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By: JustSin, Dave
Feb 26 2010 3:26am
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A Look At Legacy

Hey everyone thanks for taking the time and joining me for this special edition of Anything But!  In a recent article by Aaron Forsythe there were many different and exciting things announced for the future of Magic Online.  From release dates of future sets to the new pre-constructed decks, Wizards always has it's customers wanting (or at least spending) more.  One of the biggest announcements it seems has been talk of adding the Legacy format to the MTGO Client.  We currently have Classic, but Legacy holds a different set of Banned & Restricted cards.  For those who aren't entirely familiar I'll save you the trouble of reading the differences here, but I will show you where to go instead.  The rules for the Classic format can be found here.  Then the rules for Legacy are located here.  For those of you who just want a quick insight as to what Legacy is, the bottom line is you can use any unbanned card.  All sets are legal and any card that isn't banned can be played with the exception being those with gold or silver borders.

So I, like many other MTGO players, was very interested in what this could mean.  Several people are hoping that the addition of Legacy online could up the popularity of the format; however I won't be playing around with such speculations.  Now I have played Paper Magic during Tempest, but never really got as into the game until I discovered MTGO.  This means that I was completely unfamiliar with the format.  I had no idea what kind of decks were being run or what kind of cards were going to be important.  I mostly went about my way and continued to casually read about what others had to say on the subject of Legacy.  I want to take a minute here to showcase a few of these articles that you may have missed because they have offered a lot of early insight to the meaning of this new format on MTGO.


Additional Reading

Those familiar with hamtastic's weekly "State of the Program" articles have seen what speculation has done to the price of cards, which are expected to see lots of play in Legacy.  For example players, such as myself, who weren't familiar with the Legacy format were questioning why cards such as Conflux were going up in price during the February 12th article.  Turns out there is a Dream Halls deck that is gaining popularity and uses Conflux as a means to cast many different colored spells.

Recently we've also seen the introduction of a series of articles from Raddman.  These articles have, rather successfully, broken down the individual cards and takes a look at which cards were "must haves" for Legacy Decks.  This was a great idea in my opinion because competitive, constructed players are often caught wondering or projecting what cards they should start to gather in order to play a certain deck.  In his first article, "To Infinity and Beyond", he starts by taking a look at perhaps the most expensive part of most Classic/Legacy/100CS decks, the lands.  Then in his second article, "Riddle Me This...", he moved on to see what the cost was for acquiring playsets for the popular creatures of the format.  By the time you read this there will hopefully be more articles from Raddman breaking down costs and popularity of these cards. EDIT: While I was putting this together Raddman has added a look at the remaining cards in Legacy decks, non-creature/non-land, in an article titled The Top Ten of Legacy.  Also keep a heads up for his next article, which is going to take a look at some of the decks you can play without dropping a fortune on a set of FoWs or other blues.

DangerLinto wrote one of the first articles about Legacy, Embracing Legacy Online, which was the first time I had heard about the change.  His article takes a look at the age old argument over the price of entry for decks.  There are always people who are unhappy about paying for the big ticket items such as Force of Will, Baneslayer Angel, Tarmogoyf, etc.  This article takes a look the comparative costs of playing Legacy online verses playing it in paper.  The results were a bit surprising to me, but the way he broke things down it made sense.  Then, in a similar article, one million words was "Musing on DangerLinto's Article".  While this isn't entirely Legacy focused it's a great follow-up read on the topic of online play costs vs. paper play costs.  That's not to mention the numerous insightful comments posted by readers. (No there's no sarcasm there, honest)


So I've been intrigued.  I wanted to know more.  If someone is unfamiliar with what the meta is like for a certain format they usually don't have to do much work.  You can simply go here, to the MTGO website, and are provided with top decklists as well as some announcements about recent events.  We can see decklists for Extended, 100CS, Standard Singleton, etc.  This is great, but it leaves a hole in generic knowledge for Legacy decks.  It was at this point in time that I knew I had to find out more and wanted to write about my findings in order to help others who are unfamiliar as well.

I will add a quick disclaimer here just to save myself from a flow of comments.  Any mentioned prices are subject to change by the time this article is posted and read.  Any trends in the current meta are subject to change, again, based on the time at which this article is posted and read.  Get the idea?  Okay great let's continue then.


I won't sit here and bore you with my ramblings about how I found these things or the many number details I put together to get this chart, but instead I think it's more effective to just show my findings.  After gathering data on all the decks I found I tried to best categorize them based on similar themes, cards, or deck types.  For example, a deck that relies on threshold to win using GU I grouped with threshold decks of different colors.  Here is a look at what the meta looked like for 2009 Legacy (again remember these are not actual, but estimated).

Sorry I had to make it big in order to fit in all the labels.

Ok so when you take a look at this graph what's the first thing that sticks out?  I'll tell you what I noticed first and that was the "Other" section.  21% of all the decks played in Legacy didn't fall into the remaining 24 different category types that I had created.  Seems a bit flawed doesn't it?  Well if you think about it, not really.  Because Legacy offers the opportunity to use any card that has been printed (not including banned cards) it opens up the creative Magic player to put together an almost exponential number of different decks.  I'm sure someone else may have managed to make the category types even broader, but I think this best illustrates the point I'm trying to make.  I want to take a look at all 25 different categories starting with the most popular and working my way down.  Because some of these types aren't as popular I won't be spending a lot of time on each so I apologize now if I don't give as much detail as you'd like for a particular deck type.  Also I'll add a disclaimer again that these findings are based on my opinion; there is room for human error due to being unfamiliar with the format.


Other

Because there are soooo many different deck types available to the average Legacy player we do end up with quite a lot of decks in this category.  I'm only going to show you three of my favorite deck lists, but I'll list some of the others I've come across.  These decks tend to be the rogues of the format and aim to win through the idea that other decks don't pack hate because they are unexpected or these decks are built to specifically handle a certain playing environment.

 

 

This is the deck that I mentioned earlier.  There was quite a bit of question about the rise in price for Conflux and this is why.  With this deck the goal is first and foremost to get Dream Halls into play so you can cheat in other spells.  You can pitch a Brainstorm and be able to cast Conflux, which in turn searches out things such as Cruel Ultimatum.  You can even cheat out Progenitus.  One thing that we are currently missing for this set is Show and Tell, a Urza's Sage card that helps cheat Dream Halls into play by eating Counterspells.  The bottom line is that when running this deck you want to be able to continue to fill your hand through the spells you cast using (Dream Halls, other cards that have been added to the deck's shell include Searing Wind, Bogardan Hellkite, and Intuition.

 

 

Any tournament player has become quite familiar the any number of powerful, blue-based control decks.  When you open up the card pool and focus on blue alone you get a pretty powerful build like this.  If you notice there are several cards missing from this deck list because there were a lot of powerful blue spells in the Urza block.  Now like any build this deck can be changed in many ways including the ability to turn it into a DreadStifle variant.  The bottom line, however, will always be to control the tempo of the game through a number of Counterspells and removal artifacts, then slowly beating down an opponent through creatures such as Morphling or Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir.  One might expect the use of man-lands to do damage, but MUC decks tend to want the added control of Back to Basics instead in an environment that uses a lot of non-basic lands.

 

 

This aggro deck combines some of the most powerful 2cc creatures available.  Throw in an AEther Vial to get around Counterspells and a Umezawa's Jitte and you've got a pretty strong deck.  Aven Mindcensor and (Gaddok Teeg) provide a bit of control, while the missing Mother of Runes is the ultimate protection for your creatures.  Not to mention the Knight of the Reliquary's ability to pump itself up really fast.  Other versions use things such as Armageddon, Swords to Plowshares, and Orim's Chant in order to add a bit more control during the early game.  The addition of Loam Lion is huge for this deck because it gives you a Kird Ape without having to make room for that third color.  Because of things like that and Steppe Lynx there is a lot of potential for this becoming one of the more popular aggro variants.

Here is a list of other decks I came across and grouped into this category:

Some of these names may look familiar because we've seen their counterparts in other formats.  Dark Depths has been seen in Extended and Pox is sometimes a favorite of Classic players.  Not to mention coveralls such as UW/UBx Control decks.  Remember that just because these decks are in the "Other" category doesn't mean they aren't fantastic.  What it means is that they aren't always played in any quantity.  I urge you to check them all out in order to find the one that best fits not only the expected meta, but your play style as well.


Threshold

As you can clearly see Threshold decks hold the biggest majority of any specific deck type out there for the Legacy format.  Threshold decks are so popular because they end up working as almost a toolbox against other decks.  There are many options for how to steer the deck and a lot of options during play.  Some of the timing will come with practice, but the most important thing when playing this deck is knowing when to play, which cards.  For example do you tap out to play a creature or leave the mana open for casting Counterspells?  Another nice thing about the deck type is that it has so many outs for customization.  The core of any decent Threshold deck will always be blue/green, but from there you can go many different ways.  Any of the other three colors can be added to these decks, but the most popular decks tend to be UGr.

 

Canadian Threshold
UGr Threshold By: Denis Contaldo
Creatures
4 Nimble Mongoose
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Vendilion Clique
10 cards

Other Spells
4 Brainstorm
4 Daze
3 Fire/Ice
4 Force of Will
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Rushing River
4 Spell Snare
4 Stifle
4 Ponder
32 cards
Lands
2 Misty Rainforest
4 Tropical Island
4 Volcanic Island
4 Wasteland
4 Wooded Foothills
18 cards

Nimble Mongoose

 

There are a number of different variations on these decks, but you'll notice they all hold the same core creatures and some of the same Counterspells.  Most red decks are like this, using red in order to use Fire/Ice and Lightning Bolts, but the real added value to the deck type is in the sideboard.  The addition of red allows for additional cards to be put in for sideboarding that can handle many situations.  Cheaper control comes in the form of Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast, it really helps in a mirror match when you can simply stop counters for one red mana.  In addition to those you also get access to cards such as Price of Progress, Firespout, Volcanic Fallout, and Ancient Grudge (though Krosan Grip is usually a stronger option).

 

 

White is the second most popular splash for threshold decks and offers a different kind of added control.  Whereas adding red provides the player a bit of extra speed through burn spells, white tends to offer far better options for creature based control.  The biggest addition to the deck is Swords to Plowshares, but from there you can do many other things.  Some decks tend to use the added deck space to increase the number of blue spells and only use Swords to Plowshares in white.  However others, like this one, focus much more on the added value of white by including creatures.  In this one they take advantage of threshold by adding the always powerful Mystic Enforcer, but others use Rhox War Monk as a Zoo/Aggro stopper and Qasali Pridemage as a much better choice over the popular Trygon Predator.

 

 

Black isn't the most popular splash, but it does offer some strong options.  The best of which is probably Dark Confidant because the deck doesn't run anything bigger then a 3cc.  There are two other popular additions to the deck through the black splash.  The first being Thoughtseize.. not much needs to said about that... the second being Putrefy/Maelstrom Pulse.. clearly the pulse is a stronger control option, but some prefer the instant speed of Putrefy instead.  With the black sideboard, this becomes the best option when expecting some reanimation decks because of additions such as Leyline of the Void and Extirpate, not to mention things such as Pernicious Deed and Engineered Plague.

There is also a version of threshold that focuses use on Swans of Bryn Argoll in addition to burn spells like Lightning Storm to add some card draw or Chain of Plasma to go for a win. No matter which version of threshold you try this deck fits almost any control player's style thanks to the versatility of the color splash.  Some decks even go as far as running four colors since the manabase usually doesn't contain basic lands.  The deck shell has been used to create Painter, Dread, and even CounterTop variants as well.  Another thing I found when checking out threshold decks was the idea that it can struggle in a meta that contains a lot of the small rogue decks because the strengths lie in dealing with early control in addition to the ability to force an opponent into land struggles in that early game.


Merfolk

Now I know what some of you more experienced players are thinking, Merfolk decks can be considered "Fish" decks.  Both decks have a similar purpose... to try and shut down the current meta environment through the use of strong blue spells and evasive creatures.    Fish decks have been around for awhile, but the Merfolk variant really started to take off with recent sets starting with Lorwyn.  Since that time we've seen a number of really powerful Merfolk that come not only in different colors, but with different purposes as well.  The difference between the two that I would put out there is the creature base.  Where a "Fish" deck runs a variety of almost blue weenies a Merfolk deck has a creature base that is just that... Merfolk.  Take a look at this list and you'll see more that I'm talking about.

 

 

What you'll notice about this deck list, and most successful Merfolk lists, is the fact that they splashed green just to add Tarmogoyf.  Yeah he really is that good that mono-colored decks will add green just to get him in there.  Ug Merfolk decks also gain an advantage in the form of Krosan Grip as well, but the splash is mainly for the Tarmogoyf.  This isn't the only deck type however, like Threshold, Merfolk decks can splash any of the other colors, but unlike Threshold, Merfolk isn't strong in all colors.  The only other splash that has really been successful is Uw.

 

 

As you can see here the deck really focuses more on the blue, but uses a bit of white for removal such as Swords to Plowshares or, in some cases, Path to Exile.  This version uses white in the sideboard to move in strong spells such as Armageddon and Seal of Cleansing.  These cards can really help set the tempo in the game and with the addition of AEther Vial a player can slide in Merfolk after an Armageddon or through a Standstill. Also Sygg, River Guide can be brought in to help protect the creature base from removal heavy decks.

These two variants are really strong, but continue to remain just as popular as the mono blue versions.  These decks merely remove those splashed cards and use the extra room to add more of the power that blue has seen throughout the many sets we've encountered.  Some other additions to the deck have included Sygg, River Cutthroat, Rootwater Thief, Phyrexian Dreadnought, Gaea's Skyfolk, and Galina's Knight (though most are sideboard cards due to their situational demand).  The real key here is the creature base and controlling the early game.  Heavy blue hate or creature kill can really cause issues for Merfolk decks, but the Uw and Ug list are intended for eliminating some of those issues.


Goblins

The first thing to note is that with Goblin decks I'm referring to decks that have a heavy creature base that is made up of Goblins and not necessarily storm decks that rely on Empty the Warrens to win.  (Though a Goblin deck may include Empty the Warrens it isn't looking to be a storm win per-say).  In every format out there Goblins are a top deck type.  This even includes 100CS and Tribal formats because the creature base is just so powerful and people love the fast aggro they provide.  Through my search of Legacy decks I came across two types of Goblin decks.

 

 

The first one I found is called "Food Chain Goblins".  This version often doesn't perform as well as the standard Goblin deck types, but can still get the same kind of edge in games.  These decks use Food Chain in order to power out creatures fast (for those unfamiliar with this MM card it's an enchantment that lets you sacrifice creatures to add their converted mana cost to your pool).  The deck is just as powerful as generic Goblins, but perhaps a little faster than some.  I personally think the addition is unnecessary and would prefer something more like this...

 

 

A traditional Goblin deck tends to have a core set of cards that looks something like this:

4x Goblin Warchief, 4x Goblin Lackey, 4x Goblin Ringleader, 4x Mogg Fanatic, 4x Gempalm Incinerator, 4x Goblin Matron, 4x Goblin Piledriver, 2x Siege-Gang Commander, 4x AEther Vial

Once land is added there usually is very little room for change and you wouldn't want to make much since the core is so strong.  The aggro of these creatures works in great synergy with each other to get the beats going early.  This particular deck splashes green for the Krosan Grips in the sideboard.  Other's however have successfully splashed green, again for Tarmogoyf, but also for Tin Street Hooligan.  Recent sets such as Lorwyn also worked to emphasize the other color for Goblins, black.  By splashing black a Goblin deck can add Wort, Boggart Auntie, Warren Weirding, or even Cabal Therapy.  The bit of extra control that black offers can be held to just the sideboard, but in the main deck it also provides an unexpected angle and an added bit of power to an already powerful deck.  Even white has been added in order to get things like Swords to Plowshares, Armageddon, or even Orim's Chant.  These spells really give Goblins a chance to shut down an opponent once they get up to strength.  The most important thing in a splash for Goblins is probably artifact and enchantment removal.  In an environment that is expecting a lot of aggro decks there will be lots of sideboard hate in the form of Engineered Plague and Humility that can't be dealt with if you're only running red.

One thing I did note when reading about Goblin decks was the importance of an opening hand and play.  Players who have experience with Goblins warn against holding onto a shady hand with Goblin Lackey because the environment has become so diverse that a turn 1 Goblin Lackey isn't necessarily the bomb play that it used to be.  The best possible opening play for Goblins (and other decks of this type) is a turn 1 AEther Vial.  Once AEther Vial sticks these decks become brutal thanks to things such as Armageddon and the ability to bypass Counterspells.


Reanimator

Reanimator decks are ones that do just that.  Take a creature from the graveyard and bring it back into play.  This is done through a number of different ways, but usually the idea is to dump every and any big nasty creature into your grave and then bring it back into play earlier then it could be cast through things like Reanimate or Animate Dead.  There are three types of Reanimator decks that I want to really show.  We'll look at them based on creature base going small to large.  You'll see what I mean.

 

 

For those unfamiliar with Cephalid Breakfast the concept behind it is simple.  You want to get Cephalid Illusionist into play and use Nomads en-Kor or Shaman en-Kor to deck yourself.  Then cast Dread Return to bring back Sutured Ghoul and swinging for the win.  Dread Return is a recent addition to the deck, originally it used Krosan Reclamation in order to cast an Exhume and reanimate the Sutured Ghoul.  The new tech is a little more beneficial to the current MTGO player because the only missing piece of the deck is Stern Proctor.  This slot, in the past, has also been replaced with Kami of Ancient Law and/or Uktabi Orangutan in order to remove any artifacts/enchantments that would get in the way of your combo going off.  With the classic combo a Cephalid Breakfast deck could go off as early as turn 2 with a perfect hand, but the original is not the same as the current list.  The newer lists are more about combo control and less about getting that turn 2 Sutured Ghoul swinging for the win.

 

 

This Reanimator list is a more classic version of the reanimator concept.  The idea is to just dump fatties into your grave and bring them back faster then they could be otherwise played.  The one interesting thing you'll notice in this particular deck is that while there are several non-creature spells in the deck that are unavailable to use currently, the creature base is entirely from newer sets.  This really says something about the power level that they have given to current creatures.  The big one here as in Oath decks is Iona, Shield of Emeria because of the ability to complete shut out a color.  The creatures can vary a lot from deck to deck, but the one constant is the Exhume as the reanimation engine.  With this kind of list you can have a first turn that consists of..

Island > Lotus Petal > Careful Study discarding Iona, Shield of Emeria > Exhume / Reanimate

Yes I know the Exhume requites an additional Lotus Petal to do so, but you get the idea... a turn 1 Iona, Shield of Emeria is very possible.  Now while these two versions are great the one reanimation deck we all know and (not necessarily) love is this next one.

 

 

These dredge decks are strong not just in legacy, but we've seen them in Classic as well.  For those who aren't familiar with how it works (not sure how you could not know, but I guess there are some people) the player throws everything into the graveyard and through reanimating creatures and Flame-Kin Zealot you're Bridge from Below tokens you can swing for a really early win.  Unlike the Classic version of this deck Legacy doesn't have access to Bazaar of Baghdad so the land base is a bit funky.  The idea is the same however, using Dredge to mill the deck and get those creatures into play.  Trouble in this deck can come from the usual heavy expectance on reanimation decks, especially an Extirpate removing the Flame-Kin Zealot option.  There are ways of surviving after that kind of thing happens (which is why decks these days add Iona, Shield of Emeria), but it's still a big blow.


Loam Variants

Now what I consider Loam variants are decks that really capitalize on the advantages provided through Life from the Loam.  Again because the card pool is so large people have tried many different ways of using Life from the Loam in order to gain advantages.  There are things out there that try to use this to mill an opponent or just burn them down, but there are two in particular that I found, one control variant and one that is aggro based.

 

 

The control decks may look very similar to some of the 43 land decks.  The difference here is that there are a couple different versions of Loam Control all of which resemble other deck types.  Instead of listing each one as a variant of their specific type I think its a better reflection to group them together as Loam Control.  One example uses Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle to burn an opponent in addition to other spells such as Exploration and Manabond to really get the power going.  This version (as seen here) probably will get even better if you could work in Explore.  The downside to this Valakut list is the lack of several key Urza cards.  The deck I posted here resembles more of a Pox type of deck.  It uses a bunch of land destruction in addition to things such as Worm Harvest to put out lots of tokens.  Other decks use a bunch of Counterspells in addition to Life from the Loam to cast Worm Harvest.  The only missing card from this list is Sinkhole, which actually has a place in several Legacy decks.  Still another version uses the idea of putting lands in the graveyard to pump Knight of the Reliquary while controlling the board with a number of white spells.

 

 

This deck is perhaps the most popular Loam deck out there and for good reason.  Like the variants that use Knight of the Reliquary these decks look to gain an advantage for their creatures when lands hit the grave.  The biggest addition or perhaps creation point of the deck was the printing of Countryside Crusher who add another Terravore-like creature.  There are a lot of times when these decks even add the Knight of the Reliquary to add the third Terravore.  This can become a little troublesome because they like to use Dark Confidants for added card draw.  This does allow, however, for a bigger variety of cards to appear in your sideboard.  In addition to these creatures who throw lands into the graveyard the deck runs 8 cycling lands for added draw and creature pump.  This version got first in a in a Starcitygames 10k tournament, but other versions try to run Terravores in sets of 3 to add a bit more aggro to the deck.  Variations in this deck can actually be quite different.  Some run a bigger sideboard and include Burning Wish in the maindeck in addition to Devastating Dreams to create added problems for an opponent.  It's really not uncommon for Aggro Loam decks to have many differences in sideboard choice since there is such a large selection to choose from based on what you expect the meta to look like.


Ad Nauseam

Now I'm not going to take a lot of time to talk about different versions of Ad Nauseam, but they have to be mentioned because it is one if not the most dominant combo deck out there.  There is even a version of this deck that runs its way through Classic events.  If you really play this deck type a lot and learn the proper combo times this deck can be incredibly dominant.

 

 

 

 

The biggest difference between a regular Ad Nauseam deck and TES is that the classic version most often just relies on Tendrils of Agony in order to win whereas TES can also contain Empty the Warrens and even Grapeshot from the sideboard.  Storm decks like these existed long before Ad Nauseam was printed, but when this card came into existence all bets were off and just about any storm deck had to use it.  I won't waste a lot of time going into detail here because I wouldn't be able to do it as much justice as this article has. It gives a great breakdown not only on card choice, but sideboarding strategy as well.


Bant

Now Bant is kind of a generic name that usually works to cover any deck that uses a variety of spells that lie within the Bant colors.  As a result we end up with Bant decks in each type... aggro, combo, and control.  Ok so not quite combo, but instead it's often referred to as Bant Survival.  Take a look.

 

 

These decks could also be considered a Survival Variant deck, but bottom line is that they hope to use Squee, Goblin Nabob or grave lovers like Wonder as discard for Survival of the Fittest in order to power out creatures.  In the case of this deck the real big winners are Iona, Shield of Emeria and Rafiq of the Many, but other decks try to stick a bit closer to the Survival Variant decks and use Survival of the Fittest to get out the one and only Progenitus on the field.  Like most using blue in Legacy there is the usual heavy control base with Brainstorm and Force of Will.  The rest of the creature base isn't really surprising.  The deck uses Tarmogoyf as a huge beat in addition to Noble Hierarch, which is all around good stuff.  This deck also adds a few Spellstutter Sprites to add a bit of extra control to the deck.  Some of the other creature choices can focus on what is needed for the meta.  Rhox War Monk, as previously mentioned, is a great addition when playing against aggro, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner to add a layer of protection for the creature base, and even Qasali Pridemage/Trygon Predator for artifact/enchantment hate.  Bottom line here is that usually getting Survival of the Fittest to stick = gg.

 

 

Next to Bant Survival this is the most popular type of Bant deck you'll find.  When you look at the creature base of this deck it really isn't surprising at all.  If you asked someone before showing them this deck list they would probably be able to name the Noble Hierarchs, Tarmogoyfs, Qasali Pridemages, and Rhox War Monks.  Perhaps you might even expect to see Vendilion Clique and guess what.. you'd be right.  Now here is the interesting thing about Bant Aggro decks.  When browsing through them they aren't your typical aggro decks, but instead are kind of heavy on the control.  Several decks, like this one, not only contain the usual Brainstorm + Force of Will that you see in every blue deck, but they can also add in the Counterbalance + Sensei's Divining Top combination for added control.  Some even use Natural Order to sneak Progenitus into play instead of those who rely on Survival of the Fittest.  The interesting thing about this deck, and the reason why I wanted to show it, was the fact that it contains both of those additional strategies.  Some may think it stretches this deck kind of thin, but others will love the heavy aggro Bant creatures offer while still maintaining a heavy counter control presence.

 

 

Yes I know this is yet another deck that kind of overlaps my deck types, but I think this works better in Bant because the focus isn't so much the interactions with Life from the Loam, instead the creature base tends to be the stronger side of these decks.  Now these decks are also considered to be the control side of Bant decks, but frankly Bant Aggro and Bant Survival seem to be a bit heavier handed on the control, at least in the form of Counterspells.  This deck is quite an interesting combination of the two types.  The creature base holds all the typical Bant/Green powerhouses that you see in the other decks, but it also uses Knight of the Reliquary to really deal out the damage.  Outside of the creature base this deck draws from the Loam strategies with Worm Harvest.  With the array of special lands such as Maze of Ith and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale the deck uses them to add a bit of control to the game without using up a lot of spots for spells.  On the control side of the deck part of the core contains Crop Rotation, Intuition, Stifle, and Swords to Plowshares.  Additional control is found in the sideboard in many different forms such as Meddling Mages, Path to Exiles, and other types of Counterspells.  The one change you'll find between decks is that some of the Bant Loam decks use Cenn's Enlistment instead of Worm Harvest in an attempt to put out a lot of tokens for overwhelming an opponent.


Zoo

 

 

Zoo decks are something most players are familiar with.  These decks are mostly RWG, but occasionally decks have splashed black to create what's often known as Domain Zoo.  The idea behind these decks is to play the early, efficient creatures and use them to beat down an opponent.  The burn spells in the deck are important to this deck more for removing creatures and helping finish in the late game instead of burning down an opponent like you'd see in sligh decks.  There have been a lot of additions to this deck in recent sets.  Tarmogoyf is clearly the best creature at 2cc, but we've also gotten cheap beats in the form of Wild Nacatl, Figure of Destiny, Steppe Lynx, Woolly Thoctar and in the newest set we got a new Kird Ape in Loam Lion.  It will be interesting to see where Loam Lion or even a stretch for Leatherback Baloth fit in the Zoo game.  Another big strength was Qasali Pridemage, which gave you not only exalted, but it gives the Zoo player artifact/enchantment control in the form of a creature of decent size and cost.

 

 

Here is an example of Domain Zoo.  As you can see the decks splash black in order to add things like Dark Confidant, which is great on card draw since the highest cc is 3.  This deck uses four Knight of the Reliquary to add a big creature into the mix as well as land thinning, but other decks try to work in things like Troll Ascetic, Jotun Grunt, etc.  One big addition to these Domain Zoo decks is Tribal Flames.  Since you are very likely to have all 5 land types in play at a time you end up getting a 2cc spell that does 5 damage.  Through the black mana decks also gain advantage through being able to cast Vindicates or Maelstrom Pulses, not to mention the sideboarding possibilities.


Landstill

"At the 2006 Legacy Championships a powerful control deck known as BHWC Landstill made a strong appearance by placing in the top 4. BHWC Landstill was created by a popular legacy San Diego team known as BHWW.  Ever since BHWC Landstill's breakout at the 2006 Legacy champs the deck began taking multiple top 8s in just about any tournament you can think of including the 2007 Legacy championships as well."

Like Threshold, Landstill decks come in a variety of colors.  The only color that is totally essential to the deck is blue so that Standstill can be cast.  With Standstill in play this deck looks to find ways of casting spells around that game stopper through cycling cards or man-lands.  The man-lands can range from Mishra's Factory to Nantuko Monastery to Gargoyle Castle, but the choices may change with the new one we got from WW.

 

 

The first type of Landstill deck uses UWx, though this example doesn't use a third color.  If you look at the deck list it uses Standstill to really slow the game and then Decree of Justice can be cycled or Mishra's Factory can be animated and work for a win.  In addition to those the deck packs quite a set of Counterspells to keep the game in hand.  One of the things I liked about this deck in particular was the addition of Cunning Wish to make the pre-board game a bit stronger.  The deck also uses Humility to shut down any and all aggro decks as well as Crucible of Worlds to work on saving lands that have been killed off.  When these decks do add a third color it is most often green.  This can add things to the deck like Firespout or Pernicious Deed for added creature control, not to mention the always included Tarmogoyf.  When black is added the main objective is graveyard hate, but that will mostly end up being in the sideboard where the best chance pre-board is Cunning Wish for Extirpate.

 

 

Ok this here is just an example of the additions of black and green to a Landstill deck.  As you can see the enchantments in this deck can really be the beef.  This deck includes things like Moat or Luminarch Ascension in an attempt to keep up token pressure while shutting down an opponent's creatures.  It also main decks the Pernicious Deed and uses three Cunning Wishes in order to really maximize the sideboard.

 

 

The addition of red into a Landstill deck is the least common choice and when it is used it's usually in addition to white.  As you can see here the deck sticks to the original idea of Landstill decks, but instead of cycling Decree of Justice it uses things like Slice and Dice.  These UR decks are better suited for an environment that is expected to be heavier on aggro since it packs quick burns like Lightning Bolt and Fire/Ice (not to mention the main decked Threads of Disloyalty as seen in this example).  The addition of white into these decks usually comes in the form of Swords to Plowshares and Decree of Justice.

One of the downsides of using a Landstill deck is that you can encounter a lot of issues with the key card, Standstill.  Decks tend to be very green heavy... as mentioned in the Merfolk section even mono colored decks are packing green in order to add not just the powerful Tarmogoyf, but artifact/enchantment hate as well.  This is often in the sideboard, but the fact of the matter is the most used spell for that purpose is Krosan Grip for very good reasons.  If an opponent draws a Krosan Grip he can very easily remove the Standstill without allowing you to draw cards.  Personally I think this is where the addition of black draws strength because you give yourself the chance of at least using Extirpate to get rid of Krosan Grip once it comes up.  With most of these decks if they lose card advantage because of Standstill then you can be SoL, but worse case I guess the UR version gives you a small chance of burning down an opponent's remaining life.


DreadStifle Variants

These days there are so many different decks that are using the Phyrexian Dreadnought + Stifle combination.  Just about every and any other Legacy shell can be slightly modified to throw in this two card combination into their deck.  Those who aren't quite getting it the thing is that you can essentially play out a 12/12 trampler on turn 2 by casting Stifle on the Phyrexian Dreadnought's sacrifice ability.

 

DreadStill
A Deck By: Fabian Moyschewitz
Creatures
4 Phyrexian Dreadnought
3 Trinket Mage
7 cards

Other Spells
4 Brainstorm
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
3 Spell Snare
4 Stifle
2 Trickbind
3 Counterbalance
4 Standstill
2 Engineered Explosives
2 Sensei's Divining Top
32 cards
Lands
5 Island
4 Mishra's Factory
2 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Tropical Island
2 Volcanic Island
3 Wasteland
22 cards

Sideboard
1 Spell Snare
2 Firespout
2 Blood Moon
1 Crucible of Worlds
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Tormod's Crypt
2 Blue Elemental Blast
3 Red Elemental Blast
15 cards
Phyrexian Dreadnought

 

This is the most popular DreadStifle combination out there.  Like Landstill this deck looks to gain card advantage through Standstill.  Things can work out so that you get Phyrexian Dreadnought into play and can use Standstill as a means to protect it.  Say an opponent plays a kill spell, the Standstill triggers and allows you the chance to draw into a Counterspell.  Again, like Landstill, this deck becomes a little more vulnerable to Krosan Grip thanks to the split second ability.  If you'll notice this deck type is very heavy control and even adds the CounterTop combination not to mention the use of Trickbind.  Like Krosan Grip, Trickbind also gives you a split second ability, which is very powerful when facing Krosan Grips or other control decks using Force of Will as well as a card like Meddling Mage that won't let you cast Stifle.  DreadStill decks often splash green for Tarmogoyf (surprise surprise).  This particular deck uses Tropical Islands and Volcanic Islands main deck so the player can side in things such as Firespout, Blood Moon, and Red Elemental Blast.  Small additions of color allow this deck to break out and cover many different situations, but the bottom line is that this deck is about casting out that Phyrexian Dreadnought and beating for the win.

There are many decks using the Dread + Stifle combo as a sub note and just don't really fit into any category.  In my search I've seen decks that are pretty much DreadStifle + Lands + Counterspells, I've seen Bant Aggro variants where Phyrexian Dreadnought is a 4x, and I've even seen red burn decks splashing blue to Stifle the Dreadnought.  Its a combination that only requires a deck run blue mana in exchange for a large (potentially early gamed) creature.


Sligh Variants

Sligh decks are aggro based decks that were named after Paul Sligh who was one of the first players to really embrace the deck type, but things really took off after Jay Schneider really started pushing Sligh decks.  Here is the original breakdown of an original Sligh deck if it doesn't follow a 20 lands/20 creatures/20 burn-spells rule...

  • 1cc: 9 - 13
  • 2cc: 6 - 8
  • 3cc: 3 - 5
  • 4cc: 1 - 3
  • Xcc: 2 - 3
  • Removal/Burn: 8 - 10

Clearly things have changed since the days of Paul Sligh's mono-red sligh days.

If you wish to know more about the history of Sligh you're better off reading it all here instead of me retyping and summarizing it (you can also see the awesomeness that was Paul's original sligh deck).  What the bottom line is, for those of you who don't care to read that whole article, is using a heavy red deck that capitalizes on on fast strong creatures or heavy burn.  Well Sligh got a new focus when Wizards decided to print what can easily be considered one of the strongest creatures out there, Tarmogoyf.  Tired of hearing about it yet?  Hope not.  These days most Slight decks can pretty much be generalized as RG Aggro.  Here's a look at what I'm referring to...

 

WereGoyfs of London
A Deck By: Jeff Darran
Creatures
4 Boggart Ram-Gang
3 Grim Lavamancer
4 Hellspark Elemental
4 Magus of the Moon
4 Tarmogoyf
19 cards

Other Spells
2 Fireblast
4 Lightning Blast
3 Price of Progress
4 Chain Lightning
3 Blood Moon
4 Chrome Mox
3 Sensei's Divining Top
20 cards
Lands
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Forest
9 Snow-Covered Mountain
3 Taiga
4 Wooded Foothills
18 cards

Sideboard
4 Mogg Fanatic
2 Pyroblast
3 Volcanic Fallout
3 Shattering Spree
2 Red Elemental Blast
1 Price of Progress
15 cards
Tarmogoyf

 

Decks like this have become known under a variety of name... RG Beats.. TarmoSligh... WereGoyf... TarmoBurn... Goyf Sligh.... it's all the same idea.  A lot about these decks look similar to a Zoo list, but the creature base holds fast to RG and then splash white for a little extra removal such as Swords to Plowshares, not to mention the extra pump on Wild Nacatl.  Being a red focused deck one big strategy is to really shut down an opponent with Blood Moon or even Magus of the Moon.  This can be a really effect strategy because in Legacy, probably, 99% of decks are running heavy non-basics and the deck uses Chrome Mox in order to make that happen as soon as possible.  There is usually very little variation between TarmoBurn decks, but some splash white simple to add Swords to Plowshares or run a heavier number of burn spells.  Personally I prefer this example because it knows what it's goals are.  This deck really focuses on putting the hurt on decks that are heavy on non-basic lands and then tries to maximize the few burn spells it has by essentially running eight Lightning Bolts.  I think the white splash is a bit too random just for Swords to Plowshares.

 

Sligh
A Deck By: Tadeo Pons
Creatures
4 Ball Lightning
4 Figure of Destiny
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Jackal Pup
4 Tattermunge Maniac
20 cards

Other Spells
3 Fireblast
2 Fork
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Magma Jet
4 Price of Progress
3 Chain Lightning
20 cards
Lands
4 Barbarian Ring
4 Bloodstained Mire
7 Mountain
1 Taiga
4 Wooded Foothills
20 cards

Sideboard
3 Krosan Grip
2 Pyroblast
3 Pyrostatic Pillar
3 Dragon's Claw
3 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Red Elemental Blast
15 cards
Jackal Pup

 

This is a more traditional sligh deck.  This deck uses a number of small casting cost creatures to get in some big, early damage.  The addition of Figure of Destiny to our card-pool really gave this deck the potential to get quite the fatty on the table.  As you can see this holds to the traditional 20/20/20 rule and the 20 lands even get a bit of a burn bump through Barbarian Ring.  If you look at the creature base you get eight Savannah Lions in the form of Jackal Pup and Tattermunge Maniac.  Then Grim Lavamancer adds some of the best burn in a 1cc creature.  The burn spells are mostly single-target focused, but we do get the addition of things like Volcanic Fallout or Fireblast as board clearers.  The addition of Fork is also something you'll find in most traditional Sligh decks because it lets you get an extra copy of a spell for only RR.  When looking at this particular list you'll also notice that it splashes green for the sideboard.  Red spells have very little in the way of options for artifact/enchantment hate (well they can handle artifacts, but you know what I mean).  This deck is one of many who are going with Krosan Grip to fix that problem because it is just that good.


Slivers

Ah slivers.... where do I even start?  The strategy behind sliver decks is... cast sliver and you win.... ok I guess that's a bit exaggerated, but I can't help it.  There are two types of Sliver decks that see play in Legacy... control and aggro.. I know not surprising.  Though some maybe a little surprised that Sliver decks can actually compete in the format.  However, do not mistake the fact that they are competitive for the idea that this is a cheap way to enter the format.  I'll start with the strongest Sliver variant in the format... Counter Slivers.

 

 

If you take a look at this deck you see what I mean.  While the creature base is relatively inexpensive this deck holds the infamous Force of Will.  At $66 each the set runs you $264.  Then the mana base (using this example) holds three Tropical Islands, 4 Tundras, and 3 Wasteland.. all of which equates to $237.  The creature base of this deck? $16.  So no this isn't the cheap way to get into the format.  Any ways this deck, like a lot of weenie aggro based decks, uses AEther Vial to really keep things moving.  Especially in this deck the vial is used to 'cheat' Crystalline Sliver into play in order to protect the rest of your creature base.  You'll begin to notice this very essential base for the creation of any blue deck in Legacy...

... 4x Brainstorm ... 4x Daze ... 4x Force of Will ...

Looks familiar doesn't it?  With a base like that and a few synergic creatures you can make almost anything work (if played well at least).  There really isn't much I can say about this deck.  The vial cheats creatures in play and the slivers make each other bigger and more threatening.  Then the player uses Force of Will and Daze to control the tempo.  You can always expect Sliver decks to be pretty simple.  The one thing I would change about this particular list is probably the inclusion of Mutavault because that card is made for tribal decks like this.  The only effective and creative addition I've seen to CounterSliver decks is Standstill since the AEther Vial allows you to bypass setting it off.  In fact in this list have replaced the Ponders that were in it originally for three Standstills.

 

 

This deck tends to look more like something you would see in the casual room for a Tribal Classic game.  The focus of this deck is really on the Slivers themselves and the only additions to it are things like Worship to give it a little staying power.  These types of Sliver decks aren't very popular at all and have mediocre showings, but they come in all forms.  You can basically take a handful of the key Slivers and throw them in a deck.  I would recommend keeping this in the casual room.


Rock

Rock decks are definitely my favorite type because they are really the ideal midrange type decks.  These decks look to control the early game and win in the middle with the help of efficient threats such as the king of Rock... Elvis!.. no wait... Spiritmonger!  Usually Rock decks are GB, but some do add a small splash that is typically white.  Most Rock decks tend to use discard as early game disruption in addition to Pernicious Deed, which works to keep the board clear.  Now there are several different Rock versions these days since the type has evolved so much.  Some of the original creatures such as Phyrexian Plaguelord, which was considered THE rock aren't even included in recent lists.  Let's take a look at some of the variants.

 

Eva Green
A Deck By: Shai Shaham
Creatures
2 Gatekeeper of Malakir
3 Nantuko Shade
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Tombstalker
4 Vampire Nighthawk
16 cards

Other Spells
4 Dark Ritual
3 Snuff Out
4 Hymn to Tourach
3 Maelstrom Pulse
4 Sinkhole
4 Thoughtseize
1
Umezawa's Jitte
16 cards
Lands
4 Bayou
1 Forest
4 Polluted Delta
4 Swamp
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
21 cards

Nantuko Shade

 

Eva Green decks really show what Rock is made of because it holds to the traditional BG base.  This particular list takes good advantage of some of the newer cards such as Gatekeeper of Malakir and Vampire Nighthawk as well as Maelstrom Pulse.  As you can see the deck uses Thoughtseize and Hymn to Tourach to manage an opponent's hand during the early game as well as Sinkhole to slow down lands.  Then the beats come in the form of fantastic black creatures like Nantuko Shade and Tombstalker.  The one thing lacking from this deck is Pernicious Deed, which most use main deck, but instead this one keeps it as a sideboard option.

 

 

This is a Rock version that looks to gain advantage in the game through Gifts Ungiven.  Most decks look similar to this where they have a toolbox of different spells to cover a number of situations that the player might find himself/herself in and then uses Gifts Ungiven to find answers.  The one thing this deck does different then most is use Spell Snare in place of Thoughtseize.  Most use Thoughtseize in order to stick to the Rock's tradition of controlling an opponent's hand in the early game, but this deck's creator wanted the added control that Spell Snare offered because the expected play environment was heavy in 2cc spells.  The nice thing about Gifts Rock is that because it works as a toolbox deck the individual pieces can be changed up based on play preference or meta changes.  Some of the other card choices include Vindicate, Maelstrom Pulse, Crime/Punishment, Life from the Loam, Cabal Therapy, and even Meddling Mage.

There are several other versions of Rock, but I won't go into all of them.  The basics are the same, using black to control the game early and green to win in the middle.  Here's a reference for some of these other decks..

And the future of Rock in Legacy?  Well this seems to be it...

 

 

This is what's referred to as Doran Rocks.  It's a pretty obvious match because Rock decks are known for splashing in white for Vindicate and Swords to Plowshares.  In this case they use Doran, the Siege Tower as yet another mana efficient big beater.  Through my research I saw that while this particular deck had no showings during 2009 there have been several in 2010.  This seems to be the future of The Rock and it is really quite powerful.  In my opinion BGW has the strongest combination of cards and this deck shows that.  Qasali Pridemage, Baneslayer Angel, Doran, the Siege Tower, and Tarmogoyf create a creature base that swings hard and costs little.  Add to that a number of strong removal spells like Maelstrom Pulse, Vindicate, Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares, and Pernicious Deed to get a strong showing.  This particular one focuses mostly on newer spells for removal, but others will make changes to gain more creature control or more hand destruction.  A deck that is heavier on hand destruction will include Hymn to Tourach, Thoughtseize, and Gerrard's Verdict to really gain card advantage.  Decks that have more of a creature focus will include things like Unearth and Knight of the Reliquary.  Also one deck that I came across (here) really wanted to capitalize on generic "permanent" destruction and uses four Maelstrom Pulses and four Vindicates main deck.  Personally I would want to run something more along those lines, but it's held back by needing 3 mana and the lack of Krosan Grip can be brutal based on the current playing environment.


CounterTop

Many players maybe familiar with the CounterTop philosophy.  Like DreadStifle this two card combo can be worked into just about any deck shell in order to add incredible control to a deck.  In fact it is often added to DreadStifle decks to give yet another layer of issue for an opponent.  What happens is that an opponent's spell has the potential to be countered as long as Counterbalance reveals a card with the same casting cost.  So using Sensei's Divining Top a player can rearrange the top cards in hope of putting a card on top that can be used to counter an opponent's spell.  These decks are heavy counter control and typically perform well when played by an experienced pilot.

 

BUG CounterTop
A Deck By: Angel Mena
Creatures
4 Dark Confidant
2 Sower of Temptation
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Trygon Predator
12 cards

Other Spells
4 Brainstorm
3 Daze
2 Doom Blade
4 Force of Will
3 Smother
3 Maelstrom Pulse
2 Ponder
4 Counterbalance
4 Sensei's Divining Top
29 cards
Lands
1 Forest
4 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp
3 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
20 cards

Sideboard
1 Darkblast
3 Extirpate
2 Krosan Grip
2 Ravenous Trap
2 Back to Basics
3 Engineered Plague
2 Blue Elemental Blast
15 cards
Counterbalance

 

Here is one example of a various CounterTop deck.  This deck type tends to be a bit of a "catch all" for decks using the CounterTop combination.  Most are like this example, BUG.  These decks pack a variety of different control spells all using a favorable range of casting costs.  The Dark Confidants are added to give added speed to the deck and then there is a ton of control through Smothers, Doom Blades, Maelstrom Pulses, and even Sower of Temptations.  There are a few mono-blue versions that you'll find, but even the ones that stick to heavy blue usually splash green, again, for Tarmogoyf and Krosan Grips.


Faeries

 

My Girls
A Faerie Deck By: J.E.'Choi' Gillie
Creatures
4 Cloud of Faeries
3 Mistbind Clique
4 Scion of Oona
2 Sower of Temptation
4 Spellstutter Sprite
2 Vendilion Clique
19 cards

Other Spells
4 Brainstorm
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
3 Ancestral Vision
3 Bitterblossom
1 Umezawa's Jitte
19 cards
Lands
8 Island
4 Polluted Delta
4 Secluded Glen
4 Underground Sea
20 cards

Sideboard
2 Echoing Truth
3 Spell Snare
2 Infest
1 Bitterblossom
4 Blue Elemental Blast
3 Chill
11 cards
Scion of Oona

 

This first version of Faeries is really just that.  Like a Sliver/Goblin/Elf deck this one is heavily focused on the Fae tribe.  Scion of Oona adds strength to the relatively weak tribe, Sower of Temptation steals any creature that manages to sneak its way onto the field, and Spellstutter Sprite adds the extra level of control, not to mention the complete shut down of Mistbind Clique.  Like most blue control decks this also holds the Brainstorm, Force of Will, Daze set, but really relies on the power of the tribe to keep things moving.  One thing that this deck is missing, which most using Spellstutter Sprite don't forget, is the Mutavaults.  What Mutavault provides is the ability to get an extra Faerie on the field for only 1 mana, thus pumping the ability of the Spellstutter Sprite.  However, Faerie decks don't have to be so simplified and have splashed other colors in order to do more effective things.

 

UGR Faeries
A Deck By: Roberto Sartini
Creatures
2 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Spellstutter Sprite
2 Cloud of Faeries
4 Tarmogoyf
12 cards

Other Spells
4 Brainstorm
3 Daze
2 Fire/Ice
4 Force of Will
3 Lightning Bolt
3 Spell Snare
3 Stifle
3 Standstill
1 Crucible of Worlds
26 cards
Lands
1 Breeding Pool
1 Faerie Conclave
2 Flooded Strand
2 Island
4 Mishra's Factory
3 Polluted Delta
3 Tropical Island
3 Volcanic Island
3 Wasteland
22 cards

Sideboard
2 Krosan Grip
1 Pyroblast
1 Rough/Tumble
2 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Tormod's Crypt
2 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Red Elemental Blast
2 Misdirection
2 Vedalken Shackles
15 cards
Spellstutter Sprite

 

This deck not only splashes red, but green as well.  I won't explain yet again why green, but it is interesting to look at some of the red cards this deck uses.  Lightning Bolt tends to be a typical addition, not necessarily for direct damage, but instead for a quick creature kill at the cost on R.  Additionally Fire/Ice becomes a card that can be cast on either side depending what the situation is.  During mirror matches or matches against blue heavy decks this one gets access to Pyroblast or Red Elemental Blast in its sideboard and against aggro decks you get Firespout.

The one thing that is missing from these decks is Cloud of Faeries.  This card of course comes from the Urza block and has an effect similar to Rewind.  This untapping mechanic was popular in the Urza block and I look forward to some of those coming online (Rewind was originally from Urza's Saga).


Elves

Well now we come to the Goblin compliment, Elves.  Like Goblins, Elf decks have had a strong control over Magic since the beginning.  This is because of how synergic the creatures are with each other.  These days Elves don't place near as high as Goblins, but there are still some who venture out and play them any way.  While some Elf decks will resemble generic tribal forms this seems to be the most successful variant of the deck type...

 

 

Like the once popular classic version, this deck uses a bunch of mana generating creatures in addition to Glimpse of Nature to get a crazy amount of Elves onto the field.  Also instead of storming Grapeshot these decks tend to prefer Banefire because of the fact that, when cast, it can't be countered, redirected, or prevented.  What more could you want from a direct damage win condition?  Another nice addition to this deck is Mirror Entity because it allows for your Elves to become quite menacing not to mention the haste gained from Concordant Crossroads will allow all those quickly played creatures to swing for a win the turn they come down.  Most people familiar with Elf decks know how to work things with Nettle Sentinel so I won't even try to explain more then you use Heritage Druid and Birchlore Rangers to make mana by continuing to untap Nettle Sentinels.  There are some other versions of this deck that don't use the Banefire ending, but pretty much have their hopes in Mirror Entity instead.  These decks can even tend to run Regal Force and Elvish Visionary to add draw to the Glimpse of Nature.  They also run in more of a tribal fashion as opposed to the combo leanings of the Banefire versions.


Burn.dec

Ok there isn't a lot to say about this deck type.  Burn decks tend to do just that, use fast creatures and direct damage to cheese out an opponent real fast.  A lot of times these decks can fall short with a bit of early hand disruption because after they spend their hand they are in top deck mode and can't regain card advantage.  Sure a couple of these decks use Browbeat, but it really isn't enough.

 

Red Deck Wins
A Deck By: Jiang Yue
Creatures
4 Goblin Guide
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Hellspark Elemental
4 Scorched Rusalka
16 cards

Other Spells
4 Fireblast
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Magma Jet
4 Price of Progress
1 Volcanic Fallout
4 Chain Lightning
4 Rift Bolt
21 cards
Lands
4 Bloodstained Mire
11 Mountain
4 Wooded Foothills
19 cards

Sideboard
2 Incinerate
3 Smash to Smithereens
3 Volcanic Fallout
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Tormod's Crypt
3 Red Elemental Blast
15 cards
Lightning Bolt

 

This version of Red Deck Wins runs the most creatures that you'd ever want in this deck.  Anymore and you end up using valuable space that could be replaced with burn spells.  As mentioned you can see this deck has no way to get cards back in hand, but it does have a few ways of making artificial card advantage.  The first is the use of Magma Jet because the Scry 2 lets you rearrange enough to move a land out of the way and move a burn spell into the draw.  The second is Hellspark Elemental's unearth ability because it basically allows you to attack twice with the Hellspark Elemental before it is destroyed.  You can find other burn decks that use Keldon Marauders or Ball Lightning, etc. as their only creatures and then pack the rest of the deck with heavy burn spells.  While this kind of deck may win sometimes, but a deck like the one above is a little more tuned towards the burn goal.


Survival Variants

This is yet another broad generalization of decks using Survival of the Fittest to power out creatures.  Because this is basically a one card strategy you'll find that several decks use Survival of the Fittest as an addition to other goals.

 

 

Now when I first came across this deck I first thought that it was a variant on Cephalid Breakfast, but was quite wrong.  This deck is relatively combo based, but instead of a reanimation combo this one looks to abuse Volrath's Shapeshifter with the help of Survival of the Fittest.  Once you have Volrath's Shapeshifter on the field you can fetch yourself a Phage the Untouchable and discard it so that the shapeshifter becomes it.  In order to protect the combo the deck runs Force of Will.  The newer versions pack quite the array of creatures and other abuses thanks to Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Show and Tell, and Karmic Guide.

 

 

Like FEB this deck runs a toolbox of different creatures, but the idea behind it's Survival of the Fittest use is a bit different.  There is a lot of things to note in this deck.  First many Survival of the Fittest based decks like to add Squee, Goblin Nabob so they can have recurring discard.  Second the deck looks to abuse Recurring Nightmare and other recursion like Pattern of Rebirth, Body Double, Eternal Witness, etc.  Another thing I prefer in this deck is the use of discard such as Cabal Therapy and Thoughtseize instead of Counterspells, but that's just my personal play style.

Two other versions I found were Survival Rock and Survival Advantage.  You can click on the names to see examples of them.  They are pretty much just slightly edited versions of these decks here. The differences are that the Rock version pretty much sticks to Rock colors and putting in Tarmogoyfs while the Advantage one looks to be more creature focused in its attack strategy, wishing out answers and using its array of creatures to really push through (not sure I explained that last part well, but check out the deck and you'll better understand what I mean).


Enchantress

Now anyone who has read my articles knows that I really love the power of enchantments in Magic.  This deck is the ultimate as far as enchantment decks are concerned.  What we're really missing at the moment is the Argothian Enchantress because it really is the backbone to these decks.  Take a look...

 

 

Now I know there are more cards missing that are really important to the deck type.  Replenish and Serra's Sanctum are huge parts of this deck for rather obvious reasons.  For those who aren't familiar with those cards Replenish allows you to return all enchantments from your graveyard to play and Serra's Sanctum is a land that taps to give you W for each enchantment you have in play.  There is so much good stuff in here.  Solitary Confinement is generically the greatest control that this deck offers, but it has Oblivion Ring, Moat, and Ground Seal.  You get really the who's who of enchantments and you get Sterling Grove to find what you need.  This deck creates a win through Sigil of the Empty Throne or by burning down an opponent through Words of War thanks to such crazy card draws being created off of Argothian Enchantress and Enchantress's Presence.  You can even see the sideboard here is all enchantments.  The colors just bring so much power to the table when it comes to enchantments, it's not surprising (to me at least) that decks like this occasionally show up and perform rather well.  Now if only I can finally find some Sterling Groves.....


Affinity

Ah yes Affinity.  This deck ran rampant in Classic for a long time, but rarely will make an appearance any more.  Allow me to refresh your memory for those who may have forgotten...

 

 

The powerhouses in these decks are threefold.  The first strategy is to use Arcbound Ravager, the second is Disciple of the Vault, the third is equipping Cranial Plating on anything.  Seems relatively simple eh?  Together these three parts really allow an affinity deck to dominate a game through many different directions.  A newer addition to these decks is the Master of Etherium, which simply gets big fast in a deck that is so artifact heavy.  The modular abilities really help you by letting a modular creature die, but moving around its size in order to keep the threat on the table.  While this deck packs things like Shrapnel Blast others prefer to stay more artifact traditional.  The more traditional ones will run a cleaner creature base keeping to 4 ofs and running Myr Enforcer and/or Somber Hoverguard.  Extra control can be added to these decks as well with things such as Chalice of the Void and Thoughtseize, but when customizing this deck you really want to keep the core intact because really those are the strongest cards available to artifact heavy decks.  I mean really what would you even consider replacing Arcbound Ravager with?  Or Cranial Plating.... yeah that's what I thought.

There is also a group of decks called AfFOWnity, but they are basically the same shell and just run Force of Wills for added control.


White Weenie

White Weenie decks have been popular ever since they were dominated by Pegasus tokens.  In today's Legacy environment White Weenie decks aren't really as common and are actually considered to be a bit of a joke.  One player commented that a meta was "undeveloped" if people were running decks like these.  I guess this can be understood to a point because the few people who run the deck don't usually place very high.

 

 

Here's one version that uses the glory that is Kithkin to get fast aggro going, but the deck really ends up looking like something you'd see in the Standard meta during Lorwyn block.  Other strong showings came from Soldier based White Weenie decks like this one...

 

 

This deck is really a soldier tribal deck, but thanks to recent editions to the Soldier tribe there is some powerful stuff for them to work with.  When running eight removals at the W casting cost in addition to a handful of synergic creatures you can manage to pull out a few wins here and there.  One really creative version I found may or may not be considered White Weenie by the classic definition, but here it is...

 

 

This is White Weenie deck that uses Exalted Angel to give the deck a "cheap", but effective flier in addition to Serra Avenger and they both give the deck evasion.  The deck also provides the creatures with an array of equipments like Sword of Fire and Ice or Umezawa's Jitte.

 

Angel Stompy Control
A Deck By: Andreas Pisch
Creatures
4 Aven Mindcensor
4 Calciderm
3 Exalted Angel
4 Glowrider
15 cards

Other Spells
3 Cataclysm
3 Oblivion Ring
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Chrome Mox
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
4 Trinisphere
3 Umezawa's Jitte
4 City of Traitors
3 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
22 cards
Lands
4 Ancient Tomb
3 Flagstones of Trokair
9 Plains
16 cards

Trinisphere

 

Another version of Angel Stompy can be seen here and brings a whole new face to the idea.  This deck uses Exalted Angel and Calciderm to really create problems while also being able to really control the tempo of the game.  The deck runs Glowrider to up casting costs, Cataclysm to almost Balance the board, Chalice of the Void to shut down opposing strategies, and even Trinisphere to make popular spells like Lightning Bolt, Brainstorm, Swords to Plowshares, and Stifle much harder to cast.  If you're really set on running a white deck I would definitely go with this.


Painter Stone

The (Painter's Servent) and Grindstone combination is one that, again, many should be familiar with.  All of the decks that focus on this idea look to do the same thing.  Fetch out a Painter's Servant and use it to colorize a deck in order to deck an opponent through Grindstone.  Decks have to be a little more creative than just putting those cards out because if a piece of that combo gets removed then the deck would be a sitting duck.

 

 

This is the traditional, basic Painter Stone deck.  With Dark Confidant and Trinket Mage the deck looks to get to the combo as fast as possible.  However, instead of having an alternative strategy in case a piece is removed it relies on heavy Counterspells in addition to Counterbalance to keep the combo safe.  The only proactive attempt this deck makes is Duress in the sideboard.  These decks are also often called Epic Painter decks and have been known to use things such as Lim-Dul's Vault, Thoughtseize, Leyline of the Void, etc. in order to maximize the use of the black splash.  UBR Painter is a deck that keeps the same format, but adds red to the mix to battle through a blue heavy meta.  This deck includes things like Red Elemental Blast and Pyroblast main deck.  The only reason to do that or run this is if you know the playing environment will be heavy blue.  The deck also gains some Zoo protection in the sideboard through Pyroclasm or Firespout.

 

Imperial Painter
A Deck By: Michael Heir
Creatures
4 Imperial Recruiter
2 Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
4 Magus of the Moon
4 Painter's Servant
4 Simian Spirit Guide
18 cards

Other Spells
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Magma Jet
4 Pyroblast
4 Red Elemental Blast
3 Blood Moon
4 Chrome Mox
4 Grindstone
4 City of Traitors
22 cards
Lands
4 Ancient Tomb
8 Mountain
12 cards

Imperial Recruiter

 

This version of PainterStone has to be my personal favorite.  One thing people often forget about the PainterStone combo is the fact that it doesn't need blue.  Just about every deck you'll find that does run the combo has blue as the base.  This deck really looks to still keep the combo and step WAY outside of the meta.  This deck has what could be the answer to most of Legacy.  Through four Blood Moons and 4 Magus of the Moons this deck works to shut down the non-basic heavy land base of just about every deck.  Then you can see all of the blue hate with four Red Elemental Blasts and 4 Pyroblasts in the main deck (I won't even go into how anti-blue it is having Jaya Ballard, Task Mage in the deck either).  Instead of using Trinket Mage to fetch out pieces this deck uses Imperial Recruiter.  Also this deck can get the combo online fast because it has mana ramp in the forms of Simian Spirit Guide and Chrome Mox.  With an ideal hand this deck could probably go off on turn 2.


43 Land

The name sounds crazy.  The idea seems crazy.  But guess what?  It works.  As the name suggests this deck was built with 43 lands, leaving room only for 17 other spells.  The original version of this deck used those 43 lands in combination with Life from the Loam and Mulch to gain card advantage.  With these decks everything you need is built into the lands.  Need creatures?  Well we have things like Treetop Village, Mishra's Factory, and Nantuko Monastery.  Need creature control?  We got that too in the form of The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale and Maze of Ith, not to mention the burn and control given by Barbarian Ring.  Need mana denial?  We got that too with Wasteland and Rishadan Port.  Add in recursion for those lands and you have a pretty successful idea.  Newer versions of this deck, however, don't usually stick to the 43 land base and instead run anywhere from 30 to about 38 lands.

 

 

The first example is one called Eternal Garden and it runs only 33 lands.  As you'll notice here the deck often runs Ghost Quarter in addition to Rishadan Port and Wasteland to add more pressure thanks to the land destruction.  Also this deck makes great use of Dark Confidant... because most of the deck is land your odds of revealing a land and taking 0 damage are great, which means you get a free card draw.  Also these decks often run extra recursion through Crucible of Worlds and Eternal Witness so that they can work around options that set out to stop your Life from the Loam and land recursion.  In these decks they leave out Barbarian Ring to make room for things like Worm Harvest or simply replace it with Cabal Pit.

 

 

This version of the deck relates much closer to the type's originator then Eternal Green does.  As you can see here the deck runs 38 lands and is more focused on winning through the abilities of those lands instead of using outside help.  This deck has multiple man-lands and even adds Gargoyle Castle to keep bringing back the creature creator over and over.  One nice addition to this list is Mindslaver because it can be used in combination with Academy Ruins to pretty much lock out an opponent for the remainder of the game.  These decks take a bit of practice to get right, but once you do then it can be quite powerful and often unexpected.  The biggest issue with it currently is the lack of not just the Urza cards, but we don't yet have lands like Maze of Ith or Rishadan Port (or The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale for that matter because it's apparently hard to come by).


Brain Freeze Combo

Don't let the chart fool you.  Even though it says that Brain Freeze decks make up 0% of the decks out there, the truth of the matter is that they just make up such a small portion that it's less than 1%.  Brain Freeze is yet another storm piece that looks to mill out an opponent's library.  This type of deck was popular at one point and coupled with Mind's Desire and Tendrils of Agony, but since the addition of Ad Nauseam it has fallen from favor.

 

Spring Tide
A Deck By: Dominik Keicher
Creatures
4 Cloud of Faeries
4 cards

Other Spells
1 Brain Freeze
4 Brainstorm
3 Cunning Wish
2 Flash of Insight
4 Force of Will
4 High Tide
4 Meditate
4 Snap
3 Turnabout
4 Ideas Unbound
3 Merchant Scroll
4 Ponder
40 cards
Lands
4 Flooded Strand
12 Island
16 cards

Brain Freeze

 

This is the first version I'd like to look at.  As you can see this is a mono blue deck and cheats extra spells into the count thanks to those Urza cards that I was referring to earlier.  With all of your Cloud of Faeries and Snaps you can cast a loop of spells for two mana.  You simple tap out to play Cloud of Faeries and untapping your two lands.  Then you cast Snap bouncing the Cloud of Faeries back to your hand so you can recast it.  With four bounces and four Faeries you can get the spell count up to 12 spells.  Then the deck uses Turnabout for untapping lands and High Tide for extra blue mana to give you the power you need to power out spells.  Also in this deck Meditate becomes quite useful because when it's used you should be expecting to not be taking a next turn, it should be game.  The only shaky part of this deck is the fact that it really lacks heavy protection for the storm so you have to go all or nothing with hopes of some Force of Wills.

 

 

This second deck is a little more popular then Spring Tide.  This deck is also mono blue, but uses things like Reset to add to the mana count.  You'll also notice that this deck is packing a lot more control with the addition of not only Remand, but Cryptic Command as well.  Another nice addition to the deck is Cunning Wish, which allows you to fetch either cheap spells to add to your count or Brain Freeze even if you're having trouble finding it.  The deck also looks to siphon out some of its land by using those fetch lands to do so.


Wow!  Ok so that was a lot of work.  Well there you have it, I set out wanting to see what decks Legacy offered and now you all get a chance to see my findings.  Not sure I have much to say after all that except that I hope this helped others with the same curious interest get an idea of what's available to play.

Let me also make a quick apology because I know there are some card links that aren't working.  With the article formatting there are just some that don't for whatever reason.  Also instead of making changes I hope people understand that certain references to cards from Urza not being online were written up before they were added by the awesome PureMTGO staff.  Anyways I hope you all enjoyed my look at deck types in the Legacy format.

-JustSin

16 Comments

you can not kgrip by menace (not verified) at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 07:47
menace's picture

you can not kgrip standstill..it will trigger

ah you're right, big error on by JustSin at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 10:37
JustSin's picture

ah you're right, big error on my part, I had figured that Split Second doesn't allow for triggers, but I was mistaking thank you for pointing that out

Thanks by Raddman at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 09:06
Raddman's picture

Thanks for the props, I will have to sink my teeth into this article a little bit later when I am trying to avoid work :) The last article you mentioned that I am writing has been submitted, so look for it soon.

Banefire CAN be redirected. by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 11:21
Anonymous's picture

Banefire CAN be redirected.

man I'm winning big points by JustSin at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 11:32
JustSin's picture

man I'm winning big points here today :( ... yes Banefire can be redirected, I guess I had a slip of mind there because that I knew, whereas Standstill Grip I didn't.... apologies again and thanks for the correction

Hey by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 12:19
Anonymous's picture

Love your articles and have been reading them for some time now. Thanks for your contributions. Side note -why do you make it a point to emphasize SIN in your name? I know it's just a name and shouldn't matter to anyone so much, but for some reason it sits uneasy with me. Maybe if I understood the mystery of why you are emphasizing it, I could move on to more important things to think about. LOL.

Thanks for the support I was by JustSin at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 12:49
JustSin's picture

Thanks for the support I was feeling kinda bad about those two obvious errors lol that made me feel better, I'm glad you're enjoying the articles

As for the name lol well it was a motto for me and friends way back in high school.. Just Sin.. an easier way to kinda say live life without bounds and have fun since it always seems that the fun things are viewed as sinful.. I took it and used the name for my website and in game name

Lol I was so thinking the by Raddman at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 12:58
Raddman's picture

Lol I was so thinking the same thing about the Sin comment. Ok onto the article. I have read the entire thing and want to thank you for the hard work and effort you put into it. I know how much time it takes to properly edit the info and how frustrating the editor can be (no not Josh lol). I know you already made comments about your "Other" category, but I think some of them needed their own piece of the pie.

Team America seems like it needs its own category, so does Stax (White and green). I know when I did my research Fish decks were all over the map, but they really should have their own as well imo.
Also I am assuming you included dredge in the reanimator category and I think dredge needs its own.
I want to be clear that I am not complaining about the content, I think you did a tremendous job on that, just wanted to comment on the pie chart.

Also, it seems to me that UGW Thresh is heading more into the ProBant category, running a Natural Order/Progenitus package. When I did my research I did the same thing you did, seperated the two. I think tho that maybe this is the future of UGW Thresh.

I can honestly say I have never thought of EvaGreen as a rock varient lol......Guess I am still a noob at heart.

Great job, lots of great information easily accessible with tons of decklists to spark interest in the format.

Thanks again for the hard work!

I totally understand, just by JustSin at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 13:33
JustSin's picture

I totally understand, just like with ArchGenius' articles it's sometimes hard to categorize.. to give an insight what I did was tally numbers from 09 Legacy decks and ordered them from the most played to the least played.. then in an attempt to make this a little shorter then it could have been I narrowed it to top 24 deck types and grouped the rest into a 25th "Other" group lol perhaps a little silly, but it saved time because those could all have their own group, but there was even many more "rogue" decks that I didn't list in the other group it's really crazy how many types can be shown, perhaps it'd fit in another article lol thanks for the feedback I appreciate it

Yea I understand, at some by Raddman at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 13:39
Raddman's picture

Yea I understand, at some point you gotta say, "Enough is enough" and just conclude the research. This is exactly why I stopped at 47 decklists. I was thinking to myself, oh my gosh when is this going to end. There were so many rogue decks that finally I just decided on two that looked appealing and placed well in their respective tournament.
Maybe a 2nd article is needed to cover the rogues?

Awesome article! I've been by Sean (not verified) at Fri, 02/26/2010 - 19:18
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Awesome article! I've been considering getting into Legacy and this is getting bookmarked for sure.

Holy crap that's alot of deck by Doctor Anime at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 15:04
Doctor Anime's picture
5

Holy crap that's alot of deck summaries! I admit I only got to Reanimator for now, but without any knowledge or previous interest in the Legacy format you me interested, so job well done. I love articles that are packed with content.

I guess the pie chart may help answering this, but are all the decks you listed tier 1 or are some overall stronger in the current meta than others? Another area that I'm curious about is the overall price to build these various archetypes.

Thanks for the comment, it is by JustSin at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 15:24
JustSin's picture

Thanks for the comment, it is a lot, but one of those things you can bookmark it for later reference, and with all the deck options there is something for everyone

What I did with the pie chart was look at all the decks I found for 09 Legacy and put em in order starting with those that appeared most in Legacy tournaments to the least showings.. then as I said cut them to 25.. I'm going to start on a second article I think to cover the "Other" section, its simply a showing of popularity as opposed to strength

To get an idea at what the costs are I really recommend checking the section at the top where I talk about other articles on Legacy.. there was a great one to answer that question by DangerLinto, Embracing Legacy Online

Dangers article was great at by ImpinAintEasy (not verified) at Sat, 02/27/2010 - 19:56
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Dangers article was great at addressing that. You could also take a look at the next article I am due to have published (submitted, I am asssuming it should be up on Monday or Tuesday). It shows pricing relative to cards on mtgo. Unfortunately some of those decklists have cards not online yet so the pricing will need to be adjusted once they arrive. Legacy lists run from around 90 bucks to 1000.

dragon stompy should have by Anonymous (not verified) at Sun, 02/28/2010 - 14:52
Anonymous's picture

dragon stompy should have been mentioned : )

I think there's going to be a by JustSin at Sun, 02/28/2010 - 15:05
JustSin's picture

I think there's going to be a second article where I cover the other/rogue decks more