Hi everyone!

We’re back with the mailbox, here are some more Q&A’s:


Why do you run a main deck Swamp rather than a Badlands?

Basic lands are incredibly valuable against Tempo based strategies as well as against Death & Taxes and Lands due to Wasteland. The ability to search up a basic Swamp and cast a discard spell without having to worry about your land being destroyed is a very good feeling. I very rarely would like a Badlands in the deck, there’s so many issues with it, the big one being that it makes a lot of hands unplayable since it cannot cast Brainstorm or Ponder. The only time I would even consider a Badlands is if I was running a basic Island to help color-balance my mana.


Why did you take the Brainstorm article down? Has the card been replaced?

I first would like to start off by saying that I really appreciate it to everyone who donated, it means a lot to me. The brainstorm has been replaced – I only had to spend $40 out of pocket towards a new one thanks to the generosity of my friends, fellow Storm Troopers and the internet. The new Brainstorm has already been shipped out to the artist to get signed. The article was taken down because I hit my donation goal in roughly four hours, that paired with the negative feed back of asking for donations for a “luxury” item. I didn’t anticipate negative feedback on something that means so much to me, I suppose I had a bit of tunnel vision. I can certainly see why it was received by some in the way it was, but I don’t believe they truly grasp how much my deck means to me. TES is my hobby and at times my pride & joy, I spend countless hours working on it or website along with making connections for getting it’s cards signed. “Just play a $1 version of the card, fuckwad” was never an option.

These things said, when I receive the new Brainstorm back from the artist I will then look into selling my old/damaged one. I’ve received a couple low-ball offers that weren’t acceptable. Once I sell it, I’m going to take my costs out of it for replacing, shipping, signing and donate the rest of it to Gamers Helping Gamers.


My opening hand is Gitaxian Probe, Gitaxian Probe, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, Ad Nauseam and Rite of Flame. I was on the play Game 2 against Death & Taxes. I decided to mulligan, was this correct? 

I would not have mulliganed that hand, you have two opportunities to hit an initial mana source in a deck with a lot of them in it and you have your turn two draw step as well since that deck cannot interact with you on turn one. Three chances to hit a single mana, seems incredibly favorable to me. Seems like a no-brainer.


Do you ever side in the Past in Flames & Tendrils of Agony and plan to use it as your main engine?

I’ve tried it in the past, it’s not something I do regularly as the deck isn’t optimized for that plan being built with Chrome Mox and Rite of Flame. These cards don’t support Past in Flames very well which has caused me to just continue to ride Ad Nauseam and Empty the Warrens plan since the mana accelerants work better with these cards. The deck is certainly capable of that plan if you aim for it early and use Infernal Tutors aggressively to double up on Ritual effects, but I would rather just say the course while having those options available through Burning Wish.


Why did you start siding out Empty the Warrens against Burn? Did they start packing Electrickery?

I didn’t? If you read the recommended sideboard strategy on the homepage it doesn’t say to side out Empty the Warrens. You should keep it in as the match-up is treated very much like Death & Taxes since you need to get going before their second turn. If you read something that I wrote elsewhere it might’ve been an oversight but I do keep the card in for that match-up.


About to play in an actual Legacy event for the first time. What would you want yourself to know if it was your first go round with TES?

Just try to have fun and keep your expectations low. Legacy is a format that is incredibly skill based, to the point where even unfavorable match-ups are winnable if you know the ins-and-outs more than your opponent. I wouldn’t expect to win the tournament, I would expect to do some sweet things like casting Empty the Warrens and then flashback three Cabal Therapy. One thing I constantly tell myself at larger events is to keep calm and focus on one round at a time. Don’t go in telling yourself you need to “4-0 this daily”, you really just need to beat the person across the table from you. Remember to breathe and make some friends while you’re there, they could end up being your traveling buddies for larger events.


Thoughts on Slaughter Games in sideboard against Omnitell and other combo decks?

It’s too costly to be effective. It’s a six mana play line that might not even win the game, especially since a decent amount of Omnitell lists play Through the Breach as a Cunning Wish target. It’s also a very narrow sideboard card as it only has use in one match-up, I recommend cards that are more versatile.


Is it the number of Xantid Swarm always 3 or 0 copies? Would you see yourself playing only 1 or 2 copies? If you ever come back to the card.

I’ve played two in the past – I don’t believe that a singleton is worth while. The issue currently isn’t space though, it’s that the card is very underwhelming at the moment.


If you’re interested in asking a question, use the contact form below with the subject line of “TES Mailbox” to submit your question!