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The New Face of Legacy


I am joyous. Deathrite Shaman has been banned. While Gitaxian Probe also bit the dust, I am overjoyed at the thought of what Legacy will look like. For too long Deathrite Shaman has been the core of every fair deck in Legacy.

It was actively detrimental to not build your fair deck with Deathrite Shaman at its core. Deathrite Shaman single handedly invalidated several fair strategies and forced decks to all be homogenized.

But that's not something to be worried about anymore. It's gone and now we move forward. Or actually, we kind of move backwards here. Back in time to place where Deathrite didn't dictate the format and where decks were more open.

The first deck I want to look into again is the old threat of the format, Temur Delver. A deck built around cheap, hard hitting threats, Stifle and Wasteland, and possibly one of the best Daze decks in Legacy.

Temur Delver is fantastic against any combo deck that might arise due to its cheap and plentiful countermagic. Because the threats are so cheap and heavy hitting it's easy to play a denial game while hiding behind a Delver of Secrets or Nimble Mongoose. Against fair decks Daze, Stifle, and Lightning Bolt combine to clean up and take out what the opponent is trying to do. Wasteland and Stifle really add up to be a menace to anyone playing a greedy deck or who is unprepared for the devastation Temur Delver can unleash. If you're looking to beat this deck Chalice of the Void on one and Blood Moon crush the strategy and Wasteland and large and effective creatures like Knight of the Reliquary or being able to go wide like with Elves seems like a great place to be.

Next let's talk about my FAVORITE kind of deck; one that includes Stoneforge Mystic. I've gone off and on selling cards, but throughout the years the one set of cards I've kept are my four Stoneforge Mystics and the one Batterskull. No matter what, I think I'll be holding on to this set for years.

Fortunately there are a TON of ways to enjoy Stoneforge Mystic. I'm going to avoid the obvious one in Death and Taxes (now a playable deck in Legacy) and instead focus on the decks that couldn't really make an impact before.

The blue Stoneblade variants excel in creatures matchups where they can push around creature decks while being able to produce a fast clock with Batterskull. While the Jeskai list is a little outdated and the Esper list should certainly be updated, they both provide great starts to enter the format with. The combo matchup leaves a little to be desired, but post board there's plenty of tools to be able to interact in a meaningful way in any matchup you might have issues with. The loss of Gitaxian Probe for Storm means it will potentially be easier to maneuver around what they have. The downside is it is likely to encourage Storm players to gravitate toward more discard. It could potentially mean the deck is a touch slower while it's playing set up but I'm not counting the deck out just yet.

Before Deathrite Shaman, there existed variations of a deck called Maverick. This gw based deck was possibly some of the fairest things you could be doing in Magic. The deck used Noble Hierarch to speed out a Knight of the Reliquary and Green Sun's Zenith to tutor for a toolbox of creatures for any situation. Here we have two variations, one in Abzan colors for a better combo matchup and Naya for a better creature matchup.

Maverick does have a rough time with combo but has a toolbox to beat the fair decks. I expect the amount of fair decks to rise which makes a deck like Maverick well positioned. It's very good against Delver decks and I expect them to be popular for a while. Maverick also has a reasonable Lands matchup since Knight of the Reliquary is a fantastic card and it's hard to shut out with Punishing Fire and Tabernacle. Wasteland doesn't line up well against basic lands and mana dorks. Previously, Deathrite Shaman held back Knight of the Reliquary being out of range of Lightning Bolt. I expect cards like Swords to Plowshares to rise in stock to combat the fair decks and Lightning Bolt to get a little worse.

Aggro Loam or Four-Color Loam was staple deck for quite some time. Built on the engine of Life from the Loam, Sylvan Library, and Knight of the Reliquary, this midrange deck stands far above most others.

Four-Color Loam is also one of the best Chalice of the Void decks for fair matchups. Having a fantastic way to shut out combo decks early it is also reasonable to crush Delver of Secrets and other fair matchups with a Chalice of the Void. While combo decks can get under you Mox Diamond really lets you jump the curve in Legacy to protect yourself.

If you're looking for combo Storm seems okay to start with but I'm not good enough with the deck to figure it out and I really would like to look into Sneak and Show. With one of its worst matchups out of the way, Sneak and Show is primed to take over as the premier combo deck. I can also see Dredge taking back its slot.

The Reanimator Conundrum

I've heard from quite a few folks they think Deathrite Shaman being banned makes Reanimator far and away the best deck in Legacy. It's almost as though people forgot that Reanimator was huge before Deathrite Shaman was printed but didn't dominate the format. Now why would that be?

Force of Will
Relic of Progenitus

Bojuka Bog
Surgical Extraction
Leyline of the Void

All these cards had something to say about it and they aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Reanimator is a powerful deck to be sure but to think that Deathrite Shaman was the only thing keeping Reanimator down is to not be paying enough attention. There are plenty of graveyard hate cards to be played and the inconsistency of the deck will end up being its undoing more often than not. We shall see how it plays out but I fully expect Lands and Reanimator decks to take a huge hit the first few weeks of "new" Legacy while folks overcompensate for those decks. Interestingly enough I also think Blood Moon decks become a little worse as basic lands pick up and midrange decks enter back into the fray.

This is where I'm starting with the new format. Have anything you'd like add to this list? A deck maybe I forgot about? Let me know in the comments below!

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