Miracles is not dead. Despite Sensei’s Divining Top being banned, it’s still a viable choice in Legacy and today I’m going to go through it with you.
Not having Sensei’s Divining Top mainly means that the Top-Counterbalance combo is no longer a feature of the deck, and decks without Abrupt Decay no longer have to worry about getting locked out. The combo was especially painful for Ad Nauseam or Reanimator. If they ever let the two cards resolve, they wouldn’t be able to resolve any 1-mana cards for the rest of the game. So despite the loss of this powerful pairing, is U/W Control still playable?
I believe so. It’s gotten weaker, but it’s a deck that can be mastered to gain every edge with your cantrips and card advantage cards.
This is the list I like:
This is a pure control deck with wrath effects (Terminus), hard countermagic (Counterspell and Force of Will), and a draw engine (Predict and Jace, the Mind Sculptor). To make this work, you play a huge number of cantrips that help smooth your draws and exploit miracles and Predict.
Only 3 Swords to Plowshares might seem odd considering that it’s the best removal spell in Legacy, but you can also consider Unexpectedly Absent as a removal spell. I found Unexpectedly Absent to be especially good here since it can not only deal with cards that are very hard to answer otherwise (Chalice of the Void, above all), but when paired with Predict it can be pretty nice. It can also protect your own Jace, the Mind Sculptor, which is something to keep in mind. Post-sideboard you’ll have more spot removal for Delver decks, but main deck I don’t want to have too many dead cards against combo decks.
Portent is an interesting card. Even if it’s considerably worse than Ponder and Brainstorm, it has its merits. It can let you miracle Terminus on your opponent’s turn, and it can target your opponent when you are in control or if you already like the top of your deck.
I trimmed red and stayed two colors, because without Counterbalance there isn’t much merit to splashing for Red Elemental Blast since you can easily handle True-Name Nemesis with Terminus. Being two colors means that you can go big on basics, playing 5 Island and 3 Plains. Some people like to play Karakas, but I’m not a fan, since Wasteland decks are far more popular than decks with legendary creatures in them.
It might seem that I have too many removal spells, but I feel that Delver is the most popular archetype, and in those matchups what really matters is to get rid of their early pressure, since between Snapcaster and Predict you’ll easily get ahead of them in the late game.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor gets worse post-sideboard against decks with red since they have access to multiple Pyroblast and Lightning Bolt. Trading a 4-mana sorcery for a 1-mana instant is a nightmare scenario.
You don’t have to worry about finding ways to end the game—4 Snapcaster Mage and 1 Entreat the Angels ought to be enough. Once you get rid of your opponent’s creatures, you start slowly building an advantage to the point that it doesn’t really matter what you beat your opponent with.
Death & Taxes
Pre-ban there were plenty of hate cards for Miracles, from Palace Jailer to Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. If this hate is now diminishing, as I feel it should, the matchup should be pretty good since you have more basic lands and very good late game against a deck that always reaches that stage of the game.
Sneak & Show
With Sensei’s Divining Top around you used to leave a couple of Terminus in to fight Sneak Attack into Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Now that you have fewer ways to miracle in your opponent’s attack phase, it’s not worth keeping any in anymore.
I’m not a fan of Surgical Extraction, but exiling all their threats after countering them looks like a possible way to beat them.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor is too slow and they have Red Elemental Blast at the ready—you still board in some creatures to beat them to death, so you just need to keep your head above water against the combo and you’ll be safe once you reach the late game.
In Legacy, there are so many versions of too many decks that it’s hard to go through every single one, so I hope this is enough to get you started, in addition to my videos above!