[[Mox Opal|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Thoughtseize|]] [[Empty the Warrens|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Chrome Mox|]]
It’s very risky, but as I said in the last article, you need to take big swings in bad matchups. Against the deck with [[Force of Will]], [[Force of Negation]], and [[Force of Vigor]] you’re going to need to get lucky in order to win. In this case, that means drawing a land that produces black mana or an artifact. Depending on what the draw is, that should be enough for a [[Thoughtseize]] into [[Empty the Warrens]]. If we miss, we likely get a draw step or two to dig ourselves out of it.
The lesson with this hand is not every hand is applicable for every matchup. While this hand does get to, “play a game of Magic: the Gathering”, it doesn’t play a meaningful game. Lands and spells are not good enough against every deck. Specifically against Orzhov Death & Taxes (D&T), we need something fast. These seven cards are looking to play a longer game where you accrue value off of a pair of [[Mishra’s Bauble]] as well as [[Galvanic Relay]].
In older builds of The EPIC Storm, we might of had something in the sideboard such as [[Massacre]] for these archetypes. That is no longer the case and this [[Burning Wish]] can find either [[Grapeshot]] or [[Consign // Oblivion]]. That’s a six mana value line versus the card that D&T is best known for — [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]]. To wrap up this initial hand, we want faster hands to stop the prison snowball effect from locking us down.
Hand No. 2: (on the play)
[[Burning Wish|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Taiga|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]]
You might be wondering why Death & Taxes has adapted to play black. The primary reason is for [[Orcish Bowmasters]] but it’s also for [[Thoughtseize]]. With our current hand, we have [[Veil of Summer]] to fend off [[Thoughtseize]]. In pre-board games, Orzhov D&T doesn’t have any other one mana value spells we really care all that much about. This means that we can play the [[Verdant Catacombs]] on the first turn and then pass to protect ourselves from [[Wasteland]] or [[Rishadan Port]]. Some players may see the [[Taiga]] and the [[Veil of Summer]] and then make a hasty decision to play out their green land, but we still have a [[Bayou]] to search for.
If we’re lucky enough to have the opponent to cast a [[Thoughtseize]], we’ll be able to draw a card off of the [[Veil of Summer]]. Between that and our draw step, we’re looking for one more mana to be able to cast [[Peer into the Abyss]] out of our sideboard. That’s a nine mana value line and we’re currently at eight, if we fail to find that mana, I would cast a Flashback [[Echo of Eons]] (thanks to [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]).
We get to do one of my favorite plays! Start by casting all of our zero mana artifacts: [[Lotus Petal]], [[Mishra’s Bauble]], [[Mox Opal]], and then we play [[Brainstorm]]. After that, we can shuffle on the first turn using this [[Misty Rainforest]]. The rest of this game is determined by how good the [[Brainstorm]] was but we also have a few additional draws between the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and our draw step. Games are often not determined by the first seven cards — don’t forget that!
An important thing to know is that in pre-board games, the Black and White D&T deck doesn’t have any free interaction. That’s perfect for our extremely explosive turn one win hand!
We’ll begin by playing [[Underground Sea]] and then casting: [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Galvanic Relay]]), [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Dark Ritual]], and then [[Beseech the Mirror]]. At this point, we search out and cast [[Gaea’s Will]], replay our graveyard, and then [[Beseech the Mirror]] into [[Tendrils of Agony]].
Hand No. 5: (on the draw)
[[Gaea’s Will|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Tendrils of Agony|]]
Having the [[Gaea’s Will]] in our hand is not ideal, that said, we do still have [[Song of Creation]] as a card to search for using [[Beseech the Mirror]]. The issue here is outside of drawing exactly [[Dark Ritual]] for our draw step, this hand isn’t going to do anything before [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] or [[Orcish Bowmasters]] enter the battlefield. A nice thing about The EPIC Storm is that [[Veil of Summer]] can negate the [[Orcish Bowmasters]] triggers while [[Song of Creation]] does it’s thing. My concern here is that we don’t have mana number four for [[Beseech the Mirror]] and we likely need to use the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] to dig deeper. It’s just a very awkward hand and I’d rather leverage the London Mulligan than be forced into exactly [[Song of Creation]] because of my keep.
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]]
Hand No. 6: (on the play)
[[Dark Ritual|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Misty Rainforest|]] [[Taiga|]] [[Veil of Summer|]]
In post-board games, our opponent gains instant-speed interaction in the form of: [[Surgical Extraction]], [[Faerie Macabre]], and often [[Mindbreak Trap]] on top of other sideboard cards like [[Deafening Silence]]. A lot of these decks have the same number of copies between [[Mindbreak Trap]] and [[Deafening Silence]], playing around one over the other is just a hunch. Because of that, I would choose to play around the one that our opponent can’t cast due to the composition of our hand.
Activate [[Misty Rainforest]] to find [[Underground Sea]] and let’s cast [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], and then [[Beseech the Mirror]]. We’ll Bargain away the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and then find [[Song of Creation]]. With [[Song of Creation]], we’re allowed to play an additional land. We’ll put [[Taiga]] on the table and then cast [[Veil of Summer]] hoping to draw into a few zero mana spells.
Hand No. 7: (on the draw)
[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Scalding Tarn|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Echoing Truth|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]]
Too much of a good thing! Ways to interact with our opponent are good, we want to be able to answer [[Deafening Silence]], [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]], and other disruptive permanents, but this hand is far too reactive. We’re pretty far from ever being able to cast this [[Beseech the Mirror]] — we would have to draw [[Dark Ritual]], and then a permanent for Bargain. If the permanent we need to answer is [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]], we would also need a third mana source.
I don’t like these types of hands, they assume you either get lucky off of the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] or hopes that our opponent messes up. What I mean is if you decide to keep this hand, the plan is likely to cast all of our spells into [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]]. You would need your opponent to [[Thoughtseize]] you, in order to help sell this lie, you could hold the [[Taiga]] in your hand. Alternatively, you could draw exactly a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] off of [[Mishra’s Bauble]] or the draw step. There’s way too many, “what ifs” here when I could just mulligan.
I’ll provide my answer in the next article. For now, make sure to leave a comment with 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.
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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