Arcum's Astrolabe and Oko in Legacy

With the legacy bimonthly at the 2 Klaveren done we recently had some discussions online about wether or not Oko/Astrolabe should be banned.

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We’ve seen this before in Pauper we had a Jeskai Ephemerate deck dominating the meta by being flexible with mana through Arcum’s Astrolabe and also gaining card advantage through the Mulldrifter+Ephemerate combo. The problem wasn’t necessarily that Arcum’s Astrolabe was bad for the meta because it made new archetypes like Snow Bogles and Boros Snowarch to rise in the meta. So… What is the problem then? Ephemerate. In a format where one for one’s is the language that is spoken, a card that transforms into a 4 mana 2/2 draw 4 cards (possibly 6) while remaining flexible on mana to use removal shouldnt be allowed. Now you might ask yourself the question: How does this have anything to do with Legacy ?

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Oko is a Simic card this means that decks running it will often be blue at base. This also means that these decks have Brainstorm + Ponder + Fetch available to them. This gets the decks that run Arcum’s Astrolabe will be able to smooth out their draws while also getting an Arcum’s Astrolabe faster than fetches getting banned in Pioneer! The results of that is that when you fetch for a Snow-Covered this doesnt get punished because most of the time you wouldn’t fetch for that Snow-Covered if you don’t have Arcum’s Astrolabe in your hand yet this makes it easier for decks to dig for it because of the cantrips+fetches.

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So what are the problems with Astrolabe ?

  1. Astrolabe replaces itself.
  2. Fetches can get snowlands and also be used for filtering, double value it is.
  3. It allows decks to switch between offensive and defensive way too easily.

Conclusion: If it were my choice what to ban it would definitely be Arcum’s Astrolabe altough I like the idea of more archetypes in Legacy I dislike the idea of needing to face Oko atleast once or twice or even three times in one tournament.

So what did this have in common with Pauper?

In both formats Arcum’s Astrolabe was the enabler of more archetypes this flourished into a diverse meta but also one where there was one deck prominently present in the meta. Probably Wizards will make the mistake of banning Oko instead of Arcum’s Astrolabe but I do wonder how many decks will still run a Astrolabe package after Oko is gone. Only Wizards headquarters will show us and tell(see what I did there?) what will happen.

I am trying to write articles more often, if you see anything that I can improve I would love to hear from you.

Thanks to Magicgroup Apeldoorn for sparking this idea for a article.

Bram Deppenbroek 13-12-2019

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