Can You See Yourself In Mirrorpool?

The spoiler season this holiday season is one of the most interesting in recent memory, and it’s only just getting started! The Innovator tackles the issue of just what to do with the bizarre and alluring Mirrorpool!

Oath of the Gatewatch spoiler season has certainly started off on a strange foot, with most of the mythics spoiled unofficially and all at the same time. Without time for each to breathe on their own, we’ve hit a strange spot where there are an abundance of crazy cards already revealed, but people don’t even know which cards to get excited about.

Yeah, it’s not hard to figure out that Kozilek, the Great Distortion is good.

Uncounterable refill of your hand? Oh, and you get a 12/12 that can counter spells for zero mana? Yeah, Kozilek puts in work. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger was already quite strong, but Kozilek might be even better. Fortunately, some of the cards in Oath of the Gatewatch are a little tougher to evaluate.

Mirrorpool is a deceptively powerful card that appears to have more drawbacks than people know what to do with. It enters the battlefield tapped, it produces colorless mana, and its abilities require specifically colorless mana to use.

Isn’t five mana plus a virtual six because of the use of this land a lot to pay for the Fated Infatuation? It doesn’t even trigger Eldrazi “when cast” triggers!

The better ability is the Twincast one, letting you spend just three mana (plus the Mirrorpool’s sacrifice) to copy a sorcery or instant. Being able to trade a land and three mana for a card would be one thing, but that card being a zero-mana Treasure Cruise or Dig Through Time? Sign me up!

Not only is the ability to cash in one of your lands for a spell-like effect a great option, copying a spell that you paid for with delve gains an advantage because of doubling the effectiveness of the delve. It’s like you traded the Mirrorpool for a Dig Through Time, but every card you exiled reduced the cost of both Digs.

While Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time are the most desirable targets, there are going to be plenty of boardstates where copying a Murderous Cut or Ultimate Price is going to be incredibly useful. Copy a Command and you can do all four modes! Hell, just copy an Anticipate and it’s like you’ve built a Dig Through Time the old fashioned way.

The first place I want to try Mirrorpool is in some kind of a two-color control deck. By playing only two colors, it’s easier to play enough colorless lands to actually be able to activate it. Remember, Haven of the Spirit Dragon taps for a colorless, as does Blighted Fen! Add two copies of Mirrorpool to this:

A couple copies of Mirrorpool can go a long way towards sewing up a game. It’s very possible to lose a game where you cast Dig Through Time, but a second copy is a really, really big edge. Besides, it’s nice to have the Counterspell protection in some matchups, to say nothing of the ability to copy a Duress.

Mirrorpool’s creature copying ability is valuable, even in a deck like this, made up of only legends and planeswalkers (which it cannot copy). Copying Jace isn’t so good, but copying Dragonlord Silumgar in response to a kill spell can win games.

In all seriousness, though, it’s not usually going to come to that.

Yes, Sphinx of the Final Word is a creature we can copy (hexproof, not shroud), but that’s not the point here. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to sideboard in a victory condition that’s uncounterable and hexproof.

Why not play the Sphinx maindeck?

Good question. In many formats, that would be a totally reasonable option. In this format, however, having an inevitable victory condition is not the end-all, be-all. Besides, the very people you’d want it against are likely to have maindeck Planar Outburst or Crux of Fate. And that’s to say nothing of Kozilek’s Return. Kozilek’s Return dealing two, and then five damage, is going to be one of the defining components of the metagame to come. If we were talking about a Sphinx of the Final World maindeck, I think we’d have to be talking about a Pearl Lake Ancient, instead.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet might surprise some since this is neither a Vampire deck nor a Zombie deck. However, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet makes for an excellent sideboard card, in general. A 3/4 lifelink is already a thing, as is the fact that you’re already ahead by a fair bit if you ever use the ability even once. And it’s not like the ability costs mana to use. Sure, there is an ability that costs mana to use, but that one’s just icing on the cake. It is sweet, getting to pump our lifelinker up to a 5/6…

As for the Kozilek in the sideboard, it is purely speculative, but I kind of imagine this might not be the worst time to have such a powerful ability to go over the top of people. If you and your opponent start Duressing each other and you use your Mage-Ring Network to power out a Kozilek…they are going to be in for a world of hurt…

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a deck out there that wants to use one or more Wastes, but so far, I haven’t wanted to use it. As it is, we’ve got no shortage of colorless mana sources for powering the Mirrorpool. We just need to make sure we’ve got enough that we have a realistic chance of triggering the Mirrorpool.

In other news…

Mirror Pool + Monastery Mentor = !!!

This list probably only needs a single Mirrorpool copy. I have low confidence that we can actually build a deck like this and get away with it. However, it’s certainly worth trying. The main thing is that we need to be mindful of just how many of our opponents are likely to bust out an end step Kozilek’s Return if we were to play a turn 3 Mentor.

Now, if we take these two styles together but still keep Mirrorpool

This list aspires to blend the two styles, using black for cheap kill and white for expensive kill. At the end of the day, however, it is a predominately blue deck, so maybe we can get away with this much colorless mana?

What I’m curious about, is how U/x control decks are going to react to the printing of Kozilek’s Return. After all, it is already sort of an instant speed Radiant Flames that defeats players, and that’s just the front side.

Kozilek’s Return is one of the best cards in the set in my humble opinion. We pay so little (if anything, when it comes to the backside), and the ability to get five damage without spending another card or mana? Now we’re talking!

Add a World Breaker and you’re good. Okay, this attempt is a bit too fancy for its own good. Yeah, it’s cute to Gather the Pack into Treasure Cruise, and cuter still to Gather away some Mirrorpool

Sylvan Scrying for our one enters-the-battlefield counter, Ian. My main thing is that I’d like to be able to combine the goodness of the Jace + Treasure Cruise combo with Eldrazi Ramp, all fueled by the new Mirrorpool.

This is one I struggle with. It is convenient that it provides the two-colorless we need for Kozilek, let alone Mirrorpool. However, we’ve got to make from somewhere. We’ve got other options, of course. These new Eldrazi aren’t going to cast themselves.

World Breaker is a very cool, new Eldrazi. It’s exactly the right cost to get back Kozilek’s Return (with just the right stats to live through it). That it provides inevitability is super sweet. This is one of the biggest recursive threats in a while, and don’t get me started on flipping it to a Gather the Pack.

While the above list is fairly crazy, we don’t have to get too fancy.

Yeah, it’s possible that we should not be playing the full playset of Kozilek’s Returns, but we may as well try them. Remember, the graveyard ability is optional, so we’re never going to get stuck exiling multiples at the same time. We can also just hold steady when our opponent has refused to play enough creatures for us to be truly satisfied with our Returning experience.

Jumping back to Mirrorpool, we’re just scratching the surface of the easy interactions in-store. Copy a Greenwarden of Murasa? Okay, that’s hot. Copy your Negate on your opponent’s Negate? Love it. Copy a Siege Rhino? There are whole decks dedicated to that topic!

It’s a new puzzle, playing with a land that enters the battlefield tapped and produces only colorless mana. That said, the pay-off is very real. Figuring out how to use these and other Oath of the Gatewatch “colorless only cards” is no joke. It is looking to be a real good time!

Make sure to join me back here tomorrow for a WotC preview card, and then on Wednesday, as I tackle whatever new cards you guys request (so make sure to drop me a line in the comments!)