Farewell Top, We Hardly Knew Ye

“It’s as if the voices of a million Miracles players cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”

I’m on top of the world looking down on the rest of the metagame.

Sensei’s Divining Top is banned in Legacy.

Why it Needed to Go


Hi, everybody. Long-time Miracles player here. I’m certainly sad to see the deck I play exclusively in Legacy banned from the format, but all things considered, I understand and respect this move.

Honestly, I would have understood if Miracles had been banned a year ago. I’ve been cavalier about saying that Miracles is more dominant in Legacy than any other deck is in any other format. In fact, I think it’s 100% true that Miracles was the only tier 1 deck in the format, and it was better than the next best deck by a significant margin.

The other factor is that Sensei’s Divining Top is also a pretty tedious card for tournament play. If we completely disregard the power level argument (which is significant), spinning and spinning that Top adds significant time to rounds and tournaments. One of my favorite Hall-of-Famers has been known to call Sensei’s Divining Top “The Ultimate Erik Lauer Experience.”

The fact of the matter is that Sensei’s Divining Top is no longer with us, and the world will move on without it.


• There are a lot of viable decks in Legacy.
• Miracles is the “best” deck in Legacy.
• Miracles significantly limits what players can and can’t do in Legacy.


• Miracles had bad matchups outside of Eldrazi.
• The metagame had adapted to adjust for Miracles.
• People enjoy playing against Miracles.

In my humble opinion, Miracles was not a healthy phenomenon for Legacy—and I say this from the perspective of a man who has literally not sleeved up a non-Miracles deck for an event in two years.

As a Miracles player, it sucks that the deck I’ve put hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours of practice into is no more. But as a competitive MTG player, I also recognize that bannings are a part of Magic and a cost of playing “the best deck in the format.” I’ve had the privilege of playing a truly busted deck for many years and won a lot—it’s time to move on.

How the Top Ban Will Benefit Legacy

I anticipate the banning of Sensei’s Divining Top will have a positive effect on Legacy, at least in the short term.

There are certain decks that simply function as “The Fun Police” within a working metagame, and Miracles was surely that deck for Legacy.

You show up to a local Legacy tournament with a sick new brew that you’ve been tuning. It’s got some positive things going for it, and feels well positioned against a few of the decks you feel confident you’ll face. You’ve acknowledged that Miracles is probably a rough matchup and have some sideboard cards for it.

Then you play against Miracles twice and get steamrolled. It appears that a bunch of library manipulation, instant-speed sweepers, CounterTop soft lock, and Jace TMS was better against you than you had anticipated.

What kind of a fool plays creatures? LOLOLOL!!!

Miracles severely punishes creature decks, because it plays so many sweepers. It makes the game about spells and interaction, and not about threats and attacking.

My immediate thought on what the banning means for Legacy is that various BUG and Delver decks will become more popular. I mean, Miracles mages are not just going to throw their Brainstorms and Ponders into the wastebasket!


The best thing you can do in Legacy is still great.

The natural predator of these blue decks has always been creature-based strategies. The problem has always been that these creature decks fare poorly against Miracles.

Look for an Elvish renaissance on the horizon…


Elves has traditionally been strong against Delver. Little green creatures nicely out-card and out-threat the nimble Delver decks and overwhelm removal and blockers. Miracles has always been the achilles heal of Elves, and without Top to stand in its way, Elfball is likely to come back in a big way!

The rich get richer…

I’d be pretty shocked if Leavold doesn’t become a much bigger piece of the Legacy puzzle moving forward. It is good against Glimpse and Visionary, and it’s just a great card in general – especially with Swords to Plowshares floating around. I’d recommend picking these up ASAP, because I anticipate some price movement coming very soon.


Lands is the other deck that has likely gotten much, much better in Legacy in the absence of Miracles. I’ve always felt that Miracles had a great Lands matchup, and with that obstacle removed, Lands may become better positioned in the new metagame.

If we are now more free to play creatures and Delver is the premier blue deck, it would appear that Lands may be the default new predator.

Goodbye Miracles, Though We Never Knew You At All

Honestly, I’m going to miss my Miracles deck. Miracles and I have had some fun times together over the years. I liked the way I would spin my Sensei’s Divining Top and then tap it to cast Terminus on my opponent’s end step and untap and resolve Jace on an empty board. I’ll miss the way that I’d slam a Blood Moon and my opponent wouldn’t be able to cast spells anymore. I’ll miss the way my opponent used to Force of Will my turn-1 Top and I’d cast the second one next turn…

Miracles is truly one of the great decks of all time and the most appropriate place for a deck this good, this broken, and this dominant is on the banned list. It’s the ultimate sign of respect.

I’ve always felt that the banned list (or, restricted list in Vintage) was the ultimate endgame for cards that are truly busted and format crushing in Eternal. I was introduced to this idea by Patrick Chapin when he moved back to Michigan back in the day. We had been corresponding on the Meandeck Boards about Vintage, and the first time we ever hung out, he wanted to battle Vintage, and so I brought my deck with me.

One of the first ideas we discussed went something like this:

“Don’t you think that Merchant Scroll is completely ridiculous and deserves its due to be retired to the restricted list?”
“Yeah, totally.”
“Let’s brew some decks and get Merchant Scroll restricted.”
“I’m in!”

It’s always sad when your deck gets banned and you can’t play it anymore. But it’s cool to have been a part of Magic history. If you’re a sad Miracles player today (like me), remember that every time you look at the B&R list and see “Sensei’s Divining Top is banned in Legacy”—you can take pride in knowing that you were a part of something great and truly busted!

Fare thee well SDT. You will be missed!


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