Honestly, I’m not sure how much better a four-card hand would be outside of having exactly the singleton [[Echo of Eons]] paired with a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. We have access to [[Echo of Eons]] here with [[Burning Wish]], so what we’re looking to do is find another initial mana source and then [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. With that game plan in mind, we’re going to need [[Mox Opal]] to be active which means keeping the pair of [[Mishra’s Bauble]]. The pair of [[Mishra’s Bauble]] double as search for [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] after [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]] has resolved.
With these things in mind, I believe that means we need to put [[Brainstorm]] and [[Dark Ritual]] on the bottom of the library. This is because [[Ponder]] sees the most cards for finding a land as well as the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. It’ll take some good fortune, but this hand can win.
Hand No. 1: (on the play)
[[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Volcanic Island|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Ponder|]]
In 2018, this hand would’ve been a snap, “make them have it!”, but not today’s The EPIC Storm. While 10 [[Goblin Token]]s is ultra-sweet, the odds that the opponent has either [[Force of Negation]] or [[Force of Will]] are higher than your chance of success. Because of that, we’re going to play and tap [[Volcanic Island]] to cast [[Ponder]] looking for that wonderful green mana source that we need for [[Veil of Summer]].
While this hand has plenty of action, it’s pretty slow and resource intensive with the pair of [[Chrome Mox]]. The unfortunate aspect is that this hand needs both protection and mana, which is just a lot to ask for because there’s a reasonable chance that these spells we do have don’t resolve. In order to cast [[Wishclaw Talisman]], we would need to Imprint [[Burning Wish]] in the face of Daze and pray the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] even resolves. If it’s countered, you have a [[Burning Wish]] with very few remaining resources.
Hand No. 3: (on the play — Mulliganed Once)
[[Echo of Eons|]] [[Tendrils of Agony|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Dark Ritual|]]
This hand requires telling a story to the opponent. We want them to believe we need or want this [[Wishclaw Talisman]] to resolve. With that in mind, you want to cast it to the last chance to cast it.
I would put [[Wishclaw Talisman]] on the bottom, cast [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Tendrils of Agony]]), play [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and then [[Dark Ritual]]. This way, if [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] is countered by either [[Force of Negation]] or [[Force of Will]] you can reevaluate. At this point, cast [[Wishclaw Talisman]] with only [[Echo of Eons]] in hand. If they have the free counterspell effect, this is where we’d like them to cast it. It’s time to throw caution to the wind and spin that wheel with [[Echo of Eons]]. If [[Wishclaw Talisman]] is in play your odds of winning increase dramatically.
One way to beat the 60 percent odds of [[Force of Negation]] and [[Force of Will]] is to narrow it down to one. We should put one of the superfluous tutors on the bottom. At this point, play [[Badlands]] and [[Lotus Petal]]. Now pass the turn, and in their upkeep, cast the pair of [[Dark Ritual]] and [[Ad Nauseam]]. With the [[Lotus Petal]] in play, we can ignore [[Daze]] and [[Force of Negation]] cannot be cast for it’s alternative mana cost. This means we’re back at old, “they’re only 40 percent to have it.”
This hand is risky! What if you don’t hit that second land off of the [[Brainstorm]]? What if they have [[Wasteland]]? This hand actually has a lot in common with Hand No. 2, but it seems more desirable because of the [[Brainstorm]] trap. Not to mention that [[Tropical Island]] doesn’t cast any non-[[Brainstorm]] cards in the hand.
[[Ponder|]] [[Ponder|]] [[Ponder|]] [[Ponder|]] [[Tendrils of Agony|]] [[Ad Nauseam|]]
This is a hand that is deceptively good. With the pair of [[Abrupt Decay]], you’re able to slow the opponent’s threats down and even answer [[Null Rod]] consistently due to the three lands. The entire plan here is to buy time to naturally cast [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] from hand on turn four or five most likely. It’s important to remember that not everything is about speed, sometimes slow and steady will be good enough.
Remember about telling a story to the opponent? In this narrative, we want to make it seem like we’re just leading on [[Wishclaw Talisman]] since they’re so unlikely to counter [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. After the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] resolves, play both copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], sacrifice them for , search for [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]], and cast it.
The way that UR Delver is constructed, there’s no outs. [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] and the copies of slime time will win the game. One of the subtle things about Modern Horizons 2 and how it impacts Storm combo is that opponents will need to start reconsidering countering accelerants once again.
This hand is going to require some luck, but the potential is there. I would put [[Underground Sea]] on the bottom after our mulligan. This does cut us off from blue, but being immune to [[Wasteland]] is worthwhile. Search for [[Swamp]] with [[Verdant Catacombs]], play [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Rite of Flame]]), and cast [[Defense Grid]]. If it resolves, next turn get [[Echo of Eons]] with [[Burning Wish]]. Otherwise, cast the second copy of [[Defense Grid]]. We’re sort of living on borrowed time praying to draw a copy of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]].
YES! The power of Galvanic Relay. Here, we see a hand built to maximize its potential. That said, there’s one tension here. Do you Imprint [[Rite of Flame]]? Do you cast it for the extra Storm? I think the answer is to actually wait a turn. While doing sweet stuff on turn one is great, both options kind of stink as you’re losing mana to to anything meaningful with the cards revealed. We also want more copies of [[Rite of Flame]] in the graveyard for future copies to be more effective.
I’ll provide my answer in the next article. For now, make sure to post 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 v12.4!
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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