I have railed against Miracles for many years as regular readers of my column know, so you might expect to see me full of glee declaring victory—excited that Miracles, my greatest Foe, has been defeated. Sadly you are very wrong. Today I am in mourning and am disappointed by Wizards choice to ban Sensei’s Divining Top in Legacy, a choice that I think will leave Legacy in poor shape going forward.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Miracles for a long time. Miracles has never been a deck I’ve personally had issue with since I’ve traditionally played decks that do very well against it, such as Mudpost and Twelve Post. But on the other hand, I’ve always felt it was too strong of a deck and goes to time far too often. I felt for the health of the Legacy metagame, Miracles had to be addressed but that the deck couldn’t be vanquished entirely.  

There are a lot of powerful cards in Legacy. We have access to decks like Tinfins, Elfball, Belcher, TES and more. Combo in Legacy in real—killing people on turn zero is real. We do not have as powerful countermagic as Vintage but we still have insanely powerful combo decks. Yes we have Daze and Force of Will, but do not pretend that decks can’t win through these cards. To be frank, without a dedicated control deck in the format these decks have no reason to be truly afraid.  

Why am I sad?

This is where my great love of Miracles came in, Miracles is….(sigh)….was as true control deck, all it focused on doing was telling its opponent “no” over and over again until it finally did something stupid.  It had sped up in recent years thanks to win conditions like Nahiri, the Harbinger and Monastery Mentor. Unfortunately only practiced pilots were quick with the deck and getting paired against Miracles could often leave you in the draw bracket. You can’t prevent people from playing Miracles in tournaments just because they aren’t experienced with it.  There was a reason so many new people risked picking it up though—the deck is extremely good. Miracles has so much countermagic it becomes overly easy to shut someone down. But the deck was too powerful—it was making up 15-20% of top eights for two years straight—and truly did need to be addressed.

To me there was a really simple answer to this.  Many people said Sensei’s Divining Top was eating up all the time, that people kept spending forever using Top. I took a second and asked why were they using Top so much? There are other decks that use Top: Stoneblade, Twelve Post, and countless other decks in Legacy use top but I’ve only seen Miracles have an issue where they consistently went to time.  That is because only Miracles had to respond to every single spell that their opponent casts with Counterbalance. This normally involved Topping and sometimes involved Topping, fetching, Brainstorming, fetching, Topping—you get the idea.  If they banned Counterbalance, the deck is much faster all of a sudden. It’s a still a deck, but it’s also not good enough to be 20% of the metagame. It also isn’t affecting any other decks anymore.

What does this mean?

I think this is really bad for Legacy going forward. As I said above, Miracles kept a lot of combo and aggro decks in check. Elves has already come out from hiding more brazen than ever, and I know they won’t be the only that does. I also expect to see more Delver players. Imagine the chaos of the Treasure Cruise days without any Miracles in the room to kept people in check. I know that prison players like myself are also going to be coming out in force but prison decks are much more expensive than most aggro decks so you won’t be seeing as much of them. A Tabernacle can cost as much as a grand, Chains of Mephistopheles aren’t cheap, even Chalices are getting pricey thanks to Eldrazi which is somehow both prison and aggro. I’d love to be friends with someone who could build Dutch Stax right now—it’d be a fun deck to play with all combo and aggro that is bound to end up running amok.

I hope that in six months to a year Wizards will be willing to rethink their decision. Modern is known as a turn four format and it’s not really a great format because of its lack of a great control deck. Legacy will soon have the same problem if they don’t either do some unbanning or make some major changes. Wizards hasn’t paid much attention to Legacy for quite some time though so the fact they’re interacting is a big first step. Maybe this is a sign of good times, showing that they want to interact more going forward.  

The fact they quickly corrected their error with Felidar Guardian though gives me hope. It shows their willingness to accept when they make mistakes. This isn’t the first time when they’ve been very public and open about their mistakes this year.  That’s a trait of theirs that I feel is underappreciated. Let’s hope that if Legacy does go how I think it will, Wizards will show a willingness to rethink their banning of Sensei’s Divining Top.  

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.

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