances, etc.  I would also love to do commentary. I’ve commentated on a few matches and had a lot of fun. I think I can offer useful insight and people tell me I’m funny. I’ve considered starting a podcast to get my name more exposure to help with the above goals but never committed. 

Legacy Challenge 7/18

Our first Challenge of the weekend was the early morning Saturday Challenge, so let's dive right into the metagame breakdown.

While RUG Delver has continued to have a large amount of representation, it actually didn't convert all that well for this event, with only one pilot of the five in the Top 32 making it to the Top 8, while the rest sat below the Top 16 cutoff. Outside of this, there was actually a large number of decks across the Top 32, and some really interesting ones at that.

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

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Eldrazi Post 1st FistFullOfMetal
Sneak and Show 2nd JPA93
Snowko 3rd StefanoGS
Hogaak 4th Yurai-Whitecats
RUG Delver 5th ZiyanGhuakai
Esper Vial 6th JaceTMSST
Yorion Zenith 7th Yehua
Ninjas 8th MrJaceOne

This was definitely an interesting Top 8, with a wide array of strategies represented and some really cool decks as well. At the end of the event however, it was none other than a Cloudpost archetype that took it all down!

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This list is exceptionally powerful, as the big ramp plans can always surprise people. Add in the fact that this was the only Cloudpost deck in the Top 32 definitely suggest one heck of a run by this pilot. Golos is especially cool here to see paired with Cascading Cataracts as a way of being able to activate his secondary ability.

In Second Place we have Sneak and Show afficionado JPA93.

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This is clean bread and butter for a JPA list, and it's a strategy that he is well known for.

In Third Place we have Snowko.

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This is more of a straight Bant Snowko/Miracles list as opposed to the typical 4C Snowko lists that we have seen do well in the past. I suspect a lot of this has to do with the pilot, but this is a well constructed list with some powerful card choices.

In Fourth Place we have Hogaak.

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This is the BUG variant of Hogaak, and it seems like whichever variant (Jund/BUG) is simply a personal preference at this point as both builds are capable of performing well.

In Fifth Place we have RUG Delver.

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It's safe to say that most of the RUG Delver lists have coalesced into a relatively stock list with a few flex spots here or there for specific options, especially in the creature threat department. This list is opting to have both Goyf and Mandrills as a threat base.

In Sixth Place we have Esper Vial.

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This deck is excessively cool, and it's great to see cards like Barrin, Tolarian Archmage work their way into the shell, as they seem tailor made for this kind of deck. Barrin especially seems strong with Soulherder as a value blink target.

In Seventh Place we have Yorion Zenith.

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This deck is basically a bigger version of the BUG Zenith deck that has done well in the past, with having access to Yorion as a way of value-blinking the field. The only off-color card here is Klothys, God of Destiny, however that can serve to be a strong Green Sun's Zenith target.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have Ninjas!

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This deck is incredibly cool, capable of really drawing lots of cards with all of the ninjutsu triggers. It's so cool to see that this deck is doing well.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event. Currently, I am only looking at cards that have 8 copies or more with special exceptions made for Companions.

Card Name Number of Copies
Oko, Thief of Crowns 43
Veil of Summer 29
Force of Vigor 21
Arcum's Astrolabe 20
Force of Negation 20
Dreadhorde Arcanist 17
Ice-Fang Coatl 17
Prismatic Vista 16
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 15
Plague Engineer 14
Once Upon a Time 13
Emry, Lurker of the Loch 12
Karn, the Great Creator 12
Narset, Parter of Veils 9
Yorion, Sky Nomad 1

Oko was certainly at the top of the heap for this event when it comes to 2019-2020 cards, but there was quite a few overall from the past two years, as has been the case for a while now. This event also saw the return of at least one Companion in Yorion.

Legacy Challenge 7/19

Our Second Challenge of the weekend was the normal Sunday Challenge, so let's dive right into the Top 32 Metagame.

Again there was a bit of RUG Delver here,  but again it didn't convert very well overall, only putting one copy of the deck into the Top 8. The best converting deck however was none other than Elves, putting both of its pilots into the Top 8.

Now let's look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Elves 1st BladeOfice
Yorion Stryfo Pile 2nd Stryfo
Elves 3rd KanonenFutter
Bant NO 4th Kihara_Works
Snowko 5th StefanoGS
Omni-Tell 6th MaxMagicer
RUG Delver 7th Azerate218
TES 8th Cometa183

Elves and Natural Order shells in general did very well in this event, taking up 3/4 of the Top 4 of the event. Beyond that there was some variety in combo and fair decks throughout the Top 8.

At the end of the event however, it was indeed Elves that took down the event.

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The big solid takeaway here from this list is that Allosaurus Shepherd is indeed very good, but not insane enough to warrant more than a single copy of. As with all Zenith based decks, the deck gets a virtual five copies anyways, so being able to grab it when needed is strong.

In Second Place we have the originator of Stryfo Pile himself on Yorion Stryfo Pile.

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Stryfo continues to push the limits of what Stryfo Pile is capable of, and has been working on the Yorion build for some time now. It's great to see that persistence take off and for him to do well in an event like this.

In Third Place we have a second Elves list.

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This list is pretty spot on to the list that took First Place, and again shows the power level of Allosaurus Shepherd.

In Fourth Place we have Bant NO.

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This list is pretty cool, acting as a bit of a combo/control hybrid deck with a fair game plan bolstered by the fact that Natural Order can simply drop into play a Progenitus.

In Fifth Place in a repeat Top 8 performance this weekend by the same pilot we have Snowko.

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This is essentially the same 75 that this pilot Top 8'ed the other event with. Congrats to StefanosGS on their finishes this weekend!

In Sixth Place we have Omni-Tell.

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This is a powerful list, leaning on the fair cards like Coatl to protect the combo game plan. This deck only needs to get going and it's very strong.

In Seventh Place we have RUG Delver.

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This is a similar list to the other Top 8 list from this weekend, utilizing both Goyf and Mandrills, but in different number quantities. Again, there tends to be some flex spots in this deck in regards to the threat base.

Rounding out the Top 8 we have TES.

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TES is now utilizing Peer into the Abyss as a Wish target, which is generally where I considered the card would end up in that deck. As long as Veil exists however, I do believe TES will continue to be one of the better Storm based strategies in the format since it makes good use of Veil as a proactive card.

Now let's take a look at the 2019-2020 cards in this event.

Card Name Number of Copies
Oko, Thief of Crowns 34
Veil of Summer 33
Force of Negation 29
Ice-Fang Coatl 28
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath 23
Plague Engineer 20
Arcum's Astrolabe 16
Dreadhorde Arcanist 16
Once Upon a Time 10
Prismatic Vista 10
Force of Vigor 8
Yorion, Sky Nomad 2

Again Oko is at the top of the heap, as is all the typical players from the past two years. Yorion also shows up again here, showing that it can continue to be an interesting card that is a fringe strategy, which is what Wizards wanted for Companions in the first place.

Ban Watch

As we started to do last week with our topic on Legacy Bannable cards, I have updated the data on the Legacy Bannable cards. I am currently not adding any cards to this chart, but I might as time goes on. Regardless, this continues to be an interesting look at these cards and how they are used.

Around the Web

  • 90sMTG continues to deliver with spice as Nathan Golia plays Jund Fiend Artisan, which you can check out here.
  • In Response Podcast had Showcase Challenge winner Manuel_Danninger on the cast, so check that out here.
  • The Eternal Glory Podcast posted a new episode about how to beat RUG Delver, which you can check out here.

The Spice Corner

Ensoul Artifact in Legacy?!

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Helm Combo!

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Urza Bomberman!

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Mono Red Sneak / Breach hasn't been around in a while, so this is cool.

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There are no words for this one.

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What I'm Playing This Week

I opted to try out Overhaul's Rector Fit list this week. I'm no stranger to Nic Fit lists, so this has felt fun.

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Wrapping Up

That's all the time we have this week! 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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