Legacy after MKMS Frankfurt 2017
- Dr. Hans Joachim Höh
How to stay on top of the metagame without top.
The Legacy format was shaken up by the banning of Sensei's Divining Top, and the MKMS event in Frankfurt was the first large testing ground for the new format. Whether the format is heading in a good direction or not, we can definitely see the first trends and therefore try to predict which cards will see more play than they did before. Those cards should be a high priority on your buy list if you like playing or investing in the Legacy format, because the increasing demand will steadily sent prices upwards as players catch up with the developing metagame.
Miracles was really good at two things: Keeping opponent's from casting 1- and 2-cost spells, and punishing you for spamming the board with multiple creatures. So the expected result of Miracles being removed from the format was that decks falling into those categories would flourish. Storm and Reanimator are examples of the first category, Death and Taxes of the second, while Elves even fits both of them. All of these decks were well represented in Frankfurt's metagame.
But this is only level one thinking. We also have to consider which decks have no direct advantage by the removal of Miracles, but are well positioned in a metagame in which the aforementioned decks are played more often. For example, once you expect to face a lot of creature decks of all kinds, running a Stoneforge Mystic deck becomes a good idea. Umezawa's Jitte, Batterskull and Swords of X and Y have always been great at winning games involving lots of creatures on both sides, especially when combined with True-Name Nemesis, which should become much more popular again. This is why we saw Stoneblade variants surging up in popularity. Most of these decks tried to greedily get the best of all worlds using both Leovold, Emissary of Trest (B/U/G) and white cards thanks to mana fixing provided by both Deathrite Shaman and Noble Hierarch. Running eight 1-drop mana critters is much more relaxed when you don't have to face Terminus anymore. I expect these “4-c good stuff” decks to come out on top if the metagame ends up revolving about creature decks.
But there is also combo, the other remaining part of the format, which I believe to be the real winner in a format without Miracles. In Frankfurt we already saw Reanimator and Show & Tell face off in the final match. Food Chain, Elves and Storm made it into the Top 8 as well. Storm was inconveniently facing the only Grixis Delver player in the quarterfinals, who had the right tools to prevent that combo deck from advancing, but the other two creature decks easily fell to the combo decks they faced. So the combo to creature deck ratio went from 5-3 to 3-1 to 2-0 during the elimination rounds. With Elves and Food Chain two combo decks also met in the final match of our Legacy SuperFinals one day later. Obviously, this is just the first week of events and not enough data to jump to conclusions, but let's pretend for a second that the combo decks will remain a good (if not the best) choice in the near future. Which cards will be great in that scenario?
Depending on which combo decks will end up getting played the most, this tech against creatureless decks may become more interesting. It is useless against Elves, Aluren, and Food Chain, but good against Storm, Lands, and Show & Tell (if you want to bring in creatures with a casting cost below eight).
“The red dragon” is the tech sideboard card you want to use against Elves if you are planning to win with small creatures yourself. Otherwise, Toxic Deluge is probably superior despite being a sorcery.
Other than that, the usual anti combo cards will slowly fill more and more sideboard slots, especially the ones without a lot of color requirements:
As a Legacy player you should own these cards anyway by now, but you will have to use them more often in the near future.
Share your thoughts on the new Legacy with us. Where do you like to put your money?