Hello and welcome back to Metagame Mentor, your weekly guide to the top decks and latest Constructed developments on the path to the Pro Tour. This month, I'm taking you on a grand tour of Constructed formats. I previously covered Pioneer and Modern and will discuss Standard next week, but today it's the time to dive into Legacy and Vintage. Both formats will be prominently featured at the Eternal Weekend events this fall, and they proudly showcase 30 years of Magic card history.
Legacy Metagame Snapshot
Legacy is a nonrotating format that allows tournament-legal cards from all Magic sets throughout the game's entire history, except for cards on the banned list. Legacy remains a popular tournament format, and it's the Constructed format for this weekend's Magic Online Champions Showcase—a prestigious event with a $70,000 prize pool and live streaming coverage. It will be exciting to see the deck choices of the competitors, especially after the recent unbanning of
To provide first glimpse of what to expect in Legacy right now, I analyzed all Magic Online decklists from scheduled Legacy events held since the unbanning of
|Archetype||Winner's Metagame Percentage|
|1. Dimir Shadow||12.0%|
|2. Grixis Delver||8.6%|
|3. Dimir Murktide||7.1%|
|5. Mono-Black Helm||5.7%|
|7. Jeskai Control||3.7%|
|8. Mono-Red Prison||3.5%|
|12. Death & Taxes||3.4%|
|13. Abzan Depths||3.3%|
|14. Four-Color Control||3.2%|
|15. Boros Initiative||1.8%|
|16. Natural Order||1.6%|
|17. Cephalid Breakfast||1.3%|
The last time I poured over Legacy decklists was one year ago. Back then, Izzet Delver decks were dominant. The time-honored strategy of pressuring opponents with
In my data set, the Legacy cards with the most copies across all main decks and sideboards were, unsurprisingly,
Another change compared to last year's Dimir Shadow decks is the addition of
There are also non-blue decks that have adopted
The Impact of Unbanning Mind's Desire
Although we prefer for a new card to be "proven" in a format before we ban or restrict it, testing has shown that multiple copies of this Scourge card can quickly lead to degenerate game states. With four copies of
Two decades have passed since
Now that Legacy players can finally make use of
So far, its adoption has been slow. Out of the 310 Legacy decklists I analyzed, only 6 players (1.9% of the field) included at least one copy of
In High Tide, a combo deck that leverages its namesake card in conjunction with land-untap spells for a big combo turn,
In High Tide, every additional land drop makes the big combo turn more powerful, and
Another viable home for
Due to its ability to play cards for free, a big
The notion of casting
Although this glass cannon-style combo deck is sometimes known as Mississippi River, I've called it Creative Trickery—a portmanteau of
In conclusion, there appear to be multiple different combo decks that benefit from the addition of
Vintage Metagame Snapshot
Vintage is a nonrotating format that allows almost every card in the history of the game. In addition to a banned list, which includes cards that feature ante or manual dexterity, Vintage also has a restricted list. Cards on the restricted list are limited to a single copy per deck. The restricted list includes some of the most powerful cards from Magic's history, including the iconic Power Nine.
To provide a metagame snapshot, I analyzed all Magic Online decklists from scheduled Vintage events held from August 4 through August 21. Using the same methodology as for Legacy, I arrived at the following breakdown.
|Archetype||Winner's Metagame Percentage|
|1. Mono-White Initiative||22.8%|
|2. Tinker Saga||14.5%|
|5. Sultai Midrange||8.3%|
|6. Jeskai Control||7.9%|
|7. Tinker Breach||6.3%|
|8. Esper Control||4.3%|
|10. Prison Shops||3.0%|
|11. Coveted Jewel||2.6%|
|12. Paradoxical Outcome||2.3%|
|13. Oath of Druids||1.7%|
|14. Oops! All Spells!||1.0%|
Magic doesn't get more high-powered than Vintage. Games can end quickly, and turn-2 or turn-3 kills are common. Even turn-1 kills are possible, and there's a long list of fast combos.
- You can use
Tinkerto fetch Time Vault, use Urza's Sagato grab Manifold Key, and combine the artifacts to take infinite turns.
- You can play
Doomsdayto craft a combination of card draw, free mana, permission, and Thassa's Oracle, put them on top, and win on the next turn.
- You can use
Underworld Breachplus Brain Freezeto recast Black Lotusand Brain Freezemultiple times, eventually milling your opponent after your storm count gets high enough.
- You can ritual out
Balustrade Spyon turn one, say "Oops, All Spells," mill your entire deck, and finally sacrifice three Narcomoebato flash back Dread Returnon Thassa's Oracle.
This brief list doesn't even feature a
The seven most-played cards in Vintage feature several ways to interact with the powerful combo cards, lands, and graveyard engines.
Despite the importance of
With a 22.8% of the winner's metagame, Mono-White Initiative is dominating the Vintage metagame right now. Using a bunch of fast mana, the deck can consistently cast disruptive creatures like
Vintage and Legacy tournaments are available every week on Magic Online, but it's even more exciting to shuffle up the most powerful spells in Magic's history at tabletop tournaments. The biggest Vintage and Legacy events of the year are the Eternal Weekends. Each of these multi-day destination events host a Vintage Championship and Legacy Championship, which award original paintings of iconic cards, embedded in oversized card frames, as unique first-place prizes. In 2023, Eternal Weekends take place on November 17–19 in Prague, Czech Republic, on November 25–26 in Aichi, Japan, and on December 8–10 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In addition, Legacy is one of the formats for this weekend's Magic Online Champions Showcase—the pinnacle of competition on Magic Online. The event leads off with a Vintage Cube Draft followed by three rounds of Legacy Constructed. It will be streamed live beginning at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday August 26 at twitch.tv/magic. More information is provided in the viewer's guide and the Magic Online premier play infographic below.
Join me again next week as I return to Standard for the first time after the ban of