With two huge Legacy GPs in the books and with the Legacy Challenge events starting up on Magic Online, I’m going to take a look at the more popular and most interesting Legacy decks you can play. I’ve received a lot of requests for more Legacy breakdowns, so buckle up—this format is wild.
Death and Taxes is a deck that is designed, more or less, to stop your opponent, whatever it is they’re doing. There are similar strategies in Modern with decks like Hate Bears—you play early creatures that can apply pressure and keep your opponent off of their game plan.
The queen of disruption is Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. In a format driven by cheap spells, Thalia throws a wrench into people’s plans. Storm decks can’t go off with a Thalia in play, but low-land-count aggro decks such as Delver are going to struggle to even cast their Ponders, Brainstorms, and cheap countermagic with a Thalia taxing them.
AEther Vial is an awesome way to cheat these creatures into play, right through countermagic. It creates a ton of mana throughout the course of the game, but also makes it impossible to know what you’re up against.
To protect your creatures from cards like Lightning Bolt, Swords to Plowshares, and Abrupt Decay, you have access to Mother of Runes and Flickerwisp. Mother is just impossible for many decks to defeat as creature combat and removal spells don’t work as intended. Flickerwisp is both a quick clock and disruption in conjunction with Vial. Being able to flicker an opposing permanent during an end step means that it won’t be available on the following turn.
You also get to play 4 of the best removal spells in the format. Swords to Plowshares takes care of everything short of an Emrakul for a single mana. Giving your opponent life isn’t the greatest, but it’s a small price to pay for killing a reanimated threat or giant Tarmogoyf standing in the way.
The final, critical component of this deck is Stoneforge Mystic. Fetching Umezawa’s Jitte, Batterskull, or Sword of Fire and Ice will turn all of your smaller threats into quick clocks and make racing impossible. Use Vial to put Stoneforge into play, then Stoneforge to put Batterskull into play, and make opposing countermagic look silly.
The rest of the deck can be rounded out with various utility creatures. Spirit of the Labyrinth will help shut down decks relying on cantrips, Serra Avenger is a quick threat in the skies (especially with Vial), and Mirran Crusader wearing any equipment can close a game immediately.
The final piece of the taxing strategy comes from the lands. This is Legacy, so despite being a mono-white deck, you have some awesome options. Wastelands will help keep your opponent tight on mana, colors, or utility depending on the matchup. Karakas is another land that can invalidate entire strategies, such as Griselbrand and Emrakul decks, while also protecting your Thalias and Brimaz, and Rishadan Port acts as awesome mana denial when you already have a threat or a Vial in play. This deck can even play Mishra’s Factory for added pressure, Cavern of Souls for more evasion around countermagic, and Horizon Canopy to mitigate flooding.
Death and Taxes is one of the most powerful decks in all of Legacy, and it’s really just a white weenie deck! With lots of excellent matchups, this could definitely be the deck to help you transition from a Modern player to a Legacy player.