Starting From A 28,324-Card Deck

Posted in Feature on August 25, 2005

By John H. Klauk

Legacy (the format, not the weapon) is looking to hit the Magic® tournament scene in the face with a wet squirrel. That’s right. I said it, and you read it correctly. Right in the face. Wet Squirrel. SPLAT!

You know that look. It’s the look of someone who has NO IDEA what just happened. I think it is a fair assumption that only a small percentage of the Magic tournament community is ready for a top level Legacy format event. Most are simply not prepared for the drenched rodent of a Constructed format to get smacked upside their head.

And for the few that are, how exactly do you practice for that?

Exactly how many slaps before you are really ready for the event?

How in the world do you get rid of that wet squirrel smell? And…

Have the hours of torture at the hands of some Deranged Hermit’s pets now scarred you so badly that you can never again play a “Squirrel Prison” deck without having flashbacks?

You know, instead of going through all that torture at the hand of MaRo’s (Mark Rosewater) favorite token creature, you could just read the rest of this article to get an idea of what the format is about. Just a suggestion.

Wizards of the Coast has two upcoming Grand Prix that will utilize the Legacy Constructed format (previously referred to as Type 1.5). While this red-headed stepchild of a format has many devoted followers, most Magic tournament players are not as familiar with it as the other existing formats. And that would make sense. Why concentrate on learning and practicing a format that is not a factor of higher level Magic? Well, now WotC has given us a reason to do just that. Grand Prix-Philadelphia will be held November 12th–13th and Grand Prix-Lille (that would be Lille, France, for those who are geographically challenged) will be held December 17th–18th. For more detail on why WotC has recently decided to make this the little format that could, check out Brian David-Marshall’s article, Scoop Week. It’s an intriguing read with some fantastic behind the scenes insight into the decisions being made concerning the Legacy format, as well as future hopeful expectations.

Mishra's factory
What does this all really mean? Well, it means break out those dual lands ladies and gentlemen. Dust off those Urza’s Saga binders fellow card addicts. Find that old, beat-up, white card box you… GULP*… tossed into the closet a few years back. You know… the one that has your black-bordered Mishra’s Factories in it. In short, it is time for some Legacy to be played people!

Now, at a glance, you may view this format simply as Extended minus a few rotations. But, it is far from being that. It is a vastly unexplored tournament scene and is soon to be a hotbed of innovation. You think the current Extended format has a large quantity of viable tournament decks? Well, it can’t hold a flame to what will be exploding out of these Legacy tournaments. We are sure to see many predicted deck types. However, I will be shocked if many, many more new ideas do not come pouring forth as well. The card pool is simply too expansive not to merit this happening. In fact, if you do a search on the Gatherer Database for all Legacy cards, it returns a whopping 7,081 matches. If your first build included four of each, that would be a 28,324-card deck. You’re going to want to trim that down some I’m thinking.

Here’s to hoping none of this innovation demands the use of squirrels though. Stupid, little, furry 1/1s. I mean really? How rabid or dangerous can these things really be. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory makes them seem way too intelligent, organized, and menacing. Does anyone here really believe even an army of squirrels could take on Urza?

Penguins? that’s a different debate.

It might be argued by some that this format will cause problems for players that have not been in the game collecting Magic: The Gathering cards from all the sets available to play with in Legacy. Well, argue away, but don’t let that stop you from participating. First of all, though the card pool includes every set, you don’t have to worry about many of the high-cost cards, because chances are, if it is on the Vintage restricted list, then it is banned in Legacy. Next, not every deck needs to have dual lands and such to compete successfully. Would it make the deck better? Probably. Are there less expensive yet decent alternatives? Certainly. You are going to have a very hard time convincing me that with all the cards available to select from, a decent, if not better, card could be used in place of another, less accessible one. Sure, there might be a few exceptions, but if that is the brick wall you are smashing into, I suggest walking around that particular defender instead. Choose a different deck to play. There are far too many possible decks to choose from for someone to not be able to decide upon one they can make a decent build of. There is a Legacy deck out there for you. If your card pool is limited, just be patient, put forth some effort, and find the one you can piece together. Or, get some friends together and pool resources. That’s what all the people I play Magic with do.**

The question you now have is, “What deck(s) should I know about for this format?”

Good question. Glad you asked.

Well, with not too many Legacy tournaments to refer to, here’s what I have been able to deduce is being played and won with. Keep in mind that this format is still largely unexplored. You could very well come up with something on your own. Putting some time into building, playing, and tweaking a winning Legacy deck could very well be one of the most rewarding things you could currently do in regards to the Magic card game. With that said, here is what appears to be the first of many dominant decks. It is a bleed over from both Vintage and Extended. It’s called “Landstill”.


Download Arena Decklist
Creature (2)
2 Eternal Dragon
Enchantment (4)
4 Standstill
Other (6)
4 Mishra’s Factory 2 Akroma’s Vengeance
60 Cards

This deck has taken up many of the Top 8 slots (including the win) in recent Legacy tournaments. The deck revolves around dropping a Standstill and then applying the beats with man lands such as Mishra’s Factory, forcing your opponent to commit to a play. You then gain massive card advantage through Standstill activating and can probably stop the play if it is a serious enough threat. Backing this scenario up with another Standstill then can put the game out of reach. There seems to be debate over whether Nevinyrral’s Disk should be included in the deck over other wrath effects such as Akroma’s Vengeance. Sufficient playtesting should help you reach your decision on that argument. If you plan on playing in a Legacy tournament, be prepared to see this deck.

Another deck that has garnered a win in this format is “Goblins”. Brian David-Marshall included the decklist in Scoop Week, but here it is again, because it’s earned the inclusion within this article as well.


Download Arena Decklist

This deck is fairly straightforward. Turn your mountains and little red men sideways. You will be hard-pressed to easily find a more aggressive decklist floating around in the Aether. In addition, as most of the cards are fairly recent additions (at least recent when compared to other decklists for Legacy), this is a deck that can be built by most newer players. I have seen builds that fiddle with mixing black into the main deck as well as he sideboard, allowing for cards such as Cabal Therapy and Duress. I’m also personally a big fan of Sulfuric Vortex in the sideboard over perhaps the Red Elemental Blasts.

“3-Duece” is another deck that is trying to claim the right as one of the top decks to beat in Legacy. I honestly have NO idea what the name means. I’m sure Michael Flores, among others, could enlighten us. Please, if anyone else knows, let me in on the history behind the name. Still, as mysterious as the deck title is, the list looks solid. Here is a decklist that took home the win in another recent Legacy tournament.


Download Arena Decklist
Sorcery (4)
4 Land Grant
Other (4)
4 Rith’s Charm
60 Cards

Nice! Four Sirocco. Now there’s a card you don’t see every day. Phyrexian Furnace is nice in the sideboard over the Scrabbling Claws if you have them, but unless I am mistaken, this is a great example of where the deck creator found another card in place of one he may have optimally wished to use. Seemed to work out ok for him. And you can do it too. This deck seems to be a toolbox deck that attempts to put out threats and at the same time be able to answer anything its opponent throws at it. Personally, this is my kind of deck. It looks like a herd of Ewoks trying to trip an AT-ST when in reality it is Palpatine’s finely played manipulation over Anakin granting unlimited power. This deck has evolved over time to include just what it needs, and without any silly, furry, little tokens to boot.

Of course there are still so many other deck types I could go on about. From “Survival” to “Miracle-Gro” to “Fish”. The best thing you can do is at least put some of them together to see which ones you can deduce to be the Real Deal. It will take you months to test them all. I guess that is an inherent danger when it comes to a format that uses cards from all 12 years of the game, but it’s also the true beauty that makes this format unlike others.

Well, I guess I should really wrap things up by trying to include at least one budget Legacy deck. So here goes…

What in the world?! Quick! Duck!


Well that’s what he gets for talking bad about us squirrels. A slap in the face and a knot on his head. We’re deadly with these acorns from at least 60 yards out ya’ know. Ah, the jerk shoulda’ saw it coming. I mean us ‘tree rats’ can only take so much verbal abuse before action must be taken! Don’t cha’ forget it!

So that son-of-a-no-Deranged Hermit-lovin’ fool was trying to give you a budget deck, eh? Well, I guess it’s no fault of yours that we had to lay him out cold. Guess we’ll at least do ya’ the courtesy of finishing his idea for him now. Here, why don’t cha’ try this. We’re kinda fond of it.

Budget Squirrel Prison

Download Arena Decklist

It’s a solid deck on the cheap, but it can flat out be the nutz. If you want to add money to the deck, there are more directions to go than we could ever mention, but the first addition should be four Bird of Paradise. Ya’ could use something like this during the Grand Prix Trials leading up the Grand Prix events. Those will be taking place during September and October, just after Grand Prix-Salt Lake City wraps up. That could give ya’ the exposure ya’ need to the environment and the time ya’ need to get a hold of cards for a less budget-oriented decklist.

Now, ya’ best be leaving us alone. We got some unfinished business with this yokel, and you don’t want to be witness to it. It ain’t gonna’ be pretty. Chip, Dirk… go get those pinecones we’ve been saving. Time to get medieval.

Catch Ya’ll Later,
John H. Klauk
Klaukwork Wizard on Magic Online

* If you knew me in real life you would understand why the thought of this makes me take a deep breath. Really, I treat my card collection (even the masses of extra cards) like Monk treats his kitchen. Everything has its place. It’s rather neurotic to say the least.

** Ok, so it’s not so much pooling resources as it is people just borrowing my cards, but you get the idea.

Afterthought: It was recently brought to my attention that I made a mistake (a Bombo in the immortal words of MaGo - (Mark Gottlieb)) last article about Twincasting an Ire of Kaminari, where I said, “Besides, any deck that can burn out it’s opponent with Circle of Protection: Red in play has got to be alright, eh?” and, “Twincast on Ire of Kaminari is a Blue Ire ya’ know. Tricks, tricks…get your tricks right here!”

I’d like to thank my readers for pointing out my mistake to me. Indeed, Twincast copies the spell. All of it, including color. That’s why I’m not writing rules articles people. Seriously though, thanks for paying attention and challenging what I say. It helps me enjoy the game better, just like I am trying to help everyone else do the same.

John started playing Magic back when Antiquities came out. He is a frequent top 8 finisher at PTQs and States using non-archetype decks and is a Regional Coordinator for the Delegate program. He would also like to rethink his stance on just how violent squirrels can actually be.

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