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Cook’s Kitchen – Storm Hands V

Cook’s Kitchen – Storm Hands V

It’s been about a month since the last Storm Hands! But we’re back! In this installment we’re going to focus on beating a rough match-up, UWr Miracles. The match-up is very difficult because of Counterbalance, Force of Will, Rest in Peace and sometimes Terminus but it’s not unwinnable. Each one of these cards can shut down one of the EPIC Storm’s strategies. The goal of this battle is to make them have the wrong answer at the right time.

Cards like Counterbalance are generally effective throughout the game, unless there’s an Abrupt Decay present. While cards such as Force of Will, Rest in Peace and Terminus are only effective in certain situations at stopping the storm. For example, a second turn Rest in Peace is only good at shutting down Ill-Gotten Gains (A card traditionally not cast in this match-up), Past in Flames and stopping the additional mana clause from Rite of Flame. A second turn Rest in Peace may mean a second turn win. Similarly, Terminus can be a completely dead card like Rest in Peace if both players have known information to its existence in the opponents’ hand. It can also, make a storm pilot lose the game if they’re reckless or if luck isn’t on their side.

Before we dive into the games let’s talk about some of the strategies you’ll want to keep in mind in order to defeat one of T.E.S.’s more challenging match-ups. First off, it’s all right to keep slower hands! If it doesn’t win on turn one or two, that’s fine. Turn one wins with or without protection are great too. But this is a match-up where it’s all right to aim to win on turns three or four if you can disrupt them and protect yourself. Hands with Duress or Cabal Therapy hold additional value as they proactively answer Counterbalance. Post-board the same thing can be said about Abrupt Decay.

I also recommend steering away from Empty the Warrens, Miracles has a fairly easy time maneuvering around ten to fourteen goblins. Between possible Terminus, Supreme Verdict, Detention Sphere and Engineered Explosives it’s just not in our best interest to be creating tokens. I’d also be wary of being too obvious of setting up the Past in Flames kill, playing Infernal Tutor revealing Dark Ritual for example. However, a play like this could also be used as bait to get them to tap some mana on their turn

Post board is actually better for us! There aren’t too many match-ups where this is true. Game one generally belongs to the players casting ten or twenty spells in one turn, however, most of the time sideboarded games are slightly worse. This doesn’t mean that T.E.S. isn’t favored, it’s just that in most players’ sideboards there’s a card dedicated to shutting us down. Well against Miracles we have three copies of a card that nullifies their primary game plan for shutting down the storm. It’s fairly obvious that I’m talking about Abrupt Decay! Decay being able to answer Counterbalance or Ethersworn Cannonist is a real game changer. Enough talking for now, let’s take a look at the deck list!

This is my most current list of The EPIC Storm. The list hasn’t changed since my attendance at Star City Games last weekend. It’s pretty straightforward at this point, let’s move on to the Storm hands!

Hand I – TES is on the play against Miracles

Opening Hand: Infernal Tutor, Silence, Rite of Flame, Burning Wish, Infernal Tutor, Ad Nauseam and Gemstone Mine

Mulligan

Opening Hand: Gitaxian Probe, Gitaxian Probe, Silence, Silence, Brainstorm, City of Brass

It’s a rough keep, it doesn’t actually do anything quite yet. This hand doesn’t have the power to win through a Counterbalance either. However, I don’t see five being better.

Keep

Gitaxian Probe (18 life) draw Lotus Petal (Storm 1)
Probe reveals Swords to Plowshares, Brainstorm, Terminus, Energy Field, Island, Tundra and Rest in Peace

Clearly, they didn’t know a storm was on the horizon.

City of Brass, pass the turn

It’s all right to sit on Brainstorm for a while against blue decks, don’t rush to play it.

Miracles draws, puts that Tundra on the table and passes

Draw Dark Ritual
Play Gitaxian Probe (16 life) draw Lion’s Eye Diamond (Storm 1)
Probe reveals Swords to Plowshares, Brainstorm, Terminus, Energy Field, Island, Counterbalance and Rest in Peace

This Probe did two things. First off, it dramatically increased our chances of being able to win the game quickly. However, it also showed that our Miracles opponent is also very good at drawing cards.

We have a couple of options. Brainstorm right now and hope to find either Infernal Tutor plus more mana or a gold land to “Silence-Walk”. Alternately we can just say, “go.”

Say “Go”
Our Miracles opponent taps Tundra and plays Brainstorm on the end step

They untap, motion for their draw but not before we cast Silence (15 life)
They lay the basic Island we know about and pass

Untap and peel the top card of our Library. It’s a second Dark Ritual!

Not a bad draw!

Time to evaluate again. We could attempt to Silence-Walk again, but at this point we’re cold to Force of Will if we attempt to combo again soon. I say we get some more information by casting Brainstorm.
Tap City of Brass (14 life) and cast Brainstorm (Storm 1)
Draw Duress, Underground Sea and Ponder

We can blind attempt to win off Ponder or be practical. My vote goes towards some rationality. Put Dark Ritual on top of the Library and then Ponder on top of it. This allows us to have the land for Duress AND the Lotus Petal for Silence if Miracles plays Force of Will on our Duress.

Underground Sea and cast Duress (Storm 2)
Swords to Plowshares, Energy Field, Counterbalance, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Vendilion Clique, Terminus and Rest in Peace.

This means that there is a stacked unknown card on top of the Library. What are the odds it’s a land to counter all of the acceleration if Counterbalance resolved? I think it’s pretty high.

Discard Counterbalance
Pass

Miracles draws and plays Sensei’s Diving Top and then passes the turn back

It wasn’t a land for Vendilion Clique but it does keep Miracles in the game. More importantly, they can hide Force of Will from Discard.

Draw Ponder. Tap Underground Sea and cast it (Storm 1)
Ponder looks at Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor and Gemstone Mine

If top looks at either a land, Counterbalance or Force of Will we’re in a tough spot. Miracles has seen roughly a quarter of their deck. The odds are there’s a Force of Will in there. However, the odds are even greater for a land or a Counterbalance. There’s also Empty the Warrens, but a Brainstorm ends our game as well in this situation. Although, if we’re going for Goblins we do have Silence back-up. Let’s push all of our chips toward the center of the table. All in.

Draw Infernal Tutor
Lotus Petal (Storm 2)
Tap City of Brass (13 life) and cast Dark Ritual (BBB – Storm 3)

Lion’s Eye Diamond (BBB – Storm 4)
Infernal Tutor in response, break Lion’s Eye Diamond (BBBB – Storm 5)

Miracles taps their Tundra and spins the Top. Infernal Tutor resolves

Sacrifice Lotus Petal and cast Ad Nauseam (Storm 6)

  • Silence (12 life)
  • Brainstorm (11 life)
  • Chrome Mox (11 life)
  • Duress (10 life)
  • Lotus Petal (10 life)
  • Gemstone Mine (10 life)
  • Gemstone Mine (10 life)
  • Lion’s Eye Diamond(10 life)
  • Ponder (9 life)
  • Rite of Flame (8 life)
  • Misty Rainforest (8 life)
  • Burning Wish (6 life)
  • Lion’s Eye Diamond (6 life)
  • Burning Wish (4 life)
  • Stop.

Play Gemstone Mine

Lotus Petal (Storm 7), play the pair of Lion’s Eye Diamonds (Storm 9)
Tap Gemstone Mine (2 Counters) and cast Silence (Storm 10)

Rite of Flame cast from Lotus Petal (RR – Storm 11)
Burning Wish in response, break the pair of Lion’s Eye Diamonds (BBBBBB – Storm 12) Retrieve Tendrils of Agony and cast it (BB – Storm 13)

Hand II – TES is on the draw against Miracles

Opening Hand: Ponder, Underground Sea, Burning Wish, Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Dark Ritual and Silence.

Not the ideal hand, but it’s fast!

Keep

Miracles begins with Tundra into Sensei’s Diving Top

Draw City of Brass

Underground Sea and cast Ponder (Storm 1)
Look at Gitaxian Probe, Lotus Petal and Scalding Tarn
Leave them in that order and draw

Gitaxian Probe (18 life), draw Lotus Petal (Storm 2)
Probe reveals Counterbalance, Vendilion Clique, island, Volcanic Island and Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Our options are to Silence-Walk and draw into Scalding Tarn, which doesn’t really improve our position. It just makes us down two cards or we can cast Burning Wish this turn for either Diminishing Returns or Empty the Warrens. I know I said Goblins generally aren’t a good idea, but neither is refilling the opponents’ hand when you’ve already played a land and they run Force of Will. I think the highest chance of success is with Goblins.

Lotus Petal, Lotus Petal (Storm 4)
Lion’s Eye Diamond (Storm 5)
Sacrifice Lotus Petal and cast Dark Ritual (BBB – Storm 6)
Sacrifice Lotus Petal and cast Burning Wish (BB – Storm 7)
In response break Lion’s Eye Diamond (BBRRR – Storm 7)
Miracles flops top to the top of their Library, Burning Wish resolves
Empty the Warrens for 16 Goblins (B – Storm 8)

Miracles draws, lays down Volcanic Island and then casts Sensei’s Diving Top. Pass.

Draw Scalding Tarn. Attack for Sixteen. Pass.

Miracles activates Top on the end step and then concedes.

Sideboard Strategy

Before we begin the sideboarded games, let’s talk strategy again. Sideboarding out Empty the Warrens is a good idea because it will leave Miracles with additional “dead” cards in Terminus or Supreme Verdict or other cards of that nature. The Ponder, Infernal Tutor and Chrome Mox are all because the games slow down. There’s an additional benefit to siding out Infernal Tutor. It can now be a Burning Wish target. Meaning that Burning Wish can now find Ad Nauseam! The game plan is currently:

Sideboarding:
-1 Empty the Warrens
-1 Ponder
-1 Infernal Tutor
-1 Chrome Mox
+3 Abrupt Decay
+1 Cabal Therapy

If they happen to sideboard in Leyline of Sanctity I wouldn’t hesitate to sideboard in a single copy of Chain of Vapor to find Post Ad Nauseam.

Hand III – TES is on the draw against Miracles (Post Board)

Opening Hand: Gemstone Mine, Scalding Tarn, Lotus Petal, Infernal Tutor, Abrupt Decay, Brainstorm and Cabal Therapy

This hand is very good.

Keep

Once again Miracles begins the game with a first turn Sensei’s Diving Top off of Tundra.

Draw Rite of Flame for turn

Gemstone Mine and Lotus Petal (Storm 1)

This ensures that our Petal resolves if there is a Counterbalance. It’s important because we want to keep our shuffle effect for Brainstorm.

Pass

Flooded Strand (19 life) for Volcanic Island and Counterbalance

You’re probably thinking, why didn’t we just play Cabal Therapy? If we did and named Counterbalance and hit that’s great! Then we’re left with a dead Abrupt Decay. I think it’s best to save Decay for the annoyance and use Therapy to take down actual counter magic once we have some more information.

We’re not in a position to win the game, I’d rather not use Lotus Petal to destroy Counterbalance yet.

Draw Dark Ritual
Lay Scalding Tarn and pass

Miracles draws, lays down a Scalding Tarn and taps it’s lands to cast Rest in Peace

During the end step, activate Scalding Tarn (19 life) for Underground Sea
Cast Abrupt Decay (Storm 2) targeting Counterbalance

Normally you would want to do this in response to Rest in Peace if they didn’t have a Sensei’s Diving Top in play to avoid Misdirection (You would also have to sacrifice Lotus Petal).

I decided that we’re going for the win and that the additional mana source on our turn has more value than a shuffle effect.

Draw Burning Wish
Tap Underground Sea and cast Brainstorm (Storm 1)
It resolves, it draws City of Brass, Dark Ritual and Gitaxian Probe
Put Infernal on the top of the library followed by City of Brass
Gitaxian Probe (17 life)(Storm 2)
Miracles activates Scalding Tarn (18 life), searches for another Volcanic Island
Miracles then casts Pyroblast (Storm 3)

Tap Gemstone Mine (2 Counters) and cast Dark Ritual (BBB – Storm 4)

It’s better to play Ritual before Rite of Flame here because they don’t play taxing counterspells. Meaning if Dark Ritual is countered you’re not down a Rite of Flame too.

Cabal Therapy (BB – Storm 5)
Force of Will removing Vendillion Clique (17 life – Storm 6)
Leaves one card in the Miracles player’s hand.

Dark Ritual (BBBB – Storm 7) and Rite of Flame (RRBBBB – Storm 8)

Burning Wish (RBBB – Storm 9). The Miracle’s player flips the top over and tosses a non-blue card on the battlefield before revealing another Force of Will in hand.

Tendrils of Agony (Storm 10)

Hand IV – TES is on the play against Miracles (Post Board)

Opening Hand: Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Volcanic Island, Underground Sea and Silence.

Keep! A solid turn two hand with Silence back-up!

Underground Sea, pass

Miracles draws, plays Flooded Strand and passes the turn

Draw Gitaxian Probe.
Cast it! Gitaxian Probe (18 life) draw Burning Wish (Storm 1)
Probe reveals Force of Will, Counterbalance, Rest in Peace, Rest in Peace, Terminus, Glacial Fortress and Volcanic Island

Volcanic Island. Lotus Petal (Storm 2)
Use the petal to cast Silence, no response from Miracles (Storm 3)
Tap Underground Sea and cast Dark Ritual (BBB – Storm 4)
Infernal Tutor revealing Lion’s Eye Diamond(B – Storm 5)
Lion’s Eye Diamond (B – Storm 6)
Lion’s Eye Diamond (B – Storm 7)
Tap Volcanic Island and Burning Wish (Storm 8)
In response, break both Lion’s Eye Diamonds (BBBBBB – Storm 8)
Retrieve Ill-Gotten Gains

Ill-Gotten Gains (BB – Storm 9) returning the pair of Diamonds and Infernal Tutor

Lion’s Eye Diamond (BB – Storm 10)
Lion’s Eye Diamond (BB – Storm 11)
Infernal Tutor (Storm 12). In response, break both Diamonds (BBBRRR – Storm 12)
Find Burning Wish and cast it (BBRR – Storm 13).
Tendrils of Agony (Storm 14) for 28 life

Hand V – TES is on the draw against Miracles (Post Board)

Opening Hand: Dark Ritual, Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, City of Brass and Gemstone Mine

Really fast but lacks any sort of protection. Let’s give it a whirl.

Keep.

Before the game starts. Miracles plays Leyline of Sanctity.

Flooded Strand, pass.

Sometimes you need to just go for it.

Gemstone Mine and tap it, Dark Ritual (BBB – Storm 1)
Lotus Petal (BBB – Storm 2)
Lion’s Eye Diamond (BBB – Storm 3)
Lion’s Eye Diamond (BBB – Storm 4)
Infernal Tutor (B), in response break both Lion’s Eye Diamonds (BBBBRRR – Storm 5)

Brainstorm in response from Miracles (Storm 6), Infernal Tutor resolves

Ad Nauseam (BR – Storm 7)

  • Lotus Petal (20 life)
  • Infernal Tutor (18 life)
  • Burning Wish (16 life)
  • Volcanic Island (16 life)
  • Burning Wish (14 life)
  • Brainstorm (13 life)
  • Brainstorm (12 life)
  • Silence (11 life)
  • Burning Wish (9 life)
  • Scalding Tarn (9 life)
  • Gemstone Mine (9 life)
  • Flooded Strand (9 life)
  • Dark Ritual (8 life)
  • Abrupt Decay (6 life)
  • Cabal Therapy (5 life)
  • Dark Ritual (4 life)
  • Lotus Petal (4 life)
  • Rite of Flame (3 life)
  • Stop.

Lotus Petal (BR – Storm 8)
Lotus Petal (BR – Storm 9)
Rite of Flame (BRR – Storm 10)
Dark Ritual (BBBRR – Storm 11)
Dark Ritual (BBBBBRR – Storm 12)
Burning Wish (BBBBR – Storm 13)

Empty the Warrens (B – Storm 14) for 28 Goblin tokens.
Move to discard.
Keeping in hand – Abrupt Decay, Gemstone Mine, Brainstorm, Burning Wish, Infernal Tutor, Silence and Cabal Therapy

Very anxiously the Miracles player reveals the top card of their library and it’s a Terminus. While the Miracles player may have breezed through their upkeep, you can still cast Silence in response to the Miracle trigger to stop it.

Sacrifice Lotus Petal, Silence (Storm 1)

Here are three hands for you to try!

Opening Hand: Ponder, Chrome Mox, Chrome Mox, Brainstorm, Burning Wish, Rite of Flame and Dark Ritual.

Opening Hand II – Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Chrome Mox, Gemstone Mine, Lotus Petal, Gitaxian Probe and Silence.

Opening Hand III – Gemstone Mine, Infernal Tutor, Dark Ritual, Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Burning Wish and Rite of Flame.

Please give me some feedback and do try out the hands for you.

Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!

Bryant Cook
Bryant Cook on MTGthesource
BCook3289@yahoo.com

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