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This Month in Legacy (September 2015)

Another month of Legacy has gone by and unfortunately it hasn’t been as filled as the previous months in terms of Opens or GPs. We’ve had a few large IQs, per usual, smatterings of tournaments around the globe and a few results from online – but as mentioned last month, Wizards have significantly reduced the results posted for Legacy Premier Events (but will be changing this in the days ahead, so yay, more data!).

Although there haven’t been any tournaments that were overly significant, there have been some format-defining changes that occurred on September 28.

Dig Through Time is banned.
Black Vise is unbanned.

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Dig Through Time has finally met its end, understandably so after its continued prevalence in almost every blue shell and its crowding out of non-blue strategies (even more so than usual). An interesting unbanning has also occurred. Black Vise has famously looked incredibly laughable on the Legacy ban list considering how powerful the format has become, and its unbanning is very sensible. Although it’s unlikely to affect the format substantially, it’s a nice card to now have in our card pool, and may found some brand-new archetypes.

We’ll discuss the ramifications of Dig’s banning on the format in a moment. However, before that we’ll look at the usual chart showing the highest placing decks of the month in both online and paper. The final memento of the Dig Through Time metagame.

Miracles, Grixis Delver and OmniTell sit as the top three decks of the metagame, and are some of the most popular Dig Through Time abusers in Legacy, so the power of the card has definitely made its final presence felt. An interesting deck that has found a bit of resurgence this month is Death & Taxes, likely due to its very reasonable ability to fight against the popular Grixis Delver variants which have a huge density of cantrips (more than most Delver decks), which are all taxed by Thalia and the newly-minted Vryn Wingmare. Reanimator has also had seen a bit of renewed strength, but this may now drop off in the post-Dig era with more white-blue decks ready to pack Rest in Peace, since it will no longer be detrimental to their Delve spells. Infect has also had a bit of a resurgence compared to its previously unimpressive showing last month (it didn’t Top 8 at all last month, which is bizarre considering its popularity), and I expect the deck to be excellent in the months ahead, as it is one of the few decks which can utilise its own signature Delve spell in Become Immense. A few decks that have seen a large drop in play are Grixis Control and Jeskai Stoneblade, previous staples in the top five archetypes, but this is likely due to our reduced Online data, where these decks had their presence felt most.

Welcome to the Post-Dig World

The metagame should shape up very interestingly in the months ahead, and it will be integral to get a grasp on the post-Dig format for any major tournament ahead (GP SeaTac, I’m looking at you). As such, speculating on what archetypes will be the major benefactors of this change, and which decks have garnered substantial losses is something well worth going through.

Perhaps the deck that will suffer the greatest loss is ‘Dig Through Time: the Deck’ ie. OmniTell. A previously fringe archetype that was seen as subordinate to its Sneak & Show relative, OmniTell rocketed into the forefront of the metagame after Dig Through Time was added to the deck, along with a substantial tweaking of the lists away from Enter the Infinite and Dream Halls to the cantrip-laden menace we all know. Or knew, I guess. Dig was so integral to this archetype due to its ability to act not only as a pseudo-tutor (which cards like Intuition were typically used for), but also let the deck have a two card combo just like its Sneak & Show brethren, as an in play Omniscience usually led to cantripping into a Dig, which could then easily allow the OmniTell player to assemble a kill via Emrakul or Cunning Wish. Without Dig the deck will likely take a huge knock in terms of consistency and its ability to battle into the late game, and its combo becomes much clunkier, as three cards, rather than two, will essentially be needed to create a kill.

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Nonetheless, for those looking to still abuse the powerful blue enchantment, looking back to the archives at old OmniTell lists should give a nice outline of what to expect if one wants to carry on with the deck. Although it’s likely fallen down the tier ladder, the deck does still do some powerful things, though most OmniTell players will miss the smoothness that Dig provided. Here’s the most recent list I could find from the pre-Dig era:

Edward Jose's OmniTell

Creatures: (1)
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Non-Creature Spells: (40)
Intuition
Quicken
Pact of Negation
Cunning Wish
Flusterstorm
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Preordain
Enter the Infinite
Ponder
Show and Tell
Dream Halls
Omniscience
Lands: (19)
City of Traitors
Misty Rainforest
Ancient Tomb
Scalding Tarn
Island

Sideboard: (15)
Defense Grid
Leyline of Sanctity
Echoing Truth
Eladamri’s Call
Firemind’s Foresight
Flusterstorm
Intuition
Polymorphist’s Jest
Release the Ants
Trickbind
Wipe Away

It’s more likely that Emrakul will be partnered back up with its good friend Griselbrand, however, instead of OmniTell players sticking to the deck. Sneak & Show is an easy transition from OmniTell and showed itself as the most powerful and popular way to abuse Show and Tell in the era before Delve spells, and will likely climb its way back into ranks of tier one combo decks. The deck is definitely more ‘jammy’ compared to OmniTell, which was very happy to durdle with cantrips, Dig and sculpt unbeatable hands, but Sneak & Show’s ability to be much more explosive than OmniTell is something not to be forgotten. It’s been a long time since we’ve been machine gunned down by, in the words of Cedric Phillips, the ol’ ‘22’ of Griselbrand and Emrakul…

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So here’s the most recent pre-Dig list I could find to re-enlighten:

Dylan Jones's Sneak & Show

Creatures: (8)
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Griselbrand

Non-Creature Spells: (33)
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Spell Pierce
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Show and Tell
Sneak Attack
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lotus Petal
Lands: (19)
City of Traitors
Ancient Tomb
Island
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Blood Moon
Echoing Truth
Flusterstorm
Swan Song
Through the Breach
Pyroclasm
Boseiju, Who Shelters All

Grixis variants of most shapes were well acquainted with the powerful card selection spell, with the Grixis Control lists that have been a mainstay of the format for a few months hinging on cantripping, Digging and creating Elemental tokens via Young Pyromancer. It’s very likely that this deck will cease to exist in the format ahead, or it will need to be adapted heavily to ensure Pyromancer’s fuel does not run out – perhaps utilising cards such as Dark Confidant. The deck was very interesting in that it had the ability to play a longer game, despite its somewhat flimsy threat base, but this can be largely contributed to Dig Through Time. Without Dig, it might be wiser to look towards a Delver variant that can close out the game faster. The same can be said for the Esper Mentor lists that were gaining traction in the past month, which functioned in a similar way – it’s sad to see that a deck that was so initially impressive may have its lifespan cut short.

Grixis Delver has ruled the roost as the most popular Delver variant in the recent months, but it’s very questionable whether this will remain the case in the post-Dig era. Grixis Delver, and its relative 4c Delver that utilised Abrupt Decay, had a powerful ability to lean on a midrange backup plan thanks to the power of Dig Through Time, providing it card advantage where it could challenge other decks in the late game, something unheard of in traditional Delver decks, as well as provide further fuel for one of the deck’s core threats in Young Pyromancer. Now that this ability is gone, Grixis Delver is likely to move into a variety of alternative builds. Eric Rill’s original Deathrite Shaman/Young Pyromancer deck, which modern Grixis builds are based off, utilised a package of Stifles to further the deck’s tempo elements, and this may be a logical replacement for Dig, as instead of moving to the late game, which Dig was so integral to, the deck may now need to prolong the early turns and close out the game faster, which Stifle is conducive to.

A preliminary list I might look towards is something like this:

Sean Brown's Grixis Delver

Creatures: (14)
Delver of Secrets
Deathrite Shaman
Young Pyromancer
Gurmag Angler

Non-Creature Spells: (28)
Brainstorm
Ponder
Daze
Force of Will
Stifle
Lightning Bolt
Gitaxian Probe
Forked Bolt
Lands: (18)
Wasteland
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Volcanic Island
Underground Sea
Tropical Island

Another way to take the deck is to look towards what Tomoharu Saito has been doing with the archetype – essentially porting the Treasure Cruise era UR Delver lists, but replacing the lost Delve instants and sorceries with Delve fatties. This pushes the deck towards a style that is much more aggressive rather than tempo-orientated.

Sean Brown's Grixis Delver

Creatures: (15)
Delver of Secrets
Monastery Swiftspear
Young Pyromancer
Gurmag Angler
Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
Brainstorm
Ponder
Gitaxian Probe
Daze
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Forked Bolt
Cabal Therapy
Lands: (16)
Bloodstained Mire
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Volcanic Island
Underground Sea

Although it looks like these Grixis Delver archetypes have taken a huge hit, its important to remember that these shells are some of the best at accelerating out the Delve fatties of Tasigur and Angler thanks to the Pyromancer/Gitaxian Probe core, and therefore I don’t expect them to entirely leave (unlike Grixis Control, which may do just that), but instead simply be much less pronounced.

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The Delver decks that have gotten huge boons out of this banning are the more classical approaches to the archetype, however. Canadian Threshold and Team America, RUG and BUG Delver, are slated to be back in the driver’s seat. Although they were still appearing within the metagame during Grixis Delver’s reign, they were nowhere near the most popular variant, primarily because some of the core cards within the decks – Nimble Mongoose and Hymn to Tourach – were comparably worse to the Delve instant. Why should I spend my graveyard simply making a 3/3? Why should I cast this two-for-one only to have it undone by Dig? Well, RUG and BUG players, you now have justification with Dig gone.

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Speaking of Hymn to Tourach, grindy midrange decks should also enjoy a bit of resurgence. These decks had difficulty keeping up with Dig Through Time, especially since their one-for-one removal and hand disruption was easily undone by the Delve spell. Decks like Punishing Jund and Shardless BUG should find restored strength in the metagame, with their Hymns and Lilianas impressive once more; Liliana should also be much more impressive now that Young Pyromancer may become less pronounced.

Other benefactors from Dig’s banning are, of course, non-blue decks. Death & Taxes players should be rejoicing everywhere for a variety of reasons. Dig Through Time was a challenging card to beat due to it allowing blue decks the ability to break free from the lock imposed on them by the Death & Taxes player and efficiently answer the threats presented to them. Its for these reasons that cards such as Imperial Recruiter have been recently considered for late-game staying power, to some amount of success. But more importantly, the deck of puny white weenies is the bane of Griselbrand and Emrakul’s existence, with main deck Karakas, Phyrexian Revoker and other hate pieces wrecking havoc on Sneak & Show’s life. OmniTell was a much more challenging matchup due to its ability to actually cast Emrakul, but that time is no more. Time to bounce some Emrakuls back!

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Elves players should also be very happy. The deck has been able to fight through metagames slated against them a fair bit, surprisingly, with the deck achieving quite a few large tournament Top 8s despite Young Pyromancer hatred being quite plentiful recently. With our current Lightning Bolt metagame likely to transition into a more Abrupt Decay orientated one, however, Elves are likely to gain further ground, as the deck typically preys quite well on one-for-one attrition strategies due to the deck’s redundancy and ability to grind out card advantage with Wirewood Symbiote and Elvish Visionary. This grindy engine seemed laughable in the face of Dig Through Time, but with that card gone the synergy appears powerful once more.

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There’s a few other decks that may have mixed effects (for example, Lands now has to face more Rest in Peaces, which sucks, but less OmniTell, which is great) but nonetheless, these predictions I’m making are merely Level 1 of the possible transitions that may occur within Legacy. I’d be excited to be proven wrong, that’s for sure, and hopefully some newer archetypes that Dig spawned, such as Grixis Control, Esper Mentor and the anti-Dig decks like 4c Loam, will still be able to exist in the post-Dig era. Or perhaps some new archetypes will be able to surface now that the oppression of Dig is gone? It’s a brand new day ahead of us, so time to get to work on exploring this changed format.

To help us with that, let’s follow our discussion of the post-Dig meta with some interesting lists found within September’s tournament results!

Nic Fitting into the Metagame

Nic Fit, a family of BGx decks said to of been named thanks to either a typo on its thread on The Source or a Sonic Youth song (weird Legacy deck naming is weird, per usual) is a deck that gets to jam some of the greatest fatties from Magic’s history. This is thanks to the power of Veteran Explorer, a card that appears to offer a symmetrical effect, but in a format that hinges upon greedy three-colour mana bases full of duals, it is often the Nic Fit player, who has filled their deck with basic lands, who gets the sole benefit. They also get to do so while tearing apart their opponent’s hand, as Cabal Therapy is the primary method for sacrificing Veteran Explorer.

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This allows the Nic Fit player to accelerate out powerful threats from across Magic’s history that most Legacy decks are ill equipped to deal with. Titans, such as Grave Titan and Primeval Titan are common fatties to utilise, and are almost impossible to deal with for the generic Delver or midrange strategies. However, there are a few other creatures that have newly minted themselves in the Nic Fit strategy…

Such as everyone’s favourite Rhino. Siege Rhino is perfect in a deck that can accelerate very quickly, and is a creature that is very difficult for most fair decks to deal with. Most Nic Fit lists run Recurring Nightmare as well, making recurring Rhinos something very, very possible.

Nicholas Hammer piloted a Junk Nic Fit list to a win at a small Legacy tournament of thirty-four players:

Nicholas Hammer’s Junk Nic Fit

Lands: (23)
Verdant Catacombs
Forest
Windswept Heath
Swamp
Plains
Scrubland
Dryad Arbor
Stirring Wildwood
Volrath’s Stronghold
Phyrexian Tower
Karakas
Taiga
Savannah
Bayou

Creatures: (19)
Veteran Explorer
Deathrite Shaman
Siege Rhino
Restoration Angel
Eternal Witness
Scavenging Ooze
Sigarda, Host of Herons
Thragtusk
Reclamation Sage

Non-Creature Spells: (18)
Cabal Therapy
Green Sun’s Zenith
Abrupt Decay
Swords to Plowshares
Pernicious Deed
Sensei’s Divining Top
Recurring Nightmare
Sideboard: (15)
Choke
Thoughtseize
Ethersworn Canonist
Krosan Grip
Slaughter Games
Dread of Night
Gaddock Teeg
Surgical Extraction

The Nic Fit decks also have a few other staple cards aside from the Explorer + Therapy interaction. Green Sun’s Zenith is a great card to utilise when a surplus of mana is available, and Deathrite Shaman is as great as always, as is Abrupt Decay. One unique, but very powerful card that Nic Fit shells also typically run is Pernicious Deed. Being able to accelerate into high mana cost creatures and then blow up all the smaller creatures, acting like a Plague Wind, is a great ability to have.

Nicholas’ list is also very sweet in that it can use the interaction between Restoration Angel, the aforementioned Recurring Nightmare, Eternal Witness and Phyrexian Tower with Siege Rhino (or Thragtusk, I guess) to blast the opponent with Lightning Helix after Lightning Helix. I also like how Nicholas has incorporated a small red splash for Slaughter Games. Although Nic Fit has very good fair matchups, its matchup against combo can be quite difficult since you’re playing a bunch of durdly creatures. Slaughter Games accelerated out really assists in hurting Show and Tell-based decks or Storm combo decks, as can the hate bear package of Teeg and Canonist.

I mentioned that Nic Fit is a family of decks though, didn’t I? This month a few BUG Nic Fit lists have also gone well. These are reminiscent of Modern Birthing Pod lists, since it uses the banned card, to offer more toolbox value, along with the typical Green Sun’s Zenith, while also acting as a sacrifice outlet for Explorer. Two such lists made appearances at the Milwaukee Premier IQ.

Alex Sowieja’s BUG Nic Fit

Creatures: (20)
Eternal Witness
Glen Elendra Archmage
Grave Titan
Kitchen Finks
Murderous Redcap
Reclamation Sage
Scavenging Ooze
Shriekmaw
Thragtusk
Deathrite Shaman
Baleful Strix
Veteran Explorer

Non-Creature Spells: (19)
Abrupt Decay
Dig Through Time
Brainstorm
Green Sun’s Zenith
Cabal Therapy
Recurring Nightmare
Pernicious Deed
Birthing Pod
Lands: (21)
Godless Shrine
Underground Sea
Bayou
Island
Swamp
Tropical Island
Forest
Polluted Delta
Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard: (15)
Acidic Slime
Fleshbag Marauder
Glen Elendra Archmage
Meddling Mage
Sower of Temptation
Pernicious Deed
Force of Will
Golgari Charm
Swan Song

David Gleicher’s BUG Nic Fit

Creatures: (22)
Dryad Arbor
Eternal Witness
Glen Elendra Archmage
Grave Titan
Minister of Pain
Murderous Redcap
Phantasmal Image
Reclamation Sage
Scavenging Ooze
Shriekmaw
Trinket Mage
Veteran Explorer
Baleful Strix
Deathrite Shaman

Non-Creature Spells: (18)
Abrupt Decay
Brainstorm
Thoughtseize
Gitaxian Probe
Cabal Therapy
Recurring Nightmare
Engineered Explosives
Sensei’s Divining Top
Birthing Pod
Lands: (20)
Bayou
Island
Forest
Polluted Delta
Swamp
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Misty Rainforest
Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard: (15)
Nihil Spellbomb
Pithing Needle
Glen Elendra Archmage
Abrupt Decay
Darkblast
Envelop
Force of Will
Umezawa’s Jitte
Vendilion Clique
Thoughtseize

The blue variants have a few benefits over Junk, Jund or pure BG variants, including additional angles of combo hate other than discard (notice the sideboard Force of Wills, with more blue cards to add too, such as the excellent Glen Elendra Archmage) and of course the always excellent Brainstorm.

Both lists have some similarities, including most of their toolbox (although the Trinket Mage toolbox in David’s list is very sweet) and the typical core cards aforementioned. It’s interesting that Alex decided to utilise Dig Through Time, since the deck is primarily creature focused, and doesn’t cantrip very often, but it’s likely that sacrifice chains and Baleful Strix provide enough Delve fuel, in addition to the usual fetchlands. Anyway, it’s something out of contention now that the card’s banned, I suppose.

Another Nic Fit variant that popped up this month was a straight BG variant. No Rhinos, no Pods, no Brainstorm. Just the usual Nic Fit core plus some sweet fatties.

Igor Janzen's BG Nic Fit

Creatures: (14)
Abyssal Persecutor
Grave Titan
Primeval Titan
Scavenging Ooze
Thragtusk
Thrun, the Last Troll
Deathrite Shaman
Eternal Witness
Veteran Explorer

Non-Creature Spells: (25)
Abrupt Decay
Diabolic Intent
Innocent Blood
Maelstrom Pulse
Hymn to Tourach
Cabal Therapy
Green Sun’s Zenith
Recurring Nightmare
Pernicious Deed
Sensei’s Divining Top
Lands: (21)
Polluted Delta
Bayou
Phyrexian Tower
Treetop Village
Wooded Foothills
Forest
Swamp
Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard: (15)
Surgical Extraction
Golgari Charm
Duress
Grafdigger’s Cage
Pithing Needle
Engineered Plague

There are a few other variants out there in the Nic Fit family, including ScapeWish (as the name suggest, it casts Scapeshift to win the game) and Junk Birthing Pod lists (that utilize the Melira/Anafenza combo just like in Modern). If any of those appear within the months ahead I’ll make sure to mention them. The Nic Fit decks are worth having a look at if you’re looking for something different, and although they may not be the highest tier decks, they definitely have the potential to place well, evident this month, and provide an experience like few other decks in Legacy.

The Power of Fringe Contenders

Legacy is such an amazing format due to the variety of strange interactions within it thanks to the huge card pool available. Junky looking cards from ages ago can interact with more recent effects to create game ending, convoluted combos, leaving the opponent flabbergasted at what just happened. The following decks definitely have some power, despite being seen as relegated to tier two status, and the amount of wins from people not understanding how to interact with what is occurring in front of them is likely to be a non-zero amount. Nonetheless, these list look very well tuned and well reasoned, and for anyone looking for a different style of play to the Delver and Miracles of the world, similar to what I explained with Nic Fit, these decks have your back.

The first deck to look at is Alex Barnett’s list that he came second with in a recent SCG Premier IQ.

Alex Barnett's Aluren

Creatures: (21)
Baleful Strix
Parasitic Strix
Shardless Agent
Cavern Harpy
Deathrite Shaman
Dream Stalker
Eternal Witness
Imperial Recruiter
Scavenging Ooze
Lands: (21)
Forest
Island
Swamp
Bayou
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Taiga
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Verdant Catacombs

Non-Creature Spells: (18)
Aluren
Brainstorm
Dig Through Time
Cabal Therapy
Diabolic Intent
Thoughtseize

Sideboard: (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Nihil Spellbomb
Pithing Needle
Faerie Macabre
Izzet Staticaster
Magus of the Moon
Plaguebearer
Reclamation Sage
Dread of Night
Abrupt Decay

Aluren on paper looks like a bizarre, clunky 4c contraption full of idiots, but its surprisingly more versatile than it appears, able to grind out opponents incredibly effectively while also have an explosive combo plan. Its primary method of winning is via Aluren and Cavern Harpy + Parasitic Strix.

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This combo essentially allows a continuous looping of Strix enters-the-battefield triggers until the opponent is dead. Although this combo looks very difficult to assemble, it’s actually quite easy. Sort of:

1. Cast Aluren
2. Cast Imperial Recruiter, allowing for the searching up Dream Stalker
3. Cast Dream Stalker, bouncing up Recuiter
4. Cast Recruiter, finding Cavern Harpy
5. Cast Harpy bouncing Dream Stalker
6. Replay Stalker bouncing Recruiter
7. Cast Recruiter for Strix
8. Cast Strix, draining for two
9. Bounce and replay Strix using Harpy’s ability

It’s notable that Recruiters can be chained too, to play around removal, and that a Cavern Harpy already in play can actually chain with either Shardless Agent (it’s actually cast!) or Baleful Strix to create a pseudo-Yawgmoth’s Bargain, which can easily allow for a Recruiter to be found and the combo assembled. Eternal Witness in the main also provides an element of protection against removal.

Since the deck is within the typical BUG core, it can abuse powerful cards such as Deathrite Shaman, Baleful Strix and Shardless Agent to win the fair way as well. Dig also made its presence felt here as a powerful spell to find combo pieces or simply create more value for the grind-out plan. The sideboard also has some pretty impressive silver bullets such as the lock out Magus of the Moon, Izzet Staticaster against Pyromancer and the removal on a stick of Plaguebearer; the deck obviously exhibits a lot of customisability due to Imperial Recruiter. Also interesting is the entire lack of Force of Will in the seventy-five, likely a concession to not only low blue counts in the deck, but also a greater desire to grind out the opponent rather than 2-for-1 itself to force through the combo.

For those looking for a bizarre four-colour, toolboxy, grindy instant-speed combo deck, Aluren may just fit the bill. Alex has his report on The Source here.

Another deck that surprisingly made a Top 8 appearance at an SCG Premier IQ was Enchantress, piloted by Curtis Weimann.

Curtis Weimann's Enchantress

Creatures: (7)
Dryad Arbor
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Argothian Enchantress
Eidolon of Blossoms

Non-Creature Spells: (34)
Green Sun’s Zenith
Banishing Light
Exploration
Runed Halo
Rest in Peace
Solitary Confinement
Sterling Grove
Elephant Grass
Enchantress’s Presence
Mirri’s Guile
Utopia Sprawl
Wild Growth
Helm of Obedience
Lands: (19)
Karakas
Plains
Savannah
Misty Rainforest
Serra’s Sanctum
Windswept Heath
Forest

Sideboard: (15)
Trinisphere
Choke
Humility
Journey to Nowhere
Leyline of Sanctity
Oblivion Ring
Rest in Peace
Sterling Grove
Enlightened Tutor

The epitome of durdle, Enchantress is a prison deck that is one of the few decks in the format that can abuse the brethren of Gaea’s Cradle and Tolarian Academy, Serra’s Sanctum.

The deck does so by playing a critical mass of Enchantments, such as Wild Growth effects and lock pieces such as Solitary Confinement and Elephant Grass, as well as draws engines in the form of Argothian Enchantress, Enchantress’s Presence and the new Eidolon of Blossoms. This eventually culminates in the generation of a huge amount of mana from Serra’s Sanctum, which can then lead to infinite turns with Karakas + Emrakul bouncing. The deck also has a toolbox of enchantments accessible via Sterling Grove, with Rest in Peace and Helm of Obedience being an excellent inclusion and another avenue of victory.

Curtis Wienmann’s tournament report can be found on Hipster’s of the Coast here. It’s notable that he encountered a reasonable amount of Lands, which main deck Elephant Grass and Rest in Peace are quite potent against, so Enchantress’s presence may diminish (see what I did there?) if less Marit Lages are running around. Its very negative combo matchups are also something to consider as well, if one is looking to running the list. Nonetheless, it again provides play patterns unlike other decks, and non-blue draw engines are something to take note of.

Angry Red Creatures

A few interesting lists have placed within this month utilising some Standard all-stars. Dragon Stompy is a personal favourite of mine that can be taken in a variety of different directions. Aiming to power out Chalice of the Void (now playable off Sol Lands as a four-of only in Legacy, folks!) or Trinisphere in the early turns of the game and then beatdown with the most efficient creatures that one can pay three or four mana for in a mono-red deck, the deck has transitioned from a cesspool of idiots and lock pieces, when it was initially founded…

Leif Whittaker’s & Billy Zane’s Dragon Stompy

Creatures: (20)
Bloodrock Cyclops
Juggernaut
Rakdos Pit Dragon
Flametongue Kavu
Razormane Masticore
Squee, Goblin Nabob

Non-Creature Spells: (22)
Pyroclasm
Pyrostatic Pillar
Seething Song
Chalice of the Void
Chrome Mox
Umezawa’s Jitte
Lands: (18)
Ancient Tomb
City of Traitors
10 Mountain

To a deck more heavily centred on Hellbent creatures, good enough to be piloted by a Hall of Famer…

Olivier Ruel’s Dragon Stompy

Lands: (19)
Ancient Tomb
City of Traitors
11 Mountain

Creatures: (20)
Arc-Slogger
Gathan Raiders
Magus of the Moon
Rakdos Pit Dragon
Simian Spirit Guide

Non-Creature Spells: (21)
Blood Moon
Chalice of the Void
Chrome Mox
Seething Song
Sword of Fire and Ice
Trinisphere
Umezawa’s Jitte
Sideboard: (15)
Powder Keg
Pyroblast
Pyrokinesis
Rorix Bladewing
Tormod’s Crypt
Trinisphere

To now – a deck with genuinely powerful, respectable (well, kind of) badass Dragons.

Jacob Kory’s Dragon Stompy

Creatures: (18)
Stormbreath Dragon
Goblin Rabblemaster
Magus of the Moon
Simian Spirit Guide
Thunderbreak Regent

Non-Creature Spells: (24)
Magma Jet
Blood Moon
Chandra, Pyromaster
Koth of the Hammer
Sword of Fire and Ice
Trinisphere
Chalice of the Void
Chrome Mox
Lands: (18)
Ancient Tomb
City of Traitors
10 Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Ensnaring Bridge
Phyrexian Revoker
Pyrokinesis
Ratchet Bomb
Shattering Spree
Sulfur Elemental
Tormod’s Crypt

Goblin Rabblemaster, now a Dragon Stompy staple, makes an appearance next to the Dragon duo of THS-KTK Standard.

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Thunderbreak is quite a hefty creature that fulfils a variety of requirements for an excellent threat in Legacy. Being able to resist a single Lightning Bolt and Abrupt Decay is excellent, and even if Plowed (or, god forbid, double Bolted) he still leaves some residual value thanks to his triggered ability. Stormbreath is also excellent due to his strength against essentially all the commonly played removal spells in Legacy and also provides a mana sink to dump all the Tombs and Mountains inevitably topdecked, or something to do with Koth’s Ritual ability.

A more bizarre and controlling list is Oskari Kalas’ list, featuring Chandra before she was any good:

Oskari Kalas' Dragon Stompy

Creatures: (10)
Lord of Shatterskull Pass
Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
Magus of the Moon
Simian Spirit Guide

Non-Creature Spells: (32)
Flame Javelin
Magma Jet
Bonfire of the Damned
Blood Moon
Chandra, the Firebrand
Koth of the Hammer
Chalice of the Void
Chrome Mox
Ensnaring Bridge
Lands: (18)
Ancient Tomb
City of Traitors
10 Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Lord of Shatterskull Pass
Magus of the Moon
Word of Seizing
Bonfire of the Damned
Pillage
Forcefield
Trinisphere
Icy Manipulator
Form of the Dragon

Forking Bonfire of the Damned seems kind of sweet… Nonetheless, this deck aims to, instead of close out the game quickly with creatures, set up early lock pieces and then land an Ensnaring Bridge that can be sat behind while Jaya Ballard ensures an empty hand and a continuous uninteractive clock, or the opponent dies to the embarrassing pings of Chandra, the Firebrand.

My favourite variant of red Stompy is Goblin Stompy, however, and a list I tuned a while ago, before its horrendous OmniTell matchup was realised, is now once again relevant:

Sean Brown’s Goblin Stompy

Creatures: (24)
Moggcatcher
Goblin Rabblemaster
Magus of the Moon
Simian Spirit Guide
Imperial Recruiter
Murderous Redcap
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Tuktuk Scrapper
Siege-Gang Commander

Non-Creature Spells: (16)
Chalice of the Void
Chrome Mox
Trinisphere
Blood Moon
Lands: (20)
Ancient Tomb
City of Traitors
Cavern of Souls
Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Ensnaring Bridge
Stingscourger
Goblin Sharpshooter
Pyrokinesis
Phyrexian Revoker
Faerie Macabre
Sulfur Elemental

Those Ensnaring Bridges in the sideboard are good again!

Speaking of Goblins, more traditional Goblin Lackey lists have always seen some loyalists continue to jam them throughout each month and go surprisingly well. Davide Vanni piloted this purely mono red list to a small tournament Top 8 finish this month:

Davide Vanni’s Goblins

Creatures: (36)
Goblin Chieftain
Goblin Settler
Goblin Sharpshooter
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Krenko, Mob Boss
Lightning Crafter
Siege-Gang Commander
Tuktuk Scrapper
Gempalm Incinerator
Skirk Prospector
Stingscourger
Goblin Lackey
Goblin Matron
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Warchief

Non-Creature Spells: (7)
Tarfire
Aether Vial
Lands: (17)
Bloodstained Mire
Cavern of Souls
Wasteland
Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Goblin Sharpshooter
Tuktuk Scrapper
Pyrokinesis
Red Elemental Blast
Ensnaring Bridge
Pyroblast
Tormod’s Crypt
Goblin Tinkerer

While Jon Rasmussen did similarly with a version splashing white:

Jon Rasmussen’s Goblins

Creatures: (28)
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Settler
Goblin Sharpshooter
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Krenko, Mob Boss
Siege-Gang Commander
Stingscourger
Tuktuk Scrapper
Goblin Warchief
Gempalm Incinerator
Warren Instigator
Goblin Lackey
Goblin Matron
Goblin Ringleader

Non-Creature Spells: (9)
Tarfire
Pyrokinesis
Aether Vial
Lands: (23)
Plateau
Rishadan Port
Wooded Foothills
Cavern of Souls
Mountain
Scalding Tarn
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Ethersworn Canonist
Ashen Rider
Goblin King
Goblin Piledriver
Magus of the Moon
Rest in Peace
Umezawa’s Jitte

Although in modern days these decks look like a steaming pile of random Goblins thrown together, for those who have piloted the deck that used to be the bane of the Legacy metagame (heck, people used to decry Goblin Ringleader in the same way Dig Through Time was) it’s a much more powerful and intricate machine that deserves some amount of respect, despite it having a lot of challenges ahead due to the power creep of modern creatures.

For those curious about how the Goblins deck functions, I asked for some wise words from one of Melbourne’s Goblins aficionados, Steven Stamopoulos:

“Legacy Goblins is a tribal deck that combines the card advantage engine of Goblin Ringleader with the selection of Goblin Matron and mixes it with the explosiveness that Goblin Lackey, Goblin Warchief and Goblin Piledriver can provide. These cards are often referred to as the “core” of the deck and are supported by other utility Goblins such as Gempalm Incinerator, Tin Street Hooligan, Goblin Sharpshooter and Siege-Gang Commander.

In terms of non-creature spells, Goblins has few, but they are important: Aether Vial provides the deck with a fantastic mana engine, which allows the Goblins player to explode onto the board, whilst also doing the heavy lifting in terms of putting Goblins into play so that lands, notably Rishadan Port and Wasteland, can be put to good use disrupting the opponent’s game plan.

Whilst admittedly very weak to combo decks, the deck is a fantastic attrition deck that is easily able to play the control role, controlling the board while slowly chipping away with waves of tiny but resilient Goblins. It can also end the game in spectacular and sudden fashion though a bombastic “combo kill” courtesy of some hasty Goblin Piledrivers.”

His current list, for those curious:

Steven Stamopoulos’ Goblins

Creatures: (32)
Earwig Squad
Gempalm Incinerator
Goblin Lackey
Goblin Matron
Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Rabblemaster
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Sharpshooter
Goblin Warchief
Mogg Fanatic
Mogg War Marshal
Siege-Gang Commander
Skirk Prospector
Tin Street Hooligan

Non-Creature Spells: (6)
Æther Vial
Tarfire
Lands: (22)
Badlands
Bloodstained Mire
Cavern of Souls
Mountain
Rishadan Port
Taiga
Wasteland
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard: (15)
Magus of the Moon
Pyrokinesis
Relic of Progenitus
Stingscourger
Thoughtseize
Tin Street Hooligan
Warren Weirding

Junking Up Legacy

Although Jund and Shardless BUG are pretty known quantities in terms of black-green based midrange decks, there’s another colour combination that gets a little less play, but utilises the familiar core of Thoughtseize, Hymn to Tourach and Liliana of the Veil, as well as Legacy’s premier white two-drop. Although some lists happily utilise the generic green idiot that is Tarmogoyf, Dan Neeley utilised the big beefer of Knight of the Reliquary instead. Being able to carve away the opponent’s removal with discard and then slam a Knight that can easily grow out of control seems very powerful, and I’d expect lists like these to, similar to its Jund and Shardless brethren, to have a bit of a resurgence.

Dan Neeley’s Junk

Creatures: (15)
Knight of the Reliquary
Dark Confidant
Deathrite Shaman
Stoneforge Mystic

Non-Creature Spells: (22)
Abrupt Decay
Swords to Plowshares
Hymn to Tourach
Thoughtseize
Sylvan Library
Liliana of the Veil
Batterskull
Umezawa’s Jitte
Lands: (23)
Forest
Horizon Canopy
Karakas
Plains
Savannah
Swamp
Scrubland
Bayou
Verdant Catacombs
Wasteland
Windswept Heath

Sideboard: (15)
Grafdigger’s Cage
Pithing Needle
Sword of Fire and Ice
Scavenging Ooze
Banishing Light
Choke
Krosan Grip
Zealous Persecution
Gaddock Teeg
Toxic Deluge
Bojuka Bog

I’m loving how streamlined the main is, and Knight acting as additional pieces of disruption in the form of Bog and Karakas. These lists are actually quite customisable, with Lingering Souls, Tidehollow Sculler, Voice of Resurgence, Tasigur or Angler and a host of other creatures from the Junk colour combination being very viable.

Another way to take this would be to use your Knight of the Reliquary to make some 20/20s…

Daneel Star’s Junk Depths

Creatures: (14)
Dryad Arbor
Gaddock Teeg
Reclamation Sage
Vampire Hexmage
Dark Confidant
Knight of the Reliquary

Non-Creature Spells: (22)
Abrupt Decay
Green Sun’s Zenith
Living Wish
Liliana of the Veil
Chalice of the Void
Mox Diamond
Lands: (24)
Bojuka Bog
Forest
Horizon Canopy
Karakas
Maze of Ith
Savannah
Scrubland
Swamp
Thespian’s Stage
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Cavern of Souls
Dark Depths
Bayou
Wasteland
Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard: (15)
Wasteland
Vampire Hexmage
Dark Depths
Thespian’s Stage
Karakas
Gaddock Teeg
Bojuka Bog
Reclamation Sage
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Ethersworn Canonist
Toxic Deluge
Golgari Charm
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Spirit of the Labyrinth

Utilising the powerful Mox Diamond and Chalice core that the 4c Loam lists have been abusing, as well as a variety of toolbox creatures and lands thanks to Living Wish, this list looks like a very sweet deck with combo elements that can also win via the fair way. And by fair, I mean by locking them out of the game with Liliana, Chalice and Wasteland, of course.

Looking back towards some more discard and Liliana decks, my persuasion for Thalia decks leads me to have quite a bit of interest in this Deadguy Ale list.

Nelson Salahub’s Deadguy Ale

Creatures: (21)
Vryn Wingmare
Tidehollow Sculler
Dark Confidant
Deathrite Shaman
Stoneforge Mystic
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Non-Creature Spells: (17)
Swords to Plowshares
Inquisition of Kozilek
Council’s Judgment
Thoughtseize
Liliana of the Veil
Batterskull
Sensei’s Divining Top
Umezawa’s Jitte
Lands: (22)
Bayou
Godless Shrine
Karakas
Swamp
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Plains
Scrubland
Marsh Flats
Verdant Catacombs
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Ethersworn Canonist
Mother of Runes
Phyrexian Revoker
Zealous Persecution
Disenchant
Vindicate
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Feast and Famine
Sword of War and Peace
Relic of Progenitus
Manriki-Gusari
Rest in Peace

The main feature that excite me about this deck is the ability for Deathrite Shaman to accelerate out some pretty busted starts, such as Thoughtseize and any of the potent two drops in this list, as well as accelerate out turn two Wingmares or the usual turn two Liliana kind of thing. Again, notice that if Dig were still around a deck like this wouldn’t really be able to prosper due to its desire to attack on a one-for-one axis, but now non-blue decks like this can once again shine.

Conclusion

We have a lot to think about, Legacy players, with the new Dig-less era dawning on us. Looking at next month’s results should be very interesting to see how our new format shapes up, so I very much look forward to writing next month’s article!

Until then, may everyone enjoy discovering what a Dig-less world holds,

Sean

Bonus Lists

If anyone was around when Survival of the Fittest was in Legacy, they might be familiar with this fun little combo…

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Vicente Fernández adopted this combo into a Reanimator shell with a fair bit more explosiveness, thanks to his Dark Rituals, and a fair bit of flexibility found in his suite of Dark Petitions and Buried Alive.

Vicente Fernández’s Ooze Reanimator

Creatures: (6)
Borborygmos Enraged
Necrotic Ooze
Phyrexian Devourer
Triskelion
Griselbrand

Non-Creature Spells: (38)
Brainstorm
Dark Ritual
Entomb
Shallow Grave
Dark Petition
Exhume
Buried Alive
Cabal Therapy
Duress
Ponder
Lotus Petal
Lands: (16)
Island
Misty Rainforest
Tropical Island
Bayou
Swamp
Underground Sea
Verdant Catacombs
Polluted Delta

Sideboard: (15)
Helm of Obedience
Necrotic Ooze
Massacre
Abrupt Decay
Ground Seal
Chain of Vapor
Reverent Silence

Some very different Burn lists have also popped up this month. This Dark Burn list has a little bit of a midrange backup plan with Dark Confidant and Kolaghan’s Command, which is quite interesting. Fireblasts in the sideboard seem very sketchy to me though…

Lars de Haan’s Dark Burn

Creatures: (14)
Dark Confidant
Grim Lavamancer
Goblin Guide
Eidolon of the Great Revel

Non-Creature Spells: (26)
Fireblast
Kolaghan’s Command
Searing Blood
Lightning Bolt
Price of Progress
Searing Blaze
Chain Lightning
Rift Bolt
Lands: (20)
Arid Mesa
Badlands
Bloodstained Mire
Wooded Foothills
Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Fireblast
Kolaghan’s Command
Pyrostatic Pillar
Grafdigger’s Cage
Red Elemental Blast
Vampiric Link
Skullcrack

And then we have this very, very bizarre Burn list (or I guess this is more like a Sligh list?). Yes, that is Tahngarth’s Rage in a Legacy deck. Yes, I needed to read it too.

Daniel Schenz’s Sligh

Creatures: (22)
Scab-Clan Berserker
Ash Zealot
Goblin Guide
Simian Spirit Guide
Vexing Devil
Eidolon of the Great Revel

Non-Creature Spells: (20)
Fireblast
Lightning Bolt
Price of Progress
Chain Lightning
Pyrostatic Pillar
Sulfuric Vortex
Tahngarth’s Rage
Lands: (18)
18 Mountain

Sideboard: (15)
Vexing Shusher
Meekstone
Ensnaring Bridge
Blood Knight
Karakas
Maze of Ith
Island of Wak-Wak
Smash to Smithereens
Shatterstorm

Another deck that popped up this month was a throw back to long, long, long ago. The deck known as Parfait was once a powerful role-player in Vintage, utilising Land Tax and Scroll Rack to generate absurd amounts of card selection and advantage. Think of it as the incredibly old-school Brainstorm, I suppose, but that’s very much oversimplifying it. The engine looks very lacklustre in the context of modern Legacy, but its nice to see it has some potential, with it performing impressively this month:

Luca Gigler’s Parfait

Lands: (19)
15 Plains
Kjeldoran Outpost
Maze of Ith
Karakas

Non-Creature Spells: (41)
Orim’s Chant
Enlightened Tutor
Swords to Plowshares
Unexpectedly Absent
Land Tax
Mox Diamond
Scroll Rack
Ghostly Prison
Runed Halo
Rest in Peace
Humility
Helm of Obedience
Sensei’s Divining Top
Cursed Scroll
Oblivion Ring
Zuran Orb
Leyline of Sanctity
Pithing Needle
Ensnaring Bridge
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Sideboard: (15)
Swords to Plowshares
Leyline of Sanctity
Pithing Needle
Ethersworn Canonist
Disenchant
Silence
Moat
Baneslayer Angel
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