Legacy: Leovold, the New Kid on the Block?

The Legacy meta game is ever-changing; it continues to grow and develop in spite of its high power levels, while staying solidly rooted to its foundations. New cards and strategies do crop up (usually only in fringe decks), but in many cases, they don’t heavily alter the format. Every once in a while, though, there is a card or group of cards (i.e. Eldrazi) that completely alter the format by creating a deck that can compete with the likes of Miracles, Death and Taxes, Reanimator, Show and Tell, Storm, and BUG Control. The recent printing of Conspiracy Two brought some of the most impactful Legacy cards to be printed in the last year or so with it.

The set not only included some much-needed reprints, but showcased the new Recruiter of the Guard and Sanctum Prelate, which are now DnT staples in the very roots of the format. However, with all of these new additions and an increase in DnT, new opportunities for cards to enter the format were created. Thus, another contender subtly slid into Legacy: Leovold, Emissary of Trest.

By no means was it any surprise that this card has found a home in various versions of Shardless BUG since its release. However, it was a little unexpected that it would be the enabler of a whole new archetype. This strategy has become known as Leovold Four Color control, or True-Name BUG. It has taken on vastly different forms, ranging from Traditional BUG control (only slightly altered to support the advisor) to tempo-based delver strategies.

True Name BUG

Lands (20)
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island

Creatures (16)
Baleful Strix
Deathrite Shaman
Gurmag Angler
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
True-Name Nemesis

Instants and Sorceries (21)
Abrupt Decay
Force of Will
Lightning Bolt

Other Spells (3)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Umezawa’s Jitte
Sideboard (15)
Grim Lavamancer
Invasive Surgery
Marsh Casualties
Surgical Extraction
Umezawa’s Jitte

The generally-accepted deck is a slightly altered BUG Control deck that adds True-Name Nemesis and Leovold to the mix and doesn’t run any of the more traditional midrange cards, such as Tarmogoyf. The deck plays very similarily to a traditional BUG control/aggro list, and sometimes splashes Red or White for some techy cards, as well. However, it does have a slightly different feel, and can switch over to a solid tempo plan. It also contains a high amount of soft locks that can create situations which are very difficult for an opponent to recover from.

Leovold’s abilities are incredibly relevant in a high power-leveled format such as Legacy. The card attempts to squeeze the most value out of its controller’s permanents.

Each opponent can’t draw more than one card per turn.

Leovold’s first ability works against almost half of the decks in Legacy; it shuts down one of the format’s most-played cards, Brainstorm, and prevents your opponents from gaining too much of an advantage. This ability really puts a damper on Miracle’s game plan and helps slow down other various combo/control decks.

Whenever you use a permanent, your control becomes the target of a spell/ability an opponent controls, and you may draw a card.

Continuing the theme of card advantage, Leovold’s second ability completely swamps you with draws. Any time your lands are “Wastelanded,” either your creatures are removed or your face is targeted by a burn spell, and you will draw a card. This ability is what gives Leovold so much potential – it’s the same type of combo running Shardless Agent in a deck with Ancestral Vision creates. Resolving Leovold is a two-for-one if your opponent attempts to remove or target him in any way, and if he sticks, then every permanent you play for the rest of the time he’s on the field becomes a possible free draw spell.

The addition of True-Name Nemesis works very well with the deck’s soft lock theme and creates situations where opponents are forced into a race, trying to keep up with the card advantage you’re getting and simultaneously being prevented from reaching that same level of advantage.

It isn’t known for sure if True Name BUG will remain a stout contender in Legacy’s unforgiving meta game, but for now, this deck will continue to be developed and further refined so it can win a spot as one of Legacy’s top decks.

Happy gaming, everyone! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the section below.



Sylvan Studies Team
- A swords a day keeps the goyfs away.

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