In the previous article, we discussed the importance of stability as well as leveraging [[Galvanic Relay]]. With this hand we’re forced to play out a artifacts to enable the Metalcraft of [[Mox Opal]] which then makes any future copies of [[Galvanic Relay]] less effective. On top of that, if we want to use the copies of [[Mishra’s Bauble]] we’re losing our mana source. This hand is a huge risk on multiple fronts and doesn’t look to play the game plan we’re looking to execute in the match-up. Just because we have mana and spells doesn’t mean that it’s a keep — play to the matchup!
The name of the game is pod-racing! The EPIC Gamble is a blazin-fast combo deck that doesn’t play free interaction which means we’re just looking to go off as fast as possible. This means any hand that can put [[Ad Nauseam]] or [[Peer into the Abyss]] onto the stack is an immediate keep.
We’ll use [[Bloodstained Mire]] to search out [[Underground Sea]], cast [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Galvanic Relay]]), play [[Rite of Flame]], [[Dark Ritual]], and then cast [[Ad Nauseam]].
Hand No. 2: (on the draw)
[[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Bayou|]] [[Badlands|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Echo of Eons|]]
The EPIC Gamble is a deck based on [[Echo of Eons]] as it plays four copies of the card and [[Gamble]] to ensure that it can cast it consistently on the first turn. This means when The EPIC Storm is on the draw, a majority of its hands typically won’t matter. That said, this means two things — you can mulligan aggressively for your own fast win and then don’t ever plan on seeing a turn two. If you’re fortunate enough to receive a turn, you can’t be keeping hands that might do something on the second turn. Leverage the London Mulligan as your opponent is likely to shuffle you a new hand, but on the off-case they don’t, you aren’t setting yourself up for failure.
Hand No. 3: (on the play)
[[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Mishra’s Bauble|]] [[Misty Rainforest|]] [[Chrome Mox|]]
This hand is interesting, it’s high-risk/high-reward. Being on the play enables you to get ahead of any opposing copies of [[Echo of Eons]], which means by the time we pass the turn we’ll have six cards in exile that we can play on the following turn due to [[Galvanic Relay]]. The downside here is two-fold. The first issue is obviously just losing the game while the second problem is that [[Rite of Flame]] is symmetrical. If the opponent has a [[Rite of Flame]] pre-[[Echo of Eons]] we’re likely to play the price. Keeping a hand such as this is certainly a… [[Gamble]] so to speak, but if the opponent is forced to pass the turn after a failed win attempt with [[Echo of Eons]] we’ll be flush with cards and ready to win.
In order to win this matchup, you’ll have to make some calculated risks as The EPIC Gamble is slightly faster than our deck. I would like to make a note that I would not sacrifice the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] to draw a card on their turn. On the off-chance we were to draw a [[Veil of Summer]], we would lose the ability to cast it due to [[Mox Opal]] requiring Metalcraft — this could be avoided by tapping the [[Mox Opal]] to cast [[Rite of Flame]] on our turn. The real point here is that [Veil of Summer]] is not effective against the red storm deck. When they win, they can often easily cast [[Grapeshot]]. I would prefer to guarantee the additional card on my combo turn than play to the insanely small percentage that we not only draw the [Veil of Summer]] but that it’s also a card that matters when they can’t reach lethal storm for [[Grapeshot]].
If you thought this was a keep, did you not read what I said in Hand No. 2? I cannot emphasize enough that you cannot keep turn-two hands while on the draw against The EPIC Gamble. Despite being able to cast your entire hand on the first turn, this hand is not actually quick enough for this specific matchup. While that may be a tough pill to swallow, we need to be able to put a Storm engine on the stack on the first turn.
Hand No. 5: (on the play)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Scalding Tarn|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]]
In the answer to Hand No. 3, I explained the ease in which the opposing deck can reach Storm 20 for [[Grapeshot]]. That has not changed. The pair of [[Veil of Summer]] here are dead until the opponent can put an [[Echo of Eons]] on the stack for them to cycle and then at that point they are no longer relevant. As such, this hand doesn’t do anything other than hopes that the opponent fizzles on their [[Echo of Eons]].
Instead of wishing for, “what ifs” we should just take a mulligan.
[[Opposition Agent|]] [[Opposition Agent|]] [[Crash|]] [[Crash|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Thoughtseize|]]
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]] [[Galvanic Relay|]]
This hand is actually really close to a keep. If you were on the play, I believe you could make the argument that it’s keepable — but that’s not the reality of the situation. [[Thoughtseize]] just isn’t an effective card when on the draw and [[Crash]] is really only relevant if the opponent plays the back-half of [[Birgi, God of Storytelling]] before passing the turn. There’s too much here that needs to go right for this to work, don’t be afraid to mulligan! They’re an [[Echo of Eons]] deck, use that to your advantage.
Hand No. 7: (on the play)
[[Opposition Agent|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Brainstorm|]] [[Scalding Tarn|]] [[Misty Rainforest|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]]
Is the risk worth the reward? Honestly, I’m not sure. At this stage in the game with my limited testing of [[Opposition Agent]] I would be tempted to push the limits against their four copies of [[Gamble]] in the seventy-five. Even if it just an end-step [[Opposition Agent]] into a main phase [[Brainstorm]] + fetchland I would believe this is an acceptable start.
What does [[Chain of Vapor]] do here? Not much. When sideboarding for the matchup, we’re mostly just looking to take out cards that are duds for cards with some functionality. Being able to Imprint to [[Chrome Mox]] to cast a [[Brainstorm]] or generate lethal Storm is just better than [[Veil of Summer]] or [[Galvanic Relay]] in the match-up.
This hand some potential but ultimately lands just short. We can Imprint the [[Thoughtseize]] to [[Chrome Mox]] and follow it up by casting [[Dark Ritual]] into [[Wishclaw Talisman]] to activate Metalcraft for [[Mox Opal]]. After this, we can cast [[Brainstorm]] looking for either [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] or [[Echo of Eons]]. Outside of a perfect three cards or the aforementioned cards, this is a low-success rate play. [[Burning Wish]] on the other hands is actual zero success rate as it makes us have to pass the turn. What do we think of hands that make us pass the turn when on the draw?
While we don’t have a whole lot of equity going into the fresh seven cards off of [[Echo of Eons]], a [[Mox Opal]] as well as a pair of draws off of [[Mishra’s Bauble]] aren’t nothing. There’s also something very important about force mulliganing the opposing combo deck.
I would sequence by playing the pair of [[Mishra’s Bauble]], [[Mox Opal]], tap the [[Mox Opal]] to make , play the second copy and then to tap that [[Mox Opal]] to cast [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]]. Play the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], discard your hand to add and then Flashback [[Echo of Eons]].
A friendly reminder to wait to sacrifice the pair of [[Mishra’s Bauble]] until the opponent’s turn to make sure we get to untap with extra cards on our next turn.
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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