Posts Tagged ‘legacy’

This week in Magic: Feelings, Bannings, and PPTQS

treasure cruise

Welcome back to another “This week in Magic.” For our time together we’ll be covering several topics. To start things off let me share my experience at the first PPTQ held at the Abington store on January 11. On a Sunday, I felt we had a pretty good turn out. I can’t remember exactly how many people showed up, but I believe the attendance was somewhere around 50. I can definitely tell you there were six rounds of swiss with a cut to the Top 8.


Losing gracefully

The reason I want to share my experience at the PPTQ is because I was reminded about something important. As Magic players, I think it’s safe to say that we’re mostly competitive players by nature. By this I mean losing is not an option we take lightly. Winning is obviously preferred. If losing does happen, we’d rather not talk about it and, sometimes, we’d rather just move on.


However, at some point or another, we’re going to have to accept losing and take it with grace. In fact, it’s the only way, as players, we’re going to get better at the game. Let me pose a question to many of you out there. This question doesn’t just apply to those who play Magic. This question applies to anyone who plays any kind of game.


What tends to be your initial reaction when you lose? Do you rage and flip tables? Are you the type that suddenly becomes quiet and refuses to talk to even your closest friends? Well, whatever happens, I feel like keeping it in is the worst thing you can do.


I lost a close match at that PPTQ. Actually, I felt I should never have lost that match. I admit I went into thinking I was going to win, or at least, I should win. However, I also reminded myself of terrible past experiences where I lost matches to players who had only been playing for a couple of months.


When I lost that match, time stood still for me. I imagined flipping the table at screaming at the top of my lungs. Of course, in real life this didn’t happen. I kind of just stared off into the distance. All the while my opponent had continued to talk to me expressing how he thought he shouldn’t have won that game and how lucky he was to get such a “great opening hand.”


It’s time like that which are the most humbling. I may have been a little bit distant at the very end of that match. When it was all said and done, and my slip was passed in, my friends had come up to me and asked how my last match had gone. Obviously I had replayed some of the table flipping I imagined, but, in the end, I laughed and said, “I just got my butt whipped.”


Take your loss and move on. Why is losing so important? Losing makes you such a better player both in terms of play and sportsmanship.


Recent changes to banned/restricted list

In other news, Wizards of the Cost released their latest changes to the Banned/Restricted list for all formats. For those of you who may have missed the daily memo here is a breakdown of what happened:



Standard players typically need not worry about these kind of rulings. Rarely have they been affected. However, as you can see, if you play an older format, then you may want to pay attention whenever these announcements come out.


I believe for a while we all knew out of Jeskai Ascendancy, Treasure Cruise, and Dig Through Time, that one of those was going to be banned. Right before the announcement was made, many people had made up their mind that the enchantment was most likely to get the axe. As we all know by now, this was not the case and the news certainly shook things up a bit.


Treasure Cruise is not a surprise. Like I said, it was one of three to be banned. Dig Through Time may have been a tiny bit surprising. I can see the banning of one card or the other, but to ban both at the same time caught me off guard. I can see it though. If you aren’t playing with one, you’re going to use the other. Each card has almost the same effect in regards to getting a player tons of information for a potentially small amount of mana. Banning both cards at the same time was probably the right choice.


As far as Birthing Pod is concerned, why wasn’t this banned earlier? Some may have felt that the people at Wizards needed a little more convincing. Well that certainly came in the form of Siege Rhino.


In the end, I understand why the bannings took place. It will definitely shake things up in Modern. As far as Legacy goes, I feel it just removes UR Delver from the equation. Which isn’t much if you ask me.


Upcoming events

As a quick wrap up, I just wanted to remind you all that this Friday, January 23, is the Fate Reforged Fatpack Challenge. These have been a great hit and a wonderful reason to open up more packs. So, if you think you have what it takes to take on the challenge, click here for more information about the event.


fatpack hallenge

Finally, on January 25, there will be another PPTQ held at the Abington store. The format will be Standard. Doors open at 10 AM, Registration at 11 AM, and Round 1 Pairings at 12 PM. For more information on this event, click here.


PPTQ 1252015

About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!

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‘Magic the Gathering’ Banned & Restricted List Update



Wizards of the Coast announced today their quarterly update to the Magic the Gathering Banned & Restricted list; a list of cards deemed to be, typically, too powerful to be allowed in tournament play in an effort to keep the various formats fun, diverse and healthy.


Many speculated across social media that major updates were eminent. Today’s announcement certainly lives up to that speculation.


In it’s entirety, here is the Banned & Restricted Announcement:


Announcement Date: January 19, 2015

Effective Date: January 23, 2015

Magic Online Effective Date: January 28, 2015


Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, and Birthing Pod are banned.

Golgari Grave-Troll is no longer banned.


Treasure Cruise is banned.

Worldgorger Dragon is no longer banned.


Treasure Cruise is restricted.

Gifts Ungiven is no longer restricted.

The complete list of all banned and restricted cards, by format, is here.

Next B&R Announcement: March 23, 2015


Explanation of Changes


Wizards of the Coast examines tournament results from each competitive Constructed format. When a format becomes imbalanced, we examine the cause. Sometimes, a card-drawing card can be too efficient. The decks that draw cards so efficiently push out many other decks, limiting the field to the strong decks that best use those card drawers and decks that don’t play in interactive games with those strong decks. In that case, the best option might be to ban the overly efficient card drawer.

Since Wizards looks to limit the number of cards banned, each format is evaluated on its own merits. The same card might be banned in some formats, and not others, in a way that might appear uneven. That happens because the card is banned in the formats where, in practice, it is problematic.

Here are our changes:


Decks playing the powerful card drawers have been winning a lot, and pushing a lot of other decks down in competitive play. Blue-Red Delver decks, playing efficient creatures, card drawers, burn, and some permission spells have been the most successful. Also, decks focused on more burn, or combination decks using Jeskai Ascendancy, have done well. However, as these decks have occupied a large portion of the competitive metagame, the overall variety of successful decks has been suppressed. It is imbalanced enough that Wizards of the Coast has decided to act. In Modern, these cards are easy replacements for one another—while a Delver deck might use Treasure Cruise overDig Through Time, banning one but not the other would do little to change the deck. Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise are banned.

Over the past year, Birthing Pod decks have won significantly more Grand Prix than any other Modern decks and compose the largest percentage of the field. Each year, new powerful options are printed, most recently Siege Rhino. Over time, this creates a growing gap between the strength of the Pod deck and other creature decks. Pod won five of the twelve Grand Prix over the past year, including winning the last two. The high percentage of the field playing Pod suppresses decks, especially other creature decks, that have an unfavorable matchup. In the interest of supporting a diverse format, Birthing Pod is banned.

When cards are banned from a format, Wizards investigates whether there is a banned card that, if not banned, might add new decks to competitive play. We look for cards that are unlikely to add power to existing top decks, but instead add new strategies or augment decks that are not currently as successful. Golgari Grave-Troll is very powerful in a deck based on getting a lot of cards into its graveyard. Replacing a card draw with dredge 6 is a terrific rate. However, that type of deck has not been as successful in Modern tournaments recently. While taking such a card off the banned list has some risks, this is a good time to see what happens. Golgari Grave-Troll is no longer banned.


Blue-Red Delver decks have been so successful at tournament play that they are hurting the diversity of the format. While other decks can have some success, the diversity is significantly less than it had been. Treasure Cruise is banned.

Worldgorger Dragon has a strange and powerful interaction with Animate Dead. This used to be too powerful for Legacy. It is not clear that this is more powerful than animating Griselbrand, and this interaction may add an interesting variant. Worldgorger Dragon is no longer banned.


Again, Blue-Red Delver decks have been so successful at tournament play that they are hurting the diversity of the format. Treasure Cruise is restricted.

Years ago, Gifts Ungiven was dominating Vintage tournament play. However, this has not been the case recently, and the card might invigorate some less-played Vintage decks. Gifts Ungiven is no longer restricted.


What do you think of these changes? Are you happy with them? Sound off in the comments below!








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TODAY in Abington – Grand Prix New Jersey Trial

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Battleground Games & Hobbies – Abington MA


Format: LEGACY
Date: November 1st, 2014 a Saturday
Time: Doors at 10:00am, Registration at 11:00am, Round 1 pairings at 12:00pm
Entrance Fee: $20.00 per person

1423 Bedford Street
Abington MA 02351

Parking on site

Google Maps
Battleground’s Facebook Page

This event is being run as a Grand Prix Trial for New Jersey:
• Decklists required
• Cut to top 8

Prizes will be paid to the top finishers in Store Credit usable in store or online!

Don’t forget to check out our Online Store for your Magic singles!



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Your New Favorite Format – Part 1 by Ken Briscoe

This is not a request, nor is it negotiable

Despite my last (first) article laying out why Modern is awesome, I did mention that Legacy is actually my favorite format. Today I want to give you my first set of reasons why this is the case. I’ll also leave you with a decklist that may not be one of the premier decks in the format, but which isn’t uncompetitive, yet still fairly cheap and at least semi-competitive when compared to other decks.


Legacy is fun

How could this not be the first reason why Legacy is so good? Fun means different things to different people, but let me ask you a few questions. Almost no matter what type of player you are, at least one of these things should appeal to you, and they’re all common occurrences in Legacy.


-Have you ever paid one mana to put Griselbrand into play, paid seven life to draw seven cards, then paid one more mana to put Emrakul into play? Oh yeah, and attacking for 22! Oh yeah, on turn three!
-Have you ever locked your opponent out of the game by destroying most if not all of their lands while attacking for two – with Thalia, so when they do draw a land, they still can’t play their spells?
-Have you ever drawn your card for the turn and had to map out a series of rituals, cantrips, and tutors? Not to mention decide which of your win conditions is most likely to be successful. Do you need more cards at the expense of your life total (Ad Nauseam) or is your stocked graveyard enough to let you win (Past in Flames)?
-Have you ever locked down a game by activating Jace, the Mind Sculptor’s 0 ability over and over again, all the while ticking up Liliana of the Veil?
-Have you ever won the game without casting a single spell from your hand?


No matter what you find fun, there’s a competitive deck out there that will let you scratch that itch.


Legacy is popular

Let’s start at the local level. Did you know that Battleground’s Abington location runs weekly Legacy events on Thursday nights? Then on a national stage, the Open Series Legacy events have been averaging nearly 350 people since the beginning of the year which, historically, has had some of the highest turnouts for these events. One of the events even took place in a snowstorm that dropped a foot of snow on Indianapolis.


Not that it has any effect on the local scene, but Legacy may be even more popular in Europe. The Europeans tend to gravitate towards older formats, so it’s no surprise that Legacy is continuing that trend on the other side of the pond.


Beyond having multiple chances to play Legacy locally, if you’re willing to travel a couple hours in any direction, you could conceivably play a good sized event at least every weekend, sometimes doubling up on Saturday and Sunday. And even if you can’t make the trip, all SCG Opens are live streamed, as are some other occasional regional events. This offers you the ability to at least watch some sweet, sweet, Legacy Magic even if you can’t make it out to the event.


Legacy is expensive


angry mob fun run

Whoa! Put away the pitchforks! Let me explain. I know that even after I do, this might leave a sour taste in your mouth, but I do firmly believe that the (sometimes outrageous) cost of some Legacy staples can be a good thing.
The fact that some of these cards are on the Reserve List (meaning that Wizards of the Coast has promised to never reprint them, or any functionally identical card), or simply too powerful to reasonably be considered for a reprint means that supply will never go up. Assuming one of these staples doesn’t suddenly fall out of favor and become unplayable (which is unlikely, because we’re talking about cards ingrained in the format, not fringe cards), the card will maintain its value. Or at least a majority of it. So when I open my wallet to buy one of these cards, I know that it’s not going to be worthless tomorrow. This is the financial game we all play with Magic cards, but Legacy staples – specifically ones on the Reserve List, and more specifically lands on the Reserve List – are the safest bet in Magic, in my opinion.


And this isn’t just me blowing smoke. I’ve personally invested in Reserve List cards that I know I will rarely play. I’ve done it because I trust that WotC will keep their word and not reprint these cards, and that they will continue to make Magic great, thus keeping interest (and necessarily, demand) high. But I’ll let the #MTGFinance folks chime in on that.


An interesting side effect caused by the value of the cards: due to the fact that the cards can be pricey, players tend to take better care of their cards. In Legacy, you generally see more pile shuffling and “mash” shuffling than riffling. This doesn’t bend the cards. Most players have also taken to double-sleeving their decks for a little extra sturdiness in the sleeve as well as insurance against spillage of their Red Bull or Mountain Dew. This means that when I trade for your Karakas or Show and Tell, it’s probably in better condition than it would be if it was only worth $10. Because you know that if you take care of it, you can get a premium for it in trade.


Again, because it’s expensive, Legacy players who are financially invested tend to also be emotionally invested. For the most part, Legacy players just love the format, and that shows when playing a match. Ever go to a PTQ and play against that one guy who just can’t seem to ever find fun in the game? You know, the one who doesn’t say anything besides “No Blocks” or “Go” for the entire match and sarcastically says “Nice draw” on the turn you kill him? Just unfun all around. Well, those players exist in Legacy too, but there are far fewer of them. Legacy players care about the format, their cards, and their experience playing. Sure, we want to win, and that’s a primary motivation for entering any tournament. But it’s not all about that. It’s about the experience of playing with some of the most powerful cards, combos, and decks to have ever existed.


The opposite happened last weekend at the SGG Worcester Legacy Open. I played against a few players I’d never met or seen before, and one of them was the nicest, most easygoing, laid-back, let’s-have-fun type of player I’ve ever encountered. He told me he doesn’t play Standard because he doesn’t like the general attitude. Say what you will about competitive Magic players, but I find that the older the format, the more fun you will have on a personal basis with your opponents.


Wrapping Up and a Bonus Decklist

I’m not even sure I’m half-way done with what’s turning out to be a long list on why Legacy is so good, but I’ve been capped on the number of words, and I think I’m already beyond it. So, I’ll leave you with a decklist and then be on my way.


Here’s a semi-competitive decklist that you could use as a starting point for getting into Legacy without breaking the bank.
Note: I’m going to assume that you’re not starting from scratch and have either Modern cards (fetchlands, for example) or a collection that you can use to trade up for Legacy cards.


UG Infect
4 Blighted Agent

4 Glistener Elf

4 Noble Hierarch

2 Sylvan Library

1 Berserk

4 Brainstorm

3 Crop Rotation

4 Daze

4 Invigorate

4 Vines of Vastwood

4 Gitaxian Probe

2 Force of Will

2 Pendelhaven

4 Verdant Catacombs

4 Misty Rainforest

1 Blinkmoth Nexus

1 Forest

4 Inkmoth Nexus

4 Breeding Pool


Obviously there are sub-optimal numbers in this list, but as a budget-friendly(ish) starting point, it’s not bad when compared to other Legacy decks.


Were I starting here I would look to improve the deck in the following ways, in this order (so as to maximize the number of decks you can play in the meantime while you continue moving down the list).


-Four Tropical Islands
-Four Stifles. These may not belong in the deck, but they’re cheap and played in more than one Legacy deck. They’re also relatively cheap now with the reprinting in Conpiracy.
-Four Wasteland. This deck may not want four but maybe a couple. These three items on the list will get you closer to playing one of a few different Delver decks.
-Two Force of Will. This may be self-explanatory. Force of Will is the quintessential Legacy card.
-Berserk. You probably don’t want a full set, maybe just one or two more.


When that’s all said and done, even this deck is an investment, but if you buy cards one at a time over the course of, say, a year, you’re looking at something like $30 a week. To some of you, this may be doable, but to others it may not. But that’s OK! The deck above, as-is, is more than capable of winning a small local three- or four-round event. It may not take down a 10-round SCG Open, but it will be able to hold its own.


Next time, I’ll have another set of reasons why you should be playing Legacy. Alongside two cheaper, more competitive Legacy decklists!


Thanks for reading.




About the author

Ken Briscoe is a local competitor of the Abington store and lover of all things “Magic: The Gathering.” He began playing “Magic” during Revised, and quit for about 6 years. He then picked things right back up at Mirrodin block. For real work, Ken is an IT Consultant. He is also a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan. He attended Syracuse University and Bridgewater State. but not at the same time. His latest accomplishments include beating Paul Calder last week in fantasy baseball.


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