Tuesday , March 20 2018
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Differences between Brazilian and international Legacy metagames


Hello everyone! welcome to one more edition of Arcane Laboratory! For those who might not know, the Brazilian Legacy was gifted with several amazing experiences for the community. In less than 30 days, they had two huge events on the south-east part of the country, with more than 80 players each. The events were the Super Alpha Legacy, which occurred on Rio de Janeiro – RJ and the Open Legacy 4k São Lourenço, which occurred on the city of São Lourenço – MG.  For those interested to know a bit more about the events, see the coverage links below:

Alpha Legacy leva 96 jogadores ao centro do Rio

Jeskai Stoneblade conquista Open São Lourenço – Confira as decklists do Top8

Those events were very useful for the community, not only to show how strong the format currently is inside the country, but also to provide solid statistical base, in terms of deck choices that composes the Brazilian Legacy scenario, which can be used to make predictions for the nationals that will occur on November 24th and 25th, in São Paulo – SP. As almost a tradition here in this page, we could not let the opportunity to make a statistical analysis of the Legacy metagame pass by. This time we are not focusing on the scenario overseas, but how Brazilians face the format.

One thing to be noted in this format is that there is a lot of playable decks. As the power level is very high, there are several different strategies that can be used in a competitive scenario. Even more than that, the lists last long and the metagame is relatively stable. Such stability fosters the development of an affective relationship between the player and the deck, which ends up becoming a master with his/her archetype, without being punished by that – just the opposite, the experience rewards the player. Facing this scenario, it is common for us to find experienced Legacy players repeat: “In this format, people play with what they have/like, and not with what is considered tier 1”. Some famous examples can be found on the international community, such as Rodrigo Togores (wiener of the GP Prague) and his Storm deck; Jarvis Yu (winner of the GP Seattle) and his Lands deck; and Julian Knabb (famous streamer of the Legacy community) and his Elves.

Considering the arguments above, it is reasonable for local metagames of different countries to show significant differences when compared with online tournaments or a GP/global scale event. Following this perspective, it is yet uncertain what are the peculiarities that makes the Brazilian metagame unique. This is a aggravating factor for the Latin-America community due restricted access to high end cards, such as old dual lands and other cards from the reserved list. This month’s article aims to use this new rich data set about the national legacy metagame, and than compare with the ones overseas, offered bt the Magic Online platfor (once it is the easiest way to enter in the format). Considering those objectives highlighted above, the following questions can be raised:

  1.      What are the differences in terms of deck choices when we  compare the Brazilian and the Magic Online Legacy metagame?
  2. What is the difference in terms of archetype density between Agro, Control and Combo on the observed metagames?


In order to answer the purposed questions, the methodology for this article was a comparative analysis of the Brazilian and international metagames, based data provided by one week observations of the Magic Online through MTGGoldfish and on the two events described earlier. Once collected the data, the decks were identified were assimilated to an archetype (agro/tempo, control/midrange/prision or combo), and then the Brazilian results from both events were summed to form one single sample. In the end, the data counted with 173 Brazilian lists and over 57 different decks.

To answer the frist questionrepeated individual sample T tests were applied for each deck in the format. This test basically compares the the density of the probability for the occurrence of one given phenomenon (in this case, the appearance of certain game on the field) against other similar event, using a binomial distribution model, already explained on other articles in this page. For those who are interested, see below the formula used for the calculation:

In this formula, we consider p as the frequency percentage of certain deck in the metagame (p1 = Brazil, p2 = online) and n as the sample size, or number of considered decks. On simple terms, this calculation compares the adoption of certain list in two different fields and generates an Z score. In case this Z score reaches a certain limit, we can consider that this deck is better represented in one field than the other. For this specific case, we are considering an α level of 90%, which leads to a threshold of 1,65. In other words, in case Z is higher than 1,65 the deck can be considered more popular in Brazil. In case Z is lower than -1,65 the deck can be considered more popular on MOL. More details about this approach can be found at:


In order to answer the second question, the percentage density of each archetype was compared qualitatively (due a matter of sample size).


The results found significant differences regarding the popularity of certain decks on Brazilian metagame, when compared to the international one. Besides that, as expected from the Legacy format, there is a large amount of unusual decks (most of them with sample size = 1) in both metas. As an example we have the Stiflenought (directly from the primordium of competitive legacy), Enchantress, Mono R Storm, BR Control and many others. The raw data can be seen on the table below, in spoiler. Inside the table there are specified the Z values for each decks, and the differences between formats are indicated in red.

As can be seen on the table above, there are 3 more popular decks for each metagame:

Decks better represented online

Decks better represented in Brazil

Czech Pile

Show and Tell

Grixis Delver

Death and Taxes



For certain reason, decks with Grixis mana base are on the top popularity on MOL, being the reason behind cards like Underground Sea and Volcanic Island being so expensive. Could the financial access to the cards be the reason behind this result? We are not going to discuss this on this article, bur rather how this might impact the metagame and deck choices for future events. It must be noted that this analysis does not say that one less popular deck on certain meta is not well represented, just that it is better represented elsewhere. Even being less popular in Brazil, Grixis delver still one of the most used decks in the format, and the same can be said for Death and Taxes online.

Right on the first analysis, we can conclude that a metagame without Czech Pile is excellent for aggressive combo decks. I.E. decks like Storm always had positive matchup against Death and Taxes (despite the fact that Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a problem, she is the only relevant way to interact on game 1, and your sideboard is generally well equipped to deal with hatebears), Show and Tell ( due the number of discard spells) and infect (simply for being faster). One of the worst enemies for storm, Grixis decks, capable to combine disruption with a fast clock, have their density reduced on Brazilian meta, making what already was a good choice an even better one.

Looking from another point of view, the lack of storms on the metagame, in favor of slightly slower combo decks, such as Show and Tell and Infect ends up benefiting other hatebear decks, such as Maverick. As already said before, even if Grixis Delvers are not so popular in Brazil, they are common enough for you to take advantage of this positive matchup without being punished.  True-Name Nemesis-based decks, such as UWR Stoneblade that won the Open São Lourenço are also good choices on the field. Dispite the fact that this single card alone is a strong tool to fight against board-oriented decks such as Death and Taces, the deck counts with the presence of Stoneforge Mystic to help in the infect matchup.

Considering now the second question, and how the archetype distributionis different on the two fields, the data shows again differences between the Brazilian and the international community. The plots below show in percentage the distribution of archetypes on both metagames.

The data presented above shows that Brazilians prefer to use combo strategies (31,79% Vs 22,75%) and less control decks (36,42% Vs 49,80%). This again shows the lack of Grixis Control strategies on the field. Cards like Leovold, Emissary of Trest, Hymn to Tourach  and similar are essential to keep combo decksat bay.


The goal of this article was to analyse comparatively the Brazilian metagame with the International one. In order to do so, results of two major Legacy events were compared with results of one week worth of data from Magic Online extracted by the MTGGoldfish database.

The results have shown one lack for Grixis strategies on Brazilian metagame,in favor of a greater amount of Death and Taxes, Show and Tell, and Infect. Such result indicates that aggressive combo decks, such as storm, or board oriented decks such as stoneblade might be a good way to deal with this meta.

Considering the distribution of archetypes, it was perceived that Brazilians prefer to play combo rather control decks. This result clearly shows the lack of Grixis decks and also a lack of tools for effective disruption on the metagame.

In the  end, I am very pleased to see that even in such powerful and stable format, Legacy is still capable to create unique metagames in a local sphere, creating their own peculiarities and challenges. I expect that we, Brazilians keep our own individuality and I am curious to see how other nations’ metagames might be. See you next time!

About Rafael

Rafael Cirino é pesquisador e jogador veterano de baralhos de combo. Além de um amante de probabilidade e deckbuilding, Rafael venera nos fins de semana o seu maior ídolo: Karn Liberated.

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