TES Mailbox #12

Hi everyone!

We're back with the mailbox, here are some more Q&A's:

How do you know when to go for Empty the Warrens or Ad Nauseam?

There are no defined rules. Everything is based on game states:

  • Whats our life total?
  • What does our hand consist of?
  • Whats the match-up?
  • What is the opponent's board?
  • Do we know anything about their hand?

The answer is based on context.

Is it still correct in most instances to go for Ad Nauseam if you would have no mana floating after cast it?

In most scenarios? Yes. But it once again depends on context, whats your life-total? How many initial mana rock sources have you used?

How confident are you in Ad Nauseam post-sideboard against Grixis Delver with the Empty the Warrens plan? Is there a life-total where you consider it "shut-off"?

Post-board it's easy to say that Empty the Warrens has become Plan A. I would prefer not to Ad Nauseam if I don't have to.

If I had to put a number on where it's "shut-off", I'd say... 12? I'd feel a bit uncomfortable at 14 but would still cast it. Another factor to consider is how much mana is floating, 12 life might be okay with a red and a black mana floating.

With four copies of Empty the Warrens in the seventy-five, have you tested four Cabal Therapy?

I'm going to assume you mean main deck. Recently? No. But I've tested it within the last year. The issue with four copies of Cabal Therapy is that the fourth should really be the seventh discard spell and not the sixth. I've found when playing four Cabal Therapy when there's only six discard spells total, they end up being unreliable in post-board games. In most game ones, you're unlikely to run into things that aren't Force of Will or Daze but you can still be "got" by Stifle or Counterspell. Post-board, things like Flusterstorm are just as bad for you as Force of Will.

Obviously, I really like Cabal Therapy and would like to play a fourth but I think you need at least seven other "look" effects to support them.

What hate pieces should I prioritize beating when building a sideboard?

ChaliceoftheVoid
Thalia Guardian Of Thraben
Sphere of Resistance
Counterbalance

Why don't you play a artifact destruction spell in the sideboard for Burning Wish? It seems like a no-brainer.

Because they're slow and unreliable. In order to beat most hate spells, it takes two to three turns to set up, and then you need to have the resources in order to win. Against a deck like Eldrazi, you need to also not be hit by Wasteland, Thought-Knot Seer, or Warping Wail.

I actually like Pulverize as it's a turn faster, but I feel like it needs three Mountains to be consistent, which messes with the mana-base a lot.

Is Grapeshot really better than Massacre? I think Massacre would be more effective at killing hate-bears.

If killing hate-bears were the only function of Grapeshot, maybe.

Grapeshot serves a greater role than that. It clears blockers for Goblins, is an alternative win condition if our opponent is low on life (Griselbrand activations or Goblin tokens don't quite get there), or those weird games where we only have red mana and lots of storm, then the point at question - it kills hate-bears.

As an aside, this question pops up a lot. It seems like people don't trust me and my 2,500 matches played with TES since the banning of Sensei's Divining Top!

Have you put any thought into four copies of Chrome Mox? Maybe 3 main deck and 1 sideboard? When boarding up on Empty the Warrens it helps power them out faster and is great with Ad Nauseam.

This is interesting, I'd have to test it in order to get a better feel. The thought behind the concept makes sense, I'd be worried about losing the slot to battle problematic match-ups.

In what types of match-ups do you think it's beneficial to sideboard differently for "on the play" vs. "on the draw"?

Generally, I sideboard the same way for both. With the exception being Death and Taxes. The reason is, on the play, there's an extra turn where we no longer have to worry about a hate piece being played. I believe this is the only type of deck in Legacy where there is that sort of window. (maybe Maverick?)

If you win turn one on the play, how do you sideboard for game two (if at all)?

Eh, I don't care for this question. In all honesty, I don't know if it matters and I would do things based on gut instinct. In paper, if my opponent looks like someone who wouldn't play Islands I might bring in two bounce spells. Other times, I might not sideboard at all.


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Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook has 1 Grand Prix Top 8 as well as 9 Star City Games Top 8s (2 wins). You can often find him traveling the northeast in search for the next big event, he recently won SCG: Worcester. Outside of M:TG he's an avid New York Mets fan, graphic designer, pop-punk enthusiast, and doggo aficionado. Bryant Cook is the owner and president of The EPIC Storm.