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ARTICLE – I believe in Miracles

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]At this point, dear reader, just after reading the title above, you must be thinking two things: the first is if the article is recent, the second is if Rubens Barrichello left the race tracks to write MTG articles on the internet.
Well, calm down, I can assure you that neither the first nor the second hypothesis is correct, and you will soon understand why. Legacy is not a format with many changes, but as we all know, we have recently been surprised by a ban on one of the major “staples” of the format: [mtg_card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/mtg_card].
I say surprised for the popular acclaim, better known in the metier as “mimimi”, was so strong last year that we were sure that DCI was going to bring the ban hammer at Miracles that year, in one way or another. Well, it didn’t happen, we, the Miracles players were calm, many bought foil decks, others had their room wall painted with Joe Lossett’s picture. The thing is that the dust went away, things have calmed down, until a son of a pure mother placed a board in front of Wizards headquarters, demanding the ban of the infamous Top.

That’s right, the party lasted little, only until the beginning of this year, when suddenly, no more than suddenly, the ban hammer fell and the world’s most beloved (or hated) top was broken. Between tears of happiness and sadness, the banning of [mtg_card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/mtg_card] meant two things: the end of the best deck of the format and the beginning of a new era, “a brand new world , gentlemen”. Could it be?
Well, Miracles was not just an MTG deck, like RUG Delver (which I believe is not even a deck anymore). Miracles was almost a religion, with thousands of fans around the globe. This made a small group at MTGTheSource begin to develop a possible substitute for the deck, in order to harness the intrinsic power of a miracle, or better, two. [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Entreat the Angels[/mtg_card], when “cast” through the miracles cost are undoubtedly game breakers. So with that, from this group came a new Miracles, an unexpected one, some would say an Unexpected Miracles, using [mtg_card]Portent[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Unexpectedly Absent[/mtg_card]. The rest is history.

Font: Magic: The Gathering Memes.

Osmanozguney, from Magic Online (MOL) was the first to make a 5-0 score with the deck, during a league, by using the following list. It contained red for [mtg_card]Blood Moon[/mtg_card] ande [mtg_card]Pyroblast[/mtg_card] and had a very Control shell, with a decent card advantage (CA) engine. 

Right after him, ItsUnfair, with a stricly UW list, without  [mtg_card]Swords to Plowshares[/mtg_card] in the main deck, repeated the 5-0 feat.

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_text_separator title=”Main Deck”][vc_column_text]Creatures (4)
3 [mtg_card]Snapcaster Mage[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Vendilion Clique[/mtg_card] Planeswalkers (3)
3 [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card] Spells (33)
4 [mtg_card]Brainstorm[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Flusterstorm[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Ponder[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Portent[/mtg_card] 3 [mtg_card]Counterspell[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Unexpectedly Absent[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Entreat the Angels[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Force of Will[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] Lands (20)
1 [mtg_card]Arid Mesa[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Flooded Strand[/mtg_card] 6 [mtg_card]Island[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Karakas[/mtg_card] 2 Plains
4 [mtg_card]Scalding Tarn[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Tundra[/mtg_card][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_text_separator title=”Sideboard (15)”][vc_column_text]2 [mtg_card]Flusterstorm[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Hydroblast[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Surgical Extraction[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Swords to Plowshares[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Containment Priest[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Ethersworn Canonist[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Back to Basics[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Vendilion Clique[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Venser, Shaper Savant[/mtg_card][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]That’s right, gentleman, the second list to achieve 5-0 in MOL, in the hands of the ItsUnfair player, had no copy of [mtg_card]Swords to Plowshares[/mtg_card] on the main deck, but only two copies on the sideboard. The idea was to abuse on [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card] (four on deck), and for that, the more ways to get to know your top deck or the opponent’s one, the better.
The thing is that both of the above results happened on May 17 and 19, respectively; just two weeks after the ban. The discussion about the deck at TheSource had exploded and the deck appeared 20 other times on MTGGoldfish with 5-0 results. That means that even played just a few times, it ended up as the deck which appeared the most with 5-0 results at MOL, from 5/17/2017 to 6/1/2017. Okay … okay … Dazed and Confused? I know, and I’m not even talking about Led Zeppelin!!!
It’s noted that during these tests and victories, the deck base remained mostly UW, with few people doing the splash to red. But, Thiago, how does this deck work? Does it really win?
Well, let’s start with the answer to the first question. The deck relies on card selection and card advantage, as well as having a beautiful synergy, to abuse spells that are intrinsically powerful or that make sense when taken together inside the deck. Let’s look at the examples:

1) [mtg_card]Unexpectedly Absent[/mtg_card]: This card fits in the deck as a spot removal, a way to make [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card] work, beyond interacting with [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Portent[/mtg_card]. Put an opponent’s permanent on the top of his deck, so after that you could throw it down to the grave with [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card] and draw two cards, at the same time transforms [mtg_card]Unexpectedly Absent[/mtg_card] into a spot removal of permanents and an engine for [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card]. This interaction works the same way with [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Portent[/mtg_card]. The last one mentioned, by the way, can make your opponent shuffle his or her deck, taking any threats from the topdeck away.

Hey, man. Where are you?

2) [mtg_card]Portent[/mtg_card]: This card is a late draw cantrip. Essentially it’s a bad [mtg_card]Ponder[/mtg_card]. However, the card’s drawback, the delayed draw, in a control deck, does not make as much difference as in a combo deck, for example, in which the player needs the cards in the same turn, usually. It turns out that the card alone can work as a miracle-building engine during your opponent’s upkeep, as well as bypassing [mtg_card]Leovold, Emissary of Trest[/mtg_card], so present inside the meta lately. In addition, you can help control your opponent’s topdeck and prepare [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card]s with both yours and your opponent’s deck cards. Together with [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card], it makes your opponent feel miserable in the late game. Imagine casting a [mtg_card]Portent[/mtg_card] when your opponent only has one card in hand, targeting his deck, only to get him to draw the worst cards before drawing the [mtg_card]Pyroblast[/mtg_card] that would destroy your JTMS. Imagine now that before your opponent draws this [mtg_card]Pyroblast[/mtg_card], you play [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card] by naming [mtg_card]Pyroblast[/mtg_card] – which you already knew it was at his/her topdeck – only to throw it into the graveyard and, as a bonus, to draw two cards. Pictured it? That’s what the deck does.

Hey! I had a bunch of those thrown around!

The sum of [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Portent[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Brainstorm[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Ponder[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Unexpectedly Absent[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Snapcaster Mage[/mtg_card] makes you always aware of your opponent’s topdeck card (or yours), in addition to give you an infinity of draws and a lot of CA. The practical result of that is to cast 4 [mtg_card]Swords to Plowshares[/mtg_card] in one game or 3 [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card] or even 4 [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] normally, while your opponent won’t even have resolved two identical spells in the game. In other words, it is frequent to finish a game with only 15 cards ond the deck.
Well, that said, we can only come to one conclusion: Let’s test this “shait”, because everything tells us that the deck is back. And that’s exactly what I did, for now. Soon I’ll build the deck online, but IRL I’ve already participated of two championships with it: LML’s 3rd Stage and UGcardshop’s weekly from last Wednesday. I started with a strictly UW list las Sunday, matching TheSource‘s test, and I moved on to a UWR list on the weekly:

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_text_separator title=”Main Deck”][vc_column_text]Creatures (4)
3 [mtg_card]Snapcaster Mage[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Vendilion Clique[/mtg_card] Planeswalkers (3)
3 [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card] Spells (33)
4 [mtg_card]Brainstorm[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Ponder[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Portent[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Swords to Plowshares[/mtg_card] 3 [mtg_card]Counterspell[/mtg_card] 3 [mtg_card]Predict[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Unexpectedly Absent[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Entreat the Angels[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Supreme Verdict[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Force of Will[/mtg_card] 3 [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] Lands (20)
4 [mtg_card]Flooded Strand[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Island[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Arid Mesa[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Plains[/mtg_card] 4 [mtg_card]Polluted Delta[/mtg_card] 3 [mtg_card]Tundra[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Volcanic Island[/mtg_card][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_text_separator title=”Sideboard (15)”][vc_column_text]3 [mtg_card]Flusterstorm[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Pyroblast[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Red Elemental Blast[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Surgical Extraction[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Ethersworn Canonist[/mtg_card] 2 [mtg_card]Blood Moon[/mtg_card] 3 [mtg_card]Monastery Mentor[/mtg_card] 1 [mtg_card]Vendilion Clique[/mtg_card][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Theoretically this deck has some weaknesses that the [mtg_card]Counterbalance[/mtg_card] + [mtg_card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/mtg_card] lock did not allow to happen before the ban. For example, the matchup (MU) against Burn is awful and the possible solutions to this are being tested right now. Likewise, the MU against Storm suffered a slight worsening. The thing is that CB + Top have taken out of the meta a load of decks that couldn’t respond to it and also allowed the Miracles player to stabilize games at 1 or 2 life. Well, that doesn’t happen so much anymore. But let’s get down to what matters, which are the matches from the two tournaments above. I’ll pass briefly through them, for this is not the object of this article.

1) 2×0 Jund – [mtg_card]Hymn to Tourach[/mtg_card] is no longer such a serious problem. Though multiple ones, with Predict’s recurring draws, I’ve kept the CA and won with [mtg_card]Entreat the Angels[/mtg_card] to four and five angels respectively. [Mtg_card]Liliana of the Veil[/mtg_card] is no longer such a serious problem when you have [mtg_card]Unexpectedly Absent[/mtg_card] on the deck.
2) 2×1 Belcher – I lost the G1 because I didn’t have [mtg_card]Force of Will[/mtg_card] in hand, as I didn’t know what my opponent was playing.
3) 2×0 Death and Taxes – Particularly, so far, I think this match has become easier after the banning of SDT. DnT cannot hold the deck’s CA engine. Some [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] at the right time have simply ended the game.
4) 1×1 Elves – This game was more balanced without CB + Top and without the hand of [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] on your opponent’s turn. It turns out that the deck tech was still new to me and I ended up by losing G1 for the excess of [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] played on my turn. The best [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] here is during the opponent’s turn, preferably after the combo for [mtg_card]Natural Order[/mtg_card]. I did this in G2 and I won. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to complete G3.
5) ID – I really needed to have lunch, since the MTG addiction made me leave the countryside in order to get to the championship on time, with the fact that I went to a wedding the day before. Tense, but it was worth it.
6) 0x2 UR Landstill – Well, I’m having a hard time winning from [mtg_card]Standstill[/mtg_card] decks, given that they have, in addition to an efficient CA engine, manlands. Manlands were already a problem in the old Miracles and now they have gotten worse, since [mtg_card]Terminus[/mtg_card] became more difficult to resolve during the opponent’s turn. In both games I lost to a combination of manlands + [mtg_card]Snapscaster Mage[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Ligthning Bolt[/mtg_card]s and [mtg_card]Standstill[/mtg_card]. This Landstill, by the way, have won the tournament, through the hands of an insistent player, who has been working on the deck for some time. Congratulations, Matheus!
7) 2×1 – Burn – That’s right, theoretically impossible to win, in practice it was proved as possible, as long as you can combine Mentor with counters. The deck’s draw engine does the rest and the clock imposed by the Mentor wins much faster than Burn. This is what happened in G1 and G3, and in G1 I won with [mtg_card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/mtg_card] + counters, which prevented the opponent from drawing more land to pay for his cost 2 hand.
8) 2×0 – Grixis Control – My impression was that Grixis cannot follow CA Miracles CA once again. The excessive removal of JTMS closes the game. Besides, [mtg_card]Red Elemental Blast[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Blood Moon[/mtg_card] on the sideboard are infinitely helpful.
9) 2×1 Death and Taxes – See the third round comments.
10) ID and Split – Rug Delver – As it wasn’t serious competiton anymore, I played 3 main deck games against my opponent. Won 2 and lost 1. The problem here is to hit a low life and no longer have access to CB + Top lock. In addition, fetches for basic and CA guarantee the victory naturally.

In short, so far, not counting the IDs, it was 8 games with 6 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. That is, I know that there is a lot of work ahead of me yet, 8 games don’t mean anything at all, but it’s not just me playing with the deck. We have a range of players online and the deck already appears with 5% of MOL’s metagame, which makes it the most played deck over there. The online results, for now, are expressive and worth the test, both for you who played Miracles before and for you who hated the deck. Yes, this is a totally different deck that may surprise you.
In the meantime, the only thing left is to play, exploring this new metagame, which is sweet, testing the number of STPs, UAs and Predicts on the main deck, testing the splash for red or the UW base, until Las Vegas GP arrives. Imagine just one Miracles in the tournament’s top 8, right after the ban on SDT. Isn’t it beautiful?


The Miracle is back, bitches, deal with it!!

Thiago “Portent” Duarte.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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