Legacy is looking healthy and diverse after the banning of Ragavan. With so many viable archetypes, I took some liberties in combining decks that share similar structures and strategies. For example…
10. Painter & Red Prison
Painter and Red Prison are both mono-red decks with disruptive elements and a heavy artifact theme. The former seeks to assemble the combo of Painter’s Servant plus Grindstone to immediately deplete the opponent’s library and win the game. The latter uses individually potent threats like Goblin Rabblemaster and Chandra, Torch of Defiance, which are capable of winning games on their own – particularly once the opponent has been off balanced with some mana denial.
9. Storm & Show and Tell
The #9 and #8 positions represent our dedicated combo decks. Storm and Show and Tell are classic Legacy decks that have been around forever. They seem to be comparable both in overall quality, and in their recent results. I’ve always been impressed by Show and Tell in how directly and reliably it can convert a single spell into a game win.
I give a slight nod to Doomsday over both Storm and Show and Tell right now. It’s won several Magic Online Legacy Challenges in the hands of dedicated players. Like Show and Tell, it’s appealing in its directness; you have a Dark Ritual and a Doomsday, and you can win the game.
You’ll exile all but five of your cards, then chain cantrips until you deplete your library and win the game with Thassa’s Oracle.
7. 8-Cast/Kappa Cannoneer
The “8-Cast” archetype is a mono-blue artifact deck that leverages Thoughtcast and Thought Monitor for explosive draws and steady streams of card advantage. It picked up an incredible addition recently in Kappa Cannoneer, which is extremely difficult to deal with once it hits the battlefield.
6. Four-Color Uro
Bant and Four-Color Uro decks represent the controlling end of the spectrum in Legacy. They gear up for the long game using disruption, removal, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, and sometimes Life from the Loam. They can tap into red for Pyroblast and Expressive Iteration and/or tap into black for cards like Pernicious Deed and Leovold, Emissary of Trest.
Yorion Zenith is the other way to make use of the extremely powerful Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. This 80-card monstrosity features every color other than red, and can use Green Sun’s Zenith to fetch a helpful creature at any spot on the mana curve.
If you want to play Legacy, I recommend you gear heavily for beating Reanimator. At one point recently, I was rocking a full playset of Leyline of the Voids in my main deck while grinding the Magic Online Leagues.
Reanimator has the best turn ones in the format, with Griselbrand or an equivalent creature hitting the battlefield nearly half the time (very rough estimation). It gained a massive level-up from Modern Horizon 2’s Archon of Cruelty, which is virtually impossible to beat, and as a non-legend, crucially gets around Karakas.
4. Jeskai Control (Often Hullbreacher)
These decks can take a variety of forms. Jeskai Mentor is a bread-and-butter way to use many of Legacy’s best cards, while Standstill, Miracles and planeswalker-based control decks are other valid approaches. But the most exciting versions of Jeskai seek 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.
The reason these decks are so effective is that preventing opponents from drawing cards is simply a great effect in Legacy, even as a standalone. So you wind up with rock solid midrange decks that simply have the combo built into them.
3. Elvish Reclaimer Decks
Once again, I’m casting a wide net, but I want to drive home the point that decks centered around Elvish Reclaimer and powerful nonbasic lands make up a core strategy of competitive Legacy. The most common version is Selesnya Dark Depths, but Golgari Turbo-Depths is still out there. Slightly more “all-in” versions include Cloudpost and old-fashioned “Lands” decks.
Green Cloudpost decks have existed for a while, but they’ve become a lot more popular recently. They use Cloudpost, Glimmerpost and Vesuva to generate unfair amounts of mana while buffering the life total with big chunks at a time. Green support cards like Once Upon a Time and Elvish Reclaimer help find Cloudpost, or whatever land is ideal for the situation.
2. Death and 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 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.
1. Izzet Delver
Despite the Ragavan ban, and despite Death and Taxes and Dark Depths decks making a good run for the title, Izzet Delver remains the deck to beat in Legacy. 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.