Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Does the Miracle Rule Work in Magic?
The rare set of cards bearing the miracle keyword offer powerful effects at pricey mana costs—unless you can activate their latent ability. When you draw a miracle card with your first draw of the turn, you can immediately reveal it to cast the spell for a drastically-reduced miracle cost instead of its regular price, allowing you to play high-power spells long before you'd normally have the land necessary to do so.
Miracle spells add a bit of a luck factor to your game, but you can also gimmick their traits by searching them to the top of your deck or scrying, letting you better control when you can activate their intimidating powers. With a dozen potent miracles lying in wait for those in need, which game-changing divine marvels reign supreme? These are the ten best miracle spells in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Entreat the Angels
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): Variable
Like most miracle cards, Entreat the Angels is a sorcery, this time belonging to the white faction. Its normal mana cost requires three white mana and two variable X amounts, where the amount of mana you place as X dictates how many four power and four toughness (4/4) angel tokens you'll receive.
However, with the miracle ability, the price lowers to two white mana and one X. While this is a significant reduction, it still taxes your mana more than most miracle cards when you're aiming for multiple tokens. That said, the tokens offer sweet battle stats and wield flying, letting them soar over land-based blockers, so it's worth your time to gather as many as possible.
9. Banishing Stroke
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 6
Another white specialty, you'll need some plains to fuel this potent removal. Normally demanding six mana, Banishing Stroke classifies as an instant, letting you play it on any phase of either player's turn. It places a target creature, artifact, or enchantment on the bottom of its owner's deck, a spectacular way to neuter threats since it bypasses indestructible defenses and prevents graveyard revivals.
Of course, with the miracle power, you can activate Stroke for a single white mana, letting you eliminate one of three common card types for practically nothing! An awesome ability that circumvents several common barriers, but note that because the impacted card is targeted, Banishing Stroke can't affect units with shroud, hexproof, or protection from white.
8. Blessings of Nature
Using the forests of green, Blessings of Nature is a smidge cheaper at its normal price than our past spells, but five mana still requires a hefty chunk of resources. Nature distributes four +1/+1 counters among as many creatures as you like. This lets you power up several monsters marginally or one terrifically and stacks well with the many counter-dependent effects in the game, like Doubling Season. In the rare cases you'd want to, you can even place some of the counters on your opponent's creatures.
Of course, you really want to harness Nature's miracle, letting you cast the spell and gain a huge power/toughness increase for a single green mana. Green emphasizes big creatures, and Nature helps you achieve victory through sheer force.
7. Devastation Tide
This island-requiring blue sorcery needs five mana by default and bounces all nonland permanents back to their owner's hand. Be careful with this trait since it'll sweep away your own arsenal as well, but with the many instant and sorcery tools available to blue, you'll likely have far less to lose thanks to your assortment of one-off spells.
Devastation Tide's miracle actually requires two mana, not just one, but that's still a heavily reduced price that provides one of the best board wipes in the game. Since the units are neither targeted nor destroyed, not even warriors with indestructible, hexproof, or protection from blue will survive the wave.
6. Bonfire of the Damned
The coolest (maybe I should say hottest) attribute of this red sorcery is how it attacks both your opponent's life points and creatures. By default, you'll pay one red mana plus two X value of your choice, then deal X damage to your foe and all units on they control. Since Bonfire only targets your opponent (and not their creatures), you'll handily be incinerating even hexproofed units. That said, monsters with protection from red will technically be impacted, but since they can't be damaged by red, they won't be singed.
Bonfire goes from nice to lethal when played as a miracle, completely removing one X mana cost and letting you crank the remaining X to much-higher amounts. Often, it's smart to activate Bonfire in your second main phase; your opponent will have weakened blockers who they expected to recover their health at the end of the turn, but will instead by finished off by this fierce wildfire.
5. Revenge of the Hunted
At its base cost, Revenge of the Hunted takes more mana than Blessings of Nature, but because both are reduced to one as a miracle, and you'll often favor the incredible (albeit temporary) buff of Revenge.
Whether a miracle or not, this green sorcery increases a target creature's power and toughness by an astounding six (+6/+6). As if that weren't enough, it also gains trample, letting excess combat damage bleed through to hit your opponent, and it forces all capable opposing creatures to block it that turn, goading unprepared enemies into unwanted combat. Unlike Nature's permanent counters, these boosts only last until the end of the turn, but they're daunting enough that you may well have won the duel by then.
Vanishment serves as a sort of watered-down Devastation Tide, but that's not a bad thing—your own units will now be unaffected. For five blue mana, Vanishment, well, vanishes a target nonland permanent by placing it on top of its owner's deck. Sure, your opponent will reclaim their lost card soon, but this kills what their draw would have otherwise been, makes them wait again for summoning sickness to wear off, and removes indestructible foes.
For its miracle, you'll only need a single blue mana, instantly removing a threat of almost any card type with little hassle. This also makes for a rare planeswalker removal, and speaking of planeswalkers, remember that blue's Jace, the Mind Sculptor wields a great loyalty effect for miracles. His +0 loyalty trait draws three cards, then places any two from your hand on top of your deck. Not only does this increase your hand size, it lets you set prematurely drawn or opening-hand miracles right on top where you want them, ensuring you'll be able to use their lowered prices on your next turn.
3. Entreat the Dead
The swamps of black fuel a spell with similar mana costs to Entreat the Angel, but a different effect. At face value, Dead needs three black mana and two X values of your choice, with X reviving a corresponding number of creatures from your graveyard. The miracle cost reduces the cost to two black mana with one X, allowing you to revive multiple units with 5 or less mana!
As nice as Entreat the Angels was, the summoned seraphim didn't wield any extra abilities beyond flying; with Dead, you're rejuvenating your customized army with their unique effects intact, ready to wreak havoc once more.
One of the best board wipes in the game, Terminus returns any and all creatures to the bottom of their owner's deck, preventing graveyard revivals and removing even protected and indestructible foes. It's a powerful effect you'd often be willing to pay its full value of six mana for, but attaining it on your first draw of a turn will let you cast it for a single white mana.
To avoid Termins's backlash, simply construct a build that contains few or no creatures, and it works extra well in commander format, where you know that your opponent has access to at least one creature (and likely several more) at all times.
1. Temporal Mastery
Compared to other standard five-cost blue sorceries that grant extra turns, like Capture of Jingzhou and Temporal Manipulation, Temporal Mastery's entrance fee of seven mana pales. Of course, it compensates with its phenomenal miracle effect, letting you play it for only two mana to seize an extra turn at a fraction of the usual cost. Extra turns are some of the most deadly forces in Magic, since they offer additional chances for land plays, draws, untaps, combat steps, and planeswalker abilities without giving your opponent room to counter your tactics.
Use cards like Mystical Tutor to search your library for Temporal and place it on top of your deck, rigging a miracle to your advantage and offering a fierce advantage even in the early stages of the game. Temporal Mastery remains one of my all-time favorite Magic cards that I'd recommend for any blue deck, especially in EDH. It's not the cheapest card, costing around twenty dollars, but compared to the $100 dollar price range of several counterparts, Mastery's actually one of the most affordable extra turn spells available.
Future of Miracle Cards
Magic focuses more on strategy than luck, separating itself from the coin-flip shenanigans of the Pokmemon TCG, but every so often, you'll still find elements of chance involved. The scarce miracle cards may be a bit of a gamble, but their payoff justifies the risk, and thankfully deck tinkering gives you a surprising amount of control over normally luck-dependent cards.
Infrequent but devastating, miracle cards make a huge splash when they arrive at full strength, and I look forward to future additions to this set. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of mana-defying miracles, vote for your favorite spell and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill