Polish Legacy Championship – metagame breakdown
A week after Polish Legacy Championship we finally have some time to delve into depths of data contained in decklists, pairings and results. With all 64 seats sold out weeks ahead of schedule (and even more people waiting on our “reserved lists”), at the beginning of first round only two players dropped themselves out unexpectedly as no-shows, due to random business or health-related happenstances. With exceptionally great atmosphere, an event like no other in history of Polish paper Legacy launched first of its 6 rounds of Swiss, with Top 16 duels coming later for the best contenders.
As I always did in our metagame breakdowns from Legacy Trial 1-4 tournaments, I’ll be dividing various archetypes into several categories for the sake of clarity and data display. First, classic distinction is made between combo / aggro / control, second, even more general, for fair / unfair strategies.
I’m perfectly aware that these days, probably like never before, such categories are no longer accurate in describing true contents and strategy of decks such as Painter, Narset + Day’s Undoing control or even UR Delver, drifting farther and farther away from any resemblance of a “fair matchup”. Still, with deeper analysis left for specific decklists, lets agree for now, that whatever wins primarily by hitting the opponent with (relatively) small and cheap creatures over the course of several turns is an aggro deck, just as anything ending the game deterministically in one swing, with combination of two or three, separately unassuming cards, is a combo, while abundance of removal, counterspells and late-game win-conditions presents itself as control.
After successfully explaining the (not so) obvious part of the breakdown, lets have a look at the numbers for all archetypes registered by 62 players:
At the very first glance we can see great resurgence of combo strategies since our Legacy Trial 4 tournament in December, where numbers for aggro decks (with Ragavans still present among them) were twice those for combos. Now not only popularity of the archetype in general, but also variety of its forms increased significantly in our national metagame. On the other hand, control decks remained as scarce as always, yet like never before their main gameplan (despite differences between shells and individual lists) revolved around combo-ish power of Day’s Undoing, changing slower dynamics of previously dominant Bant / 4c strategies, usually aimed for long war of attrition.
Moving from general overview to more specific numbers and immortal question of “what was the meta?”, I was surprised by arguably low percentage of the most dominant deck in the format – 14% for UR Delvers in Polish Legacy metagame differs from MtGO’s 20% and from December’s statistics of 23% at Legacy Trial 4. Even though Polish Legacy Championship gathered almost twice more players than our previous tournament, nearly as many of them as before opted for UR as their weapon of choice, which definitely contributed to general enjoyment of our competitors over the course of nearly 12 hours of play. Jeskai “Undoing” decks replaced 4c Control on the second place, shared between them, Death&Taxes and stronger than ever variants of BG Depths. Unexpectedly, the second most popular combo strategy was Painter – most confusing for opponents unfamiliar with the matchup and incredibly flexible in the hands of dedicated pilots.
Obviously, sheer representation tells us nothing about winning potential of a deck, so before we’ll look closer at the details of specific lists, lets have a glance at the points summarized for each of them after 6 rounds of Swiss. Needles to say, 12 points were nearly always enough to reach Top 16, as we decided to expand the Top structure, so the title of the best Legacy player in the country wouldn’t be decided majorly by tie-breaks after Swiss, randomly throwing out the players with equal score. Was there a deck that by default guaranteed a score close to 4 wins out of 6 matches?
Not even UR “guaranteed” 4 wins for their drivers, however 11 points on average is close enough to confirm its “best deck” status. Still, not as easy to master as it was to play, Delver left more than a half of its players outside Top 16. Various versions of BG Depths combo proved to be nearly as successful, with average 10 points per player and 3 pilots passing the try-outs of Swiss. The rest of the most popular decks clearly underperformed, with only 2 representatives of Jeskai Control and none of Death&Taxes, vacating 4 remaining Top seats for singular strategies, overperforming in hands of devoted experts.
Speaking of experts, lets have a look at those most accomplished, who reached play-offs at Polish Legacy Championship. We have many familiar faces here, well-known and renowned in our previous tournaments, regular Top8ers of Polish competitive scene. What were the keys to their successes and what matchups did they face?
PLC Top performances
Swiss: 0-2 vs Naya Depths / 2-1 vs MonoR Prison / 2-0 vs URw Delver / 2-1 vs Grixis Control / 0-2 vs Jeskai Control / 2-0 vs D&T
Top 16 – loss vs UR Delver
Long-time member and proud representative of our Legacy Academy, Patryk devoted himself to dark, vampiric magic and hexes many years ago. Collecting himself after first round defeat, he faced wide range of opposite strategies. Described by himself as the best card in the deck, Urza’s Saga opened another angle of winning for BG Depths, expanding deck’s range in matchups where Marit Lage is not that much of a threat.
Swiss: 2-1 vs MonoR Prison / 1-2 vs Infect / 2-1 vs D&T / 2-0 vs Painter / 2-0 vs NicFit / ID
Top 16 – loss vs UR Delver
Painter strategies, surprising for many and already uncommon as they are, require dedication and true prowess in exploiting their various angles and synergies. Adrian’s list seems even better equipped for besting U decks, yet its only losses were to counter-heavy opponents. Despite this, win in mirror match against well-known and experienced Painter pilot – Ziemowit Strużyna – was definitely of a “6 points” kind. The Top loss to future Top4 UR does not necessarily contradict theory of good Delver matchup (with 5 maindeck counters, good manafixing and reccuring removal in the form of Twinshot Snpier), as Adrian’s duels in Swiss didn’t include one.
Swiss: 2-0 vs BG Depths / 1-0 vs Rainbow Depths / 2-0 vs Elves / 2-0 vs D&T / ID / ID
Top 16 – loss to Infect
Robert’s battles in 3rd and 4th round were part of our livestream, where twice he reached for victory with quite unexpected Supreme Verdict. Storming through Swiss without conceding a single game, Robert made very good use of his Dress Downs, singleton of Day’s Undoing and – most notably – incredible Shark mascot-token, which you need to see in the record of our livestream. The tempo of Infect, especially with Sylwester Strużyna behind it, was simply a little too much for a shell still aimed for late-game win.
Swiss: 0-2 vs Naya Depths / 2-0 vs Elves / 2-1 vs 8Cast / 2-1 vs Infect / 2-0 vs BG Depths / ID
Top 16 – loss to UR Delver
After reaching Top 8 in December on Legacy Trial 4 and Legacy Haj Stejk in March, Sebastian once again showed his skills, conceding only to future finalists of Polish Legacy Championship. His version of “Undoing Control” included two copies of Wandering Emperor, which proved to be a very good call especially in 5th round feature match against Patryk Pietkun’s BG Depths. Reaching Top 16, despite battling only unfair matchups in Swiss, confirms the quality of the deck and its pilot even more so.
Swiss: Bye / 1-2 vs Elves / 2-0 vs Madness / 2-0 vs D&T / 2-0 vs D&T / ID
Top 16 – loss to UR Delver
Winner of Legacy Trial 3 and the sole representative of G-splashing control, Tomasz granted himself 1st round Bye after winning Legacy event at Paprykarz Open Series 2022. Despite 2nd round loss in impressive feature match, he handled both the spiciest and the most classical matchups in Swiss, remaining the only Top contender (and one of only two Wizards in entire tournament) committed to grinding power of Uro, without combo-ish shortcuts of Day’s Undoing.
Swiss: 2-1 vs D&T / 2-1 vs 4c Control / 0-2 vs UR / 2-1 vs UR / 0-2 vs UR / 2-0 vs D&T
Top 16 – loss to Naya Depths
To say that Rafał’s matchups at Polish Legacy Championship were polarised would be an understatement. Besides featured match against Tomasz Hanik in 2nd round, Rafał rode a true rollercoaster of best and worst possible matchups. Still, his skills in operating this very classical version of “mono-green storm” were enough to reach play-offs, besting one of the “best decks” in the process. However, gods of Magic know no mercy nor the slightest sense of justice, pairing him against future Top 2 Marit Lage deck.
Swiss: 2-1 vs 4c Maverick / 2-1 vs BG Depths / 0-2 vs Naya Depths / 1-2 vs D&T / 2-0 vs Painter / 2-0 vs Elves
Top 16 – loss to MonoB Depths
Registering very straightforward 75, with all-in Turbo approach, seems incredibly risky in current metagame… Unless you really know your way around with the deck. Leszek definitely did, fighting tooth and nail for his Top 16 slot, focusing on enabling the combo as quickly as possible and protecting it at all costs, without a single slot spared in the main deck for any removal, which was fully replaced by discard spells. Neither Urza’s toolbox was utilized here, nor a single deviation from the consistency of the main gameplan. The Turbo Marit was eventually stopped by other, much more flexible and unorthodox variant.
Swiss: 1-1 vs UR Delver / 2-0 vs Jeskai Control / 1-0 vs D&T / 2-0 vs UR Delver / ID / ID
Top 16 – loss to KarnEcho
Original initiator of Legacy Academy, Top 2 and Top 4 player of Legacy Trial 3 and 4, Adam went undefeated through all grindy matchups in Swiss. With list carefully prepared over the course of several months (and very different from MtGO standard 75), he had good chances of reaching the finals in Top filled with UR and Depths matchups. Yet again, gods of Magic decided, that the worst possible opponent will be most suitable for Adam’s Top 16, thus he had to face another local (and worldwide) champion in the feature match.
Swiss: 2-0 vs Punishing Maverick / 2-1 vs RG Painter / 0-2 vs D&T / 1-2 vs Jeskai Control / 2-1 vs 8Cast / 2-0 vs NicFit
Top 16 – win vs Jeskai Control
Top 8 – loss vs UR Delver
Sylwester needs no introduction for any experienced Legacy player, be it paper or online one. Eternal master of Infect strategy managed to push his beloved deck through various obstacles at Polish Legacy Championship. The biggest surprise for his opponents was probably his deviation from recently played D&T back to the deck almost forgotten by majority of players. The skill, however, is not as easily forgotten. Prowess combined with experience guided “Sylwek” in games against all archetypes (I wish I could saw if those Seeds of Innocence made the difference against 8Cast). Only in Top8 the gap between the Tiers of decks couldn’t be filled by sheer dedication and mastery his own 75.
Swiss: 2-1 vs Burn / 2-0 vs Jeskai Control / 2-0 vs UR Delver / 0-2 vs UR Delver / 2-0 vs Elves / ID
Top 16 – win vs 4c Control
Top 8 – loss vs UR Delver
As a relative newcomer to Legacy, yet very experienced with UR Murktide in Modern, Mikołaj simply adjusted already known strategy to requirements of the stronger format and threw the gauntlet straight to the faces of all old-timers. And to incredibly good result! By playing the best deck to the best of his abilities, Mikołaj could have reached even higher bracket, if he could only avoid playing mirror against the same opponent twice. Nevertheless, there’s nothing to be ashamed of in loosing to a man, who reached Top8 or higher at each major tournament in last 2 years, so I’m sure we can expect even more from Mikołaj in upcoming competition. As straightforward as it possibly could be, his 75 showed that the only thing you need to succeed with the best deck is focus and understanding of your own strategy and tools.
Swiss: 2-1 vs Elves / 2-1 vs RG Lands / 2-0 vs D&T / 2-0 vs UR Delver / ID / ID
Top 16 – win vs BG Depths
Top 8 – loss vs Naya Depths
I have to admit – I’ve purposefully abbreviated this list in previous summaries as one of BG-type not to spoil the surprise. The truly Dark Depths prepared by Grzegorz are very skill-intensive, requiring careful evaluation of opening hand, precise application of control-pieces and playing towards specific upcoming angles. Without the reach granted by green colour, this version values good, old, Dark Confidant, while also denying resources through Dauthi Voidwalker, Nihil Spellbomb and discard. Transformational sideboard can catch opponents off-guard, combining strong hate, removal and artifact synergies with acceleration of Ritual. All the assumptions made by Grzegorz in this list were verified by wide range of matchups, very nearly granting him access to the final four. Congratulations for both – the result and ingenuity.
Swiss: 2-1 vs Painter / 2-0 vs Maverick / 2-0 vs 8Cast / 2-0 vs Naya Depths / ID / ID
Top 16 – win vs RG Lands
Top 8 – loss vs UR Delver
Another top contender from Legacy Academy, Tomasz, decided to present his own take on Echo strategy, with which he was wrecking havoc on MtGO, winning one trophy after another. Combining power of Karn, Narset, Echo of Eons, Day’s Undoing and Lion’s Eye Diamond, “Jabol” created truly fearsome and most abominable machine, ready to launch its game-ending combo at turn 2, while maintaining unparalleled grinding potential. No one but the eventual winner himself could stop him at this tournament and even he ended up without a single permanent in their first game of the Top 8 feature match.
Swiss: 1-1 vs RG Lands / 2-0 vs UR Delver / 2-1 vs Rainbow Depths / 0-2 vs BG Depths / 2-0 vs D&T / 2-0 vs Jeskai Control
Top 16 – win vs RG Painter
Top 8 – win vs Infect
Top 4 – loss vs UR Delver
Despite reaching Top 8 in Legacy Trial 4, Krzysztof signed-up for Polish Legacy Championship at the very last moment. Luckily for us and himself, given his final record and – just as in December – quite unusual UR lists. Apparently not being very fond of Delvers in Delver deck, Krzysztof filled their slots with Snapcasters and Predicts, improving his selection even more and giving his deck some edge in late-game. 3 copies of Mishra’s Bauble also indicate focus on Channeler’s utility, with ability to outmatch opponents with flashback removal and even faster (bigger) Regent for the win. Final battle between Krzysztof and “Fidzio” for the grand final is really something you should watch if you haven’t done so already.
Swiss: 2-0 vs Grixis Control / 2-1 vs NicFit / 2-0 vs Elves / 2-0 vs UR Delver / ID / ID
Top 16 – win vs BG Depths
Top 8 – win vs UR Delver
Top 4 – loss vs Naya Depths
Appearance of Bartosz in the Top 8 was to be expected, given his previous performances on Polish competitive Legacy scene. Combo, control, mirror matches – whatever PLC threw at him, he endured. Not weakened at all by banning of Ragavan, his UR included full set of Delvers and the rest of 75 quite regular for the best deck of the format, however with a touch of longevity, with mainboard Mystic Sanctuary and sideboard Narset, undoubtedly helpful in longer games vs control or midrange decks. Second Top 4 of big tournament in a row demands respect and it’s a shame that we couldn’t see Bartosz on our livestream sooner than semi-finals.
Swiss: 2-0 vs Jeskai Control / 2-0 vs D&T / 2-0 vs BG Depths / 0-2 vs KarnEcho / 2-0 vs D&T / ID
Top 16 – win vs Elves
Top 8 – win vs MonoB Depths
Top 4 – win vs UR Delver
Top 2 – loss vs UR Delver
Choosing the deck created to be a “delver-killer” for a big tournament seems like a no-brainer, yet Bernard’s path to the finals of Polish Legacy Championship was bereft of UR’s until the very last stages. More than just good meta-call was required to beat so many different matchups, therefore Bernard’s skills in executing incredibly consistent plan of his deck are undisputed. Combination of best removal, ultra offensive plan with fast, resilient combo, alongside Knight of the Reliquary’s power and reach granted by Zeniths, Rotations and Reclaimers was enough to best anything but the most degenerated and much faster combo. The game he won in his final battle against “Fidzio” was a display of optimal choices, deserving nothing short of thunderous applause.
Swiss: 1-2 vs BG Depths / 2-0 vs Jeskai Control / 1-1 vs Jeskai Control / 2-1 vs Jeskai Control / 2-0 vs Elves / 2-0 vs 8Cast
Top 16 – win vs Jeskai Control
Top 8 – win vs KarnEcho
Top 4 – win vs UR Delver
Top 2 – win vs Naya Depths
Maciej’s start of Polish Legacy Championship wasn’t stellar, with a setback of 1st round loss against Patryk Błachut. Despite this, bold and beautiful, personification of composure, “Fidzio” simply played on, contributing significantly to lowering average score of Jeskai decks. His own, however, differs from “standard” UR 75, with 3 basic lands (much more resilience against opposite Wastelands), “only” 3 Regents and 2 copies of old school (O, tempora! O, mores!) True-Name Nemesis. Sideboard slot of Court of Cunning was spared for Maddening Hex, spectacular against “Jabol’s” KarnEcho and single copy of Vapor Snag will remain a symbol of the Championship match. Decisive game of this duel started on the draw, from mulligan to 5, against opponent’s t1 Library followed by Reclaimer and KotR, with 5 turns on 2 basic lands and a brain-lock is a testimony of “Fidzio”s prodigious skill, cold-bloodedness and playing towards his outs. A match to be watched over and over again, worthy of the true Champion of Polish Legacy scene in 2022.
Hardly anyone could be surprised by 4 UR decks in our Top 8. Even though the best deck of the format wasn’t overabundant in entire tournament and less than a half of its pilots passed through 6 rounds of Swiss, there can be no argument about its Tier 0 position. The games we’ve witnessed over the course of 10 rounds total clearly proved that the matchup against UR drifts further and further away from “fairness”, as the deck is capable of seeing up to 5-7 cards in a single turn with DRC’s triggers, answering each possible angle of opposite threats, no matter the matchups and intertwining classical, early tempo with absurdly fast and stupidly big threat, stronger than anything but Marit Lage itself. In my humble opinion, Murktide Regent is the true reason for UR’s dominance and its ability to break its own archetype, which historically had to face the drawback of having its small win-con creatures outclassed by midrange decks, should the game go longer than planned and should the counter/removal fuel burn out. Mainboarding sideboard cards is always symptomatic for unhealthy formats and even though main deck Pyroblast historically had its uses in Legacy, nowadays its clearly aimed against Blue Tomb Stalker on steroids, not towards Daze nor even Iteration Through Time.
Looking closer at Polish Legacy metagame, we couldn’t be prouder with what we saw at the Championship. Beautiful variety of decks, veterans clashing with newcomers, expert decks and original decklists emerging at the top positions, with very competitive and updated 75 alongside them. Never before Legacy event like this one took place in Poland and we know for sure that many more players wished to come, but simply couldn’t, due to random situations or limit of 64 players. The ever-dying Legacy in Poland is stronger than ever and is getting stronger with each local event. Another bigger one, Legacy Trial 5, will be coming probably around October or November, so stay tuned and sharp, exercising your skills at smaller events, which we hope to encourage with everything we showed so far as Legacy Academy.
Unlike any other format, Legacy proves the supremacy of quality over quantity, guiding the best players, experts in their own strategies and archetypes, to the top positions over and over again, no matter current Tier of their deck or general tendencies of the metagame. Those less successful in the final standings can feel discouraged from trying “their own thing”, even though results of players like Tomasz Jabłoński, Bernard Sawicki, Tomasz Hanik, Sylwester Strużyna or Grzegorz Jezierski show the value of doing your thing your way. One of those most dedicated to his own strategy in Polish Legacy is surely Filip Pawłowski, losing his win-and-in in the final duel vs RG Painter. His NicFit – the second deck in entire tournament with Uro in its 75 – clearly is no longer a joke, once again getting close to the top of bigger, competitive event. Another “nearly there” deck is 12 Post played by Jakub Świderek, undefeated during PLC and also without a match won. Clearly, a little more focus and effort from the pilot is the missing piece here, as he also nearly missed Top 8 of Legacy Trial 4 in December. Getting closer to spice-corner, we can mention Madness (Tomasz Matejowski-Marusarz) and Hive Mind (Rafał Buczkowski), which – though extremely volatile – are still a little too glass-cannon for a competitive marathon, demanding consistent results and predictable performance against any matchup. Personally, I was expecting at least one 8Cast in the Top 16, although I assume that their pilots didn’t had the time or opportunities necessary to prepare for many matchups they faced at PLC. Total absence of Show&Tell seems intriguing, however, just as with Reanimator decks, single angle of winning with high dependency on opening hand and several combo pieces is no longer enough to push through so powerful and complicated metagame.
To all our wonderful, noble partners and patrons, without whom an event like this wouldn’t be possible.
To all Legacy players in Poland, no matter their score nor even final attendance, for keeping the format, the passion, the Magic itself alive, strong and still growing.
To all members and friends of Legacy Academy, as only with their dedication to our crazy initiative Polish Legacy Championship could be realized and even more, hopefully even better tournaments are coming in the future.
To Rafał Tarnowski and Akademia Nicol Bolasa for making our livestream possible.
To Błażej Kurowski for astonishing artworks, admired by all participants of all tournaments we’ve made so far.
To Marta Podkomórka, author of our photo gallery and keeper of side-events!
To our judges – Witek Waczyński, Paweł Ostrowski and Filip Kwiatkowski, for keepeing everything calm and balanced, as all things should be.
Polish Legacy Championship – photo gallery
Klasyczny hejt na regenta i bezrefleksyjne powtarzanie tego co mówi internetowa bańka. Róbcie tak dalej, a po banach będzie zdziwienie, że nic się nie zmieniło (poza zmniejszeniem mety o nie-delverowe decki, które mogą grać regentem). Delverowi regent nie jest do szczęścia potrzebny – zabija wcześniej. 2/10
Przy w założeniu polemicznym komentarzu przydałoby się choć trochę argumentów w kontrze do tych, z którymi się nie zgadzamy. Refleksji na temat wygłoszonej opinii podaliśmy kilka, więc o bezrefleksyjności trudno tu mówić. Z tym, że UR bez Regenta poradzi sobie świetnie zgadzam się w zupełności. Z tym, że bez Regenta potrafi zabijać bardzo szybko – także. Rzecz w tym, że dzięki niemu posiada również mid- i late-game win-con, jakiego nigdy nie miał, zarówno w rozmiarze jak i potencjale defensywnym (Nemezisy ani Gurmagi, stanowiące ekwiwalent takiego planu w różnych konfiguracjach Delvera sprzed lat, były dużo mniejsze i nie latały, zaś zombie ryba nie podkładała się dodatkowo pod FoWa i nie rosła). Jeśli więc zestawisz cały potencjał Delvera na klasyczne super tempo poparte mana denial, 10 darmowymi kontrami, serią cantripów z Dig Through Time w postaci Iteracji i ich synergią z super mocnymi Channelerami, to trudno nie zauważyć, że wisienka na tym torcie w postaci typa 8/8 flying za 2 many, który przerasta nawet Griselbranda, to trochę za dużo. Granie tempo deckiem od zawsze wiązało się z określonym kosztem, którym był słaby late-game, analogicznie do słabego early-game w Mavericku i jemu podobnych. Obecnie nie jest to już prawdziwe, zaś wobec nienagannej selekcji, świetnego card advantage, odpowiedzi na wszystko t0 i dobrego matchupu zarówno na combo jak i na kontrole, gdzie w każdej turze prezentujesz win-con wymagający natychmiastowej odpowiedzi, otrzymujesz bezdyskusyjne tier 0. Mainowe Prybolasty nie są wycelowane w niebieskich deckach przeciw Daze czy Iteracji, a właśnie przeciw Regentowi, którego inaczej nie ma jak usunąć, w czym znajduję analogię do mainowych Surgicali w czasie dominacji modernowego Feniksa czy też mainowych Leyline’ów wobec Hogaaka – to symptom tego, że gdzieś coś przegina się w stronę złamania. Jeśli te argumenty Cię nie przekonują – w porządku, podaj własne. Ale suche 2/10 i trochę świetego oburzenia niewiele wnoszą do dyskusji.