top of page

Legacy Metagame: What’s Going on in Legacy? (4/27 Update)

Card: Tarmogoyf | Artist: Justin Murray

Tap, tap… is this thing on? I’m Curtis Ailes and I cover Legacy for Bolt the Bird.

It’s been a minute since I wrote a Legacy article for the Bolt, and since I’ve been away my family moved, both my kids had strep throat and there were some significant bans in Legacy. Life can be hectic!

I will be shifting the focus of this column away from a weekly report on the Legacy MTGO meta to a bi-weekly look at what’s hot along with some relevant side musings.

What is Going on in Legacy?

The last time I penned a column here, Legacy was in a knot, sinched by Izzet Delver and White Stompy. Since then, Expressive Iteration and White Plume Adventurer have been banned, tossing the top of the meta into a bit of turmoil; or good trouble as the saying goes.

On March 6th, 2023, WotC banned both of these highly powerful cards, effectively ending both decks’ reign atop the format. One may have thought that as a result, the Initiative mechanic had gone the way of a countered Animate Dead, but that has not been the case. White Stompy itself has surely disappeared, but RG Stompy has retaken “the Initiative” albeit, at a lower power level. Boros Stompy has also maintained a minor presence. Delver also continues to have a presence, but it's becoming less clear whether the best shell is UR or RUG.

So, what has stepped into the power vacuum? It remains to be seen what deck is truly the king of the hill. Since March 6th, the only repeat archetype winners of the weekend MTGO Challenge has been Elves. In fact, Delver has not won a single challenge, though plenty of pilots have tried to find a way to plug the hole left by Expressive Iteration. Further, I have not seen such a diverse field of decks as what is currently populating the Top 8 every weekend. Mystic Forge Combo took down the challenge on April 16th, a deck I am sure NOBODY had on their bingo card. But in this new environment, it’s the type of deck that people who want to have fun will bring to the party and expect some results.

A broader look at the Top 8, however, does show that Reanimator and 8 Cast are far and away the most numerous “successful” decks. Although the following table is not a total analysis of all the top 8 decks in the time range, it does provide an insight into the state of the online Legacy meta.

Key Cards and Combos

With the reset of the meta, it’s a good time to look at what specific cards or combos are seeing new play in the format. I suppose it’s appropriate to respect the previous king of the hill and look at what Delver is using to stay relevant.

Tarmogoyf has seen a resurgence in Legacy, putting in work within the Delver shell. Turns out an early game Tarmogoyf is still fearsome enough for the opponent to respect. It stands to reason that with Baubles, Fetches, and cantrips, ‘Goyf can grow really quickly in the shell.

Another newcomer to the format is Staff of the Storyteller. Staff comes to us via Phyrexia: All Will be One Commander and has become a great card advantage tool in decks that are more geared toward grinding out a win, so it's logical to see Esper and Azorius decks trying to take advantage of it alongside cards like Shark Typhoon and Monastery Mentor. While the card has not run away with the meta, it has surely become a fixture and is something to be on the lookout for.

If I didn’t mention Mystic Forge here, I would not be doing my job. This card is central to a combo that looks to assemble a huge Walking Ballista or Aetherflux Reservoir. As I mentioned above, the deck that runs this combo took down the Sunday Challenge on April 16th.

Death & Taxes. I know, not a card or a combo. But as an archetype, new life has been breathed into D&T. White Stompy basically stole its flame over the last few months and with the new shake-up, has seen some renewed play in the format.

Skrelv, Defector Mite has also found a home in Infect decks, bringing a new angle to this deck. Between the other supporting cards such as Embiggen, Berserk, and Invigorate, Infect has found new life. While certainly not at the top of the meta, we have seen several pilots trying to take advantage of the new environment to sneak in a way with poison.

Spicy Brews

Before departing, I want to highlight a few of the decks that put up good numbers or just look fun to play.

Bant Infect

I mentioned this above, but Infect seems to have gained new legs in Legacy. Skrelv has provided a new avenue for sneaking in poison counters by making creatures unblockable. I am sort of confused why Venerated Rotpriest has not seen action in this deck. Maybe it’s too slow or just doesn’t synergize as it should.

RUG Delver

Well, Delver pilots finally did it. They figured out how to cut all basic lands out of the deck with the substitute of Tropical Island. The addition of Green to the manabase sure has stretched Delver’s game plan.

But as a result, the deck has gained a new, and quite potent threat in Tarmogoyf. Goyf has seen a sort of resurgence not only in Legacy, but over in Modern too where people have been capitalizing on what has historically been a great threat, but one that has been flying under the radar for a while. With the glut of new decks and associated threats, it is a great time to be running Goyf and watching it grow quickly into the beast that it is.

Mystic Forge Combo

I recently went through my bulk box to fish out a copy of Basalt Monolith for the Urtet Commander deck my son and I are building. Imagine my surprise when I tuned into the results of last week’s Challenge to see it was a key part of the deck that took down the field! I had to go look at a couple of videos to understand just how this combo works and it is devastating when done right.

I love how singular the purpose of this deck is. No frills. No alternate strategies. Just straight forward beat down. The sideboard doesn’t even really contain much to target a specific archetype, just more tools to safeguard the combo.

Final Thoughts

Looking at the Legacy meta reminds me of the Modern meta. The diversity of decks hasn’t been this great in a long time. Additionally, people seem to be having fun! The online meta resembles a paper environment where people bring their pet deck to a weekly LGS showdown to see if they can shake down the event.

Sort of feels like the Wild West!

Thanks for tuning in and I will see you next time!


❤️If you want to support Bolt the Bird, consider checking out our Patreon page and sharing this article! ❤️

🃏Need some cards for your next Legacy league? Check out Cardhoarder's awesome rental program! You'll save money and support Bolt the Bird in the process. 🃏

1,220 views0 comments
bottom of page