Flex Spots and Indecisiveness

I’ve been analyzing my deck list over the last week or so due to the upcoming Star City Games Legacy event in Philadelphia at the end of February. It has me reconsidering some of our slots. Below is what I’ve been playing recently:

Deck List

Main Deck

Bloodstained Mire

I’ve been considering some changes, the first being moving Bayou to the main deck in order to create a sideboard slot. Our options for finding room are:

I dislike replacing the Swamp, since it takes away stability against Wasteland – which is something we crucially need. Chrome Mox is a fine replacement, but not something I’d like to do since it reduces speed and effectiveness of our Empty the Warrens along with Ad Nauseam. I think the easiest and the most unnoticed change would be replacing the eighth fetchland (Bloodstained Mire) with the Bayou, as the percentages of where Bayou not shuffling or color fixing compared to Bloodstained Mire are very low.

For what it’s worth, I don’t even really like sideboarding up to fourteen lands against Tempo decks as you’re taking out something like a Chrome Mox or Ponder. Which are actually decent in that match-up as it’s mana and consistency in a match where they attack our mana.


Surgical Extraction

I originally added in Surgical Extraction as an answer to help out against one of our worst match-ups – Reanimator. However, it has other applications like the Storm mirror or Dredge. My issue is that it just isn’t versatile to be used multiple times an event, I’ve been considering a pair of Thoughtseize over them. Which then had me wondering, if I needed two discard spells as I don’t have much to take out in the Storm mirror as it is. We’re likely just taking out Empty the Warrens and a Chrome Mox for the seventh discard spell and Tendrils of Agony (Protects us from opposing Surgical Extractions). If this were the case, we could add in another Chain of Vapor or even a personal favorite of mine – Grapeshot. Which would help with Empty the Warrens beatdown and small non-Death & Taxes creatures, as well as another direct damage win-condition.

With Sneak & Show and Reanimator’s numbers being down, I’ve considered cutting Xantid Swarm for different types of anti-blue cards (Especially since Sneak & Show just gained Warping Wail). I’ve considered the third and fourth copies of Empty the Warrens, but the issue I see here is that we’re viewed as the best Empty the Warrens based deck. The game plan is now to have multiple small Empty the Warrens opposed to one large one to ware the opponent down, these are my issues with the plan:

  • Miracles – Opponents already keep in their sweepers and even bring in additional ones, Miracles keeps in Terminus for Goblins but also as an answer to Xantid Swarm. The benefit I see here is it’s something to do when locked under Counterbalance. The downside I see is multiple copies of Terminus, Izzet Staticaster and Monastery Mentor making this plan not worthwhile.
  • Delver of Secrets Tempo – Multiple small Empties aren’t effective here as Delver of Secrets, Young Pyromancer and as well as other cards help them race us or nullify our threats. There’s also the fact that both Temur (RUG) Delver and Grixis Delver are running main deck Stifle, which doesn’t help our case.
  • Death & Taxes – a match where being fast is key, it would make sense that more four mana play lines would be ideal. But by going up to three Empty the Warrens post-board, we’re actually pigeonholing ourselves down potentially bad play lines against Batterskull, Ratchet Bomb or their heavy creature draws. This plan makes our best plan against them, Ad Nauseam, actually very bad.

For these reasons, I am not a fan of the multiple Empty the Warrens plan. It’s nice to have access when we need them, but sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t where we want to be. Which made me consider something else, the second copies of Tendrils of Agony and Past in Flames.

Past In Flames
Tendrils Of Agony

This plan is very similar to what the “Grinding Station” versions of storm do against Miracles, which I’m actually fine with. The problem I see is that our rituals aren’t as robust for the longer game and unknowingly bad players will side in cards like Rest in Peace or Grafdigger’s Cage against us thinking that we’re ANT. Making us side into their awful game plan.

It’s also that time of year where I wonder if we can get away without playing green for Abrupt Decay but instead play Wipe Away for Counterbalance while having better mana. Possibly Echoing Truths for the Chalice of the Void based decks if we don’t have green. It seems silly to run green only for the three cards if we opt not to run Xantid Swarm.

Wrap Up

I don’t have a proposed deck list, I’m sort of just throwing out things that have run through my head over the last few weeks. As the article title suggests, I’ve been feeling pretty indecisive on what to do. I’m open to hearing your thoughts, feel free to comment or send a message!

Until next time, keep storming!