Alrund’s Ephinany Has Died, Long Live The King
Was the Alrund’s Epiphany ban necessary? Yes, absolutely. The combo deck based around it wasn’t fun to play against and was overrepresented.
But, for those who enjoyed piloting it, there’s now a void. We’re left with aggro decks, lifegain builds, and that one deck that plays a lot of sacrifice cards and Lolth, Spider Queen. If you like a slower deck with a pseudo-OTK, there aren’t good options in standard.
Only that’s not entirely true. As this article’s title hinted at, there’s a card that replaces Epiphany in the shell, and leads to just as satisfying of wins. It’s a card that some may have assumed only went in mill, but it’s a solid semi-solo win condition. Its name is Tasha’s Hideous Laughter.
Hideous Laughter Is A Shockingly Powerful Spell
Here’s the kill. You need eight mana, Galvanic Iteration, and Hideous Laughter. Play Galvanic, flashback it, then cast Hideous. It’ll copy the spell twice. That’s sixty-mana worth of mill. Almost all aggro decks die instantly, and most control decks will be left stumbling.
The benefits of this strategy are myriad. One of them is that the annoying life gain decks can barely do anything about it. Twenty life or one-hundred life, they lose to decking regardless. Another is that it’s hard to combat the combo when it goes off without multiple counterspells.
Turns Out Copying Powerful Cards Is A Good Plan
But how to do this optimally? Well, I’ve spent a few hours trying different versions and I have a few tips.
You’ll need to defend against or have a backup plan for Test of Talents. It’s the silver bullet. Just like with Epiphany, losing access to it can shut down the whole deck. Packing a few counterspells or running an alternate win-con is a must.
Everything Serves The Hideous Laughter Moment
The other thing is to have board wipes and lots of removal. This type of deck is entirely possible to play creature-less, but opposing swarms are dangerous. I’m fond of a blue-red shell with Burn Down the House as the main sweeper. I did come across some clever soul playing Jeskai for additional white options. Either version has limited ways to stop creatures, so using life as a buffer to bait them into overextending is worth practicing. Once I’d played this deck for a while, I found myself popping off at one life left. I’m sure my opponents weren’t happy.
If you like playing decks that make you feel like a supervillain, I cannot recommend “Hideous Control” highly enough. I’ve included my prototype list, but I encourage you to try your own version and tinker with the possibilities.
4 Island (VOW) 399
5 Mountain (VOW) 401
1 Negate (STA) 18
1 Abrade (VOW) 139
1 Field of Ruin (THB) 242
2 Jwari Disruption (ZNR) 64
1 Cinderclasm (ZNR) 136
1 Spikefield Hazard (ZNR) 166
2 Thundering Rebuke (ZNR) 170
4 Riverglide Pathway (ZNR) 264
4 Behold the Multiverse (KHM) 46
2 Demon Bolt (KHM) 129
4 Volatile Fjord (KHM) 273
4 Expressive Iteration (STX) 186
1 Frostboil Snarl (STX) 265
4 Tasha’s Hideous Laughter (AFR) 78
4 Unexpected Windfall (AFR) 164
2 Consider (MID) 44
1 Fading Hope (MID) 51
3 Burn Down the House (MID) 131
3 Galvanic Iteration (MID) 224
2 Flame-Blessed Bolt (VOW) 158
4 Stormcarved Coast (VOW) 265
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