There’s only one tier 1 in Legacy and it’s Miracles. Today I’ll cover the deck’s strengths, weaknesses, and a surprising new innovation in the archetype.
Someone summarized Legacy as: Either you play Counterbalance or you play Abrupt Decay. GP Prague and GP Columbus will both be Legacy, and whichever deck you choose will have to be prepared to beat this deck—you have to playtest against it extensively.
At first I refused to play Miracles myself because I thought it was too hard to learn in such small amount of time. It turns out the deck isn’t that difficult. You have to be focused and always remember the top 3 cards of your deck. Know the metagame well and know what your opponent might play, and you can go for it.
As I started playing Miracles on MTGO, I started facing some mirror matches with Nahiri, the Harbinger, which was there not only to close the game quickly with Emrakul, but also to destroy opposing Counterbalances in the mirror match, which was huge!
Of course, cycling dead cards isn’t the same as Brainstorming, especially in a deck with miracles in it. But on Magic Online I kept facing the mirror match and Nahiri, the Harbinger was huge there—getting around Pyroblast and threatening to close the game as fast as possible, and stopping the Sensei’s Divining Top+Counterbalance combo.
After many Leagues where I always went 4-1 or 3-2, I decided to play Nahiracle in a local tournament that turned out to be quite large—127 people.
This is what I submitted:
Andrea Mengucci, 14th FourSeasons Bologna
I missed Top 8, but I learned a lot of things:
Nahiri, the Harbinger was not a good card outside of the Miracles, BUG Shardless, and Jund matchups. It was clunky and slow in all the matchups I faced (none were the aforementioned decks).
I faced 3 decks with main-deck Karakas, where my Nahiri, the Harbinger didn’t help me win the game. Legacy is such a wide open format that you can’t be prepared only against three of the thousands of decks.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor is perfectly fine for that because even if your opponent is beating you down, you can simply Brainstorm, put a Terminus back, it’ll soak 3 damage, and you’ll have what you wanted. In addition to that, it’s a blue card to pitch with Force of Will, which is very important against combo.
Legacy players can be afraid to try out new cards—it’s easy to assume that old ones are always better. But it’s valuable to try out new cards in preparation for big events to see how they behave, and to see if there’s a chance to break the format.
Nahiri, the Harbinger did not break the format, however, and I won’t be playing her going forward in Legacy.
I Love Main-Deck Pyroblast and Mountain
I see many Miracles lists without main-deck Mountain. You want to be able to cast turn-2 Counterbalance without any mana issues, but on the other hand, when you play against Delver decks, having a basic Mountain to be able to cast Pyroblast or Red Elemental Blast is huge because those cards are great in that matchup, and you can’t tutor for Volcanic Island because it’s going to be Wastelanded—you always want to go for basic lands.
You want to maindeck Pyroblast because of the huge number of blue decks, and having such a tool in your deck is very important. And with Brainstorm and Jace, the Mind Sculptor, you can shuffle them into your deck if you are playing against a nonblue deck.
Since I would remove Nahiri, the Harbinger from the main deck, you might think there’s no more need for the basic Mountain. I would counter with a sideboard change—a piece of tech that you don’t see much, but it’s a huge game versus BUG Shardless and every other grindy matchup.
Blood Moon wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be. BUG Shardless has basic Forest and Swamp that they’ll fetch quicky, and with 4 Abrupt Decay in the main deck, they will answer your threat fast enough.
On the other hand, Ruination acts as a one-sided Armageddon, leaving them with the Forest and the Swamp while you look for all your basic lands and shuffle away the nonbasic ones. Ruination is also great against Lands—they have Mox Diamond to Krosan Grip away your Blood Moon, but they can’t do anything to stop you from destroying all of their lands. They will recover from it, but it’s going to be hard, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the window.
Monastery Mentor is a Great Sideboard Card
While some may think that Monastery Mentor is a great win-condition for the main deck, I think it’s a sideboard card—Entreat the Angels and Jace, the Mind Sculptor do just fine for the first game. It’s in the second game, where your opponent boards out Swords to Plowshares and Lightning Bolt, that Monastery Mentor really shines.
I played against 2 Death & Taxes decks, where game 1 lasted forever and I basically drew my whole deck before winning with Nahiri, the Harbinger—they died with multiple copies of Swords to Plowshares in their hand.
Game 2, I simply cast a turn-3 Monastery Mentor after a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and a Phyrexian Revoker on Sensei’s Divining Top, and he did the job on his own with no Swords to Plowshares to stop him. This same sequence happened against Grixis Control and Grixis Delver.