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Insider: Looking for Legacy in Dragon’s Maze

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In this article I'm going to review a few of the spoiled cards from Dragon's Maze for Legacy playability. In case you don't remember from last time, here are the criteria I use to rate cards:

  1. Power -- In order for any card to see Legacy play it either needs to match or surpass the power of an existing card, or provide a completely unique effect.
  2. Converted Mana Cost -- The lower the better. While this is important in all formats, it is especially so in one as efficient as Legacy.
  3. Pitchable to [card Force of Will]Force[/card]? -- While this obviously isn't a deal breaker, blue cards should be scrutinized more simply because blue is the most powerful color.
  4. Similarity to Staples -- Does it do something similar to a card that already sees play

Beck//Call

This Glimpse of Nature-like card has created a massive push for all Modern combo Elves cards (Cloudstone Curio being the biggest offender). One subtle difference that could prove significant is that Beck triggers off of a creature entering the battlefield, rather than being cast. This means it triggers off of creatures cheated into play, but not when the creature is countered. Glimpse works the opposite way.

  1. This card is quite powerful as its ability is similar to a card that's already proven itself Legacy-playable.
  2. In Legacy the difference between one and two CMC is certainly significant, but Beck is still eminently castable.
  3. This one is pitchable to FoW, which might open the door for a G/U Elves build which improve its matchup against faster pure combo decks. Unfortunately, while Beck//Call is pitchable to FoW, no other cards currently played in Elves are. So Force will most likely remain outside of the reach of the typical elf combo player.
  4. The comparison to Glimpse of Nature has been reiterated by numerous people already. An effect like this has proven capable of winning tournaments.

Likelihood of being played in Legacy -- Moderate

Varolz, the Scar-Striped

This guy has caused the price of Death's Shadow to jump from bulk rare to $3-4. Other cards this guy pairs well with are Phyrexian Dreadnought, Hunted Horror, Hunted Troll and Eater of Days. Given the powerful green and black cards from Return to Ravnica, this type of deck could easily take down a major event by surprising unprepared opponents. But this style of deck tends to succeed only when it's a dark horse. It's important to remember that the removal of choice in Legacy is still Swords to Plowshares, although in Modern damage-based spells are more common.

  1. Granting scavenge to all your creatures can be powerful when they're undercosted to begin with, which tends to be the case in Legacy. Unfortunately, the scavenge ability is a pretty huge liability against removal spells, as you basically end up getting time walked.
  2. The CMC is 3, which is within Legacy limits, but he's a 2/2 with no ETB abilities. If he dies before getting a chance to attack (preferably after having another undercosted creature scavenged onto him) then the Varolz player is in a bad position.
  3. Varolz is not pitchable to FoW.
  4. He is not really similar to any existing cards, so there's always a chance someone will create a deck that breaks him; but I think those chances are rather slim.

Likelihood of being played in Legacy -- Very Low

Blood Scrivener

This guy has been compared to Dark Confidant and his preorder price jumped significantly after initial presales went up (going from $4 to $8). Unfortunately, his ability is far more limited than Dark Confidant's, and having an empty hand is rarely preferable in Legacy. The cost of only 1 life is nice, but with the low curve of most Legacy decks Dark Confidant will usually only cost you 1-3 life anyways and doesn't carry the extra restriction.

  1. The ability is quite powerful in a deck built to empty the hand.
  2. The CMC is 2, which is very reasonable for a 2/1 with a card drawing ability (see Dark Confidant).
  3. Blood Scrivener is not pitchable to FoW and to make matters worse, decks that play FoW don't tend to like to have empty hands.
  4. He is a toned down version of Dark Confidant, and while the decks that play Dark Confidant would love to play more than four, Blood Scrivener is not really a suitable Dark Confidant #5/#6.

Likelihood of being played in Legacy -- Very Low

Renounce the Guilds

This removal spell could play a role, and is in the sweet spot for CMC of removal spells in Legacy.

  1. The ability is somewhat powerful, and certainly unique for white, though most Legacy staples are mono-colored. It is a cheap solution to Progenitus.
  2. The CMC is 2, which is high for a white removal spell (given Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile at one) but it doesn't target, which makes it useful against hexproof/shroud/pro-white creatures.
  3. Not pitchable to FoW
  4. White doesn't really have any specific effects like this, but it is a narrow solution in a format that requires a lot of flexibility.

Likelihood of being played in Legacy -- Extremely Low

Possibility Storm

This seemingly-innocuous red enchantment carries the red flavor of randomness, but also offers the raw power of free spells. Given how many decks play only a few counterspells, with the obvious exception of RUG, this card would make any future spells cast difficult to counter. Another important interaction is that it does not require a shuffle before activation, so if you're able to manipulate the top of your deck you can conceivably cast large threats for very little mana. From what I've seen so far, this is one of the cards I'm most excited about.

  1. The ability to play spells for free is pretty busted and one Wizards has tended to avoid (minus Omniscience) since Dream Halls.
  2. The CMC is 5, which is quite high, but the double-red is actually the biggest factor. Even with Legacy's near-perfect mana bases, double colors usually require a strong commitment, unlike single colors which are often handled as a splash.
  3. Not pitchable to FoW, though in many instances a resolved one will negate most of the remaining Force of Wills an opponent has.
  4. This effect is similar to Omniscience, though in red and seemingly more random.

Likelihood of being played in Legacy -- ????? (It could easily break out as an all-star with the right archetype.)

Plasm Capture

I'm pretty sure Evan Erwin will start his segment on this card, "Oh MY GOD they reprinted Mana Drain... sort of." There's a lot of hype on this card because of that. What people aren't considering is the ridiculously demanding mana cost, and in Legacy you're typically not going to get more than four mana off of it. We've had a similar Legacy-playable card (Scattering Stroke) available for quite awhile, and that doesn't carry a double-green mana requirement. I see this card being awesome in EDH and Standard, but I don't see it having much impact on Legacy.

  1. The ability is powerful -- at two blue mana; at four, meh.
  2. The CMC is four which is bad enough, throw on the double-green requirement and we're not looking good.
  3. Is pitchable to FoW and would probably be played in a deck that also plays FoW.
  4. This effect is similar to Mana Drain (which is banned in Legacy), but costs as much as Scattering Stroke and you trade the randomness of clash for a much more restricted mana cost.

Likelihood of being played in Legacy -- Very Low

12 thoughts on “Insider: Looking for Legacy in Dragon’s Maze

  1. Looking into a set and seeing the cards that aren’t going to just spike through the roof due to standard,but go steadily up for eternal play always makes me smile( Deathrite Shaman)and are always the smartest/safest investments.

    1. Ya..I just wish there were more options with this set..but so far I’m not really seeing much legacy impact, but to be fair that often requires a lot of 1 or 2 CMC cards and most that have been spoiled are higher CMC’s.

    1. Legion’s Initiative came up after I submitted the article. The card is interesting, but it doesn’t really fit into any existing legacy archetype and legacy is far less dynamic (from an archetype standpoint) than standard…a card truly has to fill a needed gap/niche (Deathrite Shaman/Abrupt Decay) or be stupidly overpowered (Emrakul) to change legacy. R/W is also not a prominent legacy color combination, so I don’t see it making much of a splash. Being a legacy player you tend to only get excited about maybe a couple of cards per spoiler (for the most part).

    1. I’m honestly not a fan…sure it’ll stop your opponent from eot brainstorming…sometimes, but it has a double colored commitment in a format where wasteland is legal..it’s not that powerful on its own…and most importantly in that color combination you tend to want to play a 2 drop that inhibits your opponent from doing things…or is very powerful on its own…I’d rather cast turn 2 thalia against most decks over this guy.

  2. Good, I was hoping I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t going gaga over this one. Every prerelease chat room I go into, everyone is going off about how it will have major legacy and modern play.

  3. Renounce the Guilds is actually very similar to Tariff (Rare from Weatherlight and 6th Ed), a card which has aready seen sideboard play in Maverick decks to deal with Progenitus and Emrakul. However, unlike Tariff, Renounce is an instant. It’s a useless against things like Emrakul and Griselbrand, though, whereas Tariff gets the job done against the colorless and mono-colored fatties just as well.

    I think that point makes Renounce the worse card, unless there’s some other terrifying multicolored creature at a lower CMC which requires an instant-speed answer.

    1. Problem is…the Show and Tell decks run Griselbrand and Emrakul now..so Oblivion Ring is a better call…you can put it in with the show and tell (instead of casting it afterwards) and it can target Omniscience. I do agree that Tariff is better than Renounce which as I stated…is pretty awful.

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