Metagame: The return of old Pioneer decks and Modern's new cycles

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Metagame: The return of old Pioneer decks and Modern's new cycles

Today, we'll see the League Weekend results in Standard and Historic, old decks re-emerging in Pioneer, and a weekly rotation among the best decks in Modern.

By Romeu, 07/08/21, translated by Romeu

Versions:

We're back with another Metagame of the Week, where we do our analysis of last weekend's tournaments. As you may have noticed, there has been a change in the title of the articles: This article series will no longer be called

Metagame of the Week

. Instead, I'll just be naming it

Metagame

, as I believe the purpose of the articles is already clear to our readers. But, if by chance you're here now, Metagame's main objective is to analyze the landscape of competitive formats each week, identifying and analyzing the decks that go up and down, the impact of new sets, the general diversity of the format, the innovations and new lists that emerge in tournaments.

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My objective is to provide an analysis that is understandable and interesting to the reader, but while providing the necessary details to make it possible to understand the movement of formats each week. It's a project that I am quite fond of, and I am grateful to readers who take the time to read my review. That said, let's get down to business

Standard

Saturday's Standard Challenge had the following Top 32: 6 Sultai Ultimatum 5 Naya Adventures 5 Jeskai Cycling 4 Mono-Red Aggro 3 Izzet Dragons 3 Gruul Magda 2 Rakdos Sacrifice 2 Dimir Rogues 1 Temur Lukka 1 Mono-Green Midrange And it finished with the following Top 8: 2 Sultai Ultimatum 2 Jeskai Cycling 2 Naya Adventures 1 Rakdos Sacrifice 1 Mono-Red Aggro On Sunday, we had the following Top 32 in the Challenge: 12 Sultai Ultimatum 6 Jeskai Cycling 3 Dimir Rogues 3 Rakdos Sacrifice 3 Naya Adventures 1 Mono-White Aggro 1 Esper Control 1 Gruul Magda 1 Sultai Nest 1 Golgari Elves And the following Top 8: 3 Jeskai Cycling 3 Sultai Ultimatum 1 Dimir Rogues 1 Esper Control We also had on this weekend the Insight E-Sports' 5K tournament, with 95 players. The event had the following Top 32: 9 Jeskai Cycling 5 Sultai Ultimatum 3 Gruul Adventures 3 Mono-Green Aggro 2 Jeskai Mutate 2 Dimir Rogues 2 Dimir Control 2 Izzet Dragons 1 Esper Control 1 Mono-White Aggro 1 Naya Adventures 1 Rakdos Sacrifice And the Top 8 was composed of: 3 Jeskai Cycling 1 Dimir Rogues 1 Naya Adventures 1 Jeskai Mutate 1 Mono-White Aggro 1 Sultai Ultimatum In addition, this weekend we had two events with professional players competing for a seat in the Worlds, which takes place in October: The Magic Pro League and the Rivals League. These events are good yardsticks when deciding which decks to play with, as we're talking about players who often dedicate their lives to Magic and who are competing in an event whose payout is extremely relevant to them. Therefore, they will choose the decks they consider to be best positioned within the Metagame, giving an overview of the format's behavior as a whole. This weekend's Magic Pro League Metagame had the following decks: 5 Naya Adventures 3 Sultai Ultimatum 2 Jeskai Cycling 2 Temur Lukka 1 Abzan Yorion 1 Dimir Rogues 1 Gruul Adventures 1 Izzet Dragons And the Rivals League had a slightly different Metagame: 8 Jeskai Cycling 7 Sultai Ultimatum 5 Naya Adventures 3 Temur Lukka 2 Dimir Rogues 2 Mono-Red Aggro 2 Jeskai Mutate 1 Sultai Rogues 1 Temur Adventures 1 Gruul Adventures So, what can we conclude from this weekend?
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If we look at the Challenges, we can see a significant increase in Sultai Ultimatum decks in the format, with a reduction in Izzet Dragons. The Sultai Ultimatum is a deck that will essentially win the game against most other value-oriented decks because there is no better late-game in the format than

Emergent Ultimatum

for

Alrund's Epiphany

and any other spell. So, the best way to prey on this deck is to try to go under and establish a pressure where the opponent can't conjure their bombs in time and/or it's too late when they do because your game is already guaranteed, and therefore, aggressive decks are your best option. And that's where Izzet Dragons comes in, being the main deck that preys on aggressive decks with removals, 2-for-1 effects and a relevant clock with

Galazeth Prismari

and

Goldspan Dragon

. If the Metagame bends too far to prey on the Sultai Ultimatum, this deck benefits because it's a list designed to deal with creatures and generate value.
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That's where decks come in that have an aggressive clock while managing to generate value with their plays, as is the case with Naya Adventures.

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The

Edgewall Innkeeper

and Adventures package is essentially a pillar of the format and is the basis of other decks like Gruul Magda and Temur Lukka, but when you add

Elite Spellbinder

,

Reidane, God of the Worthy

and

Showdown of the Skalds

, in addition to

Giant Killer

as an efficient answer to many creatures of the format and

Clarion Spirit

to populate the board, you create a real card advantage machine that clocks aggressively enough to be able to apply enough pressure on the Sultai Ultimatum while punishing the Izzet Dragons for betting on 1-for-1 exchanges.
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And then comes Jeskai Cycling, which has essentially the same potential to be aggressive and accrue value at the same time as Naya Adventures does, but which trades the plethora of 2-for-1 effects for a robust and extremely consistent engine, where all the cards exist for the same purpose: to be cycled or to benefit from the mechanics of the deck. The combination of agile clock, attacking from different angles and having inevitability in the form of

Zenith Flare

could easily make Jeskai Cycling the best option of the format until the release of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, as exemplified by Rivals League in this weekend, where it was the most played deck and also for its strong presence in the Top 8 of all events. That said, Standard still has one more week before the new set arrives to the format, and I believe the Metagame will stay the same until then. So if you have the cards to do that, I'd bet on playing with Sultai Ultimatum this week and if you don't have it or prefer a more agile and proactive game plan, Cycling remains a great option that is also financially sustainable. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms arrives later this week to Magic Online and the Magic Arena, and we will be able to see the impact of the new set on Standard as early as next week.

Historic

The Insight E-Sports 1K event had a total of 24 Players, with the following decks: 4 Izzet Phoenix 3 Jund Food 3 Dimir Control 3 Mono-White Aggro 2 Izzet Creativity 2 Gruul Aggro 1 Jund Company 1 Azorius Auras 1 Bant Ramp 1 Five-Color Niv 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Mono-Blue Tempo 1 Gruul Ponza And the event finished with the following Top 8: 2 Dimir Control 2 Jund Food 1 Izzet Phoenix 1 Mono-White Aggro 1 Five-Color Niv 1 Izzet Creativity The Pro League Historic Metagame had the following decks: 5 Dimir Control 3 Izzet Phoenix 2 Mono-Black Aggro 1 Azorius Auras 1 Bant Angels 1 Jeskai Control 1 Selesnya Company 1 Temur Creativity 1 Izzet Creativity And the Rivals League had the following decks: 10 Izzet Phoenix 4 Temur Creativity 3 Azorius Auras 3 Bant Angels 3 Dimir Control 2 Jeskai Control 2 Mono-Black Aggro 1 Esper Control 1 Five-Color Niv 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Selesnya Company 1 Temur Marvel Historic has changed, and I particularly believe that while Izzet Phoenix is still the best deck of the format, the Metagame seems to be managing to get around its dominance and new decks are emerging as competitors within the format.
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The list that stood out the most this weekend was Dimir Control, it was even the most successful deck in League Weekend, and it's no wonder: its list is made to deal with all kinds of strategies.
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With

Brainstorm

positioned as the big pillar of the format, having a playset of

Narset, Parter of Veils

is one of the best things this deck can have, especially considering that the planeswalker serves as a

Dig Through] Time

split over two turns and remains in play after doing so, significantly hindering any deck that tries to draw a significant number of cards in a single turn.

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The deck also has good Early game disruptions and efficient counters to deal with

Indomitable Creativity

and other problematic spells from the combo decks, and

Cling to Dust

is a great maindeck cantrip that also helps with holding Izzet Phoenix decks and other decks that can take advantage of the graveyard such as Mono-Black Aggro, which has resurfaced in recent weeks.
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Another deck that caught my eye this weekend was the Temur Marvel piloted by the player Shintaro Ishimura, which as seen in the Pioneer version last week, tries to cast an

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

as quickly as possible using the famous artifact. This deck can be very functional, especially when opponents don't expect it, but particularly I don't see it becoming a force in the Metagame because it's a predictable deck, with predictable interactions, and it uses under-optimized cards to make broken things Once the format knows the deck and waits for it, it becomes much harder to play an Ulamog on turn 4, and without it, the deck doesn't seem to have enough to hold the game well.
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Another deck that has been standing out this week is the Bant Angels, a deck that has a positive match against Izzet Phoenix and other Aggro decks, but a bad match against Control decks or decks focused on removals.

Pioneer

The Pioneer Challenge finished with the following Top 32 on Saturday: 5 Mono-Black Aggro 4 Bant Spirits 4 Niv-to-Light 3 Izzet Phoenix 2 Lotus Combo 2 Rakdos Pyromancer 2 Grixis Arcanist 1 Enigmatic Fires 1 Gruul Aggro 1 Jeskai Control 1 Dimir Control 1 Jund Sacrifice 1 Abzan Company 1 Mono-White Humans 1 Boros Heroic 1 Esper Control 1 Orzhov Yorion And the Top 8 was composed by: 3 Mono-Black Aggro 2 Bant Spirits 1 Enigmatic Fires 1 Niv-to-Light 1 Lotus Combo On Sunday, the Pioneer Showcase finished with the Top 32: 8 Izzet Phoenix 4 Mono-Black Aggro 3 Rakdos Pyromancer 3 Boros Burn 2 Vampires 2 Dimir Control 2 Niv-to-Light 2 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Lotus Combo 1 Gruul Aggro 1 Jund Sacrifice 1 Four-Color Ascendancy 1 Jeskai Ensoul

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1 Sultai Valki And its Top 8 had the following decks: 2 Rakdos Pyromancer 2 Dimir Control 1 Vampires 1 Four-Color Ascendancy 1 Mono-Black Aggro 1 Izzet Phoenix Pioneer continues to show us interesting deck options that aren't usually on the radar and do well in competitive tournaments.
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A good example is the Four-Color Ascendancy that went 8-0 at Sunday's Pioneer Showcase. The objective of the deck is essentially to play as many lands as possible and, with

Jeskai Ascendancy

in play, cast

Sylvan Awakening

(which conveniently makes your lands indestructible as well) and from there, start playing successive spells to trigger

Jeskai Ascendancy

's ability to significantly increase the power of your lands until they can attack to lethal. The deck, which for a time was considered one of Pioneer's great promises in its conception, never ended up doing great results due to the number of interactions present in the format such as

Thoughtseize

and the lack of consistency, as it depends on not only on a 2-card combo, but also a significant lack of interaction, as your cards need to be used proactively to increase enchantment triggers. However, perhaps catching players off guard and with the inclusion of powerful cards recently released like

Omnath, Locus of Creation

, which generates a significant amount of value and

Expressive Interation

, which has become one of the best cards ever released recently, the deck managed to achieve a perfect result in this event and possibly this will motivate more players to try it out in the coming weeks.
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Another fact that caught our attention this weekend was the return of Mono-White Humans, another deck that emerged in the early months of Pioneer and which received great elements throughout 2020 and 2021 such as

Luminarch Aspirant

,

Seasoned Hallowblade

,

Faceless Haven

, and

Rally the Ranks

, adding even more consistency to the deck and allowing it to maintain a low curve that enabled the use of a large staple from Pioneer and other formats:

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

.
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While still talking about the return of some old decks, Jeskai Ensoul has appeared again this week, and it's yet another deck that takes advantage of the inclusion of Lurrus, while boasting a fast clock rate and a significant amount of synergy.

Modern

Saturday's Modern Challenge's Top 32 had the following decks: 5 Izzet Tempo 5 Temur Cascade 4 Hammer Time 4 Rakdos Midrange 3 Living End 3 Izzet Blitz 1 Jund 1 Grixis Shadow 1 Four-Color Scapeshift 1 Four-Color Cascade 1 Four-Color Taking Turns 1 Mono-Red Prowess 1 Grixis Control And the Top 8 had the following decks: 3 Izzet Tempo 1 Temur Cascade 1 Izzet Blitz 1 Living End 1 Hammer Time 1 Scapeshift On Sunday, the Modern Challenge had the following decks: 4 Izzet Tempo 3 Hammer Time 3 Izzet Blitz 2 Elementals 2 Temur Cascade 2 Living End 1 Mono-Green Scales 1 Grixis Shadow 1 Humans 1 Foodgaak 1 Ad Nauseam 1 Tron 1 Scapeshift 1 Orzhov Stoneblade 1 Mono-Red Aggro 1 Bant Stoneblade 1 Esper Control 1 Eldrazi Tron 1 Rakdos Midrange 1 Azorius Stoneblade 1 Abzan Midrange And its Top 8 had: 1 Hammer Time 1 Mono-Green Scales 1 Izzet Tempo 1 Grixis Shadow 1 Humans 1 Azorius Stoneblade 1 Five-Color Elementals 1 Abzan Midrange Modern continues to maintain a cyclical state, even after more than a month since the launch of Modern Horizons II on the digital platform. While, last week, Rakdos Midrange was the deck that stood out with several places in the events, this week it was Izzet Tempo that stood out and is being named by some players as "The best deck of the format".

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On the term "Best Deck in the Format", I tend to agree that Xerox decks (i.e. decks that tend to use an abundance of cantrips and low-cost responses/threats) are usually the best deck in the format for most occasions when the format is not broken. Basically, the big advantage these decks have over other decks is that they can filter the cards they need and how they need them, consider that the deck's cantrips are basically little gears that make the deck work optimally and faster in around the goal of winning the game.

Mishra’s Bauble

is essentially the best card in the format today precisely because it allows any deck to filter the top and draw more cards at no cost and, for the most part, without any concessions. When you multiply the number of cards dedicated to this function, as in the case of Izzet Tempo with

Serum Visions

,

Thought Scour

and

Expressive Iteration

, you increase the speed of which the deck you can find the answers, threats, and protections you need to proceed with your game plan. Add to that the fact that Izzet Tempo's threats are all creatures with some built-in value like

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

and

Dreadhorde Arcanist

or cards that close the game quickly like

Dragon's Rage Channeler

and

Murktide Regent

, you create a deck that definitely manages to establish a significant advantage in the game. I don't know how much Izzet Tempo really is the best deck of the format and, if so, how long it will remain with this title, but definitely the inclusion of Modern Horizons II cards has finally given Tempo Decks a place to shine in the Modern Metagame.
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Another deck that did well this week was the Temur Cascade variants, including some that choose to add a white splash to add

Teferi, Time Raveler

as an advantage card engine and a means of preventing unwanted interactions, as well as make room for the inclusion of

Ardent Plea

as another card to add consistency in casting

Crashing Footfalls

for free. Modern players worried in the first week of Modern Horizons II that Cascade decks would be too strong for the format due to the inclusion of

Shardless Agent

and this fear was alleviated by the emergence of other decks in the weeks later and a lesser representation of the archetype. I believe that Cascade is a good competitor in Modern, but that, like many other decks in the format, it can be defeated by other decks when players are thoroughly prepared to face it.
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Sometimes we think of cards like

Liliana of the Veil

and

Lingering Souls

as relics of the past, cards from a time when decks like Jund and Abzan resorted to threats like

Siege Rhino

or

Huntmaster of the Fells

to win the game and a format where playing a Liliana as soon as possible was a sign of a significant advantage in the game. Modern's speed has increased significantly in recent years and this has made these strategies obsolete, but when you have a good clock, good answers and ways to speed up your mana with cards like

Ignoble Hierarch

, these decks end up taking their place in the format, as they can accumulate a lot of value throughout the game, and the increase in the curve also allows for more efficient cards and more ways to win the attrition games in the format. The interesting thing to notice with this Abzan Midrange list is that, no matter what your Modern deck is, it probably needs Modern Horizons II additions, just as they needed Modern Horizons additions. These cards are too powerful to not use them.

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In this regard, Wizards has really done an impressive job in creating a product that can affect and even “rotate” eternal formats by creating cards with enough power to impact even the most powerful and established of decks. On the other hand, this makes the investment to keep your deck up to date and the Modern entry barrier is increasing. Established decks of the format are now costing an average of $1,000 or more, and regardless of which deck you already have in the format, you probably need to invest more in it now with Modern Horizons II, making it harder to get into the format for new players while still being an ongoing investment for long-time players. Or would it still be possible to compete in Modern with older versions of Abzan Midrange, for example?
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Leaving aside the observations about the format's finances, Hammer Time was another deck that did well this weekend and is one of the top decks to have the support of the multi-format staple,

Urza's Saga

. It is even a deck that I would recommend any player to use, as it has a very efficient, redundant, intuitive, very resilient game plan and has some great results in the hands of good players. My conclusion about Modern after looking at the format this past month is that the format's Metagame keeps changing and, it seems, creating a cyclical nature where every week there's a different deck that stands out. This week it was Izzet Tempo, last week it was Rakdos Midrange and the week before it was Urza's decks. What will be the next deck? And will this formula, following the steps we commonly see in Standard where every week there is one deck that stands out more than the others, that we'll see in the format later on? Time will tell.

Pauper

Another week without a banlist update. I guess you can imagine the results. Saturday's Pauper Challenge had the following Top 32: 10 Affinity 7 Rakdos Storm 3 Dimir Faeries 2 Dimir Delver 2 Jeskai Ephemerate 2 Burn 2 Tron 1 Bogles 1 Mono-White Heroic 1 Jund Cascade And the Top 8 had the following decks: 2 Affinity 2 Storm 2 Dimir Faeries 1 Dimir Delver 1 Jeskai Ephemerate On Sunday, the Pauper Challenge had the following Top 32: 10 Affinity 9 Rakdos Storm 3 Burn 2 Tron 2 Dimir Delver 1 Dimir Faeries 1 Dimir Serpentine 1 Jeskai Ephemerate 1 Black Burn 1 Mono-Black Control 1 Reanimator And this Top 8: 3 Rakdos Storm 2 Burn 1 Affinity 1 Tron 1 Dimir Delver Honestly, I have nothing more to say about Storm or Affinity. The format is polarized, these decks already have more than 30% representation of the Metagame and many decks simply don't have more space in the format because they are easy prey for these archetypes. We can say that there are other decks popping up, but these two archetypes have been making together more than 50% of the Top 32 Challenges for weeks, which is probably the worst state the format has been in years and being comparable or even worse, than the Izzet Drake era. Well, Wizards took a few months to ban

Peregrine Drake

, so... Let's talk about the different decks that manage to emerge, survive and appear in these Challenges.
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The Jeskai Ephemerate is, technically, the remnants of another archetype prevalent in the past: The Jeskai Astrolabe that eventually led to

Arcum's Astrolabe

's ban (and looking at the current format, it doesn't even seem like the card was all that to the point of being ban-worthy, right?). The deck, without its main value engine, started to bet on a more reactive game plan, giving up on

Kor Skyfisher

in favor of using other means of responding to what the opponent does or creating other soft-lock effects.

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One of the questions I have is whether, with a possible ban on the current broken decks from the format, the impact of the interaction between the new dual artifact and

Cleansing Wildfire

will be enough to hold back decks like Tron in the Metagame, or if even a punctual maindeck hate which can also be used for ramp and card advantage will not be enough to deal with the archetype that stands out as the main Control of the format.
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Still following the line that the best way to deal with the current format today is not interacting, we had the presence of a Reanimator that ended up doing an unexciting result, with 3-3. The Reanimator is absurdly inconsistent because it needs a specific set of cards to work and doesn't have the best ways to filter your draws to get all three pieces on the board at the right time. However, the deck has an easy way to discard

Ulamog’s Crusher

throughout the game and has a significant number of cards that can help speed up your game plan. It's the deck that works great when your opponent isn't interacting with you, as long as you can find the right pieces at the right time. And very few decks make it back after an

Ulamog’s Crusher

attacks in the first few turns of the game.
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Moving to the other end of the spectrum, we had the Dimir Serpentine with a 3-3 result as well. The idea of ​​this list is to simply respond to absolutely everything the opponent does while stacking cards in Graveyard and Exile to create giant tokens with

Serpentine Curve

and even open up the possibility of a combo-kill with

Essence Harvest

. Despite being a valid option, I believe this deck doesn't have enough elements to handle multiple 4/4 creatures and the

Atog

s that Affinity makes, and not enough to handle Storm's redundancy and consistency, especially post-sideboard since, without the opponent establishing pressure, Storm can wait as many turns as necessary to make its combo work smoothly. I like this list, though. It's the deck that's interesting to play and every good fan of a Combo-Control deck should check out the

Serpentine Curve

decks, although the archetype doesn't have the great advantage that other decks of this style usually have: being able to go to the race and try to win the game quickly closing the combo in unfavorable matches. The setup necessary to perform the combo makes this archetype need to control the game constantly.

Legacy

Saturday's Legacy Challenge had the following top 32: 5 Izzet Delver 3 Doomsday 3 Azorius Urza 2 Reanimator 2 Cloudpost 2 Colorless Stompy 1 Omni-Tell 1 Aluren 1 All Spells 1 Jeskai Midrange 1 Miracles 1 Mono-Red Stompy 1 Death and Taxes 1 Infect 1 Sneak and Show 1 Elves 1 Selesnya Depths 1 Affinity 1 Cheerios 1 Welder Painter 1 HollowVine And the Top 8 was: 3 Doomsday 2 Izzet Delver 1 Omni-Tell 1 Aluren 1 Miracles On Sunday, we had the following Top 32: 3 Izzet Delver 3 Cloudpost 3 Death and Taxes 3 Mono-Red Stompy 2 The Epic Storm 2 Maverick 1 Sneak and Show 1 Doomsday 1 Izzet Painter 1 Selesnya Depths 1 Temur Delver 1 Lands 1 Hogaak 1 Elves 1 Miracles 1 Galvanic Storm 1 Jeskai Delver 1 HollowVine 1 Jeskai Midrange 1 Bant Standstill 1 Colorless Stompy And with the following Top 8: 2 Izzet Delver 1 Sneak and Show 1 Doomsday 1 Izzet Painter 1 Eldrazi Post 1 Jeskai Midrange 1 Galvanic Storm
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Do you know Aluren? This is a combo deck that has undergone several transformations over the years. When I first met the deck, its wincondition was a 3-card combo between

Aluren

,

Cavern Harpy

and

Parasitic Strix

to infinitely drain the opponent's life.

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The years went by, more cards came out and today the deck, despite still featuring 3-card interactions combos like

Cavern Harpy

or

Arctic Merfolk

and

Ukkima, the Stalking Shadow

, has a game plan in the colors of Bant and is much more value-oriented with creatures like

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

,

Ice-Fang Coatl

and

Endurance

, plus the classic cantrip package, removals and

Force of Will

, along with a way to tutor combo pieces or even

Grist, the Hunger Tide

with

Recruiter of the Guard

. What would happen if we turned this 3-card combo into just a 2-card combo? That might be what we'll discover with the release of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.
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The combo works like this: With Aluren in play, you can cast Acererak without paying its mana cost. Acererak's ability will trigger, it will return to your hand, and you will venture into a dungeon. Preferably this one:
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For every time you cast Acererak, you'll enter a room in this dungeon, and every time you finish a dungeon, you can choose it again when venturing. So, the trick is to venture infinite times in Lost Mine of Phandelver to always enter the Dark Pool room every time you venture to deal infinite damage. In particular, this combo is full of steps and probably requires an absurdly tiring number of clicks and time to be done over and over again in Magic Online, which probably greatly compromises its viability as Legacy games can stretch significantly. But in face-to-face tournaments, I could see this tactic having some success, especially considering that Aluren is neither an established deck format nor an archetype that people often respect. On the other hand, I believe this combo is less efficient than the

Witherbloom Apprentice

and

Chain of Smog

combo that we've seen in the format in several variants since the release of Strixhaven, but which never became a 100% competitive strategy within the Metagame, then being thrown into the Tier 2 of the format. Probably, the Acererak combo with Aluren could have the same fate, since the archetype itself is no longer as popular or efficient in Legacy naturally. Other than that, there's not much to say about the Legacy this week. The format appears to be stabilized. Delver has indeed gotten stronger and is, just like before the release of MH2, the main deck of the format. However, the other decks also got stronger and this ended up balancing the Metagame set to the point that the format didn't polarize, as initially expected. I've seen some players say that

Urza's Saga

and

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

are cards that have been in the format too long, and while I'm seeing a wide inclusion of these cards among the archetypes, I don't I know how to assess whether they really need to be banned, as they're not necessarily showing blatant numbers, In fact, Ragavan is the fifth most played creature in Legacy right now (and, interestingly, the first is

Endurance

, which is a great answer for Doomsday decks and Delver decks), and

Urza's Saga

it is not, so far, among the ten most played cards in the format. Therefore, I cannot simply claim that these cards are breaking the format. But

Dreadhorde Arcanist

,

Arcum's Astrolabe

, and

Oko, Thief of Crowns

had similar effects in not necessarily being oppressive, but creating a Metagame that was very focused around these cards and their permanence to the course of the game.

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Time will tell what will happen with Legacy, but I believe the best advice I can give players today is to avoid thenostalgia affecting your analysis of the format's health.

Conclusion

This was my review of this week's Metagame. Next week, we'll probably have some news in Standard with cards from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and it wouldn't surprise me to see cards like

Demolich

seeing play in Historic or other formats. Histori, seems to be increasingly adapting to the current Metagame, and it is possible that it will not become necessary of another direct intervention in the coming weeks. Pioneer, it seems, remains in its healthy-format state, and old and new strategies have been constantly reappearing. Modern seems to be creating its own cyclical nature similar to what we see in Standard, where every week a different deck stands out, so the decks try to adapt to it and then the following week another deck emerges as a better deck. The question that remains is whether the format will retain this nature in the coming weeks, which could be indicative of a healthy format. In the case of Legacy, despite some comments, it seems to be healthy. As I mentioned, Delver became a stronger deck, but other decks also gained new elements (especially

Endurance

and

Urzars Saga

) and this created a Metagame where decks can maintain a balanced representation of the format. If you want an example of the difference between a balanced format and a broken format, just look at Pauper this week, where two decks make up more than 50% of the event's Metagame and make good results with a significant margin of advantage over the other decks. It could be that all opinions and analysis presented here today will change next week. After all, Magic is a game that changes a lot and that the Formats' Metagame behaves like a puzzle that is not always obvious to unravel and analyze, and we'll also see if there is any impact for the eternal formats with Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Thanks for reading!

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Romeu

Writer and translator for Cards Realm. Plays virtually Magic: The Gathering competitive formats. Pauper Masters' Organizer.

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