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The Epic Experiment

September 19, 2012

You guys excited about the return to Ravnica?

Hell yeah!

Well, I thought so. I’m pretty stoked about it to.

As I’m writing this the set is pretty much spoiled in it’s entirety (if you feel you are missing out on spoiler goodies, mtgsalvation is a good place look for them) and much have already been said about the cards in the new set. There are the obvious hits and misses, which I don’t see much of a point of talking about as I simply don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to add to what has already been said about them or what is obvious to them. Instead there is a rare from the new set that hasn’t gotten too much buzz that I find quite simply mindboggling and like to raise the awareness of its possible impact on Standard and Modern.

The card I’m thinking about (if you haven’t yet figured that out from the title) is this one:

To be perfectly honest with you, the first time I saw this card I thought: “Oh, it’s this card:”

“…except for instants and sorceries.

..

.

Cute.”

And that was pretty much it before I moved on to looking at the next card on the spoiler. While I have myself played with Genesis Wave in a DCI sanctioned tournament and it has shown up every now and then in Standard, Genesis Wave hasn’t exactly been the biggest player during its time in Standard and it has not made a sound in Modern to this day. Therefore the my gut reaction from looking at the spell-version of Genesis Wave wasn’t exactly chair jumping.

Sure, I can see it being a reasonable “fireball”-effect in Standard in the sense that combo/control decks uses Epic Experiment as a Cruel Ultimatum. It doesn’t outright win you the game on the spot but if you hit enough removal, card draw and what have you off it you will be slingshot so far ahead of the opposition that it’s down right hard to lose from that position. Thanks to the presence of Gilded Lotus and all the reasonable mana producing artifacts at 3 mana and that we now have access to a sorcery that can kill a Planeswalker (see Dreadbore), I can definitely see Epic Experiment be used in such a way.

That said, it was first when I saw someone (I can’t remember who it was, sorry!) mention this card while talking about Epic Experiment that my brain started to fire:

Whoa, Mind’s Desire?!

Well, if you think of it, Epic Experiment isn’t that different from Mind’s Desire. Instead of flipping card of the top of your deck equal to your storm count + 1, you flip cards equal to the amount of mana sunk into the spell. Off course with Mind’s Desire you can play any spell you reveal instead of only instants and sorceries. That isn’t that big of a set back as those who remember the broken days of Mind’s Desire existence in the old Extended format knows that it was the instants and sorceries that mattered in most cases anyways.

Anyhow, the comparison to Mind’s Desire got me thinking of the utterly broken mechanic that still delves in the Modern format, namingly Storm. Could Epic Experiment breathe new life into the Storm decks of Modern? Is “The Epic Modern Storm” or “TEMS” a real possibility?

I’m willing to believe that’s the case.

Now clearly, Epic Experiment is significantly worse than Mind’s Desire. Unlike its big brother, Epic Experiment is really susceptible to countermagic. With Mind’s Desire you could often just power through something like a Mana Leak but Epic Experiment is quite possibly dead in the water against something little as a Spell Pierce, which is needless to say less than ideal.

Epic Experiment also has other issues like for example say that you have played Epic Experiment for a lot with the help of a couple of rituals and you have flipped a couple of spells including a another Epic Experiment, how do you keep going from there? You can utilize the old Remand trick by remanding a Epic Experiment cast for 0 back to your hand to then be able to cast it again for a bunch. That’s fair, but that leads into another issue, where do we get extra blue mana from? Unlike with Mind’s Desire, you can’t really take advantage of Lotus Bloom in a deck based around Epic Experiment, and with that all that remains is Manamorphose. That card is splendid for a deck like Storm but the question is; is Manamorphose enough? That I can’t answer from the top of my head.

As established, Epic Experiment is definitely weaker than Mind’s Desire overall but the card does has some advantages. For example, you don’t need to have a high storm count at the time of resolution of the spell to really make it work. You could theoretically start the turn with just a bunch of lands in play, rip Epic Experiment and go off from there, which is something Mind’s Desire couldn’t practically do. More so, you can for example transmute for it with a Muddle the Mixture. Sure, you could transmute for a Mind’s Desire with Ethereal Usher but what would rather have in your storm deck, Muddle the Mixture or Ethereal Usher?

Also, another advantage Epic Experiment has compared to the current engine storm decks uses in Modern, which is Past in Flames, is that Epic Experiment doesn’t care about your graveyard. One thing that I have disliked about the storm decks in Modern so far is the heavily reliance on the graveyard to build up a sufficient storm count. My problem with that is nowadays you can expect that pretty much every player to come to a Modern tournament packing some amount of graveyard hate in their sideboards, regardless of what colors and/or decks they are playing. If that annoying reliance can be taken out of the equation, I would definitely be more psyched about playing Storm in Modern come the upcoming GPs and PTQ season.

To round off with some objectivity, Epic Experiments clearly have a couple of problems to deal with or circumvent somehow before it could potentially be a factor in Modern. It’s also completely possible that the amount of mana you need to sink into the X on average to reliably kill people is just to high to be make it a real deck. That said, I and others before me have talked about this card in comparison to Mind’s Desire, which arguably is one of the most broken cards every printed in Magic. A card that was banned from day 1 in the format we today know as Legacy. It’s a pretty high bar we have set up for the card. Remember that even if Epic Experiment is just a “weak Mind’s Desire”, that might very well be enough to turn some stones in Modern and/or Standard for that matter.

In any case, I think that the card is simply too mindboggling for anyone to just make a snap judgment on the card whatever they like it or not. I think some experimenting is absolutely in order to determine the case of Epic Experiment.

Oh no he didn’t!

Bernhard

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2012 13:05

    Without spoiling too much of my new secret and mindblowing deck tech, I can say that packing this in a deck with Farseek, Ranger’s Path, Temporal Mastery, Increasing Vengeance and most importantly Boundless Realms is pretty … awesome 🙂

  2. victor permalink
    September 19, 2012 13:05

    these are dirty dreams, and makes me think of last weekend. we played a local smallish modern tournament, and I ended up in a really intriguing discussion on mana flooding in modern these days. point basically being that after a while, you end up with quite a few lands and you don’t know what to do with them. could be helpful for this scenario, no?

  3. September 19, 2012 13:06

    (the only issue I’m having is choosing cards that actually kill my opponent :D)

  4. September 23, 2012 18:05

    Great stuff! let me know if you ever need a partner!

  5. November 18, 2012 15:50

    I think the next set will help epic a lot with mana base and more awesome spells to reveal

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