How to Relay

Modern Horizons 2 has reshaped the landscape of Legacy in the fourth months it has been legal. For The EPIC Storm, the set provided the best removal spell ever printed, [[Prismatic Ending]], and an incredible new engine [[Galvanic Relay]]. In my set review article, I call out [[Galvanic Relay]] as a potential fast engine against non-blue decks and a grindy tool to draw four to five cards against fair blue decks. After playing with the card, it is more complex than it first looks, but it is the best tool to beat any of the fair decks.

Red Necropotence

[[Galvanic Relay|]]
[[Echo of Eons|]]

Calling [[Galvanic Relay]] the “Red [[Necropotence]]” has become a bit of a meme in the Storm Community, but it is true! They are both three mana engines that provide incredible value when one gets to untap with those cards. The main difference is that [[Galvanic Relay]] is a slow card and is not at it’s most effective on turn one. To be able to utilize the cards that [[Galvanic Relay]] exiles, one needs to have a couple of initial mana sources. This further slows down an engine that already has multiple turns baked into it. Unlike in my initial impressions, [[Galvanic Relay]] is not good against prison decks or other combo decks.

[[Galvanic Relay]] is The EPIC Storm’s primary engine against fair blue decks. It creates card advantage by turning the storm from playing out moxen into new cards. This is one of the reasons why TES is able to utilize it so well. Casting copies of [[Dark Ritual]] and [[Rite of Flame]] into a [[Galvanic Relay]] is effectively “Rummaging” the rituals away for new draws off the top. While this is not always bad, it is not as effective as using mana rocks to generate the storm for [[Galvanic Relay]]. This creates an interesting question of whether or not holding a ritual to cast on the turn with all of the cards from [[Galvanic Relay]] can be better than just drawing that extra card. This depends on how many permanent mana sources one controls after [[Galvanic Relay]] resolves. The correct number of rituals to hold is generally either one or zero. [[Rite of Flame]] is almost always worth casting because it generates less mana than [[Dark Ritual]]. One of the reasons to not hold a ritual is if one can also cast a [[Burning Wish]] or especially a [[Wishclaw Talisman]] before the [[Galvanic Relay]]. Casting a tutor effect adds to the storm count without using up cards, making them effectively have “draw a card” tacked on. Opponents may also interact with one of these cards, which is incredible upside when the [[Galvanic Relay]] hits the stack.

A question that comes up often in the Storm Discord is a decision point about whether to cast [[Echo of Eons]] or [[Galvanic Relay]] in some spots. Both cards are three mana engines found off of [[Burning Wish]]. The easiest way to answer this is against decks where one needs to win fast, such as nonblue decks or the combo mirror, [[Echo of Eons]] is almost always the correct answer. [[Echo of Eons]] allows for winning on the same turn that it is cast and thus should be regarded as the “faster” engine. Against blue decks, the question becomes trickier. One factor should be the storm count or the effective number of cards that one draws with the [[Galvanic Relay]]. A [[Galvanic Relay]] for six or more should be considered relatively equal to an [[Echo of Eons]]. Unlike [[Echo of Eons]], [[Galvanic Relay]] does not draw the opponent cards. If one has a particular read that an opponent has a strong hand, casting [[Echo of Eons]] may be better than [[Galvanic Relay]] whereas if the opponent feels like they have a weaker hand, [[Galvanic Relay]] is likely better.

Once one gets to untap with all of the cards from [[Galvanic Relay]], start with the free effects: lands and cards with a mana value of zero. All of the cards are face up on the table so any opponent is likely to be able to figure out a plan from what is in exile. It is unlikely that any particular sequencing will trick the opponent into doing something that grants one an advantage. Having access to all of the possible mana as quickly as possible means that cards like [[Daze]] or a random [[Spell Pierce]] are less likely to gain value on the combo turn. Notably, [[Galvanic Relay]] turns [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] into [[Black Lotus]] for all of the cards in exile. This can be an extra source of color fixing that is not usually there as normally [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] is not an initial mana source. It is possible that untapping with all of the resources from a [[Galvanic Relay]] does not win the game directly. (Bryant and I have been recording the turn we actually win the game as the combo turn in the spreadsheet rather than the turn we cast [[Galvanic Relay]]) It is fine to use the card to push ahead and grind. [[Galvanic Relay]] finding a second [[Galvanic Relay]] is quite powerful and is one of the reasons why there are the full four copies in the sideboard.

Shortcomings of Galvanic Relay

[[Ethersworn Canonist|]]

As mentioned before, casting [[Galvanic Relay]] without enough mana to utilize all of the cards drawn off of it is one of the easiest ways to make the card less effective. Casting three copies of [[Lotus Petal]], a [[Rite of Flame]] and then [[Galvanic Relay]] might draw five cards, but it leaves one with only one mana on the next turn to use with all of these cards. Waiting until turn two or even turn three to cast a [[Galvanic Relay]] may effectively draw more cards because they are all castable.

One brutal side effect of the turn delay is that the opponent does get chances to prepare for all of the cards from [[Galvanic Relay]]. Fair Blue players may use this timing to land a key [[Meddling Mage]] or [[Ethersworn Canonist]]. In my experience, there is often a chance to be able to find [[Abrupt Decay]] somewhere in the chain to remove the permanent. Against prison decks, those hate permanents, like [[Trinisphere]] and [[Chalice of the Void]] are much more disastrous and can blank almost all of the cards from the [[Galvanic Relay]]. In the combo mirror, one can just lose the game before getting to use the cards. [[Galvanic Relay]] much less effective against those archetypes and is not one of the primary plans in those matchups.