Matchup Mulligan: Eldrazi

4c Pile Final Hand Answer

Hand 10: (on the play)

Lions Eye Diamond Gitaxian Probe Lotus Petal DarkRitual Gitaxian Probe Duress

Keep

Correctly, most people determined this is a keep. However, I think it is't an immediate decision.

What this hand needs is a "tutor effect", specifically Infernal Tutor since we're short on initial mana sources. Thankfully there's three looks with the scry from mulliganing and two copies of Gitaxian Probe, which would allow a second initial mana source and Burning Wish to come online. Imagining a world where all of this goes according to plan, we would also need for our opponent to have not found Force of Will or a sweeper like Izzet Staticaster or Marsh Casualties. If this is the case, we would require an additional initial mana source for Duress.

You could in theory draw a land, cast Duress this turn and then go off on the following turn. But with this line of play, you're down three storm and are more likely to be bricked by a Deathrite Shaman and a piece of removal. You could also cast Dark Ritual, hope it resolves, then cast Duress - which is a bit risky.

So... We need a lot of things to go right, why are we keeping this? Because this hand has a lot of potential. While the odds don't seem incredibly high, I'm a lot more confident in my ability to win with this hand than a random five card hand.

Eldrazi

Pre-board

Hand 1: (on the draw)

Island Rite Of Flame DarkRitual Brainstorm BurningWish BurningWish Ponder

Mulligan

An obvious mulligan. This hand just doesn't do anything.

It would require a lot of set-up time, using the cantrips and more importantly is light on combo colored mana. Making things very awkward. What's crucial to consider is that even without our opponent having Chalice of the Void or Thorn of Amethyst, this hand still loses to their "creature draw" of Thought-Knot Seer into Reality Smasher. This hand is simply just bad.

 

Hand 2: (on the play)

Ponder Gitaxian Probe Lions Eye Diamond Lions Eye Diamond Rite Of Flame DarkRitual Bloodstained Mire

Keep

I love this hand, it's super interesting! It's explosive with a lot of decisions. I think regardless of what else you're doing, you play out the two copies of Lion's Eye Diamond to avoid something like Chalice of the Void. Then, you have the choice of "do I fire off Gitaxian Probe?" or to play your Bloodstained Mire and search up a land to thin your deck? Neither of these is correct in my opinion. I think the best line is actually to search up Underground Sea and cast Ponder looking for either Burning Wish or Infernal Tutor. From there, you can put either card on top, cast your Gitaxian Probe (adding RRRBBB to your mana pool) cast your "tutor effect" and then Empty the Warrens.

You get to avoid any permanent based hate and this line can race a majority of Eldrazi's draws.

 

Hand 3: (on the draw)

Ponder Ponder Brainstorm Scalding Tarn Polluted Delta Infernal Tutor BurningWish

Either

Honestly, it's very difficult to win game one anyway if they have a Chalice of the Void. In a typical matchup, you would keep this hand, but it's not great here. I couldn't fault anyone for keeping it as it has some play to it if they don't have specifically Chalice of the Void. That said, I would personally ship this hand back for something slightly more explosive.

 

Hand 4: (on the play)

Empty The Warrens Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame Badlands Island BurningWish Lotus Petal

Keep

I'd like to believe most people would keep this hand. Eight Goblins is typically enough to beat Eldrazi on the play, but even if it wasn't, you have Burning Wish as backup. If you did draw another Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, or even Lion's Eye Diamond on turn two I would cast Burning Wish into Grapeshot (or Tendrils of Agony in the case of Lion's Eye Diamond).

 

Hand 5: (on the draw)

Chrome Mox Lotus Petal Lions Eye Diamond Polluted Delta Underground Sea DarkRitual Gitaxian Probe

Keep

I love hands like this, the only thing that would make it better would be a "tutor effect". What I like about these kinds of hands is their ability to win through a Chalice of the Void by playing all of your artifact mana sources, then a "tutor effect" into Empty the Warrens. While you don't have the action spell you need, you have a few draw steps and possibly Gitaxian Probe assuming that the opponent doesn't play a Chalice of the Void on one.

 

Post-board

Website recommendation for sideboarding

 

Hand 6: (on the play)

Brainstorm Brainstorm Gitaxian Probe DarkRitual Lions Eye Diamond Lions Eye Diamond Duress

Mulligan

"This hand is pretty much the same as #2, how is it not a keep?"

Without the initial mana source to stack the top of your deck, you can't take the chance on something like this. You could argue that your game plan is to use the Gitaxian Probe to find a land and cast Duress, but that's around a 20% play that doesn't even win the game if it works. I too have trouble sending back hands with a pair of Lion's Eye Diamond, but this is unplayable.

 

Hand 7: (on the draw)

Abrupt Decay Echoing Truth Infernal Tutor Lotus Petal Bloodstained Mire Island Bayou

Mulligan

I expect this one to be tough for some people to swallow, but this hand is too reactive. While you can answer Chalice of the Void and even a Thorn of Amethyst, then what? You're lacking fast mana and have a lot of lands. If you draw another land, you can't become hellbent for Infernal Tutor or what if they only have one piece of permanent based disruption? Now you're stuck with a second one in hand without a way to get rid of it. Not to mention, by this point, your life total is likely under some serious pressure. I think hands like this look great until you start to consider how the actual games will play out. The way this hand wins is off of the back of a Brainstorm or a Lion's Eye Diamond after you clear the way.

 

Hand 8: (on the play)

DarkRitual BurningWish Rite Of Flame Gitaxian Probe Chrome Mox Chrome Mox Lions Eye Diamond

Keep

This hand is a highly probable gamble. You're lacking an initial mana source to cast either "ritual effect", meaning a land off of Gitaxian Probe will do the trick, but so will any red or black card, as well as Lotus Petal or Lion's Eye Diamond. You're at 42/53 probability, with the remaining three Gitaxian Probes being "re-tries". You can't ask for much more.

 

Hand 9: (on the draw)

Ad Nauseam Chain Of Vapor DarkRitual Volcanic Island Rite Of Flame Cabal Therapy

Mulligan

This hand looks fine but is very questionable. Even if the Volcanic Island was an Underground Sea, they've most likely played their hate piece already, shutting off Cabal Therapy. If the hate piece is Chalice of the Void, Chain of Vapor is dead. If the hate piece is Thorn of Amethyst, you can't actually cast Chain of Vapor anyway. This hand is also dismembered by a Wasteland or Thought-Knot Seer. As much as I hate sending this hand back for five, I think it's probably correct.

 

Hand 10: (on the play)

Abrupt Decay Bloodstained Mire Infernal Tutor BurningWish Brainstorm Duress Chrome Mox

Share your answer in the comments below!

I'll provide my answer in the next article, but for now, make sure to post your thoughts!


Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook has 1 Grand Prix Top 8 as well as 9 Star City Games Top 8s (2 wins). You can often find him traveling the northeast in search for the next big event, he recently won SCG: Worcester and is the Legacy Premier League Season 3 Champion! Outside of M:TG he's an avid New York Mets fan, graphic designer, pop-punk enthusiast, and doggo aficionado. Bryant Cook is the owner and president of The EPIC Storm.