Just shy of a year ago I wrote about how I felt Counterbalance desperately needed to be banned in Legacy. At the time Miracles made up about 15% of the metagame and had so for quite some time. I felt the deck needed to be addressed because a) It makes up such a huge chunk of the format it makes it stale and b) it goes to time way too often. I had mixed responses to the article, as to be expected—it’s a subject that people tend to be pretty polar about. Since it’s almost been a year since I first brought this up I thought I would revisit the article to see if I stand by all the points I had made.

The first point I made was that Miracles made up 15% of the metagame. That’s quite a bit, but believe it or not right now the deck is at 19% of the metagame, so the subject seems even more pressing than before. One in five decks that makes it into the top eight is a Miracles deck, which is either impressive or oppressive depending on which side you’re coming at this from. Miracles is definitely a deck you need to plan to beat. So my first point still stands true. After the banning of Splinter Twin in Modern, I feel Wizards has made it clear that the fact a deck is making up a large part of the format alone is enough of a reason to ban a card.

My second point of the deck often going to time will always to stand true—it’s the nature of the deck. Once the Counter/Top lock is set up, the Miracles player has to respond to trigger the Counterbalance after every spell, which often includes activating top, fetching, topping again, maybe a Brainstorm, etc. When your opponent is doing that in response to every single spell it’s going to add quite a bit of time to the game. As I stated previously a deck taking a long time to win was enough to ban Eggs in Modern and Four Horsemen in Legacy.

I also asked how this issue should be addressed. There are two very obvious answers—you can either ban Top or you can ban Counterbalance. If you ban Top you really shut down the deck. That makes Counterbalance ineffective and miracles extremely hard to trigger, plus it shuts down several other decks that do not Bog Down the Legacy format such as Painter and Twelve Post (which also prove that Top alone is not what causes decks to go to time). This left me feeling Counterbalance should be the card banned.

Counterbalance is an extremely overpowered card and Miracles can still be a very strong deck without it. I think it is extremely important to have a strong blue deck in the format which is why I am advocating to ban Counterbalance and not Top. I’ve made a point of talking to as many experienced and talented Miracles players as I can during the last year. Most of the truly talented Miracles players that I’ve met have surprisingly agreed with me that Miracles still has the potential to remain a very strong control deck even without Counterbalance.  The best part of choosing to ban Counterbalance is no other deck in the format would be affected, the only deck that would be punished is the deck that needs to be punished.

In my last article I visited all of these points much more in depth but I realize now I’m just going to sound repetitve.  I stand by what I said last year more than ever, Miracles has been a large part of the format for quite some time and it’s share of the metagame has only grown. With Top being reprinted in Eternal Masters and Counterbalance not, I really hope that means Wizards is considering addressing this problem.  Legacy is a great format and I really hope that they let it continue to grow.

Kate hails from Worcester MA and also does a bit of Card Altering. Check her Stuff out on Facebook! She mainly plays legacy and modern though will occasionally find herself playing EDH. She has recently succumbed to MTGO.

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