Play the Game | Win a Black Lotus (06/12/2010) — 4th Place

A [[Black Lotus]] event right in my own back yard! I felt ready and confident after my recent changes to The EPIC Storm (TES).

the epic Storm

Main Deck

  • 4 [[Burning Wish]]
  • 3 [[Infernal Tutor]]
  • 2 [[Mystical Tutor]]
  • 4 [[Brainstorm]]
  • 4 [[Ponder]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Ad Nauseam]]
  • 4 [[Duress]]
  • 3 [[Orim’s Chant]]
  • 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
  • 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
  • 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
  • 4 [[Chrome Mox]]
  • 4 [[Scalding Tarn]]
  • 4 [[Gemstone Mine]]
  • 2 [[City of Brass]]
  • 2 [[Underground Sea]]
  • 1 [[Volcanic Island]]


  • 2 [[Pyroblast]]
  • 2 [[Shattering Spree]]
  • 1 [[Echoing Truth]]
  • 1 [[Wipe Away]]
  • 1 [[Krosan Grip]]
  • 1 [[Deathmark]]
  • 1 [[Thoughtseize]]
  • 1 [[Infernal Tutor]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Ill-Gotten Gains]]
  • 1 [[Diminishing Returns]]

What changed?

Two weeks ago I was playing in a local event with a more traditional TES list. I lost two closes matches because I was at 10-14 life with an [[Ad Nauseam]] on the stack and lost because I flipped expensive cards such as [[Simian Spirit Guide]] or [[Ill-Gotten Gains]].

I was really frustrated, went home, and laid my deck out and just starred at it looking for solutions. While it doesn’t make the converted mana cost of the deck any less. I did want to swap [[Ill-Gotten Gains]] for a main deck copy of [[Empty the Warrens]] to help improve my blue match-ups. I did remove both copies of [[Simian Spirit Guide]] for additional lands, which drastically lowers the mana-curve of the deck.

I began with two fetchlands to help improve the quality of [[Brainstorm]], every-time I drew them I was pleased. This lead me to try cutting two [[City of Brass]] for additional copies of [[Scalding Tarn]]. With four additional shuffle effects (compared to previous lists) I was a lot more confident in not needing to hold [[Brainstorm]] to cast it than I was in the past.

Another thing I did to lower the mana-curve was to cut the second [[Ad Nauseam]], this was a pretty easy decision. After that, it was adjusting the protection suite to the new mana base. The fourth [[Duress]] over [[Xantid Swarm]]/[[Orim’s Chant]] seemed fairly obvious since the ability to make white mana or green is now less likely. With all four [[Duress]] being in the main deck, this meant that I needed to play something else in the sideboard as my [[Burning Wish]] target — introducing [[Thoughtseize]].

Play the Game | Win a Black Lotus

Round One — UW Scepter control

[[Empty the Warrens|]]

Game One:

I mulligan to five and keep a hand of: [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Lotus Petal]]. I play [[Gemstone Mine]] and pass, the opponent also plays a land and passes. I draw [[Empty the Warrens]], play [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Dark Ritual]] (they cast [[Force of Will]]), and [[Empty the Warrens]]. They concede.

Sideboarding: -2 [[Mystical Tutor]], +2 [[Pyroblast]]

Game Two:

I mulligan to six. The game gets down to a point where I cast a [[Duress]] and the opponent’s hand is a pair of [[Isochron Scepter]], [[Wrath of God]], and [[Counterspell]]. I discard [[Counterspell]]. [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Burning Wish]], [[Grapeshot]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]].

2-0 | 1-0

Round Two — Jace Control

[[Orim’s Chant|]]
[[Jace, the Mind Sculptor|]]
[[Ad Nauseam|]]

Game One:

I keep a hand of: [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Empty the Warrens]], [[Underground Sea]], and [[Orim’s Chant]]. I play [[Underground Sea]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Empty the Warrens]] (a copy gets hit by [[Force of Will]]). They play a [[Tropical Island]]. I attack for eight. Fetchland and then a [[Brainstorm]] by the opponent, followed by [[Swords to Plowshares]]. I attack again and then on their upkeep, cast [[Orim’s Chant]].

Sideboarding: -2 [[Mystical Tutor]], +2 [[Pyroblast]]

Game Two:

We both Mulligan. They begin with a [[Flooded Strand]]. I play [[Scalding Tarn]]. My hand is now: [[Duress]], [[Pyroblast]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Gemstone Mine]], and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Another land and pass from the opponent. I play [[Duress]], they [[Brainstorm]], and I [[Pyroblast]]. I leave them with [[Jace, the Mind Sculptor]], [[Swords to Plowshares]], and [[Red Elemental Blast]]. We play “draw, go” for 3-4 turns. [[Jace, the Mind Sculptor]] starts using the plus ability on me. I now start to feel a little pressured, I decide to cast [[Orim’s Chant]]. [[Force of Will]]. I decide to go all in on [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Ad Nauseam]]. It resolves!

4-0 | 2-0

Round Three — Zoo

[[Ill-Gotten Gains|]]
[[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]]
[[Orim’s Chant|]]

Game One:

I keep an opening hand of: [[Scalding Tarn]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Gemstone Mine]], and [[Ponder]]. A classic first turn [[Savannah Lion]]. I draw [[Brainstorm]]. I play [[Scalding Tarn]], get [[Underground Sea]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. They play a land, attack, and pass (leaving two red open). I draw [[Dark Ritual]], [[Ponder]], shuffle, and draw another [[Ponder]]. I then cast [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Burning Wish]], [[Ill-Gotten Gains]] ( floating), get back [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Infernal Tutor]]. Cast them and [[Tendrils of Agony]].

Sideboarding: -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], -1 [[Orim’s Chant]], -1 [[Duress]], +1 [[Wipe Away]], +1 [[Echoing Truth]], +1 [[Deathmark]]

Game Two:

I keep a questionable hand because I hate to mulligan: [[Chrome Mox]], [[Wipe Away]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Ponder]], [[Rite of Flame]], and [[Rite of Flame]]. I draw a [[Burning Wish]]. Play [[Chrome Mox]] (Imprint: [[Wipe Away]]), [[Ponder]], shuffle, draw into [[Orim’s Chant]]. The Zoo player kicks beats me down to 8 life, plays a [[Tarmogoyf]] (leaving a red mana open), and passes. By this time, I have one land and can’t do much of anything. On my last possible turn to live I draw [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. [[Lotus Petal]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Burning Wish]], [[Burning Wish]] for [[Ill-Gotten Gains]]. Cast it. Play [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Burning Wish]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]].

6-0 | 3-0

Round Four — BGw Deadguy Ale

[[Hymn to Tourach|]]

Game One:

I Mulligan and keep a great hand against any blue deck, which I think they might be playing: [[Orim’s Chant]], [[Duress]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[City of Brass]], [[Scalding Tarn]], and [[Tendrils of Agony]]. They open with [[Dark Ritual]], [[Thoughtseize]], and then [[Hymn to Tourach]]. On the next turn, [[Wasteland]]. The following turn? Another [[Hymn to Tourach]].


Game Two:

I keep a one lander with a turn two possibility if I hit a second land off of [[Ponder]]. I don’t hit a second land and he [[Wasteland]] destroys my only mana source.

6-2 | 3-1

Round Five — The EPIC Storm

[[Orim’s Chant|]]
[[Ad Nauseam|]]

Game One:

We both play some early cantrips, I have [[Orim’s Chant]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Duress]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Brainstorm]] in hand with two lands in play. They attempt to [[Orim’s Chant]]. I [[Orim’s Chant]] back in response. They have a Badlands untapped. I draw a land for my turn. I then play [[Duress]]. They have [[Silence]], but can’t cast it due to [[Badlands]]. I go all in on [[Ad Nauseam]].

Sideboarding: None.

Game Two:

I mulligan to five and keep: [[Orim’s Chant]], [[Gemstone Mine]], [[Brainstorm]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Rite of Flame]]. They play a [[Ponder]] on the first turn. I just try to sell my frustration with the mulligan, with a [[Gemstone Mine]], grunt, and pass. They go all in and walk into my [[Orim’s Chant]]! They have nothing for several turns while I rebuild. At some point, they cast a Hellbent [[Infernal Tutor]] for what I assume is [[Silence]]. I draw [[Duress]] and cast it. They [[Silence]] me in response. Eventually, I get an end step [[Ad Nauseam]] which is enough fuel for the fight.

8-2 | 4-1

Round Six — TES/ANT Hybrid

[[Orim’s Chant|]]
[[Ad Nauseam|]]

They’re a friend of mine, we talk about Storm combo a lot — this is unfortunate.

Game One:

They go all in on turn one, I have an [[Orim’s Chant]]. I win shortly after.

Sideboarding: None.

Game Two:

They take a mulligan and keep a [[Badlands]] hand. I keep my seven: [[Duress]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Scalding Tarn]], [[Scalding Tarn]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Rite of Flame]]. They [[Duress]] me, discarding [[Infernal Tutor]]. I [[Duress]] and then take their [[Infernal Tutor]]. Their hand is cantrips they can’t cast off of [[Badlands]] and then some copies of [[Dark Ritual]]. They draw and pass. I draw [[Burning Wish]] and pass back, they do the same. I draw [[Dark Ritual]], play [[Dark Ritual]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Burning Wish]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Ad Nauseam]].

10-2 | 5-1


10-2-1 | 5-1-1

Quarterfinals — UWb Toolbox Control

[[Null Rod|]]
[[Shattering Spree|]]

Game One:

I lead with a few copies of [[Duress]] which then becomes, “draw, go.” I eventually end up with four land in play with [[Orim’s Chant]], [[Dark Ritual]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Infernal Tutor]], and [[Ad Nauseam]] in hand. I cast [[Orim’s Chant]] on the end step, [[Counterspell]], I then [[Ad Nauseam]], it resolves?! Untap and win. I thought I was going to have to use the [[Infernal Tutor]] back-up plan for sure.

Sideboarding: -2 [[Chrome Mox]], -1 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Brainstorm]], -1 [[Empty the Warrens]], +2 [[Pyroblast]], +1 [[Echoing Truth]], +1 [[Krosan Grip]], +1 [[Wipe Away]]

Game Two:

An early [[Counterbalance]] paired with [[Sensei’s Divining Top]] lock me down and I slowly die without drawing my Split Secondcards.

Game Three:

Probably my favorite game in a very long time — I was shaking the entire time I was so nervous. I open with [[Duress]] and discard [[Spell Pierce]], leaving them with [[Spell Snare]], [[Jace, the Mind Sculptor]], [[Swords to Plowshares]], and lands. They cast [[Enlightened Tutor]] for [[Null Rod]] on the end of my second turn. Fuck. My hand is: [[Orim’s Chant]], [[Lotus Petal]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Dark Ritual]], and [[Infernal Tutor]]. Why did I side out [[Empty the Warrens]]!?! I was really upset with myself. [[Null Rod]]. We play “draw, go.” until I have three land, I draw [[Rite of Flame]], [[Duress]], and [[Ad Nauseam]] over this time Period. I play [[Rite of Flame]], [[Rite of Flame]], [[Spell Pierce]]! I pay by tapping a land and using the floating mana, [[Dark Ritual]] into [[Duress]]? [[Spell Pierce]]. [[Ad Nauseam]]? Resolves. I reveal literally 25 cards. [[Rite of Flame]] into [[Burning Wish]] for [[Shattering Spree]], destroying [[Null Rod]] with [[Pyroblast]] back-up for the [[Spell Snare]]. Lay out 10 artifacts, showboat for awhile, and [[Grapeshot]] for 32.

12-3-1 | 6-1-1

Semifinals — BANT Survival

[[Meddling Mage|]]
[[Infernal Tutor|]]
[[Empty the Warrens|]]

Game One:

I keep a hand with a bunch of cantrips, fetchlands, [[Burning Wish]], and [[Dark Ritual]]. They play a [[Meddling Mage]] naming of course — [[Burning Wish]]. I [[Brainstorm]] into a second copy and then shuffle both away with a fetchland. [[Ponder]], shuffle,and draw [[Burning Wish]]. I’m stuck with lands, [[Burning Wish]], [[Infernal Tutor]], [[Orim’s Chant]] in my hand and can’t get Hellbent when they has no cards in hand.

Sideboarding: -2 [[Chrome Mox]], -2 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Brainstorm]], -2 [[Mystical Tutor]], +2 [[Pyroblast]], +1 [[Echoing Truth]], +1 [[Krosan Grip]], +1 [[Wipe Away]], +1 [[Deathmark]], +1 [[Shattering Spree]].

Game Two:

I decide I’m going to run my head into a wall. Land, [[Dark Ritual]], [[Infernal Tutor]] (reveal: [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]), [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lotus Petal]], and [[Infernal Tutor]]? Resolves. [[Ad Nauseam]].

Game Three:

I [[Duress]] them and see nothing. My hand is also pretty bad. They draw [[Survival of the Fittest]] off the top and play it. I have to go off before they drop [[Gaddock Teeg]]. I’m a mana short of [[Infernal Tutor]] for [[Ad Nauseam]]. I cast an [[Empty the Warrens]] for 12 [[Goblin Token]]s. They search for [[Rhox War Monk]], and then [[Rafiq of the Many]] on the next turn.

13-5-1 | 6-2-1

Closing & General Thoughts

All in all, a good event, I ended up with 4 [[Underground Sea]] and 4 [[Force of Will]]. Sold the [[Underground Sea]]s so I could buy Japanese Foil [[Scalding Tarn]]s!

Until next time, keep storming!