Adapting to Modern Horizons & M20

New cards entering Legacy used to be rare, possibly just one or two in a set. In just War of the Spark and Modern Horizons, there have been about 25 playable cards added to the format. Add in an impactful rules change in the London Mulligan, and that is quite the disruption! Personally, I have enjoyed a lot of the changes, but many of the internal heuristics that players have built up overtime have changed. Bryant’s Matchup Mulligan is a great place to start for learning how to mulligan with the new London Mulligan rules. Here, let’s examine the impact of the new cards and check out some of the new archetypes.

Force of Negation
Plague Engineer
Wrenn and Six

4C Control

One of biggest impacts of Modern Horizons was the printing of Wrenn and Six, allowing for the return of 4C Control. While Wrenn and Six is not huge threat vs. The EPIC Storm, the four-color control deck does play one to two main deck  Plague Engineer, with additional copies in the sideboard. This is something to keep in mind when casting Empty the Warrens. For the previous versions of the 4C Control deck which featured Deathrite Shaman, additional copies of Empty the Warrens were brought in to help fight past the discard and soft permission. Given the amount of answers that the 4C Control deck has to Empty the Warrens in its current form, it is most likely correct to not bring in the extra copies.

While most decklists that have been published did not play main deck Force of Negation, most lists had one or two in the sideboard. With just four Force of Will, an opponent has a 40 percent chance of having it in their opening hand. Add a single Force of Negation, and that chance goes up to 47 percent. Add the second, and the opponent has a 55 percent chance of having a force effect on the first turn. This doesn’t take into account cumulative odds from mulligans, but generally the coin flip of a force check is closer than it was pre-Modern Horizons.

Hydroblast is more popular than ever. This card is starting to see much more play because of amount of amazing red cards (like Burning Wish!) that have become more popular in the format. Wrenn and Six and Dreadhorde Arcanist have made answering red spells more important. This is splash damage for The EPIC Storm as the red spells in the deck are among the most important spells. In general, there are between one and two Hydroblast effects in most Delver and control sideboards.

RUG Delver & UR Delver

The main change that both of the Delver archetypes have experienced is both of them have started to main deck four Stifle (that has always been the case with RUG Delver). Stifle has an interesting property of “being silent” during the combo turn. This is a term that I use for conditional counter spells that matter, but not until a certain point in the combo turn. An opponent having a Stifle will allow the combo turn to happen and may just snag the Storm spell with it. Another example of a “silent” counter spell is Spell Snare, which sees occasional play in some Delver lists.

ANT, Depths, & Maverick

Veil of Summer
Collector Ouphe
Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Veil of Summer, while not from War of the Spark or Modern Horizons, deserves a mention of new cards to play around. I wish that the mana allowed The EPIC Storm to play this card as it’s very powerful. Here is a short list of what the card can do: act as a Silence, counter a discard spell such as Hymn to Tourach, counter a Tendrils of Agony, and counter removal spells. While not all of those functions are relevant to The EPIC Storm, countering a Tendrils of Agony is very important. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways around it. Like Stifle, it is a “silent” spell, so for the most part, it does not impede the combo turn. The difference is that once Veil of Summer resolves, Tendrils of Agony cannot be reasonably cast that turn. Fortunately, there are other ways to kill an opponent. Be prepared to win with Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens when playing against ANT, Depths, Elves, and Maverick. Veil of Summer is still finding it’s home overall in the format, so it may appear in other unexpected places as well.

Maverick’s newest toy is Collector Ouphe. Generally most lists are playing one somewhere in the 75. Null Rod effects are particularly potent against recent lists with multiple Mox Opal. Overall, Collector Ouphe does not particularly change the matchup as Green Sun’s Zenith for two has always been a scary spell.

A small note about the changes in Dark Depths decks: most of them are playing a Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis package with many small creatures. On their own, the creatures would not matter that much, except that it allows for the flashback of Cabal Therapy much more easily. There are also a few lists floating that have Mindbreak Trap in the sideboard, though most recent lists have moved away from that.

Adapting to the Metagame

Where does this leave The EPIC Storm? I think v7.5 is a great place to be. It has reasonable answers to most of the problems presented by the new cards and makes great use of our own new toy, Echo of Eons! The changes that need to be made are mostly in play style and approaches to each matchup. Legacy is changing faster than most people are used to, especially on Magic Online. It is just something to get used to. Below is a table of data depicted what we’ve discussed.

Card Name Miracles Stoneblade 4C Delver 4C Control Grixis Control Depths ANT Maverick
Force of Negation 0-2 Main 0-1 Main 0-1 Side 0-2 Side 0 0 0 0
Spell Pierce 2 Main 2 Main 0-1 Main 0 0 0 0 0
Spell Snare 0-2 Main 0-1 Main 0-1 Main 0 0 0 0 0
Stifle 0 0 0 or 4 Main 0 0 0 0 0
Hydroblast 1 Side 0-1 Side 2 Side 2 Side 2 Side 0 0 0
Veil of Summer 0 0 0 0 0 0-2 Side 2 Side 0-2 Side
Plague Engineer 0 0 2 Side 2 Main & 1 Side 2 Side 0-2 Side 0 2 Side
Collector Ouphe 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Side

Keep on storming, but maybe cast more Grapeshot this time!