This Monday saw the well-expected announcement of the banning of [card]Suvival of the Fittest[/card] from Legacy, coupled with the sweetener of the unbanning of the safe-looking [card]Time Spiral[/card]. Other articles (e.g. Survival of the Format by Cyrus Bales and Recurring Nightmare – Hammerfall) have discussed the implications of this on decks which previously relied on Survival but can possibly make do with [card]Fauna Shaman[/card], as well as decks which may try to make use of the new Urza’s Saga Sorcery. However, what we want to look at here is what the new metagame may end up looking like.
Luckily, Legacy is a relatively static format as the card pool is so vast and cards rarely rotate out – only through the banning procedure. Until someone comes up with a magical new deck, the format should look similar to how it did back in August, only with the addition of Scars of Mirrodin. We can break up the format categorically to help digest it into Control, Aggro and Combo as usual.
The classic control deck of Legacy. This deck was one of two to feature at the World Championships in the Teams Finals,
1 [card]Academy Ruins[/card]
3 [card]Flooded Strand[/card]
4 [card]Polluted Delta[/card]
1 [card]Seat of the Synod[/card]
1 [card]Underground Sea[/card]
1 [card]Engineered Explosives[/card]
4 [card]Enlightened Tutor[/card]
4 [card]Force of Will[/card]
3 [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card]
1 [card]Oblivion Ring[/card]
1 [card]Pithing Needle[/card]
1 [card]Relic of Progenitus[/card]
4 [card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/card]
1 [card]Sword of the Meek[/card]
4 [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card]
1 [card]Thopter Foundry[/card]
1 [card]Aura of Silence[/card]
1 [card]Crucible of Worlds[/card]
1 [card]Ethersworn Canonist[/card]
1 [card]Future Sight[/card]
3 [card]Meddling Mage[/card]
1 [card]Null Rod[/card]
1 [card]Runed Halo[/card]
1 [card]Threads of Disloyalty[/card]
2 [card]Tormod’s Crypt[/card]
Lists for this deck are extremely dependent on what you expect to face in the tourney so I wouldn’t recommend the deck for a random event but if you know what’s coming up then it can be very powerful. The only real way to attack this deck is to attack the card advantage that Counterbalance+Top generates by being much quicker or having odd-ball converted manacosts, i.e. 3/4 or more.
An aggro-control deck really, Merfolk is the classic Fish/Counter-Sliver deck. By laying cheap effective threats like [card]Cursecatcher[/card] and [card]Silvergill Adept[/card] and multitudinous Lords, backed by counterspells it aims to disrupt the opponent’s plan while overlording them with a swarm of large creatures. The deck can splash any other colour for sideboard technology, this year’s famous example being Saito’s Black spash for [card]Perish[/card] to beat all the Zoo decks. The deck benefits greatly from [card]Aether Vial[/card] because it acts as a massive source of mana for the deck, allowing the lands to be tapped for counterspells and activating [card]Wasteland[/card]
42, 43, 75 – who knows how many lands are in this deck any more? The basic structure of it is using [card]Manabond[/card] and [card]Exploration[/card], coupled with [card]Life from the Loam[/card] to generate quick mana advantage which it can use to turn into slow card advantage. Built around the powerful lands it has available, the deck seeks to lock up board control via [card]Maze of Ith[/card], [card]Glacial Chasm[/card] and [card]The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale[/card] which it can turn into an eventual win in some way – [card]Academy Ruins[/card] plus [card]Mindslaver[/card] anyone? Can be a complete dog to anything not trying to win through creatures or burn and has to tune itself to beat Zoo with [card]Price of Progress[/card], for example.
2 [Card]Horizon Canopy[/Card]
1 [Card]Gemstone Mine[/Card]
4 [Card]Arid Mesa[/Card]
4 [Card]Windswept Heath[/Card]
4 [Card]Goblin Guide[/Card]
4 [Card]Grim Lavamancer[/Card]
4 [Card]Wild Nacatl[/Card]
4 [Card]Qasali Pridemage[/Card]
2 [Card]Gaddock Teeg[/Card]
2 [Card]Knight of the Reliquary[/Card]
4 [Card]Lightning Bolt[/Card]
4 [Card]Lightning Helix[/Card]
4 [Card]Path to Exile[/Card]
1 [Card]Swords to Plowshares[/Card]
2 [Card]Price of Progress[/Card]
4 [Card]Meddling Mage[/Card]
3 [Card]Baneslayer Angel[/Card]
3 [Card]Krosan Grip[/Card]
2 [Card]Umezawa’s Jitte[/Card]
2 [Card]Ethersworn Canonist[/Card]
The perennial beatdown deck in every format, Zoo was recently beaten out of Legacy by all the Vengevines since a turn 1 [card]Wild Nacatl[/card] really isn’t a quick clock versus turn 3 4x[card]Vengevine[/card]s. This list was designed back in August to help against the Emrakul decks which were turning up, using the [card]Meddling Mage[/card] sideboard tech to beat out the single-card-combo decks as well. [card]Grim Lavamancer[/card] is a house against Merfolk and Goblin decks while the only questionable main deck card is [Card]Goblin Guide[/card] who is so good in a field where everyone is cheating on their land count and information pays out a big premium. The cheeky [card]Baneslayer Angel[/card]s in the sideboard are due to the high amounts of main deck cards which are bad in creature mirrors, giving you something better to do in the tempo-based matches where [card]Elspeth, Knight Errant[/card] is usually used to get ahead by going over the top.
The old menace of Block, Standard and Extended formats received a booster shot recently from Scars of Mirrodin in [card]Memnite[/card] and [card]Mox Opal[/card] but other cards like [card]Leonin Arbiter[/card], [card]Glimpse of Nature[/card] and [card]Glint Hawk[/card] are giving the deck weapons to interact a bit more with the format and speed up to combo off in an Elves-style flurry. This is probably now the best aggro deck to be able to support hate bears in time-honoured traditions (2/2 creatures for 2 mana which “hate out” a particular style of opposition strategy. Not quite a deck I would recommend at the moment because it is a bit unreliable and doesn’t mulligan that well but it would be good to keep an eye on because of what Mirrodin Besieged and the third set in the block can bring to the party. It’s a fun party though, and everyone is dancing the robot.
How Lackey! This is what your opponents will say as you open with yet another 1-drop which enables uncounterable creatures for the rest of the match. [card]Goblin Lackey[/card], [card]Aether Vial[/card] and friends have always risen up to counteract a control-heavy field as uncounterable threats combined with mana denial in [card]Wasteland[/card] and [card]Rishadan Port[/card] can put your opponent on the back foot from the get-go. This deck has struggled since the printing of [card]Wild Nacatl[/card] as people have had to take small creature more seriously and a 3/3 opposite your 1/1 is not a welcome sight. The deck can do amazing things though, so you can always try to take people by surprise if this is your thing (looking at you, Tom Robinson!).
Already covered in some detail by our very own Silent Requiem here:
ANT is the combo deck based on the Storm mechanic, using mana generation and card draw to kill the opponent via [card]Tendrils of Agony[/card] or similar. I will not go into detail as Mr. Requiem has said more than I could already but it is the definitive combo deck of Legacy.
Show and Tell / Hypergenesis
Every format has it’s Fatty-Cheat deck and the best fatty at the moment is [card]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/card]. Back in July, Matt Light took this to a win-a-mox tournament in Manchester where his deck crapped out on him in the Semi-Finals, halting his otherwise-inexorable march towards the prize.
2 [card]Angel of Despair[/card]
4 [card]Emrakul, The Aeons Torn[/card]
3 [card]Sphinx of the Steel Wind[/card]
1 [card]Inkwell Leviathan[/card]
4 [card]Elvish Spirit Guide[/card]
4 [card]Simian Spirit Guide[/card]
4 [card]Show & Tell[/card]
4 [card]Force of Will[/card]
2 [card]Ardent Plea[/card]
4 [card]Violent Outburst[/card]
4 [card]Flooded Strand[/card]
3 [card]Misty Rainforest[/card]
2 [card]City of Brass[/card]
3 [card]City of Traitors[/card]
1 [card]Tropical Island[/card]
1 [card]Volcanic Island[/card]
4 [card]Leyline of the Void[/card]
4 [card]Leyline of Sanctity[/card]
3 [card]Ingot Chewer[/card]
3 [card]Krosan Grip[/card]
Perhaps the decklist could use some updating – [card]Inkwell Leviathan[/card] has been replaced by [card]Myr Battlesphere[/card] in Vintage [card]Oath of Druids[/card] for a variety of reasons but those reasons may not apply to Legacy, for example. [card=Emrakul, the Aeons Torn]Emrakul[/card], [card]Progenitus[/card] and [card]Sphinx of the Steel Wind[/card] should almost definitely be prevalent but [card=Iona, Shield of Emeria]Iona[/card] should be remembered for some matchups, namely the mono-coloured ones. Cascade decks typically have wonderful sideboards because of the interaction with Evoke cards and Leylines, resulting in a bunch of cards which can be cast at massive reductions in mana.
The new guy! Same as the old guy! Suggestions are going around that the unbanning of [card]Time Spiral[/card] has opened a window for this deck to get the band back together. A long time ago, this was a big deck in Legacy. [card]High Tide[/card] and ways of untapping lands would allow you to generate a lot of mana and obviously blue is the king of card draw so you can try to sculpt the ideal hand with which to win. This can take the form of a Storm-based deck once more with [card]Brain Freeze[/card] or instead using [card]Stroke of Genius[/card] to force the opponent to draw their deck. This has been a worse version of the ANT deck for a while but such a powerful card as [card]Time Spiral[/card] could perhaps change things.
Legacy is a wide-open format but most decks still survive the banning, losing only their worst three matchups. I apologise if your favourite deck has not been included here but this is not meant to be a definitive analysis of the format (since we have no concrete data) but rather an extrapolation of old information coupled with educated guesses of new additions to indicate some solid deck ideas to bring to your next Legacy tourney. Good luck at it, wherever it is and let me know how you get on!
Thanks for reading,