So you may or may not have read my thoughts on the Legacy banlist. Despite the impression that many readers had, my number one wish for the format is to be interesting. The disconnect stems from the fact that I apparently have a different idea of what is interesting and what isn’t than most. Many players see Legacy as a format that is supposed to be very diverse and that is what makes it interesting to them. For me, it is more about the individual games I play; I like games with lots of decisions, regardless of the actual cards I’m using. Whereas others like to play against five different decks they have never seen, I am perfectly content playing Delver mirrors all day long.
One thing that is especially frustrating for players looking for diversity is the large representation of Brainstorm decks. I think the best Brainstorm decks are clearly better than everything else in the format; if you want to win a Legacy event, you’re giving yourself the best shot by playing one of those decks.
If this statement is true, there are two options.
The first is that you don’t consider blue dominance a problem. In that case, there’s no reason to have Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise banned – they are not the problem and they do not make it worse. If it’s better to cast Brainstorm than not to, it doesn’t matter how much better it is. (Obviously it makes a difference in the actual games because these cards are extremely powerful, but it does not make a difference in deck selection.)
The second option is that you do consider blue dominance a problem. This is a hard problem to address though, because this is not something that can be solved by bannings. Legacy needs strong blue decks to keep extremely fast combo decks like Belcher and BR Reanimator in check. Of course there’s the possibility that you enjoy playing Modern, but maybe it’s a good idea to actually play Modern then. (Not throwing any shade here; even though it’s been a while, but I play Modern every now and then myself. I just don’t think there’s any reason to have to funtionally identical formats with slightly different cards.)
The number one benefit of running Brainstorm is mitigating bad lategame draws. In close second is the ability to run low amounts of situational cards that you can find somewhat reliably with cantrips but still shuffle away if you don’t need them. Sound familiar?
When Survival was banned more than six years ago, many thought the banning was premature. (I had just been playing for a few months, so my personal judgement is irrelevant.) On top of that, Legacy back then looked nothing like it does now. There was no Delver of Secrets, Past in Flames, Griselbrand, Miracles, Deathrite Shaman, True-Name Nemesis, Shardless Agent, Eldrazi Mimic… The list goes on.
Unfortunately, the explanation for the banning of Survival is rather short. Basically, it says that the card is Show and Tell, not Omniscience (another strategy that did not exist back then).
I can confidently say that I am not scared to face Survival of the Fittest with either Miracles, Delver or Storm. Of course, I could be wrong and the card is indeed busted and it most certainly is going to push some decks out of the format… Only it really isn’t because those decks already aren’t top tier.
At the very least, Survival provides a very interesting deckbuilding challenge that I would not mind to take on at all.
What’s the worst that could happen?
There could be a deck out there that’s completely busted and destroys everything else in the format. In that case, the deck won’t even run rampant because this is Legacy and it takes really long for decks to catch on. Especially with the new B&R update schedule, this is barely an issue – there’s basically a slot for emergency bans now.
What good could happen?
Ideally, everybody would find a deck they enjoy playing that is actually good. The fact that Survival is highly customisable really does wonders here; just like there are dozens of different Brainstorm decks, there is a huge amount of things you can potentially do with Survival. There is a risk of turning the format into Brainstorm vs. Survival, but I guess that’s better than Brainstorm vs. Brainstorm for most?
You might argue that I have not given enough reasons to unban Survival, but my stance is that there are simply no convincing reasons to leave it banned and it’s up to those that think it should be banned to show why it’s too good.
Thanks for reading!