Legacy was upon us once again this weekend as the Star City Games Tour travelled to Worcester. At the end of two days, Ed Demicco took the tournament down with Grixis Delver over Kevin King’s Lands deck in the finals. The rest of the top 8 featured 6 other unique archetypes, meaning that the entire top 8 had no duplicate decks! I love Legacy! The top 16 and top 32 did have more copies of Grixis Delver, Infect, Lands, and Miracles, along with a few copies of the Eldrazi Aggro deck that has always been “almost insane” in the format. Unfortunately, none of the Spell Snare crew that travelled to the event had showings to write home about.
Here’s the thing about Legacy, it doesn’t change. At least, not a lot at a time. Of course, there have been a few times when the format was recently majorly shaken up (Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time, Deathrite Shaman, etc), but those major changes were handled quickly, either by the format shifting to accommodate those cards, or Wizards of the Coast banning them outright. This means that while the format does shift slightly, tournament results should not be taken so seriously. Mono-Red Sneak Attack and Goblin Stompy made top 8! That means they’re viable, tier 1 decks right? Not quite. Due to the incredibly high-variance nature of those decks (more in terms of matchups than anything else), neither of those decks will likely see the top 8 in any major Legacy tournament any time soon, which is sad because watching those decks play as a spectator is always very exciting. Looking at the decks that made the top 32, those turbo-Blood Moon decks seem well-positioned against the general makeup of the top tables. Lands? Great matchup. Infect? Good matchup. Greedy Delver decks? Good Matchup. When your opponents are playing these decks, turn 1 Blood Moon is excellent. However, at another tournament when the top decks consist of decks like Miracles, Elves, Reanimator, Show and Tell, Death & Taxes, or other similar decks that don’t play ambitious manabases, these turbo-Blood Moon decks will never make it close to the top 8. Additionally, three Eldrazi Aggro decks making top 8 does not prove the validity of that deck one way or the other. Instead, we should first look at how many people were playing that deck versus how many did well with it. At the tournament, I personally saw quite a few players playing the deck. Not 15% of the room or anything crazy like that, but definitely more than I expected. Because of that, three copies of the deck in the top 32 does not make it a tier 1 or tier 2 deck, not yet at least.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with some advice if you want to play Legacy or want to improve your Legacy game. Know the format. In Modern, the key to success is knowing your deck better than the opponent knows their’s. In Legacy, knowing the format is key. What cards does your opponent play? What is in their sideboard? What is in their hand? Being able to answer these questions is what separates the decent Legacy players from the great ones. Watching the best players in Worcester certainly helped me realize that I’m a decent Legacy player, at best. You don’t need to stick to a deck in Legacy to learn the format, but unlike Standard, or even Modern, knowledge is certainly power.
Until next time.