Well, I wouldn’t have thought I would be writing this report based on how my Saturday morning started. Let me explain with a digression on Vintage Champs. (ctrl+f Miracle to skip to Magic)
I played a miserable deck in Vintage, White Eldrazi, and got paired against quite possibly the worst two matchups in the room rounds 1 and 3 - Waterfalls with quad Goyf, and Infect. Both very easily 2-0’d me. Life tilted, I watched Sean “The Tuskfather” O’Brien die in a glacial 30-minute game to Dragon who boarded into Vampire Tribal. We dropped to “explore”.
That really meant that we got lunch in the good-but-not-Reading-Market-nut-high North Market, then headed to Pint House to nurse our losses with what I thought was a couple beers. We recruited Portland degen and friend Shaun Martin, whom I introduced to Sean. He had no idea what was about to happen, bless his heart.
The Pint House didn’t have pints (despite the name), only 21-oz glasses. Two beers in, Sean screeched, “Vodka burns clean! I can drink it forever!”, and ordered us all shots of Goose. An indeterminate amount of time, innumerable drinks, and a half-dozen unremembered facebook photos later, the waitress cluelessly comments to Sean, “Your tab is getting pretty large…”, and he bellows, “Is it one thousand dollars?! Another goose and grapefruit for the table!”
The morning of Legacy Champs, Miracles aficionado Brian Plattenburg (alphastryk) counterbalanced my desperate need to sleep with 10 minutes of shaking and telling me it’s Legacy Champs. I could walk, but waking up was well beyond my capabilities. 10 minutes before player meeting, I scrawled my decklist, picked at my omelette, then felt an ominous rumbling. Shit. The nearest trashcan kindly received my stomach contents. Then another trashcan. Then the floor outside the bathroom. PSA: Alcohol is poison. Blearily I asked Brian before round 1 if I should drop. He said to play out round 1, so I did.
That I could win seven rounds was some kind of miracle, possibly of science.
- - - Report - - -
Miracle of Science
2 Ancient Tomb
4 Flooded Strand
1 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Volcanic Island
4 Cunning Wish
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4 Force of Will
1 Nahiri, the Harbinger
4 Sensei's Divining Top
4 Show and Tell
1 Split Decision
1 Eladamri's Call
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Firemind's Foresight
2 Monastery Mentor
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Release the Ants
1 Surgical Extraction
2 Swords to Plowshares
Check out my previous tournament report for an explanation of the deck. All you need to know is that it’s great.
Round 1 Storm (Spiesz, Brennan)
Semi-conscious, head in hand, I casually rip Force after he Therapies one, and counter his attempt to go off. Counterbalance-Top lock things up until I eventually decide to win.
-4 Terminus, +2 Flusterstorm, +2 Engineered Explosives
He Pondered and Brainstormed. I have a turn 2 kill. Magic is unfair. Show and Tell is dumb.
Round 2 GW 12-Post (Reinhardt, Logan)
I kept 5 lands including a Ponder. Over the course of the game I drew about 8 more. Fortunately he did nothing for a long time, but unfortunately I never drew the Omniscience to attempt to win.
-3 Counterbalance, +1 Swords to Plowshares, +2 Monastery Mentor
I had a quick kill kill. He didn’t really have disruption.
Another long game where I drew 10 lands. I was winning with a mid-game Monastery Mentor, and I Cunning Wished for my Plow to kill his Dryad Arbor. That put him on 5 mana with only a single green, which I hoped would keep him from Primeval Titan. Unfortunately, he dropped a locus to give him 7 mana to Green Sun for the Giant, which found a Eye and a Glacial Chasm. Stymied, I made land drops. He put Chasm up to 2 age counters with Emrakul in hand, Karakas in play, but only 12 mana available. Later, a spectator commented that he could have let Chasm go, attack and find some Loci, cast Emrakul, and go infinite; but he missed that line. I top-decked the Show and Tell, put Omniscience into play, while he declined to put in another Titan (I found out later). I cast the Emrakul in my hand, and my attack put him unable to cast Emrakul as time expired. He scooped to that.
Round 3 Aggro Loam (Thornton, Joshua)
Josh and I knew what each other were playing, and he was not optimistic. The matchup is quite bad for Loam. I Forced a Chalice and a Lili, then killed him.
-3 Counterbalance, -1 Terminus, +2 Engineered Explosives, +2 Monastery Mentor
This game was brutally quick. I ignored a Chalice and killed him.
Round 4 Burn (Gard, Christopher)
My burn opponent cheerfully announced that this was his first Legacy tournament, so I immediately knew he was (a) on burn, and (b) going to win very easily because karma. Both proved to be true. I kept a 1-lander with Top, Brainstorms, and 2/3rds of the combo. I bricked on my second land drop, then hit on turn 3, but his Goblin Guide and Fireblast hand was too fast.
-3 Counterbalance, -1 Predict, +2 Swords to Plowshares, +2 Flusterstorm (in retrospect, I would board -2 Predict, -1 Terminus, +1 Flusterstorm, +2 Swords to Plowshares)
He had a few burn spells while I dug with Top and Ponder, but failed to find Show and Tell. He passed for a couple turns on 3 mana, and I finally found the combo on turn 5 at 5 life. He let Show and Tell resolve, putting in Bedlam Reveler. Trigger on the stack, he Pyroblasted (EMA) my Omni. I responded with Cunning Wish. He responded with Pyroblast (wb 5th). I responded by fetching to Top for a fresh 3. He responded with Fireblast.
Round 5 Turbo Depths (NYQUIST, EVAN)
Evan is a fellow Tusk. Never fun goring a teammate. I put Omniscience into play pretty quickly through some discard, but didn’t have the win. Because I’m dumb, I put back a Terminus before playing Show and Tell without the win in hand. He put in a Hexmage he couldn’t cast, to go along with a Depths in play. My shuffled away Terminus mocked me.
-3 Counterbalance, -1 Terminus, +1 Swords to Plowshares, +2 Monastery Mentor, +1 Engineered Explosives (hedge)
He mulliganned twice and Crop Rotationed on the play. I figured that was worth Forcing. I quickly put in Omniscience and he put in Hexmage. I Plowed his 20/20 but didn’t have the kill. Next turn, a fetch and Top revealed Cunning Wish for the win though. I figured he wouldn’t have all of discard, Chalice, and Crop Rotation, and Mentor seemed way too slow, so reboarded.
-1 Counterbalance, +1 Swords to Plowshares
This one was close and went longer than expected. I killed a couple of Marit Lages, but eventually assembled the combo.
Round 6 Reanimator (Espinoza, Daniel)
His BUG manabase confused me at first, until a Careful Study discarded a couple of spells. I took my time assembling redundant pieces for the kill, and went for it. He had nothing.
-2 Terminus, +2 Flusterstorm
I don’t board in the Surgical because I have better access to it with Wish, and getting to 3 is usually doable before they go for it. I forced a reanimation spell, then Counterbalance locked things up. Eventually I won.
Round 7 Miracles (Long, Rob)
Rob wasn’t feeling well, but played very well. We had an incredibly long game 1 where he drew the right part of his deck, eventually going through 4 Forces, 2 Counterspells, and 2 Snapcasters. I tried to punish his midgame Jace with two sequential turns of Cunning Wish for Red Blast, but he countered both and Jace took over. I ended the game with Omniscience in play, but no way to capitalize. Jace ensured that I didn’t draw a win condition then killed me.
-4 Terminus, -1 Ancient Tomb, -1 Show and Tell, -1 Cunning Wish, -1 Omniscience, +2 Flusterstorm, +2 REB, +2 Mentor, +2 Engineered Explosives
The plan here is to overload their answers with different types of threats. In another sense, it’s much like the Miracles mirror, which punishes tapping out. This schizophrenic nature makes the deck very difficult to play postboard because you have to evaluate when it’s correct to push, and when to hold back. I set up to push by playing EOT Brainstorm turn 2 into a turn 3 Nahiri with Force backup when he was tapped down to just Volcanic. He had the perfect hand to punish me - double Force and the follow-up Counterbalance. The game was essentially over from there unless I drew Mentor, which I didn’t. Brian mentioned after the match that I could have continued to make land drops, played the Top I drew off Brainstorm, the EE on 2 proactively, and held Brainstorm and Nahiri for a more opportune time. It sucked getting knocked out of contention, but he played correctly by not tapping out.
Round 8 Grixis Omniscience (Newyear, Keith)
He had an awkward manabase of Sea and City of Traitors, so I put him on UB Omni. My hand was Show, Omni, triple Cunning Wish, and Force, so I decided to go for it anyway since that hand really didn’t want to see a discard spell. We both put in Omni so I passed. He Burning Wished (!) for the new black triple tutor, then passed. I decided to go for it on my turn with a sweet stack of my CWish, Force, CWish, Lim-Dul’s Vault (which resolved) into his Brainstorm, my CWish for Flusterstorm. I won.
-4 Terminus, -2 Show and Tell, +2 Monastery Mentor, +2 Red Elemental Blast, +2 Flusterstorm
The plan in the mirror is to not push with Show and Tell unless you have the nuts because he can win off your Show. Mentor is another way to win. Casting Omniscience also works. I let his Lim-Dul’s Vault resolve, fought his Show and Tell, and won with Mentor.
Round 9 Sneak And Science (Kwiatkowski, Jon)
He played a quick Show and Tell on turn 2, but his Emrakul was not nearly as good as my Omniscience. On my turn, I didn’t have a kill, but did have two Termini. The first got Forced, but the second worked. A couple turns later I drew the kill.
-2 Terminus, -2 Show and Tell, + 2 Red Elemental Blast, +2 Flusterstorm
The difference here is that Sneak and Show is faster, and can beat Mentor, but is often vulnerable to Terminus. It didn’t come up, because I had a good hand with double Wish and Force. I played a turn 3 Show and Tell, and both of us put in Omni. I passed. He played Emrakul, then inexplicably played Cunning Wish before taking his extra turn. I responded by casting Wish. My Force dealt with his Force, and he scooped to the combo.
Round 10 BR Turbo Reanimator (Pallas, Brian)
My opponent was a European who was overeager to tell me his bad beat story about getting a game loss on the bubble due to playing a Snow-Covered Swamp over regular Swamp accidentally and getting punished with a deck check. Sucks, but your fault for owning Snow-Covered lands. His game 1 hand was sick, with a discard spell to take my Force, then an Entomb for Griselbrand. HIs Reanimate spell next turn was sweet, but I had obviously drawn the Force. This let me put my third land into play, so his Exhume met my Cunning Wish for Surgical. I followed up with a Counterbalance which blind-revealed Top to another Entomb. Must be nice. He passed until he discarded Iona while I built up resources and floated 1 and 2s. The next turn I put Omni in play and he had nothing.
-3 Terminus, +1 Swords to Plowshares, +2 Flusterstorm
I kept a turn 2 kill with Brainstorm on 1, but he had a turn 2 Sire of Insanity to which I had no realistic out. I scooped to preserve info about playing Terminus or Plow.
My hand was tough - Flusterstorm, Force, Wish, Omni, Predict, Counterbalance, Island. It could buy time, but had no cantrips and was missing lands and Show. I kept it, which in retrospect probably is a mistake. I let Looting resolve, which binned a Sire. He followed that up with Unmask, which I was obligated to Flusterstorm. I bricked on lands, but he had another two reanimation spells. And that was that, Sire kept me out of the game.
- - - Post Mortem - - -
Overall, I was very happy to finish as well as I did, considering my mental state at the beginning. Towards the end, I think I continued to play pretty decently. All of the matches I lost to are bad or even matches for Miracles, whereas several of the decks that I beat are tough to unbeatable matchups for Miracles, but very easy matchups for Miracle of Science (Aggro Loam, 12-post). Since I strongly believe the best mainstream deck is Miracles, this seems like the correct baseline. Essentially, none of the non-blue decks are bad matchups unlike for Miracles, with the exception of MUD / Eldrazi, which are no worse of matchups. Delver, Shardless, and combo are about the same relative to Miracles, with non-Grixis Delver being easy, Grixis somewhat tough, Shardless even, combo easy. Miracles is a little unfavored if they are good, but most Miracles pilots are bad and the matchup seems to have fewer free losses to bad players than the actual mirror.
This tournament along with weeklies and local 1ks gives me strong evidence that Miracle of Science deserves to be a tier-1 deck. My results after Champs are 47-14-1 (excluding IDs), for a 69% win rate. A friend has also done well locally, with a 9-2 record. That’s a 70% win rate across 79 matches. It’s a deck that rewards tight play and some of the skills from Miracles, while also giving plenty of free wins and opening up another interesting decision axis - whether to assemble the combo as quickly as possible, or hold off. I’d encourage you to give it a try!
- - - Epilogue - - -
One of the former Seattle players top-8'd (David Bauman, my old SCG Seattle finals nemesis), so we grudgingly waited up for him. It was worth it, because we celebrated with an incredible steak dinner at Hyde Park Steakhouse. My 22oz Porterhouse was exactly the thing to top off a long day of playing.
Sunday we were lazy and played in the 11 AM Vintage 4-rounder. Hung out, and went for another tasty dinner, this time at The Pearl. I was thrilled to see Koby in the finals, congrats! Later we all made our way back to the hotel bar, and Brian and I played a money match of his Miracles vs my Miracle of Science, odds at 3-2 respectively. With Koby and Sam Craven watching and cracking jokes, Brian and I went at it. I had my vengeance on Miracles from Saturday, winning $60 and enjoying an evening with friends new and old. Overall, a very good weekend.
* Champs for being awesome.
* Sean for being the most ridiculous human being that I know
* Joe B winning Vintage, not Koby
* Sean for being the most ridiculous human being that I know
Thanks for reading, hope you were entertained.
Grats Greg, for both the finish and somehow outdrinking me even though I skipped EW to drink all weekend in Florida.
Out of curiosity, how does this build make it so good against Loam? Is it just being a combo kill that also has counterspell backup?
Both Miracles and this deck struggle against a quick Chalice, so that's a push. The difference is that Punishing Fire lines up well against Miracle's (typical) threat of Mentor, and they're incentivized to leave in all copies. In contrast, Loam has to dilute their deck to address the Omniscience kill, which leaves fewer answers to Mentor or fewer scary threats like Bob and Knight. Bob and Knight also are trumped by a quick kill, so really the onus is on Loam to interact quickly.
So you're right that being a quick combo kill is a big reason, but it goes a little deeper than that too.
It doesn't surprise me that a goodstuff deck, even if it's a bit wonky, is good. I was surprised, though, the first time I played against it. We've talked before about the power of the control-combo archetype. It seems you've unlocked one.
Overall record: 812-438-84
Total number of matches: 1334
Win percentage ignoring draws: 64.960000
Win percentage including draws: 60.869565
Running the math without Miracle of Science:
Non MoS record: 765-424-83
Total number of matches: 1272
Win percentage ignoring draws: 64.33
Win percentage including draws: 60.14
Huh, better than I would have thought. I had many years of terrible performances with ANT. I would certainly say the deviation from lifetime is not significant. Perhaps it shows that this deck is comparably as good to other choices that I've made, holding player skill constant. Considering I've had good results with many well-positioned decks over the years, I like that explanation.
TL;DR: Bet on Greg, even when he's wasted.
Did we ever find out if its a DQ for puking on your opponent?
I still can't believe that man thought he could drink me under the table. Also the waitress snap dropped from work that night after seeing the tip.
Greg is my hero
Congrats Greg! Savage deck, great report!
awesome Deck and nice report ! I am going to play with this deck in the national tournament here in Brazil. Any suggestions about changing MD or SD ? There is any substitute to flusterstom ? It is really difficult to find it here for sale for a nice price.
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