Ever since this card was given to us in Hour of Devastation I’ve been waiting for players to find wild ways to use it. It is a card that can be used quite ridiculously, but for whatever reason it hasn’t “broken out” and performed in the way I expected. In fact, the research I’ve done has revealed that players are just using it to “copy something good once a turn” and that just won’t cut it for me. So what else can we do?
As the title implies, I’ve covered Mirage Mirror before. For the small cost of two generic mana it can become a copy of any non-planeswalker permanent on the battlefield! This has the benefit of being able to copy our opponent’s cards, plus the fact that any deck can run it makes it even more useful. Clone and its many iterations are very popular in Commander, and this is just a more versatile version of that effect, albeit a temporary one. So what exactly are our options for “breaking” it?
I Like That. That’s Mine Now.
The fact that Mirage Mirror isn’t restricted to our side of the ‘field, plus the fact that it’s instant-speed, makes it a terrifying card to play against. If we’re playing a deck with a bunch of large creatures (like Green Meanies, for instance), then we can pay two mana to have another copy of whatever large creature suits us best (like Avenger of Zendikar). While we don’t get the benefit of its enter-the-battlefield ability, we still get a large body and double up its landfall trigger. However, copying large creatures you control is most likely one of the first things you thought of. Who doesn’t want two Inferno Titans or Grave Titans, after all?
One archetype that many players enjoy is the “I’m playing your deck” deck. With Villainous Wealth and endless ranks of Clone-like effects, this deck uses our opponent’s creatures against them. This is a strategy often taken by players who feel they are mismatched with their playgroup; you can’t be over- or under-powered if you’re literally playing your opponent’s decks! The flexibility that Mirage Mirror provides in this strategy should not be understated. In fact, its potential shouldn’t be limited to this strategy at all.
Let’s imagine a scenario: one of our opponents got off to a fast start with a turn one Sol Ring into a Golgari Signet. We simply played a land and passed the turn. Once turn three rolls around, they drop Grave Titan. We are only able to play Mirage Mirror at this time. Luckily, we now have a surprise blocker: for two mana, we can have our own Grave Titan because we can copy it at instant speed. This takes pressure off of us, as our opponent probably won’t risk losing their early Grave Titan by attacking us, giving us time to build our own presence. We could copy Grave Titan on our turn and attack to gain a few zombie tokens as well. Players might want to use Mirage Mirror to copy an opponent’s creature and go on the offensive all the time, but that might not always be the best option. What’s great is that we don’t have to decide what to copy on the turn we play Mirage Mirror; we can make that decision every turn, based on what we need and what’s available. Versatility is one of the best tools to have at your disposal, especially in a multiplayer Magic game.
Copying big splashy creatures might be the easy, sexy thing to do with Mirage Mirror, but what about the rest of the permanent types that we’re allowed to copy? Activating Gilded Lotus, then copying Gilded Lotus and making four mana instead of three isn’t our best option, so what should we be doing?
One of the ways to look at Mirage Mirror is as an optional cost to gain an additional copy of a triggered ability or replacement effect. Imagine controlling Panharmonicon and casting Grave Titan. That’s some serious value! Mirage Mirror gives us the option to pay two generic mana and copy the aforementioned Panharmonicon prior to casting that titan. Now instead of four Zombies, we get six!
Similarly, we can put Mirage Mirror in an enchantress deck as a second Enchantress’s Presence, or throw it into a token deck for a second Doubling Season! The possibilities are endless, so I’ll let you dream up other possible targets.
It’s Not Infinite, It’s Large
It should come as no surprise that doubling anything in Magic leads to insane situations. Therefore, it stands to reason that Doubling Cube is an insane card. Pay three mana to double the amount of mana we have? As long as we have more than six mana in our mana pool, we can use this to get more mana than we started with. So what if we double our Doubling Cube? Spoiler: it’s every big mana player’s dream.
On the surface it sounds crazy good, but we do need a little more mana to pull this off than the seven that a single Doubling Cube requires. After all, we need to pay three mana to the first cube, then two more to activate Mirage Mirror, and then an additional three to activate our new copy of Doubling Cube. The good news is that we aren’t “investing” all of this mana at once; the first Doubling Cube can resolve before we even attempt to make a second copy of it. Now we just have to determine how to come out with more mana than we started with:
The magic number of mana in our pool is nine. If we start with nine mana, the first Doubling Cube puts us all the way up to twelve mana. Paying the five mana to turn Mirage Mirror into a cube then activating it takes us down to seven mana, then doubles all the way up to fourteen. It’s a lot of work, but fourteen mana is a pretty big payoff. If we start the process with more than nine mana, we come out swimming in the stuff: For each mana we have above nine, we’ll net four extra mana at the end of the process. However, getting up to nine mana is a steep hill to climb; is there any way to speed up the process?
Voltaic Key is a mainstay in artifact decks. Many artifacts of old have very powerful abilities, and to counteract this they often don’t untap during our untap step. Basalt Monolith and Grim Monolith are excellent examples of this; they immediately make a decent chunk of mana, but they require us to pay to untap them. We can use Voltaic Key to untap them instead, for the simple cost of one mana and tapping the key (which does untap every turn).
Voltaic Key and Doubling Cube alone are already a ridiculous pair, since the pair lets us activate Doubling Cube multiple times for a little less mana. Activating Doubling Cube, then untapping it with Voltaic Key allowing another Doubling Cube activation is how huge sums of mana are born. Throw Mirage Mirror into the mix and we really start cooking. In this situation, we only need eight mana in the pool in order to end up at fourteen mana when the whole “cycle” has been completed. While we only cheapened the price by one, the way this setup scales up beyond eight mana gets out of hand: Each mana above eight gives us eight extra mana when the process is completed!
Enjoy the Endless Menagerie
The versatility of Mirage Mirror cannot be understated; the ability to copy a powerful permanent in response to any situation is quite powerful. Being able to make an on-the-fly blocker out of the very creature that is attacking, or simply paying two mana to gain an additional triggered ability may seem bland on the surface. In practice however, I find quite the opposite to be true. With the ability to copy almost any permanent at any time, games that I have a Mirage Mirror are ripe for surprise blowouts using my opponents’ best cards against them. I haven’t covered all the possibilities, even over the course of two different articles. Leave your favorite Mirage Mirror targets in the comments below! Join me next time when I Enter the Infinite, gift a Slithermuse to my only opponent, then force them to sacrifice it and draw their entire deck.