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This Month in Legacy (October 2015) + GP SeaTac

Hello there everyone! Here’s another, albeit very belated, This Month in Legacy. I’d like to give my greatest apologies to everyone for being so slow in releasing this one – ideally I was hoping to get it out before GP SeaTac, ensuring the recent metagame trends were well-established for those going into the event. But, alas, my university exams said this was not to be. And here we are, post-SeaTac, with me talking about last month… So instead of having only our October statistics in this article, we’ll use this as a lead up to analysing some of the interesting lists that came out of the GP as a bit of bonus content. So strap yourselves in, this is going to be a long one!

First, let’s look at the October stats for both online and paper – I’ve separated these into two graphs, per feedback given, in order to ensure clarity. But please keep the feedback coming, I’m always aiming for the clearest representation of the data as possible!

The online metagame had the two big expected contenders of the post-Dig era – Miracles and Shardless BUG – as the top two archetypes, followed by a smattering of Elves, RUG Delver, Grixis Delver, ANT and BUG Delver in that order. Meanwhile, the paper metagame showed a strong resurgence in Death & Taxes, who overshadowed Shardless’ numbers (its lack of presence on MtGO is likely due to the price of Rishadan Ports) as well as a bit more of a presence for Sneak & Show. Combining the two sets of data gives us a list of the “Top 10” decks in the expected metagame:

1. Miracles
2. Shardless BUG
3. ANT
4. Elves
5. BUG Delver
6. Death & Taxes
7. Grixis Delver
8. RUG Delver
9. Sneak & Show
10. Infect

Elves resurgence is somewhat expected – despite Miracles omnipresence – as it’s a powerful deck at beating opponents aiming to utilise spot removal, such as Shardless BUG and most of the Delver decks. The same can be said for Death & Taxes, as now its ability to lock out the opponent is more certain with them unable to Dig out of problems. The current ‘pure’ combo decks of choice, Sneak & Show and ANT, have fallen largely in favour of ANT. The deck has had an unprecedented level of play and success within October, highlighted by its numbers being higher than Shardless BUG in terms of paper play. Its success can primarily be attributed to Shardless’s increase, I’d imagine, as Shardless has very poor interaction against ANT, who can very easily play through their four Force of Wills and can easily interact with their two-of Hymns (if any) via the usual Brainstorm tricks.

The more interesting developments in the top archetypes are the distributions of the Delver variants. Although a lot of online players transitioned back to classic RUG and BUG, with BUG being highly favoured for its access to Abrupt Decay against Counterbalance, Grixis Delver still appeared in high numbers despite losing what apparently made it tick, Dig Through Time. Whether people simply did not bother to switch decks due to already obtaining the majority of the pieces for the archetype, or whether people thought that the deck was still powerful (spoiler alert: it is) even without Dig is uncertain , but compared to the pre-Delve era, when Grixis Delver was more of a niche variant, it has now cemented its place as one of the top Delver archetypes. We’ll look more into this later.

Comparing this metagame to what appeared at GP SeaTac’s Day 2 metagame shows that these predictions would ring relatively true, with only a few outliers.


Shardless was by far the dominant deck in the room at SeaTac, its numbers in Day 2 supplanting Miracles’ typical top position. The aforementioned Delver, Death & Taxes, Elves and ANT also made appearances as predicted.

Those unexpected by our rudimentary Top 10 were Lands and Burn. Burn can easily be explained via its accessibility – it’s one of the cheapest decks in Legacy to obtain – but Lands is the total opposite of accessible, thanks to, of course, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale.

So why did it make such a great showing in Day 2, despite likely having very few players pilot it due to cost restrictions? Because it matched up incredibly well against the primarily fair metagame in the room. Shardless and the Delver variants can do little against Lands obliterating their mana base or making a 20/20, and Death & Taxes and Elves are likely to have some amount of difficulties as well due to Punishing Fire. Lands’ only bane is the combo decks in the room, which primarily mean ANT, Burn (which is an abhorrent matchup thanks to Price of Progress) as well Reanimator and Sneak & Show (who were the 11th and 12th most represented decks in Day 2). Jarvis Yu, of course, took home the trophy with Lands and his feature matches were all excellent representations of the deck’s power against fair decks (the finals was likely a miserable experience for Calcano, which is exactly how Lands wants you to feel) while also featuring the deck’s ability to create free wins via lightning-fast 20/20s. I’ve talked about Lands before in previous articles, so I won’t run through it too much, and if you’re needing a little bit more detail Jarvis has an excellent tournament report on ChannelFireball you can look at, as well as a deck tech on GatheringMagic.com.

Also note this breakdown says little about some of the spicier concoctions in the Top 8 such as the Aluren list of Martin Goldman-Kirst (similar to the one I mentioned last month!), as well as a new take on Reanimator that we’ll get to in a moment!

For now though, let’s look at where we’ve come from – the Dig Through Time era – and spotlight exactly how some of the top decks have been superseded and also how some of them have transformed to adapt.

BUG Lives, Grixis Is… Not Dead?

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Shardless BUG was probably the biggest mover relative to the metagame pre-banning, and most players knew that this would come into place immediately. Shardless’s attrition-based strategy was fine in the Dig Through Time era, but not spectacular due to the ability for card advantage to be recouped via opposing Digs. Now, however, Shardless again rules the roost in terms of two-for-ones and card quantity, and its relatively positive (but not unloseable) Miracles matchup is certainly a boon, which has contributed to its success and abundance in October and at SeaTac, since Miracles has had its target on its back throughout both those time frames.

Two lists reached SeaTac’s Top 8, definitely showing its dominance, especially after Andrej Prost dominated the Swiss with it.

Andrej Prost's Shardless BUG

Creatures: (14)
Deathrite Shaman
Tarmogoyf
Baleful Strix
Shardless Agent

Non-Creature Spells: (23)
Ancestral Vision
Maelstrom Pulse
Toxic Deluge
Hymn to Tourach
Force of Will
Brainstorm
Abrupt Decay
Liliana of the Veil
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lands: (23)
Creeping Tar Pit
Wasteland
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Bayou
Forest
Swamp
Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest
Verdant Catacombs

Sideboard: (15)
Hymn to Tourach
Disfigure
Golgari Charm
Thoughtseize
Vendilion Clique
Notion Thief
Grafdigger’s Cage
Pithing Needle
Scrubland
Meddling Mage

Xin Sui's Shardless BUG

Creatures: (14)
Shardless Agent
Deathrite Shaman
Tarmogoyf
Baleful Strix

Non-Creature Spells: (24)
Ancestral Vision
Toxic Deluge
Maelstrom Pulse
Abrupt Decay
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Sylvan Library
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Liliana of the Veil
Lands: (22)
Wasteland
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Bayou
Forest
Swamp
Creeping Tar Pit
Verdant Catacombs
Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest

Sideboard: (15)
Disfigure
Sower of Temptation
Pithing Needle
Null Rod
Grafdigger’s Cage
Vendilion Clique
Nihil Spellbomb
Engineered Plague
Thoughtseize
Flusterstorm

The main differences between these lists are how much anti-combo hate they have dedicated. Prost elected to utilise two Hymn to Tourachs in the main, while Xin Sui decided against wasting percentage points on an already negative matchup, and slammed additional Jaces, Lilianas and a Sylvan Library to push his edge in fair matchups, especially, I’d imagine, in the mirror and against Miracles. Sylvan Library is also delicious in that it not only crushes controlling matchups, but also makes Cascading into Ancestral Visions a lot easier. Also note Prost’s usage of the Meddling Mage sideboard plan – their primary way to hate on combo whilst not screwing up Cascades – while Xin Sui likely cut his Cascaders for his package of discard and countermagic, as well as disruptive threats like Clique and Sower for Sneak & Show. I do like Prost’s spicy choice of Notion Thief in the sideboard too – seems great as a way to steal some Ancestral Visions in the mirror, as well as the usual horror of stealing a Brainstorm.

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Another deck that saw a bit of a relative resurgence compared to the pre-Dig era was BUG Delver, the most popular Delver variant in the room, displacing Grixis Delver, which saw the most play when Dig Through Time was legal. There’s nothing too fancy and unexpected about these, just the usual Delver/DRS/Tarmogoyf core, plus Decays, Hymns and the usual free counters. Tomoharu Saito was the highest-placing BUG Delver player in GP SeaTac, and his main was relatively stock except for the main deck Disfigures (I do like one-mana interaction, lest you die to Mother of Runes), main deck Thoughtseizes, a singleton True-Name, as well as the lack of any Liliana of the Veil. His sideboard of four Dark Confidant and three Submerges, however, is quite radical, and show a marked awareness of Miracles and Shardless respectively.

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Tomoharu Saito's BUG Delver

Creatures: (13)
Deathrite Shaman
Delver of Secrets
Tarmogoyf
True-Name Nemesis

Non-Creature Spells: (28)
Ponder
Hymn to Tourach
Thoughtseize
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Daze
Abrupt Decay
Disfigure
Lands: (19)
Underground Sea
Bayou
Tropical Island
Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest
Wasteland

Sideboard: (13)
Dark Confidant
Submerge
Pithing Needle
Liliana of the Veil
Surgical Extraction
Marsh Casualties

I lamented in last month’s article that, although Dig was quite oppressive, it did spur a few previously fringe decks to the forefront of the metagame, that were now likely to fall by the wayside. This is definitely true of the Grixis Control variants, who made little appearance, but Grixis Delver, although expected to have its numbers significantly reduced due to transitions to RUG and BUG Delver, still maintained a fair share of the metagame. Although it was outweighed by BUG Delver, if only slightly, in terms of actual numbers in October and at SeaTac, two Grixis Delver variants made it into the Top 8, with esteemed pro Christian Calcano making it to the finals with a beautifully stock list. Turns out, even without Dig, the Grixis Delver core created when Pyromancer first appeared on the scene is still damn good, especially with Gurmag Angler as an additional Goyf-eating threat.

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Christian Calcano's Grixis Delver

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

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

Sideboard: (15)
Cabal Therapy
Surgical Extraction
Pyroblast
Submerge
Darkblast
Pithing Needle
Vendilion Clique
Sulfuric Vortex
Flusterstorm

This main deck is exactly what I like: 4, 4, 4, 4… And is very similar to the Grixis list I mentioned last month. However, I think the sideboard needs more Fire Covenants. Legacy Champ Bob Huang championed it in the recent Everyday Eternal episode as a card he loves in his Grixis sideboards, and Eternal Extravaganza 3 winner Ed Demicco even had one in the main!

Ed Demicco's Grixis Delver

Creatures: (12)
Deathrite Shaman
Delver of Secrets
Young Pyromancer

Non-Creature Spells: (30)
Fire // Ice
Fire Covenant
Brainstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Stifle
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Lands: (18)
Badlands
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Polluted Delta
Volcanic Island
Scalding Tarn
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Gurmag Angler
Snapcaster Mage
Surgical Extraction
Cabal Therapy
Null Rod
Forked Bolt
Pyroblast
Ancient Grudge
Spell Pierce

Adding some number of Abrupt Decay like Gary Wong, the other Grixis Delver player in the SeaTac Top 8, is a consideration. That being said… Sometimes there is no better feeling than running four Stifles.

Another deck I feared would disappear into obscurity was the Esper Mentor lists, which was another deck, like Grixis Control, that relied on a stream of cantrips to chain into Dig while also creating a very threatening Monk army. There’s really no feasible replacement for Dig… Unless you’re Patrick Chapin. Taking Owen Turtenwald’s Tweets literally…

While also having little experience with the current metagame, allowing him to break step with current trends, led him to, with the assistance of Tom Martell and Matt Sperling, a masterpiece of innovation.

Patrick Chapin's Esper Mentor

Creatures: (11)
Deathrite Shaman
Snapcaster Mage
Monastery Mentor
Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
Ponder
Gitaxian Probe
Cabal Therapy
Council’s Judgment
Painful Truths
Swords to Plowshares
Brainstorm
Spell Pierce
Force of Will
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lands: (20)
Karakas
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest
Marsh Flats
Tundra
Underground Sea
Tropical Island
Scrubland
Island
Plains
Swamp

Sideboard: (15)
Cabal Therapy
Council’s Judgment
Painful Truths
Abrupt Decay
Flusterstorm
Misdirection
Vendilion Clique
Notion Thief
Supreme Verdict
Zealous Persecution
Engineered Explosives
Surgical Extraction
Containment Priest

Instead of Dig or Cruise we now have Painful Truths, a card I haven’t even had on my radar as a Legacy playable card.

But it makes so much sense – Legacy is a format hinging on card quality, over quantity, and having a way to actually draw raw cards really explodes out games. The only real card advantage options in the format available are Jace, the Mind Sculptor, the Shardless Agent engine or pure draw spells like Painful Truths – which turns out to be the best of a family including Read the Bones, Skeletal Scrying and Sign in Blood – primarily because raw cards are so powerful in a shell like this, as you’ll generally be hitting more cantrips to feed your Monk army in a similar way to how Cruise functioned with Pyromancer. I highly recommend trying this list, it looks like an incredible blast to play, a true Mentor shell. You can hear Chapin discuss his very positive experiences with the deck, the changes he’s made and the usual great banter on the recent Top Level Podcast episode.

I also apparently need an obligatory YouTube music clip in each of these articles now (by my own popular demand), and considering we’ve been discussing Chapin’s deck (featuring this card!), what could be better than one about the card better than all?

Perhaps Painful Truths can revitalise Grixis Control in a similar way? Hopefully that’s something to look forward to throughout November.

A New Way to Reanimate

Chase Hansen took a very different approach to reanimating giant, flying Yawgmoth’s Bargains and… giant pigs?

Chase Hansen's Reanimator

Creatures: (12)
Hapless Researcher
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Griselbrand
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Tidespout Tyrant
Archetype of Endurance

Non-Creature Spells: (31)
Careful Study
Exhume
Reanimate
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Izzet Charm
Misdirection
Entomb
Animate Dead
Lands: (17)
Polluted Delta
Verdant Catacombs
Underground Sea
Badlands
Tropical Island
Swamp

Sideboard: (15)
Abrupt Decay
Sphinx of the Steel Wind
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
Thoughtseize
Duress
Pithing Needle
Darkblast
Echoing Truth
Golgari Charm
Snapcaster Mage

Compare this to a more stock list that appeared at Eternal Extravaganza 3:

Hank Zhong's Reanimator

Creatures: (7)
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Grave Titan
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Tidespout Tyrant
Griselbrand

Non-Creature Spells: (39)
Brainstorm
Daze
Entomb
Force of Will
Careful Study
Exhume
Ponder
Reanimate
Thoughtseize
Lotus Petal
Lands: (15)
Bayou
Island
Swamp
Tropical Island
Misty Rainforest
Verdant Catacombs
Underground Sea
Polluted Delta

Sideboard: (15)
Abrupt Decay
Disfigure
Massacre
Pithing Needle
Sire of Insanity
Aetherling
Duress
Thoughtseize

There are no Lotus Petals. There are no Ponders. There are three Izzet Charms. There are four Hapless Researchers. There are four colours. There is one Archetype of Endurance?!

A lot of Chase’s deviations from traditional Reanimator lists seems radical, but upon further inspection Chase has been playing Reanimator for quite some time! This list isn’t just a hodgepodge of cards – this is a well thought out cohesive whole that was metagamed tightly, and I’m sure served him incredibly well throughout the day. Let’s run through the various pieces of technology in this list:

  • The three Izzet Charms are a very wise decision considering Reanimator’s number one enemy throughout all of SeaTac – Deathrite Shaman. Being able to kill off the graveyard-eater is very, very handy, and the card has a variety of other utilities even if creatures aren’t an issue. An instant-speed loot effect elicits the same kind of a fear an instant-speed Entomb has and the Spell Pierce mode, although a bit clunky, gives added utility against Counterbalance and within counter wars.
  • Four Hapless Researcher seems unimpressive compared to Careful Study, but have a variety of benefits. Firstly, this card is a great chump blocker. Being able to buy extra turns by blocking and saccing Goyf attacks allows this list to more easily reach the late game where it can fight over reanimation spells with Izzet Charm and other pieces of countermagic. The lack of Lotus Petals also furthers this desire to be a Reanimator variant that can fight into the late game, as Petals are an abhorrent top deck. Furthermore, Researcher is a loot effect which can be easily cast in the fact of Thorn effects such as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.
  • More business spells. The additional two Animate Deads seems suspect considering the prevalence of Abrupt Decay, but this is a likely necessity considering the shaved Ponders. The main deck Misdirections help a lot with the Abrupt Decay problem, while also just being more excellent interaction.
  • Chase has upped the deck’s ability to utilise an Entomb “toolbox”. Although most Reanimator lists have always included Iona, Elesh Norn, Griselbrand and Tidespout Tyrant, Chase’s addition of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy allows the deck to find a planeswalker to reanimate that synergises excellently with the deck’s primary gameplan, as well as being easy to hardcast, or he can find a giant pig. Archetype of Endurance, a card I didn’t even take in Draft, fulfills a similar role to Inkwell Leviathan in the past, except he also ensures that you can also safely put Griselbrand into play in the face of a Karakas or just generally not fear removal at all. It’s been a card that’s seen plenty of play on MtGO Reanimator lists in the past, actually, and its nice to see it crossover into paper tournaments.

Although Chase’s list was excellent for the GP SeaTac metagame, be wary just netdecking his list and bringing it to your local shop – a more tried-and-true brute-force Reanimator may just perform better. But if you expect a lot of Deathrite Shaman, a lot of Karakas and you want to reanimate a card your opponent will likely have to read, then Chase’s list may be up your ally. Chase also has a great tournament report up on The Source for those curious about how the list ran (the pig was awesome, apparently, and he also kills a guy with Hapless Researcher beatdown, excellent!).

Retreating Back to Bant

Looking more towards what occurred within October, Knight of the Reliquary and Brainstorm were partners in crime once more after a long break-up. GP DC was the last time Bant Stoneblade decks really shone, which was, funnily, the last GP before the pre-Delve era. Sam Black brought a Bant Stoneblade deck to that tournament to capitalise on mana-dorking out the then newly-minted True-Name Nemesis.

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Sam Black's Bant Stoneblade

Lands: (21)
Flooded Strand
Forest
Island
Karakas
Misty Rainforest
Savannah
Tropical Island
Tundra
Wasteland
Windswept Heath

Creatures: (16)
Dryad Arbor
Knight of the Reliquary
Noble Hierarch
Qasali Pridemage
Scavenging Ooze
Stoneforge Mystic
True-Name Nemesis

Non-Creature Spells: (23)
Batterskull
Brainstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Green Sun’s Zenith
Ponder
Swords to Plowshares
Umezawa’s Jitte
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Sideboard: (15)
Envelope
Ethersworn Canonist
Gaddock Teeg
Humility
Relic of Progenitus
Spell Pierce
Swan Song
Sylvan Library
Tormod’s Crypt
Umezawa’s Jitte
Vendilion Clique

The aforementioned Eternal Extravaganza 3 was one of the larger tournaments that occurred in October, with 304 players signing up to cash-in for some dual lands. Nathan Golia piloted a deck uncannily similar to Black’s list and took 4th place:

Nathan Golia's Bant Stoneblade

Creatures: (15)
Dryad Arbor
Knight of the Reliquary
Vendilion Clique
Qasali Pridemage
Stoneforge Mystic
True-Name Nemesis
Noble Hierarch

Non-Creature Spells: (25)
Spell Snare
Daze
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Swords to Plowshares
Ponder
Green Sun’s Zenith
Sylvan Library
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Batterskull
Umezawa’s Jitte
Lands: (20)
Forest
Island
Karakas
Savannah
Tundra
Tropical Island
Wasteland
Misty Rainforest
Windswept Heath

Sideboard: (15)
Meddling Mage
Obstinate Baloth
Spell Pierce
Envelop
Flusterstorm
Tormod’s Crypt
Krosan Grip
Scavenging Ooze
Gaddock Teeg
Council’s Judgment
Pithing Needle
Phyrexian Revoker
Engineered Explosives

Indeed, it’s really like we’ve taken a time machine back to 2013! The only real changes here are a bit of variation in the sideboard (Baloth seems very sweet against BUG decks) but otherwise the list very closely mirrors Black’s. Nonetheless, the list seems to of served Nathan well. You can find his tournament report here.

The more interesting breakout Bant deck of October, however, is the one that served Steven Schlepphorst well in the StarCityGames St. Louis Open. KnightFall, Brave Sir Robin or whatever you want to call it, made its mark as a possible contender in Legacy, combining a fair Bant midrange plan similar to what Nathan utilised with the combo kill of Knight of the Reliquary and Retreat to Coralhelm.

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His deck tech and list can be found below:

Steven Schlepphorst's KnightFall

Creatures: (13)
Birds of Paradise
Knight of the Reliquary
Noble Hierarch
Qasali Pridemage
Sigarda, Host of Herons
Vendilion Clique
Dryad Arbor
Lands: (21)
Forest
Kessig Wolf Run
Misty Rainforest
Savannah
Sejiri Steppe
Taiga
Tropical Island
Tundra
Wasteland
Windswept Heath
Karakas

Non-Creature Spells: (26)
Retreat to Coralhelm
Sylvan Library
Brainstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Swords to Plowshares
Green Sun’s Zenith
Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Sideboard: (15)
Engineered Explosives
Pithing Needle
Tormod’s Crypt
Izzet Staticaster
Qasali Pridemage
Scavenging Ooze
Crop Rotation
Envelop
Krosan Grip
Path to Exile
Submerge
Gaddock Teeg
Council’s Judgment
Bojuka Bog

I found it interesting that the majority of his wins came from just his fair plan of ramping into Knights or Jace, but the wins via the combo were also non-zero. It’s sort of similar to why Aluren had so much success recently – it has a very reasonable Shardless-esque value plan, while also have a slow-ish, but non-trivial, combo embedded within. I think KnightFall is somewhat vulnerable to Abrupt Decay in comparison, however, with both of its pieces vulnerable to it, but perhaps adding some Misdirections and other adaptations may make it less vulnerable to the BUG menace which has now defined the metagame.

The Death of Stoneforge Mystic?

Another interesting development that has occurred within this month is the decrease in the amount of typical Stoneblade lists, which have usually been a staple of the top-tier archetypes. Other than Death & Taxes, which I guess is technically a MonoWhite Stoneblade deck (but oh so, so, much more!) and the aforementioned Bant Stoneblade list, typical Jeskai Stoneblade, Esper Stoneblade and Deathblade lists have been on quite a downturn. Jeskai Stoneblade was especially powerful during the Dig Through Time era, making up a huge proportion of the online metagame, but I’d imagine it has little ability to grind against Shardless BUG and Miracles (who goes much bigger) now, without Dig, nor does it tend to have a favourable matchup against combo due to its slow ability to get a threat on to the board. At least they are still likely to prey upon most of the Delver variants, although even these matchups aren’t much greater than 50/50.

Even Jeskai Delver, which was the premier deck upon True-Name Nemesis‘ printing, winning GP DC, has also found very few pilots despite the metagame reverting and the deck having access to some of the greatest sideboard cards in Legacy. In fact, newer lists incorporating a more aggressive plan involving Young Pyromancer and Monastery Mentor have been seen, eschewing the midrange-tempo duality Jeskai Delver defined itself by.

Roberto Nardelli's Jeskai Delver

Creatures: (12)
Monastery Mentor
True-Name Nemesis
Delver of Secrets
Young Pyromancer

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
Lightning Bolt
Spell Pierce
Swords to Plowshares
Brainstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Lands: (19)
Arid Mesa
Tundra
Volcanic Island
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Flusterstorm
Ethersworn Canonist
Pyroblast
Rest in Peace
Sudden Demise
Vendilion Clique
Wear // Tear
Meddling Mage
Containment Priest
Engineered Explosives
Sulfur Elemental
Null Rod

That doesn’t mean that there’s no room for innovation within the Stoneblade variants that have appeared this month. An Esper Stoneblade variant incorporating the synergy of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Lingering Souls has been seen this month, which, although a bit cutesy, may inject new life into an archetype that has faced difficulty finding its place in the metagame.

Victor Gomez's Esper Stoneblade

Creatures: (9)
Snapcaster Mage
Vendilion Clique
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Stoneforge Mystic

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
Counterspell
Force of Will
Brainstorm
Swords to Plowshares
Council’s Judgment
Supreme Verdict
Ponder
Lingering Souls
Thoughtseize
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Batterskull
Engineered Explosives
Umezawa’s Jitte
Lands: (22)
Creeping Tar Pit
Karakas
Plains
Scrubland
Swamp
Island
Marsh Flats
Underground Sea
Tundra
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta

Sideboard: (15)
Cabal Therapy
Containment Priest
Disenchant
Force of Will
Meddling Mage
Notion Thief
Perish
Pithing Needle
Spell Pierce
Supreme Verdict
Surgical Extraction
Zealous Persecution

Omniscience Never Ends

OmniTell was the forerunner as the best combo deck of the Dig Through Time era, but the deck has fallen far from its perch and has failed to put up results even comparable to its Sneak & Show brethren. That being said, Sneak & Show itself hasn’t been too impressive this month, likely tempered by the Containment Priests and White Weenies that are now running around, but also a relative awareness and good packing of hate within most sideboards – such as Xin Sui’s narrow Sower of Temptation, for example, within his Shardless sideboard. That being said, Sneak & Show is still an incredibly powerful and viable choice within the metagame. Especially when you can sidestep a lot of the hate by packing that loathsome blue enchantment once more.

Fukudome Yuu won the 50th KMC Legacy tournament with an innovative take on Sneak & Show just as Dig had been banned. Splicing the OmniTell package into the deck is not something that hasn’t been tried before, but definitely was executed well here, especially with people likely ready for Sneak & Show’s typical plan A week one of post-banning. The look of the opponent’s face when they flash in Containment Priest in response to Show and Tell only to have an Omniscience and then hard cast spaghetti staring back at them would’ve been priceless.

Fukudome Yuu's Sneak & Show

Creatures: (6)
Griselbrand
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Non-Creature Spells: (35)
Flusterstorm
Spell Pierce
Cunning Wish
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Preordain
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Show and Tell
Omniscience
Sneak Attack
Lotus Petal
Lands: (19)
Mountain
Ancient Tomb
City of Traitors
Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Island
Volcanic Island
Scalding Tarn

Sideboard: (15)
Engineered Explosives
Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Pyroblast
Red Elemental Blast
Flusterstorm
Pyroclasm
Wipe Away
Trickbind
Through the Breach
Blood Moon
Intuition
Sudden Shock
Grafdigger’s Cage

Eureka-Tell has also been a way to abuse the blue enchantment once more, utilising essentially eight Show and Tell effects to put either fatties, Omniscience or the big man himself, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon into play, since Eureka allows you to put any permanent into play. Ugin also helps break the symmetry of Eureka, since you can simply happily wipe away any permanents your opponent puts on to the field.

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The sideboard also has a few interesting additions including Carpet of Flowers and Xantid Swarm, but losing access to red removal for hatebears as well as Red Elemental Blast is a concern.

Joseph Herrera's Eureka-Tell

Creatures: (5)
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Griselbrand

Non-Creature Spells: (36)
Daze
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Eureka
Ponder
Preordain
Show and Tell
Omniscience
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Lotus Petal
Lands: (19)
City of Traitors
Ancient Tomb
Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Island
Misty Rainforest
Scalding Tarn
Tropical Island

Sideboard: (15)
Pithing Needle
Ashen Rider
Xantid Swarm
Carpet of Flowers
Leyline of Sanctity
Echoing Truth
Flusterstorm
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Tezzeret, Thopters and Monastery Siege

Tezzerator is an interesting archetype, combining lock-out prison elements of MUD via Chalice of the Void and Ensnaring Bridge, with strange Legends and Antiquities cards, the ability to cast Force of Will against combo, as well as ramp into game-breaking card advantage engines and wincons (via Signets and Talismans!) in the form of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and the namesake of the deck, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Often packaged within the deck is the Thopter-Sword combo, which furthers the prison element of the deck.

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An interesting incorporation within this month is Monastery Siege.

When the opponent is imprisoned casting a Monastery Siege means that card quality is assured, and any flimsy Sol Lands and Signets now not required can be exchanged for better cards. It’s also nice that Sword of the Meeks can be pitched and then of course revived via the usual Thopter-Sword combo. The Dragons mode is also potentially usable to fight against discard, combo or a flurry of Burn spells.

Alberto Rossi's Tezzerator

Creatures: (4)
Baleful Strix

Non-Creature Spells: (34)
Force of Will
Toxic Deluge
Transmute Artifact
Monastery Siege
Tezzeret the Seeker
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Pithing Needle
Sword of the Meek
Dimir Signet
Ensnaring Bridge
Thopter Foundry
Chalice of the Void
Talisman of Dominance
Lands: (22)
Academy Ruins
Seat of the Synod
Swamp
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Darkslick Shores
Island
City of Traitors
Underground Sea
Ancient Tomb
Polluted Delta

Sideboard: (15)
Engineered Explosives
Engineered Plague
Grafdigger’s Cage
Helm of Obedience
Trinisphere
Lodestone Golem
Notion Thief
Leyline of the Void
Toxic Deluge

I do think, like many interesting innovations appearing this month, this deck may find itself a little weak to Abrupt Decay, especially since it’s relying on Chalice so much, but it may be able to overload opposing Decays with how many slam dunk end-the-game cards that this archetype can feature (this one doesn’t even have The Abyss!). Nonetheless, keeping Decay in mind when constructing this deck should be quite important.

Legacy in Australia

Also notable for my home country in terms of Legacy was the GP Sydney side event. An unprecedented 130 or so players made it to the side event on Friday, making it one of the largest Australian Legacy events. Although compared to the rest of the world this may not appear that impressive, to us Australian Legacy players it is incredibly pleasing, since it means that the Legacy scene in Australia is alive and well!

Unfortunately, data for the Top 8 lists and the tournament got lost in the shuffle throughout the weekend – I can’t fault the judges for anything, really, they have a large main event to contend with and we should be thankful for all the effort they put in – so I’ll be speaking based on what I saw/can remember from the event. Ideally though, if anyone from the event is able to send me over their lists, especially those that Top 8ed, it would be much appreciated!

Nonetheless, the Friday Top 8, from what I can remember was:

2 Death & Taxes
2 Miracles
1 BUG Delver
1 RUG Delver
1 MUD
1 Nic Fit

With one of those Death & Taxes players being, surprisingly, me! Who immediately got crushed in the quarters by Wurmcoil Engines… The list I registered was:

Sean Brown's Death & Taxes

Creature: (26)
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Mother of Runes
Stoneforge Mystic
Phyrexian Revoker
Mirran Crusader
Flickerwisp
Vryn Wingmare
Serra Avenger

Non-Creature Spells: (11)
AEther Vial
Swords to Plowshares
Batterskull
Umezawa’s Jitte
Sword of Fire and Ice
Lands: (23)
Flagstones of Trokair
Cavern of Souls
Horizon Canopy
Karakas
Wasteland
Rishadan Port
Plains

Sideboard: (15)
Containment Priest
Ethersworn Canonist
Rest in Peace
Cataclysm
Pithing Needle
Ratchet Bomb
Wilt-Leaf Liege
Council’s Judgment

Stocky as hell, and it served me incredibly well. Looking around the floor throughout the day actually led me to believe D&T was the most-played deck within the the tournament (as does me playing the mirror twice), which warmed my heart, although maybe my eyes were just biased. There was still, of course, a bunch of Delver, Miracles and Shardless around too.

My record throughout the rounds were, in summary:

Shardless BUG 1-1-1
Sneak & Show 2-0
Death & Taxes 2-1
MUD 1-1-1
Death & Taxes 2-0
Grixis Delver 2-1
Miracles 2-0

Leaving me with an undeserving 5-0-2 record after I won the second game against Miracles, due to me and my opponent forgetting the draw from Vendilion Clique and therefore my opponent getting their third game rule violation. Ironically his previous two violations were due to forgetting about Thalia’s tax, so I guess the white creatures did contribute to that win somewhat, but I do feel incredibly bad and sorry for my opponent to go out in such a fashion, especially after our game one was such a great back and forth. My opponent’s Miracles list also featured Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, which seemed like a powerful consideration due to his Legends package with Karakas to protect him.

My quarterfinals opponent, who crushed me with ease, was kind enough to pass over his deck list as well:

Michael Willis' MUD

Creatures: (19)
Blightsteel Colossus
Kuldotha Forgemaster
Lodestone Golem
Metalworker
Platinum Emperion
Sundering Titan
Wurmcoil Engine
Steel Hellkite

Non-Creature Spells: (18)
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Chalice of the Void
Grim Monolith
Staff of Nin
Voltaic Key
Lightning Greaves
Staff Of Domination
Thran Dynamo
Trinisphere
Lands: (23)
Ancient Tomb
Cavern of Souls
City of Traitors
Cloudpost
Glimmerpost
Vesuva
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Sphere of Resistance
Grafdigger’s Cage
Ratchet Bomb
Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn
Crucible of Worlds
Pithing Needle
Phyrexian Revoker
Trading Post
Ensnaring Bridge

A nice, relatively stock MUD list from Michael which served him well (although he did not win, I don’t even know who did since I had to leave from weariness), though I did play against a MUD list in the Swiss that utilised some crazy options from current Standard, including Hangarback Walker, Ulamog, the Ceaseless HungerConduit of Ruin and Sanctum of Ugin. Spicy.

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The Saturday event was a fair bit smaller due to the main event going on, but was nonetheless well-attended with a Top 8 of:

2 Miracles
1 ANT
1 BUG Delver
1 Burn
1 GB Rack
1 Jund
1 Merfolk

Two Top 8ers from this event were also able to pass over their lists to me:

ItsTerminal's BUG Delver

Creatures: (12)
Delver of Secrets
Deathrite Shaman
Tarmogoyf

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
Brainstorm
Ponder
Force of Will
Daze
Abrupt Decay
Hymn to Tourach
Disfigure
Liliana of the Veil
Dimir Charm
Lands: (19)
Underground Sea
Tropical Island
Bayou
Verdant Catacombs
Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Golgari Charm
Winter Orb
Flusterstorm
Thoughtseize
Trygon Predator
Pithing Needle
Grafdigger’s Cage
Bitterblossom
Toxic Deluge
Sylvan Library
Krosan Grip
Null Rod

I’m semi-in-love with Dimir Charm, as a split card of Envelop/Disfigure is quite powerful in a variety of matchups, so I love seeing the incorporation of it here. The sideboard also features some excellent hits like Winter Orb, Bitterblossom (both of which seem excellent against Miracles) and Trygon Predator (now that is old school!).

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Graham King's Merfolk

Lands: (20)
12 Island
Mutavault
Cavern of Souls

Creatures: (25)
Lord of Atlantis
Master of the Pearl Trident
Silvergill Adept
Cursecatcher
True-Name Nemesis
Harbinger of the Tides
Phantasmal Image

Non-Creature Spells: (15)
Force of Will
Daze
Aether Vial
Chalice of the Void
Misdirection
Sideboard: (15)
Chalice of the Void
Submerge
Vendilion clique
Sower of Temptation
Grafddigger’s Cage
Misdirection
Umezawa’s Jitte
Manriki-Gusari
Cursed Totem
Flusterstorm
Pithing Needle

Harbinger is finding his place in Merfolk lists, and Graham’s incorporation of two seems like a fine number, as he’s exceptional in fair matchups, but drawing multiples against combo is likely to lead to sad times – though if the metagame continues in the very fair direction SeaTac has indicated, I would not be surprised to see four pop up at one point. Shaving down on Chalice also seems like a necessity now given the prevalence of Decay, though Chalice in Merfolk is still a very powerful strategy, and Graham’s main deck Misdirection seems well-informed about the black-green instant’s saturation.

As aforementioned, it’s very pleasant to see Australia having a little bit of a Legacy Renaissance, and I’ve definitely been putting in a lot of effort to ensure Melbourne’s scene is going strong (we’ve been firing weekly events consistently now, woot!), especially in light of the depressed amount of coverage that’s to come in 2016. But for the rest of you around the world or even in other Australian states, know that with a little bit of leg work, a little bit of the power of social media and even just a few people ready to jam one of Magic’s greatest formats, Legacy can continue to grow and live.

Conclusion

I’ve missed out mentioning so many other crucial events within this month (for example, Tom Ross’s win putting Infect back into the forefront of everyone’s mind in the new metagame was quite something!) though there’s only so much a man can write! Nonetheless, in summary, October found us finding our way with the absence of Dig Through Time, with Miracles and Shardless being the obvious options, transitioning us into an incredibly fair metagame that gave Lands a lot of prey to feed on. The options that existed during the Dig era have adapted and transformed into the new variants of Grixis Delver and Esper Mentor, and even tried-and-true combo decks like OmniTell, Sneak & Show and Reanimator have found new ways to attack the metagame. And that’s not to say that new sets haven’t added some new options to the cardpool – KnightFall made its mark this month, and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy continues to see some play within a variety of decks (I hope this doesn’t influence his price any further…).

There’s also of course been the unfortunate news of SCG’s decreased coverage of Legacy. Though the death of our format is far from coming – throughout all of this month I’ve only seen an abundance of desire and interest in the format and a tonne of innovation; it’s certainly put the onus on us, the Legacy community, to push the format forward and continue its growth, but I’m sure the passion and desire we all share for this great format will easily allow us to step up to the plate.

Nonetheless,

Until next time,

Sean

Bonus Lists

So… What if you wanted to play eight Delver of Secrets? Well, a fully-powered Wild Nacatl certainly comes close, and although this requires some more interesting land decisions, this is relatively easy to achieve with Legacy’s greedy fetch-dual mana bases. It also means you can run Tribal Flames – in Legacy!

AJFENNEWALD's CounterCat

Creatures: (13)
Delver of Secrets
Snapcaster Mage
Tarmogoyf
Wild Nacatl

Non-Creature Spells: (29)
Chain Lightning
Forked Bolt
Ponder
Tribal Flames
Brainstorm
Daze
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Spell Pierce
Lands: (18)
Badlands
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Plateau
Scalding Tarn
Taiga
Tropical Island
Tundra
Volcanic Island
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard: (15)
Ethersworn Canonist
Flusterstorm
Grafdigger’s Cage
Krosan Grip
Path to Exile
Price of Progress
Pyroblast
Sulfuric Vortex

Speaking of greedy mana bases… Ever wish you could swing for lethal with Pyromancer + Zealous Persecution?

Ingo Vogler's 5c Delver

Creatures: (12)
Gurmag Angler
True-Name Nemesis
Delver of Secrets
Young Pyromancer
Deathrite Shaman

Non-Creature Spells: (30)
Kolaghan’s Command
Lava Dart
Repeal
Zealous Persecution
Divert
Daze
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt
Stifle
Brainstorm
Cabal Therapy
Gitaxian Probe
Ponder
Lands: (18)
Badlands
Island
Tropical Island
Tundra
Scalding Tarn
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island
Polluted Delta
Wasteland

Sideboard: (15)
Containment Priest
Sulfur Elemental
Bitterblossom
Ensnaring Bridge
Flusterstorm
Null Rod
Pithing Needle
Pyroblast
Relic of Progenitus
Slaughter Games
Spell Pierce
Submerge
Surgical Extraction
Wear // Tear

Legacy is a format defined by a few tribal decks… Elves, Merfolk, Goblins… And Eldrazi? There’s a bunch of Eldrazi in the sideboard to go get with Spawnsire of Ulamog too…

Christopher O'Berry's MonoGreen Eldrazi

Creatures: (17)
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Endless One
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Spawnsire of Ulamog
Vile Aggregate
Eyeless Watcher
Nest Invader
Oblivion Sower

Non-Creature Spells: (19)
Crop Rotation
Harmony of Nature
All Is Dust
Ancient Stirrings
Collective Voyage
Awakening Zone
Food Chain
Cryptic Gateway
Lands: (24)
Eye of Ugin
Gaea’s Cradle
Tomb of the Spirit Dragon
Vesuva
Cavern of Souls
Cloudpost
10 Forest

Sideboard: (11)
Breaker of Armies
It That Betrays
Pathrazer of Ulamog
Ulamog’s Crusher
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Eldrazi Conscription
All Is Dust

Lands, and Punishing Jund, to some extent, has shown us the power of Punishing Fire.

It’s also pretty nice that you can keep recurring it to feed a threat such as Monastery Mentor. And pitch it to Dack Fayden! Combining all these together gives you this Punishing Miracles list:

HJ_KAISER's Punishing Miracles

Creatures: (2)
Monastery Mentor

Non-Creature Spells: (35)
Terminus
Brainstorm
Force of Will
Punishing Fire
Pyroblast
Engineered Explosives
Sensei’s Divining Top
Counterbalance
Dack Fayden
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Lands: (23)
Arid Mesa
Flooded Strand
Grove of the Burnwillows
Island
Karakas
Mountain
Plains
Plateau
Scalding Tarn
Tundra
Volcanic Island

Sideboard: (15)
Pyroblast
Ethersworn Canonist
Keranos, God of Storms
Meddling Mage
Relic of Progenitus
Swords to Plowshares
Wear // Tear
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