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In Development – Your Legacy Rough Guide

Standard:

“Okay…Plains, Quest for the Holy Relic, Ornithopter. Your turn.”

“Sure thing. Creeping Tar Pit. Back to you.”

“Plains, Memnite. Glint Hawk bouncing Memnite. Memnite…go.”

Legacy:

“Okay, Tree of Tales, Memnite, Mox Opal, Frogmite, Frogmite, Springleaf Drum, Disciple of the Vault…go.”

(…and the sad thing? Neither deck is particularly good.)

Although I invented that first sequence of opening turns from a Standard White Quest deck, I was, indeed, on the receiving end of that turn one hand dump on the part of an Affinity deck during some Legacy playtesting last month. I still won that game, but was tickled by the ridiculous play nonetheless.

Today, I’m going to take a bit of a side step away from my normal mix of play psychology and “contemporary Constructed” to present an introduction to Legacy written for and, perhaps even more importantly, written by the Legacy non-aficionado. I’m hoping this will prove useful for those of you who might consider making it to one of the ever-growing numbers of Legacy events out there in the world, while still remaining accessible to you even if you haven’t been shuffling up original duals lately. Like pretty much every Constructed format out there, Legacy has many traits to recommend it, but can feel fairly intimidating from the outside – a feature that is only compounded by its being the second-biggest Constructed format out there.

But you don’t need to be intimidated.

The goal with today’s piece is to get you set up to enjoy Legacy, and to help you figure out how to address the mental pitfalls that come with diving into a card pool several times bigger than you’re used to.

Why Legacy?

I’m not fond of proselytizing for formats. If there’s a Constructed format out there, I’d probably enjoy playing it. Block, Standard, Extended, or Vintage? Sure. Build Your Own Standard (BYOS)? Absolutely. Team events? Definitely. So that means what I am not about to do is try to sell you on Legacy as the “one true format.”

I mention that only because I’ve noticed that kind of writing on formats other than Standard, be they Legacy, Vintage, or something far more niche.

Legacy as a format means lots of things to lots of people, but here are the features that have sold me on it, at least enough so that I have a Legacy deck playtested and ready to go.

All the cards

The main selling point for Legacy is that it’s the “all the cards” format. Although Vintage is a step closer to being the true “all the cards” format in terms of what’s legal, Legacy can lay claim to being the Constructed format in which the best approximation of “all the cards” occurs. With the usual caveat that the vast majority of cards are not particularly Constructed playable, Legacy offers a lot of room to use your favorite card in your favorite deck.

This goes hand in hand with one of the common concerns about Legacy – not knowing the cards. I’ll address that below, but with a card pool of over eleven thousand cards, it’s not unreasonable to imagine running across a card or two that you don’t recognize.

The corollary to this feature is that, especially in the early rounds of a Legacy event, you can run into a tremendous variety of archetypes – many of them not actually all that viable at this level of play. However, there’s another corollary to this aspect of Legacy…

Different names for the same thing

Say you want to hate out the graveyard.

Say you want to do it with an artifact.

You might pick one of these cards:

 

Although they all share the “cheap artifact that hates on graveyards” tag line, each one has a distinct but highly overlapping set of traits.

Nihil Spellbomb costs the most to use, overall, but lets you draw a card while taking down just your opponent’s graveyard (an important feature if you’re using yours, as you may well be in Legacy).

Relic of Progenitus offers a slow, continuous attack on the opposing graveyard, but has the downside of nuking your own graveyard when you finally pop it to draw a card.

Tormod’s Crypt is the fastest option, being free to cast and free to use. The downside? No card draw – it does what it does, and nothing more.

If you like to tinker, this is a super-exciting feature of Legacy. Although we’re fine in contemporary Standard with any one of these cards as a graveyard hate option, in Legacy we are offered the opportunity to care about the sometimes subtle differences between very similar options. Relic or Spellbomb? Spellbomb or Crypt? This is one aspect of Legacy that I really like – the access to a wide variety of tweaks that actually matter, even if often only to a small degree.

Broken is actually fun

The stereotype of the eternal formats is that it’s all about someone going first, doing something stupid, and winning. I’ll cover that a little bit more down below, but let’s pause for a moment to reflect on the assumption built into this statement.

Why is it bad to have dramatic wins?

We loved it when Nassif topdecked his Cruel Ultimatum…even if it is kind of a pain being hit with Ultimatum when the 5CC deck has already locked up the game. If we wanted a deterministic game, we’d play chess. Instead, we play a game that involves chance, both out of the love of overcoming that chance to win and because, from time to time, it’s fun to experience spectacle.

Or, to put it another way, Jurassic Park is not an especially good movie. But dude….dinosaurs!

Legacy is a bit like my movie collection. It contains The Lives of Others, a tense, thoughtful reflection on the impact of the East German cold war police state. It also has Die Hard, because sometimes you want to experience a smart, well-plotted story featuring an amazing performance by Alan Rickman…punctuated by giant explosions.

The haymakers in Legacy are different than the dueling Grave Titans from Worlds 2010, but they are no worse, and often a little bit more ridiculous and exciting. Also, like those Titans, they are not what actually determines the winner most of the time. They just define the times we remember.

So that’s how I’d sell someone on Legacy, to the extent that I feel like selling anyone on a specific format. If you’re now sold and want to give it a try, what should you do?

Learning Legacy – all your skills still apply

One of the take-home lessons of the recent renaissance in competitive Legacy events is that Magic skills are transferable. The top eight from GP Columbus 2010 featured Saito, Nelson, and Martell. GP Madrid 2010 saw Muller, Do Ahn, Bland, and Saito in the top eight, with PV clocking in a respectable 25th-place finish. And, of course, GP Chicago 2010 was won by Gab Nassif, with top eight appearances by Paul Rietzl , Brian Kowal, and others.

Good players are good players, regardless of format. You may have already accepted that idea as it applies to Gab Nassif or Brad Nelson, but the important point is that it applies to everyone.

Not that we’re all good players. We’re certainly not.

But you are your level of player – whatever that is – regardless of format. Legacy is not mysteriously harder than Standard, at least when it comes to the fundamental, structural play skills that you have learned while playing Standard.

So what does that mean in terms of first approaching the format?

Narratives and narrative fallacies

If Standard suffers from the narrative of “there are only three good decks,” then Legacy and its wackier cousin Vintage both suffer from the narrative of “so broken it’s boring.” Another way to say this is that games are just “over in three turns” or any other variation on this tired theme.

In Vintage, this can be true in the strict turn sense. However, as Stephen Menendian points out, a given Vintage turn can contain a tremendous number of decision points, so in terms of “how many decisions did I make?” a Vintage game can go pretty much as long as one in Standard.

In Legacy, however, the answer here is even easier – games frequently go to just as many turns in Legacy as they do in Standard. Saying that Legacy is all about insanely fast combo kills is usually just a lazy out that can excuse either thinking about the format at all, or figuring out why we’ve lost when we’ve lost.

In other words, it’s not even a useful narrative. It’s not actionable.

The flow of games in Legacy can vary a great deal. There are those first-turn kills from Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT) or Charbelcher decks, for example…but there are decks out there in which Jace’s ultimate is the primary win condition. That is, by definition, a darn slow kill.

In approaching Legacy, I think the most helpful understanding of the format is that it is “normal Magic armed with dramatic finishes.” It’s like a mid-80s duel between a Soviet Kirov cruiser battlegroup and an American Iowa battleship and friends:

The engagement would have been characterized by a rugby match between escort ships and surrounding combat air patrols, with waves of antiship missiles trying to make their way through a wall of air defenses to finally kill the opposing battlegroup’s flagship. All very normal, except for one thing – both flagships can also carry nuclear weapons.

Boom.

Legacy is Magic with occasional nukes. You still need to run the air cover and escort ships because most of the threats will be missiles and planes…but sometimes when a threat gets through, you’re just going to lose.

This helps illustrate why Magic skills from other formats transfer to Legacy. If you’ve practiced disrupting your opponent’s game plan in one format, you can apply those skills in another…and it will stop their game plan whether the outcome of that plan is “you take some damage” or “you lose right now.”

Price

Legacy isn’t as expensive as it feels like it is.

This isn’t to say that some Legacy cards aren’t ridiculous. Anything that relies on an uncommon from Portal Three Kingdoms, for example, has already graduated up a level in expense. Duals cost money, a problem that will only increase over time. Perhaps most important for most players, you don’t generally randomly draft cards that will make their way into your Legacy decks in the way that you end up picking up cards for Standard.

On the other hand, the individual cards still aren’t insanely expensive. A Revised dual land may run you $50-100, which seems gross until you realize that it’s a staple that you’ll always use. You’ll also quickly discover that many of those nuanced cards I mentioned above remain super cheap on the secondary market…because once they left Standard, they weren’t in demand in big enough numbers to push the price anywhere gross.

The only real financial risk, such as it is, is having an archetype cut out from under you by a banning. That’s unfortunate, but even then, most of the other cards in the deck retain their value, so you’re not going to be out a ton of money.

I’ll leave more Legacy price ponderings to other writers, but the take-home is “Don’t assume you can’t afford it” – price out the actual decks, see if you can or not.

Archetypetastic

My first encounter with the storm mechanic came in a match against a Mind’s Desire deck during my first Extended PTQ season. After a handful of turns that said “I am some kind of combo deck” – lands, some digging cards – my opponent went for it. Suddenly, we were speaking a completely alien language. By the time he stormed me out with Mind’s Desire, I had no idea what was going on. He could have been making things up, for all I know.

Seventeen years is a lot of Magic. You probably missed some of it.

Playing Standard, your proper due diligence involves playtesting against the major archetypes. You can do this secure in the knowledge that these major archetypes will comprise the majority of your opposition. In Legacy, you don’t have this luxury. Instead, you need to have a high-level understanding of many, many archetypes, coupled with a thorough knowledge of your own deck and how it operates. You can then use this high-level understanding to guide your application of that deck knowledge to help you win games even in the absence of days and days of specific playtesting.

A thorough breakdown of Legacy archetypes would be an article all its own. I recommend examining the metagame breakdowns of and lists from recent big Legacy events, where “recent” can go back for two or more years. Pay attention to those bannings, of course – there’s no point being prepared to take down Survival or Mystical Tutor decks. You can also find Legacy deck lists at places like MTGPulse. It’s probably most informative to find either an article describing the deck or event coverage of the deck in action.

Once you have this info, I’d suggest just writing a little one-line summary (a logline!) of how the deck wins. The goal here is to give you an intuitive understanding of the deck’s line of attack (more on that in a moment). But keep in mind that you can also just have this cheat sheet as part of your sideboarding notes, ready to be pulled out between games to remind you how the opposing deck is meant to work, and if it does anything annoying in sideboarded games – like those ANT decks that have an Emrakul plan after sideboarding.

Adventures in Legacy

“I’ve been thinking of playing Legacy, but I just don’t know what any of the cards do.”

You’ll have gathered by now that I don’t think this is a particularly good argument against Legacy. So if I’m telling you to buck up and just go play…well, how do we do that in a format over more than eleven thousand cards and a wide swathe of archetypes, most of which we won’t have seen before we meet them in action?

RTFC

You’re allowed to read cards.

Repeat this like a mantra.

You’re allowed to read cards.

When that Mind’s Desire deck rolled over me a few years back, I should have stopped my opponent when they cast the “weird” card – Mind’s Desire – and read the card carefully. Then, if I didn’t understand it, I should have called a judge. By not doing this, I not only left myself open to possible shenanigans, I also gave up the ability to plan around this card in the subsequent games in the match.

Assuming that you already have a fairly organized approach to how you move through your game turns, you can afford to take a little extra time to read cards as they come down. Most of them will go quickly, of course. Even if you’ve never played against a Lightning Helix, its nature as a combined Lightning Bolt plus Healing Salve is pretty easy to internalize on a quick reading of the card.

But what about when your opponent drops a Sylvan Library? Do you know how it works? Don’t you think it would be good to know that (1) it’s not Brainstorm on an enchantment and (2) they have to pay 4 life for each extra card they want to keep? What about knowing that they can’t attack when they have a Glacial Chasm down? That second interaction rather famously decided a major Legacy event last year.

Keep in mind that you may also need to ask a judge for the Oracle text for a card. Here’s the gibberish that passed for rules text for Quarum Trench Gnomes back in the day:

In case that’s hard to read on the card, it says “{T}: Target plains produces {1} instead of {W} until end of game. Use counters.”

Sweet. What do we use the counters for?

Here’s the Oracle text:

{T}: If target Plains is tapped for mana, it produces colorless mana instead of white mana. (This effect lasts indefinitely.)

Some cards don’t work as written, and in many cases, you’re going to have trouble figuring out if an older card has a triggered effect, a replacement effect, or something else altogether if all you have is the “classic” text.

The moment you choose not to read an unfamiliar card and just let it go by is the moment you hand control over to your opponent. Even without the risk of an unethical opponent, this means you are willingly letting your opponent maintain secret information right there on the table. It’s as if you played a Standard game and said, “Sure, you can play some of your cards face down. Why not?”

RTFC, for sure.

Kalashnikovs and RPGs

My gun nerd friends can go into detail about the differences between an AK and an SKS, and all the nearly innumerable variations on each.

But if someone were actually shooting at me, the edge I would gain by knowing the detailed performance differences between these weapons is minimal. On the other hand, it’s vital that I determine whether my enemy just has those rifles or are also packing some RPGs, because that tells me whether my light armored vehicle is a trump card or a rolling coffin.

We can similarly find ourselves trapped in the details of Legacy archetypes, feeling overwhelmed as a newer player by the idea that we’d have to, for some reason, memorize all these builds.

As with everything that you do repeatedly, that’ll happen eventually as you play more Legacy. But in the early days, I think we gain the most percentage by keeping some of the general lines of attack in the format in mind, and then figuring out when we’re facing them and how our deck interacts with that line of attack.

In other words, if a classic CounterTop deck featuring Natural Order combines the Countermagic, Creatures, and Cheat a Big Thing Out lines of attack, then how does our Zoo deck handle each of those cases? That clarifies things, as it means we don’t have to store every matchup in our head (“Zoo versus CounterTop”) and instead have strategies in mind that we can port over as appropriate (“Since I know how to deal with Countermagic, I am prepared to deal with that aspect of Landstill”).

Here are some of the major lines of attack in Legacy, at least as I think of them:

Burn – Take the opponent out via direct damage spells.
Cheat a Big Creature Out – Kill the opponent by finding a way to get a nearly unbeatable giant creature onto the battlefield well ahead of schedule. Popular “Big Creatures” have included Progenitus, Emrakul, and Iona.
Countermagic – Control the game by never letting the opponent cast a useful spell.
Creatures – Killing the opponent by attacking with creatures. The classic.
Disruption – Go after the opponent’s game plan via discard and mana denial.
Flurry – Cast a bunch of spells in one turn. Profit.
Graveyard – Power out your win via graveyard shenanigans. Note that this refers to an approach that depends on the graveyard, rather than decks that get some occasional use from the graveyard.
Prison – Generate a game state in which your opponent can’t kill you, then win at your leisure.

So, for example, I might categorize some well-known decks as so:

Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT) – Flurry. Some ANT decks have a CBCO sideboard plan.
CounterTop – Creatures, Countermagic. Certain builds add CBCO.
Enchantress – Flurry, Prison.
Zoo – Burn, Creatures.

It’s my experience so far that breaking decks down into their lines of attack lets you be more adaptable to the very broad Legacy metagame and guides you toward a more cleanly conceived sideboard plan that addresses genuine tactical issues with maximum efficiency.

This also helps you understand how your own deck’s game plan can be attacked, without having to get stuck on memorizing all the specific cards your opponent might use to do so. If you rely on the graveyard, expect graveyard hate, and so on.

Unity in diversity

That phrase is actually a sort of tagline for biology. The idea is that from a very basic set of chemical building blocks, a dramatic variety of life has evolved. The variety makes biology a big topic that can overflow your brain in short order, but the grounding in those basic building blocks means that if your basics are good, you can probably ease into a new aspect of biology pretty quickly.

Like, say, Magic.

The rules are the rules in Magic, and play is play. Your skills are transferrable and most formats are tons of fun. Hopefully, this quick start guide to Legacy has helped reframed things for you such that you can decide if you do want to give the format a shot or not…and if so, has helped you apply those Magic skills you’ve already developed to this “new but not really new” terrain.

So, are you planning on playing in your first Legacy tournament any time soon? Your fiftieth? What do you think is the key piece of knowledge to unlock Legacy for the new player? Let us all know in the comments.

***
magic (at) alexandershearer.com
parakkum on twitter

36 thoughts on “In Development – Your Legacy Rough Guide”

  1. Was expecting more of a deck by deck breakdown, or at least more actual talk about legacy and less about how you can screw up. I feel like someone new to legacy wouldn’t really learn much here.

  2. I dont get how people can say legacy doesn’t cost money..

    If you actually want to stand a chance and are starting from scratch or near it.. its a big investment.

    Any blue deck pretty much wants 4 force of will, thats nearly 200$ right there. Most green decks have tarmogoyf in them.

    (Before anyone starts raging.. i’m being very general). I’m trying to build merfolk atm.. I still need 4x stifle at 15-20$ each.. 4 force of will at nearly 200$.. mutavaults at 15-20$ each… aether vials at 12$ each.. etc. etc. Considering no one wants to trade these things off very easily its hard to get.

    I understand people wanting to get more people interested in the format.. but they shouldn’t lie.

    I think more of these legacy is not expensive articles.. should be more budget competitive legacy decks, give people a chance and some lists to get started.

  3. @ Seere I built my goblins deck last year for about $350 (Australian $), the most expensive cards were wasteland (4 of), Rishadan port (3 of) and Goblin piledriver(4 of).

    Using the prices here on Channel Fireball’s site Wasteland ($30 *4), piledriver ($17 *4) port ($28 *3) thats around $270

    I’ll take your word on the price of aether vial I’m pretty sure they were under $10 when I got mine but they are seeing a lot of play now so have probably gone up. Lackey is $10 as well, so adding $80 on for the price of those 4 cards takes the price to about $350

    The rest of the deck is pretty cheap, ringleader is $3, siege gang commander is $3, Goblin warchief is $3, matron is $1 gempalm incinerator is $1

    So say $400 for the whole deck going by channel fireballs prices.

    That seems to be about what you’d pay for the average standard deck according to http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/deck.asp?deck_id=743071 Brian Kibler’s Caw-go list from worlds costs $602. Valakut Ramp costs about $300 to build and keep in mind those decks rotate where as my list is pretty good for a long time.

  4. Pretty good article for getting people to play Legacy.

    @Seere:

    I agree some cards are expensive, but as the article mentioned, “you realize that it’s a staple that you’ll always use”. When you think of it that way, it helps justify the price (depending on the card at least). Compared to Standard though, Legacy is cheaper in the long run since you don’t usually need to change decks every couple months unless a banning occurs. Plus your investments rarely take a hit in value due to not rotating out (unless they get banned) which is nice if you want to change decks and trade off staples for others.

    I like the idea of budget Legacy decks as well. Maybe give a starting (budget) list and give suggestions as to upgrade order for the more expensive cards to arrive at a more optimized list.

  5. @Seere- You can save yourself $60-80 just by not running a suboptimal build and cutting Stifle. Also consider the cost of 4 FoW, which you can use in every base-blue Legacy deck from now until the end of time, for a one-time investment of (realistically) $160-180. Then consider the cost of 4 JtMS, which will last you until the end of this Standard season, for $400.

    Compare Standard Mythic or Eldrazi Green to any monocolor or two color Legacy deck and really, it’s much less to play the deck that will never rotate. Yes, Legacy costs money, but so does Standard. It’s MtG that’s your problem there, not Legacy specific.

  6. Sam is 100% right about this. I priced out UB control recently, and it came to $600. $360 of that was Jace, TMS – which are about as easy to trade for as dual lands.

  7. Goblins, Dredge, and Merfolk are all pretty low budget competitive decks in Legacy. At least one of them should appeal to a new player, probably.

  8. “Or, to put it another way, Jurassic Park is not an especially good movie. But dude….dinosaurs!”

    Best way to describe MTG, ever.

  9. Alex,

    Good article, I appreciated the tasty metaphors and the introduction feel this article focused on. I thought that the two most relevant pieces were the beginning of breaking down Legacy archetypes, relating the investment in Legacy to the investment in Standard (ugh), the need to know current Oracle text and the tone of the article – it was very personable and easy to read.

    However, I feel that this deck does a bit of disservice to players looking to get into Legacy because it merely touches on archetypes without explaining what they actually mean. If I am a new Legacy player and I don’t know what “Zoo” means, how ANT decks win and how Dredge functions, then chances are that I’m going to be pretty poorly prepared. I think you could do a better job of doing a follow up article that addresses these points.

    Overall, 7/10. Loved the RTFC bit.

    Thanks,

    mdg

  10. He will drop in price though.

    And there are some other cards that cost a fortune and will drop a huge amount once standard rotates. Primeval Titan for example.
    $53 each if you want to buy them around here today. Woudl be surprised to see them stay at half of that ones they aren´t legal in standard anymore.

  11. I highly, HIGHLY disagree with one major part of your article.

    Jurassic Park is, in fact, a good movie! It was well scripted, acted, and directed. It is also one of the only films from the 90s where the special effects still look good today.

    Plus, yeah. Dinosaurs!

  12. @mdg ~ Zoo is a nickname for a G/W/R deck that has fast low casting cost cratures and burn spells. It gets the nickname because the decks creature types are usually, Apes, Lions, Cats etc resembling what you would find in a Zoo.

    ANT is short for a combo deck with Ad-Nausum and Tendrils of Agony. It plays a redic amount of spells in one turn and killing you with Tendrils

    Dredge ~ refers to a mechanic on some cards that do silly things in your graveyard and there is a eally good deck built around this mechanic

  13. Some decks are really expensive in legacy. I posted my Zoo deck on another site for future referance and for a little feedback and it was listed over $1000. Now that’s for regular cards, not foil. With the exception of cards not available in foil my deck everything in the main deck is foil except 2 Windswept Heaths

  14. I am looking to get into legacy, and this was a great article. It covered a lot of things that aren’t intuitive to a player who only plays standard/extended, in that you don’t need to playtest specific matchups as much as have an idea of what every deck’s general game plan is and how to beat it. I certainly wouldn’t have thought of that.

  15. Seere, I have a lot of the cards for Merfolk for trade. If you’re going to the San Jose Open, look for me.

  16. Let me preface this by saying I play compettive standard and extended, and I have 90% of merfolk built for legacy.

    People will say that “you’ll get a lifetime of use” of legacy staples, compared to 2 years of your standard ones. Note that this is an extremely subjective statement and is quite misleading.

    For example, I have 4 JTMS. I opened one, traded for one @$50, bought one @$35, and used $80 is store credit at my LGS for the set. Since then I’ve played hundreds of standard games using those Jaces, doing well at numerous FNMs and other standard tournaments, in addition to other casual play.

    For the last year, I’ve had my merfolk deck. I maybe have gotten 15 matches out of it. Why? My LGS has legacy once a month, and it probably gets 8 people once every 4 months, with many people playing extended decks. No one plays casual legacy, because the amount of enjoyment you can derive from your deck is no minimal (i.e. There’s no one to play with). Of course, if there was a big legacy tournament around like an SCG open or whatnot and once every year I could play real legacy, that’d be one thing. But being from Canada, there’s nothing like that here.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love legacy and would be thrilled if more people would play. But that requires vast numbers of people to all make this very large investment, with no guarantee they would get any play value out of them.

    IMHO, Jaces were a way better use of my money than Forces. Because I get to play with them.

  17. @Zturchan ~ it all depends on your local area. There was no legacy in my area so I hit up the store owner and said I want a legacy tourny, so we organized and they are now quite successful. The last one had 32 players. Frist place took home a Tabernacle. We are setting up another one for a Mox Jet and I am hoping for 50+ players

  18. I spent most of this article picturing battleship duels. That analogy got a bit out of hand in my mind.

  19. some pro putting up an article about good competitive budget legacy decks would be the best way to get new players involved.

  20. @Seere

    Ill save you some money, don’t buy stifle, might seem cool in fish, but really isn’t a 60-80$ you need to spend. Legacy may look expensive, but that’s why it’s nice to make friends are borrow cards. Ive recently just finished my fish deck, and it was a bit pricey, but I’m enjoying every chance I get to play with it. So just have some fun and buy cards when you can afford it, I know some shops allow a few proxy cards, so check that out and just roll with it. +}

  21. @Jamez: I think you missed the point of what I was trying to state, Jamez. I’m not the target audience for this article – I already know most of the predominant archetypes in Legacy and how they function – but for beginners, it is the responsibility of the author to delve into these particulars, not us as commentators. If you read my post, the clause “If” is extremely important.

  22. @ Zturchan
    You should be playing online. The same goes for anyone without a local scene. I am also in Canada and have unlimited (well, close) legacy matches 24 hours a day on MTGO. Give it a shot. There are also 2-3 daily and premier events per week.

  23. Legacy definitely seems overwhelming for a new player.It’s pretty uncomfortable to keep asking to read all the cards and try to figure out how specific mechanics work every turn.I guess it depends on the opponents and the environment you’re playing in though..

    Other than these issues, Legacy is awesome.I looked at the top16 of SGC open and DAMN, all the decks are pretty unique.Sure, a lot of decks use same generic engines like counterbalance, but there are so many ways to build a same deck (the goblin deck that topped was a semi-controlish version with a lot of 3-4 CMC goblins, rather than ‘pwn your face’ version).
    I love the abundance of -1 card advantage “lock” cards, which can simply lock down half the opponents deck if they aren’t prepared.

    In Standard you can know EVERY SINGLE CARD in your opponent’s deck and you still can’t counter them consistently.
    Current standard isn’t the worst, but legacy is just..Better

  24. Standard:

    Hand = Plains, Quest, Memnite x2, Glint Hawk x2, Mox Opal

    Plains, Quest, Memnite, Memnite, Mox Opal, Glint Hawk bouncing Opal, Opal, Glint Hawk bouncing Memnite, Memnite, fetch Argentum Armor, attach to Glint Hawk…go.

    I am NOT advocating WW Quest as a deck, but if you’re looking for a god draw…

  25. A good way to get accustomed to the card pool also comes from MTGO. Yuo can watch as many games as so like and learn the vast majority of the card base without always looking like the scrub asking the RTFC every turn.

  26. @zturchan: if you want to play Legacy, then play Legacy. It’s really that easy. If you and your friends want to have a Legacy tourney, then ask your LGS to do it. Unless you don’t have an LGS or a decent Magic community, which is a different problem. I assure you that if you say “$15 entry, winner takes a Mox”, people will show up.

    I played in the tournament jamez referred to in his post. It was a great tournament. Even though I lost in the quarters (made T8, lost to New Horizons-ish deck), I had more fun playing Legacy than I ever had playing Standard. The first time you cast Force of Will, you’ll never go back to Mana Leak.

    @Alex: Great article! My only nitpick is that Legacy Dredge is, in fact, not Magic. It is a completely separate game isomorphic to Magic which follows a similar rules set and uses similar mechanics. It is not, however, Magic. Take it from an ex-Dredge player (I play Fish now)

  27. Don’t forget that type2. Cards that gbecome legacy staples. I bought my tarmagoyfs and mutavualts for standard purposes and now use them in legacy.

  28. Not long ago I played in my first legacy tournament with a pretty tight extended kithkin deck with a good sideboard plan and did surprisingly well with a 5-1 record (and lost in the top 8). I was pleased that such a deck could take on the better and more expansive decks in the format. Was also fun to see people laugh at me for playing kithkin and still be crushed by it 😀

  29. I think the point that most people make with expense is that overtime legacy isn’t that bad. first of all some of the decks in standard can outprice some of the cheaper decks in legacy (price out legacy goblins compared to standard blue white control) but the main thing legacy players bring up is that the more you acquire cards for and play legacy the cheaper and easier it becomes. I know people who spent hundreds of fae, then fae rotated and they spent hundreds on jund, then jund rotated and they spent hundreds on eldrazi green… by this point in time they could easily have the cards required for 3-4 decks in legacy that are not going to rotate Those force of wills you mentionned cost less then jace the mind sculptor and are going to help you in legacy for ever.

  30. This is pretty late, but thanks to everyone for all the comments. Last week was super-hectic, but I’m glad this piece has been useful in giving some not-yet-Legacy players access to the Legacy format.

    I really like the discussion of expense and such in the comments, since that is a perpetual issue for a format that leans on the entire history of the game. There’s no awesome answer for it, as some decks are just money-money to put together…but I do think it’s still worth figuring out the actual cost on a deck-by-deck basis rather than assuming all decks are expensive.

    I also appreciate the ideas on how to make Legacy even more accessible for new players. There may need to be a follow-up piece in the future that, for example, tries to break down the various archetypes. I figured a high-level start would be good for most people to begin with.

  31. Pingback: In Development – My Zombies Rise from Seas and Bayous | Magic: The Gathering - Strategy, Singles, Cards, Decks

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