For the past six months, The EPIC Storm (TES) team has been experimenting with many lists cutting [[Rite of Flame]]. extra lands, main deck copies of [[Carpet of Flowers]], and more moxen were all underwhelming and [[Rite of Flame]] was slotted back in. Recently, however, [[Mishra’s Bauble]] has taken those [[Rite of Flame]] slots and has been performing excellently. [[Mishra’s Bauble]] is a tricky card to play and understanding how to best utilize it is essential to maximizing everything the card can do.

Adding Mishra’s Bauble

[[Mox Opal|]]
[[Mishra’s Bauble|]]
[[Rite of Flame|]]

[[Mishra’s Bauble]] may seem like an odd inclusion in The EPIC Storm at first, but it is a card that synergizes with many of the deck building ideas that have been emphasized since the first [[Wishclaw Talisman]] builds. TES is an [[Ad Nauseam]] deck at its core, and adding more cards with mana value zero is allows [[Ad Nauseam]] to draw even more cards on average. Pushing Metalcraft and maximizing [[Mox Opal]] was also a goal of [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. Playing a turn one [[Wishclaw Talisman]] or [[Defense Grid]] is even more common due to having an early active [[Mox Opal]]. By having more consistent [[Mox Opal]]s, the amount of mana in the deck remains about the same with the removal of [[Rite of Flame]].

Increasing the amount of artifacts in the deck could have other impacts on how the deck is built. One option that the team explored was playing the full four copies of [[Mox Opal]] and only two copies of [[Chrome Mox]]. Despite having active copies of [[Mox Opal]] more often, the card has diminishing returns if drawn in multiples. Each copy after the first can just be a [[Lotus Petal]], but in cases where [[Mox Opal]] is not active, extra copies are just more dead cards. Drawing a mix of [[Mox Opal]] and [[Chrome Mox]] is generally better than drawing only one mox or the other. Cutting a [[Chrome Mox]] also hurts the Metalcraft count because [[Mox Opal]] does not turn itself on.

Beyond just being a piece of Metalcraft, [[Mishra’s Bauble]] packs a lot of utility and options. Combined with a fetch land, activating [[Mishra’s Bauble]] targeting oneself can be a pseudo-scry effect, allowing extra bad cards to be shuffled away. By targeting an opponent, it can provide information as to what an opponent is playing or what types of counter magic they could have. Generally, without a fetch land, targeting an opponent will be correct to get that extra [[Gitaxian Probe]]-esq effect. Against opponents with discard, activating [[Mishra’s Bauble]] on their turn helps hide the card drawn with the trigger from cards like [[Thoughtseize]].

There can be some tension between activating a [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and holding it for [[Mox Opal]]. In most situations, if one does not already have a [[Mox Opal]], activating it will be correct to help churn through the deck. One neat interaction is that playing a line like [[Mishra’s Bauble]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Mox Opal]], land into a [[Wishclaw Talisman]] is that now there are four artifacts in play, allowing the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] to be sacrificed while maintaining Metalcraft.

One downside to adding [[Mishra’s Bauble]] is that it increases the exposure to [[Null Rod]] effects. Cutting off draws due to a [[Collector Ouphe]] or [[Karn, the Great Creator]] is brutal, but those cards resolving likely wins the opponent the game regardless of whether one is playing [[Rite of Flame]] or [[Mishra’s Bauble]].

Mishra’s Tricks

An Aside about Thoughtseize

[[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben|]]
[[Thoughtseize|]]
[[Force of Negation|]]

While working on integrating [[Mishra’s Bauble]] into The EPIC Storm, there was a version that removed the main deck copies of [[Defense Grid]] and consequently [[Echo of Eons]]. These slots were filled with [[Thoughtseize]] in an attempt to shore up the matchups against other combo decks and some non blue shells while maximizing the effects of [[Ad Nauseam]]. While this did produce some insane [[Ad Nauseam]] lines, overall the deck felt much weaker in the more important fair blue match ups like delver and control. While [[Thoughtseize]] might not be the right fit for the main deck, having a couple of copies in the sideboard are important for those matchups.

On it’s face, [[Thoughtseize]] is a tempo-negative card. It trades one mana for no mana of the opponents, but it is accepted that picking apart an opponent’s strategy is worth that tempo loss. In the context of many of TES’s non-blue matchups, the effect that [[Thoughtseize]] can generate over the course of a game is actually tempo positive. By spending an early turn of the game answering a lock piece before it has the ability to influence the game, subsequent turns are not spent answering that permanent. In the case of [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] for example, it can take two or even three mana to answer it with a removal spell. This means that multiple turns might be required to beat only one piece of permanent disruption. In those turns that that card provides, other lock pieces can come down that also require answers. [[Thoughtseize]] taking one of these cards ahead of the curve provides “breathing room” to create a window to go off.

These days, [[Thoughtseize]] tends to be at its best when the opponent does not have that many cards that matter. Against other combo decks and prison decks, so few of those cards matter in the context of The EPIC Storm matchup that it works well. Against most fair blue decks, the power level of their cards is very similar and so many of them matter that trading one for one is not an effective game plan. For this reason, [[Thoughtseize]] is relegated to the sideboard for the foreseeable future.

The EPIC Storm v12.3

the epic Storm

 
Main Deck
  • 4 [[Burning Wish]]
  • 4 [[Wishclaw Talisman]]
  • 4 [[Brainstorm]]
  • 4 [[Ponder]]
  • 4 [[Mishra’s Bauble]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Ad Nauseam]]
  • 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
  • 4 [[Veil of Summer]]
  • 2 [[Defense Grid]]
  • 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
  • 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
  • 3 [[Mox Opal]]
  • 3 [[Chrome Mox]]
  • 3 [[Verdant Catacombs]]
  • 2 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
  • 2 [[Polluted Delta]]
  • 1 [[Underground Sea]]
  • 1 [[Tropical Island]]
  • 1 [[Volcanic Island]]
  • 1 [[Taiga]]
  • 1 [[Badlands]]
  • 1 [[Swamp]]
Sideboard
  • 3 [[Carpet of Flowers]]
  • 2 [[Abrupt Decay]]
  • 2 [[Thoughtseize]]
  • 2 [[Chain of Vapor]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
  • 1 [[Pulverize]]
  • 1 [[Peer into the Abyss]]