30 Card Legacy Results

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 30 Card Legacy Brew Fest! It’s awesome to get so much creativity coming in just for the sake of fun community learning.

The purpose of this specific exercise is to explore the ramifications of a rules change that would allow for more consistency. Moving from 60 cards to 30 cards effectively doubles the 4-card limit to 8, and the result is that decks become way more redundant. What happens, and what can we learn from it?

What Happens With More Consistency?

The number of unique cards per deck is almost cut in half. So draws become more redundant (repetitive) and decks become more predictable (repetitive).

While there is a lot of excitement in brewing up a strategy for a new format, the excitement probably stops with the game play. The extreme consistency pushes combo decks to extreme repetition. At first glance, games in the more consistent format would be way less interactive.

It becomes obvious that the game play of a more consistent format is probably actually less fun.

Is Inconsistency Good?

While we often find ourselves cursing mana screw and mana flood, would we actually be playing without a healthy amount of randomness?

Randomness brings variety. Randomness brings unpredictability. Randomness brings novelty. Randomness is fun! Inconsistency is good!

This is why we see fun-focused gamers often move towards singleton formats like Elder Dragon Highlander. The INCREASED INCONSISTENCY of the format is a major attraction!

This increased inconsistency of combo decks also means decks are slower and player interaction develops into richer and more comple game states. So it seems that in the confines of Magic, inconsistency and player interaction are somewhat linked.

Is there a “best” amount of inconsistency? Probably. Too little and the game play loses its luster. Too much and players feel they have no control. So there has to be a balance.

Force of Will

Moving into the specifics of the submissions, Force of Will is the most important card in the format for semi-obvious reasons. Combo decks are super consistent and are trying to win turn 1 and Force of Will becomes an attractive safety valve.

Force of Will is mostly a force for good here. It becomes a major deckbuilding constraint that pushes decks to interact. What’s good against Force of Will is playing a 1-drop creature and games of Magic start to be fun again.

So Force of Will seems to be both the most important card and perhaps a positive influence. Let’s take a look at what some of these Force of Will decks are doing.

How about a blue White Force of Will deck that takes advantage of Gitaxian Probe + Meddling Mage? Seems really good in a combo format.

UW Delver

David Skelton

Blue/Black Force of Will is also an option. Here’s a version that has an alternative combo finish of Leyline of the Void + Helm of Obedience.

UB Delver

Craig Cliburn

Force of Combo

Outside of the Force of Will decks there are a lot of combo decks that can pull off consistent turn-1 wins. Not necessarily the most fun to play against, but certainly fun to think about from a deck crafting perspective. Let’s take a look at what some of those decks look like.

Opalescence + Leyline combo is especially exciting. Since the Leylines begin the game in play, they can attack on the first turn like they have haste. This looks pretty consistent in a 30 card format.


Cosmo Cothran-Bray

Dredge combo is really interesting, as the consistency can make for a lot of turn-1 kills, but the smaller deck means less of a long game. Here’s a version that takes advantage of Chancellor of the Annex to try to slow the opponent down.


Devon Straub

Of course there are various storm decks available. One of the more interesting ways to go is to build around Doomsday. This is another deck that can produce easy turn-1 wins.

Short Doomsday

Thomas Janowski

Force of Force of Will Combo

At this point it has become clear that combo decks with Force of Will may be the best way to go. They have a huge advantage over the other combo decks and have a better chance against the Force of Will decks. So let’s take a look at what some of these Force of Will combo decks could look like.

Here’s a Force-of-Will-powered reanimator deck, which I think is especially clever for choosing Blazing Archon as a top fatty. This creature has a chance of stopping both Emrakul and dredge decks, although attacking through Emrakul remains a challenge.


Greg Kocko

Here’s another Force of Will combo deck that goes for the turn-2 Blazing Shoal infect combo kill. This deck has the tools to survive the first turn and set up a turn-2 win.


Steven Kuiper

Finally, we have my favorite deck of the bunch—a Force-of-Will-powered Hypergenesis deck. I especially like the Chancellors of the Annex for additional turn-1 protection. Potential concerns for this deck are being on the receiving end of an opposing Emrakul, but otherwise it looks like a blast.


Silas Waltzer

30 Card Legacy Results

Key findings: a healthy amount of inconsistency is good and important for player interaction. Deckbuilding in new formats is fun, but sustained randomness is important. Embrace the variance!

Thanks once again for everyone who participated in this challenge, and I’m sorry I couldn’t feature all the sweet decks, as there were many. I’m curious to hear what else you learned from this and would be interested to hear what other kind of challenge you think would be fun and useful.

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