The ability to copy cards often leads to things getting out of control. In Commander you are only allowed one copy of each non-basic land card in your deck, and as such copying things is the only way to have multiples of a card. What happens when we can copy something for two mana, repeatedly?
For just two mana, we can have another copy of any permanent that isn’t a planeswalker until the end of turn. This has hundreds of applicable uses, especially in Commander where tons of valuable options will be on the board under our opponents’ control. Need another Gilded Lotus? What about Wurmcoil Engine? Angelic Exaltation is great in multiples, isn’t it? Or maybe just copy Dark Depths and call it a day. Mirage Mirror can become almost anything anyone controls, accelerating your own strategy or borrowing an opponent’s best permanent.
Up Up and Away
If we’re copying something that puts counters on our Mirage Mirror, those counters don’t go away at the end of the turn. For some types of counter, this lets us shortcut some cards that we’d normally never be able to get “online.”
If our strategy is to attack with several creatures, Beastmaster Ascension will close out a game pretty fast. Seven attacks is pretty easy to pull off in the early game, but often we won’t find the enchantment until late in the game, when creatures are at a stalemate. If we could get quest counters on our Mirage Mirror, we could shortcut the requirement! This can be done in a variety of ways.
Khalni Heart Expedition can get counters onto Mirage Mirror just by playing lands. You pay mana to copy the Expedition, then play a land and the mirror gets a counter (as well as the original enchantment). Putting multiple lands into play, via Explore, Wayward Swordtooth, using a fetch land, or Explosive Vegetation, we can get several counters in a single turn. If we get three counters on the actual Khalni Heart Expedition, we can sacrifice it for two more lands and two more counters on Mirage Mirror. With cards like Atraxa or Vorel of the Hull Clade, we can speed up this process even further.
Once we have enough counters on Mirage Mirror that our attacking creatures will turn it on, we can copy Beastmaster Ascension and go to combat. With our creatures getting +5/+5, it will be a lot easier to attack with them safely and get our original copy turned on. We can keep copying Beastmaster Ascension to give creatures +10/+10, which is sure to close out a game, but there are other options; once we’ve accumulated a bunch of quest counters, we can have some real fun.
Beastmaster Ascension requires many quest counters to activate, but it also provides an easy way of getting them. If we our Mirage Mirror copies a Beastmaster Ascension and turns “on”, that means any other quest-counter-related permanent from Zendikar and Worldwake would be active if we copied it. Enter: Archmage Ascension. If we activate the mirror during our upkeep targeting Archmage Ascension, we can tutor out any card we want during our draw step. Most quest-counter enchantments want you to sacrifice them after getting the appropriate amount of counters on it, which makes them pretty bad copy targets, but Luminarch Ascension, Quest for the Nihil Stone, and Bloodchief Ascension stay on the battlefield. Any deck that makes use of these quests should find that two copies is definitely better than one.
You Can Count On It
The quest counter combos are neat, but in practice, we don’t really achieve much*. If we move into something that’s more widely used, like +1/+1 counters, we’ll find some really interesting (and occasionally convoluted) applications.
*Editor’s Note: Dude you achieved +10/+10 creatures or a free Demonic Tutor for every card drawn what are you talking about
Mirage Mirror‘s ability can be activated at instant speed. This means it can be activated in response to whatever you’d like, including its own ability! Abusing this, we can make some ridiculous things start to happen.
If we control Ramos, Dragon Engine with five +1/+1 counters on it and Mirage Mirror, we have the potential for a wild turn. Using Ramos’s ability, we can add ten mana to our mana pool. Using this mana, we can activate Mirage Mirror targeting itself (bear with me here) four times. Before any of these activations resolve, we activate it a fifth time, targeting Ramos, Dragon Engine. Once we let the Mirror copy Ramos, we let the original Ramos go to the graveyard because of the legend rule. Now we have a fresh, new Ramos that will “refresh” four times this turn, each time the Mirage Mirror ability resolves targeting itself (which is now Ramos).
The reason we would do this is that Ramos’s ability states you can only activate his mana ability once each turn. This exists so we can’t use the mana he generates to cast spells, give Ramos more counters, and activate him again and again. With Mirage Mirror, we can basically bypass this. Every time the Mirage Mirror ability resolves, we essentially “refresh” Ramos’s ability to make ten mana. With all that activation potential, the trick becomes casting enough spells at instant speed to get enough counters on our Mirage Mirror/Ramos, Dragon Engine to fuel its next activation. Unless we’re playing Vedalken Orrery or Leyline of Anticipation, we’re going to have to fill our deck with lots of instants. Make sure a fair share of them are card draw spells and we’ll be able to pull off an absurd turn.
We can use the same trick with Licia, Sanguine Tribune to put a ton of +1/+1 counters on our Mirage Mirror using life instead of spells. Licia gives us three counters for five life, and we can activate that ability once for each time we’ve stacked a Mirror activation. If we copy Licia five times, that’s fifteen +1/+1 counters for twenty-five life. Then, using the same trick with Ramos, Dragon Engine, we can generate thirty mana! That’s a game-winner if we have the right mana sink, but we could also control an Upwelling and be totally fixed on mana for the next several turns!
These are just a few fun applications of Mirage Mirror that you can play around with for your next deck. The card itself is a sneaky powerhouse that can allow you to bypass restrictions built into cards like Dark Depths, allow you to control two Doubling Seasons, get additional attack triggers from Sun Titan or Grave Titan, or make boatloads of mana from an additional Doubling Cube. All that for just two mana! It’s a card I think should see a ton more play than it currently does, and I hope I’ve convinced you of the same. Join me next time when I Masterful Replication all my artifacts into Mirage Mirrors.