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TES Infernal Tutoring #25

Hello Legacy Storm Players! We are back with the first Infernal Tutoring article of 2019! With the new year, there have been some new and exciting changes to the deck! In the spirit of making The EPIC Storm even more explosive, Bryant Cook started testing Mox Opal. After testing many different configurations of the deck, we believe that two copies of Mox Opal is the ideal number. To make room for the two copies of Mox Opal, we cut our fourteenth land and added one in our flex spot. At first, I was very skeptical about testing Mox Opal, but I have seen first hand over last month the raw speed and power that it adds to the deck! I tried my hardest to include Mox Opal in at least one of the following scenarios, so without further ado, let's jump into it!

Special Guest

A few words on Martin Vonásek (Sloshthedark/42AD):

Hailing from the Heart of Europe, Martin entered competitive Legacy in late 2009, got into DDFT in 2011 and has been focusing on the Storm archetype exclusively since late 2012. As the godfather of 2 Past in Flames in ANT, he has spent most of the time exploring the uncharted territories of the hybrid builds between ANT and Grinding Station with the highest paper finish in 10th place at GP Lille 2015. When not on MTGO, Martin currently splits his free time in rediscovering the joy of movement through 8 string guitars and calisthenics.

Deck List

SITUATION #1 - Miracles

Our first scenario is against Miracles! Our previous game plan against Miracles was to play the slow game and grind the opponent out with cards like Past in Flames and Cabal Ritual. The recent addition of Accumulated Knowledge has made us shift our game plan slightly though. It isn't nearly as feasible to try to play the long game against Miracles, because they will crush us with card advantage. We want to beat Miracles before they can stabilize.

HOW I SIDEBOARDED:

In this scenario, we are in our main phase on turn two. We decided to be patient and restrain ourselves from casting our Duress on turn one, but we ended up drawing a Hope of Ghirapur. We now have to decide what we are going to play this turn as we only have one land. We generally want to slam out Hope of Ghirapur as fast as possible, but Hope of Ghirapur isn't nearly as devastating to our opponent if they play a Counterbalance. With that in mind, how would you play out this turn?

Special Guest

Martin Vonásek

In this scenario our Opponent kept a 4 card hand very likely just due to containing a mana source.
We do not have information whether they scried on the top, which would be the only fact stopping me from casting the Duress on the first turn. The reason being the following turn we have plenty of
draws (32 in 53 cards +Brainstorm redraws) towards Infernal Tutor for 10+ goblins Empty the Warrens or Ad Nauseam while mitigating some of the answers. Empty the Warrens isn’t generally preferable to cast in the matchup but given the situation it is a play to make if the only available in my opinion.

Assuming our opponent did scry to the top, the Land-pass suggests their hand contains reactive cards, a Brainstorm, lands or 2CMC cards. Even their best hands which are limited to exclusively reactive would still need a lot to draw to develop their plan, only swingy hands contain a Counterbalance.

I see 3 possible lines here:

    1. Cast Hope of Ghirapur, pass.
    2. Cast Duress and optionally the Chrome Mox with an imprint depending on the hand seen and cast
      the Hope of Ghirapur.

I think if we did not cast Duress on turn 1 we are giving up a lot of the value here in case such play prompts a reaction of a Brainstorm or a soft counter, I don’t think resolving the Hope of Ghirapur is vital in this particular position thus see the gains of resolving a Duress as marginal, the odds of hitting exactly Counterbalance are very small (as a 2-3 off in a 4 card hand which includes none of ~3 Flusterstorm, 0-2 Spell Pierce, 4 Brainstorm, 4 Force of Will + a blue card).

  1. Cast Chrome Mox with intention to imprint Rite of Flame and cast Infernal Tutor revealing Lion’s Eye Diamond.

While this plays towards a combo attempt next turn with some degree of theoretical discard backup (22/51) this line is highly vulnerable to Surgical Extraction (1-3) and Engineered Explosives (0-2), I’m don’t like this as we are virtually giving up on our card advantage here using Chrome mox and turn on more potentially backbreaking cards while the Infernal Tutor isn’t guaranteed to resolve through a soft counter in the first place, Chrome mox prompting a Spell Pierce would be fine but is unlikely to happen, a Duress should follow then in my opinion.

Therefore my play is cast the Hope of Ghirapur to increase the pressure on our opponent with minimal card investment and pass. The play ignores the usual soft counters, the optimal answer for them is natural Swords to Plowshares (fairly unlikely at ~2 copies in their deck) which given their hand size results in just neutral to slightly-unfavorable trade. All the other answers to Hope of Ghirapur are putting them further back into actual of virtual card disadvantage (Force of Will spending a blue card, Brainstorm+Terminus, Engineered Explosives on 1), while we have a number of live draws for a combo attempt next turn (32/52). The most back breaking follow up for us is a Counterbalance, most Miracles list are limited to 2-3 copies, it’s not guaranteed they have the land to cast it and the resources to setup or manage it. Our hand can play around CC1 decently well over next few turns with Infernal Tutor for the 2nd LED if need be to make it an acceptable risk. As a side note - We found ourselves in game 2 or game 3, the clock suggest we conceded game 1 or lost in an unusually fast manner, I’d suggest the reader considering playing the games out for information when enough is on the line for you. Watching out for specific cards like Mission Briefing, Spell Snare, Spell Pierce, Daze or whether we are facing a 3 color build (more prone to run Engineered Explosives), a Mentor build (faster clock, more ways to beat Empty the Warrens), Predict or Accumulated knowledge build and also the way the opponent conduct themselves regarding cantrip management (aggressive/conservative, Portent you/only them) and their overall initiative to close out the game. All of these bring more small hints piece together a basis to derive small edges from.

#TEAMTES

Josh Hughes

For this scenario, I decided that since the opponent only has four cards in hand, that it made more sense to just play out the Hope of Ghirapur. If they had more cards in their hand, I would lead on Duress, and then depending on the rest of their hand, potentially play out the Chrome Mox imprinting either Rite of Flame or Infernal Tutor to play Hope of Ghirapur.


Anthony LaVerde

With our opponent being on a mull to five, Counterbalance is likely how they would win this game. I would lead off Duress to see what's up with their hand. After this I would play Chrome Mox imprinting the extra copy of Infernal Tutor in our hand, then playing Hope of Ghirapur. The only time I wouldn't play Hope of Ghirapur is if they revealed a hand that has Swords to Plowshares and Counterbalance. If they had a hand with Swords to Plowshares and counterspells, I would take the Swords to Plowshares and slam Hope of Ghirapur. This line of play also gives us twenty-three live draws that get us the mana we need to combo into Ad Nauseam, excluding cantrips.


Bryant Cook

Not a huge fan of how you sideboarded here, but that's beside the point. I would cast Duress here, then most likely follow up with Chrome Mox (Imprint: Infernal Tutor) and cast Hope of Ghirapur. I wouldn't imprint Rite of Flame because any red source off the top allows you to Ad Nauseam while protected by Hope of Ghirapur on the following Turn.


AJ Kerrigan

I'd rather play Hope of Ghirapur. Trying to stop Counterbalance with Duress only works if they don't have Brainstorm, and even if we take Counterbalance, we are a few turns away from reliably beating a counterspell, giving our opponent a ton of time. We are also not completely dead to a Counterbalance next turn if they don't have Brainstorm, because we'd force them to have to blind-flip. Granted, they'd have a good chance since we need basically all of our converted mana costs, but we aren't completely dead. Playing the Duress just seems to have very little upside to me when our opponent playing Tundra and passing signifies a Brainstorm a reasonable amount of the time. Maybe if 4 Counterbalance is the norm though, we just need to Duress, but if 2 is more standard, I think we can get away with Hope of Ghirapur here.


Landon Sworts

For the sake of mentioning it I probably would have only boarded out two copies of Ponder, the third card I would have boarded out to fit all three Hope of Ghirapur would probably either be one Rite of Flame or one Chrome Mox. Turn one on the play I most likely would have cast Duress forcing the opponent to have Force of Will to protect whatever was in their hand opposed to being able to respond with Brainstorm, Spell Pierce, or Flusterstorm especially with the opponent choosing to mulligan to a medium hand size. If we had taken that route I would play out Hope of Ghirapur with the intent on combining the following turn protected by Hope of Ghirapur’s ability with Infernal Tutor for Empty the Warrens or Ad Nauseam depending on our draw. That being said, for this scenario I would probably still try to land our little metal friend this turn. If we point Duress at the opponent it’s possible they will respond with Brainstorm and hide a potential Counterbalance for their turn two. If they don’t have Brainstorm and do have Counterbalance then the cards revealed on our following turn to our spells triggering Counterbalance will be blind and in my opinion would provide our most opportune window for us to combo. Jam Hope of Ghirapur and pass. On the following turn worse case scenario we can Infernal Tutor for a second Lion’s Eye Diamond for a combo one turn later.


Alex Poling

I would lead off with Hope of Ghirpur here. The opponent's counterspell suite usually consists of Flusterstorm, Counterspell, and Force of Will. Two of those would not counter Hope of Ghirpur right now making it more attractive. There is also a good chance that the opponent has sided out some copies of Swords to Plowshares, so it's very likely to survive a turn. If it does, then we probably win on the following turn. Keeping the Duress in our hand could also be valuable if we want to pair it with the Chrome Mox, or if we draw another Chrome Mox for our next turn. Keeping Hope of Ghirpur in our hand for more turns just opens it up to cards like Counterspell and being short on colored spells for Chrome Mox.

SITUATION #2 - B/R Reanimator

In our second scenario, we are in game one against B/R Reanimator! Reanimator looks to put a big creature like Griselbrand in the graveyard using either Faithless Looting, Entomb or Unmask, and then attempts to cheat the big creature into play using Reanimate, Exhume or Animate Dead. With cards like Lotus Petal, Chrome Mox, and Dark Ritual, they are often able to put a creature into play on turn one easily. B/R Reanimator also has turn zero hate with Chancellor of the Annex, and a full suite of discard spells to slow us down. The fact that the deck is so explosive and also disruptive makes it one of our toughest match-ups.

While we still have a long way to go to win this game, I always count it as a blessing when Reanimator doesn't play a creature on turn one. On our first turn, we played out our Mox Opal to pay for the Chancellor of the Annex tax, while our opponent cast a Faithless Looting, putting a Chancellor of the Annex into their graveyard. On our second turn, we played a Ponder and revealed a Brainstorm, a Chrome Mox, and an Empty the Warrens. How would you resolve Ponder to either win or put yourself in a winning situation?

Special Guest

Martin Vonásek

Let’s analyze our situation first. Opponent’s hand as a Turn 2+ Chancellor of the Annex hand can be quite weak in the metagame unless they know what match up they are facing from our previous interaction or looked us up online. In the dark I’d put their hand as semi-resilient, it is likely they have multiple reanimation spells seeing 10 cards and I’m more inclined to believe it contained the card Reanimate in general (a potential turn 1 Reanimate makes their hand much more keepable). It is safe to assume there is no other creature and 1-2 lands in their hand given the contents of their graveyard and considering insulating against a Daze or a Wasteland for them as reasonable. If they had artifact mana it’s fair to assume they’d play it (which would rule out the Reanimate for us), so I’m inclined towards 2 cards that are a combination of lands and artifact mana, the rest could be discard and action, I’m neutral towards their hand containing an Unmask. It’s worth considering what our Opponent takes from the Mox Opal, it’s fairly new setup for TES to be broadly recognizable and we might leverage on a blue deck impression sometimes, unfortunately I think they don’t get anything by waiting unless waiting for a black card for Unmask they can’t cast otherwise and their best play to beat countermagic is to try to reanimate several times. I’m afraid the odds are against us here and a singular discard spell would not be enough to give us another chance, we need to act.

Our lines are:

    1. Keep Ponder drawing Empty the Warrens, cast both Lotus Petals, Empty the Warrens for 8 Goblins. This line is safe for execution but asking a lot to work out as we give our opponent 3 more turns in front of a reanimated Chancellor of the Annex while having almost nothing to draw to shorten the clock. We need them to have nothing or just the card Reanimate in hand as the only reanimation spell and fail to bin a better creature to have a shot here in my opinion.
    2. Keep Ponder drawing Brainstorm, cast both Lotus Petals, Brainstorm off Mox Opal hoping to hit direct 12/49 (4 Rite of Flame, 4 Lion’s Eye Diamond, 4 Dark Ritual) or another 4/49 Brainstorm for 4/48 Dark Rituals for a better number of goblins, 12 goblins represent significantly better clock in front of the Chancellor of the Annex, race a Griselbrand on turn 3 off Reanimate, 14 goblins race turn 2 Griselbrand off Reanimate.
    3. Keep Ponder drawing Brainstorm, crack Bloodstained Mire for Volcanic Island and cast Brainstorm. This line is a trap due to rendering the Mox Opal a dead card on the board so the cards we are looking for here are limited to specific combinations based around Dark ritual (~22% to hit 1+) which also end up in Empty the Warrens for 12-14 baring the off chance of double Dark ritual and Ad Nauseam (<0,5%), the Dark ritual imperative makes this strictly worse than line 2 though.
    4. Shuffle Ponder, hope to draw a discard spell (as prefaced I think it’s unlikely to stop a turn 2 reanimation and passing turn we are highly vulnerable to their disruption) Dark Ritual (12 Goblins), Lion’s Eye Diamond for an Ad Nauseam line, Brainstorm to jump right into line 3.

To sum this up we can cross out line 3 (which seems counterintuitive at first glance), line 2 and 4 produce 12 goblins with same subjective win rate, there is a difference between Rite of Flame and small chance for 14 goblins with a brainstorm redraw versus the sum of small chances for a disruption prolonging the game, jump into the line 3 with a Brainstorm and what the subjective added value of a „sure kill“ via the Lion’s Eye Diamond is worth. For that I’ll subjectively ballpark the win % and count in the odds for them to happen and end up with a rough estimate like this:

Line 1 — 8 goblins 5-10% = 7,5% >
Line 3 — 12 goblins ~20-30% + 14 goblins 30-40% = 0,25*(8/49)+0,35*(4/49)+0,35*(4/49)*(4/48)= 7,2% >
Line 4— 12 goblins ~20-30% + Ad Nauseam ~98% + discard ~3% + line 3 = 0,25*(4/52)+0,98*(4/52)+0,03*(7/52) + (4/52 * ~0,04 line 3) = 9,9%

In the end this is a subjective choice of feeling and past experience, I’d not blame anyone for choosing the other lines due to perceiving the probabilities differently (especially line 1), I feel like our situation is highly unfavorable and spinning the lottery towards Ad Nauseam is worth it. Unless we were to calculate the odds for all the scenarios they can have, which is definitely impossible for in game decision making, there is no precise answer. I’d not be able to calculate this on the fly either, but it’s important to be able to imagine the decision tree and weight the options against each other, simplifying the decision complexity in the process, the exact % doesn’t matter.

#TEAMTES

Josh Hughes

In this scenario, we are left with a weird choice. We can shuffle the Ponder and hope to hit a Lion's Eye Diamond, take the Brainstorm to fetch and then Brainstorm, or make eight goblins. While goblins are not where you want to be in this matchup, I think because it wasn't a Griselbrand that was put into the opponent's graveyard, we could possibly get there. I ultimately chose goblins, because it seemed like the option with the least amount of risk.


Anthony LaVerde

I would leave Empty the Warrens on top and choose not to shuffle. With Chancellor of the Annex being the only creature in our opponent's graveyard, eight goblins would easily win through it. If we don't do anything this turn, our opponent would definitely reanimate their Chancellor of the Annex and we would lose. Shuffling our library does not give us favorable odds to draw Lion's Eye Diamond and win this turn with an Ad Nauseam line, that being said I would rather take the Empty the Warrens line and accept losing the game if our opponent finds a way to get a Griselbrand onto the battlefield.


Bryant Cook

I think the plan here is to take Brainstorm, then search up Volcanic Island to cast the Brainstorm. The goal here is to find Lion's Eye Diamond, but at the worst, you could live with a Dark Ritual. What I like about this line is you can use Brainstorm to hide your business spell from Unmask, Cabal Therapy, or Thoughtseize. From here, you would pay out all of the artifact mana that you can. Alternatively, you could just take the Empty the Warrens and make eight 1/1 Goblins. My issue with this is that it's a three turn clock against a deck with Griselbrand, which is just a better Batterskull versus eight Goblins.


AJ Kerrigan

Our hand is pretty weak, to the point where it feels genuinely hard to beat Chancellor of the Annex without a lucky Brainstorm. I don't love 8 Goblin tokens though. Our opponent would've discarded Griselbrand if they had it, but they could still have Entomb. 8 Goblins is really good against Reanimate on Chancellor, and reasonable against any other reanimation spell on Chancellor. A four turn clock gives our opponent a ton of turns to find other action though, and so I think Goblins aren't great. Our best shot at winning likely involves taking Brainstorm, using Bloodstained Mire to shuffle our deck and then casting Brainstorm. We really just want to find Lion's Eye Diamonds and Dark Rituals to get up to the 11-mana necessary to Infernal Tutor for Ad Nauseam and win the game in the same turn. The plan is to play out all of our Lotus Petals this turn. That way, we also have the option to cast Infernal Tutor for Ad Nauseam next turn if our Brainstorm allows that, meaning that we only need 8 mana to combo off, which we are much closer to. This all needs a lot to go right, but I'm just really skeptical that 8 Goblins will get the job done.


Landon Sworts

I think it’s safe to assume that the opponent will have a Chancellor of the Annex in play on their next turn. If we choose to draw Empty the Warrens we can cast it and make eight 1/1 red Goblin tokens which will give us a two to four turn clock depending on if the opponent casts Reanimate, Exhume, or Animate Dead. Four turns is just enough time for us to be able to race the opponent as long as they don’t find a way to put an additional creature into play in that time frame. We could draw Brainstorm and cast it looking for a Lotus Petal, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, or Lion’s Eye Diamond to give us a higher Storm count but mathematically we have just over a 25 percent chance to hit a copy of one of those cards so I don’t really feel comfortable chancing it. Let’s just get our Goblins down and swing aggressively. I’ve won in similar scenarios in the past and in my opinion no matter what we do it’s important that we do it now before Chancellor of the Annex runs away with the game. Put Chrome Mox and Brainstorm on top of our library beneath the four mana sorcery, draw Empty the Warrens, cast both copies of Louts Petal, sacrifice our Bloodstained Mire and retrieve Badlands to tap it and Mox Opal with Metal Craft for red, then sacrifice both Lotus Petal, cast Empty the Warrens and pass.


Alex Poling

I would shuffle here. I think we are looking for either a Dark Ritual or a Lion's Eye Diamond. That would give us 7+ mana to be able to Infernal Tutor for an Ad Nauseam on our following turn. With 2 draws, 1 from the Ponder and 1 for the next draw step we need 2 mana. If we brick we can also draw a discard spell off our Ponder to hopefully prevent our opponent from reanimating a creature on their next turn. We need either of those scenarios to happen to win this game. These 3 cards just don't do it.

SITUATION #3 - Aluren

Our final scenario is against Aluren! Aluren is a Combo deck that uses Aluren, Cavern Harpy, and Parasitic Strix to deal infinite damage. While this deck technically falls into the combo category, in most matches it plays out similar to BUG control. In addition to the typical suite of countermagic and discard that BUG decks are known for, Aluren also plays multiple copies of Leovold, Emissary of Trest. If that wasn't enough, our Empty the Warrens plan isn't quite as good, because our opponent can just win if they get four lands in play. In this particular match, game one and two didn't reveal much about what our opponent was playing, so I assumed that they were on BUG Delver. That is why I sideboarded in so many copies of Empty the Warrens.

HOW I SIDEBOARDED:

In this scenario we are in a very close game three. I took an early Empty the Warrens line for ten goblins, but we hit the wall of not being able to quite deal lethal damage. Lucky for us, we were able to play an Ad Nauseam with three red mana floating and an available land drop. We know the opponent has a Flusterstorm in their deck because it is what they revealed with Shardless Agent the turn prior. How would you play out this turn to win or put yourself in a winning situation?

Special Guest

Martin Vonásek

It’s quite convenient we accidentally dropped all excess Empty the Warrens to be able to go that low on life. First let’s evaluate what to play around, luckily enough the line we took (Dark Ritual, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam) makes Flusterstorm, Mindbreak Trap and Surgical Extraction irrational as contents of the opponent’s hand so our turn should be uninterrupted before eventual trigger of Leovold, Emissary of Trest. Guessing the turn of events by the graveyard order and board state I’d say it’s likely a creature, a land or a board interactive spell not worth casting so far.

The number of cards available to us seemingly provides myriad of combinations but a quick recount of mana leaves us with 10 mana available so the most obvious lines boil down to:

  1. Burning Wish for Pulverize (for better attacks) and Tendrils of Agony
  2. Burning Wish for Pulverize (for better attacks, making their combo difficult) and Past in Flames, recast Empty the Warrens

The major threats to our lines would be a Golgari Charm/Toxic Deluge or a Cavern Harpy (both logical to be in hand at this moment) followed by Aluren top-deck, although this line (Cavern Harpy bouncing Shardless Agent) would need a lot in case we decide to Pulverize. A combination of Flusterstorm and Force of will, eventually Mindbreak Trap would threaten a Tendrils of Agony line.

There are few points of fine tuning the execution to think about, especially:

  1. How many Tendrils of Agony should target the opponent compared to ourselves to prevent excess Leovold, Emissary of Trest triggers?
  2. Is it worth casting the Duress in order to determine which line to take?
  3. Is it worth triggering the Leovold, Emissary of Trest with several Duress prior casting the Tendrils of Agony to try discard potential interaction? – There might be a specific ratio of card when it’s true but I generally do not think so.
  4. Do we attack before trying a Tendrils of Agony line or vice versa? Unless we are certain there is no Golgari Charm or risk aiming more copies of Tendrils of Agony at our opponent I think we attack first, might be a consideration in similar scenarios more fragile to counter spells though.

The general line will look like this:
Land
Lotus Petal
Lotus Petal
Infernal tutor (Rite of Flame)
Duress (2.)
Rite of Flame (2.)
Burning Wish (Pulverize)
Burning Wish (Past in Flames (2.)) / (Tendrils of Agony (1.))
Pulverize
---attack---
Chrome Mox (Thoughtseize)
Chrome Mox (Thoughtseize)
Mox Opal
Rite of Flame (1)
Rite of Flame
Past in flames (2.) (2 floating) / Tendrils of Agony (1.) (3 floating)
flashback Dark Ritual (2.)
flashback Rite of Flame (2.)
flashback Rite of Flame (2.)
flashback Empty the Warrens (2.) (3 floating)

    1. No Duress is necessary (unless we want to play around Invasive Surgery) to keep 3 mana floating, we need 2-3 Tendrils of Agony to connect so we can lose to exactly Flusterstorm + Force of Will, 2x Force of Will or a Mindbreak trap. We are dead on the back swing, aiming more than 3 copies at the opponent only increases their sample size for outs.
    2. We have a control over an in hand sweeper barring a Brainstorm but at the moment of the Duress I think they can keep themselves open towards a Flusterstorm top-deck, Surgical Extraction on Empty the Warrens would be unfortunate, we are dead to top decked sweepers (2-3/46) or unlikely combo pieces of their own and redraws towards them.

To sum it up, this is a fairly good position and it’s up to us to put them on the answer mix. For what we can derive there are at least 2 Flusterstorms, 4 Force of Will, these decks usually play 2-3
sweepers of which one can be a creature, Mindbreak Trap is not a standard to my knowledge. In case of 3 Flusterstorms and 4 Force of Will line 1 is ~96% to win our turn, with 3 Sweepers and some redraws toward their combo we win with line 2 <93% of the time.

Although initially I was inclined to take line 2 due to fear of uncertain mix of counterspells, especially Mindbreak Trap, thinking deeper I realized there might be a 2nd Parasitic Strix. The opponent hasn’t shown us a Recruiter type of creature but with this similar level of uncertainty we have a comfortable window which plays around most frequent answers of either Force of will and Flusterstorm in very narrow window of 3+1 cards for them to draw these outs in. Further examination using this calculator suggest line 1 looks mathematically better as well.

#TEAMTES

Josh Hughes

At first, this seems like a pretty straightforward scenario, but the more you dig into it, the more complicated it gets. We know the opponent is playing Flusterstorm, so we need to make sure that if we cast Tendrils of Agony on our opponent, that we are going to be able to deal at least seven damage because two of our goblins can get through our opponents three creatures. In addition to that, the higher our storm count is, the more cards our opponent will draw off of the Leovold, Emissary of Trest triggers, which is also something to take into account. We can't make a ton of goblins unless we can find a way to deal with the opponent's Parasitic Strix, because it has flying and can deal us lethal damage.

While I think the math lines up to where we can pay for four copies of Flusterstorm to win, I ended up going another route. If we cast Tendrils of Agony, we are letting our opponent draw at least ten cards, and when playing against decks that are "rogue", I find that people play weird cards. What if we gave our opponent a Mindbreak Trap? While the chances of that are low, weirder things have happened to me. I ended up casting a Burning Wish grabbing Pulverize. I then cast Pulverize sacrificing a Badlands and a Volcanic Island to destroy the Shardless Agent and the Parasitic Strix. I then proceeded to Duress the opponent and then play out my artifacts and Burning wish for over twenty goblins. Now we are just hoping to dodge another Parasitic Strix on our opponent's next turn and we should be able to win!


Anthony LaVerde

Call me crazy, but I think we need to Massacre here if we want to win. As bad as it seems, I would let our 3 red mana fizzle when we go to our begin combat step, and attack with our goblins. If they block with Leovold, we can actually wipe their board with Massacre. If this is the case, I would play out both copies of Lotus Petal, Mox Opal, Chrome Mox imprinting a Thoughtseize, and cast Rite of Flame. For our land I would play out the Island, as this lets us use a fetch land next turn after a Brainstorm. This line lets us potentially win next turn, as Leovold will be off the table. I like this line more than just casting Tendrils of Agony and praying our opponent doesn't draw a Flusterstorm or Mindbreak Trap with Leovold. In the case that our opponent doesn't block, we can still cast Tendrils of Agony second main phase as a last resort, if this is the case I would actually target ourselves with some of the copies of Tendrils of Agony, these copies being the last ones to resolve. Realistically we would only want to target our opponent with five or so copies so they draw less cards.


Bryant Cook

This is a really sweet scenario, but once again, I'm not a fan of your sideboard plan! There's two real options I see: 1.) Burning Wish for Pulverize, blow up Shardless Agent and the Parasitic Strix, then Burning Wish again for Empty the Warrens. I think this is a relatively safe line. 2.) A more bold line would include grabbing Tendrils of Agony and targeting our opponent... but only for six. You would target yourself with the rest. You could pay for three copies of Flusterstorm, which brings you up to a safe life total. On the following turn, you would be able to Pulverize the blockers and swing for the remaining Lethal. I think this line includes a lot of unnecessary risk, which would lead me to take the first line.


AJ Kerrigan

We are actually in pretty good shape against Flusterstorm, and we also know that our opponent has one copy in their graveyard and one on the bottom of the deck. We should play out all of our mana sources, which gets us to 10 mana and 9 storm. We then Burning Wish for Tendrils of Agony and cast it for a total of 11 copies, with 4 mana floating. Even if our opponent finds Flusterstorm, they go to 8 and then we can pay for 4 copies with our remaining mana. This line does then lose to them finding Force of Will, Flusterstorm, and a blue card, which isn't unreasonable in 11 cards, but I couldn't find a better line. We are pretty close to some Past in Flames lines, but I think we are just a few mana short of being able to cast Tendrils of Agony twice with Past in Flames, at least by my math.


Landon Sworts

It’s cool that we revealed two Burning Wish with Ad Nauseam. That will be very helpful for killing the opponent without triggering the ability on our opponents Leovold, Emissary of Trest. Let’s get down to business: Burning Wish retrieve and cast Pulverize with its alternative casting cost of sacrificing two mountains destroying the opponents 2/2 flyer allowing us to safely pass the turn once we take a line for our sideboard copy of Empty the Warrens. Next we can play out island followed by our zero mana artifacts, Infernal Tutor for another copy of Rite of Flame and cast it, cast our Burning Wish retrieve our Empty The Warrens to make well over twenty Goblins and pass the turn. We can block our opponents attacker, the opponent doesn’t have a black permanent incase they draw Parasitic Strix, which leaves them with little to no outs. I see a timely concession from our opponent on their Draw Step or sooner.


Alex Poling

My only real critique of the line we took is I wish we stopped at 3 life instead of 2. I don't know what we were looking for by drawing an extra card since we had the tutors and mana already. Being at 3 life gives us enough life to pass the turn and survive. My goal here would be to try to cast the least amount of spells, to keep the storm count lower, but enough to Tendrils of Agony for lethal. In order to do this, I would play out 2 copies of Lotus Petal and the Mox Opal (storm 6). This would give me access to 6 mana for Burning Wish and Tendrils of Agony (storm 8) giving my opponent 8 draws for Flusterstorm. Assuming they have only 1-2 copies of Flusterstorm in their deck, that gives them 25-35% chance of finding it. That means we are favored in that exchange and I would take those odds and go for it.

In closing, I would just like to encourage everyone to start testing the Mox Opal lists! I think we are on to something with Mox Opal, but it is going to take a lot of data for us to really know if it is better than the previous list. I have personally been very impressed, and I have been putting up some really solid results on Magic Online. As always, it has been a pleasure to bring you these three new scenarios. If you have any questions or feedback please let me know!

Keep storming!


Joshua Hughes

Like many others, Josh started playing Magic: The Gathering in middle school, where he learned to base his self-worth on how many dragons he owned. These dragons ended up coming in handy 15 years later when he got back into Magic and started playing EDH. After playing it for about six months, Josh heard rumors about a format with decks that could win on turn one. Since then, Josh has focused completely on Legacy.