Matchup Mulligan: Initiative

Final The EPIC Gamble Hand Answer

Hand No. 10: (on the draw)

[[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Ad Nauseam|]] [[Underground Sea|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]]


Even if you’re fortune enough to receive a turn in the Storm mirror against a faster variant, you would then need to draw a free mana source to allow you to put [[Echo of Eons]] on the stack. You can’t [[Ad Nauseam]] because it’s in your hand! Which then means after you’ve already had two things go right for you, that you would then need to get lucky on an [[Echo of Eons]] to win. Rolling high on variance three times is too much for me.



Hand No. 1: (on the draw)

[[Mox Opal|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Burning Wish|]]


Being on the draw against the [[Chalice of the Void]] deck isn’t ideal, but here we don’t care about [[Chalice of the Void]] with either zero or one counter on it. If they play the prison artifact where X=1, we can simply cast [[Lotus Petal]], [[Mox Opal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and then [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Veil of Summer]]), [[Burning Wish]], sacrifice [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for , and then [[Empty the Warrens]] for a lot of [[Goblin Token]]s.

If they [[Chalice of the Void]] for zero, we can cast the [[Veil of Summer]] to power our artifacts through the artifact. A fun fact about [[Veil of Summer]] is that it doesn’t care about if the spell or ability is blue or black — your spells cannot be countered. Which means that [[Chalice of the Void]] is temporarily not very effective. Ideally, we would draw another card to Imprint to [[Chrome Mox]] to allow us the ability to cast [[Empty the Warrens]]. If we don’t, we’ll have to settle for an [[Echo of Eons]].

Hand No. 2: (on the play)

[[Dark Ritual|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Polluted Delta|]]


Dunegon Stompy has no ways to interact with you for free in the first game. This means that you can put the petal to the metal! Use [[Polluted Delta]] to search up [[Underground Sea]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Wishclaw Talisman]], [[Mox Opal]], [[Lotus Petal], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]], use all of our mana, and then put [[Ad Nauseam]] on the stack!

Hand No. 3: (on the draw)

[[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Badlands|]] [[Misty Rainforest|]]


If you thought this was a keep, have you read the cards in this Initiative deck? [[Chalice of the Void]], [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]], [[Archon of Emeria]], fast mana, etc. This hand is painfully slow between [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and the [[Galvanic Relay]]. We need a hand with a more aggressive game plan, not too mention the Initiative creatures in this deck win the game very quickly.

Hand No. 4: (on the play)

[[Echo of Eons|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Dark Ritual|]]


While not ideal, it’s disruptive in a non-traditional sense. As I mentioned, in Hand No. 2 the Initiative deck can’t interact and they often mulligan aggressive for a first turn lock piece. With [[Echo of Eons]] we can force mulligan the opponent. At what cost? The inability to mulligan our new seven-card hand. That said, we begin the game with three Storm, ⅓ of Metalcraft, and an additional card. I believe that the upside is here.

Hand No. 5: (on the draw)

[[Dark Ritual|]] [[Taiga|]] [[Scalding Tarn|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Dark Ritual|]]


In a lot of matchups you can tell yourself, “I’m 34 percent every draw step to hit an action spell”. Time is not a luxury you have when facing this Initiative Stompy deck as mentioned in Hand No. 3. I’d really like to drive that point home, they’re extremely disruptive and fast. Keeping hands that consist of only mana isn’t going to fly.


Recommended sideboarding:


[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Dress Down|]] [[Dress Down|]] [[Crash|]]


[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]]

Hand No. 6: (on the play)

[[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Badlands|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]]


In post-board games, the number of cards we need to play around increases from [[Mindbreak Trap]], [[Null Rod]], [[Thorn of Amethyst]], and [[Deafening Silence]]. One of the keys of being good with combo is knowing what you can and cannot afford to play around with any given hand. With this hand, we have a tough decision on whether or not to Imprint the [[Burning Wish]] to [[Chrome Mox]]. By doing so, we can cast [[Wishclaw Talisman]] on the first turn followed by the [[Mox Opal]]. The plan is to cast [[Ad Nauseam]] through a possible [[Mindbreak Trap]] on the second turn with a Storm count of two. The downside is giving up [[Burning Wish]] for a potential [[Pulverize]] line.

I would Imprint the [[Burning Wish]], because the alternative path is a slower game and in those situations the opposing deck is favored. Taking off multiple turns to set up a [[Pulverize]] isn’t impossible, but it’s certainly an uphill battle. I would prefer to try to sneak a win than throw punches. It may be worth noting that most [[Pulverize]] lines would require playing directly into a possible [[Mindbreak Trap]] as well.

Hand No. 7: (on the draw)

[[Dress Down|]] [[Crash|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Underground Sea|]] [[Bayou|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Brainstorm|]]


While not perfect, I do really like the idea of having three lands paired with a [[Dress Down]] to shut down [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] paired with an [[Archon of Emeria]]. We even have [[Crash]] for [[Chalice of the Void]]! We have a number of looks with this hand between [[Mishra’s Bauble]] alongside [[Bloodstained Mire]] as well as the [[Dress Down]] itself and then obviously [[Brainstorm]]. What we’re looking for out of this hand is for the opponent to not start of an Initiative creature, which is a reasonable ask as the opponent is more likely to keep hands based on disruptive elements.

Hand No. 8: (on the play)

[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Ad Nauseam|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Taiga|]]


This is actually almost the same hand as Hand No. 6. What can we afford to play around? The big trap here is to not tunnel vision on the [[Abrupt Decay]] as its best feature is to Imprint onto [[Chrome Mox]]. I would play out [[Taiga]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Abrupt Decay]]), [[Mox Opal]], and then the second copy of [[Chrome Mox]]. By playing the one we don’t want to Imprint last, it’s less damaging if the spell is exiled to a [[Mindbreak Trap]]. From there, you can pass the turn and then cast [[Dark Ritual]] into [[Ad Nauseam]] on their turn. This plays around [[Mindbreak Trap]] while likely giving you enough resources to play through whatever their initial play is.

Hand No. 9: (on the draw)

[[Echo of Eons|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]]


It’s a trap! We have a land, spells, answers, and a payoff but what does it actually do? You’re putting a lot of pressure on this [[Brainstorm]] off of a single land against the [[Chalice of the Void]] plus [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] deck.

Hand No. 10: (on the play)

[[Burning Wish|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Crash|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Brainstorm|]]

Stay tuned for the next article!

I’ll provide my answer in the next article.