Legacy Set Review: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms

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Legacy Set Review: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms

In today's article, we are going to discuss some cards from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms that may see play in Legacy.

By João, 07/12/21, translated by Pedro, with help from our readers

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Hello young ones! Here is another set and another review (the first of many by this old man here, in Cards Realm). In case you've been living in a nuclear shelter or were swallowed by a Portable Hole and still don't know, MH2 has had a huge impact on Legacy's metagame. Cards like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Urza's Saga, and Endurance have become instant staples.
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Other cards, like Prismatic Ending, Grief, Murktide Regent, and Dragon's Rage Channeler are becoming increasingly solid in their respective archetypes.

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All this could have been expected from a set that is supposed to be a format-shaker for Modern and, just like the first Modern Horizons, for Legacy as well. But what about Adventures in the Forgotten Realms? Is there anything for Legacy besides the delicious D&D flavor, which so many of us played decades ago? (sorry for the cringe, us Legacy people are all kind of elderly) The answer will make you laugh, cry and get emotional. (clickbait moment) Just as Jack the Ripper taught us, let's go by parts.

Lands

The first land to catch our attention is Lair of the Hydra.
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Despite the drawback of entering the battlefield tapped in the mid game and late game, in the right shells, (that is, 12 Post and the like), Lair of the Hydra can be lethal. In a deck that may possibly have 13 posts (4 Cloudpost, 4 Glimmerpost, 3 Vesuva and 2 Thespian's Stage), access to mana grows exponentially throughout the game, and the card can be fetched with Crop Rotation or Primeval Titan. The question is whether adding Lair of the Hydra will in fact be a new way to win matches or just redundant, since one may have, besides 4 Primeval Titan, access to gigantic and overwhelming pandimensional beings like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and Mrs. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. The second card we chose has the boldest (some will say, hideous) design in the entire new set, Den of the Bugbear:
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Just like its partner above, it also has its ups and downs. It may enter the battlefield tapped, but also generate another creature. However, unlike the abundance of lands that may be found in 12 Post and its variants, Den of the Bugbear will find its unlikely home in a shell that, at first, is hardly synergistic with it, the good old Dragon Stompy (greetings to the folks at the nursing home), the current Big Red. With the recent addition of Fury, decklists that build around Fireflux Squad are finding more and more space at the expense of more control-focused builds provided by cards like Blood Moon, Trinisphere and Chalice of the Void, and even those that seek to place the lock by means of a one-card combo, such as Karn, the Great Creator. In this particular shell, despite having little synergy with the four Blood Moon and Den of the Bugbear, it can prove incredibly effective, acting like a smaller Goblin Rabblemaster, not only dealing damage, but also "feeding" the ability of Fireflux Squad. Practice will be the criterion of truth. The next land on the set to catch our attention was Treasure Vault.
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In a scenario where more and more decks use and abuse the design (probably made by an intern at WotC) of Urza's Saga, absolutely anything that creates artifacts will potentially see play. And even more so when these artifacts may, simultaneously, pump Urza's Saga or Urza, Lord High Artificer or Karn, Scion of Urza's tokens - and why not all these tokens at once? It may also correct the mana base of decks like 12 Post, which sometimes need two or three green mana in the same turn, or even blue mana, in the case of decks that build around Urza, Lord High Artificer. Needless to say, Treasure Vault is a great addition to Affinity, which is now a tier 1 deck again, considering the multiple additions from MH2 - Urza's Saga, Esper Sentinel, [card ](Thought Monitor), and Nettlecyst.

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The widows of the great Tezzerator may even believe in the return of a UB build that abuses the new artifact generators that the current metagame has brought.

Artifacts

Magic is deeply ironic, and what I consider to be the three best artifacts in the set for Legacy would belong to decks that are only alive in the hearts of those who love them. Allow me to talk a little more about Eye of Vecna, Vorpal Sword and Sphere of Annihilation.
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Let us start with the eye.
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Eye of Vecna is, or would be, an excellent addition to Mud builds that use, or used, Coercive Portal. CMC 4 Portal would always make you draw a card, since the votes would never be in favor of destroying everything. Eye of Vecna allows you to draw a card as it enters the battlefield, while also giving you the option to draw a card every turn at a relatively low cost. In a deck that is not very recursive, it could be interesting. However, 1- NO ONE PLAYS MUD; and 2- After Urza's Saga, the addition of four of them along the combo that resolves around Metalworker and Staff of Domination or Kuldotha Forgemaster is a much more interesting choice. So, we may as well say that it will never happen.
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Vorpal Sword and Sphere of Annihilation are the double trouble that, together, fit like a glove in any variation of Nic Fit. For those of you who don't know, it's a deck that uses and abuses Veteran Explorer and Cabal Therapy to destroy the opponent's hand and dump lands onto the battlefield, only to finish with gigantic threats like Vraska, Golgari Queen, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and the like, often also using sacrifice interactions like Cabal Therapy and Phyrexian Tower with Arena Rector ). Vorpal Sword would be more of a Vraska, Golgari Queen -type effect in the late game and would help remove threats while putting Veteran Explorer on the battlefield. Sphere of Annihilation is a possible replacement for the traditional Pernicious Deed. Costing two mana less than the enchantment, its exile effect can come in handy in a field full of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath or Vengevine that's been popping up more and more not just in Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis but also in the new builds of Madness - deck that abuses the synergy of Burning Inquiry and Faithless Looting to put cards like Vengevine, Hollow One, Blazing Rootwalla and Basking Rootwalla into play. As with MUD, there's a small detail that prevents it from happening: the fact that no one plays Nic Fit, ever. Well, if you are the exception that proves the rule, I would recommend the test!!!!

White

During spoilers season, two white cards caught my attention, the Birthing Pod on a toothpick, Oswald Fiddlebender, which can find a place in two possible shells, and, for me, the best white card in the entire set, Paladin Class. Let's start with our guy Oswald.
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Oswald Fiddlebender is a possible addition to Painter, a deck that combos around Grindstone and Painter's Servant. The problem is that the version of the combo with a splash for blue and white are now in the past, the most traditional and resilient build nowadays being monored, which uses eight goblins, four Goblin Welder and four Goblin Engineer to tutor for the combo pieces.

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It's noteworthy that, after MH2, some versions have dropped the number of goblins to six, and are now using Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and Magmatic Channeler, for higher friction matches. In this sense, I believe Oswaldo boy will only see play in fringe decks and in tier 18 ones, which we love to build but regret every minute of playing.
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By far the best white card in the set for Legacy, Paladin Class brings a tax effect that is synergistic with the Death and Taxes strategy, and in the late game allows you to turn the table in favor of whoever owns it. Furthermore, its protection effect may be very interesting to strategies such as Cephallid Breakfast's, a combo that builds on the interaction between Cephalid Illusionist and Nomads en-Kor or Shuko. Older versions of this deck used a Grand Abolisher in the main deck to protect the combo. Over time, the deck stopped focusing so much on the combo to try to build a longer game, adopting 4 Stoneforge Mystic and the equipment pack that includes Shuko, for combo, and a Umezawa's Jitte, for games where the keyword is Control. With MH2, some versions have also started including Kaldra Compleat as a more efficient finisher. Thus, both the initial tax effect and the possibility of unbalancing the board in a game at a more advanced stage led me to believe in the possibility of Paladin Class seeing play in Death and Taxes and Cephalid Breakfast.

Green

Excuse me for the stupid joke, but whoever rolled the D20 to make green cards for Legacy in this collection got a 1. For those who love green, this is my earnest wish for you: better luck next time.

Blue

Blue gets two interesting additions in the set, with Demilich and Tasha's Hideous Laughter
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Let's start with the bony guy:
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Demilich does a lot of different things that can be very interesting and synergetic with strategies that already exist in the format (I'm talking about you, Archlight Phoenix). In a typical turn of any Archlight Phoenix build, you would cast at least three spells, which means you would be casting a 4/3 that comes back from the graveyard and flashbacks your spells for ONE MANA. Not bad either. If Omnitel's monoblue build still existed - for you who don't know, it's the deck that uses Show and Tell to put Omniscience on the battlefield and wins by casting Cunning Wish for a number of things - Demilich would probably be tested here. In mid game, it's not hard at all to cast two cantrips while still having two mana left to deliver a chunky blocker that has a chance to attack and cast a Show and Tell from the graveyard. That isn't bad either. Unfortunately, as in the cases above, this build is only immortal in my verses here.
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Tasha's Hideous Laughter is by far the coolest card in the entire set. But why, João? Because in a match against Lands, once it resolves, your opponent's deck is over. The format is dominated by curves 0, 1, 2, being 3-drops, with very few exceptions, those that are found in smaller numbers in the decks. Of course we have a lot of high curved cards like Force of Will, which is one of the staples that define the format. Yet, Tasha's Hideous Laughter is a very interesting card that I believe will see play as sideboard in some decks.

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Legacy is a format whose metagame repels mill decks, yet Tasha's Hideous Laughter has a chance to be a decisive sideboard in specific matches.

Red

This time, red was given the one which I potentially consider the strongest card in the entire set for Legacy, Wish.
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Although you are forced to use Wish in the same turn, the fact that you can fetch absolutely anything, without even having to reveal it, is basically absurd. If that weren't enough, unlike its distant cousins ​​Burning Wish or Cunning Wish, Wish isn't even self-exiled when fetching the card; which means that decks that abuse Past In Flames - in Legacy, we have several: Ruby Storm, ANT, Storm, etc, etc, etc - will be able to use two or more Wish in the same turn. You know that card that you know is going to be broken, but you just don't know how exactly? ... Well, this is the one.
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Amazingly, despite being a goblin lord, I don't think Hobgoblin Bandit Lord will see play in Goblins itself, but rather in its appealing variant, Food Chain Goblins. You, young one who does not know the deck, it's based on putting a Food Chain into play and casting a Conspicuous Snoop until you find a Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker or make a "goblin ball", abusing effects like Muxus, Goblin Grandee to get a general that gives it haste, eventually killing the opponent. In Food Chain Goblins, Hobgoblin Bandit Lord is practically a kill condition that does not depend on attacking. The deck generates so many ETB effects and so many goblins and tokens in a turn that, with Hobgoblin Bandit Lord, you can win even behind a Ensnaring Bridge or a table full of blockers.

Black

Things went from bad to worse for black in Legacy in Adventures in Forgotten Realms... until Wizards decided to unleash the intern's inner wrath... giving birth to Acererak the Archlich.
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Here we have to take a short detour. Let's talk about the dungeons!!
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Dungeons are perhaps the most flavorful element in the entire set. They trigger passionate childhood memories from the late 80's and 90's (my generation), when we spent hours and hours pretending to be paladins, wizards, rogues, berserkers, and barbarians, walking in and out of the little squares presented to us by our masters... But let's go back to Magic. Dungeons don't even take up space on your sideboard and are triggered by the keywords "venture into the dungeon". Every time you "venture", you go through a "room" in the dungeon that will trigger something, until you eventually complete it. Let's go back to the sweet and almighty Acererak. Acererak checks a single dungeon, Tomb of Annihilation; that is, if you manage to "cheat" and play him without paying his cost, he can complete the other two forever, as many billions of times as you want.... Otherwise, let's see... In Legacy, we have three ways to do it, Rooftop Storm; Omniscience, and Aluren. Of the two other dungeons - Tomb of Annihilation "spoils" the combo - the best one is Lost Mine of Phandelver, whose penultimate "room" makes the opponent a Drain Life. As much as one may expect to see people testing Acererak the Archlich with Omniscience, the most natural way would be to see Acererak in a build of Aluren, since the latest lists of Aluren that have been seeing good results are lists of Yorin, Sky Nomad, which allows you to draw enough cards to kill even opponents with a lot of life.

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From the moment of its spoiler, Acererak had already shouted COMBO in the ears of all Legacy players. Now, let's see how far he can go.
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Grim Wanderer is a 5/3 goblin that can come in as an instant "replacement" for the dead Goblin Lackey. Also, in a deck with echo cards like Mogg War Marshal, Grim Wanderer's "problem" is not a lot to worry about. Its low curve allows you to quickly put it into play via Aether Vial. It remains to be seen if, in a deck where all creatures have deep recursion like Goblins, being "big" will prove to be enough...

Concluding

Well then, young people, today's adventure ends here! We will soon meet again in the wonderful world of Legacy. Leave your compliments or criticism in the comments and follow the old man here on my internets: - hyperlink; - Twitter; - Instagram. I kiss your hearts. Bye-bye.
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João

Autor, Podcaster e co-criador do @thecrepitos e @revolushow. Youtuber no /assimdisseojoao. Detrator n°32 da lista do M.E. Rebelar-se é justo.

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