Commander 2015 – Legacy Initial Thoughts

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Now that all the Commander 2015 spoilers have been revealed, I can’t help but notice that this year’s set is feeling pretty underwhelming to me. In fact, all things considered I can’t think of a previous Commander product that had less desirables from a Constructed standpoint. The Confluences are the closest thing to Legacy playable – if they weren’t all four mana or greater in casting cost.

I mean, think about it – even the red Confluence (Fiery Confluence) would be INCREDIBLE in Legacy if it cost just one mana less at three mana, even if that cost were 1RR. For its effect and limited amount of formats it sees play in I don’t think it would have been much to ask. However at four mana it might not be able to get there. Out of all the Confluences, I think it has the highest chance of seeing Legacy play but the jury is still out on the Confluences until results roll in.

Other than the Confluences, I’m not seeing anything pop out to me immediately as Legacy format staples like we have in the past releases (Containment Priest, True-Name Nemesis, Flusterstorm). These cards were all built with Legacy in mind, and everyone knew it even as the cards were being spoiled. I’m sure something from this set will make its way into Legacy or Vintage, so let’s take a look and see if we can make the case for any other cards in the set. First though, I want to finish my thoughts on Fiery Confluence.

Fiery Confluence

If any card makes the cut in Legacy, I think it is going to be this one since it is the cheapest. It is extremely versatile in the format and will shine best in Burn decks alongside of Eidolon of the Great Revel, though maybe out the sideboard more than the main deck since this card has more options for handling a wider range of decks. I’ve briefly mentioned some of my other thoughts on this card (and all the Confluences in general) above so let’s move along to my next pick on power level in Constructed from this set.

Karlov of the Ghost Council

This card feels like it is going to get out of hand very fast in the right deck. Unfortunately, Legacy ‘life gain’ isn’t really thing – yet. I wonder if it might slot into something like Deadguy Ale and totally transform the deck around the incredible ability.

Not only does the card get bigger, but you can eventually use those +1/+1 counters later in the game to get rid of any creature on the battlefield! All for two mana. Definitely feels like Legacy to me.

The downside to Karlov is his Legendary status, so that limits the amount of copies you could see in a deck. Still though, Karlov interacts with cards that randomly gain you life like Umezawa’s Jitte and might slot into Death and Taxes in the right metagame. I really think you need a deck built around him to make full use of his ability. Only the future will tell!

Scourge of Nel Toth

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This card seems like it takes too much work to get online, but you never know. Dredge might be able to take advantage of a card like this in the right situation.  It reminds me of a cross between Tombstalker and Delraich, though better in both cases. Not only is this card a 6/6 flyer, but you only need to sacrifice two creatures rather than three black creatures.

It does take some work to get online, so Legacy might not appreciate this card immediately. We may not see it in the format, but if more support in the future is printed we could very well see this in a deck at some point.

Centaur Vincrasher

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Yes, I realize that this card isn’t Dark Depths however I still feel like it could fit into Life from the Loam strategies quite well in Legacy. Lands might even be able to make use of this card, maybe out of the sideboard if the opponent still expects the Dark Depths strategy to take over the game.

Actually, now that I think about it this card could also probably fit into other green Legacy decks as well – the centaur’s recursion triggers when any land is put into any graveyard, and fetchlands are so rampant in Legacy that it might be worth it for slower green decks to play. This guy quickly becomes huge while also having built-in recursion, which isn’t something we see very often.

I’m sure people will experiment with this card, and I really hope this breaks into Legacy because Loam decks should be able to capitalize on the card’s great recursion, along with other decks that seek to create grindy matchups where there is a ton of removal.

Mizzix’s Mastery

This card blows Past in Flames out of the water! Being able to straight-up cast all the instants and sorceries in your graveyard rather than give them flashback is so, so much more powerful. The best part is that you can also cast it for the regular cost if you need to recast an instant/sorcery in a pinch.

I definitely think that Storm now has a new tool to play around with, and I believe it will replace the single Past in Flames copy in the deck since it is so much easier to re-cast your whole graveyard once you overload this pseudo-Yawgmoth’s Will.

An Aside – Legacy’s Future

With SCG restructuring their tournament series, in both rebranding the series and cutting back on Legacy events, it is starting to feel like more and more like Legacy is slowly going away.

Not only are the events being cut back, but we also constantly have to worry about counterfeits entering the community. I feel like we’re going to see more announcements like the one that happened this weekend at GP: Seattle as the counterfeits continue to enter the market and community at large. How many people do you think were playing with counterfeits and didn’t get caught? How many people do you think weren’t even intentionally playing with counterfeits and went unnoticed, and are even unaware of it themselves until someone with a discerning eye gives them the unfortunate news? It’s definitely a wake-up that yes, your older, reserved list cards are being created as knock-offs for fractions of the price. With such easy access to these proxies and the improvement of the creation process, I feel like more and more players are going to start to become attracted to playing with proxies as the price of the reserved list staples increases.

I think this is why Star City Games is cutting back on Legacy, as players will have less incentive to purchase these proxies if they don’t need them for a tournament setting. It sucks to think about but I think it makes the most sense. Even if it decreases the market prices of cards like dual lands, the rise of Modern as the eternal format of choice (which guarantees reprints) and the continuation and improvement of Chinese (and other) proxies means that less Legacy support makes sense in order to prevent the mass purchases of these cards for tournament play.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the future, but problems always have creative solutions. I’m sure if Legacy is demanded by enough players then exceptions will be made, one way or another, to keep the format alive. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Commander 2015 – Legacy Initial Thoughts”

  1. “I definitely think that Storm now has a new tool to play around with, and I believe it will replace the single Past in Flames copy in the deck since it is so much easier to re-cast your whole graveyard once you overload this pseudo-Yawgmoth’s Will.”

    I highly, highly doubt that Mizzix’s Mastery will replace Past in Flames. You are completely overlooking a key interaction in the deck: Past in Flames can still be cast from the graveyard even after you’ve discarded your hand to get mana from Lion’s Eye Diamond.

    If you’re sitting there with 3 black mana and a Lion’s Eye Diamond in play, which would you rather have as your only card in hand: Mizzix’s Mastery or Past in Flames? The answer is obvious: Past in Flames, because you can cast it even after you crack the Lion’s Eye Diamond for mana.

    Not to mention, Past in Flames only asks that you have 6 upfront mana (at least 1 of which is red) when flashing it back: 5 to cast it, and at least 1 more mana to continue casting rituals from your graveyard. Mizzix’s Mastery requires 8 upfront mana (at least 3 of which is red). Much harder to get to.

  2. Good thoughts, it is going to be hard to cast Mizzix’s Mastery in Storm if you’re discarding your hand with LED! Math isn’t exactly my strong suite so I’m glad you spelled everything out for in terms of what it takes to get going once Past in Flames is in the graveyard (obviously I don’t play Storm in Legacy haha). I was thinking you could cast tons of rituals like in a deck like TES but even most TES decks play LED too because it is so powerful.

    Mastery seems stronger than Past in Flames on the surface but the LED synergy could be what keeps PiF in the deck.

  3. I never thought about counterfeits as part of the “Legacy is fading” debate. I’m not sure it plays into a big part of the decision process but it does have some merit. It’s sad that we have to be so concerned with fakes for a lot of these older cards.

    To be honest, the counterfeit thing has changed a lot of my buying/pucatrading habits on cards I go after. I tend to target foils or new cards with the hologram if a version exists since fakes are much less prevalent for these. For instance, I make sure my Tarmogoyfs are MM2015 since this seems to be the “safest” version from being faked.

  4. The fear of Counterfeits has stopped me from upgrading my collection. I have some Revised Duals for Commander, and I love duals as an investment, but one can’t help but assume counterfeits are moving through collections (known and unknown) at ever increasing rates. I find myself stocking up on cards that are less risky (Decays, Shocks, Fetches). Shocks have some risk, but odds of getting fakes is as much lower as the price difference.

  5. Speaking of Legacy, my friend noticed the dual lands have been dropping since this summer. Is this because of SCG doing less legacy or what?

    1. Yeah, the prices of Legacy are propped up by SCG mostly. Once SCG phases out the Legacy series, I think the price of eternal cards are going to stagnate significantly.

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