Modern Horizons 2 was a set that I was a little bit terrified for, especially after how the original Modern Horizons influenced Legacy. Fortunately, Modern Horizons 2 seems to have provided many new options for The EPIC Storm!
Cards For the EPIC Storm
[[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] is the first creature in Magic to be printed with Storm. This presents a few interesting properties about it as opposed to every other current Storm spell: It cannot be countered by [[Force of Negation]] or [[Flusterstorm]]. It is not taxed by [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] effects, and it can be cast through many of the hate bears such as [[Lavinia, Azorius Renegade]] and [[Gaddock Teeg]] as both of those only lock out non creature spells. An interesting interaction, such as [[Empty the Warrens]], is casting many artifact spells into a [[Wishclaw Talisman]] into [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] against an [[Ethersworn Canonist]] is a viable line. While giving an opponent a [[Wishclaw Talisman]] and not winning on the same turn can be scary, there are so few answers to a large [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] especially when compared to [[Empty the Warrens]]. Unlike [[Goblin Token]]s, the copies of [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] have a few interesting properties. They actually have a mana value of five because they are copies of a permanent spell that enter the battlefield as tokens. This means that cards like [[Engineered Explosives]] and [[Ratchet Bomb]] are not easy answers. In terms of commonly played cards, [[Terminus]], [[Supreme Verdict]], and [[Toxic Deluge]] are the only cards that could sweep away a group of oozes. This all makes giving an opponent a [[Wishclaw Talisman]] much less risky.
[[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] also presents lethal damage at absurdly low Storm counts. The general formula to calculate how much power any given Storm count will create is (n^2 + 3n)/2, where n is the Storm count. At just Storm five, [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] generates enough power to win the game!
For The EPIC Storm, [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] can be a sideboard plan against various Delver strategies. Because the oozes can not be easily answered through any cards that they play, this makes the GGG in the mana cost payable through [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. Card like [[Carpet of Flowers]] also make casting [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] from hand easier. This is all a similar plan to what TES was doing in 2017-2018 with four copies of [[Empty the Warrens]] to board in against Delver.
There is some counter play for opponents, however. Killing the first token with the rest still on the stack reduces the Storm count by one (effectively killing the largest copy) because [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] looks for other oozes one controls when it enters the battlefield. The same idea works for the opponent countering any particular copy of the spell. [[Karakas]] can fortunately only bounce one ooze: the original card, which would be the largest ooze.
From the first reading of this card during preview season, to playing with the card, this was the card that improved the most in my evaluation. [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] is a card to play with for the foreseeable future.
As a new Storm engine, [[Galvanic Relay]] fills the role in an odd way. By casting it, it signals that most of the current combo turn is over. Resolving the card is an investment in a future turn, which means that one has to live and not get locked out of the game during that turn. The most effective [[Galvanic Relay]]s tend to be against slower blue decks where “drawing” 4-5 cards next turn is plenty to win the game. It is especially good with mana rocks like [[Lotus Petal]] and [[Chrome Mox]] to generate Storm while leaving cards in play as opposed to rituals, which become more of a rummaging effect. Playing at least one copy in the sideboard makes [[Burning Wish]] a much bigger threat compared to only being able to find [[Echo of Eons]] or [[Thoughtseize]]. Especially when blue decks are loading up on [[Hullbreacher]] style effects, having an engine that goes around anti-draw effects and is able to be found with [[Burning Wish]] is important.
Because [[Galvanic Relay]] exiles the cards, it plays well with [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] kind of becomes an initial mana source.
In non blue matchups, [[Galvanic Relay]] can be boarded in as a very fast engine. On turn one, even finding it with [[Wishclaw Talisman]] might be good enough against a deck without zero-mana permanent hate. It can also be cast through [[Gaddock Teeg]], though a removal spell would still need to be found to win the game with [[Tendrils of Agony]].
[[Strike It Rich]] is a small, innocuous card that can act like a lot of glue in certain metagames in TES. While this card does not create mana on the same turn it is cast, it plays into the turn over turn development style that modern iterations of TES lean into. It also plays well with [[Rite of Flame]] to filter the red mana into a more useful color like black or green. Most importantly, it is a card that enables both [[Chrome Mox]] and [[Mox Opal]]. By creating an artifact while not actually being an artifact card, it can smooth out some draws by having more enablers for each moxen. Having flashback comes up surprisingly often in longer games and is not just trinket text.
The main problem with this card is that it is slow and is actively bad to flip off of [[Ad Nauseam]]. While this is the spot where the color filtering comes up most often, costing a life and not generating mana is a big drawback. Playing four copies of this card is probably too many and in a slow metagame dominated by control decks, playing these split with [[Rite of Flame]] is a real option.
Squirrels! This card is to [[Empty the Warrens]] as [[Grapeshot]] is to [[Tendrils of Agony]]; half the mana for half the effect. While this card may be dominating Pauper, it struggles to find a home in Legacy. With sideboard slots being so tight and a large amount of Storm is needed to generate even a reasonable number of squirrels, [[Chatterstorm]] requires a very specific metagame to merit a sideboard slot. It is castable through [[Gaddock Teeg]], but it requires an insane amount of Storm that is hard to get to beat something like a [[Batterskull]], or even a couple of blockers.
This is a more than niche sideboard option and has applications in a wide range of match ups. For [[Dress Down]], having flash is the only reason that it could potentially be playable. The base play pattern is to cast [[Dress Down]] on the opponent’s end step, blank all of their hate bears, draw a card, and then untap to win the game. In those nonblue matchups, unfortunately, [[Dress Down]] is a tad narrow compared to a card like [[Echoing Truth]] and [[Massacre]] tends to do the same thing while being free and able to be found with [[Burning Wish]]. Where [[Dress Down]] can shine especially well is in combo match ups that have large creatures. It can shut down an Elves combo turn very well and “counter” the trigger from [[Craterhoof Behemoth]]. Against [[Griselbrand]] decks, getting this into play in response to a reanimation spell or through [[Show and Tell]] prevents that player from drawing any cards during their main phase. Note that [[Dress Down]] would leave play at their end of turn so a Sneak and Show player can still draw cards in response to an attempt to go off. Against [[Doomsday]], casting this in response to [[Thassa’s Oracle]] will remove the triggered ability from it and prevent them from winning the game. This is a good card to have in the Storm box for certain metagames.
Cards that do not make it
Grouping all of the new Suspend spells together, they all share the same fundamental problem: after turn one, they are bad draws and bad off of [[Ad Nauseam]]. While they do not cause life loss through [[Ad Nauseam]], they are also all dead cards on that turn. [[Profane Tutor]] is likely the closest to playable in The EPIC Storm, but two turns of suspend is still too many and [[Wishclaw Talisman]] has other synergies in the deck that are better. For [[Gaea’s Will]], suspending it does not do a good [[Yawgmoth’s Will]] impression. One of the strengths of [[Yawgmoth’s Will]] is to cast many spells and then the [[Yawgmoth’s Will]] to rebuy them. [[Gaea’s Will]] only allows for re buying what is already in the graveyard when it resolves and as such it does not “double” any spells cast the same turn as it.
[[Diamond Lion]] is a cool throwback to [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] with a major drawback. Beyond costing two mana, it has to actually tap to activate which means that the lion is affected by summoning sickness. While it could play into a developing style of play, being unable to use it as a bad [[Pyretic Ritual]] on the combo turn kills a lot of it’s potential.
For [[Brainstone]], the activation cost is just one too many mana. While a one mana artifact to help enable [[Mox Opal]] is powerful, the effect that this generates relative to the mana investment is just not good enough for Legacy. [[Brainstorm]] might be the best card in Legacy, but this is a far cry from being anywhere close to that power level.
Cards Around Legacy
[[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]] is one of the new premier threats for the Delver strategies. While the 2/1 body itself is not particularly threatening, it’s ability to generate treasure and steal cards from the top of the deck, playing against it has a few quirks. Cantripping becomes different when the top of one’s library may be stolen or removed. This can be an advantage by using an opponent’s [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]] to “clear” a card from [[Brainstorm]] or [[Ponder]]. The scariest play pattern is post board, a [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]] can steal a [[Wishclaw Talisman]] and find a [[Null Rod]] or similar. For this reason, boarding in copies of [[Abrupt Decay]] against Delver becomes more of a necessity.
While this card is just a glorified [[Thoughtseize]], Hogaak decks and B/R Reanimator have picked this up as extra disruption. [[Veil of Summer]] is still insane against the pattern of evoking [[Grief]] and then reanimating it. For Hogaak decks, this is a piece in bringing back multiple copies of [[Vengevine]]. It can be an unexpected burst of damage and disruption all at once, especially compared to just [[Cabal Therapy]].
The [[Tormod’s Crypt]]-esque effect of [[Endurance]] normally does not impact The EPIC Storm. It can make copies of [[Rite of Flame]] produce fewer mana than expected or shuffle in an [[Echo of Eons]] if one is taking actions after putting it into the graveyard.
[[Prismatic Ending]] is one of the premier removal spells for Bant control. It gives the strategy a tool similar to [[Abrupt Decay]] from BUG Control. Playing out permanents like [[Defense Grid]], [[Wishclaw Talisman]], and especially [[Carpet of Flowers]]. Because of how things are shaping up post Modern Horizons 2, [[Carpet of Flowers]] might be cut from the sideboard for a while.
Modern Legacy, pt 2
Just like the original Modern Horizons, Modern Horizons 2 promises to reshape Legacy more than a little bit. This time, The EPIC Storm got a lot of new printings to test. [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] appear to be the most promising so far. Let us know in the comments what cards you’re most excited for from Modern Horizons 2!