Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Helix
Hello again Dear Readers.
As some of you may know, I won the last Nerd Rage Gaming Modern CT with Jeskai Miracles. It’s because of this accomplishment that I am proud to say I still hold the title of “Last Miracle Player Standing,” one I have gladly held since my top 8 with Miracles in Legacy just before Sensei’s Diving Top was banned.
Today’s article will be a hybrid tournament report and deck tech, so here we go!
Why did you decide to play Jeskai over straight UW Miracles?
After I looking through some random lists on MTGGoldfish I came across Mark Herberholz’s list on StarCityGames.com and I immediately fell in love.
For those of you who do not know who Herberholtz (commonly known as Heezy) is, he was an old school pro from way back when. He recently qualified for the Pro Tour with the above list.
I took the list, played an FNM and a league with it, and then quickly realized that Academy Ruins and Torrential Gearhulk are way too cute. Heezy’s logic was that these cards were for the mirror. He did note that these cards were flex slots. So I cut them and slotted in a Disenchant and Surgical Extraction, then I headed back to FNM.
FNM went well, but I noticed that the deck didn’t have a lot of spot removal or life gain. I then played a PPTQ with the same 75 and went X-3. My losses were Burn, Tron, and Hardened Sales Affinity. Going into the Burn matchup, I knew it would be an uphill battle, and boy was I wrong – it was like trying to climb up a mountain with your hands tied behind your back.
An important thing to note: I played against Tron 4 times in these 2 events and every time I played against the deck, with the exception of when my opponent resolved an Emrakul, the Promised End, I beat it quite handily. With all of its land destruction spells this deck can do a good job keeping them off of Tron.
Then I came across this list from Brian DeMars on Channel Fireball:
For many years I have been known as the ‘Jeskguy’. I have played this particular wedge, off and on, since Modern became a format. This list fixed all of the problems that had me hesitant about UW.
However, given my experience with the archetype, I knew there were a few changes I wanted to make.
When I looked at the board I thought the Alpine Moons were alright, but I think between our Field of Ruins and Damping Spheres we’d be fine against Tron. So I cut those for a Surgical Extraction and a Settle the Wreckage. I knew I didn’t want a 4th Helix so I cut that for the 2nd Negate. I am not sure what situations we would get into where Abrade is better than Wear//Tear, but I think it is much better to be able to kill enchantments than to occasionally be able to kill a creature, something that our deck does very well already. Finally I cut a 3rd Stony Silence and replaced it with a Ceremonious Rejection, mainly for the Tron and KCI matchups.
Here’s the 75 I played in the event:
Before the event started, Mat Bimonte, one of our amazing commentators, came over and asked me, “Please say you aren’t playing UW.” I told him sort of and showed him my Bolts, though I did neglect to mention I was also playing Lightning Helix (but he would see those soon enough.)
My tournament went as follows:
R1: Eric Dusik on Bogles – Win
R2: (Can’t remember) on Humans – Win
R3: Charles Martin on Burn – Loss
R4: Colin Sala on ? – Win
R5: Joshua Dodson on Tron – Win
R6: (I do not remember anything about this round, oops) – W
R7: Draw with Alex Javed
Quarters: Alex Javed on Robots (Affinity, whatever you want to call it) – Win
Semis: Jack Julian on Bogles – Win
Finals: Russell Wilson on Humans – Win
Overall I think the deck felt extremely powerful. I won some matches entirely off of one miracled Terminus.
The most exciting thing from the event was beating Bogles twice. It was really an achievement for me. Especially playing Jeskai control, but again Terminus is one heck of a magic card.
I am writing this on the eve of the release of Guilds of Ravnica. I am still not sure how this set is going to effect Modern as a format. The obvious frontrunner is Assassin’s Trophy. If that card brings new life to the GBx decks that have been around for pretty much all of Modern’s existence then this deck might need to play additional ways to interact with the new powerful instant. Cards like Spell Snare and Dispel will most certainly be on the rise. Or we could see an uptick in cards with hexproof or indestructible like Keranos, God of Storms to combat a new, more removal heavy Modern. As it stands I think the deck might need to play a few more copies of its essential planeswalkers to make up for the fact that your GBx opponents will be playing more ways to interact with them.
As for me, I think I will be spending my next few Modern events believing in Miracles.
Alexander Hamilton is a grinder from Chicago who is well-known for his love of Legacy. However, if there is a competitive event in any format in the Chicagoland area, expect him to be there playing Magic and making terrible puns, and not necessarily in that order.