Matchup Mulligan: Painter III

Final Orzhov Death & Taxes Hand Answer

Hand No. 10: (on the play)

[[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Underground Sea|]] [[Gaea’s Will|]] [[Volcanic Island|]]


This hand is incredibly risky, let’s assume our opponent doesn’t have [[Deafening Silence]] or even [[Mindbreak Trap]] and that they likely kept a hand that plays a disruptive creature on the second turn. This would be a low-end keep for a deck such as Orzhov Death & Taxes in this matchup, especially on the draw. Alright, we have a premise which benefits us, even if it involves some biased favoritism towards us.

What does this hand even do? We have Metalcraft for [[Mox Opal]], but it involves us playing and not using [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and the [[Chrome Mox]] (which would likely imprint [[Gaea’s Will]]) doesn’t make black mana. This means that you don’t have for [[Beseech the Mirror]]. Let’s say that we get lucky and draw a black mana source off of a land next turn and we’re able to cast [[Beseech the Mirror]], what does this do? We can search and then cast [[Song of Creation]] with no spells to cast in our hand. What were we expecting their keep to be? This draw loses to [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]], [[Orcish Bowmasters]], [[Spirit of the Labyrinth]], and so on.

Now that we’ve diagnosed that we can’t just pass and draw, this means you have to draw a black mana source which would likely have to be an artifact to re-enable Metalcraft after using [[Mishra’s Bauble]] AND THEN a spell to cast with the resources we have available. There are so many, “what ifs” here in a perfect situation where our opponent kept a severely below average hand — just leverage the London Mulligan.

The EPIC Storm vs. Painter

the epic Storm

Main Deck

  • 4 [[Mishra’s Bauble]]
  • 4 [[Brainstorm]]
  • 4 [[Veil of Summer]]
  • 4 [[Burning Wish]]
  • 4 [[Beseech the Mirror]]
  • 3 [[Galvanic Relay]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Song of Creation]]
  • 1 [[Gaea’s Will]]
  • 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
  • 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
  • 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
  • 3 [[Chrome Mox]]
  • 3 [[Mox Opal]]
  • 4 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
  • 1 [[Scalding Tarn]]
  • 1 [[Misty Rainforest]]
  • 1 [[Verdant Catacombs]]
  • 1 [[Underground Sea]]
  • 1 [[Volcanic Island]]
  • 1 [[Badlands]]
  • 1 [[Bayou]]
  • 1 [[Taiga]]


  • 3 [[Carpet of Flowers]]
  • 3 [[Thoughtseize]]
  • 2 [[Abrupt Decay]]
  • 1 [[Consign // Oblivion]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 1 [[Galvanic Relay]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
  • 1 [[Peer into the Abyss]]


Hand No. 1: (on the play)

[[Rite of Flame|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Veil of Summer|]]


Typically, I like to put in hands where our deck gets to do the thing against decks without interaction to demonstrate that we can disrespect our opponents to win undisrupted. That said, this isn’t the situation against [[Painter’s Servant]] combo in this exact situation. Our hand is one where we look to cast an [[Echo of Eons]] after we retrieve it with [[Burning Wish]] and then discard it to the copy of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]].

Painter is a deck that plays both [[Simian Spirit Guide]] and [[Pyroblast]] which means our blue spell could be countered. That said, it’s a calculated risk and I value starting the game with six Storm, a land drop available, a permanent mana source, and a stored draw off of the [[Mishra’s Bauble]]. If I’m countered, I knew the risk…

Hand No. 2: (on the draw)

[[Dark Ritual|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Underground Sea|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Tendrils of Agony|]]


An important level-up in Magic: the Gathering™ is knowing that you don’t have to cast your spells just because you can. Patience is a virtue that I often preach, ans while this hand isn’t blazing fast, we do have three quick draws between our draw step and the pair of [[Mishra’s Bauble]]. Because of these extra looks at cards, we can reshape the context of our hand on the second turn using this [[Brainstorm]]. That said, if our opponent is just holding open [[Pyroblast]], you don’t have to shove into it. Recently, when watching other Storm players they say, “it’s not getting any better” and then go all in — almost as an excuse to throw in the towel. While there are some scenarios where this is true, I find more often than not there were decisions to be made. I would be fine sitting on this [[Brainstorm]] waiting for my moment to cast it when they don’t have [[Pyroblast]] available.

If they respect you the entire game, use that to your advantage! We are facing an [[Ancient Tomb]] deck, we have [[Tendrils of Agony]] in our hand, and if they counterspell our [[Brainstorm]] with a [[Pyroblast]] they’re just that little bit closer to death.

Hand No. 3: (on the play)

[[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Song of Creation|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Volcanic Island|]] [[Bayou|]] [[Veil of Summer|]]


But… this is a hand with lands and spells! It sure is (and they stink in this matchup)! In Hand No. 2, I spoke about waiting for your opportunity or as I like to often call it, “our window” on [[Pyroblast]]. Here, this [[Brainstorm]] resolving is a must based on our clunky our hand is — not to mention, we don’t have a fetchland. This means the [[Brainstorm]] needs to find acceleration and a shuffle effect, so we’re asking for a bit much. We do have the [[Veil of Summer]] to make sure our [[Brainstorm]] resolves if it becomes the target of [[Pyroblast]] ([[Veil of Summer]] says, “Spells you control can’t be countered this turn.” It doesn’t care about the color identity). If this is the line you would like to take, you likely need to wait until turn three for your first real action. I don’t believe that’s good enough.

Hand No. 4: (on the draw)

[[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Badlands|]] [[Veil of Summer|]]


In some of these articles in the past, I would talk about being 34 percent to hit an action spell. Those numbers aren’t quite the same anymore, [[Gaea’s Will]], [[Tendrils of Agony]], and [[Song of Creation]] change the logic. That said, a hidden truth is that [[Mishra’s Bauble]] is a synergistic card within out shell &mfash; it plays very well with Bargain, Metalcraft, and Storm but it isn’t very good at finding payoffs compared to a card like [[Ponder]]. Now that we’ve addressed the fudged math, let’s look at the hand within the context of the matchup.

Painter is a deck that is disruptive with [[Painter’s Servant]] + [[Pyroblast]] that could even have main deck copies of [[Karn, the Great Creator]] or [[Ethersworn Canonist]] based on the build. How turns do you expect to have to draw into a payoff? Especially against an opposing combo deck that often goldfishes a turn three win (fast wins are possible, but not very likely). [[Veil of Summer]] may be able to buy you a turn or make sure that your spell resolves against [[Painter’s Servant]] + [[Pyroblast]], but it’s not something that I would personally rely on.

Hand No. 5: (on the play)

[[Dark Ritual|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Misty Rainforest|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Burning Wish|]]


An easy deterministic [[Gaea’s Will]] line! I mentioned in Hand No. 1, that I like to put in hands where our deck gets to do the thing against decks without interaction to demonstrate that we can disrespect our opponents to win undisrupted. I just buried it further into the article to make a point!

[[Misty Rainforest]] for [[Underground Sea]], cast [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Burning Wish]]), [[Mox Opal]], and then [[Beseech the Mirror]] for [[Gaea’s Will]]. At this point, we can replay our graveyard into a lethal copy of [[Tendrils of Agony]].


Recommended sideboarding:


[[Thoughtseize|]] [[Thoughtseize|]] [[Thoughtseize|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]]


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

Hand No. 6: (on the draw)

[[Thoughtseize|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[|Taiga]] [[Scalding Tarn|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Dark Ritual|]]


In Hand No. 4, we covered how [[Mishra’s Bauble]] isn’t great at digging what we’re looking for but this is a different hand! We have the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] in conjunction with [[Scalding Tarn]] to get that pseudo-Scry effect. There’s also [[Thoughtseize]] to deck for [[Mindbreak Trap]] or [[Thorn of Amethyst]], you can even make an educated decision by viewing the top of your opponent’s deck using [Mishra’s Bauble]]. Unlike in Hand No. 4, we also get to see three cards in the first turn cycle.

Hand No. 7: (on the play)

[[Misty Rainforest|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Song of Creation|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]]


We’re able to play a first turn [[Song of Creation]] and then an additional land, but after that? Nothing. This hand is very risky against a [[Pyroblast]] deck as we would need them to not have a single copy or even a [[Mindbreak Trap]] since we’re in post-board games. After that, we would need to draw a spell that we’re able to cast. The risk here is so high and the reward doesn’t seem very probable.

Hand No. 8: (on the draw)

[[Thoughtseize|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Underground Sea|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Chrome Mox|]]


This is an ideal post-board hand, we’re able to discard a [[Mindbreak Trap]] or disrupt their game plan. On the second turn, ideally, we would resolve [[Brainstorm]] to look for more mana. Hands like these without much acceleration are fine keeps because our deck is mostly mana! You even have the [[Bloodstained Mire]] to shuffle our deck after [[Brainstorm]] resolves ‐ I love it.

Hand No. 9: (on the play)

[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Bayou|]] [[Volcanic Island|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Tendrils of Agony|]] [[Gaea’s Will|]]


I’ll keep this one short, just no. You can’t or shouldn’t place that much blind trust on your ability to slow them down.

Hand No. 10: (on the draw)

[[Lotus Petal|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Scalding Tarn|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]]

Stay tuned for the next article!

I’ll provide my answer in the next article.