Primer

Mentor Miracle

Miracle Mentor


Hi guys, some of you might know me, my name is Claudio Bonanni and I am a very passionate legacy player, and part of a great team - *Wooded Team*(https://www.facebook.com/WoodedTeam/?fref=ts). Now I’m going to talk about a deck I’ve played for almost all of my big tournamentsL Mentor Miracles. Let's start with some history: Dig Through Time was all over the metagame, and I picked this deck, which I was lucky enough to take it down with. *

My report from GP Lille:*http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...th-Miracle-2-0

Deck History.

Let's start with the history of the deck - the first time it was play was during GP Kyoto in 2015 by Kazuya Murakami who reached the Top8 with a new Miracles list featuring Monastery Mentor, as well as Stoneforge Mysti. When I saw this list, I felt really excited to try it, as it reminded me of the old Nasif Baseruption!**So I started to play this list online and with my Wooded Teamates. After a few weeks, I was quite disappointed with the Stoneforges, which felt really slow and didn’t seem cohesive with the shell, so I cut them to make more room for reactive cards like Snapcaster Mage and Pyroblast, in a metagame full of Dig Through Time.*

Kazuya GP Kyoto

2 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Monastery Mentor
Instants [18]

1 Counterspell
2 Dig Through Time
3 Daze
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Swords to Plowshares
Sorceries [7]

3 Terminus
4 Ponder
Enchantments [4]

4 Counterbalance
Artifacts [5]

1 Batterskull
4 Sensei's Divining Top
Lands [20]

1 Arid Mesa
1 Plains
2 Volcanic Island
3 Tundra
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
5 Island
3 Meddling Mage*
3 Pyroblast*
1 Divert*
1 Engineered Explosives*
1 Flusterstorm*
1 Grafdigger's Cage*
1 Containment Priest*
1 Pyroclasm*
1 Redirect*
1 Rest in Peace*
1 Wear // Tear*


Bonanni Claudio GP Lille
2 Snapcaster Mage
4 Monastery Mentor
Instants [19]

1 Counterspell
2 Dig Through Time
2 Pyroblast
3 Daze
3 Swords to Plowshares
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
Sorceries [7]

3 Terminus
4 Ponder
Enchantments [4]

4 Counterbalance
Artifacts [4]

4 Sensei's Divining Top
Lands [20]

1 Plains
2 Arid Mesa
3 Scalding Tarn
3 Tundra
3 Volcanic Island
4 Flooded Strand
4 Island

SB
1 Red Elemental Blast*
1 Disenchant*
1 Wear // Tear*
1 Engineered Explosives*
1 Surgical Extraction*
1 Rest in Peace*
1 Pyroclasm*
2 Flusterstorm*
2 Vendilion Clique*
2 Ethersworn Canonist*
1 Blood Moon*
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor*


After the banning, I had to change the powerful copies of Dig Through Time to other cards that were “good enough”. I ended up choosing Jace, the Mind Sculptor, which is a really good card, but really not even close to the power level of Dig Through Time...

Claudio Bonanni stock list – post DTT Banning
Creatures [6]


2 Snapcaster Mage
4 Monastery Mentor
Instants [17]

2 Counterspell
3 Daze
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Swords to Plowshares
Sorceries [8]

4 Ponder
4 Terminus
Enchantments [3]

3 Counterbalance
Planeswalkers [2]

2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Artifacts [4]

4 Sensei's Divining Top
Lands [20]

1 Arid Mesa
1 Plains
3 Tundra
3 Volcanic Island
4 Flooded Strand
4 Island
4 Misty Rainforest

SB
1 Disenchant*
1 Wear // Tear*
2 Flusterstorm*
2 Vendilion Clique*
2 Blood Moon*
1 Izzet Staticaster*
1 Engineered Explosives*
1 Containment Priest*
1 Rest in Peace*
3 Pyroblast*



Why Mentor Miracles?*

Well, I’ve been always quite skeptical of the classic Miracle version and I was looking for something that might play also an offensive role, instead of wait until you get enough set-up of your future draws. More than that, I was looking for something less clunky and more proactive, something with a good balance in both the early game and the late game. Almost all you know how Miracles works, you usually tread water until you stabilize the board and than drop some powerful stuff like Jace, Entrat the Angels or Mentor. But this list is different...you might be the one who takes the initiative by smashing your Mentor on turn 3 with Daze/Force of Will backup! A player, better than me, wrote*"With the Mentor version, you have a quick way to turn the corner and sometimes you also get to force them to play from behind, which is not where Delver decks traditionally thrive. When they are trying to play catch-up and are spending their turns answering your threats, you are in the driver seat. Now that's what I call control."* This explains the concept really well, and it really spoke to me..."be in control". I don't always like to be the one who has to answer each question, I prefer to be the one asking the question*. Give to your opponent the possibility to make a mistake!

Some reasons:*
1) Legacy has been a strange format, with many different decks and weird cards, so in my opinion the best way for handle an unknown opponent playing a random deck is to disrupt his game plan as much as possible while also developing your own proactive game plan.

2) Another good reason to play this version is that it has a really good MU against all other versions of Miracles, since you can drop your Counterbalance on T2 with Daze backup to fight through your opponent’s Counterspell or an opponent's Counterbalance. You’re also able to drop a Mentor early, that forces your opponent to answer it, otherwise they might fall in 2 or 3 turns.*

3) This deck has a good MU against Delver decks, since your Daze behaves like Force of Will against them. All Delver decks based work with few lands so your tax counters become really powerful until the late game. If you can handle their threats in the early game, you will have a good chance to win. I think that the only hard Delver MU is against Grixis Delver, where they are able to get their token generation online before you, while attacking your resources with Cabal Therapy.*

While other versions have their own positions defined throughout the game, that role conversion is even more emphasized in this deck, because it’s much more easy to control each aspect: sometimes you’ll be the beatdown, other times, the control player. In my experience in playing this deck, it’s quite a bit more difficult to play than other, more control-oriented builds of Miracles. This is because you have to build your own gameplan, answering each threat while also deploying your own before your opponent has the opportunity to do the same. This means that you have to figure out what cards your opponent has in hand, as well as what potential cards they have in their list, in order to predict what you must play around as the game progresses. 
Play well this requires a lot of experience, because you need to figure out what will be the next move in order to drop your Mentor to win the game. It happen, more than you think, that you will be tempt to Sword or Terminate some opponent's creatures, but it might be a mistake since you can simply win the game by playing one spell and counter it with Daze/Fow, creating an army of tokens and than close the game before you opponent. As i said before, the biggest problem here is develop your strategy around your enemy...


Don't Daze me Bro!

Daze is probably the most controversial card in this version of Miracles. The most common argument of criticizers is that Daze basically forces us to Time Walk ourselves, but is that really true, and does it really matter? In order to answer this question yourself, I think you really need to play this deck for a while, and, by a while, I mean at the at the very least, 6 months. Daze is both the most offensive and the most defensive card in this build. Playing it wisely will reward you in droves, but, play it incorrectly – even just a little bit – and it might become your downfall. All control players know how important mana development is, but that concept is rather over-exaggerated in Legacy Miracles. This isn’t always a control deck, and you can often end on 4-5 mana in play to play everything you need to. I’ve played something like 300+ Miracles mirrors during my years of playing this list, and the same thing always happens: Both of us with top in play, start to draw and play lands, but you both stop around the 5th land, where you draw only spells. During my last two GP’s, I’ve played against 6 Miracles Mirrors, and I’ve won all of them. Not because I’ve been better than my opponent each time (I’d never think of myself in that way), but because Daze gave me free wins that allows me to counter a turn two Counterbalance or a Four Mana Jace, as well as being able to operate more leanly and more efficiently than my opponent’s decks.

Even more, Daze is a powerful card when you are able to play a weapon like Monastery Mentor: dazing your own spells might be low value, but, in a pinch, it really works!**
Daze has saved me in many situations, against cards like Golgari Charm, Toxic Deluge or the ever-present Lightning Bolt. Some players might argue that once your opponent knows that your are playing Daze, he will simply play around it the rest of the game. While this might be true, does it really make it any less effective? Years ago, a good friend of mine told me*"if your opponent will play around Daze, it means that it already does what you need".* At that time I didn't understand this little sentence, but game after game, I’ve finally figured out its hidden meaning.*


Card selection

Creatures/Finisher
4 Monastery Mentor: it's why we are playing this deck. Is only a 2/2, but with his ability and prowess is able to take down the game very quickly. Decrease the number to 3 would be probably a mistake, since the entire deck is built to abuse it. Notably, is the only 3 drop for Counterbalance, which is another good reason to play the full playset.*
2 Snapcaster Mage: has been always one of the greatest cards in control decks, across any format, so you should not be surprised to see this dude here**I would like to play 3 of them, but it's still usually a CMC3 which might be clunky at times.*
2 Jace the Mind Sculptor: this card has been a great in control decks as well as Snapcaster, it does different things, like close the game ofter several turns. But in this kind of deck might be quite clunky since it cost 4 mana sorcery speed and sometimes you can find an hard time to cast it, if you played Daze. 

Counters.
4 Force of Will: I should not have to explain anything here*.*I would consider going down to 3 if the metagame was more blue, to add some cards like Pyroblast or any other counter like the old but good, Counterspell.*
3 Daze: Like I’ve told you before, Daze is the the key counter here, but I still thinkithat the 4th might be too much since you just need one of them during the early game. Here, it takes the perfect offensive role, when you smash you Mentor on the battlefield on turn 3. 
It’s also extremely effective against all tempo decks that run Delver of Secrets, since it’s often a hardcounter, and it’s also a CMC 2 card for Counterbalance, which is always a fine reason.*
3 Counterbalance: This is our lock piece, so at least you should run 3 copies. The 4th depends on if I think the metagame is full of Delver decks or combo, but in open metagames I think that 3 still the correct number. This card is obv great when we are trying to protect our Mentor from Bolt or countermagic.
2 Counterspell: Some would say that this is an old one, but it’s still good! Still a good counter to fight in the mid/late game, and I could never play at least one.

Cantrips
4 Sensei's Divining Top - 4 Ponder - 4 Brainstorm: I should not explain this package!**Cantrips into cantrips with only one Mentor alive on the field would probably be enough to take the game, and the “Cantrip Cartel” is what gives Miracles most of its power anyway!

Removal
4 Terminus: Is the best sweeper ever printed, so why wouldn’t you ever play a full set?*
4 Swords to Plowshares: Like Terminus, StP is the greatest removal for just one W mana. I might see only 3 copies if you are playing one main-deck Pyroblast since it can deal with Delver and all other blue creatures.

Sideboard
Sideboard choices have been always a controversial point. I don’t think there is always a “best” sideboard, but there is a “good compromise”. The most important thing when you are building a sideboard is not build it like “60+15 mode” but a full 75. What do I mean? That you should create a good balance between your maindeck and your sideboard, thinking about which cards might fit better than another in your 75. I'm not here to tell you what you should play or not play, since it will depend what is your playstyle and metagame for sure. All my choices have been made after many test in a random field and with my own playstyle so you might be sceptic about some cards.

2 Flusterstorm - 3 Pyroblast: those cards are perfect to fight combo and Delver decks. I think every Miracle list should at least have those cards in sideboard. Flusterstorm is basically and hard counter for a delver deck, as well as Pyroblast. 
2 Vendilion Clique - 1 Containment Priest: they are my disruption pieces for combo and also for some grinding MU. You might change the Priest with Canonist or something else, but Vedilion should be here always. Is perfect to hit a Decay and than drop your lovely Blood Moon, or cast it in response to any activetion or good spells like Show and Tell. 
1 Izzet Staticaster - 1 Engineered Explosives*- 1 Wear//Tear - 1 Disenchant: those cards are here for fight random MU and Vial tribals like Death and Taxes. You can swap many of those cards with other, i don't think there is a stock core. I like the split 1Wear/1Disenchant, since sometimes against Wasteland-base decks you don't want fetch into Volcanic for destroy some annoying artifacts. 
2 Blood Moon: many players don't like this card, i can get it. But i don't see why i shouldn't play a card that it give you (often) free win when it resolves. 


New update. 
In past few weeks, I’ve been testing a “new” card that might be considered a suitable Dig Through Time substitute; Predict. Predict gives us a source of card advantage, as well as digging through the top of our library to clear the top 3. I am not sure about how many copies I should be playing, since I am not the biggest fan of cantripping into more cantrips, but 2 seem like a good number now. If we spend each turn cantripping, we might be too slow, so that’s something that we should keep in mind. The cards I cut to make room for it was the 2nd Jace, the Mind Sculptor, since it rather slow in a lean deck like this, and the metagame is still full of Red blast effects. The second card I cut was the 2nd Counterspell, since that’s still really situational too, and we already have more early interaction compared to most miracles decks. I ended up with the following list: 


/ 4 Artifact
4 Sensei's Divining Top

// 6 Creature
4 Monastery Mentor
2 Snapcaster Mage

// 3 Enchantment
3 Counterbalance

// 18 Instant
4 Brainstorm
3 Swords to Plowshares
4 Force of Will
3 Daze
1 Counterspell
2 Predict
1 Pyroblast

// 20 Land
4 Island
3 Scalding Tarn
4 Flooded Strand
3 Tundra
1 Plains
3 Volcanic Island
2 Arid Mesa

// 1 Planeswalker
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

// 7 Sorcery
4 Ponder
4 Terminus


// 15 Sideboard
// 1 Artifact
SB: 1 Engineered Explosives

// 4 Creature
SB: 2 Vendilion Clique
SB: 1 Containment Priest
SB: 1 Ethersworn Canonist

// 2 Enchantment
SB: 2 Blood Moon

// 8 Instant
SB: 2 Pyroblast
SB: 2 Flusterstorm
SB: 1 Disenchant
SB: 1 Surgical Extraction
SB: 1 Red Elemental Blast
SB: 1 Wear // Tear


In the past few days, I’ve been trying to make room for a maindeck Pyroblast, because I think there are tons of Delver decks, Mirrors, and general BUG decks that a MD blast can be good against. It’s still just an idea and a work in progress, but it seems great for now. 


Sideboarding
Classic Miracle: Very Favorable - as i wrote before the MU is quite easy for us since we can drop Balance on T2 with Daze backup. Pre-board is quite random, if we have many white cards we are going to lose. Post-board we know what fight, so counter a Balance is not an option, but remember that the Mentor is the best way to get the game. 

Bring in: 2 Pyroblast, 1 Red Elemental Blast, 2 Vendilion Clique, 2 Flusterstorm, 1 Wear//Tear
Out: 4 Terminus, 3 Swords, 1 Plains

Show and Tell: Even - Like all other combo decks if we draw only withe we might be dead on T3. Post-board all change since Pyro and Vendilion works excellent. 

Bring in: 2 Pyroblast, 1 Red Elemental Blast, 2 Vendilion Clique, 2 Flusterstorm, 1 Wear//Tear, 1 Ethersworn Canonist, 1 Containment Priest
Out: 4 Terminus, 3 Swords, 1 Plains, 2 Monastery Mentor

Death and Taxes: Slightly Favorable - Pre-board we have to fight Vial with Fow or Daze and drop our Mentor as soos as we can. Post-board we get EE and all Disenchant effects so we are able to deal with all those artifacts.

Bring in: 1 Disenchant, 1 Wear//Tear, 1 EE, 1 Containment Priest
Side out: 3 Daze (otd), 2 Fow and 1 Mentor (otp)


4c Control: Slightly Favorable - Terminus is our best friend here since Swords is quite often a 1x2 against Leovold, Strix or Snapcaster. Post board you should treat it as a control so take out almost all Swords.

Bring in: 2 Pyroblast, 1 Red Elemental Blast, 2 Blood Moon, 2 Flusterstorm, 1 Wear//Tear
Out: 4 Force of Will, 1 Mentor, 3 Swords

Delver Decks: Favorable - It's usually an easy MU since they are not able to deal with all our threats like Balance or Mentor. Post-board is the same, even more if we run Blood Moon. Don't forget to keep Daze, even on the draw since you need to fight in the early game.

Bring in: 2 Pyroblast, 2 Blood Moon, 2 Flusterstorm, 1 Wear//Tear
Out: 4 Force of Will, 1 Counterspell, 1 Jace, 1 Mentor

Shardless Bug: Slightly Favorable - During G1 we need to fight Visions and Jace basically. Post-board we have Pyroblast and Blood Moon to close the game. 

Bring in: 2 Pyroblast, 2 Blood Moon, 1 Wear//Tear, 1 Red Elemental Blast, 2 Vendilion Clique
Out: 4 Force of Will, 3 Daze, 1 Monastery Mentor


 

It's still Alive!


Sensei's is gone as well as Counterbalance, the wolrd is not the same anymore! 

So i accepted the challenge and i've started to build something again, end up to try cards like Portent (as well as other miracle players) and move from virtual card advantage to real card advantage, using Predict. 
A new metagame was facing the Legacy panorama, with different kind of combo and the rise of Grixis Delver as tier 1. So i decided to try the black splash instead the red and fight to the Ovino spring with this: 


4 Flooded Strand
3 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Plains
4 Scalding Tarn
4 Tundra
3 Underground Sea

7 CREATURES
4 Monastery Mentor
3 Snapcaster Mage

30 INSTANTS and SORC.
4 Brainstorm
3 Counterspell
3 Daze
4 Force of Will
4 Ponder
3 Portent
3 Predict
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Terminus

3 OTHER SPELLS
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

SIDEBOARD

2 Disenchant
1 Ethersworn Canonist
3 Flusterstorm
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Thoughtseize
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Zealous Persecution



finished the tournament with a 6-2 wasn't enough, but as always a really good friend, Johannes Gutbrod, comes to me, i showed him the idea and we start to speak about the future updated for this deck! 
Day after day we keep in touch and develop the deck, which we believe, would be good enough for any tournament even without our Top! after all the black splash wasn't good enough as i thought and we move back to the red. The thing was that the Rebs and Blood Moon are both strong weapons if you need to fight random decks or blue based decks, obv discards effects might be the best answer for combo...but, wasn't just enough! 

So here the current list


4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Portent
4 Force of Will
3 Daze
3 Counterspell
3 Da spade a Spighe
4 Terminus
3 Snapcaster Mage
4 Monastery Mentor
1 Jace the Mind Scultptor
3 predict

3 isola
1 pianura
1 pianura innevata
3 tundra
3 isola vulcanica
4 spiaggia allagata
3 polluted delta
2 arid mesa


Side
3 flusterstorm
1 esplosivi ingegnerizzati
2 canonista eterica
2 blood moon
1 wear//tear
1 Pyroclasm
2 surgical extraction
3 pyroblast

 

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