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By: jay85, Jay Nelson
Aug 26 2015 11:00am
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 I'm so glad I've taken the plunge into this fantastic format known as Legacy. Back when Treasure Cruise was still legal I owned a UWR Delver deck but I hardly ever played it. At the time Modern was still consuming most of my time. But after the Modern Festival I found myself wishing to play a different format. I decided to take a deeper look into Legacy. By then Treasure Cruise was now a banned card and my Delver deck was obsolete. I knew if I was to play Legacy I would have to invest in another deck, but I was a little skeptical of spending money on a format I was largely unfamiliar with. To be honest, there were some things about Legacy I had read that scared me. I decided to just take a leap of faith much like Indiana Jones did toward the end of the Last Crusade.

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Indy, taking the leap into Legacy

 Well, it didn't take too long to realize these things I had heard about Legacy were actually just misconceptions. Today I would like to share with you the misconceptions I personally had before fully investing in this crazy format.

 

Only Blue Decks are Competitive

 Now don't get me wrong, I love Islands. I enjoy playing blue and I don't have a problem facing it, but I also like to have variety. When I heard that Legacy was nothing but blue decks, I cringed. It sounded lop-sided to me. Sometimes I like to play Rakdos, Golgari, or Junk decks. If this isn't possible in Legacy then I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it as much as I enjoy Modern.

 Not only do I now feel this is a big misconception but I also think people who claim this as truth are disrespecting the format. Nonblue decks can and are competitive, but there is a slight catch to this. If you decide to not play blue then you must still play within blue's world, because something that is absolutely fact about Legacy is that blue dominates the field. If you want to stay competitive then you will have to accept this and, in my opinion, play an "anti-blue" kind of deck.

  1. MUD
  2. Sylvan Plug
  3. Maverick
  4. Death and Taxes

 There are other decks: Goblins, Elves, Deadguy Ale, Lands, Imperial Painter, etc. but the four above are my favorite nonblue decks and they all have a similar strategy of trying to punish blue decks with Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere. Or, if not that, then they at least attempt to play around counters altogether with Aether Vial and tax their opponents' cheap spells with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Vryn Wingmare.

 Any of the archetypes mentioned above will do just fine going 3-0 in a daily event. In all honesty, blue decks do place better in paper tournaments, however, there are nonblue decks that can still put up a fight. Just recently Burn and Elves took 4th and 5th at SCG Legacy Premier IQ Charlotte and Lands took 4th in the 2015 Eternal Weekend Legacy Championship

 

Legacy is a Turn One Format

 This was another problem I worried about. I really did not want to spend my hard earned cash on cards if I never even got a turn to cast any of them. Whenever I spoke to people about Legacy they always told me, "It's a turn one format, dude. It's decided by the dice roll." 

 Well, this is actually false and the people who say otherwise don't play Legacy to begin with. If they did then they would not say it was true because I play Legacy and most of my matches are intense nail-biters that are not over on turn one. I would say the first few turns are vital and so is your opening hand but it really is no different than other formats. There is an exception, of course. Goblin Charbelcher wins on turn one but it's a rare exception and does not claim a significant percentage of the metagame.

 I can't even recall how many matches end because of Deathrite Shaman slowly bleeding opponents' life totals, or attacking with just one Insectile Aberration, or by Miracles slowly locking you out with Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top. A vast majority of games are like this, too. It takes a long process to sculpt your hand with cantrips and develop your board before you even get a chance to claim victory.

 Between Modern and Legacy, most Modern matches end a whole lot sooner than Legacy's. I think it's hard to argue that, what with all the combo decks running rampant in Modern. That's ok, too. Modern is the combo format, after all. I may be biased since my go-to Modern deck right now is Splinter Twin, but I find it's far more likely that games end on turn four in Modern than in Legacy. 

 I believe the problem is people think a long, drawn out game is a good game of Magic and a short, brief game is a waste of time and not a "real" game. In truth, though, games of Magic are usually much shorter than people realize. Control decks like Miracles are exceptions but only because they are built to win in the late game, unlike most other archetypes.

 If this misconception is holding you back, then relax. Trust me, it's not true. Play Legacy and you, too will realize this is a big fat phony.

 

The Metagame is Stale

 After I discovered my UWR Delver deck was no longer competitive enough and I had to do some research into a new playable deck, I was scared that there would only be a couple decks good enough. I don't like playing the mirror match and I try to avoid it by choosing decks that are more the underdog, so I didn't want to simply convert over to Jeskai Stoneblade and I didn't want to play Miracles. But would there be other options, and if there were other choices that piqued my interest, would they be good enough to compete with?

 The answer was yes, there are plenty of options to choose from. The Online metagame is varied and exciting. I've yet to play against the same deck twice in a daily, even when the events were four rounds. You'll probably play against Miracles each time (at least I always seem to) but it's no different than having to play against Grixis Control or Affinity in Modern. These decks are popular so it makes sense you'll play against them a lot. But this in no way proves a metagame is stagnant, just that it's defined.

 Just look at the percentages. At the time of me writing this, Miracles only makes up 11.98% of the meta. Abzan Midrange in Standard is 14.44%. Splinter Twin is just 8.16% of Modern. Delver in Pauper stands out at 13.33% and Workshop decks take up a whopping total of 26.92% of Vintage! Good Lord...

 Seriously, if a format's stale it sure as heck ain't Legacy.

 

Legacy is a Dying Format

 Nobody wants to purchase cards, especially expensive ones, if they are afraid the entire format is dead, or will be soon enough.

 Now, it is true that it's difficult to get a match or two out of the Practice Room. I'm use to Modern's TP room where at any time in the day or night I can reliably jump into the lobby and play matches 'til my heart's content. Legacy is not like that, but that doesn't mean it's dying. It may not be as popular as Standard or Modern but plenty of people do play it and the fact that I haven't seen nor heard of a Legacy daily failing to fire recently is proof enough for me to feel confident that Legacy is not going anywhere.

 Jumping from Modern or Standard to Legacy will require you to change how you use to play. If you want to participate then you'll have to play the dailies. This has led me to play in events with decks I've never even practiced with just so I would have videos for my articles. It's tough and opponents will have an edge on you because of this, but I feel confident enough in myself to play well.

 I know people are starving for Legacy content which means there is a demand for it. As long as people are interested, it will not die. The modern Legacy format has been around since 2004. Eleven years later and the format is still being played. Legacy will continue to stick around and even grow. 

 

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MUD Vs. Lands

(My article on MUD can be found here)

 When I took the jump from Standard to Modern I had to first research decks I wanted to build. I had stumbled across videos of Daryl Ayers playing Scapeshift. I then read his primer on the deck. Afterward, I was completely sold on it because of his passion for killing his opponents with lands. At the time it felt so unconventional to me that I just had to build Scapeshift. Daryl Ayers became my favorite player. Some people will tell you their favorite is LSV or Gerry Thompson, but I was running around telling my friends about Daryl.

 This replay video was from a daily event right before the switch from 4 rounds to just 3. I ended up going 3-1 with MUD, which was a nice thing to do for the last time before the dailies became scheduled 8-mans. 

 Maybe you can imagine what it's like to play against your favorite player in a daily. Perhaps you've been lucky enough to play against your favorite at one time. I was so excited when I saw who my Round One opponent was, I regret not at least saying hello or good luck to him, but I was already distracted enough as it was and I really wanted to concentrate on the match and beat him.

 Here I was battling a guy who had unknowingly hooked me on Scapeshift, and thus an entire format, for years. Beating him felt like such a huge milestone for me. Daryl Ayers is someone I have, and continue, to look up to. Next time we get paired together I may lose, or I might win again, but this particular match will stick with me forever.

 

Sylvan Plug Vs. RB Reanimator 

(My article on Sylvan Plug can be found here

 This match was a good one. My opponent's turn one play was ridiculous but my comeback was phenomenal. I didn't do so hot in the daily, ending up with a lousy 1-2 record, but this Round 3 match was well worth it. Enjoy! 

 

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 Legacy is a great format that will test your skill and, as you can see in the second video, sometimes even your luck. If I didn't have Obstinate Baloth in my opening hand I woulda been screwed! My opponent never said anything to me but I'm sure he was tilted, which would be understandable. I mean, wouldn't you after such a crazy turn one play like that?

 If you're someone who is hesitant buying into Legacy because of some of these misconceptions, I hope after reading this article you feel more comfortable and reassured that whatever you may hear or read, Legacy is a fun, exciting, and powerful format. My advice is to try it out, throw caution to the wind, and judge it for yourself. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised. Until next time, thank you for taking the time to read my article!