Lands decks are back to playing [[Sphere of Resistance]], and in these matchups often mulligan aggressively for hands that can cast it on the first turn. When we analyze our hand, it can’t beat a [[Sphere of Resistance]]. Not only that, it also can’t beat Land’s secondary hate of [[Pyroblast]] or [[Force of Vigor]] either.
In a perfect world, our opponent does nothing meaningful and then what? Our hand is so far away from winning without the perfect draw step plus [[Brainstorm]]. This hand is just very questionable for anyone who wanted to keep this. I’d ask, “what do you believe the matchup is about?” when referring to possibly keeping these seven cards because it doesn’t seem to accomplish much of anything other than not losing to exactly [[Wasteland]].
Hand No. 1: (on the draw)
[[Echo of Eons|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Mind’s Desire|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]]
[[Death’s Shadow]] decks often have four copies of [[Grief]], 3-4 [[Thoughtseize]], and then a full-playset of [[Reanimate]] as their “discard” effects. This isn’t even their whole disruption package! There’s still a counterspell suite as well, but right now we’re focused on the discard. When on the draw, you want to be focused on keeping resilient hands to discard. With this hand, we’re doing exactly that with the [[Veil of Summer]] as well as the [[Echo of Eons]]. We’re pretty far away from making [[Mind’s Desire]] work right now, but it’s good to have in your back pocket for a longer game.
An interesting aspect to matchups where the opponent has both discard and counter magic is that [[Veil of Summer]] was traditionally required to work overtime. It needed to be both protection for our hand and then disruption to back our win-attempt. With The EPIC Storm switching to three main-deck copies of both [[Galvanic Relay]] as well as [[Mind’s Desire]], it’s taken some of the burden away from Relay. These powerful Storm spells don’t really need protecting!
In Hand No. 1, we were focused on [[Death’s Shadow]]’s discard package — when on the play, we are more concerned with countermagic. [[Death’s Shadow]] has four copies of [[Daze]] as well as [[Force of Will]] as far as the main deck is concerned. This means that we’re back to the old 40 percent rule that you can find on our data page.
When the math is in your favor, you push. With this hand, the line is to simply cast all our mana and then [[Burning Wish]] into [[Peer into the Abyss]]. You may be wondering why [[Peer into the Abyss]] over [[Mind’s Desire]] and the answer is simple — [[Peer into the Abyss]] is more likely to win the game. The uncounterable aspect of [[Mind’s Desire]] left when we had to cast [[Burning Wish]] for it.
Hand No. 3: (on the draw)
[[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Mind’s Desire|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Brainstorm|]]
So… you’re saying we need any artifact and we can have a [[Veil of Summer]] protected [[Echo of Eons]]? That’s got to be a keep, right? WRONG. In the first two hands, we covered the disruption package that our opponent has from discard to counter magic. This hand literally loses to both! A [[Thoughtseize]] or [[Daze]] on [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and we’re toast! For what? Essentially a free mulligan with a lonely [[Mox Opal]] on the battlefield? The risk isn’t worth the reward here.
YUP! Do you know what you can’t do in Magic: the Gathering? Discard cards from your opponent’s exile! On top of that, your opponent would have to be some sort of savant with a pair of [[Force of Will]] to stop this [[Galvanic Relay]] from being cast this turn.
I’d start off with [[Badlands]] into [[Rite of Flame]]. If it gets countered, we can still play all of our artifacts into [[Galvanic Relay]]. If it doesn’t, we can cast [[Brainstorm]] off of [[Mox Opal]] with the [[Chrome Mox]] Imprint ability still on the stack (if we so choose).
Honestly, I’m not super confident with this keep. With [[Mind’s Desire]] being new to Legacy, however, I would likely keep it to get a feel if I was able to make it work. Any discard spell here would be punishing, but almost every draw step we have is good with a hand such as this — mana, action, lands, and protection would all be welcome!
[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Tendrils of Agony|]]
In Hand No. 1, I spoke to how [[Veil of Summer]] often has to serve multiple roles against decks with both counter magic and discard. This hand is a perfect example of how [[Mind’s Desire]] shifts that focus to no longer be true. The [[Veil of Summer]] can be used to protect our hand while we develop our mana into an “uncounterable” Storm payoff.
The real lesson here for those who may’ve wanted to mulligan this hand is patience. We don’t need to be the turn one combo deck! A strong, resilient, hand is just fine and we can play our game to the pace of the matchup.
This hand is super interesting to me. Hands such as this one used to be “snap-keep’s, ut, we no longer have access to [[Ad Nauseam]] and our Storm count has become very meaningful. With these seven cards, we’re enticed to play out an early [[Chrome Mox]] to accelerate us into [[Wishclaw Talisman]] — that said, this play takes away three Storm. The upside is that once [[Wishclaw Talisman]] has resolved, [[Death’s Shadow]] cannot remove it. This means that we can focus on developing our mana and eventually activating our [[Wishclaw Talisman]] for [[Mind’s Desire]].
Hand No. 8: (on the play)
[[Mind’s Desire|]] [[Tendrils of Agony|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Scalding Tarn|]]
Don’t be blinded by Storm spells! You still need this hand to function and currently, it doesn’t do that! We can’t even [[Galvanic Relay]] for two. Don’t be afraid to leverage the London Mulligan and don’t worry about mulliganing against a deck with discard spells when we have three main deck copies of [[Echo of Eons]].
Hand No. 9: (on the draw)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Mind’s Desire|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Scalding Tarn|]]
[[Death’s Shadow]] isn’t a particularly fast deck, unlike your [[Delver of Secrets]] variants in the format. While it may seem crazy to keep this hand, you’ll have a handful of draw steps before you’re in any real trouble and a pair of [[Veil of Summer]] goes a long way while we already have pair of Storm spells. Throughout this article, I’ve spoken to keeping hands that are resilient to discard and this hand is exactly that, even if it’s lacking mana — which is what we have the most of in our deck!
Hand No. 10: (on the play)
[[Burning Wish|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]]
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!
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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