Sensei’s Divining Top – Double Masters
Date Reviewed: August 5, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.50
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Sensei’s Divining Top has a lot of interesting distinctions. Notably, it was an early riff on the general concept of repeatable scry effects, and it was perceived as good yet still somehow underestimated. That’s because the level of consistency it generates is almost unmatchable for its cost even in a deck without fetchlands or effects that care about the library, and it somehow became even better when Counterbalance and later miracles came out. And when two (or more) players both control their own, the low activation cost means it’s almost impossible to resist activating it in response to everything the other/s do, just to make sure that things are still going according to plan. That’s the explicit reason it got banned in Legacy.
I would say that the Top is probably overkill for a lot of casual decks – there are, for example, creatures or damage spells that let you scry as an additional effect, thus advancing the game as they advance your information. It’s an extremely powerful card, and arguably necessary for certain builds, but it’s best used with caution (even if that’s only concern for your own cognitive load).
Commander [EDH]: 3/5 (you’ll get it less consistently, but much like a card like Sol Ring, you’ll really notice the games where you do get it)
Our last review of the Infernal Time Waster known as Sensei’s Divining Top was back in April, and not a whole lot has changed, either about the decks it’s used in or how it gets used. It’s an infuriating bauble that slows games down to a crawl at higher Rules Enforcement Levels, but it’s also a potent combo piece with Counterbalance, miracles, or anything that cares about specific spells or card types being on top of your library. It works well both casually and in competitive play, and while it’s banned outside of Vintage and Commander, the latter is more than reason enough to see the infamous artifact. Its power is oft subtle, but brutal when it shines.
Commander [EDH]: 4
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