Legacy currently has multiple new strategies that have shaken up the format and I expect them to be out in full force at SCG Syracuse. With the addition of Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance, the format has gained multiple new threats that the legacy grinders are trying to break. Guilds brought us Arclight Phoenix and Creeping Chill while Allegiance provided Pteramander and Light up the Stage; all of which have made an impact in the online meta. I fully expect to see these cards out in full force in Syracuse, as well as the top decks of the format. Let’s look currently at some of the top contenders I expect to see at the top tables. Starting with the most consistent deck of the format in my opinion, Grixis Delver will for sure make a run.
Grixis Delver will always be a solid choice to bring to a paper tournament. This strategy provides a quick clock while controlling the opponents board state to make sure threats can get through. The current iterations of Grixis have shown that losing Deathrite Shaman to the last banning was no issue and that the deck is still here to stay. The Deathrite Shaman slot currently is being occupied by some number of either spell pierce, stifle, or spell snare; all of which can help control the game and work towards protecting either the Delver of Secrets, Gurmag Angler, or True-Name Nemesis to close out the game. While delver does have a good matchup against some combo and control decks, typically fair creature strategies, specifically ones playing Aether Vial and Cavern of Souls, can run over the deck and prove to be overwhelming. A recent iteration of Grixis Delver can be seen below. Another contender that I expect to see in the field is BG Turbo Depths.
BG Turbo Depths
Turbo depths is exactly how the name sounds, it is a very fast, linear, combo deck that produces Marit Lage as quick as possible while disrupting their opponent’s interaction. This deck, while can have very difficult lines, provides a straight forward path to win the game and can typically just steal games from combo and control decks due to cards like Crop Rotation, Wasteland, and Thoughtseize. This deck utilizes Vampire Hexmage to remove all the counters from Dark Depths in order to cheat Marit Lage into play earlier than anticipated. Due to how quick Marit Lage can be created and how some of the format just can’t interact, this deck becomes a very powerful option to consider when going to a tournament. Unlike some combo decks that get shut down by Force of Will and other counter effects, this deck can just operate based off land drops through Dark Depths and Thespian Stage to create Marit Lage. It also doesn’t help that Marit Lage is indestructible really leaving only Swords to Plowshares as an out. Below is a recent version of Turbo Depths seen online, looking more to the fair side, Death and Taxes for sure will be out in full force in Syracuse.
Death and Taxes
This deck is what we refer to as a fair creature strategy that aims to provide a quick clock while making it difficult for your opponent to interact or achieve their game plan. This deck utilizes cards like Aether Vial, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Mother of Runes to ideally lock the opponent out of “free spells” and make their removal not worthwhile. With Aether Vial, this deck becomes very powerful because their creatures can’t be countered since Aether Vial just puts them into play making Stifle the only way of stopping a creature entering the battlefield. The hateful aspect of the creatures also creates a difficult game environment for the opponent whether it be spells costing more or hard lock creatures like Sanctum Prelate or Ethersworn Cannonist. This deck tends to gain the advantage against blue decks with a Sword of Fire and Ice main and four copies of Stoneforge Mystic to tutor it. Overall, I expect this deck to be running hot at the top tables under the right pilots, a current list can be seen below. Next, we will look at my heart and soul, ANT.
Ad Nauseam Tendrils
Personally, I think if you want to win Syracuse, you just jam storm. This deck currently is very well positioned with how the rest of the meta is shaping up, obviously just hoping to avoid the hard lock decks which do exist but that’s variance. Storm utilizes cards like Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Infernal Tutor to cast as many spells as possible in one turn to trigger the storm mechanic on Tendrils of Agony for a lethal amount. Chalice of the Void, Trinisphere, and Force of Will existing in the format can sometimes make it difficult for ANT to win but with cards like Duress and Thoughtseize, these interactions can be removed allowing for a clean line to win. The way that the ANT sideboard is currently built, it can combat every deck in the format and have at least a solid chance in each sideboard game. There is always variance involved though with combo decks and like any deck, a lock piece can cause you not to win as well as not drawing a combo piece. Overall though ANT has solid matchups in the current meta, and I expect it to be represented in day two of the open, a recent list can be seen below. The next deck we will look at unfortunately is ANT’s worst matchup currently, Moon Stompy.
Moon stompy is the current boogeyman of the format due to how successful it has been in the online meta as well as how it wins the game. It utilizes cards like Trinisphere, Chalice of the Void, and Blood Moon to lock the opponent out of the game as early as turn one and then use threats like Goblin Rabblemaster and Legion Warboss to close the game. Typically, the spell hate from this deck generates most of its wins, but just how it can steal a game on turn one, it can quickly lose one if the opponent has Force of Will to counter and other additional answers to the strategy. This deck is very easy to play, and I expect to see numerous copies trickle its way into day two due to how it can just be successful regardless of the matchup thanks to the artifact hate it packs. A recent list can be seen below, next we will cover another combo/control deck that is Show and Tell.
Show and Tell
This deck gets its name obviously from the card Show and Tell which allows the user and the opponent to put a creature, enchantment, land, or artifact on to the battlefield for the convenient price of three mana. Typically, players will either put in one of their fatties in Griselbrand or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn but sometimes opt to go the enchantment route with Sneak Attack or Omniscience. Griselbrand is usually the house because it allows the user to draw multiple cards and lock the opponent out of the game either with Force of Will or finding another creature, typically Emrakul, to pair with Sneak Attack. Show and tell, while it is a combo deck, can be weak to combo strategies as well as some fair strategies that play creatures like Containment Priest which shut down the plan after resolution. Show and Tell will always be a solid option though for a tournament scene and can win games out of nowhere, a sample list can be seen below. The final deck we will discuss is the top tier fair/control deck of the format in Miracles.
Miracles utilizes cards like Counterbalance, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Monastery Mentor to provide a control shell with a combo creature finish. They try to control the game with cards like Force of Will, Terminus, and Snapcaster Mage and hope to close out the game by getting rid of the opponents’ threats and clearing the way for a small or large attack each turn depending on what list is being jammed. Counterbalance provides free countermagic for the deck and the numerous cantrips can set up the top of the library to repeatedly counter whatever the opponent tries to cast. Jace, the Mind Sculptor allows the user to also close out the game through card advantage and manipulating the top of the opponent’s library essentially controlling their draws. Miracles will always be a solid choice for a tournament scene, and it rewards extremely tight play and patience, a sample list can be seen below.
SCG Syracuse is going to provide some of the best legacy action in the country until GP Niagara Falls in April. I expect the best of the best in the format there battling it out for the chance at the cash prize. Whatever deck you may end up on, all of these have proven to be solid choices in the current meta with still more decks available to choose from. Ultimately legacy rewards the pilot of the deck and any deck can make a run with the right player. Unfortunately, this will be my last article until further notice so if you are interested in following me and keeping up with the eternal formats, give me a follow on Twitter at @damatoexp and Twitch at @damatoexp. Storm count 4, make 8 goblins go.