The King

I need to preface this piece by saying that I’m obviously biased, but I don’t think anything in Legacy *needs* to change. I think the format as it is now is great. I don’t mind Miracles being the deck to beat, but I understand that people want something done.

When we who don’t think Miracles is too good say that Team #BanTop should just start playing decks that are actually good against Miracles, instead of decks that can’t fight it, we’re usually met with the argument that those decks just straight up lose to the rest of the format. The decks that prey on Miracles do so in two ways. Either they go totally over the top with uncounterable spells and ignore both Counterbalance and removal, see 12Post, or they attack Miracles at the beginning of the game so it can never get its powerful synergistic engines online.

Miracles is weak in the set-up phase of the game, the first few turns where it’s developing it’s mana base and sculpting its hand, so cards like Spell Pierce, Stifles and Dazes (together with the other cards) are good at keeping Miracles from establishing a foothold on the game. That’s why Winter Orb is so good against us. It puts the game back in the set-up phase and keeps it there. The decks that can do this however are weak to midrange strategies.

Unfortunately the rest of the world keeps slamming midrange decks into each other and in the world of midrange, control is King.

The Kingmaker

There is a card that made Miracles The King and if you want to change something then I don’t think anyone would be sad to see this go. I’m of course talking about Deathrite Shaman. The existence of Deathrite Shaman makes it hard to attack the set-up phase of the game since all the Deathrite decks have to do is stick the Elf Shaman and they are now, set-up. DRS makes it hard to justify a strategy like Canadian Threshold since DRS just straight up eats the little Nimble Mongoose in combat whilst keeping it from ever growing to 3/3. As long as DRS is in play you can’t really use Wastelands and Stifles to prolong the game or keep an opponent on their heels. Unfortunately for non-Miracles players that strategy was good against Miracles. I remember the Canadian Match-up as very skill intensive and would love to see it more.

Losing DRS would force a lot of decks to choose an identity instead of ~50% of the meta being this puddle of BUG midrange with or without Delver of Secrets and I think that would make for a more diverse format as all these midrange decks won’t be there to beat the decks that try to ”go under” Miracles while being able to race the decks that try to go way over the top. Historically Midrange decks like Jund and Shardless were good against Miracles, but since half the format is grindy midrange decks, Miracles adapted into Predict Miracles so they can keep up with the grind with their 3+ Predicts.

‘Why the Kingmaker?’

Why kill Deathrite Shaman?

The card is a one mana planeswalker with application early and late. It’s very good in the set-up phase of the game while still being relevant on turn 10. No deck is reliant on DRS and as such a ban won’t kill any decks and can only spawn new ones. Deathrite Shaman actually pushes out a lot of the cards that are good against Miracles and allowing those to breathe can only help the format. For example I have been informed that Deathrite single-handedly killed off Goblins, one of Miracles worst match-ups.

DRS homogenizes the format; if my opponent goes Polluted Delta->Underground Sea->DRS they could be playing something in the area 10 different decks. It is simply jams into any black and/or green deck. That’s a sign the card might be too good.

Editors Note: *Loud sobbing*

‘Why not the King?’

So why not ban something out of Miracles, you ask? I don’t think Miracles is too good. Even though it has had some pretty strong showings lately. It is also one of the decks that are subject to the most innovation, constantly adapting to metagame changes. I don’t mind Miracles existing even if it continues to be the best deck. The deck isn’t exactly easy to pick up and rewards playing well.

The cards people are usually asking to ban from Miracles are Sensei’s Divining Top and Terminus. Lets assume we want the deck to exist in some form.

Banning Top will kill the deck. I don’t think I need to explain why, but having access to that kind of selection in combination with Counterbalance, as well as an instant speed way to trigger miracles for free is too important for the deck.

Banning Terminus will also kill the deck I’d say. This is subject to a bit more discussion, but let’s look at it. Terminus allows us to have an instant speed wrath for one mana. This allows the deck to handle creatures (including the odd creature-land) while being able to fight over the spell or their follow-up. I’ll argue that with the quality of creatures printed lately the next-best option of Supreme Verdict just doesn’t cut it. We will for example never be able to cast it against Death and Taxes and versus some Delver draws we won’t be able to cast it before we’re dead. Not to mention that WWU on turn 4 is quite the colour requirement. So in most situations Supreme Verdict won’t be good enough and a card that is only good enough half the time won’t make the cut when building a deck. And there is no way Miracles will exist without a sweeper.

I’ll admit if we could change history, you might be able to convince me that Terminus should have been costed at 1W, but that discussion is academic as best.

The ‘other’ sweeper

Miracles is unique in being the last actual blue control deck in all of Magic and I want that archetype to exist *somewhere* in Magic. I’m selfish like that. On a serious note I think a format without control is not a healthy format. We want all of Magics archetypes represented in the formats that fall under Eternal. They’re supposed to represent all of Magics history, including control, combo, aggro, midrange, prison, etc.

If we ban either Top or Terminus I’m not sure another control deck can keep up with all the ”anti-control” permanents printed lately (Leovold, Emissary of Trest, True-name Nemesis, Sanctum Prelate springs to mind)

Tl;dr

  • We shouldn’t ban anything
  • If we want to, I’ll admit Miracles is a tad too good, so obviously we should ban Deathrite Shaman
  • Banning Deathrite will allow Miracles bad match-ups to breathe
  • Control should exist in magic

Thanks for reading through this, I’ll follow the discussion on Reddit, I’m sure a lot of you have an opinion on this.

Until next time, may no bans be announced

<3 Thiesen

Anders Thiesen
Anders is a Legacy enthusiast who Top 8’d the Legacy portion of EU Eternal Weekend 2016 and came 2nd in 2017! He mainly writes about Miracles, and you can find him as Alakazimdk in the mtgo legacy leagues. You can follow him at https://www.twitch.tv/alakazimdk
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3 thoughts on “All Hail the King – but kill the Kingmaker

  1. “DRS homogenizes the format; if my opponent goes Polluted Delta->Underground Sea->DRS they could be playing something in the area 10 different decks. It is simply jams into any black and/or green deck. That’s a sign the card might be too good.”

    This sounds like a stellar argument for banning Brainstorm.

  2. Unbelivable ignorance shown again by a biased miracles player, sure y’all are soooo surprised that top got banned. Welcome to the fair palying field again.

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