The Legacy metagame looks healthy and fun right now, with dozens of strategies able to succeed in competitive events.
This installment will show how separating or combining similar archetypes can change the way things look. When in doubt, focus less on the number ranking of each deck and more on the fact that every broad strategy on the list represents a significant pillar of the format.
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 20 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.
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.
9. Dark Depths (All Forms)
Combining Dark Depths with either Thespian’s Stage or Vampire Hexmage is a big strategy in Legacy, which you’re sure to run into. It can come in the form of Classic Lands, W/G Depths, B/G Depths or even Mono-Black Depths. All of these decks are strong, and can pack a real punch when they hit the metagame well.
8. Jeskai Delver
Jeskai Delver is the first of several U/R-based creature decks that will appear on this list. This one taps into white for any combination of Esper Sentinel, Stoneforge Mystic, Swords to Plowshares and Prismatic Ending. These cards contribute to a well-rounded package, and some players feel they offer an edge in the pseudo-mirror matches (I’m currently undecided on this point, but very interested in exploring!).
7. Oops All Spells
Oops All Spells is one of the fastest and most terrifying combo decks in Legacy. It can frequently win the game outright on the very first turn. The goal is to assemble enough mana to cast Balustrade Spy or Undercity Informer plus an activation. By targeting yourself in a deck that technically contains zero lands, you can mill your whole library into your graveyard, and then win the game with Narcomoebas, Dread Return and Thassa’s Oracle.
While spell-based combo isn’t on top of the format right now, graveyard decks like Oops All Spells and Reanimator still hold strong, and deserve to be respected with a healthy amount of sideboard hate. Even though Reanimator doesn’t technically win the game on turn one like Oops All Spells does, it can quickly and consistently put the game out of reach for the opponent with a fast Griselbrand or Archon of Cruelty.
5. Jeskai Control
If you lump all of the controlling Jeskai-colored decks together (meaning the ones without one-drop creatures), 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.
4. Red Prison & Painter
Red Prison compliments with 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!
Painter, on the other hand, seeks to make every card across hands, libraries, and the battlefield blue. From there, Pyroblast answers anything for one mana, while Grindstone mills the opponent out in one shot.
3. Izzet Shredder
Izzet Shredder is a new take on the U/R color combination which cuts the iconic Delver of Secrets completely and trims down on Wastelands and Dazes. In doing so, it gains more consistency and staying power, and gets to utilize powerful midrangey cards like Ledger Shredder.
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, Oops All Spells and the turbo Marit Lage decks.
1. Izzet Delver
I’m still giving the top position to good, old fashioned Izzet Delver, although it’s much, much closer than it’s been in the past. Delver is prevalent, puts up good finishes and has few true weaknesses. 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.
Whether it comes in the form of Izzet Delver, Izzet Shredder, Jeskai Control or Jeskai Delver, it’s good to recognize that the U/R core defines Legacy right now, and you’ll want a good plan for when your opponent leads on Volcanic Island and Ponder.