I fell in love with Legacy when I won a match without making a land drop.
It was at the SCG Legacy Open in Milwaukee a few years ago; my opponent and I sat down for our third-round match and joked about how the judge who was standing near our table was clearly there for a deck check. When they called the start of the round and she swooped in to collect our decks, we laughed and proceeded to shoot the breeze for a couple minutes while waiting.
Suddenly, my opponent sat bolt upright and muttered an expletive. When I asked what was wrong, he replied that he had purchased a playset of Brainstorms that morning, and they were sitting unsleeved in his deck box. Shortly thereafter, the judge confirmed his fears, as he was hit with a game loss.
Starting game 2 on the draw, I kept a classic RUG Delver hand: Fetch, dual land, Lightning Bolt, Delver, Daze, Force of Will, and Tarmogoyf. My opponent dumped his hand on turn 1 and attempted to resolve Goblin Charbelcher; when I responded with Force, he scooped up his cards and offered a handshake.
I’ve won games of Legacy by cheating an Emrakul into play on turn 1 and by having a Sylvan Library be the only permanent on the board for six straight turns. I’ve won by playing “fair” with Umezawa’s Jitte and True-Name Nemesis. Heck, I’ve won by attacking with a Sword of War and Peace-wielding Invisible Stalker.
And I’ve lost in hilarious fashion, too. By getting overwhelmed by Elves on turn 1 or 2. By being able to do nothing as my opponent jammed an early Griselbrand into play through countermagic. By staring mournfully at my Gilded Drake that would have been really good if my opponent had put a creature into play instead of an Omniscience.
We all have stories like that from our Legacy experiences. For good or bad, it’s what makes Legacy what it is, and it’s why we keep coming back. While the format certainly has its flaws, there’s a reason so many players love it, and why so many people hold their breath every time a Banned and Restricted list announcement approaches. It’s why people argue about the Reserved List, or about what Wizards’ obligation is to the secondary market. It’s why players are willing to commit to thousands of dollars’ worth of cardboard that they might only get to play a few times a year.
We love this format, flaws and all. And it’s time we celebrated it.
Nerd Rage Gaming presents: Why We Love Legacy
With a Legacy CT approaching this weekend, we’re diving into why we love the format and the decks that make it great. From Lands to Sneak and Show, Death and Taxes to Grixis Delver, we’re sharing our favorite aspects of Legacy with all of you over this week and next.
We start today, with this article and Alex Hamilton’s ode to Stoneblade. After Sensei’s Divining Top was banned, nobody would have blamed Alex for giving up on the format. Instead, he embraced an old friend by sleeving up his Stoneforge Mystics again and only mostly annoying his opponents instead of completely annoying them.
Here’s what the rest of this week’s schedule looks like:
Next week (Updated Sept. 15):
Tuesday: Nerd Rage Gaming editor Casey Laughman on Sneak and Show.
Wednesday: Justin Brickman on Grixis Delver.
Friday: Jordan Pollack on how to play Legacy on a budget.
Monday, Sept. 18: Reigning NRG Championship Series champion Ben Meine on Death and Taxes; Blake Smith on Burn.
Now for some completely made-up FAQs to answer any questions you might have:
Q: Say, isn’t this an awful lot like your State of Modern project?
A: It sure is! But there’s a critical difference: While we tried to provide a comprehensive overview of the Modern format with that project, here we’re simply talking about what we love about Legacy. Legacy is such a wide-ranging format that there’s no way to hit all or even most of the possible decks, so we’re focusing on the decks and the experiences that we love about the format.
TL;DR: State of Modern was an analysis. This is a celebration.
Q: Yeah, but what about (Deck x)? How can you possibly write about Legacy without mentioning it?
A: Simple: We’ll write about Legacy without mentioning it. When we were putting this project together, I asked the writers to claim their first choice. With one exception, they got their first pick, which shows just how wide the format is. That one exception was Justin Kessel, and all he did was write an excellent article on his second choice. Trust me. Read it when it goes up.
Q: Isn’t Legacy a dead format? Why devote so many words to a format no one plays?
A: Well, there will be 100 players at Nerd Rage Gaming this weekend who will vehemently disagree with you. Is Legacy for everyone? Of course not, because the barriers to entry are real and it doesn’t have nearly as many options for tournament play as Standard or Modern. But it is a vital component of the NRG Championship Series, and will continue to be so.
Q: I heard that Legacy is a format where everybody dies on turn 1. That doesn’t sound fun at all.
A: First, that’s not really a question; second, it’s pretty far from the truth. Sure, there are times when you get destroyed on turn 1 or 2. But there are a lot more times when you play the most intense, skill-testing Magic you will ever play, then get to do it again the very next round. If you’re new to Legacy, check out the entire package of articles. I bet it will change your perceptions of the format.
Q: Are you going to be writing about the Reserved List at all?
A: No. In fact: Hell no. The Reserved List exists, it is here to stay, and nothing we would write could possibly change that. Every so often somebody decides to angry up the community by writing “Yay Reserved List” or “Get rid of the Reserved List.” That isn’t us and will never be us.
Q: Final question: Is it true you’ll be playing The Locust God this weekend?
A: No comment.
Casey Laughman is editor of Nerd Rage Gaming. Email comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.