Now that Modern Horizons 2 is in full swing, the impact of the set is coming into view. While decks like Izzet Delver and Bant Control are taking the spotlight right now, there’s certainly a lot of innovation happening in the background. I wanted to focus on some of the affinity-style decks that have gained popularity with Urza’s Saga in the mix, but I happened upon an amazing Jund Turbo-Discard deck (I can’t imagine calling this deck anything other than Legacy 8 Walla) that Magic Online player ellaone Top 16’d one of the weekend Challenges with and I immediately became enamored.
This is one of the archetypes I was most excited for people to start working on with the release of Modern Horizons 2, which makes me extremely happy to see it show up. Today, I want to go through this deck, which is playing a wide variety of cards that don’t often see play in Legacy, and see if I can’t make you, the reader, think this deck is as cool as I think it is.
Legacy 8 Walla by ellaone
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This is a focused aggro deck that seems to take advantage of creatures that can be cast for free through discard synergies. By flooding the board early, you can easily overwhelm opponents and apply pressure quickly enough so that they can’t enact their plans. The plan is rather resilient, as madness cards help provide some card advantage as well as recursive threats, like Vengevine, making it so that spot removal won’t effectively stop your pressure. This deck isn’t very disruptive, but it is consistent and pressure can be a form of disruption, so hitting the ground running can be a great way to win a game. It bears a lot of similarities to Hogaak but trades some of the power that comes with everyone’s favorite free 8/8 trample for resilience to graveyard hate.
As we’ve seen in many decks since Dark Ascension, Faithless Looting is the core enabler of the deck. It provides a discard outlet for any card that cares about the graveyard or card with madness, and leading on Faithless Looting will lead to some of the most powerful early turns this deck can muster. In addition, it significantly helps with the resilience of the deck, as being able to be cast off of flashback will make it so that players can’t disrupt your plan forever.
Like Faithless Looting, Burning Inquiry will enable some of this deck’s most powerful starts. Unlike Looting though, it trades off consistency and resilience for variance-driven potential. In conjunction with Hollow One and a ton of madness cards, it’s pretty likely that Inquiry will yield the ability to cast a fair amount of creatures really early and this is really the set up that the deck wants in every game. While it isn’t reliable at doing so in a broader sense, in the context of this deck, the downsides are greatly mitigated and it might even act as disruption for an opponent that had to discard all of their lands.
Putrid Imp is a discard outlet that both applies some additional pressure and helps trigger Vengevines from the graveyard. It already has a pedigree in Legacy and it really helps enable everything this deck is looking to do.
An old adage in Magic is that once you have eight copies of a card, you can start to build an archetype out of it. Now, with eight free madness cards, enabling the synergies that come along with that becomes somewhat trivial. Your discard outlets have a much greater chance of yielding one of these and free creatures tend to break the rules of Magic. The bodies on these creatures matter more than they might initially seem because flooding the board with a bunch of small, free creatures can really put opponents in a bind, especially when backed up with larger, more threatening creatures (we’ve seen this before with Hogaak).
A somewhat underplayed madness creature, getting an Anje’s Ravager into play will serve a lot of roles in this deck. It applies a real amount of pressure, generates card advantage and enables all of the discard synergies of the deck. In addition, playing extra madness creatures helps increase the consistency of the deck overall. It does require a bit more setup and is more vulnerable to removal spells as a result. However, the upside is pretty substantial and it’s really cool to see this start to see some more play.
Hollow One has a much longer history in Modern and Vintage, but it’s definitely powerful enough to make waves in Legacy, too. In any deck with Burning Inquiry, casting this as early as turn one is pretty trivial and with Putrid Imp in the mix you can set up some really powerful openings.
Vengevine has a long history of being completely unreasonable and this shell is perfect for it. It’s trivially easy to return this early, as almost all of the creatures in the deck can be cast for zero or one mana and there are a ton of discard outlets. Returning one or two of these early often puts opponents in a serious bind and helps end the game before opponents can react or even successfully combo off.
Ox of Agonas is a great way to get some extra resilience in this archetype. As the game goes long, escaping it will put opponents in a tough situation and, like everything else in this deck, it’s pretty trivial to get it in the graveyard with enough cards to use it.
Anger doesn’t see a lot of play these days, but giving all of the creatures in this deck haste will help end the game really quickly. It means that against combo decks you might be able to apply enough pressure to kill them before they put anything together and against interactive decks, you never give them a chance to breath.
This isn’t the card we usually see in these Vengevine decks, but it’s pretty powerful in this deck. The fact that you can cast any of the Rootwallas off of it means that you could have opening lines that involve activating this to cast two Rootwallas, which could bring back a few Vengevines and close the game out in a way that is difficult to interact with. In addition, with Ox of Agonas in the mix, Lion’s Eye Diamond helps enable that in a really effective way.
As I have mentioned, this deck is all about consistency and Once Upon a Time maximizes your ability to execute the most powerful strategies you can assemble as early as you can. There aren’t that many Legacy decks that take advantage of this card, but it certainly is one of the most powerful options in Legacy if you can support it.
There isn’t much to say about this mana base, but if you feel the need to change it around, make sure to only include Mountains, so as to make sure Anger is always enabled.
This is one of the most straightforward sideboards I have ever seen, so I’m sorry if I can’t elaborate on the options too much. With Ancient Grudge, if you need to kill artifacts, you can’t really do much better than this. The fact that you can discard it to get some extra value off of Faithless Looting and take advantage of the cheaper backside is a lot of upside, too.
Faerie Macabre is one of the safest sideboard choices against decks like Reanimator. Combining that with the fact that discarding it for its ability helps make Hollow One cheaper and that this deck uses the graveyard itself really solidifies it as the best option for this deck.
Killing creatures and discarding cards, you can’t really ask for much more.
While this deck does apply a lot of pressure to combo decks and might be able to win before they can set up, Legacy has a ton of decks that can win before you even get a turn, so Mindbreak Trap is absolutely essential.
- One of the most stable ways to apply maximum pressure early is to cast a turn one Putrid Imp and then discard both a Vengevine and any Rootwalla, which will immediately trigger the Vengevine to return.
- This deck cares more about synergy than raw cards in hand, so mulliganing a bit more will lead to some more broken starts.
Out: 4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
Delver is both the deck that you want to be resilient against and not open yourself too much to cards like Surgical Extraction. Lion’s Eye Diamond is quite a bit too risky for that reason. Bringing in cards that enable discard synergies while also disrupting their pressure seems like a great swap. Prioritizing a fast Hollow One is really good in this matchup, as it can be challenging for them to remove and dodges graveyard hate.
I think discarding your whole hand to Lion’s Eye Diamond isn’t particularly effective here, especially considering that you’re bringing in removal that demands discarding cards. Anger definitely helps cards like Hollow One apply a lot of early pressure, but you don’t need to flood on the effect (also, deemphasizing the graveyard is beneficial against a Scavenging Ooze deck). They can present a pretty fast kill, so try to find an early Firestorm and set up early pressure as quickly as you can.
Out: 4 Anje’s Ravager
In: 4 Mindbreak Trap
Every time I talk about the Doomsday matchup for these non-blue decks, it’s crucial to emphasize that this is a tough matchup. There’s no effective way to stop them consistently, so you have to focus on enacting your aggressive plan as quickly as possible. Mindbreak Trap might slow down some of their faster starts, but that doesn’t even happen consistently, so make sure to keep a hand that can kill them quickly.
The sideboard cards are quite a bit more effective in this matchup, so it’s definitely easier than Doomsday. Disrupting them is more important than enacting your plan, so definitely try to emphasize disruption as much as you can. Burning Inquiry allows you to set up some really fast starts, but at the same time, it both helps enable their plan and might discard your disruption, so be very careful if you choose to leave some in.