I’ve been testing Miracles relentlessly ever since my disappointing finish at the last Eternal Weekend where I lost both of my win and ins. For the last few months now I have been playing my favoured version of Miracles, a list with two main deck Entreat the Angels with no Monastery Mentors in the 75. In fact, with the release of Conspiracy: Take the Crown and the rise of Leovold, Emissary of Trest, Abrupt Decay has become much more prevalent and made Mentor a lot less attractive.
Nevertheless, I have been missing the rapidity with which Mentor can close out games. So finally, on Thursday evening I found three slot for the white monk in the sideboard.
My main deck is rather classic except that I play three Predict because I simply love this card.
I preferred to travel without my team, “Angevin”, who arrived in the capital on Thursday evening. Being broke, it was preferable to only have a single night at the hotel. I therefore travelled with team Nantaise on Friday and after 4 tedious hours on the road, arrived just before the 5pm trial. Just before the start of round one, one of the tournament organizers, who I know well, informed me that I already have 2 byes from a 12 player open I played a while back, sweet! Having traveled all this way to move some cardboard across a table, I decided to play anyway.
Friday Trial, 5 Rounds
BUG Nic Fit 2-0
G1: I run my opponent over who felt safe after having cracked his Pernicious Deed to sweep away my angels, just to find that I had a second copy floating on top. Magic is fun.
G2: My opponent topdecks a few nice answers in a row, and manages to beat me on the last possible turn, despite me having Angels and Jace, the Mind Sculptor on the table.
G3: I flood out completely and see almost no removal, which allows a single Cavern Harpy to beat me down.
G2: For reasons that escape me, my opponent decides to bring in Thing in the Ice. He plays them on turn two and three, just to flip them on the following turn and I lose horribly getting attacked by a pair of 9/7s….
G2: A turn three Mentor and a turn five Jace wrap up the game nicely. It is noteworthy that my opponent misplayed by trying to kill off the Mentor rather than the Jace.
G3: ——-Missing ———
Mono Red Sneak Attack 2-1
These games were ridiculous.
G1: I was locked out almost entirely by a turn one Chalice of the Void on one and a turn two Chalice on two. I give it my all and manage to put a single angel into play for five mana. My opponent draws a lot of creatures and I hardcast two Force of Wills on Sneak Attacks to prevent them from hitting the battlefield.
G2: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn wins the game pretty quickly.
G3: Both of us are restricted heavily by his Trinisphere but I manage to cast a Mentor and win the game shortly after that.
Well, a mediocre 3-2 finish was nothing to write home about, so I change a few main deck cards with Johannes who was going to play the same 75.
Legacy Main Event
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Engineered Explosives
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Force of Will
2 Entreat, the angels
1 Council’s Judgment
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Volcanic Island
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Arid Mesa
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Red Elemental Blast
3 Monastery Mentor
1 Snapcaster Mage
Round 1: Bye
Round 2: Bye
Round 3: Sam on Infect
G1: I Brainstorm end of turn and hesitate over whether to leave a CMC 1 or 3 on top of my library, as I have Counterbalance plus Swords to Plowshares. I leave the CMC 3 on top, terrified by a possible Invigorate. My opponent attacks me and plays Become Immense. I Plow the creature and am immediately punished by a kicked Vines of the Vastwood.
G2: We play draw-go the entire game, and I manage to keep all my opponent’s creatures in check. I finally win via the powerful Snapcaster-beatdown plan.
G3: The peak of the action happened when I tappend out to play a Monastery Mentor and my opponent untapped with a Blighted Agent. Two turns later, I am at six poison counters and my opponent has lost 22 life.
- -3 Counterbalance, -1 FOW, -2 Counterspell
- +1 Snapcaster Mage, + 1 Wear//Tear, + 3 Monastery Mentor, +1 Mountain
Round 4: UR Delver
G1: I stabilise on two lifepoints with a couple of angels, a Top and a Counterbalance. Not finding any CMC 1 or 2 on top, my opponent manages to force me into shuffling away my Top and I promptly loose.
G2: I have a good hand with a couple of Pyroblasts. My opponent plays nothing but Monastery Swiftspears and Pyroblasts. I finally stabilise by dropping a Monastery Mentor. A Sulfuric Vortex is threatening to kill me, but I play an end of turn Snapcaster Mage to increase my clock and finish the game comfortably on 3 life.
G3: My opponent doesn’t play any threats in his first two turns and set himself back with a Daze on my Counterbalance. He sees two Lightning Bolts, but I see three Mentors and win the game easily from there.
- -4 FOW, -2 Counterspell, – 2 Entreat the Angels, – 2 Jace, the Mindsculptor, – 1 Council’s Jugement, -1 Predict
- + 2 Pyroblast, + 2 Red Elemental Blast, +3 Monastery Mentor, + 3 Flusterstorm, + 1 Snapcaster Mage, + 1 Wear//Tear
Round 5: Death and Taxes
G1: I draw a bunch of lands as my opponent pressures my lifetotal with a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and a Phyrexian Revoker. On turn 7 I miracle a Terminus and drop a Jace, the Mindsculptor. This allowed me to set up a massive end of turn Entreat and despite two Swords and a Flickerwhisp I win the game.
G2: A similar scenario to game one, just quicker. However, two turns after an end of turn Entreat my opponent is convinced that we had finished extra turns. He didn’t understand that I cast Entreat in his end step rather than on my turn. A judge arrives and rules in my favour, as my explanations are more coherent than those of my opponent, and the three spectators did not see anything that could have suggested I entered my turn. I easily finish up the game, though my opponent walks off frustrated still convined I got an extra turn.
- -3 Counterbalance, -1 FOW, -2 Counterspell
- +1 Snapcaster Mage, + 1 Wear//Tear, + 3 Monastery Mentor, +1 Mountain
Round 6: Simon on Infect
We joke around for a bit as we both know each other well. We live in the same region and play each other quite often. In short, it was amusing to find each other on Table 1 at 5-0.
G1: I start off well, by Plowing and Forcing his first threats. After that, unfortunately, my Top doesn’t find me much more action, and when Jace hits the battlefield, I find myself blasted away by an Inkmoth Nexus and some pump spells.
G2: At first, it seemed that both of us didn’t do much. When I play Jace and fateseal my opponent, I find myself impaled on a Pithing Needle. After that I find a Sensei’s Divining Top with a Ponder, but Simon has a Null Rod. I Brainstorm into three lands, shuffle and Brainstorm into three more lands. My first loss
- -3 Counterbalance, -4FOW, -2 Jace, – 2 Entreat the Angels
- + 1 Snapcaster Mage, +1 Wear//Tear, +2 Pyroblast, +2 Red Elemental Blast, +3 Flusterstorm, + 2 Monastery Mentor
Round 7: Death and Taxes.
G1: This is quite an excellent match-up, especially with Predict. I win without showing a single Entreat. Instead, Jace helped me find the three Terminus, three Swords, two Snapcasters and the Engineered Explosives to wrap up the game.
G2: I am manascrewed initially, but manage to get a Mentor down, which helps me stabilise at 3 life. My opponent draws Flickerwisp to clear one of the tokens. If he hadn’t done that, I would have won on my turn, so despite numerous cantrips I don’t find an out to the flyer and I lose a game I thought I had won.
G3: I knew I had to play fast with 9 minutes on the clock, so I cantrip aggressively into Monastery Mentor. A magical Brainstorm revealed all three Tops and wins me the game easily. Playing all three gets me to well over 50 damage!
- -3 Counterbalance, -2 Counterspell, -1 FOW
- +1 Mountain, +3 Mentor, +1 Snapcaster Mage, +1 Wear//Tear
Round 8: Alexander (buddy of Johannes) on RUG Lands
I’m a bit disappointed to be paired against my friend, as we both knew only one of us could make Top 16 from here.
G1: I start this game by mulliganing three times . My opponent seemed confident to get an easy game one, however my four cards were Top, Counterbalance, Island and Ponder. T1 I go Island into Top and topdeck a Volcanic Island for the turn two Counterbalance, which put me into an excellent position for the rest of the game. On turn five I find a Jace, which my opponent responds to with a Crucible of Worlds. He manages to destroy all my lands with a Ghost Quarter. However, my Force of Wills manage to successfully protect the Jace from a pair of Punishing Fires, and I ultimate Jace for the win.
G2: I impose a quick Counterbalance – Top lock on my opponent, who plays a Sphere of Resistance which slows me down considerably. After I managed to deal with the Sphere, Mentor and his disciples arrived. From that point, the game moves in my favour. I FOW my opponents Engineered Explosives, and the monks deal with the rest.
- -4 Terminus, – 1 Ponder, -2 Counterspell, – 1 Swords to Plowshares
- + 2 Surgical Extraction, + 1 Wear//Tear, + 1 Snapcaster Mage, +1 Mountain, + 3 Monastery Mentor
Round 9: ID Grixis Control
I finish 6th at the end of the Swiss, which puts me in a good position for the Top16 as I get to be on the play for the first round guaranteed. Johannes and I survey the whole room to find who is playing what in the Top16. At the end we were only missing a single list, which was that of my opponent! I happened to know what he was on after all as another player asked me to avenge him.
Top16: Shimizu on ANT:
Game 1: My opening hand was probably the best possible for this match-up in Game 1, I was looking at Sensei’s Divining Top, Counterbalance, Ponder, Force of Will, Force of Will, Counterspell and Scalding Tarn. I chose to play a turn one Ponder over the Top, to ensure my second land drop for the turn 2 Counterbalance. My opponent looked a bit disheartened after he opened with Gitaxian Probe, only to follow it up with a Cabal Therapy. I Force the Therapy pitching the Jace that I drew off the Ponder (I left the land on top), only to have a second Therapy take my Counterbalance using up a Lotus Petal. On my turn I play the Top and look at the top three at the end of his turn, which finds me a third Force, which I leave on top. My opponent then tried to go for it, but took a Force of Will on his first ritual. This play is debatable, but given that I hadn’t found a Terminus, and my opponent having an untapped Volcanic Island, I suspected a main deck Empty the Warrens, which would have surely killed me. I find a second Counterbalance, and get a few angel tokens on the board that close out the game quickly.
Game 2: I keep a hand with removal spells, having not been impressed with my opponent’s play in game 1. I generally keep in removal against ANT according to the skill level of the player. (Bad players often bring in Xantid Swarms, which is quite bad against Miracles, and have Dark Confidants in the sideboard. Good players don’t bring in the Swarms and generally play creatureless lists.) I do actually have to Counterspell a Bob rather quickly, and the game proceeds slowly without me finding a Top. My opponent tries to sculpt the perfect hand but I Pyroblast all of his cantrips, whilst I sit there resolving all of mine. The key point of this game was when I let him resolve a Bob, as I had Mentor out and he was on low life. He untaps and reveals Lotus Petal to his Dark Confidant. In his draw step I then Surgically Extract the Petal and strip two of the out of his hand. Looking at his hand I see that his only relevant spell was Infernal Tutor and he couldn’t kill me as I could Snapcaster – Surgical it away. He then Abrupt Decayed my mentor, but the damaged had already been done and I win on my turn with Top into Top.
- -3 Terminus, -1 Jace, -2 Plains, -2 Swords to Plowshares, -2 Entreat, -1 Council’s
- + 2 REB ( I bring these in over Pyroblast as my opponent is more likely to name Pyroblast with Cabal Therapy), +1 Pyroblast, + 3 Flusterstorm, + 2 Mentor, +2 Surgical Extraction, + 1 Snapcaster Mage
Quarter finals: Jan Lenger on Elves
I absolutely want to win this match as Jan was the guy who prevented me to from making Top 8 at the previous Eternal Weekend.
G1: I get a mediocre hand for the match-up, but it contains Force of Will and a Sensei’s Divining Top so I keep. My opponent goes for a T2 Green Sun’s Zenith for two having a Wirewood Symbiote on the table. I can’t allow him to grind me out with Elvish Visionary, so I force the GSZ. The following turn he plays a Natural Order sacrificing his Dryad Arbor and puts me to 3 life. I don’t find a Terminus with my Top and my fetchland, so we go to game 2.
G2: I keep an excellent hand with double Brainstorm and double Terminus. My opponent Thoughtseizes me and is quite afraid of my hand, as he never commits enough to threaten to kill me. An end of turn Entreat the Angels allows me to close up the game.
G3: I flood out completely, but my opponent doesn’t play anything for a few turns. This made me think that he kept a hand with Abrupt Decays and Krosan grips, and has drawn more of them. I draw a Counterspell, he draws and plays a Natural Order which I Counterspell, then I draw an Entreat the Angels and proceed to the semi finals.
- -1 FOW, -1 Council’s Judgement (on the play), -1 Jace ( on the draw ), -3 Counterbalance, -1 Plains
- +1 Wear//Tear, + 2 Monastery Mentor, + 2 Flusterstorm, +1 Snapcaster Mage
Semi Finals: Aurelio Crespo on Aggro Loam
This is a tough match-up for the more conventional lists, but I feel very confident with the 3 predicts and the 2 entreats in my deck, and my 3 mentors in the side.
G1: I go first and play a ponder, after that my opponent resolves a Chalice of the Void on 1. Despite this he doesn’t do much in the following turns. He points a couple of Abrupt Decays at my Counterbalances, before I draw an Engineered Explosives to get rid of the Chalice and a Mox Diamond. He resolves a Liliana of the Veil and I chain a couple of bad draws. I draw all my miracles and all my non-basic lands, which are useless as my opponent has Life from the Loam and Wasteland working. I keep my Entreat in hand as it is the only card that could possibly win me the game from here, but I never draw the Brainstorm to put it back on top.
G2: I have an explosive start with a Mentor, Jace and a couple of Swords to Plowshares. The match-up becomes a lot easier when you are not hindered by an early Chalice. I Surgical his Punishing Fires and we get a game 3.
G3: Both of us take a mulligan and have quite slow starts. Not much happens except that my opponent plays a couple of creatures which I Swords. The key moment of the game happens on turn eight, where I make the only missplay of the day, at least the only one that I notice. I have 8 mana, and start by playing a Monastery Mentor into a Top. In response to the Top and the triggers, my opponent Punishing Fires my Mentor. I play a Predict in response, but a second Punishing Fire is pointed at my Mentor. In response to this I Surgical a Chalice of the Void. Still in response to the Punishing Fire I then choose to activate my Sensei’s Divining Top and draw a card. One of the spectators noticed that the Top was still on the stack at this moment and we get a complicated roll-back ruling which results in me losing my Mentor and my opponent getting to strip one card out of my hand. He took the Snapcaster Mage, which I already had in hand, as I had drawn a Force of Will with my Top. I was then unable to Surgically Extract the Punishing Fires as I had planned to do. I say go with 4 monk tokens in play, who all die to my opponent’s Punishing Fires. He ticks his Chandra, Torch of Defiance up to 7 counters and passes back. I untap and make another Mentor with 4 monk tokens. On his turn, he then makes a Chandra emblem and kills all my creatures apart from one monk token for which he doesn’t have enough mana. My lifetotal was still high having gained a lot of life of my opponents Grove of the Burnwillows. I sat there thinking for a good 5 minutes to find a way out of this horrible position that I found myself in, knowing that my turn was turn 4 of extra turns and the game could possibly come down to a sudden death situation. I finally manage to come up with a solution that doesn’t involve me trying to find another Surgical. I play Top into Top 8 times to make my monk into a 9/9 and attack my opponent. End of turn, I then Swords to Plowshares my monk to gain 10 life. I pass on 27 life, which, if my maths was right, should allow me to remain at 1 more life point than my opponent, including a Force of Will on one of the the Punishing Fires. I end up Forcing the 3rd Punishing Fires and go to 6, which is one higher than my opponent and I proceed to the finals due to sudden death.
- -1 Ponder, – 3 Counterbalance, – 1 FOW( on the play ), -1 Counterspell( on the draw ), -1 Counterspell, – 2 Terminus
- + Mountain, + 3 Monastery Mentor + 1 Wear//Tear, + 1 Snapcaster Mage, + 2 Surgical Extraction
At this point my nerves are blank, I jump up and hug my friends who were watching the game. I was convinced that I would lose the game after my misplay, but I managed to turn it around.
My team mate Anders, the other finalist, was very happy for me too and agreed to postpone the finals to the following day, given the long tournament and how tired we both were. I am barely able to find my way back to the hotel at this point if it weren’t for my friends who brought me home. After sleeving up an EDH deck, I finally get to go to bed.
I slept very poorly again and feel very tired the next morning. Nevertheless, I am ready to fight at 9am.
Finals: Anders on Predict Miracles
G1: I am conviced that I’ll lose game on because Anders has three main deck Counterspells, an additional Snapcaster Mage and an additional Predict. However, I find myself in a situation with both of my Counterpells and all four Forces in hand, and an Entreat on top. We fight over the end of turn Entreat and I manage to resolve it. On my turn, I add a Jace to the board and although my angel tokens are Terminus’ed away, I find a Counterbalance to close out the game.
G2: I have again a strong start, and manage to win the game in about 5 minutes after Anders kept a sketchy hand for the mirror. Thank you Monastery Mentor!
-4 Swords to Plowshares, – 3 Terminus, -1 Council’s Judegement, – 2 Plains, -2 Entreat the Angels
+2 Red Elemental Blast, + 2 Pyroblast, + 3 Flusterstorm, +3 Monastery Mentor, +1 Wear//Tear, +1 Snapcaster mage
I can still hardly comprehend that I am now the European Legacy Champion. This victory is really the result of relentless testing and two years of practice with Miracles.
This result wouldn’t have been possible without all of my friends who helped me and who I’d like to thank escpecially.
- Philippe who drove me up to Paris.
- Julien who had a place in his already overbooked AirBnB for a young legacy player.
- The team from Lyon, who stood behind me the entire weekend.
- Johannes Gutbrod with whom I worked on the list and Minhajul Hoq with whom I’ve spend hours on Facebook discussing the last card in my sideboard.
- The entire BOM team for an amazing tournament, filled with emotions.
- Anders, my opponent in the finals/team mate in the miracles facebook group, who had so happily accepted to play the finals on the following day.
- I want to especially thank Team Angevine who have a special place in my heart for the support they have shown me in this long tournament. Notably, Pablo who assumed the role of my assistant in all of my games. He got me my tokens, brought me water, signaled illegal plays on both sides. In short I couldn’t have done it without you.
Translated by Claude Schmit and Edited by Thomas Kellock. Find the original report in French here. Reproduced here with Thomas Mechin’s permission.