Deck Tech: Miracles with Marcus Ewaldh

Posted in GRAND PRIX PRAGUE 2016 on June 11, 2016

By Olle Rade

If there's one format where you can have a good hunch of what your opponent is playing it's Legacy. Players of the non-rotating format seem to stick to their guns and for good reason: knowing all the ins and outs of your deck is often more important than breaking the metagame with new brews that you haven't had the time to tune to perfection. Certain players are also associated with certain archetypes. Whether it's Thomas Enevoldsen with Death and Taxes or Jonathan Anghelescu with Sneak and Show, one could almost bet that they were running the decks they are famous for this weekend in Prague.

A player that hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but silently has been doing well both online and within the Swedish and Danish Legacy scene was 33-year-old Marcus Ewaldh. For ten years he has been playing Legacy with the same type of strategy, Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top, most recently in the archetype we've come to know as Miracles.

"I've played the deck for as long as I've played Legacy. But before the printing of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and miracle cards like Terminus and Entreat the Angels, it was a completely different deck," said the Swedish Miracles expert.

Marcus Ewaldh

According to Ewaldh, the archetype had always been one of the top decks in the format, although it struggled against decks based on Survival of the Fittest, before that card was banned from play. He explained that the deck was probably at the top of its game right now, both based on it's own strength but also because of how the Legacy metagame evolved.

"The new Eldrazi deck has pushed combo decks like Ad Nauseum/Tendrils out of the format, which has made it more of a grindy format. This is perfect for Miracles, because it is good both against the other grindy decks, and the decks trying to beat them," he said.

It comes as no surprise then that Ewaldh has been racking up victories with his current build. He came in second at the Swedish Legacy Nationals, won the Danish Legacy Masters, and took the second place in one of the monthly Legacy Challenges on Magic Online, where he could be seen locking people out with the deck under his online nickname "Truckis".

"Legacy is a format based on 1-drops which Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top are naturally good against. You have Swords to Plowshares and Terminus against creature-based decks and the rest of your deck consists of blue cards that are good against the non-creature decks," he said about the strengths of the deck.

According to Marcus Ewaldh, most people who pilot the deck have decklists that are 90 percent identical. Some people, like American Joe Losset choose to include copies of Karakas to go with legendary creatures like Venser, Shaper Savant and Vendilion Clique. Others favor Monastery Mentor over Entreat the Angels, but Ewaldh likes to stick to his guns and still favors flying to victory with Angels.

"Whether to play Mentors or Entreat the Angels is probably the biggest divider among Miracles players, but I don't like that with Mentor you have to act on your own turn, and sometimes you even end up having to cast Terminus with Mentor in play because you are losing a race. When you get to resolve Entreat the Angels, you know that you are winning the game," he said.

Even though he hadn't yet claimed a Grand Prix Top 8 with the deck, Ewaldh was well known in the Legacy community. Lately as one of the players who innovated the inclusion of Predict in the deck, as a way to battle decks that could otherwise match Miracles' strength in the long game. When asked about the deck's current good and bad matchups Ewaldh answered instantly, which proves his deep knowledge of his deck and the Legacy format.

"Good matchups are decks based on 1-drops, like strategies with Delver of Secrets. And bad matchups are decks that either run Æther Vial, like Merfolk or Death and Taxes, or go over the top with big threats, like the Eldrazi deck or Twelve Post."

Before sending Marcus off to start his tournament, after two well-earned byes, I asked him about his predictions and expectations of his own performance for the weekend.

"I've been doing well with my current list in other tournaments lately, so hopefully I can continue that streak. I hope I can avoid playing against too many Eldrazi decks. During the years I've learned to beat all the other decks that are out there. A dream would be to make my first Grand Prix Top 8, as then my wife would probably let me travel to more of them."

Marcus Ewaldh's Miracles - Grand Prix Prague 2016

Download Arena Decklist
Planeswalker (2)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Creature (3)
3 Snapcaster Mage
Sorcery (10)
4 Ponder 2 Entreat the Angels 4 Terminus
Artifact (4)
4 Sensei's Divining Top
Enchantment (4)
4 Counterbalance
60 Cards