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This Week in Legacy: The Legacy Round Table - "The End of 2023" Edition


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 are assembling a final Round Table for 2023! Let's hear what the Legacy community is liking or not liking about Legacy for a final time this year! In addition to that we've only got one Challenge to discuss, due in part because the Sunday Challenge did not fire this past weekend (Christmas Eve and all in the US).

In addition, Daybreak did indeed fix all of the decklist issues and we were able to keep the updates with full decklists for events! This is so great, and Daybreak did such a great job at this that they fixed it before my articles talking about the issues last week even went live!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

The Legacy Round Table - The "End of 2023" Edition

We've got a final Legacy Round Table for the end of 2023! My End of Year Round Tables tend to be pretty big, due in part to the fact that I don't limit who gets to join them! We've got quite a slew of players, content creators, and more all weighing in on Legacy! Let's see who is hanging out with us this end of year!

Name Social Media Links
David Inglis Twitter
TrueFuturism Twitter
Jake Weinmann Twitter
Gian Marco Pagano Twitter
Peter van der Ham

Twitter

YouTube

Paul Lynch Twitter
Jordan Mellor

Twitter

Paper Legacy Discord

Cyril Pitalot Twitter
Niv Shmuely Twitter
Manuel Drudi Twitter
Curtis Aile

Twitter

Bolt the Bird

Yves Bogaerts Twitter
Zhinonono Twitter
Lucas Fasoli Twitter
Michel de Jong (Bazaar of Boxes)

BoB Twitter

BoB YouTube

BoB Twitch

Marvin Roelofs (Bazaar of Boxes)

BoB Twitter

BoB YouTube

BoB Twitch

Evan Lewis

Twitter

Twitch

Patreon

Teus van der Meij (Bazaar of Boxes)

BoB Twitter

BoB YouTube

BoB Twitch

The Legacy Gambit Link Tree
Jason Murray Twitter
Matthew Vook Twitter

That's a lot of names! 21 different folks weighing in this end of year, so go follow all of them! Now that we've gotten the introductions out of the way, let's jump into this final Round Table!

1. What are your current thoughts on the Legacy format? Are you having fun? Is the format healthy?

David Inglis: I think Legacy is awesome right now. As someone who usually plays at a competitive level. I have been critical of Legacy for lacking diversity at the highest level, in paper this is of course different as people don't have rental accounts or the ability to try out new decks. Normally I think that Delver rules the roost in Legacy and the other decks play second fiddle to it. That said I have played a lot of paper Legacy and online legacy and have found the format has shifted a lot. Exciting cards like Orcish Bowmasters and Forth Eorlingas! have given rise to new decks. It is no doubt that delver is a strong deck but I do not believe that it is overwhelmingly strong. I have played quite a few different decks this year to relative success. I have played Grixis Delver, UB Scam, and Various Control decks and have even started to pick up the pieces for paper D+T. Eternal Weekend has shown that there is good format diversity amongst the top players, as someone who has played Legacy since 2011, I truly believe that we are in a golden age in the format. Lots of decks that are viable and can win events, no color imbalance, ( I think until Orcish Bowmasters, black was pretty unplayable) I am not the biggest fan of the initiative mechanic but think it is a fine tool to keep Control decks in check. I enjoy the Legacy format very much now and hope to travel to play even more in paper.

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TrueFuturism: Legacy is in the greatest shape I've ever seen. Lot of things are playable, Delver is still Tier 1 but not as dominant as before, match-ups are very diverse, there's room for creativity, and most new cards open some new doors not too busted (I'm a huge proponent of Bowmasters) etc. Also, the fact this feeling seems to be shared by a major part of the community solidifies my beliefs about the current state of Legacy.

The only shade I could throw that I believe isn't too biased from my perspective since I have a great match-up against it, but I feel like control soups are a bit dull lately, mostly because of bean & ring, which makes the deckbuilding part kinda restricted.

Jake Weinmann: Legacy is in a really good spot right now.*

There are a lot of viable archetypes and most matchups are pretty close to 50/50. Nothing is too oppressive or drowning out archetypes at the moment. Legacy continues to be a deep format, and pillars of the format remain competitive even as new archetypes or variants of archetypes are introduced.

*The elephant in the room is MTGO legacy is missing key cards from WH40k, most noteworthy being Triumph of Saint Katherine, Canoptek Scarab Swarm, and Chaos Defiler.

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Gian Marco Pagano: I think the format it's in good shape, I like that a lot of nicher strategies are finding a spot to shine; furthermore, non-blue decks are extremely viable in the form of Goblins, Boros Initiative, Painter, Depths, and Cradle, which to me means there is a balanced environment. Adding personal bias, Thought Lash/Paradigm Shifts decks are doing great at the moment in the Mono U version (like in the case of the last Showcase Challenge) and it warms my heart. That being said, I think it's just a matter of time (or printings) before it's clear which is the better Tempo shell, and eventually the current playerbase, split between UB-Grixis-RUG, will converge into a single iteration; as long as there is no clear best tempo deck, however, it's pretty safe to say that the format is very enjoyable and most archetypes are viable.

Peter van der Ham: I think Legacy is in a fun, and notably healthy, spot at the moment; with a lot of decks all in the discussion of 'best deck' I believe we have a broad 'top tier' list of decks. And I don't think there's a single overarching deck type that doesn't have its place to shine. One very real data point about the broad shape of the format is the field at the three Eternal Weekends that we had at the end of the year. The most represented deck across the three events was Grixis Delver at a mere 6.1%, which is far below what we would see if there is consensus on the top strategies. A small sidenote here could be that slower decks need a very good plan to win longer games against Up the Beanstalk and/or The One Ring; but there are plenty of ways of going under these decks or punishing them for their card draw centric gameplay. From a competitive and egocentric point, I like a more clear metagame, for which I get to build decks specifically to beat the top decks; but that's certainly not a requirement for a fun or healthy format. These are the periods where I get to lean into my brewing side rather than my competitive side, as the format allows for a lot of powerful things in a wide variety of decks to all be very playable, this means there is a lot of flexibility in regards to viable shells for underexplored cards to go into. Now, if only I got to play all the wacky cards on Magic Online, I could try and tune some of these curve balls.

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Paul Lynch: I think the format is very healthy. Combo, Midrange, Tempo, Stompy/Prison and Control are all playable right now. Nothing in the format seems super toxic or too overpowered and most match-ups are super interactive and fun. The format rewards you for knowing your deck very well, so play what you know the best.

Jordan Mellor: The format is in a great place, as a variety of deck archetypes are viable and nothing feels overwhelming/oppressive. I would align it closely to pre-War of the Spark Legacy, where most decks were competitively viable and felt even at the top tables.

Cyril Pitalot: I think the format is in excellent state. The format is wide open and you can perform with basically anything from control (beans/ring control from all varieties), tempo (Grixis/Temur or 4c/UB), permanent based combo (Painter/Breakfast), spell-based (Beseech storm), Midrange (Cradle Control), aggro (Initiative/8void) even 8Cast. There is a lot to like about this and I'm having a lot of fun especially tuning my deck to be the best overall even if as a control player it is harder to tune perfectly with a wide-open format.

Niv Shmuely: I think Legacy now it's the best it's ever been. All the colors feel super balanced. All colors got really powerful cards lately (green beanstalk, black Bowmasters, red/white Initiative/Forth Eorlingas, blue - Lorien Revealed/Ring), while I do think Initiative shouldn't be a mechanic for 1v1 not only due to it being broken (as it wasn't designed for a 1v1 play) but also just makes the game evolved around it in a very fast way. I think the format is super healthy, I think deck building matters more than ever, metagaming is hard (no more 30-40% delver)

Manuel Drudi: At the moment Legacy seems in a good spot: since the LotR set release I don't see any obvious tier 0 and you can mostly have fun with any archetype and a solid chance to get good results. The fact players haven't complained too much so far is another sign the metagame isn't so bad. From a Delver player's perspective, the fact I'm experimenting with different tempo decklists at the same time, passing from UB scam to URg, Grixis or 4c Delverless means that you're free to play what you like and focus on your in-game decisions more. So much variety in terms of archetype presence could lead to harder times in tuning your sb, but on the other hand that's what makes the game so challenging the more you play it.

Curtis Aile: Legacy is in such a great place right now. Seeing the number of people who came out for EW Pittsburgh should be all the barometer of format health you need. It's really interesting to me how quickly the tides change. Early in the year, the meta was defined by Delver and White Initiative decks. After WOTC nerfed each, the meta seemed to settle into a much healthier version of itself. Nearly every archetype has something worth sleeving up. Combo, Stompy, Midrange, etc all have a solid path to victory on any given day.

As a good sense check, it's nice when there is room for people to stretch a little. In that regard, there is room for classic decks like Cephalid Breakfast, Shadow, and Delver as well as new strategies such as Beans or Mississippi River.

One trend that has jumped out at me is the number of Modern decks that have made the jump over to Legacy this year. Rhinos, Beans and Scam all come to mind as strong strategies that have put up winning records this year. Probably a good reason why Beans and Scam were both nerfed in Modern.

It's also nice to see that you can still field a deck without a mana base full of reserved list cards. 8-Cast, Death's Shadow, D&T, and Oops! All Spells all remain viable decks if you've got a good read on the meta. Lastly, its nice to see some major tournament organizers allowing proxies at their events. Buffalo Chicken Dip Legacy is who jumps out at me first, but it seems like the more interest Legacy demands, the more paper tournaments are allowing these as a way of being more inclusive of people who want to play.

Yves Bogaerts: I think overall Legacy is in a fine state currently. We see a nice variety of deck diversity both in the generally played decks as well as in the winners bracket and nothing feels overly oppressive or exploitable. There are playable decks in most, if not all, different archetypes and it's possible to compete on an FNM level with budget / nonreserve list decks making for a decent line of entry for new players.

Zhinonono: I think Legacy format can digest itself now, cause there is a lot of variety of decks in the format, though some power cards exist, such as beanstalks and bowmaster, but after time the format seems to stabilize again. I played many decks in recent weeks and never felt bored, so I think the format is healthy and funny. The only problem is that the entire format becomes faster, and power cards greatly speed up the game, I am not sure if it's good for everyone.

Lucas Fasoli: It might be weird coming from someone who plays a lot of Doomsday, but I think the format is a bit too fast and proactive. Still, I'm having fun and I'd say it's reasonably healthy, although slightly warped around Orcish Bowmasters. Compared to the earlier iterations of Legacy, it feels like the format is going towards a "play a bomb ASAP and have the game snowball from there" mindset. It's balanced in the sense that a lot of different decks are doing it, but I feel like there are a lot more non-games compared to years ago.

Michel de Jong: I feel Legacy hasn’t been this healthy in a long while! I’m having a ton of fun due to the notion that I believe the format is pretty wide open. Nothing is truly overshadowing everything; not a single deck is the de facto best thing to do, which makes the field feel super diverse and rewarding to spend your time on. I’ve also observed that the format continues to evolve, even with minimum to no new card injections, meaning the format still has a ton of room to breathe.

Marvin Roelofs: I really like the current Legacy format. The decks are diverse and a lot of strategies are viable. I don’t think any archetype is being hated out and the top 8 is diverse and healthy.

Evan Lewis: I'm having a lot of fun exploring this format, and the diversity continues to make it fun and engaging. Over the past few years, I'd started to get frustrated with how many games of Legacy felt like they were dictated by answering oppressive threats back and forth until someone untapped with theirs. Since LTR, though, it's felt like there's a lot more room for games to go long, with more posturing around the cards you expect from your opponent and taking the time to play around them when possible. We still feel the effects of FIRE design for sure - sometimes Murktide just kills you - but I think LTR, and Orcish Bowmasters in particular, promote passing the turn with mana up instead of jamming your bomb threats every turn, and I think that's a big net positive for the format.

Teus van der Meij: I think Legacy is in a really good place. 2023 had some downs (mostly the first 2 months before the Expressive Iteration/White Plume Adventurer bans), but the rest of the year had some new innovations, deck refinements and mostly a pretty balanced metagame. I’m currently having a lot of fun playing weekly with my mates and whenever I go to a tournament.

The Legacy Gambit: The Legacy format is currently thriving and Eternal Weekend was a testament to this. There were a total of 24 different decks with more than 10 players, and each achieved a non-mirror win rate of ≥50%. With multiple archetypes performing well, the format is in an excellent position.

Jason Murray: Legacy is healthy. Most archetypes feel viable, and perhaps for the first time since FIRE design, Delver has multiple viable builds instead of a single optimal configuration. Fair Blue has a slight leg up on the format, but not to an overwhelming degree that it can’t be attacked. I had a lot of fun testing for NA Eternal Weekend and ultimately packed three options because I thought there was no clear best deck and wanted the ability to audible.

Matthew Vook: I think overall Legacy is in a healthy spot. There are tons of reasonable options to pick for any event and I don't think there is a clear best deck. Gameplay is roughly the same as typical Legacy. Most matchups are fun and have many decision points. There are certain decks like Reanimator and the Stompy decks that aren't particularly fun to play against.

2. What changes would you make to the current format (bans/unbans) and why?

David Inglis: In terms of bans, I don't think anything needs to be done. It is nice of Wizards to admit a truth that any legacy player knows and that is that we are allowed to play with Brainstorm and Wasteland even though in "other formats" they would have been banned, they are part of the history of legacy. I think Orcish Bowmasters is a skill-testing card and one of the nice things about the card is that gives a good tool to non blue decks to fight Brainstorm. It is telling that there is a real choice between Orcish Bowmasters and Questing Druid in Delver for example. I think that is an excellent sign of the health of a format that one of the best decks has colour decisions. I hear a lot of my control-playing friends dislike RW Initiative but honestly, I am fine with it. Nothing needs to be banned at all in my eyes. In terms of unbans I was very happy to see Mind's Desire unbanned and not ruin anything. I am always a little scared to unban cards in Legacy. I think Yawgmoth's Bargain could likely be unbanned but I don't see what could it would achieve. I recently changed my opinion on advocating for a small ban list. I think unbans should look to really add to the format as they are risky and can cause more harm than good sometimes.

TrueFuturism: None. Some unbans are maybe safe but I wouldn't take the risk, for instance, I don't have any interest in seeing Mind Twist unbanned although I agree it might not be very good in the end. Banning is unnecessary, nothing seems too powerful, I'm okay with leaving the crown to blue. It's a necessary 'evil' for the format to remain the best.

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Jake Weinmann: The format is pretty healthy. I could potentially see banning Up the Beanstalk as it falls into a similar category as Arcum's Astrolabe and Deathrite Shaman as an enabler for "5c good stuff soup" decks to be a thing. My take on it is that Up the Beanstalk does have interesting gameplay, some variety in its archetypes, and isn't *too* oppressive of a card by itself. It imposes some interesting deck-building restrictions as well. I could also see Forth Eorlingas! being banned at some point simply because it is such an amazingly efficient finisher.

Unban Earthcraft.

Gian Marco Pagano: I have the gut feeling that Orcish Bowmasters is a bit too powerful and a bit too popular to stay, but at the same time the power level at the moment it's so high that I can see it last (at least for a while). I'd rather see some other cards unbanned like Mind's Desire (which I'm also toying with as a side project); possible candidates would be Earthcraft, Windfall and Zirda in my opinion, I don't see any of this card being harmful to the current Legacy format.

Peter van der Ham: I think we don't need any bans at this time, considering how healthy the format looks and plays. But unbans are always of interest, to me. As a little thought exercise, I have listed the Legacy banned card list (excluding Conspiracies, Ante, and cards barred due to physical action) in order of how positive I would think unbanning the card would be, with the most heinous unbans towards the end. The over/under line of card I'd personally like to see tried for a while is around Flash, though the 'safe' line is a couple of cards above that. Where's yours?

Memory Jar
Dreadhorde Arcanist
Earthcraft
Survival of the Fittest
Hermit Druid
Frantic Search
Zirda, the Dawnwaker
Windfall
Gush
Yawgmoth's Bargain
Imperial Seal
Mind Twist
Mana Drain
Flash
Expressive Iteration
Mystical Tutor
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Oko, Thief of Crowns
Deathrite Shaman
Arcum's Astrolabe
Gitaxian Probe
Vampiric Tutor
White Plume Adventurer
Sensei's Divining Top
Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time
Yawgmoth's Will
Wrenn and Six
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Wheel of Fortune
Skullclamp
Mental Misstep
Library of Alexandria
Demonic Tutor
Oath of Druids
Underworld Breach
Channel
Necropotence
Fastbond
Demonic Consultation
Timetwister
Balance
Mana Vault
Tinker
Strip Mine
Mishra’s Workshop
Bazaar of Baghdad
Sol Ring
Mana Crypt
Ancestral Recall
Tolarian Academy
Time Walk
Time Vault
Mox Emerald
Mox Pearl
Mox Jet
Mox Ruby
Mox Sapphire
Black Lotus

Paul Lynch: The serious answer: I wouldn't change the format at all right now, all of the major pillars are represented. There are a few top decks but not a definitive best right now. The not-so-serious answer: Unban Deathrite Shaman because i want to relive the Deathblade era of Legacy. We know this will never happen though because 4 color tempo would take over the format.

Jordan Mellor: I would keep an eye on Up the Beanstalk and see if Wizards prints more cards that enable the draw engine even further. As it stands, however, I believe no changes are needed as beans is kept in check by Bowmasters. The one potential unban I keep my eye on is Frantic Search as I believe it would greatly benefit high tide and its potential resurgence, however, I worry how it might have unwanted side effects on improving other decks or even creating a new archetype.

Cyril Pitalot: At the moment I don't think any bans are required or necessary since I think the format is well-balanced. I'm always looking at unbans as a first option if the format becomes stale at any point.

Niv Shmuely: I would get rid of Initiative and maybe Monarch from the format. Initiative for sure, I think the mechanic is just a mistake to have legal in 1v1 play. Mainly with Ancient Tomb it's so easy to overwhelm the game fast and make it spin around taking the Initiative and nothing else.

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Manuel Drudi: Right now I don't see the need for bans, and when it comes to unbans I'm not a great fan of them, since they end up being irrelevant in shaking up the format or they do it for real. However, as we witnessed during the last Eternal Weekend month, gradually filling up Magic Online with some latest releases in the last year (i.e. Triumph of Saint Katherine or Sailors' Bane) would really help players testing in a more proficient way for paper events.

Curtis Aile: I would not make any changes to the current banned list. While cards like Orcish Bowmasters and Grief can be difficult and frustrating to play against, they are responsible for hemming in some of the other broken strategies. I am pleased to see so many strategies thriving in the current landscape.

Yves Bogaerts: As far as bans go I personally don't feel that anything is so obnoxious for either deck diversity or play patterns that there should be an additional ban currently. I wouldn't be opposed to a few unbans though. First ones worth a look would likely be the following.

  • Mind Twist: This feels banned based on ancient feel-bad moments but wouldn't be overboard in terms of power level currently. There are a lot more powerful things to be doing these days.
  • Goblin Recruiter: The biggest opposing factor I hear for Goblin Recruiter is the time it takes for a player to resolve the card. My 'Gut' feeling (pun intended) is that resolving a Doomsday or a Goblin Recruiter is pretty similar and this should be fine if treated within the same 'slow play' framework we have currently.
  • Zirda, the Dawnwaker: This one is probably the most contentious on the list and would need close follow-up, but I would love to see where the Zirda Bomberman deck would land given a chance post-companion rule change. While I acknowledge there's a fine line between this deck being just good and it is plain bonkers, there's a reasonable chance this ban happened a little too soon and people didn't get the chance to properly tech for it.

Zhinonono: There is nothing I want to banned, cause everything seems combined closely. Maybe we could unban Ragavan cause there are so many Bowmasters in the format (but I can imagine that many players will not like the game mode from this card). Another card I want to unban is Lurrus. The Companion rule has changed, an aggro deck needs to pay more cost to use it, will delver deck want to use it and abandon Murktide? Looking forward to it. And I think this card can induce some new deck shell.

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Lucas Fasoli: I don't think I'd make any bans right now, although I could see Orcish Bowmasters getting the axe at some point. It's perfectly fine in nonblue decks, but I'm a bit wary of blue decks getting maindeckable asymmetrical hate pieces. As for the unbans there's quite some stuff that has no reason to be on the banlist.

  • Yawgmoth's Bargain: Beseech the Mirror is the only Bargain card you should be playing in storm right now. Yawgmoth's Bargain has aged poorly and I don't think it would see anything but very minor play. It also faces competition from both Ad Nauseam (cheaper) and Peer into the Abyss (more expensive but much stronger).
  • Earthcraft: you're telling me a format where you can Doomsday, Reanimate Griselbrand, Kill someone with Tendrils, or do many other broken things on turn one isn't ready for Earthcraft+Squirrel Nest? It's 2GGG+an untapped land over two turns for a delayed kill? That doesn't even seem playable to me.
  • Frantic Search: it's not fast enough for Reanimator and I don't think High Tide is close to being broken, especially compared to the other combo decks of the format. Pretty safe unban, I'd say.
  • Mind Twist: probably a safe unban, but not exactly a card I'm eager to play with or against.

Michel de Jong: I don’t think any bans are necessary - at all. The format has the tools to keep itself in check and there’s no massive disparity in terms of power level when it comes to (viable) deck choices in our current Legacy climate. In terms of unbanning; I would love to experiment a bit with more frequent unbannings. I’d be curious to see how cards like Deathrite Shaman would stack up in today’s meta. As would I be super curious to see Lurrus of the Dream-Den make a return. While maybe a hot take; I enjoyed that (short-lived) meta and with the errata to the Companion ruling it could be interesting to explore that space again, especially in a different field. But, admittedly … I just want to jam it in my pet project, Esper Temptation, haha!

Marvin Roelofs: I don’t think banning cards in Legacy is necessary. If something needs to change I would rather see something unbanned. To be honest, I don’t really know what should be unbanned. But, just a personal favorite: I would like to see Deathrite Shaman unbanned!

Evan Lewis: My petty answer is Forth Eorlingas! I've never really enjoyed a game where Forth resolved, it just invalidates most of the game that was played before it resolves, and I hate that it's another card where the only consistent answer is counterspells. As for my sincere answer: I don't think that Up the Beanstalk is too powerful for the format by any means, but I also don't think it's great that it's homogenized the blue control decks and snowballs quite hard. There's some variety in which cards are played to win the game (Triumph, Murktide, Uro, Bowmaster, number of Forths) but most of the lists I've seen share about 60 cards of the 75.

Teus van der Meij: The biggest change I (and I think most Legacy players) want to see is the unification of paper and online. There shouldn’t be 2 Legacies. WotC messed up greatly with their handling of Warhammer, which resulted in the biggest and most important tournament of the year in North America (EW) being won by a deck that can’t be played online. Even small things like the 8-Cast community (which I am actively part of) having to lobby to try and get Clown Car online so we can test it more intensively is something that’s quite frankly just absurd. Clown Car doesn’t need any programming or extra licensing to be able to exist on MTGO, but Daybreak and MODO just seem to ignore the multitudes of messages on Twitter/X about fixing the problem. My personal bias aside, WotC has hinted multiple times about closely monitoring MTGO results as a way to inform the overall health of Legacy, so it’s also in their interest to have a ‘complete’ format online.

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The Legacy Gambit: We propose no format changes at the moment. However, we would like to have the same metagames for both online and paper play, though we recognize that this is currently beyond our control. Additionally, we would like Wizards of the Coast to review the cards that could be removed from the banned list. As we saw with Mind's Desire; some cards could be okay to consider unbanning such as Earthcraft or Survival of the Fittest, but we also understand the cost of those cards and their being on the reserved list makes this tricky.

Jason Murray: No changes are needed at this time. The format is healthy and should be allowed to develop naturally. You could probably unban some cards like Earthcraft, but there’s not really enough upside to justify the risk of being wrong and re-banning a Reserved List card after it spikes.

Matthew Vook: I wouldn't ban anything right now. There are tons of potential cards that would be similar to the unbanning of Mind's Desire but I'm not sure there's much upside to doing that soon.

3. What do you think is the best-positioned strategy in the current Legacy format?

David Inglis: Play experience and good testing is the best-positioned strategy currently and that is awesome, looking across the Eternal weekends we saw a lot of well-known players have great finishes. I don't think this is a play Delver or you are throwing format and that is awesome to say, having a legacy format that rewards experience and passion is exactly where I want the format to be. In terms of a non cliché answer, I was beginning to worry that Legacy was becoming an Ancient Tomb versus Brainstorm format but now I don't think that is the case at all. I do personally belong on Team Brainstorm but I do not feel that is a forced recipe for success.

TrueFuturism: Blue soups, as always, whether it's tempo or control. It's not surprising it's the case because they aim at mitigating variance, which most non-blue packs need to undergo at one point. But I feel like there are a lot of archetype that can still be considered as Tier 1, I mean, painter, lands, Initiative, Doomsday, 8Cast can all claim the title, probably forgot some. I'm also a firm believer of Mono Green Cloudpost. It feels like Legacy came back to its state of the format that rewards people that know their pack by heart, so I'd say this is the best strategy today: play what you know best.

Jake Weinmann: RW painter seems good for the current meta, as reflected by its overall winrate across the Eternal Weekends events. I think Lands.dec with spheres is a solid choice, and 4c/5c beans is great if you're into that sort of thing.

Gian Marco Pagano: I think the crown still belongs to Daze Xerox Decks, many iterations are running around but overall it's the same core strategy with different types of approach.

Peter van der Ham: I believe there is a pretty large group of decks that can be considered the top tier at the moment, and they're so close that I would have to dig into the data from the Legacy Data Collection group to see which is performing best in the past few weeks.

My top contenders for this title, in order, are:

  • Red Painter
  • Boros Stompy
  • 4c or Grixis Delver
  • Beanstalk Control
  • The One Ring combo (Colorless or with Paradoxical Outcome)

But even though there are some top contenders listed above there is a wide range of existing and new decks that all have win rates at very healthy levels, and could certainly contend the decks above for the best deck title in the coming period. Decks such as Goblin Stompy and Reanimator hybrids come to mind. I'm personally very high on combining the decks on the above-mentioned list with underexplored cards to try and find something to decidedly put at the top here, but I have nothing to put up there at the time of writing - Yet.

Paul Lynch: As a control player at heart i think 4 Color Control (no red) (shout out to TK!!!) is one of the best things you can be doing right now. 4 Color Control has an extremely good match-up against the tempo and midrange piles. The new threat package of Murktide Regent and Triumph of Saint Katherine let you close the game out very quickly. The deck is a little weak to dedicated combo but you can shore up those matches post board. I also love the fact that Pernicious Deed is a playable magic card in 2023! I didn't have that one on my bingo card for this year!

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Jordan Mellor: The current best strategy in my opinion is a tempo list either Grixis or RUG, as it has lots of play patterns and lines to get yourself into a winning position. If the beans 4c or 5c decks find a better way to shore up its game plan to close games out promptly, I may reassess my opinion.

Cyril Pitalot: I think better players mastering archetypes are the best-positioned strategy especially when the format is that open. As I said earlier lots of decks can take down tournaments and mastering a deck and knowing the format is a key element in this type of metagame.

Niv Shmuely: The most consistent deck is probably some delver deck, Grixis or RUG. Grixis is better vs control/combo I think but much worse in the mirror. That being said, I think Legacy now is in a spot where knowing your deck gives you huge rewards.

Manuel Drudi: As I stated in previous questions, I don't see a best strategy in this metagame, especially when it comes to win a big paper events: to deal with time and mental fatigue during a 9 or more rounds tournament limits your deck choice in a vacuum, and it's mostly due to personal taste, and confidence in your playstyle. If I had to pick one, it'd probably be a Delver deck or UB Scam, but I wouldn't mind 4c control if I had the skill to pilot it. (Spoiler Alert: I don't)

Curtis Aile: I am always amused to see the differences between the MTGO meta and big paper tournament results. The usual suspects dominate the MTGO league and Challenge results but how often are strategies like Goblins (even pre-Muxus) or Lands pulling down big money? This dynamic will continue to confound me as I put together a sideboard for LGS play. That said, the usual suspects seem to be the best place to start. Should MTGO every gain access to cards from Warhammer 40K, I suspect we will see some decks shift towards utilizing cards such as Triumph of Saint Katherine, Mawloc, and Canoptek Scarab Swarm; cards that are all making waves in paper tournaments. While I am not a Delver player, I feel like you are always in the mix with the base framework. Whether you choose to splash black for Bowmasters or Green for Questing Druid, you will always have a good chance of success.

Yves Bogaerts: Even though some strategies are performing better then others (looking at you Beans, Delver, ...) I'm still a firm believer in deck mastery. Even though FIRE design hampered some percentage points I still feel a player who's played his pet deck for ages will thrive better in comparison to a player who constantly picks up the "best decks" and jumps between them a lot unless there's something really broken in the format. There are so many intricacies in the Legacy format that only come up every so often and sometimes only with specific decks, that being able to see those lines and grab those small margins add up in the long run. Not to mention the ease of mind it provides during a longer tournament due to having all that experience giving you the necessary brainpower for those big important turns.

Zhinonono: I always believe threat is stronger than response, so Broadside Bombardiers deck including goblins. R prison and Initiative are the decks to beat in current format (Hydroblasts: we are ready).

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Lucas Fasoli: I'm not sure there is one. There are a lot of playable decks and all the big events have very variegated top8/16's. If there's one thing this iteration of legacy has going for it, it's deck diversity

Michel de Jong: I don’t think there is a single one. I do believe we have a few decks operating in the upper echelon of the format, but nothing as clear cut as we’ve had in the Expressive Iteration/White Plume Adventurer-era. However, my top picks for the current meta would be: Boros Initiative, 4/5C Midrange/Control, Boros Painter, Grixis and Izzet (splash Green) Delver. From a strategy standpoint and as an overarching evolution of the format - I believe we are continually shifting towards the importance of having a proactive gameplan and we’re seeing a steady decline in purely reactive decks.

Marvin Roelofs: I think the tempo Delver decks are still one of the best strategies. It has a decent chance against almost the entire field and the results are moreso based on the pilot and not so much on the matchups. There’s a downside to this as well, ‘cause you don’t have that many free wins, but I personally think the Delver strategy is the best and most well rounded.

Evan Lewis: Beans seems like the front runner of the format, particularly after its Eternal Weekend win. The lack of Triumph of Saint Katherine online makes it difficult to know to what extent the success was due to Triumph, but there's a lot of flexibility and power behind the deck. You can play all the colors, draw lots of cards, cast some big threats - it's a good recipe for success.

Teus van der Meij: If you look at the data of this year's EW tournaments, then it seems RW Initiative is the best positioned and I’m not sure if this is due to the intense length of the tournaments or just the raw power level of Initiative as a whole. Post-WPA-ban, I think the deck was at the perfect power level, but I’m afraid the printing of Forth Eorlingas! might have pushed it a little over the edge. Personally, I think the deck is one of the most ‘unfun’ decks to play against. It lacks interactiveness and it just has the most obnoxious starts of any deck out there right now. Having also played with it a bunch of times with my BoB-mates on our weekly stream, I don’t really see it as challenging. The skill level is mostly figuring out what to mulligan and how you sequence your plays - other than that you’re mostly just goldfishing, because your opponents can’t really do much against a turn 1 uncounterable 5/3 trample Initiative beater. Stompy decks like this in the past mostly got punished for their greedy mana base, but thanks to the first Initiative trigger, just casting one threat is often enough to dismiss your greedy deckbuilding due to the basic land searching. All in all, it might be slightly problematic, might be little overpowered, but mostly I don’t consider playing with or against the deck all that fun.

The Legacy Gambit: It seems like Ancient Tomb decks are in a great position right now, particularly with Painter, Mono Red Stompy, and Boros Initiative showing strong results online and in paper tournaments. These decks benefit greatly from the ability to play powerful threats sooner than their opponents. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker is a card that we believe players should be excited to include in their decks for the upcoming year.

Jason Murray: I think Ancient Tomb decks are currently the best positioned by a narrow margin. Control & Delver are doing well, but aren’t respecting fair non-blue for the moment, which is the perfect time for a Stompy shell to take down a big event.

Matthew Vook: It really depends. RUG or Grixis Delver and UB Scam are reasonable tempo options for an unknown field. WR Initiative, Red Stompy, and Painter are also reasonable proactive options. A player could choose to play the control decks but these decks can be more matchup dependent and hope to face the tempo decks rather than the stompy decks.

4. What's On Your Wish List for 2024 for Legacy?

David Inglis: Please announce Eternal Weekend ahead of time. I would love to attend and with Legacy attracting an older demographic, more time is needed. I would like to see more Legacy tournaments leading to Pro Tour slots. In terms of cards, there is nothing that springs to mind, maybe some more cool control toys? But honestly there is a ton of great options right now.

TrueFuturism: Paper tournament with high stakes, I'm starving for this. EW was great, but once in a year isn't enough. The whole world showed how much we love the format (1000 players in USA, 700 in Europe and Japan), this doesn't line up with Wizards' desire to close the MTG competitive road for Legacy players. I also believe that diversifying their competitive approach is a very good decision IF they have any interest in competitive magic in an economic perspective.

About the format, I hope we won't stumble into some format defining new cards, there are still unexplored territories with current metagame, let it rest for a while.

Jake Weinmann: 1. WH40K cards in MTGO

2. Doctor Who cards in MTGO

3. MTGO infinite loop record/play feature. Here's how I imagine it working: press a new "record loop" button, demonstrate one iteration of the loop, press new "end loop" button. Code checks "are the cards involved in the same state as they were at the start of the loop" and "did a meaningful game state change occur?" If both are yes then a repeatable loop is demonstrated and ideally you then enter a value for x -"repeat x times?". Opponent then has pop up for "yield through x iterations of loop"

4. Better design consideration regarding eternal formats when creating game mechanics for commander. I'm looking at you, Initiative.

Gian Marco Pagano: I would love to see a Future Sight effect lasting for a single turn, maybe on an artifact you have to sacrifice or an instant spell. I would also like a colorless Portable Hole to fetch with Urza's Saga, although it might be too strong in 8-casts/Paradox Engine decks.

Peter van der Ham: Getting all Legacy legal cards to Magic Online is most certainly highest on the list here. Daybreak has been doing a great job at handling the Magic Online client but some of the more 'out there' sets and mechanics being omitted from the program (due to various reasons) is certainly a concern. While we had a period where the Magic Online and Tabletop deck builds were moving closer together we're not there yet and it feels like the gap has once again widened. And, as always, abolish the reserved list.

Paul Lynch: Wish 1: WOTC prints online only functional reprints of the Legacy playable 40K cards so we can finally have the online and paper metas aligned.

Wish 2: A wizard from the Baltimore area wins the Legacy portion of Eternal Weekend 2024 to make it 3 years in a row!

Jordan Mellor: Ideally I would like more big Legacy events throughout the year. It would be great is SCG brought back Legacy classics again, so we aren't relegated to side events. Of course I'm looking forward to EW next year and BCDL!

Cyril Pitalot

  • Keeping "the gathering" as the base
  • Abolishing the reserve list
  • Pushing the number of player thanks to the hype around the last events being very successful.
  • Playing in more big Legacy events
  • Continuing my signings quests for 4c YorionControl

Niv Shmuely: Ban Initiative and Monarch from 1v1 play.

Manuel Drudi: 2023 got me my namesake card, Questing Druid, and I couldn't ask for more... or could I?! I just hope to not see MH3 wrecking Legacy.

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Curtis Aile: I am eager to see what Modern Horizons 3 brings us. Like prior sets in this line-up, there is sure to be some of format-warping card or mechanic to come out. Also encouraging to see Laughing Dragon and their proliferation of big Legacy events. As of this writing, there are four events scheduled for 2024, and I am looking forward to attending at least one to see how quickly I can flame out.

Yves Bogaerts: As a community, I just hope we continue to grow by on-boarding new players into our lovely Legacy scene and make it as welcoming as possible. At the end of the day, it's about the Gathering first and Magic second. Continuing with making new friends and spending my Friday evenings and the occasional weekend with all these fantastic people who share this common interest is all I could wish for personally. Also wishing a lot of perseverance and good fortune to all the grassroots tournament organizers out there. You're all a big part of why the format continues to thrive the way it does currently. A well-meant thanks to all of you.

Also, abolish the reserve list you Dingus Eggs!

Zhinonono

  • I hope the impact of MH3 will be slightly smaller.
  • I really want to join more Legacy events with my friends like Legacy GP instead of only in EW months.
  • More and more mtg players come to try and join the legacy party.
  • IP series can be used in mtgo.

Lucas FasoliModern Horizons 3 not breaking the format. Also, an enchantment for U that draws a card on etb for DDFT. Abundant growth can be awkward when you need blue cards for FoW.

Michel de Jong: My biggest wish for 2024 would be to move the MTGO and Paper metas closer to one another. I really want MTGO to finally absorb cards like Triumph of Saint Katherine, Mawloc, Chaos Defiler, Canoptek Scarab Swarm, Clown Car, Sailors' BaneDeadbeat Attendant - you name it.

And on a personal note: I’d love to continue to expand the Bazaar of Boxes Series - our tournament series - and would like to further bolster the Dutch (and BeNeLux as a whole) Legacy scene.

Marvin Roelofs: For Legacy itself I really don’t have any wishes, I think it’s on the right track. For myself as a Legacy player in 2024 I do have 2 things on my wishlist: To finish in the top 8 in one of our Bazaar of Boxes Series and to have a decklist posted on the MTGO website.

Evan Lewis: 40K cards on MTGO, and a white hate bear that's asymmetrical

Teus van der Meij: This might sound strange, but the biggest thing on my wishlist is for Modern Horizons III not to be insanely overpowered and format warping. As I mentioned above, overall I think the format is in a great place at the moment and I’m not looking forward to another ‘MH rotation’ due to power creep. Personal goals include qualifying for ELM again and perhaps going to EW Europe.

The Legacy Gambit: DO NOT BREAK IT

THE FORMAT IS FUN

WE ASKED NICELY!

PLEASE

Jason Murray: Unification of online & paper formats is #1 on my wishlist. Magic Online is where the majority of high-level competitive play occurs, yet for years it’s been an incomplete format. It was less of an issue when the cards weren’t staples, but when multiple decks top with missing cards, including the winner of NA EW, it’s a problem.

Matthew Vook:

1) More opportunities for medium/large in-person events

2) Adjusting the start times for the MTGO challenges or adding a 3rd challenge like Modern

3) Adding all the paper legal cards to MTGO

5. Write a Legacy Haiku. Be Creative!

David Inglis

Haiku's are hard

Rhymes are easier

Legacy rocks right now

I forgot what the question was

TrueFuturism:

They might despise your (elvish) reclamations.

They might despise your lack of interaction.

But beware, because Emrakul is coming for retribution.

Jake Weinmann:

Is the stack empty?

No, make two rhinos, response?

Good game, I concede

Gian Marco Pagano:

Bolts are Red

Thought Lash is Blue

No damage for me

I win off UU.

Peter van der Ham:

Play Tomb, Sac Petal

Cast Sibylline Soothsayer

Suspend Emrakul

Paul Lynch:

The Humous Wumpus

Knowing the card name is key

Meddling Mage whoopsie

Jordan Mellor:

A player ponders their hand

A card is drawn from their library

A storm brews ahead

Cyril Pitalot:

Legacy is best

Without the dang reserve list

Long live legacy

Niv Shmuely:

I'm bad at these

Initiative is bad

Let me play magic with ease

Manuel Drudi:

Drudi's quest unfolds,

Delver's whispers guide the way,

Tempo's path revealed.

Curtis Aile:

Chalice on One, Go.

It still stops Delver and Burn

Watch out for Meltdown....

Yves Bogaerts:

Manes perpetual

Suspense stacks, failure deprived

Bomberman prevails

Zhinonono:

Reanimate Griselbrand and pay seven life

What is this black flash creature?

I told him welcome back Legacy

Lucas Fasoli:

How are you I'm fine

Have a good game and have fun

Tendrils for twenty

Michel de Jong:

Samwise, brave and true

Stouthearted, dear companion

Through terrors he skulks

Marvin Roelofs:

Card after card played

Strategies weave and collide

A champion's crown

Evan Lewis:

Blocking shouldn't be

So rare in creature matchups

Menace is the worst

Teus van der Meij:

Roll dice for Clown Car

Playing paper, not online

why is it even…

The Legacy Gambit:

Ideas unbound

Cavern, Oracle, Petal

Thassa's Oracle

Jason Murray:

make legacy whole

triumph, mawloc, scarab swarm

modo needs all cards

Matthew Vook:

Hey, good luck, have fun

Please report your match results

And don't go to time

Wrapping Up

Wow! What a great Round Table! Thanks again to all of the folks who participated in this End of Year! The Legacy community is amazing and full of wonderful people!

Notes on the Legacy Data Collection Project into 2024

Given the recent changes to Daybreak's way of publishing decklists, I'm going to be doing some big thinking for how we approach the Legacy Data Collection Project moving into 2024! One of the big plans I have on my idea list is to potentially move all of the data eventually into a database format instead of through Google Sheets.

We're also going to become a bit more granular about lists, given that we can now easily separate some decks better since we now have more granular information! It's going to be a very exciting time for us doing data collection.

We still need help getting screenshots for Challenges for us to be able to do Round-by-Round data, so if you can help with this we have a brand new channel in our Discord for exactly posting these screenshots!

Legacy Challenge 12/23

The first Challenge event (and the one that fired this weekend) of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event. This event had 53 players in it thanks to Daybreak Games and the efforts of the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

Red Stompy was exceptionally popular here, as was Boros Stompy. Boros didn't fare as well though as Mono Red did, and Goblins also did exceedingly well. This looks like a really solid spread of different decks though!

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C Uro Control 1st dannyground
Lands 2nd DeathWrongShaman420
Red Stompy 3rd LasVegasChaos
Goblins 4th Eldhrimr
Dimir Tempo 5th JakeTMS
Dimir Scam 6th Oceansoul92
GW Depths 7th Heskariot
RUG Delver 8th StormGuyisme

Pretty Reasonable Top 8 all around here. At the end of the event it was 4C Uro Control (w/o Beanstalk) that won.

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The variants of 4C with The One Ring are quite interesting for sure. I really like Terminus right now as well.

In Second Place we had Lands.

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No Sphere Lands is very interesting for sure, as that's been the common norm lately. Punishing Fire making a grand return to the deck is VERY interesting indeed.

Also in this Top 8 we had Goblins.

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This deck got so much interesting spice this year, and Goblin Ringleader returning as a 4-of in the deck? Fantastic. I also love the respect for Painter in the sideboard with the Emrakul.

Around the Web

  • Bryant Cook is doing the Spanish Inquisition! Check it out here.
  • The Legacy Gambit does their year in review. Check it out here.
  • 90sMTG has BUG vs Jeskai! Check it out here.
  • Everyday Eternal asks the question "Why Aren't YOU Playing the Best Decks?" Find out the answer here.
  • StrassDaddy has another 5-0 trophy video with Saga Maverick. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

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

A very interesting Agatha's Soul Cauldron deck!

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A wildly cool take on Beseech Storm.

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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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