The EPIC Storm is getting another facelift! Ever since the introduction of [[Galvanic Relay]] to the deck, The EPIC Storm has been shifting its game plan to use this powerful card advantage engine. Many words on this website and our YouTube channel have been shared about the benefits of factoring [[Galvanic Relay]] into The EPIC Storm. Changes have now been made to more thoroughly explore the space allowed to us by our new engine. It has been a relatively drastic set of changes too.
We have cut [[Ponder]] from the deck!
The replacement for the Blue cantrip is [[Mishra’s Bauble]]. The EPIC Storm team has tried adding [[Mishra’s Bauble]] to the deck a handful of times before this version, but these additions always were made by cutting [[Rite of Flame]] from the deck. The loss of such an integral ritual in the main deck made it feel less explosive. Now we adjusted the changes and swapped our cantrips instead. In addition to making our cantrips work better for the deck, we have been able to shift pieces around to cut a land, add a [[Mox Opal]], and open our sideboard up for a [[Thoughtseize]] instead of a main deck [[Defense Grid]]. These are significant changes that have three main impacts on v13.1:
Reliability: With one more copy of [[Galvanic Relay]] in the main deck, alongside the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] playset, our ability to have small (5-6 cards) combo turns with [[Galvanic Relay]] increases. Chaining these small combo turns into each other can tax opponent interaction to the breaking point. The total mana value of the deck has conversely decreased: making [[Ad Nauseam]] that much more reliable. The EPIC Storm v12.9 had a non-land mana value (without [[Ad Nauseam]]) of 1.11 while v13.1 has a value of 1.02. While the difference does not seem like much, it feels better in practice. Part of this is due to the second thing these changes have done for the deck.
Metalcraft: [[Mox Opal]] has gained a lot of equity in The EPIC Storm over recent years. This is with the inclusion of [[Wishclaw Talisman]], prompting [[Mox Opal]]’s adoption; to the supercharging it gets with our [[Mishra’s Bauble]] inclusion. Playing an entire playset has felt like a natural progression to making [[Ad Nauseam]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] better. Part of the increase in reliability is due to the deck’s ability to reach Metalcraft so consistently thanks to [[Mishra’s Bauble]]. Instead of [[Ponder]] – a spell that does not hit the battlefield, we have yet another permanent that can store value until we want to cash it in. The EPIC Storm has very quickly become a Storm deck that has a significant battlefield presence. All of this translates to more consistent Metalcraft and our decision to cut down on a land with the addition of a better mana source.
Land Hate: How does cutting a basic [[Swamp]] and only running dual lands translate to playing around [[Wasteland]] better? The change comes from cutting [[Ponder]]. We no longer need to fetch out a land on turn one to cast a cantrip. The play pattern now is just to play a fetch land and pass the turn. Being able to hold our fetches in reserve insulates the deck against an early [[Wasteland]] or two. More copies of [[Mox Opal]] also mean that we need fewer lands in the first place. [[Mishra’s Bauble]] does allow for some tricks to build a Scry-like effect by activating and targeting yourself. If the card is not wanted, shuffling the deck before the draw happens will put a fresh draw on top.
While the overall Legacy meta has not changed too much, certain additions to the format are shaking things up enough to keep things interesting! [[Maddening Hex]] and [[Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes]] have been added to the MTGO client – cards that impact the fair Blue matchup significantly. Dodging [[Pyroblast]] effects can spell certain victory against decks that have difficult times removing these permanents. RUG Control is coming back as a popular shell to try both of these cards. We shall see what kind of longevity they have in the format. Soon we will also see the addition of Unfinity cards to Legacy. To say there are mixed feelings about these cards would be an understatement. No major comments will be made here about their inclusion in eternal formats, but Legacy (and Magic as a whole) is very resilient. The game and its players have weathered many “game-ending” printings, and it will weather this one too. Keep an open mind and see what changes in the long run.
With all of these exciting additions to The EPIC Storm in v13.1, it is high time to put them to the test. Let us break down some sticky situations and puzzle our way through their solutions. Put your thinking caps on and let’s get started!
(Twitter: @damatoexp | Twitch: damatoexp)
My name is Daniel D’Amato, I have been playing Storm a little over 12 years now! Occasionally you can find me on Twitch, and you can find me spewing daily about my life and Magic on Twitter!
the epic Storm
- 4 [[Brainstorm]]
- 4 [[Veil of Summer]]
- 4 [[Mishra’s Bauble]]
- 4 [[Wishclaw Talisman]]
- 4 [[Burning Wish]]
- 2 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
- 1 [[Ad Nauseam]]
- 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
- 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
- 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
- 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
- 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
- 4 [[Mox Opal]]
- 3 [[Chrome Mox]]
- 4 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
- 1 [[Scalding Tarn]]
- 1 [[Misty Rainforest]]
- 1 [[Verdant Catacombs]]
- 1 [[Underground Sea]]
- 1 [[Volcanic Island]]
- 1 [[Bayou]]
- 1 [[Badlands]]
- 1 [[Taiga]]
- 3 [[Carpet of Flowers]]
- 3 [[Abrupt Decay]]
- 1 [[Chain of Vapor]]
- 2 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 1 [[Thoughtseize]]
- 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
- 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
- 1 [[Pulverize]]
- 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
- 1 [[Peer into the Abyss]]
SITUATION No. 1 — Jeskai Control
What do you think of when asked to picture the best control deck in Legacy? While this kind of question can elicit a wide range of answers, many Magic: the Gathering players have asked this same kind of question. Our opponent in the first situation has answered with quite a unique build! Foregoing the powerful cantrip suite of [[Brainstorm]] and [[Ponder]], they have added a playset of [[Chalice of the Void]] in their main deck. Instead of the usual one-mana spells, the deck utilizes [Expressive Iteration]] and [[Accumulated Knowledge]] to gain actual card advantage instead of selection alone. These are bold choices in a deck that is unable to accelerate [[Chalice of the Void]] earlier than turn two. Cantrips have stood as the backbone of Blue decks since the advent of the Xerox theory. Obviously, our opponent thinks the trade-off is worth trying out. This deck seeks to win with cards like [[Brazen Borrower]], [[Timeless Dragon]], and [[Solitude]] while locking opposing development with the three-mana Planeswalker suite – [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] and [[Teferi, Time Raveler]]. Carving out a niche in the Control arena is difficult, there are so many options to choose from, but most of them have been explored already. Our opponent is playing a bold strategy that bucks many trends that have earned their place in the deck-building world. Let’s see if they pay off.
Generally speaking, slow Control decks are quite favorable for The EPIC Storm. The lack of a consistent clock and heavy creature removal hinders their game plan against a streamlined Storm deck like ours. While this generally stays true against a rogue build like we face today, the inclusion of [[Chalice of the Void]] can shift things quite a bit. Our opponent also runs six pitch counters mainboard – likely due to their ability to recoup losses with their card advantage. The plan to overwhelm control with [[Galvanic Relay]] does not change here, but we will need to be more conscious about passing the turn just for our opponent to slam a well-timed [[Chalice of the Void]] or [[Null Rod]] effect. Of note, many Control decks are shifting to [[Stony Silence]] instead of [[Null Rod]] because of the widespread adoption of artifact hate in the wake of 8-Cast’s success. This allows them to dodge incidental hate like [[Meltdown]] or [[Pulverize]].
-4 [[Rite of Flame]], -1 [[Mox Opal]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]], -1 [[Echo of Eons]]; +3 [[Carpet of Flowers]], +3 [[Abrupt Decay]], +1 [[Galvanic Relay]]
We are deep into game three for our first situation. Lands have eluded us for many of the early turns of the game, forcing us to discard in the face of a turn-one [[Chalice of the Void]] with no counters. We may have a great opportunity, however, to make a move now that we drew [[Carpet of Flowers]] for the turn. [[Stony Silence]] is turning off any artifacts that we have (which is why many of them have been discarded to hand size). With [[Tendrils of Agony]] in hand, there may be lines to a natural Storm kill but for a possible [[Solitude]] in hand. In game two, our opponent showed they kept them in as a threat. Plans will have to keep this in mind. Should we set up a win this turn? Or could [[Galvanic Relay]] provide enough card advantage that pushes us to play for a longer game?
SITUATION No. 2 — Naya Depths
In a world that lives in the shadow of UR Delver, Naya Depths has been a popular choice to fight back. One of the best cards against the S-tier menace is [[Endurance]]. Blocking a [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] after it has to attack with Delirium while also turning off [[Murktide Regent]] in a single card is the perfect counterplay. A handful of decks use this powerful creature, but Naya Depths can back up a Maverick-like fair plan with the quick production of a 20/20 [[Marit Lage Token]] out of nowhere. With more tutors than any Storm deck, Naya Depths can very consistently enact its game plan despite its lack of cantrips. [[Elvish Reclaimer]], [[Knight of the Reliquary]], [[Green Sun’s Zenith]], and [[Crop Rotation]] easily find the pieces that matter in the moment. If a player decides to commit to learning the ins and outs of this deck, they can consistently put up results against a large majority of the field.
Luckily for us, one thing that Naya Depths struggles with is Combo decks. [[Endurance]] is good against fair decks and great against graveyard strategies like Reanimator. But Storm decks can exploit the deck’s weak spot. Because Naya Depths can tutor up a quick [[Collector Ouphe]], quickly create a 20/20 threat, or windmill slam an early [[Deafening Silence]], games are certainly not free. The EPIC Storm is very capable of beating one or two points of permanent hate. The goal is to thread the needle of winning quickly, but not so quickly that we don’t have enough resources to secure victory. [[Peer into the Abyss]] is certainly the best engine to work towards, as countermagic only exists in the form of [[Pyroblast]]-effects. For this reason, [[Echo of Eons]] needs to be approached carefully.
+3 [[Abrupt Decay]], +1 [[Chain of Vapor]]; -4 [[Veil of Summer]]
In this game two situation, we are resolving a [[Brainstorm]]. With a tapped-out opponent, things may seem free to move forward. Naya Depths will play cards like [[Force of Vigor]], [[Surgical Extraction]], or [[Mindbreak Trap]]. These interaction points need to be considered before moving too far into a combo turn. With that being said, our opponent is likely untapping into the requisite mana to cast [[Green Sun’s Zenith]] for their [[Collector Ouphe]]. Can we weave our turn around potential interaction and set up a win this turn or next?
SITUATION No. 3 — Grixis Control
Grixis Control has been held tenderly in the hearts and minds of Control players that remember the days of playing [[Snapcaster Mage]] to Flashback [[Hymn to Tourach]]. Players also remember watching Reid Duke through round after round of GP Richmond piloting the deck with methodical precision. Every so often, cards are printed that revive the archetype. Lately, the cards that have brought Grixis Control back in the spotlight have been [[Hidetsugu Consumes All]] and [[Fury]]. Supplementing the stellar removal suite Grixis has to offer, [[Fury]] is a serious win condition that can turn the corner once a board has been stabilized (it also absolutely destroys Elves before players have the ability to hard-cast it). Other than [[Fury]] or the backside of [[Hidetsugu Consumes All]], actual ways to win the game are few and far between. Typically they are the ultimate of [[Jace, the Mind Sculptor]] or anemic [[Baleful Strix]] beats. Because Grixis can now clock opponents though, its viability has drastically increased. Non-lethal options also include the pairing of [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] and [[Day’s Undoing]]. Resources are the real battle for Control, and effectively winning the game is often just good as actually winning it.
The non-White strategy still struggles against its classic nemesis: [[Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath]]. The recursive threat and card advantage engine lines up very well against removal that does not exile. There is a sort of Rock, Paper, Scissors metagame of Control decks. Jeskai Control will beat Bant Control. Bant Control will beat Grixis Control. Grixis Control will beat Jeskai Control. These lines tend to blur when the decks begin to incorporate a fourth color. Czech Pile, Stryfo Pile, RUG Control, and many other variants have all seen moderate success. Control players need to stay tuned to the meta if they want to make informed decisions for deck selection on a given weekend.
Grixis Control can be more difficult to approach for The EPIC Storm in some ways, and in others, it is easier than other Control decks. Difficulties in balancing the conflict between holding cards for [[Galvanic Relay]] and playing them under [[Hymn to Tourach]] can tax the early turns of a game. These decks typically do not play hate permanents that we have to worry about, besides the sporadic [[Narset, Parter of Veils]]. Sideboarding can be very dependent on the specific build of Grixis Contol being presented by our opponent. Their ability to play around [[Carpet of Flowers]] informs decisions to include it in our post-board strategy. [[Abrupt Decay]] used to be a consideration to leave in the sideboard. With the addition of [[Maddening Hex]] to MTGO, it’s often best to bring them in.
+3 [[Carpet of Flowers]], +3 [[Abrupt Decay]], +1 [[Galvanic Relay]]; -4 [[Rite of Flame]], -1 [[Echo of Eons]], -1 [[Mox Opal]], -1 [[Chrome Mox]]
Our final situation brings with it some unique challenges. [[Ruination]] is not a card seen often against The EPIC Storm. But it was good for destroying three lands of our own while also clearing the [[Volcanic Island]] from our opponent’s board. Now our [[Carpet of Flowers]] do nothing, very clever! Because of this, we are fairly limited on options. A [[Mishra’s Bauble]] that was cracked on the opponent’s end step showed that they are drawing a [[Hidetsugu Consumes All]] for their next turn – certainly an undesirable position. What can we do to salvage this situation and get our mojo back?
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!