Legacy by its nature has always been a varied format, but it is consistently characterized by just a couple of decks, and right know the hottest ones all run Dig Through Time.
Let’s take a look at the top 3 decks right now:
This deck was originally played by Dylan Donegan in the SCG Open in Washington, and after his Top 4 we saw this deck all over the place, reaching 1st place in Bob Huang’s hands in the 2015 Legacy Championship and putting two copies in the SCG Invitational’s Top 8.
We’ve seen plenty of Delver decks in the past, going all the way back to Canadian RUG, but after Return to Ravnica introduced Abrupt Decay and Deathrite Shaman that deck fell off the radar somewhat, and the only reason you’d see it winning would be because Jacob Wilson was piloting it.
BUG Delver has also enjoyed some time in the spotlight, which I wrote a primer for a couple of months ago. Even BUG is outdated because it doesn’t play Lightning Bolt, which is an incredible card that happens to be great against almost all Legacy decks, from Delver to even Miracles now, since you’re starting to see more Monastery Mentors in those decks. Gurmag Angler has been insane every time I saw it in action, being always bigger than Tarmogoyf, which is the primary reason to play green in a Delver deck.
Jeskai Delver has ever been the clunkiest to me, since you’re playing fewer spells and behave less like a tempo deck and more like a control deck, which Delver doesn’t do very well.
The biggest problem with Grixis Delver is the mana base. Playing 4 different colors and 4 Wastelands in just 18 lands can be difficult. Also, because you’re playing only 2 Underground Sea in a deck that always wants a black mana to activate Deathrite Shaman or cast spells.
I would like to add a third Sea, but it looks like nobody is having the same issue that I am.
Claudio Bonanni won GP Lille with this deck list, destroying everyone and dropping just a single match on the whole weekend. I recorded a video with the deck for CFB here.
Why is this deck better than the normal version with Entreat the Angels? Because it provides the ability to close the game even if you are not in full control of the board. Sometimes you can just force a Monastery Mentor into play and see what the opponent does about him. In this deck he is particularly insane because he can combo out with 2 Sensei’s Divining Top, which can close the game in two turns very easily.
Another aspect is the clock: Miracles is a very slow deck, it’s not easy to finish 3 games in just 50 minutes with the old version.
With Monastery Mentor you’re much faster, and once you assembled Sensei’s Divining Top + Counterbalance, or have taken control of the game, it isn’t that difficult to win in few turns with a Monastery Mentor in play.
Daze is also an insane card that nobody expected. It’s obviously great with Monastery Mentor, but it’s another counterspell which this deck is always hungry for.
I would advise adding another Jace, the Mind Sculptor to the board because it’s great against non-red decks, just the best card you can imagine.
Practice a lot with the deck before bringing it to a tournament—it’s one of the most difficult deck to play, and sequencing is really important!
After a tempo deck and a control deck, now we finally come to a combo deck.
If you’re not familiar with the deck, I recorded a video with it last month that explains how the deck works.
The deck list is pretty stock after Shouta Yasooka Top 8’d with it in GP Kyoto, adding red to what was a Mono-Blue combo deck.
The metagame is now adapting to the deck, and the best way to do that is with Delver of Secrets/Young Pyromancer + Cabal Therapy—the old pressure + disruption combination that has always good against combo decks.
Boseiju, Who Shelters All is an insane card against counters, and since in Legacy there are so many of them hanging around, my advice is to play it maindeck.
You don’t need too much pratice to play this deck, you can even just goldfish it to understand sequencing, the right targets for Cunning Wish, and how to get out of difficult situations presented by Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Ethersworn Canonist.
What Do I Recommend?
With that glimpse of the metagame right now in mind, I’m going to offer my idea of what can beat the top 3 decks:
You might remember a time when BUG Shardless was a great deck—good against Miracles and Delver.
Now with all the OmniTell decks hanging around, its time is gone—but what if we just add a Scrubland and some Meddling Mages out of the board?
Well, the result is great! Once you get to resolve a Meddling Mage on Show and Tell, they need to spend resources and time to answer it—usually Cunning Wish into Sudden Shock—and meanwhile you are beating down with Tarmogoyf. Also, the full set of Hymn to Tourach is particularly painful for all 3 of the top decks.
Of course, you’re still the underdog in that matchup, but it won’t be that hard for you to come out with a victory with this new sideboard plan.
Miracles has improved with the newest version, since it can pressure you up and won’t give you infinite time resolve your own Ancestral Vision, but it’s still very hard for you to lose.
Against Delver decks it’s close. Gurmag Angler is the biggest problem, since you can’t take him down with Abrupt Decay, but you have ton of artifacts that go to the graveyard, so it isn’t hard for you to produce a 5/6 Tarmogoyf to block their 5/5.
I’m just trying this deck out and it’s been insane.
Magic Origins and the New Mulligan Rule
I wrote an article about this just a few months ago. After we saw Magic Origins cards in action, we now know that they weren’t good enough for this format. Whatever, we’ll wait for Battle for Zendikar to see some new action!
The new mulligan rule will be legal very soon and I’m not happy at all about it in Legacy, while I’m super grateful for it in Limited. I think that midrange and control decks will be hurt pretty badly, since they tend to keep hands based on the presence of just land and spells, also they play a higher number of lands than common unfair decks—e.g. BUG Shardless is playing 22, Dredge is playing 12—thus Dredge mulligans more to look for their very few lands, and now they get a little more help, which isn’t fair for a format where the only thing that keeps unfair decks off the table is their lack of resilience.