Devin Koepke: A Crash Course in Legacy

I love Legacy. It’s how I learned how to play Magic at a competitive level, figured out the rich beautiful history of the cards I hold so near and dear to my heart, and the only format I ever do well in. You roll all those things up into a nice little ball and you get a man that’s ready to spill the beans on this hot tamale.

Literally the most important thing you can have in Legacy is knowledge, and that can take some time to acquire. However, I am here to help. With this being a crash course and all, I’ll hit all the knowledge targets with just a few stones.

Knowledge Target 1: Figure out what your opponent is playingthoughtseize

I don’t mean scout the field during your byes, but in a match, the faster you figure out what someone is playing the better. If opponent X starts off with a Swamp and Thoughtseize, you can realistically narrow it down to around four decks that he or she could be playing: Reanimator, Pox, Shardless, or Jund. If you’re not playing some degenerate combo deck, you have a different game plan for each match-up, (or at least you should). This can usually be determined by what opponent X takes with the Thoughtseize as well. If your hand has a Force of Will plus blue card and a removal spell in it and the opponent takes the removal spell, you can almost safely assume that opponent X isn’t on something degenerate. Legacy is all about context, and the sooner you figure out what is happening the sooner you can write a 2-0 win on the match slip.

Knowledge Target 2: Know what is important in the matchupShow and Tell

Figuring out what is important in a match is almost as important as filling out the match slip correctly. (Side note: The match slip is the most important piece of paper you will be looking at that day, so you may want to make sure that it has the correct credentials on it.)

Let’s say that you know your opponent is playing Sneak and Show and you’re playing Shardless Bug. The opening 7 contains three lands, a Shardless Agent, an Abrupt Decay, a Deathrite Shaman, and a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. You say to yourself “dang, this hand is the cat’s pajamas,” and snapperdoodle it off. You then proceed to die on turn 1 because they had the nutter butters.

Welcome to Legacy, folks!

This is not a format where you can afford to waste knowledge. Harness it like like a wild stallion and let that baby take you to the promised land. Assuming they don’t always have the nuts is a mistake, and you should try to mulligan to something that can bring a hammer to crack some shells. Especially since the scry rule is absolutely bonkers in this format.

Knowledge Target 3: Do your homework

I scan through countless decklists a day trying to find a piece of technology I haven’t thought of. This habit has given me access to countless free wins, because I know what my opponents’ gameplans are and what tools they are going to use to execute them. So if you know nothing about things like the meta, or what new hot piece of technology is out there, do yourself a favor and look at what is putting up results, because it’s likely people are going to shift towards that.

With those targets in mind, I’m going to take some of the burden off my wonderful and extremely good looking readers by feeding you some of the heavy hitters of the format, starting with the deck I played last weekend.

Colorless Eldrazi, by Devin KoepkeReality Smasher

Spells (13)
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Thorn of Amethyst
2 Dismember
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Warping Wail

Creatures (22)
4 Eldrazi Mimic
4 Endless One
4 Matter Reshaper
4 Reality Smasher
4 Thought-Knot Seer
2 Endbringer

Lands (25)
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Cavern of Souls
4 City of Traitors
4 Eldrazi Temple
4 Wasteland
3 Eye of Ugin
2 Karakas

4 Leyline of the Void
3 Ashen Rider
3 Warping Wail
2 Winter Orb
2 Pithing Needle
1 Dismember

This beauty is designed to hit you like Tyson in the 80’s (snap and punch your lights out) while simultaneously disrupting you like a bad hangover with things like Thorn of Amethyst and Chalice of the Void. This list is a couple cards off of being something great, but with the proper amount of work I could easily see Eldrazi being a winning deck.

Next up is the time thief of the format.

Miracles, by Matthew Tickalterminus

Creatures (8)
3 Snapcaster Mage
3 Vendilion Clique
2 Venser, Shaper Savant

Planeswalkers (3)
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Spells (27)
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Counterbalance
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Terminus
3 Swords to Plowshares
2 Ponder
1 Council’s Judgment
1 Entreat the Angels

Lands (22)
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Island
2 Tundra
2 Volcanic Island
2 Karakas
2 Plains
1 Arid Mesa
1 Cavern of Souls

3 Flusterstorm
2 Back to Basics
2 Rest in Peace
2 Red Elemental Blast
1 Pithing Needle
1 Moat
1 Pyroblast
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Submerge
1 Wear // Tear

This mamajamma is the control deck of the format. Built with all the tools to handle pretty much everything that goes down on the mean streets. One mana sweepers and the obnoxious beyblade wannabes run this engine, and as much as it pains me to say it, this may be the best, most consistent, and soul crushing deck in the format.

Now a word from our Lord and Savior, Baleful Strix.

Shardless Sultai, by Max Schroedershardlessagent

Spells (20)
4 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Ancestral Vision
2 Hymn to Tourach
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Toxic Deluge

Creatures (15)
4 Shardless Agent
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Baleful Strix

Planeswalkers (3)
2 Liliana of the Veil
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Lands (22)
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
3 Polluted Delta
3 Underground Sea
2 Bayou
2 Tropical Island
1 Forest
1 Swamp
1 Creeping Tar Pit
1 Misty Rainforest

3 Thoughtseize
2 Engineered Plague
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Null Rod
1 Pithing Needle
1 Dread of Night
1 Sylvan Library
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Golgari Charm
1 Krosan Grip
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Life from the Loam

This drop of delicious nectar is the rock deck of the format. It combines everything any magic player loves: removal, discard, counters, Tarmogoyf and the list goes on and on. This little honey badger can go toe-to-toe with essentially everything in the format. I can continue giving this deck nicknames, but I think it’s time to start with the dirt nasties of the format.

Sneak and Show, by John KuczynskiSneak Attack

Spells (35)

4 Force of Will
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Show and Tell
3 Omniscience
3 Sneak Attack
3 Cunning Wish
3 Spell Pierce
3 Preordain
2 Lotus Petal
1 Impulse
1 Intuition

Creatures (6)
3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
3 Griselbrand

Lands (19)
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
4 Island
3 Volcanic Island
2 Ancient Tomb
1 City of Traitors
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

2 Blood Moon
1 Eladamri’s Call
1 Electrickery
1 Firemind’s Foresight
1 Flusterstorm
1 Intuition
1 Kozilek’s Return
1 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Release the Ants
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Through the Breach
1 Trickbind
1 Wipe Away

What could be dirtier and nastier than casting a three-mana sorcery on turn 1 and killing your opponent? Show and Tell used to be the talk of the town back in the day, but Emrakul hardly gets her day in the sun anymore. Maybe with introduction of her lackeys to the format it can show and tell them who is the one true Queen.

Storm, by Caleb SchererAd Nauseam

Spells (46)
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
4 Brainstorm
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Dark Ritual
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Infernal Tutor
4 Ponder
3 Cabal Therapy
3 Duress
2 Preordain
2 Dark Petition
1 Ad Nauseam
1 Rain of Filth
1 Past in Flames
1 Tendrils of Agony

Lands (14)
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
2 Underground Sea
2 Island
1 Swamp
1 Volcanic Island

3 Abrupt Decay
2 Chrome Mox
2 City of Solitude
2 Chain of Vapor
2 Disfigure
1 Cabal Therapy
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Tropical Island

This is one of those decks that you have to recognize immediately to craft a game plan. The deck doesn’t play your run-of-the-mill game of Magic by Standard’s standards. Resilient, fast, and deadly, this deck combines mana acceleration, disruption, and card selection to kill you faster than you can count to 10. Without the proper hate this deck will bring your tournament to a place of agony. So come prepared with whatever tools you can fluster … I mean muster.

All cheesy jokes and terrible puns aside, I hope that these words have given you a head start on the competition. Legacy is rich and beautiful, yet bitter, like good Merlot. At the end of the day this is the format where anything is possible and dreams can come true. So have fun with it, play something you love and try your best.

If I missed anything or you think anything I said is wrong please let me know. Or if you just want to tell me I rock, I like that too. I enjoy any sort of feedback you people give me, so until next time, keep your Brainstorms close and if you must die, die with your lands tapped.

Devin Koepke is a Midwest grinder who will jump in a car and travel off to a far off land at any opportunity. Specializing in whatever the tournament is that weekend, he has a wide range of knowledge and skills that he is excited to share with you. So sit back, crack open an ice cold beverage and get your Hot Pocket out of the microwave, because this is going to be fun. 

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Devin Koepke