Monday, November 23, 2009

Legacy comes to the Triangle

My recent Building my Legacy articles have brought about several out of market questions, focused on why I would suddenly be building a Legacy deck, when I have not even made the jump to Extended. I sometimes forget that this blog isn't just read by local, and that some of you have no idea what is going on in the background. Today's article is an attempt to fill in some of that background. It is primarily a composite of several threads from the forums, regarding the emergence of Legacy in our local community. Most of this content is not my own, but is repeated here for educational purposes. Most of what has been ported over is from Jeff aka "Crispy" (fdiv_bug on SciFi) and Mike (darturus on SciFi).


First, a brief overview of the format. Legacy is one of two Eternal formats, meaning cards that are printed never rotate out, unlike Standard and Extended. It's most often succinctly described as "Vintage without the Power 9" because those very expensive and extremely iconic cards are banned in Legacy, but there are a few other differences between the two: for the most part things that are Restricted in Vintage are Banned in Legacy, but that's not always the case. The card pool does span the entire game's history, and will continue to grow as new sets are released. This means that your investment in cards is highly likely to never be rendered worthless, and there are some staples of the format that will never lose value for as long as the game is played. This also means it tends to be a bit pricier than more recent formats, but it's not always a more expensive proposition and there are decks to play which are quite effective and inexpensive, especially when you consider what it cost to get into recent Standard decks with Mutavault, Bitterblossom, Reflecting Pool, Cryptic Command, Baneslayer Angel, etc.

The full deck construction rules -- including the Banned list, as there are no Restricted cards in Legacy -- are located on Wizards' site and Star City Games just put up an article that serves as an excellent introduction to the major deck archetypes. I also recommend browsing various Legacy forums. There's a lot more decks out there than the article talks about and I can pretty much guarantee that no matter your play style, there will be a deck that calls to you.

First, and in my opinion foremost, is the MTG Salvation Legacy board. In there you'll find sub-forums for Proven Competitive and Developing Competitive that contain nothing but discussion of the various archetypes, both tier 1 and tier 1.5-2, respectively.

The other one is The Source. It's exclusively for Legacy discussion, and is one of the hangouts of some of the big brains in the format. It's got Decks to Beat, Established Decks, and New and Developmental Decks for discussion of tier 1, tier 1.5, and tier 2 decks, respectively. The Source also has the Tournament Announcements and Results forum which is where I find a lot of the Legacy events I come across.

You can learn a lot about how to build and play some of the more effective decks from either or both of these places, and read over the evolution of the archetypes. It's always informative, and usually moderately entertaining as well.

As a handful of us have been playing or introduced to the Legacy format, interest in it has been growing both at Sci-Fi and in the United States in general. I and a couple of others have discussed starting up some sort of regular Legacy event at the store, and I'd like to see if we can work toward that goal.

We've discussed offline the idea of getting regular tournaments going, and whether or not they should be sanctioned without proxies or unsanctioned with proxies, entry fees, prize payouts, and other sundry event-planning details. Here's my proposal: we do an unsanctioned event with unlimited proxies, no entry fee, and no prize payout every Wednesday next to the casual crowd. If eight or more people show up by, say, 7:30P or so, then we'll fire off a tournament with a handful of rounds of Swiss. If not enough people show up, then those of us who do can just test and fool around. Once we've drummed up some further interest in and support for the format, we can work on scheduling and prizing something bigger every so-often (e.g. Legacy practice on Wednesdays, Legacy tournaments on second Sundays). This is all assuming there's space in the store, as well.

Wednesday Night Unsanctioned Legacy Events

My primary goal for the Wednesday night shindig is to introduce people to the format to show how fun, engaging, and diverse it can be. Lowering barriers to entry will let them see whether or not they like it without having to make an investment -- and it is just that, an investment that requires some initial outlay but will not lose value so long as the game remains vibrant -- to get into it.

It'll also help folks determine what they want to play, giving them a goal for deck ownership if they choose. Like, I started with Eva Green, a black/green rock deck, because I liked the look of it and had a handful of the pieces, including Tarmogoyfs. I bought some of the cards that I didn't have, and borrowed several of the others that I could not afford to get, and had an absolute blast finishing in the top 16 at my first Legacy event. I am now exactly one card -- a single Marsh Flats -- away from owning every card in the deck, an accomplishment of which I'm rather proud.

So try out the format. Proxy up a deck, and give it a whirl. We're not asking you to drop $1,000 bucks to come play with us. But give the format a whirl. I bet you'll enjoy it. My only request is that proxies be tasteful. I'm not saying you have to spend hours on them or anything like that, but here's a couple of ideas:

1. Find a random common with the same CC as the card you're proxying, and write the relevant bits on the card face.

2. Write the proxy on the back of a random common / basic land and sleeve it backwards.

3. Similar idea, but write/print on a piece of paper what the proxy is, then insert a basic land into a sleeve along with the paper.

4. I've found that if you go to and copy the card images there onto a word document, you'll end up with 4 per page, slightly smaller than the actual card itself. Cut these out, and use them in sleeves (with basic lands / commons sleeved backwards, of course) and they work rather well for proxies.

5. World Championship decks. You've probably seen these before - they're top tier cards, but printed with alternate backings / gold borders. They can't be played in sanctioned tournaments, but make excellent proxies. Because they can't be used for sanctioned play, a lot of these type cards can be picked up for really cheap.

I don't recommend relying on memory. Write SOMEthing on the card so that you (and your opponent!) know what it is. Any information that could be relevant - Name, casting cost, Type/Subtypes, any relevant abilities, P/T.

Sunday Sanctioned Events

The Legacy Series at Sci-Fi Genre is getting under way, starting on Sunday, December 6th, 2009! There will be weekly, sanctioned Legacy events, with prize support being paid out in booster packs (see below for details).
  • Date and Time:
    Every Sunday, starting at 1:00 PM
    (Except when other Magic events, like pre-releases, conflict.)
  • Location:
    Sci-Fi Genre
    3215 Old Chapel Hill Rd
    Durham, NC 27707
    (919) 490-7900
  • Format:
    Legacy Constructed
    Sanctioned 16K
    Regular Rules Enforcement Level
    Number of Swiss rounds and possible cut depend on the number of entries.
  • Entry:
    $15, cash or credit card
  • Prizes:
    Booster packs from the store's inventory based on finishing position.
    The prize pool is made up of three packs per entry, and the pool is paid out to the top half of the finishers.
    Guidelines of payouts by position can be found on my site.
    These prizes may change over time -- though not without notice, if at all possible -- based upon player feedback and event history; the more people we can get playing regularly, the better the prizes will become!
Current deck construction rules for the format are available on Wizards' web site. Note that this is a sanctioned event, and thus no proxies are allowed. Card sleeves are highly recommended, and the store usually has a wide variety in stock.

If you have any questions or concerns, please bring them up in this thread, or on the store's forums. Alternatively, you could send me a private message here or on the store's forums, or email me. Also, we try to do unsanctioned (i.e. proxy-legal) Legacy testing at the store on Wednesday nights, helpful for tuning up your list before Sunday.

Thanks, and we hope to see as many of you there as possible!

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