Even though it has been a few years since being at the top of the metagame, a [[Pyretic Ritual]] and [[Desperate Ritual]]-based Storm inModern is back and faster than ever in its new Gruul-based form!
Instead of relying on the engine of [[Gifts Ungiven]] and [[Past in Flames]] to give us everything, we have the broken [[Underworld Breach]] and [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] engine to cast and find everything we need to kill the opponent. Now, we only require four mana to start comboing off from the graveyard with [[Underworld Breach]] instead of six like with [[Past in Flames]]. Additionally, we get to dig further to our copies of [[Grapeshot]] with [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] for every spell we cast.
The deck’s speed is a great asset, but it does come at the cost of forcing us to run more red cards and cutting blue entirely. Green is able to fill in this role now though even better than blue because we have an upgraded cantrip in [[Abundant Harvest]] that lets us skimp out on some land to only run 16 in the main deck. [[Goblin Anarchomancer]] is also an upgrade as a cost-reducer.
We also get a great setup engine in the form of [[Galvanic Relay]], and [[Strike It Rich]] provides the mana. Another area that I have explored and am currently liking with the deck is the addition of the card [[Wish]]. This enables the flexibility to somewhat sidestep the graveyard more easily, which is more important in postboard games, while also upping the number of effective copies of [[Underworld Breach]] in our deck from four to six. While the added flexibility of [[Wish]] is quite nice, it does come at the cost of slowing us down a bit due to the card being more mana intensive. This means we need more rituals or a [[Goblin Anarchomancer]] in play to enable our turn 2-3 wins.
Another key difference with this build is the omission of [[Mishra’s Bauble]]. While the card is somewhat of an auto include for any [[Underworld Breach]] deck with [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]], I have gone without it as the delayed card draw has been a bit awkward with being a deck that wants to pivot to winning on a dime. Additionally, the more mana-intensive nature of this [[Wish]] build to where I would want to have another land and also more cards to give deeper card selection I could use the same turn such as [[Reckless Impulse]]. This hinders the power of an early [[Underworld Breach]], but similarly to [[Wish]], gives us more of an ability to pivot from the graveyard if needed. After many matches, this is the current list I have arrived at:
- 4 [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]]
- 4 [[Goblin Anarchomancer]]
- 4 [[Abundant Harvest]]
- 4 [[Strike It Rich]]
- 2 [[Reckless Impulse]]
- 3 [[Underworld Breach]]
- 3 [[Wish]]
- 2 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 4 [[Desperate Ritual]]
- 4 [[Pyretic Ritual]]
- 4 [[Manamorphose]]
- 3 [[Lightning Bolt]]
- 3 [[Grapeshot]]
- 2 [[Arid Mesa]]
- 3 [[Scalding Tarn]]
- 2 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
- 2 [[Wooded Foothills]]
- 4 [[Stomping Ground]]
- 3 [[Mountain]]
- 2 [[Boseiju, Who Endures]]
- 4 [[Veil of Summer]]
- 1 [[Lightning Bolt]]
- 2 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 1 [[Grapeshot]]
- 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
- 1 [[Underworld Breach]]
- 1 [[Blood Moon]]
- 1 [[Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar]]
- 1 [[Jegantha, The Wellspring]]
The first three of these have been the core of all ritual-based Storm decks in modern and are pretty self explanatory. The copies of [[Strike It Rich]] are speeding the deck up to enable some turn-two wins, and they also synergize with our [[Underworld Breach]] plan. The [[Goblin Anarchomancer]] is our cost reducer, similar to [[Goblin Electromancer]], but also reduces our non-instants and sorceries, such as [[Underworld Breach]]. This enables us to potentially go off from just a [[Manamorphose]] with an [[Goblin Anarchomancer]] in play. Needing a reducer to win the game though for this deck is not as high as past versions of Storm, however, as we can combo off from much lower mana than before with [[Underworld Breach]] costing only two mana instead of [[Past in Flames]] costing four mana.
[[Abundant Harvest]] is amazing here as it lets us only run 16 lands, and enables us to keep many one-land hands. Though not exactly a fast cantrip [[Reckless Impulse]] also let us keep churning through our deck either the turn before or during a combo turn. Many times, it is correct to just cast this spell on turn two as a mini [[Galvanic Relay]] to set up an explosive following turn as well. While not exactly a cantrip itself, [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] is what helps us churn through our library to reliably hit our payoff spells, especially mid combo.
The main engine is to just fill up our graveyard for [[Underworld Breach]] similar to other Modern decks, but we also want to escape some rituals to gain mana and then [[Grapeshot]] the opponent a few times. Our other engine that shines in slightly slower matchups usually is [[Galvanic Relay]] where we can use up a lot of our resources to just keep the board clear and try and overwhelm an opponent the following turn. The main difference with the build is of course the addition of [[Wish]], which enables us to have a sideboard package of win conditions and payoffs similar to The EPIC Storm in Legacy. While it is only three maindeck slots, the plan of running [[Wish]] does significantly alter our ability to play as a deck in longer games as we are way less graveyard reliant due to being able to pivot to a [[Galvanic Relay]] or [[Empty the Warrens]] as most decks now have a decent amount of graveyard hate due to the huge amount of decks abusing [[Underworld Breach]].
Here, we have [[Grapeshot]] to of course win the game, but with lots of copies, we can also use them to buy time quite a bit (as well as rebuy them from the graveyard later). Similarly, since we do not have as many cantrips to dig through the deck, [[Lightning Bolt]] also helps out here to buy time against creature based strategies. This is something somewhat unique in this version, as opposed to the versions without [[Wish]], that comes up more often as we are a bit slower and have fewer cheap cantrip spells. One thing that is also nice about having [[Underworld Breach]] over [[Past in Flames]] is even if we use up resources on an early [[Grapeshot]], we are also getting to use that same one multiple times on a combo turn later so we do not need to rely on having to draw another.
The copies of [[Lightning Bolt]] are for when we want extra removal to take care of early creatures and to be able to pivot to a “burn the opponent out” game plan. [[Boseiju, Who Endures]] is our answer to pesky artifact and enchantment hate that is also uncounterable, which is great for against [[Chalice of the Void]]. Plus, it can be a land drop if not needed which is quite handy in slower matchups and also with mulligans. Finally, [[Veil of Summer]] serves a similar role as in many green decks to protect against counters and discard mostly. It’s important to note, however, that against slower decks with [[Chalice of the Void]], the [[Veil of Summer]] helps a lot against one set on two. The remainder of the sideboard is all copies of cards to grab with [[Wish]] that we will not be boarding in almost ever. The uncuttable cards here are the [[Underworld Breach]], [[Empty the Warrens]], [[Grapeshot]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] which form our fourth through sixth copies in a sense of our win conditions and engines.
The remaining cards I have come to like to fill out our [[Wish]] targets are cards that can be either lights out for a deck or another way for us to attack with creatures similar to [[Empty the Warrens]]. [[Blood Moon]] serves as the card we can get to lock out some [[Leyline Binding]]-based decks or an Amulet Titan decks. The only other card I have is [[Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar]]. This may seem a bit odd over something like [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]], but this functions as a much easier to cast “tall” [[Empty the Warrens]] that also does not require us to fully commit all our resources to cast it. Additionally, it dodges lots of the smaller removal seeing play. We only need a storm count of 2-3 before casting [[Wish]] to enable casting the dinosaur, [[Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar]], for only a couple green mana. We can then win the game in just a couple turns, especially when backed up by a small [[Grapeshot]] or couple copies of [[Lightning Bolt]].
BASIC OPENING HAND GAMEPLANS
In this version, we must be a bit more aggressive with our mulligans than with the Izzet versions of Storm. For instance, we now can not really keep a one-land hand that does not have an [[Abundant Harvest]] or a [[Strike It Rich]] with a [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]]. We only have 16 lands in this build and really need to make at least our first two land drops if not the third. In this deck, we want to use our fetch lands as early as possible and often to fuel up our graveyard for [[Underworld Breach]] as opposed to trying to maximize our life total.
Next, we consider the opening sequencing of our one-drops and cantrips. Most of the time, it is correct to lead with [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] as even though it usually will not live long, we want to get the most value. This can sometimes be eating up a turn for removal or blocking a [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]]. Next, I prioritize [[Strike It Rich]] when going for speed in a racing matchup and then [[Abundant Harvest]] if we need land and the matchup is slower. Additionally, we should always keep in mind that even though an early [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] will die often we can also rebuy her when going off with an [[Underworld Breach]].
FAST or SLOW
While our first turn is usually quite scripted from what we keep in our opening hand, the following turns diverge quite quickly based on how the opponent is trying to win. Against quick decks, we will want to prioritize casting our [[Goblin Anarchomancer]] and also going for a big [[Galvanic Relay]] as quickly as possible to just get out as fast as we can. These matchups are a bit harder for us as the opponent is usually as fast if not faster, so prioritizing using resources to keep the board under control is usually great as well with [[Grapeshot]] and [[Lightning Bolt]].
Alternatively, against slower decks in the format such as Izzet Murktide and Domain Elementals, we just want to make our land drops, keep the board clear of early creatures and to be patient looking for a window to try and squeeze through, which is a very similar fashion to how we would play back in the Gifts Storm days. ITt is quite common to just cast a few copies of [[Lightning Bolt]] or flash back a [[Strike It Rich]] to keep accruing board presence to later have an overwhelming turn. Another thing to also think about in these slower matchups is if it’s worth it to take a window to grab a [[Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar]] to create a subgame around it similar to how we have used smaller [[Empty the Warrens]] turns in the past to make slow decks “deal with it or die” while not using up all our resources to combo off.
We want to be able to maximize any window the opponent gives us as our inevitability is not a given in almost any matchup with how we are set up, so be prepared to combo off if ever given the opportunity even in these slower matchups as well. A final thing to remember is given our slower nature, we still have the ability to be just like the fair [[Underworld Breach]] decks in that we can use copies of [[Lightning Bolt]] many times with some rituals and some [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]], [[Empty the Warrens]] or [[Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar]] attacks to just kill the opponent.
SIDEBOARDING OUT BASICS
There are only a few cards we will be boarding in as I mentioned in the above sideboard section. To review, these are the copies of [[Lightning Bolt]], [[Boseiju, Who Endures]] and [[Veil of Summer]]. The nice part is we don’t really have to do much with our thoughts on what to bring in over just thinking about what general types of plans our opponents will have. What commonly comes out for these though are also usually quite similar. It’s also worth noting we won’t ever really be boarding in more than about six cards as to keep the combo as intact as possible.
First and foremost, the most cuttable cards in the main deck are either [[Abundant Harvest]] or [[Lightning Bolt]] as they are the slowest cantrip or most dead cards that we typically have in many matchups. Additionally, most of the rest of our deck is part of the core engine. W can usually shave a copy of [[Underworld Breach]] when expecting lots of quick or free graveyard hate such as [[Endurance]] or a couple [[Galvanic Relay]] when they are also a deck that is as fast or faster than us. If you cut all four copies of [[Abundant Harvest]], you want to add at least a single copy of [[Boseiju, Who Endures]] to the deck to have enough lands to hit the first two or three land drops as well.