Matchup Mulligan: Death’s Shadow II

Final Jeskai Control Hand Answer

Hand No. 10: (on the draw)

[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Rite of Flame|]]


But HOW?! I understand the allure of this hand, but the reality is you would need a chain of good draws to make this a viable keep. You could in theory use [[Veil of Summer]] to draw a card when the opponent casts a blue spell, but then you’ll open yourself up to a [[Surgical Extraction]] on the [[Veil of Summer]]. Even if you drew a land, you have a Storm count of two between [[Rite of Flame]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] which would mean additional ideal draws. Why take such a high risk when the London Mulligan is an option?

It’s worth noting that the copy of [[Burning Wish]] is essentially a mulligan here as well since it doesn’t help you until you’re already in a winning game state.

Death’s Shadow


Hand No. 1: (on the draw)

[[Ponder|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Underground Sea|]] [[Polluted Delta|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]]


Slow and steady wins the race. While we are facing a tempo deck, [[Death’s Shadow]] takes additional time to deploy its threats due to the life requirements. In that additional time, they look to be disruptive with the extra interactive pieces they have compared to a deck such as the [[Delver of Secrets]] variants. What I’m referencing is on top of the standard package of [[Daze]], [[Wasteland]], and [[Force of Will]], these [[Death’s Shadow]] decks also have [[Thoughtseize]] and [[Hymn to Tourach]].

By keeping a hand like this, we’re committing to not giving the opponent an easy win by having an early [[Wasteland]] or [[Thoughtseize]]. Our hand is consistent and can play a longer game, this is really what we’re looking for — nothing flashy or feeling pressured to try to be fast.

Hand No. 2: (on the play)

[[Dark Ritual|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Dark Ritual|]]


These seven cards are capable of casting a first turn [[Ad Nauseam]], but is that good enough? A lot of decks nowadays play a few copies of [[Force of Negation]] in addition to [[Force of Will]] for fast combo strategies. This is very unlikely out of [[Death’s Shadow]], instead they opt to play [[Thoughtseize]] and [[Hymn to Tourach]]. This means that what is typically a 40 percent success rate for us just increased to 60 percent! I’d take those odds at the casino.

Activate [[Bloodstained Mire]] for basic [[Swamp]], cast [[Dark Ritual]], and play [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. If that resolves, cast the other copy of [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Mox Opal]], and now tap the [[Mox Opal]] to play [[Rite of Flame]]. We can now sink all of our mana into casting an [[Ad Nauseam]] that we find when we activate the [[Wishclaw Talisman]].

Hand No. 3: (on the draw)

[[Lotus Petal|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Tendrils of Agony|]] [[Veil of Summer|]]


[[Tendrils of Agony]] is incredibly good in this match-up because our opponent is looking to naturally lower their life with cards such as [[Watery Grave]], [[Thoughtseize]], and [[Street Wraith]]. That said, your hand needs to function! You can’t just keep these hands and pray to draw multiple lands in a row. Not only is your hand crippled by a [[Thoughtseize]] it also loses to [[Daze]] yet alone a [[Force of Will]], it’s just a big trap.

Hand No. 4: (on the play)

[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Ponder|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Chrome Mox|]]


[[Veil of Summer]] is a super star in this matchup due to being able to use it defensively against discard spells such as [[Hymn to Tourach]] or proactively to stop [[Force of Will]]. When you have multiple copies, you can really leverage them to create an advantage. There’s a trick tough, you have to be willing to be patient — you shouldn’t just cast [[Ponder]] because you can. You need to sit back on [[Bloodstained Mire]]/[[Verdant Catacombs]] and wait for your spot. There’s even some consideration for playing out the copy of [[Lotus Petal]] to avoid [[Daze]] tripping up our plans.

I would like to reiterate, you don’t need to be fast. Take your time and be patient, play to the pace of the match-up.

Hand No. 5: (on the draw)

[[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Badlands|]]


“OuR hAnD iS tHoUgHtSeIzE pRoOf.”

While it may seem like an obvious mulligan, you would be surprised at how often those words have been spoken to me in my years playing The EPIC Storm. It makes people feel smart or clever to keep hands like this and then try to take advantage of our threat density to draw an action spell for their draw step with a 34 percent success rate. The issue is you don’t need just one live draw, you need to be able to beat a [[Force of Will]]. Even if you draw a [[Burning Wish]] or [[Wishclaw Talisman]], do you cast it immediately? If you don’t, you need to worry about something such as [[Hymn to Tourach]]. There are a lot of issues with this hand, please just leverage the London Mulligan. It’s an incredibly powerful resource if you’re willing to use it.


Recommended sideboarding:


[[Carpet of Flowers|]] [[Carpet of Flowers|]] [[Carpet of Flowers|]]
[[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]]
[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]]


[[Ponder|]] [[Ponder|]] [[Ponder|]]
[[Ponder|]] [[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Chrome Mox|]] [[Mox Opal|]]

Hand No. 6: (on the play)

[[Lotus Petal|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Underground Sea|]]


We get to leverage of the best cards in the matchup, [[Galvanic Relay]]. To state something that may seem as plain as day, [[Galvanic Relay]] allows us to easily beat discard spells such as [[Thoughtseize]] or [[Hymn to Tourach]] since our new cards are sitting in exile where they can’t be interacted with. Another benefit of [[Galvanic Relay]] here is that the Storm mechanic is difficult for counterspell decks to interact with, especially if they’re tapped out.

I’d begin with [[Underground Sea]], cast [[Lotus Petal]], [[Mox Opal]], and [[Chrome Mox]]. This sequencing may seem weird, since the opponent could [[Force of Will]] the [[Chrome Mox]] to shut off Metalcraft but that’s exactly what we want to happen. Assuming that they don’t interact, I would respond to the Imprint trigger and cast [[Veil of Summer]]. After that, we haver a decision on if we value the extra card more off of [[Galvanic Relay]] or the additional permanent mana source in play. I would likely take the extra card, meaning that I would cast [[Rite of Flame]] into [[Galvanic Relay]].

Hand No. 7: (on the draw)

[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Defense Grid|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Volcanic Island|]] [[Polluted Delta|]] [[Badlands|]]


This hand just doesn’t do anything. While we do have [[Veil of Summer]] which is one of the best cards in the match-up, we’re on the draw which means that it can be discarded before we could ever really get use out of it. Even if it isn’t discarded, there’s some natural friction with the [[Defense Grid]] in our hand, since it would tax our own spells as well. [[Defense Grid]] is also aligns poorly against discard strategies. While we do have [[Abrupt Decay]] in our deck to beat something like [[Null Rod]], it’s not really something we want in our initial seven card hand.

Hand No. 8: (on the play)

[[Carpet of Flowers|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Taiga|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Ponder|]] [[Volcanic Island|]]


But double [[Mox Opal]]?! I know, but we do have a [[Brainstorm]] to potentially fix this. There’s an issue with this hand in the fact that a [[Thoughtseize]] could be harmful. That said, what makes it worth it is how good [[Carpet of Flowers]] is as a permanent mana source. In the Dimir shell, there’s no way to remove it and it’s very good at outlasting multiple copies of [[Hymn to Tourach]].

I would simply lead on [[Taiga]] into [[Carpet of Flowers]]. On the following turn, assuming that they played an [[Island]] I would trigger the [[Carpet of Flowers]] for . Cast [[Brainstorm]] hoping to hit a fetchland, if we don’t, we can always use [[Ponder]] to shuffle.

Hand No. 9: (on the draw)

[[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Carpet of Flowers|]] [[Carpet of Flowers|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Mox Opal|]]


While [[Carpet of Flowers]] is very good in the matchup, it’s not THIS good.

Hand No. 10: (on the play)

[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Carpet of Flowers|]] [[Carpet of Flowers|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Ponder|]]

Stay tuned for the next article!

I’ll provide my answer in the next article.