Budget considerations are a real thing when it comes to being a Magic: The Gathering player. It may feel like you need to have a considerable amount of cash in order to build a competitive deck. In many ways, I do agree with this statement. If you play a tier one deck you will win a certain percentage more due to just having powerful cards at your disposal. If you play enough Magic, eventually this incremental advantage will add up and it will show you why investing in a tier deck is worth it. This is not a “budget deck” column, this is quite the opposite.
I have always wanted to become a Legacy player, the format is widely regarded as the most fun and interactive format to play. It is however, an expensive format. Staples of the format cost upwards of a thousand dollars in some cases. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale is something I do not have 3000 dollars or so to invest in currently, I am defined by my budget constraints the same as any other person. This got me thinking of a few ideas on how I could get into the format. I can sell my Standard and Modern decks to get into the format, or I could take a season of grinding in Standard off and use those resources for a Legacy deck. Neither of these ideas sounded all that great to me, I really enjoy grinding PPTQs and GPs and Modern will always have a soft spot in my heart. Ultimately I decided on the idea I am going to write about with this article.
All Magic players have a wealth of bulk and unused cards lying around collecting dust, as we play and open packs we just collect them. My idea is to take a budget of zero dollars starting out and to sell all of my unused bulk rares as my initial investment. My local store Desert Keep Games is always buying cards at a great buylist rate. I have decided to use them as my store front, both in buying cards as well as selling my unused cards.
I only have 6 months of Standard rares to sell as my initial investment. This was designed this way to show that anyone can follow along with me if they want to get into this format as well. I will set a hard limit of $30 every two weeks as cash flow I am allowed to use to build my deck. Next week I will lay out the initial investment I received in selling my bulk and unplayed rares and I will purchase my initial cards for the deck, then every 2 weeks I will invest $30 into the deck. I set a limit of $30 as this gives the most realistic chance of another person following along and being able to keep up, while also giving me a budget that will meaningfully upgrade the deck each time I spend money on it. I am going to prioritize building a working shell of the deck initially and then upgrade from there. This means that I will use shock lands to begin with, and forego Force of Wills and purchase those one at a time as we advance the deck. I will also be streaming here and the deck I build in paper will be mirrored on MTGO at the same rate so that I can get quality practice in with the deck. I live in Wyoming and I travel for most of my paper magic playing, so MTGO gives me a great opportunity to practice anytime I want. Ultimately, I want to take this deck to a GP sometime in the next year. I had originally thought GP Vegas would be a great opportunity, but the deck will not have enough time or money put into it at my rate of investment to be worth playing in just 4 short months.
The list I have chosen to invest into is a U/B Reanimator deck that took 11th place at GP Louisville. I chose this deck because it has many cross deck staples in it, so that if I decide to move away from this deck I will have many cards for other decks already in my possession, those being Force of Will, Verdant Catacombs, and Show and Tell. Here is the decklist:
UB Reanimator by Alexander Mangone
This deck will allow me to pivot to a Sneak and Show type of deck, as well as a blue or green based deck such as a Delver or Leovold with a sizeable chunk of the deck being ported over from the build I am working towards. If I had chosen to build a white based control deck, or a fringe combo style deck there is a large chunk of investment capital that could be wasted to some degree if I chose to move towards another deck in the format. Cards like Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Rishadan Port are large stepping stones for only a few archetypes, so for this reason I have tried to stick to a deck that will allow me the freedom of change in a much easier fashion.
This deck comes in at a respectable $1,721, this is what you would expect a tier 1-1.5 deck without a lot of dual lands to cost. For reference, the deck I play in standard: Mardu Vehicles comes in around $400. The benefit of a Legacy deck, is that you can play it for years with only changing a card or 2 as time goes on. Contrast this with switching most of a deck out once a year for Standard and you can see where the cost to benefit ratios will even out quickly after your Legacy investment.
I hope that this article is informative both in the financial aspect of the format, as well as learning to play the deck in the format. I will be coming into this format cold, the only exposure I have had to Legacy is in watching stream and a vague recollection of the cards from when I was younger. Next week I will have my initial funds and the excitement begins, I will be buying the first set of cards and we will have a plan moving forward. I am anticipating roughly a $250 starting investment based on the bulk and unplayed Standard cards I have set aside to sell.
Thank you for reading and I would like to thank Desert Keep for having a great selection of cards and competitive prices at a local level. Until next week, may your top decks always be better than your opponent’s.
Follow me on twitter @coreyworden and Twitch.
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