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This Week in Legacy: The July Metagame Update

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 a metagame update for the month of July! We're also going to be looking at a paper Legacy 5K from SCGCon Syracuse in addition to some Challenges from this past weekend and of course, having a Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The July Metagame Update

I've been itching to do another one of these metagame updates, and even more so we've got another Legacy Round Table coming up in just a week, so we're going to be getting a great look at where the format is and what people think about it for sure. As for the current data set we'll be discussing, you can find the currently updated combined sheet of all the MTGO data since 1/29/2022 over here. I always like to make sure people can find it easily in these updates, as there's a lot going on.

Within the Legacy Data Collection Project we're now at just under 5,000 total entries recorded at 4,864 entries. This is a lot of data for sure! That number is growing week by week by week, so if you think you can help out the project in any way, please go check out the Patreon for the project.

Let's start by checking in on the macro archetypes of the format, and where Legacy is sitting in that regards.

As is to be expected, both Tempo and Midrange/Control type strategies are a huge portion of the format right now with Tempo by itself taking a 23.6% portion of the overall metagame. Control makes up 18.8% of the overall metagame, and then we move way way way down below 15% to Spell Combo at 11.6% and then below 10% for the rest of the options. Combo and Stompy decks are definitely showing up in force, and overall the basic metagame is a blue blue world. This is what we've come to expect out of Legacy for sure, but it's definitely interesting to see it on paper.

Now let's take a look at the Subarchetypes and associated win rate charts.

By itself, UR Delver is 20.9% of the overall metagame, meaning that 2-3% of the Tempo macro archetype is not Delver. With an estimated win rate of 53.8% non-mirror this is pretty amazing to see. What this is showing us is that despite all odds and despite the entire format gunning for the deck it is still putting up an exceptionally positive win rate while also being still 20% of the current metagame. This is incredible and I think this really shows the true popularity and power level of this deck. The next best deck here is Jeskai Control at only 8.2% of the metagame. This comparatively is absurd given the amount of data we have on these Challenge events. Right below those we have D&T and 8Cast at similar levels, both of which have a positive-ish win rate. We then move down to Elves and Reanimator.

The big thing this data is saying is that it seems like no matter what, Delver is the defacto best deck strategy in all of Legacy right now, and not just Delver in general but specifically UR Delver. Despite all odds, Delver continues to remain the titan to topple and is the one deck you should be prepping for in an event regardless of what it is you're playing. Furthermore, it is important to keep the decks at the top here also in mind for bigger events, so considering decks like Jeskai, D&T, 8Cast, Elves, etc. is all very important to succeeding in Legacy.

What does this tell us about Legacy directly though? Well, for me, the data is painting a picture of a format revolving around one single potentially S-Tier strategy (UR Delver) and that beyond trying to beat Delver each archetype is trying to circularly work against the others in that sphere. What this means is that there essentially one functional format pillar that stands far taller than every other format pillar, and every other pillar has to revolve and fight around that single pillar. This is unlike other formats where multiple format pillars stand at the same strength comparatively. The biggest issue with Legacy as a format right now is that the format pillars are not functionally equal.

There's a number of ways Wizards can address this situation, the obvious one to talk about being bans. We've heard often enough the sentinment of banning cards like Murktide Regent and Expressive Iteration and that is a good start to work with, but another way they can address this is by printing card specifically for other format pillars. I think Urza's Saga despite having a very homogenizing effect on gameplay provides non blue decks a major boost enough to their power level that it allows them to function on a higher level versus blue decks. This is a good thing, and one of the major reasons I feel we have not seen a complete and utter dominance by UR Delver. More cards that help boost varying nonblue strategies is excellent, especially if they're cards that can't easily be played in the Delver shell itself.

I don't know the exact answer of what should happen with Legacy right now, but I do know the data doesn't look particularly good. Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the format at a base gameplay level, and League play is simply random enough to keep people entertained but at higher competitive levels I can definitely see a lot of arguments for wanting some form of change effected in the format.

SCGCon Syracuse 7/10

This past weekend was a larger paper event in Syracuse, NY at SCGCon. This event had 75 players in it overall thanks to the fact that the event was ran through MTGMelee giving us more data on this event than normal.

You can find all of the decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

Jeskai Control was the most represented deck, but it did very poorly overall. UR Delver did exceptionally well with a non mirror win rate of roughtly 59.52%. Death and Taxes also did very well, as did Sneak and Show.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
The EPIC Storm 1st Bryant Cook
UR Delver 2nd Alex Rubin
UR Delver 3rd Brady Munroe
Doomsday 4th Rodney Bedell
UR Delver 5th Sullivan Brophy
GW Depths 6th Micah Larrow
Stoneblade 7th JeremyT
Death and Taxes 8th Viet Ta

Quite a bit going on here in this  Top 8, with a fair amount of UR Delver and some D&T/Depths decks. At the end of it all though it was master of The EPIC Storm himself Bryant Cook who won the event!

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I have heard this version dubbed "The Delver Killer" and it seems to show here just how powerful this shell is versus the Delver menace. Galvanic Relay is such an exceptionally powerful card that does so much in general. Solid congrats to Bryant for winning this event!

The other finalist from this event was Alex Rubin on UR Delver!

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This is a fairly stock Delver list right now, with what you would expect to see in these variants. The biggest addition in the sideboard here is Unlicensed Hearse which is a really strong card overall, so it's cool to see it pop up here. I can see it performing quite well in this deck for sure.

It's also worth noting that this event saw a good number of cards come up that aren't fully on Magic Online yet, and one of those is our heroic team of Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes in a GWr Depths shell in the Top 8.

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Minsc & Boo looks exceptionally powerful on paper so it's great to see it doing well in a bigger event like this.

Legacy Challenge 7/9

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event. This event 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.

UR Delver had the popular vote this event, but didn't have some great performance results, despite putting one copy in the Top 8. Red Stompy, Elves, and Reanimator all had super positive performances.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Reanimator 1st Eonwe7
Stoneblade 2nd davy2892
Red Stompy 3rd aManatease
Grixis Delver 4th Ozymandias17
Yorion Zenith 5th LeoFa
UR Delver 6th burrarun
ANT 7th DemonicTutors
Red Stompy 8th Granham

Definitely a wild Top 8 here. Only one copy of UR Delver, but several Red Stompy. At the end of it all it was Reanimator that took it all down.

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This is a super straightforward and solid list overall. This has definitely become close to as stock as possible it seems as of late with a stacked amount of Grief/Unmask.

The Second Place finalist was on Stoneblade.

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Jeskai Stoneblade with DRC and a pair of Murktides is something. Gone are the days of Batterskull and in are the days of the massively powerful Kaldra Compleat for sure.

Also in this Top 8 we've got some Red Stompy action.

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Fable of the Mirror-Breaker has really done a lot to push the power level of this deck, as has having cards like Fury. It's no surprise this deck looks as good as it does right now.

Further into this Top 8 we had repeat Top 8 competitor Matthew Vook on Grixis "Delver".

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There's no Delvers exactly, but both Baleful Strix and Ledger Shredder are really pulling their weight here in drawing cards to accelerate past the opponent. The black splash is light here, but it's very strong.

Legacy Challenge 7/10

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Sunday event. This event had 75 players in it based on 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 again had a large population but not a great performance. We've seen these weekends before so it's not super surprising. Elves and Jeskai Control also did quite well overall.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Death and Taxes 1st IsolatedSystem
Elves 2nd OlleR
Jeskai Control 3rd greenpm33
UR Delver 4th Mazzu93
Elves 5th runkor
Cephalid Breakfast 6th Enrichetta
Oops! All Spells 7th TrueFuturim
4C Control 8th Ark4n

Quite an interesting Top 8 here as well, with only a single UR Delver pilot again. Quite a bit of variety here, and the end of the event it was D&T that took it all down.

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Very straightforward list here, with all the typical hallmarks of a Yorion D&T deck. I have seen on occasion some of these decks trying out new card Extraction Specialist, but doesn't seem to be the case here. Very powerful deck indeed!

In Second Place we've got some Elves!

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Full on Nettle Sentinel Elves here, just going deep into the combo side of things. Very cool to see for sure.

Further down the line we've got Yorion Breakfast.

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This deck is super cool. I love that this deck is coming back and being such a powerful force right now. It's amazing to see.

Near the bottom of the Top 8 we have Oops! All Spells.

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This deck has a ton of power behind it, and really stands out as one of the more unique styles of combo in the format right now.

Around the Web

  • Everyday Eternal has a new epsiode! Check it out here.
  • Phil Gallagher is going deep on Slivers this week. Check it out here.
  • Speaking of Phil, he's going to be on an upcoming episode of Humans of Magic! Check out the Humans of Magic Twitter for information on when that drops.
  • TonyScapone showing how much of an Overmaster he is on The EPIC Gamble. Check it out here.
  • Bazaar of Boxes has some Rainbow Zenith! Check it out here.
  • Nossman wrote a sweet tournament report on Thought Lash/Paradigm Shift in Legacy from the 4Seasons event. Check it out here.
  • Eternal Durdles wants to warn you about the dangers of Displacer Kitten. You have been warned.

The Spice Corner

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

Big Displacer Kitten Combo is super duper sweet.

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Always love seeing Mono Black Reanimator/Depths Combo!

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into_play has gone full Yorion with Yorion CLOUDPOST.

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Killabee is tormenting the Prophet with this updated Riddlesmith Combo variant.

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It's not often I attach a video to one of these, but Phil Gallagher going 5-0, 10-0 with three copies of actual Pox in a Pox list is something to behold.

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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 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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