[[Burning Wish|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Crash|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Brainstorm|]]
While tempting due to the [[Crash]] and [[Chain of Vapor]], we just need to send this hand back. We can’t cast any spells! Sure, we can play out [[Mox Opal]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], but what are we really doing? Hoping to draw [[Volcanic Island]]? What if the opponent just plays [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]]? Now you’re two initial mana sources away. With the London Mulligan, there’s less need to be afraid to mulligan. I know that nerves in a difficult matchup can be tough, but think rationally about the cards in front of you and what game plan they execute.
In game one against [[Doomsday]] combo, it’s important to know that they’re a [[Force of Will]] deck but not a [[Force of Negation]] deck. This means that we’re back to the old 40 percent rule (visit our data page) from pre-Modern Horizons. With these odds against a very difficult matchup, I’m not convinced that it’s going to get much better. In matchups that are unfavored, I prefer to take bigger swings at winning so to speak — if you need to get lucky to win, keep the hands that allow you to do that.
We get to do the [[Chrome Mox]] trick here! Play out the [[Scrubland]], [[Lotus Petal]], sacrifice [[Lotus Petal]] for to cast [[Rite of Flame]] and then play [[Dark Ritual]]. At this point, cast [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Wishclaw Talisman]], and then [[Chrome Mox]]. With either [[Chrome Mox]] on the stack or the Imprint trigger on the stack we should discard our hand to [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to make , activate [[Wishclaw Talisman]] for [[Ad Nauseam]], and then cast it. This way, you can resolve [[Ad Nauseam]] before the Imprint trigger resolves.
Hand No. 2: (on the draw)
[[Silence|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Burning Wish|]]
As I mentioned, big swings! This hand is a bit risky but is ultimately worthwhile, and the path to play isn’t necessarily obvious. Do you Imprint a [[Rite of Flame]] or [[Burning Wish]] (assuming that you don’t draw a red source for turn)? I believe I would Imprint the [[Burning Wish]], play [[Lotus Petal]], the pair of [[Rite of Flame]], and then the [[Galvanic Relay]]. With only a few cards in hand, I would hope that the [[Doomsday]] player gets greedy and goes for it only to run into my [[Silence]]. This begs the question, do you [[Silence]] in response to a [[Dark Ritual]]? Do you try to wait for them to go all in on [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] (this would assume that they don’t build a pass-the-turn pile)?
Against a control deck absolutely! Here, however, we’re facing [[Doomsday]], a deck that can win on turn one, but commonly does so on turns 2-3. This hand is really looking to out-grind the opponent, but your opponent would have to agree to play the same game which is a dangerous thing to ask [[Doomsday]] to do. Do you expect three turns? What about four? I’m not convinced that this hand is capable of winning on the third turn with protection unless the [[Brainstorm]] does some heavy lifting. Even if it does find [[Silence]], we’re most likely looking at an [[Echo of Eons]] and not an [[Ad Nauseam]] based on the available resources which means we don’t even have a guaranteed win if we’re fortunate enough to draw what we need to combo and live long enough.
[[Doomsday]] is a deck that plays anywhere between 4-6 discard spells depending on the list, which means that mulliganing for specific cards such as [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] should be avoided. With this seven-card configuration, we’re looking at a hand that is resilient to [[Thoughtseize]] effects that can look at some cards to find [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. We clearly have the [[Brainstorm]], but we also have [[Mishra’s Bauble]] in conjunction with [[Scalding Tarn]]. A nice feature of this hand is the pair of white instants — [[Orim’s Chant]] and [[Silence]]. When we have two of them, we can use one defensively to buy time while the other is used to protect the combo.
Hand No. 5: (on the play)
[[Chrome Mox|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]]
I feel obligated to put hands like this in here to remind readers that hands such as this one are just unacceptable. We have the 34 percent chance to draw an action spell thing going on, but against [[Doomsday]], we not only need the action spell we also need protection. As mentioned in the final hand from last month’s article, we need to leverage the London Mulligan — it’s a very effective tool if you’re willing to be disciplined. Please do not keep bad hands!
Simply, too much of a good thing! While [[Thoughtseize]] and [[Orim’s Chant]] are good cards that certainly buy us time, is it enough? I’m unsure, [[Doomsday]] has 4-6 discard spells as mentioned previously. You can’t rely on double [[Orim’s Chant]] for the entire game while [[Thoughtseize]] disrupts them. We would need to draw the necessary mana to win the game as well as the action spell. I couldn’t fault anyone for keeping this, but I’d likely took for a hand that is more balanced.
I originally had this hand as a mulligan, but I’ve changed it to a keep. The reason? We need to take big swings in order to win. That said, the math has changed. In post-board games, [[Doomsday]] is known for siding in 3-4 copies of [[Force of Negation]]. Their odds of having a free counterspell on the first turn are incredibly high now. “Why would you keep this then?” Doing something unexpected can result in victory, especially when your back is against a wall. How often are we beating the 7-8 “Force effect” combo strategies? The answer is very often, even with a hand that has protection. Waiting a turn just opens us up to their discard. Because of this, I’m eyeballing putting a horde of [[Goblin Token]]s on the table.
You may be curious as to why I’m not considering [[Echo of Eons]]. We need to be lucky enough for all of our spells to resolve the first time. With [[Echo of Eons]], we need a hand that is capable of winning the game that then needs to fight its way through those “Force effect” again. Not to mention, we’ve now exiled a pair of [[Burning Wish]], meaning that we only have access to six tutors. With [[Empty the Warrens]] as our line, we avoid that all together while pressuring their life total for [[Doomsday]] itself.
Your hands won’t always have everything, so often I see players say, “this hand doesn’t have a payoff — mulligan” while not understanding the odds. We have less protection/interaction spells in our deck than we do copies of action spells, and we realistically require both in order to win. We have draw steps, use them! Not to mention, we’re facing a deck with discard as I’ve mentioned previously — you aren’t guaranteed to have that payoff card in your hand by the time that its your untap step.
Yes! We have a turn-one protected (I love “SHHHHH!ing” our opponents with [[Silence]]) [[Echo of Eons]] with some equity in [[Mishra’s Bauble]]. We can either cash in the draws post-[[Echo of Eons]] or save them for Metalcraft depending on the hand. By forcing each player to draw a new hand, we have to hope we threw a wrench in [[Doomsday]]’s plans while advancing our own. We’re more likely to recover based on the additional cards from [[Mishra’s Bauble]].
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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