One of the hardest questions to answer as a Magic player is what to do with your deck after a key card gets banned—what I imagine a number of Miracles players felt when Sensei’s Divining Top became illegal in Legacy. The answer, it appears, is to change very little.
Miracles was the lone successful Legacy deck players could define as “control.” The soft lock of Sensei’s Divining Top and Counterbalance meant that most opponents would be unable to cast many, if any, spells for the rest of the game. Floating 2-mana spells near the top of your deck while having the option to put the Top on top to counter 1-mana spells was back-breaking, and that noose only pulled tighter each turn. Top would continue to provide new looks, and countermagic meant there may never be a way out.
Wrong. Terminus and Entreat the Angels are powerful enough that you don’t need Top to make them work. Casting a Terminus for 1 mana, especially at instant speed, is still ridiculously powerful and game swinging. Entreat can end the game in a single turn. You may need to do a bit more work than spin Top, but it still isn’t that hard to do.
First, you have the best card in Legacy. Brainstorm is an incredible 1-mana spell that looks like Ancestral Recall with the aid of any shuffle effect. This can also put miracles from your hand back on top of your library to cast for cheap.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor offers a Brainstorm every turn as well as a win condition. It’s a tempo play to stop a creature on the battlefield and a card advantage machine. The best planeswalker ever printed is even more important without Top around.
Ponder can’t get miracles out of your hand, but it can set up your library and help make sure pieces are in place. It’s also a shuffle effect when needed.
Predict’s value just went way up. The more Brainstorms and Ponders you have, the better Predict will be. This is a cheap cycler at worst and a way to set up a miracle and draw extra cards at best. A Brainstorm can set a card you don’t want on top of your library with a miracle below it. During the opponent’s turn, Predict yourself, mill the named card, draw 2, and use your miracle trigger to fire off a Terminus for cheap.
Without Counterbalance in the deck, and with no real desire to go through the setup cost to use a Counterbalance, let’s just go with old reliable. Counterspell is still a really strong Magic card, and will handle many of the format’s cheap threats with ease.
The rest of the deck is filled with cards that are just great in this package and in Legacy. Swords to Plowshares is the best removal spell. Force of Will is the best card against any unfair deck. Snapcaster Mage is perfect for bringing back Brainstorms, Predicts, Swords, and Counters. Vendilion Clique provides pressure and disruption.
The final interesting piece of the puzzle is Unexpectedly Absent. This was already a solid removal spell in that it takes a threat off the table and it will get rid of a draw step, as well. This card’s value becomes sky high when you have a playset of Predicts in your deck. For just 2 mana, you can put a Deathrite, Tarmogoyf, or anything else on top of your opponent’s library. With Predict, you can get it into the graveyard and draw 2 cards for your troubles.