Matchup Mulligan: Elves

Eldrazi Final Hand Answer

Hand 10: (on the play)

Abrupt Decay Bloodstained Mire Infernal Tutor BurningWish Brainstorm Duress Chrome Mox


The crowd seemed to be split 50/50 on this decision, which is good, it means people are thinking about these!

That said, to me, it’s a Mulligan. If you were to keep this hand, the correct line of play would be to cast Chrome Mox (imprint: Infernal Tutor), Duress, play Bloodstained Mire and pass. This leaves Abrupt Decay, Brainstorm, and Burning Wish to be “live”. The downside is if you decide you want to cast Brainstorm, you need to search for Volcanic Island and now Abrupt Decay is shut off. What if you don’t draw a fetch land? Or even more probable than that, what if you can’t combo? Let’s say all goes according to plan, you’re able to make Goblins. With the amount of resources you’ve burned already, it’s likely going to be for eight Goblins – ten if you’re lucky.

I just don’t see all of this working and would rather take the chance on a fresh six card hand.



Hand 1: (on the play)

Rite Of Flame Bloodstained Mire Chrome Mox Duress BurningWish Lions Eye Diamond Swamp


10 Goblins on the play is very close, there’s a chance you could lose, but I think it’s likely a probable win – therefor, I’d keep it. I think to increase your odds of winning, you should search up Volcanic Island to cast Rite of Flame. This way if you draw a cantrip, you can use the Chrome Mox to cast any discard spells you may find.


Hand 2: (on the draw)

Rite Of Flame Bloodstained Mire Chrome Mox Duress BurningWish Lions Eye Diamond Swamp


10 Goblins on the draw is not enough. That said, I think you need to look at this hand with different eyes on the draw. It’s not an Empty the Warrens hand, it’s a Dark Petition hand. I think this hand plays out very differently on the draw, you have two options: a.) Cast Duress to disrupt them and by time. b.) Cast Burning Wish and hope for a draw that’s plus one mana to cast Dark Petition on the second turn.

The decision is largely based on your first draw step.


Hand 3: (on the play)

Gitaxian Probe Ponder Brainstorm Cabal Therapy Duress Polluted Delta Bloodstained Mire


This hand is simply too reactive and slow, keeping this almost guarantees you’ll be eating a Craterhoof Behemoth in no-time.


Hand 4: (on the draw)

DarkRitual DarkRitual Underground Sea Infernal Tutor Chrome Mox Lions Eye Diamond Polluted Delta


Game one against Elves you don’t have to worry about things like Thoughtseize or Cabal Therapy, making this an easy keep. Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Chrome Mox, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, and Ad Nauseam.


Hand 5: (on the play)

Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame Chrome Mox BurningWish Gitaxian Probe DarkRitual


You have a scry, but you would likely have to pass on the first turn and hope for an initial mana source then Gitaxian Probe hoping for an ideal draw. Even then, you’re making Goblins on the second turn – which likely isn’t good enough.



Website recommendation for sideboarding


Hand 6: (on the draw)

Cabal Therapy DarkRitual Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame BurningWish Badlands Lotus Petal


To me this is an obvious keep, but it’s super interesting on how this hand plays out. Post-board against Elves you have to worry about things like Mindbreak Trap, Surgical Extraction, Thoughtseize, and sometimes Cabal Therapy. In this instance, only two are available to them, but you have to decide which card you’re going to play around. If you start with Badlands, Dark Ritual, Cabal Therapy (name Mindbreak Trap), but miss and see Surgical Extraction you can’t win. Alternatively, you could start with Badlands, Rite of Flame and Rite of Flame (to check for Surgical Extraction), Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual (If they Mindbreak Trap here you lose), if it all resolves you then can Cabal Therapy (naming Mindbreak Trap), Burning Wish, and Empty the Warrens.

I would likely go with the second line of play as I think you can gain the most information, without putting yourself just dead on a 50/50 chance with Cabal Therapy. I think the opponent would have to have a pretty good read on the rest of your hand being a discard spell and business.


Hand 7: (on the play)

Duress Cabal Therapy Lions Eye Diamond Lions Eye Diamond Ponder Ponder Badlands


This is very close to a keep to me. I value the ability to sit with Lion’s Eye Diamonds in play pretty highly as it allows you to play around discard spells as well as Mindbreak Trap, the issue is this hand just loses to an average Elves draw, even with the discard spells. You need to draw a blue source, and then find an Infernal Tutor because at this point Burning Wish isn’t good enough.


Hand 8: (on the draw)

Ponder Brainstorm DarkRitual Infernal Tutor Lotus Petal Volcanic Island Scalding Tarn


This hand is fine, I wouldn’t be happy about it though. It’s a little slow, but resilient to hand disruption and Surgical Extraction. One real downside is if your opponent has Mindbreak Trap, you don’t have any way of knowing. Meaning at this point, you’re looking for both mana and disruption off of these cantrips while playing around your opponent’s discard spells.


Hand 9: (on the play)

Lions Eye Diamond Lions Eye Diamond Duress Duress Underground Sea Polluted Delta Bloodstained Mire


This hand is purposely very close to hand #7, the difference here is you can cast any spells off the top while discarding possible copies of Mindbreak Trap. To reiterate what I said about hand #7, the beauty here is that you’re about to play around discard spells and Mindbreak Trap by just putting your Lion’s Eye Diamonds on the table. Meaning your copies of Duress can hit things like Natural Order. The dangerous thing about this hand is you’re really gambling on drawing something playable off the top in the first four or so turns as unlike hand #7, you don’t have any cantrips.

I’d say this a “loose keep.”


Hand 10: (on the draw)

Gitaxian Probe Gitaxian Probe Ponder DarkRitual Chrome Mox Chrome Mox Swamp

Stay tuned for the next article!

I’ll provide my answer in the next article, but for now, make sure to post your thoughts!