The ABC’s of TES: Force of Will

Traditionally in Legacy, any playable combo deck must be able to beat a [[Force of Will]]. Some combo decks play [[Force of Will]] like Sneak & Show and Doomsday. Storm decks of the past have avoided playing the best counter spell in Magic for a few reasons. [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and [[Infernal Tutor]] require their caster to discard their hand; countermagic in the graveyard ceases to be useful. There is a history of [[Ad Nauseam]] Tendrils players playing [[Daze]] as a maindeck counter spell, but Storm as an archetype has relied on discard effects and [[Veil of Summer]] to protect its combo and disrupt the opponent. In the current metagame, The EPIC Storm (TES) has its best match ups against fair blue decks. Against prison decks, especially on the draw, TES is not always fast enough to beat multiple lock pieces. Without the traditional suite of discard, playing against other combo decks becomes mostly a race and the worst match ups are against the blue combo decks that get to play [[Force of Will]] like [[Doomsday]] and Cephalid Breakfast. Solving this hole in the match up spread has been the goal for the past several versions of TES. Now, the TES Team is playing the full playset of [[Force of Will]] in the sideboard. We believe we have solved the deck construction issues with [[Force of Will]] to get ahead of the lock piece snowball and gain more interaction in combo mirrors.

The Deck Construction Problem

[[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Force of Will|]]
[[Echo of Eons|]]

Besides the interaction with [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] and [[Infernal Tutor]], the problem with [[Force of Will]] was it’s mana value. TES was defined by [[Ad Nauseam]] until the printing of [[Beseech the Mirror]]. There is no longer a restriction on the average mana value of the deck. This concept lead the team to play three copies of [[Echo of Eons]] maindeck. This was one of the first steps towards making the deck faster to get under prison and other combo decks. This had the side effect of adding more blue cards to the deck, bringing the total to twelve (four [[Brainstorm]], four [[Ponder]], a [[Song of Creation]] and the three [[Echo of Eons]]). This is the highest the main deck blue count has been for a Storm deck ever. Against prison decks, when the two sideboard bounce spells are boarded in alongside [[Force of Will]], the blue count is 18 cards. The odds of drawing any of a given four of in an opening hand is about 40%. When drawing [[Force of Will]], there is about an 87% chance of having another blue card to go with it. Against combo decks, the deck will contain two fewer blue cards, but that changes that 87% to 83% and the turn one [[Force of Will]] capability is less important than against prison. We believe that math is high enough to make [[Force of Will]] functional.

The Prison Snowball

[[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben|]]
[[Chalice of the Void|]]

A prison player who resolves the first lock pice can often resolve a second or a threat that can win the game before the first lock piece is answered. These lock pieces can hinder the Storm player’s development and prevent finding or casting answers. “Un-resolving these lock pieces can take too much mana and too much time before the game ends. For example, [[Deafening Silence]] into [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] out of Death & Taxes can be lights out playing only removal spells. Countering that first lock piece can effectively generate two to three mana on the combo turn. First, the removal spell does not have to be cast, saving the cost and tempo of that removal spell. Second, the removal spell might be taxed by a [[Sphere of Resistance]] or a [[Trinisphere]]. By countering the first lock piece for no mana with [[Force of Will]], a window that otherwise would not have existed to win the game opens. Compare these two sequences, with the prison player on the play:

Turn Removal Force of Will
Prison Player: 1 They cast a lock piece They cast a lock piece and it gets countered
Storm Player: 1 Land, maybe a mana rock, pass Attempt to win (there is no window for a second lock piece or game winning threat)
Prison Player: 2 Threat, second lock piece, etc. Hopefully, at their end of turn, the first lock piece can be removed
Storm Player: 2 Attempt to win

There are so many games where the opponent casts a [[Trinisphere]], follows with a [[Goblin Rabblemaster]], and then wins the game before the [[Trinisphere]] is answered. By having the option to [[Force of Will]] the [[Trinisphere]], it adds percentage points in that match up to win before the first lock piece resolves, even on the draw.

The Combo Mirror

[[Force of Will|]]
[[Veil of Summer|]]

Some of the hardest match ups for TES are other combo decks with [[Force of Will]]. [[Doomsday]] and Cephalid Breakfast can race most hands while behind the protection of [[Orim’s Chant]] or countermagic. TES boarding in [[Force of Will]] evens the playing field.These match ups become less one-sided and much more intricate about when to go and when to hold back. The presence of [[Force of Will]] in the deck can buy time to play lands and cast cantrips. This is especially true against the non-blue combo decks. TES adopts more of a control role against Oops All Spells and Rakdos Reanimator. Against Oops All Spells in particular, [[Force of Will]] gives TES a shot at winning games on the draw.

Despite boarding in [[Force of Will]] against blue combo decks, the card is not good against fair blue. This is the main reason for sideboarding them. TES is still a [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] deck and beating a [[Force of Will]] with a [[Force of Will]] is not something the deck is set up to do. [[Veil of Summer]] and [[Galvanic Relay]] more naturally beat an opposing [[Force of Will]]. While it is not impossible to use [[Force of Will]] as a protection spell, those situations are rare and happen more against non-blue decks. [[Force of Will]] protecting a [[Song of Creation]] from a [[Force of Vigor]] can come up. With [[Gaea’s Will]], it can be pitch cast out of the graveyard. Generally, the opponent should play around that and it is rare to have an extra blue card in hand when casting [[Gaea’s Will]], but it is possible.

The EPIC Storm v15.9

the epic Storm

Main Deck

  • 4 [[Ponder]]
  • 4 [[Brainstorm]]
  • 4 [[Burning Wish]]
  • 3 [[Galvanic Relay]]
  • 3 [[Beseech the Mirror]]
  • 3 [[Echo of Eons]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Song of Creation]]
  • 1 [[Gaea’s Will]]
  • 4 [[Veil of Summer]]
  • 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
  • 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
  • 4 [[Chrome Mox]]
  • 4 [[Mox Opal]]
  • 4 [[Misty Rainforest]]
  • 3 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
  • 1 [[Undercity Sewers]]
  • 1 [[Commercial District]]
  • 1 [[Underground Sea]]
  • 1 [[Bayou]]
  • 1 [[Volcanic Island]]


  • 4 [[Force of Will]]
  • 2 [[Chain of Vapor]]
  • 2 [[Boseiju, Who Endures]]
  • 1 [[Thoughtseize]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 1 [[Galvanic Relay]]
  • 1 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Beseech the Mirror]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Echo of Eons]]

Forcing Wins

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