Unfortunately. I couldn’t attend GP Vegas, but I followed it very closely, especially my beloved format: Legacy.
Today I’m going to look at the results, especially the Top 16, to establish where we are now in Legacy.
Decks in the Top 16:
- 3 Grixis Delver
- 2 Lands
- 2 Sneak & Show
- 2 U/W/x Stoneblade
- 1 Temur Delver
- 1 U/R Delver
- 1 Death & Taxes
- 1 4-Color Leovold
- 1 Grixis Control
- 1 4c Deathblade
- 1 Sultai Control
Archetypes in the Top 16:
- 7 Control
- 5 Delver
- 2 Aggro-Control
- 2 Combo
After Sensei’s Divining Top’s ban some months ago, people like me were afraid that, without the sheriff in town, turn-1 decks were going to become more and more popular. It turns out that we have a deputy to keep those in check: Delver.
Delver rocked the event, with 4 Delver decks in the Top 8 in 3 different versions. Let’s dive into each.
Chris Iaali, Top 4 at GP Las Vegas
Grixis Delver is the most successful and solid deck in the format right now as it’s able to beat any kind of matchup, and it has a solid matchup against combo decks in general. It’s just the safest place to be in Legacy and what I’d recommend to any player who wants to succeed in this format.
Jonathan Semeyn, Finalist at GP Las Vegas
U/R is the more aggressive version with haste creatures and more burn spells. All the Delver decks have their ways to attack the opponent’s mana base—Grixis and Temur have Wasteland and Stifle—this one has Price of Progress. A well-timed Price of Progress versus 4C Leovold or Deathblade can mean victory, considering all the other cheap damage you get through.
Patrick Tierney, Top 8 at GP Las Vegas
I’ve never been a fan of Nimble Mongoose, but some Legacy aficionados are in love with this card and play it way more than they should.
The deck is strong versus combo and control, but struggles against Deathrite Shaman and Death & Taxes. I wouldn’t recommend this deck to a player who has never picked it up because it plays on such a low power level that it has to maximize every little advantage.
Sultai Delver was the loser of this GP. Two of my teammates picked up Sultai Delver for the weekend despite me telling them that Grixis was a better choice. Hymn to Tourach is so much worse than Cabal Therapy, and Young Pyromancer is way better than Tarmogoyf in a world where Fatal Push has picked up in popularity and where Terminus has almost disappeared.
Let’s move on to the most successful archetype throughout the Top 16: control decks.
Jarvis Yu, 9th place at GP Last Vegas
Despite Jody Keith finishing in the Top 4 at a higher position that Jarvis Yu, I wanted to post Jarvis’s list, as he recently wrote a deck guide about Lands and, right after that, took it to a 13-2 record that unfortunately didn’t snag him the Top 8.
Jarvis is the Lands’ master—he won GP Seattle, Top 8’d GP Columbus, and now came close in this one.
Lands is a powerful strategy to fight Delver decks. From his Facebook post, I read that he went 8-0 against various Delver strategies throughout the weekend, losing to U/W Stoneblade and B/R Reanimator.
Reanimator might be a problem for this deck, as it only has Crop Rotation, Bojuka Bog, and Karakas to deal with it. Sphere and Thorn help, but it must still be a nightmarish matchup. Though, considering how poorly combo did this weekend, maybe it means that this is the best strategy for the future.
Jacob Haversat, Top 8 at GP Las Vegas
Ondrej Stratsky introduced his country’s beloved deck, 4C Leovold—also known as Czech Pile, in a fantastic deck guide. The deck didn’t go too far, but it’s still very popular and capable of fighting against Delver very well, thanks to plenty of removal and Baleful Strix.
Kolaghan’s Command is a powerhouse versus Death & Taxes and Chalice of the Void—it’s just so versatile, and perfect for this deck.
Some players, like Oliver Tiu, who came just short of Top 16, chose to cut Abrupt Decay and leave green to a light splash for Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Deathrite Shaman. I have to agree with that decision, since Abrupt Decay is now kind of redundant with Counterbalance gone, and you already have Kolaghan’s Command for annoying permanents. I would just choose a better mana base and play more copies of Fatal Push.
Pierre Dagen, Top 16 at GP Las Vegas
This is a similar take on the various Grixis non-Delver decks that we saw during the GP. Lukas Blohon was one of them, but Pierre chose not to play any Deathrite Shamans and went for full Grixis, exploiting as much as he could the powerful combo of Young Pyromancer + Gitaxian Probe + Cabal Therapy.
On Saturday after the GP I recorded with this deck, as I didn’t think it was that good, but that it might be cool to try. I was thoroughly impressed with the deck and I think it’s a viable strategy despite not playing the best card in Legacy, Deathrite Shaman.
Michael Bernat, Top 16 at GP Las Vegas
I was pretty sad not to see any Miracles decks in the Top 16, especially after reading that two of them made 9-0 after Day 1. I really think Miracles is a great deck right now, despite the loss of its Top + Counterbalance combo .
We have to look instead at this other U/W variant, based on Stoneforge Mystic and True-Name Nemesis. Rather than having Leovold in the mix, like Deathblade does, it’s just a solid U/W deck with plenty of basic lands and simple spells like Counterspell and Council’s Judgment.
This deck is very fair and unexciting. Though, it did put two players into the Top 16—one splashing red—so I think it’s worth a try and might be the best Stoneforge Mystic deck.
Death & Taxes
Andrew Calderon, 1st place at GP Las Vegas
Of course, U/W can’t actually be the best Stoneforge Mystic deck—no one could take the crown from the most fun and best deck in Legacy: Death & Taxes!
I’m in love with this deck, and when I woke up on Saturday and read that Death & Taxes took down GP Vegas I was thrilled.
Death & Taxes already has a slightly favorable matchup versus Delver strategies, and I wouldn’t be too eager to make it even better with Chalice of the Void if it makes my mana base worse.
Sneak & Show
Daniel Cathro, Top 8 at GP Las Vegas
The last archetype I’m going to talk about is Sneak & Show, the only combo deck that set its foot into this Top 16. Where are all the B/R Reanimator decks that the Pros complained about? On Friday, I read many tweets saying how bad Legacy was because they died to Griselbrand on turn 1 and couldn’t do anything.
B/R Reanimator, as well as dozens of other decks in Legacy, is capable of a turn-1 win with protection, and that’s just one aspect of Legacy. The other is playing sideboard hate cards for those decks, and playing a strategy that can attack them.
Even if you do all those things, you can still lose the game if they go Chancellor, Swamp, Dark Ritual, Entomb, and Exhume, but they can’t do this for 15 rounds—you just landed on the wrong side of the variance, as this Top 16 displayed.
Going back to Sneak & Show, Daniel took a stock version that’s been out since the 2016 MOCS, and used all the different combo pieces to play around the possible hate.
Sneak & Show may now be the best combo deck since people are ready with their graveyard hate, and may pass on Pyroblast because of the loss of Counterbalance, and Flusterstorm because of the poor positioning of Ad Nauseam Tendrils in the current metagame.
Legacy is a wonderful format and a wonderful place to be. I’ll keep providing content for it two times at week with my videos!