What’s good, Spirit Squad!

Today we’re gonna pivot away from Pioneer and take a look at Legacy. Legacy is currently a very exciting format that doesn’t get enough love, even though you get to do a lot of powerful things that resemble high-level Commander play. Due to the extremely high power level of Legacy, it doesn’t take a whole lot for one or two cards that would normally be fine in a lower-power format like Modern to absolutely break a deck in half. So let’s look at what got banned, and how those bans will affect Legacy as a whole!

So What’s a White Plume Adventurer? I’ve Never Opened That in a Pack.

The first now-banned card that we’ll look at is White Plume Adventurer.

The Initiative, like Monarch, is an absurdly powerful mechanic that can win games by itself once a creature has resolved regardless of whether it’s even in play afterwards! White Plume Adventurer enabled a very powerful prison-style deck, usually called Mono-White Initiative, that got to play cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Chalice of the Void, and even Solitude to control each aspect of what the opponent is allowed to do while playing the powerful Initiative creatures to ensure an inevitable late game, even against control decks that are great at removing creatures from play. It also played Cavern of Souls to make sure the key creatures always resolved, even through Legacy’s most powerful tools like Force of Will.

While cards like Seasoned Dungeoneer are still Legacy-legal and you can play higher-costed cards like Goliath Paladin, White Plume Adventurer was special because of its low casting cost. A common play was to play Ancient Tomb or City of Traitors to make 2 mana, and then Chrome Mox or Lotus Petal to make a third mana on Turn 1! Banning White Plume Adventurer forces these decks to be a little slower and give the rest of the format time to actually participate in a game before being forced to deal with both the Initiative itself and the surrounding “prison” elements of the deck.

Removing White Plume Adventurer does not even come close to removing the Initiative from Legacy. Seasoned Dungeoneer and Red cards like Caves of Chaos Adventurer are still legal, giving players room to use mono-White shells and just four other cards, mono-Red shell that use Blood Moon, or even the newest bit of spice: a Boros build that includes Winota, Joiner of Forces!

Be Expressive… B-E Expressive!

Since its release in Strixhaven, Expressive Iteration has shown itself to be the best card available to decks that can cast it in every constructed format, up to and including Vintage! We’ve even seen the effects of cheap Blue and Red card-advantage engines in Legacy, most of which are now banned.

Card advantage is important in every format Magic has, but it’s especially important as you get into the older and more powerful formats since every individual card is strong. Expressive Iteration was, by far, the easiest way to “draw” additional cards and slotted easily into some of the best decks in Legacy. Izzet Delver was already the best deck in Legacy before Expressive Iteration was printed, and Iteration pushed it so far over the top that players would play 2-3 copies of cards like Pyroblast or Red Elemental Blast in the main deck to combat the mirror match. Other decks, like Jeskai or 4-Color Control, would play it as a card-advantage engine that just so happened to not be affected by Narset, Parter of Veils or a Hullbreacher.

With Expressive Iteration gone, Delver certainly isn’t going anywhere. It’s been the best or second-best deck in Legacy for more than a decade, and that’s not changing.

Legacy’s Biggest Winners

Blood Moon decks still have access to the Initiative via their best cards, like Caves of Chaos Adventurer. Also, whenever Delver catches a ban people tend to brew and try fresh ideas. Decks that play Chalice of the Void and Blood Moon heavily punish these players.

Death & Taxes already wants to play a lot of cards from the Initiative deck, like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Solitude. Now it gets to reclaim its previous spot in the metagame.

Spell-based combo decks like Doomsday and Storm can reclaim their place as some of the most powerful decks in Legacy, since we can expect to see a (very) small decrease in the number of Izzet Delver and a greatly-reduced number of Thalias in the format, both of which naturally prey on Combo.

Lastly, Dark Depths can be “allowed” back into the format. Previously, a Marit Lage token couldn’t get past a large part of the format. Wasteland, Solitude, Petty Theft, and even the new Sheoldred’s Edict all body our favorite 20/20. But with people brewing and some of its predators no longer being *just* the best thing to be doing, maybe it’s Crop Rotation time again!

The Biggest Losers (not TM)

Izzet Delver, of course, lost its best source of card advantage. Don’t expect this deck to die anytime soon, though! It just won’t be *as* dominant as it was with Expressive Iteration.

Mono-White Initiative also lost its best card. White Prison strategies will still exist, and the Initiative still exists, but it won’t be anywhere near the overwhelming force that it is right now.

Graveyard decks like Reanimator and Cephalid Breakfast have been enjoying spots near the top of the metagame, knowing that players’ sideboards are stretched thin when they have to consider Delver, Initiative, and any number of combo decks. With the bans, players will have a little more room to play sideboard cards that target graveyards.

So What Should I Play in Legacy?

The same thing you’ve been playing! Serious answer. Izzet Delver’s place as top dog isn’t going anywhere, so you’ll still need a Murktide Regent plan. Decks like Elves, Death and Taxes, Storm, and Reanimator aren’t going anywhere, and you’ll still need to respect combo decks like Painter and Cephalid Breakfast.

Even though we’ve had two huge bans hit the format, neither of them actually “allow” a deck that was previously terrible back into Legacy (other than Marit Lage strategies and Prismatic Ending control decks), so have fun!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.