Today I want to talk properly about aggro in Legacy. I have spoken previously about how I believe aggro is dead in Legacy, but today I want to talk about the feasible aggro decks in the format. Burn is of course a semi-successful aggressive deck in the format. It’s power comes from it’s use of spells to kill its opponents. While the deck does rely on around 12 creatures to do damage to the opponent, the majority of the damage comes from spells. This is because Burn decks can run 4 different lightning bolt effects, along with Price of Progress and Fireblast. This is a very good suite of cards that can kill an opponent very quickly. This deck is by no means tier 1 but can beat a lot of decks, especially control decks, because it doesn’t care about the control deck’s card advantage and just kills them despite it. Tyler Pressley played this deck to a high finish at GP Columbus with this deck list:

Lands (19)

7 Mountains

4 Bloodstained Mire

4 Wooded Foothills

3 Arid Mesa

1 Barbarian Ring

Creatures (13)

4 Eidolon of the Great Revel

4 Goblin Guide

3 Monastery Swiftspear

2 Grim Lavamancer

Spells (28)

4 Chain Lightning

4 Fireblast

4 Lava Spike

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Price of Progress

4 Rift Bolts

2 Flame Rift

2 Sulfuric Vortex

Sideboard (15)

3 Exquisite Firecraft

3 Searing Blaze

2 Smash to Smithereens

1 Ashen Rider

1 Ensnaring Bridge

1 Pyroblast

1 Pyrostatic Pillar

1 Relic of Progenitus

1 Searing Blood

1 Tormod’s Crypt

This deck runs 1 less Monastery Swiftspear and 1 more Fireblast from a typical stock list. This deck is still a pure Burn deck because that’s it’s whole game plan. There really is a lot of complexity to Burn, but it is also surprisingly simple. Hence the common phrase for red decks “a day to learn, years to master”. This phrase is very applicable because when it gets down to it, spell sequencing and when you play everything can be much harder than a beginner might think it is. Burn is still a very reliable deck to play because it beats some of the best decks and can potentially beat any opponent that it faces.

Death and Taxes is probably the strongest aggro deck in Legacy. This stems from its ability to use tier 1 cards to make its white aggro deck even better.  Death and Taxes is a mono-White Stoneforge deck. This description was at one time more apt because of the numerous Stoneforge Mystic decks that existed. Today Death and Taxes seems to be the best remaining of those decks. The description, however, means that the deck plays several high powered creatures (or in this case strong hate bears) that get equipped by Stoneforge Mystic or one of the many equipments, and is inevitably ridden to victory. The deck runs many powerful cards besides Stoneforge Mystic including Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Aether Vial. These cards provide two similar abilities. Thalia allows DnT (Death & Taxes) to be faster than its opponent, which is probably playing spells for 2 or 3 mana, and Aether Vial allows for more creatures to enter the battlefield faster. These two cards work to slow the opponent and speed DnT up, so the deck can work faster. Here’s my Death and Taxes list:

Lands (23)

8 Plains

4 Wasteland

4 Rishadan Port

3 Karakas

2 Flagstones of Trokair

1 Cavern of Souls

1 Horizon Canopy

Creatures (26)

4 Mother of Ruins

4 Phyrexian Revoker

4 Stoneforge Mystic

4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

4 Flickerwisp

2 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

1 Serra Avenger

1 Spirit of the Labyrinth

1 Aven Mindcensor

1 Mangara of Corondor

Spells (11)

4 Aether Vial

4 Swords to Plowshares

1 Umezawa’s Jitte

1 Sword of Fire and Ice

1 Batterskull

Sideboard (15)

4 Ethersworn Canonist

4 Rest in Peace

2 Council’s Judgement

2 Cataclysm

2 Wilt-Leaf Liege

1 Sword of Feast and Famine

This deck is good at killing its opponent, but it’s also very good at making every card that it draws be very impactful. Most of Death and Taxes creatures are either hate cards, which are designed to neuter strong cards in the format, or powerful creatures. A lot of the creatures have a similar hate-style effect as Thalia, who can stop spells and is an incredibly powerful creature capable of blocking and attacking into most creatures with advantage. These cards lead to Death & Taxes gaining tempo over its opponents by making them take more turns to do simple things, and gaining card advantage over them by stopping some their cards from doing anything.

Eldrazi Aggro continues to be around for reasons that I don’t really know. The deck seems to be an adequately powered agro deck, but compared to the rest of the field it shouldn’t be doing as well as it is. My best guess to what’s happening is that a large number of people are playing the deck. The deck does have a powerful late game against control decks with cards like Endbringer and Eye of Ugin, but I think it’s just a little faster than I expected. If the deck can kill by turn 2 or 3, which it potentially can, then it can take a lot of decks either off guard or even win through typical protection.  I’m very much uncertain on this deck. Most Legacy decks I either believe to be good and powerful or bad and fluky, but Eldrazi Agro has recently put itself back into the place where I’m not sure about it. Everything that I have learned about Legacy over the years tell me that this deck should be bad. But maybe the deck is stronger than I thought or aggro is better than I thought. And if the latter is the case then I have got to see a man about some goblins.

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