The New EPIC Storm

It has been an exciting couple of weeks for The EPIC Storm. Since the banning of Wrenn and Six, the website team has been working on something a little bit different than one would expect from The EPIC Storm. The team has been posting about the list and its incredible success all over social media. Please meet, The EPIC Storm v8.5!

Deck Lists

New Engines & New Plans

Ad Nauseam
Tendrils of Agony
Echo of Eons

Looking over the decklist, a lot has changed. Echo of Eons joins Ad Nauseam as a main deck engine. Bryant had a great review of the card, but a couple of new printings have increased its power level and usefulness. Wishclaw Talisman and Veil of Summer provide powerful new ways to empower Echo of Eons. These new cards have caused a re-prioritization of the deck’s plans.

These plan lists do not look that different at first, but almost 85 percent of the time, the plan should be to cast Ad Nauseam or Echo of Eons. The frequency that a pilot will need to dip into a plan C or a plan D in v8.5 is much lower due to how easy it is to cast Ad Nauseam and Echo of Eons.

Enabling Echo of Eons causes the removal of one of the historically best cards in the Storm archetype. Infernal Tutor leaves the deck list because it does not interact well with Echo of Eons. Both of these cards are synergistic with Lion’s Eye Diamond, but require the Lion’s Eye Diamond to be activated at different points. Infernal Tutor normal required Lion’s Eye Diamond to be activated before it resolved. Echo of Eons needs to already be in hand when the Lion’s Eye Diamond is activated, making Infernal Tutor for Echo of Eons quite anemic. Enter Wishclaw Talisman. As a true “tutor effect”, it does not have any requirements to fetch a card from the library. This makes it a great fit, allowing Lion’s Eye Diamond to be activated after Echo of Eons is already in the hand.

Cascading Effects

Mox Opal
Wishclaw Talisman
Veil of Summer

Adding four more artifacts to the deck does some interesting things. Two of the zero-mana artifacts, Mox Opal and Chrome Mox, care about the number of artifacts in the deck. With the increase in the number of artifacts, there are less cards to Imprint onto Chrome Mox and more cards to turn on Metalcraft for Mox Opal. In addition, Ad Nauseam and Echo of Eons both benefit from having more zero mana spells in the deck is incredibly powerful.

Echo of Eons also incentives Silence type effects. Luckily, 2019 has provided a much better version of Silence in the form of Veil of Summer. This type of protection goes back to the roots of The EPIC Storm, but at a much higher power level. Rounding out the main deck protection suite are two copies of Defense Grid, which also help enable Mox Opal. The copies of discard spells lose a lot of their appeal when one of the plans of the deck is to cast a draw seven, letting an opponent replenish the resources the discard spells just took away. A major upside to playing these cards over Thoughtseize is that it does not turn on an opponent’s Veil of Summer. One might think that not playing discard spells makes the deck weaker against prison match ups, but the deck can often kill before the lock pieces come online. Veil of Summer also has a huge number of interactions in almost every match up.

That is a lot of things that this little card does!

Wishclaw Talisman has a couple of important interactions in the deck. First, it can find either half of Echo of Eons or Lion’s Eye Diamond, and unlike Infernal Tutor, multiple copies are not redundant. Beyond finding cards to go off, Wishclaw Talisman can also find interaction pieces such as Chain of Vapor, Defense Grid, and my favorite, Veil of Summer. A careful reading of Wishclaw Talisman show that the timing of the ability is very strange. “Activate only on your turn” is a powerful line of text that allows searching at instant speed, but only on its controller’s turn. A common line has been to cast a business spell and allow an opponent to cast a counter spell before finding Veil of Summer off of the Wishclaw Talisman. In prison match ups, Wishclaw Talisman acting as extra copies of answers helps when an opponent is able to resolve a lock piece.

Play Patterns

This deck does not play the traditional Storm style of “wait until the last turn possible to play anything that matters”. It is even sometimes correct to burn a Dark Ritual to run out a Wishclaw Talisman or a Defense Grid on turn one and then pass the turn. Oftentimes, the deck feels like it combos over several turns: a turn of setup, a turn of drawing cards, such as with Echo of Eons, and then a winning turn, possibly with Ad Nauseam. One of the main reasons that this is possible is because of Echo of Eons and the high number of permanent mana sources that the deck plays. Casting multiple Echo of Eons in the same turn leaves behind a collection of multiple copies of Chrome Mox, Mox Opal, Lotus Petal, and Lion’s Eye Diamond in play that make going off the next turn relatively trivial.

One of the criticisms against The EPIC Storm in the past was that it was not as good against blue decks as ANT was. In testing this list, blue decks are trivial to beat. So many of the threats and disruption pieces require an answer immediately. They also do not go as all in. Force of Will effects actually end up 2-for-1-ing blue opponents instead of being 4-for-2 in favor of the opponent. This helps the grind potential, given how many more cards one will have over a blue opponent after a couple of turns.

A change that might not seem large at first is how to sequence fetching. The manabase has a lot of tensions in it currently, and being aware of those is key. Underground Sea is no longer the best land in the deck. The play pattern of turn one Thoughtseize into a turn two cantrip has been removed from the deck. A couple of play patterns to be aware of on the early turns are fetching Swamp to play a turn one Wishclaw Talisman and ensure two mana on the next turn through a Wasteland. It is much harder to find black cards to imprint onto Chrome Mox which is why the basic Swamp is important. In fact, there are only nine black spells in the main deck, and only five of those are able to be imprinted onto Chrome Mox. Because of that, when casting Ad Nauseam, it is now correct to float black mana instead of red because it is easier to make red mana after resolving Ad Nauseam.

The recovery potential of the deck is insane. Mostly gone are the days of conceding directly after a payoff gets countered. The play patterns of the deck are much less all in compared to the interaction of Infernal Tutor and Lion’s Eye Diamond. Leaving a Wishclaw Talisman or two in play and casting an Echo of Eons that gets countered is completely fine. One of the most surprising aspects to the new TES is that it can grind as well as or even better than ANT! The turn one rate of the deck has gone down a bit because of a couple of factors: incredibly consistent turn two and three kills and blue opponents are playing six Force of Will effects, making the coin flip of having a “force” effect on the first turn in their favor. Against prison strategies, mulliganing into an explosive turn one hand is easier than it was before because casting Echo of Eons is much cheaper than lines that were previously available to the deck.

Card Name Ad Nauseam Echo of Eons Empty the Warrens
Wishclaw Talisman 6 or 8 Mana 4 or 6 Mana 7 or 9 Mana
Burning Wish 9 Mana 5 Mana 6 Mana

A couple of tricks

A play pattern change is how multiple copies of Wishclaw Talisman and Burning Wish play with each other as compared to Infernal Tutor and Burning Wish. Having both tutor effects and five mana still allows an Echo of Eons line because Wishclaw Talisman can find a Lion’s Eye Diamond to create the two-card combo of the Echo of Eons and Lion’s Eye Diamond. Another mindset adjustment is realizing that Wishclaw Talisman truly can find any card. For example, it can tutor for a Lotus Petal on the combo turn to convert to another color of mana, or if it was sitting in play, a Dark Ritual to net a mana.

Chain of Vapor is a card that has floated in and out of storm sideboards for a while, but now one has found its way into the main deck. Because of it’s ability to “chain” and bounce multiple permanents, it can act as a Storm engine and do a couple of other interesting things. Because there are more mox effects, Chain of Vapor can be a free spell and still bounce an opponent’s permanent. Another neat little trick is to activate a Wishclaw Talisman, hold priority, and bounce it back so that an opponent does not actually get control of it.

Veil of Summer and Defense Grid create an interesting checkmate for opponents. If an opponent chooses to counter the Veil of Summer, they often cannot continue to interact. If they choose not to counter the Veil of Summer, they cannot counter any other spells that turn. This is one of the reasons that Veil of Summer is being played over a card like Thoughtseize. This pinch beats multiple counter spells from an opponent.

Opponent’s Game plans

Leyline of the Void
Rest in Peace
Surgical Extraction

It turns out that the Echo of Eons and Lion’s Eye Diamond interaction makes the deck a little bit weaker to some types of graveyard hate. Cards like Faerie Macabre and Nihil Spellbomb are still ineffective, but Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void are very real cards. Fortunately, they can just be bounced and once they leave play, their effect on the game is relatively small. The relationship with Surgical Extraction changes significantly. Lion’s Eye Diamond has become much more integral to the deck, and losing it to a Surgical Extraction, while not game ending, hurts. Because of not playing a main deck win condition, however, Surgical Extraction targeting Burning Wish is actually game ending and something to keep in mind in postboard games. If an opponent is showing a large number of copies of Surgical Extraction, consider boarding in a win condition.

Basic Sideboarding

With the addition of Wishclaw Talisman, finding one of sideboard cards is much easier and more powerful. Because of that, the sideboard changed to reflect the power of the new tutor. Here are some basic plans against general archetypes:

A New World

The interactions that have been added to the deck are powerful. This list is still The EPIC Storm, despite how different it is. It takes some time to relearn some of the lines, and I would recommend gold fishing some. The list is also still in development. Some things, such as the mana base, are being reexamined among other cards. Welcome to a new era for The EPIC Storm!