Welcome back to the Infernal Tutoring series!
Hello Legacy players, my name is Anthony. I am excited to be taking on the torch for the Infernal Tutoring series! I have been playing TES for a few years now and currently reside on the seacoast of New Hampshire. I usually try to attend as many events as I can in New England, however, I am rather new to the world of Magic Online. It has been a fantastic tool to jam as many matches as possible!
When we play The EPIC Storm, one of the questions we ask ourselves the most is: "What will give me the best chance of winning this match?"
What I aim to show with this article is insight on some of the key decision making that comes with playing TES. Even one decision we make can affect the entire outcome of the game, whether it is during our combo turn or just resolving a Brainstorm. Sometimes we don't always have a black or white answer for what the correct play is, this is especially the case for a deck like The EPIC Storm.
For this week, the latest version of The EPIC Storm (TES) was used from the website.
- 4 Burning Wish
- 4 Infernal Tutor
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Ponder
- 4 Gitaxian Probe
- 3 Cabal Therapy
- 3 Duress
- 1 Empty the Warrens
- 1 Ad Nauseam
SITUATION #1 - Miracles
Miracles is once again one of the best decks of the format. Most of the lists you'll run into play three Counterbalance, as well as two Search For Azcanta from the new Ixalan expansion. With both of these cards available to Miracles, it is very important to go off early in this matchup. Once their Search For Azcanta flips into Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, it will become almost impossible to combo through your opponent's seemingly limitless resources. More importantly, once our opponent has a Counterbalance on the battlefield it will be very hard to resolve most of our spells. In a lot of matchups when we combo early will we go for a horde of goblins through Empty the Warrens, however, this becomes very risky with our Miracles opponents running four copies of Terminus. Not only that but with Miracles playing cards such as Counterspell, Snapcaster Mage, alongside two to three copies of Flusterstorm from the sideboard, it is very important to have our combo turn before are opponent has an opportunity to utilize these resources.
Website Recommendation for Sideboarding:
In this situation, we are in game two on the draw after winning game one with an early Ad Nauseam. We cast a Duress on turn two targeting our opponent. They immediately cast a Force of Will on it to hide the information of what is in their hand. On their turn three, they played an Arid Mesa and used it to grab a Volcanic Island to cast a Blood Moon. On our turn three, we drew a second Lotus Petal, which gives us exactly enough mana to cast Ad Nauseam. It was hard to believe that our opponent would counter our Duress to just protect their Blood Moon, it is possible that they might have another Force of Will.
I thought about casting our Burning Wish to bait the Force of Will if they had it, and then grab Empty the Warrens if it resolved. However, as I previously stated it is very important to go for our combo in this matchup while our opponent doesn't have the mana to utilize most of their answers. It is also worth noting that using our Burning Wish to grab Empty the Warrens would be very risky in the case that they have a Terminus.
Which option gives us the best chance of winning the game?
I ultimately decided to jam the Ad Nauseam. If they do have a Force of Will we still have some of the tools to rebuild our combo as we have a Burning Wish and a Lion's Eye Diamond in our hand. With our opponent being tapped out and only having three cards in hand, I think this turn is the best turn to go for the win.
SITUATION #2 - Lands
Lands has always been one of the best matchups for The EPIC Storm. The main deck is designed to be very proficient at combating creature-based strategies while having a heavy amount of mana denial which demolishes greedy mana bases.
Against the EPIC Storm, the only real game plan Lands has game one is trying to pick apart our lands with Wasteland and Ghost Quarter (sometimes recurring with Life from the Loam) while gathering the tools they need to kill us with a Marit Lage before we can kill them. With how fast TES is we tend to go off with Ad Nauseam or mill them with Telemin Performance before they have a chance to make a Marit Lage or attack our mana base.
In this situation, we kept a hand in the blind just short of a turn one Ad Nauseam. I cast Gitaxian Probe, then played my Badlands and cast Duress targeting my opponent and took their Gamble. At this point, our game plan was to draw into any land or fast mana source that would allow us to combo into an Ad Nauseam before our opponent could find a Wasteland or kill us with a Marit Lage. We drew into Ponder and Burning Wish which did us no good. Our opponent made a Marit Lage on their turn and then used their Ghost Quarter targeting our Badlands on our upkeep. We have two options here: Grab our Swamp and pray our top deck wins us the game, or grab our Island and cast Brainstorm on our main phase to draw to into more cards. If we go with the Brainstorm plan we most likely have to draw into two cards that produce mana rather than just one.
Which basic land would you grab from the Ghost Quarter ability?
I grabbed the Swamp. We still have twenty-four cards in our deck that will potentially win us the game, which gives us a fifty percent chance of hitting one of them. I wasn't too sure how likely we were to get a combination of cards that let us combo off from the Brainstorm, so I was more comfortable taking the fifty-fifty chance.
SITUATION #3 - Sultai Delver
When it comes to our matchups against the many Delver variants, I would say our two most difficult matchups are Sultai Delver and Temur Delver. Sultai Delver usually runs a heavy amount of discard spells such as Thoughtseize and Hymn to Tourach depending on the list. This is very troublesome when paired with countermagic as they are able to strip our hand apart while having answers for spells. It is also worth mentioning that Sultai Delver usually plays more answers to Empty the Warrens than other variants of Delver decks with cards such as Golgari Charm and Toxic Deluge. Temur Delver, on the other hand, has a lot of mana denial. In addition to the standard four copies of Wasteland, they also play four copies of Stifle.
Our opponent is playing what seems to be a Sultai Delver list with Stifle and Nimble Mongoose. This means that they play discard spells as well as extra mana denial. With all this hate packed against us, it is very important to go off as early as possible while still keeping in mind that our opponent has answers for Empty the Warrens. During game two I saw Golgari Charm as well as Toxic Deluge in their hand.
Website Recommendation for Sideboarding:
We are in game three, our opponent has a Delver of Secrets on the battlefield as well as a Wasteland and a tapped Underground Sea. They also had two copies of Daze in their hand that we forced them to discard with Cabal Therapy. Right now we know their hand has Stifle, Nimble Mongoose, Hymn to Tourach, and a mystery card. Our hand at the start of our main phase was Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Burning Wish, and Lotus Petal.
I decided that it would be better to go off before our opponent had the open mana for Stifle or if they drew another black mana source for Hymn to Tourach. I cracked my Scalding Tarn for a Volcanic Island, played a Lotus Petal, then cast Burning Wish. I wanted to cast Burning Wish first because in the case that our opponent drew a Force of Will we wouldn't have already used up our copies of Dark Ritual.
My initial plan was to make ten goblins this turn with Empty the Warrens, however after some thinking, while resolving the Burning Wish, I questioned how likely it is that our opponent has Toxic Deluge or Golgari Charm, or if they draw into it. The other option here is to grab Dark Petition from the Burning Wish, cast both copies of Dark Ritual, and then use our Dark Petition to grab Ad Nauseam. It is worth noting that we are only at fourteen life, and we saw during game two that our opponent had a Ravenous Trap in their hand, which would completely blow out the Dark Petition strategy. We clearly have two options here: Make ten goblins and pray that our opponent doesn't draw into an answer for them, or grab Dark Petition and hope our opponent wasn't saving a Force of Will or drew Ravenous Trap, then hope we get there at fourteen life.
Which card would you grab from the Burning Wish, and how would you proceed with the rest of the turn?
I decided to take Dark Petition and go for the Ad Nauseam line by casting Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Dark Petition, and using the rest of our mana sources to cast Ad Nauseam. In retrospect, I think it may have been correct to make the goblins instead, as our opponent would need to draw another land to cast Toxic Deluge or Golgari Charm anyways, and that's assuming they already drew either of those cards. Even though we haven't played a land this turn, we are only at fourteen life and still have Empty the Warrens in our deck, we would need to have a pretty decent Ad Nauseam to win.
Some of the most challenging moments of playing The EPIC Storm are when we are faced with multiple lines that win us the game. The beauty of TES is that there are limitless situations we'll find ourselves in where the correct path isn't so clear. Even though I have been playing the deck for a few years now I still find myself stumped sometimes because of how many options it presents us with every single match.
See you storm cowboys!