A common play-pattern as 8-Cast against The EPIC Storm is to play [[Chalice of the Void]] with one counter. The hand above is capable of playing [[Taiga]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Burning Wish]] into [[Empty the Warrens]]. 8-Cast doesn’t play answers to to a horde of small creatures quickly, which means this play would win the game assuming that [[Burning Wish]] resolves.
The difficult part of this is that 8-Cast sides into four copies of [[Force of Negation]] in post-board games, bringing them up to eight free-answers. The math here is against this plan, but if I’m honest, sometimes you just need to get lucky in order to win difficult match-ups such as this one.
Rakdos Reanimator is a deck that plays [[Grief]], [[Unmask]], and [[Thoughtseize]]. When we’re on the draw in the matchup, keeping hands that are well-rounded so that they’re less disrupted by discard spells is very important. That said, they do need to have the ability to win in the initial turns of the game as Reanimator is an incredibly fast archetype.
This graveyard-centric strategy does not play “free” instant-speed interaction, which means when you open hands such as this one, you should go for it!
Play [[Scalding Tarn]], activate it, search for [[Badlands]] and then cast the following spells: [[Lotus Petal]], [[Mox Opal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], and then [[Burning Wish]] into [[Peer into the Abyss]].
While you are resilient to discard, this hand doesn’t do anything. We used to often state that our deck was 34 percent to hit an action spell. This requires multiple draw steps to be a truly effective plan. In the Rakdos Reanimator match-up, they’re extremely efficient at making sure that we get as few draw steps as possible. Not to mention, that 34-percent era was really talking about the [[Ponder]] builds that got to look at more cards. Nowadays, with [[Urza’s Bauble]] and [[Mishra’s Bauble]] that’s less true than it’s ever been. This hand requires too much to go right to consider keeping it.
TOO CLUNKY! We want a mixture of mana and payoffs, while this hand is technically both — it’s also neither. The mana we do have is low impact, it makes three mana on turn two which is enough for a [[Galvanic Relay]] for three cards… The pair of tutors also doesn’t do anything meaningful. I would call this hand a trap hand.
As I said in Hand No. 1, “Rakdos Reanimator is a deck that plays [[Grief]], [[Unmask]], and [[Thoughtseize]].” What happens when [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] is discarded? We likely flounder until we die. The upside here is a free random mulligan with two Storm — it’s just not worth it.
This hand isn’t guaranteed, but Rakdos Reanimator is a deck that mulligans aggressively. Here, we can pair [[Mishra’s Bauble]] alongside [[Thoughtseize]] to make a more educated decision with our discard spell. The hope is that [[Thoughtseize]] is disruptive enough to knock them off-balance while our copies of [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and [[Urza’s Bauble]] draw deeper into our library.
Hand No. 7: (on the draw)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Lotus Petal|]]
While I do see the allure of a pair of [[Veil of Summer]] against the discard-based strategy, we’re on the draw. This means [Grief]], [[Unmask]], and/or [[Thoughtseize]] hitting our [[Mox Opal]] would set us back to the stone-age and then our hand doesn’t do anything. In Hand No. 1, I spoke about the importance of resiliency — this hand might be the exact opposite of what I meant.
Hand No. 8: (on the play)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Urza’s Bauble|]]
I just said in Hand No. 7, “I do see the allure of a pair of [[Veil of Summer]] against the discard-based strategy”. This is a hand where you’re allowed to keep, we’re on the play which means that they’re live before our opponent can cast those sorceries. We also have consistent mana to cast them! What really makes this hand a keep for me is the [[Urza’s Bauble]] to cycle to assist the pair of [[Veil of Summer]] to find our action spells.
What world are you living in if you thought this was a keep? We have to go multiple turn cycles to maybe be able to cast [[Ad Nauseam]] assuming that we weren’t hit by a discard spell. The lesson here is don’t let the importance of [[Ad Nauseam]] trick you into keeping unplayable hands.
I’ll provide my answer in the next article. For now, make sure to leave a comment with 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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