Wednesday, February 1, 2023

This Week in Legacy: Till the Day that All Are One

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Howdy folks! It’s time yet again for another edition of This Week in Legacy! I’m your host, Joe Dyer, and this week we’re going to be taking a look at a huge chunk of Phyrexia: All Will Be One and what some of these cards may mean for Legacy purposes. In addition to that we’ve got some Challenge data to look at from this past weekend.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Becoming One With Phyrexia

Phyrexia: All Will Be One spoiler season is in full swing and there’s already a good number of cards that could have an impact on the Legacy format. There’s a lot going on in this set with a lot of crazy wild stuff, and there are both some new and returning mechanics.

One semi-new/semi-returning mechanic is poison counters in the form of Toxic. Another new mechanic is the “For Mirrodin!” mechanic which is basically a Living Weapon-esque mechanic flipped to the Mirran Resistance side of things. The biggest returning mechanic is Proliferate, which is used mainly in the set with both poison counters and oil counters (noting that there are no +1/+1 or -1/-1 counters in this set at all).

Now this set is not 100% spoiled yet so there may still be some cards upcoming this week that we will catch up on next week if we missed anything. If you also see anything we missed, hit me up in the comments.

Let’s take a look at some of the cards that have piqued our interest.

Atraxa, Grand Unifier

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While people are speculating on what the Battle card type could be and also wondering why this card doesn’t mention Tribal, we are looking at what this card does, and it does a lot. Let’s first be upfront about one thing in regards to this card and it’s that Atraxa is definitely never getting cast for seven mana. We are definitely cheating this card into play with Reanimate and Show and Tell, etc. The upside of this card is that it gets to peek at TEN cards off the top of your library and then you put one card of each card type into your hand. This verbiage on how this is done is super important because Atraxa doesn’t say the word “draw” on it. This is incredibly relevant to cards like Narset, Parter of Veils and Hullbreacher that exist in the format.

Furthermore, we may have finally hit a Show and Tell/Reanimation target that is actually better than Griselbrand. It’s weird to consider this, but even if Atraxa is only drawing four cards on average that rate is REALLY good, and in some decks like Reanimator, you’re going to have creatures, instants/sorceries, artifacts (Lotus Petal), and even Enchantments (Animate Dead) that this can pick up. In addition to possibly being good in those kinds of decks, the fact that Atraxa is green is not lost on me and it makes for a fantastic Natural Order hit in a Bant/4C NO type control/combo shell.

One of the other best parts of this card is the fact that even if your opponent removes it, you’re not going to be down the cards it will get, and you also won’t be down on life total as you would be if you had Griselbrand. Yes, Griselbrand can occasionally in Show and Tell decks draw you a Force of Will for their removal (unless that removal is just Karakas) and this is one of the big reasons why he will likely still see play in that kind of deck, but Atraxa has a lot going for her and I think she will find a home somewhere. Atraxa can still be hit by Karakas like Griselbrand, but getting that effect anyways will be quite good. And at the end of the day, if you really need to do so, Atraxa can be pitched to both a Force of Will and Force of Negation, but also to Force of Vigor, Endurance, and even Solitude/Grief.

Cankerbloom

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is pretty similar to Outland Liberator in a sense, except it is only a one-shot effect. There’s something to be said about whether not having to track day/night is important to a game, but Liberator’s back half is pretty bonkers in the matchups it is good in. At the end of the day you have to really decide if the Proliferate is worth it really on this card, and I don’t think it is right now. Liberator seems far stronger still.

Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Five mana is a lot but in a shell like Initiative where you have sol lands and stuff, I could actually see this showing up as a hedge for the mirror for those decks. If you can put it on the table early enough your opponent is going to have a hard time triggering their Initiative creatures to steal the Initiative and you can power through the Undercity with the double triggers off the first half of this card. You also can’t kill this with Solitude which is pretty sweet.

I think what this will boil down to is how much Karakas is in these decklists as to whether or not this will see play. I kind of doubt it will, but it might.

Hexplate Wallbreaker

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While casting this card can be weird with RR, putting it into play with Stoneforge Mystic is interesting here, and it has the Living Weapon aspect of being able to come in as a 4/4. If you’re attacking with this and a Kaldra Compleat getting two attack steps is pretty nutty, and being able to re-equip this pretty easily for one red pip is nice.

I don’t know if this will see play but it’s definitely another tool in the toolbox.

Mercurial Spelldancer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is strange and has some vibes harkening back to Dreadhorde Arcanist. The fact that it has to connect is fine because it can’t be blocked, but there is some real setup to this card to make it work. This probably works best with cards like Mishra’s Bauble and Dragon’s Rage Channeler where you are able to leverage the fact that you can cast a very low cost noncreature spell immediately in order to put two oil counters on it and then be able to double copy a spell on the following turn. It’s definitely doable and also works really well with stuff like Daze / Force of Will which is just another free trigger for oil counters. This could see some play. It doesn’t quite get bigger like Ledger Shredder does, but the value you get off of say double Ponder in one turn is really gross.

Minor Misstep

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I have heard people have the hottest takes on this card and have seen people freaking out hard over it to the point where I’ve heard people say this will get banned quickly.

I personally think this card is basically medium at best to possibly not even playable in Legacy right now. The current context of the format does not lend itself to one where this is currently a good card, and it may not be for a long while. Let’s be clear about one thing, this is no Mental Misstep despite the callback. OG Misstep was one of the most incredibly miserable cards that Legacy has ever truly had to contend with, because there was simply no real disadvantage to the card as part of the blue arms race at the time. Trading life for a counterspell was incredibly potent and it’s a card that to this day should have probably never been printed.

There is a laundry list of things this card does counter, yes. It can counter a lot of things that existing countermagic like Spell Pierce, Flusterstorm, etc can counter and quite possibly those do it better. Yes, this can counter a Delver or a DRC, but so can a Pyroblast on a Delver or a Bolt pointed at the DRC (or Hydroblast), and those cards have alternate utility vs that deck in regards to cards like Iteration and Murktide.

Yes, this can counter zero mana value cards like Lion’s Eye Diamond or Chrome Mox, but LED is not seeing a huge amount of play right now and while Chrome Mox is in regards to Initiative, I feel like the Initiative matchup is quitely possibly the WORST place to want this card. While yes, occasionally you may catch their Mox and they are down a play for the turn, there are going to be far more games where this will just rot in hand because the opponent has a Turn 1 Chalice of the Void for 1 (Worth noting, you’ll never tag a Chalice for 1 with this card, as XX means that Chalice’s mana value on the stack is going to be 2) and following up with a Turn 2 Initiative threat.

Even in Delver right now, I would not want this card in mirrors because you’re going to run into situations where you just won’t want to cast it. If you’re in the mirror and your Turn 1 is either hold up mana and play this or play your Delver/DRC I think you’re going to want to play your threat instead.

In the long run, there may be a possible metagame where this will see some play and I do think people will definitely be testing this card once it comes out, but I suspect it will drop off and the overall context of this format right now means that it will probably be fairly medium at best.

Mirran Safehouse

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I always find wacky cards like this to be rather interesting. Aside from the fact that this can be an incredibly large Griffin thanks to the interactions of Griffin Canyon and Mutavault, there are some other side notes to mention. Since this only gets activated abilities, this cannot be a true copy of Dark Depths (unless you want to remove Ice Counters) but it can get the ability of Thespian’s Stage to make itself a copy of a Depths. Also, this cannot be a true copy of Urza’s Saga either from the graveyard because Saga has all triggered abilities that grant activated abilities.

There’s definitely some goofiness to cards like this and I do look forward to seeing if people will figure out ways to mess with it cuz it is a cool card and it coming in untapped unlike Manascape Refractor is interesting too.

Phyrexian Vindicator

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Whew lad, I don’t know how good this card is at being four white pips, but wow is this incredibly obnoxious. This can’t be bolted, can’t be blasted, and just blocks literally every card Delver could ever put in front of it, which is just absolutely silly. This is not so good in matchups involving Swords to Plowshares, but the fact that it also profitably blocks Marit Lage (yeah wow 20 damage to ANY OTHER TARGET) is really interesting.

Not sure if this will see play, but wow, it’s silly.

Sheoldred’s Edict

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Modal cards like this are pretty interesting. The fact that this can force an opponent to have to sacrifice a Marit Lage token is pretty interesting in of itself, but black-based edict effects simply are not good right now and that makes wanting something like this pretty hard.

Sword of Forge and Frontier

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

So many of the “Sword of X and Y” cycle is just absolutely stone-cold unplayable in Legacy at the moment, but it is worth looking at a new one to see how good it could be. Unfortunately, while I think this is a pretty good card in its own right it does fall flat in Legacy at the moment. Still, the effect is really strong for other formats and the art is top notch.

The Filigree Sylex

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This a major upside Ratchet Bomb effect, and while Ratchet Bomb is underplayed at the moment, this has the upside of being a Ratchet Bomb with a long game effect if you really want it to. The other primary upside here is that it has a different name than Ratchet Bomb/Powder Keg for the purposes of dodging Pithing Needle.

The Mycosynth Gardens

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This card is incredibly unique and does some really cool things. One of the most important interactions here to note is the fact that for zero mana this can copy a Lion’s Eye Diamond and the fact alone that LED does not require tapping in order to activate its mana ability. That alone makes this potentially worth a peek at some point, and has some wholly interesting things going on with it. It’s worth noting in general that this does not stay a copy of the Land when its ability resolves, it fully becomes a copy of the artifact, so it can’t copy something else later on.

Tyvar’s Stand

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Kind of wild that a card themed more to the Mirran Resistance would actually work best in Infect. This is just another tool in the Infect toolbox that exists. It’s pretty interesting though.

Venerated Rotpriest

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I think this card is pretty cool, and primarily because I think there is actual space for this card as a Infect Storm based type combo deck in the format with this card. To explain, when you cast a spell like Grapeshot / Ground Rift even when you declare targets to be the same target, the creature “becomes” the target of the spell and will trigger the Rotpriest. This is pretty similar to how you could draw a lot of cards with Leovold with a Tendrils pointed at you.

Of course, this gets even better in multiples as only one copy of this requires 10 spells, but two copies requires 5, three copies requires 4, four copies requires 3. The Rotpriest itsef can also attack which changes the math of the spells required to make enough poison counters. Definitely an interesting shell.

This could also see some play in Infect where it can be interesting protection against opponent spells while also triggering off your own pump spells which is pretty cool.

Paper Event News – Liga Paulista Legacy (LPL) in Brazil

We’ve got some paper news here in a recent event in San Paulo, Brazil with the Liga Paulista Legacy (LPL) event held there, as part of a larger Brazilian Legacy League.

This event had some coverage and you can find their Twitch over here. You can also find the Linktree for the LPL here.

This particular event had 60 players in it and you can find all of the decklists for the event here.

Legacy Challenge 1/21

The first Challenge this past weekend was the early morning Saturday event. This event had 53 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the datasheet here.

UR Delver was quite popular here with a solid win rate at 51.92% non-mirror. White Stompy came in second here with a sub-50 % win rate. Cephalid Breakfast and Painter were both past the cutoff with a lot of 1-2 of decks across the event.

Let’s take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
Hammer Time 1st CrusherBotBG
UR Delver 2nd _INF_
Aluren 3rd otaba
UR Delver 4th 2plus2isfive
Death and Taxes 5th yoshiwata
White Stompy 6th mattsoree
Death’s Shadow 7th Oceansoul92
White Stompy 8th _Batutinha_

Kind of a wild Top 8 here for sure. At the end of the event it was Mono White HAMMER TIME that won the event.

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We’ve seen this deck around the block a few times here or there, and it’s definitely quite interesting to see how good this strategy can be in Legacy as well. Definitely very powerful stuff. I am really digging the copy of Citizen’s Crowbar in the sideboard here. This particular player is well known for this deck so it’s cool to see their hard work pay off.

In Second Place we’ve got UR Delver.

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Seeing the UR lists solidify again a little bit here. One new card showing up here is Brotherhood’s End which is quite good against a variety of decks right now.

Also in this Top 8 we’ve got Aluren.

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It is really nice to see a deck like this again, honestly. I love seeing Aether Channeler as a win condition herebecause it can just bounce all the opponent’s stuff and create a bunch of birds and also draw a bunch of cards to start putting Uro into play as well. Very cool stuff.

Down near the bottom of the Top 8 we had Death’s Shadow.

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Very surprising that a deck with a one mana card that can get X-for-1’ed by Solitude when Solitude is highly played is really strong right now, but it’s cool to see Shadow doing well. I like the Tourach, Dread Cantor out of the sideboard here for the Initiative matchup for sure.

Legacy Challenge 1/22

The second Challenge of the event was the mid afternoon Sunday event. This event had 90 players in it thanks to the data collected by the Legacy Data Collection Project.

You can find the Top 32 decklists for this event here and the data sheet here.

White Stompy was the most popular deck here, but it had a slightly below average win rate. UR Delver was also popular and had a strong win rate in the event. Painter also showed up a bit as did 4C Uro decks.

Let’s take a look at the Top 8.

Deck Name Placing MTGO Username
4C Uro Control 1st _moose_
UR Delver 2nd kentaro_hokori
Painter 3rd utley26
UR Delver 4th duke12
White Stompy 5th micrograms
Jeskai Control 6th SenpaiBlank
Black Stompy 7th abombdiggity
Hammer Time 8th CrusherBotBG

Quite a bit going on in this Top 8. Good number of different decks for sure here. At the end of the event it was 4C Uro Control that won it all.

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Very solid list here with some of the typical stock 4C stuff we’re accustomed to seeing. Life from the Loam is cool here as a way to recur fetches and Wasteland.

In Second Place we’ve got UR Delver.

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Pretty solidly stock list. No pro-white creatures in the sideboard but instead we’ve got a pair of True-Name Nemesis for Initiative to contend with and a pair of Fury. Seems super sweet.

Also in this Top 8 we’ve got RW Painter.

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This particular pilot is well known for this variant of Painter, so it’s not shocking to see them doing well with it. Definitely a fun looking list.

Near the bottom of the Top 8 we’ve got some Black Stompy action.

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Phyrexian Fleshgorger in this deck seems incredibly sweet. Having access to a possible 7/5 with lifelink is sick enough, but being able to jam it into play as a 3/3 with Dark Ritual is also great.

Around the Web

  • Bryant Cook has some Solidarity going on this week. Check it out here.
  • PunishingWaterfalls is singing a Song of Creation! Check it out here.
  • Eternal Durdles has their set review of Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Check it out here.
  • TonyScapone has some more Black Saga Storm content for us. Check it out here.

Wrapping Up

That’s all the time we have this week folks! Thanks for continuing to support the column and join us next week as we continue our journey into Legacy!

As always you can reach me at all my associated links via my Link Tree! In addition I’m always around the MTGGoldfish Discord Server and the MTGLegacy Discord Server.

Until next time!

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