Post-Miracles TES


Sensei's Divining Top was banned if you live under a rock and haven't heard. Other than Elves, I believe Storm is the deck that gains the most from this announcement. Because of this, The EPIC Storm went through an overhaul - see the changes below:

Deck Lists

What changed?

Swamp
Island
Badlands

Well, the first thing that happened since the banning of Sensei's Divining Top was to cut green straight out of the deck. What exactly does this mean? No more Abrupt Decay or Xantid Swarm.
Cutting these cards from the decks allows a more stable mana base against Wasteland strategies. If you look at the lists above, you'll see that the mana isn't very different, which might be a little confusing for why it provides more stability. In the main deck the only different in the mana base is a single copy of Badlands, which isn't anything new. It's been in and out of the deck along with the second copy of Volcanic Island over the last year. It's back because it helps support the sideboard basic Island, it does this by providing all three colors the deck requires when the two lands are paired together.

The copy of basic Island is obviously great against Wasteland decks, but also against anything with Qhost Quarter. Which was awkward sometimes because you wanted to search out the basic Swamp to avoid Wasteland but didn't want to take it out of the deck because of the ability to fail to find with Ghost Quarter. Outside of mana denial decks like Lands and Death & Taxes, there's mana denial decks in the form of tempo decks. These are really where the basic lands shine.

Having the ability to sit on a pair of basic lands and then play a few copies of Bloodstained Mire or Polluted Delta is amazing against almost all of the Delver of Secrets strategies. This allows you to cast things like Ponder or Duress before you want to "go-off" safely without being punished.

If basic Island is so great, then why isn't it in the main deck?

Well, the answer is sort of simple – there just isn't enough room. In order to move the copy of basic Island from the sideboard to the main deck, you pretty much have to cut the third copy of Chrome Mox (which makes Ad Nauseam and Empty the Warrens much worse). I played two copies of Chrome Mox at Eternal Extravaganza VI and don't see myself doing it again in the foreseeable future, I felt like I was one foot in two different plans which lead to inconsistencies.

I use the copy of basic Island mostly in Wasteland based match-ups and almost every time I need to side in the sideboard bounce spells (Which we'll get to later). I don't bring it in all the time. Which pretty much explains why fetchland split. I initially tested out two copies of Scalding Tarn to pair with the other fetchlands in the deck, but what I found was I was having issues with wanting to search up the basic Swamp and not being able to. I started keeping a tally of how often I searched up each basic land and using which fetchland, the conclusion I came to was I was better off just playing only Bloodstained Mire for consistency sake. The number of times you're unable to search for basic Island and have it be relevant is drastically lower than the impact of the basic Swamp.

I guess what I'm saying is Swamp > Island.

Echoing Truth
Hurkyl's Recall
Chain Of Vapor

I mentioned the sideboard bounce spells above, what I'm playing is Echoing Truth and Hurkyl's Recall with an honorable mention to Chain of Vapor. The reasons being: 1. Chalice of the Void & 2. Chalice of the Void.

You just have to be able to answer Chalice of the Void in the Legacy metagame that we live in. It's the most popular artifact disruption piece. I'd prefer to run Chain of Vapors as they're more effective against Sphere of Resistance effects like Thorn of Amethyst or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben but I need my spells to be versatile considering I play a Burning Wish package. You could run three copies of Echoing Truth, zero Hurkyl's Recall and two Chain of Vapor to be effective against all of the permanent based hate - but I'd like to conserve sideboard space.

You might be looking at the deck list with all of this new sideboard space created by the lack of green cards and think, "I'd really like a sorcery speed artifact removal spell"

Me too.

The problem is, Pulverize is great but stretches the mana base and Meltdown is terrible against Sphere of Resistance and Thorn of Amethyst. Until there's something like a sorcery speed Crash that's printed, we're out of luck.

Cabal Therapy
Telemin Performance
Surgical Extraction

A question asked to me through the storm group was, "Why a sideboard Cabal Therapy over Thoughtseize?"

In the past, it's typically been Thoughtseize but I've been using this slot very differently than the past. I've been siding it in frequently and would rather not lose the additional life in my Ad Nauseam deck. Additionally, when you're an Empty the Warrens based deck, there's some value to be had based off of the synergy.

You might've noticed a real lack of Surgical Extraction in my sideboard. It's intentional, don't fret. Through playing online leagues and multiple local events, I've determined that it's not worth it, but also, there isn't enough slots to take in and out of the deck. In Storm, the card hasn't been effective enough against the Reanimator decks in my eyes to make it worth the sideboard slots. Between Chancellor of the Annex and plenty of discard, I've rarely found myself in a situation where I thought, "Yeah, Surgical Extraction was great here."

The other application where it's used is the Storm mirror. It's nice here because of the ability to disrupt Past in Flames or more likely removing all of the opponent's Infernal Tutors from the game, the issue I have inside of The EPIC Storm specifically is - I don't have much I want to take out. I'm already siding in Tendrils of Agony over Empty the Warrens (to avoid losing their Surgical Extractions) and Cabal Therapy over a copy of Chrome Mox. I just don't have room for two additional swaps.

Instead, I've been looking at a suggestion from the storm community - Telemin Performance.

I'll be the first one to say that I was skeptical and... I still am. It's terrific in game ones, but any time after that it's a risk, especially if they know you have it. The match-ups where it's good are Storm, Reanimator, Sneak & Show and Lands for the most part.

What I like about Telemin Peformance is that it provides a card that's decent in match-ups where Empty the Warrens and Past in Flames are either bad or too slow.

Stifle
Empty The Warrens
Golgari Charm

The last change and likely the most important was the switch to multiple copies of Empty The Warrens in the sideboard. This is for Delver of Secrets strategies, midrange blue-based decks, prison decks and things like Burn.

I believe this is an effective game plan because it allows you to be very "low-to-the-ground" in terms of comboing off. You can do so easily without expending tons of resources and it can be done quickly with the benefit of happening before the opponent has mana or time to play Chalice of the Void, Flusterstorm, Stifle or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. There's also the added benefit that it plows through Force of Will, my opponents that have known about the plan have also started to counterspell things like Rite of Flame in an attempt to keep me honest - which is beneficial as well.

Ways to stop this plan are either Stifle or Duress, which means using your discard spells a little differently to protect your plans. I've even intentionally ran a few Bloodstained Mires into Stifle just so that I could then get them with Goblins.

Since switching to this method, I have a greater than 60% match win percentage against Delver of Secrets variants. Even with some of them having cards like Golgari Charm or Engineered Explosives. I'm in the mindset that if they burn you once, that's okay, these decks likely only play 1-2 outs for 12 or more Goblin tokens. Play the odds.

Sideboarding Instructions

Grixis Delver:

-2 Infernal Tutor
-1 Ad Nauseam
+2 Empty the Warrens
+1 Island

Sultai Delver:

-2 Burning Wish
-1 Infernal Tutor
+2 Empty the Warrens
+1 Island

4c Control:

-1 Burning Wish
-1 Infernal Tutor
+2 Empty the Warrens

Sneak & Show:

-1 Empty the Warrens
+1 Cabal Therapy

BR Reanimator:

-2 Ponder
-1 Empty the Warrens
+2 Echoing Truth
+1 Cabal Therapy

Storm:

-1 Ponder
-1 Empty the Warrens
+1 Tendrils of Agony
+1 Cabal Therapy

Elves:

-2 Cabal Therapy
-1 Empty the Warrens
+2 Echoing Truth
+1 Grapeshot

Death & Taxes:

-4 Ponder
-3 Duress
+2 Echoing Truth
+2 Empty the Warrens
+1 Grapeshot
+1 Cabal Therapy
+1 Island

Eldrazi:

-4 Ponder
-3 Duress
+2 Echoing Truth
+2 Hurkyl's Recall
+2 Empty the Warrens
+1 Island

Other than the newer Delver of Secrets plan, I think everything else is pretty self-explanatory. Against decks with Lightning Bolt and a faster clock, Ad Nauseam really loses it's appeal, meaning the only things left in the deck to grab with Infernal Tutor are Empty the Warrens. Meanwhile, Burning Wish can get Empty the Warrens, Past in Flames, Grapeshot, etc. Burning Wish just has more value here.

Although against Delver variants that have heavy discard (not just a few copies of Cabal Therapy), I prefer to keep Ad Nauseam is as a card-advantage engine.

If something else doesn't any any sense, feel free to comment below and I'll do my best to respond quickly.

Closing

While it is certainly a great time to be a fan of Dark Ritual (I've had some success playing online.), it doesn't go without people head-hunting you. The meta-game is beginning to adjust, some people are going a bit overboard at the moment, but I think it will level out. For example, I've faced a Death & Taxes opponent playing Chalice of the Void, Ethersworn Canonist, Orzhov Pontiff, Mind Break Trap, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. I've also seen Stoneblade with four Meddling Mage in their sideboards with three Surgical Extraction.

It's not going to be a cake walk over the next few months, but I do believe people will realize Storm combo isn't as big of a "boogie-man" as they think and it will balance out.

I can't wait to report back on Grand Prix: Las Vegas!

Until next time, keep storming!

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