This hand looks much better than it actually is, there’s some natural friction happening that may not be completely obvious.
You have three zero mana value artifacts, which is great and [[Galvanic Relay]] which typically pair well together. That said, these mana rocks don’t actually cast [[Galvanic Relay]]. It would take an above average [[Brainstorm]] to make this [[Galvanic Relay]] happen this turn. You could be able to leverage the [[Galvanic Relay]] later on in the game, but you’ve already expended three spells that turn to cast the [[Brainstorm]] which means the recovery time for an eventual [[Brainstorm]] is significant.
What about the [[Burning Wish]]? This card is actually a trap in this hand. Most people look at this and think they can force the opponent to [[Force of Will]] the [[Burning Wish]] and then they can smoothly Flashback the [[Echo of Eons]]. This is a bit of a pipe-dream. You should make the assumption that your opponents are reasonably good at this game and in doing so, there’s very little reason to counterspell the [[Burning Wish]]. The reason is that the opponent can just counterspell the [[Echo of Eons]] that they believe you would get with the [[Burning Wish]]. If we had another mana and it was , you could sacrifice the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for and then threaten either [[Empty the Warrens]] or the sideboard copy of [[Galvanic Relay]]. Sadly, that isn’t the case here.
All of this doesn’t even account for [[Force of Vigor]]! The opponent could have the green force on top of their blue ones. This would immediately put us in a spot where we would be inclined to discard our hand to [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] in order to have the mana to Flashback the [[Echo of Eons]] and play into whatever interaction that they have (this opens up [[Surgical Extraction]] as a card that would beat us).
Ultimately, this hand is still likely a keep. We’re looking for [[Brainstorm]] to do some heavy lifting and for our opponent to not have a lot of interaction which certainly makes this hand more risky than it would appear.
Hand No. 1: (on the play)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Ponder|]] [[Tropical Island|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Brainstorm|]]
The name of the game is speed, and this hand certainly doesn’t have it. While you do have a pair of [[Brainstorm]] to convert these copies of [[Veil of Summer]] into cards with actual text on them, and that takes time which the Madness deck isn’t going to give us. The Madness deck can threaten lethal on the second turn and frequently has third turn victories. The take away here is to keep hands with a clear game plan that aren’t going to spend too much time spinning their wheels.
Hand No. 2:(on the draw)
[[Echo of Eons|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Polluted Delta|]] [[Polluted Delta|]]
A hand with a plan! The Madness deck is a glorified aggro deck, which means that they’re planning on attacking our life-total. We have our best Storm engine that doesn’t rely on the life total with [[Echo of Eons]]! What we want to do is accelerate our [[Wishclaw Talisman]] into play by casting [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Rite of Flame]]). On the second turn, we’ll cast [[Dark Ritual]], use a to activate [[Wishclaw Talisman]], finding and casting [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] before we Flashback the [[Echo of Eons]]. At this point, it’s up to [[Keranos, God of Storms]] to give us a seven-card hand that carries us to Valhalla.
I mentioned that the Madness deck is an aggro strategy, and that’s as true as it gets for Legacy. They don’t play a single piece of interaction in the first game, meaning we get to do our best Michael Jordan impression to dunk on them. Use [[Scalding Tarn]] to search up [[Underground Sea]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Mox Opal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Wishclaw Talisman]], and [[Chrome Mox]]. With the Imprint trigger on the stack, activate [[Wishclaw Talisman]] for [[Ad Nauseam]] and cast it off of the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] mana. After [[Ad Nauseam]] resolves, let the Imprint trigger happen and finish winning the game.
While this hand doesn’t have a couple of dead [[Veil of Summer]] in our hand like Hand No. 1, the philosophy remains the same. These seven cards are just too slow to be reasonable, The only way that this hand could reasonably work out is that between our draw step and this [[Ponder]] we hit a second land as well as a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Please leverage the London Mulligan!
This hand certainly isn’t one that I’m thrilled with, but it has some play to it! The plan here is to cast [[Orim’s Chant]] as a “[[Time Walk]] effect” on the opponent’s upkeep to prevent them from casting spells. The real question is whether or not we get [[Tundra]] or [[Scrubland]]? Since we already have [[Dark Ritual]], I’d lean towards [[Scrubland]] accepting that we won’t be casting any copies of [[Brainstorm]] or [[Ponder]]. The [[Orim’s Chant]] will buy us enough time to cast [[Burning Wish]], we have two real options for targets: [[Echo of Eons]] and [[Peer into the Abyss]].
The madness deck does play four copies of [[Burning Inquiry]] to accelerate their game plan and help to cast [[Hollow One]], we could get [[Echo of Eons]] and pray that they need to cast it. At this point, we would also need the variance to be on our side for the [[Echo of Eons]] to be discarded. Remember that [[Tundra]] or [[Scrubland]] question I asked? It’s directly tied to which Storm engine you should retrieve. If we have Tundra, it’ll now be easier to Flashback the [[Echo of Eons]]. A lot would need to go right for this to work, we could also just draw the best card in our deck — [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]].
A more realistic or probable line would be to grab [[Peer into the Abyss]]. The downside here is that a [[Burning Inquiry]] could really mess us up, but on top of that, we would need to draw another copy of [[Dark Ritual]] or [[Rite of Flame]] which is 6/50 cards (12 percent) to hit on the third turn. We do have an unknown draw step for the second turn, where if this is an additional land or accelerant this line becomes significantly better.
Hopefully, this breakdown shows why I wasn’t ecstatic about this hand but it does have some promise to it.
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]]
While this hand is obviously fast, there’s more to the matchup in post-board games. Around 50 percent of Madness builds have a pair of [[Mindbreak Trap]] in the sideboard and 100 percent of lists have two copies of [[Ancient Grudge]]. Now factor in the potential [[Burning Inquiry]] to mess up our hand as well — it’s certainly messy. The good news is almost none of these decks play any copies of [[Force of Vigor]]! I’d likely play this cautiously and just try to beat the [[Mindbreak Trap]] especially if the opponent mulliganed aggressively. I’d begin with [[Badlands]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Rite of Flame]]) and pass. If you don’t cast [[Chrome Mox]] to keep additional cards in hand for [[Burning Inquiry]] you need to draw exactly a land to beat [[Mindbreak Trap]] and at that point I think is just better to jam all-in on the first turn.
If your opponent does have the [[Ancient Grudge]], you can still [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]] as a nice fallback plan.
This hand is a lot more interesting to think about than it may appear!
This hand is a little risky and is weak to [[Ancient Grudge]], but can likely beat [[Mindbreak Trap]] on the third turn. Once again, we’re casting [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Rite of Flame]]) into [[Wishclaw Talisman]] on the first turn. While we do have [[Dark Ritual]], we’re short a mana of activating [[Wishclaw Talisman]] and then casting [[Ad Nauseam]] on the second turn. We do have an option of activating the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] for [[Ad Nauseam]] and then passing the turn. This dodges [[Ancient Grudge]] as well as [[Mindbreak Trap]]. If our opponent is savvy, they could get [[Burning Inquiry]] in hopes of tripping us up, but then we would have the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] back on our turn. While this hand isn’t perfect. Once again, there’s play to it and strategy rather than two ships passing in the night.
This hand is clearly great, but it’s also not as obvious as it may seem. At an initial glance, it’s a protected second turn [[Ad Nauseam]] through [[Mindbreak Trap]] as long as we draw a black, red, or white card. It’s actually better than that! If we play [[Scalding Tarn]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Rite of Flame]]), and then pass. We can then in their upkeep, we can search for [[Tundra]] and cast [[Orim’s Chant]]. On our turn, now are able to cast [[Dark Ritual]] off of [[Lotus Petal]] into [[Ad Nauseam]]. This line reduces the need to draw to an out, shuts off [[Burning Inquiry]], [[Ancient Grudge]], and [[Mindbreak Trap]] (until after [[Ad Nauseam]] has resolved).
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 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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