How Miracles Work
Throughout the years, there have been many flavours of control in all the formats. They range from tapout, through midrange and creature-focused shells all the way to draw-go. There is one specific archetype within the Control Macro-archetype that I want to talk about today – Miracles.
It’s been a mainstay in the eternal formats yet originated in Standard. Let’s take a look at what the shell’s core is, how it functions, and what its strengths and weaknesses are.
I shall begin by presenting the namesake mechanic – Miracle.
- 702.94 Miracle
- 702.94a Miracle is a static ability linked to a triggered ability. (See rule 603.11.) “Miracle [cost]” means “You may reveal this card from your hand as you draw it if it’s the first card you’ve drawn this turn. When you reveal this card this way, you may cast it by paying [cost] rather than its mana cost.”
- 702.94b If a player chooses to reveal a card using its miracle ability, they play with that card revealed until that card leaves their hand, that ability resolves, or that ability otherwise leaves the stack. (See rule 701.16a.)
In practice, it means that you can cast a given spell for its Miracle cost if and only if you’ve drawn it as the first card that turn – no matter whose turn it is. Most frequently it’s going to be the card naturally drawn in your drawstep. However, you have to be able to prove that it was indeed the first card drawn that turn. In order to do that make sure not to mix this card with the rest of your hand. When playing a Miracles deck, it’s useful to draw your card for the turn a bit more slowly and peek at it before putting it in your hand. Clearly, if suddenly you draw cards in a different manner than your friends are used to, it might indicate to them that you’ve changed your deck and now it contains Miracle cards. You either have to accept this downside or emulate the same behaviour when playing other decks as well.
In addition, it’s imperative to remember that the Miracle mechanic ignores timing restrictions. Cards such as Entreat the Angels or Temporal Mastery can be cast as if they were instants if cast as Miracles.
If you draw multiple cards at once, say by casting Archmage’s Charm on your opponent’s turn, you ought to show the first one drawn then draw the second one and once the spell has resolved you can start your Miracle shenanigans. If you play Brainstorm and draw 3 you still show Miracle as the first card, draw the other 2, put two back – you can put the Miracle back but you won’t be able to cast it.
Let me present an interesting scenario. What do you think happens in a following situation:
- You draw a card in your draw step
- You reveal it and say that you want to cast it for its Miracle cost
- The trigger goes on the stack
- Your opponent plays Vendilion Clique
- You reveal your hand and they decide to put back that same Miracle card
Will you be able to play the Miracle? You won’t, because it has left your hand – the same when you were to put it back with Brainstorm.
Another scenario. Let’s say you’ve got Entreat the Angels on top, you draw it and want to cast it for as much as possible. However, you’ve got 6 lands and one fetch so you pay 6 mana with the lands that you’ve got. WRONG! You can actually put the Miracle trigger on the stack, hold priority, fetch to find a land and then let the trigger resolve. End result – you can pay 7 and not 6.
Last but not least, if you’ve revealed that Terminus but then opt against casting the card it’s not too late! You can just choose not to cast it still and proceed.
- It has to be drawn as the first card that turn
- It does not have to be your turn – it will still trigger
- Peek at the card before mixing it in with your hand so that you can prove it was the first one drawn
- Miracle ignores timing restrictions of cards – Sorcery can be cast as an Instant
- You have to have it still in hand when you resolve the trigger and proceed to cast it
- You can choose not to cast it even if you’ve revealed it.
- You can respond to the Miracle trigger e.g. by fetching