CabalTherapy's 2019 Legacy Predictions

Happy New Year and what better way to start out then with some predictions. CabalTherapy looks to the future of Legacy and makes some predictions as to what will happen for the eternal format in 2019. Check out his predictions and let us know what you think will happen in the comments below!

Happy New Year! Well, I'm not really convinced that the beginning of a new calendar year is something to celebrate but it also marks Insight’s first anniversary. Thus, Magic-wise, there are plenty of things to be happy about. Last year was full of surprises. Magic went back to its roots with expansions set on Dominaria and Ravnica. Furthermore, Legacy experienced a caesura with the banning of Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe in July. It was definitely an eventful year for Magic, Legacy, and Cardmarket. Now, let us kick things off with some predictions for 2019 – at least where Legacy is concerned.  

The Future of Legacy

Baleful Strix Dark Depths Tendrils of Agony
  1. First things first: No changes to the format in 2019. We have seen some major shake-ups during the last two years and I doubt heavily that anything will happen in 2019. That being said, nobody can really foresee WotC’s next move, but I'm pretty sure they'll let the format simmer a bit, barring some new card completely breaking the format open. I am equally sure, however, that there will be some cards in 2019 that will find their ways into established decks.
  2. Next on my list are the dominant decks of 2019: Miracles, Storm, Depths, B/U/G Delver, and Loam or Lands. These decks – in no particular order – will be the strongest contenders this year. No surprises here, even though I think that a Loam-driven deck could and most likely should get some top finishes in major tournaments. I feel like Turbo Depths is the strongest non-blue deck at the moment, followed closely by Lands or Loam – both having excellent tools to fight tempo and control decks. Among the tempo decks, I still see B/U/G Delver as the best option because it combines a fast clock with late game power in form of Sylvan Library, Tombstalker, and Liliana of the Veil. With the rise of B/U/G Control and Grixis Control, which I think is slightly overhyped, other tempo decks like Canadian Threshold, U/R Delver, and Grixis Delver will struggle against Baleful Strix unless they come prepared with a couple of Forked Bolt. I do not think that decks like Death and Taxes and Eldrazi Stompy will play a crucial role this year. Although Eldrazi can definitely pull off some crazy results, both decks can be beaten by Loam strategies, B/U/G Delver, and all the other midrange control decks.
  3. What are the most important events in 2019 for Legacy? Well, WotC has decided to not reveal the entire Grand Prix Schedule (I'm not on board the whole Magic Fest thing) yet. Rather, they will only give us quarterly updates, so this one is up for some sweet predictions. Well, not so sweet if you live in Europe I suppose because I'm guessing there will be no Legacy GPs in Europe this year. We know that there is going to be one in the US in the spring and I really want to wrong on this one, but I think they will go for another US GP and one in Japan. So that makes a total of three Legacy GPs this year. Nonetheless, Cardmarket's well-organised tournament series provides great opportunities to play our favorite eternal format.

Should I Buy In?

Underground Sea FBB Underground Sea Revised

I made some bad financial decisions regarding Magic in the past; nothing major but some investments didn't pan out the way I wanted them to. Therefore, I only buy cards that I really need for my decks. I am also one of the lucky Legacy players who could purchase duals and other staples – but let us be honest, it is all about the dual (not the fetches) – for laughable prices. Especially duals experienced some ups and downs in 2018 and are currently quite affordable. If you saved up some money, I would recommend you buy them now. Tropical Island, Volcanic Island, Tundra, and if you can find a good offer on Underground Sea, have not been this low for a while. Obviously, Pro Tour 25 had a significant impact of Legacy’s secondary market and it seems like the hype has since been on a decline. My prediction is that dual land prices will increase slightly over the course of the year. FBB and Unlimited, the more prestigious ones, will not lose value and may even experience a slight increase. They will probably not be the target of buyouts or other major fluctuations. In terms of non-dual staples, I would argue that most cards will hold their value in 2019 because there will not be any Masters sets this year; even though I could see WotC reprinting staples in supplementary products.

It is extremely difficult to predict any changes regarding old school and Vintage playables. Highly sought-after cards from older sets will increase but usually the market needs some kind of spark to start adjusting prices and I cannot detect a card that is heavily under-priced at the moment. I remember buying my Beta playset of Dark Ritual three years ago for 100 Euro, which puzzles me why this card was still that cheap recently.

Overall, I would say that 2019 should be a fairly good year to start playing Legacy. Duals, Tarmogoyf, Wasteland, fetch lands, and many other important cards like Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Chalice of the Void are relatively inexpensive at the moment.

The Future of Magic

Future Sight

This will be quick but I do believe it's important to look at Magic from a broader perspective in 2019. WotC’s curren agenda pushes Arena to the foreground and makes paper Magic look like a supplementary product rather than the default one. Rebranding the Pro Tour and calling it the tabletop Mythic Championship in addition to transforming Grand Prix to MagicFest are profit- and policy-driven changes that aim at the large non-competitive scenes of Magic players. These names ridicule their predecessors to some extent and I highly doubt that WotC will stick to their plans in 2019. I could see them making some serious changes to the tournament structure during the second half of this year. Either to change to an Arena-focused Magic, cutting down on GPs or they'll backpedal to 2018’s structure. Time will tell whether their bold new agenda will succeed in transforming the face of Magic and obviously, if successful, the change in how Legacy is viewed would be significant.


Summary Dismissal

So, let us sum things up briefly:

  1. There will not be a European Legacy GP this year.
  2. No changes to the format in 2019.
  3. Miracles, Storm, B/U/G Delver, Loam or Lands, and Depths will still be the best decks; while Grixis Control will turn out to be overrated.
  4. There will only be minor changes to established Legacy decks in 2019.
  5. There will be changes to WotC’s tournament structure later this year.
  6. Duals are cheap now and you should buy some now.
  7. It seems to be the best time to start playing Legacy in terms of finances.
  8. I do not expect the secondary market to adjust prices anytime soon again... at least not until summer.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


Krümelkeks(2019-01-22 23:55)

Really enjoyed your article. Always a pleasure to read trough. What do you think about the future of the Blade decks, straight Uw and Esper. The had achieved good results recently. I am wondering, because I always felt the were underpowered compared to other control and midrange decks. I am not sure if it's just a recent trend or something with longevity? Would be really nice to hear your opinion on that archetype!

CabalTherapy(2019-01-12 11:31)

Hello guys, thanks for the comments.
@Solhunken/Heinricj: Well, yes, you are totally right. And to be honest it's insane how much they cost compared to other items like computers, instruments, and whathaveyou... (and I am rocking the FBBs), but it's how it is at the moment. Of course back in the day you could require duals for a small penny but those days are long gone and everything has to be put into relation.

@MrTT85: I am not sure if it will see more play but I am sure that it should. Don't take it as the ultimate truth but in my opinion BUG Delver connects Grixis/BUG's control game plan and tempo strategies perfectly. Most control decks (except Miracles) suffer from not having a decent clock. I mean you can hymn your storm opponent but if you don't play a Goyf or flip a Delver but intead attack with a Strix, they will eventually recover and the hymn wasn't that impactful. BUG has also great ways to stop Chalice. Decs and overpower them (= Goyf, Decay, Tombstalker, Liliana, maybe a Jace) and nice lategame potential (= Liliana, Library, etc).

Heinricj(2019-01-10 16:48)

Cheap depends on viewers eyes but postively the hype about the Duals ended in the End of the year. I can't agree that the Bug Decks especially Delver Strategies would be powerful thiy year. Yet Trophy did not have a meaningful impact on the Format and I cant see how that changes. Other Hand I see Grixis Delver still is a good performing Deck as well as UR Delver.

sluggy10(2019-01-10 11:46)

I hope they won't cut off too many GPs 'cause i would rather travel across Europe for GPs, meet several new people and culture, than be alone in my appartment, watching my computer...

MrTT85(2019-01-10 08:34)

Could you give a little more insight of why you think BUG Delver will see more play this year even though it performed poorly the last?

Solhunken(2019-01-09 17:35)

Dual are cheap now... Lol ?! Where do you live ? Certainly on another planet...