Hi. My name is Anders Thiesen, I’m 23 years old and I’m from Roskilde, Denmark. I’ve played legacy for a few years now, I picked up Miracles when Treasure Cruise was banned (But before Dig Through Time was) and I’ve been spinning tops ever since.
On a boring Thursday in October I traveled to Paris to compete in the first European Eternal Weekend ever, run by Bazaar of Moxen. My plan was to play Legacy and do a bit of sightseeing. I don’t play Vintage, but boy do I envy those that do.
So around a week before the event I decided to go, booked my plane and started wondering what to play. A friend asked me on Facebook what I was going to play. I answered “Something with 4 tops” Basically all I had locked in at that point. Luck shone upon me (This will be a recurring theme of my report) when the Swedish Mastermind Nicklas Lallo asked me what I thought of his list. I said something to the effect that I liked the Main deck, but the sideboard was an abomination. Then Nicklas explained the reasoning behind his choices and I was on board!
This is the deck I ended up playing
|Main||4 Swords to Plowshares||Side|
|4 Flooded Strand||4 Force of Will||3 Pyroblast|
|4 Scalding Tarn||3 Terminus||1 Red Elemental Blast|
|2 Arid Mesa||3 Snapcaster Mage||1 Mountain|
|4 Island||2 Counterspell||1 Blood Moon|
|2 Plains||1 Engineered Explosives||1 From the Ashes|
|2 Tundra||2 Predict||1 Council’s Judgment|
|2 Volcanic Island||1 Vendilion Clique||1 Containment Priest|
|4 Sensei’s Divining Top||1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor||1 Surgical Extraction|
|4 Counterbalance||3 Monastery Mentor||2 Flusterstorm|
|4 Brainstorm||1 Entreat the Angels|
|4 Ponder||1 Wear // Tear|
|1 Engineered Explosives|
The idea is you want 4 answers in the 75 that can handle Chalice, the card is beatable, but most games we lose involve Chalice on 1 on turn 1 or 2. We spread out the Chalice killers on slightly different cards so that they could also do other stuff. For example asking Engineered Explosives to handle True-Name Nemesis is a huge tempo loss, but asking Council’s Judgment to deal with a bunch of elves is quite simply not doable. One EE in the main is a hedge, since we can find it if we manage to get Top down before an opposing Chalice hits. Cutting down to 3 Terminus was very easy once you consider EE as an additional sweeper.
The SB mountain is because we need our red cards against Wasteland decks (Wear//Tear and Blood Moon/From the Ashes vs Lands and blasts against Delver decks) having the option to remove plains for a Mountain in the mirror or go up a land when we want to do that is gravy. Entreat the Angels is, because…. Well sometimes you just need a sledge hammer against opponents with little to no permission after board. It’s big, dumb and close to unbeatable. As a flash threat against combo decks it is also very neat. However, it is way too clunky to warrant main deck inclusion. Feel free to get in touch if you have more questions about the list or miracles in general.
Friday I played some trials and spent most of the day losing to a bunch of weird decks, I was nowhere near winning any byes, let alone prizes. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the weekend! Oh well, I was still confident about the list, even though my partner in crime, Nicklas, had similar amounts of Friday success. Go back to my hotel, have a medium sleep, oversleep and rush breakfast and run to the venue. Realize I forgot my pre-written decklist and have to write a new one, made it just in time for the player meeting. Easy! Why did I even run here? Now, the actual tournament! We learn that we are 294 players, making this a 9-round tournament. Round 1, fight!
Round 1 vs William Charmoin (4C delver, Base-grixis)
William had a more grindy build than traditional Delver, I didn’t see any Dazes over our 2 games, on the other hand there were multiple Baleful Strixes and True-Name Nemesis.
I took some beats before sweeping the board with Terminus and assembling Counter-Top, mentor did clean-up duty and we were quickly on to game 2.
In delver match-ups I like to cut all the Forces and Counterspells, as well as Jace. (The exception here is BUG delver which usually get filthy grindy after board). In come a mix of Blasts and Flusters as well as Wear/Tear, I also boarded in Blood Moon, I am not sure if that is correct though. The argument for Blood Moon and not From the Ashes is found in the upper right corner of the cards. A 3 mana enchantment is a lot easier to resolve than a 4 mana sorcery. I am not sure if we want to fight on that axis though.
A very uneventful game. A deck full of True-Names and Strixes does not match up well against a deck full of blasts, Mentor once again made short work of my opponents life total.
1-0; 2-0 in games
Round 2 vs Thibaud Julien (RG Lands)
We both kept fairly slow hands with Thibaud not finding a Loam the first couple of turns, being restricted to just playing lands from the top of his deck, I had a turn 1 top, helping find a Counterbalance before Thibaud found a Loam, I quickly established a 2 on top, and a few turns later Mentor preached truth.
I like taking out Terminus, but keeping in Swords because we might need to answer a 20/20 token at some point. Counterspell is really hard to keep up against Ports, and a one-time counter is not something we are in the market for, relegating it to the deckbox for game 2. Shaving a Ponder makes sense since we’re moving up to 21 lands, and they usually have Chalices, so we don’t want a hand full of cantrips. Last cut is a Force, there’s not many spells that warrant a Force, and I don’t want to see too many during a game. Non-basic hate, Entreat, Wear/Tear, EE, Council’s Judgement and Surgical replace those cards. This is one of the matchups where you want the angel sledgehammer as a big dumb finisher, the rest of the cards should be pretty self-explanatory.
This game got really grindy. We traded Krosan Grip for Counterbalances for a while, as well as removal for Trackers. In the end my overwhelming amount of hate left poor Thibaud without many permanents. I won just before time was called
2-0; 4-0 in games
Round 3 vs Steffen Möller (RG Lands)
Another match vs. Lands. Steffen had a bit more experience with the deck, this showed in his pace of play. He steals game one with a maindeck Bosiju I could not answer as soon as he answered my Mentor and I was quickly ported out of the game.
He has a Molten Vortex making things somewhat complicated, but I play Mentor under Counter-Top while having Brainstorm at the ready to save it from Vortex activation for a couple of turns, and a few turns later the game is over when I am able to show Steffen a swords for his Marit Lage
This game ends when I land a quick Blood Moon after exiling his Marit Lage, GG 😀
3-0; 6-1 in games
Round 4 vs. Sylvan Prigent (Grixis delver without Probes, Young Pyromancer or Cabal Therapy)
Sylvan had a “big” Grixis build with Lilliana and Tombstalker
A very normal game: Mentor stabilizes the board before killing him. I can’t remember exactly how I boarded, but it is somewhat similar to round 1, prioritising clunkier, more generic answers like Council’s Judgement a bit higher.
We trade resources, he lands a Lilliana before playing one Tombstalker which meets removal, into the next one that I am unable to answer.
He gets a few hits in while trading creatures for removal, before I land a Mentor and he get Monk’d©
4-0; 8-2 in games
Round 5 vs. Tsang Wai Kit (Burn)
Burn is not a great match-up, and I think it is one of the more underrated decks currently, especially with the tools they have received recently. That being said; a quick Counterbalance to protect a high lifetotal is very powerful, and combined with the ability to use Mentor to race we have a very clear plan for the matchup.
I use Mentor and force to aggressively race since I was not able to find a quick Counterbalance. I get rewarded with being able to use Swords on one of my own monks as a Healing Salve in response to a lethal burn spell, untapping and swinging for lethal.
Cards to consider cutting include Jace, a dual, Clique and some number of Terminus (the exact number depends on how brave you are). Cards to bring in are Flusterstorm, Wear/Tear, Mountain (to play around Price of Progress) Entreat is also a possibility if you are so inclined, having flash is very nice.
*Aside on Price of Progress vs. Miracles*
I have seen postboard Prices from Burn and UR Delver an embarrassing amount of times, the card is blanker than a shining mirror in the match-up and you should put all your copies in the deckbox for games two and three. Yes I still play around it if I can after board, do not try to next level the Miracles player, it is simply not worth it.
I’m unable to find a quick Counterbalance and a couple of unanswered Goblin Guides makes for a very quick game
Turn 1 top, turn 2 Balance revealing Wear/Tear a lot of times makes for an easy game, I endstep a Snapcaster to get a clock while floating Wear/Tear and drawing countermagic. A few turns later mentor joins the party, Wear/Tear and clique on top, he tries to throw a lot of Fireblasts in my face, but I have more countermagic than he has cards. Remember what I said about being lucky?
5-0; 10-3 in games
*Aside on mentality*
Now I’m starting to feel pretty good, I’m getting into a mindset where I just can’t lose. Usually this is a bad thing as most players will start to get cocky and reckless and lose focus. I try to use this mindset as a motivation, to try and prove the mindset correct.
A fellow Danish player, Simon Nielsen, once called me a “mood player” I play better when I’m in a good mood, and I’m very affected by tilt. I like to think he is right.
Round 6 vs. Guillem Salvador (Grixis Delver, splashing a bit of green)
I haven’t really spoken about this, but I (and many others) consider Grixis Delver to be a pretty good match-up, and my luck served me another Grixis player. I said I was called a “Mood Player” and boy was I feeling great! Gulliem is one of the nicest guys I played all weekend and *spoiler* I was so lucky I got to play him twice.
We trade creatures for removal and I throw Mentors on the board to see if they stick, one of them did and Guillem quickly ran out of life total.
I’m not 100% sure I remember this correctly, but as far as I remember this is what happened
The game proceeds as you would expect, we trade a lot of resources, while Terminus and Predict put me slightly ahead. We end in a situation where I have 7 lands to Guillems 3 and 2 cards in hand to his 1. The board is stable albeit for a needle on top of which I have 2 in hand. I play mentor into Blood Moon and 1 Top in the same turn, all of them resolve. Guillem plays his Sulfuric Vortex after moon provided him with enough red mana. I’m at 6.. He is at 16, here we go!
My upkeep I go to 4 play top attack for 7, he goes to 9, go!
His upkeep he goes to 7, do nothing
I go to 2, and attack for 5, putting him at 2, go – your upkeep, we shake hands!
Luckily Guillem, fully deserving, won the rest of his matches to put him into the top 8
6-0; 12-3 in games
I checked up on Nicklas from time to time, and at this point he is also 6-0, and our greatest fear is having to play each other the following round. Luck once again strikes and we dodge once again!
Round 7 vs. Francis Cowper (Grixis delver, splashing a bit of green)
(Editor’s note. Francis streams Legacy once a week at https://www.twitch.tv/islandgomtg you should check it out!)
Francis is another really nice guy, I didn’t recognize his name to begin with, but I quickly learned that we actually played once before, at GP Prague. Back then Francis was on Esper Mentor, so this time around I expected something blue at least. I won back in Prague, let’s go for the repeat!
Francis wins the die roll and go Volcanic Island into Delver and I have to suppress a squeal of joy! As I mentioned Grixis delver is a good match-up. My good mood about being 6-0 together with Nicklas was also helping my optimism.
Turns out my internal celebrations was a bit premature as Francis play another Delver after I Swords’ed the first one, I didn’t find an answer in time and my life total disappeared in chunks of 3.
Well.. that wasn’t part of the plan, I knew someone might go 6-0 into 6-3, but the plan was that it would be someone distinctly not-me.
Oh well, “Shake it Off” and onwards to game 2
Game 2 is more according to plan, I use half my life total as a resource and the game ends when I play Mentor into a flurry of spells, some of which sends Francis’ creatures on farm duty.
We go to game 3, and we both know the winner will be able to double draw into top 8. We are both in good spirits and looking forward to it. When we played back in Prague, Francis and I spent so much time on banter we very nearly went to time, and this time around we had a lot of friendly chatter as well. Luckily this match-up is significantly less grindy than the Esper Mentor/Miracles one, so time wasn’t an issue.
I answer Francis’s creatures, but somehow we end up with me at 3 life, without many cards in hand, a Top and 5 lands in play (one of which is a fetch) facing a freshly summoned zombie fish. End step I spin my Top and see a Ponder and two lands, I untap, draw the Ponder and then fetch. I play Ponder and see Top, Mentor, Mentor. I look at the cards once more and calm myself down, knowing that if I fade a few draw steps this is in the bank. I draw the Top, then tap my Top to draw a Mentor, play Mentor, play Top to get a Monk.
Francis untaps, Decays the Mentor and attacks, I chump.
Upkeep I draw with Top, making my hand after draw 2x Top and a Mentor.
I play my hand and get 2 monks.
Francis Wastelands one of my lands and tells the mean fish to stay at home.
I untap and use the Tops to “Fireball” Francis and attack with the two tokens, fish eats one and takes 4 goes to 12. The reason for attacking here is I need to kill him before he finds bolt, sacrificing a monk for the cause felt like the right play
Francis doesn’t do anything relevant with his turn
I find a Swords, send the fish to the farm and flip the tops 3 times, putting Francis at 4
Francis untaps, draws. I ask “Bolt?” He smiles, taps his Volcanic Islands and show me the Deathrite he just drew and extends his hand. Ecstatic I shake it, whishing Francis best of luck with his next round, telling him I hope to see him in top 8.
7-0! 14-4 in games
I call some Danish friends in a poor attempt at humblebragging about my run so far
I learn that Nicklas also won his match, and for round 8 we are paired at table 1. We do the proverbial handshake and go find some food.
Looking at standings, we confirm that we can draw once more, and will likely place somewhere around the middle of top 8
Taking this pic felt really great!
Round 9 I was paired against Michel Chevalier and we took the draw at table 1, beside me I saw Nicklas shaking hands with my opponent from 6 Guillem, and I offered my congratulations to him.
When top 8 is announced Nicklas take 3rd and I had dropped to 5th
Guillem took 4th and would be my opponent for the Quarter final.
QuarterFinal vs. Guillem Salvador
I’m still feeling fantastic but nerves are starting to get to me. I catch myself several times thinking “Why so nervous, this is the exact match you played in the swiss, don’t lose focus now just because the label says ‘quarter final’”
Game 1 takes it course as it should do, I use my lifetotal aggressively and my Mentors just as aggressively, and Guillem gets the Monk © treatment.
Game 2 is where things start to go south…
In my own mainphase I tap out except for one land to Snapcaster a Swords on everybody’s favorite zombie fish. My reasoning was I tried to play around Pyroblast/Flusterstorm because Guillem was tapped out.
This is not a huge blow to him, he still has a Young Pyromancer along with a few Elemental friends as well as a few cards in hand. He untaps and plays Winter Orb. I know my next draws and I have no outs to the red army, coming up and scoop up my cards.
Game 3 runs pretty much the same way, I mainphase a Snapcaster’d swords on a zombie fish, leaving me with the only creature in play, Guillem untaps and plays Winter Orb. This time I play on, since there is no clock on the board. He manages to answer my Snappy, and starts to get a clock going. I’m spinning Top every now and then to find something. The game ends when I untap a Tundra which get wasted the turn after leaving me without enough mana to both find and cast Terminus and I extend my hand.
Well… what a bummer.
After an undefeated swiss run I end up losing the quarter. I did, however, lose to a skilled opponent who came prepared. Hint: if you want to beat Miracles with your delver deck, add Winter Orb.
In the end, I feel pretty good about the weekend. Nicklas managed to win his Mirror Quarter before losing to the eventual winner in the Semi.
I wouldn’t change the maindeck for the time being, but I’d replace the Engineered Explosives with another Wear//Tear, leaving home without two was a mistake. And I basically never wanted a second EE in my deck. From the Ashes or Ruination is up to debate, I feel that the decks we want the effect against usually have Wastelands, urging us to fetch basics, or basics of their own, making From the Ashes less desirable. After seeing RB Reanimator winning the whole thing Nicklas and I decided we wanted another Surgical, Blood Moon was the cut.
Containment priest is in the air, maybe I’ll play it. But the 15th card is very much in flux. The problem with Priest is it is often too slow against RB Reanimator, maybe it could be another Surgical. You could also add Kozilek’s return if you are very afraid of Death and Taxes.
Shoutouts goes to Nicklas for the list, and Christian Mollerup Jensen for lending me a Volcanic.
Thanks for reading through this. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch via Twitter @Thiesenmagic
May you blindflip Who//What//When//Where//Why on your counterbalance