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Eternal Extravaganza


Hey, everyone!

I’ve been playing a fair amount of Magic lately, so I want to spice things up and talk about my favorite decks in the major Eternal formats: Legacy and Modern.

We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started!


Let’s kick things off with the deepest pool to choose from. It’s no secret that I love me some blue decks, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I want to be Brainstorming. While Brainstorm and Force of Will is the starting point, it isn’t clear what I want to do from there. Miracles has been my go-to deck for quite some time, but there are a few different iterations. I can either play Monastery Mentor or go the classic route with Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Entreat the Angels. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. I still like the classic control list, as it has a concise game plan.

Here’s my latest list for the classic Miracles strategy:

This list is heavily influenced by Olivier Ruel’s list that he used to earn second place at Grand Prix Lille. There were a lot of changes he made that seemed logical, such as cutting down to one Entreat the Angels because you only go for it when you are solidly in control. Miracles gains its power from having cost-effective miracle spells, but I hate drawing them early, so I liked playing only three Terminus, too.

Entreat the Angels
The mana base is also a step in the right direction; I excluded the Wastelands from Olivier’s deck, but I like playing twenty-two lands and some number of Ponders instead of twenty-three. The old Miracles decks played two Entreat the Angels, thus requiring an additional land. The Ponders will help with fueling Dig Through Time and setting up enough land drops to operate smoothly. I also like the flex spells to be blue so I can pitch them to Force of Will. The single Snapcaster Mage over the fourth Dig Through Time means you won’t become choked on delve spells, but you can still chain Digs together in the late game.

I have played versions of Miracles without the Karakas, but I want it with two Vendilion Cliques and a Venser, the Sojourner in the seventy-five. In addition, I want enough basic lands to effectively maneuver around my sideboard Blood Moons and set up against Wasteland.

It should come as no surprise that the other build of Miracles that piqued my fancy ended up beating Olivier in the finals of Grand Prix Lille. I am a little nervous to play a version of Miracles with tempo spells like Daze and that cuts down on lands since Sensei's Divining Top is mana-intensive, but it did win a major Legacy event.

For reference, here’s the seventy-five used by Claudio Bonanni himself:

In theory, this deck should be weaker in the mirror match because the opponent’s Swords to Plowshares and Terminus are live thanks to building around Monastery Mentor. The silver lining to this strategy is that the opponent has to leave in creature removal because he or she must respect the Mentor.

I think the best time to play this particular list is when you cannot rely on Counterbalance in the metagame as a result of people playing awkward mana costs (MUD surging in popularity, for example) or loading up on Abrupt Decays. It can be nice to have a swift win condition like Monastery Mentor just in case there are plenty of playable decks so being reactive will spread you too thin. You can’t answer everything all of the time. Another draw to this deck is that Monastery Mentor can trigger off extra Sensei's Divining Tops.

For now, I am leaving this as my second choice as far as Miracles decks are concerned, but it is not forgotten.

On another Brainstorm-related note, I am also looking into the youngest of Pyromancers because I love the Cabal Therapy synergy. Grixis is my second choice for Legacy.

Here’s the list I like at the moment:

This list is heavily inspired by Jason Smith’s deck from the StarCityGames Invitational Qualifier in Cleveland. I like that this deck plays out like a control deck but requires very few lands to operate at full capacity. This is probably better than the Monastery Miracles deck because I think Young Pyromancer being cheaper than Monastery Mentor is very important. I also like this deck more than the Monastery Miracles deck because it’s lower to the ground but also doesn’t play Daze.

The original list played a Jace and a Dack Fayden, but I want True-Name Nemesis so I can be more proactive. Since I play Lightning Bolt over Swords to Plowshares, I have the opportunity to be more aggressive than the traditional blue control decks. I place a high value on the ability to morph into an aggressive deck in bad matchups.


Since the StarCityGames Invitational, I have won nearly all of my rounds at local Modern events with some form of Grixis deck. I first began with Grixis Control after Pat Chapin won ninth place at Grand Prix Charlotte. This is the list I arrived at:

This deck is quite solid against Splinter Twin, as it’s basically a post-’boarded Grixis Twin deck. The best cards against Twin happen to be Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Gurmag Angler because there aren’t many ways to kill them and because you can leave up mana when you cast them. It’s also a very consistent deck because, like the Legacy Grixis deck, it can control the board with few lands in play. If Choke and Boil are popular, this is a good choice because you can win by casting threats with a single Swamp in the late game.

Inquisition of Kozilek
I cut some of the interactive blue cards like Dispel and Shadow of Doubt for Inquisition of Kozilek because it performed so well for me in Grixis Twin. I wanted some more early cards to dump into the graveyard for delving; there can be games in which there is too much interaction and the cards don’t go into the graveyard quickly. I also want some ways to discard Liliana of the Veil because it’s the most annoying card to face.

The Threads of Disloyalty in the sideboard is primarily for Jund decks to make Liliana of the Veil less of a problem. Since Jund decks play only a few Abrupt Decays that are ’boarded out, I’m all right bringing in 3-mana enchantments to steal Dark Confidant, Scavenging Ooze, Tarmogoyf, and Grim Lavamancer.

This deck can have trouble against noninteractive decks if your answers don’t line up with their threats. It just so happens that I never want to play against the Urzatron because even a turn-two Tasigur doesn’t win in time against its average draw. It’s very likely you will lose to Tron in the first game and then be on the play for Game 2, which makes Fulminator Mage kill Tron lands before the Tron player can cast Karn Liberated. If you manage to win Game 2, you are on the draw, which means Fulminator Mage can be a turn too slow and the game is a toss-up. I don’t like that the match will typically play out this way, so I moved back to Splinter Twin.

The Affinity matchup was good, but I also had the problem of an Etched Champion going the distance because Grixis Control can take some time to win. There is a time for Grixis Control to make a comeback, which is after enough Tron hate makes its way back into the format. I also think this deck is probably the most fun I have had playing Modern because it wins by generating massive amounts of value.

The sideboard Mulldrifter looks very random, but I can assure you that it will be exciting whenever it’s cast. A Divination that can be recurred with Kolaghan's Command is very powerful in grindy matchups, such as Jund and other blue decks. It can also block Lingering Souls tokens out of Junk decks.

I Top 8’d the last SCG Invitational with Grixis Twin before falling to Josh Ravitz with Jund. Since then, I made a small number of tweaks to the deck. If I were playing a Modern event tomorrow, I would play this:

The main deck is only one card different from what I used to Top 8 the SCG Invitational. I cut the one main-decked Spell Snare for a second Cryptic Command because it’s a more versatile top-deck, and games can go long. I want my Game 1 deck to have enough raw power to hammer through any deck in the field, which is why I have the Splinter Twin combo to begin with. Despite it being a combo deck, I have a lot of room to control the game thanks to Snapcaster Mage and Tasigur. Opponents are also afraid to go aggressive due to the Twin combo, so games will go longer when you don’t deal infinite damage.

Serum Visions
This is another deck that barely ever mulligans because hands with one or two lands are a lot better thanks to Serum Visions. It’s important to me to be able to have a deck that has a high power level but that can also not lose to itself too often. With that being said, if the new mulligan rule survives Pro Tour Origins (which it probably will), I will mull more aggressively.

A card that hasn’t made its way into all Grixis Twin decks is Inquisition of Kozilek. I’m not sure why this isn’t industry standard yet—you can play it early to disrupt the opponent's curve or you can make him or her discard a critical Abrupt Decay or Rending Volley. The U/R Twin decks have Dispels in this spot, but I like that I can Inquisition on turn one and then flash it back with Snapcaster Mage on turn three.

The sideboard is a thing of beauty because you can transform into a control deck. I would just shuffle in my sideboard to mask the number of cards I take out since the opponent will be left guessing whether he or she needs to respect the combo in Games 2 and 3.

Against fair decks, I typically ’board out my combo for any of the cards in my sideboard because they can all be used in a controlling shell. I define a “fair” deck as one that plans on winning with good cards rather than using a broken interaction like Hive Mind and Summoner's Pact.

Here’s a rough idea of how I ’board when I’m transforming into a control deck:

Olivia Voldaren

It’s not uncommon to take out four Splinter Twin, four Deceiver Exarch, and two Pestermite for ten of those cards. Depending on the matchup, I will leave in Pestermites, as they are the best creatures without Splinter Twin in your deck.

The main draw to this deck is the infinite-combo deck against “unfair” decks. I have to kill such opponents as quickly as possible because their decks only focus on comboing. The reason I am currently avoiding Grixis Control is the Tron matchup, but having the Splinter Twin combo gives me a great matchup against Karn and friends.

So there you have it. I’m a control mage living in a world of broken decks that attack from many angles. My solution to winning is to play blue cards that smooth out my draws while also having nut draws, such as assembling Counter-Top and dealing infinite damage.

Thanks for reading,


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