Reconstructing Legacy for Richmond
Hi all, this is Jarvis Yu, Silver Pro on Massdrop East back to talk about Legacy in preparation for Grand Prix Richmond.
Jeff Cunningham recently wrote an article outlining the most important aspect of deck selection (attributed to the great Paul Rietzl):
The big secret to Magic is to make the commonly played interaction not work well against your deck. That's true in basically every format.
However, to succeed in this endeavor, you must know what the format looks like (or to quote Jeff's recent article: “Imagine that every format can be reduced to a common denominator of what the best decks are trying to do.”

Fortunately, Pro Tour 25th Anniversary gave us a complete picture of every single deck registered in the Pro Tour to try to figure this out.
Examining that breakdown, the best 10 performing decks from the Pro Tour were as follows:
  1. Blue-Black Shadow
  2. Death and Taxes
  3. Grixis Delver
  4. Eldrazi Stompy
  5. Infect
  6. Miracles
  7. Reanimator
  8. Blue-White Stoneblade
  9. Grixis Control
  10. Grixis Death's Shadow
Thoughts on Specific Decks and Card Choices

Blue-Black Shadow is a tempo deck that splices tempo elements (Daze / Spell Pierce) with undercosted creatures (Delver of Secrets / Gurmag Angler / Death’s Shadow).
Blue-Black Shadow by David Thomas (Team SCG Open August 18, 2018), 1st Place: 4 Death's Shadow 4 Delver of Secrets 2 Gurmag Angler 4 Street Wraith 2 Flooded Strand 2 Marsh Flats 1 Misty Rainforest 2 Polluted Delta 2 Scalding Tarn 2 Underground Sea 4 Wasteland 3 Watery Grave 4 Brainstorm 4 Daze 1 Dismember 2 Fatal Push 4 Force of Will 1 Snuff Out 2 Stubborn Denial 3 Ponder 1 Preordain 2 Reanimate 4 Thoughtseize Sideboard 1 Engineered Explosives 1 Nihil Spellbomb 2 Throne of Geth 3 Dread of Night 1 Diabolic Edict 3 Surgical Extraction 2 Liliana, the Last Hope 2 Hymn to Tourach
Playing two Throne of Geth? C’mon, this isn’t Scars of Mirrodin limited. It is pretty hilarious to proliferate a Chalice of the Void (previously on one to two). I would advocate for one Ratchet Bomb over the second Throne of Geth. In addition, three Dread of Night seems excessive, and I’d advocate for replacing one copy of Dread of Night with something like Marsh Casualties which has coverage versus Elves.
This list is a carbon copy of the Pro Tour list, but clearly it still has legs, winning the Team Open in the hands of David Thomas, so I wouldn’t fault anyone for choosing to play close to this 75 for Richmond this weekend.

Death and Taxes is often referred to as ‘Mono-White Prison’, but it’s really a deck focused on disruptive creatures (Thalia / Phyrexian Revoker) and mana disruption (Wasteland / Rishadan Port).
Death and Taxes by Allen Wu (Pro Tour 25A) 1st place
4 Mother of Runes 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben 4 Stoneforge Mystic 4 Phyrexian Revoker 4 Flickerwisp 2 Recruiter of the Guard 1 Sanctum Prelate 1 Mirran Crusader 1 Palace Jailer 4 Swords to Plowshares 4 Aether Vial 1 Batterskull 1 Sword of Fire and Ice 1 Umezawa’s Jitte 3 Karakas 4 Wasteland 4 Rishadan Port 1 Horizon Canopy 1 Mishra’s Factory 5 Plains 6 Snow-Covered Plains Sideboard 3 Rest in Peace 2 Council’s Judgment 2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar 2 Path to Exile 1 Faerie Macabre 1 Pithing Needle 1 Ethersworn Canonist 1 Containment Priest 1 Leonin Relic-Warder 1 Walking Ballista
There's a lot to love about this list, and Allen Wu put a lot of thought into the specific choices. Playing 24 lands in Death and Taxes is not typical, but I strongly believe that it is correct to do so, given the ten utility lands you have, and how necessary it is to hit your land drops in Vial-less games. Furthermore, using equipment is a fairly mana hungry endeavor, and the sideboard contains Walking Ballista and Gideon which are fairly mana intensive as well. Walking Ballista is an incredible card for mirrors and scales extremely well (and is tutorable by Recruiter of the Guard). Besides, you can finally put a creature in with your Vial on zero (as suggested by Sam Pardee below).

Additionally, a great writeup by Allen himself can be found here:

Grixis Delver is also a tempo deck similar to Blue-Black Shadow, but it picks up the powerful Young Pyromancer and Lightning Bolt in exchange for Death’s Shadow and Street Wraith.
Grixis Delver by me 3 Volcanic Island 3 Underground Sea 1 Island 2 Flooded Strand 2 Misty Rainforest 2 Scalding Tarn 2 Polluted Delta 4 Wasteland 4 Delver of Secrets 1 Snapcaster Mage 1 Grim Lavamancer 4 Young Pyromancer 2 True-Name Nemesis 2 Gurmag Angler 2 Spell Pierce 4 Ponder 4 Brainstorm 2 Preordain 4 Daze 2 Thoughtseize 4 Lightning Bolt 4 Force of Will 1 Diabolic Edict Sideboard 2 Sulfur Elemental 1 Null Rod 2 Abrade 1 Liliana, the Last Hope 1 Pithing Needle 1 Flusterstorm 3 Surgical Extraction 1 Diabolic Edict 1 Price of Progress 2 Pyroblast
The above list is what I’m considering registering for Grand Prix Richmond. With the ban of Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe, it’s difficult to reliably establish a tempo advantage in a reasonable number of games, so I’ve decided to take a more midrange slant on the archetype. Many of the ideas for this deck came courtesy of Johnathan Sukenik’s list from the Pro Tour, as well as watching Bob Huang work on a similar shell..
I am still unsure on these specific slots: 0-1 Grim Lavamancer, 0-1 Snapcaster Mage, 3-4 Young Pyromancer.
Respecting the idea that you should be good versus commonly played interaction (or even decks, really), I have multiple answers to Chalice of the Void in my sideboard, as well as the stone-cold killer cards of Sulfur Elemental and Liliana the Last Hope (versus Taxes).

Eldrazi Stompy is a Legacy deck that descended from Modern. The goal is to abuse lands that tap for two mana to power out undercosted fatties such as Thought-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher, and so forth.
Eldrazi Stompy by Maxtortion 4 Eldrazi Mimic 2 Endbringer 4 Endless One 4 Matter Reshaper 4 Reality Smasher 3 Simian Spirit Guide 4 Thought-Knot Seer 4 Walking Ballista 1 Dismember 4 Chalice of the Void 4 Ancient Tomb 4 Cavern of Souls 2 City of Traitors 4 Eldrazi Temple 3 Eye of Ugin 1 Karakas 3 Mishra's Factory 1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth 4 Wasteland Sideboard 1 Karakas 1 All Is Dust 4 Leyline of the Void 2 Ratchet Bomb 2 Sorcerous Spyglass 3 Thorn of Amethyst 2 Tumble Magnet This deck was one of the best performing decks in the Pro Tour, but the nice innovation here is the full complement of Walking Ballista, in tandem with the 26th land.
The reason to play a full set of Walking Ballista, instead of the 2 Umezawa’s Jitte it replaced, is that the Jitte requires you to have 4 mana and connect with a creature, while the Walking Ballista would only require 4 mana for the same 2-point removal effect. Walking Ballista can remove a Baleful Strix before the combat step, and is a powerful threat on its own in games where all of your other creatures have been answered.
Besides that, I wonder if you actually want more Sol-lands (two more City of Traitors), or even something like Gemstone Caverns (helps to break serve, plus hitting two mana on turn one is so crucial).

Other Thoughts and Conclusions
  1. The best strategies in Legacy do one of the following: use cantrips to maximize consistency, play cards to hamstring opposing cantrips, or try to win before the cantrips allow setup.
  2. This lined up with Massdrop’s pre-Pro Tour expectations that the metagame was going to converge to Chalice of the Void (or Thalia) based strategies, blue midrange decks, and fast combo (that are reliant on cantrips).
  3. Death and Taxes, Eldrazi Stompy, Steel Stompy and Moon Stompy all seek to take advantage of the reliance on cantrips, by either shutting out the cantrips entirely (Chalice) or making them more clunky (Thalia).
  4. For GP Richmond, I’d expect an uptick in Taxes, and a slight downtick in Death’s Shadow as compared to the Pro Tour.
  5. I would not expect to see much Storm, but there will still be a reasonable amount of Sneak and Show.
  6. Lands will be well-positioned due to the rise of Delver / Shadow, Taxes, and Eldrazi Stompy.
There’s still many other decks to consider for the Grand Prix. Just make sure the deck you select has a reasonable plan versus the commonly played Chalice of the Void, Swords to Plowshares, and cheap disruption of Daze / Force of Will.
I wish all of you the best of luck at this Grand Prix, or any other upcoming tournaments you have, and welcome comments.

Previous Articles · Meet the Massdrop Teams: · *2nd* at Pro Tour Ixalan: · Unclaimed Creature Types: · Why I Never Drop From Tournaments: · The Art of Sideboard Construction - Sultai Energy: · A Commoner’s View on Pauper: · Blue Moon Beach Control: · Top 5 Modern Decks: · Storm in Vintage Cube: · An Early Look at Rivals for Standard: · A Standard Approach to Evaluating New Cards: · Drafting Rivals of Ixalan: · Team Sealed Secrets: · Steal My Standard Ideas: · Vexing Devil. Any Questions?: · Team Massdrop Rivals of Ixalan Limited Primer: · Gestation of RG Eldrazi: · Top Tim Tournament Training Tips: · What Makes Someone Bogle?: · A Pauper Adventure: · Blue Moon at GP Phoenix: · Brawling into Dominaria: · Looking at The Current Lands(cape) of Legacy · Deconstructing Dominaria Limited: · Diving into Dominaria Standard: · What are your.. drives?: · Top 10 Cards for Dominaria Modern: · Brewing Standard with Dominaria: · Dominaria Team Sealed: A Case Study: · Battlebonding in Vintage and Legacy: · Decks I Almost Played at PT Dominaria: · RB Chainwhirler for the Non-Aggressive Player: · Top 4 at GP Vegas: · Return to Core Set Limited: · Drafting Rares with Core Set 2019: · Tuning Jeskai Control in Modern: · Secrets of Sealed - · A Spike's 1v1 Commander Notes, Parentheticals, and Asides - · Gang Green - · How to Steel Wins in Legacy: · Hitting Hard and Ghast in Modern:
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