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April 3, 2019

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Making the Jump to Legacy; Prepping for Niagara Falls

Hey, MTGCanada readers! I’m back with a beginner’s look at the Legacy format as I prepare to step into the big leagues. If you’re unaware, Legacy is a format that includes cards from every Magic set in history, which provides some very powerful and entertaining game play.

Part of the reason I wanted to write this article is to highlight some of the easier decks to jump into the format with. Owning Legacy decks can prove more costly than some players care for, but I’ve found that there are people willing to lend you cards or even a full deck – as long as you’ve proven yourself a responsible member of their community. Up until now, my experiences in Legacy were with Burn (one of the cheaper decks to play by far) plus a few more expensive decks like Painter Combo thanks to my fantastic friends. Luckily, some of those friends owned Magic shops, so my experiences for a beginner have been interesting.

I used to borrow a fully foiled out Painter’s Servant combo deck from my buddy Logan up North, which was actually how I got most of my Legacy experience. However, now I’ve moved and don’t have access to the same card-share networks. I was able to cobble my Burn deck together over time since a good chunk of the pieces come from the Modern Burn deck, which I already owned.

When considering playing the Legacy Grand Prix at MagicFest Niagara Falls, my first thought was Burn. It was easy-ish, cheap to update, and I already owned most of it. Luckily for me, I was able to find a willing friend with some expensive artifacts that I could borrow, so I’ve since changed course. Now I’m testing Charbelcher.

When trying to decide on Burn or another playable and relatively inexpensive deck, I researched a few options. Here are the ones I narrowed the search down to:

– Burn, approx. $400 CAD
Manaless Dredge, approx. $450 CAD
– Death and Taxes, approx. $1050 CAD
– Mono U Aggro, approx. $1300 CAD
– Reanimator, approx. $1350 CAD
– 
Charbelcher, approx. $1350 CAD

Let’s take a quick look at a typical list for each, and what the deck is trying to do.

 

Burn, approx. $400

 

This is one of the more straightforward archetypes to play and doesn’t require a crazy collection or vast knowledge of the format. I will admit that I feel slightly disadvantaged playing this deck, but it pops up relatively often topping tournaments. Burn always seems to be a reasonable option. Most players with any knowledge of the Modern format will be easily able to pick this up and play.

Eternal Weekend Burn

Eternal Weekend Trial (Legacy) Burn

Creatures (11)
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Goblin Guide
Monastery Swiftspear

Spells (31)
Chain Lightning
Fireblast
Lava Spike
Light Up The Stage
Lightning Bolt
Price of Progress
Rift Bolt
Skewer the Critics

Lands (18)
Arid Mesa
Bloodstained Mire
15 Mountain
Wooded Foothills

Sideboard (15)
Experimental Frenzy
Pyroblast
Risk Factor
Searing Blaze
Searing Blood
Smash to Smithereens
Sulfuric Vortex
Surgical Extraction
Tormod’s Crypt
Volcanic Fallout

The major differences from the Modern Burn list are the upgraded cards Fireblast, Chain Lightning and the absolutely backbreaking Price of Progress. The sideboard is very different, as it should be, but is pretty easy to navigate.

 

 

Manaless Dredge, approx. $450

One of the weirdest and cheapest decks you could possibly play in this format, Manaless Dredge looks to start the game by taking the draw. Lost the die roll? Probably a good thing. Won the die roll? Take the draw.

The deck plays absolutely zero mana, as the name explains. The whole idea is to take the draw, and have 8 cards going into your first end step. In clean up, discard down to hand size by getting rid of a dredge creature or a Phantasmagorian. From here, start to dredge creatures to the grave, accumulating an army of Narcomoebas, Prized Amalgams, Nether Shadows, etc.

There are also very explosive plays in the deck, such as using Dread Return to reanimate either a Flayer of the Hatebound for direct damage, or Balustrade Spy, which will mill our whole deck sending us to trigger town. This will find the rest of the deck’s Narcomoebas, which will return the rest of the Prized Amalgams, and so on.

Manaless Dredge also utilizes Bridge from Below to create zombie tokens when sacrificing Ichorids, sacrificing creatures to Dread Return, or even sacrificing to Cabal Therapy.

Legacy March Madness Manaless Dredge

Creatures (44)
Balustrade Spy
Chancellor of the Annex
Flayer of the Hatebound
Golgari Grave-Troll
Golgari Thug
Ichorid
Narcomoeba
Nether Shadow
Phantasmagorian
Prized Amalgam
Shambling Shell
Stinkweed Imp
Street Wraith
Whirlpool Rider

Spells (16)
Cabal Therapy
Creeping Chill
Dread Return
Bridge from Below

Sideboard (15)
Ashen Rider
Contagion
Disrupting Shoal
Faerie Macabre
Force of Will
Mindbreak Trap

 

 

Death and Taxes, approx. $1050

This is a deck that has some aggressive elements as well as some slower but more disruptive elements, similar to those seen in prison-style decks. D+T uses Aether Vial to power out its creatures and slow down the opponent by playing cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Sanctum Prelate, Phyrexian Revoker and Spirit of the Labyrinth.

Legacy 1K Showdown Death and Taxes

Creatures (25)
Brightling
Flickerwisp
Mother of Runes
Palace Jailer
Phyrexian Revoker
Recruiter of the Guard
Sanctum Prelate
Serra Avenger
Spirit of the Labyrinth
Stoneforge Mystic
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Spells (11)
Swords to Plowshares
Aether Vial
Batterskull
Sword of Fire and Ice
Umezawa’s Jitte

Lands (24)
Ancient Tomb
Blinkmoth Nexus
Flagstones of Trokair
Karakas
10 Plains
Rishadan Port
Wasteland

Sideboard (15)
Cataclysm
Chalice of the Void
Containment Priest
Council’s Judgment
Ethersworn Canonist
Leonin Relic-Warder
Path to Exile
Pithing Needle
Ratchet Bomb
Surgical Extraction

With a full cast of 8 taxing lands (4 Wasteland, 4 Rishadan Port) and a neat little Stoneforge Mystic/Batterskull/Sword of Fire and Ice package, Death and Taxes is the perfect marriage of aggressive and disruptive play.

 

 

Mono U Aggro, approx. $1300

I’m not going to spend too much time on this deck, but here’s one that’s centered around beatdowns with Cryptic Serpent, Pteramander and True-Name Nemesis. I’ve been having a really great time playing Mono U Tempo in Standard lately and was just hoping this would feel similar to that.

This is also not a top tier or popular strategy, so ultimately I decided to not take the time to assemble it/proxy it and try it out. This is still one I may fiddle with in the future.

Liga Legacy Enero Mono Blue Aggro

Creatures (9)
Cryptic Serpent
Pteramander
True-Name Nemesis
Vendilion Clique

Spells (33)
Accumulated Knowledge
Brainstorm
Daze
Echoing Truth
Flusterstorm
Force of Will
Ponder
Rapid Hybridization
Shadow of Doubt
Spell Pierce
Spell Snare
Stifle
Stubborn Denial

Planeswalkers (1)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Lands (17)
Flooded Strand
Island
Misty Rainforest
Scalding Tarn
Wasteland

Sideboard (15)
Arcane Laboratory
Back to Basics
Counterbalance
Dismember
Dispel
Invasive Surgery
Misdirection
Phantasmal Image
Shadow of Doubt
Submerge
Threads of Disloyalty

 

 

Some of the most powerful draw spells in Magic like Brainstorm and Accumulated Knowledge and premiere counter spells such as Force of Will and Daze make it difficult for many important spells to resolve for the opponent, and meanwhile makes our creature-threats cost less while in the graveyard.

Reanimator, approx. $1350

Here’s one most people are familiar with: Instant Reanimator. There are many ways to achieve the primary goal here. You can discard to hand size, Thoughtseize targeting yourself, etc. The way to Reanimate is to get a giant creature into the graveyard as fast as possible (preferably turn 1 via Faithless Looting, etc.) and then cast a spell to return it to the battlefield with Reanimate, Animate Dead or Exhume. Free spells are a wonderful thing, so don’t forget to check if the coast is clear with Unmask first.

It is possible, however, to do this all on Turn 1 via Lotus Petal or Dark Ritual. Quick and easy, in and out. Watch out for counter spells.

Knight Ware Legacy BR Reanimator

Creatures (11)
Ashen Rider
Chancellor of the Annex
Griselbrand
Simian Spirit Guide
Tidespout Tyrant

Spells (36)
Cabal Therapy
Dark Ritual
Entomb
Exhume
Faithless Looting
Reanimate
Thoughtseize
Unmask
Animate Dead
Lotus Petal

Lands (13)
Badlands
Bayou
Bloodstained Mire
Polluted Delta
Swamp

Sideboard (15)
Abrade
Archetype of Endurance
Assassin’s Trophy
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Grave Titan
Iona, Shield of Emmeria
Lake of the Dead
Reverent Silence
Thoughtseize

 

 

Belcher, approx. $1350

Finally, we’re at the deck I’m close to settling on. Belcher is a combo deck that usually plays one land in Legacy. The aim of the deck is to get that land out of the deck (probably by casting Land Grant for free), and then cast and activate a Goblin Charbelcher by utilizing all the free artifact mana and ritual spells one could possibly want. The deck plays 4 Lion’s Eye Diamond, 3 Chrome Mox, 4 Lotus Petal, not to mention 4 Simian Spirit Guide and 4 Elvish Spirit Guide to get the mana-train rolling.

Once mana starts to be produced, you have to find a finish. The main plan is to cast a Goblin Charbelcher and activate. If that is not going to work, or you didn’t draw into a belcher, you can also elevate your storm count as high as possible and cast Empty the Warrens. This is particularly useful against control decks that are looking to Force of Will when you cast Goblin Charbelcher

The main deck also holds 4 copies of Burning Wish, to go find sorceries from the sideboard. There’s usually an extra copy of Empty the Warrens in there just in case something happens to the main deck copies, alongside a Tendrils of Agony for good measure. Just be sure to have access to Black mana when choosing the tendrils route – you can do this with multiple Lotus Petals, Manamorphose or Lion’s Eye Diamond.

The trickiest part of this deck is beating an opposing Force of Will. Most attempts in the past have been with copies of Chancellor of the Annex and Xantid Swarm, and both seem to do the job in different ways. Sometimes a few Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stages in the sideboard don’t hurt, either.

Hareruya Team Trio Belcher

Creatures (12)
Elvish Spirit Guide
Simian Spirit Guide
Tinder Wall

Spells (47)
Burning Wish
Desperate Ritual
Empty the Warrens
Land Grant
Manamorphose
Pyretic Ritual
Reforge the Soul
Rite of Flame
Seething Song
Chrome Mox
Goblin Charbelcher
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Lotus Petal

Lands (1)
Taiga

Sideboard (15)
Dark Depths
Diminishing Returns
Empty the Warrens
Forest
Living Wish
Pyroclasm
Reverent Silence
Shattering Spree
Tendrils of Agony
Thespian’s Stage

 

 

After Thought

Out of all the decks I checked out above, Burn, Death and Taxes, and Reanimator seem to be the most solid decisions. All of these decks are tried-and-true in the format and always seem to crop up at tournaments. Manaless Dredge is a  deck, but any players in the know about taking the draw will see right through it, and I don’t know if I want to be playing those sort of games. Something about Belcher speaks to me. I really enjoy playing it, but I’ll be the first to admit it’s pretty cheesy.

I have played in less than 20 Legacy tournaments in my lifetime, and probably less than 300 games in total, so I’m not going into MagicFest Niagara Falls expecting to win the Grand Prix. What I hope to do is steal a bunch of wins and dodge Force of Will decks, which is easier said than done in this format.

I have two byes for this tournament, so I’m really just looking to log some higher level experience, and maybe catch a streak of luck. If there’s any deck that can do it, it’s definitely Belcher. That being said, I am still lightly testing Burn and have it close by.

To anyone looking to get into Legacy, I think these are among some of the best/easiest decks to get into the format with. I wish you all luck in your eternal format endeavors!

Thank you so much for stopping by to read, and if you’d like to follow my Magic journey more closely, join me on Twitter: @GoblinCredible