Making the Jump to Legacy; Prepping for Niagara Falls
Hey, MTGCanada readers! I'm back with a beginner's look at the Legacy format as I prepare to step into the big leagues. If you're unaware, Legacy is a format that includes cards from every Magic set in history, which provides some very powerful and entertaining game play.
Part of the reason I wanted to write this article is to highlight some of the easier decks to jump into the format with. Owning Legacy decks can prove more costly than some players care for, but I've found that there are people willing to lend you cards or even a full deck - as long as you've proven yourself a responsible member of their community. Up until now, my experiences in Legacy were with Burn (one of the cheaper decks to play by far) plus a few more expensive decks like Painter Combo thanks to my fantastic friends. Luckily, some of those friends owned Magic shops, so my experiences for a beginner have been interesting.
I used to borrow a fully foiled out Painter's Servant combo deck from my buddy Logan up North, which was actually how I got most of my Legacy experience. However, now I've moved and don't have access to the same card-share networks. I was able to cobble my Burn deck together over time since a good chunk of the pieces come from the Modern Burn deck, which I already owned.
When considering playing the Legacy Grand Prix at MagicFest Niagara Falls, my first thought was Burn. It was easy-ish, cheap to update, and I already owned most of it. Luckily for me, I was able to find a willing friend with some expensive artifacts that I could borrow, so I've since changed course. Now I'm testing Charbelcher.
When trying to decide on Burn or another playable and relatively inexpensive deck, I researched a few options. Here are the ones I narrowed the search down to:
- Burn, approx. $400 CAD
- Manaless Dredge, approx. $450 CAD
- Death and Taxes, approx. $1050 CAD
- Mono U Aggro, approx. $1300 CAD
- Reanimator, approx. $1350 CAD
- Charbelcher, approx. $1350 CAD
Let's take a quick look at a typical list for each, and what the deck is trying to do.
Burn, approx. $400
This is one of the more straightforward archetypes to play and doesn't require a crazy collection or vast knowledge of the format. I will admit that I feel slightly disadvantaged playing this deck, but it pops up relatively often topping tournaments. Burn always seems to be a reasonable option. Most players with any knowledge of the Modern format will be easily able to pick this up and play.
Eternal Weekend Trial (Legacy) Burn
The major differences from the Modern Burn list are the upgraded cards Fireblast, Chain Lightning and the absolutely backbreaking Price of Progress. The sideboard is very different, as it should be, but is pretty easy to navigate.
Manaless Dredge, approx. $450
One of the weirdest and cheapest decks you could possibly play in this format, Manaless Dredge looks to start the game by taking the draw. Lost the die roll? Probably a good thing. Won the die roll? Take the draw.
The deck plays absolutely zero mana, as the name explains. The whole idea is to take the draw, and have 8 cards going into your first end step. In clean up, discard down to hand size by getting rid of a dredge creature or a Phantasmagorian. From here, start to dredge creatures to the grave, accumulating an army of Narcomoebas, Prized Amalgams, Nether Shadows, etc.
There are also very explosive plays in the deck, such as using Dread Return to reanimate either a Flayer of the Hatebound for direct damage, or Balustrade Spy, which will mill our whole deck sending us to trigger town. This will find the rest of the deck's Narcomoebas, which will return the rest of the Prized Amalgams, and so on.
Legacy March Madness Manaless Dredge
Death and Taxes, approx. $1050
This is a deck that has some aggressive elements as well as some slower but more disruptive elements, similar to those seen in prison-style decks. D+T uses Aether Vial to power out its creatures and slow down the opponent by playing cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Sanctum Prelate, Phyrexian Revoker and Spirit of the Labyrinth.
Legacy 1K Showdown Death and Taxes
With a full cast of 8 taxing lands (4 Wasteland, 4 Rishadan Port) and a neat little Stoneforge Mystic/Batterskull/Sword of Fire and Ice package, Death and Taxes is the perfect marriage of aggressive and disruptive play.
Mono U Aggro, approx. $1300
I'm not going to spend too much time on this deck, but here's one that's centered around beatdowns with Cryptic Serpent, Pteramander and True-Name Nemesis. I've been having a really great time playing Mono U Tempo in Standard lately and was just hoping this would feel similar to that.
This is also not a top tier or popular strategy, so ultimately I decided to not take the time to assemble it/proxy it and try it out. This is still one I may fiddle with in the future.
Liga Legacy Enero Mono Blue Aggro
Some of the most powerful draw spells in Magic like Brainstorm and Accumulated Knowledge and premiere counter spells such as Force of Will and Daze make it difficult for many important spells to resolve for the opponent, and meanwhile makes our creature-threats cost less while in the graveyard.
Reanimator, approx. $1350
Here's one most people are familiar with: Instant Reanimator. There are many ways to achieve the primary goal here. You can discard to hand size, Thoughtseize targeting yourself, etc. The way to Reanimate is to get a giant creature into the graveyard as fast as possible (preferably turn 1 via Faithless Looting, etc.) and then cast a spell to return it to the battlefield with Reanimate, Animate Dead or Exhume. Free spells are a wonderful thing, so don't forget to check if the coast is clear with Unmask first.
Knight Ware Legacy BR Reanimator
Belcher, approx. $1350
Finally, we're at the deck I'm close to settling on. Belcher is a combo deck that usually plays one land in Legacy. The aim of the deck is to get that land out of the deck (probably by casting Land Grant for free), and then cast and activate a Goblin Charbelcher by utilizing all the free artifact mana and ritual spells one could possibly want. The deck plays 4 Lion's Eye Diamond, 3 Chrome Mox, 4 Lotus Petal, not to mention 4 Simian Spirit Guide and 4 Elvish Spirit Guide to get the mana-train rolling.
Once mana starts to be produced, you have to find a finish. The main plan is to cast a Goblin Charbelcher and activate. If that is not going to work, or you didn't draw into a belcher, you can also elevate your storm count as high as possible and cast Empty the Warrens. This is particularly useful against control decks that are looking to Force of Will when you cast Goblin Charbelcher
The main deck also holds 4 copies of Burning Wish, to go find sorceries from the sideboard. There's usually an extra copy of Empty the Warrens in there just in case something happens to the main deck copies, alongside a Tendrils of Agony for good measure. Just be sure to have access to Black mana when choosing the tendrils route - you can do this with multiple Lotus Petals, Manamorphose or Lion's Eye Diamond.
The trickiest part of this deck is beating an opposing Force of Will. Most attempts in the past have been with copies of Chancellor of the Annex and Xantid Swarm, and both seem to do the job in different ways. Sometimes a few Dark Depths and Thespian's Stages in the sideboard don't hurt, either.
Hareruya Team Trio Belcher
Out of all the decks I checked out above, Burn, Death and Taxes, and Reanimator seem to be the most solid decisions. All of these decks are tried-and-true in the format and always seem to crop up at tournaments. Manaless Dredge is a deck, but any players in the know about taking the draw will see right through it, and I don't know if I want to be playing those sort of games. Something about Belcher speaks to me. I really enjoy playing it, but I'll be the first to admit it's pretty cheesy.
I have played in less than 20 Legacy tournaments in my lifetime, and probably less than 300 games in total, so I'm not going into MagicFest Niagara Falls expecting to win the Grand Prix. What I hope to do is steal a bunch of wins and dodge Force of Will decks, which is easier said than done in this format.
I have two byes for this tournament, so I'm really just looking to log some higher level experience, and maybe catch a streak of luck. If there's any deck that can do it, it's definitely Belcher. That being said, I am still lightly testing Burn and have it close by.
To anyone looking to get into Legacy, I think these are among some of the best/easiest decks to get into the format with. I wish you all luck in your eternal format endeavors!
Thank you so much for stopping by to read, and if you'd like to follow my Magic journey more closely, join me on Twitter: @GoblinCredible