This edition of Too Much Information will focus on the Legacy Open held in Atlanta earlier this month. As you will see, the event produced some very interesting results, which you can download here.
However, this article does have to be prefaced with a note about the recent Banned and Restricted policy announcement, specifically the banning of Mental Misstep in Legacy. Given the prevalence of the card, as well as all of the more subtle effects it has had on the format since New Phyrexia was released, Misstep's absence will definitely cause another metagame shift. While this is exciting, it does have the unfortunate effect of leaving the data collected from past Legacy Opens—including Atlanta—considerably less useful for continued analysis.
For the purposes of our Overall Matchup and EV calculations, we will switch the data cutoff from the release of New Phyrexia to the banning of Mental Misstep on October 1st as soon as we have multiple events logged. This weekend's Legacy Open in Indianapolis will be the first major event to showcase the new Legacy format, so we are excited to see those results.
Until then, we'll take one last look at Legacy with Misstep, and what should be considered the ultimate evolution of that environment (since it won't have a chance to mature any further).
Atlanta Legacy Open Breakdown
The most shocking thing about this breakdown is that the most popular deck, for the first time since Memphis in March, wasn't Merfolk!
Not only was U/W Stoneblade more popular than Merfolk, but it was a staggering 15.66% of the field. That's the most popular Stoneblade has ever been, and no decks other than Merfolk and Survival have ever had a showing like this at a StarCityGames.com Open. U/W Stoneblade's win percentage, however, was much less impressive—barely above water, and lower than it had been in the previous several tournaments.
Merfolk, of course, was still the second-most popular deck, making up a modest 9.24% of the field. It performed far better than it typically has in recent months, though not quite as well as it did in Richmond, and was one of the most successful decks in Atlanta.
Zoo comes in just where we've come to expect it, at 7.23% of the field. It won just over half of its matches this time.
Reanimator, in the wake of some recent success despite a couple of poor showings in Seattle and Boston, broke 5% for the first time since the banning of Mystical Tutor. Its performance was unexciting, but it did do better than even—in fact, all of the top five decks did.
B/W Stoneblade was less popular, at 3.61%, and had another bad weekend.
Dredge was just as popular as B/W. Interestingly, this is the first time we've seen multiple copies of Manaless Dredge show up, and it was only slightly less popular than the traditional version. Together, they actually made up a respectable 6.43% of the field. Both variants won slightly over half of their matches.
U/W Stoneblade – 15.66% of Field, Won 50.20% of Matches
The most popular deck in this tournament by far, U/W Stoneblade had what can only be described as an unexciting performance. Winning half of its matches and drawing twenty-one of them—over an 8% draw rate—U/W had the worst win percentage among the five most popular decks. However, not all of its numbers are bad; U/W had a very good weekend against NO RUG, boasting a better record against the powerhouse than any of the other popular decks. U/W also dominated Zoo, even moreso than it has traditionally.
The big story here may be U/W's dismal record against Merfolk. The matchup between these two decks is currently the most common one in Legacy, and until recently it has slightly favored the Stoneforge Mystic deck. However, results from the last few tournaments, along with Atlanta, have shifted the overall record in Merfolk's favor, possibly because of that deck's adoption of tools such as Dismember.
Merfolk – 9.24% of Field, Won 56.71% of Matches
It may have given up the title of most popular deck in Atlanta, but Merfolk actually had one of its best weekends yet in terms of performance. NO RUG is the only popular deck to boast a better win percentage, and it barely did so.
Again, the most important thing to note here is Merfolk's rally against U/W Stoneblade, which went a long way towards offsetting the expectedly awful Zoo matchup. The matchups against NO RUG and Reanimator were closer, though still in Merfolk's favor, despite NO RUG's historical advantage.
Zoo – 7.23% of Field, Won 51.67% of Matches
Zoo's field presence and win percentage remained nearly identical to its averages across the last four Opens. That is to say, about 7% of the field played it, and it won slightly more than half of its matches. The matchup breakdown from Atlanta is a little more interesting than this would suggest, though.
U/W Stoneblade beating Zoo is nothing new, but NO RUG doing so by any significant margin is. Both decks simply routed Wild Nacatl's forces in Atlanta, and if it weren't for Zoo's advantage over Merfolk and a slightly uncharacteristic result against Reanimator, Legacy's only popular non-blue deck would not have managed a winning record.
NO RUG – 6.83% of Field, Won 57.46% of Matches
Another deck that matched its popularity and performance from previous events, NO RUG seems entrenched as Legacy's winningest deck. Its failure to hold up against U/W in Atlanta is strange, considering how close the pairing is historically, but the same can be said about the Zoo matchup, which bore out in NO RUG's favor this time.
All said, the period between Grand Prix Providence and the banning of Mental Misstep will best be remembered as the era of NO RUG in Legacy. Aside from Survival/Vengevine decks, no other archetype has ever enjoyed so much quantifiable success so consistently, and for such a length of time.
Reanimator – 5.62% of Field, Won 51.03% of Matches
The newcomer among our popular decks, Reanimator has been just under the radar ever since the adoption of Jin-Gitaxis, Core Augur as a staple fatty. Although it managed a fifth-highest field presence by a convincing margin, the deck doesn't really stack up particularly well against the others. Of all of them, Zoo is the only historically positive matchup, and even that one is close enough that it went in the other deck's favor in Atlanta.
Looking at the results from Mental Misstep's final Legacy Open, it's clear that NO RUG was the deck to play in the pre-banning environment. U/W Stoneblade, Merfolk, and Zoo were all at least as popular, but were unable to win as consistently as NO RUG. Stoneblade was the closest, having had favorable records in almost all of the recent tournaments.
If this environment were to persist, the choice would be clear: play NO RUG. However, the banning of Mental Misstep may drastically alter the metagame. All but one of Atlanta's top decks employed Misstep and will have to adapt to its absence. The most important question is whether NO RUG can continue to dominate without the card. After that, it will be interesting to see how the other blue decks adapt and whether U/W Stoneblade and Merfolk can remain the most popular decks. In the coming weeks and months, we'll get a chance to see which matchups are significantly altered by the banning and which decks stand to gain and lose the most.
Join us next time for the analysis of the Indianapolis Legacy Open, and our first look at the post-Misstep world!