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Insider: Looking for the Legacy of Theros

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Welcome back speculators! Today's article we'll be going over the Theros cards which I believe will have an impact in the Legacy format. As I've mentioned in previous articles about potential Legacy cards from a new set, I use the following criteria to evaluate a card's potential.

  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 Force? -- 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

Rather than the usual format in which I simply copy that four-reason list and enter the cards' information, I thought this time I'll actually try to do that all in a more reader-friendly format. Please leave your comments about which way you prefer.

The most obvious card for Legacy has got to be:

Cavalry Pegasus

Finally a card to make your un-flipped Delvers fly...just kidding...please don't play this in Legacy, unless your goal is to troll people because they'll have to read it and continuously question their own deck's strategy against this clearly secret-tech card.

Ashen Rider

This one's pretty easy as it's a straight upgrade to Angel of Despair. The difference in mana cost is inconsequential since the decks that would play it don't ever plan on actually paying for it. But Ashen Rider gives you not only an ETB effect, but also a death trigger. The fact that it exiles the permanent is just gravy as one of the more favorite ways to cheat other creatures into play is via the graveyard.

I expect all the decks that run Angel of Despair in the sideboard to swap her out for Ashen Rider. This means that her ceiling isn't all that high because she's strictly a sideboard card, but she is a mythic. This is also an auto-include in any EDH deck that would run Angel of Despair as well (mainly Junk Reanimator decks like Karador).

Swan Song

This one's getting plenty of hype because it's a one-mana conditional counterspell. The fact that WoTC printed it at rare, unlike Spell Pierce, makes people think it was meant for Legacy.

It does screw Sneak and Show style decks pretty hard. But as others have mentioned, the deck most likely to want this effect (RUG Aggro) does not want to give its opponent a 2/2 flier which can trade with Insectile Aberration // Insectile Aberration.

I just can't see that many instances in which this card is better than Spell Pierce. It's likely to show up in decks that don't care about the 2/2 but need to shore up the Show and Tell matchup (like Miracles) and it is pitchable to Force of Will.

Curse of the Swine

At first this one seems easy to pass over as Legacy-unplayable, but the fact that it exiles (like Swords to Plowshares) is interesting. Add to that the fact that it scales with mana, and most importantly, it's mono-blue. I understand that for the most part Legacy mana bases are so smooth that when given the choice to go mono-colored or just splash for removal most will choose to splash for the removal, but if any decks need this effect but don't want to splash for it, this could be the card they go to; the fact that you can pitch it to Force helps too.

Chained to the Rocks

There is plenty of thoughts on whether this card will make it in Legacy or Modern. While it's nice to have another one-mana white removal spell, this is inferior to Swords to Plowshares in almost every way. In a format with Wasteland running rampant I'll take Swords as my #1 removal spell and Path to Exile as my #2.

Thoughtseize

This is the obvious one because it's a reprint of an existing staple. The only point to take from this one is to pick them up from players who don't want them while they are cheap. It's biggest downside is that everyone already knows how good it is in eternal formats, and it will likely be over-priced for its first month of Standard legality.

As people keep opening Theros packs, the supply will catch up and the price should drop. I honestly see this as being similar to Scavenging Ooze with it's price trajectory. It's more easily splashable, but far more Theros will be opened than M14.

Thassa, God of the Sea

This card really intrigues me. I personally think this is the one god with the highest chance of making it into Legacy. I really like her in a Merfolk shell because a lot of their lords cost UU (thus two devotion). The static "scry 1" ability is exactly what Merfolk needs as a synergistic deck where the power level of individual cards is lower than many other decks.

The unblockable ability will come in handy in stalemates but isn't that likely to become a dominating aspect of the card. I can't wait to see someone vial in a lord to turn on her devotion and block/kill an attacking Tarmogoyf. Yet another blue card that pitches to FoW.

Glare of Heresy

While I don't forsee this card making huge waves in Legacy, it is always critical to notice cards with a powerful effect at a low cost. These cards tend to be very specific solutions to problems.

One and a white to exile a white permanent fits the bill of powerful and efficient spell with a limited range. I liken this one to Perish, Submerge and Sulfur Elemental as it is likely to appear in a sideboard as a one- or two-of if any permanents (with white in their cost) take a hold of the format.

Dark Betrayal

Here's another efficient solution card that falls into the same category as Glare of Heresy. The problem is that it is limited to black creatures, and for one white mana we get Swords to Plowshares without the color restriction.

Still this is one of those "keep it in mind" cards. It also deals with Griselbrand far better than Swords to Plowshares (given that if they pay life to draw a bunch of cards, they aren't going to get that life back should they let it resolve).

Akroan Crusader

This one doesn't look like much at first, but it does play well with Young Pyromancer. The downside is that, outside of removal spells, there aren't many Legacy-playable cards that target creatures. I don't have high hopes for this card, but if you see foil copies it wouldn't hurt to get them as throw ins.

While suggesting this may be questionable, you could use Trait Doctoring on him to make change the "red" in the token and with Young Pyromancer in play and a clear board to attack, make quite an army of 1/1s in a hurry. I think this interaction is far more likely to be Standard only, but it is kinda cool. You would get two tokens for casting Trait Doctoring and another two when you attack and cipher it.

Warriors' Lesson

For one green mana you get the potential to draw two cards, which isn't terrible. I really like the idea of this card with double strike creatures as it could turn into a draw four for G. I can also see this being played in R/G style EDH decks that like to have multiple attack phases.

Spellheart Chimera

A lot of Legacy players are excited about this card. It plays well with Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration and Young Pyromancer alike, and might finally give RUG players a reason to go straight RU, shoring up their mana base a bit. Flying plus trample gives you a sort of double evasion that allows it to push past Lingering Souls tokens. Three toughness means they'll need three tokens (ie. both halves of the card) to kill it. And in a pinch he pitches to Force of Will.

Tymaret, the Murder King

This one may fit in the Zombardment deck as another sac outlet. He's a zombie to turn on your Gravecrawlers and can come back via a Bloodghast. It is a shame that his shock ability only hits players as he would be a lot better in that deck if he could kill Deathrite Shamans.

Daxos of Meletis

This card is also on the maybe list. A majority of creatures in Legacy have three power or greater, so he's mostly unblockable. The repetitive life gain could prove useful in tempo vs. tempo matchups. Given the average mana cost in Legacy, you usually won't gain a lot of life, but against some decks (Sneak/Show or Know and Tell) there is potential to gain tons in one shot. The fact that he exiles the spell (even if you don't cast it) also means you can mess with the top of your opponent's deck and force them to play their Brainstorms at less opportune times. And last but not least he does pitch to Force of Will.

8 thoughts on “Insider: Looking for the Legacy of Theros

  1. shh… akron crusader our little secret. to any that doubt the power of this card, i went 5-1 in 88 person prerelease on the back of this card, losing in the last round. 4-1 in a high thirties prerelease event and didn’t get a single crusader. it showed. hast dudes make lethal swings much harder to predict.

    yeah, limited isn’t constructed, but targeting this guy via cipher seems like a good place to start. yo have the tap/untap effect too which seems good in a turn me sideways deck…

    1. Ya…I am going to keep my eye on him and might try to build a more casual FNM deck using Young Pyromancer, Him, the */3 Trample/Flyer and a plethora of cheap instants/sorceries

      1. Ya…I don’t know how good either would be…but it is cool to note that with Akroan Crusader, Young Pyromancer, and Trait Doctoring you can make quite a few little 1/1 tokens for very little mana…The Twiddle ability might be quite useful as well…but as I mentioned this is probably more of a free fnm/casual style of deck.

      1. Ya…that’s fair. I’ve done one for each set since I started, so I thought I’d carry on the tradition, but if people don’t care when the set doesn’t have a lot of potential, I can just skip it. Thanks for the input.

  2. Don’t forget hands of binding in your u/r deck. You can sleep their guy and then target yours for kicks. Fits well with with young pyro and guttersnipe too.

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