Legacy is in a state of [[Stasis]] at the moment. Powerful decks exist at top tiers and have for many months without major changes to their structure. Targeting these strategies has been the goal of the current Tier 2 decks with varying levels of success. From Mulch Lands to Mono-B Depths and even Mono-Red Stompy, strategies have come and gone as sideboard choices from Tier 1 decks shift to answer them. One thing is certain at competitive events: expect UR Delver and various flavors of Jeskai/4C Control throughout a tournament. Until a format change-up from a B&R announcement or new set release occurs, Legacy looks to be on a trajectory of this somewhat stale meta. There is plenty to do within this structure though. Finding the narrow gaps within the meta can allow a player to thrive in an event. That is what we are attempting here.
Finding the right way to tweak The EPIC Storm for such a meta has happened by implementing slight changes to our sideboard structure. Once the decision to cut White from the deck was made, v12.9, it’s other 4-color predecessors have stayed quite similar – even going so far as to maintain almost the exact same 60-card mainboard. Just like the top-tier Blue decks, tweaking a sideboard slot or two can have major impacts on the functionality of your strategy in a given matchup. With the “flex slot” given to v12.9, the decision on how to fill the 15th sideboard slot matters a great deal. Quickly breaking the thought process down, we can see where one card may shine over another.
- [[Grapeshot]] has been used during weekends where the expected number of Storm strategies was particularly high as it offers an alternative same-turn win condition through a [[Veil of Summer]]. Being able to shoot down an opposing [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]], [[Collector Ouphe]], or other hatebear is another useful arrow in the proverbial quiver.
- [[Massacre]] has obvious strengths against the Death & Taxes players of the world, but there is also application outside of a basic [[Plains]] matchup. Do not be afraid to hard cast it against the likes of Elves or Goblins either, if you live long enough.
- [[Pulverize]] targets the renaissance of [[Trinisphere]] and [[Chalice of the Void]] decks that have recently come about. As we saw in article No. 54, [[Pulverize]] can even seek to stabilize against [[Construct Token]]s and give our deck some breathing room. Many decks are bringing back [[Null Rod]] as well. Most of these are Blue decks where [[Abrupt Decay]] can skirt any counter magic. For the other non-Blue decks, “free” artifact removal can make or break the sideboard games.
While those three cards certainly are at the forefront of available options, an honorable mention for the 15th slot is [[Carpet of Flowers]] number four, just like in v12.8. While the sideboard mapping does leave some optimization to be desired, the fourth [[Carpet of Flowers]] can truly shine against some of the top decks in the Legacy meta. That option falls short of being good against the Tier 2 decks that seek to beat UR Delver and Jeskai Control though, which is why it has taken a back seat to more appropriate choices.
The EPIC Storm’s current strengths lie in the ability to function as a fast combo deck against opponents with little interaction, or transition to a [[Galvanic Relay]] grind-fest against the Blue decks of the format. This concept has served pilots of the deck well in recent weeks. For example, MTGO user FirstToThirst placed second in a Legacy Showcase Challenge recently! While playing a combo deck certainly has weaknesses, being properly prepared for an event will open up opportunities for major success with your deck. Let’s prepare in this article by looking at three scenarios that showcase the abilities of our favorite Storm combo deck. Hopefully it will help on the way to further successes in future events for The EPIC Storm!
Davide Aiello, better known as Jax on MTGO, is a combo specialist. Davide has success with Reanimator in the past, including a third-place finish at Ovinogeddon in 2019. He loves to brew and always tries to push the boundaries of combo decks in Legacy. Stay updated with all his combo brews and memes.
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 [[Chrome Mox]]
- 3 [[Mox Opal]]
- 3 [[Verdant Catacombs]]
- 2 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
- 2 [[Polluted Delta]]
- 1 [[Tropical Island]]
- 1 [[Badlands]]
- 1 [[Underground Sea]]
- 1 [[Volcanic Island]]
- 1 [[Taiga]]
- 1 [[Swamp]]
- 3 [[Carpet of Flowers]]
- 3 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 2 [[Abrupt Decay]]
- 2 [[Chain of Vapor]]
- 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
- 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
- 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
- 1 [[Pulverize]]
- 1 [[Peer into the Abyss]]
SITUATION No. 1 — Jeskai Yorion Kitten
The combo centered around newly-printed [[Displacer Kitten]] has charmed its way into the hearts of many a control player over the past month. If you are not familiar, the combo lets you draw cards by bouncing a [[Mishra’s Bauble]]/[[Mox Amber]] using [[Teferi, Time Raveler]]’s minus ability. Re-casting the artifact with a [[Displacer Kitten]] out will let you “blink” the powerful Planeswalker, resetting his loyalty. Repeating this loop allows a player to draw cards up to the number of cards in their deck. This style of deck will either win through a massive [[Monastery Mentor]] and [[Monk Token]] army or, if the zero-mana artifact is [[Mox Amber]], play a [[Thassa’s Oracle]] on an empty library. This very compact combo has been slotted into Jeskai and Esper Control builds (with or without a [[Yorion, Sky Nomad]] companion). Compared to the [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] plus [[Day’s Undoing]] combo, this combo literally wins the game instead of virtually doing so. The two plans can exist alongside one another too. A control deck with the ability to turn the corner and win quickly. This solves many of the woes that previously plagued slower and grindier decks. With [[Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath]] seeing less play than ever, [[Displacer Kitten]] is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Unfortunately for Storm decks, taking the time to craft the perfect turns before a combo is risky. The threat of a turn-two [[Teferi, Time Raveler]], into turn-three [[Displacer Kitten]], and then a combo victory will always loom in the background of the early game’s decisions. Is it safe to pop off an early [[Galvanic Relay]] for fewer cards or is it better to wait a turn and guarantee a bigger payoff? With these new control builds, questions like this are harder to answer. Many times the answer depends on unknown information. Did your opponent build their deck with a quick combo at the forefront of its strategy? Or is this a smaller combo package that is designed to clean up after a game is well and truly under control? With control deck specifics being tied to their players’ likes and dislikes, intuition and opening hands will take priority in deciding how quickly you need to realize a win within a given game.
-4 [[Ponder]], -1 [[Echo of Eons]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], -1 [[Mox Opal]]; +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +2 [[Galvanic Relay]], +3 [[Carpet of Flowers]]
For our first situation this month, we are deep into an involved game. Our copies of [[Veil of Summer]] have been removed from the deck – courtesy of [[Surgical Extraction]]. We put an early [[Carpet of Flowers]] out to help cast the three copies of [[Wishclaw Talisman]] you see on our battlefield before it was removed with a [[Prismatic Ending]]. As for our opponent, they have been very interactive. Having already used the revealed cards from [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] alongside deploying a very threatening [[Engineered Explosives]] last turn, our grasp on this game will be short-lived. As they say, it’s GO TIME! With four cards in our opponent’s hand and one available mana from their unused [[Scalding Tarn]], their interaction can be almost anything. How can convert the glut of tutors on the battlefield into a real advantage?
SITUATION No. 2 — 8-Cast
Despite last month’s article discussing the power behind 8-Cast’s synergistic game plan, the deck is not putting up results to back up that power. Only a handful of finishes have popped up in Legacy Challenges lately, leading to questions regarding this lackluster showing. Could the prevalence of [[Pyroblast]] be pushing against 8-Cast’s plan? Are people preparing for artifact-based strategies? Whatever the specific reason, the various moving pieces within this archetype have not been meshing as well as they have in the past.
Regardless of how 8-Cast fares in the current Legacy metagame, The EPIC Storm still has a very rough time against the deck. Just as before, proactive threats in [[Kappa Cannoneer]] and powerful disruption with [[Chalice of the Void]] and [[Force of Will]] strain our Storm deck to the breaking point. If we can thread the needle, [[Galvanic Relay]] is a good way to gain serious card advantage and overpower stack-based interaction. The biggest concern is when they back up their many pieces of countermagic with a [[Chalice of the Void]]. Eight pitch counters of full playsets of [[Force of Will]]/[[Force of Negation]] are paired with [[Metallic Rebuke]] to throw a major wrench into a combo plan.
-4 [[Ponder]]; +2 [[Abrupt Decay]], +2 [[Galvanic Relay]]
For this sideboard game, we are facing down a quickly growing board state from our opponent. In a previous turn, we resolved a [[Burning Wish]] for the [[Echo of Eons]] in our hand – this league was played without [[Pulverize]] in the sideboard, opting instead for [[Massacre]]. Our opponent’s previous turn was spent bouncing [[Wishclaw Talisman]] to our hand with [[Otawara, Soaring City]]. With four cards in hand, the potential for multiple pieces of interaction is high. Maybe they’re hoping to counter the [[Wishclaw Talisman]] on the way back down? Either way, with [[Urza’s Saga]] able to tutor for a [[Pithing Needle]] next turn, attempting to combo this turn feels correct. What sequence of plays gives us the best chances to counteract interaction and win here?
SITUATION No. 3 — UR Delver
What Legacy article would be complete without delving into the most powerful and most played deck in the format? UR Delver is the king of the hill and nothing is knocking it off that perch. It even has gotten a new printing in [[Ledger Shredder]] that seems to be rounding out a powerful threat suite. It pays to be the [[Delver of Secrets]], [[Daze]], [[Wasteland]] deck these days, just like it always has. With cheap and efficient threats backed up with moderate disruption, this is nothing we haven’t seen before. The card advantage from [[Expressive Iteration]] is new though. People talk about how powerful UR Delver can be when it gets a form of card advantage. [[Dig Through Time]], [[Deathrite Shaman]], [[Dreadhorde Arcanist]], and [[Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer]] have all fallen on the proverbial sword. Is it time for another card to be removed from the all-star team?
The situation we find ourselves facing is dire. This is turn three in game one. [[Brainstorm]] is on the stack and we have some decisions ahead of ourselves. Last turn we were able to [[Galvanic Relay]] for a solid number of cards. We are experiencing a bottleneck of initial mana sources to protect our win. Our opponent has spent their first turns of the game developing a threat and digging for answers. During our [[Galvanic Relay]] turn, we attempted to resolve a [[Defense Grid]]. It was met with a [[Force of Will]]. To power through their deck, our opponent put an [[Expressive Iteration]] on the stack and found a [[Mishra’s Bauble]] to keep their cantripping going. What cards do we need to keep from this [[Brainstorm]]? Following that, what is our game plan for this turn and any subsequent turns we may have?
Want to see your play?
We’re now allowing for fan-based submissions for “Infernal Tutoring!” In order to submit, scroll down to the footer to the contact form. Attach your screenshot, describe the situation in detail, and press submit!
Disclaimer: Regarding the details of the scenarios, we do not want what the outcome of the situation is. For example, if the question is, “Do I go for it here?” do not tell the team if your opponent had [[Force of Will]] or not. This information honestly doesn’t matter for our purposes and it doesn’t change the answer if it’s correct or not to cast the business spell. Thank you for your understanding.
- Use the subject line of “Infernal Tutoring”
- Write what list you are playing and if there’s anything special about your list compared to the current stock version. Scenarios that contain the current list are more likely to be selected.
- If possible, please resize your images to be no larger than 1400px wide and preferably under 125kb. This will make our job easier, if you’re unfamiliar how to do this that’s okay too. Still message us with your scenarios!