This series goes over 10 opening hands, 5 pre-board and 5 post-board opening hands. The hands are not random, they’ve been sculpted by me for the purpose of these exercises.
Hand 1: (on the draw)
This hand has a few things wrong with it: The first being that you’re incredibly light on mana, even if your Bloodstained Mire isn’t hit by Stifle, you can’t cast anything other than discard spells! The second thing wrong with a hand like this is that you spend your first few turns shredding your opponents hand, but if they have any reasonable clock, Empty the Warrens and Ad Nauseam will be shut off by the time you draw into more mana and/or lands.
Hand 2: (on the play)
While this hand has tons of mana (which is great in this matchup), it doesn’t do anything. By the time you find a business spell, your opponent has used draw spells to find Force of Will, meaning that you will now have to find a discard spell. When all of this happens, what’s your life total now? High enough for Ad Nauseam? Not likely. Probably too low for Empty the Warrens as well.
Hand 3: (on the draw)
This hand is decent, a good mixture between mana and action. You even have the option of searching up both basic lands to play around Wasteland!
Hand 4: (on the play)
While this hand has a “tutor effect” and rituals, the amount of lands is actually very bad here as you can’t become hellbent until turn four by the earliest. Hands like this always feel bad to mulligan, but it’s the correct choice.
Hand 5: (on the draw)
Hands like this are much better on the play, but I think this is a snap keep. You have two opportunities to hit a land between your draw step and Gitaxian Probe. If you do, if your opponent has interaction you have mana for Cabal Therapy and then generating a horde of Goblins. You’re shut off from Ad Nauseam, but Grixis Delver doesn’t play sweepers in the main deck and you’re generating enough Goblins to out-race Young Pyromancer.
BOOM! Turn one Cabal Therapy? Followed by a horde of Goblins? AND THEN ANOTHER CABAL THERAPY?! If you considered sending this back, there’s something wrong with you.
Hand 7: (on the draw)
This hand is good, it has business, mana and interaction. What it’s lacking is a “ritual effect” to power out Empty the Warrens. Hopefully the Ponder will find out. I would keep this all-day!
Hand 8: (on the play)
A trap hand, all the disruption in the world off a fetchland that doesn’t get the basic Swamp. You can’t cast anything other than disruption and it’s weak to Wasteland, this is a no-brainer for me.
Hand 9: (on the draw)
This hand is soooooo close. Very close. The closest. But ultimately, I would send it back. It’s a little too slow for how few Goblins it makes.
Hand 10: (on the play)
Share your answer in the comments below!
I’ll provide my answer in the next article, but 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 v13.2!
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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