Cook’s Kitchen- Storming into Jupiter: October 15th NELCQ Report (Top 16)

In the days leading up the Jupiter Games NELC event I had been pretty lucky, including the Syracuse weekly Legacy event. In the semifinals of that event I had to play against Adam Barnello’s UB Delver Control deck, a nightmare match-up for combo. We shuffle up and look at our hands, I see staring back at me three Lotus Petal, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Dark Ritual, Ponder, Duress. I’m thinking, “Eh, I’ll keep, I probably won’t win anyway.” I lead off with Lotus Petal, Ponder – Ponder looks at Brainstorm, Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam. I take Brainstorm and cast it. Brainstorm draws Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam, and Gemstone Mine, while putting Lotus Petal and Lion’s Eye Diamond on top. I play Gemstone Mine, cast Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, “and then Ad Nauseam?”. He scoops.

Adam begins the next game with a turn one Thoughtseize followed by a turn two Null Rod. At this point I’m thinking, “Man, I wish I boarded in Echoing Truth.” I even knew they were in his sideboard, the thought of boarding hate for Null Rod just escaped me. I continue to play because it’s not impossible for me to win. I had drawn the one-of Tendrils and passed. By this point Barnello has two flipped Delver of Secrets and has me at 5. I draw Ponder with four lands in play, cast Ponder, see Brainstorm, Dark Ritual, and Rite of Flame. I draw the Brainstorm, Brainstorm into Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame, and Lotus Petal. Putting back Infernal Tutor and Burning Wish. Play Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame, then three Lotus Petal, Chrome Mox, then eventually a lethal Tendrils of Agony. The entire game Adam was holding two Spell Snare and begins to tell me how lucky I am, drawing my one-of Tendrils after turn one-ing the game before. It happens.

The following day we’re play-testing his deck at his place where I’m running Merfolk against his Delver deck and am continually drawing my outs to all of his spells. His Vendilion Clique in response to a two-counter Aether Vial activation takes Lord of Atlantis from my hand, but I draw another Lord of Atlantis off the Clique.  I draw the two-of maindeck Umezawa’s Jitte, or the one Dismember, etc. Barnello tells me the games would be more even if I wasn’t drawing my outs every game. I’m thinking in the back of my head, “It happens in Magic, it just happens to me more than most people.”

The night before the event, I set my alarm for 7:30 AM and am anxious for the next day. I feel like there hasn’t been an event months, I am just excited to play. I wake up to my puppy, Jack, deciding it’s a good time to start running on my bed.  I check my phone and it’s 7:25. I let Jack outside, hop in the shower, grab some cold pizza, and before you know it I’m on the road.  Jon Corpora is driving, Barnello is navigating, and I’m being lazy in the back. We talk about a variety of things on the way there, music, Magic, ladies, and a lot about the TV shows we watch. I have recently finished Mad Men and brought it up. The other two in the car are not quite done with the series, I bring up how terrible a person Betty Draper is and this sparks a debate.

We eventually arrive at Jupiter, and once there I decide to cash in and trade in my non-foil Mana Crypt for the Judge DCI Promo Mana Crypt for my Godo EDH deck. This said, I’m going into the event only needing four more foils for my three Elder Dragon Highlander/ Commander decks to be 100% complete. Left on the list are Kessing Wolf Run, Bloodgift Demon, Woodland Cemetery, and a DCI Judge Demonic Tutor. The first three should be easy pick-ups in trade soon enough, but I’m still uncertain if I want to get a second foil Demonic Tutor. I mean, I already own one in another EDH deck. I’ll probably get one in time, I’m just being “cheap” at the moment.

I begin to scout and realize there’s a lot of inexperienced EPIC Storm players in this event. I see a people who’ve never played TES before piloting the deck for the first time (To those people, don’t give up yet. It takes awhile to get comfortable and learn how to beat blue decks). I run into Jim Higginbottom and we discuss sideboarding strategies, he convinces me to cut my second Deathmark for Ill-Gotten Gains (after the event I added the Deathmark back in over Wipeaway).  I finish speaking with James, and I am bombarded by people asking to borrow cards, I probably lent out about 5 decks worth of cards. Seatings go up, and we’re ready to begin!  This is the list I ran:

The EPIC Storm



4 Dark Ritual

4 Rite of Flame
4 Burning Wish
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Infernal Tutor
3 Orim’s Chant
1 Silence
2 Ad Nauseam
1 Tendrils of Agony



4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Lotus Petal
4 Chrome Mox


Non-Basic Land:

Gemstone Mine
City of Brass
Scalding Tarn
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire



3 Pyroblast
2 Echoing Truth
1 Wipeaway
1 Deathmark
1 Diminishing Returns
1 Ill-Gotten Gains
1 Past in Flames
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Grapeshot
1 Shattering Spree

Round One: Michael Cutrone with Tempo RUG 

The last time I played against Mike, I was playing Merfolk and he was playing Zoo. I put him on Zoo.

Game One: I win the die roll, mulligan, and then fetch an Underground Sea to Duress. I look at Delver of Secrets, Volcanic Island, Daze, Brainstorm, Fire/Ice, Dismember, and Ponder. With my one land and cantrips in hand, I decided to take Daze. Mike opens with Tropical Island into Delver of Secrets. I Ponder into a second land, pass. Mike Brainstorms during his upkeep and flips Delver. He plays a Wasteland and wastes my Sea. The Delver deals me every point of damage that game while I’m trying to get to three mana to win around the Spell Snare in his hand.

Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast

Game Two: I once again open with Underground into Duress. He has Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt, Tropical Island, Nimble Mongoose, Surgical Extraction, Stifle, Spell Pierce. I take Spell Pierce. Mike opens with Tropical Island into Nimble Mongoose. I draw a City of Brass and play it, then pass. He slowly beats me down over the next few turns, plays a Delver and reveals another Pierce, flipping it. I Pyroblast targeting Delver which gets Surgical Extraction-ed. I Duress again and see Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt, Stifle, Stifle, Spell Pierce, Spell Snare. Mike is still stuck on his lonely Tropical Island. I take Spell Snare because the business in my hand is all 2CC.  He swings with Mongoose, putting me to 14. I draw Brainstorm, Brainstorm into Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, and a Rite of Flame. I put Wish and a Chrome Mox back on top. My hand now consists Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Chrome Mox, Infernal Tutor, Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Dark Ritual. I cast Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, Ad Nauseam floating a good amount of mana. It wasn’t a very strong Ad Nauseam, I didn’t see any protection before I was forced to stop. I play out all of my mana and tell Mike to keep track of storm past fifteen (he offered to keep track of storm), because I may have been forced to Grapeshot if my mana didn’t work out. I Burning Wish getting Past of Flames and cast it, play out all of the Rituals in my graveyard, along with the two Duress from the beginning of the game, they take the two Stifles, leaving a just a Spell Pierce.  I Burning Wish again for Grapeshot, it hits for 28 or so damage. This game took about 25 or 30 minutes, the longest game I’ve had in awhile.

Game Three: Mike opens with his now classic Volcanic Island, Delver of Secrets. I open up with fetch, Underground Sea, Ponder. My hand is rather clunky and needs some mana. He Brainstorms during his upkeep and takes awhile, I look at the clock and there’s still 8 minutes in the round. I don’t think too much of it. I understand difficult Brainstorms, after all I’m a combo player, but there wasn’t much time in the round. Because of this, I’m trying to speed play a bit. He reveals a Daze to Delver, and bashes. He plays a Tropical Island and passes. I Infernal Tutor which gets Spell Snare-d. He bashes and plays a second Delver. I play a Brainstorm which gives me a Lion’s Eye Diamond and a Dark Ritual.  I Ponder, shuffle, and now my hand is Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Duress, Burning Wish, Chrome Mox, Infernal Tutor, Orim’s Chant. My lands are now Volcanic Island, Underground Sea, and Gemstone Mine. He doesn’t hit on Delver and attacks. I draw a Rite of Flame, I Duress and seet Stifle, Stifle, Daze, Daze, Spell Pierce, Spell Snare. I take Spell Snare and cast Orim’s Chant, which gets Pierce-d. He attacks me down to 7. I draw a Ponder, it finds nothing, shuffle, draw a land. Play it, pass. He doesn’t hit again on Delver, but it still puts me to 3. Time in round. This is first time I’ve ever gone to time in round with TES. Regardless, I needed to win this turn.  I draw another cantrip, and I have to go for it. I play a few Rituals, both of which are Daze-d with UU floating. If I had one more mana I could move to my attack phase and empty his pool and win. But I don’t. I’m forced to Burning Wish. My options in my head are Ill-Gotten Gains or Diminishing Returns because Past in Flames couldn’t generate enough mana to win the game. But for some reason I forgot that Ill-Gotten Gains is symmetrical and that getting my Chant back is irrelevant, the correct play was Diminishing Returns. However, I grabbed Ill-Gotten Gains and lost. I guess that’s what I get for never casting the card.

Mike was a great guy to play against, a bit slow at times, but I have to blame myself for taking too long to win game two. I know that he was 4-1 going into the last round, hope he did well.


Round Two: Brian Thomas with Turboland

Round two is paired and I’m playing against Adam Barnello, you’ve got to be kidding me. We’re the feature match. But as we’re setting up, they say that there’s a re-pair. Brian has been playing Turboland and Goblins as long as AJ Kerrigan has been alive, sad but true. Brian had borrowed a Maze of Ith from me before the event, I knew that he was running Turboland.

Game One: I open with Gemstone Mine, Duress. Looking at Force of Will, Counterspell, Spell Snare, 2x Exploration, Horn of Greed, and a Tropical Island. I take Spell Snare. He draws and plays Tropical Island, Exploration, Maze of Ith. I play a cantrip and a land, pass. He plays an Island. I bait out the Counterspell with Burning Wish. He draws and passes. I know his entire hand minus one card. I figure what are the chances that it’s a blue card? I go all in. It’s a blue card.

Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast

Game Two: Brian Mulligans, I open with my trademark Duress. He has Morphling, Timewarp, two colorless lands, island, and a Horn of Greed. Next turn, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, Ad Nauseam, win.

Game Three: He mulligan’s, I keep a four land hand with three protection spells. I don’t like to mulligan, so I don’t. We play “land-go” until Turn 3 when he plays Horn of Greed. I don’t miss a land drop until turn 7 when I go off with three protection spells backing me up into an Ad Nauseam.


Round Three: Thomas Shewchuk with UW Stoneforge

Tom is another Syracuse local like Brian, also like Brian, Tom is borrowing cards.

Game One: Tom is on the play and plays Tundra, go. I play City of Brass, Ponder. He then plays land, Stoneforge Mystic getting Sword of Feast and Famine. I play Duress and look at a hand full of no interaction besides a Force of Will. I take it, Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam. Tom scoops.

Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast

Game Two: Tom has learned his lesson this game and doesn’t tap out. We get to Turn 4 and I decide it’s time to attempt the win. I Orim’s Chant him. Chant gets Spell Pierced. I Brainstorm into 2x Lion’s Eye Diamond and a Dark Ritual. I put the Lion’s Eye Diamonds back on top, then cast Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam? Tom says, “You’ve got to be joking? Two games in a row you draw the one of Ad Nauseam?” It happens.  He reveals two Spell Snares. I tell him that in fact I drew two Ad Nauseams this game. He doesn’t seem to care. I reveal my Pyroblast back-up for Ad Nauseam. He makes me Ad Nauseam, looks at the cards and picks up his.


Round Four: Aaron Webster with Affinity

I could’ve played this event from our local store, once again a ‘Cuse local. Aaron won’t give up on Affinity for Legacy and plays artifact decks in standard as well. We play against each other quite a bit.

Game One: He’s on the play and plays Ancient Den, Aether Vial. I open with fetch, Underground Sea, Duress. He has Thoughtcast, Mox Opal, Stoneforge Mystic, Squadron Hawk, Cranial Plating. I know he has maindeck Canonists. So I take Thoughtcast. He plays Opal, Stoneforge Mystic. I play Land, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Ad Nauseam. He tells me he hopes I kill myself, I tell Aaron that I’m going to Grapeshot him for 60, and all of a sudden gain interest from the surrounding tables.  However, I have an awful first Ad Nauseam and stop. I Tendrils him to 2 targeting myself with the rest, I go to 23.  I cast Burning Wish, Past in Flames, then flashback Ad Nauseam. Another disappointing Ad Nauseam, I cast everything that I can and Grapeshot Aaron for 42. Not quite 60, but still respectable.

Sideboarding: – 3 Orim’s Chant, -1 Silence, +2 Echoing Truth, +1 Wipeaway, +1 Deathmark

Game Two: Aaron and I trash talk a bit in between games and he once again opens with Ancient Den, pass. I open with Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Chrome Mox (Imprint: Brainstorm), Chrome Mox (No Imprint), Lion’s Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, Empty the Warrens. He plays a second turn Canonist and loses shortly afterward.


Round Five: James Rynkiewicz with High Tide

Game One: I open with Dark Ritual, Lotus Petal, Chrome Mox (Imprint: Burning Wish), Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam. James slouches and says, ”YUP”. I win shortly afterwards.

Sideboarding: -1 Infernal Tutor, -1 Ponder, -1 Chrome Mox, +3 Pyroblast

Game Two: I keep a hand of Orim’s Chant, Duress, Pyroblast, three lands, and a Lotus Petal. It ends up not being relevant, James end-step casts Turnabout on my lands which was all I drew that game. I’m left with a Chrome Mox and a Lotus Petal. I have Chant and Pyroblast to interact still, but they end up not being relevant against James’ nasty draw.

Game Three: I keep an awful hand of Duress, Duress, Tendrils of Agony, Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, Gemstone Mine, and Bloodstained Mire. I Duress him and look at Force of Will, Misdirection, Time Spiral, Island, High Tide, Meditate, and Turnabout. I take Force of Will. James draws a Preordain and casts it. I Duress again and nab his recently drawn Brainstorm. He passes. I draw Brainstorm, cast it. Brainstorm finds Ponder, Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame. I put Tendrils and Chrome Mox on top. Ponder, shuffle, Draw Ad Nauseam off the top. He Preordains leaving both on top, plays an Island and passes. I cast Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame, Ad Nauseam. It resolves. I tell James I don’t dislike him as much as he may think, I just don’t like that he has a bigger ego than me. Because of this I don’t Grapeshot him.


Round Six: Dan Signorini with Team America

Dan and I make some small talk and winner of this round should be able to draw the next round and be able to make the top 8.

Game One: My opening hand is Burning Wish, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Gemstone Mine, Ponder, Chrome Mox, and a Scalding Tarn. Dan cast Thoughtsieze targeting me. Takes my Burning Wish and passes the turn. I draw a Rite of Flame, I play fetchland, Underground Sea, Ponder, shuffle, Draw Brainstorm. Play my two Lion’s Eyes and pass. Dan continually beats me down and disrupts while I’m looking for a tutor effect. If I had drawn one, I had enough mana to play two protection spells and win. But sadly, that is not how the story went.

Sideboarding: None

Game Two: I open with Gemstone Mine, Dark Ritual, Lotus Petal, Chrome Mox (Imprint: Infernal Tutor), Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam. I decide to Imprint Infernal Tutor and use this Ad Nauseam so if it gets a Force of Will I still have a chance. It gets a Force. Dan then Wastelands my Gemstone Mine. I draw, pass. He plays Underground Sea, Delver of Secrets. I draw, and then pass. Delver reveals Hymn to Tourach, I decide to pick up my cards.


Round Seven: Brian Coghlan with Dredge

By now I’m feeling pretty defeated that I won’t be making top 8, but this is the last round. It turns out that I’m playing Brian Coghlan, another guy from Syracuse, who’s borrowing my entire Dredge deck. I’ve had some really bad luck the last few months when it comes to playing against my own decks. I lend out a few decks for every weekly legacy event and get punished for it. This puts me a bit on tilt going in.

Game One: He plays a turn one Putrid Imp, I play Underground Sea, Duress. I see a bunch of dudes and a Breakthrough, snag it. He slow dredges for awhile, I feel comfortable winning with Diminishing Returns and go for it. I end up with 2x Duress, 2x Lotus Petals, and lands. I double Duress, pass. He starts to slow dredge again. I draw Burning Wish, cast it, get Ill-Gotten gains, pass. He swings and puts me to 2. I Ill-Gotten Gains, Diminishing Returns floating nothing, Draw Gemstone Mine, Tendrils of Agony, Lotus Petal, Lotus Petal, Rite of Flame, Chrome Mox, Brainstorm. It gets there.

Sideboarding: -3 Orim’s Chant, -1 Silence, +2 Echoing Truth, +2 Pyroblast

Game Two: Brian plays turn one Careful Study pitching no Dredgers, I play a turn one Ponder, leaving Infernal Tutor on top. Then play a Lion’s Eye Diamond from my hand. He does something irrelevant. I draw, play out my mana and Infernal Tutor into Ad Nauseam.


The event was fantastic. Everything ran smoothly and there weren’t any long rounds. I got a bunch of great trading done in between rounds including a foil Wolfrun! I didn’t actually look to see what place I got in the event, someone came over and told me I made top 16. I took my 75 store credit and traded it in for a Taiga and a foil Dismember. Hope you enjoyed the report. Come back next week! Until then, keep Storming!

Bryant Cook
Bryant Cook on MTGthesource

2 thoughts on “Cook’s Kitchen- Storming into Jupiter: October 15th NELCQ Report (Top 16)”

  1. FYI, you’ve got five Duress in your list there.  I’m guessing the one in the sideboard is supposed to be a Thoughtseize?

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