Legacy Masters 2019 and Legacy Legends I Metagame Breakdown

By Sean Brown


1.0 Introduction

The continuum of Legacy ebbs and flows in Melbourne, a pulse with its ups-and-downs as the format shifts with new printings and it sees more or less attention as the seasons change. Players come and leave the format as life takes them to a variety of places and circumstances, each time the Melbourne Legacy community welcoming and farewelling them.

The middle of 2019, however, was a time for Legacy to flourish, with the yearly Eternal Masters tournament run out of NLG Dandenong occurring, but prior to it Legacy community members took tournament organisation into their own hands with the start of the Legacy Legends series.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how the Legacy metagame is developing in Melbourne over the course of these two tournaments, with a bit of Top 8 text coverage included from each tournament as well!

2.0 Legacy Legends I

Legacy Legends, the first of hopefully more to come, was the brainchild of Stephen Tang, Jay Coad and Xian-Zhi Lai. With Legacy tournaments with reasonable prize structure getting more and more unreasonable for stores to undertake, the community decided to take tournament organisation into their own hands, with a “cash in, cash out” structure alongside a delightful atmosphere inside a rented-out scout hall. Chilli con carne was provided thanks to master food preparer Xian-Zhi Lai and some fun was had. I personally think the event was a stunning success, and with the feedback received and improvements to be made, I look forward to the next to come.

2.1 Metagame Breakdown

On to the actual tournament results, you can find them here.

Michael Webb took the tournament down with his signature Ad Nauseum Tendrils, eerily beating his nemesis from last years Legacy Masters in stunning fashion. Got put into play, ate a few lands, but Webb still Stormed his way to victory.

In second, Ryan Cross is a relatively fresh name in the Melbourne Legacy scene, but I’ve seen his dedication to trial, learn and enjoy the format over the course of the past few weeks. Seeing him reach a point of success here bodes very well for future tournaments to come; keep it up buddy.

Mark Fittipaldi comes from a competitive eSports background, recently gaining sponsorship by Wizards to jam Magic Arena; but he also enjoy a bit of Legacy on the side. He certainly proved his capability, smushing a bunch of face with Eldrazi featuring the new Ugin, the Ineffable. As always, Jack Jiggens also continued to prove his strength in Legacy by making another Top 4. He may be holding Thalias, but he is thoroughly on the Miracles trains these days, taking many victories on the day with Monastery Mentor and new addition Narset, Parter of Veils in his list.

Continuing to fifth-to-eighth place, Graham King continues showing his unique expertise with the Food Chain deck. The package of Spellseeker, Traverse the Ulvenwald, Trinket Mage and the very exciting Hydroid Krasis give the deck a lot of new angles to combo off or just provide utility. Jesse Dent has also continued his specialisation in Maverick after his birth in last years Masters Top 8. There’s some exciting innovations – a straight Green-White core, a light amount of utility lands and a helluva lot of hate in the side board – Choke and Chalice does not look like a great day for many. Speaking of Chalice, Hamish Gould has been tinkering with Mono-Blue Painter for quite some time now. I think Mono-Blue Painter is one of the few decks where both Karn, the Great Creator and Narset, Parter of Veils can find a home together, so it’s certainly gotten a huge boost with its now multiple angles of attack.

Lastly, shout-outs to the boy Miles Roberts on Goblins. Another newcomer to the format, he’s fast learning the ways of the little green men, who are certain to do well for him with new additions coming up in Modern Horizons. Unfortunately, he experienced a heart-breaking defeat against Sneak & Show during the finals (as per Goblins would expect), but his dedication to this oft-forgotten archetype is sure to be rewarded.

Moving on to the further metagame breakdown:

Probably most notable in Melbourne was the plethora of grindy Blue-Black-based control decks (five in total), more if you count Aluren and Food Chain within those ranks. A lack of pure combo decks is also apparent, with only Sneak & Show representative. Delver also remained very underutilised, with your loyal writer here the lone representative of Human Insects everywhere.

This of course boded for a very fair Masters coming up, perhaps, with a few decks ready to capitalise.

3.0 NLG Dandenong Legacy Masters 2019

Ah Legacy Masters. For the past two years, Show and Tell has reigned supreme as the champion of Melbourne Legacy, its sheer force capitalising on the typically soft metagame of Melbourne. Perhaps this year, the Lovecraftian horrors will be fended off. Or perhaps, they will take the throne again. Nonetheless, I always look forward to Masters due to the sheer comradery it engineers amongst the Melbourne crew and with our analogues interstate. I was amazed and appreciative to see Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and even crews from Western Australia come to jam some Legacy. Thank you so much everyone, and I’m looking forward to tournaments around Australia throughout 2019 and into next year!

3.1 Metagame Breakdown

Let’s start with a metagame breakdown and then work into the Top 8 from there.

The “Other” category of course compromises a slew of Legacy’s wildest, from Pox to otherwise. But most interesting is the spread of the more commonly played decks. Although Sneak & Show and Reanimator made appearances, alongside a few pseudo-combo decks, the metagame looks incredibly fair, with fairest of all Miracles sitting at the top with six players. From here it makes sense the success of certain niche Red strategies in this year’s Legacy Masters – Burn and Goblins both found their way, who typically prey on fair strategies, while are severely punished if Sneak & Show and other A + B combo decks are plentiful.

Decks that surprisingly came out in force included Lands, relatively uncommon in local play (such as the previous Legacy Legends I, where there were zero copies) likely due to price point, but excellent as a choice due to its ability to attack greedy mana base Blue Control and Tempo strategies, especially with the new printed Blast Zone up its sleeve. Other non-Blue decks like Death & Taxes and Maverick also found their way through the tournament, but not nearly to the level of success we have seen them in previous years.

3.2 Top 8

Ladies and gentleman, here is a delightful photo of your Top 8.

Well, seven.

Nonetheless, here are your Top 8 decklists:

1st – Burn – Jaren Dunner

Creatures: (15)Sideboard: (15)
4 Goblin Guide
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Goblin Cratermaker
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Pyroblast
2 Pyrostatic Pillar
3 Searing Blaze
3 Smash to Smithereens
Non-Creature Spells: (26)
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chain Lightning
4 Seal of Fire
4 Rift Bolt
4 Price of Progress
1 Searing Blaze
3 Fireblast
2 Sulfuric Vortex
Lands: (19)
11 Mountain
2 Arid Mesa
2 Bloodstained Mire
2 Scalding Tarn
2 Wooded Foothills

2nd – Miracles – Jitesh Raniga

Creatures: (6)Sideboard: (15)
3 Monastery Mentor
3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Disenchant
2 Flusterstorm
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Pyroblast
1 Containment Priest
1 Council’s Judgment
1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Back to Basics
1 Red Elemental Blast
Non-Creature Spells: (34)
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Force of Will
3 Terminus
3 Jace, the Mindsculptor
2 Narset, Parter of Veils
2 Portent
2 Predict
1 Council’s Judgment
1 Back to Basics
1 Counterbalance
1 Counterspell
1 Spell Pierce
1 Supreme Verdict
Lands: (20)
4 Flooded Strand
2 Polluted Delta
1 Arid Mesa
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Scalding Tarn
5 Island
2 Plains
2 Tundra
2 Volcanic Island

3rd-4th – Jeskai Stoneblade – James Arthur

Creatures: (10)Sideboard: (15)
4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Dreadhorde Arcanist
2 True-Name Nemesis
3 Surgical Extraction
3 Pyroblast
2 Containment Priest
2 Wear // Tear
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Palace Jailer
1 Spell Pierce
1 Blazing Volley
1 Engineered Explosives
Non-Creature Spells: (31)
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Force of Will
2 Spell Pierce
2 Counterspell
2 Daze
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Preordain
1 Narset, Parter of Veils
1 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Batterskull
Lands: (19)
4 Flooded Strand
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Arid Mesa
3 Tundra
3 Volcanic Island
2 Island
1 Plains
1 Mountain

3rd-4th – Sneak & Show – Marcus Cooch

Creatures: (6)Sideboard: (15)
3 Griselbrand
3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
2 Pyroclasm
2 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Flusterstorm
1 Trickbind
1 Intuition
1 Wipe Away
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Kozilek’s Return
1 Pyroblast
1 Release the Ants
1 Sudden Shock
1 Through the Breach
1 Firemind’s Foresight
Non-Creature Spells: (36)
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Show and Tell
4 Force of Will
4 Lotus Petal
3 Cunning Wish
3 Omniscience
3 Sneak Attack
2 Flusterstorm
1 Preordain
1 Spell Pierce
1 Impulse
1 Intuition
Lands: (18)
4 Scalding Tarn
3 Polluted Delta
3 Ancient Tomb
2 City of Traitors
3 Volcanic Island
3 Island

5th-8th – BUG Delver – Steven Stamopoulos

Creatures: (12)Sideboard: (15)
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Tarmogoyf
3 Gurmag Angler
2 True-Name Nemesis
4 Sinkhole
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Golgari Charm
1 Spell Pierce
1 Darkblast
1 Bitterblossom
1 Tyrant’s Scorn
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Null Rod
Non-Creature Spells: (29)
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Thoughtseize
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Spell Pierce
2 Fatal Push
1 Dismember
1 Sylvan Library
Lands: (19)
3 Polluted Delta
3 Verdant Catacombs
2 Misty Rainforest
3 Tropical Island
3 Underground
1 Bayou
4 Wasteland

5th-8th – Burn – Glenn Shanley

Creatures: (12)Sideboard: (15)
4 Goblin Guide
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Alpine Moon
4 Searing Blaze
3 Smash to Smithereens
1 Island of Wak-Wak
2 Maze of Ith
Non-Creature Spells: (28)
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Price of Progress
4 Rift Bolt
3 Fireblast
2 Light Up the Stage
2 Skewer the Critics
1 Sulfuric Vortex
Lands: (20)
4 Bloodstained Mire
3 Wooded Foothills
1 Arid Mesa
8 Mountains
4 Barbarian Ring

5th-8th – Goblins – Frank Karamaroudis

Creatures: (33)Sideboard: (15)
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Ringleader
3 Mogg War Marshal
3 Gempalm Incinerator
3 Goblin Warchief
2 Goblin Cratermaker
2 Goblin Piledriver
2 Goblin Chieftain
2 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Skirk Prospector
1 Stingscourger
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
1 Krenko, Mob Boss
3 Faerie Macabre
3 Damping Sphere
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Eidolon of the Great Revel
2 Pithing Needle
1 Goblin Chainwhirler
1 Squee, the Immortal
1 Goblin Trashmaster
Non-Creature Spells: (4)
4 Aether Vial
Lands: (23)
4 Rishdan Port
4 Wasteland
3 Cavern of Souls
12 Mountain

5th-8th – Miracles – Stephen Tang

Creatures: (6)Sideboard: (15)
3 Monastery Mentor
2 Snapcaster Mage
3 Pyroblast
2 Vendilion Clique
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Disenchant
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Containment Priest
1 Price of Progress
Non-Creature Spells: (35)
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Force of Will
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Terminus
3 Daze
3 Predict
2 Preordain
2 Counterbalance
2 Narset, Parter of Veils
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Spell Pierce
1 Counterspell
Lands: (19)
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
1 Arid Mesa
4 Island
2 Plains
2 Tundra
2 Volcanic Island

Let’s break each of these down by archetype:

The two Burn decks take very different approaches to slinging Lightning Bolts from each other, as well as being different to the stock standard lists that are typically expected. Glenn Shanley trimmed Fireblast to add the new Skewer the Critics and Light Up the Stage, and also had a set of Barbarian Ring, increasing the fragility of his mana base but also increasing the count of uncounterable burn spells in his deck. There’s a lot of oddball lands in this sideboard, but this addresses tough matchups like Turbo Depths significantly that I understand Glenn has a vitriolic hatred of.

Jaren, our winner, takes a much different approach, including Seal of Fire for more damage spells that can actually control the board and has Grim Lavamancer and Vortex for redundant damage sources. Goblin Cratermaker is also an interesting addition that has great flexibility in the new Karn, the Great Creator metagame, while also being a 2/1 that just attacks, which Burn is definitely in the market for.

Let’s next look at the two Miracles lists. Both had in common Monastery Mentor in the main, likely to punch through the difficult Stompy matchups becoming plentiful. However, Jitesh Raniga took a more straightforward list, using Predict over the Accumulated Knowledge engine, along with a diverse smattering of one-ofs.

Stephen Tang, however, took the focus on Monastery Mentor and punking out non-Blue decks a little higher, channelling Claudio Bonnani with three Daze in his list. Rather than Blood Moon and Back to Basics, Price of Progress (with some Snapcaster Price, I’m sure) was his more aggressive method of beating Post decks and Lands strategies.

Moving to other Swords to Plowshares strategies, I’m a big fan of what James Arthur brewed up and ended up having success with. He took a rather typical Jeskai Stoneblade list but added Dreadhorde Arcanist as a grind engine. Swords to Plowshares is an excellent card to flashback with Arcanist, since it deals with threats that would be in the way of the Arcanist’s continuous stream of card advantage. It and Bolt are some of the few one mana answers now available that Arcanist can flashback. Stoneforge also excellently gears up Arcanist to pump up his power and punch him through, so that’s a reasonable bit of synergy. I also like the addition of Teferi in a shell like this rather than Miracles, since aggressively bouncing away blockers for Arcanist to get through is an impressive tempo play. Although the mana base is a bit unstable due to needing Red and White early (unlike typical Blade decks that rely on Red only late), there’s a lot of potential here.

Goblins also made an appearance, a great choice in the metagame of Miracles that Masters seemed to be. Even without the Modern Horizons additions, the deck was ready to rumble. Most interesting choice was Squee, the Immortal, as a recurring threat in the sideboard.

Filling out the Top 8 was a relatively stock Cunning Wish-touting Sneak & Show list and lastly Steven Stamopoulos and his revival of BUG Delver.

Unlike previous lists which have leaned on Hymn to Tourach and Deathrite Shaman, with Deathrite gone Steve streamlined BUG Delver to focus on more one-mana interaction (Thoughtseize) and giant creatures (Goyf and Angler), which rival Pyromancers, Arcanists and Thought-Knot Seers effectively. Although Plow matchups do look somewhat of a struggle, the addition of True-Name and Bitterblossom within the seventy-five gives the deck an angle there too. Not to mention Steve’s sideboard special influenced by Dan Signorini – Sinkhole. With Miracles and other big mana decks like Post prominent, what better way to stunt their ability to reach their end game than the old Team America classic.

Find Steve’s tournament report here.

4.0 Conclusion

With Jaren Dunner our victor with Burn in this rather fair War of the Spark Legacy metagame, what is to be seen with Modern Horizons now available? Force of Negation, Prismatic Vista and Wrenn and Six all look to change the landscape and what people will be looking towards in events moving forward. Once the metagame matures and we’ve got some data under our belts, I’ll be ready to present yet again a snapshot of where the local Australian metagame is trending.

Until then, keep on loving Legacy, Australia.

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