Hello readers, for those of you just tuning in, this week, I strongly recommend going back and reading last week’s article, as it’s a two-parter, and guess what? This is part two! Or just continue reading. Afterall, who am I to stop you from reading my Miracles primer out of order? Also, before we get continue, I want to mention that this will be a living document; by that, I mean that as metagames change, new archetypes that we must answer develop, new cards are printed, or old technology is rediscovered and applied to Miracles, I will update this primer, accordingly. I want this to eventually become a useful reference that Miracles pilots of varying skill levels can keep bookmarked. In the back half of the primer, we’re going to look at some of the specific matchups that a Miracles player is going to have to learn how to navigate. As I mentioned, above, this section will be updated, over time. The decks currently listed below do not include all of the archetypes I plan to cover, and this initial batch was not selected in any order of importance; however, future updates will be done on this here internet blogpost page, as I feel like it and/or as you (the reader!) request a specific matchup, rather than as a separate, future article. I have a list about 25 archetypes long and growing, which I will be adding to this primer


Everyone says this is a terrible matchup, myself included, and in theory, it should be. Despite that, in the two times I’ve played against it in a tournament, I won once and punted with the kill on board once. That said, I still think this is a difficult matchup, and we should consider my experience anecdotal (read: useless) evidence. The CounterTop lock is mostly ineffective against them unless we establish it by turn three, at the latest, and sometimes, even that’s too late! Maybe we can get lucky and flip a Terminus to counter Prime Time, but we have nothing to flip to counter the Eldrazi Titans, the biggest of which cannot be countered, anyways. Once they get Emrakul mana, there is nothing we can do (unless the game has gone VERY long so that we can cast a huge Entreat to kill them on the swingback AND they don’t have Karakas to take infinite turns). We are very threat light, and all they really need to do to advance their game plan is continue to play lands. If Show and Tell or Prime Time resolve, it likely means that we’re dead in one turn, because they will have a critical mass of loci and an Eye of Ugin to find their monsters, at will. If we aren’t on a build that plays maindeck Blood Moon, our only real hope is for them to stumble, at least a little bit, along with an early Clique, backed by CounterTop, so that we can shut down their card draw/card selection/land search engine. The best way to set them back is to hit their Crop Rotations with countermagic, but an experienced pilot will play around Spell Pierce as long as they aren’t desperate. I will always counter the Candelabra, whenever possible, as it can take them to having a stupid amount of mana very quickly (I’m talking about Repealing-and-recasting-Emrakul-in-the-same-turn level of stupid); the Candles will also help the 12-Post player get double green for Prime Time, so it’s extra important to stop this card. If you have them on the ropes, it’s very important to press your advantage, as they can very easily get back into a game that they seemed out of, thanks to the lifegain of Glimmerpost coupled with the protection offered by Glacial Chasm. In game one, they will have access to Repeal and O-Stone to deal with any troubling permanents we may have, along with maindeck Needles (they play it because of how crippling Wasteland can be for them) to take us off the Jace plan. If we are playing a version with Blood Moon in the main deck, the matchup becomes pretty good, provided that we can land it before they kill us.

Things don’t get much better for us in game two, unless we have Blood Moon. If we have E-Tutors, those obviously come (or stay) in, as they will act as virtual copies of E-Tutor. Humility is decent, but it’s not the shutdown card you may think it would be; all of the Eldrazi Titans have triggers that go on the stack when they are cast, rather than when they enter the battlefield, so Ulamog would still get to destroy a permanent (like Humility). It’s a much better sideboard card if we’re playing either the RIP-Helm or Batterskull plan, because it doesn’t simultaneously weaken our own win conditions. With my current build, I typically like bringing in Wear//Tear, the extra Force, the extra Entreat, Engineered Explosives, and Pithing Needle. What we want are ways to stop their nut draw, ways to stop their artifacts from ramping them, ways to shut down Eye, and ways to close the came out quickly. Directly attacking their manabase, though, is the easiest way to win (provided we’re also ready for Show and Tell). The major sideboard cards to watch out from on their side are Chalice of the Void, and extra countermagic, typically in the form of Flusterstorm or Pierce; they may also pack some number of O-Stones in the board, depending on how many are already in the main.

Ad Nauseum Tendrils

These guys often run a whopping six maindeck discard spells to help force through their combo, so we need to keep those Brainstorms handy to protect Force and co., if we can help it. The CounterTop lock comes up HUGE here, provided that we can stick it immediately (ANT can go off by turn three fairly easily if undisrupted). If we do stick CounterTop, we need to quickly find a two-drop and float it in the top three cards; countering their cantrips is great, and all, but if we don’t have a two-drop, they can still go off through Cabal Rituals and Infernal Tutor(s). RIP can also do some work here; it shuts off the Past in Flames route to victory. Clique is a great card against them, as it provides both disruption and a clock, while also not forcing us to tap out until their end step. The clock (with regard to life totals) is a big deal, because the more we hit them, the harder it becomes for them to go off with Ad Nauseum. Depending on how many times they’ve already fetched in the game, as little as two swings from the Clique can severely limit the power of Ad Nauseum.

This is a pretty easy matchup to sideboard. We simply want to cut all of the removal to bring in as much countermagic as we can. Blasts come in to hit their cantrips. Other useful cards that we might be running that can be brought in include Canonist, Meddling Mage, and Leyline of Sanctity. I also wouldn’t mind bringing in some sort of versatile answer like Wear//Tear or Explosives, as they may bring something in like Carpet of Flowers. Speaking of Carpet, to combat this card, keep the fetches uncracked until we need them.


From my recent experiences playing against this archetype, it feels like the right play is to scoop and enjoy the much-needed time to go get lunch or whatever. It feels like the matchup should be better because of our great removal, but what often ends up happening is that if we survive the first wave, they’ve usually found a Cranial Plating, by then, and then, suddenly, every creature off the top is lethal and Tezz can likely kill on the turn after he is played with his ultimate (which can’t be stopped by RIP-Field). I have not tried or witnessed this matchup from the Miracleblade perspective, but perhaps an early Batterskull can make things easier for us; I’m skeptical, though, as they have quite a few fliers that can carry a Plating right past our grounded germ. Perhaps, upping my count of sideboard Wear//Tears to two would improve the matchup, but I don’t know if it’s enough. I am curious about any reader experiences in playing against this deck, as my sample size with the matchup is limited to a short period of time where I was running into it on MODO in nearly half of my Dailies.


There is a very good chance that we can lose game one, especially if we lost the die roll. That said, maybe we got lucky and were given a keepable hand that had a Force of Will or we’re on the play and have a Spell Pierce. Remember to play around Empty the Warrens when deciding how long to sit on a Force of Will. To steal from my DC Cheat Sheet, “use the Force on the last ritual that would put them below four mana. In other words, if they have five mana floating and they use three of it to try to cast Seething Song, you may be better off countering the Song than waiting for their next play.” Every turn we live beyond the first turn, the easier the game gets. Here’s one other case that’s worth being aware of: suppose they got Charbelcher into play, but didn’t have the extra three mana to shoot us with it, and they also have their lone Taiga in play. Now we draw the Force, but it’s a turn too late. On their next turn, they have two cards in hand, and attempt to cast Lotus Petal. Do we counter this, or do we wait for the third mana source? It may feel bad to have to trade two cards to counter a Lotus Petal, but it feels a lot worse to have them exile Simian Spirit Guide as their third mana source (which we conveniently cannot counter) and shoot us in the face with their weird, goblin-designed cannon-contraption. Their sideboard is mostly a wishboard, full of sorceries that can deal with hateful permanents (like our lock pieces), so don’t think it’s over just because we assembled CounterTop and RIP-Field, because Reverent Silence could still ruin our day.

They don’t change too much after board, on account of them running a wishboard, but they do bring in Xantid Swarm, and boy are those bugs annoying. Not annoying enough to stop CounterTop, but being able to cast Force and Pierce is still important, so we may want to keep a couple Plows in the deck. I like to keep at least one copy of Terminus around for their Empty plan, but Explosives for zero works just as well, and it also hits their mana rocks. We can cut down on the number of Jaces, since we’ve typically won, if the game goes long enough to start Jacing. Cards that we can bring in that will make their life hard: Needle, Canonist, Meddling Mage, artifact removal, countermagic

Burn/Red Deck Wins

This is hilariously easy when playing the RIP-Helm and Miracleblade versions, as burn gets absolutely crushed by Batterskull or RIP-Field. It’s not as easy with the Legendary version, but I still think it’s favorable, because CounterTop is pretty good, here. Always be mindful of Price of Progress; plan to fetch basics often, and carefully plan out which fetches will fetch which land. With Goblin Guide, we can “draw” some extra lands by preparing for his trigger with Top of Brainstorm; we can also Plow him after his trigger but before he connects.

I’ve had some people disagree with me on this, but I like to side out a Jace or two in this matchup because I feel that he’s too slow; if we aren’t perilously close to dead by the time we can resolve a Jace, I feel like we’re already strongly favored to win that game, and he’s just a win-more. I don’t do a whole lot of sideboarding, but cards that I do like to bring in include Misdirection, Wear//Tear, and possibly some extra countermagic if I’m cutting removal (it depends on the Burn-configuration, but some play a fewer count of creatures). Energy Field is an absolute house in this matchup, so any that are in the board should come in, as well as the obviously accompanying E.Tutor(s). I’ve seen some Miracles lists that run COP: Red in their board for this matchup, but I don’t think it’s correct, unless you just happen to live in a really Burn-heavy meta; we don’t need to be that concerned about this matchup.


This is a matchup where one-mana Rout really shines. Terminus is among the most-feared cards of Elves pilots everywhere, and swings the matchup incredibly hard in our favor. Two realistic ways in which we lose (outside of the always-possible manascrew/flood) are that either they hit us with an incredibly fast nut draw, or we get pecked to death as they slowly play their threats out because we can’t find an Entreat. Try to save the Plows for the Symbiotes, because that card is one of their few hopes of not getting completely blown out by our sweepers; though, sometimes, it is worth it to slow them down with a well-timed Plow on Heritage Druid or crippling their mana by sending their Dryad Arbor farming. Once we’ve cleared their board, it becomes easy to keep it clear with CounterTop, because almost all of their creatures are one-drops. Be mindful that Green Sun’s Zenith can get around CounterTop by being cast for an X-value greater than the converted mana cost of the desired creature.

They’re likely to bring in some Decay against us, so things that are too big to Decay like Moat are pretty good in this matchup. We can cut a good deal of our countermagic, but I wouldn’t completely abandon it (I usually cut it by about half), as we don’t want to just die to a Natural Order; it also feels really good to counter what they paid for mana and a body for by paying one blue. Wirewood Symbiote is such a great card for them that it’s actually worth bringing in Needle; they have some other good Needle targets like Deathrite and Heritage, too. Other obvious cards to bring in include any extra sweepers (Explosives pretty much works as a sweeper, with all of their one-drops). Ethersworn Canonist is also pretty good against Elves, if we’re running those in our board; hilariously, the 2/2 body is also big enough to deter a lot of their attackers if they decide to switch from combo mode to beatdown mode.


While a deck that wins by flooding the board with creatures and turning them sideways seems like it should be a cakewalk for us, it’s not. The combination of Matron and Ringleader allows the Goblins pilot to repeatedly reload their board very quickly, and because Terminus doesn’t actually “kill” creatures, a single shuffle effect (like Matron?) puts the pile of dudes that just went to the bottom back into the mysterious randomness of the deck. Oh, and did I mention, they have EIGHT turn one plays that make it so that they don’t have to actually try to cast any of their dudes through Counterbalance, and if they do, they have Cavern of Souls to push it through. So, TL;DR- Goblins ain’t a walk in the park! There are ways we can defeat them, though. For starters, fetching basics is important so that we can circumvent their Wastelands (unfortunately, Port can still be annoying, as can Thalia if they’re on the currently popular white splash). At the end of the day, Goblins is a fair deck, and most fair decks struggle to answer an Entreat for three or more; we may need to go a little higher than three against them, because they do have ways to pick the angels off, but Entreat is one of the most unfair things we can do.  Build up those basics and find Entreat. Sometimes, we can also get lucky and they run out of gas by bricking on Ringleader.

If we’re playing Moat in our board, it is quite good in this matchup (just remember that we can still die to Seige-Gang Commander). Humility does a decent job as well; it doesn’t shrink the average Goblin by all that much, but shutting off all of their “enters the battlefield” triggers is some pretty big game. Remember how I said earlier that they can circumvent countermagic via Vial/Cavern/Lackey? Counterbalance becomes rather lackluster, so we can afford to cut some number of those (depending on our configuration, we may not need to cut them all, but we don’t need a full set). I’ve found RIP-Field to be effective, but be prepared for REBs from their side. Just get to four mana (or five if they have Thalia, or six if they also have a Port..), resolve Moat/Humility, and win. 

RUG Delver

This might be one of my favorite matchups to play in the format, from a standpoint of how much fun it is (regardless of outcome; i.e. I’m not saying it’s fun because it’s super easy and I always win). On paper, this matchup looks like it should be super easy. Aside from ‘Goyf, their curve is all one-drops, which makes CounterTop insane, and a naked Counterbalance decent. ‘Goose becomes tame, and ‘Goyf becomes embarrassingly bad under RIP, which we often run in the main. Still, though, sometimes, an early Delver just finds a way to get there, or we don’t find the RIP and get shredded by ‘goose, or they apply enough pressure to force us into cracking our fetches into their Stifles. The way I like to play this matchup is to HEAVILY respect Daze and Stifle, while paying some respect to Pierce. Spend the first four turns or so just making (basic) land drops. Fetch for the basics, and try to only go for it when they have to tap out. Cast everything a turn behind curve while letting them punch us in the face. The other piece of advice I have, that not everyone agrees with me on, is to aggressively counter their cantrips. Unless you’re specifically planning on using them to protect, say, a Counterbalance, freely point your Pierces and Flusterstorms at their Brainstorms and Ponders. Part of what really makes Delver decks tick is their ability to use the Cantrip Cartel to rapidly adapt their gameplan by seeing a large number of cards; they often fall apart, if you take that away from them.

I like to cut all of my Forces, here, as I don’t think it serves us well to get into two-for-one trades with this deck. Replacing them with Blasts is reasonable, since most of the spells we really want to counter are blue (the only creature we’re still actually worried about is also blue). We aren’t too scared of their green creatures, because, as already stated, they are completely neutered by RIP, and most configurations can have two to three RIPs in post-board games. If we cast Blood Moon, they can cast almost no more spells for the rest of the game. As long as we’re above double bolt range and we’ve dealt with their creature pressure, we should be fine. I also like to max out my Entreats when playing against RUG; they have very few ways to deal with even a single angle, and it generally involves them being forced to make some very unprofitable trades. One last thing: Explosives for zero kills flipped Delver… but beware the Stifle!

Shardless BUG

When I first started having to play this matchup a lot, I was getting incredibly frustrated and having a hard time beating it. It felt impossible. The games would often reach what felt like a state of parity, but then, I would suddenly find myself buried beneath an avalanche of card advantage, brought on by Ancestral Vision. Even when I thought I was ready for the Vision with CounterTop, a timely Decay would nuke my enchantment and allow them to draw ALL THE CARDS. At that point, they were free to cast whatever they wanted and were almost sure to have Force to keep me from restabilizing. Then, through enough repetition, I realized something important; while I was losing more often than winning, I had won enough times that I started to get a feel for how the board typically looked when I won: two or three tapped and attacking angels, five or more land, and Liliana and/or Jace in their graveyard. To win this match, we really just need to hit them with an Entreat for three as they’re trying to put the screws to us with Liliana. For them, the matchup is all about leaving us empty-handed, while ticking Lily up towards her ultimate; this is our opportunity to strike, because they will typically have to choose between going hellbent, themselves, or not ticking Lily up. We know they’re shields-down, at this point, because the only countermagic that they run in the main is Force. The trio of Cliques in the maindeck also do a fantastic job of supporting this plan. And while we’re speaking of legendary creatures, few things feel as good as letting them play out the last card in their hand, watching them uptick Lily, and then, with her ability on the stack, casting Venser, and returning her to their hand, only to watch her be discarded by her own ability!

As is the case with most fair matchups, we want to cut our Forces, here, and as is the case with most blue matchups, we want to bring in the Blasts. Recall how crucial I said Entreat was to our game plan, and it’s clear we’re bringing any extra copies that we have in the board. If we’re playing extra Misdirections or Vensers, they can come in, as well. Basically, for all the cards that I said we’re good to have in this matchup in the above paragraph, if we have extra copies, we should board them in. Anything that can deal with a Lily (Needle, Unexpectedly Absent, Explosives, O-Ring, D-Sphere, etc.) is also fair game, because she is a miserable card for us to play against.


Matchups coming soon: UWR Delver, Sneak and Show, Omnitell, Death and Taxes, and Reanimator, with more to follow!

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