So Avacyn Restored has given us a pair of wonderful sweepers for control decks.
And they’re both miracles! *o*
The best part about both of these sweepers is they they don’t kill (see: destroy) anything ^o^ This is especially relevant in today’s Standard because of the plethora of undying creatures and graveyard shenanigans.
Of course, Terminus and Devastation Tide are not exactly the same cards.
The white miracle puts only creatures on the bottom of the library, which is arguably the hardest place to retrieve anything in Magic these days. This allows Terminus to be one of the most effective sweepers in Standard (and it combos really well with Cellar Door too! ok don’t seriously consider that interaction please)
The blue miracle, on the other hand, returns all nonland permanents back to their owner’s hands. Sure, returning stuff to the hand is among the most non-permanent removal of its kind, but what it does is buy youtime, which is what sweepers are for in control decks, anyway.
Devastation Tide’s added versatility is both a strength and weakness, as you can sweep everything, but your stuff (like planeswalkers) will be returned as well. But even then, you can set it up to gain an advantage such utilizing enters the battlefield abilities or even to reset your planeswalkers :D
The fact that these two sweepers are also miracles make them very good considerations as four-ofs in control decks (after sideboard). You can still use them in the early game if you draw them.
Miracles often have the downside of costing a lot to hardcast, but these sweepers are actually fairly reasonable at their costs.
Terminus costs 4WW, and six mana is not unheard of for a near-unconditional sweeper. The wide gap between the six mana and its one mana miracle cost also makes it fairly simple to evaluate.
Devastation Tide, on the other hand, costs one mana cheaper to hardcast but also one mana more to cast as a miracle. This means that there might be times where it would be correct to wait on casting the blue miracle for 3UU instead of snap casting it for 1U once you draw it, letting your opponent commit more to the board so you snag more of their tempo (while leaving mana up for your instants, like counterspells, on turn 3)
The number of decisions that increase after just a small differences in their mana costs are enough to show that there isn’t barely enough understanding on how to properly evaluate how and when to cast miracle spells.
Deckbuilding would also be a challenge when taking miracles into consideration. I initially thought to think of the miracles in terms of their hardcast costs and to just consider the miracle costs as nice, situational bonuses, but the opportunity to cast the spells for cheap isn’t something that I think should be just left up to luck.
Building the deck around trying to cast the miracles just for their miracle costs, however, seems to be a risky and inconsistent at best, especially since we don’t have anything like Brainstorm in Standard to fix our draws.
I guess I’ll just have to wait until I actually have the cards in my hands and get to shuffle and play a few games with them to actually figure out how they perform in real life.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in deckbuilding for so many years its that theorycrafting can only get you so far, and sometimes, something that looks horribly clunky on paper works like a well-oiled machine *_*;
Looking at Terminus and Devastation Tide, though, I realize that they share miracle costs with other miracle cards in their color;
Are these just coincidences? Just my brain playing tricks on me while it tries to find and/or complete patterns? Regardless, I think that having a the same miracle cost is not irrelevant to deckbuilding with miracles in mind.
Take the blue miracles for example, if I have both Devastation Tide and Temporal Mastery in the same deck, I would make sure to tune my manabase to be able to consistently produce 1U on turn 3.
Aside from deckbuilding, card drawing considerations also come into play, as any instant speed card drawing becomes immediately tacked with the possibility of having “Kicker: 1U - Temporal Mastery or Devastation Tide”.
This fact alone might influence when I actually plan to cast my card drawing spells, which consequently helps me decide how many of said card drawing spells would I want in my deck.
For now, I foresee playing spells like Think Twice to refill my hand only in the later stages of the game, when I have more mana up to get incidental value off my miracle cards (as opposed to something to do on turns 2 and 3 when my opponent doesn’t play anything worth bothering about - which I think is highly unlikely, especially in the early stages of post-Avacyn Restored Standard)
..rereading the above paragraphs, it does make the Miracle mechanic seem more linear, like Cascade.. but instead of the spells themselves, all your instant speed card drawing are the ones that ‘have’ “cascade”.. A deck full of miracles would be a nice place to have Desolated Lighthouse.. *_*
However, even with the whole set spoiled, I don’t see how a deck full of miracles would be a good, or even consistent deck.. @_@
So anyways, which do I think is the most powerful miracle sweeper from Avacyn Restored? My answer might surprise you :D
This has a lot to do with the control deck I have in mind.. which I might post a decklist of after writing a few more review articles ^^
Bonfire is a windmill slam pick in Limited though, no matter what color you’re in! Just slam it. SLAM IT! then put a mountain in your deck and prepare to get some sick wins ^__^