I get this is kind of a noob question, so bear with me. My friend plays a legacy discard deck, and he'll usually dark ritual or something to make me discard 3-5 cards in the first 3 turns, and by turn 5-6 my hand is empty. (More specifically he's running Griselbrand reanimator, so his hand is rarely empty.)

While this might not work against cheap aggro (I regularly win with RDW), I don't see how any other deck can really handle this. When he has a full hand and I'm limited to 1 new card per turn, which I have to either cast or lose thanks to specters, how am I supposed to ever catch up?

Yet at the same time I know discard isn't like auto-tournie-win, so I'm just not sure how people deal with it.

To give some info about my specific situation and the key cards I use, I am playing:

My friend is primarily using Griselbrand Reanimator, using Griselbrand / Buried Alive / Animate Dead / Zombify / Dark Ritual / Cabal Ritual / Dark Petition / a bunch of tutors / Crypt Ghast and the death knell being Mind Twist (discard my whole hand) and Infest (kills all creatures in both my decks). On paper he wins using Sorin's Vengeance, Debt to the Deathless, Consume Spirit, and Exsanguinate, but Mind Twist is really what does it.

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    I'm not sure this is a duplicate: losing your whole hand is rather different from just having Thoughtseize ruin your early tempo. – Alex P Dec 7 '15 at 16:02
  • Yes, exactly...that's my argument as well. I don't seem to have enough rep here to vote to reopen, but whatever. – temporary_user_name Dec 7 '15 at 16:18
  • Though TBH Hackworth's answer there is better than my answer here, by a mile. – Alex P Dec 7 '15 at 18:29
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    Sure, I can do that. – temporary_user_name Dec 7 '15 at 19:27
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    By the way, it's really just too much trouble to format in links to every magic card in these questions with the [mtg:name] syntax. There needs to be some sort of automating tool or shorter syntax before the average user is going to want to do that when their post has a lot of card names in it. – temporary_user_name Dec 7 '15 at 20:49

Against decks that rely on 3-8 precision cards to disrupt you but mostly consist of another strategy, I recommend these resources:

Against decks that are practically wall-to-wall discard, here are some techniques that may help:

Get "under" them

Play out your hand faster than they can rip it apart. This is what your red aggro deck is doing.

Rely on strong topdecks

One of the biggest weaknesses of discard decks: most discard cards are sorcery speed. Even once you're "hellbent," you'll usually be able to draw your card and play it on your turn. So you'll still be making land drops and you'll be able to cast most of the permanents and removal spells in your deck.

The worst thing about playing a dedicated discard deck is that half the cards in your deck just do nothing once your opponent is topdecking. So, focus your resources on taking out the cards of their that still have value — finishers, combo pieces, and engines of advantage.

Play out of your graveyard

With some exceptions, discard typically puts stuff in your graveyard. Flashback spells, reanimation effects, self-reanimators (like Gravecrawler).

Incidental Hosers

Some staple creatures are also, incidentally, discard hosers — for example, Wilt-Leaf Liege, Loxodon Smiter, and Obstinate Baloth.

Precision tools

This is a quality sideboard card:

Leyline of Sanctity

You can drop it on turn zero, for free. It blocks all of Thoughtseize, Cabal Therapy, Inquisition of Kozilek, Duress, and Hymn to Tourach. It's also a strong card against burn decks, many combo decks (e.g. Tendrils).

  • Leyline of Sanctity is pretty great but it requires either A.) luckily getting it in opening hand, or B.) buying 4 of them for quite a lot of money to improve odds and/or C.) splashing white to actually cast it. – temporary_user_name Dec 6 '15 at 0:58
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    @Aerovistae: ​ There are also other ways to get hexproof. ​ ​ ​ ​ – user13741 Dec 6 '15 at 1:32
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    @Aerovistae The thing is you need a solution ASAP, while you still have a hand. I used Witchbane Orb a lot back when it was in Standard with Bonfire of the Damned and Rakdos' Return, but it's not great against these kinds of 1-drop discard cards. (Though, TBH, if your opponent's main victory condition is reanimator stuff, I'd be siding in 4x Leyline of the Void instead.) – Alex P Dec 6 '15 at 3:10
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    I just don't want to spend the $70-$100 for 4x Leylines, even then I only have a % chance to have it in my hand and would otherwise be unable to use it. – temporary_user_name Dec 6 '15 at 20:49
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    @Aerovistae If money is a concern, that's really something you need to mention in the question. Leyline of Sanctity is an established sideboard card in competitive Magic (example1, example2), because it deals with both targeted discard and burn. Chalice of the Void fills a similar role, but is slower, more flexible, and can trip you up by countering your own spells. – Rainbolt Dec 7 '15 at 15:43

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