Insider: Using Eternal Masters to Get Into Legacy

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While I've previously expressed my skepticism that Eternal Masters (EMA) will garner any significant interest in Legacy as a format, that's not to say there won't be any ways to make money off the set. The first-time foils in EMA are exciting targets, though I believe there are other long-term targets that will be worthwhile.

The Reserved List is indeed a barrier to the growth and general sustainability of Legacy as a format. But Legacy is still capable of drawing large crowds for events, and there are plenty of people who are interested in buying in who haven't yet. While many of these people will never purchase a $200+ card to this end, Legacy currently has some very powerful options that can be had on a relative budget.

The Eldrazi

The current breakout deck in Legacy is Colorless Eldrazi. The deck can be built from scratch for about $1,500, which isn't exactly cheap, though I imagine very few people are just going out and buying entire Legacy decks. This isn't Standard, and you aren't building the deck for this weekend. It's an investment that will hold value for some time, and you can take your time developing a sound strategy to invest in it.

Devin Keopke's Top 8 list from the Atlanta Classic is a good baseline for the deck:

The only Reserved List card from this deck is City of Traitors. City just exploded, though is unlikely to see another spike in the immediate future. That said, there's really no reason for the value to decrease, so if you want to build this deck I'd intend to sink $400 into your set of Cities sooner rather than later.

The creatures for this deck are all Standard-legal, and you either already own them or will be able to get them cheaply upon their exit from the Standard format. Despite play in other formats, there will always be somebody willing to sell something at the time of rotation on the cheap.

Cavern of Souls is quite pricey at the moment, and Umezawa's Jitte and Chalice of the Void are on the expensive side as well. It has been a while since these cards were last printed and none are likely to show up in a Standard-legal expansion. That said they are all re-printable in some capacity, and there's no strong indication that right now is the best window to buy into these pieces.

If you have the funding to buy the deck outright, these in all likelihood won't be reprinted soon and are likely to increase in value between now and the time of a reprinting. There are other pieces of the deck, however, that are entering a better window for purchase. I will say that Cavern of Souls specifically continues to grow in popularity and is realistically a solid spec even at its current price.

Karakas and Wasteland are both in EMA, and as copies of the new printings enter the market the new few weeks will be the ideal time to buy into these cards.

The other prime buys in the deck are Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple. Eldrazi Temple dipped with the Eye ban in Modern but has started to show up in Modern again already. Eye of Ugin itself looks to be at a floor as players pick up copies for casual formats and Legacy.

Death & Taxes

A similar deck at a similar price that's a good springboard into the Legacy format is Death and Taxes. The key difference between the two decks from an investment standpoint is that nothing from D&T is on the Reserved List. To some extent, this means that your investment is more liable to potentially lose value, though from the perspective of buying into a format it means that there's nothing like the guaranteed cost of a $400+ set of City of Traitors.

There are a few variations in how to build D&T, though the Classic-winning list from Atlanta is a good baseline.

There are a lot of great buys for this deck right now. Phyrexian Revoker was very recently in Standard and with core sets being removed and Phyrexia no longer part of the story it's unlikely to re-enter Standard. It's a very good buy at less than a buck, and foils aren't terribly expensive either.

Stoneforge Mystic is the current Grand Prix foil, and if you don't mind playing foils, odds are that you know people who play GPs who wouldn't mind trading their promo for your $10. That's burrito money.

Again, we have a Karakas and Wasteland deck, both of which will be good buys soon. The most significant barrier to playing this deck is Rishadan Port. Port spiked recently, which makes now a pretty miserable time to buy. It is reprintable, though, and is likely something that WotC has in mind to boost sales of a future release---perhaps a second Eternal Masters two years from now.

If you're patient you can wait until then, and either way this shouldn't be a priority purchase to build the deck at this time. Aether Vial is on the expensive side as well, and it wouldn't be terribly surprising to see it get another printing within the next year.


The last deck that I want to talk about today that's largely resistant to the Reserved List is Elves. This is another deck in the $1,500 range, and like Eldrazi has an expensive Reserved List card in Gaea's Cradle.

Cradle is more expensive than City of Traitors and doesn't have the upside of also fitting into other decks. If you're really into Glimpse of Nature though, then a set of Cradles will cost you somewhere in the ballpark of $600. A couple Bayou will add $200+ to that cost as well.

Here's James Hess' Top 8 list from the Atlanta Classic:

Apparently this is a 61-card deck, so you want to cut... something. At any rate, there are a few reprints in EMA for this deck that will be good pickups soon:

While you'll want to pick all of these up very soon, the best buy from the deck right now might be Glimpse of Nature. With so many reprints and the deck being relatively inexpensive for Legacy, Glimpse of Nature at a mere $17 is pretty low. The card has gained a small amount of value since EMA was spoiled, and I anticipate this growth will continue.

There are certainly other good buys in EMA, such as Sensei's Divining Top, Mana Crypt, Force of Will, Entomb, Sinkhole... Actually the list is rather long, though the primary point of this article was to outline a strategy to start playing Legacy. All three decks highlighted are both inexpensive relative to the format and quite competitive.

Unfortunately, if you're looking to play Force of Will in Legacy then your deck will be more expensive than these options, though the principles outlined here will translate to any Legacy deck. The Reserved List cards aren't going down in price, the freshly reprinted cards are, and with regard to everything else you just want to be mindful of whether the card will be reprinted soon and to invest or wait accordingly.

Thanks for reading,

-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

2 thoughts on “Insider: Using Eternal Masters to Get Into Legacy

  1. Working on getting into Legacy Maverick (GW in all formats for me), and half the fun is figuring out the strategy to acquiring cards. Buylisting for store credit, pucatrading, and LGS trade-ins have proven useful for me. I’m fine losing some value on cards I no longer want to get the cards for this deck in a convenient way. I guess that’s what stores are counting on in order to profit, but I’m ok with stores profiting.

    But for the patient and meticulous. Selling on TCG will pay off without losing as much value.

    All that’s left are the EMA reprints!

  2. Somewhat surprised you didn’t mention Merfolk. Without dual lands the only really expensive cards in the deck are FOW and Wasteland. Both are getting a reprint in EMA, which should make this one of the most affordable decks in Legacy.

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