Howdy folks! It's Joe again, and this week we're looking at the first large events in Legacy since the banning of Deathrite Shaman/Gitaxian Probe a few weeks ago. That's right, it's all about SCG Worcester!
SCG Worcester's Open was a Team Constructed Open, but that shouldn't affect much of the analysis really. There was also a Legacy Classic that same weekend, so we'll be looking at both events to get a good picture of where the format is at right now. Also, we'll be talking to SCG Worcester Team Open Legacy Champion Bryant Cook in addition to the Second Place Legacy player Nathan Robinson!
SCG Worcester Team Constructed Open
As mentioned before, the Open for this event was Team Trios Constructed, meaning that each team had a Standard, Modern, and Legacy player. For the purposes of this article, we're only going to be focusing on the Legacy decks in the mix.
Let's take a look at the breakdown, shall we?
As we can see, the popular decks of the weekend were most assuredly RUG Delver and DnT, followed by a big showing by Sneak and Show. SnS in general right now can be considered one of the better combo decks in the format, thanks to the fact that most people are trying different variations of decks and playing sheer random stuff; SnS is traditionally stronger when people don't have focused plans.
Of course, the winners of this Open were the team of Matthew Cotrupe, Jacob Saracino, and Bryant Cook on none other than THE EPIC STORM.
Let's take a look at Bryant's list:
The Epic Storm — Bryant Cook | 1st Place SCG Worcester Team Constructed Open
Since the banning of Gitaxian Probe, decks like TES have evolved to include much more proactive discard in the form of Thoughtseize, and TES especially benefits quite a bit from being able to run more fast mana in the form of Chrome Mox.
I had a chance to sit down with Bryant this week and talk about how he feels about Legacy and Storm in particular.
First of all, Bryant, congratulations on the finish in Worcester. Let's kick things off with the elephant in the room: It's been a few weeks since Wizards banned Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe, so how are you feeling about the format right now?
Thanks! The format seems "wide open." We're seeing a lot of people trying out different strategies (lots of midrange decks) in the initial few weeks which is great for combo as it has a clearly defined plan.
Gitaxian Probe was well ingrained in the Storm archetype for quite some time. Having played the deck now since the ban, how do you feel Storm (and especially TES) is without Probe? I know in your article about the banning you mentioned it was very break even, but has that opinion changed much since playing more?
I still believe it's a break even, the loss of Deathrite Shaman to the format has a much bigger impact than one may think. While TES is not a "graveyard" deck, it was the best Goblin token blocker in the format. Not to mention, it killed you while stopping you from winning the game.
Thoughtseize has also overperformed.
Regarding the metagame of SCG Worcester, how did you feel about the overall meta in the room? Did the nature of a team event change much for you in regards to what kinds of decks you faced?
It was about what I expected, in paper people gravitate to fair decks. The online metagame is overly degenerate compared to paper. I think part of it is that people can play 4–5 leagues a night with combo, so you end up seeing them more often. I think other contributing factors like combo decks tend to be cheaper, which in return creates more combo pilots.
As for the team versus singles aspect, I wouldn't expect a difference.
In regards to your finals match, it was very clear watching it that your opponent made a bit of a mistake on the final turn. Obviously, these events can be extremely stressful and mentally taxing, especially adding in the complexity of working with your teammates. Do you have any advice for anyone on how to deal with this sort of mental stress?
I don't play Magic in between rounds; I want to keep my brain relaxed and refreshed. I also believe in that keeping hydrated is important.
As for my opponent's misplay, he forgot to mark the life point from his fetch land into his math for racing my Goblin tokens, which meant he was dead even if he cast Lightning Bolt. What saddens me is I actually would've killed him through the double Daze in his hand that turn. I drew Brainstorm which found a Red mana source and Burning Wish. I've mentioned this to a few people, the most common reaction has been "He had Spell Snare." Which is true, but with having to cast Lightning Bolt, he would've been tapped out.
Finally, who is the best baseball team and why is it the Mets?
The Mets suck. Currently, the Boston Red Sox are the best team in baseball.
Thanks again for taking the time out of your schedule to chat with me, again congratulations on taking down the Open. Looking forward to more great content from you in the future!
One deck that showed up in big numbers was RUG Delver. Clearly, the Goose is very loose these days as many RUG players showed up in force, putting five copies in the Top 32.
Let's take a look at the second place list from Nathan Robinson:
RUG Delver — Nathan Robinson | 2nd Place SCG Worcester Team Constructed Open
For the most part this is a fairly stock RUG Delver list, with the typical threats of Tarmogoyf, Delver, and Nimble Mongoose and the typical spell suite with full four Stifle. The adoption of newer cards like Abrade and older tech like Life from the Loam in the sideboard is very sweet.
I got a chance to sit down with Nathan as well to ask him a few questions about the format and his games at this event.
Nathan, thanks for joining us, and congratulations on your finish in the Team Open! Let's get things started off with the obvious question: It's been a few weeks since the bannings, how are you feeling about Legacy as a format right now?
Thanks for having me! I was originally very bummed as I had been avidly playing Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe since Sensei's Divining Top had been banned, and I was also a little concerned because I had told Alex and Dylan that I would perform well in the Legacy seat based on my experience with Grixis Delver and Czech Pile. Thinking back on this weekend though, the metagame has really opened up. I played nine different archetypes in nine rounds on Day 1. Between that and the success I found with Canadian Threshold, I'm really happy with where the format is at and look forward to seeing how players innovate at the upcoming pro tour.
You opted to play RUG Delver for this event, and a relatively stock list at that. What drove your decision to play RUG and how do you feel about the deck right now?
Stifle was a card I looked at multiple times in the previous few years, but it was so bad against Deathrite Shaman I was never willing to pull the trigger. I've always felt most comfortable playing Aggro/Tempo strategies where I am putting my opponent under pressure to make tough choices and then punishing them based on their decisions. This may seem a little weird considering I just alluded to playing Miracles before the Top banning, but that decision was more a product of only needing three dual lands to play Legacy when I was still a full-time college student.
I chose to play a stock list with 2 Spell Snare and 2 Dismember because I expected Stoneforge Mystic, Baleful Strix, and Tarmogoyf to be heavily played cards that I wanted several ways to beat. By this same line of thought, I expected Tarmogoyf to be the most important threat against fair decks so I choose to run the full 4 as well. Beyond those decisions, the rest of the maindeck essentially writes itself. For the sideboard, I honestly did not have enough testing to make educated opinions of my own, so I went with the sideboard from Jadine Klomparen's latest decklist, knowing she is much better and spends more time playing the deck then I do.
While it does have its share of poor match-ups, I was very happy with how the deck felt and am excited to run it back in SCG Philadelphia next week.
You mentioned on Reddit that you had only met your teammates at the event, and had no interaction with them prior to Worcester. How did that affect your team in regards to communication? Were there any issues working together?
We played more as three individuals than as a team, but I think that had more to do with specialties and less to do with lack of communication due to not knowing each other. Alex played more games of Standard this weekend than Dylan or I had played in the last six months. Dylan is one of the most fantastic Storm players I have seen and was the pillar that carried us through the swiss. I joked with him at some point Day 2 that I wouldn't presume to tell Bryant Cook or Caleb Scherer how to play Storm either. I also played on an island because, to my knowledge, neither Dylan or Alex have ever played a sanctioned game of Legacy.
Your finals match versus Bryant Cook contained a pretty strong misplay, and you were on record on Reddit as noting that you were very tired by this point. Obviously, 15 rounds of Magic is super tiring and stressful, especially on a deck with tons of decision trees like RUG Delver. Is there any advice you can give for the future in better handling this kind of stress for people that may be looking to get into more competitive events?
Let me first say that my inability to take care of myself during Open weekends is in no way an excuse for that terrible showing at the end of Game 3. I bring it up because it's something I've heard echoed from other magic players in the past. Between showing up to the event hall Saturday morning and leaving Sunday night, I drank two bottles of water and ate a single meal. This is insanely unhealthy, but I always find it tough to squeeze in lunch in between rounds and loathe paying the price for convention center concession food. Choosing not to do so was putting myself in a horrible position, mentally and physically, and I need to find the time to take care of myself at these events.
My other advice would be to review and learn from those situations and not let them define your memory of the weekend. I had a long drive home by myself to think over the weekend, and that match overall. And while the community's only memory of me may have been punting away an opportunity to beat Bryant in the finals, I will remember the 17 matches of magic I played off-camera, alongside my teammates, to put ourselves in the last match.
What is the best card in Magic and why is it Nimble Mongoose? And how loose truly is the Goose?
The Goose was and will continue to be very loose, with the exception of when I played against Helm Miracles with four main deck Rest in Peace in Round 5. The best card of the weekend, however, was Stifle. Stifle alongside Daze and Wasteland will force you opponents into several poor lines out of fear of what your hand might be. Several times I Dazed while my opponent was holding up a fetch land and they just let the spell get countered out of fear of Stifle. And while Stifle is often considered Wasteland 5–8, it does so many things to shore up match-ups such as Storm and Turbo Depths, and will rarely fail to be an impactful card. It earned every exclamation point I wrote next to it on my decklist.
Thanks for chatting with us Nathan! Again, congratulations on the incredible performance this weekend in this brand new world of Legacy we find ourselves in!
Speaking of sideboard tech, let's take a look at Bob Huang's Sneak and Show list, playing three copies of Arcane Artisan from Battlebond in the sideboard!
Sneak and Show — Bob Huang | 4th Place SCG Worcester Team Constructed Open
Arcane Artisan adds an interesting way of beating anti-hate like Containment Priest, Flusterstorm, and Diabolic Edict effects by making a three-mana creature that loots and also has the potential to create a creature such as Griselbrand or Emrakul. While many may look at this guy and consider he's too vulnerable, it's important to note that oftentimes removal is boarded out against SnS because it's more effective to fight them on the stack and cards like Swords to Plowshares can be mediocre if they have an Emrakul.
All in all, some really sweet lists for this event. Now let's switch gears a tad and look at the metagame results from the Legacy Classic.
SCG Worcester Legacy Classic
This event paints an even stranger picture of Legacy right now, with decks like Jeskai Stoneblade, two Grixis Death's Shadow lists, and very little RUG Delver/Sneak and Show beyond one copy each.
Of course, the deck that took down the event was none other than Eldrazi Post. Let's take a look at the list:
Eldrazi Post — Joseph Santomassino | 1st Place SCG Worcester Legacy Classic
1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
2 All Is Dust
While traditionally these Post decks play a lot more big things to ramp into, this deck is light on excessively high CMC cards (2 Ulamog, 1 Ugin, and 2 Endbringer), preferring to funnel its excessive mana into threats like Walking Ballista, making this version a much lower to the ground hybrid Stompy/Post variant.
Regardless, it's pretty strong looking, and certainly, put up some results.
Another deck in the Top 8 that I'm excessively giddy over: GOBLINS!
Goblins — Stephen Achorn | 4th Place SCG Worcester Legacy Classic
3 Gempalm Incinerator
4 Goblin Lackey
4 Goblin Matron
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Goblin Ringleader
1 Goblin Sharpshooter
1 Goblin Trashmaster
4 Goblin Warchief
2 Mogg War Marshal
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Krenko, Mob Boss
4 Aether Vial
Conspicuously absent from this list is Dominaria Standard all-star Goblin Chainwhirler, but in trade, we get the grossness that is Goblin Trashmaster! This card is legitimately absurd in this deck, turning even the lowliest of Goblin tokens into 2/2s and making your entire field copies of Tin Street Hooligan.
It is super exciting to see Goblins doing well in this new format. How long this will last time will tell, but the deck is super cool.
That's all the time we have this week folks! We're just a few short weeks away from the big event, the 25th Anniversary PRO TOUR, in which we will be seeing Legacy on a much larger stage. Will it be nothing but Nimble Mongoose mirrors or will Emrakul reign supreme as the biggest and best Momma Eldrazi in the format? Who knows, but we'll keep looking at results and the patterns to find out!
Until next time, may all your Magic be Eternal!
|Joseph Dyer (@volrathxp) is an avid Legacy enthusiast. He's admin of the /r/NicFitMTG subreddit, as well as a regular participant on the Source and MTGLegacy subreddits. His knowledge of the Legacy format is deeply rooted in constant analysis, playtesting, and lots of discussion of the format. Joseph's primary accomplishments include a 10–5 finish at GP Columbus 2016 with Rhino Fit, and a 32nd place finish at SCG Columbus Legacy Classic with Sneak Fit.|