With Born of the Gods on the horizon, many of us are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, excitedly thinking about what kind of goodies we can expect for Legacy. Some of us will find new toys for our existing decks. Some of us may even find entirely new archetypes. Some of us might find a place for Ashiok, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with any of this. The truth of it is, though, that we probably need to temper our expectations a little bit (or at least I do), because sometimes we can get a little carried away during spoiler season. Maybe it’s actually not a bad thing to let our imaginations run wild, but today, I’m going to try to ground some of our expectations in reality. To do so, I’ve carefully combed through each (non-core) expansion from Theros alllll the way back to Scars of Mirrodin, and pulled out EVERY (okay, I probably missed a couple) card that sees Legacy play. In this case, I defined “seeing Legacy play” as putting up at least three top 32 appearances in a Legacy Open or a Grand Prix; Invitationals were omitted because it kind of pollutes your data when half the rounds are played in Standard (yes, you can use the “x-1 or better” lists, but there are byes, and pairings are affected by Standard, and it’s possible for someone who 4-0’s Legacy to still miss day two, so it’s easier to just drop those data points). If top 32 seems a bit too lenient to you, I will disclose that most of these cards actually have three or more top 16 appearances, with only about five or so needing me to stretch it to top 32 appearances. Anyways, here are the results!

Theros (2/229)

Ashen Rider
Swan Song

Dragon’s Maze (2/141)

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
Wear // Tear

Gatecrash (5/229)
Balustrade Spy
Dimir Charm
Domri Rade
Enter the Infinite
Thespian’s Stage

Return to Ravnica (8/249)

Abrupt Decay
Deathrite Shaman
Detention Sphere
Izzet Charm
Golgari Charm
Rest in Peace
Slaughter Games
Supreme Verdict

Avacyn Restored (14/229)
Angel of Glory’s Rise

Banishing Stroke (I know, WTF, right?)

Blood Artist
Bonfire of the Damned
Cavern of Souls
Craterhoof Behemoth
Entreat the Angels
Restoration Angel
Sigarda, Host of Herons
Temporal Mastery

Thunderous Wrath
Vexing Devil

Dark Ascension (7/158)
Faithless Looting
Grafdigger’s Cage
Huntmaster of the Fells
Lingering Souls
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Thought Scour

Innistrad (10/249)
Delver of Secrets
Fiend Hunter
Garruk Relentless
Geist of Saint Traft
Laboratory Maniac
Liliana of the Veil
Moorland Haunt
Past in Flames
Purify the Grave
Snapcaster Mage

New Phyrexia (17/165)
Chancellor of the Annex

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Gitaxian Probe
Gut Shot
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
Karn Liberated
Mental Misstep
Noxious Revival
Phyrexian Metamorph
Surgical Extraction

Sword of War and Peace

Vapor Snag
Vault Skirge

Mirrodin Besieged (14/145)
Blightsteel Colossus
Blue Sun’s Zenith
Go for the Throat
Green Sun’s Zenith
Hero of Bladehold
Inkmoth Nexus
Leonin Relic-Warder
Mirran Crusader
Phyrexian Revoker
Signal Pest
Sword of Feast and Famine
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Thrun, the Last Troll

Scars of Mirrodin (11/229)

Ezuri, Renegade Leader
Koth of the Hammer
Mox Opal
Myr Battlesphere
Nihil Spellbomb
Ratchet Bomb

Sword of Body and Mind
Wurmcoil Engine


I know, some of the cards on this list are surprising. Some of these cards made an impact when they were young, while everyone was still eager to give them a shot, only to later go back to the old, reliable cards that they were used to. Resto is a good example of that, showing up in quite a few winning lists in her early days, most notably in Stoneblade builds, but eventually, players decided that four mana was too much for a 3/4 that you need another creature in play to get full value out of. The older sets also might, at first glance, appear to have the inherent advantage of the fact that players have had more time to find the right home for these cards, or the right tools were eventually later added to give these cards a home, for instance, Lab Maniac didn’t find a home until Return to Ravnica block; then Enter the Infinite and Balustrade Spy suddenly gave him TWO homes. For the most part, though, it seemed (sorry, didn’t track the actual numbers for this, hence the word “seemed”) that it was far more common for a card to make an immediate splash, only to fall out of favor as decks adjusted to the most optimal builds (see: all of the miracles aside from Terminus and Entreat).

For the most part, it seems that in recent sets, the amount of cards that make it into Legacy has slowed to a trickle. I fear that this trend may continue, based on the overall power level in Theros, but there is always the chance that a card shows up that doesn’t have the right support cards in Standard, but can really take off with access to twenty years of history (e.g. Jin-Gitaxias, Past in Flames, Enter the Infinite). One interesting thing of note is that two sets with a large number of Legacy-playables are sets with mechanics that let you “cheat” on paying mana costs via Phyrexian mana and the miracle mechanic. Even Legacy-Modern Superstars, Deathrite and Lily (before rotation), were often unimpressive in Standard. Perhaps, we’ll get some new cards that also help increase the depressingly low numbers from the previous three sets.

Evil Tim’s Week in Review

Here’s a new section I’m going to add to the end of all (or most, we’ll see how it goes) of my articles, where I just talk about the magical, planeswalking crap I did over the last week.


I’ve joined a local group that regularly meets every Sunday for powered cube, and I have to say that it’s been a blast. I actually skipped a PTQ last Sunday because I wanted to cube, instead. It’s great to sometimes just sit back and play the game with buddies, enjoying a cold one, instead of always grinding, whether for cash, store credit, packs, Planeswalker points, whatever! And powered cube is A TON of fun, as I found out from how much money I spent during Holiday Cube on MODO. One of the things that limited purists will often say what makes the format so great is that you will never play the same game twice. One of the things that people like myself (and probably Matt Jones) hate about limited is all the dumb, underpowered cards that you have to play and play around because they are suddenly decent by comparison to some of the even worse cards that you didn’t know existed. Cube is like the best of both worlds, because the games are always different, but the cards are always good! The other thing I love about Cube is that it takes the “casualness” of EDH, but removes the whole element of not actually trying your hardest to win or intentionally diluting your strategy with sub-optimal cards (at least this is the impression many of the people who I’ve played EDH with give me; except that one jackass that wouldn’t let me cut his deck, then proceeded to kill the table on turn one).

Monday Night Legacy

I played that UR Omnitell deck that I posted about last week (+1 Preordain, -1 Dream Halls). Holy crap, is Show and Tell even an unfair card! I ended up going 3-1, beating Miracleblade, losing to LED Dredge, and then beating a grindy Junk Loam deck and burn. All of the wins were incredibly quick 2-0s. The loss was also a fairly quick 2-0. I couldn’t believe how much time I had to kill between rounds. If you like having lots of time to bird other peoples matches and shoot the shit with friends between rounds, THIS is the deck for you! It also doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty good, as I, an inexperienced pilot, thought it played rather well. There are probably a lot of little nuances to the deck that I still don’t get, and I won’t get by the end of my two-week experiment, but I think an inexperienced pilot could achieve an 80% level of mastery (however the hell we decide to quantify that) with this archetype much faster than they could with something like TES or Miracles. That said, I found it fun to play, and I’m excited to bring it back, next week. Who knows, maybe if I get overconfident with a 4-0, I’ll bring it to Baltimore, instead of my ol’ faithful.

Potential choices for next deck: Tezzeret Stax, BUG Control, UWR Delver, RUG Delver (if I get a pair of ‘goyfs)


Now that Cube is done on MODO, I’m back to grinding Dailies. And mirroring my resolution in paper, I’ve also picked up a new deck in Legacy. I discovered that Candelabras cost WAAAAY less online than in real life, and that if you own Forces, Flusterstorms, and blue fetches, you already own most of the deck. Yep, I’m talking about High Tide, baby! So far, my results haven’t been the greatest, but I feel like I have quite a bit of learning to do with this kind of deck. I went 2-2 in a Daily on Monday, where the first round was punted to the clock. I had JUST gotten home from Monday Night Legacy, and in true degenerate fashion, I sprinted up the stairs to my apartment, dashed to my computer, logged into MODO, traded packs for tickets, and JOINED THE DAILY WITH SECONDS TO SPARE. Then I needed to use the bathroom, and get a drink, and change and settle myself, etc. so there goes five minutes. Sure enough, I run out of clock, while going off. That clock factor will definitely improve with experience; this seems like a deck that rewards heavy repetition. (hey! that sounds like MOST of Legacy!) On Tuesday, I ended up going 0-2 drop, running into the buzzsaw that is Joe Lossett’s new take on Miracles, playing a single maindeck Plow, along with a spicy maindeck Pyroblast. (and he calls it “Cheater Miracles!”) In the middle of writing this article, I am 2-1 on Wednesday. Here’s to hoping I can put up a 3-1! oh wait, my round started and I finished it and won! Wooo! Getting the hang of this deck!

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