[[Burning Wish|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Abrupt Decay|]]
This hand is surprisingly resilient to both countermagic and discard spells due to having a pair of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] as well as two copies of [[Echo of Eons]]. If our opponent plays a discard spell, they likely take a copy of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. This means we still have the ability to play the other [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], discard our hand to generate, and then Flashback [[Echo of Eons]]. This hand could lose to two pieces of interaction such as [[Thoughtseize]] plus either [[Daze]] or [[Force of Will]]. Alternatively, we could draw a green mana source and then have access to [[Veil of Summer]] — there’s a lot of potential to this hand! How many six-card hands can beat a a piece of interaction on the first turn? Don’t be dissuaded by not having a land, you could always draw one off of [[Echo of Eons]]!
The first thing you should know about this matchup is that Temur Rhinos (also known as RUG Cascade, Shardless Rhinos, and a bunch of other names) is a deck that plays four main-deck copies of both [[Force of Will]] and [[Force of Negation]]. With eight of these effects in the deck, they’re 65 percent to have one in their opening hand. This means if you disrespect them, you’re very likely to be punished. You wouldn’t take those odds at a casino, don’t do it in Legacy either! Instead, we can leverage the card advantage from [[Galvanic Relay]] to over power the opponent on the second turn and then attempt another [[Galvanic Relay]] or win attempt on the third turn.
Hand No. 2: (on the draw)
[[Dark Ritual|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]]
Did you not read what I just said! There is a 35 percent success rate, not to mention, what does this hand actually do? If you get past the idea of broken mana, you’ll count to seven which means the combo line ends up being [[Empty the Warrens]] for 14 [[Goblin Token]]s. Let’s say we somehow were able to make this happen with no interaction, what did they keep? Likely, a hand with [[Elvish Spirit Guide]]/[[Simian Spirit Guide]] into [[Violent Outburst]] if they didn’t have a turn one play. Expect a [[Crashing Footfalls]] on your end step. There’s a chance that our Goblin army isn’t enough if there’s a second Cascade spell. This hand has so many red flags for me.
You may not like it, but this is what a turn-one with protection looks like these days! [[Beseech the Mirror]] from Wilds of Eldraine (MTG WOE) has changed the landscape for what Storm combo looks like moving forward. With this hand, we’re seeing the mana value for a deterministic win being lowered to four (five counting the mana for [[Thoughtseize]]).
We’ll start by playing and then activating [[Bloodstained Mire]] to search out [[Underground Sea]] and then cast [[Dark Ritual]]. Assuming that it resolves, we’ll then cast [[Thoughtseize]] to clear the way. After that, we’ll cast the other [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Mox Opal]], and finally [[Beseech the Mirror]] using the Bargain mechanic to sacrifice [[Mox Opal]]. We’ll search out [[Gaea’s Will]], holding priority, we’ll sacrifice [[Lotus Petal]] for , and then allow [[Gaea’s Will]] to happen. We can now replay our graveyard into a lethal [[Tendrils of Agony]]!
This hand is simply too slow, Temur Rhinos is a deck that regularly casts [[Crashing Footfalls]] on the second turn and occasionally the first turn. Our hand doesn’t have a payoff or protection and we need both. How many draw steps are we realistically looking to have here? I understand that we have [[Mishra’s Bauble]] + [[Bloodstained Mire]] for a pseudo-Scry, but that’s not enough.
I’m aware that I just spoke to the speed of Temur Rhinos, but this hand has a lot of potential. With a pair of [[Thoughtseize]] we can knock them off kilter — ideally, taking their Cascade spell and then either [[Force of Will]] or [[Force of Negation]]. This should buy us enough time to find mana for this [[Galvanic Relay]] in our hand. The thing that The EPIC Storm has the most of is mana! Our draw steps should be good to us mathematically and if they’re not, we have a pair of [[Brainstorm]] to aid us.
The really interesting part of this hand is whether or not you lead on [[Polluted Delta]] into [[Thoughtseize]] or would you rather wait until turn two and then [[Brainstorm]] plus [[Polluted Delta]] into [[Underground Sea]] for [[Thoughtseize]]. One line ensures the game goes longer, while the other optimizes our chance at success. It’s an interesting decision.
[[Empty the Warrens|]] [[Empty the Warrens|]] [[Empty the Warrens|]] [[Empty the Warrens|]]
[[Empty the Warrens|]] [[Empty the Warrens|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]] [[Polluted Delta|]]
The idea behind siding into a multiple [[Empty the Warrens]] plan is to overload the opponent on their countermagic that we saw in game one — [[Force of Will]] and [[Force of Negation]]. On top of the free countermagic, Temur Rhinos often sideboards into [[Force of Vigor]] and [[Endurance]]. The multiple [[Empty the Warrens]] plan is good against all of this, especially while the opponent dilutes their own deck. That said, this hand is just too slow and clunky to really make an impact. We don’t have the Storm or mana to really make these copies of [[Empty the Warrens]] worthwhile.
Hand No. 7: (on the play)
[[Lotus Petal|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Volcanic Island|]] [[Empty the Warrens|]]
This is what you want! As I mentioned in Hand No. 2, Temur Rhinos can have access to a quick [[Crashing Footfalls]] making [[Empty the Warrens]] not a desirable choice. There’s really two major differences here. First, we’re in a post-board game which means our opponent’s deck composition isn’t the same — they’ve very likely sided out speed for interaction. On top of that, we’re on the play with a hand that can power through a [[Force of Will]] effect while being able to out-race a pair of [[Rhino Token]]s.
We clearly run the risk of never drawing a payoff with this hand, but we have everything else we need between the pair of [[Dark Ritual]] for powerful nana and then [[Thoughtseize]] for protection. In post-board games, I likely wouldn’t go after Cascade spells as they have so much interaction it may be difficult to win if you don’t discard their disruption.
While having [[Gaea’s Will]] in our opening hand isn’t ideal, we are a [[Brainstorm]] deck! Oh, those are actually in our sideboard….something good to know for aa different situation. Realistically, you could use [[Mox Opal]] or even [[Lotus Petal]] to suspend this green card in our Grixis mana base. You could also just look at it as something to Imprint into [[Chrome Mox]] down the road. The real story here is the other six cards! We have disruption, [[Galvanic Relay]], and we’re just looking for some mana. With [[Urza’s Bauble]] and [[Mishra’s Bauble]] you often want to hold them for the [[Galvanic Relay]] turn as they will convert into two cards (one off the Bauble itself and the other off of [[Galvanic Relay]]). I would likely hold the pair of [[Mishra’s Bauble]] at least one draw step before re-evaluating.
Hand No. 10: (on the draw)
[[Mox Opal|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Thoughtseize|]] [[Empty the Warrens|]] [[Beseech the Mirror|]] [[Chrome Mox|]]
Share your answer in the comments below!
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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