The ABC’s of TES: Beseech the Mirror

Last year, I set out to write a comprehensive primer for The EPIC Storm (TES). I could not have anticipated how much the deck would change after just one set release. [[Beseech the Mirror]] obsoleted the primary engine of the deck and added several more, almost transforming TES entirely. Check out my first reactions to [[Beseech the Mirror]]!

A Free Tutor

[[Beseech the Mirror]] became the centerpiece of TES because of its flexibility. It does not ask for many deck-building concessions; Storm variants want much of what [[Beseech the Mirror]] asks for. The Bargain mechanic needs a plethora of tokens, Artifacts, or Enchantments for fodder. TES already wants [[Mox Opal]] and has plenty of enablers to cast [[Beseech the Mirror]] with the Bargain cost paid. [[Beseech the Mirror]] asks for tutor targets that cost four or fewer mana. There are four common tutor targets: [[Gaea’s Will]], [[Song of Creation]], [[Tendrils of Agony]], and another [[Beseech the Mirror]]. In some situations, other tutor targets make sense, but most [[Beseech the Mirror]] game plans revolve around one of the four common targets.

[[Beseech the Mirror|]]

One of the more common tutor targets for a [[Beseech the Mirror]] is another copy of [[Beseech the Mirror]] due to how Bargain works. Bargain is an additional cost to the spell; a player can pay any number of additional costs. This is different than an alternative cost, like exiling a blue card and paying one life to cast [[Force of Will]]. A player can only pay one alternative cost to cast a spell. Fortunately for TES, tutoring [[Beseech the Mirror]] with [[Beseech the Mirror]] is an alternative cost with an additional Bargain cost, which is legal! In gameplay, that means we can chain multiple copies of [[Beseech the Mirror]] together if we pay the Bargain each time. Casting a few Artifacts on one turn and then Bargaining them all away to cast four copies of [[Beseech the Mirror]] and a [[Tendrils of Agony]] can create lethal Storm!

[[Gaea’s Will|]]

Without a mana cost, [[Gaea’s Will]] cannot be normally cast. While it has Suspend to go on the stack naturally, resolving in the Upkeep is not ideal for TES, which is centered around resolving Sorcery speed spells. If a spell is cast “without paying its mana cost,” it gets around not having a mana cost. This means [[Beseech the Mirror]] can tutor [[Gaea’s Will]] and cast it in the Main Phase — much more useful than the Upkeep! This line is the main combo engine of TES.

With the exact same text as [[Yawgmoth’s Will]], [[Gaea’s Will]] lets TES re-cast rituals, mana rocks, and tutors from the graveyard to a win. This is reminiscent of deterministic loops Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT) has with [[Past in Flames]], but there are a few differences.[[Gaea’s Will]] can re-cast artifacts like [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and replay lands! TES has many artifacts that do not sacrifice themselves — normally. The Bargain cost on [[Beseech the Mirror]] enables TES to sacrifice [[Chrome Mox]] and [[Mox Opal]] so they can be re-cast off a future [[Gaea’s Will]] to net mana. Multiple copies of [[Beseech the Mirror]] can be chained together as a sacrifice outlet to net even more moxen mana. Consider some common patterns:

On turn one, a land, a [[Beseech the Mirror]], two copies of [[Dark Ritual]], and any zero mana artifact is a lethal [[Gaea’s Will]] into [[Tendrils of Agony]]. If one of those copies of [[Dark Ritual]] is a [[Cabal Ritual]], this only works with [[Chrome Mox]] plus any card to Imprint. You do not have to only Bargain artifacts. [[Carpet of Flowers]] can be used for mana before [[Gaea’s Will]] and Bargained afterward.

[[Song of Creation|]]

[[Song of Creation]] adds insulation as engine [[Beseech the Mirror]] can tutor for that does lose to Graveyard hate. A resolved [[Song of Creation]] with a spell or two in hand often leads to a same-turn win. Consider a few things when going off with [[Song of Creation]]:

[[Song of Creation]] allows an extra landdrop that should be spent as soon as possible. Because [[Song of Creation]] draws so many cards, thinning a land out of the deck actually matters. [[Song of Creation]] will likely draw all fetchable lands before an in-play, unused fetchland is activated.

[[Song of Creation]] is a triggered ability like Storm. As the player who controls both, you choose the order in which they go on the stack. On Magic: The Gathering Online (MTGO), clicking the [[Song of Creation]] trigger first puts it on the Stack first, meaning it resolves second. A lethal [[Tendrils of Agony]] can still win the game with a game-losing [[Song of Creation]] trigger on the stack. Place the [[Song of Creation]] on the stack first and the [[Tendrils of Agony]] trigger second. The [[Tendrils of Agony]] trigger will resolve before the [[Song of Creation]] trigger, and the opponent will be dead before you draw from an empty library.

Alternatively, before [[Song of Creation]] is close to killing you, you can sacrifice it as Bargain fodder to [[Beseech the Mirror]]. Bargaining [[Song of Creation]] still puts a draw trigger on the stack before [[Beseech the Mirror]] resolves, so make sure you can cast the intended tutor target in case you draw it off the [[Song of Creation]] trigger!

Limitations of Beseech the Mirror

[[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Teferi, Time Raveler|]]
[[Tendrils of Agony|]]

[[Beseech the Mirror]] will only free-cast cards with a four or less mana value. Traditional TES main deck engines like [[Echo of Eons]] and [[Ad Nauseam]] are restricted to being [[Burning Wish]] targets or cut completely. It is so mana-intensive to tutor for one of these engines without casting them for free relative to [[Wishclaw Talisman]] or [[Infernal Tutor]]. [[Echo of Eons]] and [[Ad Nauseam]] are not a reasonable main deck plans.

[[Diabolic Tutor]] has never been a reasonable Legacy card. Building around casting [[Beseech the Mirror]] as a [[Diabolic Tutor]] is not reasonable, but sometimes casting [[Beseech the Mirror]] without Bargain is.

Unlike [[Infernal Tutor]] and [[Wishclaw Talisman]], there is no downside to casting [[Beseech the Mirror]]. It can find a removal spell or set up a combo turn by tutoring a ritual or a piece of protection. While [[Beseech the Mirror]] is flexible in-game, building around that flexibility is not worth it when more efficient engines exist.

Efficient engines for [[Beseech the Mirror]] are not without drawbacks. [[Gaea’s Will]] and the main deck [[Tendrils of Agony]] are bad draws and are mulligans in most opening hands. [[Song of Creation]] can be quite hard to cast but is not a completely dead draw. The cost of two and a half bad cards in the deck would be high in non-legacy formats, but fortunately, [[Brainstorm]], [[Ponder]], and the London Mulligan mitigate it. In some cases, drawn dead-engine cards can be Imprinted on a [[Chrome Mox]]!

Opponents have more counterplay to [[Beseech the Mirror]] than traditional tutor effects. The static ability of [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] prevents the free cast off a Bargained [[Beseech the Mirror]] since [[Beseech the Mirror]] tries to put its tutor target on the stack when resolving — that is not at Sorcery speed, which means the stack has to be empty, so [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] stops it.

[[Drannith Magistrate]] stops the free casting ability of [[Beseech the Mirror]] because the tutor target is cast from Exile. Luckily, the tutor target can go to hand if [[Teferi, Time Raveler]] or [[Drannith Magistrate]] are in play.


[[Beseech the Mirror]] and [[Gaea’s Will]] loops can be hard to see at first, but the best way to start seeing more of these lines is to goldfish the deck a bunch and build up heuristics for when you can go off. At the start, try combo’ing more aggressively until counting mana and Storm at the same time becomes second nature.

You can find me in the Storm discord, The EPIC Storm Patreon, and on Twitter! Let me know if there is a part of The EPIC Storm that I haven’t covered in the ABCs of TES or if you have any questions.