The SCG Tour® moves along this week to Worcester, MA for the lone Legacy Open in Season One. Though each season only has a single Legacy Open, the format has increased in exposure with the inclusion and uptick of Team Constructed events. This will be the first Legacy main event since October when the SCG Tour® stop in Washington DC followed Eternal Weekend in Pittsburgh.
The Legacy format has stabilized since the banning of Sensei's Divining Top in the spring of 2017, neutering the dominant Miracles control deck. Grixis Delver now holds the title of best deck, though it often gave Miracles a run for its money before, and the infusion of Leovold, Emissary of Trest gave birth to Four-Color Control - the next best blue-based Deathrite Shaman deck. While the loss of Sensei's Divining Top removed the lock element of control in conjunction with Counterbalance, Miracles has had quite the revitalization thanks to a new cornerstone from Ixalan. Search for Azcanta gives Miracles a true control feel as opposed to the prison-style lock from before, allowing the deck to grind out any other midrange or control deck given enough time. Turns out Terminus backed by S words to Plowshares, Snapcaster Mage, every cantrip known to man (including Portent), and Jace, the Mind Sculptor is a powerful enough shell to hang around and beat the format mainstays.
While Brainstorm-fueled control and tempo decks rule the format, non-blue decks still have a place in Legacy and make up a large chunk of the strongest decks. Lands and Turbo Depths compete for the title of best non-blue deck, both relying on the power of the pairing of Dark Depths and Thespian Stage - albeit in completely different archetypes. Lands is a prison deck that packs a potential quick combo kill when running your opponent out of lands and creatures isn't a viable option. Turbo Depths is a pure combo deck that looks to create Marit Lage as quickly as possible along with multiple pieces of hand disruption and Pithing Needle to shut down opposing Wastelands. Other non-blue staples in the format include Death and Taxes (now often splashing red for Magus of the Moon, Pia and Kiran Nalaar, and Dire Fleet Daredevil), Punishing Abzan, Elves, Colorless Eldrazi, and B/R Reanimator.
Rounding out the metagame are the combo decks utilizing blue: Storm and Sneak and Show. Storm splinters off into TES and Ad Nauseam variants while Sneak and Show has undergone almost no changes in the past couple of years. Both decks want to kill you fast, with Storm looking to assemble a lethal Tendrils of Agony or massive Empty the Warrens, and Sneak and Show trying to put Griselbrand or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on the battlefield in the first few turns of the game. From here, the metagame consists of countless midrange and tempo decks revolving around Stoneforge Mystic or Delver of Secrets, and rogue decks. Burn, Infect, Belcher, Food Chain, Aluren, Mono-Red Sneak Attack, Dredge, Metalworker, and many other niche decks will show up, so you can never count out facing a brew.
Players to Watch
There's a case for Bob Huang being the best Grixis Delver player in the game. The best deck in the best player's hands leads to a player you have to watch. In the past five years or so, few players have had the finishes of Huang in Legacy and almost all of them with Delver of some shape or size. For recent results, check out the time period of October 21 to November 19 where Huang piloted Grixis Delver to three Top-8 finishes, ranging from Top 4 at Eternal Weekend's Legacy Championship, Top 4 at #SCGDC's Legacy Open, and Top 8 at #SCGBALT's Team Open. Other notables for Huang include winning the Legacy Championship at Eternal Weekend in 2015 and putting Treasure Cruise and Monastery Swiftspear on the map in his New Jersey Legacy Open winning U/R Delver deck the week of the release of Khans of Tarkir in 2014.
Kevin King has been doing a whole bunch of winning lately, benefiting greatly by the rising popularity in Team Opens allowing more Legacy to be played on the SCG Tour®. The longtime Lands player saw success before Team Opens, including a runner-up finish in the Worcester Legacy Open in 2016 and a Top-4 finish at the Legacy Championship in 2015, but has found his sweet spot over the past year. Of the six Team Opens since their start in 2017, King has reached the finals of half of them - pairing with completely different squads in each - including a win in Dallas earlier this year with Julian John and Jonathan Rosum.
Noah Walker is the only player on the SCG Tour® with two wins in Legacy Opens in the two-day Open era and is one of just three players with three wins since the change. On top of his individual wins in Worcester in 2015 and Philadelphia in 2016 (both with Grixis Delver), Walker won the Team Open in Baltimore at the end of 2017 alongside Dylan Donegan and Oliver Tiu. Though Walker swapped to Four-Color Control in Baltimore, he was back on Grixis Delver for the Team Open Top 8 in Philadelphia this year with Donegan and Zan Syed. When it comes to Brainstorm-on-Brainstorm matches, Walker is not a player you want to be paired against.
I'm not going to lie to you: Worcester is my least favorite food stop on the SCG Tour®. In terms of food close to the venue, the options are quite limited. Outside of Mezcal and Uno Pizzeria, the two closest options to the event, you're going to be at least 10 minutes away from food. The other hit Worcester takes is that the DCU Center doesn't allow outside food or drink of any kind - so be prepared to sneak in your coffee if you've got some.
This is basically the saving grace for food at #SCGWOR. I'm a big fan of Mexican food and restaurants across the street from the venue I'm working at all weekend. Not only is Mezcal close, but it's delicious as well. Firstly, check out the guacamole. I tend to go for the sampler to try out a variety of flavors, but don't mind locking in the tropical mix either. The quesadillas and tacos are great, but if you make it in for lunch, definitely take advantage of the unlimited taco, burrito, and salad bar.
These next two options are new to me, but look like solid choices and add a bit of variety if you're willing to venture away from event site. According to their website, Volturno "is recognized by the Association Pizzaiuoli Napoletani to make pizza according to the strict guidelines set forth by Italy," which apparently is a thing and interests me greatly. The menu is pretty vast with plenty of classic Italian options, but I'm zoning in on the Capocolla pizza.
Next up on my list of places to try is Shawarma Palace, a Mediterranean restaurant with "healthy and delicious Middle Eastern delicacies." I'm Mono-Chicken Shawarma Aggro when it comes to Mediterranean food, so I'm looking forward to trying that, but am open to new dishes as well. And there is no better way to top off some Shawarma than Baklava.
As usual, live coverage of #SCGWOR starts at 10:30 a.m. ET on Twitch.tv/SCGTour with Round 1. I'll be joined this weekend with Cedric Phillips and Patrick Sullivan calling all the action. Day 2 begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday, starting with Round 10 of the Swiss.