I love when the last set of a block is continually being discovered even late in a Standard season. There are many new questions constantly being asked in the community and lots of new decks strategies are being put to the test. Speaking of putting new decks to the test, two weekends ago I played an Esper Miracle brew at the PTQ in Ottawa. Doug Potter sent me the list via Facebook a couple days prior to the event wondering if he himself should play it or not in Alberta the same weekend. The deck looked like so much fun that I actually put down my Huntmasters and sleeved up what turned out to be a very promising deck idea. Hurray for new decks! I ended up making a couple changes. Meanwhile Steve Tomik was already in bed mumbling and completely passed out at Kyle Ryc’s place in Ottawa on the eve of the PTQ. I didn’t get to bed myself until 2:30am but was happy and ready to battle in the morning. I love playing brews 🙂

Alexandre Hayne – “Noah you are the Conley Woods of Team Manadeprived”

I take pride knowing where I came from 🙂

I started out 0-1 and immediately discarded the deck. I should really just listen to my teammates and play real decks… I lost to a Sun Titan deck piloted by good friend Jonathan Bently and never felt like I did anything relevant. I can’t remember how many times I kept repeating over and over, “I hate my deck,” to Tomik the whole day regardless of my record after that round.

To my surprise, with a couple Miracles here and a couple good match ups later, I found myself 5-1 playing for top 8 against another good match up. After some bad luck and poor draws, I lost to Jon Stern, the eventual winner playing RG Aggro. I then lost to Eugene Ho in the last round playing Naya Pod which was mainly due to my deck not being tuned well enough to handle the vast Standard meta.

The past couple weeks since that PTQ I’ve been playing around with the Miracle deck and have been putting up some very solid numbers on MTGO with my updated list. I’ll post the list after this weekend as I’m planning on running it at least for the WMCQ. A list I will show you guys is a list I’m still working on but have enough information to start a solid testing session when I get the time:

I feel the deck really gains ground in Standard at the moment due to the increase in control decks and the decreasing number of Timely Reinforcements. Sword of War and Peace is the only true enemy to this deck with Huntmaster taking second seed. A red deck is the right hands can still win tournaments. I know it! Here’s a proposed sideboarding strategy for your testing:

VAPOR SNAG (Delver varients)

IN: 4 Bonfire of the Damned, 1 Ancient Grudge, 1 Act of Aggression

OUT: 4 Chandra’s Phoenix, 1 Archwing Dragon, 1 Stormblood Berserker


Keep them off Sword of War and Peace while progressing your game plan. Bonfire is exceptionally effective at combating Lingering Souls and Timely Reinforcements and also deals with troublesome creatures like Invisible Stalker and Geist of Saint Traft. After sideboard, the deck gains more ground against Vapor Snag as it trims down on some of the less efficient creatures.


IN: 4 Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded, 2 Act of Aggression, 1 Manabarbs, 1 Ancient Grudge

OUT: 2 Goblin Fireslinger, 2 Stormblood Berserker, 4 Gut Shot


Huntmaster, Batterskull and possibly Tree of Redemption seem to be the only real threats besides Glimmerpost. Remember the trick you can do with Act of Aggression against Huntmaster. If a Wolf Run player passes the turn to try and flip a Huntmaster, target the werewolf with Act of Aggression in response to the trigger. After your Act resolves, the Huntmaster then flips, shock one of your opponents creatures and him, and is then ready to attack for you as a 4/4 Trample, Haste until the end of your turn. This is one of the main plays against most Huntmaster decks, so please remember as Huntmaster can get out of hand if left unchecked. Slagstorm has less of an impact after sideboard since the deck boards out the less exciting early drops.

SUN TITAN (Solar Flare)

IN: 4 Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded, 4 Bonfire of the Damned, 1 Manabarbs
OUT: 4 Gut Shot, 4 Pillar of Flame, 1 Ancient Grudge


Scary cards are Timely Reinforcements, Lingering Souls, maybe Batterskull and Sun Titan chaining into more Sun Titans (hopefully it doesn’t get that far.) This match up is fairly simple, Tibalt and Shrine do most of the work, and if left unanswered, the red deck usually comes out on top. Also, never play around counter magic because Solar Flare will take over the game the more time you give them. Besides, most Sun Titan decks now a days aren’t even running counters main deck.


IN: 4 Bonfire of the Damned, 1 Ancient Grudge, 1 Act of Aggression

OUT: 4 Stromkirk Noble, 2 Stormblood Berserker


Scary cards are Huntmaster and Sword of War and Peace. It’s basically deal or die and is probably this deck’s hardest match up. Stromkirk Nobles come out due to Llanowar Elves/Avacyn’s Pilgrim being able to block turn 1 and Strangleroot Geist being able to block turn two for value. Stormblood Berserkers come out due to the lack of 1 drops which help enable Bloodthirst.

The Dismembers are mainly there to combat any fringe decks with creatures too big to kill with the burn spells. Mainly Humans and potentially Pod come to mind if they are also packing Hero and Restoration Angel. Dismember also kills Phyrexian Crusader for what it’s worth.

Overall I like what this list is trying to do. I’m not 100% on some of the numbers yet so if you want to pick this up remember that it’s mainly based on theory and my experience with RDW at Worlds 2011. I strongly recommend playing test games against the meta to get a feel for the match ups and discover any important interactions. RDW is a game of math and every point of damage counts!!!


Next week I promise to post my Standard Miracle list after I battle with it this weekend. I’m also going to go into further detail on the above Legacy Miracle list and why Counterbalance is actually really good right now.

May all your games be filled with glee, wishing you all a wonderful GG!

Cya in Toronto,