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This Week in Legacy: The March 2024 Legacy Metagame Check-In

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 taking a look at where Legacy is at now into 2024 up into March! In addition to that we've got three Challenges to discuss from over the weekend.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

March Legacy Madness 2024

We're nearing the end of March, so I think it's a good time to do a check-in on the metagame! I'm also potentially going to be doing another Round Table at some point, but am considering doing a video one, if people would be interested in that sort of thing.

Since the beginning of 2024, with all the new data that Daybreak has given us for Magic Online, we've gathered a little over 3,500 entries! This is quite a bit of data for sure. You can find the aggregate sheets we use over here. I usually am updating the data with the Challenges/Prelims on a weekly basis, so usually by Sunday of the following week I have everything from the past week. More recently we did some of the Last Chance events on MTGO, which are sort of like Prelims in a sense.

Let's start by looking at some graphical data. Graphs are awesome.

In metagames past, the format was more or less dominated by both Tempo and Midrange/Control decks, but more recent times have shifted that slightly to include Graveyard decks at the top below Tempo, primarily due in part to the popularity boost of UB Reanimator. Despite all of this, the most actual played deck in the format is the array of Beanstalk decks, but the Beanstalk decks are not actually doing that well overall. At around 331 players, this deck is pretty omnipresent, but it's overall winrate in a non-mirror capacity is only 47.5% which is quite below the middle.

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That being said, the most popular Tempo deck of the format is still Grixis Delver, and that deck's performance actually seems rather reasonable. While it's popular, we're not seeing it winning in any huge capacity. However, Orcish Bowmasters continues to be a card that people are discussing as a problematic thing. I can see both sides of this, but for the moment I'm generally okay with Bowmasters. It slots into a variety of decks, and the Delver decks don't seem as omnipresent to the format. It could longer term be a real problem, but it does a strong thing in giving all sorts of decks options for dealing with cantrips and has adjusted some of the primary heuristics for casting those cards.

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Goblins is next in line as one of the top three most popular decks in the format. The speed at which this deck flies is pretty impressive. It's got a slightly over 50% win rate, but there's still a lot of hyper focused discussion on this deck mainly due in part to the nature of "Name Sticker" Goblin (and the challenges of that card in paper versus MTGO) and the strength of cards like Broadside Bombardiers. There's an upcoming change being made to the Sticker mechanic for paper play by the next Banned and Restricted Announcement, but there's definitely a strong consideration that mechanics like the Sticker Goblin just should not exist in Legacy. I'm of the mind that they will likely make real changes to how Stickers work in paper play, but I don't think those changes will be card bannings. I would be fine with a change however that removes this mechanic completely from the format though. Goblins in general has sort of evolved from an interesting "control" deck to a more aggro-focused deck, and I dislike that nuance being removed from the deck overall.

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In the Top 5 as well here is both UB and BR Reanimator. However, of the two, UB Reanimator is doing so much better than any other deck in the Top 5 of the format with a 55% non-mirror winrate. This deck is the new problem child of the format as more and more players are experiencing the power level of the Scam package overall. The angle this deck has over the "Dimir Scam" shell that ran the gamut over a bit is the fact that this deck has multiple ways to approach the game. It's a graveyard deck, but it's also a bit of a Tempo deck with the Force of Will / Daze / Wasteland package that can also shift to a full on Reanimator deck with cards like Atraxa, Grand Unifier and Archon of Cruelty.

This deck has provoked a ton of discussion for sure, and one of the big pieces of discussion on this is the fact that Grief continues to prove how exceedingly good the "Scam" package is. Grief is for sure a scary card, and Legacy has leveraged the power level of it so much better than Modern has. I think there's a good case to be made for getting rid of Grief long term, to be honest. It's not incredibly fun for players to play against and it does some overtly broken things.

BR Reanimator on the flip side is actually doing far worse than its UB brethren, mainly I think because it doesn't have that angle of the Tempo shell that UB has. While it too has the Scam package, that extra oomph provided by the Tempo shell package makes it quite powerful.

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Below the Top 5 decks of the format, we see a smattering of decks like RUG Delver, Lands, RUG Cascade, variants of Stompy decks (including the Boros Initiative deck), and Doomsday. Of these, Lands is performing the best overall, and I think this is a solid thing to see because Lands does a great job of beating up on the rest of the Top 5 of the format. Sphere of Resistance variants are very powerful because of how Prison-heavy they are and how much they don't care about Orcish Bowmasters in addition to having tools to manage Reanimator. Of the Top 5 decks, the worst matchup there is Turbo Muxus (literally unwinnable for Lands), but the rest are really good, so I'm not surprised to see this deck doing well.

Is Legacy healthy though? There's a lot of nuance to that question. I think for right now it is, but there are valid tweaks to be made. Tweaking how Stickers work (or removing them altogether) is a preferable idea, and seeing how we can adjust and tweak decks like UB Reanimator and Bowmasters might be interesting, but at the same time we have sets impending that could literally upend the format once more. Outlaws of Thunder Junction spoiler season is right around the corner, and Modern Horizons III coming in a few months, and I think more of those sets will continue to change the format. Murders at Karlov Manor actually introduced several very interesting cards for Legacy, so I'm curious to see how the format will evolve.

Currently I'm enjoying Legacy, but I can see the validity that people can dislike certain aspects of it. I'll be curious to see how things progress, and I'm more interested overall in seeing the format evolve naturally instead of being heavy-handed with the format.

Legacy Challenge 3/23

The first Challenge event of the weekend was the early morning Saturday event. This event had 43 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

RUG Delver was the most popular deck of the event, and it's win rate was pretty good overall. UB Reanimator also did exceptionally well here, while Goblins didn't do so hot.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Blue Painter 1st ThomasH
RUG Delver 2nd Baku_91
RUG Delver 3rd _INF_
UB Reanimator 4th Ryuho090
Red Painter 5th ganesh_69
UB Reanimator 6th kobayui
Gruul Stompy 7th Munchlax446
Death and Taxes (Yorion) 8th IsolatedSystem

Quite an interesting Top 8 here. Fair bit of Delver and Reanimator. At the end of the event it was Blue Painter that won.

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The subtle red splash here for a single Red Elemental Blast is solid for sure. It's also sweet to see Metallic Rebuke as a card, given how good that card is in Pauper.

In Second Place we had RUG Delver.

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The G in RUG here is very specifically a light splash for the Druid, and not even a full four-of. Main deck Counterbalance is pretty cool.

Further down the Top 8 we had Gruul Stompy.

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Minsc & Boo have not been seen too much in Legacy as of late, as they've certainly dropped out of favor in the control shells for things like The One Ring and Forth Eorlingas!, but it's still a really strong card.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had D&T.

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Straight Mono white D&T is quite interesting for sure, given the deck's recent splashing for black for cards like Orcish Bowmasters. My favorite card here by far is The Battle of Bywater. Such a strong and interesting card in this deck. Also, Canoptek Scarab Swarm from the Warhammer decks is super sweet.

Legacy Challenge 32 3/24

The second Challenge event of the weekend was the new 32 player minimum event on Sunday. This event had 46 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find all of the decklists for this event here and the data sheet here. Unfortunately this data sheet is incomplete so we only have metagame share to go off of.

Quite a bit of UB Reanimator in this event overall, coupled with RUG delver, Muxus, and Red Painter.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
RUG Delver 1st _INF_
UB Reanimator 2nd OSCA66
Grixis Delver 3rd SHAKELION
Red Stompy 4th FanksEoT
Mono Black Reanimator 5th Roodslay
Goblins (Turbo Muxus) 6th qx-qb
Doomsday 7th unkoman
Dimir Delver 8th dag8

Fairly diverse Top 8 here overall really. Three different flavors of Delver. At the end of the event it was RUG Delver that won.

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Again we see a very light green splash for just Questing Druid. It definitely seems to be working for these decks. The other half of the Druid card being a virtual draw spell is quite nice.

In Second Place we had UB Reanimator.

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This deck is certainly the talk of the town, and we discussed it quite a bit earlier. There's a lot of factors that went into this deck being as good as it is for sure.

Further down the Top 8 we had Red Stompy.

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I like seeing new cards, so seeing Canoptek Scarab Swarm in the sideboard here is quite neat. What's really interesting is the four main deck Unlicensed Hearse. Having a way to eat graveyards for cheap is quite good in these decks.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Doomsday.

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The Surveil lands certainly did make an impact overall on Legacy as a format. They add a really interesting depth of gameplay to decks like Doomsday, where the value off the surveil is really strong.

Legacy Challenge 64 3/24

The final Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon 64 player Legacy Challenge. This event had 73 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

RUG Delver was the most popular deck, but it's overall winrate was medium at best. Lands did exceedingly well, as did Goblins and 8Cast.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Creative Technique 1st F2104
Lands 2nd DeathWrongShaman420
Lands 3rd kauffj
8Cast 4th DNSolver
Goblins (Turbo Muxus) 5th medvedev
Red Stompy 6th LasVegasChaos
Cradle Control 7th einstein9998
RUG Delver 8th WeareVenom

Kind of a wild Top 8 here. Lot of Lands and Ancient Tomb based decks, but at the end of the event it was CREATIVE TECHNIQUE that won.

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Trumpeting Carnosaur was a huge upgrade to this deck. The SB gameplan of Chancellor of the Annex as a hedge against permission decks is interesting, but I'm not sure how I feel about it because the deck doesn't play fast always. However, the main deck game plan of Throes of Chaos + Tibalt's Trickery is incredibly real of a possibility on Turn 2.

In Second Place we had Lands.

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The return of the Punishing Fire builds is quite interesting honestly. I like it. Fire is such a sweet card for me that it is really cool to see these build hanging about and doing well.

Further down the Top 8 we had 8Cast.

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Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender is such a sweet card. I love it.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had Cradle Control.

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The first thing I honed on here was Mesmeric Fiend in the main. That is sick. Also, the Surveil lands showing up here is no surprise. Fetching to possibly put a creature into the graveyard for Fiend Artisan to get a bump from seems quite interesting.

Around the Web

  • There's a new article on GSZ about Fair Magic 101! Check it out here.
  • TonyScapone has a video on the Paradox Engine deck no longer playing Mystic Forge. Check it out here.
  • StrassDaddy talks about Prison shells and Break Out. Check it out here.
  • Eternal Glory Podcast has a new episode on GRIEF. Check it out here.
  • MahfuzVanGogh talks about Blue Dredge with Murktide. Check it out here.
  • Matt Choww did a video on Every Scam Deck in Legacy. Check it out here. This is extensive for sure.
  • The Legacy Gambit has some FOOD CHAIN. Check it out here.
  • Bryant Cook is playing Nourishing Shoal + Nefarious Lich Combo. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

Now that Leagues are posted throughout the week, let's find some Spice!

Cascading into Beans!

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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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