Storm Hands #1

This series will be a continuation of what I wrote while at Jupiter Games a few years back.


Game one on the play against Omnitell:

Hand: Gitaxian Probe, Ponder, Underground Sea, Dark Ritual, Duress, Bloodstained Mire and Infernal Tutor.

Would I keep this hand? Yes. 

How to play: I would start off with Gitaxian Probe. My next decision would be based off of if I was under pressure of dying on the next turn, if their hand is slower, I would Ponder – otherwise Duress off of Underground Sea. The following turn, do the opposite. Ideally, the Ponder would’ve found Lion’s Eye Diamond, Dark Ritual or Brainstorm to allow this hand to be a turn two kill.


Game two on the draw against Omnitell:

Hand: Burning Wish, Burning Wish, Ponder, Brainstorm, Volcanic Island, Polluted Delta and Chrome Mox.

Would I keep this hand? Mulligan. The reason being is that it’s a slow hand that doesn’t interact at all with an opponent who is likely to kill you on turns two or three. Even so, by then it’s possible for them to have multiple combo pieces. Ponder turn one, if it doesn’t find a discard spell (Therapy is unreliable here) is a shuffle and then Brainstorm plus fetch means you’re not really doing anything on turn two (You could draw a discard spell and cast it theoretically). Even if you did hit the discard, your hand isn’t likely to do anything worth while for at least a couple more turns.


Game two mulligan to six on the draw against Omnitell:

Hand: Duress, Duress, Swamp, Xantid Swarm, Bloodstained Mire and Ponder.

Would I keep this hand? Yes. However, it’s not a hand I’d be happy with.

The game plan: Hopefully the draw step would’ve drawn another land, that way you’re not divided between Xantid Swarm and Ponder. I would lead off with Swamp into Duress. This will buy another draw step into a land, if that doesn’t happen, I would search for Volcanic Island and Ponder.


Game one on the draw against Grixis Delver: 

Hand: Empty the Warrens, Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, Rite of Flame, Gitaxian Probe, Bloodstained Mire and Underground Sea.

Would I keep this hand? Yes.

How to play: Between your draw step and Gitaxian Probe, you have two chances to draw something to imprint onto Chrome Mox as the fourth mana for Empty the Warrens. Theoretically you could just imprint the Gitaxian Probe, but I don’t believe eight Goblins on the draw will be enough against Deathrite Shaman, Delver of Secrets and possible Young Pyromancers. You’ll want the extra storm.


Game two on the play against Grixis Delver: 

Hand: Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Rite of Flame, Gitaxian Probe, Gitaxian Probe, Burning Wish and Dark Ritual.

Would I keep this hand? Yes.

How to play: I would fire off both Gitaxian Probes immediately, all you need is an initial mana source in a land and then your hand would be able to cast Lotus Petal, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, Dark Petition into Ad Nauseam or even the safer line into Empty the Warrens (Depending on the match-up).


Game one on the play against Miracles:

Hand: Ponder, Ponder, Brainstorm, Lotus Petal, Bloodstained Mire, Burning Wish and Cabal Therapy.

Would I keep this hand? Yes.

How to play: I would use Bloodstained Mire to find Underground Sea before casting Ponder. The goal here would be to find additional land drops while finding a Gitaxian Probe or Duress to support Cabal Therapy, if neither happen, shuffle. On my second turn, I would Brainstorm and if it fails to hit the desired pair, I would blind Cabal Therapy (if your Brainstorm hits a land) and name Counterbalance. If it misses you’re still in the game, if it hits, you’re still in the game. Seeing a Force of Will here would be disheartening, but it’s possible to play around that.


Game two on the draw against Miracles:

Hand: Abrupt Decay, Abrupt Decay, Burning Wish, Infernal TutorPonder, Underground Sea and Cabal Therapy.

Would I keep this hand? This is tough. If the Ponder finds a land, your Cabal Therapy wouldn’t have to name Counterbalance but eventually could name Force of Will. The pair of Abrupt Decays allow you to sit back and develop. The problem is this hand could easily go south and not do anything, but being on the draw does provide additional chances at hitting your land drops. It’s a toss up.


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