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This Week in Legacy: With This Ring...

Howdy folks! It's time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! This week we're taking another trip into Innistrad with a look at Crimson Vow and whether any of those cards will be good for Legacy. In addition to that we've got an event to discuss from this past weekend that Anuraag Das ran as well as the Showcase Challenge from this past weekend. We've also got a Spice Corner!

Of course, most of you by now have heard the news that there are no changes coming to the B&R lists until after Eternal Weekend.

Without further ado, let's dive right in.

It's a Nice Day for a Vampire Wedding

The wedding event of the millenium is here in Innistrad: Crimson Vow, another set that takes us into the gothic horror and... wedding dresses?! That's right, but as Olivia and Edgar get ready for their big night we have some cards to talk about from this set. The various mechanics of this set aren't as impactful on the format from Blood Tokens and Exploit to Cleave not being quite there for Legacy. So with that being said, let's look at some cards!

Cemetery Protector

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is part of a bigger cycle across all five colors, and I was almost somewhat ready to discount the white cards in this set until I saw the type line here being Human Soldier. The Cemetery cycle all does the same thing on ETB and I find it interesting that this can exile lands and then create creatures based on that, most especially in a deck like Soldier Stompy. The high upside here is hitting a land, but hitting a creature is also good in some decks. Seems like definitely an interesting card.

Cemetery Illuminator

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This seems interesting from the standpoint that its trigger is on both ETB and attack (why couldn't the white one have done this too?) and it acts as a three mana mini Future Sight when it is enabled. Playable? Probably not, but it is interesting.

Hullbreaker Horror

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Poor Tidespout Tyrant doesn't even make the cut in current Legacy Reanimator strategies that tacking on a bounce spell to hand to a slightly worse version (since this can't bounce lands) probably doesn't meet the cut either. The Flash and uncounterability on this is fluff text. Unless you're playing this in control (which seems silly) this is likely not going to see play. I can however, probably see it in the Modern Reanimator variants because that deck typically doesn't reanimate Legendary creatures, and there are a ton of Legendaries in Legacy that achieve better results than what you want out of this.

Demonic Bargain

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I can honestly see a lot of potential in a card that does so much for so little investment, given that Dark Ritual is a card in the format. I could definitely see some sort of combo deck that wants to use this for a specific piece. Pretty impressive card for sure.

Graf Reaver

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Zombies isn't quite there yet in terms of a tribe really worth exploring (lack of a taxing effect definitely is needed) but this is a start in a good direction there. Having a cheap way of destroying a Planeswalker seems like a great function for the tribe to have, and the fact that it can sacrifice itself to Exploit to function is also pretty good as well. Between this and Champion of the Perished there's a great start to Zombies being something at some point in the future.

Cemetery Gatekeeper

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I'm not a big fan of this card. In general, I think it is odd that the Cemetery cycle is inconsistent in its application of ETB/Attack, but also because this one doesn't seem that exciting to me. The floor of this is two damage whenever a player "plays" a Land (which is a lot different than say Ankh of Mishra which is a similar effect when lands ETB instead). This is nowhere near close to Eidolon of the Great Revel or Pyrostatic Pillar for sure and I don't expect this one to actually see play at all.

Change of Fortune

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The big rider here is the fact that this card says "draw a card for each card you've discarded this turn" which does not necessarily include cards discarded by this effect. You can very easily loop this card with something like Echo of Eons and just draw a ton of cards with one spell. Conceivably this could see play in Mono Red Storm variants, where it has a lot of potential. That deck has received a ton of love over the past few years for sure, so I will be curious to see if something like this ends up in it. The effect is strong though.

End the Festivities

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The card Blazing Volley has long been a UR Delver sideboard staple, and this is basically just the same thing but better. Easy swap out.

Reckless Impulse

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is functionally a "draw two" for two mana and that in itself is pretty powerful. I definitely believe this would see play somewhere if not for the existence of Expressive Iteration. However, if Iteration were to get banned, I could see decks wanting this card and its effect. Having until end of your next turn to play the cards makes this a lot more powerful to cast on Turn Two especially than EI sometimes is, and you can even alt-cast countermagic with it as well.

Cemetery Prowler

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A cost reduction effect can be incredibly strong, and I've heard some rumblings of people trying to piece this together in decks like the Mystic Forge shells to reduce costs of artifacts, since the cost reduction only effects the player controlling the wolf. I don't know how feasible this is with making double green for it, but I would be curious to see if it would be good.

Eruth, Tormented Prophet

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

There is a lot going on here with this card for sure. While I don't believe this would be insane in Legacy (more interested in it for Vintage), the upside perspective of working with cards like Dack Fayden (a criminally underrated card in the format right now) for the raw card advantage this card provides is definitely interesting. Sylvan Library straight "draws" six cards with this out, and you don't have to pay life to put anything back. Yes you have to play the cards that turn, but that kind of raw card advantage is pretty nuts. I would love to see this card find a home somewhere for sure.

Dollhouse of Horrors

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

My first look at this card was before it was finally translated and it was assumed that it made Constructs much like how Karn/Urza's Saga does, but it does not. That's fine though, I think this is still potentially reasonable in decks playing cards like Emry/Sai, etc. It lets you recycle milled Sai's or Emry's as well as makes tokens of Thought Monitor that have the potential of getting really big (with the other Constructs made by Saga, etc.). Five mana up front is reasonable in Ancient Tomb decks for what is essentially a grindy sideboard card.

Lantern of the Lost

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Another Relic of Progenitus / Soul-Guide Lantern variant. I still think I like Relic in a lot of scenarios because it presents a slow burn of removing cards in matchups where Delve/Escape matters, and Soul-Guide Lantern often sees play in Saga decks that don't want to exile their own graveyard for various reasons, such as if they're playing Murktide or Dragon's Rage Channeler. Still, this is just another piece of one mana value hate that exists in the toolbox of hate cards.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

$ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00   $ 0.00 $ 0.00

I had promised John Ryan Hamilton I would pretty jokingly review this new "Thalia" card from Crimson Vow, but at the end of the day, I just couldn't piece together something truly funny enough. Instead, appreciate the fact that not only was Thalia reprinted in this set, but that the art they gave her in every version in this set is completely hot fire. (Seriously, Magali continues to just be incredibly awesome)

AnziD RagaBANNED Tournament 11/6

In response to the announcement by Wizards that no potential changes to the B&R would take place until after Eternal Weekend, our good friend Anuraag Das decided to run his own event with Blackjack and... no Monkeys. Anuraag has ran these kinds of events before (such as when we ran an event with Arcum's Astrolabe and Oko, Thief of Crowns banned during that era). The only card banned for this event was Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. This event had around 31 players and was hosted via MTGMelee as a Double Elimination style tournament (i.e. players played until they lost twice, thus eliminating them).

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

One important thing to remember about these kinds of events is the fact that they are generally always a fairly small sample size, but they are a fun look at "what could be" under certain circumstances. You pretty much need a lot of data when making changes like this to prove a potential trend of how the metagame would go, but there are a few interesting indicators here, such as the fact that even with Ragavan banned, a lot of players in the event showed up to rock UR Delver. Even though it had a fairly middling performance at exactly 50%. The rest of this metagame seems like there isn't much change from what we have been seeing in events right now, but I would really have to see more data to really tell.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Death and Taxes 1st Jason Murray
UR Delver 2nd Alex Mentzell
8-Cast 3rd Oliver Everhard
4C Control 4th Matthew Vook
Mono Green Cloudpost 5th Tony Murata
Blood Moon Aggro 6th Randy Larsen
The EPIC Storm 7th Nathaniel Snyder
4C Control 8th Daize Daize

Definitely an interesting Top 8 for sure, with one Tempo shell making it to the Top 8, which actually says a lot about the overall strength of the shell regardless of how small this event was. I feel like more long-term data events would probably show that Delver is better than it seems like in this event.

Still, an event is an event and this one was one by Jason Murray (aka luinil) on Death and Taxes!

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D&T is a deck that is continuing to do very well in the hands of capable players (as we'll see below) and it stands to reason that a very capable player like Jason can definitely sweep in this kind of event and do well.

The Second Place list was indeed UR Delver.

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No Ragavan being allowed means we shift back to four copies of Delver of Secrets, with a slot in of Young Pyromancer. There's a lot of fine-tuning to be had with this kind of archetype, but the fact that it can just slot four cards in and go this far definitely says a lot about the tempo shell in general.

Again, I think it's important to keep in mind the scope of this kind of event. We can't fully see just how different a metagame we'd see if we banned just Ragavan without much more than just one event, but this does give us a slight glimpse at the fact that to me it seems like not much would actually change. That being said, it would take a lot of time and commitment to run the kind of data numbers of events with this change that an actual ban might happen before we got enough data to actually work out what things would look like, and that doesn't take into account things like new sets that might shift or change things.

Still, always fun to see a "What If?" (Can we replace Ultron with Ragavan? That seems accurate, right?) Thanks to Anuraag for hosting this free event!

Legacy Showcase Challenge 11/7

We had the Legacy Showcase Challenge this past weekend. Showcase events are bigger events that require Qualification Points to enter (40 QPs to be exact) and have an added bonus of qualifying everyone in the Top 8 for the Showcase Qualifier event at the end of the season. This event had 177 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

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

UR Delver's dominance into the Showcase continued in popularity and win rate, with a lot of solid performances by some really great players on the deck. Jeskai Ragavan also had some strong results, and wildly enough Reanimator at 9% of the metagame but with sub 50% win rates. Really however, it was Death and Taxes that really had some of the best performances. The deck continues to reap the benefits of the current metagame as we'll see below.

Let's take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Death and Taxes 1st xJCloud
UR Delver 2nd Thalai
Jeskai Ragavan 3rd Ark4n
UR Delver 4th Snusnumrick
Painter 5th FedericollMadao
Blue Zenith 6th McWinSauce
Jeskai Ragavan 7th MZBlazer
8-Cast 8th AndyAWKWARD

A fair amount of tempo shell decks in this Top 8, between UR Delver and Jeskai Ragavan. One thing that was abundantly clear here is that there was some talent in this Top 8, from a World Champion (Javier Dominguez) to one of Magic's most talented young players (Milan Bhayana), so the competition is exceptionally fierce.

However, it was none other than the master of disaster himself John Ryan Hamilton (widely regarded as pretty much one of the best D&T players in the world) who took down this event with Yorion D&T. Oh, and for those interested, check out the Around the Web section below for a link to an article John wrote explaining how to play this exact 95.

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One of the more interesting developments of this deck has been the addition of Timeless Dragon, which operates as a very grindy card that also helps mana fix (with the Plainscycling ability) but then late game turns into a 4/4 flier from the graveyard if need be. D&T is a strong choice right now if you are capable of managing the deck's intricacies.

In Second Place we have the incredibly talented Javier Dominguez (the Fervent Champion himself) on UR Delver.

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Pretty strong list, with some additional anti-Monke hate thanks to Gut Shot. The Two Steam Vents versions have essentially become stock lists at this point it seems outside of just some minor flex spots.

Down the Top 8 we had a showing by Painter!

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This list looks like it leans a lot on the power of Urza's Saga (which is great because the card is strong) and also has some solid choice artifacts to cycle in and out of the yard with Welder/Engineer like Chromatic Star and Ichor Wellspring. I almost wish there was a Sundering Titan!

At the bottom of the Top 8 we had a showing by 8-Cast.

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This deck continues to be exceptionally good and it seems to have a ton of solid matchups versus the field of fair decks while also having solid game versus combo decks. This is a deck to always keep your eye on for sure.

A lot of the rest of this event was mainly URx decks in the Top 32, but we did get some spice down at the bottom end with a full-on Bomberman control variant by LeMasters.

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Super neat way to approach Bomberman combo (Auriok Salvagers + Lion's Eye Diamond) for sure by getting to play the cantrip cartel and Force of Will. Seems VERY strong for sure.

Around the Web

  • 4C Elementals in Legacy by our good friend 1MrLee. Check it out here.
  • Our good friend Eli Goings published some formerly paywalled articles on Legacy Goblins. Check that out here.
  • TWELVE HOURS OF TWELVE POST FOR EXTRA LIFE. Go check out the VODs here and consider donating here.
  • Our good friends in The Eternal Glory Podcast are feeling very blue about Eternal Weekend. Go cheer them up and listen to their newest episode here.
  • SO YOU WISH TO SKY NOODLE? (Seriously, this guide is by one of the best D&T players around and you should read it if you want to D&T).
  • The folks at IN RESPONSE have a new episode! Check it out here.
  • Phil had to play Pacification Array. Quality content, right here.

The Spice Corner

Tin Fins is always spicy.

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I don't normally consider Doomsday lists very spicy, but this one showed up to play with Dakkon, Shadow Slayer and Profane Tutor in the 75.

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Today? We're running on WHEEL POWER.

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This list is aggressive and sweet.

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Finally... the deck that really wins the Spice Corner for a while is this deck, coming from a Japanese event at Hareruya called The Last Sun 2021 Qualifier. MONO RED DEPTHS COMBO. Have you ever read the card Telim'Tor's Edict before?

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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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