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This Week in Legacy: The Shape of Things to Come


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 continuing our look at Modern Horizons 2 and how it will affect Legacy. There is a LOT to process with this set for sure! In addition to that we've got the results of at least one of this past weekend's Challenges, and of course, a Spice Corner.

It is worth noting that the Legacy Showcase Challenge from this past weekend is being rescheduled for this upcoming weekend due to an issue that took Magic Online down for a little while on Sunday right before the event fired. So we'll have info on that in next week's article!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Nothing Will Ever Be the Same

Modern Horizons 2 is coming. This set is so far shaping up to be an incredibly impactful set full of really insane cards, and nothing is stopping it. Legacy is definitely not going to look exactly the same (except for some mainstays *cough*Delver*cough*) after this set for sure. There are a LOT of cards to be talked about since last week's article, so we're going to go in color order.

Esper Sentinel

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is actually super interesting. It's like a creature-based Rhystic Study that gets better if you can pump it. What really sells this is the type line being Human, where cards like Thalia's Lieutenant exists to increase its P/T. In multiples this scales really well too by creating multiple opportunities for card draw. I don't know what the right number of these is, but this is really strong and I wouldn't be surprised to see it show up around the format.

Sanctifier en-Vec

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This being on a Human and being Recruiterable is kind of scary and exceptional. Pro black and red means that in the decks it's good against are likely not removing it, such as against Dredge or Storm and even Hogaak, which typically rely on cards like Abrupt Decay or Assassin's Trophy as their catch-all removal. Everything about this card is a little frightening to some of these graveyard decks for sure.

Solitude

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Risen Reef intensifies. Seriously though, this card is amazing. The fact that it's an Elemental is gravy. What is really powerful about this is that it's a permanent-based Swords to Plowshares which can exile cards like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. This is probably just better than running Path to Exile in Mono White based decks as additional STP effects just because you're always more than likely to have a card to pitch to it, and if the game goes long enough to hard cast this, then suddenly a 3/2 flash lifelink is not too hateful.

But yes, I plan on playing this in a Vial Elementals build because it's an effect that deck has always wanted is some form of targeted exile removal. This fits perfectly.

Dress Down

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is actually somewhat intriguing. It does answer quite a few things, most notable flashing this in response to a Thassa's Oracle casting will stop Oracle from triggering (note that you have to cast this in response to Oracle cast, not the Oracle trigger). We've never had Humility globally like this for so cheap so it warrants a look to see if it's any good or not. Being a permanent is interesting, and it does replace itself.

Subtlety

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

There's a lot to unpack with this card, and I think it is probably actually pretty good, but it does have some clear downsides (such as your opponent getting to choose whether the spell goes on top or bottom). This card is thankfully not broken with Ephemerate and is more of a reactive card. The fact that this just Memory Lapse's a creature or planeswalker spell is interesting and I'm not sure what deck really wants this effect that isn't already playing Force of Will. Even being an Elemental is I don't think enough to make Risen Reef good with this. On rate, a 3/3 flash flier for 2UU isn't terrible if you have to cast this with mana, but the strength is really in the Evoke.

This for me is a "wait and see what it does" card for sure, but it's got me curious.

Suspend

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I think this card is likely really good. It's incredibly efficient at one mana, and the tempo swing provided by exiling a threat even for two turns (or a turn and a half) is really under-exaggerated. This is almost akin to a blue Swords to Plowshares. There are some obvious things that work with this like Teferi, Time Raveler and even Standstill (lulz) but I think the best usage of it is in a tempo shell where the swing in tempo can mean the end of the game if the tempo deck presses ahead to win. I'm always generally leary of one-mana interaction spells, and this is better than a bounce spell since you're making it so the opponent can't cast their card again until it comes back. Whether the mana advantage given by the fact that they get it for free makes this not worth it, I don't know. I will be really curious to see where this card goes, but I suspect it will definitely see an amount of play as people figure it out and whether it is truly good enough.

Also, it's worth noting that you can also use this to eventually bring back Valki, God of Lies and choose to cast the Tibalt side of the card. Whether that is broken or not remains to be seen.

Svyelun, Goddess of Sea and Sky

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Merfolk getting a Merfolk God is very interesting, and this card definitely fits right into the deck's aggressive strategies. While vulnerable to Karakas and Swords to Plowshares, this is certainly a very aggressive card and it draws a card pretty much every turn if it is indestructible. The Ward is just icing on the top for the team, the real strength here is in being a three mana 3/4 that draws cards.

Archon of Cruelty

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I don't know if this card is good, but it seems pretty interesting. As a Nic Fit player this would make a reasonable slot in to the Sneak Fit variants of that deck just because it's basically a mini Cruel Ultimatum on a 6/6 flying body that can net two triggers off a Sneak Attack activation.

Bone Shards

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is pretty interesting in decks that want to discard or sacrifice, such as things like Hogaak where there's no downside to either side of this additional cost. While I think many wish this were an instant, it's still really very strong to have a one mana answer to a Planeswalker or nasty creature. I definitely think this card has legs somewhere.

Sudden Edict

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Diabolic Edict got a strict upgrade here. No longer can your Marit Lage opponent fetch or Crop Rotation for Dryad Arbor to protect their 20/20 from having to sacrifice a creature. This is pretty good, but only as good as Edict effects are currently. If Edict effects have to come back into play in the format though, then this is the premier one to play.

Blazing Rootwalla

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is a distant fiery cousin of the Basking Rootwalla, and I'm now just really interested in whether a legitimate Hollow Vine deck will exist in Legacy after this given that the deck could run eight of these effects. Seems pretty interesting and might be a lot of fun to play.

Breya's Apprentice

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is super neat. It's a card that comes with built-in things to sacrifice and could slot into a deck like Red Prison/Painter as a way of generating card advantage. Sometimes those decks have incidental cards to sacrifice and that alone makes this sort of interesting. This is also really good in conjunction on curve with Pia and Kiran Nalaar, so that is sweet. In a pinch it can sacrifice itself for CA or for a creature boost.

I like this quite a bit for sure.

Dragon's Rage Channeler

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card has probably the most chance ever out of this entire set so far to end up seeing play in Legacy, and specifically in Legacy UR Delver. This is functionally a red Delver creature and it's incredibly powerful all around. The surveil trigger is very strong, and the power of this card is evident. This will definitely see play for sure, as having eight chances of a Delver clock is really strong. Enabling this with Delirium is simple since the deck can then run Mishra's Bauble to accommodate, and the Surveil trigger aids in that as well. In fact, the Surveil trigger in general is really powerful as Surveil is pretty close to Scry in this sense.

It's also worth noting for this card that this plays actually really well into cards like Plague Engineer since the Delirium can save it, whereas a regular Delver cast into that board can't be saved because it won't be flipped.

The major downside of this card is that it does always have to attack, and occasionally will attack into something better than it, but I think that is an acceptable percentage for an aggressive tempo deck. Late game you can deploy it as a blocker because it has no haste and it will likely always be turned on.

If there ever was a card to enforce another ban within the Delver shell in Legacy, I'm calling it now that this is it. That is how powerful this card really is. Look out for a UR Delver list with just Delver, this, and Sprite Dragon and a mess of spells coming soon (oh and another creature down below worth talking about too).

Harmonic Prodigy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is unique, and I'd have to say if Dragon's Rage Channeler just didn't exist I could see a unique world where Delver plays this with other Wizards like Dark Confidant for the value aspect of it. If Dreadhorde Arcanist were still legal in Legacy, this would definitely be very good for sure. I suspect that this doesn't quite make the cut, but maybe there's a fun deck for it.

Obsidian Charmaw

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is pretty neat as a top-end card in decks like Red Prison (where you can actually refer to it as Dragon Stompy again). It's a slight nonbo with Blood Moon just a tad, but this coming down at RR is pretty nice, and it kills a land on the way down. This could see play or it could not, but I like the option existing.

Ravagavn, Nimble Pilferer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is... wow. This is certainly something. This is possibly another card on the level of slotting into Delver strategies much like how we talked about Dragon's Rage Channeler earlier in the article here. The effect this card has is really powerful. Stealing cards from your opponent, making Treasure. This is all really powerful stuff for a one drop. Yes, it's Legendary and yes it dies to removal, but so do most things that need to connect. I suspect this is a lot better than it looks and it probably plays a lot better than it looks.

Oh and the Dash aspect? Not exactly blank text, in a pinch you can get in there with it for a turn and ramp + steal a card and that's not bad either. Also makes for a solid surprise attack in late games where it can come down into an empty board state and connect as a repeatable haste option.

It's also worth noting that the card stealing is sort of just icing on the cake for this. The Treasure production is by far the most important thing here and that in of itself is very powerful.

This is another card to keep an eye on inside the aggressive tempo shell for sure. I think it's possible that Channeler might be the better of the two cards in Delver specifically, but that doesn't mean that this isn't powerful. There could even definitely be a deck with Mox Amber for this card as well, as there are plenty of really aggressive red threats that make this good.

Aeve, Progenitor Ooze

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is WILD. The Storm trigger on this makes token copies of Aeve, which exponentially grows each additional copy that enters the battlefield. This is really hilarious and while GGG is probably hard for some decks I look forward to the really insane stuff people are going to come up with for this card. 

Chatterstorm

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is not quite Empty the Warrens, but I'm excited that it does exist (even though it's probably a little scarier in Pauper). This may or may not see play but it's super fun and interesting for sure. Plus, that art.

Endurance

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The green Incarnation is actually very interesting if you can support the pitch aspect of it. Three mana is reasonable here to cast it, but the real strength will lie in evoking it. I suspect this is probably better than Leyline in a deck like Elves, which already plays a massive mess of green cards anyways, and also already supports one other pitch spell in Force of Vigor.

One really sort of adorable thing is how much this card hoses decks like Doomsday by shuffling cards back into their library. That in of itself is pretty powerful.

Regardless this effect does seem playable and I think primarily as a sideboard card, but the more I look at it the more I like it. I only wish it was somewhat playable in Risen Reef.deck but it really isn't because pitching it in that deck is much harder than it sounds.

Gaea's Will

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Green getting a Yawgmoth's Will is not what I really expected out of this set, even if it is a Yawg Will that you have to suspend (or otherwise cheat it onto the stack). This card is clearly obviously powerful (as Yawg Will is definitely very strong) and I don't know that being green is enough to make it hard to play.

I expect to see something strong out of this card I just don't know what yet, but the effect is way too powerful to ignore in Legacy.

Ignoble Hierarch

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Now this is cool. I don't know if this is enough to bring a Jund Midrange deck back into Legacy, but if it is, I'm here for it. This is really cool on both flavor and mechanics, and I absolutely adore this card a ton. Someone get me a Jund list with this little guy!

Sanctum Weaver

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Enchantress getting a Serra's Sanctum on an Enchantment Creature is some big redundancy energy. Whether this is actually playable is unsure but I could see it as a one of in that deck for the redundancy aspect of it. The fact that it has to survive a turn to tap might be bad, but like, Enchantress often takes a lot of turns so I don't think that downside is too bad.

Timeless Witness

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

As an obligatory Nic Fit card, this is functionally another copy of Eternal Witness, but the ability to cash this in for something like a Cabal Therapy and then late game Eternalize it is really solid and interesting. I could definitely see slotting a copy of this into a Nic Fit list somewhere alongside Eternal Witness for the redundancy.

Geyadrone Dihada

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is a really unique Grixis colored Planeswalker. I'm not sure if this really fits into any existing Legacy shells because Grixis shells in general are on the low end of playability right now, but if those pop up again then this is probably pretty good. It protects itself really well and it is really interesting from a flavor and power standpoint. I've seen some talk that this could have been UBR instead of 1UBR but I suspect that making another busted three mana Planeswalker is not what was needed here.

Grist, the Hunger Tide

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is absolutely sweet. There are a lot of wild things you can do with this card, but the biggest is that this is a Planeswalker card that cannot be hit by Force of Negation or Spell Pierce due to the fact that it is a creature still until it hits the battlefield. You can Green Sun's Zenith for this card, you can Reanimate / Animate Dead / Unearth it, you can even Collected Company for it. It's really incredibly interesting as a card, and the abilities the card has are also really powerful too, namely the removal aspect and token creation. If there are other Insects to play around with in this set that are good too it could be interesting, but also the card plays well in multiples by milling another and having it count as a 1/1 Insect.

I am excited to see where this card goes, because it's so incredibly interesting and well designed for sure. I kind of expect it will see play in possibly Maverick or Nic Fit variants, decks that can make use of the fact that it can be GSZ'ed for.

Kaldra Compleat

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The first thing about this card is going to be immediate comparisons to Batterskull, but this card is not better or worse than Batterskull is. It's a different role player type card. The big difference here with this card is that while you generally have to wait until your opponent's end step to deploy it, whereas you can immediately put this into play on Turn 3 and start attacking with it. The removal suite that answers this card is super limited too, given that the only cards that can actually interact with it are bounce spells and exile effects, and those are matchups where you're likely to fetch Batterskull instead to interact with the bounce effect that it has. But in matchups where cards like Assassin's Trophy and Abrupt Decay are the opponent's only possible ways of interacting with this card, this card is a nightmare. Even Kolaghan's Command seems incredibly pale to this card.

The exile clause is also a little nuts, since it's just icing on the fact that there are very few cards that can actually block this (one of those being True-Name Nemesis) and either survive or come out profitably in the exchange. Even TNN allows four points of trample damage through despite surviving the hit.

Also, we shouldn't forget that cards like Mother of Runes and Giver of Runes exist to protect both SFM and this from various removal spells. I suspect this will see play, and I suspect it will be very good in many matchups.

Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Steel Stompy being a Chalice deck makes this kind of awkward, but it would be interesting if there was some sort of Hardened Scales-like deck for this little guy to go in. Very interesting design, and I've seen some Steel Stompy decks running Showdown of the Skalds so maybe that kind of deck could exist. I just really like the design space this evokes and it's a really neat card.

Artifact Land Cycle

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

The artifact land cycle in this set is interesting, but one of the major downsides to them is that they all enter the battlefield tapped. I don't know if there's a deck that wants these, but being indestructible is a real upside to the fact that they enter tapped, and maybe there is a potential strategy that can have this.

Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is... well this is really insane. A Green Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is really going to be exceptional in Legacy, especially when you consider it in the context of Land based decks like Lands and Post decks. Lands especially runs a lot of Lands that don't tap for mana, and giving them that ability is very strong.

Also, this goes probably really well even just as a one of in Elves because it turns Gaea's Cradle into a Forest, which allows you to bounce it with Quirion Ranger. I expect this to be pretty strong for sure.

Legacy Challenge 5/29

We had at least one Challenge event this past weekend, despite not having a Showcase event. The Saturday Challenge went off with 65 players thanks to the efforts of the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find all of the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet for this event here.

UR Delver's presence in this event was massive. A 10 deck lead over the next highest set of decks at 14 copies is actually really crazy. I'm a little concerned frankly, and with Modern Horizons 2 impending to possibly exacerbate this situation I'm even more concerned. Regardless, despite the fact that the deck had a huge metagame share it had a fairly sub par win rate in this particular event. Whether or not this is related to the fact that there are new players on the deck or it just wasn't actually well-positioned isn't known, but it is interesting.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UB Control 1st umeck
Depths Combo 2nd shadow_PT
Food Chain 3rd mei0024
UR Delver 4th rastaf
RUG Delver 5th ReformedPaolo
Hogaak 6th Draccon136
Omni-Tell 7th yamayama
GW Depths 8th habsburger

This is certainly a fairly interesting Top 8, but what is the most interesting here is the First Place list by umeck. UB Control featuring FAERIES and ROGUES!

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This list is super duper sweet. Oona's Blackguard?! Cunning Nightbonder?! Just absolutely amazing stuff. Umeck has a bit of a reputation for being very off the beaten path with their decks, and it's super sweet to see one of these do really well.

In Second Place we've got Depths Combo.

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Pretty solid GB Depths list here. Very clean and definitely hedging on a combination of both Brazen Borrower and Swords to Plowshares with the four main deck Not of This World.

Also in the Top 8 we've got Food Chain!

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This is the Bant variant of the deck, relying more on having Swords to Plowshares for removal and Ranger-Captain of Eos as a creature tutor. Solid list all around still!

Further down the Top 8 we've got Hogaak.

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This list is interesting, implementing technology such as a pair of Daze main deck but also a main deck Darkblast for dealing with small creatures as well as Dredging. Really interesting stuff. Going to be even more interesting how this deck will evolve going forward in MH2 world.

Outside of the Top 8 we've got a sweet new take on Bomberman by kanican.

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Utilizing red in this list is really interesting, mainly for things like Abrade and Cut // Ribbons, but also sideboard copies of Pyroclasm. Very interesting indeed!

Insight Esports Legacy Open 5/29

This past weekend was also an event held by Insight Esports, their first Legacy Open event. This event was held via Magic Online and was very unique in that it was a double elimination style event (so Swiss rounds progress for a player until that player reaches two losses and then they are eliminated) so there was no traditional "Top 8" style standings. This event had 63 players in it.

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

Quite a bit of UR Delver in this event as well. It seems as if the tables have really flipped and UR Delver has taken over as the defacto variant. A lot of this can be currently chalked up to the existence of Expressive Iteration, but I feel that this flip was also pretty inevitable at some point.

Let's take a look at the players to place within the Top 8 of the Swiss rounds.

Deck Name Placing Player Name
UR Delver 1st Alberto Sánchez Díaz
Doomsday 2nd Max Carini
Hogaak 3rd Brett Kroeger
Reanimator 4th Cesare Cicolin
Lands 5th aslidsikorasksi
Death and Taxes 6th Joshua Bausch
UR Delver 7th Rich Cali
Lands 8th Matt Brown

UR Delver had a solid performance here, given that two players did very well on it. At the end it was UR Delver that essentially won the event on a 9-1 record.

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This list is only on two copies of Iteration, and many lists have fluctuated between two to four copies in general. Neat to see a card like Court of Cunning in the sideboard for some of the more durdly grindy games.

The Second Place was on Doomsday!

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Neat to see Stifle in these lists, giving this deck a bit of a way of masking its identity slightly in the early game but also having just a lot of utility in general. Definitely seems like a very powerful list.

We also had Reanimator in this Top 8!

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One of the neat cards here is Dawnglade Regent, which is really interesting as a bit of a card that helps protect against removal much like Archetype of Endurance typically does, but also draws cards and protects every permanent. Very neat.

Also in the Top 8 we had a showing by Lands.

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This is a great list, and the pilot even wrote about their event over on the Pendrell Vale website! I especially dig the Shifting Ceratops in the sideboard for various blue related matchups.

Legacy Metagame Update - Pre Modern Horizons 2

Seeing as how Modern Horizons 2 is literally around the corner here, it felt prudent to take a final snapshot of the metagame since the bannings of Oko/Astrolabe/DHA and prior to MH2's release, thanks to data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project. You can find the sheet for this snapshot over here.

As we can see right now from a macro archetype level, fair blue Tempo is the most popular set of archetypes in the format right now. This trend is nothing new but it is obviously concerning as we look deeper into the subarchetype level.

If we were to combine both RUG Delver and UR Delver here we'd have a combined metagame share of roughly 18%, which is a little insane. It's clear just how much Delver sits above the metagame in popularity given the next popular deck in Elves is at 192 copies from UR Delver's 350 copies. In win rate data, both Delver decks are doing incredibly well and Elves is right there with it at least, showing just how strong that deck is in general.

This is definitely an interesting snapshot of what the format looks like right now. What will happen with this coming shift? Will we continue to see UR Delver as the defacto Delver strategy? Only time it seems will tell, but we will continue to keep collecting this data to share with you all.

Around the Web

  • Everyday Eternal has a new episode on MH2 cards! Check it out here.
  • Cool 5-0 Goblins League! Check that out here.
  • Jarvis Yu and Dom Harvey do a little Tainted Pact in Legacy. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

JUND STOMPY featuring Pack Rat and Rotting Regisaur!

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Speaking of Tainted Pact...

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A little Steel Stompy!

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What I'm Playing This Week

I am not feeling anything serious until Modern Horizons 2 releases, so I'm really just meme'ing with stuff at the moment.

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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 /r/MTGLegacy Discord Server and subreddit.

Until next time!



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