[[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Scalding Tarn|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Dark Ritual|]]
While this hand doesn’t have a direct payoff spell, we are roughly 34 percent to draw a business spell every single turn. [[Veil of Summer]] is a fairly crucial spell at combating [[Force of Will]] effects from our opponent, don’t underrate it due to Sneak & Show having some speed.
Ad Nauseam Tendrils
Hand No. 1: (on the draw)
[[Echo of Eons|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Tendrils of Agony|]] [[Mox Opal|]]
One of the most important things to know about the Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT) matchup is it’s defined by discard spells such as [[Duress]] and [[Thoughtseize]]. They use these effects to slow us down long enough to develop their own game plan. How does that relate to these seven cards? This hand is based around the [[Echo of Eons]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] interaction, where we need both halves. A single discard spell would completely invalidate the entire hand.
If we ask ourselves why we would want to keep this hand, it’s because the combination of [[Echo of Eons]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] provides a “free” mulligan (with the addition of a few Storm). We can leverage the London Mulligan and not risk losing to a discard spell for such a small cost, which is what I would strongly recommend.
Ad Nauseam Tendrils doesn’t play [[Force of Will]], this means… POD RACING! We have clearance to go fast and all hands that can cast a first turn [[Ad Nauseam]] should do so. The interesting part about this hand is that [[Ad Nauseam]] isn’t even the correct line — it’s actually [[Peer into the Abyss]]. While it may seem strange, [[Ad Nauseam]] has a lower success rate than [[Peer into the Abyss]] which means that we should cast [[Burning Wish]] as our pay-off spell instead of [[Wishclaw Talisman]].
This hand isn’t particularly fast, but when on the draw, it’s better to value resiliency over speed (ideally, you would have both). Having the pair of cantrips ([[Brainstorm]] & [[Ponder]]) to help sculpt the hand in the face of the previously mentioned discard spells is fairly important, but the real distinction here is the [[Veil of Summer]]. If our opponent does have the first turn black sorcery, they would have to choose between discarding the card that shuts down their entire game plan or cards that reshape the texture of our hand.
Hand No. 4: (on the play)
[[Mox Opal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Badlands|]] [[Polluted Delta|]]
[[Veil of Summer]] is so good! I hinted at it with the previous hand, but ANT is incredibly weak to the card. Not only is it a one mana card that stops a discard spell (while drawing a card), it also is a way of stopping [[Tendrils of Agony]] from winning the game. By having a pair of [[Veil of Summer]], we should be able to hide the information of the second one’s existence long enough to blank their entire strategy for the whole game by countering their [[Tendrils of Agony]]. If this isn’t the case and they do have two discard spells, it’s best to view the green instants as cantrips to help find our action spells. The whole, “we’re 34% to draw a business spell every single turn” still applies here while giving us a few additional draws.
While resiliency is important, it’s not everything — we need a good balance. In this hand, we have a hand that even if left undisrupted can’t realistically win until the third turn. While Ad Nauseam Tendrils may be the slower of the two combo decks, you can’t disrespect its speed entirely. This is the sort of hand where you learn why it’s not good enough after lots of lost games. Let’s save you that trouble and send it back for a brand new hand.
This hand is really interesting, there are two viable options:
As a Storm player, we always want to “go fast which is somewhat fair. This hand can certainly do that. We can choose to look at this hand as: “starting the game with a [[Lotus Petal]], land drop, and five Storm.” The obvious risk is if our new hand isn’t very good.
We can use [[Lotus Petal]] to accelerate into a first turn [[Wishclaw Talisman]] followed by [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. By taking this line, as long as a discard spell doesn’t hit the [[Rite of Flame]], we have a second turn [[Ad Nauseam]] lined up. Even if a discard spell does put [[Rite of Flame]] to the graveyard, we have a lot of draws that are “live”. If we fail to draw a mana with our draw step, we would still have [[Burning Wish]] into [[Echo of Eons]] available with a [[Wishclaw Talisman]] on the battlefield. By taking this line, we do give our opponent the opportunity to win the game on the first turn.
I would take the pass the turn line involving [[Wishclaw Talisman]] as [[Ad Nauseam]] has a higher success rate than [[Echo of Eons]], while we do run the risk of our opponent goldfishing us, the Ad Nauseam Tendrils turn one rate is fairly low. A big part of playing combo decks is about calculated risks.
Opening hands have different values across matchups. While [[Defense Grid]] is a completely dead card in game one (and is actively bad because it makes casting our own copies of [[Veil of Summer]] incredibly difficult). In post-board games, it can shut down [[Flusterstorm]]. The biggest issue I see with this hand is it lacks a real game plan despite having some mana and a cantrip. This hand is too… “in the middle” you have some mana, but not enough to cast [[Wishclaw Talisman]] or [[Burning Wish]] into a Storm engine. We have protection, that’s actually a detriment to what we want to be doing (protecting ourselves with [[Veil of Summer]]). To top it off, this hand isn’t even fast. The average London Mulligan is likely to be so much better.
Hand No. 8: (on the play)
[[Mox Opal|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Veil of Summer|]]
RED NECRO! [[Galvanic Relay]] can be pretty risky in this matchup, since it forces us to pass the turn in the combo mirror. That said, we do have the perfect card to protect us in this match-up with [[Veil of Summer]]. If this were a game one, I believe there’s a decision to be made on whether or not you should actually cast the [[Veil of Summer]] into the Storm count for an additional card. But in post-board games where our opponent has [[Flusterstorm]], I don’t think we should over-extend our resources.
This hand is fast and resilient, but… there’s no action. Typically, I would say something about how we’re 34 percent to hit. The thing about this situation is we can’t guarantee time like in Hand No. 4 with [Veil of Summer]]. Our opponent could easily just turn two us giving ourselves one draw at 34%, which isn’t ideal.
Hand No. 10: (on the play)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Taiga|]] [[Brainstorm|]]
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I’ll provide my answer in the next article. For now, make sure to post your thoughts!
Bryant Cook has one Grand Prix Top 8 as well as nine Star City Games Top 8s (two wins). You can find Bryant's daily sweet Storm videos for every format on our YouTube Channel, including some recent videos featuring The EPIC Storm.
Bryant is also a host of The Eternal Glory Podcast, as well as a Web Designer, New York Mets fan, and all-around nerd.
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