The Legacy Gauntlet

Posted in Magic Digital on June 1, 2016

By Adam Prosak

From Friday Night Magic to the Pro Tour, Adam Prosak loves all types of tournament Magic. Currently, Adam is working in R&D as a developer.

In celebration of Eternal Masters, Magic Online is running the Legacy Gauntlet using thirteen top Legacy decks.

What Is the Legacy Gauntlet?

Much like the Pro Tour Gauntlet that runs after each Pro Tour, the Legacy Gauntlet is a way to test-drive decks that have been successful in tournaments. When you sign up for the Legacy Gauntlet, you will get a randomly selected phantom deck from the decks listed below. You'll be able to play the deck during the queue, but you won't get to keep the cards at the conclusion of the event.

Why Legacy?

Typically, the Pro Tour Gauntlet follows each Pro Tour and uses top-finishing decks in those tournaments. However, the Pro Tour is never Legacy, and we wanted to give you the opportunity to test-drive a sampling of Legacy decks. The upcoming release of Eternal Masters contains many cards that you will see in the Legacy Gauntlet (as well as other Legacy decks).

What Decks Are in the Legacy Gauntlet?

When selecting the decks, we did not have the luxury of a Pro Tour to pick and choose decklists from. Instead, we chose decks we feel represent a cross section of decks that make the Legacy format feel unique. We scoured decklists from both Magic Online and paper Magic, took those, and adjusted them to be representative of what an average decklist for the archetype might look like.

Let's take a look at the decklists!

Legacy Gauntlet—Miracles

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Miracles: The key card in this deck is Sensei's Divining Top. It allows you to manipulate the top of your library, which is important for countering spells with Counterbalance and for drawing miracles at the right time. Brainstorm, Ponder, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor can manipulate the top of your library in a pinch as well, but Sensei's Divining Top allows this to be the premier control deck in Legacy.

Legacy Gauntlet—Shardless Sultai

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Shardless Sultai: This deck has the greatest amount of card advantage of any deck in Legacy. It starts with Ancestral Vision (often cast via Shardless Agent), but Baleful Strix and Jace, the Mind Sculptor provide card advantage, which is relatively difficult to do in a format as fast as Legacy. Past that, this deck is a hyper-efficient set of creatures and spells—Deathrite Shaman, Brainstorm, Force of Will, Wasteland, and Tarmogoyf basically read like a list of the best cards in the entire Legacy format, and they are all here in one deck.

Legacy Gauntlet—Storm

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Storm: This is one of the premier combo decks of the format. The goal of this deck is to cast nine or more spells, then finish with the single copy of Tendrils of Agony. The easiest ways to get extra spells are Ad Nauseam and Past in Flames. One important synergy is using Duress or Gitaxian Probe to know what's in your opponent's hand prior to Cabal Therapy. However, the most important interaction is between Infernal Tutor and Lion's Eye Diamond. If you cast Infernal Tutor, then respond by sacrificing Lion's Eye Diamond (on Magic Online, hold the control key as you cast Infernal Tutor), you will have hellbent for the Infernal Tutor, and you will have the mana from Lion's Eye Diamond to cast the spell.

Legacy Gauntlet—Sneak and Show

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Sneak and Show: This is all about cheating huge creatures onto the battlefield. Show and Tell and Sneak Attack can be used to put either Griselbrand or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn onto the battlefield, which will often end a game. The rest of the deck is mostly composed of fast mana, blue cantrips, and counterspells to help protect the combo.

Legacy Gauntlet—Reanimator

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Reanimator: This is the other deck that can cheat huge creatures onto the battlefield. When compared to Sneak and Show, this deck is often more disruptive due to its discard spells, but also more vulnerable to graveyard hate. Deathrite Shaman is particularly difficult to deal with once it gets active. Entomb is the key card in the deck, as it both selects the correct creature for the situation and puts it directly into your graveyard, which is generally preferable to putting it into your hand for this deck.

Legacy Gauntlet—Lands

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Lands: There are tons of powerful lands in Legacy, as well as a few cards that are very powerful when your deck contains 37 lands. Life from the Loam and Wasteland (with an assist from Rishadan Port) can often lock opponents out of mana, while Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows can take out creatures repeatedly, and eventually the opponent. If you make Thespian's Stage a copy of Dark Depths (and keep the copy with the "legend rule"), you'll end up with a Dark Depths with no counters on it, which means a 20/20 Marit Lage token. Gamble is the perfect card with Life from the Loam, as you rarely care if the card you searched for ends up the graveyard.

Legacy Gauntlet—Death and Taxes

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Death and Taxes: This is a mono-white deck full of "hatebears"—creatures that disrupt your opponent while providing a small battlefield presence. Æther Vial is a key card that allows you to play creatures to the battlefield in addition to using the abilities of your lands for disruption. Mother of Runes is also very important in this deck, as it can protect your other creatures from removal. As a rule, it is not worth attacking with Mother of Runes unless you are sure that your opponent can't remove one of your other creatures.

Legacy Gauntlet—Infect

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Infect: If you've played Modern, then you're likely familiar with this strategy. Play a creature with infect, then use pump spells to get to ten poison counters as soon as the second turn. In legacy, the pump spells are supercharged—Invigorate plus Berserk provides ten poison from a 1-power creature, and there are zero-mana ways to protect your combo in the form of Force of Will and Daze.

Legacy Gauntlet—Elves

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Elves: Elves is one of the most unique decks in Legacy. While there aren't many cards in Elves that appear in other decks in Legacy, don't mistake that for a lack of power. Gaea's Cradle is one of the most powerful lands in Legacy, worth playing the full four copies despite its legendary status and the fact that it can't produce mana on the first turn. This deck has a multitude of synergies layered within the Elf tribe. Heritage Druid plus Nettle Sentinel allows you to produce tons of mana, while Glimpse of Nature allows you to draw more Elves as you cast more Elves. Wirewood Symbiote protects your creatures from opposing removal while letting you return Elvish Visionary as a secondary draw engine. Natural Order has lots of functions in this deck, providing a finisher in Craterhoof Behemoth or a nearly unstoppable creature in Progenitus.

Legacy Gauntlet—Eldrazi

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Eldrazi: Once the scourge of Modern, Eldrazi are powered out by the presence of many lands that produce more than one mana. Ancient Tomb, City of Traitors, Eye of Ugin, and Eldrazi Temple provide a significant base to be able to cast cards such as Thought-Knot Seer on turn two with regularity. The Eldrazi creatures are supported by disruptive spells such as Warping Wail and Chalice of the Void. A turn-one Chalice of the Void for one can be disastrous for many other decks.

Legacy Gauntlet—Temur Delver

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Temur Delver: The ultimate tempo deck, Temur Delver attempts to use a combination of Stifle, Daze, and Wasteland to prevent the opponent from playing their normal game. Meanwhile, some hyper-efficient creatures can chip away at the opponent.

Legacy Gauntlet—Four-Color Punishing Knight

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Four-Color Punishing Knight: This deck overlaps quite a bit with Lands, using Life from the Loam with the Punishing Fire-Grove of the Burnwillows and Dark Depths-Thespian's Stage combinations. The big difference with this deck is the use of creatures, specifically Knight of the Reliquary.