Top Stories of Grand Prix Shizuoka (Legacy) 2018

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 2018

By Chapman Sim

The first Grand Prix of the weekend here in Shizuoka is in the books! Without further ado, let's take a quick look at the key moments which defined this Legacy Grand Prix!

Top 100 Metagame Breakdown

It's not very often we get a Legacy Grand Prix so we'd like to provide an overview of the metagame while we can! When Day 2 started - in Round 9 - we took a look at the top 50 tables and found out what the top 100 players were playing. By doing so, we have the archetypes for everyone with a 6-1-1 record or better, as well as about 20 players who made the Day 2 cut with a 6-2 record (they were also more likely to make the Top 8 than the other 6-2 players considering their tiebreakers were higher).

Anyway, here's the Top 100 after Round 9…

Archetype Count
Grixis Delver 17
Red Prison 10
Miracles 9
Sneak and Show 7
Golgari Depths 7
Grixis Control 6
Eldrazi Post 6
Stoneblade 5
Blue-Red Delver 5
Steel Stompy 3
Threshold 3
Death & Taxes 3
Blue-Black Shadow 2
Elves 2
Merfolk 2
Reanimator 2
Others 7
Total 100


... and here's the Top 100 after Round 13!

Archetype Count
Blue-Red Delver 10
Grixis Delver 9
Golgari Depths 8
Grixis Control 7
Miracles 7
Sneak and Show 7
Eldrazi Stompy 6
Red Prison 6
Reanimator 4
Death & Taxes 3
Eldrazi Post 3
Stoneblade 3
Blue-Red Wizards 2
Elves 2
Lands 2
OmniTell 2
Threshold 2
Others 13
Total 100

With just two more rounds to go before the Top 8 cut, this gives us a quick overview of what's doing well and also gives us a small glimpse of what the Top 8 could be like!

Recent Additions to Legacy

Now that the Legacy Grand Prix concluded, we have a good idea of how recent releases have impacted an eternal format such as Legacy. Yesterday in the Day 1 Highlights, we spoke about how Arcane Artisan shook up Sneak and Show considerably.

Due to the high power level of Legacy, cards need to be stellar in their role or be extremely powerful to break into the format.What other new cards did we see added to Legacy in the last six months?

Battlebond, released in June, added several key cards to the metagame other than Arcane Artisan. Nic Fit, a deck built entirely around Arena Rector, was seen at Shizuoka. Arena Rector allowed several overcosted planeswalkers such as Karn Liberated, Kaya, Ghost Assassin, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon to find a home. From the sideboard, Nic Fit also plays a singleton Archon of Valor's Reach to lock certain decks out wholly.

Brightling is also worth a mention because it saw light play in both Death & Taxes this weekend and even showed up in a couple of White-Blue Control lists. Three mana is a lot to pay, but Death & Taxes players have Æther Vial, while White-Blue Miracles players have plenty of lands and simply want an unkillable win condition which can also race well.

  • Goblin Trashmaster
  • Remorseful Cleric
  • Runic Armasaur
  • Sai, Master Thopterist

Then, in July, Core Set 2019 hit the shelves, adding a few new toys!

Goblin Trashmaster is a critical addition and has made its way to almost all Goblin decks. Not only could you cheat it onto the battlefield with Goblin Lackey, but you can also search for it with Goblin Matron. Against artifact-based decks, Goblin Trashmaster will singlehanded shut them down.

Remorseful Cleric is a massive addition to Death & Taxes, giving the white weenie player a main deck graveyard hate option which also soars through the skies. It can be searched out with Recruiter of the Guard and can surprise unwitting opponents by swooping onto the battlefield at the crucial juncture via Æther Vial.

It's also interesting that we saw some Runic Armasaurs around the hall, seeing how it's one of the best cards against Lands! Crack a fetch land? Draw a card. Maze of Ith your attacker. Draw a card. Are you using Rishadan Port to tap down my land? Ok, I'll draw a card! Did you just Wasteland me? I'll draw a card for that too!

Last but not least, we spotted someone playing Auriok Salvager Combo featuring a pair of Sai Master Thopterist! Don't you love the diversity of Legacy?

Then, in October, Guilds of Ravnica contributed the biggest card of the year, Assassin's Trophy! If you thought it was only good in Standard and Modern, think again! Its sheer versatility allowed it to be included in a wide range of Legacy decks, such as Jund, Sultai, Nic Fit, Elves, Loam, and any deck which can support the mana cost. Killing Jace, the Mind Sculptor never felt so smooth!

Legion Warboss also showed up in huge numbers, with many players running them alongside Goblin Rabblemaster, providing the deck with positive redundancy. Experimental Frenzy also showed up in some sideboards, as a tool to combat attrition wars. That's a lot of new cards in one Legacy deck.

Goblin Cratermaker was an excellent addition for a bunch of red decks, most notably in Goblin decks, Red Prison decks, and even Painter Servant decks. Perhaps you haven't noticed, but it can kill Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, as well as Batterskull, Thought-Knot Seer, Umezawa's Jitte, while still having the ability to zap a small creature such as Delver of Secrets.

What this also meant is that Dragon Stompy is no more (because the Dragons have given way to a bunch of Goblins) and the deck is now known as Red Prison. Five-time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor Shota Takao made Day 2 with this list below, and his list is an excellent example of how the deck evolved!

Shota Takao's Red Prison

Grand Prix Shizuoka (Legacy) 2018
Download Arena Decklist

Chinese Taipei competitor Huang Ta Chi piloted Blue-Red Wizards to a perfect 8-0 record in Day 1, and he thanked Risk Factor for providing him with a steady stream of damage and spells to trigger prowess with. "It's 8 damage or 6 cards, or half of each of those, in exchange for one Risk Factor and a useless land. Overall, I think that's a pretty good deal. Since Prowess is also a theme in Blue-Red Wizards, I'm appreciating the triggers too!"

Huang was the only non-Japanese player to achieve the perfect 8-0 record in Day 1, thanks to Risk Factor!

Huang Da Chi's Blue-Red Wizards

Grand Prix Shizuoka (Legacy) 2018
Download Arena Decklist

Before we conclude, several niche cards are worth a quick mention. Vraska, Golgari Queen is a singleton in Nic Fit due to her synergy with Veteran Explorer, while Mission Briefing can be played in White-Blue Control decks and even High Tide! Knight of Autumn made it to sideboards (Maverick especially) who wanted a Harmonic Sliver / Reclamation Sage upgrade.

Creeping Chill, which is synergistic with Intuition, found its way to an odd Legacy Burn deck which felt a little cute to be reliable. The other deck which could benefit from Creeping Chill was Dredge, and that was precisely what Futa Tanigawa brought to the top tables of the Main Event!

Futa Tanigawa's Dredge

Grand Prix Shizuoka (Legacy) 2018
Download Arena Decklist

As 2018 draws to a close, Legacy enthusiasts should revel in the fact that so many great cards were added to the format this year! Next, let's take a look at how the Top 8 shaped up!

6 (16) Years In The Making

When Pro Tour Hall of Famer Kenji Tsumura locked up his spot in the Top 8, the first thing which left his lips were the words, “six years!”. It’s been a long time, he murmured, since he made the Top 8 at a Premier Event.

However, that was not all. Tsumura's old friend and teammate, Yuuta Hirosawa, also made the Top 8 with him, and Hirosawa’s previous (and only) Grand Prix Top 8 was 16 years ago, at Grand Prix Sapporo 2002!

Before this weekend, both players have never played each other in a sanctioned match, until Round 13 today. They ended up running out of time to force a draw, but both players made the Top 8 cut regardless. If they had both won their quarterfinals, they would have been paired against each other in the semifinals. However, both seasoned veterans fell in the quarterfinals!

Both Tsumura and Hirosawa have been friends for over a decade, having first participated in Pro Tour San Diego together. It was a Two-Headed Giant Pro Tour, and that collaboration eventually flourished into a lifelong friendship. Since then, they’ve always teamed with each other, and playtested with each other. Now, they’ll finally be back to attend the next Pro Tour together just like the good old days.

For additional reading, check out this piece about this pair of Lifelong Friends and be inspired by this tale of a lifetime.

Teruya’s Third Trophy

1429 players took part in this weekend’s Legacy Grand Prix here in Shizuoka. After eighteen rounds, it was Teruya Kakumae who triumphed above all.

This marked his third Grand Prix title in his fourth trip to the Top 8 playoffs. His first title at Grand Prix Kobe 2014 utilized Modern Constructed, while his second title at Grand Prix Auckland 2015 featured Limited. His third Grand Prix Top 8 in Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2016 was a Standard event. Now, like a true master, he had taken down a Legacy Constructed tournament, and let’s not forget that he’s also a Pro Tour Team Series Champion!

What’s a genuinely all-rounded player Kakumae was, to be adept is any format he touches!

Piloting Eldrazi Stompy, he had to defeat Akihiko Shiota in the quarterfinals, and then Takahiro Ishikawa in the semifinals, followed by Hiroyuki Kaga in the finals. After stomping through the competition, all he had left to do was lift his trophy and smile for the camera once more.

Congratulations to Teruya Kakumae, for winning Grand Prix Shizuoka (Legacy) 2018!

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