I’ve never cared too much about Legacy. Grand Prix Columbus was my first Legacy event, and the only reason I went was because it was close to Gen Con,
which was the next weekend. I was also trying to collect points to grind pro levels. I luckily made Top 8, but my feelings for the format didn’t
change. I just played it because I had to.
Everything changed at Grand Prix Providence. Again, I was only there because I was Level 8 and in search of pro points. Everyone told me it was foolish
to skip the event, since it was in the US and was a format most people enjoyed. I sleeved up the same archetype as I did the year prior and once again
battled with limited knowledge of the format.
My results in the two events couldn’t have been more different, and yet my appreciation for the format also reversed this year. I missed Day Two, but I
reconnected with someone who had a big impact on my first Legacy experience.
That person was Drew Levin.
A year ago, he was just a name I’d heard, and now he’s a very good friend. This was all made possible because of Legacy. It’s interesting because he
had such a big impact on my life, and I didn’t even know it. It took me almost an entire year to figure it out.
Back at GP Columbus, the famous Craig Wescoe incident occurred, resulting in Drew’s disqualification. It ruined one person’s weekend, but made another
person’s weekend amazing.
That person was me.
I was going to end up in ninth place, taking home some cash and four pro points. However the difference between four and five pro points really
mattered, as the extra point would have put me at 30 points, giving me an appearance fee and a free flight to Pro Tour Amsterdam in the next month. It
didn’t hurt that it would end up tying me for the Player of the Year thing, but who’s counting?
I knew I couldn’t make Top 8 of the event. I took apart my deck and was about to leave the site. All of a sudden, I heard my name called, and I had no
clue how to react. It was mathematically impossible. I decided I was the luckiest man alive and got my deck back in order.
As I was doing so, a kid came up to me and told me to win the whole thing for him. I figured he was just a very big fan and told him I would try. He
told me very assertively that “maybe” was not a good enough answer and that I would have to win. Again, I could only say that I would try and that I
had to get ready for Top 8. I had no clue that this was in fact the kid who got disqualified.
I ended up punting in the Top 8 against Tomoharu Saito and losing in the quarters. I didn’t make it up to the kid but didn’t even know what I was
fighting for. All I knew was that I got lucky.
The next time I talked with Drew was in Providence earlier this year at the GP. I ended up doing poorly because of a bad deck choice and realized that
if I’d just spent a small amount of time working on the format, I would have known so much more and done much better. As I was talking about this, Drew
was there and agreed with me. He knew with a little help, I’d be able to do something with the format.
We reconnected again on that weekend when we shared a taxi to the airport. I was on my way to Singapore for more Magic while he was going back to the
SCG Open grind, ready to dominate more Legacy. He again brought up getting me into Legacy and that he would be more than happy to help.
This got me thinking. If I was to learn a format from the ground up, it would be great to document it and give it to the public as a learning tool. Why
not let the world watch me while I learn a rapidly growing format? Also, if this goes well, I could consider going to Legacy GP in Amsterdam at the end
of the year.
I ran this idea by Drew, and he liked the idea, wanting to help. Drew seems like the kind of person who wants to always improve. He wanted to help me
and learn something in the process.
I am very excited about this project because I can write about something new, rather than things I already know about. It could be
interestingâ€”not only for myself, but for othersâ€”to find out what questions I have to ask myself and how to go about discovering things.
I’ve never tried focusing on how I learn things before.
We first thought I could learn the format in a couple weeks. This was foolish because the format is so vast, and I know so little. I’m a quick learner,
but there’s a ton of information I need to catch up on.
We spent hours on the phone talking about the format, and I could tell my theory was strong, but I couldn’t back it up in games. I told him TPS was
probably one of the most powerful decks in the format. He countered by playing some games with me.
Playing a deck and knowing it is good are two different things. Decks in Legacy are nothing like the ones in Standard. Of course, all decks take skill
to play, but piloting Caw-Blade is nothing like piloting TPS. I just stared at my hand and had no idea what I was doing.
I think Drew knew this but wanted to humor himself while crushing me in matches. This was a very rude awakening to say the least. I had never felt so
powerless when playing Magic. There were so many decisions to make, and I didn’t know any of them. Of course this was our first attempt at teaching me
Legacy, so I wasn’t discouraged. I just knew we would need much more time than a couple weeks.
The other big problem was card availability. We spent days trying to get cards together on Magic Online.
All of this proved that more time would be needed.
I also realized we might be missing one thing. What if we got the public involved as well? If we had months instead of weeks, we could do this.
So my proposal is this: I won’t ask just Drew for help but anyone who wants to take part. My goal is to learn Legacy in the next couple months in order
to be strong enough in the format to take that trip to Europe and play in the end-of-the-year Legacy Grand Prix in Amsterdam.
Once a month, Drew and I will talk about our progress and what we want to work on in the coming weeks, and we’ll take advice from others in the
community. Who knows where this will go? But it will be fun to find out.
To start things off, I should tell you what I know about the format.
I have played two Legacy tournaments and both with a version of Junk. Last year, the deck seemed fine because Jace, the Mind Sculptor wasn’t getting as
much love, but this year, it was a terrible deck idea. I at least know that much.
Mental Misstep and Force of Will give blue decks the ability to have some very good starts. It seems that many games can be won just by having these
cards in your deck. Not only do they make an opponent play differently, but they also force them not to commit too much to a winning strategy. The
value this creates is something many cards only dream of. Â
On the other side of this, some decks probably should get more love; they shouldn’t fear death because of these cards. Goblins seems like a very good
strategy when decks rely on Mental Misstep, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Stoneforge Mystic to win. I need more information about the metagames, but
that deck should be played more than it is these days.
TPS is a very difficult deck to play even though it seems very powerful. I really want to take another crack at this deck once I learn more about the
format. This was the worst place to start, since it was the first deck with Brainstorm I’ve played, and it seems difficult to cast Brainstorm correctly
in this deck.
On the opposite side of this are U/W Stoneforge decks. These seem very forgiving and very high on power level. Being able to one-for-one multiple times
and then cast cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Ancestral Vision is very strong.
Hymn to Tourach was the one card I wanted to play with last year and is the reason I did well in Columbus. The card used to be very good but seems
unplayable now. Jace, the Mind Sculptor is just too strong and so are the decks being played right now. I would rather stay away from midrange if it
isn’t focused on blue cards.
The first place I want to explore is blue decks. I have stayed away from them thinking there were other decks I could be playing, but blue cards seem
too powerful not to be playing them. I just don’t know which of them I should be playing. Merfolk comes to mind, since it seems like it has multiple
favorable matchups. I might begin there until I know more about the decks in the format.
That’s all I can say about the format, and this is where Drew comes in as my teacher. I’ve played fewer than 20 matches. He is here to tell me what I
need to know and where to start. Hopefully he’s done with the jokes and making me play TPS.
Let me and Drew both know if this is something you’re interested in, as it will take up one of our articles on Premium each month until GP Amsterdam. Anyone
interested in helping out with the project should write in the forums to Drew or me with advice or suggestions they might have from reading the articles.
I’ll be back Friday on Premium with something I do know aboutâ€”Standard.