With temperatures in the 90’s and brutal humidity down near St. Louis this weekend, the weather was scorching but interest in Legacy was cool and somewhat reserved. While 192 people attended the StarCityGames Legacy $5K this Sunday, interest appeared slightly down, as this was essentially a lame-duck tournament, with the recent changes to the Banned-Restricted List that take effect next week. This weekend was the last chance for players to pilot Mystical Tutor-themed decks, so a lot more interest and buzz seemed to be in testing the format that the upcoming Grand Prix Columbus will be (no Mystical, but with Grim Monolith), as the rewards are much greater at a Grand Prix in terms of cash and Pro points.
It’s that time of the year again, when Magic players and pundits alike have been waiting by their computers for the clock to strike midnight, in eager anticipation of news on the Banned/Restricted List. Extended got a rude awakening when their format was turned upside down, shrinking the card pool from about seven years worth of sets down to four years, and then also banning Sword of the Meek and Hypergenesis for good measure.
But Eternal Central is about Magic for the big boys, and we focus on Vintage and Legacy. While there’s been a handful of calls to shake up Vintage a little bit, nothing happened on that front. I would definitely like to see a handful of cards (Ponder, Burning Wish, Frantic Search, and Thirst For Knowledge for starters) come off the Restricted list for Vintage, but that’s another article for another day.
With the rapid growth of Magic Online, Wizards of the Coast has been bringing more players into the digital world of card slinging by creating new formats and releasing all of the old sets online. Earlier this year Wizards of the Coast recently announced the creating of the Legacy Online format, which is a bit surprising. That in and of itself is not surprising, but not all of the older Legacy playable cards are yet in the Magic Online card pool so it is surprising that they would launch it before this. But with the release of the rest of Urza’s block and the Masters Edition IV (slated for release December 13 2010), most of the remaining cards will be released ‘into the wild’ if the speculation proves correct that Masters Edition IV will include the hits from Mercadian Masques block (Mercadian Masques/Nemesis/Prophecy). Wizards go eventually release the entire Mercadian block, but the consensus in the past seems to be that Mercadian was the worst block and would be a very poor seller online (hence the theory of just including releveant cards in Masters Edition IV).
In the world of Legacy Storm combo there are a handful of shells and options available to the Real Men Who Play Combo. There are speed versions of Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT), versions with the powerful Burning Wish as a tutor (which also give you the power of Empty the Warrens), and other unique creations such as Jordi Amat’s Ill-Gotten Gains Tendrils deck (IggyPop 2.0). The version that I think offers the best balance of power, stability, and flexibility right now is a hybrid of Ad Nauseam and Doomsday strategies, or as we’ll call it ANT-Doomsday Hybrid.
Following our discourse on the potential Breaking of the Reserved List, the community and Wizards of the Coast seemingly need to contemplate a solution to the spiraling cost of older cards if Wizards’ feels that these prices are too high and would prevent a legitimate barrier of entry for newer players. If Wizards’ is going to respect the spirit of the Reserved List and not undermine it dramatically using the foil/premium loophole, what can be done to increase supply and thus lower prices on key Legacy staples? I would suggest that the first thing to do is to look at what cards are priced high, and look at those that are not on the Reserved List that could safely be reprinted without breaking the Reserved List.
Over the past couple of months there has been much consternation and discussion in online forums and articles discussing the rise of prices in older Magic cards. There has also been much discussion lately of the Reserved List on the Official Reprint Policy.
Following up on our previous Focus on Legacy columns Constructing Bant Survival and Playing Bant Survival, we can now look at some alternative sideboarding strategies with the deck. This can provide opportunities to shore up weak matchups, throw an opponent off guard, and take the deck in a new direction with different and unexpected lines of play for your opponent to account for on the fly during a tournament match.
In the previous Focus on Legacy column we analyzed the common choices for constructing Bant Survival. This companion article will hopefully shed some light on playing against some of the common matchups you might find to expect in your upcoming Legacy tournaments, whether it’s a smaller weekly tournament or a massive tournament like GP Madrid.
Here’s the decklist I presented as a suggested starting point for your adventures with Bant Survival (after the jump).
Survival of the Fittest has long been one of the most powerful spells available in the Legacy format. Decks such as RecSur, Full English Breakfast, Angry Tradewind Survival, RGB Survival Advantage, Survival Elves, Welder Survival, and countless other variants have all utilized the powerful tutoring capability and overwhelming card advantage that Survival of the Fittest can provide. A relative newcomer to the scene, Bant Survival is the latest in a long tradition of decks that seek to abuse the powerful Green enchantment. Coupling the power of Survival with the strengths of the Bant archetype, this contender has been tearing up European tournaments for the past year and is starting to rear its head across the ocean in the United States now as well.