Legacy Metagame Analysis

Hello, today we talk about the Legacy Metagame, right after the European Eternal Weekend.

For this analysis, I am defining “top finishing deck” as finishing in the top 10% of tournaments with 75+ players. This methodology means that we are looking at a winner’s metagame, not necessarily a complete metagame. There are decks that are more “midrange” in scope and can play both aggro and control roles, but I decided to stick to aggro, control, and combo to keep things simple. The percentages are the number of top decks in the archetype divided by the total number of top finishing decks.

Aggro
Total %
Eldrazi 40 8.0%
Pyromancer Grixis Delver 37 7.4%
UR Delver 18 3.6%
BUG Delver 14 2.8%
RUG Delver 13 2.6%
4C Delver 4 0.8%
Bant Blade 3 0.6%
Gurmag Grixis Delver 2 0.4%
Goblin Stompy 1 0.2%
Slivers 1 0.2%
Zombardment 1 0.2%
Affinity 1 0.2%
Merfolk 1 0.2%
UWR Delver 1 0.2%
Total 137 27.5%
Control
Total %
Miracles 83 16.6%
Shardless BUG 36 7.2%
Death and Taxes 23 4.6%
Lands 17 3.4%
4C Loam 9 1.8%
Jund 8 1.6%
Maverick 7 1.4%
EsperBlade 5 1.0%
Nic Fit 5 1.0%
Goblins 5 1.0%
12Post 3 0.6%
DeathBlade 3 0.6%
UWR StoneBlade 2 0.4%
BUG Midrange 2 0.4%
BUG Opposition 2 0.4%
RUG Lands 1 0.2%
Abzan Midrange 1 0.2%
Grixis Control 1 0.2%
Tezzeret 1 0.2%
BG Midrange 1 0.2%
UR Control 1 0.2%
4C Control 1 0.2%
BW Smallpox 1 0.2%
Total 218 43.7%
Combo
Total %
ANT 28 5.6%
Infect 18 3.6%
Sneak and Show 18 3.6%
Elves 16 3.2%
Belcher 11 2.2%
Reanimator 9 1.8%
OmniTell 7 1.4%
Dredge 6 1.2%
Burn 6 1.2%
Tin Fins 5 1.0%
Imperial Painter 4 0.8%
Big Red 4 0.8%
TES 3 0.6%
Manaless Dredge 3 0.6%
Aluren 3 0.6%
Doomsday 1 0.2%
Dark Depths 1 0.2%
MUD 1 0.2%
Total 144 28.9%

Here are the top performing decks since the release of Shadows over Innistrad:

  1. Miracles (16.6%)
  2. Eldrazi (8.0%)
  3. Pyromancer Grixis Delver (7.4%)
  4. Shardless BUG (7.2%)
  5. ANT (5.6%)
  6. Death and Taxes (4.6%)
  7. Sneak and Show (3.6%)
  8. U/R Delver (3.6%)
  9. Infect (3.6%)
  10. Lands (3.4%)
  11. Elves (3.2%)

These 11 decks each have at least a 3% share of the winner’s metagame. In total, they make up 67% of the winner’s metagame.

Now, let’s talk about the top decks.

Miracles (16.6%) :

Miracles has been one of the top one or two decks since 2014, and its position on the throne looks more solid than ever. Despite the swift rise of the Eldrazi, which is one of Miracles’ worst matchups, it has managed to remain utterly dominant, totaling more in metagame share than both Eldrazi and Pyromancer Grixis Delver. Currently, there are a few variants of Miracles, with the recent Predict lists being the most popular.

Brian Braun-Duin from ChannelFireball wrote an excellent article covering the list so I won’t go into too much detail.

For once, I am okay with the current state of Legacy and would advocate for no changes to the Banned and Restricted list. Yes, Miracles is likely the best deck. But due to the recent adoption of Monastery Mentor, tournaments have generally ended on time without too much delay. Furthermore, I think there are enough strategies and cards currently seeing play that are strong against the archetype, and I do not feel as behind against it with Delver as I used to. One of the key strengths of the deck lies in its flexibility. It has access to a variety of other tools to beat any of the cards that are good against it.

monastery-mentor

Out of the tier decks, Predict Miracles is favored against Pyromancer Grixis Delver, Shardless BUG, Lands, and Elves. It is close to even against ANT, Death and Taxes, Sneak and Show, UR Delver, and Infect. It is unfavored against Eldrazi. Take all of these with a strong grain of salt, though, as pilot skill is a far more important factor than the matchup itself. Miracles is a skill-intensive deck, and I think a good pilot would have a strong chance of beating any of these matchups. Conversely, a good player on a different deck who has tested the Miracles matchup also has the ability to defeat the deck. Legacy has reached the point where knowing your deck, knowing which cards to sideboard, and playing well are is the keys to success.

Eldrazi (8.o%) :

The newest kid on the block, Eldrazi, has wasted no time overrunning Legacy. Chalice of the Void has always been an excellent card, but there weren’t enough consistently powerful support cards to go along with it. Now, with the advent of Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher, as well as access to Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin, the deck has a potent mix of fast mana, devastating threats, and strong disruption. Furthermore, many lists play Cavern of Souls, which is excellent at blanking a huge swathe of the format’s interaction. There are a few variants of Eldrazi running around, from straight colorless to a white splash, featuring a whopping 8 Thalia’s.

Eric Froelich from ChannelFireball wrote a nice DeckGuide.

eldrazi-templeeye-of-ugin

I’m glad there is a powerful stompy deck in the format as I think it increases format diversity. It’s also one of the cheapest tier 1 options in some time, and it is also one of the easier tier 1 decks to pilot. Against other tier decks, Eldrazi is favored against Miracles and ANT. It is even against Grixis Delver. It is unfavored against Shardless BUG and Lands. I’m not sure about matchups against Death and Taxes, Infect, Sneak and Show, U/R Delver, and Elves, but they are dependent on specific card choices and obviously player skill.

Pyromancer Grixis Delver (7.4%) :

This is the new top Delver deck. His monstrosity has achieved a unique blend of consistency, flexibility, and power. Need the best utility creature in the format? You have Deathrite Shaman. Need the best beatsick? Hello, Delver. Need card advantage and disruption? Pyromancer plus Therapy is potent as ever. Need a big fatty? Goodbye Tarmogoyf, hello Gurmag Angler.

deathrite-shamandelver of secrets.jpgyoung-pyrogurmag-angler

The threats in this deck are incredible, and the synergy of the spells is also high. The mana base is also solid, as it can operate smoothly on 2 lands. If you can cast your spells, with this deck you usually can’t lose! Out of all of the Delver variants, I think this one has the most even matchups across the board. It is favored against ANT, Infect, and Sneak and Show. It is even against Eldrazi, Shardless BUG, Death and Taxes, U/R Delver, and Elves. It is unfavored against Miracles and Lands.

Here’s a Deck List and a Brakdown of the deck for reference.

Shardless BUG (7.2%) :

Shardless BUG has been the midrange option of choice for a long time, and it still remains a viable option. Personally, I am not a big fan of the clunky draws, but it does admittedly have a strong Eldrazi matchup. But it is no longer favored against the new Predict Miracles variants as those decks can keep up in card quantity and quality. Miracles also gets to play Pyroblast for Ancestral Visions, so the days where Shardless players were excited to face Miracles are now over. There has been a decline in the popularity of Shardless in recent months as Predict Miracles has become more popular, so we will see if this trend continues.

shardless-agent

Overall, Shardless is a solid choice for the current metagame and again, playskill is going to be more important than deck selection in Legacy, so if drawing 3 cards is your cup of tea, Shardless remains a viable option.

Here’s a Deck List and a Brakdown of the deck for reference.

Ad Nauseam Tendrils or ANT (5.6&) :

ANT is still an excellent choice, if you can figure out how to play the Miracles matchup. In my experience, the matchup is fairly even if both players are excellent, with ANT possibly even being favored. But if the ANT player is inexperienced, they are likely to be slaughtered even by a mediocre Miracles pilot. ANT is the default combo deck of the format, and its powerful disruption and speed make it a personal favorite of mine.

tendrils-of-agony

 

 

 

ANT is favored against Shardless BUG, Lands, and Elves. ANT is even against Miracles and U/R Delver. ANT is unfavored against Eldrazi and Grixis Delver.

Here’s a Deck List and a Brakdown of the deck for reference.

Death and Taxes (4.6%) :

D&T remains a major player, and with the recent printings in Eternal Masters and Conspiracy 2, it is poised for a major incursion into the top tier of Legacy. I’ve seen Recruiter of the Guard and Sanctum Prelate in action, and I think what was once an even matchup against Grixis Delver gets more difficult if the D&T player has access to Sanctum Prelate. As more cards enter the pool, D&T should also get cheaper, which may also have a significant effect on metagame share.

recruiter-of-the-guardsanctum-prelate

Here’s a Deck List and a Brakdown of the deck for reference.

Sneak & Show (3.6%) :

Sneak and Show has begun to incorporate Omniscience.  It is also a faster avenue to victory and allows for the versatility with Cunning Wish.

omniscienceshow-and-tellsneak-attack

Sneak and Show will always be a solid deck, but in general, you can beat it if you prepare your sideboard accordingly.

Here’s a Deck List and a Brakdown of the deck for reference.

Blue/Red Delver (3.6%) :

Oath of the Gatewatch was notable for its introduction of the Eldrazi, but Stormchaser Mage also made waves. Along with Bedlam Reveler, U/R Delver-Burn has received a few new tools. Stormchaser Mage gives the deck another powerful hasty threat and the deck is one of the most consistent aggressive options in the format. Bedlam Reveler is also an excellent way to refuel, with the potential to be as powerful as a 4 for 1. But the restrictive casting cost means that it will never be as dominant as Treasure Cruise.

stormchaser-magebedlam-revelerdelver-of-secrets

Here’s a Deck List and a Brakdown of the deck for reference.

Infect (3.6%), Lands (3.4%), and Elves (3.2%) :

Not too much to say here. These decks are very powerful and remain contenders for any tournament they enter.

Here are the DeckLists for reference: Infect, Lands, Elves.

Conclusion

I’m excited to see the continued evolution of Eldrazi, as well as how well D&T fares with its new toys. Playing well and knowing your deck is still the key to success in Legacy. I hope to continue writing Legacy-centric articles in the coming months as I know the Legacy community has seen a decrease in content.

 

 

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