Miracles has been a mainstay of Legacy for since the printing of its namesake mechanic in Avacyn Restored. Building your deck to maximize the most powerful wrath effect in the format is an effective strategy. The deck has taken many forms over the years and recently has seen a lot of new printings since the addition of War of the Spark. Today I want to look at the newest development of the archetype, Bant Miracles. This list was developed and played by Magic Online player SteFaNoGs, who is a long-time Miracles player and an expert at the archetype.
Legacy Oko Miracles Deck List - StePaNoGs
Core Game Plan
Miracles is as close to a pure control deck as Legacy gets. The primary goal is to use efficient creature removal and counter magic to prevent your opponent from winning the game as long as possible. When both players are close to parity, Miracles can start to resolve its powerful suite of planeswalkers and begin to dominate the board and generate a sizable advantage every turn. If the planeswalkers don’t prove to be enough to properly end the game, a lone copy of Entreat the Angels can be set up and used to create an overwhelming board of angels which will end the game in short order.
Let’s take a look at some of the specific card choices that make this deck so effective in Legacy.
The amount of impact that this innocuous artifact has had on Magic since Modern Horizons was printed is absurd. The cost of only playing snow-covered basics is relatively low, and the upside of having nigh-perfect mana is incredible. Miracles already tended to play basic-heavy mana bases, and this pushes the power of that mana base to the next level. Add to that the fact that it’s an artifact that sits in play for Oko to turn into an elk and that it adds to Ice-Fang Coatl gaining deathtouch and you have one of the most effective cards in the deck.
When it comes to answering creatures, no deck does it better than Miracles. Terminus has a history of being one of the most frustrating cards for creature decks to play against. It completely warps the way opponents have to apply pressure and is relatively easy to set up with Brainstorm, Ponder, and Mystic Sanctuary.
There is no question that Swords to Plowshares is the most efficient, effective spot removal spell in the format. However, sometimes this deck finds itself with too many ways to remove creatures and not enough ways to deal with other card types, so running 4 might lead to removal flood in some games.
Ice-Fang Coatl is proving itself to be one of the best ways in Legacy to keep creatures at bay. It’s difficult for anyone attempting to attack with creatures to have a favorable exchange with it and it will almost always be a 2-for-1. Between the 7 basics and 4 Astrolabes, it’s very easy to give it deathtouch and even if your opponent doesn’t attack into it, you can still just cast it to draw a card.
Snapcaster Mage has a lot of utility in this deck. Rebuying cantrips, Swords to Plowshares, and counter magic makes Miracles a much more consistent deck. The added bonus of having a body on board to pressure planeswalkers goes a long way. This version of Miracles does play less instants and sorceries than it used to, so drawing too many of them can be detrimental.
While Uro is without a doubt one of the most absurd creatures ever printed, this deck isn’t centered around Uro as an engine piece. This deck seeks to maximize the power of its planeswalkers by using Terminus to keep the board as stable as possible. Uro doesn’t fit cleanly into that plan, while also being a bit clunky to use. However, there’s no doubt that Uro has a lot of power behind it, and drawing the single copy can be a game plan by itself.
In a deck with so many powerful planeswalkers, having 6 Force effects really lets you tap out a lot more freely. Most blue decks are moving towards this Force suite and this deck has enough card advantage to mitigate the cost of 2-for-1’ing yourself.
Since this deck is so effective at dealing with creatures, having Dovin’s Veto provides a lot of insurance against everything else. In previous years, this space would be occupied by Counterspell, but the need to stop creatures on the stack has been greatly mitigated. This card is perfect for stopping Okos that are cast with Daze backup and or stopping Show and Tell from resolving (Veil of Summer notwithstanding).
This is the way that Miracles ends games after stabilizing the board. Most decks trying to play fair cannot deal with a few angel tokens, and it’s not uncommon to use this to make more than a few. Combine this with Mystic Sanctuary as a way to repeatedly set it up and you have an extremely potent win condition, all for the low cost of a single copy.
This is yet another blue deck that has added green to it to play Oko, and lo and behold the deck was improved as a result. I can’t help but repeat myself when I describe why Oko is played: It’s a threat, it’s an answer, it’s relatively cheap, it’s hard to kill, it pitches to Force effects. It even has additional utility in this deck because it can turn Astrolabes into elks the turn it comes down to immediately pressure an opponent or planeswalker.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor has really fallen far from the throne in Legacy. It used to be Legacy’s premier control planeswalker, but the cards in the format have gotten a lot more powerful. 4 mana is a hefty cost to pay these days, so it is difficult to play more than 1, but Jace still has the ability to completely dominate a game if you can untap with it. All of its abilities are very powerful and in this deck it is especially potent to use the 0 to set up miracles.
Teferi can really warp the way your opponents have to play the game. Most decks in Legacy try to interact on the stack, so the static ability tends to turn off a decent amount of cards that opponents might have in their hand. The bounce effect provides a decent amount of insurance against a variety of permanents such as Chalice of the Void. It also neatly fits into a classic play pattern that Miracles forces opponents to take. They can either overcommit to the board and get swept away by Terminus, or under commit and have their lone threat bounced by a planeswalker. Teferi costing 3 mana means that opponents have less time to develop before they have to commit to a plan and this can be really backbreaking. Teferi doesn’t have the same ability to take over a game that Oko has and can still be a little clunky at 3 mana, so 1 copy fits nicely into the deck.
Narset rounds out the planeswalker suite here. Her static ability can be completely game-ending and she allows the Miracles player to dig really deep into their deck to find the perfect answer. If she is played on a stable board, Narset really prevents opponents from digging out of a bad situation. 1 copy is the most appropriate because she is the most vulnerable to pressure on board and has a lot less impact against decks that aren’t playing blue
Mystic Sanctuary added a lot to this deck. Not only does it pair perfectly with Terminus and Entreat the Angels, but having access to it provides this deck a ton of utility in a game that goes long. To make sure it’s always easy to access, this deck skews all of its fetch lands to get Islands. Prismatic Vista would be good in the deck if not for its inability to search up Mystic Sanctuary.
Basic lands are a big reason to play this style of deck, and Astrolabe really takes away most of the downsides this mana base used to have. It’s still beneficial to have access to some dual lands, but you rarely want to draw them early so 1 of each of the blue dual lands should be sufficient.
Getting to play Back to Basics is one of the advantages of playing a mana base that is so heavy on basic lands. If the time is right, this card can simply end games against decks like Temur Delver or Lands. Regardless, it’s a card that always has to be on a player’s mind when they play against Miracles and it can be one of the strongest cards in the sideboard.
Carpet of Flowers is a way to gain a substantial mana advantage against blue decks. Against Delver decks it not only lets you sidestep their soft permission (like Daze and Spell Pierce) but also helps Miracles function smoothly in the face of Winter Orbs. Against other slower blue decks, it helps you pull way ahead on mana early and start to resolve planeswalkers before your opponents are ready to deal with them.
An answer to any permanent, albeit an inefficient one, this card fills a lot of gaps when you bring it in. Sometimes you need to answer cards like True-Name Nemesis and with 2 Snapcaster Mages and 2 Mystic Sanctuary you can get a lot of mileage out of drawing the single copy.
This is a dedicated hate bear for the Storm matchup. Storm doesn’t usually have difficulty playing through the traditional disruption that slower blue decks bring to the table. Having a card that demands removal changes the dynamic of the matchup by a lot.
Despite being excellent at removing creatures, sometimes it’s better to stop combat from happening at all. If your opponents don’t have removal prepared for Peacekeeper, sometimes they simply cannot win. Decks like Elves, Goblins, and Hogaak are all going to be forced to act in certain ways when a Peacekeeper resolves and this provides the Miracles player a lot of time to develop their game plan.
One of the most versatile sideboard cards in Legacy, Needle often does enough in a wide-range of matchups to make it an effective card. It often won’t be the best card in the sideboard for any given matchup, but the fact that it can come in against decks like Turbo Depths, Sneak and Show, and Death and Taxes (and many more) makes it a worthy inclusion in the board.
This is a pretty unique suite of graveyard hate, but serves a valuable role in Miracles. Cards like Uro can present a huge issue for this deck, but the decks that play Uro don’t tend to rely heavily on the graveyard. It’s better to have cards like Relic of Progenitus, as opposed to something like Surgical Extraction, because it can both keep Uro in check but still act as a relevant card when Uro isn’t an issue. It’s quite slow against decks like Reanimator, which threaten to put a Griselbrand into play on the first turn. However, it is much more effective against a deck like Dredge which demands mass graveyard removal.
Containment Priest is even slower than Relic, but has the substantial upside of working against Show and Tell decks. Being a creature goes a long way, as well, not only being able to apply pressure early but also dodge any kind of artifact or enchantment removal your opponents might bring in.
In the past, Miracles tended to splash red for Pyroblast (and it can be correct to stretch the mana base for the 4th color to include Pyroblast even in this deck) as the anti-blue card of choice. With Veil of Summer in the mix that isn’t a necessity anymore. While it lacks the ability to answer key blue permanents, like Oko and Delver, the benefits Veil provides are substantial.
Veil is the best card ever printed when it comes to winning counter wars and preventing discard from resolving. Its very presence completely warps the way opponents have to play the game starting from turn 1. It almost completely shuts down certain archetypes single-handedly and running 3 copies really helps against any blue or black deck.
Tips and Tricks
- Save your Brainstorms as long as possible because they have a lot of extra utility with miracles in the deck.
- You can Ponder on your opponent’s turn when you use Teferi’s +1, which can allow you to miracle a Terminus.
- If you cast a Brainstorm on your opponent’s turn, be sure to check the first card for a miracle before you put them all in your hand.
- On the flipside, be wary of casting a Brainstorm on your opponent’s turn to set up a Terminus and then, still in their turn, casting something like Ice-Fang Coatl to draw a card to try to trigger Terminus (you already drew the first card this turn off of Brainstorm).
Sideboard and Strategy Guide
There are a lot of good cards in the sideboard here. With this suite of disruption, sometimes you will lose on turn 1 if they have a strong Chancellor of the Annex hand. If you can make it past the first turn or 2 you can make it really difficult for them to win the game. I tend to not like keeping cantrip heavy hands without any disruption because it isn’t too hard for them to beat one piece of interaction.
Sneak and Show
Veil is a bit awkward here because it doesn’t stop Show and Tell or their own Veil. It still helps against most of their interaction, but it shouldn’t be a reason to keep a hand by itself. Containment Priest is extremely potent in this matchup, but it can be a bit risky because of Omniscience. In general, I think it’s a lot safer to counter Show and Tell even if you have Priest because Show and Tell + Omniscience is one of the few ways they’ll have to kill you from there.
The combination of Veil and Canonist does a great job at keeping Storm at bay. They still have the ability to set up really well because Miracles gives them a lot of time. Their own Veils can make it difficult to interact with them on the stack, so be wary of countering freely. Empty the Warrens is probably the easiest way to lose early, so leaving in some number of Terminus is a necessity.
Developing a stable mana base is the first course of action in this matchup. Carpet provides an explosive burst of mana every turn and let’s you sidestep Winter Orb almost completely. Dreadhorde Arcanist is the most effective threat they’ll play early, so you’ll want to find a Swords to Plowshares for that early.
In the face of the other creatures you can use your life total as a resource and try to set up a Terminus or use Ice-Fang Coatl on a relatively safe turn. Be wary of Klothys, as Council’s Judgment is the only clean answer for it. Back to Basics will really impact their ability to play the game, so try to set up a turn when it’s safe to cast.
Veto does counter Oko reliably, regardless of whether you’re on the play or draw, so I could see leaving in both copies. The problem is that on the draw, it doesn’t counter cards like Sylvan Library, which would leave you pretty far behind. It also doesn’t counter Klothys, which is a serious problem. If you choose to leave in both on the draw, I would still cut the other 2 Force of Wills.
Entreat the Angels is also a bit clunky so I could easily see leaving in an extra Force of Will and cutting Entreat. I like having Entreat because it can close out the game a lot faster than other options. There’s a lot of versatility with the sideboard options here, so use your judgment in the moment and see what feels better.
I have always been a fan of sideboard out lands in Miracles mirrors, especially with Carpet of Flowers in the mix. The removal could come in handy with Uro/Entreat the Angels in the mix, but I think it’s too much of a liability to draw it when you don’t need it. A single Swords to Plowshares should carry a lot of weight in conjunction with Snapcaster Mage, but it runs the risk of being ineffective. Relic of Progenitus is important for keeping Mystic Sanctuary and Uro in check. Veil of Summer stops Dovin’s Veto, so in that case it’s actually better than Pyroblast.
Speaking of Pyroblast, not playing red does mean that it’s more difficult to get planeswalkers off of the board. This means it’s going to be really important to play patiently and be careful to hold up mana on critical turns where cards can start being cast.
I’m not sure if Entreat is a reliable gameplan. It can steal games that you fall behind in because of the cheap planeswalkers, but it takes a long time to set up. I’m not necessarily suggesting to cut it, but I think when you’re thinking of how you’re going to win, consider that it might be a liability early on.
Hogaak has some extremely explosive draws that can be difficult to beat. The combination of Swords to Plowshares and Terminus can manage their early pressure, but the onus is on Miracles to have the answers right on time. Altar of Dementia can also end the game on the spot. Try to stop their enablers if you can, which will hopefully buy enough time to develop a solid defensive position.
The sideboard games do get easier and the graveyard hate can really slow down their explosive starts. The combination of Peacekeeper and Needle will make it really difficult to win without some removal spells, so working towards having those cards in play is a strong strategy.
Chalice of the Void can be a pretty big pain, but it isn’t quite as game-ending as it used to be because of Oko. Back to Basics is a game plan by itself if the board is clear, so working towards that situation is really effective. Prioritize removal early to answer their explosive starts. If the game goes really long, Eye of Ugin will start to be a huge problem so if the situation is relatively stable try to find a way to pressure them in the mid-game.