Welcome to part three of our look into what’s new and exciting in the MTG Eternal scene. Today’s article is quite a special one, developed after I found myself captivated while writing the second article in this series. You can find Part I on the (now closed) MTGO Legacy Gauntlet here, and Part II reviewing Eternal Masters for Eternal players here.
$1500 to beat Elves…
Legacy is personally my favourite format, and is what I believe to be the happiest middle ground one can get between Wizards’ vision for the game and all of the elements that players love. GP Prague saw 24 individual archetypes make the top 100 of competition – a level of diversity that few other formats can boast. Players can design and play against a range of decks, speeds and archetypes – from the blisteringly fast combo of Charbelcher, the intricate combo of Ad Nauseum-Tendrils (ANT) or High Tide, to the beatdown centred play of a Pyromancer deck, or the hard control of Miracles. Even within most archetypes, there’s near infinite levels of customisation, tweaking, meta-choices and ‘spicy jank’ that can put a signature flair on your favourite list.
One of the few problems with Legacy, however, is its financial barrier to entry. Revised dual lands cost upwards of $100, with the Island variants starting at $200. Fetch lands range from $15 apiece (Khans of Tarkir Windswept Heath) to $100 apiece (Zendikar Scalding Tarn), and various other cards can be absurdly expensive due to rarity – I’m looking at you Legends Rare Lands. Though it is no rumour that Legacy manabases are expensive, their cost is often blown out of proportions. I have regularly seen figures of $4000+ used as ballpark estimates for manabases, and $10,000 for decks. The reality is that the most expensive land base in Legacy is in the Lands deck, at $2700, and mostly due to the copy of The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale which is worth around $1500 alone. Even the most expensive deck, Shardless BUG with its $2500 land base, playset of Force of Will, multiple Wastelands and set of Tarmogoyfs, doesn’t even break the $4000 figure that has been thrown about.
Some of these cards belong to a special list called the Reserved List. This is a composite list of cards that Wizards has sworn not to reprint under any circumstances and contains select cards from Alpha to the end of Urza’s block – most notably Dual Lands and the Power Nine. While it may seem strange that a company has decided to promise to never print cards that would fly off the shelves within moments of the announcement, they have a passable reason for doing so. With the printing of 4th Edition and the Chronicles sets, collectors, vendors and speculators saw the value of their inventory plummet due to valuable cards seeing reprints. The comparatively large print run meant that the market was somewhat flooded with product. Whichever rumour you believe, that the budding company was threatened with lawsuits or that they opted to not scare off a large part of their playerbase, the reserved list was created. The actual conditions of the agreement have seen a few iterations, but as it stands now it is essentially a written promise that Wizards will never reprint or functionally reprint cards from that list in any capacity, whether it be in a set, supplementary product or promotion product (including the judge/player rewards program). What this means for players is that the number of these cards will only decrease, with collectors hoarding and collections being lost or destroyed, and therefore their value can only increase.
So, if we want to play legacy, but don’t have the dosh to spend on duals, what do we do? The answer is simple. We brew! More specifically, we can turn existing Modern decks into somewhat viable Legacy decks. I was taken by this idea while participating in GP Melbourne; after scrubbing from the Modern main event, some friends and I were preparing to enter the Legacy side event of day two. We all had our decks ready to go, with 15 minutes until event start, when we were approached by another of our party who had just dropped from the main event. “I want to play legacy,” he said, “but I only have my Affinity deck here.” A list was developed, he ran to the vendors, and in 15 minutes he had a somewhat passable Affinity/Tezzerator splice. He went 2-2-1 in the event, barely missing out on prizes.
Before I start posting my brews, I’d like to state that these decks are untested and not designed for a specific meta, and unlikely to win you a GP or a large cash tournament. They’re simply to help you get a feel for the format with minimal expenditure, and allow you to slowly build into a deck of your choosing. As with all formats, especially expensive ones, your best friends are your friends; borrowing cards allows you to make more consistent decks and helps introduce you to your local community at the same time. Prices will be in USD, and card prices as Star City Games prices.
Without further ado: Modern decks that you can turn into Legacy decks on a budget.
Converting this deck will cost $730, including $270 for Force of Wills, $150 for Wastelands (both very moveable cards if you opt not to continue in Legacy) and $175 for sundry Modern playable cards including fetch and shock lands. It’s up to the pilot whether they find cards to replace to put Ancestral Visions in the deck. Even though it’s somewhat expensive, it’s both very powerful in this deck and now Modern legal, so I would highly suggest doing so.
Converting this deck would cost $185, almost half of which would be spent on Tezzerets, which are now Modern playable with the unbanning of the Sword of the Meek/Thopter Foundry combo. The playstyle is very similar to the Modern list, but the deck is fairly unplayed in the format, giving you the rogue element advantage. You’re not the fastest deck in the format here, so be aware that you might lose to fast combo some amount of the time.
Upgrading this deck to a legacy list will cost around $620, though most of this is again used for Force of Wills totalling $360, and $200 for Berserks. Interestingly enough, Berserk is not featured on the Reserved List, and is one of the cards I suspect we’ll see reprinted in Eternal Masters 2.0. It is possible to replace the card with Might of Old Krosas or Mutagenic Growths for the time being, if you can’t find Berserks. Playing a Daze deck with shock lands is always painful, but can be mitigated through smart and aggressive play. To this point, I’m reminded of the flavour text on Dark Confidant: “Greatness at any cost”.
Of course, there are always other decks that can be made on a budget; the internet is full of wonderful brews and cheap options like that. For those of you with a near-zero budget for Legacy, I would suggest talking to your local store’s owner or manager about proxy-legal Legacy/Vintage/Highlander tournaments. These are a great way to gauge local interest, build decks unimpeded by cost, meet players who might have cards for trade or lending, and generally have a great time with the format. Depending on the store, they can also be an avenue into the format, with the potential to win some of the more expensive staples as prize support.
Well, what a month June has been for Eternal players. GPs, Supplementary sets, and no bannings for some time have really allowed the format to flourish. I’m currently brewing quite an out-there list for my next article, so stay tuned for that in about a month’s time. Thanks to each of my readers for their support. It means a lot to let my passions for writing and Eternal Magic blend.
Until next time. Keep on brewing, bolting and brainstorming.