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I ain’t seen no miracles

April 10, 2012

The spoilers for Avacyn Restored, with the prerelease scheduled to the weekend of 28-29 April, has started to leak and probably the most buzzed thing of the new set so far is the new mechanic called “Miracle”. As I’m writing this there have been only a couple of cards with miracle spoiled but the by far most eyebrow raising card yet is easily Temporal Mastery:

Yes, that is literary a Time Walk if you can cast it of it’s Miracle cost and thus it’s not hard to understand why people get their juices flowing while looking at this card.

The question however is how good will the Miracle-mechanic actually be? I mean, it seem pretty busted for a format like Legacy where you have superb cards to set them up, like Brainstorm, Sensei’s Divining Top, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Personal Tutor and more. But I’m leaving that discussion to players more experience with Legacy and instead I’m judging the mechanic for more sane formats, like Standard.

I actually tweeted my first impression of Temporal Mastery and the mechanic as a whole:

On the first glance, the mechanic seems very Cascade-like in the sense that they will sometimes be just about the biggest blowout ever but sometimes they will feel like over costed blanks essentially.

I think I can safely speak for everyone who was playing Magic during the Cascade-era of Standard and say that those weren’t the best of days of playing the format. Games that involved cards with Cascade were usaully very swingy and hard to predict as the various outcomes of the Cascade-triggers could easily single handily turn games up-side-down by their own in a nick of time. So with this in mind, having a mechanic resembling Cascade is going to turn on some warning lights in people’s mind.

However, after giving the mechanic and the card spoiled so far some thought I have decided that they look more similar to the Leyline-cycle to me…at least how they function. They are somewhere between good to great if you can cast them for their alternative casting cost (that would be putting them into play before turn 1 in the case of the Leylines) but at the same time they are at best okay to cast if you actually have to play them for their legit price.

The Leyline-cycle has proved to be in general too situational to be actually good for Constructed play and if they are anything like the Leylines, we can assume that a similar pattern for the Miracle-cards.

My initial verdict for the Miracle-cards for Standard (and some extent Block Constructed and Modern) is that they will see some amount of play but probably only in the decks that actually can legitimately cast them (and are fine with doing so) for their real casting cost. I don’t believe in these Faithless Looting/Noxious Revival-brews I have seen people murmuring about. I think one should look at the Miracle-mechanic as a nice perk rather than the main casting method.

As far as the “busted”-murmuring goes, I don’t know how busted the Miracle-mechanic is going to be in Legacy, that I can only fantasized about for the moment. In the smaller format like Standard, I think its going to be alright. I don’t think it will cause that much trouble actually in the smaller formats and at worst they are going to be the cause of some spectacular top decks. And sure, while we hate getting top decked out of a game ourselves, there a few moments in Magics history more remembered than say Nassif calling out Cruel Ultimatum of the top at PT Kyoto 2009 or Craig Jones 16k$ Lightning Helix in PT Honolulu 2006.

“Exciting” I believe is the proper word to describe the Miracle-mechanic.

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