Classic Formula

As a control enthusiast, one of the most exciting aspects about the banning of Sensei’s Divining Top is that the shift away from Miracles opens up space in the metagame for other control decks. My hope was that we would see more copies of things like Stoneforge Mystic or planeswalkers. What I didn’t expect was a return to classic control decks in the style of the Extended format with Onslaught:


Eternal Dragon
This deck has everything. When is the last time you saw an Eternal Dragon get played at all? That’s also three copies of Fact or Fiction backed up by Snapcaster Mage and even a singleton copy of both Thawing Glaciers and Decree of Justice! This is the kind of control deck that would get absolutely run over by miracles in the mirror because Counterbalance plus Sensei’s Divining Top is such a powerful way of ensuring your opponent’s best spells never resolve.

The core here is relatively similar to the Miracles deck. Snapcaster Mage backs up Swords to Plowshares, Counterspell, and cantrips; while Force of Will gives you a means of interacting early. The difference is that this deck has raw card advantage in the form of Fact or Fiction and a myriad of ways to take over the game once you’ve ground it to a halt. Eternal Dragon is a surprisingly reasonable threat in this metagame. Given the reliance that many decks have on Lightning Bolt, Abrupt Decay, and Fatal Push, just having a large, recursive body is a strange but reasonable way of dodging removal. Similarly, Batterskull will take over any game given enough time and mana, while Decree of Justice is an uncounterable way to apply pressure at instant-speed.

One of the most exciting aspects of this deck to me is the choice of lands. One Cavern of Souls ensures that your Snapcaster Mages and Vendilion Cliques resolve, while one Karakas gives you outs to Griselbrand and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn while also letting your Vendilion Cliques be immune to removal and provide some amount of card selection. All that’s missing is a Venser, Shaper Savant to really lock your opponents out.

I have absolutely no idea if this style of control deck is actually good in Legacy at large, but I love seeing a classic control deck do well from time to time. There are all manner of cards here that were enormously powerful in their respective formats, but haven’t seen play in many years and I’m always excited to take the opportunity to remind people of them.


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