Phyrexia: All Will Be One is the latest Standard set release to try to affect the distant shores of our beloved Legacy format. With a metagame that feels nearly solved — UR Delver and Initiative variants (with the occasional Painter deck) compete for the top meta positions in competitive events — the format exists with a few disparate ideas for those attacking the meta:
- If you exist as a current strategy in Legacy, aggressive changes need to be considered so that you can compete in the hyper-efficient world of the Initiative and [[Delver of Secrets]]. For example, The EPIC Storm has gone through a drastic change to cut Green for White in the deck. Valuing cards like [[Slaughter Pact]] more highly than the previously used [[Abrupt Decay]] while also fitting a playset of [[Prismatic Ending]] is indicative of the changes required of decks to adapt.
- Underused strategies can experience a renaissance of sorts if they are particularly well-suited to attacking along an axis that is not being targeted heavily. If sideboard slots are being used to bolster plans against the top two or three decks, they could be skimping on hate for the unexpected. Cephalid Breakfast exists in this space (and even Reanimator to some extent with the printing of [[Atraxa, Grand Unifier]]). If grand slam graveyard hate is being discarded from sideboards, decks that can either ignore the combat step (as in Cephalid Breakfast) or dominate it (like Reanimator) can be revived as strategies that specifically target the current meta.
- Brewers can rejoice to some extent with a “solved” meta that we are experiencing at the moment. Instead of needing to address a wide-open format, a brew can be built with the narrow decks at the top in mind. From there, innovation can abound within that protective shell. Without having to worry about pairing into random decks that are uniquely poised to combat the brew, success can be had targeting the decks that are likely to be faced.
As an established archetype, The EPIC Storm has needed to undergo adaptation. Previous Infernal Tutoring articles and many YouTube videos have explained the changes that have brought us to our current state. One more major change has occurred to bring us to a decklist that we are most comfortable with at the moment. A revival of our favorite sticky ooze might be exactly the tool needed to combat fair Blue decks.
[[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] has been tested in The EPIC Storm previously, seeing success against UR Delver and various Blue Control builds. The green ooze has been a powerful threat against those decks, but was found to be lacking in the matchups when we started cutting [[Carpet of Flowers]]. What we really needed to do in order to see its potential was shift how we play a combo turn with [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] in our deck. [[Galvanic Relay]] has consistently been a pivot point to build significant changes and it has also allowed us time to relearn how powerful [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] is in our deck. With the ability to function as a [[Black Lotus]] when we need to cast cards from exile piles, it was not that much of a stretch to remember the power to produce for the restrictive casting cost of the ooze.
Rebell is an ex-modern lover that jumped into the commander band wagon before realizing she likes other formats and is now equally terrible at all of them.
the epic Storm
- 4 [[Brainstorm]]
- 4 [[Mishra’s Bauble]]
- 4 [[Wishclaw Talisman]]
- 4 [[Burning Wish]]
- 3 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 1 [[Ad Nauseam]]
- 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
- 2 [[Orim’s Chant]]
- 2 [[Silence]]
- 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
- 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
- 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
- 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
- 4 [[Mox Opal]]
- 3 [[Chrome Mox]]
- 4 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
- 2 [[Scalding Tarn]]
- 1 [[Marsh Flats]]
- 1 [[Underground Sea]]
- 1 [[Volcanic Island]]
- 1 [[Bayou]]
- 1 [[Scrubland]]
- 1 [[Plateau]]
- 4 [[Prismatic Ending]]
- 3 [[Thoughtseize]]
- 1 [[Slaughter Pact]]
- 1 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
- 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
- 1 [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]]
- 1 [[Pulverize]]
- 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
- 1 [[Peer into the Abyss]]
SITUATION No. 1 — Burn
Wow, talk about a deck that hasn’t been seeing much play lately! Burn is a classic budget Legacy deck that often stayed competitive due to the aggressive nature of its strategy. It was able to punish slower and more methodical decks like Control with a rush of spells and creatures. More modern printings like [[Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath]] have reduced the viability of the deck centered around casting [[Lightning Bolt]] seven times to win. The allure of Burn has always been the disparity between its cost to build and how effective it is as a deck. As the years have gone by, Burn’s effectiveness has decreased and the price has actually increased as certain key cards have seen price bumps with the introduction of Pioneer, as is the case with [[Eidolon of the Great Revel]]. These all contribute to the surprise of pairing into the deck on MTGO or at your local FNM — unless your local scene has a Burn player that has a completely misprint 75 that is simply beautiful to look at.
Burn has routinely suffered against Combo decks of various flavors throughout the years. The EPIC Storm is certainly one of those decks. Like [[Doomsday]], our main engine is utilizing our life total as a resource. It can become very perilous to resolve [[Ad Nauseam]] in the face of untapped Red mana. Even a tapped out Burn pilot could be holding a [[Fireblast]] that needs to be considered when chipping away at your most precious resource. Burn also has the aforementioned [[Eidolon of the Great Revel]] and the more recent printing of [[Roiling Vortex]] as very powerful attacks against Storm strategies specifically. Out of their sideboard, cards like [[Mindbreak Trap]] are the most prevalent hate that needs to be planned for.
+3 [[Prismatic Ending]], +1 [[Slaughter Pact]]; -3 [[Galvanic Relay]], -1 [[Silence]]
Despite introducing our opponent as a Burn player, we are actually operating moderately blind. A search for our opponent’s MTGO username tipped us off to their preferred deck, but we still cannot be 100 percent sure they are playing Burn. Our opening hand was decent regardless of the matchup, but is it particularly good against Burn? The primary goal of this situation is to develop good opening turn sequences. We are in our second turn and have just drawn a [[Rite of Flame]] for our turn. How can we best capitalize on our seven cards to limit our Burn opponent’s ability to interact meaningfully?
SITUATION No. 2 — UB Reanimator
This month’s situations really are pulling from the ghosts of Legacy past, aren’t they? UB Reanimator was once a preeminent Combo deck in Legacy. A strategy that pairs [[Force of Will]] with a [[Griselbrand]]-shaped finish is reminiscent of similarly powerful decks like [[Doomsday]] and Cephalid Breakfast. These decks often sacrifice velocity for higher amounts of interaction. Currently, UB Reanimator is the brainchild of MTGO grinder Stryfo (known for a deck called “Stryfo Pile” in the [[Oko, Thief of Crowns]] metagame) and other powerful Legacy players. [[Hapless Researcher]] and [[Ledger Shredder]] function as replacements for [[Faithless Looting]] as discard enablers as well as built-in protection against sacrifice effects. [[Archon of Cruelty]] is the primary focus for this more controlling build of the deck. Clearing the board and getting advantages over time can be preferable to the explosive card draw ability on [[Griselbrand]], especially if a deck is built with that in mind.
Against The EPIC Storm, pairing discard and countermagic is a sure way to send Storm running for the hills. Our protection spells being [[Orim’s Chant]] and [[Silence]] instead of [[Veil of Summer]] can still put in work, but the raw power of [[Veil of Summer]] is missed against the Blue and Black deck. One other notable difference between the turbo combo of RB Reanimator and the interactive UB Reanimator is the lack of non-Black creatures like [[Chancellor of the Annex]] and [[Serra’s Emissary]]. Our [[Slaughter Pact]] tech that is typically brought in does not function as well here.
+3 [[Thoughtseize]]; -3 [[Galvanic Relay]]
Starting this situation, we have just drawn a [[Lotus Petal]] for our second turn in a post-board game. On the draw, our opponent played an [[Underground Sea]] and cast a [[Ponder]] — no shuffle. We used our [[Mishra’s Bauble]] alongside a [[Bloodstained Mire]] to “Scry” and shuffled away another [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. How should we play out the upcoming turn?
SITUATION No. 3 — UR Delver
Despite our foray into the fringe of Legacy, we are back to our regularly scheduled programming for our third scenario. UR Delver is at the top of the current metagame and it is not going anywhere fast. With new Phyrexia: All Will Be One printings of [[Minor Misstep]] and [[Mercurial Spelldancer]], builds are testing out new tools. [[Delver of Secrets]] is actually being removed from the deck to make room for larger threats. This shift is reminiscent of the [[Dreadhorde Arcanist]] era where UR Delver got bigger and slower. Maybe this is an indication of where the meta is heading now?
Our shift to [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] is specifically for the UR Delver matchup (and other fair Blue decks). With a lack of sweepers that can deal with an army of oozes, this tool is ready-made to aid our matchup. This idea is well-paired with [[Galvanic Relay]] to overcome point interaction like [[Force of Will]] as well as [[Surgical Extraction]]. As the Legacy meta evolves, we will need to see how well [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] pairs against the best deck in the format.
+1 [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]]; -1 [[Ad Nauseam]]
This is certainly a unique situation we find ourselves in! Usually for Infernal Tutoring, the combo turn needs to be set up. This time, we have already done all of the spell slinging we could. A unique learning opportunity has presented itself. Clearly after a nice Storm turn, the original copy of [[Tendrils of Agony]] is still on the stack with a [[Daze]] countering it and a [[Dragon’s Rage Channeler]] trigger on top. How can we secure this win using what we know about how to pay for spells with [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]?
Want to see your play?
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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.
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