"Sensei's Diving Top is banned"
Like many others, I was dumbfounded by this announcement. Miracles, the uncontested king of the format, is dead. Personally, I feel the ban was quite ham-fisted. There were two obvious choices that could have weakened the deck without killing it. Besides, Sensei's Divining Top provided much-needed filtering for non-blue decks like Nic Fit and Painter's Servant as well as enabling cool combos like drawing your deck with Auriok Salvagers, Lion's Eye Diamond, and Engineered Explosives. That's the kind of shit that Legacy should be about. Regardless of my personal feelings on the matter, it was clear what I needed to do. Burn my copies of Sensei's Divining Top and move on.
But move on to what? I love playing control decks, but felt like the archetype was lacking without Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top to lock up the game. I considered playing Jeskai Stoneblade with Blood Moon, which performs a similar function to CounterTop in match ups like Delver while also policing the greedy 3/4-color manabases that have been gaining traction in the format. As great as that sounds, I felt like the power of Blood Moon is severely weakened when you can't power it out with Sol lands and fast mana like Lotus Petal. Besides, Jeskai Stoneblade has a lot of great card filtering, but lacks the raw card advantage provided by a card like Predict, which became somewhat ubiquitous in Miracles toward the end. That's when I remembered my old friend, Standstill.
Now, I love me some Standstill, and any reason to sleeve up my Mishra's Factories makes me pretty happy, but I still wanted something like Blood Moon (obviously terrible with creature lands) or Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top to lock up the game.
For those who don't know about this combo, Rest in Peace is a replacement effect, meaning that cards never go to the graveyard. This prevents Energy Field from being sacrificed when a permanent of your is destroyed (or a card from your hand is discarded) if Rest in Peace is on the battlefield. Pretty gross. Finally, if I was going to run Rest in Peace/Energy Field, there was little reason for me to not throw in a copy of Helm of Obedience to mill my opponent. With Rest in Peace on the battlefield, the replacement effect prevents cards from entering the graveyard, so one activation mills your opponent's entire deck. Thus, this disgusting pile of cards came together.
2 Stoneforge Mystic
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
The two main deck copies of Enlightened Tutor allow us to tutor for combo pieces, while also grabbing Humility and Detention Sphere, which is pretty neat. Humility is great in this list as we don't run Snapcaster Mage due to the non-bo with Rest in Peace. It also allows our Mishra's Factories to be the biggest creatures on the battlefield (in a land of 1/1s, the 2/2 is king). It also helps in corner cases where the opponent might be able to drain us out with Deathrite Shaman, even through the Rest in Peace/Energy Field lock. I also like having access to Humility in the Sneak and Show matchup, as putting it in off Show and Tell is pretty brutal for our opponent. We still have plenty of ways to win with Humility on the field, so its effect is pretty one-sided. The Enlightened Tutors also allow us to grab the one copy of Helm of Obedience to end the game when we have the board locked up.
The two copies of Stoneforge Mystic are there simply to tutor for Batterskull (which, due to the way layering works, will create a 5/5 germ token with Humility on the battlefield, and a 5/5 with Vigilance and Lifelink if Batterskull was played after Humility). Batterskull is a great way to buy some time against aggressive decks, and functions as another win condition. It's also pretty great to drop a Stoneforge Mystic and follow it up with a Standstill.
Other than that, the list is pretty focused. The deck, like any control deck, aims to slow down the pace of the game and drop a threat our opponent can't answer. There is some removal, counter magic, and some card selection. The counter magic split might seem strange, but it works. The Divert, in particular, has been great against Abrupt Decay, Hymn to Tourach, and others. The creature lands are necessary to be able to present a clock under a Standstill, and the Wastelands are there mainly to stop our opponents from doing the same thing.
The sideboard is a bit of a work in progress, but here is mine currently:
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Null Rod
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Energy Flux
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Pithing Needle
1 Ethersworn Cannonist
2 Meddling Mage
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Path to Exile
The Enlightened Tutor toolbox gives us a lot of resilience after side boarding, and most of it consists of tutorable silver bullets for certain match ups. In my metagame, aggressive red decks are currently overrepresented, which is the reason for both Chill and Circle of Protection: Red. Nevermore and Meddling Mage are usually brought in to name Abrupt Decay, but perform double duty in combo match ups, naming a combo piece. The third Stoneforge Mystic and the Path to Exile come in against Delver decks, where you want a little more removal and a quicker Batterskull. The sideboard is very meta-dependant, but I am a big fan of the third Enlightened Tutor and don't see myself deviating from this plan anytime soon.
I highly recommend this deck to anyone wanting to play something a little different, or anyone lamenting the untimely death of Miracles. Hit me up in the comments if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.