Matchup Mulligan: Storm

Hey! We're back with the second Matchup Mulligan! Let's dive in.

This series will go over 10 opening hands, 5 pre-board and 5 post-board with the same numbers for being on the play or drawing first. The hands are not random, they've been sculpted by me for the purpose of these exercises.


Hand 1: (on the play)

DarkRitual Chrome Mox Rite Of Flame Lions Eye Diamond Infernal Tutor Lotus Petal


Even on the play, this is an ideal hand. It's capable of a first turn Ad Nauseam with a land drop still left. Not much else to say about this hand, it's ABC Magic.


Hand 2: (on the draw)

DarkRitual Lotus Petal Gitaxian Probe Empty The Warrens Badlands Chrome Mox Polluted Delta


This hand is a trap. While 10+ Goblins on the first turn seems like a dream, they won't kill until turn 3 (with your opponent having three turns as well) by then your opponent would've killed you. The real issue is that this hand doesn't interact with the opponent after you've cast Empty the Warrens. Hands like this are sometimes okay if paired with a Cabal Therapy, but even then, it's risky.


Hand 3: (on the play)

Duress Island Chrome Mox Infernal Tutor Lions Eye Diamond Gitaxian Probe


Not a fantastic hand, but you get two looks for a first turn kill with either your scry for a Dark Ritual or Lion's Eye Diamond. Alternatively, if you can scry a black source to the top of the library, Duress is now an option. This hand has a lot of play which is something I enjoy.


Hand 4: (on the draw)

Chrome Mox Lotus Petal Rite Of Flame BurningWish Lions Eye Diamond Ad Nauseam Underground Sea


This hand is great. It's resilient to discard and if you draw Dark Ritual, you're options are really open. That said, I put this hand in here to discuss how Burning Wish into Telemin Performance is a 100% win in game ones in the storm mirror. Where even if you draw the Dark Ritual for Ad Nauseam, it's not correct.


Hand 5: (on the play)

Infernal Tutor Duress Cabal Therapy Cabal Therapy BurningWish Lotus Petal Bloodstained Mire


This hand seems good when you look at it. You have multiple copies of discard spells and redundant "tutor effects" to make their discard less effective. The issue is that this hand doesn't actually do anything. This hand ends up losing to the opponent just playing out lands and artifact mana until they top deck and kill you.



Website recommendation for sideboarding


Hand 6: (on the draw)

Duress Lotus Petal Lions Eye Diamond DarkRitual Rite Of Flame Underground Sea Polluted Delta


I tend to keep hands like this, a lot of people will think this is a mulligan. That said, TES is very threat dense - you will find something. If they play a discard spell, they have to choose between your Duress or Lion's Eye Diamond. Which isn't a bad spot to be in.


Hand 7: (on the play)

DarkRitual DarkRitual Badlands Polluted Delta Scalding Tarn Lotus Petal Lotus Petal


Very similar to the hand above, but not quite the same. This hand will have trouble becoming hellbent due to the number of lands, but it also lacks interaction and is weak to Cabal Therapy. An easy decision in my opinion.


Hand 8: (on the draw)

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


This hand has three looks to be a turn one kill if left undisrupted (scry, draw step, and Gitaxian Probe). Hands like these tend to be tough, but I think they're worthwhile even without hand disruption. You have enough hits where I believe the risk is worthwhile.


Hand 9: (on the play)

Ad Nauseam Ponder Ponder Volcanic Island Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame BurningWish


Another trap hand. This seems playable due to two copies of Ponder and some Rite of Flames, but it doesn't actually do anything. Even if your Ponder finds Lion's Eye Diamond, the best it can do is Telemin Performance (which can be risky post-board) or Empty the Warrens.


Hand 10: (on the draw)

Chrome Mox Lotus Petal Rite Of Flame BurningWish Lions Eye Diamond Underground Sea

Unsure (Leaning toward keep)

This is a tough one. I would probably try to scry a card I can imprint on Chrome Mox and then pray they didn't sideboard a creature into their deck for Telemin Performance. If they did, this hand is just a bad version of hand #2.


Stay Tuned!

Later this week we'll have a report from Jim Baxter on his top 8 finish at Eternal Extravaganza 7. After that there will be an article explaining deck changes followed by another great piece of writing from Jasper Gardener Burch. What a time to be a storm enthusiast!



Interested in getting better with The EPIC Storm? We have some resources below that will help you accomplish that! We offer one-on-one tutoring sessions to help players analyze things that they might not recognize on their… Read More »