Happy Friday MTG peeps,
We have a special treat for you today from a fellow Blogger and friend of ours who we hang out with at FNM. Richard Laurie of Legacy Inferno (website HERE, twitter HERE) had accepted a request from us to write up an article on Magic the Gathering's Legacy format - a format which we have yet to explore but are excited to learn more about. As we have been playing casual only since Lorwyn block, we are looking forward to this tour that Richard will give us. Please check out his other great articles .
Legacy Of The Force, By Richard Laurie
Those of you who don't know the now, the now is Legacy – It is Magic The Gathering's second largest format mostly due impart by the Star City Games Open Series. If you are unfamiliar with this tournament series is run almost weekly all over the U.S.A. It is a 2 day event with the Standard (Type II) run on the Saturday, and Legacy run on the Sunday. Due to this series it has opened up and essentially exploded the Legacy format into the Magic mainstream.
So why is Legacy so much fun? Well I think this is clearly a personal question for each and everyone of us as players, or pros. I can give you my answer, and it is very simple, standard no longer offered me a challenge or enjoyment so I moved in a direction that brought me back to the Eternal format.
This direction started 3 years ago for me, I had left magic for a little while to pursue my professional career. I left after the Mirrodin Block, and returned during Lorwyn. I will admit that from that point forward I didn't play many standard events, I drafted a lot, but to be honest, I suck at limited, because the irony of this, is I feel so limited within it. So I drifted away from drafting and moved myself into a more casual environment to E.D.H. - What EDH/Commander offered me was the chance to go through all my old cards and build and tinker with decks. Particularly taking the best cards in magic and building a deck to play them in. What it reminded me of was back in high school when I would sit in the cafe with my friends and play during our spare periods or lunch break. But it also re-lite a fire within me for my real passion of the game.
Around the same time LSV was winning with Black/White Tokens, this deck intrigued me so much that I built and modified it for Legacy, so I could play with some local players against their Legacy decks, which was a sui-black, leyline, and landstill deck. To be honest the deck sucked against those decks. So I moved on, and evolved, like how this game continues to evolve.
Legacy as a format is has a continuous evolution, more so than any other format in the fact that it has a larger card pool to draw from. “As of Jan 31st, 2011, there are 20,043 unique cards. This includes EVERY card, from promo cards to tokens.” if you compare that number to say Standard which currently has the Zendikar Block, M11, and Two parts of the Scars of Mirrodin block (New Phyrexia due out soon) the card pool is literally a few times larger.
Since the diversity of Legacy is so vast, the ability to build a top tier competitive deck also increases as it is clearly available to mix the old with the new. If you pay attention to the standard universe, you would see right now, the top deck is Caw-Blade and it's variants. Would it surprise you to learn that there is also a Caw-Blade deck in Legacy? Which for all intense and purposes hasn't really shown up on any tournament winning top 16/8/4 finishes, but Legacy players were actually intrigued by Brian Kibler's brain child for standard. I myself have even tinkered with the Caw-Blade deck for Legacy, I certainly won't say how bad it turned out to be for myself playing it, but it is a deck that unlike it's Standard partner is in the developmental stages for Legacy by those working to try and crack it.
So what are the Top Deck's in Legacy? Well, there are many, if you asked me this exact same question last year, I would look at you like a donk and think what are you new? It's survival of the fittest. But when survival of fittest got banned, Legacy was just winding down it's 2010 season, and because of this players resorted back to Aggro, Control, Combo, and Rouge decks.
Aggro decks in Legacy have a few sub-categories. Zoo, Fish, Goblins etc... Zoo has been a mainstay deck in almost every format played. While the decks are similar in their nature, they certainly aren't similar in their design. Legacy Zoo for example capitalizes greatly on a super fast aggro strategy with a creature base that in all honest you really don't want to go against, because it takes the best of the best and beats you in the face with it. An example of these creatures is as follows:
Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Goblin Legionnaire/Figure of Destiny
A very fast an aggressive play will keep you on your toys, if you aren't prepared for this, however, where this deck can fail, is of course against and equally aggressive control deck.
The control deck is for all intense and purpose a bane on any aggro players deck, if they aren't prepared for it. As much as, Aether Vial is a pain in the ass to any control deck, that allowed it to resolve. For a good example of control in Legacy, we can look at two different yet similar decks Mono Blue control, and CounterTop – Monoblue control is pretty straight forward, it is your basic permission deck, a low creature count, for their winning strategy, and keeping your field clear of anything that will hinder their win against you. - CounterTop on the other hand is a much more resilient style of deck, as it has a very aggressive aggro strategy to back up it's counter capability, the key components to CounterTop is manipulating the top of their decks with card's like Sensei’s Divining Top, Brainstorm, and in some cases depending on the build Jace The Mind Sculptor. These cards, are then entwined with the card that give's CounterTop it's name Counterbalance this two drop enchantment which states:
“Whenever an opponent casts a spell, you may reveal the top card of your library. If you do, counter that spell if it has the same converted mana cost as the revealed card.”So with the ability to manipulate the deck, it gives you access to pretty much stop most things, however without counterbalance on the field, CounterTop decks relay on countering your key cards with Daze, and Force of Will, and a few other minor counter spell cards. Backed up with either a combo kill like Sword of the Meek and Thopter Foundry, or beat down creatures like Tarmagoyf, Progenitus etc. CounterTop decks can be a huge pain in the side against the Aggro player, Where counter decks can fail however is against not only itself sometimes, but also against Combo more importantly Storm.
Storm style decks and Combo decks have been part of Legacy for a while now. 3 of the biggest decks, in this scenario are The Epic Storm (TES), Ad Nauseam Tendrils(ANT), and Time Spiral/High Tide. These decks all have a similar aspect, but kill you very differently, TES for example, like it ANT uses Tendrils of Agony to drain the life right out of you, a first turn TES or ANT can be as surprising as getting a goblin charbelcher to the face on first turn and seeing that mountain flip and have it deal twice the amount of the damage revealed – However, TES unlike ANT has a back up plan, it plays a card called Empty the Warrens, which for it's storm count put's 2 1/1 goblin token into play
Sometimes and I have seen this happen many times, turn one you have ten goblins in front of you and you haven't even played a land yet. It's can be really heartbreaking when you lose to combo, personally, I respect the deck more, then I really ever respect the Combo player. It is just a stigma that I have, and I am not ashamed to admit it.
So this leaves us with one more topic, and that is the Rogue deck, these decks have and always will be a part of magic, they tend to be the deck that no one sees coming, no one is either A) Prepared for or B) Can completely devastate. Many of these rogue decks however, have become established competitive decks that many people play now. As I previously mentioned in this article Legacy has a huge card pool to draw from, with over 20,000+ spells to have access to, there is always going to be something new that can be added to this game, and always something that can be cracked wide open.
Well that is it, I would like to thank MTG Relem for giving me this opportunity to write for their page, and share with you my tidbits of information on Legacy. If you would like to read more about Legacy, then I suggest you come give me a visit at my own Legacy dedicated blog.
Some informational links as well:
The Source: which is the site for Legacy forum chats, deck discussions and so on.
Crazy Talk – A podcast dedicated to Legacy from your hosts Kar Yung Tom ,Alexander Hayne,
François Richard and Jonathan Medina which can be heard at http://www.mtgcast.com
PLUG PLUG PLUG for mine and MTG Realm local shop: OMG Games & Collectibles. A wicked store for playing at with a great and knowledgeable staff. Special events from FNM, to video game tournaments if that's your thing. Check them out on Facebook for for event listings and such.