Insider: Picks in the Post-Top Legacy

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Hello, all. Long-time Miracles fan here, slightly sad these days...

Sensei's Divining Top was banned from Legacy this Monday. I'm not going to say that I'm not a little bit sad. I love me some Top, and Miracles is probably my favorite deck to play. I'm also pretty darn good with it, having put in thousands of hours worth of reps.

Top Rotation

All things considered, I'm not surprised nor particularly angry about the banning. Miracles needed to go. It has needed to go for a year. For starters, I don't think there is any other deck in any other format that is even close to as dominant as Miracles has been in Legacy. I would go so far as to say that Miracles is tier one and everything else is a distant second place.

Not only is Miracles the best deck by a wide margin, it isn't a particularly "fun" best deck. Rather, Miracles is kind of the fun police. It sits back, rearranges the top three cards of its library, and just grinds an opponent into submission with instant-speed Wrath of Gods (wow, fun!) and a Counterbalance plus Sensei's Divining Top soft lock (also, fun!) that renders the opponent unable to continue playing Magic.

Sensei's Divining Top is also a tedious card to operate both on MTGO and in paper games. There is a lot of doing the same thing over and over again going on. It adds significant time to rounds and events. It is undesirable for tournament play. It is banned in Modern for the "time constraints" reason and it doesn't make much sense that it would be acceptable for Legacy if the same is true there.

It needed to go and is going, going, gone!

There are really no good reasons why Top should be legal in Legacy and now it isn't. I'm sad but I'm looking forward to playing new decks and watching a new metagame unfold.

Key Cards and Strategies to Target

With Top leaving the format, there is certainly room for new decks to rise up and take Miracle's place at the top of the heap. Today's picks are directly related to the types of strategies that I believe dramatically improve in a metagame where Miracles has left the building.

The biggest thing that Miracles has always done is to keep creature decks in check. Obviously, in a format where Miracles is the Divining Top Dog, committing a hoard of creatures to the board is an exercise in futility. One-mana, instant-speed Wraths are not fun.

Now we are free to do what we want any old time!

I think that Elves is easily one of the big winners now that Miracles has gone bye-bye. For starters, Elves has always had a rancid Miracles match-up. I don't think I've lost a tournament match to an Elf deck in two years from the Miracles side. The match-up is that bad.

However, Elves is very strong against decks like Delver and BUG. They don't have enough board control or permission to out-slog Elves, which is great at just doing elf stuff and going over the top. I anticipate that Elves will quickly become a bigger player in the Legacy metagame.

Glimpse seems like a great card to look into at the moment because it is relatively difficult to get a hold of.

Green Sun's Zenith is also a super cheap card that is relatively great right now. Not only is GSZ a staple in Elves but it is also a mainstay in various Naya Maverick decks. Maverick is traditionally weak to Miracles but great against Delver decks, which seems like an ideal place to be right now.

The biggest thing to consider is that the format has gone wrathless for the time being, so we can anticipate that creatures will come surging back.

Another card that has become increasingly better with Miracles out of the way is Wasteland. The powerful Tempest uncommon has always been a defining card of the format but has taken a backseat in some ways because the best deck, Miracles, plays exclusively basic lands. Not so much anymore.

Look for battles over Wasteland and struggles to keep lands in play to be a thing moving forward. I could certainly see this card gaining a lot of Legacy popularity in the coming weeks.

Stoneforge Mystic could also make a resurgence as the premier Legacy control deck of choice. Stoneblade was sort of weeded out of the format because it was a "bad Miracles deck." Why play UW Blade when you could just play Miracles?

Well, now that it isn't an option, I predict that UW and Esper Stoneblade are likely to be players moving forward. Also, we should never rule out Death and Taxes which is another option where Stoneforge Mystic really shines. Death and Taxes was always a slight dog to Miracles but fought it closely. However, I've always liked Death and Taxes against various Delver decks. Better mana, Vial, and better threats. Game on!

This Jitte is Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Jitte is also a card that becomes significantly better in the coming weeks. If we consider that the most direct impact Miracles' departure will have is that it opens up space for creature decks, then it makes a lot of sense that Jitte is better than ever. Jitte is a devastating tool in creature-based mirror matches.

It is also worth noting that Jitte is one of the best tools that various blue-based creature tempo decks have to fight against Elves. The problem Delver has with Elves is that it can't generate enough removal and board control to keep Elves from eventually hitting critical mass. Jitte is the card that generates recursive removal and takes control of the game. Jitte is going to be a big game moving forward.

If you want to carry a Jitte in style (and who doesn't...) you've got to seriously consider TNN in Legacy. The card gets better without Terminus and Council's Judgment floating around. A TNN with a Jitte is tough to answer.

It also feels like a lot of Miracles players looking for new decks are going to naturally gravitate toward Stoneblade or BUG, which means more demand for True-Name. It's a great card and it will grow its Legacy market share in the absence of Terminus decks. Get in on these early because they are likely to gain in the near future.

Leovold is another card that is going to become a bigger player moving forward. It is already the premier finisher for the BUG decks that I've long felt were the best non-Miracle Brainstorm deck in the format. Leovold does a lot of interesting things, including the fact that it keeps Elvish Visionary and Glimpse of Nature in check.

It's just a good card, and it is already difficult to acquire and highly coveted. I think demand is going to shoot up considerably. I don't think it is out of the question to see a 25-35% spike in the next month on this card—if it hasn't already happened by the time this article goes live. Move quick!

Port is another card that likely improves in the Legacy stock market. Two major reasons: Death and Taxes and Lands. I've already discussed why Death and Taxes becomes better (good against Delver and unfavorable against Miracles) but Lands may quickly become the best deck in Legacy.

First of all, Lands also punishes random creature decks with cards like Punishing Fire and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Secondly, the Dark Depths plus Thespian's Stage combo is very good against decks that don't pack Terminus and Swords to Plowshares. It's just a problematic little interaction that punishes Delver decks.

I feel like the default deck that people will play is likely to be RUG or BUG tempo or midrange, and Lands is very good against these decks in the abstract. Wasteland plus Port is so strong against land-light blue decks. Miracles always shined here with basics and lands in abundance, but I fear tempo blue is not well equipped to fight the Lands fight.

Port is a great card and I think that we will almost certainly see more play.

Deathrite Shaman is dirt cheap right now. The reprint and dwindling interest for the card has left it in a fairly undesirable position. With that being said, one of the major reasons the card wasn't great in Legacy was the dominance of Terminus. It was inevitable that the early DRS was going to get swept up in the Wrath and the clock was too slow to really close.

The BUG control decks really just matched up awkwardly against Terminus decks. However, now Shaman will demand a removal spell and play very nicely in a resurgent Wasteland metagame. The reprints probably put a cap on the amount the card can gain but I would expect it to see some upward trending in the near future.


In summary, here are the decks with an upward trajectory:

  • Blue-based creature decks. Most obviously, the various Delver and BUG midrange decks should improve in popularity. People are not going to stop playing Brainstorms, and these are the crème de la crème of the Brainstorm and Ponder archetypes.
  • Creature decks that beat Delver. Elves, Naya Maverick, and Death and Taxes are all decks that have good game against the "fish" style decks that will improve in market share. I like looking through these lists for potential gainers right now. Legacy is safer for creatures than it has ever been.
  • Stoneblade decks. Tundra is never dead. It always reinvents itself. Look for SFM to carry the weight (and by the weight, I mean the Jitte!).
  • Give me lands—lots of lands. Lands is a busted Legacy deck that heavily punishes creature and midrange strategies. It is the default control deck with Miracles gone. Mox Diamond in the rough!

I'm looking forward to jamming some Legacy. I guess I have some work to do on the format now that Miracles is gone! I'm planning on doing the Team Open, and I'm my team's Legacy guy—so, guess it's time to pick up a new deck. For now I'm heavily leaning towards Death and Taxes or Lands.

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