Legacy for the Uninitiated, Part 3: The Spoilers

Posted in GRAND PRIX LILLE 2015 on July 4, 2015

By Craig Jones

With all these powerful decks floating around in the Legacy format you might be forgiven for wondering how the critters have a chance in Legacy. How's an honest deck, summoning an honest second-turn bear supposed to fight these monsters?

The answer is with hate.

Over the years there have been plenty of mana-efficient critters with additional abilities that cause certain decks real problems. Pack enough in the same deck and you might cause that fancy-pants combo deck to implode while you whittle their life away with fair "bears."

This is how decks like Death and Taxes operate.

Death and Taxes

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As with the Stoneblade decks, the Stoneforge Mystic package is present, but the rest of the deck is packed full of aggressive beatdown creatures with nasty abilities. Playing a storm deck? You really don't want that Thalia sticking around to negate your fast mana. In this respect the philosophy is similar to the MUD and Lands deck. Slow your opponent down and drag the speed of the game down to where your critters have time to land the knockout punch.

The classic disruptive creature deck is still around as well ...

Merfolk

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Merfolk have always been traditional spoilers to fancier decks. The high number of cheap lords means their initially small threats can quickly get out of hand with multiples on the table. Originally released in product for the Commander version of the game, True-Name Nemesis is a nightmare in the two-player game as there are very few ways to get around its protection ability once it enters the battlefield.

And we still have more decks.

The Maverick deck, for example, trades some of the hate for a bit more power ...

Maverick

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While not as explosive as some of the other decks, the deck utilizes a number of different strategies. It has the Stoneforge Mystic package for raw power. It has the Punishing Fire/Grove of the Burnwillows combo for longevity. It also has access to hate bears like Gaddock Teeg to fight the combo decks as well.

And for those of a more traditional controllish bent, Grixis lists like the following are likely to make up some portion of the field.

Grixis Control

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It has a similar shell to the blue/red and Grixis Delver decks, but eschews Delver of Secrets for more control elements. Other variants go to the Sultai color combination for Tarmogoyf, or use Legacy-only hits True-Name Nemesis, Shardless Agent and Baleful Strix. I suspect we'll see a lot of variations on the same Brainstorm/Force of Will/Counterspell shell over the weekend.

Then we have Jund ...

Jund

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This mix of hand disruption, efficient threats and versatile answers was good in Standard, is good in Modern, and can happily battle in Legacy as well. If you haven't been playing Magic since the Dawn of Time, that Jund deck you used to play a few years back might still put up a fight.

And finally we come to the last resort ...

Burn

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If in doubt, burn their face off!

It may not surprise some of you to know I whole-heartedly approve of burning people's faces off. Firing Lightning Bolts at people's faces might not seem in the same league as putting Emrakul onto the battlefield on turn three, but those more fancy decks are going to misfire sometimes and when they do there's always a red mage to set them on fire. Plus, with cards like Price of Progress and Fireblast, the burn deck is no slouch in the speed department either.

There we go. A brief look at some of the many deck archetypes we can look forward to seeing at this Grand Prix. This overview also isn't exhaustive. I suspect some Legacy aficionados will be mad I left their favorite deck off. In a format like this, it's easy to miss an archetype or ten here and there. Rest assured, I (and the rest of the coverage team) will be keeping a close eye out for interesting decks over the weekend.