Think of how Mono-Green Cloudpost tries to attack The EPIC Storm, its generally with [[Pithing Needle]], [[Force of Vigor]], and [[Mindbreak Trap]]. This hand is actually capable of beating all of that! The obvious downside is this hand is fairly slow, but does that honestly matter? Mono-Green Cloudpost tends to be a slow deck itself, which means we have some time to make our land drops. Over the course of the next few turns, we’ll need to draw something to imprint onto [[Chrome Mox]], but that’s a relatively small ask. If that doesn’t happen, another artifact will do for Metalcraft for [[Mox Opal]] — the risk here is obviously [[Force of Vigor]]. I would likely play out the artifacts early if that ends up being the plan to help avoid [[Mindbreak Trap]] because once [[Ad Nauseam]] resolves, a [[Defense Grid]] can shut down [[Mindbreak Trap]] later on.
A smaller piece of advice would be to play [[Bloodstained Mire]] and then [[Polluted Delta]] to reduce risk of a [[Pithing Needle]] on a fetchland crushing your hopes.
When on the play, Rainbow Depths cannot interact in game one. While they do have [[Elvish Spirit Guide]], it does not cast [[Stifle]] and there are zero copies of [[Veil of Summer]] in their seventy-five. This means that The EPIC Storm is free to do its thing!
Most Rainbow Depths lists play eight discard spells main deck (four [[Thoughtseize]], two [[Duress]], and two [[Inquisition of Kozilek]]), this is the primary reason our hand is a mulligan. You can very likely expect one on the first turn, especially if the [[Dark Depths]] player knows the matchup. I’m not very concerned with these seven cards not containing a land, because in all honesty, that doesn’t matter. A discard spell sending [[Chrome Mox]] to the graveyard is going to significantly set us back, however. I do value the ability to play a first turn [[Wishclaw Talisman]] fairly high, but this hand is just incredibly fragile.
Even in a perfect world where our opponent doesn’t have a first turn [[Thoughtseize]], [[Pithing Needle]], or a follow up [[Stifle]]… What does this hand even do? You can take the guaranteed [[Wishclaw Talisman]] or try to [[Ponder]] for a land first. Even if you hit the land into [[Wishclaw Talisman]], you still don’t have a second turn [[Ad Nauseam]] unless there’s another piece of mana in the [[Ponder]]. Too many things just need to go right here.
Hand No. 3: (on the play)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Veil of Summer|]] [[Defense Grid|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Polluted Delta|]] [[Verdant Catacombs|]] [[Volcanic Island|]]
It’s hard to deny how incredibly strong [[Veil of Summer]] is against the deck (it’s worth nothing that [[Veil of Summer]] does not stop [[Stifle]]). That said, this hand just doesn’t do enough. This hand is really weak to just dying to a [[Marit Lage Token]] any time before turn five. A common play pattern in this matchup is for Rainbow Depths to cast a discard spell, you try to search your library for [[Taiga]] or [[Tropical Island]] when a [[Stifle]] stops that from happening stranding a [[Veil of Summer]] in hand. That wouldn’t happen here due to having access to both green sources, but the rest of the hand doesn’t do anything.
You may be thinking that the [[Defense Grid]] is great because it shuts down [[Stifle]], but it also has a really uncomfortable dis-synergy with [[Veil of Summer]] against discard spells.
This might be confusing if Hand No. 2 was a mulligan, but you can’t mulligan hands that are exceptional because you’re afraid of a discard spell. We actually don’t have too many hands that are discard-resilient on the draw, especially after a mulligan. The major difference between the second hand and this one is if our opponent decides to hold open [[Stifle]] instead of playing a discard spell, we’re in business. Hand No. 2 struggled even if everything went right, while if the opponent passes, we have some options available.
If we draw a [[Lotus Petal]], [[Chrome Mox]], [[Mox Opal]], [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], or another [[Rite of Flame]] we can cast [[Peer into the Abyss]] on the first turn and easily defeat a [[Stifle]]. Assuming that we don’t, we have the decision of playing out [[Tropical Island]] and bluffing [[Veil of Summer]] to attempt to make it another turn for a guaranteed [[Peer into the Abyss]]. Alternatively, we could just Flashback [[Echo of Eons]].
Turn one [[Wishclaw Talisman]]! It’s my favorite thing to do in any non-blue matchup when we just aren’t flat-out winning. This hand is capable of being discard proof as well by casting all of its relevant cards on the first turn. We have a second turn [[Ad Nauseam]] lined up. The only fear is a [[Stifle]] from the opponent, but there are ways to mitigate the effectiveness of [[Stifle]]. Assuming that we aren’t hit by a discard spell and we draw a spell, we can Imprint onto [[Chrome Mox]] to have four permanent mana sources if we decide to sacrifice [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] in the face of [[Stifle]].
A “safer” line would to just activate [[Wishclaw Talisman]] for [[Echo of Eons]] and then cast it hoping for the best. The risk here with the monkey’s paw is that it searches up [[Pithing Needle]] to shut down your remaining copies if we fail to win this turn. With the money on the line, I’d probably go with the [[Ad Nauseam]] line.
[[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]]
[[Chrome Mox|]] [[Mox Opal|]]
Hand No. 6: (on the draw)
[[Mox Opal|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Rite of Flame|]] [[Lotus Petal|]] [[Badlands|]] [[Chrome Mox|]]
In a lot of these articles I say, “We’re 34 percent to draw an action spell every turn. While this remains true, we can’t expect to beat eight discard spells, the pair of [[Stifle]], and now the three post-board copies of Flusterstorm that are all available on the first turn. Depending on how our opponent sideboarded, you can also expect some number of [[Collector Ouphe]], [[Force of Vigor]], [[Surgical Extraction]], and [[Leyline of the Void]]. This is a huge uphill battle if you keep a do-nothing hand, just take advantage of the London Mulligan.
Hand No. 7: (on the play)
[[Rite of Flame|]] [[Defense Grid|]] [[Dark Ritual|]] [[Taiga|]] [[Chrome Mox|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Polluted Delta|]]
There’s a pretty big difference between this situation and Hand No. 3 and it’s mainly that we’re post-board. This [[Defense Grid]] shuts down [[Stifle]], [[Flusterstorm]], and [[Force of Vigor]] which is worth a lot of cards. While we don’t have any action spells, the hope is that [[Chain of Vapor]] can buy us some time until we do. This isn’t a perfect hand, but I’m a believer in potential.
Hand No. 8: (on the draw)
[[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Chain of Vapor|]] [[Burning Wish|]] [[Wishclaw Talisman|]] [[Polluted Delta|]] [[Polluted Delta|]] [[Bloodstained Mire|]]
Slow and steady can win the race, sometimes. [[Chain of Vapor]] here is going to buy a lot of time for us, with a hand like this I’d be aiming to use [[Burning Wish]] for [[Echo of Eons]] on the second turn and then use [[Chain of Vapor]] to bounce a potential [[Collector Ouphe]], [[Pithing Needle]], or [[Leyline of the Void]] potentially stopping the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] for [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] into [[Echo of Eons]] line. Ideally, we would draw something to protect us by turn four.
I will admit that this hand is sort of risky, but ultimately worth it based on the double [[Chain of Vapor]]. I would not keep this hand without the ability to interact with a [[Marit Lage Token]].
Hand No. 9: (on the play — mulliganed once)
[[Veil of Summer|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Lion’s Eye Diamond|]] [[Mox Opal|]] [[Underground Sea|]] [[Volcanic Island|]] [[Rite of Flame|]]
This hand is sort of fragile or soft to a discard spell, but that said, do we expect any five-card hand to not be? There are some risks such as a [[Thoughtseize]] forcing us to discard [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], which then shuts off Metalcraft and then our ability to cast [[Veil of Summer]]. While we do still need an action spell, I can see a world where this hand gets lucky and wins where on five cards, it’s just considerably more bleak. Actual volume of cards does matter against discard decks, especially when your deck contains the card [[Brainstorm]].
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). Bryant recently won a Legacy PTQ and a Legacy Challenge in the same weekend with v10.8! You can most likely find him teaching others how to cast Rite of Flame or creating Legacy & Vintage content. Bryant is also a host of The Eternal Glory Podcast, as well as a Web Designer, New York Mets fan, and all-around nerd.
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