Matchup Mulligan: Hogaak

Final Painter Hand Answer

Hand No. 10: (on the play)

Crash Dark Ritual Dark Ritual Infernal Tutor Infernal Tutor Lion's Eye Diamond Burning Wish


With the money on the line, I’d keep this. That said, it could go downhill very quickly in the face of a Karn, The Great Creator. The beauty of this hand is that you would be able to answer an artifact such as Painter’s Servant (paired with a Pyroblast or Red Elemental Blast could be very strong against this hand) or something else and then win the game with Ad Nauseam. Painter doesn’t have an incredibly fast deck. While it can certainly kill you on the second turn, it isn’t very common. A Karn, The Great Creator might as well be a nail in the coffin, however. I believe that you would get a few draw-steps to hit your initial mana source here and ultimately the risk is worth the reward.


Deck List


Hand No. 1: (on the play)

Dark Ritual Mox Opal Lion's Eye Diamond Scalding Tarn Infernal Tutor Chrome Mox Burning Wish


While these new blue Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis decks do run Hedron Crab and Careful Study, that’s the extent of their blue cards. No Force of Will and not even Narcomoeba for a deck that wants to mill itself! This means that there is absolutely no turn one interaction that you need to worry about. I would cast Chrome Mox (Imprint: Burning Wish), Mox Opal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor and cast Ad Nauseam! There’s actually no reason to even play Scalding Tarn as you’ll reveal a land at some point that doesn’t cause you to lose any life.

Hand No. 2: (on the draw)

Infernal Tutor Infernal Tutor Dark Ritual Bloodstained Mire Swamp Polluted Delta Mox Opal


There’s so many things to not like about this seven card hand! The first being that it’s very weak to Cabal Therapy from our opponent (which they can also Stitcher’s Supplier into), Mox Opal doesn’t do anything here, and we don’t need to rely on the basic Swamp because the Hogaak deck doesn’t play Wasteland. There’s also the fact that this hand is devastatingly slow in a speed race.

Hand No. 3: (on the play — Mulliganed Once)

Ponder Brainstorm Chrome Mox Duress Burning Wish Volcanic Island Empty the Warrens


Even if this was a seven-card hand, I’m not sure if I’d want to keep this. What does this hand do well? Empty the Warrens is very weak in this match-up and can be out-raced by Vengevine or Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis making it rather bad. If you do keep this hand, I’d bottom Empty the Warrens for those reasons. You could hypothetically Burning Wish for Echo of Eons and then use one cantrip per turn to try to find exactly Lion’s Eye Diamond or possibly Dark Ritual into Thoughtseize, but this seems a bit slow and a tall ask. I’d honestly just would rather keep a playable five cards than spend multiple turns praying to draw into Lion’s Eye Diamond while also hoping to not die.

Hand No. 4: (on the draw)

Dark Ritual Lotus Petal Rite of Flame Burning Wish Chrome Mox Bloodstained Mire Polluted Delta


This hand is actually very similar to hand number three from my perspective. The goal of this hand is to retrieve Echo of Eons on turn one, and then you’re not far off from casting it on the second turn! Being on the draw, the most common name coming from our opponent’s Cabal Therapy will be Lion’s Eye Diamond, which is actually a strength of what we have going on here.

Hand No. 5: (on the play)

Thoughtseize Thoughtseize Duress Underground Sea Ponder Chrome Mox Rite of Flame


Against a deck trying to put their own cards in the graveyard, you can probably imagine why discard spells might not be the best in this match-up.


Recommended sideboarding:


Tormod's Crypt Tormod's Crypt Chain of Vapor


Duress Duress Defense Grid

Hand No. 6: (on the draw)

Chain of Vapor Rite of Flame Lion's Eye Diamond Scalding Tarn Island Lotus Petal Chrome Mox


Honestly, I don’t love this hand, but I do think it’s fine. You don’t always need to have a business spell in your opening hand. My biggest concern with this hand would be a first turn Cabal Therapy on Lion’s Eye Diamond. If you can get past that you should be fine. I’d play out Island, Lotus Petal, Chrome Mox (Imprint: Rite of Flame), and then play Lion’s Eye Diamond. Chain of Vapor is actually super valuable here because it can protect you from Force of Vigor or slow down the opponent long enough for you to draw the action that this hand needs. I’d play the basic Island first just because if you do want to sacrifice a land to Chain of Vapor, it’s less valuable to me than Scalding Tarn.

Hand No. 7: (on the play)

Tormod's Crypt Mox Opal Lotus Petal Ponder Brainstorm Bloodstained Mire Polluted Delta


I actually like this hand quite a bit. Metalcraft from Mox Opal is turned on thankfully due to Tormod’s Crypt (…and I suppose Lotus Petal), which allows for a first turn Brainstorm plus a fetchland. After this you’ll be able to Ponder to continue to sculpt your hand. While this hand may look slow, it’s deceptively fast. Tormod’s Crypt buys you a lot of time in this match-up as it’s devastatingly good against Hogaak. More often than not, our opponent will be forced to play into it as an effort to get it off the table.

Hand No. 8: (on the draw)

Tormod's Crypt Burning Wish Rite of Flame Rite of Flame Dark Ritual Infernal Tutor Brainstorm


What? No. Tormod’s Crypt isn’t THAT good. You can’t keep unplayable hands due to Tormod’s Crypt.

Hand No. 9: (on the play — mulliganed twice)

Dark Ritual Infernal Tutor Lion's Eye Diamond Lion's Eye Diamond Thoughtseize Burning Wish Ad Nauseam


At some point you need to keep a hand that is capable of winning the game, and this hand isn’t far off. I’d put Ad Nauseam and Burning Wish on the bottom of our library. You do this because we want to search for the Ad Nauseam with Infernal Tutor, and that’s much easier than drawing a mana source and a second copy of Dark Ritual in order to “hard-cast” the Ad Nauseam. The second decision is slightly more difficult. Do we put Burning Wish or the Thoughtseize on the bottom of our library? I personally like keeping the Thoughtseize to clear the way of a possible Force of Vigor on our second Lion’s Eye Diamond. The counter-argument is our opponent has four copies of Cabal Therapy and then a few copies of their own Thoughtseize. My issue with this is we’re so far away from casting Burning Wish, where I’d rather play into the strength of our hand rather than play, “what-if”s.

Hand No. 10: (on the draw — Mulliganed once)

Burning Wish Tormod's Crypt Thoughtseize Polluted Delta Polluted Delta Chrome Mox Volcanic Island

Stay tuned for the next article!

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