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This Week in Legacy: Tips and Tricks for Legacy in 2022


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week it's the beginning of the New Year of 2022 and I figured it would be fun to do some looking at some of the cool tips and tricks one can do in the current incarnation of Legacy. In addition to that, we've got one Challenge to discuss and of course a Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Tips and Tricks for the New Year of Legacy

It's been a while since we had one of these articles and I think it's definitely time for one since we had a ton of new cards added into the format this past year in Modern Horizons 2. It's a great time to visit what tips and tricks and interactions are fun with current cards in the format that are seeing play.

#1 - Urza's Saga

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The amount of intricate play with Urza's Saga is definitely very interesting. There's a fair number of interesting things you can do with this card, and the heuristics of playing it are relatively intriguing. For example, using Saga as a simple mana producing land and a tutor is great by itself sometimes, outside of the construct making ability.

That being said, there's some unique stuff you can do in conjunction with other cards, such as Crop Rotation for example. If you cast a Crop Rotation in your draw step or on your opponent's end step for an Urza's Saga you will get the first Lore counter on the land and then once you're in your main phase you'll immediately get the second Lore counter and its resulting trigger.

One of the more unique things you can do with this card though is its interaction with Thespian's Stage. Because the Saga half grants abilities to the land, by making Stage a copy of Saga you end up with an Urza's Saga with zero Lore counters on it, which the Stage copy will accrue as normal. However, if you copy another land before the third Lore trigger resolves (in response to it), the Land will no longer be a Saga enchantment subtype and thus won't be subject to the rules of Sagas when the trigger resolves, and will keep all of the abilities that the Saga half of the card granted to it. This functionally allows you to keep a Stage on board that can continue making Constructs without having to be subject to sacrificing itself, and you still get to tutor for an artifact. Bonus points are granted here if you make Thespian's Stage copy a Basic land because then you can even beat Blood Moon with this ability.

Speaking of Blood Moon, the rules in regards to how Urza's Saga is treated under such effects (Moon, Blood Sun, Alpine Moon) are highly interesting because of the Saga half of the land. Saga rules are very picky, and once the Saga loses any Chapter abilities, the rules state that the maximum Chapter number is zero, and then further states that the Saga has to be sacrificed because the number of Lore counters on it either equals or exceeds the maximum Chapter number.

There are also a lot of ways to counterplay against Saga outside of Moon effects. For example, another card we will be discussing in Dress Down is great against the tokens, but also destructive cards like Force of Vigor and Pernicious Deed clean up the land as well since it is an Enchantment subtype.

#2 - Dress Down

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Dress Down is one of the true sleeper hits of Modern Horizons 2, creating an interesting card that can do a multitude of things. Because this card has Flash, it can interplay with a number of cards. For example, as we mentioned before in Urza's Saga, it cleans up the Construct tokens by removing their ability that pumps them based on the number of artifacts and reduces them to 0/0s with no abilities. However, that's just the tip of the iceberg for this card.

One of the common interactions with this card is the ability to stop ETB triggers for certain cards, mainly for example Thassa's Oracle. The timing is important however, as Dress Down has to be in play before Oracle resolves in order to remove its ETB trigger. Another common thing is to use Dress Down on an opponent's end step in order to deploy such cards like Phyrexian Dreadnought and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. In the case of Uro, you are basically making it so you can get Uro onto the battlefield, but you won't have the sacrifice trigger or the land ETB trigger either. This is also very helpful if you're trying to prevent effects like Solitude / Endurance occurring, but you can also use it beneficially to Evoke one of these creatures with a Dress Down in play to get something powerful onto the board.

Furthermore, a very unique case comes from using the Dash ability of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and using Dress Down in response. In this case, the expected behavior is that Ragavan will lose all of its abilities including the Haste that would have been granted by the Dash cost being paid (something that has a lot to do with dependencies and layers), but will still return to its owner's hand at the end step because Dash creates a delayed triggered ability that Dress Down doesn't remove.

Dress Down also leads to some of the more unique and sometime frustrating things in Magic, when it comes to the Layer system. The major places this will be seen is in cards like Painter's Servant, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, and Magus of the Moon.

  • In the case of Painter, because of how Painter's ability is applied in the layer system the end result of a Dress Down in play is that every permanent will still be the color that you picked for Painter in addition to, as the effect Painter applies is in Layer 5, while the effect of Dress Down removing abilities is in Layer 6.
  • The same thing here applies to Dryad and Magus of the Moon. While Dress Down will remove the extra land drop function of Dryad, all the lands will still retain the land types granted by Dryad, and for Magus all the nonbasic lands will still be Mountains. Both of these cards set these abilities in earlier Layers than Layer 6, which is when the abilities get removed.

The final interaction to talk about here is the weirdest one but it probably won't come up too often in Legacy and that's what happens when Dress Down itself becomes a creature. In this case, the Dress Down will remove its own abilities as well, which includes the triggered ability that causes it to be sacrificed at the beginning of the end step.

#3 - Dungeon Exploring with Acererak

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Acererak the Archlich gave a new one card win condition to the deck Aluren and provided the deck a cool silver bullet to go for. There's some interesting stuff you can do with this card, but the biggest trick behind using it is that you can continually Flash in Acererak and traverse through the dungeon even if there's another trigger on the stack for one of the dungeon abilities. The most important one here is the final room of Lost Mine of Phandelver named "Temple of Dumathoin" which has the triggered ability of "Draw a card." You don't actually have to let this trigger resolve in order to resolve Acererak's ability. You can simply flash in Acererak again and start at the beginning of the dungeon again. This is due to some rules in the dungeon mechanic about how it will progress through the dungeon regardless and it doesn't really care what trigger is on the stack when it initiates a "venture" into the dungeon.

This gives Aluren a win con that it can cast with zero cards in its library, which is pretty sweet.

#4 - Madness and LED

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Lion's Eye Diamond is often utilized in situations where your hand is either already empty or it is being used in conditions where priority has been held and it is being cracked to enable a card like Infernal Tutor to allow the mana to be used and enable Hellbent for that card.

However, in the Madness deck, LED plays a secondary role and that is as an enabler for the Madness mechanic itself. LED can be cracked at instant speed on opponent's turns and allow you to cast your Madness creatures at instant speed functionally, giving you a surprise factor with the deck that other LED decks don't often have. Because it is also discarding your whole hand, you can also trigger things like Vengevine on your opponent's end step to produce a board state for them to worry about.

#5 - Grist, the Planeswalker/Creature

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Grist is one of the more wildly interesting cards from Modern Horizons 2, as it is the first three mana Planeswalker that is incredibly interesting and powerful, but not obscenely broken. There is a laundry list of things you can do with Grist, so let's just bullet them out:

This doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of how good this card is and the weird and cool interactions it has (such as +1 ability with a whole bunch of Changelings on top of the library), but it definitely is amazing and lots of fun to play with.

#6 - Prismatic Ending

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Prismatic Ending is definitely one of the most impactful removal spells Legacy has had in a very long time, and it's extreme flexibility is what makes it so powerful. As with most spells that have X tacked onto them, you can do some cool things with this.

One of the most common ways of using this to interact is to get rid of things like Chalice of the Void. Because Ending specifies mana value or less, it doesn't matter in getting rid of a Chalice what you make X, just that X doesn't equal zero. It also doesn't matter if you have other colors to put into an Ending, so long as you have one color (white) it will get rid of the Chalice.

Tax effects also interact with Ending in ways that are similar to other effects like Engineered Explosives by allowing you to overpay with a similar color or a different color to snag something different but still being able to make X a smaller number. For example, you can hit a Flickerwisp for X=1 with a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in play by paying white, blue, and green as your color for the additional tax for Thalia. This simply increases the power and flexibility of this card in a lot of ways.

#7 - How Affinity Works

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This is something more for paper Magic because on MTGO it's a little easier to grok how these kinds of mechanics work (because of how easy it is to cast these kinds of spells), but as we now have firmly playable decks with these mechanics it is definitely important to cover. Affinity and cost reduction effects like Emry are all based in the function of how you announce casting a spell to put it on the stack. This is in Comp Rules 601.2f as part of casting a spell in which the player determines the total cost of the spell which includes any reductions/increases in cost. The total cost is determined, the total cost becomes locked in and in 601.2h the player pays the total cost.

What does this mean for Affinity and effects like Emry? Well, it means that you can do some fun math for figuring out the cost in situations where you might also have to activate mana abilities of cards like Lotus Petal where it would need to be sacrificed to provide mana.

Example: You control an Island and a Lotus Petal. How much does Emry, Lurker of the Loch actually cost to cast? The answer is 1U because you control one artifact (the Petal). You announce that you are casting Emry, who costs 1U to cast. This cost is locked in and then you move to paying costs, paying Blue from the Island and sacrificing the Lotus Petal for the payment of the 1. Even though you sacrificed the Lotus Petal to cast Emry, Emry still only cost 1U to cast because once the cost is locked in, it can't be changed. If you had sacrificed the Petal first, it would no longer be in play and thus Emry would cost 2U instead and you would not be able to cast it.

A similar thing applies to Affinity. If you had an Island, a Petal, and two Mishra's Bauble in play, Thoughtcast would cost 1U due to controlling three artifacts, but you would sacrifice the Petal to pay the costs of the spell when you get to the cost payment section of casting a spell.

This requires a lot of up front communication to explain to opponents of course, and is a very technical aspect of gameplay, but it's one that can really improve playing these kinds of decks that utilize this mechanic (primarily 8Cast) to level up your gameplay on it.

Paper Magic Update

We've got an interesting update on the paper Magic front, and more importantly a paper Legacy update. SCG events are going to be starting back up mildly this year with a few SCG CON events in different cities throughout the year. Some of these might include Legacy later in the year but the more important one to mention is SCG CON Philadelphia which takes place on February 11th - 13th, in which there will be a Legacy 10K event on that Sunday.

You can find the big announcement from SCG over here.

Also, the NRG Series event this weekend in Chicagoland (January 8th-9th) which would have included a Legacy 5K Trial has been postponed due to the ongoing threat of Omicron variant of COVID-19. You can find the announcement from NRG here.

Legacy Challenge 1/2

We had one Challenge event fire this past weekend which was the Sunday mid afternoon event. This event had 104 players in it, which is much bigger than normal. This data was collected thanks to the efforts of the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

As we've come to expect, UR Delver had a solid representation in this event, but it also had a wildly good win rate as well. 4C Control was the runner up in representation but it also had a positive win rate as well. Yorion Zenith was also represented well enough but it had a very low win rate.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C Control 1st AnziD
UR Delver 2nd bocci
UR Delver 3rd Breal2
Mono Green Cloudpost 4th into_play
UR Delver 5th davy2892
Karn Echo 6th GHash77
Reanimator 7th kanister
Painter 8th CloudgoatRanger

Definitely an interesting Top 8 here. Quite a bit of UR Delver decks going on at 3/8 of the Top 8, but also some powerful decks like a Karn Echo shell, Painter, and even Mono Green Cloudpost. At the end of the event though it was our good friend and all around amazing content creator Anuraag Das who took down the event on his signature 4C Control deck.

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Anuraag's list is pretty well crafted to beat up on the Delver strategies in the format. Lots of removal, cards like Blast effects in the sideboard. Definitely seems like it worked out for him facing down against UR Delver in the finals.

As noted, the Second Place finalist was on UR Delver.

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But wait, there's no Delver! Yeah, this particular pilot cut Delver entirely for a True-Name Nemesis and amusingly enough three copies of Stifle. I think we are definitely starting to see just how the blue Tempo decks build to cannibalize each other this way. Definitely very interesting for sure.

Also in the Top 8 we've got well known Post player Tony Murata on his signature pile of mana ramp.

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Tony's bread and butter is this kind of deck and while we haven't seen much of Green Post in a hot minute, Tony's specialization on it really helps with his deckbuilding and understanding of his matchups. Definitely a solid finish!

At the bottom of the Top 8 we've got another good friend of ours in Callum Smith on Mono Red Painter.

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This list seems pretty solid all around. Seven blast effects in the main, Karn package, Urza's Saga, you name it. It's got it all in spades and Callum is a great player on these kinds of sick decks like Painter, so it's great to see him doing well!

Outside of the Top 8 and down the Top 32 we had a showing by perennial Bomberman master kanican.

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It's always a blast to see what new cards kanican may be trying out in Bomberman. This time it's Malevolent Hermit and honestly, that seems pretty cool.

Around the Web

  • We've got a video on Reanimator on the docket. Check that out here.
  • Can't decide which combo to play? Phil Gallagher has you covered here.
  • Everyday Eternal dropped their latest episode with the full crew! Check it out here.
  • The guys over at the Dark Depths Podcast held their first ever Marit Lage Awards episode, which is also their 70th episode! Check it out here!

The Spice Corner

You can find this past week's 5-0 deck dumps over here!

We got another sweet Thought Lash + Thassa's Oracle deck on the docket.

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MONO BLACK REANIMATOR.

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Don't often see Grixis Control these days, and this one even has Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God in it.

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Chandra's Incinerator BURN.

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We're wrapping things up with a little STAXX.

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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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