The last two months I've been primarily playing a lot of Standard Magic (I know, I know, Shame on me, etc.), I was heavily preparing for GP: Pittsburgh, GP: New Jersey & PPTQs playing a sweet Grixis Dynavolt Tower deck. In the process I became distant from Legacy, yet alone Storm. When I attended local Legacy events, I played Miracles or Sneak & Show (due to an unhealthy metagame). After GP: New Jersey last weekend, it hit me, I haven't really played Storm competitively in awhile – I felt very rusty. After a few local events and some online games, I decided I was going to tweak my list from my last article.
What I found was my opponents were aggressively mulligan-ing to Chalice of the Void in an attempt to get an easy game one win. It's not exactly beneficial to us to try and win rounds when we're already down a game, I figured I'd experiment with some new sideboard options. The first things to go were the two slots devoted toward either Hurkyl's Recall or Chain of Vapor, while both are fine options, they don't help us as a Burning Wish target. I've mentioned in previous articles and online forums that if I was going to play a sorcery speed artifact removal spell it would be Pulverize, here's why:
- It's technically free. You can float mana, sacrifice your two Mountains and then kill your opponent
- It kills multiple artifacts with a Chalice of the Void in play (something Shattering Spree has a tough time with)
- Against taxing effects like Sphere of Resistance, it only costs one, unlike Meltdown (which would then be four mana)
- You get to play a card with a sweet Pink elephant on it
The real downside to Pulverize is that you have to adjust your mana base to support it, although, you'd have to do the same for Shattering Spree as well. From the standard manabase, I cut a Chrome Mox to add in a fourteenth land (Bayou) and then swapped an Underground Sea with a second copy of Volcanic Island. This changes the play style of the deck a little bit, I now search for Volcanic Island first when to cast things like Ponder or Brainstorm in case a Wasteland were to strike. You wouldn't want to lose your only Underground Sea so easily. One nice thing about this change is I found myself searching up the basic Swamp to pair with the Volcanic Islands more often, which provides some stability.
Alternatively, you could not play the Bayou main deck (You would lose a sideboard slot to Bayou) and keep the second Underground Sea. But at that point, you're a fifteen land deck against Miracles without the option of casting Burning Wish for Reverent Silence. I never once had issues with needing a second Underground Sea, I just searched properly for Volcanic Island and then planned my combo turns around what lands I needed - sometimes this means searching up the Underground Sea first. More often than not, it just meant keeping Lotus Petal off of a Ponder or Brainstorm as a black mana source if I needed it.
Below you'll see the list I played in the main event, then next to it my changes moving forward. I'll explain those at the end!
- 4 Burning Wish
- 4 Infernal Tutor
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Ponder
- 4 Gitaxian Probe
- 4 Cabal Therapy
- 3 Duress
- 1 Ad Nauseam
Post EE6 Decklist
- 4 Burning Wish
- 4 Infernal Tutor
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Ponder
- 4 Gitaxian Probe
- 3 Cabal Therapy
- 3 Duress
- 1 Ad Nauseam
Trip to Baltimore & The Event
When trying to plan for the trip to Eternal Extravaganza VI, I spoke to Legacy players from my community. I had a hard time finding anyone who said they were interested in going, I believe the added distance from Syracuse, NY turned away a few cars of players. A car from Cortland, NY (south of Syracuse) was nice enough to let me join them on the six hour drive and the weekend.
The event itself wasn't very large, a mere 184 players! Eternal Extravaganza V was in the 300 player ballpark. Which is a pretty big let down to the Legacy community, if people want Legacy to thrive, they need to show up to events when they happen. They can't only complain about the lack of Star City Games support online and then not show up. I know that I'm fairly vocal about my distaste of companies cutting Legacy events - but I also show up to every large Legacy event that I can. I'm not sure if it was the new Grand Prix style entry fee ($75) or the move to Baltimore from central Pennsylvania, but I was shocked by the turn out.
Tales of Adventure definitely took a hit on this event and I don't want to see it happen again, this is a great tournament series and I hope there are more bodies in the room for the next one. After playing in two Grand Prix where for my $80 I didn't receive a playmat or anything else (other than the promo), it felt good receiving a playmat and a high quality deck box. I'm actually a really big fan of the free deck box that was given away. I made a switch to triple sleeves (now I use KMC hard perfect fits instead) awhile back and was forced to use a deck box I didn't like and place my deck in two halves of the box – this DEX deck box fits my entire deck with sideboard dividers perfectly. I'm not being paid to advertise for DEX deck boxes but I am happy with what I received.
Round One - Luke Wade with Miracles
After driving me to Baltimore, of course I would have to face Luke in the first round. We play in the same local Legacy event every week and Luke has yet to beat me – I had a weird "pit in my stomach" sort of feeling that it was about to change.
Game One: Luke wins the die roll and starts with a basic Island. I begin the day with a Gitaxian Probe: Brainstorm, Brainstorm, Counterbalance, Monastery Mentor, Council's Judgment and Terminus. I lay a Bloodstained Mire and pass the turn. Luke draws a Flooded Strand for turn, plays it and passes the turn. On my next turn I lay a Volcanic Island and cast Brainstorm - hoping to draw a discard spell, I do not and am forced to pass the turn. Luke casts a Brainstorm on my end step, untaps and slams Counterbalance to the table with an untapped land. I search up Bayou, then draw for turn. I play an Underground Sea and cast Burning Wish, Luke casts Brainstorm and counters my spell with his Counterbalance (with a Snapcaster Mage). On my next turn, I cast Rite of Flame, Luke responds with Snapcaster Mage into Brainstorm. My spell is once again countered by Counterbalance.
Luke is making land drops, but none of them are fetchlands. He plays a Monastery Mentor, but has no way of fueling monks. I wait a few turns and try again, Dark Ritual. Luke reveals Monastery Mentor! With a few cards in hand, I realize he only has one unknown card, I'm going for it. I cast a second Dark Ritual, no response from Luke, Lotus Petal, Lion's Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor and Ad Nauseam. Luke reveals his land of another non-fetchland plus Swords to Plowshares, Council's Judgment and Terminus. We're onto the next game.
Game Two: My opening hand is: Brainstorm, Lotus Petal, Duress, Abrupt Decay, Rite of Flame, Volcanic Island and Bloodstained Mire. Luke begins with a Flooded Strand, I search up Underground Sea with Bloodstained Mire and cast Duress: Surgical Extraction, Counterbalance, Vendilion Clique, Arid Mesa, Flooded Strand and Plains. I think for a moment as part of me wants to take the Surgical Extraction, but I ultimately decide I don't want to lose the game to a second Counterbalance. We play the next few turns as "draw, go". When the time for Vendilion Clique comes on my draw step, I decide I won't respond and reveal a stacked hand that now includes Infernal Tutor and Lion's Eye Diamond, Luke pauses for a moment and says keep them. I wonder if it's a bluff, did he draw Force of Will? I have to respect it. I pass the turn, Luke attacks and passes. I cast Brainstorm, I draw another Brainstorm, Surgical Extraction and Lion's Eye Diamond. On his end step, I Surgical Extraction the Counterbalances. Luke reveals his hand of lands and Surgical Extraction, from there it's easy combo-ing.
(Looking back at it, part of me wonders/can't remember why I didn't just main phase the Brainstorm looking for a discard spell. The only logical thought is I wanted to wait and be a card deeper. But then after Luke's turn, I changed my mind?)
I cast a whole bunch of mana ramping into Infernal Tutor for Ad Nauseam. Luke removes my Infernal Tutors from the game with Surgical Extraction in response. I end up having to Burning Wish for Dark Petition for the Tendrils of Agony to close out the game.
2-0 | 1-0
Round Two - Joe Stempo with bUrg Midrange
Game One: I'm a bit stuck on mana, I use a pair of Burning Wish as bait. Which Joe bites on, from there, I play a land, followed by three Dark Ritual and Infernal Tutor. Joe's hand is Force of Will and X, I'm banking on X not being a blue card. Ad Nauseam resolves. It's a pretty terrible Ad Nauseam, I stop at five and wondered if I should've played a little more conservatively in order to win. But with Ad Nauseam resolving, I was convinced the other card in his hand was a land. I then die to Kolaghan's Command and Joe's attack step.
Game Two: I have a hand full of mana and Ad Nauseam, but no protection at all. I try to cantrip into some, but Joe's deck is now full of Pyroblasts. He plays a Thoughtseize and I decide I need to respond with Ad Nauseam. I had the option of saving a Dark Ritual and tapping two lands, but I would've hated myself if I lost to Spell Pierce. Even after burning the two copies of Dark Ritual, I had one still in my hand.
Game Three: I spend a lot of time looking for more business spells and protection, but just come up short. I eventually die to Deathrite Shamans with a hand of three Rite of Flame and three Lotus Petal.
3-2 | 1-1
Round Three - Steven Dupal with Death & Taxes
I was originally paired up to a guy named Virgil who was 1-0-1, then the judges came and moved me to Steven who was 0-0-2. I knew my breakers were going to be terrible from here on out.
Game One: Steven mulligans to five, scries to the top of his library, then plays a basic Plains and a Mother of Runes. I play a pair of Chrome Mox, then a pair of Lion's Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor and Ad Nauseam.
Game Two: Once again Steven has a first turn Mother of Runes and then I once again have a first turn Ad Nauseam. Expect it fails, I'm forced to play a Lotus Petal and pass, with a tapped Chrome Mox and a basic Swamp. Steven is forced into playing a Plains and a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. I play Burning Wish for Massacre and cast it. Stephen plays a Phyrexian Revoker, I cast Abrupt Decay on my turn. Stephen then plays Council's Judgment on my Chrome Mox. At this point I have a window to go off and I do with Burning Wish for Past in Flames.
5-2 | 2-1
Round Four - William Parshall with Reid Duke BUG
I'd like to state that I don't care what other people call this deck. By this description, you know 70/75 cards I'm talking about.
Game One: I win the die roll and start with a Duress taking a Force of Will, leaving William with: Brainstorm, Deathrite Shaman, Counterspell, Leovold, Emissary of Trest, Polluted Delta and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. William plays a first turn Deathrite Shaman off of an Underground Sea (Polluted Delta). I play a Ponder, Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor (reveal: Rite of Flame), Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Burning Wish, Past in Flames and then a concession.
Game Two: After a few Gitaxian Probes and discard spells, the game state is that my opponent has two Deathrite Shaman, two Noble Hierarch a Tarmogoyf with Mind Break Trap and a single unknown card in hand. On my previous turn I played a Ponder leaving Ad Nauseam on top of my Library and a Duress. I draw Ad Nauseam, Dark Ritual? Ad Nauseam. Resolves. From thirteen life, I stop at 2. I have a decent amount of mana but no disruption. I play a Ponder, shuffle and then a Brainstorm. They both miss. I try to get William to bite on mana, but he's not biting for my bait spells. Burning Wish? I honestly thought he'd take that - Nope. I decide to get Past in Flames. I can then Infernal Tutor for a discard spell and then flash back the Past in Flames. Except, the other card in William's hand was Surgical Extraction and I get blown out. I can't help but wonder if I was supposed to take a different line there. I didn't have enough mana to use Dark Petition and win if it was countered. I had a few Infernal Tutors in hand, but needed to become hellbent to really get full milage. If I had a discard spell in there, that would've worked.
Game Three: I start the third game with an Underground Sea into Duress. I take William's Thoughtseize and leave him with: Deathrite Shaman, Deathrite Shaman, True-Name Nemesis, Ponder, Misty Rainforest and Bayou. William plays a Deathrite Shaman off of Bayou. I cast Ponder and can win on the following turn, while casting a Duress on this turn. I decide I should probably strip William of his Ponder with my Cabal Therapy. William has drawn a land. His turn consists of a second Deathrite Shaman and the Misty Rainforest. On my third turn, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual & Ad Nauseam? Force of Will.
6-4 | 2-2
I felt robbed, two games in a row the top of my opponent's deck had defeated me. Was I supposed to wait on the Cabal Therapy? Likely not. Then it becomes a guessing game. This match felt pretty crushing, like one that slipped through my fingers somehow.
Round Five - Peter Lou with Stifle BUG Delver
I know Peter from the signed card groups, he has a Miracles deck that is mostly signed. As we sit I jokingly ask, "whoever has more signatures wins?"
Game One: Peter wins the die roll and starts off with Underground Sea into Delver of Secrets – what??? I play a few lands before attempting any spells. I Duress Peter and look at: Brainstorm, Stifle, a pair of Daze, Tarmogoyf and a Ponder. I take the Brainstorm. I play a pair of Lotus Petals and then activate a Bloodstained Mire, which resolves. Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor (reveal: Rite of Flame), Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Burning Wish, Past in Flames and Peter concedes. There just was never an opportune time for him to use his Dazes effectively.
Game Three: This game was very similar to our first game, but instead of Past in Flames I used Ad Nauseam. I played a Duress to take Peter's Brainstorm, once again leaving him with only Stifle. Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor & Ad Nauseam.
8-5 | 3-2
Round Six - Ryan Dail with Eldrazi
Game One: Ryan Mulligans, but it doesn't matter. I start off with a Gitaxian Probe revealing: Chalice of the Void, Thought-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher and four lands. Volcanic Island, Lotus Petal, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Lion's Eye Diamond and Ad Nauseam.
Game Two: Ryan starts off with his deck's equivalent, turn one Chalice of the Void for 0 & 1. On Ryan's second turn he has a Thought-Knot Seer. I play Burning Wish for Pulverize but only have one Mountain, if over the next four turns I can draw one, I can destroy the Chalice of the Voids and then use the Gitaxian Probe and/or Brainstorm in my hand to hopefully find a Tutor effect so that I can win. I never draw another land and Ryan never plays a Wasteland.
Game Three: My notes say, "Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor and Ad Nauseam." After the game Ryan told me that after his mulligan he had scried a Ratchet Bomb to the top of library in case I went for Goblin tokens.
10-6 | 4-2
Round Seven - Scott Emlet with BR Reanimator
As we're shuffling, Scott reveals what he's playing and I know I need something quick or something with Disruption.
Game One: I keep a hand of: Underground Sea, Dark Ritual, Duress, Duress, Ponder, Ponder and Infernal Tutor. I think that's a strong hand for this match. Scott wins the die roll and starts off with a Faithless Looting discarding a Chancellor of the Annex and Griselbrand. I draw a Burning Wish for turn and think, "Am I really going to burn this Dark Ritual to Duress twice this turn?" then it happened. Although, Scott's hand was bad: Dark Ritual, Firestorm, Faithless Looting, Badlands and Bloodstained Mire. I left him with the last three. This is a relatively slow game where I have really clunky draws over the next few turns, a second Infernal Tutor and Ad Nauseam. I play the second Ponder and see, Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual and Rite of Flame. If I get to untap I win the game. On Scott's second flashback Faithless Looting he finally hits a Reanimate effect and I lose the game before I can untap.
Game Two: I mulligan and keep a hand of: Surgical Extraction, Cabal Therapy, Dark Ritual, Bloodstained Mire, Underground Sea and Volcanic Island. I scry a Chrome Mox to the bottom. I play an Underground Sea and pass the turn. Scott starts off the game with Badlands, Simian Spirit Guide, Faithless Looting and then a Reanimate targeting Griselbrand. I meet him with Surgical Extraction. Scott is left with Collective Brutality, Exhume and a land. I untap and draw another land, Cabal Therapy on Exhume (there's some argument for the Collective Brutality, but at that point in the game it was just an expensive Duress). Scott untaps, draws and smiles. Collective Brutality, escalate discarding Sire of Insanity. I lose my Dark Ritual as well as two life. I draw Burning Wish for the turn and use it to retrieve Past in Flames from my sideboard, if I can fade a single draw step I can use it as a four mana Surgical Extraction on Sire of Insanity, which is my plan. Although, once again Scott smiles during his draw step - Exhume? I spend the next few turns trying to set up for a flashback Past in Flames, but the turn before I can, Scott draws a Reanimate to bring back Iona, Shield of Emeria to seal the deal.
10-8 | 4-3
Round Eight - Kory Fox Ponting 4c Chalice Loam
I had watched Kory play against Sam Roukas in the first round of the event, so I knew what he was playing and I'm sure Kory knew what I was playing.
Game One: Kory mulligans. Because of the matchup, I keep a hand of: Duress, Infernal Tutor, Burning Wish, Dark Ritual, Bloodstained Mire, Bloodstained Mire and Volcanic Island. I win the die roll, then lead the round with an Underground Sea off of a Bloodstained Mire and cast Duress. Kory Reveals: Chalice of the Void, Mox Diamond, Punishing Fire, Tranquil Thicket, Dryad Arbor and Abrupt Decay. I deny him of a first turn Chalice of the Void. Kory plays a Mox Diamond, cycles a Thicket, lays a land and passes. I draw my fourth land and then decide to Infernal Tutor for another copy of Dark Ritual, this way, I still have Burning Wish open for Massacre or Pulverize (I had seen Thalia, Guardian of Thraben earlier). Kory, draws, lays a land and passes back. I draw a fifth land... I cast Burning Wish for Dark Petition. Kory hits me with a Punishing Fire and then untaps, draws and plays a Chalice of the Void on one. Over the next few turns we're drawing and passing, I'm taking incremental hits from Dryad Arbor. When I reach five lands in play, I tap them all and search for Ad Nauseam using Dark Petition - although I can't even cast it. I could search for Burning Wish for Pulverize, but that doesn't advance my game state at all. The game plan is to Ad Nauseam on Kory's end step, untap, Pulverize and win.
Kory attacks me down to 10 life and taps out to play a Liliana of the Veil, which I am thrilled about. It means that I won't be disrupted from winning on my turn. On his end step, tap five lands & Ad Nauseam? I reveal a number of blue draw spells, two Burning Wish, a single Rite of Flame and lands. I draw and play Burning Wish for Pulverize, sacrificing Badlands and Volcanic Island. From there, I play Ponder - don't like what I see, shuffle and draw another Rite of Flame. Then I cast Brainstorm into Lion's Eye Diamond. I then Burning Wish for Past in Flames and Kory picks up his cards.
Game Two: My notes from this game say, "Turn one: Chalice of the Void, turn two: Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, turn three: Dark Confidant and turn four: Gaddock Teeg". For what it's worth, I attempted to get back into the game by casting Burning Wish for Massacre on my third turn, but Kory revealed a land to Dark Confidant and then drew Green Sun's Zenith for turn. He chuckled as it happened saying, he couldn't have had a better draw. I felt like it was becoming a theme for my day at that point.
Game Three: Kory shuffles all the way down to four cards in hand. My opening hand was incredibly solid: Abrupt Decay, Ponder, Infernal Tutor, Dark Ritual, Lion's Eye Diamond, Bloodstained Mire and Polluted Delta. I searched up Underground Sea and cast Ponder into Lion's Eye Diamond, Abrupt Decay and a third land. I kept them, drew, played my pair of Lion's Eye Diamond and passed. Even on Kory's now five cards, he lands a first turn Chalice of the Void for zero. At this point I decide that time is on my side and that I'm going to wait to destroy the Chalice of the Void and that's exactly what I do on Kory's end step (his turn was uneventful). I untap, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor and cast Ad Nauseam (floating BR). I make it halfway through before Kory picks up his cards.
12-9 | 5-3
Totals & Stats
- Games & Record: 12-9 | 5-3
- The Die Roll: 4-4
- Mulligans: 3
- Turn One Kills: 3
- Ad Nauseam Wins: 9
- Past in Flames Wins: 3
- Empty the Warrens Wins: 0
- Natural Storm Wins: 0
Changes & Closing
Nothing too major is happening to the deck list, but after shaving a Chrome Mox, I had a number of failed Ad Nauseams and it felt pretty bad. After adding in the seventh discard spell when becoming "win-condition-less", it's leaving to become the third Chrome Mox. I'm not entirely confident in this change, because I'm not sure how it works with the business to mana ratios – but it seems right to me.
The Cabal Therapy that was cut is moving to the sideboard over the third copy of Surgical Extraction, which was only used in the Reanimator matchup. I like bringing in two Surgical Extraction for the Miracles matchup, but three feels like overkill. After the games against the Leovold, Emissary of Trest BUG deck where I effectively lost due to not having a sideboard discard spell, this seems better than an additional Surgical Extraction. It can also be sided in similarly in those types of matches.
Overall it was a great event, it was ran well, I just wished that more people showed up to support Tales of Adventure. I had a blast the entire time, which isn't something I can say about playing in so many Standard GPs and PPTQs. There's just something different when playing Legacy, even when I was eliminated, I was content with counting to ten.
Hopefully I'll see more of you at SCG: Worcester next month. Until next time, keep storming!