Goldfishing is the most common practice given to new Storm players. This is the practice of playing against an opponent as if they do not take any game actions. Knowing how to execute a storm combo should be the easiest part of any game and thus makes goldfishing a great place to start. The combo turn itself breaks into three questions: Can I go off, how should I go off, and should I go off? Sometimes these questions get tangled together, but this and the next two articles will explore those questions in their entirety.

Requirements to go off

The most important part of figuring out if one can go off on a given turn is the presence of a tutor effect or engine card and a required amount of mana. In the chart below, the quantity of mana is only noted. There are obviously color requirements, but most of the time those are easily satisfied. They are something to watch out for while playing as running out of a color does come up.

Engine [[Wishclaw Talisman]] [[Burning Wish]] From Hand
[[Ad Nauseam]] 8 mana, or 6 mana if [[Wishclaw Talisman]] is in play N/A 5 Mana
[[Echo of Eons]] (Flashback)
Requires a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
6 mana, or 4 mana if [[Wishclaw Talisman]] is in play 5 Mana 3 Mana
[[Echo of Eons]] (Front Half) 9 mana, or 7 mana if [[Wishclaw Talisman]] is in play 8 Mana 6 Mana
[[Peer into the Abyss]] 12 mana, or 10 mana if [[Wishclaw Talisman]] is in play. (find [[Burning Wish]]) 9 Mana 7 Mana
[[Galvanic Relay]] 6 mana, or 4 mana if [[Wishclaw Talisman]] is in play 5 Mana 3 Mana

Hitting these mana thresholds become much more intuitive after playing many games. Calculating them mid game can be time consuming in a game and take up extra brain power. It is still good to understand where these numbers come from and memorizing the chart directly is not always the best approach.

Counting Mana

Knowing the threshold of mana required is only half of the puzzle. Counting one’s available mana is an important part of Magic, but the mix of mana rocks, lands, and rituals can be more complicated. Rather than going through the subtraction of the mana cost of the ritual and then adding the mana afterwards, think of each mana source as the net mana they produce. This helps prevent small mental math mistakes and frees up brain power for figuring out what an opponent may have. Noting the difference between initial mana and non initial mana can be important as well. [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] does not cast [[Wishclaw Talisman]] in one’s hand. Having the two initial mana from lands or something like a [[Dark Ritual]] is very important.

Net Mana
[[Dark Ritual]]
[[Rite of Flame]]
[[Chrome Mox]]
[[Mox Opal]]
[[Lotus Petal]]
[[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
Any Land

Try goldfishing a few hands!

[[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]]
[[Chrome Mox|]]
[[Dark Ritual|]]

Recognizing how many mana one is away from a threshold is important for game planning. The limiting factor in every game with The EPIC Storm is mana, which by extension is cards. Knowing that most of the fast mana in the deck only produces one extra mana means that most cards only produce one mana. Finding copies of [[Dark Ritual]] or [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] with cantrips or just opening with them is important to balance tutor effects, protection, and the total mana required. For example, if one is trying to go off with solely effects that produce one mana, this costs a minimum of nine cards and 10 if protection is required. Assuming one keeps seven cards, this does not let the combo turn occur before turn three and also assumes that each card makes a mana on its own. [[Chrome Mox]] requires two cards to make a mana, further pushing out the combo turn. This is why [[Dark Ritual]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] are so especially powerful. They allow other cards drawn to be protection or more tutors without delaying the combo turn.

Next month, we will look at the question of how to go off and pick which engine in which situations is appropriate. Please remember to join the Discord and the Patreon where you get early access to these articles and extra exercises to practice!