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This Week in Legacy: Venturing into the Dungeon

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 delving into the Dungeon with how some of the new Aluren builds are shaping up with Acererak the Archlich! In addition to that we've got two Challenges worth of data to talk about and of course, your Spice Corner.

Without further ado, let's get right to it!

A Quick Note

I just wanted to make a quick note that I was really appreciative of all the constant discussion and responses to last week's article, even if people disagreed about the assessment of Daze in the current format. I feel it is important to have discussions on these topics. It helps us keep what is going on in the format in perspective and I enjoy seeing different viewpoints on the topics of the banned list.

Furthermore, there was a lot of great feedback on both the article series itself as well as the data project in the past week as well, and I am looking forward to announcing some changes to data project very soon.

The Dungeon of Darkness

Since the release of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms there has definitely been some impact on at least one archetype from the set, notably the deck Aluren and the powerful option that is Acererak the Archlich. While not universally adopted, Acererak is a solid option inclusion in this deck, providing it a win condition that in many ways has very narrow forms of interaction.

Let's take a look at a recent list.

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Primarily the versions of this deck that have done well with the Lich Lord have been those that have been playing the card Living Wish. This allows the deck to function as a bit of a toolbox aspect while also being able to act as a way to just fetch a win condition by grabbing Acererak when it is time to just turn the corner in a game. These variants are still benefiting from the overall power of being able to play the long grindy game and appear as if they are a typical BUG Control shell, but then they are capable of simply accelerating into a win with Acererak.

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Acererak himself is pretty innocuous and not superb in situations without Aluren, but it can accrue some grindy value in long games with things like Dungeon of the Mad Mage. The biggest downside of the card is beating removal, but there are definitely plenty of ways to get around that (one of the best is simply having a second Acererak in order to keep the chain of venture triggers going).

I always enjoy it when we get options for decks in this format that enhance ever so slightly so as to provide an option for the deck and not a required piece, as we've definitely seen several new variations of the Aluren deck. One of these is the more classic Recruiter of the Guard shell with Ukkima and Cavern Harpy, and the other is this new Living Wish variant with the Lich. The classic variants benefit from having access to things like Swords to Plowshares in the Yorion 4C builds still, and can do well in metagames where that kind of premium removal is good.

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To me, having such variety within the archetype makes for a very solid and interesting place to be within the Aluren deck as it gives you plenty of different ways to attack a specific metagame based on what you expect to see, and I think this level of deck building variation is always both a lot of fun and smart.

Legacy Challenge 7/31

Both Challenges indeed fired this past weekend. The first event we're going to talk about is the Saturday morning event, which thanks to the efforts of the Legacy Data Collection Project we know had 67 players in it.

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

UR Delver took a huge hit in popularity for this event as both numbers for Bant Control and D&T soared pretty highly above the rest. Sneak and Show was also pretty popular as well. Wildly enough, the Jeskai Ragavan deck had a poor performance here, as people were likely gunning for the deck, which does show that it is good but not insanely overpowering to the point of dominating the format and that it is beatable.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Doomsday 1st sawatrix
GW Depths 2nd zhinonono
Sneak and Show 3rd Xpz98
Blue Karn/Artifacts 4th Basuta
UR Delver 5th B-Carp
Death and Taxes 6th djseb
UR Delver 7th Diem4x
Sneak and Show 8th JPA93

Definitely an interesting Top 8 overall here. Despite not being incredibly popular in this event, UR Delver did have a pretty decent conversion to the Top 8 and a strong win rate overall. However, it was Doomsday that took this event down!

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Doomsday certainly has a lot of strong options going for it right now in the current format. I also really like the Shelldock Isle game plan in the sideboard, using it to cheat out Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is really good.

The Second Place list was GW Depths.

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The big thing that my eyes are immediately drawn to here are the two copies Paradox Zone in the sideboard. I can see this being really good in matchups like control where you are capable of cranking out increasingly bigger creatures every turn, forcing your opponent to have to deal with them or lose. Furthermore, being five mana almost guarantees that it is not going to be hit by Prismatic Ending in the Bant shells without some real shenanigans.

Also in the Top 8 we've got a Karn Echo variant.

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This deck is just maximizing the plan of "cast a threat like Hullbreacher or Narset then wheel". Very straightforward stuff, and a ton of mana acceleration between Chrome Mox and Lotus Petal. Pretty wild deck indeed.

Down the Top 8 we did indeed have UR Delver as a deck.

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The most interesting thing about this list is the absence of Dragon's Rage Channeler, which has been a general mainstay in UR Delver. Instead, this is just leaning hard on the power of Ragavan and Murktide Regent and not caring about the delirium aspects of the deck.

Outside of the Top 8 we've got Stoneblade.

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The primary equipment threats here both boil down to just Kaldra Compleat and Batterskull, the former of which has continually proven time and time again since its release as one of the more broken pieces of equipment that is really hard to deal with. Also really digging the Tsabo's Web in the sideboard here.

Also down the Top 32 we've got Enchantress!

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Spatula is a very well known Enchantress player, and it's always cool to see this deck do well because the deck is generally super fun. This variant of the deck is often referred to as "Witch House" and it plays Living Wish for a bit of a toolbox sideboard aspect to win the game with. One cool thing about the toolbox aspect is the presence of Grist, the Hunger Tide as a Living Wish target. Very fun!

Legacy Challenge 8/1

The other Challenge event of the weekend was the mid-afternoon Sunday event, which had 84 players in it.

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

UR Delver leaped back to the top of the pack in this event in popularity, with both D&T and Jeskai Ragavan Saga right behind it. UR Delver had reasonably strong win rate performance, while again Jeskai Ragavan Saga had some middling performance (except for the fact that one of the players did make Top 8 with the deck). However, long-term data of the Jeskai deck's performance still does indicate how strong it is, but as I noted before it is nice to see that it can be fought.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Death and Taxes 1st Oderus Urungus
Jeskai Control 2nd wooop_orc
Doomsday 3rd Iwouldliketorespond
Sneak and Show 4th JPA93
Bant Control 5th Ozymandias17
GW Depths 6th mmapson125
Reanimator 7th EronRelentless
Jeskai Ragavan Saga 8th FallsofRauros

This Top 8 is pretty groovy. Lot of variety in things going on here, and the best part is seeing yet another stellar breakout win by Yorion D&T.

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This deck is really continually proving itself with this win and with the win by the deck's firmest proponent in xJCloud. The D&T crowd is definitely on to something with the Sky Noodle at the moment, and it's not hard to see that this deck is absolutely a real banger.

In Second Place we've got Jeskai Control.

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This is pretty much just plain Jane Jeskai with a few 2019-2021 cards thrown in the mix. Wild to see this deck here and the testament of power that still is Monastery Mentor.

Also in the Top 8 we've got the master of Griselbrand, JPA93.

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JPA was the lone Sneak and Show player of this entire event. Insane.

At the bottom of the Top 8 we have Reanimator, ANOTHER Griselbrand deck!

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I have heard Archon of Cruelty likened to the Griselbrand you want to get when Griselbrand is a bad card in the matchup, and I can definitely see that. It has an immediate effect on the board no matter if the opponent can get rid of it or not, and it beats up on decks if they drop Karakas expecting to deal with Griselbrand that way.

Outside of the Top 8 we've got a BUG Stiflenought list.

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Dress Down enabling this deck is really powerful. I suspect no matter what as long as that card remains in the format, it will be strong in these kinds of decks.

At the bottom of the Top 32 we've got Merfolk.

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We get to see new card Tide Shaper here, which I think is a pretty strong card overall. Being able to turn off certain lands with a kicked Tide Shaper is incredibly good and very disruptive.

Around the Web

  • Julian Knab gives us some Jeskai Ragavan Saga action to watch this week! Check it out here.
  • Green Sun's Zenith posted a primer on GW Depths! Check it out here.
  • 90sMTG had some spice with WiredHyena on playing SLIVERS. Check that out here.
  • Lee Hung Nguyen plays DESTRUCTIVE FLOW.
  • A great analysis of a 6-3 Showcase Challenge run by Eli Goings (GoblinLackey1). Check it out here.

The Spice Corner

This week we've got Death and Painter Taxes featuring Ingenious Smith!

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BUG Delver with a hint of main deck Grist, the Hunger Tide is pretty sweet.

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No one expects the Culling the Weak.

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And in one of the spiciest things I've seen in a while... Didgeridoo being fetched by Urza's Saga.

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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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