Summer is nearly here and that means it's an exciting time to be a Legacy fanatic. There are multiple premium Legacy events on the way including Grand Prix Columbus and Eternal Weekend, and if that weren’t enough, Eternal Masters is quickly approaching!
One of the things I love most about Eternal formats is that I can play the decks and cards I like forever. Well, at least until they get banned or something better comes along! Maybe you’ve already found a favorite deck and are primed to take it into battle, or maybe you are window shopping for a deck to jump in on.
Still thinking about what to play?
In either case, you’d be wise to learn as much as possible about Miracles in the next week or so. Miracles is an important deck to understand. In my opinion, Miracles has been the best deck in the format for a while. I can’t exactly quantify or calculate that opinion into empirical data—however, given the eyeball test, I lose to Miracles more than other decks and I win a lot when I play with it.
The deck is extremely powerful, flexible, and consistent, and rewards tight, intelligent lines of play.
Here’s a cool interaction! Have fun!
The ability to assemble a “soft lock” of countering all of your opponent's relevant spells is a pretty big (and frustrating) angle of attack.
A 1 cost, instant speed, Wrath of God is pretty good (and frustrating) as well...
There isn’t another deck in all of Magic that is able to exercise as much control over its draws and manipulate the library to greater effect than Miracles.
The Stock List
Last winter, I finished 3rd at #GPSeaTac playing a fairly straightforward build of Miracles and I am still a strong believer in the principles of that list. So much so, in fact, that I think my list from last year is a great place to begin when approaching the deck.
I put a lot of work into creating my list. My process was to take every top performing Miracles list I could find at the time and then finding the average number of each spell those decks played combined. It was also a great way to quickly identify what the most important sideboard cards were across the board.
Brian DeMars, 3rd place at Grand Prix Seatac 2015
I’ve been playing the deck at local play testing sessions and it is still good and extremely competitive. Despite not changing much of anything, the deck is one of the best performers in my gauntlet.
The only real change I’ve made is to cut a fetchland for a 5th basic Island. Having to put nonbasics onto the battlefield makes you vulnerable to Wastelands early in the game and obviously Blood Moon is a big part of the sideboard as well.
New Trends in Miracles
In Legacy, change to established archetypes often occurs slowly over a long period of time. When new cards are printed, sometimes new decks quickly emerge and force the metagame to adapt.
“Did you consider Eldrazi when you built your sideboard? I Thought-Knot.”
Eldrazi, for instance, is a relatively newish Legacy deck and technology is being developed quickly. Miracles, on the other hand, has been around a long time and the changes tend to show up slowly. There has been so much time and testing put into getting very solid Miracles decks that it is really hard to innovate.
The new Bullet Proof Monk.
Mentor isn’t exactly “new” but it is the last piece of tech that I’d consider to have become widely adopted. The card gives the deck significant and necessary explosiveness to beat the clock.
Draw Top off the Top.
Once you’ve established control over the game and can deploy a Monastery Mentor with 2 Tops, the game typically ends on the next turn when you attack.
Another neat victory condition package that people have been playing...
Aside from making Emrakul, Nahiri also has some nice applications against opposing Eldrazi Mud creatures like Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher. I also love the fact that it can exile opposing Counterbalances in the Miracles mirror match.
It is also worth noting that Painter’s Servant + Grindstone combo becomes less fearsome when you have Emrakul to shuffle your graveyard back into your library. I’m not 100% sold on Nahiri being better or worse than Mentor, but I like that there are multiple options.
Predict is a card that has been showing up in a lot of Miracles lists lately. With so much library manipulation, you can accurately “predict” the top card of your library with relative ease most of the time.
I’ve typically felt like card advantage (in terms of drawing extra cards into the hand) is overrated in Miracles decks because cards like Top, Counterbalance, and Terminus generate so much virtual, recurring card advantage already. I’d often rather have Top and Counterbalance in play than 7 cards in hand!
Plus, Miracles already has one of the best card advantage engines in Legacy with JTMS. The card is good in the deck but I’m not 100% sold on actually sleeving it up over something else.
The Land Destruction Plan
The last important angle to discuss is land destruction. There are a lot of decks in Legacy that straight-up cannot beat a resolved Blood Moon or Back to Basics. For this reason, Miracles typically sideboards some amount of nonbasic land hate to press the advantage.
Some people even maindeck their Blood Moons in Miracles. I’m leaning toward this mode of attack right now. I kind of like the idea of playing 1 copy of Blood Moon in the main deck and a second in the sideboard. I love that the card is absolutely killer against Eldrazi decks.
I typically like the Blood Moon better than Back to Basics. Both have ups and downs. Back to Basics allows you to still use your fetchlands to shuffle with Top in play but doesn’t “lock the opponent” out of colored mana as well. Personally, I prefer Blood Moon to Back to Basics.
I will 100% be playing at least 2 Blood Moon in my 75 at Columbus if I play Miracles because it is often the best card in your hardest matchups.
Lands, Sultai grind-your-face-off midrange, and Eldrazi all share one thing in common: they HATE, HATE, HATE your Blood Moons and struggle to do anything if it resolves.
Also, it is worth noting that some Miracles decks will use their own Cavern of Souls to attack the mirror match.
Wizards of the Cavern
The “Wizard” plan is a mirror breaker way to build the deck. Essentially, you get to play a couple of Caverns and eventually end up with uncounterable Wizards to win the game with after sideboard.
Another card that has seen its stock rise significantly in the past few months is Wear // Tear. I love the way it counts as “1 & 2” converted mana cost when revealed to Counterbalance (but never 3). Aside from being a really great card to constantly float on top of your deck with a Counterbalance in play, Wear is also great at destroying Chalice of the Void at X=1, which can be a pretty big problem for you.
Miracles is a weird deck to get a handle on. It doesn’t change much from month to month. It isn’t exciting. People perceive it as slow and boring to play. Yet, all it does is put up great numbers year after year.
It is true that the deck can be challenging to play but if you have the time and the drive to put the effort into learning the lines, Miracles is a rewarding deck to play.