Is Legacy in a healthy place finally? It has been a long enough wait, but players have been generally excited to engage with the format again! With the changes brought about with the most recent Banned & Restricted announcement and the release of Phyrexia: All Will Be One, new life has been injected into Legacy. Looking at the amount of competitively viable decks is not the only way to determine format health, but there has been an uptick since these changes occurred. [[Natural Order]] has a new powerful target in [[Atraxa, Grand Unifier]]. Stoneblade decks are picking up [[Trailblazer’s Torch]] and [[Staff of the Storyteller]] to grind into the late game. Daybreak Games added more cards to MTGO including [[Undermountain Adventurer]], providing more targets for [[Green Sun’s Zenith]] decks like Maverick and the new Bant [[Natural Order]] decks. All of this is happening out from under the thumb of UR Delver and Initiative Stompy.
Both of these top-meta decks still exist, but they have been forced to adapt to their nerfs. Pivoting into multiple colors, Initiative Stompy has become Boros or Gruul for [[Caves of Chaos Adventurer]] and the aformentioned [[Undermountain Adventurer]] respectively. UR Delver has adopted [[Predict]] or [[Chart a Course]] as substitutes for [[Expressive Iteration]], but lists have not solidified yet. Plenty of tuning potential exists for the efficient tempo shell. Will you, dear reader, be the one to break it again?
The EPIC Storm has enjoyed the breath of fresh air that the new Legacy era has afforded us. The team has made some changes to reflect the ongoing changes with this meta. The introduction of v14.0 preemptively attacked an expected metagame that lasted for a short while. The EPIC Storm v14.1 addresses a more settled metagame and has three major changes to follow the shift from White to Green: the mana base, the protection package, the sideboard removal package.
- [[Prismatic Ending]] is one of the best removal spells against non-Blue decks, but with the rise of Control decks playing [[Counterbalance]], [[Deafening Silence]], and [[Back to Basics]], the utility of this spell diminished. [[Abrupt Decay]] was the more desirable card now. Something that we can see with a PLAYSET of the uncounterable removal spell in our sideboard. This shift, without the typical inclusion of [[Chain of Vapor]] speaks to the expectation of fair Blue decks in the format.
- With the reincorporation of Green into our deck, the protection package necessarily swaps from [[Orim’s Chant]]/[[Silence]] to [[Veil of Summer]]. The Green package is much better against fair Blue decks and discard while the White package is better as interacting with non-Blue and Combo decks. Both serve distinct purposes, and the swap to [[Veil of Summer]] is correlated to the meta shifts.
- Typically, The EPIC Storm is known for a Commander-esque mana base, one of each dual land, and that’s it. With the heavy reliance on [[Abrupt Decay]] from the sideboard, there was a shift towards what is considered the best two-land pair available: [[Underground Sea]] and [[Taiga]]. Maximizing this pairing is not without it’s risks, but the rewards have been sufficiently present with the playset of [[Abrupt Decay]] as our removal spell of choice.
(Storm Discord: Yokel)
Scott Walter is a human. He lives on the planet Earth but is known throughout the multiverse as Yokel.
the epic Storm
- 4 [[Brainstorm]]
- 4 [[Veil of Summer]]
- 4 [[Mishra’s Bauble]]
- 4 [[Wishclaw Talisman]]
- 4 [[Burning Wish]]
- 3 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 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]]
- 3 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
- 2 [[Scalding Tarn]]
- 2 [[Verdant Catacombs]]
- 2 [[Underground Sea]]
- 2 [[Taiga]]
- 1 [[Badlands]]
- 4 [[Abrupt Decay]]
- 3 [[Thoughtseize]]
- 1 [[Galvanic Relay]]
- 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
- 1 [[Massacre]]
- 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
- 1 [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]]
- 1 [[Pulverize]]
- 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
- 1 [[Peer into the Abyss]]
SITUATION No. 1 — Jeskai Control
Our first situation finds us paired against the revitalized deck of Jeskai Control — a favorite of Control players that like the grind. [[Shark Typhoon]] is a classic win condition for the deck that sits behind the protection of [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] and [[Teferi, Time Raveler]], all backed by [[Force of Will]] and [[Swords to Plowshares]]. There is much to like about Jeskai Control now that the Initiative Stompy meta has waned. They technically have lost a potent tool in [[Expressive Iteration]], but Control decks such as this have always found card advantage in other ways. The latest technology is [[Staff of the Storyteller]]. With cards like [[Shark Typhoon]] already in the deck, other tools have been leveraged to create even more tokens and lean into [[Staff of the Storyteller]] as significant card advantage. Our opponent is playing a slightly more combo-centric strategy. [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] and [[Hullbreacher]] are paired with [[Day’s Undoing]] to create the ultimate card advantage combo. Both strategies are performing in the new meta, giving players a “season to taste” element that is often appreciated in a more open metagame.
As for how Jeskai Control stacks up against The EPIC Storm, things can be equally as varied. Main deck considerations for Jeskai Control are skewed towards fair decks, with single-point interaction being of chief concern like [[Force of Will]] and [[Force of Negation]] (sometimes even [[Minor Misstep]] or [[Counterspell]]). The EPIC Storm is built with these things in mind, and the new changes to v14.1 even more so. [[Veil of Summer]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] are key cards that shift the balance towards Storm in game one. Post-board, where Jeskai Control can bring in hate like [[Ethersworn Canonist]], [[Null Rod]], and [[Surgical Extraction]], things get more complicated. Our main deck configuration is already strong, but we can bolster the deck with [[Abrupt Decay]] for hateful permanents and [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] to attack on a different axis from both [[Surgical Extraction]] and [[Flusterstorm]]. Fair Blue decks are never simple matchups, but they do feel good behind the wheels of The EPIC Storm.
Game one is well underway in our first situation. We are at the tail end of a [[Galvanic Relay]] and have some decisions to make about which particular line is going to be most fruitful. Our opponent is attempting to [[Force of Negation]] our [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. With an additional [[Brainstorm]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] available in Exile, there are a few ways this play can work out. How best can we fight this [[Force of Negation]]? Or can we navigate this turn in another way?
SITUATION No. 2 — Dimir Shadow
While Dimir Shadow was certainly a player in the pre-ban Legacy metagame, being a “true” Tempo deck with little in terms of raw card advantage tools did not fair as well against the mighty [[Expressive Iteration]] decks. The deck mostly saw success with the rise of [[Snuff Out]] as a tool against the Initiative Stompy decks. [[Murktide Regent]] and [[Death’s Shadow]] are much bigger creatures than anything else on the battlefield (that got there legitimately — compared to [[Griselbrand]]-shaped threats). This powerful battlefield presence is backed by the equally powerful cantrip suite of [[Brainstorm]] and [[Ponder]], protected with [[Force of Will]] and [[Daze]], and also carries a heavy disruption package of [[Thoughtseize]] and [[Grief]]. The self-damaging aspect of [[Death’s Shadow]] can certainly be a liability, but the payoff is worth the risk.
As both a [[Force of Will]] deck AND a [[Thoughtseize]] deck, Dimir Shadow has many tools to disrupt The EPIC Storm. The reintroduction to Green has definitely lessened this disruption though. [[Veil of Summer]] is one of the best cards in any fair Blue matchup, and functions doubly so here. One thing the Dimir colors of [[Death’s Shadow]] does not typically have are permanent threats that we care about. [[Abrupt Decay]] will not find easy targets of [[Counterbalance]]. Sometimes a stray [[Null Rod]] is played, but until an opponent shows one in post-board games, [[Abrupt Decay]] can stay in our sideboard. Matches against Dimir Shadow are still fairly good, despite their strong disruption. Their lack of card advantage can be more strongly felt against [[Galvanic Relay]], where The EPIC Storm has major snowball potential. A lack of [[Pyroblast]]-type effects also mean that [[Echo of Eons]] is less of a target. [[Surgical Extraction]] and [[Hydroblast]] are interaction that needs to be considered before putting a [[Burning Wish]] on the stack, though [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] protects against that somewhat. The last key feature of this matchup is to constantly be aware of life totals. With the damage from a “Fetch & Shock” mana base, our Storm count does not need to be as high. Finding quick and efficient lines can certainly pay off.
Another game one situation finds us deep into a game (turn seven?!). This has been a result of repetitive [[Galvanic Relay]] chains. We have just drawn [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for our turn. Of particular note, [[Ad Nauseam]] was exiled to [[Force of Negation]] and should help inform decisions for this critical turn. Sequencing is of the utmost importance in this stage of the game. With two cards in hand, our opponent is chipping away at our life total as well as their own. What sequence is necessary to ensure the greatest chance of success during this combo turn?
SITUATION No. 3 — Cephalid Breakfast
One of the best decks in the format currently, Cephalid Breakfast has seen a meteoric rise to the top tables from the ugly duckling perception it garnered even a few years ago. The deck saw an uptick with the printing of [[Thassa’s Oracle]], and another one with [[Urza’s Saga]], but the deck’s construction was all over the place. The deck was built with [[Yorion, Sky Nomad]] fair plans and [[Stoneforge Mystic]] backup plans with [[Kaldra Compleat]]. Current lists are much more streamlined than the 80-card piles and feel akin to [[Doomsday]] decks with their ability to play a lean Combo deck with [[Force of Will]], [[Daze]], and even [[Teferi, Time Raveler]]. With the goal of activating [[Nomads en-Kor]] to target [[Cephalid Illusionist]] enough times to Mill one’s entire library, [[Thassa’s Oracle]] can be reanimated with [[Dread Return]] and multiple copies of [[Narcomoeba]].
With all of this focused deck building that has occurred over the past several months, Cephalid Breakfast chews up The EPIC Storm for… well… breakfast. Fast and efficient combo plans that can also disrupt effectively are not Storm’s finest matchup. Some Cephalid Breakfast lists have even adopted TES technology of [[Orim’s Chant]] and [[Silence]], a deadly tool against Storm.
Game one again?? No chance for our playset of [[Abrupt Decay]] to shine this month — unfortunate. But in this situation we are resolving a [[Brainstorm]]: a classic position for Infernal Tutoring articles. We missed our second land, but we have found quite a lot of mana. Is it enough in this scenario to jam? Or should a more moderate approach be taken that provides more protection in favor of passing the turn?
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