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This Week in Legacy: Treading the Dangers of the Realms


Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! I'm your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we're going to be diving into Adventures in the Forgotten Realms and what it might mean for Legacy! In addition to that we've got some PAPER events to talk about, an update on the Legacy Data Collection Project, and also some Challenge events from this weekend. We might even have a Spice Corner!

Without further ado, let's dive right in!

Venturing Into the Realms

We're back into the perpetual feeling of spoiler season as we dive into Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, a set devoted to evoking the very flavor of Dungeons & Dragons! Before we talk about some individual cards, let's talk about some of the key mechanics of the set.

The Dungeon Mechanic

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The big flagship mechanic of the set is venturing into Dungeons, a mechanic that involves the three token-like cards above. The way this mechanic works is pretty simple. Whenever a card instructs you to venture into the dungeon, if you aren't already in one then pick one of the three above and go into the first room and trigger that ability there. Each subsequent venture moves you into the next room. You can never go backwards to forks, and you must always move forwards.

This mechanic is relevant sofar that we've seen to one card in this set that we'll discuss down in the cards.

Dice Rolling

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Another mechanic that is arriving in black bordered Magic in this set is the advent of dice rolling as a mechanic. Again, thankfully, it appears that dice rolling is actually pretty safe for Legacy and we probably will not need to worry about seeing the mechanic in the format extensively (outside of you know... memes).

With the two big mechanics of the set out of the way, let's talk about some individual cards. We already discussed one of the cards in this set, Portable Hole a while back, so let's hit the rest of the cards we think might see play.

Paladin Class

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This card is actually very interesting. A mini Defense Grid type effect is already strong enough for one mana, but later in the game when you have the ability to level up into Level 2-3 of this card things start getting really interesting. The taxing effect of this card is very strong, and I suspect that this is a card that could definitely see some amount of play.

Demilich

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At first glance this appears to be yet another blue recursive threat that has some value stapled onto it when it attacks, and it definitely has a lot of those attributes. The biggest thing about this card is the fact that it doesn't really go in a tempo shell where you are reliably casting four spells in a single turn to make this free, as most of the tempo shells just don't do this that often with cards like Wasteland and now Urza's Saga.

That being said, what this could go in is decks that can cast spells really fast like Dark Ritual based decks, and I liken this kind of card more to a blue Hollow One than to a card like Dreadhorde Arcanist. Cast a bunch of spells, get a free 4/3 that is hard to counter and be aggressive. The kind of shell that promotes this is more than likely some form of Arclight Phoenix deck which also has the ability to get Phoenixes back, and those decks are already priced into casting a lot of spells in a single turn that adding one more seems pretty negligible.

Tasha's Hideous Laughter

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There's a lot of math surrounding this card, and quite frankly it's ultra hilarious versus Legacy Lands (due to the fact that you could potentially one shot them with this card). I suspect if we ever see Legacy Mill become a deck then this is a flagship card of that deck.

As it stands this may see the occasional sideboard play if any at all.

Acererak, Lord of Unlife

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As we discussed earlier, there is at least one card in this set that deals with the Venture mechanic and Acererak is it. The major aspect here is the fact that this is a one card combo with Aluren as if you complete any non-Tomb of Annihilation dungeon you can just keep looping that same dungeon over and over. The dungeon you ask? Well, it's the Lost Mine of Phandelver.

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This is a simple four venture trigger dungeon and the easiest way of getting there is Cave Entrance, Mine Tunnels, Dark Pool, Temple of Dumathoin. Dark Pool will drain your opponent for one every time. This does mean you need a lot of cards in your library, but thankfully pretty much every Aluren list as of late is a Yorion, Sky Nomad deck so when you start with 80 cards in your deck chances are you have it on your opponent in Legacy. You could also go through Dungeon of the Mad Mage in longer, grindier games as well where you have the ability to do so. It is worth noting as well, that according to this text in the mechanics article, you can do some tricks as well with the final triggered ability being on the stack:

"(In some uncommon cases, you might venture into the dungeon in response to the final room ability. If that happens, you complete the dungeon you're in without waiting for the last room ability to leave the stack. You then start the next dungeon. That dungeon's first room ability will resolve before the previous dungeon's last room ability.)"

What this means is that for example, with the "Draw a card" triggered ability on the stack from Lost Mine of Phandelver, you can flash Acererak back into play and then start venturing again and start the Dungeon over again. This essentially means you never need to actually draw the card from Temple of Dumathoin's triggered ability.

The only major downside of Acererak is that it is a 5/5 and can't be located by Recruiter of the Guard (and honestly, I'm kind of okay with this because this card would be a LOT more busted if you could find it with Recruiter). Being Legendary is weirdly not a downside at all because well, it was going back to your hand anyways Karakas. In fact multiples of this guy are probably great because if they try to remove one in response you can flash in another and sacrifice one to the Legendary rule. The other major downside that is touted is the aspect of removal and Swords to Plowshares, but honestly, I don't see that as much as being that big of a deal to me because not having to have multiple cards in hand to do your combo means that you have room for other cards.

In fact if anything, the biggest issue with this card is a trend of printing powerful cards that compact a combo kill to one card in a similar fashion to how Thassa's Oracle compacted the Doomsday kill to one card. This makes me leery simply because of that fact alone, reducing the cards needed for a win condition means you can play other cards that you couldn't have played beforehand (such as either more cantrips or more countermagic).

Furthermore it's not just Aluren that this works with. This works with anything that lets you recast cards for free, such as Omniscience and Rooftop Storm (since it's a Zombie). It also technically works with Food Chain since you can generate infinite black mana and then recast it infinitely with all that mana.

I think this is definitely powerful, but it's also a little slow to resolve on Magic Online. In paper though it's really easy to shortcut all these triggers to where you can get through it all. This is an option though, and it's a one-card combo option at that with triggers that are hard for an opponent to interact with.

Regardless, I think this probably will see play and it will likely create a version of Aluren built around it. The compact upsides of the card really seem to outweigh the downsides for sure.

Grim Wanderer

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The most relevant part here is that this is a Goblin. A 5/3 with Flash that function with cards like Mogg War Marshal and also if they just kill your Lackey is reasonable on rate. It being mana value two also means Aether Vial can just put it into play pretty easily. I think this card is just fine and seems interesting.

Hobgoblin Bandit Leader

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Another Goblin card, but this one is a Lord which can be relevant, as the decks do often play Goblin Chieftain. Could be ultra amusing to put into play post Muxus, Goblin Grandee with a haste enabler like Chieftain to just kill something or deal a ton of damage to the opponent. Ultimately super interesting with Sling-Gang Lieutenant as well.

Wish

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This is probably the most Legacy playable card of the set so far that I've seen. There are a ton of comparisons to existing cards, the closest being Burning Wish, but I have a real feeling this is a much stronger card than Burning Wish on rate. While it does cost one more mana and that cost is very real, the decks that would want this kind of card (Ruby Storm, Storm-like builds) often have little issue making the math work to make mana. The real power behind this card is the fact that it does not self-exile, and it lets you play any card type in your sideboard. You can Wish for a Land even to have a land drop (maybe even a utility land), and then have the Wish in the graveyard for later usage with something like Past in Flames. You do not have to even reveal the card you're going to play until you decide to play it, which in itself is pretty powerful. Furthermore, the fact that you can utilize Lion's Eye Diamond mana for this card after you have cast it for the card in your sideboard is realistic and you're not priced into cracking LED immediately like you do with Burning Wish on the stack.

The downside of this card is that you do have to play the card that turn, taking away a minor caveat of using Burning Wish to nab an impactful sideboard card to play on a followup turn, but I think that downside is vastly outweighed by all the upsides this card has.

I definitely expect people to test this card, and I definitely believe it will be pretty good.

Den of the Bugbear

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I could see this in the more aggressive slanted Red Prison decks, where in Control matchups where Blood Moon is a super awkward card that this simply makes a Goblin Rabblemaster on a Land that creates threats. If you're being hit with Terminus and the like, this is a really solid card overall.

Treasure Vault

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The fact that this is an Artifact Land is what gets my major attention to this card. This creating Treasure tokens is really strong especially for decks that want to play cards like Urza's Saga, like Affinity and the like. I could also potentially see this in Cloudpost based decks to where it can generate colored mana in Green Post variants.

I'm always a little leary of lands like this and this definitely seems strong.

Paper Legacy! 4 Seasons The Park 6/27

We had our first pretty big Legacy paper event over in Italy, thanks to the TOs of the 4Seasons Tournament series. This particular event took place on June 27th, and had 165 players overall. What an amazing event and how far we have come over the past year to getting back to these kinds of events occurring. Furthermore, this past weekend there was also an event thanks to our friend in the Blue Dojo with 118 players! We'll be getting data and reporting for that event as well.

Big shoutout to Nicola Guidi for assisting in gathering data for this event. You can find all of the 4Seasons Tournament info on their Facebook group.

Definitely a lot of UR Delver in this event, showing that even in paper, people really like to Delver. Bant Control was right on its back though, and there was a healthy smattering of other decks amongst the rabble. In fact, the Top 8 of this event looked really interesting and diverse, so let's take a look at it now!

Deck Name Placing Player Name
Reanimator 1st Stefano Sergi
Omni-Tell 2nd Lorenzo Loconte
Death and Taxes 3rd Alessandro Cirelli
Bant Control 4th Andrea Riva
ANT 5th Luca Romano
Painter 6th Daniel Cane'
Death and Taxes 7th Gabriele Zaccarini
Grixis Delver 8th Fabio Di Bartolomei

Super interesting Top 8 for sure here, but the real sweet spot here is Reanimator taking down the entire event!

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Very interesting here is new MH2 card Serra's Emissary which is really cool. I wonder how well this card is performing in these decks, as it definitely seems like a neat card. Surprised to not see any Grief as additional discard, but it's definitely a personal preference it seems.

The other finalist of this event was on Omni-Tell.

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This is the more midrange-y style of the Omni lists, with Coatl and Uro hanging out and doing their thing alongside the typical combo pieces. We do see new Instant card Suspend in the sideboard which is definitely interesting. Getting rid of a problem card on your combo turn is very real.

The rest of the lists for the Top 8 can be found right here!

An Update on Legacy Data Collection Project

I have been managing this project since starting it in November/December of 2020. The purpose of this project has been to collect data on the Legacy Challenge events on Magic Online, so as to be able to get a better picture of the overall metagame beyond what is published by Wizards.

Starting this July, the Project is moving to a Patreon based model for allowing players and others to see the data we collect while allowing the players who spend their time collecting this data to be provided an incentive to continue to do so, as the process to collect it is incredibly time consuming and incredibly manual.

You can find the project page over on Patreon over here.

What this primarily means for my articles here is that I am no longer creating public sheets for data, so I will no longer be linking to those. I will still be providing the graph images from the data results however.

Legacy Challenge 7/3

We had two Challenge events this weekend, the first of which we know had 64 players in it thanks to the efforts of the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

UR Delver climbed back up in popularity and win rate in this particular event, with little to none of the Bant Control decks that were preying upon it. Also fairly low on the metagame aspect was the Jeskai Ragavan Saga deck that crept up in the past few weeks at only two copies, however that deck did have a very reasonable performance with little metagame share. It definitely seems like there is a rolling metagame going on still and players are simply seeing what works best still. There's still a lot of layers to unpack with Modern Horizons 2 and I think that will keep us reasonably busy for a while.

Let's look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Omni-Tell 1st Kuranari-Jackpa
Doomsday 2nd sawatrix
UR Delver 3rd jaredallsop619
Aluren 4th mei0024
Jeskai Control 5th wiky
UR Delver 6th poporon3n
Doomsday 7th _INF_
Doomsday 8th haneman

Really intriguing Top 8 with a lot of Doomsday in it, as well as some Delver and a few other combo decks like Aluren. At the end of the event it was Omni-Tell that took down the event.

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This is not as midrange-esque as the list we saw in the 4 Seasons event finals. Uro shows up a bit giving a little bit of a midrange flair, but there's no Coatls to try and play a fair game into setting up a combo. The obvious thing about this list however is not only the fact that it plays 12 cantrips (Brainstorm and friends), but also four copies of Veil of Summer main deck. This is just combo protection and ensuring they get to combo off the turn they go for it.

The Second Place Finalist was on Doomsday!

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I suspect that this deck is probably one of the more powerful spell-based combo decks in the format right now. It has a lot of solid lines, and the aspect of Thassa's Oracle compacted the win condition for this deck so much that it can fit in so much more countermagic in the slots that would have otherwise been wasted on other win condition enablers. Slightly cool is the sideboard option of Shelldock Isle + Emrakul, the Aeons Torn as a "SURPRISE!"

Down the Top 8 we've got Aluren!

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Four main deck copies of Grist, the Hunger Tide is super sweet. As we've discussed before on this column, Grist being a card you can cast off Aluren while also being fetched by Recruiter of the Guard is quite strong in of itself, and it's just such powerful value that there's no reason to run less than four here especially in a Sky Noodle list. The other upside here is that it also gets found off Oath of Nissa by being both a Planeswalker and a Creature in the library.

Outside of the Top 8 we've got some Reanimator action with FOUR Grief.

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Lots of discard effects abounds here. I have to imagine hitting Unmask and Grief and Reanimate on Grief is pretty back breaking. Also we get to see another new card in Archon of Cruelty, which is supremely interesting. Further on this list is also playing four copies of the new Entomb-like card in Unmarked Grave, which is pretty neat. What's better than Entomb? 8 Entombs?

In 11th place we've got a neat take on the Mystic Forge combo variants.

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This deck is like the list that Flow_true Top 8'ed with last weekend, in that it plays more akin to the Dice Factory list in Modern except a little more super charged than that thanks to fast mana and Mystic Forge.

Further down the Top 32 we've got a little Madness.

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This deck is pretty cool and based on all the media I've seen of it, it looks incredibly strong. There's a very serious power level here provided by the synergy of the pieces in this deck. It definitely seems really powerful.

Also down the Top 32 we've got Infect afficionado Fenruscloud!

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One thing I'd like to note about this deck is the fact that all of the Infect creatures in this deck did receive a very subtle stealth nerf in the fact that they were given errata for Phyrexian as a creature type, making Plague Engineer really effective against this deck. Fenruscloud is adjusting for this with cards like Prismatic Ending in the main deck, which is a really strong way of getting rid of the card, as well as Swords to Plowshares in the sideboard. Furthermore, he is also going on a tangent of having things like Uro in the sideboard that can transform more into a fair tempo deck that doesn't have to always rely on the Infect game plan. Very smart!

Legacy Challenge 7/4

Our second Challenge event of the weekend was the mid afternoon Sunday event. Thanks to the efforts of the LDC, we know this event had 88 players in it.

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

While Bant Control did have some resurgence, it had abysmal win rate i nthis event, while UR Delver had the popularity and a slightly above 50% win rate. Death and Taxes had a solid representation here as well, and a decent win rate. This event also saw a slight resurgence of the Jeskai Ragavan Saga deck.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
UR Delver 1st Jacobisboss
Sneak and Show 2nd JPA93
Doomsday 3rd wonderPreaux
UR Delver 4th Oceansoul92
Painter 5th Griselpuff
Colorless Cloudpost 6th Twibs
Standstill 7th PanHanGo
Ruby Storm 8th MartinMedMitten

Lot of variance in all actuality with some Post and Combo decks, plus even the Jeskai Ragavan Saga deck and Ragavan Painter! At the end of the event however it was Jacob Mayer (Jacobisboss) who won the event on UR Delver.

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This list as noted by Jacob on Twitter had a lot of input from Daniel Goetschel (Gul_Dukat), and we can see here a lot of the influence there with cards like Unholy Heat (which is really cool) and also stuff like Court of Cunning in the sideboard.

The other finalist in this event was JPA93 on Sneak and Show!

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For the most part, this is pretty much the straightforward Sneak and Show list that JPA is well known for. There are indeed a pair of Monkeys in the sideboard hanging out though, for those matchups where the opponent just likely isn't prepared for it.

Down the Top 8 we've got a showing by a sick Painter list by our good friend Bob Huang.

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This list is really sweet, utilizing a lot of the powerful cards like Expressive Iteration and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer to great effect. Definitely looks like a powerful list.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we've got a UR Ruby Storm variant.

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A showing of Galvanic Relay is really interesting here. I've heard this card likened to a red variant of Necropotence where it essentially sets up your following combo turn for you, and I think that comparison is pretty apt. Definitely curious to see where this list goes when Wish is released for sure.

Outside of the Top 8 we've got a showing by Death and Taxes.

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Not only do we get to see a strong card like Esper Sentinel's power in this deck, but also the power of Kaldra Compleat is pretty inherent here as well. Even more interesting is the sideboard however, with cards like Court of Grace (D&T has always been really good at keeping the Monarch) to even Solitude for free exile interaction when you need it.

Further down the Top 32 we've got a Standstill Lands variant.

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This deck is super interesting, utilizing various plans from Uro to Karn to Urza's Saga under Standstill, all with EIGHT EXILE EFFECTS in Prismatic Ending and Swords to Plowshares. Super sweet list.

And if you're looking for a real treat... this is supposedly a deck that was played in this event, but placed outside of the Top 32. Ever wanted to Urza's Kitchen in Legacy? Well....

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Around the Web

  • Bryant Cook has a sweet video on CEPHALID BREAKFAST. Check it out here.
  • A great Maverick Matchup series on the Maverick vs Ninjas Matchup. Check it out here.
  • Budget Affinity!
  • The Eternal Glory Podcast has a new episode! Check it out here.
  • How to Jam EVERY Combo into Doomsday!
  • 5C Elementals with 1MrLee. Check it out here.
  • The Legacy Pit has a bit of UW Stoneblade vs Turbo Depths. Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

We begin our story with a Sky Noodle and his favorite toys.

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It continues with Painter and some sweet includes in Ruin Grinder and Angel of the Ruins.

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Another Sky Noodle pile of a Zenith deck... but notable inclusion of Dakkon, Shadow Slayer.

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It ends with a bang of Cascade spells and Crashing Footfalls. DON'T GO CHASING WATERFALLS!

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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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