With the recent printings of Echo of Eons and Wishclaw Talisman, The EPIC Storm is becoming a more popular deck choice among storm players, and with good reason. Recently, The EPIC Storm has become its own deck name on MTGGoldfish (finally!), and that’s because of its popularity growing and many great results in leagues and Legacy Challenges. These additions to the deck have completely changed the way The EPIC Storm looks and plays, it’s becoming a more artifact-based deck. When playing on Magic Online, I am facing significantly more mirror matches than other Storm variants such as ANT. We now have to be concerned about the mirror match. If you plan on playing The EPIC Storm, then learning how to pilot the mirror will serve you well.
How does TES matchup against TES?
Veil of Summer – Our main way of winning the game is with Tendrils of Agony, so Veil of Summer being able to counter that can be very back breaking. It was better against us when we played discard spells, but in our latest version, we don’t play any. Because we have removed discard spells, Veil of Summer is much worse against TES. When we are conscious that the opponent could have Veil of Summer, we can always just win with a Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens. In the mirror match, Empty the Warrens is the last win condition we want to use because letting the opponent untap could just mean we lose, and Grapeshot is not that hard to win with when we have Echo of Eons and Ad Nauseam. It’s just about trying to avoid being blown out by Veil of Summer and knowing when you can afford to play around it and just win with Grapeshot.
Wishclaw Talisman, Mox Opal – These two newer editions to our deck has given TES a whole new direction. Being able to have a tutor effect that also turns on Mox Opal is such a big deal. That was one of the missing pieces to getting the full value out of Mox Opal.
Hope of Ghirapur – We put Hope of Ghirapur in our sideboard to help combat counter spells by not allowing the opponent to cast any spells on our turn. How does that help us out in the mirror? Well, against Storm decks we can sacrifice Hope of Ghirapur after an attack to make sure the opponent can’t combo on their next turn. If we can’t win the game on our turn, but maybe we just need one more turn, then preventing the opponent from comboing will give us that additional turn. The opponent may also keep in Veil of Summer in their deck for post-board games, and we can use Hope of Ghirapur on our combo turn to make sure our Tendrils of Agony isn’t countered.
- 4 Burning Wish
- 4 Wishclaw Talisman
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Ponder
- 4 Veil of Summer
- 2 Defense Grid
- 1 Chain of Vapor
- 1 Ad Nauseam
- 1 Echo of Eons
Ways to Win This Matchup
Killing Them and Our Game Plan
Since this is the mirror match, there aren’t any surprises or cards that the opponent has that we don’t and vice versa. The games are often going to come down to who has the best opening hand, and who can win the fastest. Because of this, the first three turns are critical. If we keep a hand that can’t combo on the first turn, then it better be able to with just one missing card or needing another turn. This is not the matchup to expect the game to go many turns and to be able to get the full value out of cantrips. There is going to be minimum interaction, so it will come down to straight racing to see who can combo off first. The only way to interact here will be Hope of Ghirapur and Veil of Summer, but even those two may not do anything because of Grapeshot or Hope of Ghirapur being too slow. The fear of Veil of Summer is valid though because there just aren’t enough good sideboard cards to remove them from the deck completely. It’s important to be aware if the opponent has access to green mana in order to cast it and we can win with Grapeshot, then just combo with the red sorcery to be safe. In conclusion, my main game plan is to make sure my opening hand is better than my opponent’s.
-1 Chain of Vapor, -2 Defense Grid
+2 Hope of Ghirapur, +1 Crash
Our sideboard isn’t really setup to have any haymakers in the Storm mirror. We have access to a few swaps for improvements, but it’s very little. Siding out the two copies of Defense Grid for the pair of Hope of Ghirapur is just a small upgrade. Hope of Ghirapur protects our combo from Veil of Summer, but also can be used to stall the opponent a turn on comboing. Defense Grid only does one of those things for an additional mana. It’s an easy change. Trading Chain of Vapor for Crash is also just to upgrade. TES is going to have artifacts in play, and we would much rather destroy them then just bouncing them back to their hand.
For this article I decided to mix it up a little bit. Instead of demonstrating a full match, I decided to show a couple of opening hands and explain my thought process behind keeping or mulliganing them. I think the most important part of this matchup is evaluating the opening hand. There isn’t must of a boardstate or back and forth in the TES mirror. A vast majority of the games are just racing and comboing the other player without many decisions affecting the opponent. With the most critical part of the matchup being on the opening hand, I really want to focus on that. With that said, let’s break it down for example one.
Either on the play or the draw, I would keep this hand, but I do think it’s close. I would approach this hand by playing Wishclaw Talisman on turn one with the Lotus Petal. On turn two, I would activate Wishclaw Talisman for a Lion’s Eye Diamond for three blue mana. This would put Echo of Eons into the graveyard to cast. This is fairly risky because there’s only one land untapped so the seven cards have to be good. The scary part here is if the seven aren’t good enough to win then there’s a good chance I would just lose on the opponent’s next turn when they have a fresh seven and a Wishclaw Talisman on their side of the field.
I would mulligan this hand. It just doesn’t have enough to win the game. There’s two potentially dead cards in Veil of Summer and Defense Grid, not enough lands or start mana to really cast spells, and probably several turns off from being able to combo. This just isn’t a recipe for the mirror match. This hand wants to be able to cast both Ponder and leave up mana for Veil of Summer, but without access to Tropical Island, you have to pick either green or blue mana. The Ponder could potentially find another mana source, but I also need combo pieces. This hand just needs too much to go right.
I am 100 percent keeping this hand. This hand may not be able to combo on the first or even second turn, but I think it’s good enough. It doesn’t have a tutor or engine card or a way to interact like a Veil of Summer, but it has plenty of mana and the cantrips to find the missing pieces. It’s possible the opponent just kills me before I can find the combo pieces or that I don’t find the cards to win the game. With a hand like this, I am taking that risk. I think the odds of mulliganing to six and getting a better hand is pretty low.
I am glad to see many more TES pilots out there in paper and on Magic Online. It is a testament to the hard work TES players have put into innovating the deck the past couple of months. I hope you learned about the mirror match and maybe even disagree with some of the mulliganing decisions. After all, it’s challenging each other and the deck that made the deck evolve, so I wish you the best of luck in your own testing. I can’t wait to see you in the mirror match!