Saturday 12 May 2012

Miracle Deck!

In my most recent heads up cube I wanted to test out as many miracle cards as possible and so built this deck as a vessel in which to do that. It was both competitive and fun to play much to my surprise. I crammed in as many support cards for miracle as possible leaving out only Scroll Rack and weak one offs like Ponder. I then played every possible on colour miracle and worked the deck around that. Playing Reforge the Soul and Thunderous Wrath made the deck veer away from a counter burn deck and end up sort of tempo based control.

Temporal Mastery23 Spells

Sensei's Divining Top
Mystical Tutor
Noxious Revival

Lightening Bolt
Delver of Secrets

Punishing Fire
Lat-Nam's Legacy
Fire / Ice
Snapcaster Mage


BrainstormVendilion Clique
Chandra's Phoenix

Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Chandra, the Firebrand
Cryptic Command

Devastation Tide
Reforge the Soul
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

Thunderous Wrath
Temporal Mastery
Bonfire of the Damned

17 Land (I should have blagged the Chrome Mox and cut a land)

Desolate LighthouseGrove of the Burnwillows
Forgotten Cave
Faerie Conclave
Desolate Lighthouse

Cascade Bluffs
Volcanic Island
Steam Vents
Scalding Tarn

Shivan Reef
Izzet Boilerworks
Tropical Island
Wooded Foothills

3 Islands
2 Mountains

Reforge the SoulWhile this deck worked pretty well if I were to build a miracle based deck again it would either be UWR control or Ru with artifact ramp and have a proper control deck or a serious tempo deck and not some mid way mess between the two. Unsurprisingly Reforge the Soul was not a great fit in the deck but did still impress me with its potential. It is quite easy to set up cards to miracle out at the end of an opponents turn thus giving you seven new cards with all you mana to get first use out of them. Temporal Mastery I have tried once before and on both occasions it has been very much like Time Walk, while less convenient to cast it is only slightly so in a dedicated deck such as this. This makes it a very good card although the exile does keep it in control somewhat.

The card that stood out most of the test subjects was Bonfire of the Damned which was a bit of a surprise. Casting it for 3 or 5 mana normally turns out to be pretty game changing so when you manage to set it up well from a miracle cast it is ridiculous. The ability to use it as instant speed mass removal gets around real problem cards for control decks such as man lands. Thing thing that stood out most for me on the card was that it is highly effective against planewalkers as it not only damages them directly but also clears the way for your men to finish them off if needs be. This makes me wonder if Entreat the Angels may be powerful enough for a cube spot after my initial disdain towards the card. If so it still wont be close to the power of the Bonfire at least.
Bonfire of the Damned
While the expensive miracle cards have been impressing more than expected the cheaper ones have been much more lack lustre. While Vanishment or Thunderous Wrath are pretty decent when you just raw dog them off the top it turns out most of the time a Shock would have been better. The cheaper utility spells like Fire / Ice need very specific timings to get most benefit from them and this makes the cheaper miracle cards too much phaff to set up. While the prowess of Bonfire has made me reconsider Entreat, the limitations of Vanishment and Wrath have cast doubts over Banishing Stroke which I have also yet to play with.

Tamiyo, the Moon SageOther new cards seeing play in this deck were Tamiyo and Desolate Lighthouse although Noxious Revival is sort of a new card in terms of its effectiveness with miracle. Tamiyo is fine, I stand by my initial review of her and think she is the third best 5 mana walker and likely to be in the top 10 of all walkers. The Lighthouse turned out to be a little better than expected. It is probably the best of the entire cycle of Innistrad block dual colour activation utility lands. Its uses extend beyond one or two archetypes, it is versatile enough to be considered for basically any deck with blue and red in it, in which the only reason it will not make the cut will be for colour issues alone. Expending four mana is a lot for a minor effect but not so much as to make it unusable, particularly as you can include the card almost at no cost.

The deck was mostly fun because you had to set yourself up for miracles so you got to mess around with Top and similar spells but you had an obvious aim making it easier but also a little more like a combo deck. The sillier decks are often the most fun to play, especially when they put up a good fight which this was able to do because it was chock full of powerful cards!

Here is a possible list for the UWR miracle control deck I suggested might be one direction to improve on the miracle theme.

Entreat the AngelsChrome Mox
Zuran Orb

Sensei's Divining Top
Mystical Tutor
Spell Pierce

Swords to Plowshares

Lightening Helix
Snapcaster Mage

Isochron Scepter
Sensei's Divining TopArcane Denial
Lat-Nam's Legacy


Trinket Mage

Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Elspeth, Knight Errant

Gideon Jura

Temporal Mastery
Bonfire of the Damned

16 Lands (I cannot be bothered to work out a sensible mana base for a deck I'm not going to battle with, sorry. It would contain at least one man land and lots of duals if that helps.)

I think it is good to go all out and try cube decks that focus on mechanics such as proliferate or miracle as it shows the potential and direction for those cards in the cube. While most of them contain too many narrow cards to be cube mainstays they are great fun and often surprisingly competitive. The only proliferate card to be cube worthy is Contagion Clasp and thus not enough to base anything other than a few synergies on. Miracle looks set to have far more representatives and could well become an archetype in its own right, at the very least it will be a direction you can take existing archetypes. These test decks allow you to see very quickly which your best support cards are and what the best interactions with other cards are. In the case of miracle I thought it would be Brainstorm and Jace that were the best cards however Divining Top outshone them both doe to cost, ease of use, recursive use and most importantly the ability to trigger reliably in opponents turns. This still means blue is by far and away the best support colour for miracle as it has Trinket Mage to go and find Top and both Brainstorm and Jace are still fantastic, both for miracle and in their own right.

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