Discovering Legacy part 1: Blue Based Decks

Pablo Carrasco
20/10/2022 · 8 min read

Introduction: Blue vs Non Blue decks

Hello everyone, and welcome to my series on exploring Legacy, one of my favorite formats. In this series, like I did for Vintage, we will explore the main archetypes, studying their mechanics, key cards, strategies, and how to beat them.

The format is also known for its high power level and fast pace of play because every card from the magic history is allowed except for the ones in the banned list. If we had to choose a predominant color, it would clearly be blue, so in this first part we're going to cover the main blue decks, divided by archetype.

Why is blue so dominant?

Card Manipulation

In Legacy, blue has access to the best card manipulation spells like Preordain and Ponder, and of course Brainstorm which is the best card in the format. The powerful Glacial Era spell combined with the shuffling effect of our fetchlands allows us to see 3 cards for only 1 mana, totally changing our hand, manipulating the top, or hiding a key spell vs discard. This makes blue decks much more likely to find the spell they need at the right time.


In Legacy, we have access to a wide range of counterspells, with Force of Will being the most emblematic card. The Alliances card, for the cost of one blue card from our hand and one life, will protect us from our opponent's biggest threats without using mana. It is very important to know when to use it, because even though the cost is not in mana, it will generate a card disadvantage.

Legacy blue archetypes

And now, let's take a look at each of the main archetypes using blue in Legacy!

1. Tempo decks

Tempo is one of the defining strategies of Legacy, using very efficient creatures supported by removal, counterspells, and Wasteland to keep our opponent from developing their game plan and winning the match in a few turns. The following cards are commonly seen in tempo decks.

On this common base there are different variants that rely on one or more additional colors with their corresponding advantages and disadvantages.

UR Delver // Izzet Delver

The current dominant deck of the format. If you want to play in a Legacy event, you need to be prepared to face this deck. The efficiency of its blue and red spells make it a powerhouse, and its cheap creatures and disruption spells are some of the best in the format.

Key Cards

Example Deck

This type of deck has been analyzed by myself in greater depth in a previous article .

Jeskai Delver

Adding white to our decks will give us access to great cards like Swords to Plowshares for removal or Esper Sentinel which, when combined with Daze and Wasteland, increases its efficiency since our opponent will often not be able to pay the extra mana or be within range of Daze. Adding white will also increase our sideboard options, but on the other hand our mana base will be much more unstable compared to the Blue/Red version. Some of these decks add the Stoneforge Mystic pack as a finisher alongside Murktide Regent.

Key Cards

Example Deck

Death’s Shadow variants

In this type of deck, in addition to the blue card pack, we add black, which enables us to use really powerful cards like Thoughtseize, Hymn to Tourach and Death’s Shadow. Sometimes they also include a touch of red to make them a bit more spicy. Adding red will give us access to more powerful spells but on the other hand it will worsen our mana base, which is not a very good combination with the main handicap of the deck: we are voluntarily lowering our life total to enable Death’s Shadow.

Key Cards

Example Deck

Advantages of tempo decks

  • These decks are very efficient in terms of mana usage with a really optimized mana curve.
  • They don't allow the other decks to develop their game comfortably.
  • They can end the games in a few turns.

How to beat them

To beat these types of decks, we need to extend the game as long as possible and try to get ahead in terms of card advantage and mana available to avoid their Daze. Here's a selection of the best cards to beat them.

Tempo decks are so efficient and need access to multiple colors in the early game that they're weak to cards that attack their mana base, like Choke or Blood Moon. They abuse one-mana spells, making Chalice of the Void a great “wall” that shuts down much of the deck.

Cards like Baleful Strix or Ice-Fang Coalt let us trade them while creating card advantage, and cards like Timeless Dragon let us increase our available mana and create a blocker without fear of being countered.

2. Control Decks

In Legacy, we find a great variety of blue control decks that each use different tools to win the game. These decks focus on playing the most efficient responses to end up playing bigger threats that will overwhelm our opponent. Let's take a deeper look at some of them.

Jeskai Control

With these three colors, we will have access to the pack of powerful blue spells mentioned before, Pyroblast thanks to red, and with the inclusion of white, we also get access to cards that will help us control the board like Teferi, Time Raveler, and game finishers like Monastery Mentor.

Key Cards

Example Deck

This would be an example of a Jeskai Control deck. When we play these decks, our goal will be to answer our opponent's threats and then, once we have our mana fixed, to resolve our powerful spells to take control of the game.

Four Color Control

These decks sacrifice stability in their mana base for access to green, which allows them to play powerful cards like ENDURANCE, URO TITAN OF NATURE'S WRATH, or the new acquisition MINCS & BOO, TIMELESS HEROES. In some builds, we will also add Yorion for an extra card thanks to the Companion mechanic.

Key Cards

Example Deck

Czech Pile

These constructions include those that forego green to add the most powerful black cards to generate advantage and overtake our opponent.

Key Cards

Advantages of Control decks

  • Access to the best removals in the game.
  • They generate a huge card advantage.

How to beat them

In order to beat control decks we need to be faster, more efficient in our resource use, or attack their card drawing engine in different ways. Cards that will have a big impact against control that we can look for are the following:

Another great addition vs. control would be the new Maddening Hex which, if played early on, will cause great damage to our opponents.

Maddening Hex
0.1 Tix

3. Combo decks

In Legacy we find a great variety of combos due to the great availability of cards. Let's take a look at the most played ones and which are their mechanics.


The goal of this deck is to resolve Doomsday, and then usually win by resolving Thassa's Oracle. This is all supported by a suite of powerful disruption and manipulation spells that are available in this format. It is a very powerful deck, but requires a great deal of knowledge about the metagame in order to construct our Doomsday piles correctly.

Key Cards

As an alternate plan, we have included the new and powerful card Sheoldred the Apocalypse in the sideboard.

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse
49.33 Tix

Example Deck

We have analyzed this archetype in depth in a previous article by Andreas Petersen.

Sneak Attack

This deck is a classic in the format, its mechanics being very simple. Resolve a Sneak Attack or Show and Tell to finish the game with our Griselbrand or Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, all of this accompanied by the classic blue manipulation and disruption.

Key Cards

Example Deck

ANT (Ad Nauseam Tendrils)

The emblematic storm deck of the format; it doesn't use blue's Force of Will due to its high cost and its anti-synergy with Ad Nauseam. The goal is to resolve as many spells as possible to finish with a Tendrils of Agony, using discard and veil of summer as disruption.

Key Cards

Example Deck

Advantages of Combo decks

  • They are usually immune to many removal spells like Swords to Plowshares.
  • They have the ability to surprise opponents.
  • They punish hands without or with little disruption.

How to beat them

Fortunately in Legacy we have a great number of weapons to fight against these types of decks. We can attack them by limiting their draw engine, or their tutoring spells with the following cards:

4. 8 Cast

The Artifact-based deck does not fit into the previous archetypes but deserves a mention separately; its mechanics revolve around populating the board with Artifacts as quickly as possible in order to resolve those that generate card advantage, and finishing the game with a Kappa Cannoneer The lack of 1-cost spells allows us to play Chalice of the Void as our best form of disruption.

Key Cards

Example Deck

To combat these decks, we have very efficient cards like Meltdown or Null Rod.

5.93 Tix

Null Rod
1.75 Tix

Final words

We have now concluded our analysis of the major blue decks and this will give you some insight into how they work and how to beat them. I hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful. Best wishes. And see you in the next part!

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones Getting ready for the Vintage Qualifier: Doomsday Cheatsheet & Sideboad Guide, Modern Goblin In-depth guide: sideboarding & tips vs the meta, Choosing your plan: How I won the Modern Challenge with Goblins, Modern Rakdos Scam primer & sideboard guide

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Pablo Carrasco
Eternal formats expert
Eternal formats expert Pablo Carrasco is known as burrarun on Magic Online. There, he's had great success in Legacy and Vintage MTGO Challenges, winning many of them. In 2020, he even took home the Tolarian Academy Championship in Eternal Weekend. Pablo is a force to be reckoned with in any eternal format!


Published: 2022-10-20 00:00:00

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