Deathrite Is Next

The unthinkable happened. After a period where it was the top deck for about 3 years, Miracles is gone.

Sensei’s Divining Top is banned in Legacy.

I have been hoping for this day for a long time, but it’s funny that it comes at a time when I just picked up Miracles and made the finals of two consecutive tournaments with it. Still, the writing was on the wall for a long time, I’m just surprised they finally followed through with it.

Wizards made the decision based on two key points:

  1. It was the best deck in Legacy—agreed 100%. My win rate with Miracles was much higher than my win rate with Delver after just two weeks of learning it.
  2. Top slowed down gameplay—I think this was more true in the past, but the addition of Mentors did speed the deck up somewhat. Still, the deck was slow and especially difficult for newer players. I think it was somewhat unfair to say to the newer players, “Don’t play this deck in a tournament until you can play it quickly.”

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this decision. Mostly, I wish there was more communication from Wizards on what they had on their watch list. I think a public “Watch List” would be perfect and would help manage expectations as well as gauge public reactions early. Much like what the Federal Reserve does with interest rates, I can see Wizards managing B&R lists and determining what moves are popular.

Now let’s talk about what this does to the Legacy metagame.

Level 1 Effect

All the decks previously weak to Miracles get better. This list is long:

  • Delver
  • Death and Taxes (Predict Miracles was heavily favored)
  • Blue Midrange (Czech Pile was the only hard blue midrange matchup)
  • Lands
  • Elves
  • Storm (it had an okay Miracles matchup, but Miracles had the sideboard tools to beat any iteration of Storm)
  • Reanimator

Other decks like EsperBlade that occupied the same niche as Miracles may also see a resurgence. I believe that Deathrite Shaman is too strong though, so I think most fair decks will start with the 1-mana planeswalker.

The following decks are weaker:

  • Chalice + Cavern decks
  • Eldrazi
  • Merfolk
  • Red Stompy
  • 12Post
  • Sneak and Show

Level 2 Effect

So many decks get better and only a few get worse. It’s going to be exciting to see the interplay and how the metagame develops.

In particular, I love the positioning of Storm, Elves. and Lands. All three are solid against blue midrange strategies. Storm is probably the scariest of the three, but all will be strong in the early days. I’m not too worried about any of them breaking the metagame however, because I think all of them have weaknesses that are exploitable via hate cards (unlike Miracles).

Delver and fair blue midrange will also be ubiquitous. In fact, I’m ready to say it already:

Deathrite Shaman will be the next banned card.

The card was already absurd, and at its “weakest” against Miracles. Even there, it was almost an auto-kill because it neutered their Snapcaster Mages. I see Deathrite Shaman as being way better than any other option in Legacy (sorry Stoneforge Mystic and Supreme Verdict). It’s just hyper efficient, and ties so many decks together.

Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of Deathrite Shaman decks:

  • B/U/G Delver
  • Grixis Delver
  • Czech Pile
  • Aluren
  • Food Chain
  • Bant DeathBlade
  • 4c Loam
  • Sylvan Plug
  • Abzan
  • Jund
  • Maverick
  • Shardless B/U/G
  • B/U/G Midrange/Control
  • Elves

My initial thoughts are to play the 1-mana planeswalker, and to play some good sideboard cards for the influx of Lands and Storm.

That’s it for quick predictions from me. What do you think? Chime in below!

2 thoughts on “Deathrite Is Next”

  1. Pingback: » Deck of the Day: Jeskai Death and Taxes (Legacy)

  2. Pingback: The New Legacy Metagame: Where Do We Go Now?

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