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September 29, 2016

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Next Level Analysis: Miracles

Hello and welcome to this week’s version of Next Level Analysis. After last week some of the readers were left wondering just who I was, well here is my story. My name is Andrew Crossett and I am the manager for United States division of Wizard’s Tower. As far as my area of expertise in Magic, I prefer to play Modern and Legacy along with Vintage when I can find someone to test a few games with. However, that’s enough about me and let’s get to the thing that many are here to see what we will be analyzing this week.

Earlier this week the newest banned and restricted list was released and surprise, surprise no changes yet again.

With this in mind let’s take a look at a deck that for a long time has been a cornerstone in the Legacy format, Miracles. For years I have been playing this deck and have enjoyed the many versions that have popped up from; Back to Basics, Stoneforge Mystic, Nahiri, the Harbinger or Venser, Shaper Savant with Karakas. This week I will be taking a closer look at the newest favorite of mine, the version with Venser. Now I will warn you there are a few cards that definitely stick out as peculiar in my list compared to those that have recently had success at the professional level. Just stick with me and I will explain all of these choices and how they can change the match to be in your favor even in our most difficult matches.

Magic Deck

Main Deck: (60)
Snapcaster Mage
Vendilion Clique
Venser, Shaper Savant
True-Name Nemesis
Force of Will
Brainstorm
Ponder
Swords to Plowshares
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Counterbalance
Sensei’s Divining Top
Ravages of War
Counterspell
Pyroblast
Terminus
Entreat the Angels
Karakas
Volcanic Island
Tundra
Plateau
Flooded Strand
Scalding Tarn
Arid Mesa
Island
Plains
Mountain
Sideboard: (15)
Supreme Verdict
Flusterstorm
Containment Priest
Blood Moon
Izzet Staticaster
Red Elemental Blast
Grafdigger’s Cage
Council’s Judgment
Spell Pierce
Wear // Tear
Venser, Shaper Savant

So, let’s start with the big variation in my list, True-Name Nemesis and Ravages of War. These may be seen as an odd addition to the traditional deck, however when you cast them back to back it can just decimate your opponent. As long as you have a Sensei’s Divining Top in play and a land in hand when you cast the Ravages of War, reestablishing a board state is a lot easier than it seems. The newest addition to the deck is even more interesting. Kaledesh is sure to bring many changes to the game however one card still sticks out more than others to me. Chandra, Torch of Defiance has won me games in testing already. When unanswered this card can be defined as a win-more card. At double red she sometimes can be harder to cast in this deck so I have started to play a Plateau along with a singular Mountain in the mainboard. Once she is in play she works well with Sensei’s Divining Top allowing you to choose what card she exiles. In a deck where we play with the order of cards on top of our library it is nice to have a card that benefits from this beside the typical Miracle cards.

Other than these couple changes our deck is pretty much your typical Miracles list. It is no shock that this deck makes up 15% of the Legacy meta when it has answers for almost every deck in it, that’s if we even allow the spell to be cast. We already had a great matchup versus Storm, Reanimator, Delver and Infect by playing so much counter magic. With the changes in my list we also have several answers to the Dark Depths combo with Ravages of War and Blood Moon. When we have all the answers it makes sense to play a creature like True-Name Nemesis to finish the game out for us while we continue to counter all the spells. With the changes explained let’s take the deck online and put it to the test in a few games.

Game One (Shardless Bug) 2-1 Win

This is by far one of the worst matchups for our version of the deck. True-Name Nemesis can just not deal with a Liliana of the Veil. With this in mind we quickly fell behind in game one after getting stuck on two lands after an early Wasteland. After being beat down with a Deathrite Shaman and a Tarmogoyf we quickly sided out both True-Name Nemesis after game one and brought in both our Supreme Verdicts to deal with the creature heavy deck. After this switch we “quickly” finished off our opponent, and by quickly I mean by slowly ticking up a Jace, the Mind Sculptor in game two and then by protecting our Chandra, Torch of Defiance in game three until we could get her emblem out.

Game Two (Storm) 2-0 Win

This matchup came as a slow and easy win for us as our opponent went for a turn 2 kill in game one not knowing what we were playing and quickly lost to a Force of Will. After dumping his hand to us we were able to cast a True-Name and were able to finish him off after several turn of beating him down. The next game we had even more hate in the form of Flusterstorm. A turn two Counterbalance ended up being the final nail in the coffin for this opponent as we were able to adjust the top of our library to deal with any chance of our opponent trying for the combo.

Game Three (Tin Fins Reanimator) 2-0 Win

Once again this matchup went very smoothly with the help of counter magic. I always love watching Tin Fins in action however this time it was unable to combo off. Once again we were able to cast a Chandra, Torch of Defiance in game one and she was able to take the game over and single handedly won this game. Game two followed the same theme as game one except we were able to use the True-Name Nemesis and Ravages of War combo to take out any threat our opponent might have for us.

After playing a few more games with Chandra, Torch of Defiance I feel even more confident in saying she is these weeks’ breakout star. I also would recommend the True-Name Nemesis route to anyone looking for a new direction to a deck that has been known to be slow and go to time in almost every round it plays in. Once again I would love to hear feedback and opinions about my list and if you think this is a deck you would like to play you can buy it online for around $2,800 CAN or online for around 550 Tix.

Until next time, best of luck taking your game to the next level.