Legacy's New Adventure - White Plume and Expressive Iteration are BANNED!
📅 March 06, 2023•
⏱️4 min read
On March 6th, 2023, WOTC Tweeted this: https://magic.wizards.com/en/news/announcements/march-6-2023-banned-and-restricted-announcement
In this announcement, White Plume Adventurer and Expressive Iteration were banned together!
As you might be aware, it's been a while since I've written anything, I've been in the midst of some real life stuff, but this change shakes things up immensely and I just feel the need to write about it!
So let's talk about what new Legacy looks like after this huge change!
Izzet Delver (and recently, Izzet splash black for Snuff Out) was the prevailing deck in Legacy, and anyone reading this right now likely doesn't need to learn more about the archetype. Combining it's extremely threating and efficient creature suite with card draw in the form of Expressive Iteration allowed the deck to keep pace with the entire rest of the metagame.
However, now without Expressive Iteration, what does the deck morph into? The core of Dragon's Rage Channeler, Delver of Secrets, and Murktide Regent are still well above rate, and you could likely flex those cards in the same shell with Daze and Force of Will, but you'll have a ton of weakness to decks that sufficiently 1:1 you, so you naturally to supplement this shell with card draw to help alleviate that problem.
What options do you have? Well you could be cheeky and go down the route of Predict alongside a set of Mishra's Baubles, similar to Isaac Bullwinkle's idea around the Delver Dichotomy that I presented in this article: https://minmaxblog.com/deleuzean-control/
I don't think this is the best idea, however, as Predict is extremely inconsistent in setting up, and very costly towards general cantrip usage. I'd more look towards the new creature Mercurial Spelldancer printed in MTGONE. This card intrigued me when it was first previewed, but the hyper efficiency of the rest of Delver shell pushed this card out into the 64th~ card territory. Now, however, I think it definitely merits testing.
The bottom line is that U/R still has the most efficient threat suite in Legacy, and UR Delver is certainly not going anywhere.
This likely also allows space in the metagame for other color variants of Delver, without card draw. Mercurial Spelldancer is very powerful, and could see its place in other delver colors as well. We've already seen a surge in the black splash, such as Snuff Out seeing a fair bit of play, and black still gives you a card draw spell as well: Painful Truths. It's a pet card of mine, it'd be cool to see it in use again, and it used to see a lot of play in alongside Mystic Sanctuary as a grindy tool in more midrange Delver shells.
Green also seems mildy appealing, with Tarmogoyf maybe seeing a bit of play, however I think the ship on Tarmogoyf's viability overal has sailed, Murktide Regent is just far too efficient.
With the banning of White Plume Adventurer, I sadly believe that hardcore single minded Adventurer strategies are simply dead in Legacy. That creature was THE most efficient dungeon creature, and nothing comes close to that approach. Playing other initiative creatures in other shells such as Caves of Chaos Adventurer in other places, such as Moon Stompy.
As far as Ancient Tomb strategies go, Moon Stompy is still an option, as are various Painter's Servant shells.
There are some very clear winners from this banning, such as Doomsday strategies. Doomsday decks on its own gain the most, as their worst matchup was UR Delver shells, and those shells are definitely down a peg with the banning of Expressive Iteration, and look to be truly a fairful deck indeed.
I'd also take a stab and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath/[Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes]/Comet, Stellar Pup shells. They excelled at 1:1ing Delver shells, and now they can do that JUST that much more consistently. The main thing that needs to be accounted for in building these decks will involve strategies against Moon Stompy, accounting for the reintroduction of Blood Moon decks.
As far as decks that were seeing a surge of play towards the end of the last metagame, we've got Cephalid Breakfast and Painter's Servant strategies, which were built specifically as their angle against the other two decks likely just maintain their positioning, as they're still quite good as they have their own proactive combo kills, but can play grindy games that lend themselves well to adaptation.
Finally, decks that saw less play, such as Moon Stompy, Death and Taxes, Show and Tell, etc all have giant question marks around them but are likely going to see a lot more play going forward, as the metagame is simply no longer as narrow as it was before.
I'm personally very excited for this new Legacy format, if it wasn't clear since this is my first article July of 2022! I'll probably start my exploration with Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath strategies as I think the opening of that space is very enticing and there's a lot of flexibility with those shells.
New metagames are always an exciting time for those of us playing this format, I'm extremely curious to hear how things shakeout! What do you think the format will look like going forward? What are you considering playing?