Let’s look at what cards our mean opponents are bringing to beat us.
If you choose to wield this powerful weapon be prepared to fight some hate. We have a giant target on our backs since we are playing the “deck to beat” and so you won’t get any free wins from unprepared opponents. In this piece, I will try to list some the cards we don’t like seeing and hopefully we can come up with some countermeasures. Many of these hate pieces will either make our deck unable to function or seek to grind us out with overwhelming card advantage.
I have to give Eldrazi Stompy an honorable mention. It’s not a single card, but every single creature in that deck is one mana too cheap. Combined with some of the cards that will figure on this list, this deck is super annoying and super boring to play against. It’s my article and it’s about hate so I feel entitled to spout some hate for the boring-est deck in Legacy. Tentacles, I will always hate you, and I hope to never see you again.
The Scrap Metal
Cup-o-hate: Chalice of the Void
Some people are weird. We have a format where Brainstorm is legal, but they chose to not play it, a large subset of these people are downright mean. (Ed. This hurts.) “Since I’m not playing Brainstorm, no one should play Brainstorm” So instead they run Chalice of the Void. This hate is particularly strong as it is usually found in the maindeck. That’s why you see a lot of Miracle lists with 1-2 Council’s Judgement and/or Engineered Explosives maindeck as they are both an out to a resolved Chalice on 1. If we are unable to find them we won’t be able to smooth our draws with our overwhelming amount of cantrips, or play our removal. The issue is somewhat mitigated if we manage to land a Top before the Cup of Hate is served.
Chalice is usually played with Sol-lands (Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors and/or other turn 1 acceleration. So don’t bank on being able to play a cantrip to find a Force on the draw.
Solutions: Engineered Explosives, Council’s Judgement, Wear/Tear (or similar effects like Disenchant) are the most played ones. I recommend having some different ones as you will sometimes see savvy opponent play Chalice on 0 to play around Explosives.
To be fair Chalice is more of a deck identity then dedicated hate, but it deserved a mention none the less, as it is a card you need a plan for.
Pithing Needle is a card you will see a lot. It usually names Sensei’s Divining Top unless Jace, the Mind Sculptor is actually in play as Top is the most important card in the deck and shutting it off can sometimes act as quite the monkey wrench. Shutting down Top severely hampers our ability to draw what we want when we want it. You will usually tap any Tops in response to a Needle you can’t counter or answer as you can Brainstorm subsequent useless Tops in hand away, you can’t do that if they are stuck in play.
NB! Remember to crack your fetches as well, getting got this way is a very easy way to fall severely behind.
Soloutions: See Chalice, these cards are our usual way of dealing with resolved non-creature permanents
“But it doesn’t do anything”
“Winter is coming”
Sooo… how do you like Armageddon plus Null Rod for Null Rod mana? Cue the Winter Orb or as I’ve started calling it: Winner Orb. If this card resolves when our opponent has any kind of clock on the board we fall severely behind if we cannot answer it straight away. My preferred course of action is as follows: in descending order preference; 1. Counterspell, 2. Force of Will 3. Wear//Tear before my next untap step 4. Scoop em’ up and get dinner. If you suspect your Delver opponent has Winner Orb it is not insane to keep in some number of Forces. Also, try to never tap mana before your opponent’s end step, use your life total as a resource and play the Draw-go game.
The reason this card is so good against us is that we like to use all of our mana on all of our turns; if we’re not cantripping for answers, we are playing our answers. All the while pumping mana into Top. Also… Do I need to tell you how bad our Snapcasters become? A well timed Winter Orb will basically be Armageddon which will also cripple our Top which in turn will mean we have big problems drawing out of any trouble.
Other pieces of annoying scrap metal include: Thorn of Amethyst, Sphere of Resistance and Trinisphere. I won’t classify them as hate cards, but they do make our cantrips more awkward, and they are among the reasons you will love Wear//Tear.
“It was Enchanting to meet you”
I can’t breathe….
Choke.. yeah… we’re a blue control deck that likes to use all of our mana.. so yeah.. Choke is good… luckily most decks would rather play blue themselves so it’s rare we have to worry about it, anyways – Wear//Tear is our preferred answer, that or Counterspell. Council’s Judgement and Engineered Explosives can be hard to cast under a Choke, but they still work
Pay your library fines
Sylvan Library is a powerful draw 3-4 spell that even leaves behind a bit of manipulation when they can no longer to pay the fines and have to return the books, Counter or kill on sight with the usual suspects, or try to outgrind it with Terminus, Jace and Predict. There is also always the fun countermeasure of dropping in a few surprise Snapcasters to steal a game where they have gone to a low lifetotal.
What exactly does this one do again?
Another enchantment that can mess with us is Chains of Mephistopheles, but how does it work? If you would draw a card that is not the one for your turn you do the following:
If you have card(s) in hand proceed to A if not go to B
A: Discard a card, then draw a card
B: Mill 1
So a Brainstorm under this will do the following (assuming we have cards in hand):
Discard, draw, discard, draw, discard, draw, put two cards back
Look at top 3, put 3 back, you may shuffle, discard, then draw.
It should be clear why we don’t want this to stick around… try not to do anything stupid until you find a way to kill it. Luckily not many decks want to play this since the effect is symmetrical and combined with a high price tag you may play Legacy for years without ever seeing one!
I wanted to draw those cards!
I’m going to put two creatures here, they are roughly equally annoying, but they both die to Red Elemental Blast effects: Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Notion Thief. The first one sees more play, but the latter one has flash and is as such harder to play around. Look just counter them on the stack. Don’t Force Leovold though, it’s better to Terminus it with any other creature as well as just Swords him and bank on them drawing a blank card.
That’s a lot of mana you got there….
Cloudpost… not a hate card as such… but if you’re playing 12-post your plan is to get paired vs. Miracles all day if your opponent goes Turn One Cloudpost you might as well Scoop ‘em up. Naaah, I’m just kidding. We are very unfavored , but if you counter anything you see and get a quick clock on the board it is winnable. After sideboard, you can take any non-basic hate you might find and slam it! My preferred counterhate is Ruination, but From the Ashes, Blood Moon and Back to Basics do some good work as well.
Assemble the Gatewatch
We will have trouble dealing with any non-blue, non-Tibalt planeswalker as we have few creatures to pressure them and few spells to deal with them. As such they pose a real risk of taking over the game very quickly if they resolve. All the Blue ones we can blast, but the rest we should preferably counter some way or another. Special mention goes to using Venser, Shaper Savant to deal with a Liliana of the Veil and in general the Legend build’s higher density of creatures will make it better against opposing Planeswalkers.
I’ve gone through most of the article without even mentioning Abrupt Decay, isn’t that card good against Miracles? Well… no not really, it will have few targets and they won’t get a chance to trade up on either tempo or cards, but it is necessary to deal with Counterbalance. That’s it… the best use for their Decay is blowing up a Counterbalance where they trade even on Tempo and cards
There a lot of good cards I haven’t mentioned here yet, basically any card that can provide card advantage at a reasonable price can be good against Miracles so the list is near infinite. If you have a good feeling about a card, test it out, then us miracles players have to improvise and catch up.
I hate goodbyes
That’s it for this time, join me next time when we will try and build a sideboard, discuss some minimum numbers you’ll want and see how many flex slots there are.
Thx for reading and as always I appreciate any feedback you might have, I’ll read the comments here and on Reddit, or you can grab a hold on me on Twitter.