Legacy on a Budget

By Lennie Brookes (aka Qwerty)
As formats go, Legacy is not the cheapest to get into. Mind you; it's nowhere near as costly as Vintage, but many of its staples can be expensive. Getting a full playset of dual lands in the UK can cost upwards of £600. Add other hard to get cards like Survival Of The Fittest, Force Of Will, and other expensive chase rares.

But don’t despair! The Legacy format is relatively forgiving to older netdecks from other formats, meaning it's quite possible to see an old Standard or Extended top-tier deck with minor changes appear in a tournament. While the deck may not win, it can and sometimes will make a high showing.

Out of these net decks, two shine very well and are relatively cheap to build already (compared to other decks): Blue/Green Madness and Goblins. Both are almost upper-tier decks in Legacy anyway (UGM is). Making these decks on a budget costs the deck types a little efficiency or speed. But they are still playable and will still win many games. I'll cover them a little later.

Card Replacement Tech

These are just a few of the little things that will help you save money when just getting into Legacy.

First I'll talk about mana, mainly about mana. The cheapest option is basic lands. The next cheapest playable options are the pain lands. The good thing about pain lands is that a lot of people have them meaning they don't cost much :P. (I picked up a playset of Shivan Reefs on eBay for £8 the other day.) It's not hard to "fat out" a cheaper mana base with pain lands.

The biggest disadvantage from using pain lands is not the pain; it is the fact you cannot fetch them with fetch lands and this can make a mana base slightly more unstable. To offset this you can use cards that work better with a limited mana base. For example, if you cannot be certain of a turn two blue mana source for Counterspell it is often worth running more Mana Leaks in some of the Counterspell slots.

Little things like this can help you cope with the loss of dual lands in your mana base. Try to be conscious of the cards in your deck and how they will interact with your mana base. Like if you only have a few duals you can use an above normal amount of sac lands to try to compensate for less duals main deck. This can back fire though when cards like Stifle and Bind are used.

Cheaper Stuff You Should Get if Possible

Legacy has a lot of powerful cards that are expensive but at the same time it has absolutely reams of powerful commons and uncommons will help with you up-and-coming career in Legacy. I’m going to go about this in a colour coded fashion. Please note the secondary comments are just my views.

White's commons and uncommons give utility and control pieces that make a lot of decks flow well. It shouldn’t be hard to pick up a play set of all these.
Swords to Plowshares (semi-hard to get, but you should be able to get them as throwins or simple trades)
Disenchant (no comment needed)
Enlightened Tutor (semi-hard to get; almost a quasi-rare)
Mother of Runes (as Enlightened Tutor)

Blue's commons are famous. *cough*Counterspell*cough* Blue has a lot more staple commons than most of the other colours because its key ability in older sets was drawing and countering.

Bear with me, this is going to be a big one.

Counterspell (I’m guessing most people have these anyway. I’ve lost count of how many I have.)
Mana Leak (It's in Standard and easier than ever to get four of.)
Brainstorm (This is a little older but you should be able to get them as throwins while trading.)
Fact or Fiction (OK, it’s a quasi-rare but it’s a very good card and worth the little extra you may have to give over a normal uncommon. If you're lucky you might be able to get them as throwins.)
Fire // Ice (Blue tends to play it more then Red, but anytime Red goes near Blue this card will be used.)
Deep Analysis (Good solid draw, fits a wide spread amount of decks. It's a little harder than most commons to get but you should be able to get them at little cost.)
Accumulated Knowledge (Again, good draw that fits in a variety of decks and is relatively easy to get.)
Daze (one of Blue's more aggressive counters. You should be able to get a playset quite easily.)
Standstill (Only really played in a few deck types, and should be easy to get hold of.)
Impulse (A good all-around filter spell; it may be harder to get them because of the age of the card but they shouldn’t cost you much.)
Mystical Tutor (A stable, but not brilliant, tutor. You should be able to get them as throwins and minor trades.)
Circular Logic (It’s a good uncommon but only fits a few archetypes. Once you set out to get them they shouldn’t be hard to find.)
Ophidian (Decent, steady draw that can be dropped into many random decks)
Wonder (A full 4 are not needed but 3 should do; because of this it shouldn’t be hard to get hold of them.)

Black shines with its hand discard and some of the better spot removal in the format.
Duress (They don’t cost a lot but you may find it hard to get hold of them.)
Cabal Therapy (See Duress.)
Smother (A decent creature kill spell that’s not that expensive and picking them up should be semi-easy as they are not in Standard anymore.)
Diabolic Edict (For a common, Edicts are quite expensive but you should be able to get them in chump deals or as singleton throwins)
Dark Ritual (There are millions of them… If you don’t have these already it shouldn’t be hard in the slightest to get them.)

Red commons and uncommons to get are pretty single-minded in the respect they all deal direct damage of some sort.
Lightning Bolt (Bolts are hardish to get and can cost about the price of a semi-good rare depending on where you go)
Fireblast (Not that expensive, but difficult to get hold of a playset. You might be able to get them as throwins.)
Flametongue Kavu (A real pain in the butt to get recently; they have shot up in play use in Legacy and Extended. Try to grab them as throwins but I can see you having to buy them.)
Incinerate (Pretty easy to get; buying them shouldn’t cost much and getting them as throwins should be even easier.)
Anger (Only a couple are needed, and shouldn’t be that hard to get.)

Green gets the best variety out of the playable common pool. Creatures, control and recursion… This is green we're talking about!
Eternal Witness (Back to quasi-rares. If you play Standard, odds are you have these anyway, but getting a playset of four can be hard. Many people value them as rare quality when trading.)
Naturalize (Should be simple to get as they are in 8th and many people have lots of spares from Onslaught.)
Regrowth (These can be hard to get but they're not like the price of Berserk.)
Llanowar Elves (A quite common common. Because of this they should be easy to get or at least replace with the functionally identical Fyndhorn Elves.)
Wild Mongrel (A very good staple common. Often hard to get, just grab them if you get the chance; they will make good throwins when trading later on.)
Basking Rootwalla (Easy to get, often for next to nothing.)
Wall of Roots (An older common; not expensive but quite hard to get a playset of.)
Wall of Blossoms (See Wall of Roots, but can cost a little more.)
Quirion Ranger (See Wall of Roots.)

Blue/Green Madness
First up, we will look at a pretty standard Blue/Green Madness deck, from this point on referred to as UGM. This build will look much different than what some of you are used to. UGM in Legacy plays a slower, more controlling game to cope with decks like ATS, Landstill and Solidarity. It still has a fast clock and tries to keep this by dropping the Intuitions in favor of more Wonders.

The big money cards are Tropical Island and Force of Will. UGM is a very forgiving deck when it comes to the mana base; only a hardcast Arrogant Wurm requires multiple colored mana. If you're playing the deck properly, you're not going to need to worry about that as you'll be paying its Madness cost of 2G. This means that running a straight split mana base of Islands and Forests makes the deck a good £80 cheaper straight away. If you really want a more fluid blue/green mana base but cannot afford the duals, Yavimaya Coast makes a decent replacement.

Replacing Force of Will is not so easy; no card does Force of Will's job better. The best way of getting around this is to make the deck more aggressive by adding Roar of The Wurm and upping the Daze count to try to compensate.

The final money card is Intuition, which if you don’t know already serves to fetch draw, a Wonder, or a discard outlet. It could be replaced by Quiet Speculation but the tempo loss that card causes is sometimes enough to lose games in Legacy. So at the loss of card advantage, but a gain in the tempo, more Wonders get put in.

There is a good chance if you're budgeting UGM that you won't be paying for sac lands, so the Brainstorms need to be dropped and replaced with their old T2/1.X counterpart Careful Study. This happens to help the deck's more aggressive strategy.

This brings us to one of the cheapest builds of UGM I have ever played.

Unlike the other build, budget UGM attempts to smash face as fast as possible while controlling certain aspects of the game. These include combo pieces like Survival of the Fittest, mass removal effects like Wrath of God and creature threats such as Exalted Angel. Typical Legacy UGM builds are less aggressive and control the board through better card draw.


As you can see already the deck itself is nothing in monetary comparison to Angry Tradewind Survival. But it still has a few expensive cards that can effectively be budgeted out and replaced with vastly cheaper alternatives.

Again, the big money cards are the Dual Lands and Goblin Piledrivers. Some of the burn is notably hard to get, in particular the Chain Lightnings and Lightning Bolts. These can be replaced by slightly inferior burn spells like Firebolt, Shock, and more Incinerates.

The hardest part is replacing the Goblin Piledriver and Siege-Gang Commanders. Both provide an "I WIN" option when a Goblin Warchief is on the table. But alas, these are quite expensive considering we're building on a budget here; £40-£55 on eight cards just does not cut it. So the Piledrivers get replaced by their older counterpart, Mogg Flunkies and the cheaper big goblin FAT of Goblin Goon.

As for replacing Disenchant and Swords to Plowshares in its sideboard... If you're cutting Plateaus your mana base can't support them.

There's no great replacement for Swords, but if you need artifact removal you can always replace Disenchant with Goblin Vandal.

Without further ado, here's the ultra-cheap Goblin build!

The main difference between the builds is impact; this build's only way of winning outright is the traditional "I fling my entire hand at your head" and just burn your opponent to cinders. It doesn’t have the impact cards like Piledriver and Siege-Gang Commander. If you can get them, though, put them in ;).

Cheap but not so easy to budget
Here are some decks that are cheaper than the rest of the field and can be minorly tweaked to save money.

First is Solidarity, Legacy’s most consistent combo deck. Considering how good the deck is, it is very cheap and quite easy to play. But the major downfall is getting hold of Resets which have become even more sparse in the last few months. To be frank, without Reset Solidarity just doesn’t work. There a few rares in the deck like Meditate that can be replaced by older rares like Three Wishes which cost little when compared to Meditate.

You can also drop the Cunning Wish for more MD instants. And you honestly can not replace Force of Will. You could try Foil but you're best off just putting more instants main deck and focusing a little more on the combo. Sac lands are nice, but not needed, so they can simply be shifted out of the deck to budget it a little more.

Here is a normal list which you can tweak with the above changes.

Angel Stampy
The biggest strength of Angel Stampy budget-wise is the lack of duals main deck. Also a lot of people have the Exalted Angels and Sword of Fire and Ices from Standard and Extended play. The hardest to get (not most expensive) card on the list is Tithe, which in all fairness needs to be in the deck but can be cut. Possible replacements are another beater, more equipment or even Weathered Wayfarer which enables you to sideboard Wastelands for some extra tech. The Chrome Moxen can be replaced with Lotus Petals and you have a decent deck to play with.

While I touched on people having cards from past T2 seasons, one of the more important cards (its namesake) is Exalted Angel and it is not really feasible to drop these, although I have seen people running Eternal Dragon in conjunction with them.


While it's obvious that Legacy will take some money in the beginning to get into, once you get the cards, you're never gonna have to stop playing them unless they ban the card... but restrictions and bannings are a risk in every format.

And even then, you can spend a little cash and still get a competitive deck. I hope I’ve helped or at the least got you focusing less on the initial cost of Legacy.

Thanks to
Generic people: Belgareth, Static
Editors: Binary, Goblinboy
Art: iloveatogs


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