Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Preparing a Legacy Deck

On December 4th, Fountain of Youth, the local magic store in Eau Claire Wisconsin, is going to be holding a legacy tournament with a Timetwister as first prize. Possibly a mox if they get enough players. I intend to be one of those players, but I haven't looked at legacy in a long time. So here I go about refreshing my knowledge of the format and preparing for the tournament.

Today's Date: Tuesday, November 23. 11 days until the tournament.

I'm not going to have to start from scratch; I know a little bit about the format as it existed months ago. Legacy lets you play with all the cards ever printed, with some exceptions. (Those exceptions include the Power Nine and, oddly enough, Timetwister.) There were, last time I checked, many, many viable decks in Legacy. Which by and large means that, if I can assemble one of them I'll probably have a shot at it. I've already got most of a goblins list, with some major exceptions. But let's see if the metagame still runs that way. Starcitygames is kind enough to provide some numbers:

Merfolk: 13%
CounterTop: 8%
Zoo: 8%
U/G Survival: 7%
Goblins 7%
Reanimator 5%
Ad Nauseum Tendrils 4%
Dredge 3%
Lands 3%
Aggro Loam 3%

That's the top ten. Apparently they don't have nearly the amount of statistics I want. On the other hand, It appears it's top 16 data for the current year, which means about 9 or 10 events compressed, I doubt I'm going to find much better without assembling the data myself. (Hmm.... nah.) 13% of the field consists of 39 Merfolk decks, for about 300 decks listed en toto. At the other end, Aggro loam put up only eight decks. Looking at what we have, let's see if we can't pick out trends. By archetype (from Adrian Sullivan's The Strategic Moment), we can list them according to what they do.

Merfolk: 13% Aggro Control
CounterTop: 8% Aggro Control
Zoo: 8% Aggro
U/G Survival: 7% Aggro Control
Goblins 7% Midrange Beatdown
Reanimator 5% Combo (graveyard to combat)
Ad Nauseum Tendrils 4% Combo (the stack)
Dredge 3% Combo (graveyard to combat)
Lands 3% Combo (err... lands)
Aggro Loam 3% Midrange Control

Well, that doesn't help simplify things at all. We can see a lot of aggro control and a lot of combo. Not much true control, probably pushed out by all that aggro control. Which remains popular because counterspells are still a good way to deal with combo. The vintage dredge deck is resilient against counterspells, but that's because it runs Bazaar of Baghdad as it's discard outlet, which is a land, and banned in legacy. Zoo exists to prey on Merfolk and other aggro control decks, but it's traditionally soft to combo.

So there's our metagame. A bunch of decks trying to kill you quickly while stopping you from killing them quickly. Oh wait, that's every metagame, ever. More specific. We've got decks that try to win by tossing creatures at you while disrupting your game on the stack, and decks that try to win by tossing combos at you while disrupting your game on the stack. Therefore, what we're looking for is a deck that's resilient to counterspells and able to deal with creatures while still having a fighting chance against combos. Or able to deal with combos and maybe creatures.

Or, as I like to call it: "Screw it, I'll just play goblins."

Goblins lands on the midrange aggro scale of the metagame, which means it should do decently against the aggro control decks and the aggro decks. While legacy has it's share of midrange control and pure control decks, they're not as common. And goblins has decent resiliency against counterspells. A first turn Goblin Lackey makes your opponent use his Force of Will on it, meaning that he'll have one less spell for your other goblins. Or if he lets it through, well, you might never have to cast another goblin that game. It's also a deck that I'm familiar with and comfortable playing, and I already own most of the pieces.

Next time we'll talk about an actual goblins list, what I don't have and what I think I'll add.

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