[[Ad Nauseam]] is the most important engine in The EPIC Storm. It is the one cast most often and is the primary plan in many matc ups. Given that the deck is designed around the card, winning the game with it tends to be on the easier side. Knowing all the tricks involved with casting the card is the easiest way to increase your win percentage with TES!
How to Cast
Most of the time, [[Ad Nauseam]] is tutored for by [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. To review from the engines article, casting [[Ad Nauseam]] through [[Wishclaw Talisman]] costs six mana if the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] is in play, and eight mana to do it all in one turn.
There are a couple trickier spots to cast the card as well. Using [[Brainstorm]], one can put back [[Ad Nauseam]] on top of the deck, cast an effect that draws a card, hold priority, activate a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] or two and cast [[Ad Nauseam]]. This still works with [[Mishra’s Bauble]]! With the draw trigger on the stack, making all the mana to cast [[Ad Nauseam]] is possible, even in the opponent’s upkeep given that [[Ad Nauseam]] is an instant. Sometimes, this is even a better time to cast [[Ad Nauseam]], especially earlier in the game. It is unlikely that an opponent can do anything about the massive amount of cards that [[Ad Nauseam]] draws, but it does prevent them from using [[Force of Negation]]’s alternate casting cost. This makes an unprotected [[Ad Nauseam]] more likely to resolve. Given that an opponent only has a 40 percent chance to have a [[Force of Will]] early in the game, the odds are in one’s favor to resolve [[Ad Nauseam]].
Another trick is to appear to “cycle” a [[Veil of Summer]] and then resolve the engine for free on an opponent’s turn. This also exploits the fact that [[Dark Ritual]] is an instant. One of the other ways to exploit the instant speed nature of [[Ad Nauseam]] is to cast a [[Chrome Mox]], let it trigger, and then cast [[Ad Nauseam]] in response. This mostly matters when one has to activate a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] to cast the [[Ad Nauseam]].
Resolving Ad Nauseam
[[Ad Nauseam]] is more effective the more life one has. This is fairly obvious, but knowing that one is expected draw about one card per life available informs when [[Ad Nauseam]] can still be a primary plan. At fourteen life and above, [[Ad Nauseam]] is fairly safe to cast. Below that, it is possible that pivoting to another plan might be optimal. This is where considering the opponent’s clock also matters. If one cannot cast [[Ad Nauseam]] for another turn or two and there are six points of damage coming in per turn, one will be at too low of a life total to cast an effective [[Ad Nauseam]].
Even if one finds a set of cards that win the game, it can be better to keep flipping until just before it is possible to die. This means that one should be aware of the most expensive card still in the deck. Normally, this is [[Echo of Eons]] at a mana value of six. By flipping further into the deck, one has more options to beat unexpected situations.
To win the game with [[Ad Nauseam]], one needs to find a tutor effect or the main deck [[Tendrils of Agony]] and enough mana and storm to cast all of these cards. Sometimes choke points can be initial mana or fixing colors. Using [[Wishclaw Talisman]] filter mana by tutoring for a [[Lotus Petal]] or similar can also help produce the extra storm required!
On the other hand, sometimes noting when passing the turn is easier than winning on the current turn is the correct play. Sometimes, an [[Ad Nauseam]] just will not quite produce the correct mana and having lands untap to produce those mana better works. Some signs that this might be the correct thing to do is when multiple cards need to be flipped, sometimes in a row, to win the game. When the [[Ad Nauseam]] becomes unlikely to win the same turn it is cast, just pass the turn.
Try casting [[Ad Nauseam]] from different life totals! Getting a feel for how the card plays is as important as understanding the theory behind it. Next month, we will look at cantrip sequencing and expand more on the concept of a window. As always, I am available in the Discord or on Twitter./p>