Bant Miracles in Post-Modern Horizons 2 Legacy

Bant Miracles in Legacy

A Control Deck Primer

Author: Zen Takahashi

Zen Takahashi 1.jpg

Hello everyone! My name is Zen Takahashi, and I am delighted to join Three for One Trading’s writing team! I am an avid Eternal player from Auckland, New Zealand and enjoy competing in local Legacy events and playing Old School over webcam with friends.

Previously, I was a Silver Pro for multiple years and my results include five Grand Prix Top 8s, 27th place at Pro Tour Amonkhet, three consecutive online Regional PTQ wins, and I co-created the Modern Dredge deck. Nowadays though, I primarily just play Legacy, as it is my favourite format!

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For my very first article for Three for One Trading, I will be going over one of the top decks in Legacy right now – Bant Miracles.

While I do not believe it’s the best deck in the format right now – that title will most likely go to UR Delver or Jeskai Saga-Standstill – it is my favourite deck in the format and is my frontrunner choice for the Eternal Masters event happening in Melbourne, Australia at the end of this month.

Origins of Bant Miracles

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Traditionally, Miracles in Legacy had been Blue-White based, often with a splash of Red for Pyroblast-effects. This has historically been the case all the way since the deck’s inception in the days of Sensei’s Divining Top and Counterbalance. The significant advantage that Blue-White Miracles had over other control decks like Grixis Control was its immunity to Wasteland, as its manabase could operate almost entirely on basic lands.

Change in the Format with MH1

However, this changed in mid-2019 with the release of Modern Horizons 1, which brought with it Arcum’s Astrolabe. Now, Miracles could play multiple colours while maintaining a basic land manabase, and was further incentivised to do so with the printing of Ice-Fang Coatl. Throne of Eldraine was then printed a few months later and brought with it Oko, Thief of Crowns, and the decision for Miracles to adopt a Bant-base became a no-brainer.

The master of Bant Miracles

Below is the list belonging to Marc Eric Vogt, the Miracles master from Germany, who took down GP Bologna at the end of 2019 with Bant Miracles.

His dominant run with the deck throughout the event (which included beating me in Round 15 and knocking me out of Top 8 contention :P) cemented the deck as one of the very best in the format.

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Bant Miracles

Marc Vogt, 1st Grand Prix Bologna 2019

Creatures

2 Ice-Fang Coatl
3 Snapcaster Mage

Spells

2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Oko, Thief of Crowns
1 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Arcum’s Astrolabe
4 Brainstorm
1 Counterspell
1 Entreat the Angels
2 Force of Negation
4 Force of Will
4 Ponder
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Terminus
2 Veil of Summer

Lands

4 Flooded Strand
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Mystic Sanctuary
1 Polluted Delta
1 Snow-Covered Forest
5 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Tropical Island
1 Tundra

Sideboard

1 Carpet of Flowers
1 Celestial Purge
1 Containment Priest
1 Flusterstorm
1 Monastery Mentor
2 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Rest in Peace
2 Return to Nature
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Terminus
1 Veil of Summer
1 Volcanic Island

February Bannings and Impact of Modern Horizons 2

After Marc’s win with Bant Miracles at GP Bologna, the deck became arguably one of the best decks in the format. This became even more pronounced when Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath was printed in early 2020. At this point, Bant Miracles, alongside RUG Delver, were the two most dominant decks in the format by a considerable margin (though it did take breaks for Underworld Breach and the original Companion rule). This eventually led to the banning of Arcum’s Astrolabe, Dreadhorde Arcanist and Oko, Thief of Crowns in February this year.

Bannings make it hard for Bant Miracles

After the bannings, Bant Miracles still survived. While it lost its key source of mana fixing, which meant it could no longer splash cards like Pyroblast and Dead of Winter for “free”, the core of the deck still existed and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath remained one of the best threats in the format.

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However, I personally felt that without Astrolabe, the deck had many of the same issues that three-coloured control decks traditionally had prior to the printing of the snow artifact – its mana was shaky as it either had to operate on an inconsistent basic land manabase, or a Wasteland-vulnerable dual land manabase. Although Uro was still great against Delver, after playing the matchup quite a lot, I felt more comfortable with the traditional Blue-White Miracles as it had a clean manabase.

Change is coming: Modern Horizons 2

This all changed though with the printing of Modern Horizons 2. This set has shaken up Legacy significantly with the printing of cards like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Urza’s Saga and Prismatic Ending. For Bant Miracles specifically, the deck gained three key cards – Prismatic Ending, Abundant Harvest and Endurance.

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The most important addition: Prismatic Ending

The most important of these additions has been Prismatic Ending. While Miracles can handle creatures with Swords to Plowshares and Terminus, it has historically struggled with non-creature permanents. Cards like Aether Vial, Chalice of the Void, Sylvan Library and Liliana, the Last Hope have always been major issues for the deck, as they often could not be dealt with at all if resolved – especially in pre-board games. Prismatic Ending is now an efficient maindeck answer to all of these types of cards, while also being a cheap removal against creature decks like Delver and Elves.

Another important addition: Abundant Harvest

The second most important addition for this deck has been Abundant Harvest. Although many people may opt for Endurance for this spot, I believe that Abundant Harvest unassumingly fixes a lot of the mana issues that I previously mentioned. Although it’s not a mana-fixer like Astrolabe is, the card essentially allows you to play more lands for “free”, as it can guarantee a land drop against Wasteland and Rishadan Port decks, essentially providing you with 22 mana sources in the maindeck, while it can also guarantee to be a non-land spell in other matchups.

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The final key card: Endurance

The final key card for the deck is Endurance. A lot has been discussed about this card already, but I do want to stress just how flexible this card is. Recently, I had a match against Green-White Depths where my opponent made a Marit Lage token with a Sylvan Safekeeper in play and over seven lands. Unfortunately, my list at the time only played one Terminus, and the rest of my removal was targeted. However, with a Sylvan Library and Jace, the Mind Sculptor in play already, I was able to use a pair of Endurances to essentially keep looping the same cards (Ice-Fang Coatls and the other copy of Endurance) to survive multiple Marit Lage attacks until I was able to find my one-of Terminus and close out the game.

Is Endurance actually overrated?

That being said, I also do think that Endurance is slightly overrated at the moment. It is excellent against Delver, but the deck’s popularity has slightly decreased over the past few weeks. Although it is serviceable even in matchups that don’t interact with their graveyard, it is ultimately a three mana 3/4, and I can definitely see myself not playing any copies of the card if the metagame changes. In fact, Yuta Takahashi recently made the Top 8 of the Legacy Challenge on Magic Online with zero copies of the card in his Bant Miracles maindeck. As the metagame currently stands, I would play two to three copies of the card, but I don’t consider it to be a “must-play” like Prismatic Ending and Abundant Harvest.

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Bant Miracles

Zen Takahashi, July 2021

Creatures

3 Ice-Fang Coatl
3 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
2 Endurance

Spells

1 Shark Typhoon
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Narset, Parter of Veils
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
3 Abundant Harvest
2 Sylvan Library
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Prismatic Ending
2 Terminus
4 Force of Will
3 Force of Negation

Lands

4 Misty Rainforest
3 Flooded Strand
2 Prismatic Vista
2 Tropical Island
1 Savannah 
1 Tundra
3 Snow-Covered Island
2 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Snow-Covered Plains

Sideboard

3 Carpet of Flowers
2 Veil of Summer
2 Back to Basics
2 Hullbreacher
1 Flusterstorm
1 Ethersworn Canonist 
1 Endurance
1 Force of Vigor
1 Terminus
1 Engineered Explosives

The above list is my current version of the deck. It is fairly close to the stock version, and closely resembles AnziD’s list, as I have been watching a lot of his streams and learning from his mastery. If you want to learn more about playing this deck, I highly recommend checking out his streams, as he goes over his gameplay and sideboarding in great detail, while also just being highly entertaining to watch.

Key differences in my list

The key differences between my list and the stock version is the one-of Shark Typhoon and playing no Carpet of Flowers in the maindeck. Shark Typhoon is a personal favourite of mine, and I will almost always play at least one in my maindeck of any Miracles list.

The card can single handedly win games on its own, and is one of the better threats in matchups like Death and Taxes, Lands and the mirror. In matchups where it is clunky, you can easily cycle it away or pitch it to a Force. I especially like it against decks with Karakas, as often the legendary land is problematic as it stops Uro, which is our primary win-con. This card has stolen enough games for me to know I should never leave home without it.

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Other noteworthy choices

The other noteworthy maindeck choice is the lack of Carpet of Flowers. I think that it is fine to play one online where a large portion of the field are fair blue decks, but in real life there’s always fewer blue decks. Instead I’ve opted to play a Savannah as the 19th land in the deck.

My sideboard is also fairly stock. I like playing a pair of Back to Basics as I think the card is well positioned at the moment – it is good against Urza’s Saga decks and Green-White Depths has increasingly become more popular as it gained Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth from the new set. I am also not playing any Containment Priest as I just do not think the card is good. I’ve never liked it, and now that we have Prismatic Ending to deal with Aether Vial and Endurance against Reanimator, I am even less interested in playing the card.

How is the deck positioned in the metagame?

As for the deck’s positioning in the metagame, I believe it’s currently in a peculiar position. It has a good matchup against the boogeyman of the format, Blue-Red Delver, and its matchup against decks like Death and Taxes and Moon Red Stompy have improved with the printing of Prismatic Ending, which helps deal with some of the more problematic cards (Aether Vial, Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere). The deck is also well positioned against Green-White Depths, which has become one of the premier non-blue decks of the format.

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Problematic new Modern Horizons 2 cards

However, the printing of Urza’s Saga has been problematic for the deck. Bant Miracles has limited ways to interact with lands, and Retrofitter’s Foundry being the primary target for many decks means that the land often single handedly presents three threats, which Bant struggles to keep up with. If Urza’s Saga decks continue to be popular, Dress Down is a decent addition to the deck, as it also interacts well with your own Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath.

Sideboard Guide

Below is how I sideboard against the more popular decks in the format at the moment. However, take the guide with a grain of salt, as specific card choices in your opponent’s lists and/or their playstyle will influence how you should be sideboarding.

Delver

+3 Carpet of Flowers
+1 Endurance
+1 Terminus
+1 Engineered Explosives
+1 Veil of Summer (vs Blue-Red only)
+2 Back to Basics (vs RUG/Sultai only)

-3 Force of Negation
-2 Sylvan Library
-1 Narset, Parter of Veils
-1 Force of Will (2 vs RUG/Sultai)

  • You want to make sure you’re hitting your land drops every turn to make their Wastelands and Dazes redundant. I’m happier to keep a land heavy hand than a land light hand.

  • You generally want to use Endurance on them as you want to keep them off Delirium and casting Murktide Regent. In addition, you also want to keep your graveyard stocked as casting Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath in a timely manner is key in this matchup.

  • Be careful of a dashed in Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. Due to their Force of Negation, I generally cast my Swords to Plowshares on my opponent’s upkeep to play around it, but with the printing of the one-drop monkey, I often hold it until combat.

Bant Miracles (Mirror)

+3 Carpet of Flowers
+2 Veil of Summer
+2 Hullbreacher
+1 Flusterstorm
+1 Endurance

-3 Abundant Harvest
-2 Swords to Plowshares
-2 Terminus
-1 Force of Will
-1 Snow-Covered Plains

  • Card advantage is key in the mirror match. Due to this, I actually prefer Force of Negation to Force of Will, as it is easier to hard cast.

  • Playing with Endurance can be tricky in the mirror, as who you target with it will depend on the context of the game. You’ll often target your opponent to keep them off Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, but as the game goes longer, you may want to target yourself to shuffle in your key cards. Games go long and your graveyard will likely get shuffled in at some point (either by their Endurance or your own), so be aware of what you exile with Uro.

  • Depending on a given player’s draw, sometimes they may go for a tempo-based approach as they try to chain together creatures and apply some pressure. I generally don’t think this approach is good, but if a player has a creature-heavy hand, they may have no choice but to get aggressive.

Death and Taxes

+2 Back to Basics
+1 Endurance
+1 Force of Vigor
+1 Terminus
+1 Engineered Explosives

-3 Force of Negation
-1 Sylvan Library
-1 Narset, Parter of Veils
-1 Force of Will

  • Generally, you want to fetch basic lands to protect yourself from Wasteland, and in post-board games, you own Back to Basics. However, fetching just basics can leave you vulnerable to Rishadan Port – you usually need two white sources in play to miracle a Terminus through a Port.

  • In post-board games, it is important to hold up a counterspell for Cataclysm and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, as those are their primary trump cards.

  • Be aware of the combination of Aether Vial and Flickerwisp when you’re casting your removal spells. Aether Vial is their key card and you should deal with it in any way you can.

Elves

+2 Hullbreacher
+1 Flusterstorm
+1 Ethersworn Canonist
+1 Terminus
+1 Engineered Explosives

-3 Abundant Harvest
-2 Endurance
-1 Shark Typhoon

Mono Green Cloudpost

+2 Back to Basics
+1 Endurance

-2 Terminus
-1 Abundant Harvest

  • This is one of the deck’s worst matchups and is nearly unwinnable, especially in pre-board games. In post-board games, you have a chance to steal a win with Back to Basics, but they usually sideboard in Krosan Grip for it.

  • Although it may sound obvious, the key is to do everything you can to keep them off Cloudpost. This means you have to aggressively counter cards like Expedition Map and Crop Rotation. You basically want to keep them off any ways of finding Cloudpost or Eye of Ugin.

  • You also need to apply pressure to have a chance in this matchup. This could be through having multiple creatures in play and applying a clock, or fatesealing them with Jace, the Mind Sculptor. This is why I bring in the Endurance in this matchup – just as a body that can attack and apply pressure.

Doomsday

+3 Carpet of Flowers
+2 Veil of Summer
+2 Hullbreacher
+1 Flusterstorm
+1 Ethersworn Canonist
+1 Endurance

-4 Swords to Plowshares
-3 Prismatic Ending
-2 Terminus
-1 Snow-Covered Plains

Lands

+2 Back to Basics
+1 Endurance
+1 Force of Vigor

-2 Terminus
-1 Swords to Plowshares
-1 Narset, Parter of Veils

Mono Red Prison

+1 Endurance
+1 Force of Vigor
+1 Engineered Explosives

-2 Abundant Harvest
-1 Narset, Parter of Veils

  • Currently, the creature-heavy version is the more popular version of the deck, and the above is how I would sideboard against them. If you are up against the more traditional build with Karn, the Great Creator, you’d likely want to shave the Terminuses.

  • Prismatic Ending is your best answer against their permanents, and you want to hold it for Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere (although both of these cards you should try to counter if you can, as dealing with a resolved copy is annoying enough). Their creatures can generally be handled with your other removal, and none of their creatures are big enough to get through Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath.

  • Fireflux Squad is one of their best creatures and can single-handedly turn around the game. Since it has haste, try to hold up an instant speed answer for it.

The Epic Storm

+2 Veil of Summer
+2 Hullbreacher
+1 Flusterstorm
+1 Ethersworn Canonist
+1 Endurance

-4 Swords to Plowshares
-2 Terminus
-1 Abundant Harvest

Reanimator

+2 Veil of Summer
+2 Hullbreacher
+1 Flusterstorm
+1 Ethersworn Canonist
+1 Endurance

-3 Prismatic Ending
-2 Terminus
-1 Swords to Plowshares
-1 Abundant Harvest

  • With the printing of Endurance, we now have maindeck, instant-speed graveyard hate against them. With thirteen green cards in the maindeck, we can also evoke it in a pinch.

  • The exact sideboard configuration will depend on their list. If they play cards like Grave Titan, you may want to keep in Terminus, while if they play Archetype of Endurance, you may want to board out more copies of Swords to Plowshares.

  • I am not sure about boarding out Abundant Harvest. You generally want to be prioritizing your blue cantrip spells early to find counterspells, which makes Harvest worse, but you may also want to keep it in just to keep your green card count high for Endurance. Possibly it is better to sideboard out the Snow-Covered Plains.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my first article for Three for One Trading, as I covered the history and current positioning of my favourite deck in Legacy at the moment – Bant Miracles! This is my current frontrunner choice for the Eternal Masters event happening in Melbourne, Australia at the end of this month, and I plan to continue tweaking the list over the next few weeks.

My next article will likely be in August, where I will cover the details of the Eternal Masters event. Until then, feel free to message me on Twitter if you have any questions or thoughts about this article!

Till next time!

Zen Takahashi

@mtgzen on Twitter 

Creatures

(5)
Ice-Fang Coatl
Snapcaster Mage

Spells

(35)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Oko, Thief of Crowns
Teferi, Time Raveler
Arcum's Astrolabe
Brainstorm
Counterspell
Entreat the Angels
Force of Negation
Force of Will
Ponder
Swords to Plowshares
Terminus
Veil of Summer