The Legacy metagame looks healthy and fun right now, with dozens of strategies able to succeed in competitive events.
Welcome to the latest installment of the Legacy Power Rankings. Here are the resources I use to inform all Power Rankings, leaning more heavily on what applies best to the given format:
- Magic Online results. This includes Preliminaries, Weekend Challenges, Super Qualifiers, and MOCS Events.
- MTGMelee results. I typically look at all of the events with at least twenty players.
- Large tabletop events. When applicable.
- Untapped.gg stats. These show win rates of various archetypes on the Magic Arena ladder.
- Previous rankings. Just because a deck didn’t make a top 8 over the weekend, doesn’t mean it’s suddenly a bad deck.
- Public opinion. I discuss things with my teammates, and take a look at what’s getting a lot of attention on Twitch, Twitter, Youtube, podcasts, and written content.
- My own instincts and experiences.
Dedicated combo decks seem to be on the downswing for this month, with Doomsday and Sneak and Show falling off the list. That said, Storm has been around forever, and the experienced Storm players are very scary to play against. There are a few versions, ranging from Mono-Red Storm using Birgi, God of Storytelling to more classic versions with Infernal Tutor and Dark Ritual.
The “8 Casts,” in this case, are Thoughtcast and Thought Monitor. This is a mono-blue artifact deck which, among other powerful things, seeks to turbo out Kappa Cannoneer. This creature is a nightmare for most Legacy decks to deal with if it ever hits the battlefield. All the while, 8-Cast can access the full eight Force of Wills and Force of Negations to protect against fast combo decks, or ensure that its own key cards get to stick.
An alternative take on the mono-blue artifact strategy uses Lion’s Eye Diamond, Hullbreacher and Echo of Eons. If you can resolve Echo with Hullbreacher on the battlefield, your opponent will lose their hand, draw nothing and you’ll make seven Treasures. I’ve yet to see such a powerful play lead to anything other than a decisive win.
While spell-based combo isn’t on top of the format right now, Reanimator still holds strong, and deserves to be respected with a healthy amount of sideboard hate. I consider Reanimator to be the fastest deck in the format. Even though it doesn’t technically win the game on turn one, this is the archetype that can most quickly and consistently put the game out of reach for the opponent with a fast Griselbrand or Archon of Cruelty.
7. Death’s Shadow
A newcomer to the Legacy Power Rankings, Death’s Shadow has won multiple Legacy Challenges on Magic Online. One major appeal is being able to produce a hard-hitting threat that dodges both Pyroblast and Lightning Bolt. By dipping into blue, red and black, Shadow can access all of Legacy’s best disruptive elements all at once.
6. Bant/Four-Color Uro
One of few true control decks in Legacy, the Uro decks go big, with a number of card advantage engines that all hit their stride in the midgame. These decks always have a Bant core, since Swords to Plowshares and Prismatic Ending make great compliments to the Theros Titan. Past that, you have the option to dip into red for Pyroblast and Expressive Iteration, or black for Green Sun’s Zenith targets like Leovold and Grist. These decks can come in 60 or 80-card versions.
5. Death & Taxes
Death and Taxes is a heavily disruptive white creature deck. It has its diehard fans, and can be one of the scariest decks in Legacy in the hands of an expert pilot. The single greatest appeal of Death and Taxes is that I believe it to have the best matchup against the #1 deck of anything on this list.
4. Red Prison
Mono-Red Prison uses fast mana like Chrome Mox and Ancient Tomb to power out disruptive permanents like Blood Moon and Chalice of the Void. It also plays potent threats like Goblin Rabblemaster and Chandra, Torch of Defiance, which win games very quickly when they go unanswered, and has now even adapted midrange all-star Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.
One particularly sweet version of Red Prison goes heavy on planeswalkers and uses Jokulhaups to wipe everything else off the battlefield!
3. Jeskai Control
If you lump all of the controlling Jeskai-colored decks together, it’s clear that this is a top strategy which is a favorite among Legacy’s elite players. Jeskai Mentor is a bread-and-butter way to use many of Legacy’s best cards, while Standstill, Stoneforge, Miracles and planeswalker-based control decks are other valid approaches. One particularly exciting version of Jeskai seeks to pair Day’s Undoing with some combination of Hullbreacher and Narset, Parter of Veils. If you can do so, you’ll get a fresh windfall of seven cards while the opponent gets utterly cleaned out.
Regardless of how you build it, you wind up with a rock solid midrange or controlling deck that has answers to just about everything.
Elves is my personal favorite deck in Legacy, and I’m thrilled to see it having this much success. It’s a consistent creature-based combo deck with tons of built-in card advantage and staying power. It tends to have an excellent matchup against slower decks and creature strategies, while struggling a little against faster combo decks like Storm, Reanimator, Doomsday and the turbo Marit Lage decks.
Creature-based decks like Elves and Death & Taxes have had a pretty good month.
1. Izzet Delver
Delver is still the top deck. It’s prevalent, puts up good finishes and has few true weaknesses. That said, the metagame seems healthy to me, with tons of decks having effective plans against Delver. Still, the card quality and the well-roundedness of Delver really can’t be matched.
The core is Delver of Secrets, Dragon’s Rage Channeler, Murktide Regent, Lightning Bolt, Daze, Force of Will, Wasteland and the best card selection in Legacy. In some games, it almost doesn’t matter what cards you draw, since the Delver player will neutralize everything by countering it, killing it or making it uncastable while Wastelanding you into oblivion.