With Star City Games: Philadelphia approaching, I’ve been doing more analyzing to the gain the slightest edges in match-ups. Since my last article, Jordon Robbins has won an SCG IQ and top 8’d a classic, with a list similar enough to the standard. The main difference being the second Empty the Warrens in the sideboard. I have tested three in the sideboard for Death & Taxes as well as Delver Variants but it felt like you were forcing yourself down a line since the raised casting cost makes Ad Nauseam much worse.

It appears that Jordon discovered that two copies of Empty the Warrens may be the sweet spot as a compromise. I’m going to begin testing that this week – one thing I find odd about Jordon’s list is that playing multiple Empty the Warrens really benefits from a higher number of Chrome Mox, yet he only plays a pair in favor for a third Duress. To each their own, but the third Chrome Mox has more mileage in my opinion between Empty the Warrens and Ad Nauseam.

While Jordon’s top 8’s and Empty the Warrens numbers aren’t worth an article on their own, it did raise a question in my head.

“Do we actually need Chain of Vapor?”

Chain Of Vapor

My immediate reaction is yes, but upon sitting down and thinking about it for some time, I’m not so sure. By being fast enough, we can eliminate the need for bouncing things – especially since the match-ups where Chain of Vapor is good, they don’t have Force of Will.

Match-ups where Chain of Vapor is valuable:


It’s not a very long list, in fact, it’s almost sort of narrow (Chain of Vapor isn’t even that great against Chalice of the Void). That said, the cards we replace them should help in these matches while being useful in more and/or help the strategy of staying fast.

Consider Thoughtseize for these reasons:


Now that we’ve discussed the changes, let’s take a peek at the list!

Deck List

Possible Changes

Bloodstained Mire

As I mentioned in the last article, I would like to move Bayou to the main deck in order to create a sideboard slot. This would create space for:

To me siding up to fourteen lands against Tempo decks requires taking out something like a Chrome Mox or Ponder. Which are actually decent in that match-up as it’s mana and consistency in a match where they attack our mana. Meaning, I see even less of a reason to spend a board slot on the land, yet I find myself very hesitant to play seven fetchlands and six actual lands. Part of the reason is I don’t know how optimal it is, if someone can provide numbers on the percentages for difference I’d be interested. The alternative would be to cut the Basic Swamp and play the fourth Bloodstained Mire.

Star City Games: Philadelphia

The event is only three weeks away, plenty of time for preparing and testing – can’t wait to see everyone there! Until next time, keep storming!