[[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Hope of Ghirapur|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Veil of Summer|]]
This is an obvious risk versus reward hand. This is actually something we discussed in the previous “Matchup Mulligan” with the pros/cons — especially with how this relates to [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]]. It’s fairly clear that our hand doesn’t have an initial mana source. That said, we have 14 lands and 10 zero-mana artifacts ([[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]], and [[Mox Opal]]) to start us off. This leaves us at 24-for-53 at about 45 percent to hit on our draw step, but even if we don’t, we’re going to be just fine.
It’s crucial to remember that [[Doomsday]] plays copies of [[Force of Will]] in their deck. While it may not seem like it, we can beat a free [[Counterspell]].
Assuming that we don’t draw a land, we can actually play [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] on the first turn off of one of our copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. If it is countered, we would then use the other [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and then Flashback [[Echo of Eons]]. Assuming that it resolves, we would use [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]]’s ability to cast [[Hope of Ghirapur]] creating the “Hope-lock.” On the following turn, if you draw a mana source you can attack, recast [[Hope of Ghirapur]] and keep up the norm. If you don’t, we’re able to sacrifice the [[Hope of Ghirapur]] to protect ourselves, recast [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and then Flashback [[Echo of Eons]].
It may not seem very obvious, but this hand is very strong despite not having a single initial mana-source due to [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]].
It’s been a very long time since our first article on Grixis Delver. That means it’s probably a good time for a refresher.
Hand No. 1: (on the draw)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Volcanic Island|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Burning Wish|]]
While [[Veil of Summer]] is a terrific card against blue strategies, it isn’t enough to carry a hand that is so far away from winning. The issue I see here is while [[Volcanic Island]] does make for [[Rite of Flame]], you still need initial sources of mana for both [[Dark Ritual]] and [[Veil of Summer]]. It’s possible to argue that you’re on the draw and have a few daw steps to find what you need, but your land is [[Volcanic Island]] and not a fetchland. This means you’re weak to [[Wasteland]] while light on mana, also known as not where you want to be against Grixis Delver.
While this hand doesn’t quite have built-in protection, it is rather resilient which is…different. We’re able to play a first-turn [[Wishclaw Talisman]] off of a [[Swamp]] and the [[Chrome Mox]] ([[Rite of Flame]] Imprinted). If it resolves? Great! If not, we’re able to cast [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] on our second turn and possibly recast the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] based on our draw step (more realistically on the third turn). Due to being on the play, we don’t really need to concern ourselves with cards such as [[Daze]] which is a real benefit of a hand like this.
This might seem weird, but I really value my land drops versus [[Delver of Secrets]] decks. Being able to shut off their “soft-counters” is very crucial, but I think part of what makes this hand a keep is realizing what it does well. It’s going to consistently play lands and then [[Burning Wish]] plus [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] will make [[Echo of Eons]] great. If you’re not going to be fast, you’re using your life total as a resource. The beauty of [[Echo of Eons]] is that it doesn’t care about your life total! Ideally, we would find 1-2 pieces of protection for this [[Echo of Eons]] and then go to town.
This hand is somewhat similar to Hand No. 2 given that we have a two-mana bomb we can cast turn one on the play with [[Lurrus of the Dream-Den]] to back it up. The difference here is we don’t have any action spells. I wouldn’t worry to much over this as not every hand will be perfect and this game has draw steps for a reason. You’re a little over 34 percent every turn to draw what you need. Over the course of 3-4 turns, the odds are very much so in your favor. Too many new players will ship hands like these and I personally think that’s a pretty big mistake. Not having an action spell is okay.
Hand No. 5: (on the draw)
[[Chrome Mox|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Brainstorm|]]
This hand is just a big “YIKES!” It doesn’t do anything particularly well. While [[Brainstorm]] is a powerful card, it isn’t enough to save this hand. While being on the draw is nice because you’d get an additional card towards fixing this mess, this hand loses to [[Daze]] pretty hard. I believe the average six-card hand is significantly better than these seven.
[[Abrupt Decay|]] [[Pyroblast|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Defense Grid|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Polluted Delta|]] [[Rite of Flame|]]
This seems a little ridiculous, but remember all of those times you heard, “too much of a good thing can be bad” as a child? They were totally talking about this hand. It’s stacked, but it also just doesn’t do anything. When you need both mana and business, you’re in for a tough game.
These are the sort of hands I love to open in this match-up! It contains double protection, your best mana accelerants, and a few lands. It’s very similar to Hand No. 4 except we’re on the draw and in a post-board game. Just keep in mind that you’re roughly 34 percent to hit each turn and we’re on the draw which greatly helps!
All day! I thought Hand No. 7 was good, but geez. A not so obvious downside to this hand exsists. [[Pyroblast]] does not play well with [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] meaning if your opponent decides to hold onto their [[Force of Will]] for your [[Ad Nauseam]], you might be pretty upset. The work-around here is to not go off until you’re able to build up back-up, but I’m not even sure if that’s correct. Just some food for thought.
This is the sort of hand a new Storm pilot would optimistically keep — it has a land, cantrips, and good spells, right? Stop it. This hand doesn’t do anything well! Realistically, you’d cast [[Ponder]] on the first turn looking for additional lands, probably casting [[Brainstorm]] on the second turn. Then what? Casting [[Wishclaw Talisman]] and [[Burning Wish]] praying that they use counterspells while you’re trying to build up to five mana in an effort to also hope they don’t have [[Daze]]? This is a lot of wishful thinking.
Hand No. 10: (on the play)
[[Ad Nauseam|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Echo of Eons|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]]
Share your answer in the comments below!
I’ll provide my answer in the next article. For now, make sure to post your thoughts!
Bryant Cook has one Grand Prix Top 8 as well as nine Star City Games Top 8s (two wins). You can often find him traveling the northeast in search for the next big event. He has recently top 8'd a number of Legacy events with the Wishclaw Talisman version of The EPIC Storm, with the latest being Leaving a Legacy: Open VI! Bryant is also a host of The Eternal Glory Podcast, as well as a Web Designer, Mets Fan, and general nerd.
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