Insider: The Return of Legacy to the PT

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Welcome back readers!

For those who aren't aware, WoTC made a pretty big announcement, especially for us Legacy aficionados, on July 19th. They are having a team-based PT and one of the formats played on it will be Legacy.

The reason this is so important is that while GPs can increase interest in a format by a decent amount, Pro Tours increase it dramatically. We see our biggest price spikes from Pro Tours. While Legacy will have to share the limelight with Standard and Modern, the fact that we haven't seen Legacy on the Pro Tour since 2011 (specifically as part of a Team Constructed event in San Fransisco) makes this huge news. It will likely revive new interest in the format, which has taken a pretty big blow after SCG shifted their Sundays away from Legacy Opens.

I'm especially excited because the format has changed a good bit with the banning of Sensei's Divining Top. (I had to have a moment of silence after typing that... Rest in peace, sweet Miracles deck).

Normally we don't see a ton of innovation in a format with such a high bar on power level for individual cards. Usually it's in the form of sideboard tech based on the expected metagame, but other developments do occur. In the past year, for example, we've seen the creation of a BR Reanimator deck using Chancellor of the Annex as an uninteractable/uncounterable free Daze for your opponent's first spell. We've seen another reanimation-based deck that uses Vampire Hexmage and Dark Depths, and we've seen variations of the Lands deck.

There has been a good bit of innovation in the format as a whole, but I expect even more with pro teams now having to set aside time and effort into creating the ultimate Legacy masterpiece.

Now as awesome as this is for players, it's equally awesome for speculators. Legacy is the type of format where a card can suddenly go from pure bulk to $5, $10, or even $15 in a couple of days (see Predict and Soothsaying). The important thing here is to keep one's finger on the pulse of the format, to look at what is doing well, and consider what we expect the pros to lean towards.

If I look at the last three days worth of MTGO Competitive Legacy League results I see a plethora of different deck archetypes. This is fantastic for the format, but makes speculation a bit more difficult. Note also that Wizards has recently changed their reporting algorithm to select for different decks to highlight. So this isn't necessarily indicative of the metagame, but we know all of these decks are capable of winning a tournament.

  • 4c Control
  • Eldrazi Aggro
  • Dark Depths
  • Grixis Delver (2)
  • Storm
  • Sneak and Show
  • Jund
  • Shardless BUG
  • Grixis Pyromancer
  • BUG Midrange
  • Zoo

That is a whole lot of options. What about the Top 8 of the last SCG Classic?

  • Infect
  • Sultai Death's Shadow
  • Lands
  • BG Depths
  • Storm (2)
  • Grixis Delver
  • Sneak and Show

Between the two, we have 15 different archetypes over 20 different placements (you won't see that kind of diversity in Standard).

One thing we can expect from the pro teams is that they will likely want to do the most broken thing they can. Because the stakes are so high, we can also expect the pros to want to make sure they can deal with anything. This most likely means a lot of Force of Will decks, which isn't exactly surprising.

The next level would be to play a deck that doesn't care about Force of Will, like Storm or Lands. Storm because it plays a lot of hand disruption and Lands because most of its powerful cards are either uncounterable (thanks to being lands) or reusable (like Life from the Loam). We are also seeing a lot of very greedy manabases, so the ability to attack the opponent's mana production can be extremely powerful.

Now before we start looking at the possible speculation targets for Legacy, we need to keep in mind that the Team Constructed Pro Tour occurs on August 3-5 in 2018 (a little over a year from now). In that year we are expecting both Iconic Masters (November 2017) and Masters 25 (March 2018). Both will very likely contain Legacy-relevant reprints.

Given that, there are a few cards I don't want to own right now because they are not on the Reserved List and are extremely expensive. The irony is if any of them dodge reprints up until the PT, they could skyrocket and see massive gains—but the potential losses from a reprint are far more likely, and I tend to be a risk-averse investor.

The "Sells"

This Commander 2013 behemoth came in only the "Political Puppets" deck and has dodged a reprint thus far (discounting the judge foil). Flusterstorm could easily show up as a rare in any Masters sets, as it is unlikely to affect the Limited environment, but would certainly make the person who opened the pack happy. Sitting at close to $100, this isn't a card I want to be caught holding.

Port has only a single Standard-legal (i.e. mass) printing, all the way back from Mercadian Masques. The card ruled Standard and found a home in most Tier 1 decks of the time, and I don't see it returning to Standard anytime soon. But its only reprint was a judge promo with small supply, and it's sitting at a little over $100 for original copies.

Port shows up in Lands and in Death and Taxes (two of the better decks in Legacy right now). If you have extra copies you aren't using, I suggest you try and find an out.

Luckily, those are the only cards I'd currently rather not own at this time. I do have a personal set of Flusterstorm, and a judge foil too, but I don't like trading off my personal sets and I happened to have gotten all four when they were under $15.

The "Buys"

While I like to make sure my readers don't lose money, it is still more fun to find the "buys" rather than go over the "sells." Looking at the decks discussed above, there are definitely some nice speculation targets.

Dark Petition has found a home as a typical one- or two-of in many Storm builds. Storm also happens to be one of the decks that does something incredibly powerful and doesn't worry so much about Force of Will, thanks to all the maindeck disruption it packs.

Dark Petition is the newest card in the deck, and while regular versions are sitting around $1.50, pack foils have only about a 3.5-4x multiplier at $5.50-$6. If Storm packing this card does well at the PT, I'd expect the foils to double up easily, if not triple up.

Having built and played Storm for a while, I can tell you this card is a critical piece of the deck. While paying five mana for a Diabolic Tutor and Dark Ritual might not seem like a steal, it solves one of the deck's biggest problems.

Going for Ad Nauseam when you're low on life can be a risky play, and you can even die from 20 if you get unlucky. Because of this, many players prefer to just go the Past in Flames route; with the additional three black mana from Petition, it's a lot easier to combo off and a lot less risky.

It says a lot that this card was once sitting at $80, only had one reprint (at mythic in Conspiracy 2), and now those copies are sitting in the sub-$15 range. There was even a time when many people thought this card should be banned due to the dominance of the Sneak and Show and the Know and Tell decks.

With its current price point being so low and the deck still being very powerful, it seems like an excellent speculation opportunity. The fact that Show and Tell is a key component of both those decks, is blue, and can allow someone to essentially win on turn one (with a Lotus Petal) means that it is likely very appealing to pro players.

The Sneak half of Sneak and Show, Sneak Attack, has also seen a huge decline in price thanks to a single reprint, in Eternal Masters (and at mythic). While I prefer the original artwork, Sneak Attack also happens to be a good Commander card (as cheating in hasty threats is a powerful play).

I also think that the Sneak and Show deck is a better choice than Know and Tell, if only because Know and Tell relies very heavily on Show and Tell (and some on Dream Halls, which can also benefit the opponent). Meanwhile, Sneak and Show has both Sneak Attack and Show and Tell to carry the load.

I purchased eight copies about a month after Eternal Masters came out, expecting this price to rebound. Without a catalyst, its price has slowly declined to around $20 (from $25).

Unlimited Berserks sat in the $100 range for a while thanks to the power of the Infect deck (where it is typically only a one- or two-of). But thanks to the Conspiracy 2 printing (at mythic), one can pick up Berserk for $8. That's insanely cheap for such a powerful card.

Now I will admit it's typically only used in the UG Infect deck, but that deck has the ability to kill on the second turn and packs a lot of cheap countermagic, which allows it to play well against other unfair decks. I did purchase five copies while writing this article, as I only owned one already.


I hope you are as excited as I am to see the return of Magic's greatest format to the center stage, if not, at least you can speculate on it as I think there are some juicy targets (and am personally invested in a few of them already).

2 thoughts on “Insider: The Return of Legacy to the PT

  1. Nice article, I’m certainly hyped for Legacy and I appreciate the reminder that I need to place some bets before the event happens.

    1. Thanks…I’m very excited as well. I think this is a really smart way for WoTC to support the format without them upsetting people who cant afford to play it (as it’s only part of the Pro Tour and if one was able to get on the Pro Tour as part of a team they could simply not be the Legacy player, though obviously one player on said team would need a deck).

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