What does this hand actually do? That’s typically an initial step in determining whether a hand is a mulligan or not. We have Metalcraft for the [[Mox Opal]], which means we do have a starting mana source. The real issue is that it’s temporary if the plan is to use the pair of [[Mishra’s Bauble]] — in theory, on their end step you could use one on yourself to see if the top card of your library is an artifact or not. You would still need a random draw step to hit. Even so, while we have a [[Silence]] to stop their combo, we’re cold to an opposing [[Thoughtseize]]. This hand is a house of cards just waiting to fall, we can do better than that.
Did you know that Cephalid Breakfast doesn’t play [[Force of Negation]] in the main deck? This means that we’re back to the classic, “they’re only 40 percent to have it [[Force of Will]]” (see data page for more information). We take those odds!
Begin by casting [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Galvanic Relay]]), and then [[Mox Opal]]. This sequencing does two things, you can see if they’re willing to counter a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] out of fear (a common Dredge opening or inexperience in the match-up) and hide the Metalcraft until the end.
Tap the [[Mox Opal]] to cast the pair of [[Dark Ritual]], use [[Chrome Mox]] for the requirement for [[Burning Wish]], sacrifice [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and then put [[Peer into the Abyss]] onto the stack!
There are a few lessons that you need to know to make this keep make sense — you can’t beat everything and you don’t always need to keep a fast hand. The latter here is something that a lot of newer Storm pilots struggle with. It’s just fine to play to the speed of the hand if the context makes sense. Here we have a slow interactive hand against a blue combo deck, it makes sense.
[[Silence]] as well as [[Orim’s Chant]] can be used defensively against a deck like Cephalid Breakfast (or even OOPS! All Spells) that is looking to mill itself in order win with [[Thassa’s Oracle]].
With hands such as this one, there’s no real definitive plan other than not dying. I would recommend playing out the [[Lotus Petal]] to avoid a possible [[Daze]].
Play to the matchup! I just said that in Hand No. 2, what does this hand actually do? It plays a very slow game that is looking to out-grind the opponent. While Cephalid Breakfast is a blue deck, it’s also a deck that can win on the second turn with turn three being very common. I wouldn’t just disrespect them for an upside of a very small [[Galvanic Relay]].
Hand No. 4: (on the draw)
[[Echo of Eons|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Orim’s Chant|]] [[Mox Opal|]]
This one looks weird, right? Something to know about the Cephalid Breakfast matchup is that you’re incredibly unfavored and sometimes in order to win you’re going to have to get a little bit lucky. With this hand, we need to draw any land or non-[[Mox Opal]]/non-[[Wishclaw Talisman]] artifact. This puts us at 26 hits when drawing to 52 cards — we’re roughly 50 percent to hit per draw step.
Assuming that you do hit, I would likely cast [[Galvanic Relay]] if the hit is the first draw step, and if it’s the second, I would [[Orim’s Chant]] into [[Echo of Eons]]. As I mentioned, they are a combo deck as well, and we need to respect their speed.
This hand is very close, but the old adage of, “we’re 33 percent to hit every draw step” isn’t as good in a combo mirror as we have less possible draw steps. On top that, we’re on the play! I could maybe see keeping this on the draw, but the cost of a London Mulligan is so low. I would’ve likely of kept this hand in an era of the Paris Mulligan.
I gave away the answer in the previous hand! We’re on the draw and this time even have two pieces to interact — there’s [[Thoughtseize]] for disruption and [[Orim’s Chant]] for protection. While the 33 percent to hit every draw step isn’t ideal, between these two cards, I believe we can buy enough time to make it work.
This is the same as Hand No. 1! But why is the answer different? While Cephalid Breakfast doesn’t play [[Force of Negation]] in the main deck, there’s typically a pair in the sideboard. This means that the 40 percent is now closer to 60 percent for them to have a free counterspell. At a casino, you wouldn’t play a game with those odds — why would you do that here?
This hand is really just a friendly reminder that you can use [[Thoughtseize]] to target yourself.
Play [[Underground Sea]], cast [[Lotus Petal]], [[Dark Ritual]], and then [[Thoughtseize]] targeting the opponent. Assuming the coast is clear, cast the other [[Dark Ritual]], and then play [[Thoughtseize]] to discard your own [[Echo of Eons]]. At this point, use the Flashback cost.
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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