Going Infinite – Legacy Revolution And The Cheapest Deck In The Format

Monday, March 21 – Why is everyone trying to get into Legacy? What are the cheapest Legacy decks? Jonathan Medina, MTG Financial Expert, explains.

Last week was a blur. I was flooded with a ridiculous amount of emails, Facebook messages, and Tweets. They all had one thing in common: they were from
people looking to get into Legacy. For weeks now, I’ve felt the Legacy buzz getting louder and louder. I’ve noticed a peak in overall curiosity and
interest in the format. You might have noticed my focus on Legacy in last week’s article. I even started a Legacy podcast with my buddy KYT.

Last week, the interest in Legacy went from casual to commando; by the end of the week, people were militant about getting their Forces of Will,
Tarmogoyfs, and dual lands. Some of the emails that I received contained a list of the sender’s complete Standard collection with a note saying, “I
want to trade this in for Legacy — can you help?” A friend of mine is going to live on ramen noodles just so he can sink his paycheck into dual lands.
What the hell is going on here?

The catalyst can be found in this seemingly innocuous headline,

StarCityGames.com Wants Your Vintage & Legacy Cards!”

It’s innocuous, until you look at the prices. If you don’t buy and sell Legacy cards, then you don’t really know what this means, but if you do, then
you know that SCG is buying Legacy cards at the prices that you could buy them on eBay three weeks ago! The retail price has become the buy price!
People say that SCG sets the market price with their sale prices, but this is not true. If there truly is a lower price, then people will find it. It’s
the buy prices that have the real effect on the market.

By setting these buy prices so high, there’s no incentive for other dealers to sell cards lower than the SCG buy price because they can save themselves
the hassle of actually selling the cards by shipping them to SCG instead. This also means that they can’t offer less than SCG buy prices for the cards
either because the consumer can also ship them to SCG instead. StarCityGames.com has thrown down the gauntlet by offering some of the most competitive
buy prices out there, and now everyone else has to fall in line. This means higher prices for all Legacy cards.

I think that this week, it’s finally starting to occur to people that Legacy cards are the lowest that they’re going to be for a while, and it’s time
to get in. This new buy list, combined with the fact that the SCG Invitational is a split tournament with both Standard and Legacy portions (Top 8 of
the first one being Legacy), has really given the format a lot of fuel to grow. This growth has sparked some questions that I intend on answering in
the next section of this article.

What if Legacy dies like Vintage did? I don’t want to lose my investment.

Legacy isn’t going to die. Not as long as you can win thousands of dollars playing it, every other weekend of the year at the SCG Opens. You have to
look at the facts here. Vintage didn’t have this type of tournament series support. Vintage also can’t be played on Magic Online. The more you look at
how different the situation is with Legacy, you see that this question is based on unsupported fears. Whenever you have a fear like this, you have to
search the fear or examine it; this is also true outside of the world of Magic in real life as well.


Fear feeds on uncertainty. It festers and multiplies inside the warm embrace of “the worse-case scenarios,” but the thing about these fear-inducing
“uncertain futures” is that they’re not real.

It’s similar to reading your opponent in a game or Magic; sometimes, fear can drive us to play more carefully than we should. “What if he has the Mana
Leak?” turns into “I know he has the Mana Leak.” This is fear. I’m not saying “Don’t play around Mana Leak.” But fearing the possibility that he has
the Mana Leak without knowing the facts is a problem. Facts are the best way to dispel fear. If you Duress your opponent and see a Stoneforge Mystic,
then pass the turn, and they don’t play the Mystic on turn two, then you have a fact to go by.

“Why didn’t he play the Mystic?”

“What does he have?”

This is the difference between baseless fear and facts-based analysis. The same is true about investing in Legacy. Did Vintage die after a small flurry
of activity? Yeah, for the most part, it did. Are the Power Nine still the most expensive cards in the game? Yes, they are (not really, but you get the
point)! Are Tinkers still $3? Yes, they are! The facts are that Vintage did “die,” but the prices were not affected by the crash in popularity.


It’s funny that we should be talking about Vintage because the SCG announcement says, “StarCityGames.com Wants Your Vintage & Legacy Cards!”
Humm, StarCityGames.com wants my Vintage cards too. Why would they want those? Vintage is dead, right? They probably don’t sell a lot of Vintage cards;
at least, not in relation to how many Legacy cards they sell. Why then, would they be buying Vintage cards with such aggressive prices? The only way it
makes sense is if SCG thought that sometime in the future they might have an opportunity to sell those Vintage cards. Interesting questions for sure
but unfortunately, questions that I don’t have the answers for. Let’s put these questions in the “Humm” category and get back to Legacy.

With all these prices rising, aren’t people going to be priced out of the format?

This isn’t going to happen. Magic players aren’t going to stop doing something that they love because of the price. Let’s look at Standard really
quickly. The best deck in Standard runs:

4x Jace, the Mind Sculptor $110

3x Gideon Jura $30

4x Stoneforge Mystic $23

1x Sword of Feast and Famine $25

That’s $647, and this deck won’t even be legal for Standard in six months! That doesn’t take into account the rest of the cards in the deck. It also
doesn’t account for the fact that hundreds of players travel all over the US (and the world even), paying for: hotel rooms, gas, plane tickets, and
food, to battle at whatever SCG Open is happening that particular weekend. With all this disposable income, do you really think that players won’t be
able to afford to buy into a format where the decks never rotate, and they can literally play the same deck for years? Jace has broken all pricing
records before him, and Standard tournament attendance hasn’t stopped growing. In fact, SCG Open: DC a few weeks ago was the biggest SCG Standard Open
yet! Where is the data to support this “pricing out” business?

Plan B

If, for some reason, playing Legacy does start to approach the “unaffordable” mark, something will happen to break that trend, and that “something”
won’t be “people stop playing.” A new, affordable deck option will be born; vendors or players will adapt and start finding creative ways to meet their
needs (i.e. renting cards, pooling collections, proxy tournaments, and more trading).

No matter what happens, if the card prices are going to be as high as people fear, then shouldn’t that motivate people to buy in even more so? There
will be a higher return on your investment and a steeper penalty if you don’t. I agree that prices are definitely on the rise, but the whole idea of
people being “priced out” is not something that I believe will happen.

I want to get into Legacy; what’s the cheapest deck?

I’ve gotten this question a lot lately, so I decided to crunch the data. Thanks to my data monkey, David, I was able to get you some numbers. I went
through the Top 16 for the last four SCG Opens, and I picked out the decks that I considered to be Legacy mainstays. Whenever I do something like this,
I always get comments like, “You missed X; that’s a mainstay, blah blah blah.” Nothing is perfect. This is Legacy; there are a million decks. If I left
out your favorite one, then feel free to post it in the comments with a price analysis.

I used StarCityGames.com pricing. This means that if you’re a bargain shopper, you may be able to get the decks cheaper. Also the SP cards and some of
the promos can be found cheaper then the card’s regular version here on SCG. I hope this baseline will help you make a decision on a Legacy deck. One
last thing to keep in mind is that you may have a bunch of the cards needed to make these decks, so be sure to look at the decklists.



Bertoncini Merfolk (Mono U)

Saito Merfolk (U/B)

R/B Goblins

R/G Goblins



Combo Elves



Forgemaster Combo



Painted Stone

Dark Horizons

CounterTop Thopter



NO Bant

The Rock


NO and Tell


Junk and Taxes

High Tide


Next Level Threshold



CounterTop RUG


CounterTop Progenitus

Team America

12 Post Eldrazi

My recommendation is to invest in a deck that you like, rather than just the cheapest deck. The format has a lot to offer, and the cards in the format
are a pretty solid investment. Whatever you decide to do, I recommend that you do it soon because prices are on their way up. Enough about Legacy;
let’s talk about Standard before I get out of here.


I wanted to write more about Standard, but there’s not much to write about. Caw-Blade is still “the best deck,” and Valakut is creeping back from the
shadows. Patrick Chapin released a Jund deck, which seems like it has potential, and Brian Kibler has been killing people with Infect. This is all
newsworthy for those playing Magic, but for those of us who are trading for next week’s trend cards, there’s not much information that we can glean,
but there is a small amount.


I said in my MBS set review that Infect would be a
deck, and way back then, I told you to pick up Phyrexian Crusader and Phyrexian Vatmother. Now they’re the cornerstones of Brian Kibler creation.
Other players and writers have talked about U/B Infect as a viable option, but I think more people notice when it’s something that Brian Kibler

The deck isn’t format-breaking (even though Phyrexian Crusader is an absolute house right now), but it still has another set to mature. If this
strategy is viable now, then we can expect it to jump a tier, maybe even to tier one, with the added support of another set. Phyrexian Crusader and
Phyrexian Vatmother are good pickups right now as well as Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. The Blight Dragon is pretty cheap for a mythic right now, so
it’s worth picking up; worst-case scenario, you’ll slowly ship them one by one to people who want to build infect in Commander. One last thing to note
is that Vatmother is in the Infect Event deck so that will curtail its price.

Praetor’s Counsel

Another card for Standard that you should keep an eye on is Praetor’s Counsel. I’ve seen it in some Valakut lists (it might have been the Magic cruise
tournament). This seems like a reasonable card in Valakut, and it’s an additional “must counter” threat, especially if there are some Primeval Titans
in your yard. If Valakut becomes really popular again and this card starts catching on, you could cash in on the upswing. If nothing else, it’s a great
Commander card, so it’s hard to lose value on this hunch.

That’s all I have for this week. Thanks for reading!