Lazy Sunday Legacy – Ballin’ on a Budget

This may be the first time you are hearing this and I’m sorry you have to hear it from me, but cards on the Reserve List are E X P E N S I V E. Eternal players and collectors alike are divided on what the future of what Magic should look like but no matter what your stance, Mark Rosewater’s unyielding conviction proves that the RL is not going away any time soon.

If you have in fact been living under a rock for last year you will not be aware that the Reserve List is currently being subject to quite an extensive buyout – with even obscure cards like Gwendlyn Di Corci going up 500% since August 2017. There are many theories for why this is occurring now but I believe they can be boiled down to two main dates:

  1. On the 19th July 2017 Elaine Chase from WoTC announced the 25th Anniversary Pro Tour schedule with the first Legacy event at this level in 7 years. This announcement pushed pro players into buying in to the best decks in the format and devoting hours trying to break it.
  2. On the 16th March 2018 the 25th Anniversary edition of the Masters set was released, losing what many thought was the perfect opportunity to reprint the Reserve List similar to Vintage Masters on MTG online.

I may have to make another post in the future devoted to my unqualified and ill conceived ramblings about MTG finance but if you would like to learn more about it from more qualified writers you can read Chas Andres’ article on the Reserve List Buyout or listen to MTG Fast Finance Podcast. 

Something interesting happened at the Pro Tour, LSV’s team brought a deck that would help shape the future of Legacy. A tuned version of UB Death’s Shadow, appearing in Sean Brown’s “This Week in Legacy” in February 2018 with the first appearance in as early as 2013. This list was a heavy tempo control deck capitalising on Wasteland, Stifle and Daze to deny their opponent of early plays before slamming a Death’s Shadow to end the game in a couple of hits.

The interesting thing is that Death’s Shadow works really well with Watery Grave, not Underground Sea. Granted, LSV was playing 2 Underground Seas but the deck did not need it and some lists are forgoing the $500 card entirely. This begs the question… Is this a “budget” deck? At a mere $2k with Underground Seas and $1-1.5k without Seas you could find yourself jumping straight into Legacy with a Tier 1 deck for the price of 400 cups of coffee!

Fast forward to a slightly more recent event and you will see Andrew Cuneo and Lucien Longlais bashing it out in the finals of GP Richmond at the start of this month and I’m seeing a recurring theme, Miracles leaning very hard on Back to Basics means there isn’t really any room for dual lands.

Exhibit A: Footage taken moments before a murdering of Longlais’ mana base

You can imagine the headlines that followed shortly after:

Andrew Cuneo takes it down as the winner of GP Richmond 2018 with Budget Miracles!

You too can own this deck for the low low price of 400 cups of coffee!

With the stocks in cups of coffee plummeting and the price of Back to Basics rising the community response to the banning of Deathrite Shaman seems to fall into two camps:

  1. “Wow people are not going to be able to use the best mana dork to smooth their colours, I’m going to punish them by upping my land denial” – Lands, Rug Delver, UB Shadow players
  2. “I think people are going to punish greedy mana bases, I’m going to play much more basics!” – Grixis Control, Budget Miracles

The decks to look out for are ones that do both like Death and Taxes, Maverick and Big Red. I’m interested to continue to see how this plays out but I am really enjoying this new take on Legacy, leaving more room with innovation allowing even some Modern ports to leak into our new budget friendly format. We played Legacy Hardened Scales last week and although we went 2-3 the deck felt really strong. Keep an eye out on our new Deck Tech series on our YouTube channel starting soon where we see which archetypes can go where!

In the mean time maybe we should be giving a little more love to the original budget Legacy deck – Manaless Dredge. In a conversation discussing the viability of budget decks in Legacy we had the pleasure of informing a new player of the wonderful world of Jank.


Allow me to put my money where my mouth is and prove that mana is for nerds and losers.

We will be streaming Manaless Dredge at 8pm Australian EST Sunday 30th September on Tune in and we will catch up then.

Angus McKay

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