A few months ago, myself and a few friends were drafting Eternal Masters, and can I say, what a draft set. It gave those of us who haven’t been playing since the 90’s a taste of what magic used to be like, and I for one loved it. After the dust had settled, and the Karakas, Mana Crypt and Jace, the Mind Sculptor">Jace, the Mind Sculptor had been opened all by the same player, it wasn’t too long before one of us asked the inevitable question, “Should we play Legacy?”
This question can divide a group of magic players, and our small gathering was no exception. The main objections to playing Legacy, and most eternal formats for that matter, have all been heard before. “The cards are too hard to get hold of”, “It’s too expensive”, and “No one plays Legacy”. Are any of these statements true? Or is Legacy easier to get into than some of us believe? With that said, let’s have a look at each point and uncover the truth of the matter.
The cards are too hard to get hold of
The Legacy format uses cards from all of Magic’s history, (aside from certain banned cards), and so includes many older, more powerful spells than we are used to playing with in Standard these days. Some of these cards are on the reserved list, meaning that Wizards of the Coast will never reprint these valuable staples. This has the unfortunate result of the ever lowering supply and increased demand, as more of these cards become squirreled away, damaged and lost.
So is that it? Does that mean we can never hope to get into Legacy?
It is true that some of these cards are hard to obtain due to their rarity and lack of reprints, but it is rare that you will need a full playset of them. Cards such as Lion’s Eye Diamond are a staple of many Dredge strategies, but most decks only run one or two. As for dual lands, people will run one or two and use the far more accessible fetch lands to fix their mana. Whilst this will still make a cut into your bank balance, these cards are more than just pieces of cardboard, but rather collector’s items that will become the prize pieces of your decks and collection. I myself proudly display my Black Lotus, much to the envy of my friends.
However, not all powerful legacy cards are on the reserved list. Now it may be unlikely that we will see cards like Show and Tell and Sneak Attack in any upcoming Standard sets (unless they are printed as Masterpieces, HINT HINT WIZARDS!), but with sets like Modern/Eternal Masters and Conspiracy, such reprints are not only possible, but are already being produced.
It is also worth noting that although Legacy can use cards from Magic’s past, not all cards are extremely old or difficult to get hold of. In fact, many decks use newer cards and even have whole decks built around them. Oath of the Gatewatch is less than a year old, yet cards like Thought Knot Seer and Reality Smasher have made vast impacts in all formats in which they are legal, including Legacy. With new cards been printed all the time, new strategies are sure to follow.
It’s too expensive
As we discussed earlier, some cards in Legacy are hard to get hold of and yes, expensive. Many people point out that a Legacy deck can run up costs as high as several thousands of pounds. Though this may be true in the short term, it is important to remember that Legacy is an eternal format, meaning your deck will not rotate, unlike your Standard deck.
Think back to your last few Standard decks. How much did those decks cost at the peak of their popularity? Anywhere between £100 to £600, maybe more? Now imagine keeping up with every rotation for the next two to three years. Four new sets every year. Rotations every two years. And what if you like making a couple of Standard decks, rather than just one. Soon the price begins to build up quickly. Plus, as cards fall out of Standard, most of them with lose a lot of their value. A deck that may have cost you £300 four months ago, will be worth a fraction of that once it has rotated, forcing you to keep up to remain competitive. Buy into Legacy however, and you will have a Magic deck that will never rotate, and will either maintain or increase its value over time. If you ever wish to trade up to a new deck, the investment in your previous deck will mean you are less likely to lose out financially.
But even if you don’t wish to spend thousands of pounds on a deck, there are many budget alternatives for you to consider. One of my personal favorites is this little fire cracker, commonly referred to as “12-Post”.
This deck works a lot like my Modern Tron deck, but requires far less work to get going. Pumping out five-drops as early as turn three certainly seems great to me, and the deck can be upgraded with the inclusion of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Karn Liberated, to add more hitting power. Or even Chalice of the Void to control the board (but sadly we lose the “budget” aspect of the deck).
No one plays Legacy
You and your friends want to play Legacy, but your local store doesn’t currently host any Legacy events. So what do you do? The answer is simple, ask if they will host them. Most game stores want to host as many varied DCI events as possible. It makes the store look good, and can bring outside players into their gaming circle. Some stores may be more than happy to have you champion a format for them. If enough people show interest, events can and will happen. Additionally, you can always branch out from your local hobby hub and look up events online. You never know where or when the next Legacy event will be held, and you may even make some new friends.
So go out there. Build a new Burn or BUG deck, and try something new. You never know until you try it for yourself.