SCG Syracuse By The Numbers

SCG Syracuse served as a sort of power test for Modern Horizons cards in Legacy, and for Mox Insights, they certainly didn’t disappoint! Get the matrix, the scatterplot, and all the details of the format’s new essential matchups!

Welcome to Mox Insight’ breakdown of SCG Syracuse. We’re excited to look
at the ever-evolving format of Legacy this week as the format is still
feeling the impact of Modern Horizons. Not content with upending Modern and
perhaps leading to the banning of three cards from the Modern card pool,
Modern Horizons is moving the Legacy metagame, leading with Wrenn and Six
and the Pauper all-star Arcum Astrolabe.

The Tournament as a Whole

Temur Delver   12-7 2-10 8-4 6-3 6-3 4-3 4-3 6-2 6-2 1-4 6-3 3-6 2-4
Four-Color Control 7-12   6-3 2-1 2-1 3-3 6-1 3-3 1-0 3-1 2-2 0-2 1-1 1-2
Golgari Depths 10-2 3-6   1-2 1-2 0-1 1-1 1-2 0-2 1-0 0-3 1-0 0-4
Izzet Delver 4-8 1-2 2-1   2-0 0-1 2-0 2-2 4-0 2-3 0-1 1-2 3-1 0-1
Jeskai Mentor 3-6 1-2 2-1 0-2   2-4 2-2 1-0 2-0 2-1 1-2 4-0
Storm 3-6 3-3 1-0 1-0 4-2   2-1 1-1 1-0 2-1 1-1 1-1 0-1 1-0
Dimir Death’s Shadow 3-4 1-6 1-1 0-2 2-2 1-2   0-2 0-2 1-0 3-0 2-2 0-2
Selesnya Depths 3-4 3-3 2-1 2-2 0-1 1-1 2-0   1-0 3-1 2-0 1-0 1-0
Azorius Stoneblade 2-6 0-1 2-0 0-4 0-2 0-1 2-0 0-1   2-0 1-1 1-0 1-0
Sneak and Show 2-6 1-3 0-1 3-2 1-2 0-1 1-3   1-0 0-1
Mono-Red Prison 4-1 2-2 3-0 1-0 1-2 1-1 0-2 0-2 0-1   1-2 2-0
Burn 3-6 2-0 2-1 2-1 1-1 0-3 1-1 2-1   1-0 1-0
Lands 6-3 1-1 0-1 1-3 1-0 2-2 0-1 0-1 1-0 0-2 0-1   1-0
Death and Taxes 4-2 2-1 4-0 1-0 0-4 0-1 2-0 0-1 0-1 0-1 0-1  
Temur Delver
Four-Color Control
Golgari Depths
Izzet Delver
Jeskai Mentor
Selesnya Depths
Azorius Stoneblade
Sneak and Show
Mono-Red Prison
Death and Taxes
Weighted Win (%)

We thought it might be helpful to include this week a brief discussion on
how to read these charts, after listening to the latest episode of the
Arena Decklists podcast. On the right hand side of the chart we have a
color chart – this is meant to represent not how many match results there
are but to communicate at a glance whether the matchup is very positive to
positive to neutral to less positive to not positive to extremely not

This was also based on Day 2 results, so as you can see, the numbers are
pretty sparse in a field as diverse as Legacy can field. We wanted to dial
in on some of the more represented decks to discuss what is happening in

While you might see Golgari Depths performing well against the top dog of
Temur Delver, it didn’t have a strong performance against the rest of the
field, only going 41 percent. Notably, Golgari Depths was absent from the
top finishing elimination rounds with the exception of Olivier Hamel’s
Hogaak Depths hybrid build. What explains this?

Besides the traditional bad Death and Taxes matchup, it was likely that
players were simply prepared to fight them. Ed Demicco’s Izzet Delver is
packing four Stifle, along with two Vapor Snag in his 75. Mono-Red Prison
players were also prepared to fight Golgari Depths with either speed or
Blood Moon, as you saw happen to Ross Merriam on camera versus Nicolas
Beland. Apart from an excellent matchup versus Temur Delver, Golgari Depths
struggled against nearly every other archetype in the tournament, including
Four-Color Control (recently integrating Tyrant’s Scorn into its sideboard
package). Golgari Depths right now is looking for a very specific meta-game
– we think it might still be a good choice for a team tournament
considering how Temur Delver has cemented itself as the preferred Delver
style of deck entering SCG Syracuse, but against a wider field, Golgari
Depths has a target on its back and players are capitalizing on it.

Temur Delver players might need to add more Crop Rotation and Karakas to
their sideboards to effectively fight Depths at this point, though. Outside
of Golgari Depths, Temur Delver had an excellent tournament. For being one
of the most represented decks, it did very well against most of its
competitors. No longer a Nimble Mongoose deck, Temur Delver has become a
Delver deck built entirely around Wrenn and Six. Where players will need
to explore more is between two significant tech options: Dreadhorde
Arcanist, as per Noah Walker’s list, or Hexdrinker. Both offer significant
potential, but Hexdrinker interests us more as a way to punch through
opposing True-Name Nemesis – also a staple of the deck that now can
confidently hit land drops with Wrenn and Six. From a dead archetype to
the most represented deck at SCG Syracuse, Temur Delver is back thanks to
Wrenn and Six.

Not content with bringing back Temur Delver from the Ashes, Wrenn and Six
has of course also invigorated the “control” deck of Modern these days:
Four-Color or “Snow” Control. Brier’s list also includes a newer emerging
powerhouse in these lists, Plague Engineer. While Brier was the top
finishing Four-Color Control player and there’s a significant gulf between
him and next finishing player who was also playing main deck Plague
Engineers, this seems like a crucial development in what would’ve been
Grixis Control a year ago. Except one important variation: this Grixis
Control isn’t vulnerable to Blood Moon and is much, much less vulnerable to
Back to Basics when it comes to casting its spells. Astrolabe wasn’t only
present in the Wrenn and Six decks, but it came to 15 percent of the
decks represented in Day 2, which is an impressive for a new common.

Apart from Astrolabe though, the format has had a Deathrite Shaman-esque
effect from Wrenn and Six as it has been homogenizing lists – even Aaron
Barich played Wrenn and Six in her build of Temur Infect. 37 percent of
the Day 2 decks were playing Wrenn and Six. Outside of a singleton each
of Ancient Grudge and Pyroblast, Wrenn and Six was the only red card in
her list. While Wrenn and Six does require more work to play than
Deathrite Shaman, its effect on deck lists can’t be understated in how it
has shifted the format towards a more midrange approach. What then emerges
from the top three decks is a rock-paper-scissors circle where Temur Delver
does well against Four-Color Control, which does well against Golgari
Depths, which does well against Temur Delver. Wrenn and Six on one side,
Dark Depths on the other.

Not all decks have become homogenized from the tournament, and that’s where
we want to direct your attention closest. These Selesnya Depths and Naya
Loam decks emerged as serious, though perhaps still untuned competitors to
the Legacy metagame. It might best be described as an evolution of Abzan
Maverick decks blending with Golgari Depths’ focus on combo-ing off, these
two new players to the field also benefitted from Wrenn and Six while not
playing blue cards. These Selesnya decks did much better than their Golgari

SCG Syracuse

Winrate vs the field

Golgari Depths


Selesnya Depths


Selesnya Depths decks seemed more prepared to at least fight the hate as
players were anticipating Golgari Depths being a deck to be hated out in
SCG Syracuse.

Part of the reason this is so interesting to us is when we start to look at
the metagame from a different angle:

Naya Loam was the clear breakout deck of SCG Syracuse.

This build in particular leans into amping up the power and a lot of
synergies that all work just slightly better together than the older Abzan
Maverick lists would have been, and attacks from a variety of angles.
Knight of Reliquary provides the tutor package, including Field of the Dead
as a grinding option against control decks, Exploration and Wasteland
working together to win Wrenn and Six grinds, and the Dark Depths package
as another fast combo attack side. It’s an impressive package when all put
together, since it can win from any variety of angles. We’re excited to see
where more this deck can move in the coming weeks as it definitely deserves
more attention.

If we reach for the “best deck” of the format, despite Temur Delver’s
excellent matchup against Four-Color Control, it struggled a little bit to
put on a dominant performance. Decks with small metagame shares offer more
interesting lines to us, such as Mono-Red Prison and Bomberman and Izzet

SCG Syracuse

Winrate vs the field

Izzet Delver


Temur Delver


Four-Color Delver


If Izzet Delver can work more to solve its difficult Temur Delver matchup,
it can be a fine choice for a tournament against the wider field.


This tournament was just the start of what we think will be an emerging
dominance of Wrenn and Six in the Legacy format. This pushing the format
towards midrange places means that there’s going to be continued strong
possibilities for Golgari Depths and other Dark Depths strategies, or decks
like Storm and Elves and… Hogaak? Tariq Patel’s 7th place finish should not
be taken as an aberration. Hogaak decks, basically ported directly from
Modern and powered with Bridge from Below, are just emerging as consistent
top 8 finishers in the MTGO Legacy Challenges.

Our next report will be in October for SCG Indianapolis, for post- Throne of Eldraine Modern. With the full spoiler poised to be
dropped as we write this, we’re incredibly excited for what this set might
offer Modern in power level – creature based combo decks with Once Upon a
Time, Mox Opal decks with Emry, Lurker of the Loch, and as always with any
new set, more sideboard cards for Humans. We’ll see you then with more Mox