[[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Hope of Ghirapur|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Veil of Summer|]]
This is an obvious risk versus reward hand. This is actually something we discussed in the previous “Matchup Mulligan” with the pros/cons — especially with how this relates to [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]]. It’s fairly clear that our hand doesn’t have an initial mana source. That said, we have 14 lands and 10 zero-mana artifacts ([[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]], and [[Mox Opal]]) to start us off. This leaves us at 24-for-53 at about 45 percent to hit on our draw step, but even if we don’t, we’re going to be just fine.
It’s crucial to remember that [[Doomsday]] plays copies of [[Force of Will]] in their deck. While it may not seem like it, we can beat a free [[Counterspell]].
Assuming that we don’t draw a land, we can actually play [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] on the first turn off of one of our copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. If it is countered, we would then use the other [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and then Flashback [[Echo of Eons]]. Assuming that it resolves, we would use [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]]’s ability to cast [[Hope of Ghirapur]] creating the “Hope-lock.” On the following turn, if you draw a mana source you can attack, recast [[Hope of Ghirapur]] and keep up the norm. If you don’t, we’re able to sacrifice the [[Hope of Ghirapur]] to protect ourselves, recast [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and then Flashback [[Echo of Eons]].
It may not seem very obvious, but this hand is very strong despite not having a single initial mana-source due to [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]].
It’s been a very long time since our first article on Grixis Delver. That means it’s probably a good time for a refresher.
Hand No. 1: (on the draw)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Volcanic Island|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Burning Wish|]]
While [[Veil of Summer]] is a terrific card against blue strategies, it isn’t enough to carry a hand that is so far away from winning. The issue I see here is while [[Volcanic Island]] does make for [[Rite of Flame]], you still need initial sources of mana for both [[Dark Ritual]] and [[Veil of Summer]]. It’s possible to argue that you’re on the draw and have a few daw steps to find what you need, but your land is [[Volcanic Island]] and not a fetchland. This means you’re weak to [[Wasteland]] while light on mana, also known as not where you want to be against Grixis Delver.
While this hand doesn’t quite have built-in protection, it is rather resilient which is…different. We’re able to play a first-turn [[Wishclaw Talisman]] off of a [[Swamp]] and the [[Chrome Mox]] ([[Rite of Flame]] Imprinted). If it resolves? Great! If not, we’re able to cast [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] on our second turn and possibly recast the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] based on our draw step (more realistically on the third turn). Due to being on the play, we don’t really need to concern ourselves with cards such as [[Daze]] which is a real benefit of a hand like this.
This might seem weird, but I really value my land drops versus [[Delver of Secrets]] decks. Being able to shut off their “soft-counters” is very crucial, but I think part of what makes this hand a keep is realizing what it does well. It’s going to consistently play lands and then [[Burning Wish]] plus [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] will make [[Echo of Eons]] great. If you’re not going to be fast, you’re using your life total as a resource. The beauty of [[Echo of Eons]] is that it doesn’t care about your life total! Ideally, we would find 1-2 pieces of protection for this [[Echo of Eons]] and then go to town.
This hand is somewhat similar to Hand No. 2 given that we have a two-mana bomb we can cast turn one on the play with [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] to back it up. The difference here is we don’t have any action spells. I wouldn’t worry to much over this as not every hand will be perfect and this game has draw steps for a reason. You’re a little over 34 percent every turn to draw what you need. Over the course of 3-4 turns, the odds are very much so in your favor. Too many new players will ship hands like these and I personally think that’s a pretty big mistake. Not having an action spell is okay.
Hand No. 5: (on the draw)
[[Chrome Mox|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Brainstorm|]]
This hand is just a big “YIKES!” It doesn’t do anything particularly well. While [[Brainstorm]] is a powerful card, it isn’t enough to save this hand. While being on the draw is nice because you’d get an additional card towards fixing this mess, this hand loses to [[Daze]] pretty hard. I believe the average six-card hand is significantly better than these seven.
[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Pyroblast|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Defense Grid|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Polluted Delta|]] [[Rite of Flame|]]
This seems a little ridiculous, but remember all of those times you heard, “too much of a good thing can be bad” as a child? They were totally talking about this hand. It’s stacked, but it also just doesn’t do anything. When you need both mana and business, you’re in for a tough game.
These are the sort of hands I love to open in this match-up! It contains double protection, your best mana accelerants, and a few lands. It’s very similar to Hand No. 4 except we’re on the draw and in a post-board game. Just keep in mind that you’re roughly 34 percent to hit each turn and we’re on the draw which greatly helps!
All day! I thought Hand No. 7 was good, but geez. A not so obvious downside to this hand exsists. [[Pyroblast]] does not play well with [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] meaning if your opponent decides to hold onto their [[Force of Will]] for your [[Ad Nauseam]], you might be pretty upset. The work-around here is to not go off until you’re able to build up back-up, but I’m not even sure if that’s correct. Just some food for thought.
This is the sort of hand a new Storm pilot would optimistically keep — it has a land, cantrips, and good spells, right? Stop it. This hand doesn’t do anything well! Realistically, you’d cast [[Ponder]] on the first turn looking for additional lands, probably casting [[Brainstorm]] on the second turn. Then what? Casting [[Wishclaw Talisman]] and [[Burning Wish]] praying that they use counterspells while you’re trying to build up to five mana in an effort to also hope they don’t have [[Daze]]? This is a lot of wishful thinking.
Hand No. 10: (on the play)
[[Ad Nauseam|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]]
Share your answer in the comments below!
I’ll provide my answer in the next article. For now, make sure to post 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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