Legacy Lands Update

Introduction

Many months ago I launched Season 2 of the Competitive Lands Project by formulating a dream to qualify for the Legacy Showcase Qualifier in June. This would be achieved if I managed to Top 8 in either of the March or April Showcase Challenges or if I would go 5-0 in one of the Last Chance Prelims. In order to maximize my chances to realize this dream I put up a list of strategic, gameplay and mental goals for myself. You have been able to follow the preparations on my YouTube Channel. I have intended to write this summary report for months but the fantastic Danish summer weather kind of got in the way. 

It turns out that the Legacy metagame has changed during the summer as a few red decks (Moon Stompy and Painter) have entered the winner’s meta. UR Delver has also declined from the winner’s meta (see table below). In order to keep this article relevant I have added a final section where I give you an updated sideboard guide as well as the decklist that I recommend for the Legacy Super Qualifier tomorrow (3rd of September). 

Thanks for reading!

ArchetypeMetashare (Aug 22)Metashare (Jun 22)Change
Delver18%28%-10%
Control17%16%+1%
Karn16%12%+4%
Tribal15%13%+2%
Depths8%8%0%
Dark Ritual7%8%-1%
Graveyard6%5%+1%
Show & Tell6%4%+2%

Goals Checklist

First things first. Season 2 is over and it’s time to evaluate my progress. As I explained in the introduction video I would need a fair amount of luck in order to realize the dream that I had formulated and hence when evaluating Season 2 it’s not meaningful to look at the outcome of my dream. It is more meaningful to evaluate if I managed to complete the goals that I set out for myself.

Strategy Goals

In order to get an edge over the field I wanted to first have a good estimate of what “the field” was, and then I wanted to know my macro role(s) against the top decks. This led me to define the following strategic goals. 

Strategic Goal 1: Estimate the winner’s meta prior to the tournament 

I completed this goal. I started by creating a spreadsheet to keep track of the winner’s meta, and I then spent every Monday filling in the winning decks from last weekend’s Challenges. I usually define the winner’s meta as the Top 32 but this time the size of the tournaments were very different (some Saturday Challenges had 60+ players and some PTQ’s had 200+ players) so I decided to make a cut-off based on winning records instead. 

So what was the winner’s meta? Up until the March Showcase Challenge the winner’s meta was UR Delver, Jeskai Hullbreacher, Uro Tradebinder, Death & Taxes, GW Depths, Lands, Doomsday, Reanimator, and 8 Cast. This was a fantastic meta for Lands as Endurance was great against both combo decks in the format. Endurance was also really strong vs Delver, GW Depths and in the mirror. 

After the March Showcase Challenge we started seeing a resurgence in Storm based combo decks and a drop in Doomsday. Unfortunately the Storm decks didn’t completely take over the combo portion of the meta and we instead had Storm, Reanimator, Show & Tell and Doomsday with basically the same metashare. I don’t think it’s possible to build a Lands 75 that can beat all those decks and I had to make sacrifices.

Strategic Goal 2: Have a decklist and sideboard that is tuned for the winner’s meta.

I discussed my strategy for choosing a decklist in one of the first episodes of the season. I initially tried various 3 color decklists but I decided to focus on the more consistent RG shell that would allow me to put 3 copies of Rishadan Port into my manabase. Rishadan Port was primarily there to combat the fact that Jeskai (with a basic heavy manabase) was the premier control deck of the format. I teamed up with Jordy, who is an excellent Lands player from the Netherlands (also his nickname in Discord), and you can see our discussions in this video. I would say that I completed this goal.

Strategic Goal 3: Know the macro strategy for all big matchups (>5% metashare)

I did complete this goal, and it was kind of a no-brainer that I would, given that I have several thousand reps with Lands. But I did something extra this year as I actually wrote down my key strategic notes on paper (see the guide further down in this article).

Gameplay Goals

In order to maximize my chances to play tight, and to make good in-game decisions, I defined the following gameplay related goals.

Gameplay Goal 1: Practice all big matchups (>5% metashare)

I completed this goal by either playing in Legacy prelims or by doing dedicated matchup training. You can see my practice rounds below.

Delver

There are numerous videos of me playing vs Delver on my channel. Here are a few ones from Season 2 of Competitive Lands.

Jeskai Control
GW Depths
Doomsday
8 Cast

Gameplay Goal 2: Be conscious about when to play using intuition and when to stop up and think

I had identified, already prior to the start of Season 2, that I had started to play more and more on autopilot. This is an easy trap to fall into when playing a deck that you have a ton of reps with. I therefore set up a goal to get better at “stop up and think before making plays”. I discussed this with Jarvis Yu during our coaching session and he taught me the following method that would force my brain to stop up and think. After each drawstep (or everytime that my opponent makes a play) I will say the following questions out loud:

  • What has changed?
  • How do I win from here?
  • How do I lose from here?

Gameplay Goal 3: Do a coaching session with Jarvis Yu

Jarvis is one of the best Lands players on the planet, and he also has an incredible range since he plays many other decks and formats. I contacted him in the beginning of Season 2 of Competitive Lands and asked for a coaching session where we would review some of my matches. Jarvis taught me the “stop up and think” strategy explained above but he also identified that I have a tendency to underestimate my opponents. I sometimes choose suboptimal lines in order to give my opponent the chance to mess up and this is clearly not a great strategy when playing against killer opponents (as you will do in a Showcase Challenge). I liked the session with Jarvis so much that I decided to do a similar one with Jordy from the Lands Discord.

Mental Goals

In order to ensure that I would have the stamina to play well at the end of a long tournament I defined the following mental goals for myself. 

Mental Goal 1: Get regular exercise during Season 2 of Competitive Lands.

I set out a goal to run at least once per week and I did achieve this goal. In fact I exercised more than 2 times per week. I did not only run, I also did some fun exercises with my kids such as ice skating and parkour.

Mental Goal 2: Ensure that my tournament weekends are not filled with mentally exhausting activities. 

I completed this goal. I had talked to Camilla well in advance and we ensured that the Showcase weekends were free. She is very supportive and I am lucky to have such an understanding wife.

Mental Goal 3: Don’t practice too much.

I felt a bit exhausted in the middle of Season 2 and I therefore decided to take a 1 week break from playing magic. This really paid off as I started to feel fresh again. I think this goal is one of the most important to have because it is super easy to fall into bad habits when playing magic online. 

Gameplay

So how did it go? I played in 4 qualification tournaments and you can find a quick writeup of the events below.

Practice Round – March Showcase Challenge

I started the day by taking a run so that I would feel fresh for the tournament. Unfortunately I got a pretty big headache after the run (I think I ran too fast / long and got dehydrated). I took various painkillers but the headache didn’t really stop before round 4 or 5 of the Showcase Challenge. I went 6-2 in the tournament which is a great result but not quite good enough for Top 8. I would have had to go 7-1 (or have had better breakers) in order to make it. I lost to Doomsday (round 1) and Blue-Zenith. I won against 3xUR Delver, Madness, Moon Stompy, and GW Depths. I actually misplayed in G3 vs Doomsday and I could have won if I had cropped for Rishadan Port in the upkeep of my opponent’s last turn. I realized this immediately after the match and luckily I did not tilt. Instead I started to play better and better the longer the tournament went on (likely thanks to having achieved my mental goals stated above).

The Tournament – June Showcase Challenge

This was the big event that I had prepared so hard for. I felt great going into the tournament. I knew exactly what to do vs all common matchups and I felt almost unbeatable. I went 7-2 in the tournament which again is a great result but it was not quite good enough for Top 8. I would have had to go 8-1 (or have had better breakers) in order to make it. I lost to GW Depths (round 1) and Reanimator. I won against 3xUR Delver, RUG Delver, Reanimator, 8 Cast and Jeskai Control. My round 1 was interesting because I actually won G1 but I only had 1-2 minutes left on the clock at this time. My opponent had 3-4 minutes left on their clock and they removed all stops for the rest of the game. I timed out in G2. This was annoying because I was actually ahead of the clock for most of G1 but, as the boardstate swung back and forth, I lost track of my clock and started falling behind. This is something concrete that I can improve and I take this lesson away with me. I also did not tilt after round 1 and continued to play tight for the rest of the tournament. My loss vs Reanimator was pretty heartbreaking as I had both Endurance and Surgical in my G3 opener but my opponent cast turn 1 Show and Tell into Archon. This taught me that no matter how much hate I bring in I cannot beat the best hands from Reanimator so it’s likely better to use some sideboard slots for other matchups (and I started cutting Surgical from my sideboard after this tournament). 

Monday – Last Chance Prelim

I started 4-0 (winning against Goblins, Cephalid Breakfast, UR Delver and Blue-Zenith) and I played against Jankyb in the last deciding round. I had googled Jankyb and I saw that they usually play Jeskai Control. I kept a hand with Urza’s Saga and Thespian’s Stage (super good vs Jeskai Control). I also have a Pithing Needle that I played out on turn 1 (as my mana would be clogged up for the remaining turns). I named Flooded Strand with my Pithing Needle. My idea was to possibly mise a win, and even if I miss on Pithing Needle my Thespian’s Stage copying Saga would likely do the trick. It turns out that my opponent was not on Jeskai Control but on UR Delver and I go ahead and lose G1. It’s possible that it was too risky to blind name Flooded Strand with Needle but I stand by that play. I always google my opponent’s in high stake tournaments and it usually pays off as most players stick to the same deck for high stake events. In G2 my hand is clunky and I lose to Delver, Wasteland and Daze. It was heartbreaking to lose the “win and in” to a good matchup but this happens sometimes.

Wednesday – Last Chance Prelim

I went 0-1 drop losing to UR Delver again. My brain was not really turned on at this event and I felt a bit exhausted after playing a lot of high stake magic for several days in a row.

Final Reflections from Season 2 of Competitive Lands

Alright, time to sum up. I did complete all the goals that I had set out, and I did give myself the best chances to realize my dream and qualify for the Showcase Qualifier. I came very close but I didn’t quite get there. This is totally OK though. As I explained in the intro article you need a fair amount of luck in order to qualify for these tournaments and I came up just short a few times in a row. I had a fantastic run overall and it was not only me that did well with Lands in this Season. Lands was the most successful deck in the June Showcase Challenge and we got several pilots into the Showcase Qualifier. I feel proud to have contributed to this success, and it was fantastic to hang out in the Lands Discord and cheer for my fellow players as we competed in these Showcase Challenges.

Legacy Super Qualifier

Decklist

There is a Legacy Super Qualifier on MODO tomorrow (Saturday 3rd of September). I will play in this tournament and here is my decklist and preparation notes. Let’s start with the list and how it differs from what I played in Season 2 of Competitive Lands. If you look at the online winner’s meta (see the table in the introduction of this article) you can see that it has changed a little bit since June. Most importantly Moon Stompy has gone from almost non-existent to (in my opinion) the 2nd best deck in the format. This is not great for Lands as it’s a hard matchup but it’s not completely unbeatable. I think that a card like Hydroblast is pretty well positioned in the meta as it answers most stuff from Moon Stompy (and Painter) and it also answers all hate cards out of the fair blue decks (Price of Progress, Meltdown and Ruination). Finally, it answers the new planeswalker Minsc & Boo. I recently went 4-0 in a prelim with this RUG Lands list that plays Hydroblast in the sideboard. I think this shell has potential but I still believe that RG Lands is the best version for the Legacy Super Qualifier. 

UR Delver, Elves, Reanimator, Jeskai Control, GW Depths, Blue-Zenith, Sneak & Show, Moon Stompy, Death & Taxes and 8 Cast have all had above 5% of the winner’s metashare in August. I think UR Delver, Reanimator and Moon Stompy will be overrepresented in the Super Qualifier as these decks tend to attract online grinders from other formats (Delver because it’s the best deck and the others because they are very powerful and proactive strategies). I think Blue-Zenith and GW Depths are the decks that best exploit Minsc & Boo so these might also increase a bit (if people are able to get their hands on the card). 

So where does this leave me? I will play this list.

How does this differ from the version(s) that I played in Season 2 of Competitive Lands? 

  • 0 Elvish Reclaimer, 3 Depths (I used to play 2 Reclaimer and 2 Depths). This is a direct result of Moon Stompy. I really want 3 Depths vs this deck as it’s important to naturally draw it. They play Chalice of the Void and Fury so Reclaimer is unreliable.
  • 1 Soul-Guide Lantern (this used to be 1 Pyrite Spellbomb). I want a combination of spell and permanent based hate vs Reanimator, and when I don’t play Reclaimer I want another Saga target and Soul-Guide Lantern is the best one.
  • 2 Lightning Bolts in the sideboard (this used to be additional Storm hate). I really want 4 answers to Magus of the Moon post sideboard. I thought about playing Pyroclasm as it’s one of a few cards that can catch up vs Goblin Rabblemaster and it can also answer 2 Maguses but I think Lightning Bolt is better because it can also answer Minsc & Boo and Ramunap Excavator from GW Depths and Blue-Zenith.

Strategy and Sideboarding

UR Delver

My Role: Prison-Combo-Aggro

How do I win?

  • Marit Lage (play around Brazen Borrower and Submerge).
  • Wasteland lock (this happens less often than you think).
  • Endurance and Constructs + Shadowspear (this strategy is much better in G1).

How do I lose?

  • Brasen Borrower or Submerge on Marit Lage.
  • Murktide plus Wasteland on my Maze of Ith (Pithing Needle on Wasteland can be good).
  • Dragon’s Rage Channeler and Expressive Iterations can sometimes grind me to pieces.
  • Multiple 1 drops can sometimes run me over.
InOut
+3 Blasts-1 Karakas
+2 Choke-3 Urza’s Saga
+2 Lightning Bolt-1 Pithing Needle
-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-1 Shadowspear

Elves

My Role: Prison-Combo-Control.

How do I win?

  • Super-fast Marit Lage (watch out for Boseiju and sometimes Run Afoul).
  • Early disruption and semi-fast Marit Lage.
  • Tabernacle + Wasteland + Sphere of Resistance.
  • Destroying all their creatures with Punishing Fire (this happens less often than you think).

How do I lose?

  • Natural Order into Progenitus.
  • Their bigger creatures like Endurance.
  • Explosive Glimpse turns. 
InOut
+2 Lightning Bolt-1 Karakas
+4 Sphere of Resistance-2 Urza’s Saga
-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-2 Endurance

Reanimator

My Role: Control-Prison.

How do I win?

  • I overload them with answers. I need a mix of spell based and permanent based hate. They will 3 for 1 themselves when trying to go off so we win the card advantage game in this matchup.

How do I lose?

  • Their nut-draws.
  • Not having enough turn 0 disruption.
  • Show and Tell (attack their mana after stopping their first attempt).
InOut
+1 Thran Foundry-1 Blast Zone
+4 Sphere of Resistance-1 Tabernacle
-1 Shadowspear
-2 Punishing Fire

Jeskai Control

My Role: Prison-Aggro

How do I win?

  • Run them over with Constructs.
  • Tap all their Plains and make a Marit Lage at their end step.
  • Grind them down with Urza’s Saga and Thespian’s Stage.
  • They lose by timing out (this is the most common way that I win).

How do I lose?

  • Games go long and I draw too many Mox Diamonds and Explorations.
  • Tempo:
    • I have a slow hand and T3feri bounces my Urza’s Saga and then I get Mind Twisted before I have played out my lands.
    • Prismatic Ending destroys Mox Diamond and then I get Mind Twisted before I have played out my lands.
  • Their hate cards such as Ruination and Blood Moon.
  • Their bombs such as Monastery Mentor, Jace the Mindsculptor or Shark Typhoon.

Note: If I suspect Blood Moon then I might take out 2 Crop Rotations for 2 Force of Vigor.

InOut
+3 Blasts-1 Karakas
+2 Choke-1 Tabernacle
+4 Sphere of Resistance-1 Dark Depths
+1 Lightning Bolt-1 Exploration
-1 Mox Diamond
-1 Shadowspear
-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-3 Endurance

GW Depths

My Role: Prison-Aggro.

How do I win?

  • Run them over with Constructs (try to maximize Urza’s Saga every turn).
  • I destroy all their creatures with Punishing Fire.
  • They don’t draw enough lands and I have multiple copies of Wasteland and Rishadan Port as well as Tabernacle.
  • Marit Lage can win at any time where they tap out without an active Knight (this is very unlikely to happen against a good player).

How do I lose?

  • They get onto the board faster than me. This will often result in one of the following boardstates that I can’t really beat:
    • Ramunap Excavator plus Wasteland.
    • Knight of the Reliquary plus Wasteland (Endurance is a good answer to Knight).
  • Force of Vigor. This card is often a total blow out and it’s very hard to play around.
InOut
+2 Lightning Bolt-2 Dark Depths
+2 Force of Vigor-1 Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth
-1 Shadowspear

Blue-Zenith

My Role: Prison-Aggro.

How do I win?

  • Run them over with Constructs (try to maximize Urza’s Saga every turn).
  • They don’t draw enough lands and I have multiple copies of Wasteland and Rishadan Port as well as Tabernacle.
  • A fast Marit Lage can sometimes do the trick as they play 80 cards and might not always have Swords to Plowshares.
  • I manage to grind them down with Thespian’s Stage copying an Urza’s Saga.
  • They lose by timing out (this is less common vs Blue-Zenith compared to Jeskai Control as their clock is faster).

How do I lose?

  • They manage to assemble Ramunap Excavator plus Wasteland.
  • They ramp (with Uro or Ramunap plus fetches) into Primetime.
  • Games go long and I draw too many Mox Diamonds and Explorations.
InOut
+2 Lightning Bolt-1 Dark Depths
+2 Pyroblast or Sphere-1 Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth
-1 Exploration
-1 Mox Diamond

Sneak & Show

My Role: Prison-Aggro-Combo.

How do I win?

  • Super fast Marit Lage (this is the only way to win G1).
  • Neither player is casting spells and I attack with 5/5 constructs (Sphere + Saga).
  • Early disruption (Sphere of Resistance) plus semi-fast Marit Lage.
  • I manage to mess them up in the middle of their combo. For example if they cast Show and Tell then I can put in Sphere of Resistance and destroy Omniscience with Boseiju / Force of Vigor before they can cast another spell.
  • Choke.

How do I lose?

  • Their nut-draws (cannot really beat that).
  • Magus of the Moon (they no longer play Blood Moon).
  • Not finding enough disruption (Sphere and Blasts are MVP’s). 
InOut
+3 Blasts-1 Tabernacle
+4 Sphere of Resistance-2 Maze
+3 Force of Vigor-1 Bog
+2 Choke-1 Blast Zone
+2 Lightning Bolt-3 Endurance
-1 Shadowspear
-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-1 Punishing Fire
-1 Exploration
-2 Life from the Loam

Moon Stompy

My Role: Combo.

How do I win?

  • I have Dark Depths plus a timely answer to Blood Moon / Magus of the Moon.
  • They mulligan to oblivion.

How do I lose?

  • I don’t draw Dark Depths.
  • I happen to draw the wrong answer to their lockpiece (Force of Vigor vs Magus of the Moon or Punishing Fire vs Blood Moon).
  • Karn the great creator (if they play him).
  • They don’t play out their Moons and instead run me over with goblins.
InOut
+2 Lightning Bolt-1 Bojuka Bog
+3 Force of Vigor-2 Urza’s Saga
-1 Karakas
-1 Soul-Guide Lantern

Death & Taxes

My role: Prison-Aggro-Control

How do I win?

  • Run them over with Constructs (try to maximize Urza’s Saga every turn).
  • Destroy all their creatures with Punishing Fire.
  • They don’t draw enough lands and I have multiple copies of Wasteland and Rishadan Port as well as Tabernacle.
  • Marit Lage can sometimes win but it’s super risky as they have Swords to Plowshares and Solitude.


How do I lose?

  • They have a turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic into Kaldra Compleat.
  • They land an early Sanctum’s Prelate and name 2.
  • My hand is not functioning (mull to 5) and they run me over with dorks.

Notes: I might bring in two Sphere of Resistance on the play.

InOut
+3 Force of Vigor-1 Bog
+2 Lightning Bolt-1 Dark Depths
-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-2 Endurance

8 Cast

My Role: Prison-Control-Combo

How do I win?

  • I kill their first creature and then Wasteland them to oblivion. Urza’s Saga comes down once we have stabilized the board.
  • Fast Marit Lage. It is risky to go for a slow Marit Lage as they have 2 Otawara, 1 Spellbomb and sometimes Brazen Borrower (post sideboard).

How do I lost?

  • Their nut-draws (cannot really beat that).
  • My hand lining up poorly against theirs:
    • I have 1 drops and they have Chalice.
    • I have Blasts and they have Urza’s Saga.
    • I have Wasteland plus Force of Vigor and they have Emry or Sai.
  • They can sometimes grind me out thanks to Thoughtcast and Crucible of Worlds. But I often feel favored going long as long as I am able to control their early board.

Note: Kappa Cannoneer is more like Tangle Wire than True-Name Nemesis. Once we reach 5-6 mana we have plenty of answers in Maze of Ith and Boseiju. I only die to Kappa if it lands early or if they have 2 copies. 

InOut
+3 Blasts-1 Dark Depths
+3 Force of Vigor-1 Urza’s Saga
+1 Lightning Bolt-3 Endurance
-1 Soul-Guide Lantern
-1 Crop Rotation

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