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Wrenn and Six Legacy metagame

The Legacy Metagame and Win Rates from GP Atlanta

Last month’s Grand Prix Atlanta will go down in history as the first top-level event to feature Wrenn and Six in Legacy. Hardly any other card has changed the face of the format to such an extent so quickly. Its nonrotating nature usually gives Legacy players some time to adapt to new developments. But things came thick and fast this time. The tournament had 1,020 participants—and 738 copies of Wrenn and Six.

Wrenn and Six

Below you can find the full metagame breakdown, match win percentages by archetype, and a selection of surprisingly successful decklists.

The Most-Played Decks at GP Atlanta

Temur (RUG) Delver was by far the most represented strategy. Together with the versions going to four colors, players brought 116 Delver decks packing Wrenn and Six, well over 11% of the field.

  • 99 RUG Delver (9.7%)
  • 62 Reanimator (6.1%)
  • 57 Four-Color Control (5.6%)

The planeswalker’s influence didn’t stop there. Reanimator remains one of the few archetypes that doesn’t care about repeated pinging or a regrown Wasteland. Already next in line was the second big beneficiary: Four-Color Control, or as I like to call it, “Wrenn and Strix.”

  • 55 Jeskai Mentor (5.4%)
  • 50 Sneak and Show (4.9%)
  • 50 Stoneblade (4.9%)
  • 47 Black-Green Depths (4.6%)
  • 47 Blue-Red Delver (4.6%)

The popularity of traditional Miracles dwindled almost into oblivion, and even the remaining Miracles saw a steep increase in copies of Monastery Mentor for a more active game plan. As far as somewhat control-oriented decks based in white and blue are concerned, Jeskai Mentor became the new default. The majority of Jeskai lists splashed red for Magmatic Sinkhole, which can take care of a Wrenn that sticks.

  • 43 Storm (4.2%)
  • 40 Death and Taxes (3.9%)

Stories on the death of Death and Taxes are greatly exaggerated. Although it is true that the deck lost about one-third of its metagame share compared to Grand Prix Niagara Falls. A Wrenn that picks off creatures indubitably poses a problem. Storm, by contrast, can mostly just ignore Wrenn and the mix of abilities it provides. If anything, its presence probably warped the metagame in a way that benefited the combo decks.

Here are the rest of the decks. At least another six of them were also seen to use Wrenn and fix some of their issues with it. Most notably, Naya Loam appears to be a thing now …

  • 39 Mono-Red Prison (3.8%)
  • 31 Four-Color Loam (3.0%)
  • 25 Lands (2.5%)
  • 23 Burn (2.3%)
  • 20 Bomberman (2.0%)
  • 19 Maverick (1.9%)
  • 17 Four-Color Delver (1.7%)
  • 17 Infect (1.7%)
  • 16 Miracles (1.6%)
  • 15 Death’s Shadow (1.5%)
  • 15 Dredge (1.5%)
  • 14 Eldrazi Aggro (1.4%)
  • 14 Grixis Control (1.4%)
  • 14 Painter (1.4%)
  • 13 Elves (1.3%)
  • 13 Merfolk (1.3%)
  • 11 Twelve Post (1.1%)
  • 11 Goblins (1.1%)
  • 9 Hogaak (0.9%)
  • 9 Mystic Forge Combo (0.9%)
  • 8 Nic Fit (0.8%)
  • 7 Manaless Dredge (0.7%)
  • 6 Food Chain (0.6%)
  • 6 Omni Tell (0.6%)
  • 6 Tin Fins (0.6%)
  • 5 Humans (0.5%)
  • 5 Naya Loam (0.5%)
  • 5 White-Blue Helm (0.5%)
  • 5 White-Blue Mentor (0.5%)

Legacy Staples

The Most Successful Decks

Virtually all win rates fell within the range of 40% to 60%. Almost everything is some kind of viable, and play skill likely trumps deck choice. Keep that in mind when looking at the following. Percentages obtained from small samples aren’t necessarily meaningful.

  • Food Chain won 59.6% of 52 matches
  • Humans won 59.1% of 44 matches
  • Naya Loam won 59.0% of 39 matches
  • Hogaak won 58.3% of 72 matches
  • White-Blue Mentor won 57.9% of 38 matches
  • White-Blue Helm won 57.4% of 54 matches
  • Manaless Dredge won 57.1% of 56 matches
  • Mystic Forge Combo won 56.7% of 67 matches

For example, all the above records would occur in literal coin-toss tournaments with about 9–21% of the time. It is very likely that a number of these outliers are little more than the result of variance. However, it is somewhat unlikely that there’s nothing behind all of them. Some certainly deserve another look:

Leon Chang’s Food Chain, 42nd Place (11-4)

4 Flooded Strand
1 Karakas
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Prismatic Vista
1 Savannah
1 Snow-Covered Forest
3 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Plains
2 Tropical Island
1 Tundra
1 Hydroid Krasis
3 Ice-Fang Coatl
3 Misthollow Griffin
3 Recruiter of the Guard
2 Walking Ballista
4 Watcher for Tomorrow
3 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Brainstorm
4 Food Chain
4 Force of Will
3 Manipulate Fate
2 Ponder
1 Spell Pierce
3 Swords to Plowshares

Sideboard
2 Carpet of Flowers
1 Collector Ouphe
2 Faerie Macabre
1 Flusterstorm
1 Force of Negation
1 Hydroblast
1 Knight of Autumn
1 Pithing Needle
1 Rest in Peace
1 Return to Nature
2 Supreme Verdict
1 Veil of Summer

 

Watcher for Tomorrow is a nice piece of technology, as Food Chain means you can cash it in for the exiled card and some extra mana at will. Teferi seems like a sweet addition as well. But neither appears to be a total game changer that would explain the exceptional win rate. The second-highest Food Chain finisher, at 10-5, ran neither.

Humans, 55th Place (11-4)

4 Ancient Ziggurat
4 Cavern of Souls
3 Horizon Canopy
2 Karakas
4 Unclaimed Territory
4 Wasteland
4 Champion of the Parish
1 Deputy of Detention
2 Imperial Recruiter
4 Kitesail Freebooter
2 Meddling Mage
4 Mother of Runes
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Palace Jailer
1 Sanctum Prelate
4 Thalia's Lieutenant
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
3 Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
4 AEther Vial

Sideboard
1 Containment Priest
2 Deputy of Detention
1 Faerie Macabre
1 Imperial Recruiter
1 Manic Vandal
1 Meddling Mage
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Palace Jailer
1 Pithing Needle
1 Reflector Mage
2 Sanctum Prelate
2 Surgical Extraction

 

Humans, on the other hand, does possess some features that may not be new but that find themselves in an improved position in the new environment. Granted, creatures with 1 toughness still die to Wrenn and nicks. However, the deck can produce them faster than Wrenn and tricks can deal with them, and thanks to Thalia’s Lieutenant they don’t have to stay at 1 toughness. Finally, Tomik, Distinguished Advokist means Wrenn can’t fix anybody’s mana anymore.

Zan Syed’s Naya Loam, 24th Place (11-3-1)

1 Blast Zone
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Dark Depths
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Field of the Dead
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Karakas
1 Maze of Ith
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Plateau
2 Savannah
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Sheltered Thicket
1 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Snow-Covered Plains
2 Taiga
2 Thespian's Stage
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wasteland
2 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
3 Elvish Reclaimer
1 Knight of Autumn
4 Knight of the Reliquary
4 Wrenn and Six
2 Crop Rotation
2 Exploration
1 Faithless Looting
4 Green Sun's Zenith
2 Life from the Loam
4 Mox Diamond
4 Swords to Plowshares

Sideboard
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Collector Ouphe
2 Force of Vigor
1 Gaddock Teeg
3 Leyline of the Void
1 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2 Thorn of Amethyst

 

Most decks with Life from the Loam and Knight of the Reliquary still included Dark Confidant. But in a world where Wrenn inflicts 1 point of damage with regularity, Naya may just be better. It definitely performed better in Atlanta where Four-Color Loam had a win rate lower by more than 10%.

The event’s Top 8 already featured Monastery Mentor and Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis. But despite the archetype’s successful weekend, even the full Top 64 decklists didn’t include any Helm of Obedience decks…

Angel Martinez’s White-Blue Helm, 66th Place (10-5)

4 Flooded Strand
5 Island (335)
1 Karakas
2 Misty Rainforest
2 Plains (331)
3 Prismatic Vista
1 Tropical Island
2 Tundra
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Narset, Parter of Veils
2 Teferi, Time Raveler
2 Back to Basics
4 Brainstorm
1 Dovin's Veto
3 Energy Field
2 Enlightened Tutor
1 Force of Negation
4 Force of Will
2 Helm of Obedience
1 Humility
4 Ponder
2 Preordain
4 Rest in Peace
2 Spell Pierce
3 Swords to Plowshares

Sideboard
2 Counterbalance
1 Detention Sphere
1 Flusterstorm
1 Forest (347)
1 Gideon of the Trials
1 Lavinia, Azorius Renegade
2 Monastery Mentor
1 Nature's Chant
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Swords to Plowshares
3 Veil of Summer

 

Of the five players at the helm of Helm, two went 10-5, a third made Day 2, and a fourth missed the cut by one win. Those are pretty exceptional stats. Once again, because of the tiny sample, they don’t have to mean much, though they might. A strategy with lots of basic lands and an additional reason to maindeck Rest in Peace should be able to win a fight against a Wrenn, or six.

John Tollison’s Manaless Dredge, 17th Place (12-3)

3 Balustrade Spy
3 Chancellor of the Annex
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
2 Golgari Thug
2 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis
4 Ichorid
1 Lotleth Giant
4 Narcomoeba
3 Nether Shadow
4 Phantasmagorian
3 Prized Amalgam
4 Shambling Shell
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Street Wraith
4 Bridge from Below
4 Cabal Therapy
4 Creeping Chill
3 Dread Return

Sideboard
4 Contagion
4 Faerie Macabre
4 Force of Vigor
3 Mindbreak Trap

 

Of course, the easiest way to make Wasteland useless is never to play any land at all. I didn’t think this deck would survive the banning of Gitaxian Probe. But it evidently did, and even did quite well in Atlanta. One of its seven pilots posted a 12-3 record, while another went 11-4. The strategy benefits from an environment that has moved away from black: less Grixis and Sultai, more Temur. Since the game plan necessitates discarding the right card to hand size, an opponent’s turn-one discard spell almost always equaled a Time Walk.

Ryan Grodzinski’s Mystic Forge Combo, 71st Place (10-5)

4 Ancient Tomb
4 City of Traitors
4 Crystal Vein
4 Inventors' Fair
4 Karn, the Great Creator
1 Basalt Monolith
4 Chalice of the Void
3 Defense Grid
1 Ensnaring Bridge
4 Grim Monolith
4 Lion's Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
2 Manifold Key
4 Mox Opal
4 Mystic Forge
1 Paradox Engine
4 Serum Powder
2 Thran Dynamo
2 Voltaic Key

Sideboard
1 Defense Grid
1 Ensnaring Bridge
2 Hope of Ghirapur
1 Liquimetal Coating
1 Manifold Key
1 Mycosynth Lattice
1 Paradox Engine
1 Ratchet Bomb
2 Thought-Knot Seer
3 Tormod's Crypt
1 Walking Ballista

 

Finally, Mystic Forge Combo won an enviable percentage of matches, but it barely delivered a performance worth emulating. Five of its eight pilots exited the tournament with exactly five wins, three did worse, and only Grodzinski here made it to Day 2. There’s heavy disagreement about how one should evaluate a record of 5-3. On one hand it equals a superb win rate of 62.5%; on the other hand such a run literally gets you nowhere. Personally, I consider this to be a case where calculating percentage doesn’t lead to valuable insight but rather misleads. Your mileage may vary.

Mystic Forge

Next in line we indeed find the deck of the tournament, Temur Delver, with a win rate just upward of 55%. The most-played archetype often doesn’t match the most successful one. This time, the two aligned perfectly, at least among all decks that submitted a convincing sample. A record of 42-30 like Hogaak’s would occur in coin flips with a probability of 9.7%. Temur Delver’s observed 429-348, by contrast, would only have a 0.2% shot to happen if Temur Delver didn’t have an actual advantage over the field. The latter is about 50 times less likely to be the result of random chance than the former. In fact, Temur gave by far the most reliable evidence in this regard. It will be interesting to see how Legacy adapts for MagicFest Bologna, maybe with one of the decks listed above.

Here are all the rest of the win rates, from best to worst:

  • Temur Delver won 55.2% of 777 matches
  • Dredge won 54.1% of 109 matches
  • Black-Green Depths won 53.9% of 356 matches
  • Jeskai Mentor won 53.9% of 397 matches
  • Painter won 53.7% of 95 matches
  • Mono-Red Prison won 53.6% of 295 matches
  • Four-Color Delver won 53.5% of 129 matches
  • Four-Color Control won 52.9% of 414 matches
  • Goblins won 52.6% of 95 matches
  • Blue-Red Delver won 52.6% of 384 matches
  • Omni Tell won 52.4% of 42 matches
  • Death and Taxes won 51.6% of 287 matches
  • Infect won 51.3% of 150 matches
  • Death’s Shadow won 50.5% of 103 matches
  • Bomberman won 49.7% of 151 matches
  • Storm won 49.5% of 311 matches
  • Four-Color Loam won 48.6% of 214 matches
  • Sneak and Show won 48.5% of 363 matches
  • Maverick won 46.7% of 120 matches
  • Stoneblade won 45.8% of 301 matches
  • Eldrazi Aggro won 45.5% of 99 matches
  • Twelve Post won 43.9% of 66 matches
  • Tin Fins won 43.9% of 41 matches
  • Reanimator won 43.9% of 424 matches
  • Miracles won 43.3% of 90 matches
  • Burn won 42.0% of 138 matches
  • Lands won 41.8% of 146 matches
  • Grixis Control won 41.7% of 72 matches
  • Elves won 41.3% of 80 matches
  • Nic Fit won 41.2% of 51 matches
  • Merfolk won 38.0% of 79 matches

TL;DR

Legacy metagame 2019

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