Maverick Hand Answer
Hand 10: (on the draw)
I am honestly shocked by the number of people who said they would ship this hand. Risk vs. reward! You have a 38% chance to draw a black source in order to win the game on the spot. This hand also doesn’t really lose to a Thoughtseize (they could slow you down by taking Dark Ritual, but that’s it.). It’s also not a guarantee that your opponent even has a second turn hate piece. Something I think you need to ask yourself is, “will my mulligan to six have a higher than 38% chance to turn one them?” the answer is no.
Part 1 — Matchup Mulligan: Miracles
Since our last conversation about Miracles vs. TES, a lot has changed. Gitaxian Probe was still legal! We were running green for Xantid Swarm and Abrupt Decay. We thought that the right post-board plan was to side out Empty the Warrens and bring in Tendrils of Agony. Miracles had yet to adopt a variety of cards that are now staples in the archetype: Accumulated Knowledge, Back to Basics, Force of Negation, and Narset, Parter of Veils. Yikes!
It’s probably time for a refresher.
Hand 1: (on the draw)
At first this hand seems fine, you have two discard spells (and those are good against blue decks, right?) and a basic Swamp to play around the opponent’s Back to Basics. The issue with this hand is outside of drawing exactly Lion’s Eye Diamond, this hand is very bad. This hand will not do enough before your opponent can recover from two discard spells, by then they’ll have found their copies of Force of Will or will be burying you in card advantage with Accumulated Knowledge. I’d much rather mulligan in an attempt to find a more balanced hand, than pray to draw Lion’s Eye Diamond every turn.
Hand 2: (on the play)
I think most people will correctly assume that this hand is a keep. What is interesting to this hand to me is that it’s a change in how we play. In the past, we’ve said such things as, “Take your 60% odds your opponent doesn’t have Force of Will and a blue card.” You see, that’s changed with Force of Negation — your opponent is now up to 54% to find a “Force effect” in their opponent hand. Because of this, I would lead off on Ponder instead of going for a kill (Honestly, I’d probably Ponder anyway prior to Force of Negation). With Ponder, you’re looking for some sort of discard spell, if you don’t find one — shuffle. If you don’t draw a discard spell off of the Ponder‘s shuffle draw but do draw another non-discard black card, I’d likely push all in. More realistically, you won’t, then the question becomes, “Do I try to go all-in on an Empty the Warrens or wait a turn and cast Ad Nauseam?”
It’s a tough choice as your opponent is most likely to play a cantrip looking for a “Force effect” and now their odds have dramatically gone up with six copies in their main deck. Alternatively, if you choose to to go all in they could have Brainstorm into Terminus if they don’t have Force of Will or Force of Negation. What I’d ask myself for this scenario is, “What was my opponent willing to keep if their hand didn’t have a Force of Will or Force of Negation or an answer to Empty the Warrens.” Not much, maybe a Counterbalance? But Counterbalance is a two-of and I don’t believe you should be playing around corner-cases or small probabilities.
With these things in mind, I’d likely wait a turn and see what my draw-step looks like and reevaluate.
Hand 3: (on the draw)
This is a well-rounded hand, you have cantrips, discard, acceleration, and lands. I think sometimes newer Storm pilots get too caught up in, “I need to win quickly.” when this isn’t always the case. While it’s good to get underneath Miracles before they sculpt their hand, it’s not the end-all-be-all. It’s important to consider the hand you’ve been presented with and how it aligns against the opponent’s deck. One thing I do find awkward about these particular seven cards is that Volcanic Island doesn’t cast Duress on the first turn. Not that you’re required to do so, but it would certainly help make sure that the game isn’t dictated by a resolved Counterbalance or Narset, Parter of Veils. The reason this is a factor is ideally, you’d want to save your Polluted Delta for Brainstorm to have a “perfect Brainstorm“ and not risk using Ponder to shuffle your library, redrawing the same cards, or needing to find another land in the top three cards of your library.
Because of these things, I’d likely lead on Ponder and accept a Counterbalance if it comes down and chalk it up to them drawing one of their two copies. This allows you to Brainstorm, use your Polluted Delta to shuffle away that Chrome Mox and something else, and then Duress our opponent. The downside is they can then protect their Narset, Parter of Veils, the upside is you likely don’t have any cantrips left as The EPIC Storm only plays eight and two have been used.
Hand 4: (on the play)
I’m all about this hand. When your opponent has six “Force effects” in their deck, one of the best ways to combat this is to use your Storm cards. While Miracles does have Terminus, they often only play three main deck. Make them find their outs! One of the beautiful things about this opening hand is that if the Dark Ritual resolves, our opponent is a bit out of luck (aside from having two free counters and wanting to use them.) Assuming our opponent chooses to not interact, we would also have a Burning Wish as back-up or to finish off the opponent if they do find a late Terminus.
Hand 5: (on the draw)
While being fast is nice, you need to make sure that you actually do something. This hand needs a lot of work in that it’ll require both a piece of interaction and a business spell. By the time you find both of these, you’ll likely be buried. I think most average six card hands are better than this hand.
Hand 6: (on the play)
Normally, I’d say something like, “Too much of a good thing…” but I don’t believe that to be the case here. I think this hand has enough disruption where you’re likely to win on turns 4-5 while shredding their game plan. I’d lead on a Hope of Ghirapur to see if it’s countered by Force of Will, if it resolves that’s fine too. Then on the second turn you can sacrifice the first Hope of Ghirapur, play a Thoughtseize, and then another Hope of Ghirapur. This will also allow you to know if you should be concerned with Back to Basics or not.
One interesting thing is that our favorite metal bug can kill a Narset, Parter of Veils!
Hand 7: (on the draw)
I think most people will correctly keep this hand, but the reason I put this in here is a new interaction. In the past this hand would’ve most likely have been an Empty the Warrens hand with Hope of Ghirapur to stop them from setting up Terminus for at least one of the turns — not anymore! Now this is an Echo of Eons line. First you would play your Hope of Ghirapur, on the second turn attack and sacrifice Hope of Ghirapur. From there play your land or imprint whatever was drawn onto Chrome Mox, Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, use Lion’s Eye Diamond to discard the Echo of Eons and add three blue mana!
The beauty of this is your opponent won’t be able to cast anything they drew in their seven cards due to Hope of Ghirapur‘s effect, which includes on their turn as well!
Hand 8: (on the play)
This hand is a little too fragile for my taste. You’re reliant on finding a land, the Chrome Mox doesn’t provide either combo color for Dark Ritual or Burning Wish. In theory, this hand could win, I just don’t think it’s a probable victory.
Hand 9: (on the draw)
I’ve actually seen a TES pilot mulligan this hand which is why I included it. Their rationale was that Empty the Warrens on the draw loses to both Flusterstorm and Brainstorm into Terminus while Ad Nauseam loses to Flusterstorm, Force of Negation, and Force of Will. I don’t believe this can be your philosophy or else Miracles wouldn’t lose to anything. What if they tap out on the first turn? What if Dark Ritual resolves? Now you have an Empty the Warrens with a back-up Ad Nauseam. You could draw a discard spell into a protected turn one kill, try to think of all possible outcomes instead of just the negatives.
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!