What’s up my readers! Last time we had a Dig Through Time and took a peek at Storm combo in Modern and what loops it has gone through. Well this time we focus on the builds we have today. We will go over card choices, what you could run and pros/cons of each option, basic Gifts-piles, well basically everything you need to know about this deck! We have loads of stuff to cover, let’s jump right in!
Oh and I highly recommend you use the CTRL F to navigate here since this is a super long post. So for example if you want to skip right to Gifts-piles or to a specific matchup then use CTRL F to get there quicker since they are at the end of the post! There is also the search tab in the front page for you to use, if you use phone/tablet it will show at the bottom of the page!
At the moment we have two builds, these are known as “Fetch Storm” and “Fetchless Storm”. Let’s have a look at Fetchless build first:
And here is my build of Fetch Storm:
As the names may suggest, the main difference comes in the manabase. So the pros/cons of both builds:
+ No shuffling means the scrys we make stay at the bottom thus making future draws better.
+ Has more “actual” lands that tap for mana.
– Can’t “thin” the deck.
+ Can run Blood Moon in the sideboard.
+ Fetches thin the deck.
+ Can keep 1 land hands with Noxious Revival+fetch land.
– Fetches makes scry a bit worse.
– Has less lands that actually tap for mana.
So in the end it comes down to what you prefer. Do you want to have access to Blood Moon and the ability to bluff what you are playing? Then go Fetch-Storm, if you want more mana sources and more immunity to search-hosers then choose Fetchless-Storm! While we will focus more on Fetch-Storm since that is the build I have mastered, if you are interested to have more info on Fetchless-Storm then I highly recommend you checkout my friend Caleb Scherer’s blog which can be found right here: https://adventuringgear.wordpress.com/
I have always stayed with Fetch-Storm since I like the deck thinning aspect and the ability to fetch those basic lands if need be, it also allows you to bluff a bit on what you are playing. If you lead with few scalding Tarns and just cast Opts, there is a good chance that your opponent thinks you are playing Blue Moon and then they tapout for something and..whoops.
Okay so no we have looked at what makes our two builds different. Time to have a deeper look at cards we have access to and why I run what I have chosen to run!
Okay so as far as the mana base goes, there aren’t too many tricks here. We got 7 fetch lands, 4 Scalding Tarns to grab both of our basics if needed, and I have chosen 3 Flooded Strands but any blue fetch land will do the trick here!
3 Spirebluff Canals since they do almost always come into play untapped and provide both colors we need.
2 Steam Vents that we can get with our fetchlands.
1 Shivan Reef, 2 basic islands. Mountain is there when you need painless way to Lightning Bolt turn 1. 1 Snow-Covered Island is in the deck to have 2 different named islands to grab with Gifts since that does come up sometimes.
It’s that simple I can say! I started with 8, then moved down to 7 and eventually shifted to 6 and that’s where I am at the moment and it has been great! So these guys make all of our instants and sorceries cost 1 less. How does this help us someone might ask? Well like I already said in my history article, when our goal is to play 20+spells in single turn, having them be cheaper makes winning so much more easier! And we only need a single creature to win the game so that’s why we can get away with only running 6 of these effects. Obviously against removal we need to be careful but it can be played around, and truth be told if we have enough mana we can kill without these creatures!
Okay so now the cantrips, these help us dig and find the missing pieces we happen to need.
So the best cantrip we have access to. Serum Visions helps to dig deepest and has been a staple of Storm decks ever since Ponder/Preordain were banned and that will probably never change. Definitely a 4-off in this deck! It also “combos” quite nicely with Manamorphose to help set up the next draw!
The second best thing we have, Sleight Of Hand is also pretty good, helps dig 2 cards down. Nothing really special but overall good and we roll with it 4-off!
Last but not least, Opt was reprinted in Ixalan and we immediately adopted this card, while it’s not as good as the rest we have it can still get the job done and it being an instant doesn’t hurt if you need to keep up Remand turn 2. We usually can’t fit 4-off this but 2-3 is good!
So now we start to get to business! These help us get the right amount of mana/colors to start the combo-turn!
This is without a doubt the best “ritual” in our deck! Manamorphose makes everything, it filters red-mana into blue-mana, draws a card and with the cost-reducer out even makes mana! Nothing much else to be said about this one. We love it, we play it, it rocks Storm!
Very basic, this replaced Seething Song when it also was banned. Nets us 1 mana on its own. And with a reducer it now makes 2 red!
Our last ritual, very close to Pyretic Ritual but this can be spliced to net 2 mana instead of 1. Do note that if you have cost-reducer out the splice does cost 3 mana instead of 4!
Let’s take a look at the flex slots, these cards can be something else based on your preference.
I have loved Merchant Scroll ever since Gifts-Storm became a deck. In this deck this innocent looking card is just one mana Demonic Tutor most of the times! It can get you Gifts Ungiven, Remand, Swan Song, Echoing Truth, Repeal, Unsubstantiate and Gigadrowse. So basically whatever you happen to need this will get you that! Some do run Peer Through Depths but I believe this is much better option! Only downsides are sorcery speed and this can’t find Past In Flames or any Rituals but then again we are going off on our own turn and finding Gifts should be more important so that shouldn’t matter.
Then we have some form of interaction, Remand is also pretty amazing in this deck. Not only does it allow us to have some ways to stop our opponents threats, but it also draws a card and don’t forget that with Baral out you do also get to use his ability to draw a card and discard a card, aka loot. This is also extremely valuable, it just gets us deeper into our deck and help get rid of let’s say additional copies of Baral or extra lands. So in nutshell this can be a 1 mana draw 2 discard 1 and counter your spell! It also serves another role which is that you can actually “Remand” your own Grapeshot to get it back and cast Grapeshot again. This allows for some kills if for some reason we don’t have anymore gas left to keep going. How many do you run is obviously up to you, my honest opinion is 2-3 but tweak and try it and do what suits you best!
Similar to Remand in the sense that this also returns the spell back to hand. I wasn’t too impressed with this card until my buddies played it and then I decided to give it a shot. This accomplishes the same stuff as Remand in a sense since this can be a “counterspell”, can return your own stormspell to hand in order to cast it again and can even return any creature back to hand! This is extremely handy since this answers some annoying creatures like Eidolon Of The Great Revel and Meddling Mage, cards that make appearance in main deck. You can also save your own creature by returning it back to hand in response to a removal spell. Only downside is that this won’t draw card and doesn’t trigger the loot ability of Baral, but the upside is having an out to the creatures above.
Noxious Revival is really amazing for us. It functions basically as any card in our deck, returns a killed creature, makes many Gifts-piles better and can even mess up some other graveyard decks like Grishoalbrand and Dredge. I wouldn’t recommend any more than 1 but it definitely should be in your list as well!
Last but not least we have Repeal, some of you might wonder why we bother with a card that doesn’t really help us go off. Well the truth is that we need some form of answer to main deck hate-cards such as: Meddling Mage, Leyline Of Sanctity and so on. And my build utilizes Repeal bit better since I can fetch it with Merchant Scroll. It can also save your own creature in a pinch or just bounce their Tarmogoyf to buy more time, and just drawing a card is always nice when playing combo.
Now we have seen the way we generate mana, how to make spells cheaper, way to filter our draws, flex slots and the manabase. Now it’s time to get to the “heavy-hitters”! Cards that really make our combo possible and enable all of it.
This is our main engine nowadays. Gifts may seem a bit confusing so I go over how it basically works. This extremely powerful tutor allows you to search your deck for up to 4 different cards and opponent has to give you 2 of them while the rest go the graveyard. Do note at this stage that it says UP TO 4 so you can get less than 4 cards! Back in the days this was used to get Unburial Rites+Iona, Shield Of Emeria or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Since your opponent has no choice but to put both of those cards into the graveyard they could untap, flashback Rites to put one of those fattys into play! So pretty cool but what does Gifts accomplish for storm then? Well it searches up the cards you need to keep going and truth be told, with Gifts you just can’t miss since it will always find you exactly what you need at that moment. Regarding the piles, we will get to them later.
And here we have the other piece of the puzzle so do speaking. Past In Flames is sweet, it gives all our instants and sorceries flashback which suits our strategy perfectly! It also combos with Gifts so well since no matter if this ends up in your hand or graveyard, you can still cast it thanks to flashback!
And last but not least we have the actual way of finishing the game.
This is our bread and butter, everyone who has ever played storm or faced it will recognize this card. It is pretty straightforward, deals one damage and copies itself for every other spell played that turn. So 19 spells+this equals 20 damage which is usually more than enough!
But wait, there is more than that! Empty The Warrens is in our arsenal and it also does see main board play in some builds (including mine). Empty gives us couple of more outs and gives us some free-wins against many fair decks in format including GBx like Jund and Abzan, since their discard can tear us apart but Empty for 8-12 goblins is usually enough unless they can find Maelstrom Pulse. Also can be good against control but they usually do pack some number of wraths main board. It also goes around Leyline Of Sanctity/Leyline Of The Void.
Is it totally necessary in main? No, but I do highly recommend it!
And now for the sideboard, I will give an overview of why I have chosen the cards I have chosen and why they are there. If you don’t agree with my choices, no worries there are many choices available and I have just made my choices based on personal preference and what I like to run!
First we have this again, like I already said we want more of these against anything fair, this includes: BGx (Jund, Abzan), UWx Control (Azorious, Jeskai, Esper, Blue Moon) and some others. Since after sideboard our graveyard is usually under attack so we cut some number of Gifts and side these in. So in many cases they land a Rest In Peace/Crafdigger’s Cage and then we just make a tons of goblins. Obviously you do have to be wary of the fact that they could side in some sweepers to hedge against Empty.
Good old Bolt, this has been a mainstay in storm sideboards for a long time! Deals with many hateful creatures such as: Thalia, Guardian Of Thraben, Ethersworn Canonist, Aven Mindcensor and Leonin Arbiter. Also does slowdown decks like Elves and Affinity. We board these in against loads of decks like the ones above but also against Death’s Shadow, GBx and even Control decks if they run Spell Quellers. Definitely should be 3-4 in your sideboard!
Shattering Spree is there for any artifact bases matchup, Affinity, Lantern Control and if you suspect your opponent having Chalice Of The Void then this can also be boarded in. Since Chalice won’t counter the replicate copies this is an excellent answer to that as well!
New addition to the deck, this card is our answer to Damping Sphere, but the other mode is still pretty sweet against many creature decks of the format like Humans and Affinity. This won’t deal with Chalice on 2 but for that we have other cards. Especially GBx decks will run Sphere and we can board Abrade in since it will answer that Sphere but can also kill any Dark Confidants or Scavenging Oozes.
I just want to say right now, Pieces Of The Puzzle is just amazing card. It is our grinding card for against anything fair basically. Since discard spells are pretty hard for us, this lets us rebuild and fuel our graveyard at the same time. And it does go around graveyard hate, you can just chain some Pieces together and find those Grapeshots, or make a good dozen goblins. Fetchless builds usually run 4 and that is also really good! But I totally recommend this card at least 2-off!
And now some anti control stuff. Gigadrowse is there to tap our opponent out and then proceeding to killing should be pretty self-explanatory. And since replicate makes copies they really can’t stop this from happening. And once again Merchant Scroll can fetch this, which is pretty cool.
Then some more counter spell, it is good to have access to some more interaction against those combo decks. So board this in against anything combo stylish and control obviously. And Merch…well I think I don’t need to remind about that anymore.!
Our other bounce spell, this has the added value of split second so they can’t respond while this is on the stack. Helps deal with basically anything so you will find yourself boarding this card in many times.
And finally we have another bounce, does basically the same as Repeal but this has the added bonus that it gets rid of all the same named permanent’s. So even if they open up with two Leyline Of Sanctitys, we can just send them both packing and go off from there!
Alternative card choices
Okay, now you have seen builds and the cards I have chosen, below are some cards that have been looked and tested but just didn’t make the cut for me. Again these aren’t terrible so if it works for you then go ahead!
Ah Gitaxian Probe, I miss you so much. This is basically the same effect but with instant-speed. Only downside is the fact that this costs mana but if you want that perfect information this is the way to go!
I tested Peer for a long time and it was pretty good, it does also have the added benefit of being able to splice with Desperate Ritual. But sometimes I even top decked this card and my top five didn’t find Gifts or Past In Flames and I just lost. If that would have been a Merchant Scroll, instant win. So in the end I chose to go with Scroll.
I think Caleb tested this for a while but honestly this feels just like a worse Peer, sorcery speed and won’t dig as far. Good thing is that this can find a cost-reducer and it dumps more stuff in our graveyard. But I would much rather have Scroll/Peer.
A decent draw-effect, reminds me of Accumulated Knowledge but this being a sorcery and it does take some work before it’s worth anything just doesn’t make the cut for me.
Goodie from old days, Pyromancer Ascension used to be our main engine but the loss of Gitaxian Probe made this bit too unreliable. Many people play it in sideboards to bring it in against fair decks (Control and GBx). I see few issues in this thought process:
– Ascension does require our graveyard to be active, and after sideboard our graveyard is under attack by lots of things like: Relic Of Progenitus, Nihil Spellbomb and Rest In Peace to name a few. So many times you stick this thing and it won’t do anything.
Flame Slash is answer to Eidolon Of Rhetoric, it is truly an annoying card since it dodges Lightning Bolt. I chose not to run this since I run bounces and Scroll can get them so my plan against Eidolon is just to bounce it and proceed from there.
Card I used to run for years, Blood Moon is the card if you want to punish to greedy manabases, however I have moved away from it since our local meta sees it coming so for now it’s better to go without. But if you want to give it a shot, do it. I can guarantee it’s fun!
Pretty neat trick if you want additional protection for your creatures, and with the reducer out this is 0 mana spell basically, only costs 2 life. So you can tap out for creatures more aggressively. Allthough we can usually play around removal spells by waiting for the right spot, but if you just want to get that creature more protection this is the way to go!
Another very neat trick, Dismember helps remove any hateful creatures. Especially Eidolon Of Rhetoric since that 4 toughness dodges Lightning Bolt, our premium removal spell. Also it can be a surprise factor in the mirror, they tapout for Baral/Electromancer and you think that they have nothing. Whoops there is the Dismember, since just like with Apostle’s Blessing this gets cheaper and costs you 4 life instead. The reason I didn’t like it is just because paying 4 life can sting and my build is leaning towards bounces and finding them with Gifts/Scroll. But definitely not bad!
Defense Grid saw play in the old Pyromancer Ascension builds, while it does basically shut down control, we do have some stuff to play at instant speed like Gifts, Opt, Remand, Gigadrowse, Swan Song and Repeal/Echoing Truth. Since this also does hit us, it’s not viable anymore.
Okay so now let’s cover how we sideboard with my build. All though your build might be a bit different, all the tips and tricks below will give you a good baseline on what you should be doing. I’ll do my best to cover most of the decks but if I missed your cool zuubera brew I’m sorry.
GB Midrange (Jund, Abzan, GB)
Here they attack our hand via discard spells like Inquisition Of Kozilek and Thoughtseize. They do also pack loads of ways of killing our creatures. We just have to be patient, build our land drops, wait for them to tap out and value them out with Gifts Ungiven. Empty The Warrens in main also helps a lot, but if they manage to strip our hand away and drop Liliana Of The Veil/fast pressure we are basically done for.
After sideboard we shift to a new angle of attack, take out lots of our graveyard stuff to make room for ways to kill without graveyard. Empty is good against the discard (just be wary of Maelstrom Pulse), Pieces just gets you tons of value, Bolts are there to clear any Dark Confidants or Scavenging Oozes. Bolts can also do pretty good damage with Grapeshot since they do take some damage from fetches, shocks and Thoughtseizes. Abrade has been added since not only will it kill any man-lands and many of their threats, it will also blow up Damping Sphere since that card is usually in their sideboard.
UW Control (Azorius)
This is a tricky matchup for sure, it all depends on their build but especially if they main deck Runed Halo, we are in deep trouble. Other than that just build up those land counts and end of turn Gifts should be able to get you there eventually. Fairly skill intensive matchup for sure.
UW packs loads of stuff against us, Dispel, Negate, Disdainful Stroke, Rest In Peace..yeah that’s a rough package. Again we cut a lot of our graveyard interaction and move towards very similar plan as against GBx. Value cards and Empty to make goblins. They do usually leave some number of Supreme Verdicts in since they know about Empty so beware of that. Gigadrowse and Swan Song help push through whatever they happen to have.
UWR Control (Jeskai)
Very much the same as above, but more trickier since they have more removal like Bolts and Lightning Helix alongside Path To Exile allowing to deal with our creatures easily. Spell Queller is also really annoying so we do few things differently in sideboarding.
We do have to cut a LOT of stuff which sting a bit but really we have no choice. You will encounter many of the same stuff as UW control does so many of the sideboard is already explained above. However we don’t want Swan Song here because their most relevant interaction is Spell Queller and Swan won’t help against that. We also add Lightning Bolts to be able to deal with Spell Quellers.
Another control variant, thankfully no Spell Quellers but instead they have discard spells like Inquisition and Thoughtseize. They can’t clock us too fast so we have time to cantrip around and we should be able to push through eventually against what they are holding, main deck Empty also does wonders here.
Here we want to go completely creatureless since they pack so many ways to kill creatures and blanking those cards is awesome. Rest of the package should be pretty easy to figure out since this is another control build, Pieces just keeps us in the game against their discard, Empty is pretty good though they usually have Engineered Explosives and Izzet Staticaster, Gigadrowse and Swan Song fight against their permission and Wipe Away is the”catch-all” answer.
I cover this since we have seen quite many Esper Controls in Finland so I felt this would be a relevant thing. Well just like against any other control decks we play it the same way, build up the land drops and grind through with Gifts Ungiven and Past In Flames. They do usually pack some number of discard and Spell Snares which make things pretty tricky, of course Paths also to kill our reducers. Thankfully they don’t have too much cheap interaction, usually they have more expensive stuff like Cryptic Command, Jace The Mind Sculptor and Supreme Verdict and those are pretty poor against us game 1.
After sideboard things get much trickier since they have Surgical Extractions and Runed Halos to hamper lots of things from our deck, Rest In Peace is also a concern. Usually they board wraths out so Empty does pretty good job. But honestly this plays out like UW and UWR control, we side almost identically and play the same way.
Ah the mirror match, this is basically a race who gets there first, so being on the play is huge advantage. After sideboard we have few ways to interact with Bolts. But yeah, comes down to pure race and who finds more Bolts.
Collected Company Decks (Abzan, Bant, GW Company)
This section covers all the coco decks since we sideboard pretty much the same way here and the hate they have is very similar. So expect decks like Abzan coco, Bant coco and so on. Game 1 is usually fairly easy for us since they don’t have many ways to stop us, just be aware that they can also combo kill us on turn 3 with Vizier Of Remedies+Devoted Druid.
Here we just want ways to kill their early mana dorks and slow them down. They almost always have Eidolon Of Rhetoric but that’s we board in Wipe Away to have two bounces in order to answer that card. Abrade can be boarded in since it hits those mana dorks/combo pieces and can hit Damping Sphere. Empty just won’t make it here, they have always managed to race the goblins so I would much rather just combo them off completely.
Very similar to coco decks except not only do they threaten the same combo as above but they also have Knight Of The Reliquary+Retreat To Coralhelm potentially for another way to kill us right on the spot. They do also have Path To Exile and Spell Quellers so keep that in mind.
So we do things exactly the same as against coco decks, be prepared for Eidolon Of Rhetoric and also Unified Will after sideboard. Knight Of The Reliquary can also get Bojuka Bog so if they have Knight active, be ready for that.
This is quite a simplistic matchup, game one they only have Lightning Bolts to kill our creatures but other than that we are clear for take off. Remands also help buy some time so this should be pretty favorable matchup game 1.
In: 1 Wipe Away.
Out: 1 Grapeshot.
After sideboard things do get way more difficult since they have access to Chalice Of The Void and Relic Of Progenitus. Main deck Repeal helps deal with those and Wipe Away for additional help. Other than that we can race them and just go off el naturel.
RUG/Bring To Light Scapeshift
Same plan but now they pack blue, which means counterspells like Remand, Cryptic Command and possibly Izzet Charm/Supreme Will. They are more clunky and if we stay above 18 life they need 8 lands to kill us.
After sideboard they bring in more effective counters like Dispel and Negate. Last time I almost got caught off-guard by Glen Elendra Archmage so they do have loads of tricks after sideboard. Some have even played Crafdigger’s Cage so definitely be on your guard! Gigadrowse and Swan Song provide additional protection and ways to push through their counters. Wipe Away is there just in case there is something problematic like Glen Elendra or Cage.
This one might be a bit unfamiliar territory to some of you and I don’t blame you. It’s a weird deck but runs mainly around Tezzeret, Agent Of Bolas and Thopter Foundry+Sword Of The Meek. This matchup plays like Lantern Control except that they have much less lock pieces. They usually mainboard Relic Of Progenitus and Grafdigger’s Cage and of course Whir Of Invention to find these pieces. I have usually faced some number of Collective Brutalitys in main but they still don’t have that many ways to stop us so and we have enough time to assemble everything we need to win.
After sideboard you can expect Withcbane Orb and Chalice Of The Void, also Thoughtseize does show up. But we have a perfect plan against those cards as you can see, we get ways to blow up all those artifacts and grinding power with Pieces.
Just another race, they don’t have much in the way to stop us, we do at least have Remands and Unsubstantiate but for the most part we just race and pray for the turn 3 win, Noxious Revival can also screw them up real bad since it can target any card in any graveyard. So in response to Goryo’s Vengeance put that Griselbrand back on top the deck, whoops.
After sideboard things do shake up a bit, they do usually have Chalice Of The Void but for that we board in Shattering Spree. If they don’t have Chalice then Shattering Spree is not needed and you can keep Opt in. Swan Song helps keep them off bay and Wipe Away also answers Chalice and can just send that Griselbrand back to hand and sweet thing is, they can’t respond to it.
Classic Tron (RG, GW, MonoG)
Ah good old Tron, this is fairly easy matchup for us at least game one. Turn 3 Karn does sting but especially if we are on the play we can just stick a reducer turn 2 and then kill them on turn 3. We even have Remands to buy us time incase we don’t have the kill right away. Some lists do main deck Relic Of Progenitus but other than that there is not much they can do.
After sideboard they do have more ways to attack our graveyard, mainly Relic Of Progenitus, do note if they are GW Tron, Leyline Of Sanctity and Rest In Peace are real cards so that’s why we want additional bounces. Empty just won’t make the deal here since they still have Oblivion Stones to deal with it. Pieces we want in order to go through that graveyard hate and it also dodges Leyline Of Sanctity.
Mono U Tron
This matchup is deceptively difficult, at first glance it looks like a creature deck without any interaction. But they do have fast mana thanks to Eldrazi Temple and Tron, Thought-Knot Seer takes our best card away and Chalice Of The Voids are a real pain. They do also have access to Dismember. Not an impossible matchup by any means, but be on your guard.
After sideboard they attack our graveyard via Relic Of Progenitus and Surgical Extraction while also maintaining Chalice Of The Void and decent clock. They usually have some number of Ratchet Bombs to deal with Empty. We just side in ways to deal with those hateful artifacts, other than that it’s all about sticking a reducer, dealing with those hate Pieces and going off. Gameplan here is just to deal with those lock pieces and then to off naturally with Gifts or winning via Empty The Warrens.
They are basically more aggressive Eldrazi Tron with Simian Spirit Guides ready to fuel out Chalice Of The Void and Serum Powder allows them to Mulligan aggressively. Thought-Knot Seer is also really annoying since it disrupts and is a clock. They even pack 4 Dismembers to kill our reducers.
After sideboard they gain Relic Of Progenitus, Surgical Extraction and Ratchet Bomb to answer our potential Empty The Warrens so for that reason we don’t board in additional copies of that card. Damping Sphere might also show up here but we already board in plenty of ways to deal with it. This is really difficult matchup for sure, we just do what we can. Spree deals with Chalice and Relic, Pieces help fight against their graveyard hate and Wipe Away for additional bounce.
Newcomer to Modern but very solid deck, game one they only really have Though-Knot Seer and Scavenging Ooze to interact with us. They have Lightning Bolt and Dismember also so we have to be a bit careful on when we deploy our creatures.
They gain cards like Crafdigger’s Cage, Relic Of Progenitus and Chalice Of The Void, but only have a few of each so we should be able to go off before we get hit too hard, Bolts kill those mana dorks to slow them down also. Pieces and Repeal/Echoing Truth+Abrade help deal with those hate artifacts.
Death’s Shadow Variants (Grixis, Esper, 5c, Jund)
One of our trickier matchups, they pack loads of discard, creature removal and even counterspells in the form of Stubborn Denial. We just have to hope they don’t hit us with something like turn 2 Tasigur, The Golden Fang or really large Death’s Shadow too quickly. If they do, and have disruption also it is really hard for us to win through that. main deck Empty helps a bit at least, and they do have to take loads of damage in order to make Death’s Shadow into a real threat so sometimes we can just go few Rituals into Grapeshot Remand Grapeshot for the kill.
Here we almost transform our deck and take out many of the stuff they have answers to. Empty is also really good though they do pack some ways to kill the goblins like Engineered Explosives and Izzet Staticaster. Also beware of Surgical Extraction!
The matchup we don’t ever want to face because Eidolon Of The Great Revel. This card is just gg for us unfortunately. They also have so many instant speed ways of killing our creatures and such a fast clock there is little we can do about it game 1. Just try to Remand that Eidolon and then hope that they are tapped out AND that you have everything you need. But if they land Eidolon turn 2 we can usually just scoop. At least we have Unsubstantiate and Repeal main deck to help fight that pesky Eidolon.
Our main plan after sideboard is to just slam a big Empty The Warrens since they can’t really deal with it, Bolts help clear Eidolon and other hasty creatures, Swan Song can counter Eidolon since it’s also an enchantment and can counter any burn spell, they could also have Rest In Peace but for the most part we just try to ignore it and slam some goblins into play.
Very close to Burn in that sense that they have fast clock and Bolts to clear our creatures. However they don’t have Eidolon or too many ways to kill our creatures, so we can just wait for them to tap out and go off with ease, since they have to tapout a lot in order to pressure us.
They usually have Dragon’s Claw and Tormod’s Crypt but for those we have Echoing Truth and honestly we can go off with Claw in play (just takes bit longer). Bolts slow them down, but for the most part it’s just a race that we are favored to win.
Death&Taxes Variants (MonoW, GW, BW Eldrazi)
Another fairly tough matchup, the builds have some differences but all share some very nasty stuff: Thalia, Guardian Of Thraben makes our stuff cost more, Leonin Arbiter makes any deck searching difficult, Thought-Knot Seer disrupts and is a clock. Pair that up with some land destruction via Ghost Quarter and Tectonic Edge and BW Eldrazi even have discard spells so game 1 is pretty horrible.
After sideboard we shave all the Gifts, since Leonin Arbiter is so effective against it. Other than that just use Bolts to kill the creatures and grind through with Pieces. Echoing Truth is there to be a “cath-all” answer for whatever is causing problems.
Bit tricky matchup since Angel’s Grace does protect them and thanks to split-second we can’t do a thing about it. Just try to go off, if they Grace just pass and next turn try again until they run out of them. Phyrexian Unlife we can beat, you just need 10 more storm count which when going off shouldn’t be a problem.
Almost always expect Leyline Of Sanctity after sideboard, that’s why we shave all Gifts because you can’t cast it if Leyline is in play. Pieces goes around it, Swan Song helps fight against their combo and Wipe Away solves the Leyline issue. We can also use Empty as the last resort if we can’t get rid of the Leyline.
Basically another Storm deck, but they rely on manadorks like Birds Of Paradise and Sylvan Caryatid to keep untapping them and eventually killing you with either gigantic Fatestitchers or Glittering Wishing for Flesh/Blood. But we are usually a turn faster, more consistent and can interact with them thanks to Remand/Unsubstantiate.
They almost always have Leyline Of Sanctity but that’s about it. So just bring those bounces in, get rid of it and go off, Bolts are decent since they kill Birds to slow them down, Swan Song helps counter that Ascendancy.
Mono blue deck that allows us to draw extra cards and are slower than us? Count me in all day any day. You can almost always stick a reducer and then just force through the combo game 1.
We keep things real simple here since we don’t need that much, just some more ways to fight their permission (since they do gain more Dispels/Negates). Wipe Away can save you in case they have something silly like Chalice Of The Void.
KCI Combo (Eggs)
Bit slower combo than us and thankfully they won’t have any interaction game one. So just prevent the KCI from resolving and kill them.
We keep thing super simple here since there is really nothing we need to board in. They can have Guttural Response and Galvanic Blast for our creature but for the most part we are clear for take off here. Spree and Abrade just allow to blow some of their combo pieces to buy time. However if you encounter Leyline Of Sanctity/hate pieces just side in Wipe Away and take out Opt.
Fairly simple matchup, they can’t interact with us but do have a quick combo-kill potential also. Hope to be on the play and just kill on turn 3 basically. Sometimes you have to do a “Mini Grapeshot” to kill their board away in order to buy time.
We just want ways to kill their payoff cards like Elvish Archdruid and Ezuri, Renegade Leader. Eidolon Of Rhetoric is an issue but we can just race it if they don’t have it in hand and we got Unsubstantiate, Repeal and Echoing Truth to deal with it. Some lists have Rest In Peace but the bounces answer that also.
Similar to Elves but they do have Galvanic Blast to interact and if they land a Cranial Plating turn 1 things can get very unpleasant for us. Other than that it’s pretty straight forward matchup, just race them. Affinity does main deck more Etched Champions nowadays since Jund and UW control are seeing more play and that Champion just won’t race us.
Now they gain cards like Rest In Peace, Surgical Extraction, Spell Pierce and Thoughtseize to give us trouble, however we gain plenty of ways to blow those artifacts into smithereens! Wipe Away we need incase they land Rest In Peace and it can just return Cranial Plating or anything else for that matter.
Creature deck that packs pretty annoying disruption, Kitesail Freebooter and Meddling Mage can just wipe us out easily, thankfully we have adapted to this by maindecking Unsubstantiate and now Repeal. But I can guarantee if they open up with couple of Meddling Mages into Freebooter we just lose, back that up with some serious clock by Champion Of The Parish and Thalia’s Lieutenant.
We keep things very simple here, more ways to deal with Meddling Mage and Freebooter and that’s it. We don’t want any more copies of Empty since they board in Izzet Staticasters and can build up a board so fast. Do expect them to bring in Kambal, Consul Of Allocation and Sin Collector for additional disruption.
Zoo (5C, Naya)
Classic aggro deck, they pack all sorts of creatures and some ways to kill creatures like Bolt, Path and Lightning Helix, Tribal Flames is also there if they are on 5C Zoo. Just be a bit careful on when you deploy our creature. They don’t have too much going on game 1 so this should favor us.
Fairly interesting matchup, however they have the upper hand here since Whir Of Invention can just find the Grafdigger’s Cage that they have in the main deck. That+mill rocks makes our life very difficult. Thankfully we can almost always stick the reducer and if they don’t find the Cage quickly we will just kill them. And we do have access to Repeal that can answer the Cage if they actually let you have the Repeal. One neat trick I like to point out is that if you lead with turn one Serum Visions put a bad card to the top of your deck and leave the better card under it. Then they just play mill rock and mill the wrong card, this ensures that you get the one you wanted! Trust me, I have done that trick many times now and they always fall for it. If they main deck Leyline Of Sanctity it’s near impossible game 1, but thankfully they don’t usually main deck it anymore.
We once again transform a lot from our deck, they bring in more graveyard hate and Leyline Of Sanctity+Witchbane Orb. So we just take out all Gifts since against their sideboard plan it won’t do much. Also Damping Sphere is very likely to show up here, but we bring in loads of ways to blow up artifacts or bounce them away. Other than that it’s pretty basic, just destroy or bounce those problematic artifacts and go off with Pieces.
Living End (Jund)
Living End, good old Living End. Back in the Ascension days this matchup was nearly unlosable and it still does favor us. But we do rely on our creatures so Living End can interact with us a little bit. But we also have Remands and Unsubstantiate to get that Living End back in hand, which is just horrible for them. Just don’t play recklessly into the Living End and you should be good. Also if possible be aware of main deck Fulminator Mage and Faerie Macabre. Simian Spirit Guide can fuel turn two Living End so keep that in mind, and that they can do it instant-speed via Violent Outburst.
After sideboard you can expect Slaughter Games and Leyline Of The Void. Slaughter Games we can’t really answer so if they draw it, it’s basically game over, Pieces helps go through the Leyline and Faerie Macabre, Swan Song counters that Living End and Echoing Truth gets rid of the Leyline if they have it.
Living End (Blue)
This time they have As Foretold to cast Living End and of course when there is blue, there are counterspells. Usually they have Remand, Cryptic Command and Supreme Will. I have seen some lists with Mana Leak and Disallow so definitely be prepared for those! Nimble Obstructionist can counter the storm trigger of Grapeshot but that shouldn’t matter since we can always find the other and flashback them. Other than that it’s just same plan as above, we can interact with them, mainly just prevent that As Foretold from coming down and you are in good shape!
I haven’t played this matchup too many times but as far as I can remember they have access to Leyline Of Sanctity/Void, potentially more counters like Spell Pierce and Dispel and some artifacts, Tormod’s Crypt and Chalice Of The Void. So we just take out our graveyard shenanigans and bring in our anti-graveyard hero Pieces Of The Puzzle. Gigadrowse pushes through those counterspells as does Swan Song, Echoing Truth and Repeal answer the Leyline if you happen to run into one.
Very much a non-interactive race, only thing they can do is Conflagrate our creature away. But we are very free to stick our dude and then go off! They usually can’t race us unless they are on the play and hit dredge extremely well.
Last time I faced dredge I faced Leyline Of The Void so we hedge against with Pieces and Echoing Truth. But recent lists don’t have the Leyline, I still want the cards above to not get blown out. They can also have Thoughtseizes for some disruption. Honestly we don’t need much here, just race as always. I don’t recommend boarding in more Emptys since they can just fill up the board so quickly and Conflagrate us out. But it is good to keep 1 in just for last resort.
Control deck but they have cards like Blood Moon and Jace, The Mind Sculptor which are absolutely terrible against us, don’t be fooled though. They can still interact with us, Spell Snare, Lightning Bolt, Cryptic Command just to name a few. But this we navigate like other control decks, build up that land count and eventually grind through with Gifts+Past In Flames. Empty is also really good here game 1, all they can do is Cryptic Command to buy one turn. Some builds also have Madcap Experiment which will get Platinum Emperion, thankfully for us it doesn’t matter, we can just Grapeshot the Emperion away and take it from there.
After side they take out all that clunky stuff and bring in more cheap counters, Dispel mainly. Also Izzet Staticaster and Engineered Explosives if they are expecting Empty The Warrens. Relic Of Progenitus also is usually there. That’s why we cut some number of Gifts, Noxious and Electromancer since it dies to stuff like Electrolyze/Bolt. We don’t want all the Emptys since after board they can answer it more but having 1 extra helps to find it more often. All the other cards are pretty clear, Pieces helps to fight against potential Relic, Gigadrowse and Swan Song push against their counterspells.
Almost the same deal, only difference is that they have Through The Breach+Emrakul The Aeons Torn for kill. But since they need to make space for those combo pieces, they don’t have that much cheap interaction, Lightning Bolt is the main way. Cryptic Command is slow and easy to play through. One thing to keep in mind is that if they end of turn cast Breach, the Emrakul will be sacked during his/hers next turn so don’t let that trick you, they will get to attack with it. Since Breach says at the beginning of the next end step.
So exactly same as with Blue Moon, they gain cards like Dispel, Negate, Izzet Staticaster, Engineered Explosives, Relic Of Progenitus and Disdainful Stroke and get rid of that slow stuff like Jace and Blood Moon. I don’t feel comfortable to bring in both Empties since they gain so many ways to deal with it but having 1 extra is ok. Also Emrakul just flies over and that+some Bolts will kill us, so in some sense they can ignore Empty. But all in all this plays out very much like Blue Moon except they have more clunkier cards and less efficient ways to stop us. Also we can keep Repeal in so that we have some way to remove Relic Of Progenitus in both matchups.
Another UR control shell, this time however they can combo us via Deceiver Exarch/Pestermite+Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker. We play this out the same way as any other UR control based deck, be aware of those Lightning Bolts and tempo them out. They can’t almost never tap out to Kiki-Jiki so for the most part they try to kill us with Pestermites/Snapcaster Bolt plays. And they also have Moons/Jaces which don’t do much again.
So bit different from against Breach/Blue Moon. Here we want Bolts to kill those creatures and if they go for Kiki we can also kill it if need be. Everything else is there to fight against potential Relics and push through their permission. Abrade has been fantastic here also since it will deal with Relic and can also deal with Kiki/Pestermite.
BR Hollow One
Very hyped deck and for a good reason, it has done very well in Finnish meta but since we utilize our graveyard, those Burning Inquires also help us. This is very much a race, how much can they dump on the board before we go off, they do have Bolts and some number of Collective Brutalitys for interaction but that’s about it. Unless they have the 3 Hollow Ones on turn 1 on the play we should be able to get there.
After sideboard they don’t gain too much, Leyline Of The Void is a concern but the cards we side in are perfect against that plan, so nothing much here, we once again race who get’s there first. They usually also have some number of Thoughtseizes/Fatal Pushes to bring in but nothing special still. Pieces just basically ignores the possible Leyline and because of Leyline we shave all the Gifts, we can just chain enough Pieces together for the win or make bunch of goblins. Bolts are good here since they help clear out Flameblade Adept which can hit very hard.
Pretty tough matchup for us, they just hit us with so much discard and leave us with basically nothing. If they don’t have too much pressure, we can rebuild to Past In Flames and from there winning should be pretty easy.
After sideboard they can have anything from Leyline Of The Void, Surgical Extraction, Extirpate, Collective Brutality and so on. Our main goal here is to just build up that land count and eventually get there with a gigantic Past In Flames or make bunch of goblins quick and they can’t really race that. Pieces is also amazing here, allowing us to rebuild and keep up in the game.
Very close to 8 Rack, loads of discard and Smallpox can be super annoying. They finnish the game with some planeswalkers like Liliana Of The Veil or Gideon, Ally Of Zendikar. Game 1 we can just try to weather the discard and build towards giant Past In Flames. But few discards and Liliana is very hard to beat.
So we side very closely to 8 Rack since this is almost the same deck. Remands are good to keep in since they do have to tapout a lot in order to put real pressure on us. Pieces and Empty are superstars here since they have a hard time with either one.
Another discard and creature removal based midrange deck, here things are bit easier since there is no Smallpox to ruin our day, they will spend the first few turns playing discard and then starting to make tokens and pumping them with Intangible Virtue. Once again they have to tapout a lot to clock us and that gives us the out to kill them. Hope to weather the discard and just wait for the right spot to go for it.
They gain loads of graveyard hate, Rest In Peace, Surgical Extraction and I’m fairly sure Damping Sphere will also be there. We are just hoping to grind through with Pieces and bounce the Sphere if they have it.
The fish have been a mainstay in eternal formats and Modern is no exception, unfortunately for them this matchup is so good for us. They just don’t have the means to stop us and they can’t race us either, some run x number of Dismembers/Vapor Snags but for the most part we can just jam creature turn 2 and go off on turn 3.
After sideboard they gain mostly Relic Of Progenitus and some number of Spell Pierce/Negate. We however have Bolts to kill those lords and just overall better and faster game plan than them. So even here we should be able to get there pretty easily. Pieces helps go through possible graveyard hate and Abrade is just additional way to kill a lord or bust that Relic/Cage to smithereens.
Menacing deck back when they had Summer Bloom, nevertheless they are still threatening with Amulet Of Vigor+Azusa, Lost But Seeking to generate tons of mana into Primeval Titan. Luckily they are bit inconsistent and we can usually go before they can. And they don’t have space for much interaction. Only trick to be aware of is that if they have Sakura-Tribe Scout active, they could drop Bojuka Bog at instant speed so keep that in mind! Other than that the race is on.
Very much a race, they can have Relic Of Progenitus or even Leyline Of Sanctity, so Wipe Away helps if you encounter those problems. Spell Pierce should be on your radar, also be super aware of Ruric Thar, The Unbowed, that card is very hard if they manage to land it. Bolts kill the Azusa or Scout and Abrade can hit those creatures+kill the Amulet which can be huge! There is honestly not that much else here to say, we should be able to race them in the end.
Another pure race, here who gets to go first has huge edge, we can at least Grapeshot their creatures away. For the most part both just pray the other won’t kill them too quickly. So just hope for that turn 3 win or mini Grapeshot to buy time.
After sideboard we just hope to Lightning Bolt those creatures. Wipe Away is very good here since they can’t respond to it and it also hits Inkmoth Nexus. Abrade does double duty here by not only killing a creature or hitting potential Grafdigger’s Cage too.
Very aggressive deck that attacks your lands with Blood Moon, Stone Rain, Molten Rain and Mwonvuli Acid-Moss. Key here is to have enough lands to weather the storm (no pun intended), stick a creature and going off. They can have few Bolts but not that much to interact. And with the creature out we can win with just 1 land so after that things should be pretty easy. Also they can’t really clock us without tapping out and then we are clear to go off. And here having fetches is really good since we can fetch the basic island.
After sideboard you can expect Trinisphere and Relic Of Progenitus, that’s why we board in Shattering Spree and Echoing Truth, I really want Bolts here since killing that early mana dork is pretty critical. Also kills Tireless Tracker. 1 more Empty is good since it won’t care about Relic Of Progenitus and they only have few Anger Of The Gods to deal with it. Abrade is additional help for any artifacts or if nothing else will kill Tireless Tracker or mana dork.
Very similar to GBx in the sense that they can rip our hand with discard spells, and remove our creatures quite easily while also applying pretty good pressure with Young Pyromancers. Fairly tricky but Gifts and Past In Flames help you rebuild, and them being a fair deck main decking Empty goes a long way also.
Now they attack our graveyard via Rakdos Charm, Surgical Extraction and even Leyline Of The Void. Thankfully we can take out most of our graveyard interaction in order to combat that. This goes very much like GBx do, grind through the discard and kill them with Goblins or just chain some Pieces together and Grapeshot away. Also you can expect Kambal, Consul of Alllocation so Bolts help get rid of him.
Non-interactive deck, this matchup can go either really good or totally horrible. If they main deck Leyline Of Sanctity and start with it, we are basically done for. We do have Repeal but they clock us so quickly and we usually can’t find it in time unless we’re really lucky. Without Leyline game one is basically autowin unless we stumble hard.
After sideboard things get super tough since they have Rest In Peace, Gaddock Teeg and Leyline Of Sanctity to keep us in check. We just want all the bounces to answer those cards and Pieces helps us go off even if Leyline/Rip is in play. Obviously if they don’t have the hate cards in play our bounces can just return some auras back to hand to buy time.
Gifts Ungiven Piles.
Okay so, now let’s take a look at some piles that you can do with Gifts, there will only be few here, so some basic piles and how to navigate them. Bluffing and all that stuff might be a thing for another article, so these below are the most simplistic piles and you can expand your skills through these.
The Basic Pile:
This is what we get when we are ready to go off, if we have at least three mana in pool when we get these (and at least one red) there is nothing they can do to stop us. Since even if they give us Manamorphose and Past In Flames, we can play Manamorphose to jump from 3 mana to 4, cast Past In Flames with red in pool and start to replay our entire graveyard (and replaying Gifts will find us the Grapeshot).
I already have Past In Flames Pile:
This is what storm usually gets when they already have Past In Flames in hand, so even if you hand them Manamorphose+Noxious Revival they will play the Manamorphose hold priority respond with Noxious Revival putting ritual back on top of the deck then drawing it with Manamorphose and then gaining access to Past In Flames. Only thing you can hope for is that if they have only one mana left after Gifts and they get these you can give them Pyretic Ritual and Noxious Revival, that way Storm only gets to 3 mana and then they can’t play Past In Flames (Unless they have Manamorphose in hand) but there is little you can do about that.
I need the cost-reducer Pile:
This is how you gain access to a cost-reducer no matter what. And this should lead to kill since most of the times when we fetch this, our hand is ready to go but we just need to make stuff bit cheaper. We get Noxious+Past In Flames, end of turn get Baral/Electromancer back, draw it and go off.
There a two kill piles and these depend if your first Past In Flames is already exiled. First we have the usual one that I always almost go:
This is what you get when you are at the point that you have flashedback your first Past In Flames+everything you had in graveyard. Since they will almost always put the Past In Flames in your graveyard so you wont get to do it twice. That’s why we have to get the other Past In Flames here. At this point Storm-count should be way above clouds and here they just don’t have any way to prevent themselves from dying. At the worst they dump Grapeshot and Noxious Revival in graveyard, then you can play Manamorphose into Past In Flames, then just cast Grapeshot and that alone should do it.
This is the other way to do it, this is also fairly easy kill as long as we have Past In Flames to flashback or in hand. But even without it here we still have avenue for win, the goal here is to get Remand and Grapeshot in our hand, but obviously we won’t get them. In that case we can just play Manamorphose respond with Noxious Revival get back Grapeshot, draw it with Manamorphose and boom.
Tips on beating storm.
I gotta say, I’ve heard so much talk about how Storm is this unbeatable deck and you can’t interact with it. So for all of you who struggle against Storm, here are few tips and cards that will help you!
Tip 1, Play something that has good cards against Storm in maindeck.
Well this is fairly simple, good examples are: Burn, Grixis Death’s Shadow, 5c Humans and Eldrazi Tron. Since those decks contain cards like Chalice Of The Void, Eidolon Of The Great Revel, Thought-Knot Seer, Inquisition Of Kozilek, Thoughtseize and Meddling Mage and all of those cards are fairly hard for storm to beat at least game 1.
Tip 2, Remember that sideboard.
Storm, like any other linear combo deck can be taken down with sideboard cards. And no I’m not even talking about Rule Of Law effects since those kind of effects are only good against Storm. There are plenty of cards which not only hit Storm but are useful on other matchups also!
Remember these? There’s plenty of options against Storm that do make their combo so much more harder to pull off. I do know that some of these cards see less play than others but just wanted point out few options available. Sure, Storm does have its sideboard to answer many of the cards here but that doesn’t remove the fact that all of the cards here are super annoying for them.
Tip 3, Have pressure AND disruption.
This is the route for beating combo decks, if you only disrupt them but don’t present any sort of clock they will eventually sculpt a hand that will beat whatever you had going on. On the other hand if you only put pressure but no way to disrupt their combo they can just race you easily. So you have to find the right balance between the two aspects.
Storm is extremely difficult deck to pilot correctly but it for sure does reward practice and experience! Is it the best deck in Modern? Maybe, maybe not but one thing is for sure, Storm has returned and it’s looking to be a real contender in Modern!
Well, writing all of this was super interesting and I feel like I didn’t even cover half of it 😛 Hopefully you have found some useful tips and tricks if you are looking to jump into Storm, just get those reps in and start your journey on mastering one of the Modern’s most interesting and thought demanding decks!
Have any questions? Comment down below or just shoot me a PM in my Facebook and I do my best to answer! In the meantime keep Storming and have fun!