I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are all finished with your Christmas preparations! I had a great holiday and am currently stuck between a rock and a hard place. I have been grinding Tom Clancy’s The Division for the past month or so. The game is a ton of fun and I highly recommend it. The newest update came out on 11/29. However the game I was highly anticipating came out on the same date. Final Fantasy 15!!! So I am not sure what I am supposed to do with my limited free time and that is where my current mulligan decision lies. Now back to Magic!
Legacy is one of the three eternal formats where you can find competitive magic. Vintage, Legacy, and Modern. I have never dabbled in Vintage and I am not about to start. Modern is another format I enjoy to a degree, but if I had to pick one it’s legacy.
Vintage has multiple barriers I do not feel like I could ever crack and that is why I tend to stay away. The decks are not something I have ever sat down to even try to learn. The cards are very expensive and much better than anything else we have access to. Luckily for some there are proxy tournaments available, which makes the format much more accessible for some. For more on this I will have to direct you to Rachel who also writes for Team KGS! Check out her series of videos on vintage play.
Modern is a format that is being called legacy lite and I believe that the name suits it very well. We have Dredge, Infect, Merfolk, Delver, Jund, and a do nothing control deck (Lantern). There are the fair mid-range decks and some fast combo decks capable of winning within the first 4 turns. The hate for decks like Dredge and Infect are similar. We are missing Deathrite Shaman and we swap Swords to Plowshares for Path to Exile. The removal is generally the same between the formats: Lightning Bolts, Swords/Path, Abrupt Decay, Dismember, and Maelstrom Pulse. But it is slightly less effective in Legacy. Being a Jund mage player, and knowing that Jund in Modern is very good, always pleases me. We have the ability to win in any match up. Nothing in Modern is too degenerate for Jund to handle with a traditional Jund draw. So then why do I love legacy so much more?
Because the power level is juuuuuust right. Every deck in the format is powerful and has a piece that can be abused. The storm decks are extremely powerful, being able to win through multiple answers and hate pieces. Show and Tell has the ability to put an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, onto the battlefield on turn one. The white weenie deck has control elements to it. The control decks are truly control decks with soft locks and a win condition that can turn the corner very quickly. The fair decks have raw card advantage and efficient removal/discard spells. There are a lot less 80/20 and 70/30 match ups and a lot more 60/40’s. Right now there is a lot of talk of Miracles being the best deck and the highest played. For me that’s great! I love my Miracles match up with both of the decks I play in Legacy. But if you look at the percentages of the top decks in Legacy they will barely crack double digit numbers. You could go into a tournament and never play against Miracles once.
Blue flexes its true muscles in this format. Force of Will is a mainstay and a card that will always be played. It along with daze and other cheap counter magic try to keep the unfair decks in check. Brainstorm is one of the hardest cards to play in the history of the game. Ponder, Gitaxian Probe, and Daze round out the hyper efficient blue spells that mages of all archetypes will sign up with.
All of these cards along with the reward of knowing your deck and match up really make Legacy a format that rewards play skill over deck choice. I have never entered a Legacy tournament where I performed less than 50%. Even with a deck that was playing Champion of the Parish and Burning-Tree Emissary. But in that deck’s defense, it was blistering fast and counterspells couldn’t stop it. If you play Jund in Modern you also have an advantage! The deck translates very well to Legacy as about 65% of the cards are found in both decks. You simply get a land upgrade and a slew of better spells to replace your less efficient ones, and you know the basics of the deck. Thoughtseize into Tarmogoyf transcends many barriers my friends, and this is why I have always done well in Legacy.
If you are a slave to blue like some people I know then I would highly recommend playing Shardless Sultai. It is a Jund deck with less creature removal and a lot more interaction with other players with the Force of Will / Brainstorm package. I have piloted this deck at an invitational and felt unstoppable with the 75 that I registered. If that was a Legacy Open I could see a top 8 in my future, but sadly I had to move over to Standard and was unable to make the second day of the Invy.
I have played Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant for years now. The ability to play them against some of the most powerful and unfair cards in magic and have a fighting chance is something I always look forward to. I love my red cards, but I do also love me some Shardless Agent. Whatever your fancy is, Legacy has it, and it has the best version of it. It really makes me sad that Star City Games is really dropping the ball with their Legacy tournaments. Fortunately others have picked up where they left off.
The negative to Legacy is the cost to enter the format. Luckily the cards that hold the highest tags are the ones that should hold most of their value through their lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, blue dual lands are expensive, but those who love legacy want others to play the format with them and are willing to lend cards or lend whole decks. I personally have been lent two whole decks. Jeskai Stoneblade and Shardless Sultai. The former’s owner wasn’t even at the tournament center when I played it. The latter wasn’t even playing in the tournament with me. They are both good friends of mine and that is something that comes with time.
So in the time that it would take for you to start building your deck you can start building a friendship with some that play! All I am really saying is to give Legacy a shot. I believe it is fully worth it. I’ll end with a deck list so everyone can see what I played last week.
SHARDLESS SULTAI by Robert North
I kind of want to play some Legacy now.
As always, stay humble and stay hungry.