Welcome to a New World Order for Legacy that ushers in our 50th episode of Infernal Tutoring! The recent Banned and Restricted announcement from Wizards of the Coast removed [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]] from our beloved format and serves as a pushing-off point for a fresh start. Despite this being a relatively minor change, we have also been introduced to a new Standard set in Kamigawa, Neon Dynasty. This looks to be a fun and engaging set that introduces a handful of new and exciting cards into the format like [[Boseiju, Who Endures]], [[Lion Sash]], and [[Kappa Cannoneer]].
There have also been some changes to The EPIC Storm during this time. White, our fifth color, has been dropped to create our current v12.8 list. This is in direct response to a reduction in the play of two cards that the five-color build sought to address: [[Deafening Silence]] and [[Mindbreak Trap]]. [[Prismatic Ending]] and [[Orim’s Chant]] did a superb job at answering these cards while also providing strong support in other matches. This did come at the cost of a five-color mana base, however. Since the start of the New Year, The EPIC Storm has sought to slim down with the idea of becoming a focused and powerful monster in the blue matchups. UR Delver and Bant/4-Color Control are still at the top of the meta and we want to take advantage of it. To that end, we have re-incorporated [[Carpet of Flowers]] into our sideboard for these two strategies. While we were cutting White, a [[Galvanic Relay]] was moved to the main deck, and [[Chain of Vapor]] took the place of [[Prismatic Ending]]. Our goal is to bully Blue decks with [[Galvanic Relay]] and [[Carpet of Flowers]] while still remaining an efficient combo deck in non-blue matchups.
(Twitter: @ForceofPhil | Podcast: Eternal Durdles)
When Phil first picked up Storm over a decade ago, he had no idea what he was doing. He played in a side event at an SCG Open on zero reps with the deck. Royce Walter (Royce from New York) and Bryant Cook, then known to many as “The Whirlwind,” were standing behind him writhing in pain as Phil made every incorrect play imaginable, and missed very easy kills turn after turn against an opponent who appeared to have the same understanding as Phil did as to how Storm worked. After losing game one, Phil reached for his sideboard not knowing what to do at all. He knew that to be a pro player, however, one had to shuffle all 15 sideboard cards in and then take 15 cards out so the opponent didn’t know how many cards were boarded in — Phil was obviously focused on the things that mattered.
After sifting through his deck for way too long, uncertain of what to take out, Phil got nervous that he was being watched by arguably the two best Storm players on the planet while not having any idea what he was doing. Phil frantically presented his deck after thinking through all the possible permutations (his thoughts were probably closer to imagining a bear riding a unicycle than any critical analysis of the match). When Phil’s opponent reached to cut his deck, Royce from New York said to Phil, “Did you just present a deck with your entire sideboard in it?” After that match, Phil promptly sold his Storm deck and used that money to buy Miracles. He’s been casting [[Entreat the Angels]] to his own detriment ever since.
You can listen to Phil, who has zero top finishes over his illustrious Magic career, on the Eternal Durdles podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. You can follow Phil @ForceofPhil on Twitter where he promotes banning fetchlands.
the epic Storm
- 4 [[Burning Wish]]
- 4 [[Wishclaw Talisman]]
- 4 [[Brainstorm]]
- 4 [[Ponder]]
- 1 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
- 1 [[Ad Nauseam]]
- 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
- 4 [[Veil of Summer]]
- 1 [[Defense Grid]]
- 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
- 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
- 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
- 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
- 3 [[Mox Opal]]
- 3 [[Chrome Mox]]
- 3 [[Verdant Catacombs]]
- 2 [[Polluted Delta]]
- 2 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
- 1 [[Underground Sea]]
- 1 [[Volcanic Island]]
- 1 [[Tropical Island]]
- 1 [[Badlands]]
- 1 [[Taiga]]
- 1 [[Swamp]]
- 4 [[Carpet of Flowers]]
- 2 [[Chain of Vapor]]
- 2 [[Abrupt Decay]]
- 3 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
- 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
- 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
- 1 [[Peer into the Abyss]]
SITUATION No. 1 — Food Chain Goblins
Our first opponent is playing one of the oldest archetypes in all of Legacy – Goblins! This particular build is a Jund [[Food Chain]] version that adds the namesake enchantment to their list for fun and profit. Goblins occupies a unique place in the Legacy format as one of the few decks that has the ability to shift between the three agreed-upon archetypes of Magic: Aggro, Combo, and Control. [[Goblin Lackey]] allows for incredibly aggressive starts; [[Sling-Gang Lieutenant]] has powerful insta-kill potential; [[Goblin Ringleader]] and mana denial strategies seek to control and overwhelm opponents.
This all means that Goblins is a deck that functions incredibly well in fair matchups but has the tools to disrupt combo players like us. Cards out of the sideboard that are of particular concern for us include [[Pithing Needle]], [[Goblin Trashmaster]], [[Mindbreak Trap]], and spicy includes like [[Earwig Squad]]. Our goal, however, is to be a brutally efficient combo deck that ignores most of the mid-game hate by simply ending the game sooner than they can be deployed and using [[Abrupt Decay]] and [[Chain of Vapor]] to clear out quickly deployed hate.
-4 [[Veil of Summer]]; +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +2 [[Chain of Vapor]]
We find ourselves in a post-board game with a [[Brainstorm]] currently resolving. Our opponent missed their land drop and played a [[Pithing Needle]] naming [[Wishclaw Talisman]] on their last turn. What do we put back and how do we play out the rest of the game?
SITUATION No. 2 — 4C Zenith Control
Tracing the lineage of Legacy Control decks is a difficult prospect at best, and an impossibility as worst. Many of them tend to be “flavor of the month” builds, with each change being brought about by subtle shifts in the Legacy meta. Current iterations include Jeskai Control with [[Hullbreacher]] and [[Day’s Undoing]]; 4C Control with [[Expressive Iteration]] and [[Life from the Loam]]; and traditional Bant Control with [[Sylvan Library]] and [[Ice-Fang Coatl]].
Our next opponent is playing a [[Yorion, Sky Nomad]] plus [[Green Sun’s Zenith]] control deck (sans-Red) that is designed to play a crushing mid- and late-game strategy against other fair decks like Delver and the aforementioned control decks. Their maindeck is tuned to beat up on fair decks with value creatures all tied together with [[Force of Will]] and the Legacy cantrip suite. This leaves them with many options for sideboard slots against Combo decks, playing any number of problematic cards like [[Collector Ouphe]], [[Meddling Mage]], [[Ethersworn Canonist]], [[Seeds of Innocence]], and whatever flavor of graveyard hate they wish.
Lucky for us, we are tailor-built for tearing apart these kinds of strategies. With our new sideboard plan of [[Carpet of Flowers]] and [[Galvanic Relay]], we can start to overwhelm them with card advantage they cannot easily answer. Their hateful permanents can be a concern, but because we are looking at so many cards each game, the copies of [[Abrupt Decay]] in our deck can efficiently answer whatever ails us.
-1 [[Echo of Eons]], -4 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], -1 [[Mox Opal]]; +2 [[Galvanic Relay]], +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +3 [[Carpet of Flowers]]
This is a Game 3 scenario against our opponent. They missed a land drop, which prompted a [[Galvanic Relay]] for eight cards on our previous turn (Of note, they are down two copies of [[Force of Will]]). Their last turn was spent exiling a [[Mox Opal]] with [[Prismatic Ending]]. We have untapped and drawn a [[Tropical Island]] for the turn. We have a large amount of action and some mana available to us. What are our best options?
SITUATION No. 3 — UR Delver
Delver is still the de facto “best deck” of the format after the [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]] ban. Despite this, there are quite a few differences in our match-up against them from previous five-color versions of The EPIC Storm. With v12.8 our plan is to be a [[Galvanic Relay]] deck that exudes value; overpowering their pitch counters and smashing through any sideboard disruption or hate that they have. After resolving a [[Carpet of Flowers]], we have an uninterruptable source of mana turn after turn. As it turns out, a [[Dark Ritual]] every turn that can’t be answered is a pretty good presence on the battlefield. The usual Tempo-style disruption in [[Force of Will]]/[[Force of Negation]] and [[Daze]] are present, as are [[Spell Pierce]], [[Meltdown]], [[Surgical Extraction]], [[Pyroblast]]-effects, among other hate pieces. The thing that all of these have in common is that they are interaction that is reactive. If we can be proactive in our Storm turns, we can quickly overpower these precise tools with hammers of our own. Never underestimate the red [[Necropotence]] that is [[Galvanic Relay]].
-1 [[Ad Nauseam]], -4 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]]; +2 [[Galvanic Relay]], +4 [[Carpet of Flowers]]
In this last scenario, we are up against a flipped [[Delver of Secrets]]. Our opponent spent the last turn casting two [[Ponder]]s (both not shuffling) and has no untapped mana sources. The flip revealed one of the copies of [[Ponder]] that was cast. We have a lot of options for our combo turn. What is our plan to best optimize this turn sequence?
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