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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
Magus of the Mirror Deck
November 29, 2006

It's only natural to be hesitant to write in to a column like this-- I am after the Magic world's equivalent of Dear Abby, aren't I?-- but there's no need to be.  I'm very approachable, very courteous, and the worst thing I ever do is delete E-mails (I get so many, something has to give).  But don't worry, I read every E-mail I get, even if I don't respond to it, and I do enjoy getting it!
After reading enough of your reviews I figure what the heck, I have a few
ideas I haven't seen anyone try just yet, and I'd like to hear what you
think could help this one. I already know this idea is not the most sound
idea for a deck build, but here it is anyway! The slivers are the only real
thing I can think of for black mana acceleration, and I cannot think of any
nonbasic lands that would help. the upside is that other than Phyrexian
Etchings, I can control all the forms of life loss until I'm ready to go.
Thanks again for any help! -Mark

3x Magus of the Mirror
2x Liege of the Pit
4x Garza's Assassin
4x Sangrophage
4x Basal Sliver
2x Mindlash Sliver
2x Nightshade Assassin
3x Plagued Rusalka

2x Phyrexian Etching
2x Nhilistic Glee
2x Diabolic Tutor
2x Dread Return
4x Delirium Skeins
2x Funeral Charm
2x Call to the Netherworld

20x Swamp
I knew it was only a matter of time before the Magi set my garage on fire.  Watch out for the oil rag!  I was kind of expecting Disk or Candelabra to be the first one, but Mirror is a fine choice too.  You've certainly plummed your options for paying life, though I'm afraid you may have overdone it a bit on that one.  I'm sure that before the Magus makes the scene, your opponent will be more than willing to help you lower your life total.  In fact, she was probably planning on doing just that.  And also, I don't think Slivers are the best means of accelerating your mana.  Your best option is either mana artifacts, or "mana rocks" as they're called, or merely lowering your mana requirements.
So, we'll start with your mana problems, since they seem easier.  We'll start by dropping the Slivers.  In their place go four Prismatic Lens, quickly becoming my favorite mana accelerator of the mew set.  Slivers just give the guy at the table playing Slivers.dec more options.  If you insist on playing a Sliver or two, I suggest Plague Sliver as a metagame choice, as well as a huge beater and another means of slowly easing your life total down.
Next, your life loss impements.  Garza's Assassin is a cute trick, since it's basically a 2/2 Seal of Doom.  There's been lots of talk about whether or not it's any good, but in your deck it has extra purpose, so it can stay.  Sangrophage is nice too, and I'm glad you have sacrifice outlets in case it gets out of hand.  But as you said, Phyrexian Etchings is too hard to control.  I'd say if you want a 3-mana enchantment that lets you draw extra cards for life, then go with Phyrexian Arena.  It's more predictable and less painful.  Nihilistic Glee is a brilliant move; I like how it costs life for cards at Hellbent, and cards for life the rest of the time.  It's an important tool to control your life total (not too low, especially if your opponent has Char or similar burn), as well as a card draw engine to get you that Magus ASAP and a Madness outlet.
Madness, incdentally, is a good tool in a deck like this.  You're paying a lot of life to get a lot of cards, so you may find yourself with eight or more cards in hand at EOT.  A few more Nightshade Assassin would do well, as would Call to the Netherworld.  Gorgon Recluse would help too, so your opponent hesitates to crash through and decimate your low life total before Magus of the Mirror can do his thing.  Then there's Dark Withering, an amazing removal spell in a deck that discards a lot.  Ironically, you could actually remove Delirium Skeins in favor of more Madness cards, since Nihilistic Glee, Dread Return, and your other draw engines will give you plenty of reason to discard cards.  But there's a delicate balance of Madness cards and discard outlets to achieve in a Madness deck, and since Madness isn't even your main goal here, I'll leave you to playtest and find the right balance.  You probably already found it anyway.
That should probably do it.  The deck was pretty good as it was already, but these tweaks should prove quite valuable.  Try it on your own and see how it works for you.  Good luck!
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