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Legacy Metagame: MTGO Challenge Champions (2/11 & 2/12)

Card: Mercurial Spelldancer | Art: Marcela Bolivar

Welcome to the latest installment of BTB’s Legacy MTGO Challenge Champions column. I’m Curtis Ailes and this week I am going to be digging into the Phyrexia: All Will Be One cards that showed up in the weekend Legacy challenges.

Highly Anticipated Cards of Phyrexia: All Will Be One

Phyrexia cards are in the wild now! If the stop at my LGS is any indicator of popularity, this is going to be a good set. I dropped in to pick up set boosters on Friday night, and they were sold out. We walked away with two draft boosters instead.

I have pontificated over the last two weeks on which cards I thought might make some waves in Legacy. Based on chatter across the web, it appeared Atraxa, Grand Unifier, Mercurial Spelldancer, and Venerated Rotpriest might be poised for an impact.

Looking at the results of this weekend’s Legacy Challenges, Atraxa did indeed make a dent in the Meta, slotting nicely into Reanimator, as expected. Atraxa makes a great reanimation target, providing all kinds of resources. I was interested in whether or not decks would be able to take advantage of Atraxa’s abilities quickly enough and it appears the answer is yes.

Another couple of cards I did not see coming but made a rather boisterous arrival, are The Mycosynth Gardens and Vindictive Flamestoker. MTGO user Killabee rode both cards to a runner-up finish on Saturday in a Riddlesmith Combo deck. At a second glance, Flamestoker is a killer for this deck with the number of zero-mana cost cards. The way this deck works, you can potentially empty your entire hand and draw four more cards on the first turn.

I will be keeping an eye on Flamestoker and how this card synergizes with other zero-mana cost decks around Legacy. At the bargain price of under $1 right now, this card could be one of those cards flying under the radar that might get a second look by folks this week.

Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines was also present, showing up in a couple of White Stompy brews.

On Sunday, Mercurial Spelldancer was in the Delver deck that took down the showcase, squaring off against another Delver deck. Both decks also contained Minor Misstep, another Phyrexia card that resulted in some polarizing conversations about its usefulness in the weeks leading up to the release of the set.

MTGO Legacy Weekend Challenge Results

Let's take a look at the Top 8s of this weekend's MTGO Legacy challenges!

Legacy MTGO Saturday Challenge 32 Results

  1. Mono-Blue Painter – DNSolver

  2. Riddlesmith Combo – Killabee

  3. Reanimator – Maraxus_of_NL

  4. Selesnya Stompy – McWinSauce

  5. Mono-Black Helm Combo – michaelvlevine

  6. Izzet Delver – Mogged

  7. Golgari Depths – aooaaooa

  8. Epic Storm – buildorburn

Full list is here.

Direct links courtesy of Reddit u/FereMiyJeenyus and their MTGO Results Scraper.

Legacy MTGO Sunday Challenge Results

  1. Izzet Delver - stu909090

  2. “Grixis” Delver – wiky

  3. Combo Elves – comeback

  4. Combo Elves – DawsonCreep

  5. Cephalid Breakfast - HJ_Kaiser

  6. Reanimator - _INF_

  7. Cephalid Breakfast – Enrichetta

  8. Reanimator – RNGspecialist

Full list is here.

Direct links courtesy of Reddit u/FereMiyJeenyus and their MTGO Results Scraper.

Saturday Results Breakdown

There were some fantastic decks in this weekend’s challenge! Saturday saw the return of Blue Painter, running unbeaten all the way through the challenge! This is the same Blue Painter deck from a couple of weeks ago that took down the weekend Challenge, with some minor tweaks. Coming in second was Killabee with the Riddlesmith Combo deck I mentioned above. Third place was MARAXUS_OF_NL with a Reanimator running four copies of Atraxa.

Placing fifth was a mono-black Helm Combo deck running some stiff supporting characters! Izzet Delver made a showing with a relatively stock list, placing sixth. There was one Selesnya Initiative deck in the top eight, with one copy of Elesh Norn.

Dark Depths made a return to the Top 8, with a Golgari Depths version placing seventh. I was particularly caught by this brew with a copy of Maralen of the Mornsong included. Surely a bit of roulette, but for the Depths player, one you may be willing to take.

Rounding out the Top 8 was The EPIC Storm.

Sunday Results Breakdown

Sunday’s final saw two Delver decks face off against each other and they were not mirrors of each other. The winning deck contained three copies of Mercurial Spelldancer and three copies of Minor Misstep, really taking advantage of the new Phyrexian spice. The runner-up splashed black for Snuff Out but also contained a few copies of Minor Misstep. The third-place deck was Combo Elves with one copy of Tyrranax Rex, the big stompy, toxic green creature from Phyrexia. Fourth place was another Combo Elves build with the traditional combo setup.

Cephalid Breakfast took fifth place with a relatively stock Breakfast list. In sixth was another Reanimator brew, with Atraxa in the mix. Seventh place was another Breakfast deck and in eighth, was another Reanimator deck with the traditional stock deck-list.

Top Legacy Decks of the Weekend

I’ve already written about Saturday’s top deck a couple of weeks ago. This week I want to talk about Saturday’s second-place finisher, Killabee, with their impressive Riddlesmith Combo deck.

Riddlesmith Combo

The Riddlesmith deck is not what I would call your regular top competitor of Legacy. While it has the ability to explode quickly and end the game with its combo, it can be a bit like playing roulette!

This deck at its core is a combo deck. According to Killabee’s deck guide, “The game-plan for The Riddler is to cast a lot of zero-mana artifacts while drawing cards and generating mana to eventually Grapeshot or Brain Freeze your opponent for lethal.”

The addition of Vindictive Flamestoker really could be a great addition to this archetype going forward. It's easy to cast early in the game and truly sets up the chance to combo out and win VERY early.

Reanimator (w/ Atraxa)

It really does not come as a surprise that Reanimator is using Atraxa. Part of me wondered if this card’s ability would be too slow to be effective, though. After all, the cards go into your hand and not directly onto the battlefield. But Atraxa on its own is a heavy hitter as well at 7/7 and has all of the great abilities.

What do you get with Atraxa in this deck? More ways to dump creatures into the graveyard and get them back. I can see hitting Grief, Entomb, Animate Dead, and a Lotus Petal with the pickups to further speed the game plan along.

Izzet Delver (w/ Mercurial Spelldancer)

This brew does not come as a surprise to anyone who has been reading the tea leaves for the past couple of weeks. I would be curious to have been a fly on the wall to see just how effective this card was against the opponent.

In this brew, stu909090 abandoned Delver of Secrets altogether. There are no copies even in the sideboard. Absent also is Unholy Heat and there are only 18 lands.

Traditional Delver has always been a little light on land so cutting one more must have been a tough decision.

The addition of Spelldancer, and giving up turn-one Delver, almost pushes this deck further toward a midrange type of deck. I would be curious to see what brewers are copying by removing oil counters. Is it Lightning Bolt? Is it EI? The decision appears to have worked since it carried them to the trophy in the Sunday Challenge!

Combo Elves (w/ Tyrranax Rex)

Last week I gushed about Testacular’s “Artisan” elves mix that took runner-up. There has been vigorous debate among Elves pilots over which deck is strongest. Last week really showed Artisan’s ability to flow with what has been a creature-heavy meta.

This week however shows that Combo Elves still has a place in the conversation. With two copies placing in the Top 8, rumors of its demise were exaggerated.

Paying some lip service to Tyrranax Rex, I thought this card could be a good threat during preview season. Sure it has a heavy casting cost, but in a deck that takes advantage of ways to cheat it out, it has the ability to really take over a game quickly if left alone for a couple of turns.

Craterhoof Behemoth has been the big stomper of choice in Elves for a long time, and people expect it. I will be watching to see if Tyrranax Rex becomes a staple in Elves decks going forward.


It is too early to say conclusively whether Phyrexia: All Will Be One will have a lasting impact on Legacy. But this weekend it did. Atraxa, as expected, made waves. I was looking at some of the other format’s challenges this weekend, and I have a feeling Atraxa is going to be showing up everywhere it is legal. The tools to cheat it out early and the card advantage it gives the player able to resolve it are just too great not to take advantage of.

Mercurial Spelldancer, while not Ledger Shredder, does provide a great spot as a two-drop, and in those decks that are tossing one-mana value spells out early in the game, really elevates the crafty brewer’s ability to take advantage of it.

Vindictive Flamestoker flew completely under the radar and loudly announced its arrival. I am curious to see what others brew up with this card in the coming weeks.


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