Final Gruul Initiative Hand Answer

Hand No. 10: (on the play)

[[Ad Nauseam|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]]


The “old” [[Brainstorm]] plus [[Mishra’s Bauble]] trick! We’re going to use [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to help cast our [[Ad Nauseam]] by abusing the stack.

The first step is to use [[Bloodstained Mire]] to search out [[Underground Sea]]. From there, cast [[Brainstorm]] and then put [[Ad Nauseam]] as our top card. Now, we will play our [[Mishra’s Bauble]] as well as [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]].

The next part depends on how good our [[Brainstorm]] was to us. If [[Brainstorm]] found another artifact, we can use the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] immediately to draw a card on our opponent’s turn. If it didn’t, we need to wait and then use the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] on their turn. You see, we need Metalcraft to cast this [[Dark Ritual]] on our opponent’s turn, and if we don’t have, it we need to then combo off in our upkeep.

With the draw trigger from [[Mishra’s Bauble]] on the stack, we will cast [[Dark Ritual]], we will hold priority and then sacrifice our hand to [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to create mana. At this point, we let everything resolve — including the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] draw trigger, draw the [[Ad Nauseam]], and then cast it.



Hand No. 1: (on the play)

[[Volcanic Island|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Urza’s Bauble|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]]


8-Cast isn’t an particularly fast deck, but it is a deck with both [[Force of Will]] and [[Chalice of the Void]], which creates a stranglehold on the matchup. With the hand above, we have access to [[Pulverize]] via [[Burning Wish]] to answer [[Chalice of the Void]]. We essentially can beat a [[Force of Will]] by over-powering it with [[Galvanic Relay]] and possibly even [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. While this hand may seem like a bit of a “clunker”, it’s secretly just fine!

Hand No. 2: (on the draw)

[[Dark Ritual|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Taiga|]]


This hand is pretty interesting! On the play, it’s a simple, “our opponent is only 40 percent to stop us with only [[Force of Will]] in their main deck” when when on the draw they could have more looks for [[Force of Will]] through either [[Mishra’s Bauble]] or [[Urza’s Bauble]] triggers. That said, I believe we’re rooting for the hand where they play [[Chalice of the Void]] on one.

8-Cast is a deck that can’t really afford to play [[Chalice of the Void]] for zero since it hurts our opponent more than it hurts us. This means that if they do play [[Chalice of the Void]] for one, we can play out all of our artifacts, [[Burning Wish]], and then [[Empty the Warrens]] for at least 10 [[Goblin Token]]s (depending on our draw step). 8-Cast is not a deck that is truly prepared to beat decks that aim to go wide, their best counter-measure would be [[Sai, Master Thopterist]] and it’s difficult to create enough blockers in time for them to recover.

Hand No. 3: (on the play)

[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Underground Sea|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]]


At first, this hand seems pretty good. I almost wanted to keep it. After all, we did keep Hand No. 1 which was a slower hand. We have [[Force of Will]] covered with [[Veil of Summer]] and [[Chalice of the Void]] isn’t as relevant with only [[Veil of Summer]] in hand, right? (Some flawed logic to talk yourself into keeping a sketchy hand!)

The real issue here is that our hand doesn’t actually do anything! We’re two mana away from hardcasting [[Echo of Eons]] and that’s without the [[Veil of Summer]] backup. One could argue that we could always find [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], but we’re on the play with a single [[Mishra’s Bauble]] as a re-draw. The lesson here is to not be afraid to leverage the London Mulligan, it’s a powerful tool when used correctly.

Hand No. 4: (on the draw)

[[Rite of Flame|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Scalding Tarn|]] [[Urza’s Bauble|]]


“Isn’t this the same as Hand No. 1?” WRONG! That first hand had a way to beat [[Chalice of the Void]] and a guaranteed second land to assist us in casting our expensive spells. With this hand, we’re really leaning on [[Galvanic Relay]] to do some heavy lifting, while asking for mana in our draw steps, AND needing our opponent to have kept a hand without [[Chalice of the Void]]. That’s a lot of “what ifs” for me, just mulligan.

Hand No. 5: (on the play)

[[Brainstorm|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]]


I have spent the first four hands of this article emphasizing [[Force of Will]] and [[Chalice of the Void]] on one — this hand loses to both! This sort of hand wants time to utilize [[Brainstorm]] + [[Bloodstained Mire]] and then on the third turn make a win attempt. 8-Cast is named appropriately after their powerful draw spells. This means between their eight “bauble effects” and then [[Thoughtcast]] as well as [[Thought Monitor]] that the opponent is likely to have seen a lot of cards by the time that it’s their third turn. They would have at least one [[Force of Will]] if not two or at least [[Chalice of the Void]].

This is a hand that, “plays Magic” in almost every other matchup but it just doesn’t make enough sense here.


Recommended sideboarding:

[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Boseiju, Who Endures|]] [[Boseiju, Who Endures|]] [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze|]]
[[Brainstorm|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Echo of Eons|]]

Hand No. 6: (on the draw)

[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Boseiju, Who Endures|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Urza’s Bauble|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Mox Opal|]]


In post-board games, the direction shifts a bit. While they do have four copies of [[Chalice of the Void]], they also have four [[Force of Negation]] now in addition to their copies of [[Force of Will]]. While this hand can beat a [[Chalice of the Void]], it doesn’t do a whole lot else.

Hand No. 7: (on the play)

[[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Bayou|]] [[Misty Rainforest|]] [[Urza’s Bauble|]]


This hand is so good! What we would really like to happen is if [[Urza’s Bauble]] could find [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], or [[Mox Opal]] to allow us to go for a turn-two win attempt. One thing to note, 8-Cast now does have access to 8 “Force effects” in post-board games. If they allow the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] to resolve and then counterspell the [[Veil of Summer]]; I would hit them with [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] and then teach 8-Cast about SLIME TIME!

Hand No. 8: (on the draw)

[[Ad Nauseam|]] [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Volcanic Island|]]


Admittedly, this is a sketchy hand. But I really value being able to beat the 8 “Force effects” in the post-board games while playing through [[Chalice of the Void]] on one. Ideally, we would draw another [[Lotus Petal]] or [[Mox Opal]] + fourth artifact and then just [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]]. As I mentioned in Hand No. 1, 8-Cast isn’t a very fast deck — we have a couple draw steps to make this work!

I’m really not very interested in the [[Ad Nauseam]] in this hand outside of it being a back-up plan if the board-state stalls out between [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] and [[Construct Token]]s.

Hand No. 9: (on the play)

[[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Urza’s Bauble|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Badlands|]] [[Boseiju, Who Endures|]] [[Burning Wish|]]


ALL DAY! We have [[Galvanic Relay]] to grind through free countermagic such as [[Force of Negation]] or [[Boseiju, Who Endures]] for [[Chalice of the Void]]. Not to mention, [[Burning Wish]] to threaten [[Pulverize]]! This is fairly close to your ideal hand in post-board games.

I would recommend exercising patience with the “bauble effects” and not to spew them, we need to hold them to get the most out of our [[Galvanic Relay]]. We would like to draw another land as well, if we need to, we can play [[Boseiju, Who Endures]] as a mana source, but we would prefer to hold onto it.

Hand No. 10: (on the draw)

[[Dark Ritual|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Taiga|]]

Share your answer in the comments below!

I’ll provide my answer in the next article. For now, make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts!