Hello everyone, it’s Tomoharu Saito. I am a huge fan of Legacy. Although I say this, I have recently only been playing Limited in preparation for Grands Prix, and have been entirely unable to play this format. Nevertheless, because I have become accustomed to playing with the new cards, I think that today I will consider how much of an effect Scars of Mirrodin as a set will have on Legacy. To begin with, please look at my thoughts below.
I have tried to classify each card from Scars of Mirrodin by the degree of influence I think it will have on the format. I omitted cards that I believe will have no effect, as there was no point in including them.
Cards that seem like they will have a large effect on the format (High possibility of play):
Cards that seem like they will have a medium effect on the format (Occasionally played):
Cards that seem like they could have a minor effect on the format (Most likely will not see play, but perhaps there is an off-chance):
Cards that will have no effect on the format (Weak cards and those that don’t have a chance in the current environment)
I have not recorded the remaining cards.
In my opinion, these are the distinctions concerning the playability of the new cards in Legacy. Now, I think I will explain the reasoning behind my decisions for the most important category of cards, those I think will have with a large effect on Legacy. Because there are only five, I’m going to try ranking them.
First – Leonin Arbiter
Leonin Arbiter Catastrophic!!!
Activating a fetchland with this card in play requires two additional mana. Using fetchlands to find dual lands is a fundamental part of play in Legacy, and it is likely that this card will have a powerful effect on the metagame. In the past, you could use fetchlands and dual lands without risks, but now there is the question of whether to build a deck with fetchlands and duals or forgo the fetches and play the Arbiter. Starting now, this card will always affect my choice of land for a deck. And, it is also strong against Ad Nauseam Tendrils’s Infernal Tutor and Elf Combo’s Summoner’s Pact, as well as the popular Survival of the Fittest decks. Because it only requires one white mana it is easy to play, and this is the one major thing it is necessary to look out for. Conversely, if you choose to play it in the early days of the new format, I have a feeling that you could easily be successful. Right now, this is without question the strongest contender for seeing Legacy play.
I digress, but if the percentage of decks using fetchlands and dual lands declines, it becomes much easier for players who currently do not play Legacy to start up in this format. And furthermore, because of the introduction of Leonin Arbiter, I feel that Legacy as a format will become deeper and more diverse.
Second – Mox Opal
What a card! If you can simply meet its Metalcraft condition, isn’t it even stronger than the original Moxes because you can produce any color? Metalcraft might be somewhat of a stretch to achieve in Standard, but in Legacy this is not such a difficult thing. To begin with, there are the artifact lands like Seat of the Synod, as well as Legacy’s host of powerful, low mana cost artifacts like Mox Diamond, Chrome Mox, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lotus Petal, AEther Vial, and Sensei’s Divining Top. Among these, I think playing a deck that included the artifact lands would be the most secure way to achieve Metalcraft.
Speaking of the artifact lands, there is also Affinity. At this time Affinity cards have been printed only in Mirrodin block, but because other sets have provided numerous cards that work well with this mechanic, I think Affinity might now become a prominent contender in the metagame. Of course, there is also a sufficient possibility that Mox Opal will see play in other decks. Because Sensei’s Divining Top helps to achieve Mox Opal’s Metalcraft, and in turn Mox Opal helps with its activation cost, I think it might be good to include the two in a deck together.
Third – Nihil Spellbomb
This is the definitive low mana cost graveyard hate spell! Frankly following the printing of this card, the state of Reanimator decks truly becomes poor. Assuming Leyline of the Void was not involved, when a Reanimator player played Pithing Needle early they used to have two choices: Tormod’s Crypt or Relic of Progenitus. This seems alright, but from here on they will have three potential targets.
When it comes to removing your opponent’s entire graveyard from the game, Nihil Spellbomb has the middle cost as far as playing and activation are concerned (one mana to play, zero mana to activate) when compared to Tormod’s Crypt (zero mana to play, zero mana to activate) and Relic of Progenitus (one mana to play, one mana to activate), but I think that Nihil Spellbomb is the strongest when compared with these two cards. Relic of Progenitus takes a toll on both your and your opponent’s decks and frequently feels slow. Because Tormod’s Crypt has no draw effect it is difficult for an opponent who plays only a little graveyard hate to use it. Until now, the choice was between the more expensive Relic of Progenitus and the less powerful Tormod’s Crypt, but Nihil Spellbomb is less expensive and a more powerful countermeasure against graveyard decks.
Of course, the former two are superior in the sense that they do not require colored mana for their full effect, but if you are playing black it seems that you should essentially choose the Spellbomb. At Grand Prix Columbus I played Merfolk with a splash of black and used Tormod’s Crypt in my sideboard, but if Nihil Spellbomb had existed at that time I have no doubt I would have chosen to play it instead. I think playing graveyard-based decks is going to become much more difficult.
Fourth – Vedalken Certarch
I have ranked this card in spite of the fact that it would be used exclusively in Affinity. If played in a properly constructed deck, I think there would be almost no circumstances in which metalcraft could not be achieved, and playing it on turn one and then tapping down their land would be consistent and powerful. You could also tap Tarmogoyf and Knight of the Reliquary as well as even the strongest of all, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. I think that in an Affinity deck, you would definitely include four copies of this card. Furthermore, in order to pay the blue cost of Force of Will it looks like the construction of the Affinity deck itself will change.
Fifth – Memnite
A 1/1 for zero mana: I never thought this day would come. Until now, all zero mana creatures have had zero power as well. There might be people who think that this is just Ornithopter losing its flying ability and changing one point of toughness to power, but a non-wall 0/2 becoming a 1/1 has a large significance. First of all I think that like Mox Opal, this card is most suited to an Affinity deck. Springleaf Drum greatly increased Affinity’s power, making it easier to play all kinds of Affinity creatures earlier in the game. And, this card might contribute to a resurgence of Glimpse of Nature combo decks which play zero mana creature after zero mana creature.
To those of you who have read this far: What do you think? I have talked a lot about Affinity. This article’s title is “The Legacy of Scars.” Of course I think Scars of Mirrodin will have a variety of effects, but among my ideas, the most significant one concerns Mirrodin Block’s Affinity decks and how they get a serious boost from the power of the new Scars of Mirrodin cards.
I have now covered my top five, but what cards might belong in Affinity decks? I wrote this and was truly astonished. I am still excited about this idea. My interest is such that I immediately forgot everything else and wanted to run this build in a Legacy tournament.
I have not tested this yet, but here is a sample core Affinity deck list.
I am going to adjust this deck after practice and observation of the metagame.
With the new strength of Affinity and the increased risks associated with search mechanics and graveyard-based decks, it is likely that the Legacy environment will change significantly. I think that compared with last year’s large set Zendikar, Scars of Mirrodin is a set that will have a much more extensive influence. When a format changes significantly, there are many things to consider and test. Times like these are my favorite.
I love Legacy, and because many fewer articles are written on the subject compared with Standard and Draft, I think that I will begin to write Legacy articles more frequently from now on. I hope you enjoy this change.
By the way, at this time playing Standard and Draft is also really fun. I think that Magic might be at its most popular after the release of a big set each year. I hope you also have an enjoyable time following the set release.
And so, see you in two weeks!
From Tomoharu Saito, to Magic players throughout the world.