Stuff Philipp said about miracles
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POST 0 - Articles/Podcast by Philipp
- Deckbuilding philosophy
- Sideboarding vs...
- RUG/BUG/UWR Delver
- Stoneblade/Deathblade/Shardless BUG
POST 1 - Why Entreat is good vs RUG and GW POST 2 - Philosophy of Counterbalance POST 3 - Red splash vs black splash POST 4 - Why Entreat sucks in the mirror POST 5 - Miracles Questions POST 6 - REB vs Deathblade/Patriot POST 7 - Wincons vs RUG/UWR Delver POST 8 - vs Lands POST 9 - vs Elves POST 10 - More Miracles Questions POST 11 - Council's Judgment POST 12 - The one time Philipp was wrong (Keranos) POST 13 - Why Disenchant > Wear//Tear POST 14 - vs Burn POST 15 - vs MUD and vs Shardless BUG POST 16 - Versatility in sideboards POST 17 - Entreat #3 is for... POST 18 - when to bring in disenchant POST 19 - How to beat Infect (lol) POST 20 - vs Jund POST 21 - vs Storm POST 22 - vs DnT POST 23 - Sideboarding vs Miracles POST 24 - Sideboarding vs Miracles (update) POST 25 - rule #1 when mulliganing POST 26 - vs Stoneblade POST 27 - vs Omintell/Painter/Dredge/Reanimator/Deathblade POST 28 - vs UWR other
POST 0 - Articles by Philipp
- SCG Directory: http://www.starcitygames.com/tags/PhilippSchonegger
- SCG Miracles Primer 1 (Deckbuilding philosophy and vs RUG/UWR/BUG Delver): http://www.starcitygames.com/article/29085_The-Miracles-Primer-Part-1.html
- SCG Miracles Primer 2 (vs SNT/ANT/TES/Miracles): http://www.starcitygames.com/article/29138_Miracles-Primer-Part-2.html
- SCG Miracles Primer 3 (vs Stoneblade/Deathblade/Shardless BUG): http://www.starcitygames.com/article/29180_Miracles-Versus-Midrange.html
- SCG Miracles GP NJ Edition: http://www.starcitygames.com/article/30105_One-Journey-One-Miracle-A-Grand-Prix-New-Jersey-Story.html
- SCG Miracles Post TC (Deckbuilding philosophy with DTT): http://www.starcitygames.com/article/30182_Legacy-Life-After-Treasure-Cruise.html
- Eternal Central Directory:http://www.eternalcentral.com/author/philipp-schoenegger/
- EC GP Paris Top 4 Report: http://www.eternalcentral.com/there-and-back-again-grand-prix-paris-top-4-report-with-miracles/
- EC Miracles Philosophy and Sideboarding (vs BUG Delver, UWB Stoneblade, UWR Delver, RUG Delver, SNT, Storm, DNT): http://www.eternalcentral.com/there-and-back-again-miracles-philosophy-sideboarding/
- EC Miracles Updated to Smash People (4 Ponder): http://www.eternalcentral.com/there-and-back-again-believe-in-miracles/
- MTG Madness Directory: http://blog.mtgmadness.com/index.php/author/philipp-schonegger
- Taming Miracles: http://blog.mtgmadness.com/index.php/taming-miracles/philipp-schonegger
- Everyday Eternal: http://everydayeternalpodcast.com/episode-37-miracle-men/
POST 1 - Why Entreat is good vs RUG and GW
Well, that's a pretty radical view of the world you got there... let me comment on a few things:
- Entreat does nothing against RUG. Meh. Yes, it does not stop a T1 Delver, and not a T2 Tarmogoyf or whatever but I cannot count the times I've hardcasted Entreat for 5 Mana to get a single Angel on the battlefield. And it won me the game vs lategame Delvers/Mongos. Y�u could argue --> Lategame --> You should be winning already! But sometimes both decks have about 0 handcards and are topdecking. And if I topdeck Entreat there or have it in hand already in T7+ it's good.
- Entreat is not very good vs GW. Blurgh. I do play both decks, but Terminator is my one to go. Due to Entreat. Maverick can deal with a Counterbalance, it can fight through a Jace, it can survive multiple Terminus'. But it can't deal with a bunch of Angels... Never ever. I would suggest you to test this particular MU a little more.
POST 2 - Philosophy of Counterbalance
For me the CB-Lock is no lock. Its a card-advantage machine against the most decks. The goal is to hit CC1. Always. With Top you can hit CC2 too and if youre lucky CC3 but thats not the goal. The goal is to hit CC1 - which is most important if you ask me.
POST 3 - Red splash vs black splash
First of all I see red as the superior color. Our deck cannot capitalize Discard as Esper can. Yes, Vindicate is nice, but do we really need? As mentioned earlier your Counterbalance is no lock-piece, its a card-advantage-piece. I'd rather counter every spell against RUG/UR with my love curve than try to counter CC1-4. Therefore having CC3 is nice, shouldnt be the goal though.
POST 4 - Why Entreat sucks in the mirror
Entreat is a horrible card in the mirror. And I know that many people disagree with this statement, even ones whose opinion on Miracles I value highly. But let me tell you why it's not good enough.
The problem with Entreat is the fact that its a Miracle spell. And those are not what you want to see when playing a Mirror-match. You want consistency in your draws, and your cantrips. You don't want to forgo Ponders full potential just because you have to float that Entreat up there for the next two turns. Entreat needs to be cast right into Pierce/Fluster to be relevant early on - and later it's just another "Win-Con" - which is good for some builds and playstyles. But I'd rather have an additional counterspell, rather than an additional win-con. I'd rather have something that allows me to play Draw-Go even better, than something that sometimes forces me into making a bold and risky move. Yes, a lategame protected Entreat is good, but I'd rather use the slots for cards that are always good in the mirror.
I am well aware that this explanation was neither well structured nor very convincing, but I hope you got something out of it. If not - let me know and I will answer tomorrow or somewhen, when I can think straight again.
POST 5 - Miracles Potpourri
Ok, so these were your questions.
Thank you for this very interesting article.
I have a few questions regarding your decklist and sideboard plan :
What is your opinion about main deck REB and sideboard SFM ?
Red Elemental Blast is a valid approach to be sure, yet it is not the way I build a Controldeck like Miracles. I want to beat every deck, and I want to go undefeated. I don't plan to prey on a certain metagame, which can work out - but it can fail horribly too when you are paired against Jund, Elves and DnT all day long - and don't you tell me those are good MUs, even with REBs, just don't.
Stoneforge Mystic is interesting, powerful and has been in my mainboards and sideboards quite regularely. It is a totally valid approach to play those 3 cards (2 SFM 1 Skull) - even though I plan to not do that. It's very good against the mirror, though.
I'm not convinced about the SCM/Clique mix. With (only) 14 cheap flashbackable spells, don't you find yourself too often with a useless SCM in your hand ? Clique has never deceived me and i would hardly ever play less than 3 MD. I agree thought that your amount of flashbackable spells increased after board in nearly every matchups (that's why i played a second SCM in my side in Paris).
For my new list which I will play at the BoM I cut all the Vendilion Cliques from my Mainboard, and the Karakas too. So 3 Snapcaster Mage is the minimum, I'd love to play a 4th if I had the slots to do so. As I will be saying in my new Madness-Article Snapcaster Mage is just too good in every single MU, while Clique is phenomenal in some, and overly awkard in others.
Is your SB 3rd counterspell really better than a 4th REB or a random other cards (a Needle or the 4th CB for example) ? Pithin Needle has always been very good to me and has applications against a ton of matchups (it's great against two major decks DnT and SnT while being good against Merfolk, Goblins and some fringe strategies). CB is so good against a lot of matchups, i don't understand why people don't max up to 4 between MD and SB...
The third Counterspell proved to be very important, and it is yet better than REB and Balance, because it counters a spell. That's it. The spell doesn't need to be red, and you don't need to have a top + the right card to counter. Conditionless counters are good :D
Have you ever lose to a Wasteland on your Volcanic Island with REB in hand and a Delver attacking you ? I did and that's why i think i will never play without a basic mountain in the 75. I'm unsure if it belongs in the MD or the SB though. What are your thoughts on that ?
I don't board in my REBs against heavy Wasteland decks when I don't have a Mountain. That's why I've never lost to Wasteland on my Volcanic yet.
Playing Disenchant over Wear/Tear, are you sure that the fact that Disenchant is easier to cast really balance the cheaper cost of the Tear and the possible 2 for 1 of Wear/Tear ?
No I am not, but yet again it's consistency (in casting) over versatiliy and power.
Against BUG, i agree that it's a good strategy to blank your opponent sideboard plan by removing your enchantement (that's what i used to do against Shardless BUG) but i feel like Rest in Peace is so good against those versions with 4 Tarmo, 4 Shaman, 2 Tombstalker that it's worth siding it. With 3 SCM, i understand why you don't want to side in it though.
They will decrease their amount of GY-dependant creatures. And Snapcaster Mages have nothing to do with the RIPs as I bring RIPS vs RUG too, even if I had 4 Snappies.
Speaking of this awkward interactions. Do you always keep all your SCM in every matchups (like RUG) where you side in RiP ? if yes, why ?
Snappy is bonkers. And if we resolve a RIP with a trigger, we don't need Snappy any more, and he can still ambush-viper a Mongo.
Against Esperblade, why don't you side the 3rd Entreat ? maybe over a Spell Pierce or EE.
Overloading on conditional cards that happen to be a Miracle spell isn't a good plan against a Discard/counterspell - disrupte Deck like Esperblade.
RUG and Patriot Delver are not exactly the same deck but present a lot of similarities. I wonder how did you came up with the decision of adding 1 CS against Patriot but on the other hand removing one against RUG. Same question with Entreat, you remove one against Patriote but keep both against RUG (which has more disruption with Stiffle). Spell Pierce is not the best card against those decks but it's still exceptionally good in the first critical turns, i'm not convinced about the 2nd and particularly the 3rd CS over Spell Pierce against Patriote for example.
Patriot is slower and tends to cast later game spells like TNN, this is where Counterspell is good, and they don't really attack our mana. RUG does that. So Counterspell isn't that easy to cast. Entreat has to stay in vs RUG cause I need win-cons. And Entreat happens to be a win-con that also acts like a sweeper.
Only 1 RiP against Storm ? i know it's bad to see the second one but it still shuts their main win conditions.
RIP only shuts their win-con if we are pressuring them. And if we do so we are in good shape anyways, cause Miracles always struggle to put pressure on RUG.
Against Show and Tell, i would definitely keep 2 Entreat before bringing craps like EE. Having them in your hand can be bad but being a 3cc and a win condition in instant speed is very relevant.
EE is no crap. Have fun dealing with Pithing Needle and Defense Grip.
Miracles being the best deck, it's definitely a Tier 1 deck so can you introduce your sideboard plan in the mirror match please ? the same against Elf (which is also a Tier 1 deck imo) would be much impreciate.
Look, I thought I would be the best mirror-player in the whole world (please don't take that any serious) - then I lost 3 games at the GP to mirror, all 0-2. Since then I had to rethink my strategy. But the basic plan is -4 Swords -4 Terminus -2 Entreat + Counters/Creatures/Win-Cons that stick. My teammate Marc Vogt will write an article about Boarding with Miracles, Ill link it here as soon as it's out there. Even though he doesn't play the only good list (mine :D) he knows what he is doing.
POST 6 - REB vs Deathblade/Patriot
So, on the topic with REBs vs Patriot and Deathblade. I don't consider Deathblade to be a Wasteland-deck. They can play them, but they won't play the full set, and in my experience they won't be having two of them in order to deal with both of the Volcanics. VS Patriot I board 1 or max. 2 REBs, that's just as many red spells as red sources, guaranteeing atleast one castable red spell. Due to their high reliance on blue it's worth the risk to me.
The story about the MB or SB Mountain is tough. I am playing 3 red spells, so for my list it's just not worth it. But if you play 4 REBs and maybe Wear/Tear, Blood Moon and/or Sulfur Elemental it might actually be worth it. But not for me, not now.
On RIP + Snapcaster. Let's put it simple. In all my years of playing this archetype, I have never boarded out Snapcaster Mages. Be it wrong or right, I just never did it.
"About Counsterspell/Entreat/Spell Pierce against RUG and Patriote : i understand your reasoning and you are probably right but since "Entreat has to stay in vs RUG cause I need win-cons" , why doesn't it also stay as well against Patriote where you also need win conditions."
Jace is a good card against Patriot, while he isn't very powerful against RUG. That's why I am having 2 Entreat 1 Jace vs RUG and 2 Jace 1 Entreat vs UWR - that's 3 win-cons each and 2 of the better ones for each MU, with one of the basically inferior ones, but still useful ones.
You don't have to agree with me on the EE-plan vs Sneak, that's fine :)
"In the mirror : I like your point of view in the matchup. Entreat is definitly not the most important card in the matchup but it can still win you games, especially ones where you are behind and/or locked by CounterTop as Drza said so i would keep one or 2, but def. not 3. Win cons that stick ... what are you refering about ? Keranos ? :o :) . Do you side in your 2 EE and Disenchant ? How good have Flusterstorms been in the matchup for you ?"
Win-Cons that stick are stuff like Elspeth, Keranos, Gideon, I don't play either of them - but they've been played, or will be played or are playable - whatever.
Yep, I board in all the EEs and Disenchant-effects, had I had more. :O
Flusterstorm is the last card I board in, and it's the weakest one, yet situationally exceptionally good. In my new list I will only board in 1 Flusterstorm.
POST 7 - Wincons vs RUG/UWR Delver
Ok, I'll give my best to describe why I prefer Entreat vs RUG and Jace vs UWR.
The first step we take when looking at an MU is how it is going to play out. Will we be on the defensive backfoot all the time or will we have breathing room? As long as RUG doesn't brick on something essential we are forced to be defending every of our moves, leaving us with little to now breathing room, outside of interacting with what he has to offer. UWR on the other hand has a horrible curve for a Tempodeck and doesn't play Stifles, which makes the making of land-drops easier, should they choose to go for that route - or make casting Miracles in general more safe. This means we will have the opportunity to deploy our own win-con without fearing immediate death.
(And yes, I am well aware that I have more Miracles in the MU where I fear Stifles.)
Ok, so we now have two different scenarios, and in our RUG scenario we want our win-con to function as a blocker / as a wrath effect while being a win-con. RUG won't really be able to overcome Angels, maybe with a Tarmogoyf - but we got enough weapons for this in our arsenal. Jace could only bounce 2/3 of their creatures, while blanking totally on the playset of Nimble Mongeese.
In our second scenario our Win-Con doesn't need to be an immediate rescue, and Jace - bounce is way better against Delver/Mystic/Meddling Mage than it is against Delver and Goyf. Patriot also plays less Nemesis than RUG plays Mongeese. Plus, Angels can't really block Nemesis.
Both decks pack REB. It sucks.
From my experience RUG is more likely to keep in Bolts than Patriot, so I'd rather have the Jace in the MU with less Bolts in their postboarded - deck.
I hope I could explain my reasoning - if something is unclear or portrayed in a bad/wrong way - let me know.
POST 8 - vs Lands
4c Lands? You mean the basic 43lands or whatever its called?
Okay, so the threats that your deck can pack are the following:
Grove of the Burnwillows + Punishing Fire
Engineered Explosives + Academy Ruins
Thespian Stage + Dark Depths
Life from the Loam + Wasteland
Three of those are being neglected by RIP, two by Counterbalance and one by Swords/Terminus. This means we face a MU where all our cards will be eventually useful. I just wanted to point this out for people not being that familiar with the deck. But you didn't ask for a boardingplan but asked for my approach, so here we go.
First of all Miracles has to be aggressive in the Early and Midgame, Spell Pierce every legal target, Counterspell if you can and Force of Will what's left. Holding Counters until the lategame isn't going to get you anywhere, as most of those engines can only be delayed with Countermagic, not stopped. And Lands will find those engines.
So, as soon as we stopped the initial onslaught of cards we don't want to see - Manabond, Exploration, Intuition - what have you - we have to establish a CB lock as soon as possible to counter P.Fires and Loam with a cc2 on top.
If we can't assemble CounterTop our plan should be fast Entreat the Angels, Vendilion Clique attacks and even aggressive Snapcaster Mages, drawing one card via flashbackin Brainstorm/Ponder. This attempt can be very risky, but if we don't have RIP/Balance or Jace we won't win the later game in any way - so better gamble.
Coming to the postboard-games we have RIP. And that's probably it. This card is totally bonkers and you should play accordingly. Make the Landsplayer waste as many ressources as possible before deploying the RIP - as they can always Grip/Decay/EE it - make sure you get as many value out of this card as possible. G2/3 you can play less aggressive, as you should have more disruptive elements, still - if you have the opportunity to make a small/medium Entreat - go for it.
This MU is nothing I like to play against, there are games where Lands completly dominates Miracles, some games where Lands does nothing and then there are those games that I enjoy so much in this MU. Miracles has Jace + Balance but not Top, and Lands has atleast one engine going. Those are the fair games that are very complicated to manoveur correctly, but are great fun to play.
POST 9 - vs Elves
Okay, one more before I go to bed. The Elves MU is something very interesting. For the most part it's almost a Bye - but if people play Julians list and have his plan for the first game it's actually a fair game, one way or another. For those who don't know - any good Elves player will try to THROW EVERYTHING THEY HAVE INTO YOUR FACE and you will actually have to have Terminus as soon as possible!
So, the preboard-MU is generally very easy, but the postboard matches is where it gets tricky. Let's first look at how I boarded at the GP (where I slaughtered Elves 2-0 at the GP and 2-0 and 2-1 in the Trials).
-1 Vendilion Clique -1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor -2 Spell Pierce +2 EE +1 Supreme Verdict +1 Disenchant
You have the option of opting for Flusterstorms, but I felt comfortable with this approach. We basically don't board alot, because our MB is very good against their strategy (aggro-combo). We can easily shave one Jace, as he is kind of slow, one could also swap the 2nd Jace for a 3rd Entreat - but having at least 2 cc4 for their NO is nice too. Spell Piere is good against their Discard and potential hate: Needle, Null Rod, Choke - but I prefer Counterspell, which will shine as soon as we escaped the early turns. I could also see some different approaching here.
Postboard Counterbalance isn't all we need, as we will have to fight through 3+ Discard and 3 Abrupt Decay. So Counterbalance has to bee seen as a time-frame in which you can stabilize. Don't make your plans with Counterbalance as the end-of-all-world. I have seen different approaches of the Elves players..
Some prefer to go the Tempo-ey way. Overloading on disruption, and cutting the combo-aspect for the most part. Their plan is to disrupt, and hit with 1-2 dudes. If you see that your opponent tries doing that go for the 3rd Entreat over the Jace for the 3rd game.
The other way is the kind of traditional. They will try to grind you out, and will combo out as soon as they felt they can - which is either because they stopped Top with Needle/Rod or because they feel you have no Terminus. Make sure you always have one in your backhand, and try playing without this last answer on top of your library.
If your hand has two Counterbalances you can go the brutal way - Swords/Force their one-drop and deploy all the Balances as fast as possible. It is a valid approach - but don't just blindly swords/force their t1 drop if you can't follow it up with numerous Counterbalances.
Entreat the Angels is an excellent wrath when they don't team up with the Behemoth. Use this card accordingly, as a removal, that will hit them later.
Try to sandbagg EE as long as possible, as it can also handle threats you did not expect.
POST 10 - More Miracles Potpourri
Zerzab11s and mine list are prime examples of solid. What does this mean? It means that we play cards that aren't really special. We don't pack Blood Moons, Keranos' or Venser. Instead we focus on consistency by adding more cantrips (2-4 Ponder) and upping the count of cards that are always good (Counterspell/Snapcaster Mage and so on) There are obviously better options, you'd rather have Spell Snare than Counterspell in scenario #356 and Venser would be better than Snapcaster Mage in scenario #1032. But does this mean that spells like this are better? Well, in this given scenario, yes. In the general sense? Depending on the way you build your deck - NO. You can for sure build a deck like this, just as the one I used to Top64 GP Strasbourg with. I had all kinds of stuff going on, RIP+Helm, Clique+Karakas, E-Tutor+Blood Moon/Detention Sphere. Would I play this deck again? For nostaglic reasons, yes. For competitive ones? Nope, not again. This is not the way I build my decks now. For me it has worked just too well. You can surely play lists that aren't as solid and still win, but I'd rather build my decks this way. And I am pretty sure that this is the superior way.
I strongly disagree with everything Drza said in http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...l=1#post811297
Keranos doesn't fit in my philosphy of building this deck, but it's certainly a valid option. He helps in MUs that have been tough, historically, just as Shardless BUG - where he is undenieably good. The problem with the card is the following. You probably have to put it in the slot of your 3rd win-con. For me it'd be the 3rd Entreat in the SB. Now you put Keranos in this slot and move to postboard games, where you have all those 3 bombs in your deck. If you draw Keranos as the first card this card will dominate the game if resolving. It'll be bonkers and you'll probably win, whereas Entreat wouldn't do too much. If you draw Keranos as the 2nd bomb in the game it'll be a reasonable card, it can create advantage here and there and maybe steal the game as long as you're not under much pressure. Entreat is pretty powerful here too, it will probably win the game and help you stabilize. These scenarios are probably even. Now what happens if you draw Keranos as the last bomb when your opponent is threatening to kill you? Well, it'll do nothing and you'll die, regardless of him. This is where Entreat really shines, as it can block+kill or just snipe your opponent with flashy hasty angels.
It once again comes down to how you build your deck. I could def. see the reason why one would play Keranos, but once again, it doesn't fit in my philosphy of building this deck .
3) Grafdigger's Cage/Relic of Progenitus
I think you guys have worked out the upsides and downsides of both of this cards. In the end it's a meta-choice which one you'd like to take. But more importantly: Do not go below 2 Rest in Peace while still playing graveyard hate. When RUG Delver was big I had 3 RIPs. Ever since GP Paris I have two, which is enough to draw them somewhen. I could the reasons to cut all the graveyard-hate, but cutting one of the RIPs for a Cage/Relic just seems wrong, as you'll probably not draw the one you want, unless you don't have E-Tutor, but this card is bad anyways. So I could def. see a split of 2 RIP 1 Cage/Relic working, but not 1/1, due to RIPs power in pretty much every MU where you want it.
Keeping 2-3 Swords to Plowshares is a good plan, as those + EEs should be enough to not lose to Xantid. Bringing RIP vs ANT is fine, if you have the slots. Don't worry about Snapcaster Mage, just don't. Bringing in RIP vs TES doesn't seem too good, I wouldn't do it. Don't keep Terminus vs Storm.
5) RUG Delver...
We've had this so often already, just search the thread for it - there have been many good posts of various people on this. But basically:
2) Know when to pick your battles.
By the way, an article of mine is up on MTG Madness, somehow it's the one that was scheduled for tomorrow and not the one that was scheduled three weeks ago. Anyways, I talk about Miracles, to some part, so let me know if you liked it or not. But the SB of the list portrayed in the beginning is wrong. It should be:
-1 Flusterstorm +1 Vendilion Clique -1 Supreme Veridct +1 Pithing Needle
I hope it'll be fixed soon.
POST 11 - Council's Judgment
Judging the Judgment.
Ok, it's been a while since I promised you to give all of you my my opinion on Council's Judgement. Here we go, then.
Versatility is its strength!
The strength of Councils Judgement does not lie in what it does - it lies in what it can do, across a variety of MUs, situations and so on. There are cards to our disposal that to their job in a superior way. But we didn't have access to a card that can get rid of literally every nonland permanent, circumventing any kind of protection or tricks. That's an upgrade for sure. Whenever I talked about Miracles vs Esper I came back and tell everybody how superior Snapcaster Mage was in Esperstoneblade, being a sure 4of due to the plethory of versatile cards he could flashback. I soon became a disciple of Snapcaster in Miracles too, but ever since this card has entered the light of day it seems to be rather obvious that Snapcaster is a constant part of Miracles, giving it as much versatility as it had in good old Esper.
But Judgements versatility has another aspect to it that is pretty essential. Due to its potential to deal with literally everything you have to put the first copy of this card in your mainboard, not in your sideboard. I've been playing Counterspell in my SB ever since GP Paris and I am still under the assumption that this is the correct way to go - but before I put the 3rd Counterspell in the SB, I've had two of them in the mainboard, reaching the cards threshold of mainboarded copies. Same thing goes for Councils Judgement - leading to the next point:
How many Judgements can one pass?
It's a tricky question, to be honest - and it does depend on the build. Being harder to cast then most spells in our deck puts up limitations to this card, that's for sure. It should be pretty obvious that 4 is too much, whereas three seems pretty painful at best. I think the maximum amount of Judgements you should be having in your deck distributes as follows:
4 Ponder - build: 1-2 Judgements in your 75, at least 1 mainboard.
Other builds: 1-3 Judgements in your 75, at least 1 mainboard.
Cantrip-heavy builds have traditionally been shaving on individual copies of a card to make up for the increased consistency - so I am under the assumption that 2 is the perfect threshold for this card, whereas other variants can go up to three, but 2 should be the thresholded mark for mainboardable Judgements across the whole field.
Whats the pawn sacrifice?
One may not simply add cards to the deck without cutting some of them, as 61 cards is no option. (has never been) So what can different lists cut in order to support this spell? Should any of this lists be built in a bad way you can still cut inferior cards, should you still play them - I am referring to cards like RIP/E-Tutor/D-Sphere or whatever. Ya know, bad cards.
But what can you cut when you play a good implementation of Miracles? Two kinds of things: a) versatile ones and b) specific ones. Why is that? Well, if your list has cards that are designed to deal with a plethora of different threats it might be a good idea to switch to a card that actually deals with most of them in a superior way. I am talking about cutting cards like:
Spell Pierce Vendilion Clique Counterspell
Those cards aren't exactly the same, but share big parts of their area of application. They are all meant to deal with a lot of different things. While Spell Pierce excels in the early game it's Counterspells time to shine later while clique stays a powerful threat in many matchups (but not enough of them - that's why I still don't mainbeck Clique) - Judgement can easily deal with most of those permanents, with the upside of being a better draw once those permanents have entered the battlefield already.
You could also cards that are in your mainboard to deal with very specific threats. I am talking about those cards, among others:
Disenchant and Wear//Tear Supreme Verdict Engineered Explosives (MB) Pithing Needle
Those cards had their right to be in the mainboard for some lists, in some metagames - but I think they have ceased to do so - as Councils Judgement does this job in a clearly superior way. Pretty easy cut, if you should be playing those cards.
Repositioning in a dance called metagame.
So what do I think about the impact that Judgement will have on the current metagame and our position within it? Well - simply put - this card is a clear buff for Miracles, even though other archetypes can profit from it aswell. Versatile cards that impact already resolved threats has always been a problem of UWR - it now seems to be solved, in one way or another. It will make MUs that have been close, traditionally, better. I am mostly thinking of the BG/x archetype. It's been a race to Entreat the Angels for 9 out of 10 games. With Judgement I see these MUs improving by a lot, due to the ability to delay the kind of inevtiable Liliana long enough to massacre them with an army of flashy angels.
It'll also improve the MUs against Random, admittingly though Miracles has been having the best MU against Random from most of the tier1-decks, regardlessly.
Even though it doesn't help with traditionally tough MUs like SnT and DnT it offers interesting angles of attack to this very two MUs, namely being able to get rid of Vial+SoFaI mainboard (once you've survived the mana-screw) and nuking Sneak Attack itself, if they tap out to cast it. Not really making it better - but interesting angles, nontheless.
I think this card will make Ponder an even better card, supplementing my claim that 2 Ponder is the bare minimum, with 4 being my personal (!) optimum. Being able to dig for a card that deals with everything is about as good as it can get.
Judgements affects on my list.
Based on my latest list I will go ahead and cut my (altered) Spell Pierces. (You know how much it hurts to cut recently acquired altered cards?) Both of them, despite the fact that I will be only adding a single Councils Judgement to the mainboard. As the second card that will be cut I have decided to cut the recently added Pithing Needle in favor of the Councils Judgement. I don't think that I have to explain why I cut those two cards - just see what I wrote above about the possible cuts.
But what do I do with the one last slot in the mainboard that once was property of Spell Pierce? Playing a miser Spell Pierce doesn't sound too good - so it'll be something different. It won't be a 2nd/3rd Councils Judgement due to the color requirements and the low count of disruptive blue cards for the Combo/Control-MUs. So it has to be something blue, more or less disrupting/countering. I have been thinking about the following cards:
3rd Counterspell (moving the sideboarded one to the mainboard)
Spell Snare Vendilion Clique Counterbalance Red Elemental Blast
Admittingly, I am not completly sure that this last slot is as correct as the rest of my list is, at least to me. I stand behind pretty much every single slot - with the exception of this very 60th mainboarded card. I ultimately decided in favor of Counterbalance due to the good position in the current metagame that this card has right now. Counterbalance is very good against a plethora of strategies right now, ranging from Elves over Delver to Storm and even Sneak and Show - due to this list having 3 cc3 and 3 cc4, making it a possibility to lock them out in the preboarded games.
As said, I am not too sure on this one and I would be happy to receive some opinions on this one, even though I've asked many people I trust in already. But there is no such thing as too many opinions.
Other than that, here it is - my Judgemental Miracles-list.
3 Tundra 2 Volcanic Island 4 Flooded Strand 4 Scalding Tarn 2 Arid Mesa 4 Island 2 Plains
4 Brainstorm 4 Ponder 4 Sensei's Divining Top 2 Counterspell 4 Counterbalance 4 Force of Will 4 Swords to Plowshares 4 Terminus 2 Entreat the Angels 1 Council's Judgement
3 Snapcaster Mage 3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
SB: 2 Red Elemental Blast SB: 2 Rest in Peace SB: 1 Pyroblast SB: 2 Engineered Explosives SB: 1 Counterspell SB: 2 Flusterstorm SB: 1 Disenchant SB: 1 Entreat the Angels SB: 2 Vendilion Clique SB: 1 Council's Judgement
POST 12 - The one time Philipp was wrong (Keranos)
Nothing is as tough as admitting a point of discussion where you were very sure about. Yet it's one of the most important things in communication.
So here we go:
I admit I was wrong.
Ever since people brought up Keranos I stood up and manned the barricades on the opposite side. I havn't been afraid to argue for Entreat the Angels over Keranos, God of Storms for a long time. I've convinced quite a fair share of people but many stayed true to the blue and red god. And even though their arguments were lacklusterly worded and inappropriately used in the discussions we had, they were correct. So here they are: My reasons of why Keranos, God of Storms is a welcome addition to the deck, and what reasons have been the convincing one. (Not that I havn't heard them before - but they havn't really been brought up in the right context)
Keranos' role is one that isn't easily determined. It basically have to be in the slot of the third Entreat, any other change might be outright wrong. This very changes leads to the first misconception about this card. Even though it has(!) to take Entreats place, it does not replace its role, at least not entirely. It is a worse finisher than Entreat. Easily stated and correct in every aspect. It's worse, no discussion. But it doesn't have to be a better finisher than Entreat the Angels, as this isn't possible for this kind of deck. This card is basically 50% Entreat the Angels and 50% Jace, the Mind Sculptor with various up- and downgrades to both.
As said before. Keranos, God of Storms doesn't win games. He just happens to kill the opponent somewhere down the road, but this does not classify as a winning card. He also isn't able to bring as much oppressive power to the table as Jace, the Mind Sculptor is. Drawing a card or casting a free Lightning Bolt a turn does not compete with a Brainstorm every turn. Never.
But as said, there are things to this card that are easily overlookable. First and foremost: This card is god damn hard to kill, and not too easy to counter aswell. Being Spell Pierce proof while also blanking 99% of the options to destroy this thing makes it incredibly persistent in its effect on the battlefield. Keranos will never win the game as fast as Entreat, and he will never be able to give you enough cards to bury your opponent in CA just like Jace does. He does both, but in an inferior way. He will close out games, eventually. He will draw you a few cards, somewhere down the road. But due to his ability to stay onto the battlefield this is good enough.
The above mentioned split-nature of this card gets upgraded by the fact that this mix of cards makes it extremly powerful against a plethora of cards/situations/match-ups that are hard to overcome with a traditional Jace-Entreat-split. While both of the prior mentioned cards put up a fight against Liliana one way or another - Keranos just dominates her. Lightning Bolting every turn is just as good as it gets, - that's pretty powerful against Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The inevitable effect pushes this card over the top in the Shardless-MU where he also provides an unkillable out to nasty small creatures that made it through to the lategame, but aren't worth using Terminus on.
This repeatedly mentioned split nature of this card offers new ways of boarding too. I'd never ever bring in Entreat the Angels in the Mirror. Keranos? Any day of the week. I even had a situation where I could decide whether I'd cast an altered Jace, the Mind Sculptor and protect it with Force of Will and pitch Keranos or cast Keranos, and pitch the Jace. I did cast the Keranos, which lead to an concession of my mirror-opponent shortly after, due to him not playing Judgemental Miracles *coughs*.
I'd also never board in a 4th Jace in a match-up where I will be facing Punishing Fire. Keranos? Sure thing!
Let's summarize. Keranos is a split card between Entreat the Angels and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Its strength lies in its versatility, as well as it's steadfastness considering convential means of removing it. Additionally it opens up other boarding plans - generally leading to more live sideboard cards.
I do not claim that this card is a must-play but it is def. a valid addition to any optimized list at the moment, as the meta is just right for it, as of now.
So here we go. Let me know what you think! Do you agree? Do you disagree? Let me know.
POST 13 - Why Disenchant > Wear//Tear
Yep, agreed that being blue is an upside, though it's not worth to mention as a standalone point.
I think I touched on Disenchant vs Wear/Tear already either here on TheSource or in the comments in any of my articles (speaking of which, Dragonslayer, you might want to check them out to get you started with Miracles the right way - link in my signature). But anyways, here are the points in short again.
First and foremost: Being able to cast it without any red source is important, as Volcanic Islands often have to be used as a Wasteland-magnet against many strategies. You keep your fetch, grab your Volcanic and cast your REB, only to have your Volcanic getting wasted shortly thereafter. In order to mitigate this very problem it seems pretty important to play as few red spells as possible, while maintaining the minimum of powerful REB-effects, concluding in the hopefully(!) correct and optimal number of red cards and Volcanics.
Being able to cast Disenchant of any combination of lands that you have in play already is a big plus too, if you don't want to shuffle (Miracles on top) or simply cannot. It's simply more efficient at what it does, compared to Wear/Tear which is certainly more powerful in some circumstances, the big one being the Mirror. Most of my points I made above do not matter for the mirror match where you can easily access all of your red sources very early in the game. Being able to cast it the fused way is a big plus too, in the mirror.
But with the addition of Councils Judgement to Miracles Disenchants arguments actually count a little stronger than ever before - as I find myself even grabbing more Tundras than ever before in the Mirror, due to the Councils Judgement. Being able to cast more and more cards relieably is important, even more so for Control.
Then there are some minor arguments like being able to cast Disenchant and Snapcaster Mage it back, which isn't going to work all the time with Wear/Tear and other stuff like this.
Summarizing: For a version with many cc1s (Ponder), few lands and even more so few Volcanic Islands and no Mountains and Snapcaster Mages Disenchant is superior, whereas Wear/Tear seems to be better for a version that does not have that many cc1 spells and has more red sources, as well as not playing 3 Snapcaster Mages. (I'd love to fit in a 4th, though!)
I hope this did answer your question - if it does not - let me know and I'll try again. I am well aware that this post is not as well structured as the one above, getting tired already, so just let me know.
POST 14 - vs Burn
Burn is a tricky one. Calling it a good MU is wrong. Calling it a bad MU is wrong too. It's one of those MUs that tend to be overly swingey. You could curbstomp all those Burndecks 2-0, but very well never manage to squeeze a win. The preboarded games are ridiculously draw-dependent. If you're having an early Top+Balance they're dead. If you don't, then they'll grind you out unless you manage to delay them long enough to Entreat for three or more.
All different lists have things that are very good, and others that are very bad against Burn.
My current 4 Ponder - version has the playset of Counterbalance, which is obv. bonkers - but the lack of Spell Pierces hurts a lot. A list packing many flash creatures and Karakas has the option to chumpblock a lot more while also threatening a quick change of tides concerning the eventual Sulfuric Vortex, Clique is actually pretty good at preventing this card from happening, and is pretty good at racing this thing, too. (pretty good as in "as good as it gets) But yeah, this version has no Ponders, so it is def. lacking this extra quality package of finding the right cards. And maindecked Blasts are obv. super bad too.
I think the list I like the most in this MU is the standard one, with like 2 Ponder and 2-3 Spell Pierce, alongside a healthy amount of Counterbalances and a mix of Snapcaster Mage and Vendilion Clique.
I think that Councils Judgements influence is pretty high in this very MU, as it acts as an out to Sulfuric Vortex, which is huge. You should be boarding in all your counterspells, additional removal and artefact/enchantment removal while removing clunky spells and shaving numbers here and there. Using Goblin Guide to your advantage is key too, as additional cards equal an enourmous overflow of additional countermagic. So it's probably correct to not kill it on sight. If you are super hasty with your decisions (but remember - patience is key in pretty much everything) you can atleast net one trigger out of the Goblins by Swordsing it after you've drawn that land of yours.
Entreat the Angels is actually pretty good, even though it's clunky and slow. But if they are very well prepared for Counterbalance the 2mana enchantment won't win the game on the spot for the sideboarded games, so you actually need to close out games on the spot, and this is what Entreat is for.
Be aware of Price of Progress at any time. I still remember all that anger and that hate of those Burn players I've defeated with my different incarnations of UW after showing me their PoPs. I'd try to not even play a single non-basic, as 2 mana for 2 dmg isn't good - but might be enough for the lategame. And remember: PoP threatens Jace, aswell. - But if it isn't avoidable you shouldn't really stop after the fourth non-basic any a PoP will be lethal anyways and does present itself as a must-counter.
I don't think that this MU should be too troublesome. Neither from a standpoint of how the games play out, nor from the amount of Burn that runs around at tournaments. It might still happen, you can never escape variance to 100% but I think this small percentage is surmountable. Oh, and most Burn players suck anyways, so
Oh, and Terminus counters Fireblast via Counterbalance! :P
POST 15 - vs MUD and vs Shardless BUG
@MUD: Lol, someone asked me on Twitter too. This MU seems to trouble everybody. First, I'll you what my score in high-level-tournaments is. 0-1-1. Yes, that spectatular! Even though this deck is by far easier to beat than MUD it's still troublesome, at least some variants. If they have the Cloudpost-engine it's super tough, because its basically Cloudpost. If they play the Vintage-version then we have the best shot, as killing and countering is no problem. But if they play the Port+Skull - version it's tough once again, at least when the opponent knows how to operate this deck. As said previously, I wouldn't worry too much about this MU. It is winable, but a decent keep vs unknown will probably not cut it. All you basically want is a Top, Removal and Counterspells. Let their easy lockpieces resolve (like sphere of resistance, trinisphere and other stuff) and try to get them by just dealing with their creatures and Karn.
@Shardless BUG: Glad you picked the worst MU of them all :D - Sure let's get into it.
Shardless BUG is one of the decks in the current metagame that has the best shot of supressing Miracles in the long run of a tournament - meaning it is def. possible for Miracles to displatch one Shardless BUG on its way for the Top8, but also that reaching Top8 is going to be very tough if there are many Shardless BUG players in the room, because they'll get you, eventually. Their strengths lie in the fact that they abuse many angles of attack, reaching from Tarmogoyf beatdown, to creating CA with Ancestral Vision to Planeswalkers. Dealing with one, sometimes even two angles is no problem at all. Getting to fight the war on all three angles on the other hand is a tough one, and the basic reason why this MU isn't good at all. I tested the MU against one of the best Shardless-players (Lejay) and our 20-match-test-row ended in a fashion that represents the percentage of how this MU plays out if neither of the decks is overly tuned to beat the other one. --> 9:11. I obviously tested this MU more than just 20 games, but games against masters of their deck add more value to the testing than hundreds of matches against somebody.
Due to the natura of their restrictive deckbuilding you shouldn't worry about any countermagic, with the exception of the omnipresent Force of Will. This makes resolving Entreat the Angels pretty easy, which wins the game on the spot, most of the time. Preboard they might have Toxic Deluge, however they can't afford to keep it in in the sideboarded games and will probably rely on something like Maelstrom Pulse. - so keep those Angels flashy if you can.
So let's get to how to board:
3 Tundra 2 Volcanic Island 4 Flooded Strand 4 Scalding Tarn 2 Arid Mesa 4 Island 2 Plains
4 Brainstorm 4 Ponder 4 Sensei's Divining Top 4 Counterbalance 4 Force of Will 3 Snapcaster Mage 2 Counterspell 4 Swords to Plowshares 4 Terminus 1 Council's Judgement
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 2 Entreat the Angels
SB: 2 Red Elemental Blast SB: 2 Rest in Peace SB: 1 Pyroblast SB: 2 Engineered Explosives SB: 1 Counterspell SB: 2 Flusterstorm SB: 1 Disenchant SB: 2 Vendilion Clique SB: 1 Council's Judgement SB: 1 Keranos, God of Storms
There is no such thing as a 100% correct boarding plan. There's a general direction that's correct and you can choose to which extent you will follow this approach, but following its direction is mandatory.
So first we are looking at the sideboard, what do we want in the sideboarded games?
Keranos is obviously very good against Shardless BUG, and very good doesn't even catch how insane he is there. Council's Judgement deals with everything but Creeping Tar Pit - sure. Vendilion Cliques pressure Planeswalkers, can kill the opponent and are able to chump-block, easy include. Disenchant will answer some evil stuff like Sylvan Library, at the very worst it deals with a Shardless Agent. Flusterstorms aren't good here. Counterspell is easily on of the best cards here, auto-include. Engineered Explosives are very potent when it comes to dealing with various threats from multiple angles. So it's correct to put them in. REBs and Pyros are very good as Jace + Vision are two of the main-threats here, whereas RIP isn't good enough. So we now have:
1 Keranos 1 Judgement 2 Clique 1 Disenchant 1 Counterspell 2 EE 2 REB 1 Pyro
That's 11 cards, which is quite a lot. Now let's look at we can take out:
Force of Will is not where we want to be, due to the nature of FoW, you all know that. Counterbalance is pretty unrelieable, not only due to Decay but mostly due to the fact that we have to deploy Counterbalance fast, in order to counter Vision, which then let's them Decay it EoT or in their Upkeep, leaving us with less ressources and therefore ensuring their Vision to resolve, which is crucial. Swords to Plowshares isn't at its best here, too, but is still a powerful tool to deal with a card like Creeping Tar Pit, which can be rather annoying to handle, otherwise.
The first thing you have to ask yourself is whether you want all 3 REB or only 2. Going less than 2 is no choice, as REB answers Jace+Vision, which is very crucial to our game plan. I'd go with three in the second game, and cut to two if I see enourmous amounts of Wastelands. But generally it might be correct to take all 4.
The next step to think about is how afraid you are of Sylvan Library and other mean enchantments/artefacts. You do have access to up to 5 answers to it, being 2 Judgement, 2 EE and 1 Disenchant. Despite the fact that EE does not deal with Null Rod it might be too much. I think that 4 is the minimum, and 5 being the maximum, with Disenchant being the 5th card, which can get the axe, depending on how you wish to board.
From all the cards that are coming out, Swords to Plowshares is the one that can stay the most, so this should be the place where fill mainboarded cards back to the sideboarded deck should you decide to not include all the possible options. So if you want to be on the safer side you can bring in less REBs and keep more Swords.
This leaves me with the following approach, but as said above, you can easily board a card more or less, the direction is all that matters here.
-4 Force of Will -4 Counterbalance -2 Swords to Plowshares +2 Vendilion Clique +1 Counterspell +1 Keranos, God of Storms +2 Engineered Explosives +1 Council's Judgement +2 Red Elemental Blast +1 Pyroblast
General tips for the MU:
Utilize Terminus to combat their enormous CA.
Counter Vision with Counterspell as you can. It may not be worth countering with your Force of Will, though - at least if you don't hardcast it.
Be patient with the deployance of your game-ending threats (Jace, Entreat, Keranos)
Counterbalance can counter Ancestral Vision with a Land on top
Waste most of your effort on their Planeswalkers + Vision. Their creatures will be dealt with, eventually. (hopefully)
POST 16 - Versatility in sideboards
It wasn't my initial idea to add Counterspell to the deck, but I've been a strong proponent of this very card ever since I've put it in my sideboard. Great that you disagree, havn't talked about this slot in a while, I guess.
So you think that a sideboard slot should not be a good catchall and versatile card, did I get you right? While I cannot agree with this very sentiment, I can understand where you are coming from. I'll just quote myself from a post a few days back:
"But Judgements versatility has another aspect to it that is pretty essential. Due to its potential to deal with literally everything you have to put the first copy of this card in your mainboard, not in your sideboard. I've been playing Counterspell in my SB ever since GP Paris and I am still under the assumption that this is the correct way to go - but before I put the 3rd Counterspell in the SB, I've had two of them in the mainboard, reaching the cards threshold of mainboarded copies. Same thing goes for Councils Judgement - leading to the next point: "http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.php?20529-DTB-Miracle-Control&p=817472&viewfull=1#post817472
So I guess we don't diverge too much, do we? We both acknowledge the power of versatile cards in the mainboard, first and foremost! But what does adding cards like Judgement+Counterspell to the sideboard actually do? As you realized correctly it does not influence any MU in a great way as things cards like Keranos, but if you look at my sideboard - most cards do not instantly win a game of Magic. Most are just other version of different cards, various approaches to the same goal, with new up- and new downsides. Counterspell is no exception. Flusterstorm is just another counterspell for Instants and Sorceries, whereas EE is just another removal with a wide range of applications, Disenchant is yet another way to deal with non-creature permanents, Clique is yet another disruptive spell. RIP/REB and Keranos do have some high impact in many MUs, though. But what this shows is that a sideboard does not have to consist of hatecards. I do not feature Ethersworn Canonist, I do not choose to play Blood Moon, I negated to include Supreme Verdict. I concluded that those things are not needed, as more versatile many-sided cards are better for a format that is as open as Legacy.
Approaching the Sideboard this way let's you be better prepared for an open metagame. If you play like 5 times against RUG and 5 times against Storm you'd love to have those extra RIPs, Supreme Verdicts and Ethersworn Canonists, but this isn't going to happen. Legacy does not work that way. Your first opponent can start casting Trinispheres while the second drops 20 Goblins. But you all know how Legacy works! Directly shaped cards will have a higher impact in the MU that you are preparing for, but won't cut it for pretty much all the other MUs.
Moreover, if you have cards like Judgement and Counterspell in your sideboard you can always bring in something, that's better than the worst cards in your maindeck for this very match. This allows you to board well and improve your sideboard matches to some extent, admittedly less so than if you had the best cards for this very MU. I'd rather improve all of my MUs by 5-10% than improving some by 15-20% and others by 0%. (All numbers are fictional and do not represent any value, other than, yet again, fictional comparison).
I don't agree on Fluster and Disenchant being direct cards for certain MUs, as you can bring in Fluster against any Delver deck, any combo deck, and if you run a slightly (like 1 card off) list of mine you can bring it in in the Mirror too. Disenchant can be brought in against Esper, Delver, Combo and Miracle too... so....
And when you mention O-Ring. My sideboarded Judgment isn't anything more than a way better O-Ring due to its ability to hit shrouded+protected stuff, doing tricks (Top, Vial) and being able to Snapcaster back.
Yes, Keranos is easily removable due to Council's Judgement, but I think having more than 1 copy in the postboarded games isn't correct anyways, so I wouldn't worry too much. On Entreat though... the way I board right now is the following:
-4 Swords to Plowshares -4 Terminus -2 Entreat the Angels +2 Red Elemental Blast +1 Pyroblast +2 Vendilion Clique +2 Engineered Explosives +1 Keranos, God of Storms +1 Disenchant +1 Counterspell
Disenchant isn't that set in stone, so you can bring in one more card here. If I wouldn't have Disenchant it'd probably be Flusterstorm, though 1of Fluster seems off, and if you don't have Keranos you can easily bring in the second Flusterstorm. But you could also take my list, and my approach and don't bring the Disenchant and grab a 1of Entreat as a late-game option if you think that it's better for you. I am not entirely sure about those last few slots. Disenchant doesn't seem to great many times, Flusterstorm varies greatly in impact too, and Entreat is just as swingey as it gets. My approach is the most steady one, yet I cannot claim to hold the only real approach for the mirror. (on another note- I did start winning Mirror matches again, so the curse of GP Paris is finally over, lol)
POST 17 - Entreat #3 is for...
The 3rd Entreat is primarily there for Jund, Junk, Maverick, Death and Taxes, Goblins, Merfolk and Lands.
As you said correctly it is boarded in vs anything should I run low on time - but this hasn't happened to me since... many tournaments.
You could also consider boarding it in the Mirror, and you have to board it vs any deck that brings Vortex. But I prefer to not bring them preemtively - as Entreat is pretty bad against Tempo, but rather in G3. Other than that I don't board the 3rd Entreat. (But I am sure I forgot something.... ^^)
POST 18 - when to bring in disenchant
It's the very same problem with BUG Delver. Both decks, Elves and TA don't necessarily use artifacts, but if they do - they wreck Miracle. Those cards range from Pithing Needle to Winter Orb and Null Rod, alongside special stuff like Sylvan Library or whatever. So while those cards don't really contribute anything to the decks game plan they are very vital when it comes down to how those decks interact with Miracles. Shutting off Top is key, as mentioned by serveral guys here. Sure, I can Force of Will it, or keep my Spell Pierces in the deck, and not the Flusterstorms - but you could still be on the play and land Needle, or I could be tapped out and you could deploy Null Rod, which also nullifies my initial splash-answer to hate like this - Engineered Explosives. At first I was under the impression that boarding in Disenchant in g3 was fine as long as I saw Needle/Rod but I switched over to the point of view where you prefer to make sure nothing ever happens that kills you without having a non-FoW answer to it. So I am now boarding Disenchant vs Elves in every G2, maybe not if I see newbordered Forests and multiple Elves that aren't played in good variants, but against anything that looks remotely close to what is state of the art - my Disenchant comes in.
I hope I could help - if not, feel free to ask again.
POST 19 - How to beat Infect (lol)
At GP Paris I met a very nice Infect-player from Finland. I beat him in a Trial. A friend was watching me and asked for a general guideline on how to beat Infect. My advise was:"Kill every creature you see." - it's as easy as that - no other fancy next-level tricks or whatever. Kill what they bring to the board and you should be fine. The MU isn't that hard.
POST 20 - vs Jund
Jund: The basic phrase I tend to describe the Jund-MU with is the following, though I fear some nuances in this statement will be lost in translation from German.
"It is me who is playing with them." - the emphasis lies on the fact, that they have very limited means to interact in a real way. All they do is discard, and drop their threats, making it very easy to calculate your plays the best you can. They have practically no way to deal with your winning cards that are Entreat the Angels and Keranos, God of Storms. All you have to do is play to your one big finisher, that will blow them out of the water.
Punishing Fire is a bitch. If they don't have it, it's actually an easy MU, if they do, it becomes more or less even. I once lost a G2 at D2 at GP Paris in about... three or four minutes, only to take back G3... but still. It's a little swingey.
So what you want from your sideboard are removal spells and big finishers, from the stock list above it'll be: 2 RIP, 1 Keranos, 1 Judgement, 2 EE and maybe 1 Counterspell, 1 Disenchant and 2 Vendilion Clique. I have to admit I didn't test/think about the fact whether or not Disenchant is needed any more, with the possibility to play 2 Judgement.
If the opponent has no Punishing Fire you can board out all your Force of Wills and your Counterbalances, and bring in 8 of those 10 candiates, possibly leaving out the Vendilion Cliques. If they do have Punishing Fire we have the following show down:
Want to bring in:
2 Rest in Peace 1 Keranos 1 Judgement 2 EE 1 Counterspell 1 Disenchant 2 Vendilion Clique
Can board out: 4 Force of Will 4 Counterbalance 3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
- take care: I do not tell you to board out all Balances and Jaces, it's just an option. As Clique wasn't good enough the last time (easier Jund-version) it won't make the cut once more. What we do want for sure is 2 RIP, 1 Keranos, 1 Judgement, 2 EE and 1 Counterspell, making 7 cards, possibly 8 with Disenchant. Due to the fact that we cannot cut all of the cards we have to put Counterspell back into the sideboard, and the same may go for Disenchant if yo expect them to rely more on Punishing Fire than the other version did, which I expect to have more Libraries/Chains/Needles and stuff. So for the RIP version I'd suggest boarding something like this:
+2 RIP +1 Keranos +1 Judgement +2 EE -4 Force of Will -2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
As mentioned several times, I am no proponent of fixed boarding plans, as you can see at my thought process. You could easily switch a few cards here and there, according to your preferences and predictions of what the opponent will bring to the table.
POST 21 - vs Storm
Alright, here we go.
Storm has never been an easy match up, against a competent pilot, but not bad, either. Even more so, it's one of the most entertaining match ups to play, at least of all the combodecks, because who enjoys playing against Show and Tell and Belcher-esque, right?
The preboarded matches revolve around one thing. Finding Counterbalance and deploying it with one piece of leeway is where you want to be. You can also try to get them to combo while you have Force of Will/Counterspell on top of your library with Top in play, but this is rather the exception than the rule. Which deck is the best equipped to find Counterbalance? Correct, the version a full playset of Counterbalance plus four Ponder. You don't try to defend yourself with a miser Spell Pierce, which never worked, in the first place. You are rather investing all of your early game into cantripping and cantripping and cantripping. A friend of mine who was been playing my variant remarked after a tournament that it felt like playing combo. Cantripping to find what you need in order to destroy opposing decks, in this case Counterbalance. And in some instances, he is correct. My version is even less reliant on what you draw, but more on what you can find in the shortest time frame possible. As long as you don't keep a hand that instantly folds to Combo the preboarded games should be rather easy, as Counterbalance on either 0, 1 or 2 generally means you win.
The postboarded games are more insteresting by a wide margain. Not only do they gain the ability to deal with Counterbalance, but also do we have access to more useable weapons of disruption, minimizing the time we just draw the Plains+Swords+Top-hand. Let's take a quick look at what we want to board in, taking my stock list:
3 Tundra 2 Volcanic Island 4 Flooded Strand 4 Scalding Tarn 2 Arid Mesa 4 Island 2 Plains 4 Brainstorm 4 Ponder 4 Sensei's Divining Top 2 Counterspell 4 Counterbalance 3 Snapcaster Mage 4 Swords to Plowshares 4 Terminus 1 Council's Judgement 2 Entreat the Angels 4 Force of Will 3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
SB: 2 Red Elemental Blast SB: 2 Rest in Peace SB: 1 Pyroblast SB: 2 Engineered Explosives SB: 1 Counterspell SB: 2 Flusterstorm SB: 1 Disenchant SB: 2 Vendilion Clique SB: 1 Council's Judgement SB: 1 Keranos, God of Storms
2 Engineered Explosives 1 Counterspell 2 flusterstorm 2 Vendilion Clique (2 Rest in Peace)
are set in stone, for obvious reasons. You can also bring a certain number of Red Elemental Blasts against ANT/GS, but this approach seems to be more of a relic of my past list, where I wasn't necessarily trying to spend the first turn(s) cantripping, and those are essentially the only moments where you can/want to REB a Brainstorm/Ponder/Preordain. With all these shenanigans with Young Pyromancer out of Storm sideboards boarding has gotten A LOT easier, as you now approach
both big variants, ANT and TES very very similar. Swords to Plowshares is good enough for ANT, but you want Terminus for TES. You don't need many finishers either, leading to this two boarding-versions:
+1 Counterspell +2 Flusterstorm +2 Rest in Peace +2 Engineered Explosives +2 Vendilion Clique -4 Terminus -2 Entreat the Angels -1 Swords to Plowshares -1 Council's Judgment -1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
+1 Counterspell +2 Flusterstorm +2 Engineered Explosives +2 Vendilion Clique -4 Swords to Plowshares -1 Terminus -1 Entreat the Angels -1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
I could def. see a few cards changing here and there, so let me know what you think and what you'd do different.
Approachng TES is a little different, as we don't want RIP and can cut on some of our late-game cards like Jace even more so than against ANT. Entreat is better against TES, as even one Angel can mess with their ADN plan, that's why I like them here more than vs ANT, where they present an I-win-button, only. Jace on the other hand is better against ANT, as they tend to go to the later game, when they cant nuts us to death. Engineered Explosives has mores uses against TES due to more Moxens and the ability to make Goblins, alongside the threat of Xantid Swarm, whereas it doesn't really contribute much vs ANT. I could definitely see bringing in Swords to Plowshares instead of Terminus against TES if you deck is less reliant on cantrips (which is a bad idea, if you ask me) but I feel that my variant can grab those Terminus fast enough to make them work like a Swords against Swarm while doubling as an answer to Goblins, should they try that route. - and don't come at me with "Why would they go for Goblins against a 4 Terminus deck" - it's happend way too often, following the reverse ideas of:Why would they keep removal if they know... (wine in front of me principle and stuff, you know)
Other than that, as long as the Storm opponent doesn't play Grinding Station which will result in a very cruel and disheartening loss for Miracles Storm is a great and enjoable even MU, which leaves both pilots with a multitude of options regarding play, boarding and bluffing.
I hope I could help, in case I left anything out or you disagree. Let me know.
POST 22 - vs DnT
The next deck I want to touch upon is something very special. It's commonly known as Death and Taxes. This deck has some sweet history and one of the most unique and sticky names in Legacys history. It refers to a quote by Benjamin Franklin saying:" ...but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Even though Death and Taxes might look like a White Wheenie deck at first glance it's way more than that. It utilizes taxing effects such as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in combination with mana denial just as Wasteland and Rishadan port to suppress any acts of free will by forcing the opponent to pay the overdue taxes. The next step is the attempt to achieve death at the opponent's side by attacking with the tax collectors.
Punting aside, Death and Taxes is proactive Controldeck that consists of creatures. Strange, isn't it? Additionally, it doesn't even play blue, in fact it doesn't splash a single color to its base color white. How and why does this work? Despite the fact that I cannot give you an exact breakdown why this deck is good I'll give my best to get across the general idea of this deck before delving into how to break this very strategy from the Miracles side.
To clarify what we are talking about it might be a good idea to look at the deck Thomas Enevoldsen used to win GP Strasbourg with, with another, nearly identical, list in the Top4 that was piloted by his friend Michael Bonde.
9 Plains 4 Wasteland 4 Rishadan Port 3 Karakas 1 Cavern of Souls 1 Eiganjo Castle 1 Horizon Canopy 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben 4 Stoneforge Mystic 4 Mother of Runes 4 Phyrexian Revoker 2 Mangara of Corondor 3 Flickerwisp 3 Mirran Crusader 2 Aven Mindcensor 1 Fiend Hunter 4 Swords to Plowshares 4 Aether Vial 1 Batterskull 1 Umezawa's Jitte
2 Ethersworn Canonist 2 Cataclysm 2 Rest in Peace 1 Gut Shot 1 Sunlance 2 Wilt-Leaf Liege 1 Relic of Progenitus 1 Leonin Relic-Warder 1 Pithing Needle 1 Umezawa's Jitte 1 Oblivion Ring
Even though it's been a while since GP Strasbourg happened this list still stands as an example of what Death and Taxes was, is and will be for the time being. The core of this deck isn't about to change, even though True-Name Nemesis has forced the deck to adapt a little by playing more flying creatures and adding Sword of Fire and Ice to their deck, but as said above, the underlying concept won't change. The first element of Death and Taxes that is important to us is how their land base is built. It integrates a high amount of disruptive cards just as Wasteland and Rishadan Port but also a fair number of Karakas' which can be incredibly tough to deal with, especially if it's paired up with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. As Death and Taxes doesn't have threats that are as cheap as Delver of Secrets, how can it utilize the tempo-advantage of mana denial, you might ask? Well, they might not have Delver, but they have Aether Vial which allows them to keep putting creatures on the board without having to stop with their land-shenanigans. Their creatures are protected by Mother of Runes, our permanents are threatened by recurring Mangara or Corondor (with the help of Karakas or Flickerwisp, most of the time in conjunction with Aether Vial) all while they tax our spells with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and threaten to kill us efficient beaters just as Mirran Crusader, Serra Avenger or Batterskull.
The challenge in playing Death and Taxes is finding the sweet spot between applying pressure, deploying disruptive creatures and utilizing the lands to do something else than tapping for mana. Aether Vial somewhat mitigates this task by allowing them to play creatures for free, but it also opens up countless opportunities when it comes to toying around with Aether Vial and cards just as Flickerwisp or Aven Mindcensor. ,
I hope I could give you a quick glimpse at how this deck operates, but let's not get to the part as how the match between Death and Taxes and Miracles play out and which lines of play you might want to avoid.
Wasteland and Rishadan Port are, as mentioned above, cards that alter the way a game plays out. Their absence or abundance make the difference whether the game plays out like a typical match against an Aether Vial based Aggrodeck or if it looks like a slow duel of controlling decks. There are games where going all-in on Basic Lands is the right way, and this is the majority. But you shouldn't just stick to a stigma as hieratic as this as there are games where going for Dual lands is correct. Those games are characterized by the absence of Wasteland and several Rishadan Port showing up and are also often dictated by your opening hand, which could consist of Duals and Fetches only. Should they have no option to hinder the development of Miracles in a significant way by utilizing their lands in conjunction with Thalia or Mindcensor then this match-up plays out surprisingly straightforwardly. You remove their creatures until you can cast Entreat the Angels, sounds easy enough, right?
Well, not really as it's a very rare occurrence to play against Death and Taxes and not play against mana denial, as it's an integral part of their deck, so I wouldn't count on the one out of ten games where you can play this match-up just like any traditional aggro-vs-control-match. Now let's look at how most games develop. We first have to sub-divide this very approach into the Aether Vial and Non-Aether Vial games. As you might have guessed, the value of cards like Counterbalance varies wildly between these two separated ways of how this match-up can play out. It is without any doubt to say that the match-up gets a lot easier when there is no Aether Vial in the game. But once again, you will not need any advice on how to play against MonoW then, right?
So let's talk about the tough games, where they have access to Aether Vial and at least one piece of disruptive land also known as the real games. The first and very basic question when they place their Vial on the stack is: "Do you have Force of Will and a blue card in your hand?" - If yes, cast it. It's just as simple, there is no reason to not cast the free Counterspell in the preboarded games against Death and Taxes as Aether Vial will not only turn off the entirety of the game, it will also accelerate the opponent a fair bit while also providing them with flashy creatures that disable linear planning and complicate everything. The existence or the absence of Aether Vial dictate the pace at which the game will play out, and naturally, you'd rather have it the slow way, enabling your Sensei's Divining Tops to pull you ahead significantly in card selection.
Counterbalance is one of the most inconsistent cards, as mentioned above. Without Aether Vial and with an empty board this card will break Death and Taxes in half. In pretty much any other scenario, not so much. So let me illuminate you how to evaluate Counterbalance in this very match-up. The card is crap. It's as simple as it gets. Yes the card can be good and backbreaking, but so could Vendilion Clique when it comes to dealing with Spirit of Labyrinth. But these scenarios are overly constructed and do no depict the reality as it stands. You will hardly be able to set up Counterbalance properly while getting rid of Aether Vial and prohibiting them from playing Cavern of Souls, however this might be possible.
The next card that is somewhat controversial when it comes to dealing with MonoW is Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Many people claim that he is bad, backing up said claim with arguments just as pointing out that it is very hard to achieve 2UU when playing against Wasteland, Rishadan Port and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. All of this is correct, but the upsides of Jace, the Mind Sculptor outweigh those drawbacks. A quick sidenote here, much of what I wrote before was easily transferable to other types of Miracles, but what I am now saying about Jace, the Mind Sculptor is exclusive to versions with the full playset of Swords to Plowshares. Even though Jace may die when your opponent uses Aether Vial at the end of your turn you still have Swords to Plowshares to take care of that, which kind of mitigates this foreseeable threat. You don't have to cast him turn 4, the game will go significantly longer. He might not be the most mana-effective spell you cast all game long, but his impact justifies his inclusion in the postboarded games, and I don't think I have to tell you any more when it comes to Jace on an empty board, do I?
So after having dealt with the two biggest misconceptions that are Counterbalance and Jace, the Mind Sculptor let's continue at looking how the match-up will shape up, shall we? They have two very potent late-game threats. The first one is Mangara of Corondor with Karakas which will finalize their disruption plan and leave us with very little time to find a removal spell or Entreat the Angels. I would suggest to always have at least two pieces of removal at the ready when it comes to dealing with Mangara due to one very simple fact that I havn't really touched upon, yet: Flickerwisp. Should you be feeling safe to target Mangara with your piece of removal as soon as they target it with their Karakas in response to Mangaras ability you could very well run into Flickerwisps trap, delaying them a little, but nothing more. Getting rid of Aether Vial in advance makes dealing with Mangara a lot easier, though. Flickerwisp is a very unpredictable and devastating threat, especially with Aether Vial. Try to not be dead on board to a Flickerwisp that enters the battlefield end of turn, exiling one permanent of yours, if you can help it.
The second late-game threat is different. It's Sword of Fire and Ice which turns any of their threats into a real threat. You cannot block it with any of your blue creautres, you cannot bounce it with your Jace, the Mind Sculptor and it kills you way faster than you'd like to. It also forces you to deal with any creature, as soon as it hits the battlefield, which is not what you want to be doing, but more on that later when I am coming to the more general ways of playing this match-up. It is however easier to deal with an artefact just as this, than with the so called Mangara lock.
When it comes to the postboard games it gets a little tricky, due to the potential presence of Cataclysm which will turn your mathematics and strategies upside down. It will screw all your long-term plans, be it Entreat the Angels, Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Keranos, God of Storms. This card will additionally invalidate all the previous decisions you made when it comes to choice of Fetchtland-targets. Without any specifically tailored hate cards just as Sulfur Elemental Cataclysm will ruin your day, one way or another. This leads to a very interesting decision point. Counterspells are pretty bad against Death and Taxes, but you cannot risk to join this fight without any copy of them, so you are forced to play in a suboptimal way, which then becomes the optimal choice. Counterspells are at their best when it comes to dealing with Cataclysm, as you can pretty much assure to have UU up when Cataclysm becomes a threat. Moreover, it also doubles as a catch-all against the rest of their deck which is re-castable with Snapcaster Mage, after all. Force of Will is pretty bad by nature, but has to be kept in for two reasons. First it is there to help you deal with Aether Vial and Cataclysm, their prime threats in this very match-up. Secondly it is there to kind of solidify the choice to keep Jace, the Mind Sculptor as it enables a certain sequence of plays, which could be described as a Tempo-Jace, basically preparing the way for Jace by aggressively forcing any of their cards or protecting Jace by forcing the first spell they cast after Jace resolved. While this may sound simplified, it is true more often than not.
To finalize the theoretical aspect I will summarize what we learned so far and give a few more general guidelines as to how approach this very match-up. The first thing is, at mentioned above, Aether Vial as this card will set the tone of this very game. Dealing with it is important, both before and after boarding.
Their next step is attacking via mana denial while deploying their first threats, mostly Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. If they lack disruptive creatures like Phyrexian Revoker, which is incredibly potent against Miracles due to its ability to shut down Sensei's Divining Top or Jace, the Mind Sculptor, they will try to apply quick pressure just as Stoneforge Mystic. Phyrexian Revoker is especially spicy in conjunction with Aether Vial as it will not allow you to use your Top any more, so you should be using your activation in response to the Vial tapping with 2 counters on it. Stoneforge Mystic is no reason to pull the trigger on any removal spell if you are not forced to, in contrary to Phyrexian Revoker which can ruin all your plans you had for the future. It is more often correct than not to wait with removing any aggressive threats until you can draw more advantage from removing them, just like a disruptive creature or Mother of Runes. Be as liberal as possible when it comes to using your life as a resource as they effectively lack reach just as Lightning Bolt or Deathrite Shaman, making it rather easy to calculate the turns that are left before they threaten lethal. I am, however, well aware of the fact that this guideline should be somewhat altered when Aether Vial or Sword of Fire and Ice are involved in the equation, just as mentioned above. Using your life total aggressively will enable you to deal with most of the cards your opponent will bring to the table, as your card-selection should be bringing you the victory after a certain amount of time, but if you just remove any creature you see it might be tough to do so, due to the fact that they might simply have one creature too much, hitting you to death. Don't just swords any Mother of Runes or Stoneforge Mystic you see in front of you. Choose the creatures you'd like to get beaten down from, remove the ones that alter your way of playing too heavily and be patient with your Terminus.
When it comes to boarding we should be bringing out these cards:
-4 Counterbalance -2 Force of Will +1 Counterspell +2 Engineered Explosives +1 Disenchant +1 Keranos, God of Storms +1 Council's Judgment
Which should be logic conclusion to the premises we acquired earlier. If you are afraid of Spirit of Labyrinth and want to include an unreliable card just as Vendilion Clique, feel free to do so and pray that you hit Cataclysm with it. Force of Will has to stay in in some numbers to deal with Cataclysm, though you could definitely keep the third Force of Will for not bringing in the third Counterspell, this is entirely up to you. Counterbalance is still too unrelieable and Keranos is an extremely strong card, once resolved. Admittedly though, it's tough to resolve him but the wait is worth it, more often than not. Generally speaking, this match-up is one of the tougher ones and you'd be better off not playing against too many of them, but with the right strategy, which you should have acquired after reading this, it isn't the worst opponent in the world, but a force to reckon with, nonetheless. If you are dead set on beating Death and Taxes you might want to include Pithing Needle and Sulfur Elemental to your Sideboard. I am, personally, a big fan of Sulfur Elemental and whenever I build a new sideboard I pray that I find a spot for him. Sadly though, I didn't but this card is just incredible in so many situations, not only when facing the white creatures.
POST 23 - Sideboarding vs Miracles
As there seemed to be some confusion about how to board in the mirror I felt like giving you the plans, but I won't really explain it as I've already done so countless times before:
Taking my GP list:
3 Snapcaster Mage 3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 4 Island 2 Plains 2 Arid Mesa 4 Flooded Strand 3 Scalding Tarn 3 Tundra 3 Volcanic Island 4 Sensei's Divining Top 4 Counterbalance 4 Brainstorm 1 Counterspell 4 Force of Will 1 Pyroblast 1 Red Elemental Blast 4 Swords to Plowshares 2 Entreat the Angels 4 Ponder 4 Terminus
//Sideboard 1 Engineered Explosives 2 Containment Priest 2 Blue Elemental Blast 1 Counterspell 2 Flusterstorm 1 Pyroblast 1 Red Elemental Blast 1 Wear // Tear 2 Vendilion Clique 1 Council's Judgment 1 Pyroclasm
-4 Terminus -4 Swords to Plowshares -1 Plains
+1 Engineered Explosives +1 Counterspell +1 Pyroblast +1 Red Elemental Blast +1 Wear//Tear +2 Vendilion Clique +1 Flusterstorm +1 Council's Judgment
The following plans deviate from the generic one by a few cards only:
-1 Plains +1 Flusterstorm
-1 Flusterstorm +1 Blue Elemental Blast
-1 Flusterstorm -1 Plains +2 Terminus
-1 Flusterstorm +1 Plains
A few words:
- Yes, going down to 19-20 lands is the way to go, despite not being for the fain hearted and cowards amongst us. But it's worth it.
- Keeping removal vs Miracles is super bad, the only exception being Miracles that play Mystic MB and SB like Philipp Braverman, whom I beat in the Quarterfinals at GPNJ. Admittedly, I'd have boarded wrong (generic) if I hadn't had access to his decklist. I couldn't quite stop myself from saying something stupid/funny when I cast a Terminus G2, though. :D
- Yes, I did overcome my bane from GP Paris that was that I couldn't beat any mirror matches. I havn't lost to Miracles while I was in the US and only to a 4-Ponder list in Prague the week before.
- Yes, there is a lot of luck involved, when playing the mirror. Don't be discouraged if you lose more than you feel you should, it's hillarious at times how draw dependant this MU actually is.
- As you brought up Andrew Cuneo and this Gold Digger deck. Tomas Vlcek beat Andrew at GP NJ and I beat one of his fellows during the swiss. We havn't done too much testing but I wouldn't worry too much about it, the deck just isn't good enough. (right now and the way it is built)
POST 24 - Sideboarding vs Miracles (update)
On mobile: Did a quick change vs rip miracles.
Fluster is good vs decks with a lot of rebs, cspells, ponders and snapcasters for all of them. Pretty Bad vs rip and Clique, obv. BEB is there for reb only as I feel like Fluster isnt good enough vs 23+ lands. Additionally: Keranos
POST 25 - rule #1 when mulliganing
Never mulligan a hand with a land and a cantrip. Just don't.
POST 26 - vs Stoneblade
talking about "Stoneblade" is always very hard, as it can mean so many different things. Seeing that you differentiate betweent Stone- and Deathblade should be an indication that you see UWR and UWB Stoneblade as one deck, which isn't really true. But alright, let's get to the question already:
Vendilion Clique is a very good card in this MU, more often than not. As long as your Stoneblade opponent does not play Lingering Souls you need to have Vendilion Clique due to several reasons. If they're going for the long game, forcing you to act first it's a good scout-before-I-play-my-bomb-card. If they go for the planeswalkers first it can easily pressure them, and last but not least: It can kill them, as they have no removal left postboard and Jace-bouncing Clique isn't really an option. If they play Lingering Souls however, you need to cut all your Cliques at once, as it's just not fun to have a 3/1 for 1 card when they can make 4 pseudo-removal out of one card. Just don't.
Stoneblade doesn't pressure our lands most of the time. Do not forgot to board out up to two lands (Plains) as long as you're sure that they don't run Wasteland.
Despite the fact that UWR and UWB Blade differ in many respects you board very similarily, assuming there is no Lingering Souls:
-3/4 Force of Will -4 Swords to Plowshares -2 Plains +2 Red Elemental Blast +1 Pyroblast +1 Disenchant +1 EE +1 Council's Judgment +3 Vendilion Clique +0/1 Counterspell
Deathblade is a creature deck more than a control one, which often can run Wasteland. So you can't really go to 19, though 20 should be alright. Just bring less Cliques, rest should stay the same.
POST 27 - vs Omintell/Painter/Dredge/Reanimator/Deathblade
@OmniTell: This deck is annoying. Mostly because of Boseju. I lost to that deck when playing the local tournament in Brussels. What we do no lose against is Boseju + Show and Tell. What we do lose against is Boseju + Show and Tell + Emrakul, which he had both games around turn 2 or 3. So, if they don't have Boseju all you do is counter Show and Tell. If they do happen to have it, just counter the spells that matter after that (Enter the Infinite, Cunning Wish) and make sure to board answers to Omniscience, as they sometimes manage to resolve it, but can't win because we kept the counters for it. Generally: Use your creatures aggressively. If you have absolutely no pressure, then casting Snapcaster T3 and REBing/Flustering/whatever a cantrip is fine.
@Deathblade: Oh I'm sorry if it appeared that I wouldn't board out Balance vs Deathblade any more. I'd still do. I'm sorry.
@Boardingplans..... more boardingplans...more more more! Oh boy, I will def. write an article in the weeks to come on this, lol.
Painter: You don't want UU and WW spells that don't win the game. Balance is an exception. Shave Entreats, cut Counterspells, cut Digs. Bring everything that destroys artefacts and/or enchantments.
Dredge: Cut Balances, Counterspells, Plains, Island and a combination of Jace/Dig, depending how afraid you are of Iona. Bring in all the REBs, Flusters, GY-hate and some creatures so you can REB them if need be.
Reanimator: Board out Swords, Terminus (unless you're afraid of Pack Rat) and Plains and bring in all the good stuff that counters things and neuters graveyards. It's a pretty easy MU to board.
POST 28 vs UWR other
The UWR dilemma:
In recent time there has been an enormous upswing in UWR colored decks. Previous to Treasure Cruise there were practically two UWR colored decks, being Miracles and Patriot with the MU between these two being hilariously lopsided. Miracles was favored by a huge amount of percentage points. Things have changed, however. Despite URs prevelance in numbers it appeared to be UWR that was best suited for TC, not only due to its kind-of-edge in the kind-of-mirror against UR. So now we have UWR dominating the numbers, and nobody can tell you whether this will stay or not. Maybe it's just a popularity issue and the decks aren't that good? Well, that's not the point now. We now have the following decks that utilize Volcanic Island and Tundra.
1) Miracles 2) Gold Digger 3) Stoneblade 4) Pyromancer Midrange 5) Patriot
These are the 5 general directions that you can take in the modern metagame, each and every giving you a distinct advantage in one special field. I will not talk about how to play the Mirror nor will I touch on Patriot, as these approaches didn't really change and are still rather easy to execute. This leaves us with Gold Digger, Stoneblade and Pyromancer Midrange to talk about. These decks differ greatly on the surface, but aren't that much different when it comes to actually playing them. Let's see what they share before developing sideboard ideas:
A) Delve Draw
All and every single approach utilizes a combination of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time. What does this mean? Well, basically that we have to try really hard to not fall too far behind in the card advantage section. We are already doing this by the way my deck is built (21 lands) but this isn't enough. We have to utilize Counterbalance as much as we can while trying to make sure they'll never counter Snapcaster Mage with a counter that we could have played around while also giving our Jace the highest priorities ever. All these things might sound obvious but just remember to squeeze out the most of your deck possible to combat the Delve spells that will resolve sooner or later. Oh, and also utilize that fact that you play less/same amount of lands (if same = with more library manipulation). Try not to play the 10 land control deck, Gold Digger is way better at this. Try to play the role that allows you to have just enough lands to cast all your counters.
How do they win? They don't have Entreat which will simply blast your opponents face off, if unchecked. They try to attack with something, a creature that is probably one of those:
Stoneforge Mystic + Batterskull Young Pyromancer + Anything True Name Nemesis
No matter how aggressive or controlling they are, they will attack, sooner or later. They strength, however is closely associated with A. They have the CA and will therefore use their counters aggressively (in the lategame) to protect their creatures, which wasn't really the case before. This leaves us with the option to utilize our powerful removal spells, thank god. But it also means that we might have to keep some sort of removal in vs decks that we wouldn't keep them in, generally.
C) Something unexpected
Your UWR Midrange opponent casts Sensei's Divining Top and Counterbalance? Your Stoneblade opponent goes for Keranos? Your Gold Digger opponent casts Young Pyromancer after utilizing Academy Ruins and Engineered Explosives? The list goes on and on, and it isn't going to get easier. This means that there is no easy default plan that you can do round after round, expecting to win. You have to be flexible when it comes to sideboarding, and more importantly: re-sideboarding. Shape your deck according to your opponents cards.
So how do you board against any of these UWR decks? Well, I am not going to give you a plan for these three decks, because they don't exist in a nutshell. What I will give you are my opinions on how to board when you see something. You should then be able to put together a decent boarding plan against the UWR opponent that you will encounter.
Is good against any of these decks as it will allow you to do two things: a) Generate card advantage to combat Delve spells. b) Slow down the game. This is all we need and synonymous with winning.
Don't board this card out.
2) Swords to Plowshares
The card is a necessary evil if your opponent plays more than just Stoneforge Mystic plus a handful of Snapcaster Mage, Vendilion Clique and/or True Name Nemesis. Should they go with these cards above you are fine with 4 Terminus 1 EE and 1 Pyroclasm. If you are, however expecting Young Pyromancer alongside these cards you need to keep Swords to Plowshares in. All of them because Terminus would work overdue if you didn't.
3) Blue Elemental Blast
While bringing in Blue Elemental Blast in order to counteract Red Elemental Blast is no bad idea it's not what we want to be doing in this very match-up.
4) Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Can be trimmed to 2 if you suspect the opponent to have Daze. Other than that, keep all of them.
Okay, changed my mind, I'll try to give a very basic idea on how to board vs UWR.
-4 Force of Will -2 Swords to Plowshares +1 Red Elemental Blast +1 Pyroblast +1 Engineered Explosives +1 Pyroclasm +1 Wear//Tear +1 Council's Judgment
If it's Gold Digger, cut the Swords and the Plains for Counterspell and Flusterstorms. Also make Room for Cliques by not bringing in Pyroclasm and trimming Terminus.
If it's Young Pyromancer based, don't cut the Swords. Cut the Counterspell and one Jace, the Mind Sculptor instead.
If it's Stoneforge Mystic Control based you might decide to leave it at that (and as I see this version as the most popular one I posted the plan above). If it's controlled Stoneblade you can cut the Plains and the Pyroclasm for 2 Cliques. Depending on whether you expect Young Pyromancer or Counterbalance.
If you think that they'll bring Counterbalance, make sure to include Vendilion Clique.
I know it's tough, but I hope that these guidelines help you board correctly as soon as you've taken a decision on what the opponent is. If unsure, go with the boarding plan above.