Mirage in the Mirror

Mirage Mirror
The magical mirror is a long-used and well-loved trope in fairy tales and fantasy stories. Alice went through the looking glass. The Beast was given a handheld mirror through which he could see anything he wanted. Harry Potter outsmarted Quirinus Quirrell with the Mirror of Erised. And the evil Queen in Snow White was in conversation with her magical mirror when she uttered the famous line, “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

Magic mirrors are a familiar trope in the multiverse too. There are old-school favorites like Mirror Universe and Broken Visage, as well as build-a-combo-around-me mythic rares, like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Mirror-Mad Phantasm. Not to mention a whole cycle of “Reflection” cards—Boon Reflection, Mana Reflection, Rage Reflection, Thought Reflection, Wound Reflectionand more.

The newest magic mirror in the game is Mirage Mirror from Hour of Devastation. For two generic mana it becomes a copy of target artifact, creature, enchantment or land until the end of turn. For the rest of this article we will look at ways to use, abuse, and maybe even break Mirage Mirror. In order to do so I’m going to take a look at each type of card it can copy.

But before we go further I have a disclaimer: I know there are more — many more — ways to use this card than what I’ve listed here! As I’ve been working on this article friends have sent me ideas on how to break this card that range from the silly (Brothers Yamazaki), to the super-powered (Dark Depths). Other Magic writers and podcasters are starting to notice this card too. So, as these words are published on Gathering Magic, I think of them as a first step into the world behind the looking glass. I have a feeling that in the years ahead we’re going to discover incredible combos with this card that we can’t predict today. (Unless we had a real magic mirror, of course!)

Let’s get started. You’re welcome to join me. Just mind the broken glass.

Copying Artifacts

Let’s begin with Basalt Monolith. It is a staple card in Commander and popular in other formats like Cube drafting. It’s also relatively inexpensive to acquire.

When playing Commander, it’s likely that someone will have one on the board. The following combo should be fairly easy to pull off: When you copy Basalt Monolith you pay {2} to get three colorless mana. You’re up one mana (as long as you don’t mind that it’s colorless). But the best bonus comes at the end of the turn when your copy fades away. During your next untap step you won’t have to pay the untap cost of three mana that normally accompanies Basalt Monolith. So, when it’s all said and done: you have paid two, to get three, and avoided the expensive untap cost. This is a nice, simple combo. Efficient Magic.

A similar combo can be achieved with Mana Vault or Grim Monolith. These cards are considerably more expensive than Basalt Monolith, so you may not see them played as often.

Can you think of others? Can you think of other artifacts that become either more efficient, or even broken, when there’s a copy of them on the battlefield?

Basalt Monolith
Grim Monolith
Mana Vault

Copying Creatures

The first thing to note is: If you copy a creature with a Mirage Mirror that you have controlled since the beginning of your last upkeep, then your copy does not have summoning sickness.

This makes it easy to match anything your opponent throws down on her side of the board. Did she just cast Dust Stalker? You can copy it and threaten a trade if she attacks. Or, did she just cast a Blighted Agent? (Those things are so annoying.) You’ll be able to attack in kind on your next turn.

If you like the idea of either blocking or attacking with copies of your opponents’ cards, then stock your deck with instant spells that will save your creature. I suggest focusing on instant spells that grant indestructability, first strike, a growth in power and toughness, or regenerate. Consider cards like: Withstand Death, Regenerate, Crowd’s Favor, Aerial Maneuver, or the many different versions of Giant Growth.

But there are even more powerful combos out there than just direct copies.

In the Magic Worlds Final of 2000, Jon Finkel ran a powerful deck built around Tinker, Phyrexian Colossus, and Voltaic Key. Phyrexian Colossus was his win condition, but it came with an expensive cost to untap it — 8 life — hence the Voltaic Key. Think of what Mirage Mirror could do in a similar deck:

  1. Get a Mirage Mirror on the Battlefield.
  2. Cast Phyrexian Colossus.
  3. Copy Phyrexian Colossus and swing.
  4. At the end of your turn the copy fades leaving just Mirage Mirror.

On your next upkeep Mirage Mirror untaps without the expensive cost of Phyrexian Colossus. It also leaves you with the original Phyrexian Colossus untapped and ready to block whatever comes at you.

What other creature with an expensive untap cost would you copy?

Phyrexian Colossus
Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
Black Carriage

Mirage Mirror also works well with any creature that has an expensive upkeep cost. Your copy of that creature will fade away before the next upkeep begins. Imagine copying any of the following for {2}, and not having to pay their upkeep cost for the copy: Molting Harpy, Pit Raptor, Fettergeist, Kuro, Pitlord, or the classic, Force of Nature.

Similarly, it’s efficient to copy a creature with echo because you won’t have to pay the echo cost. There is great value in paying {2} for a copy of Basalt Gargoyle, Citanul Centaurs, or Extruder without having to pay the echo cost for the copy.

You can also avoid paying for suspend counters with Mirage Mirror. Aeon Chronicler is a popular card I’ve seen in numerous games. Once it’s on the battlefield, you can copy it to your heart’s content without having to wait on the countdown from suspend. You won’t get the benefit of drawing cards off of your copy, but there are lots of ways to draw additional cards so that both the original Aeon Chronicler and your copy have big power and toughness numbers.

Citanul Centaurs
Aeon Chronicler

There are also plenty of creatures out there with negative effects upon entering the battlefield (ETB). Foul Imp, Howling Banshee, Plague Belcher, and Lord of Tresserhorn are some examples. If you play creatures like these, you’ll have to suffer their negative ETB effects once. But because Mirage Mirror is already on the battlefield when you copy these creatures, you will get to use the copy without the negative ETB costs.

(A real trick is getting a creature like Lord of Tresserhorn out on the battlefield without having to pay the ETB cost at all. Perhaps with something like Write into Being: You cast Write into Being and manifest Lord of Tresserhorn. Then you pay his morph cost. He’s on the battlefield without any negative ETB effects. Give him haste and copy him with Mirage Mirror, then swing for 20 damage with two dark lords. “Always two, there are. No more. No less. A master and an apprentice.”)

Which creature with a negative ETB would you copy with Mirage Mirror?

Eater of Days
Rathi Dragon
Hunted Wumpus

Another way to use Mirage Mirror is to copy a mana-generating creature like Elvish Archdruid. Let’s say you have five elves on the battlefield, one Elvish Archdruid, and Mirage Mirror. You pay two mana with land to copy the archdruid, giving you seven total elves. Your original Elvish Archdruid now taps for seven Green mana, as does your Mirage Mirror copy. You have fourteen Green mana at your disposal out of two creatures!

And not only is Elvish Archdruid capable make insane amounts of mana, but he’s a creature lord too, boosting all of your elves by +1/+1. Between the original and the copy, the five other elves you control each have a boost of +2/+2 in addition to their own power, toughness, and abilities.

Now imagine the same scenario if you control ten elves . . .  see where I’m going?

Which mana-producing creature would you copy with Mirage Mirror?

Crypt Ghast
Omnath, Locus of Mana

Another powerful combo comes when you play two mirrors at once: Mirage Mirror + Mirror Gallery. If Mirror Gallery is in play, you can use Mirage Mirror to copy creatures, artifacts, enchantments, and lands which are legendary without losing your copy to the Legend Rule.

Most Commander players I know build combos around their commanders. How much more efficient would your commander deck be if you were able to have two of your commanders on your side of the board at once? Imagine using two copies of Krenko, Mob Boss, even for just one turn. Or two copies of Omnath, Locus of Rage.

Which commander will you copy? What combo-Commander deck are you running that would benefit from Mirage Mirror?

Riku of Two Reflections
Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Teysa, Orzhov Scion

Copy an Enchantment

In Commander and other multiplayer formats there are certain enchantments that seem ubiquitous. When you’re playing a group game you’re almost guaranteed to see: Sylvan Library, Waste Not, Rhystic Study, Fires of Yavimaya or any one of the other powerful enchantments out there.

Like Commanders, if you copy the right enchantment with Mirage Mirror you can set up crushing combos. A friend of mine runs a Commander deck around Nekusar, the Mindrazer that punishes opponents by making them draw cards and lose life. I’ve seen the deck go off and instantly kill every other player in the game when he has enough of his enchantments and artifacts in play. He simply casts a Wheel of Fortune-like card and ends the game. If you play similar combo-based decks, Mirage Mirror is your new best friend.

Enchantments on the battlefield are great to copy, but what about Auras? As Gatherer tells us: If Mirage Mirror becomes a copy of an Aura, it’s put into its owner’s graveyard unless it’s somehow attached to an appropriate object or player already.

So, while Oblivion Ring is as ubiquitous in multiplayer games as the others I mentioned, I recommend that you don’t copy that one.

Which enchantment would you copy? Do you see a combo waiting to happen?

Astral Slide
Doubling Season

Copy a Land

Remember earlier when we talked about copying legendary creatures with Mirror Gallery? There are legendary lands too.

For example, imagine copying the Legendary Land, Dark Depths. As soon as you copy it you have the option of sacrificing it for a 20/20 creature because there will be no ice counters on your copy. So conceivably, in a game of Commander (or in a kitchen table game), you could have the following:

  • Turn one — Play a basic land. Cast a 1-drop mana source. (E.g. Sol Ring, Elvish Mystic, etc.)
  • Turn two — Play a Mountain. Cast Mirage Mirror.
  • Turn three — Play Dark Depths. (At a minimum, you have 3 mana available, one of which is a Mountain. If you cast Sol Ring on turn one you have 4 mana open.) With 2 mana (not the Mountain), activate Mirage Mirror and copy Dark Depths. Sacrifice your copy of Dark Depths for Marit Lage. (You can do this before the Legend Rule takes effect on your Dark Depths and its copy. As the controlling player, I believe you get to choose which simultaneous effect happens first.) With your remaining Mountain, cast Messenger’s Speed, or one of the other 1-drop Red enchantments which gives a creature haste. Swing with a 20/20, indestructible, flying creature with haste on turn three. (If your Red enchantment was Cartouche of Zeal, Hammerhand, or another similar enchantment, it would actually be a 21/21 creature.)

Other lands worth copying:

Serra’s Sanctum — With Mirror Gallery, the two could provide insane amounts of mana
Cabal CoffersMirage Mirror acts like a Thespian’s Stage
Inkmoth Nexus — For when one infected flyer just isn’t enough.
Mishra’s Factory — Assembly-Workers!
Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, Urza’s Tower — If you have all three on the board, use the mine or the power plant to copy the tower. This gives you another three mana for the cost of two combo.

Which lands will you copy with Mirage Mirror? Need some ideas? Read this.

The combos I’ve listed here are only the beginning; the first step in a long journey through the looking glass. There are many, many more combinations out there that aren’t listed here. There are probably combos out there that create infinite loops. If you know of some, leave them in the comments below.

But before ending this post there’s one more thing worth mentioning about Mirage Mirror: its ability goes on the stack. So, if you copy a creature and someone casts Putrefy, you can turn it into a land before Putrefy resolves. If you copy an enchantment and someone plays Naturalize, you can turn it into a creature . . .  and on and on it goes. Just pocket the mana, and you should be able to protect Mirage Mirror from most threats.

End Step

This 3-drop artifact will doubtless see play in sealed events, Commander, and on kitchen tables. I think it’s likely that Mirage Mirror will even get played in Standard and other formats too. How much, and what kind of play, remains to be seen.

The Hour of Devastation is upon us! Gets singles and sealed at CoolStuffInc.com!