The 2022 Eternal Weekend events have come and gone, and a lot happening in all three Legacy events. There’s nothing quite like a major event to stir up excitement with players getting to bring their “A” game against other devoted Magic players. With two in-person events (Asia and North America) and an MTGO event (Europe), there was quite a lot happening. The meta shakedowns will be well-covered and over-analyzed in other media, but the quick and dirty take-aways are Dungeon Stompy did well, UR Delver is still king, people miss good tournament coverage, and there are a lot of players that own stunningly gorgeous decks. You could tell that a lot of effort went into the preparation for these events, from tuning deck lists to perfectly spiking hair.
The EPIC Storm prepared for these events as well. With the influx of a brand-new archetype, we had modified the deck to address the expected metas of Eternal Weekend and beyond. Dungeon Stompy pushed deckbuilding towards being able to answer cards like [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]], [[Archon of Emeria]], and other hatebears. The previous builds with [[Opposition Agent]] in the sideboard were not up to this specific task — being purpose built to address the gaps in our plan against [[Doomsday]] instead. Given the meta shifts towards these hatebears, changes needed to be made. All of these changes to The EPIC Storm v13.6 occur in the sideboard. During testing, the 60-card maindeck without [[Tendrils of Agony]] performed incredibly well. Being able to lean more heavily on [[Galvanic Relay]] allows for quicker combo turns and an increase in overall resiliency.
The changes to address Dungeon Stompy include the addition of two copies of [[Slaughter Pact]] and three total copies of [[Thoughtseize]]. The cards that were taken out include two [[Chain of Vapor]] and the two copies of [[Opposition Agent]] (when compared to v13.4 anyway, v13.5 was an experiment with [[Dress Down]] that didn’t take off). There is some unpacking to do with these choices, so let’s start with the inclusion of [[Slaughter Pact]]. Free interaction is very important in The EPIC Storm. [[Pulverize]], for example, allows a combo turn to continue after key artifacts are destroyed. Similarly, the destruction of a creature preventing a win can be followed up with a combo on the same turn (adding to Storm count as well as preventing the opponent from deploying another hate piece). Losing such a generic bounce spell in [[Chain of Vapor]] does mean that we opened ourselves up to alternative hate cards. W deemed it a low enough cost, however. Jow many times have you seen [[Leyline of Sanctity]] recently? [[Leyline of the Void]] is almost a non-issue against The EPIC Storm. Other permanents fall under the umbrella protection of [[Abrupt Decay]] and [[Crash]], or are answered by the second change in the list.
Two copies of [[Thoughtseize]] (in addition to the existing one) were added instead of the copies of [[Opposition Agent]]. Both cards are primarily hedges against matchups we deem “poor”: [[Doomsday]] and Stompy decks (primarily Initiative). Where [[Opposition Agent]] was surgical in its approach, [[Thoughtseize]] has wider applications. It can be brought in against Stompy/Prison decks like Moon Stompy and Dungeon Stompy, yes. But it also serves us well against other combo decks. [[Doomsday]], Sneak & Show, Reanimator, etc. Discard can be brought in here over underperformers in a given matchup, often [[Veil of Summer]] against non-Blue or [[Galvanic Relay]] against Combo decks (hey, check out the sideboard guide on Patreon for the actual ins and outs!). [[Thoughtseize]] is an anti-Combo and anti-Stompy card, what [[Thoughtseize]] is NOT here for is to be brought in against Control decks. The EPIC Storm already has the tools to beat Control, boarding in [[Thoughtseize]] dilutes that power.
Legacy is shifting and adjusting to the new Dungeon Stompy deck. Eternal Weekend events have shown the power of these strategies and initial attempts at addressing them. Only time will truly tell how permanent the archetype is and what tools are effective against it. Let’s take a look at how changes made within The EPIC Storm fair against three puzzle situations!
Samantha Murphy started playing Legacy at the start of 2020, but has found success with the start of paper events coming back in 2022. She re-worked Tempo Doomsday to a more fair Tempo shell that took her to a top eight finish at the Legacy Pit Open II, as well as played UR Delver to a top four finish at Eternal Weekend NA. She loves any deck with [[Ponder]], [[Brainstorm]], [[Force of Will]] and [[Daze]] in it.
Like previously mentioned in the article introduction, Dungeon Stompy is the new kid on the block. A white-based Stompy deck, it seeks to utilize mana acceleration to slam powerful three and four-mana creatures into play in the first two turns. These creatures have the power to gain advantages in multiple ways. [[Archon of Emeria]] can stall out 4-Color Control decks with their dual land mana bases and Storm decks that simply do not function under the [[Rule of Law]]-type effect. [[Chalice of the Void]] continues this trend as a lock-piece that the deck can very easily deploy throughout the game. [[White Plume Adventurer]] and [[Seasoned Dungeoneer]] begin a subgame involving the Initiative mechanic. This mechanic is similar to other Dungeon mechanics, but only enters the [[Undercity]] dungeon. Despite being limited to a single Dungeon, the [[Undercity]] exudes value. Another EDH mechanic used is Legacy is Monarch. With their curve topping out at four mana, [[Palace Jailer]] serves as a way to introduce another subgame into a match. Because these mechanics are transferred through combat damage, the heavy board presence of the Initiative decks can leverage the card advantage against almost every deck in the format. As if all of that was not enough, Dungeon Stompy is also a [[Stoneforge Mystic]] deck. [[Kaldra Compleat]] can seriously flip an otherwise stalled board on its head. Indestructible destruction will end games just as fast as running through the [[Undercity]] will. This deck has a fast clock, powerful threats that create subgames that they’re designed to win, and strong Combo disruption. Dungeon Stompy might be the real deal folks.
Playing as The EPIC Storm this kind of strategy is, frankly, quite worrisome. In addition to the maindeck pieces listed above, Dungeon Stompy hedges against Combo in their sideboards. Copies of [[Mindbreak Trap]], [[Deafening Silence]], and [[Ethersworn Canonist]] can add even more layers of disruption that we need to fight through on our way to victory. The game plan is to be just fast and disruptive enough to find a window to combo. Cards like [[Veil of Summer]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] are very bad here. Our new sideboard is designed with Dungeon Stompy in mind, so we have a clean plan when moving into post-board games. Even still, we are likely not favored in this matchup and have to make the best of poor situations. More data needs to be collected to see our plans in action, but our current iteration is the best we created for Eternal Weekend.
Our opponent is playing an early build of Dungeon Stompy that includes [[Urza’s Saga]] — a card that isn’t seen in the most recent builds. At this point, our opponent hasn’t even shown us any particular color their deck is (though we find out later that they are playing Dungeon Stompy). The pre-board game we need to evaluate starts after untapping into a [[Galvanic Relay]] exile pile of five cards. It is our turn three, and we have yet to play a land drop. Once in a blue moon, [[Chalice of the Void]] doesn’t stop us from casting spells in our hand, and this is one of those times. With mana values of zero and two, we have a few options available to us. We aren’t even facing a lethal board state opposite us. Perhaps there is a way to play a slower game? With the tools available to us, how best can we play out this turn? Should we attempt to win right now or can we afford to play a more methodical game?
When I look at this hand, I see we have four mana on the board, with access to two more mana with a land drop plus the second [[Mox Opal]]. I see two lines. We can either play fast with playing the [[Taiga]], then float a mana off the [[Mox Opal]] and play out second copy from exile. Play out the [[Mishra’s Bauble]]. Cast the [[Burning Wish]] getting [[Echo of Eons]]. We can then use [[Wishclaw Talisman]] for a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and then crack and flash back [[Echo of Eons]], leaving us with a [[Misty Rainforest]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] in exile, and one mana left off the second [[Mox Opal]]. That is six Storm with one mana floating and seven new cards. Since they are at 16, we only need two spells for a lethal [[Tendrils of Agony]]. There will be four copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], four [[Lotus Petal]], three [[Mox Opal]], and one [[Chrome Mox]] left in the deck of fast mana we can actually play. There will also be only three [[Burning Wish]] left in the deck. To successfully win the game, we would need to make five more mana and find the [[Burning Wish]], or find another [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] plus a way to [[Echo of Eons]]. This would require two of the eight one-mana sources left, a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and a [[Burning Wish]] to actually win the game this turn. The big risk if we don’t make it is that wheeling them into another [[Chalice of the Void]] on zero, we are going to struggle to win the game. We do have access to [[Pulverize]], which is why I believe playing the [[Taiga]] is correct to up our [[Mountain]] count, preparing to cast this spell. I think this line requires a really unlikely sequence to happen, and since they only have one attacker and we are at 19 life, we can do a similar line by playing the zero drops into the [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]]. Follow up by casting the [[Galvanic Relay]]. This will only be for four, but this sets us up to have [[Echo of Eons]] rolled up for next turn with more mana and more cards from the second [[Galvanic Relay]]. The big worry is them playing a disruptive card such as [[Elite Spellbinder]] to strip a key card from our hand. They have yet to play another White source so it appears they are unlikely to have one in hand though, so their chance at disruption seems low.
I believe the best chance is to wait until next turn to get a bigger opportunity to win the game, and not force a win this turn. The odds of them following up with meaningful interaction appears to be low, and it is worthwhile to increase your chances of winning by waiting.
It is unfortunate we had to cast [[Galvanic Relay]] here as opposed to winning outright, but we got very lucky to not actually pick up any cards that are affected by the [[Chalice of the Void]]. Currently, we can act as if it is not on the battlefield at all. My goal for this turn is to properly set up for a combo turn when we untap next. To that end, I like preparing with another [[Galvanic Relay]]. Our main decision point is how to deploy the pieces we have with the mana available. Using both copies of [[Mox Opal]], there is currently six available mana (as I will suggest later, we need to make sure to play the [[Taiga]] from Exile as our land for turn). Unfortunately, this is one short of casting both of our two mana value cards: [[Burning Wish]] and [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. The ability to convert an [[Echo of Eons]] into a win at this stage of the game is slim. We would also be handing our opponent a copy of [[Wishclaw Talisman]] to use if we fail to win. To me, the [[Galvanic Relay]] is the better option at this stage of the game.
For this turn, we should play out [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and [[Mox Opal]] (not forgetting to tap the first one for mana beforehand) and play [[Taiga]] as our land for turn. This will allow the [[Badlands]] in hand to serve as [[Mountain]] number two for the [[Pulverize]] I want to cast on the following turn. Speaking of which, let’s use the [[Burning Wish]] to find the pink elephant from our sideboard. [[Galvanic Relay]] from exile will provide us with four new cards next turn — one more with the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] that we should “crack” to see what our opponent is drawing. Coupled with the [[Wishclaw Talisman]], we have many avenues to victory. The loose plan is to [[Pulverize]] after casting our [[Wishclaw Talisman]] as protection if we need to pass the turn. Our cards from [[Galvanic Relay]], draw for turn, and draw for [[Mishra’s Bauble]] will have to get there.
I would take a slightly more conservative line here. I would start on [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and then use it immediately, giving us potential information about a white source to cast [[Archon of Emeria]] or [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] or even the cards themselves. Assuming that the coast is clear, I would play the [[Taiga]] from exile and then cast [[Burning Wish]] for [[Pulverize]]. From here, I would cast [[Wishclaw Talisman]] and then pass the turn. This line provides us with [[Ad Nauseam]] on the following turn with a [[Pulverize]] to clear us from the [[Chalice of the Void]] or any additional artifact-based disruption.
In the dark, I might suspect that this is actually 8-Cast. The opponent not searching [[Mox Opal]] with [[Urza’s Saga]], however, might be a tell that this is initiative right off the bat. Starting this turn by casting [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and looking at their top card to get more information is the best way to start the turn. Still, there is not much to do on this turn. At max, we can make six mana and generate only four Storm. Given that their second [[Urza’s Saga]] is not popping next turn and cannot find [[Pithing Needle]], I would play this turn a touch slow. I would play the [[Taiga]], cast [[Burning Wish]] to find [[Pulverize]] and then [[Mox Opal]] and finish with a [[Galvanic Relay]] to finish the turn.
The opponent not having White mana is a good sign. It’ll also be a few turns before [[Urza’s Saga]] can find one, so unless they top deck a White source we won’t face any disruptive creatures next turn. The counter argument to that is that if they do draw a White source and play a [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] it will become hard to win this game. Other than [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]], there isn’t much I fear on their turn, so I would setup to win on my next turn. I would play out the [[Taiga]] and use it with the [[Mox Opal]] to cast [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]]. Then, I would play out the other [[Mox Opal]] from exile and the [[Mishra’s Bauble]], and use it to [[Galvanic Relay]] for four. This will setup a combo win for the next turn.
Here I think I would just play out our [[Burning Wish]] and [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. We can [[Burning Wish]] for our [[Pulverize]] on the following turn. The other five mana we have access to can cast [[Wishclaw Talisman]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] after we play out all our available zero-drop spells. Between the [[Pulverize]], a new [[Galvanic Relay]] pile, and [[Wishclaw Talisman]] we will likely have a much better chance of winning the following turn after we have removed the [[Chalice of the Void]].
SITUATION No. 2 — UR Delver
Back-to-back format defining decks. It is almost as if we want to make sure that discussion happens within The EPIC Storm community to ensure the best deck is presented for every event. UR Delver is, of course, the “boogeyman” of the format. Cheap and efficient threats, powerful disruption, the best old and new cards seen in Magic’s history (that are still legal), and mid- to late-game card advantage? This sounds like a recipe for success. The B-word has been bandied about in regards to some of the key pieces to the Tempo game plan employed by [[Delver of Secrets]] players. Nothing has been done since the banning of [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]]. Perhaps the influx of Dungeon Stompy is a meta shift that will address this dominance? Or maybe it is a flash in the pan that will die off once UR Delver properly learns to adapt — a skill that the deck is unerringly good at.
On the Combo axis, UR Delver has good tools to interact with Storm strategies. The obvious start is stack interaction. [[Force of Will]], [[Daze]], even cards like [[Pyroblast]] and [[Hydroblast]] have uses here. These are known quantities and why The EPIC Storm is built with [[Veil of Summer]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] as primary protection plans. Continuing along the main axes of play, [[Wasteland]] has applications in disrupting our early mana development if we are forced to expose ourselves to it. Other avenues of interaction include sideboard copies of [[Counterbalance]], [[Null Rod]], and [[Surgical Extraction]]. These cards against The EPIC Storm are known and planned for. What cannot be planned for is how all of that interaction lines up against our draws. [[Galvanic Relay]] provides a powerful plan against single-point interaction but is vulnerable to a classic UR Delver line: the [[Delver of Secrets]], [[Daze]], [[Wasteland]] combo.
Cutting The EPIC Storm out of a longer game is the avenue of success UR Delver players want to develop: whether that is an early [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] with Delirium or a windmill slammed [[Murktide Regent]] that puts us on a serious clock. We have to act deliberately to address these lines. Practice makes permanent here. More games against UR Delver will hone the small details that build towards success, but only if the right muscles are flexed. Trying to win too quickly or delay too late will only serve to emphasize the wrong heuristics of an intricate matchup. Hopefully these puzzles will help!
As with many Infernal Tutoring situations, we find ourselves in medias res trying to resolve a [[Brainstorm]]. This is a post-board game that is about to end, one way or another. At nine life, we are facing down a two-turn clock of a [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] with Delirium and a flipped [[Delver of Secrets]]. With four cards in hand, our opponent is likely to have at least one piece of interaction and potentially two. The most reasonable choice is to put back two copies of [[Chrome Mox]]. But this is a good place to pause, establish a game plan, and see if that line still makes sense. Should we plan on making a move this turn to take advantage of playing around [[Lightning Bolt]]? Can the extra mana make a difference if we wait one more turn?
Our UR Delver opponent has a [[Lightning Bolt]] in their graveyard. If they have a fetchland and a draw spell, they seem incredibly likely to have access to that [[Lightning Bolt]] next turn. I would feel pretty strongly that winning this turn if we can is the correct line of play. If we cast [[Mox Opal]], [[Lotus Petal]], and one [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] (Storm 4), we can use the [[Mox Opal]] to cast [[Dark Ritual]]. If we then use the [[Taiga]] and floating to cast [[Burning Wish]] (Storm 6 | ). If this resolves, we can cast [[Thoughtseize]] (Storm 7 | ). If they only have one interaction spell, we can take it from their hand. We then can cast the second [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], cast [[Burning Wish]] using the floating and the [[Lotus Petal]], holding priority and sacrificing both copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for . Finally, cast [[Tendrils of Agony]] for lethal. If they have [[Force of Will]] for the first [[Burning Wish]] we can act as if that was the [[Thoughtseize]] being cast and do the same line. I do not believe the extra mana is worth waiting for as we know this line will not get better with a [[Chrome Mox]] in hand and the [[Underground Sea]] untapped because this only allows us to play around [[Daze]] better. They will have more chances to kill us or find more interaction by giving them extra time. Our hand will not be better by waiting while their hand can only improve by waiting.
This situation is, thankfully, relatively straightforward once you decide which turn to combo. Seeing that we will not be drawing into cards that do anything for two whole turns, we will be dead before getting a chance to see anything new. If we count up our non-[[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] mana, we can make a maximum of five if we put back two copies of [[Chrome Mox]]. The copies of [[Chrome Mox]] do nothing but add to Storm count. With this five mana, we can cast both copies of [[Burning Wish]] around a single [[Daze]]. Likewise, there is a way to sequence the casting of these spells to use the first [[Burning Wish]] as protection for the second. Let’s break it down with the assumption that both copies of [[Chrome Mox]] get put back.
First, we need to deploy our artifacts. [[Lotus Petal]], both copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and [[Mox Opal]]. Possible points of interaction would be on either the first [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] or the [[Mox Opal]]. But if either of those eat a counterspell we are even better off. We can then move to [[Dark Ritual]] using the [[Mox Opal]] (Storm 6 | ). Committing to using a [[Lotus Petal]] may convince our opponent to act, something we want to delay until a [[Burning Wish]] is on the stack. Next, without cracking the copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], we can cast a [[Burning Wish]] using some of the floating mana. If this resolves, the target is [[Thoughtseize]] to draw out interaction. Ideally, the [[Burning Wish]] itself eats countermagic because it would cost one less mana and add to Storm. Regardless of that particular outcome, the last thing to do is cast the remaining copy of [[Burning Wish]] with the floating mana, sacrificing both copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] (Storm 8 | ). Now, with lethal Storm and more than enough mana to play around [[Daze]], we have forced our opponent to have two points of countermagic in their four-card hand. Hopefully this means a lethal [[Tendrils of Agony]] will soon be put on the stack!
We’ll start by putting back the pair of [[Chrome Mox]] off of the [[Brainstorm]] — that’s the easy part of this decision. From there, it’s whether or not you make a move for it. The [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] doesn’t have Delirium, how we would lose this game is if our opponent has a second copy of [[Lightning Bolt]] and then hits Delirium off of the Surveil trigger. This would require the opponent to have kept in multiple copies of [[Lightning Bolt]] in post-board against us, which isn’t unheard of, but it is out-of-the-norm. I would set up a pass-the-turn scenario where we try to beat their interaction instead of just losing to a [[Force of Will]]. How the next turn plays out is mostly based on the information we have, if they don’t hit Delirium that means they’re only dealing four damage. This would put us at five life, which is a pretty important number. This would mean that [[Thoughtseize]] would be shut off. That said, if they had [[Lightning Bolt]] I would think they could cast it for Surveil into Delirium. On our turn, I’d like to play out all of our mana into [[Burning Wish]] for [[Thoughtseize]]. After this, [[Burning Wish]] into lethal. By playing out all of the mana first, you incentivize the opponent to counter the first [[Burning Wish]] leaving only one other counter in hand. If they let it resolve, you’re threatening [[Tendrils of Agony]].
The beginning of this [[Brainstorm]] is relatively easy to resolve. I would put back both copies of [[Chrome Mox]]. This game comes down to how much one believes that the opponent has another copy of [[Lightning Bolt]] and can reach Delirium with the [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]]. I would start by casting all of my initial mana sources and then the first [[Burning Wish]], intending to find [[Thoughtseize]]. I would then cast the [[Thoughtseize]] targeting the opponent, play the final two copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], cast [[Burning Wish]] and win with [[Tendrils of Agony]].
The extra mana by waiting a turn certainly makes a difference as it would allow us to [[Peer into the Abyss]], but I think the risk is too high. The opponent has already cast a [[Lightning Bolt]] when they already had an Instant in the graveyard, so I predict they have another one. Even if they don’t, they could use cantrips and [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] to find one, so I think this is the turn. I would start by putting back the two copies of [[Chrome Mox]] back with [[Brainstorm]]. I would then play out both copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], [[Lotus Petal]], and [[Mox Opal]]. I would then use [[Mox Opal]] and [[Taiga]] to cast [[Dark Ritual]] and [[Burning Wish]] for the [[Thoughtseize]] and cast it to clear away any counterspells. From here, I would use the black mana floating and the [[Lotus Petal]] to cast the second [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]]. Once [[Echo of Eons]] is in hand I would sacrifice both copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for blue and red and flashback the [[Echo of Eons]] with three mana floating.
UR Delver traditionally sides out some number of [[Lightning Bolt]], so my main fear is passing and they slam a [[Maddening Hex]] or [[Counterbalance. Overall, I wouldn’t wait here. Put back the two copies of [[Chrome Mox]], play out our zero drops, cast our [[Dark Ritual]], cast the first [[Burning Wish]] and pass priority. If it resolves, we grab [[Thoughtseize]] and then we can cast the second [[Burning Wish]] with maximum insurance.
SITUATION No. 3 — Mono-B Helm
Veering wildly from top-meta decks and turning directly into the obscure, Mono-Blue Helm is a combo deck with certain disruptive elements inherently being built into the deck’s construction. Focused primarily on assembling the A+B combo of [[Helm of Obedience]] and [[Leyline of the Void]] or [[Dauthi Voidwalker]], the plan is to activate [[Helm of Obedience]] and exile an opponent’s entire library. Because no card ever hits the graveyard, milling continues until the entire library is gone. In Black, players have access to cards like [[Thoughtseize]] and [[Tourach, Dread Cantor]] that serve as disruptive elements while combo pieces also halt any graveyard shenanigans in their tracks. There are many flavors of Mono-B decks, and this is one that leans more heavily into the combo potential offered by [[Dark Ritual]]-based acceleration. Other versions leverage [[Dark Ritual]] to play a more controlling game, rely heavier on discard, play threats like [[Opposition Agent]] and [[Karn, the Great Creator]], or assemble the [[Dark Depths]]/[[Thespian’s Stage]] combo.
Outside of [[Karn, the Great Creator]] shutting down our entire game plan, discard spells are the primary interaction that we need to be concerned about. Paired with sideboard [[Surgical Extraction]], the ability to strip our win away from us by removing [[Burning Wish]] can be a real pain. Careful sequencing is needed when playing against potential copies of [[Surgical Extraction]] to avoid opening yourself up to that possibility. One neat trick available to our opponent involves [[Dauthi Voidwalker]]. With the unique ability to cast an opponent’s spells, if we have to use a copy of [[Veil of Summer]] as protection, they now have their own protection against [[Tendrils of Agony]]. This interaction does not come up often, but is worth noting here in case players encounter it in the wild. Another note, the best card against us, [[Karn, the Great Creator]], is something that we have specifically chosen to ignore in our sideboard plans. [[Chain of Vapor]] no longer being present indicates a certain level of disrespect given to the card. Decks that play [[Karn, the Great Creator]] are not seeing as much success currently, allowing us to devote valuable slots to more pressing matchups. You truly cannot beat everything, and [[Karn, the Great Creator]] is certainly one we’re not likely to beat without major changes in deck design. Let’s stick with what works and not try to over-extend.
-2 [[Galvanic Relay]]; +2 [[Thoughtseize]]
Wow what a difference a turn makes! On the draw, we made an army of [[Goblin Token]]s with the confidence of someone who thought they knew what they were doing. During our opponent’s second turn, they paired a pre-game [[Leyline of the Void]] with a [[Helm of Obedience]], threatening a lethal activation on their next turn ([[Pithing Needle]] named [[Wasteland]] in the dark). As it currently stands, there is little we can do about this threat. Their life total is just barely above what our army of little green men can dish out. But there is one saving grace! At 14 life, our army of 12 [[Goblin Token]]s can prevent any activations of [[Ancient Tomb]]. The only tool we have available is the [[Brainstorm]] in our hand. This scenario is a little different from the normal and the hope is to have readers start to recognize how playing to your outs can only take you so far. You have to know what those outs actually are first. Is the best we can do in this situation attacking with our army and hoping our opponent does not have a pain-free mana source? Or can we hit any combination of spells with the [[Brainstorm]] here that will allow us to win without passing the turn?
Any non-[[Ancient Tomb]] mana source is going to end the game next turn. If we use this [[Lotus Petal]] to cast [[Brainstorm]], we will end up with two cards in hand and one [[Taiga]] in play. One of the four cards we will look at is an [[Echo of Eons]]. That is not very helpful with a [[Leyline of the Void]] on the battlefield. So it is up to three unknown cards giving us access to two cards total. If we hit a [[Mountain]] and a [[Burning Wish]], we can cast the [[Burning Wish]], finding a [[Pulverize]] and sacrificing both of our dual lands to destroy [[Helm of Obedience]]. There is no way to deal two damage, so the only way to stop them is from stopping them from killing you with [[Helm of Obedience]] from this position.
This looks like it was a rollercoaster of a game so far. Presenting a fast clock on the draw only to be met with an even faster clock! First thing is first, we need to move to combat and deal our requisite damage, putting our opponent to two life. Shutting off [[Ancient Tomb]] is huge here. They have to have a pain-free source of mana or else they are dead. A [[Swamp]], [[Chrome Mox]], or [[Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth]] are all live draws. They may even have something in hand. Rather than simply passing the turn and leaving our fate in the hands of our opponent, there is at least one line we can play towards to give us outs to shutting them down.
Unfortunately, [[Brainstorm]] is not able to provide the amount of cards necessary to deal two extra points of damage somehow. Luckily, [[Brainstorm]] can find a line to stop our opponent in their tracks anyway! Using the [[Lotus Petal]], we can cast the cantrip looking for two cards. First, a complementary [[Mountain]] to pair with our [[Taiga]] — any fetch land or either the [[Volcanic Island]] or [[Badlands]] would do. The other card that would need to be found is a copy of [[Burning Wish]]. IF we find both of those cards in the top three cards of our library, we can play the land and cast [[Burning Wish]] for [[Pulverize]]. Casting [[Pulverize]] for its alternate cost of sacrificing two [[Mountain]]s will destroy the opposing [[Helm of Obedience]]. After that, our army of little green men will make short work of the remaining life points of our opponent.
Too bad we didn’t sideboard in [[Crash]]! We’re going to use [[Lotus Petal]] to cast [[Brainstorm]]. Ideally, we would find another [[Mountain]] and [[Burning Wish]] for [[Pulverize]]. This would destroy the [[Helm of Obedience]]. After that, a Black source and [[Thoughtseize]] is okay, but still puts us dead to any pain-free land.
We are actually in a really good spot here! When we attack the opponent for a dozen as they go to two and cannot tap their [[Ancient Tomb]] to activate [[Helm of Obedience]]. If they have a land, however, they can still win the game. To play around this, I would play [[Lotus Petal]], cast [[Brainstorm]] and look for [[Burning Wish]] and a fetch land or [[Mountain]]. This would allow for [[Burning Wish]] for [[Pulverize]] to blow up the [[Helm of Obedience]].
We can use the [[Lotus Petal]] to cast [[Brainstorm]] and if we draw a fetchland or [[Mountain]] with [[Burning Wish]] we can put back the [[Echo of Eons]] and another card and then [[Burning Wish]] for [[Pulverize]].
Here, I think its best to attack and shut off [[Ancient Tomb]]. That is just happening regardless, but it never hurts to [[Brainstorm]] into [[Thoughtseize]] to take a potential [[Dark Ritual]] that would give them a lethal amount of mana.
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Jordan Karim is a biochemistry lab manager that enjoys solving questions about the microscopic as well as about Legacy combo turns. In his free time Jordan can be found playing Magic with friends, watching movies/TV, or searching for the next tasty new restaurant.
His favorite Magic card is Dark Ritual and his favorite deck is God-Pharaoh’s Gift from Hour of Devastation standard.
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