How to Brainstorm Like a Pro

Posted on December 15, 2011


by Tim Aten

Many, many years ago, literally a decade before some of you started playing, there was an article on The Dojo called “Impulse Like a Pro.” (You can find it here: We’ve decided to bring the concept into the new millennium by updating it with current players. And since Impulse is now unplayable garbage, we’re going to go with:




Luis Scott-Vargas (2009): Cast Brainstorm. Draw Fact or Fiction, Opportunity, and Stroke of Genius. Giggle as you put back two of your win conditions. (This process takes a total of 1.5 seconds.)


Luis Scott-Vargas (2011): Rip Brainstorm into five pieces. Use as counters on Elspeth, Knight-Errant.


Owen Turtenwald: Draw the best three fathomable cards in existence. It doesn’t really matter what you put back because your opponent is probably stuck on two lands and drooling all over himself anyway.


Conley Woods (2009): Cast Brainstorm. Draw Phyrexian Devourer, Clock of Omens, and Helix Pinnacle. Put back Autochthon Wurm and Long-Term Plans. Play a Windswept Heath. Say “land, crack, fetch, Conleywoods Conleywoods.” Get an untapped Overgrown Tomb and cast Thoughtseize.


Conley Woods (2011): [See entry for Owen Turtenwald.]


Alex Bertoncini: Draw three cards without putting any back, but be a really nice guy while you’re doing it. Ask your opponent if you’ve played a land this turn.


Paul Rietzl: Cast Brainstorm. Draw three Steppe Lynxes and put two cards back. Optional: Bait your liberal friends with Republican rhetoric.


Edgar Flores: Draw three cards, maybe four; we’re not really sure. Put some amount back. Lose regardless of what/how many cards were there because your opponent isn’t mana-screwed and you don’t have Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor to bail you out.


Patrick Chapin: Draw Elfhame Palace, River of Tears, and Ember Shot, or whatever the hell. Put two cards back. Finish the day at 2-4-1, but claim you would easily have gone 6-1 with tighter play.


Gerry Thompson: Tap Underground Sea, then realize you need it for Hymn to Tourach. Untap the Sea and tap Wasteland. Cast Brainstorm.


AJ Sacher: Wait until the absolute last possible moment to cast Brainstorm, then wait two or three more turns before casting it. Become preoccupied with subtle nuances of perfect game play at the expense of your technical skills. Go home and watch Starcraft 2 videos.


Geordie Tait: Draw three cards. Pontificate about ideals you didn’t even know you had until two months prior. Put two cards back.


Jun’Ya Iyanaga: Draw three cards and put two back. Play Polluted Delta, sacrifice it, and search for Volcanic Island. Shuffle for 13 minutes or until Brian David-Marshall rushes at you with a shiv. Cast Soldier of Fortune.


Christian Calcano: Cast Brainstorm. Complain about how you’re the unluckiest person alive and you never catch a a break, and how you’re just about sick of Magic. Return the next day to jam brews against the nut-highs and grinders, and durdle with the DIs and ringers.


Guillaume Wafo-Tapa: Cast Brainstorm. Draw Fact or Fiction, Opportunity, and a proxied-up card you “think” “might” be in Dark Ascension. Silently put back two of your win conditions.


Dave Williams: Cast Brainstorm. Draw a mint Beta Black Lotus, a blue Hurricane, and a miscut Honus Wagner rookie card signed by Jesus Christ. Accidentally drop your Patek Phillipe into your glass of Dom Perignon. Call Jay-Z and have him get the CEO of PP to personally helicopter in a replacement.


Melissa DeTora: Draw three cards. Realize your mid-level PTQ grinder opponent is way better than you, and your bid for a professional Magic career is a sham. Concede the match. Enter another tournament with a 5x multiplier without dropping from this one.

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