Fate is a Strong Word

Posted in From the Lab on March 12, 2014

By Mike Cannon

Mike Cannon started writing From the Lab at the end of 2012 after two years with GatheringMagic. He is an ardent casual player and loves finding uses for bad cards.

Hello. Come, have a seat. I've been expecting you. Yes, you. You may think you came here on a whim, but this moment was foretold long ago. You see, it is my destiny to help you in your quest, just as it was yours to find me here. What do you mean? Just because you don't know about your quest doesn't mean you aren't on one. The thread of your life is interwoven with all those around you, and you can no more change your path than you could extract a single thread from the middle of a tapestry.

You will need weapons for the battles ahead. Not the plain, ordinary weapons you have grown used to, but tools of arcane magic, mysterious and mercurial. I have prepared two such weapons, but you may only take one. The choice I must leave to you.

The first weapon is this mirror. Perplexing in design and unfathomable in function, it can be a powerful tool for those who can see its true purpose.

  • Throwing Stones, Breaking Mirrors

Mirror of Fate is one of the strangest cards in recent memory, allowing you to get cards back from the one zone you don't usually get things back from in exchange for exiling your library. Not a particularly useful effect on its own, but with the right help it can do some amazing things.

The first card I latched upon was Demonic Consultation. By naming a card that's not in your library, you can simply exile the whole thing for one mana. After, that you could activate Mirror of Fate to put whatever cards you want in your now-tiny library.

Then it occurred to me that Mirror of Fate already exiles your library. If you had two Mirrors, you could use one to exile your library in exchange for nothing, then activate the second to exchange nothing for whatever you want.

Fortunately, you don't actually need two Mirrors to do this. Rings of Brighthearth can copy the ability when you activate it, and since you don't choose what cards you're returning from exile until the ability resolves, the second copy of the ability will be able to return whatever you want from the cards exiled by the first copy.

Now the only question is what to bring back. Unfortunately, the cards go on top of your library rather than in your hand, so you'll be drawing them one at a time unless you do something about it. The card I wanted to use is Thrumming Stone. Often found in Relentless Rats decks, Thrumming Stone gives all your cards Ripple, an effect that's great for limited, but not so good once sixty card decks and four card limits enter the picture.

[card]Rings of Brighthearth[/card] [card]Thrumming Stone[/card]

With Mirror of Fate, however, you can ensure ripple hits all three other copies of the spell, letting you cast all of them for free. What should you cast, though? Lava Axe would work, dealing 20 damage all together. Traumatize or Glimpse the Unthinkable would leave your opponent with only a few cards in his or her library. Laboratory Maniac would leave you with four creatures that would win you the game the next time you draw a card, but I just used the Maniac last week.

In the end, I decided to once again abuse the small library size with Stomping Slabs. Cast one copy, and it will ripple into the others. Choose not to cast one of them, leaving it on the bottom of your library. The three other copies will reveal it, dealing a total of 21 damage to your opponent.

Since this combo is based on three artifacts, blue seemed like the way to go. Fabricate can put any of the pieces in your hand, and Tezzeret can put them straight onto the battlefield if he has enough counters. If not, I'll include some artifact lands so he can do his best Garruk Wildspeaker impression.

[card]Stomping Slabs[/card] [card]Tezzeret the Seeker[/card]

Reshape also takes advantage of the artifact lands, letting you sacrifice them to search up one of your combo pieces. Finally, I'll include an assortment of counterspells to keep the pressure off while you get things together.

The Mirror

Download Arena Decklist


The other weapon you may choose is an orb. Glittering and mysterious, it floats above the ground, humming with strange power. The orb will not help you. It has no allegiance, it simply is. However, you may use even this to your advantage, if you are wise.

  • What's Untap?

Mesmeric Orb is one of the most powerful tools in existence for mill decks. For only two mana, it can easily dump half a dozen cards into your opponent's graveyard every turn. Of course, it mills you as well, but that's not always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes it can be very good.

Aphetto Alchemist was featured in my very first article here on DailyMTG, previewing Illusionist's Bracers for Gatecrash. Here, it serves a different function. Rather than being used to endlessly untap other things, it and Fatestitcher simply tap and untap themselves.

Each time you untap Fatestitcher, Mesmeric Orb will put a card into your graveyard from the top of your library. By repeating this, you can easily put your entire deck into your graveyard. This is another spot where Laboratory Maniac would work, but why not do something a little more interesting? With your whole deck in your graveyard, you can cast Mystic Retrieval for its flashback cost to return an instant or sorcery from your graveyard to your hand.

[card]Fatestitcher[/card] [card]Mystic Retrieval[/card]

If the card you return is Psychic Spiral, then not only to you get your deck back, your opponent will be forced into the position you just escaped. With Mesmeric Orb milling your opponent as well, it's unlikely he or she will have more cards left in his or her library than you had in your graveyard.

Wake Thrasher also triggers whenever something becomes untapped, giving you an arbitrarily large attacker to win with if the mill plan isn't working. Judge of Currents is another card that cares about things untapping, but in this case it's only concerned with Merfolk. Fortunately, Xenograft can make all your creatures Merfolk, turning the Judge into an endless lifegaining machine.

[card]Psychic Spiral[/card] [card]Wake Thrasher[/card]

Counterspell stops your opponent from messing with your plans, and Telling Time helps you put them together in the first place. Muddle the Mixture does a little of both, with transmute allowing you to search for Aphetto Alchemist, Mesmeric Orb, and Judge of Currents.

The Orb

Download Arena Decklist

  • The Choice

I can see the indecision in your eyes, but a choice must be made. Only one weapon can guide you to victory in the coming trials. Although the battle rages on in your heart, the outcome is already certain. Fate has guided you this far, and it will not abandon you now.

Game 1

The Mirror won the roll, and both sides played lands for the first few turns. The Orb cast Telling Time at the end of The Mirror's third turn, then untapped and cast Judge of Currents before passing the turn. The Mirror played a land and passed back.

The Orb cast Mesmeric Orb and The Mirror cast Dissolve to counter it. However, The Orb had a Counterspell to push the spell through. Mirror of Fate hit the battlefield, and The Orb cast Telling Time to dig for an untapping creature.

The Mirror cast Thrumming Stone, but Counterspell stopped it in its tracks. The Orb transmuted Muddle the Mixture for Aphetto Alchemist, casting the creature before passing the turn.

The Mirror cast Reshape, sacrificing Seat of the Synod to get Rings of Brighthearth. However, with Mesmeric Orb on the battlefield, activating the Mirror would have to wait until there were fewer tapped permanents. With only two or three lands tapped, The Mirror could get a few filler cards to be put into the graveyard with Mesmeric Orb, but that meant waiting another turn.

Unfortunately for The Mirror, it wouldn't get another turn. The Orb milled its entire library with Aphetto Alchemist, then cast Psychic Spiral from hand to win the game.

Game 2

Each side played a land to start the game, then Mesmeric Orb was cast on turn two. Mana Leak countered the all-important spell, and The Mirror played a land and passed the turn. The Orb cast Aphetto Alchemist, and The Mirror countered that with Dissolve.

The Mirror cast Fabricate, getting Rings of Brighthearth, and passed the turn. The Orb cast a second Aphetto Alchemist and passed back. Mirror of Fate hit the board, and Mesmeric Orb came down on the other side.

The Mirror cast Rings of Brighthearth, but The Orb met it with Counterspell. The Orb milled cards from its library until it hit both Psychic Spiral and Mystic Retrieval, leaving only one card left. Mystic Retrieval brought back the Spiral, but at five mana it would have to wait one more turn.

The Mirror cast Tezzeret the Seeker and put Rings of Brighthearth onto the battlefield, but also fell short of going off that turn. Armed with a Psychic Spiral in hand, The Orb milled nearly fifty cards on its turn, getting rid of the Mirror's entire deck.

  • Fulfill Your Destiny

The choice is made. It shall be the Orb that you carry with you on your journey. You must go now. Your quest awaits you, whether you realize it or not. Although I must leave for now, my part in this is not yet over. I have many more tools that may help you through your trials, and I will reveal them to you in due time. For now, take solace in the fact that the gods have a greater purpose in store for you. You may not see it yet, but in time, you shall become a true hero of Theros.


Mike CannonMike Cannon
Email MikeAuthor Archive
From the Lab Archive

Mike Cannon signed on to write From the Lab at the end of 2012. An ardent casual player and lover of bizarre synergies, he'll be bringing you a selection of crazy combo decks every Wednesday.

Latest From the Lab Articles


June 1, 2015

A Long Story by, Mike Cannon

Hello, Labbies! Welcome to a very special edition of From the Lab. In honor of the upcoming set, Magic Origins, we here at DailyMTG are using this week to tell some of our own origin stor...

Learn More

From the Lab

May 18, 2015

An Odder Modern by, Mike Cannon

Welcome, laboratorians! It's Modern Week here on DailyMTG, and that means I'll be doing things a little differently than normal. While my articles usually focus on casual play, today I'll...

Learn More



From the Lab Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All