We're back with the mailbox, here are some more Q&A's:
Do you often find yourself casting Burning Wish for Dark Petition and searching up Empty the Warrens to get an additional storm? How often do you Dark Petition for Ad Nauseam now that all 4 Infernal Tutors are in the main deck?
In the last two large events I've cast the spell three times over twenty-four rounds – twice for Ad Nauseam and once for Empty the Warrens. As for the number of Infernal Tutors in the main deck, I switched back and forth so much at the time that I can't really tell a difference.
How do you go about getting your cards signed? How close are you to being done?
I actually wrote an article on the subject here. If I'm able to get everything I would like done at GP: Seattle and when everything I have out in the mail returns, I will be down to getting five cards signed - four Gitaxian Probe and a single Past in Flames.
I just started to pimp my legacy collection and would like to get my cards signed. I know that it may depends on the card and the illustrator, but what is a "normal" tip for you?
If I get them done in person, I tip around 1$ per card up to $10 (I'll tip more if it's a lot of cards). If through the mail, the minimum I tip is 5$. I don't typically send out large amounts through the mail.
What is the strangest piece of tech that you've tried in TES? What's the strangest piece of tech that you've seen brought in against you?
Depends on the time period, in the early days I played Trinket Mage, Priest of Gix, Helm of Awakening, Tomb of Urami and even things like Abeyance. In more modern times? Probably Telemin Performance? Reforge the Soul? As for strangest played against me? Most likely Null Chamber.
Over the past couple of years, TES has changed a lot even though it hasn’t really gained that many cards from new sets (Dark Petition and Void Snare, most notably). How do you think the current list would’ve performed at tournaments from say 2013 or 2014?
Well, the metagame has changed a lot since those years. I think the biggest thing to look at isn't looking at what we've gained, it's looking at what others decks have or even how other decks have changed their attack against Storm. If you look at early 2013, RUG Delver with four copies Stifle and four Spell Snare were very dominant, meaning that Silence was incredibly effective against them. Not only has RUG Delver changed, but it's no longer the top dog either. Decks today attack Storm on two axes, both permanents and spells. Meaning that something like Cabal Therapy is better able to deal with today's conditions (Not to mention, the synergies with Empty the Warrens). I think without white, a lot of the changes were naturally going to happen – such as losing five-color lands.
How is your testing with Badlands going? How did you find room for it?
I can't say I've really noticed too much of a difference. I've had a few hands with one fetch land and Duress into a second turn Rite of Flame happen. I think where It's really been helpful is a hand with Underground Sea, Polluted Delta, Ponder and Brainstorm. First turn Ponder off of the Underground Sea, second turn Brainstorm (Finding a discard spell), shuffle using the Polluted Delta and cast the discard spell while having access to red mana on the following turn. I know it's a corner case, but it's a small improvement. I made room by moving the Bayou to the sideboard over the Thoughtseize, which was been very underwhelming over the last few events. What's nice about having the Bayou in the sideboard is that I can side up to fifteen lands against decks like Delver of Secrets variants and wait out their soft counters by having continuous lands drops.
Did you end up testing three copies of Empty the Warrens in the sideboard? How was it? Would you recommend it?
Would I recommend it? No. The reason being is that The EPIC Storm is known as an Empty the Warrens (ETW) based deck, hate like Terminus, Maelstrom Pulse, Golgari Charm and even things like Izzet Staticaster come in against TES. Where Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT) is known as a deck that rarely plays ETW, often giving them a surprise advantage. Against a deck like Miracles where the overloading game plan is supposedly at its best, they already keep in their Terminus for Xantid Swarm and the possibility of goblin tokens. You're not really doing anything other than playing into their hate cards that would otherwise be dead. Not to mention, by doing this plan, you're making Ad Nauseam an awful engine by adding in high casting cost cards while removing Chrome Mox from the deck. In a matchup where otherwise, Ad Nauseam would shine. The same thing could be said for Death and Taxes (regarding Ad Nauseam flips, less so on the creature hate). I did test this game plan for a little over a week before abandoning it all-together, it just isn't worthwhile in my eyes.
How do you handle play mistakes?
This is a pretty interesting question. The first thing would be to not forget your mistakes, bury them deep down and try your best to remember not to do the same thing twice. The second thing would be to not let it ruin an event if you're playing in one. When playing in an event for me, I try my best to tackle each round one at a time and part of that means letting the last round go - even after a tough play mistake. My philosophy has always been, "Win this round" and not try to think of events in the mindset of, "I need to 4-0 this daily" as I believe it creates added pressure. Something I see of individuals is that after a tough round (Loss/Play mistake), is they don't separate themselves to clear their head and more importantly just to breathe. Often entering the next round with a heavy heart, anxious and upset - calm down and breathe.
An example of a mistake that I had a tough time shaking, it happened to me twice in big events before I remembered to start doing it:
I know my opponent has a Vendillion Clique and I have tons of mana, including a Lion's Eye Diamond on the table. I can play Rite of Flame or if being incredibly cautious, just the Infernal Tutor, then respond with Dark Rituals and Lion's Eye Diamond to ensure the Vendilion Clique doesn't put my tutor effect on the bottom of the library. Seems easy enough, but I've been guilty of not being able to wrap my brain around it and think to myself, "Ill draw more business with X amount left." Instead of just playing properly.
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