A card-for-card breakdown, organized into categories based on roles, and an explanation why each card belongs in The EPIC Storm and alternative viable options as well.
A card-for-card breakdown, organized into categories based on roles, and an explanation why each card belongs in The EPIC Storm and alternative viable options as well.
[[Burning Wish]] — One of the defining features of The EPIC Storm (TES). An incredibly powerful and resourceful element that is quite diverse in what it can do. Burning Wish allows TES to not play answers for problematic cards by either providing a solution or an alternative route to victory. One of the greatest things Burning Wish does for this deck is it allows for game one answers to permanent-based disruption as well as the flexibility of beating cards such as Veil of Summer. That’s the true beauty of Burning Wish — it can be a number of different things. The “wish board” is comprised of Storm engines, win conditions, protection, and a few solution-based cards. The entire sideboard is not full of Burning Wish targets as it doesn’t create the greatest value out of the available slots. Generally, try to have no more than 6-7 Burning Wish targets. Lastly, having included Burning Wish into the deck, threat density is very high in comparison to other Storm decks meaning that less time is spent finding threats with cantrips which leads to a faster kill.
[[Wishclaw Talisman]] — A relatively recent addition to The EPIC Storm over Infernal Tutor (Dec. 2019). This change was one of the bigger innovations to the deck in the last few years, primarily because it raised the artifact count high enough to finally support Mox Opal! A common play pattern with this list is to cast Wishclaw Talisman on turn one using Mox Opal or Chrome Mox. This allows a six-mana line on the second turn instead of needing seven mana into Ad Nauseam. Unlike Infernal Tutor, the search on Wishclaw Talisman isn’t tied to a stipulation. This means being able to search for anything, such as a sided in copy of Chain of Vapor. Because of this, TES is incentivized to run powerful singleton copies of cards to search for like Crash to answer a Chalice of the Void for example. One of the truly fantastic aspects of Wishclaw Talisman is that its activated ability isn’t sorcery speed, it’s on your turn. This means that when Ad Nauseam is on the stack, when it’s met with a Force of Will, activating Wishclaw Talisman for Veil of Summer is something that’s possible. It’s also uncounterable, which allows for sneaky situations to build up Storm count and then just activating Wishclaw Talisman into a lethal Tendrils of Agony.
[[Brainstorm]] — An incredibly tough-to-play spell that can make or break a game all on its own. Brainstorm can often fix hands needing two specific types of cards and finding them both at once or simply putting a few situational cards back. An important feature of this card is that in matchups with discard, it is very relevant to preserve these and use them to protect the best cards in hand. When playing TES, sequencing cantrips is extremely important, but there are also games where one card means winning on turn one. Some players scoff at casting a Brainstorm in the main phase on the first turn, but TES is an explosive deck! The situation needs to call for it, however. Casting Ponder before Brainstorm is usually the more desirable line. Collaborating with a shuffle effect is generally the way to go with Brainstorm to avoid drawing dead spells or lands. There are times when sitting on Brainstorm for multiple turns while continuing to draw spells just to put back worse ones is the correct thing to do.
[[Ponder]] — The cantrip with the best odds of finding the card(s) needed! Ponder digs the deepest out of the cards in the deck, unlike Brainstorm or Preordain — Ponder can see up to four unique cards. Because of this, in hands containing both Brainstorm, Ponder, and Preordain — it’s usually best to cast Ponder first. Like Brainstorm, the best utilization of Ponder is often with a Polluted Delta or another fetchland. Ponder, like a fetchland, can be used as a shuffle effect for Brainstorm as well, it’s just not as ideal. It’s worth noting — be aggressive with shuffling off of Ponder. If those cards aren’t what the hand needs, why contemplate?
[[Veil of Summer]] — Veil of Summer’s inclusion into The EPIC Storm is for many reasons. The first is its ability to act as a pseudo Silence effect against blue decks. Unlike Silence, it’s very effective against targeted discard which was always a weakness of the white instant. In a pinch, Veil of Summer can usually cycle to draw a card against most decks in the Legacy Format. On top of the aforementioned, it can protect copies of Hope of Ghirapur or Wishclaw Talisman against Abrupt Decay or even Oko, Theif of Crowns. Veil of Summer can even be a complete blow-out against certain matchups such as Ad Nauseam Tendrils since the opponent will be forced to pass the turn since Tendrils of Agony is unable to target. As for synergies within The EPIC Storm, Veil of Summer’s most desirable trait is how it interacts with Echo of Eons. Thoughtseize has the issue of not protecting from countermagic drawn after Echo of Eons resolves, which means the opponent could draw new countermagic to stop us. Now with Veil of Summer, TES can ignore countermagic for an entire turn. Worth mentioning, Veil of Summer says, “Spells you control can’t be countered this turn.” This means Counterbalance, Chalice of the Void, Chancellor of the Annex, and other effects. This clause is not relegated to colors blue or black.
[[Defense Grid]] — A protection spell that has the added benefit of supporting Mox Opal. Like Veil of Summer, Defense Grid does not care about opposing copies of Veil of Summer which is a huge reason to choose to play the two-mana artifact in the current metagame. Defense Grid’s primary function is to prohibit opponents from casting multiple cards in the same turn such as Stifle, Flusterstorm, Force of Will, and Force of Negation. Keep in mind, opponents can still cast spells with a Defense Grid in play, but it typically taxes them enough where TES can plow through the first counterspell and eventually kill the opponent. One other thing about the card is that it shuts off the symmetry of Echo of Eons against blue decks when Echo of Eons is refilling the opponent’s hand. Recently, stock in Defense Grid has risen due to an increased amount of Mindbreak Trap in the format. When viewing the sideboard guide, it’s easy to notice how Defense Grid isn’t sided out in plenty of non-blue matchups for this exact reason.
[[Tendrils of Agony]] — A holdover from the Lurrus of the Dream-Den era. During this time period, the incentive to play the main deck copy of Tendrils of Agony was incredibly high. This was mostly due to the ability to use Lurrus of the Dream-Den to generate two “free” Storm with Lion’s Eye Diamond, but there was also an incredibly high amount of Meddling Mage seeing play. In these games, it was very apparent the value of a main deck Tendrils of Agony when paired with Echo of Eons or Wishclaw Talisman even without Lurrus of the Dream-Den. The value with Echo of Eons was that there were more available lines post-Echo of Eons that killed the opponent due to no longer needing to also cast a Burning Wish before your storm spell if you drew Wishclaw Talisman. When drawing seven cards off of Echo of Eons, it’s entirely possible to naturally draw Tendrils of Agony as well which will completely avoid any drawn countermagic off of the Echo of Eons as well and most likely kill the opponent on the spot. An easy way to defeat blue decks is to allow them to build a Storm count for you with their countermagic, this is typically pretty easy to do when starting wars with Veil of Summer. Imagine having a Wishclaw Talisman sitting on the battlefield and all that’s required is activating the black artifact to search for Tendrils of Agony and then cast it — this is the primary reason TES has adopted Tendrils of Agony.
[[Ad Nauseam]] — The EPIC Storm is the best Ad Nauseam deck in Legacy. Between Chrome Mox and Mox Opal to act as additional copies of Lotus Petal as well as a lower average converted mana cost, Ad Nauseam has an increased power level here. Our primary Storm engine and game plan, we’ve catered our deck to maximize its potential. Something to keep in mind that Ad Nauseam is an instant, you can cast the spell in response to a Brainstorm or on an end step. There’s also the “Chrome Mox trick” — which is to cast Chrome Mox, in response cast Ad Nauseam, and in response to Ad Nauseam activate Lion’s Eye Diamond! You do this in order to be able to imprint after Ad Nauseam has resolved and is only viable if you didn’t have a card you could imprint prior to casting Ad Nauseam.
[[Echo of Eons]] — Previously, Echo of Eons was only a Burning Wish target. That changed when The EPIC Storm added Wishclaw Talisman to the deck. There’s more reason than ever to play two copies in the 75. The difference-maker was Wishclaw Talisman’s ability to consistently find Lion’s Eye Diamond to pair with the copy of Echo of Eons (either naturally drawn or retrieved by Burning Wish). Echo of Eons works very well with Lion’s Eye Diamond, which is why Wishclaw Talisman’s ability to find it is so important. First, play Burning Wish to retrieve Echo of Eons, then play Lion’s Eye Diamond (this plays around artifact disruption), discard the hand and add three blue to flashback your pseudo-Timetwister. Another way of getting Echo of Eons into the graveyard is to Thoughtseize yourself. While not ideal, it is a “build your a Diminishing Returns!”. Something to keep in mind, Echo of Eons is symmetrical, meaning the opponent will also draw a fresh seven-card hand. This is an issue against blue decks. To offset this, cards such as Veil of Summer, Defense Grid, and even sideboard options such as Hope of Ghirapur or Xantid Swarm are recommended over discard spells opening up another engine versus counterspell archetypes. Echo of Eons is the first three-mana storm engine legal in Legacy that’s playable in quite some time. This helps quite a bit against Prison strategies or decks trying to lock TES out of the game such as Maverick or Death & Taxes.
[[Rite of Flame]] — A defining characteristic of The EPIC Storm, this card is one of the reasons this deck is blazing fast. It costing one mana is important for two reasons — first, it’s easier to cast in comparison to other “Ritual” effects available that cost two, and second, its converted mana cost’s impact on Ad Nauseam. Something that is often overlooked when viewing Rite of Flame and is the ability to make two red mana which is important because it generates just enough to meet the red mana requirement for both Burning Wish and Empty the Warrens in a single turn. Two Rite of Flame is also the perfect amount of mana to cast Empty the Warrens! Things become a little more interesting when more than two copies of Rite of Flame are available (see below).
Mana Generated by Rite of Flame
Cast off a single red mana source, in one turn.
[[Dark Ritual]] — One of the most powerful cards in this deck and Legacy as a whole. If multiple “Ritual” effects are in hand, including a Rite of Flame, cast Dark Ritual second as it is an instant. This is incredibly helpful when it comes to playing around Daze, Spell Pierce and sometimes Flusterstorm.
Mana Generated by Dark Ritual
Cast off a single black mana source, in one turn.
[[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] — The card is responsible for most turn one wins and is a total game-changer. When using Lion’s Eye Diamond it’s crucial to maintain priority and activate it in response to other spells before passing priority/checking to see if there are any responses. When using Lion’s Eye Diamond paired with Infernal Tutor, it’s important to cast Infernal Tutor with a card in hand and then use Lion’s Eye Diamond to become hellbent by activating the artifact. Try to cast Lion’s Eye Diamond at opportune times. This card can be played very differently depending on the matchup. Let it sit on the table and threaten the opponent in some situations while hiding it in my hand or on top of the deck in others. Playing it right before Wishclaw Talisman, Infernal Tutor, or Burning Wish is desirable to maintain priority. This way it cannot be destroyed by effects like Abrupt Decay or Kolaghan’s Command.
[[Lotus Petal]] — Initial mana sources with no drawback that are almost always a pleasure to see — especially off of Ad Nauseam. They, like Chrome Mox, enable speedy early turn combos and generate Storm for free. Lotus Petal can also fix our mana, especially in post-board games for Carpet of Flowers and Abrupt Decay!
[[Chrome Mox]] — A card that divides TES from ANT. Chrome Mox provides additional early mana to allow for Ad Nauseam, Echo of Eons, or Empty the Warrens. A huge part of why TES has such an incredibly high success rate post-Ad Nauseam is Chrome Mox acts as an initial mana source to continue “combo-ing” out for the turn. One of the better uses of Chrome Mox is to allow a first turn Wishlcaw Talisman meaning that the second turn combo-ing often only needs six mana. Chrome Mox also helps enable Mox Opal very early. Lists have recently bounced back and forth on the number of Chrome Mox in the main deck. At the moment, there are three copies being played — this is because the format has sped up a bit with the decline in popularity of “true” control decks in the format.
[[Mox Opal]] — The EPIC Storm finally has enough artifacts to support Mox Opal! This change happened when TES realized it was able to swap Infernal Tutor for Wishclaw Talisman. With this swap, it brought the total number of artifacts up to 18-21 (this number fluctuates on if running main deck Defense Grid). With over a third of The EPIC Storm being artifacts, Mox Opal can be active active on the first turn. This helps significantly when trying to cast a first turn Wishclaw Talisman and then passing the turn. A cool trick with Mox Opal is to cast Brainstorm or Ponder AND THEN shuffle your deck with Bloodstained Mire or Polluted Delta on turn one. This allows another spell to be cast such as an additional cantrip or a business spell. Another fancy play with Mox Opal and Chrome Mox is to play Mox Opal first, cast Chrome Mox, with the imprint ability on the stack cast Brainstorm (or even Ad Nauseam!) and then imprint onto Chrome Mox after gaining new information/cards. While on the topic of Chrome Mox, even playing it for no-imprint cost now adds extra value with Mox Opal, which is something that should be mentioned for newer Storm pilots.
[[Bloodstained Mire]] — Notice there are three copies of Bloodstained Mire and two copies of Verdant Catacombs and Polluted Delta as the deck’s secondary “fetchlands.” The reliance on black mana is more important than blue, which is why you will not find any copies of Scalding Tarn or Misty Rainforest. All of the fetchlands need to be able to search for the sole basic land — Swamp. The difference between Bloodstained Mire and Verdant Catacombs may not be noticeable at a quick glance, but it’s there. Every fetchland in the current iteration of TES cannot get one land, for Bloodstained Mire that land is Tropical Island. That said, it certainly can search for Volcanic Island. There’s more to Bloodstained Mire and the other fetchlands as well. They provide shuffle effects for cards like Brainstorm or Ponder which help with the quality of draws. Fetchlands protect TES’s mana from effects like Wasteland or Rishadan Port, which is key considering TES is a four-color deck with plenty of non-basic lands.
[[Polluted Delta]] — A secondary “fetchland” due to the fact that Polluted Delta cannot search for Taiga. This is actually kind of a big deal because you want to pair Underground Sea with Taiga. Polluted Delta can only accomplish half of this task. Most Importantly, it can still get the basic Swamp and, if you are in need of a green source, — Tropical Island has your back. There’s more to Polluted Delta and the other fetchlands as well. They provide shuffle effects for cards like Brainstorm or Ponder which help with the quality of draws. Fetchlands protect TES’s mana from effects like Wasteland or Rishadan Port, which is key considering TES is a four-color deck with plenty of non-basic lands.
[[Verdant Catacombs]] — Notice there are three copies of Bloodstained Mire and two copies of Verdant Catacombs and Polluted Delta as the deck’s secondary “fetchlands.” The reliance on black mana is more important than blue, which is why you will not find any copies of Scalding Tarn or Misty Rainforest. All of the fetchlands need to be able to search for the sole basic land — Swamp. The difference between Verdant Catacombs and Bloodstained Mire may not be noticeable at a quick glance, but it’s there. Every fetchland in the current iteration of TES cannot get one land, for verdant Catacombs that land is Volcanic Island. That said, it certainly can search for Tropical Island. There’s more to Verdant Catacombs and the other fetchlands as well. They provide shuffle effects for cards like Brainstorm or Ponder which help with the quality of draws. Fetchlands protect TES’s mana from effects like Wasteland or Rishadan Port, which is key considering TES is a four-color deck with plenty of non-basic lands.
[[Underground Sea]] — A searchable land that provides two of the deck’s primary colors without any drawbacks. In this list, Underground Sea tends to be the primary fetchland target. Which means that its best to pair Underground Sea with its complement which would be Taiga &mash; a prominent secondary land. When having both lands in play, all four colors are available which makes gameplay much easier. A perfect example would be that Abrupt Decay can be cast off of this dynamic duo on the end step, untap, and then being able to win the game while having all of the necessary resources.
[[Tropical Island]] — A searchable land that provides two of the deck’s primary colors without any drawbacks. Tropical Island (much like Taiga) is here to primarily be a second green source while helping balance the mana in the deck. Currently, there are three blue sources, three black sources, three red sources, and two green sources. Tropical Island is actually fairly critical to this by allowing a single Wasteland on the other green mana generator to not cause Veil of Summer or Abrupt Decay to be shut off. Many individuals also enjoy how Tropical Island pairs with Veil of Summer in the initial stages of the game since it helps protect on the first turn and then casts a cantrip on the second turn of the game. Much like Underground Sea, Tropical Island has a natural compliment in Badlands. When having both lands in play, all four colors are available which makes gameplay much easier. A perfect example would be that Abrupt Decay can be cast off of this dynamic duo on the end step, untap, and then being able to win the game while having all of the necessary resources.
[[Volcanic Island]] — A searchable land that provides two of the deck’s primary colors without any drawbacks. Unlike Underground Sea, Volcanic Island has no complimentary land since Bayou has left the deck. While this does diminish the value of Volcanic Island slightly, there are aspects that still make Volcanic Island pretty great. With Pulverize AND Crash in the sideboard, TES needs more than a couple of Mountains in the deck. Volcanic Island is currently one of three Mountains for this purpose. A trick for playing with red “dual lands” is to sit back on “fetchlands” and make sure they don’t get hit by Wasteland if in a position where casting Crash or Pulverize is necessary.
[[Taiga]] — A searchable land that provides two of the deck’s primary colors without any drawbacks. Taiga (much like Tropical Island) is here to primarily be a green source while helping balance the mana in the deck. Currently, there are three blue sources, three black sources, three red sources, and two green sources. Taiga is actually fairly critical to this by allowing a single Wasteland on the other green mana generator to not cause Veil of Summer or Abrupt Decay to be shut off. The more important factor is that Taiga is a third Mountain for Pulverize in the sideboard ‐ previously if a Wasteland were to hit a Mountain, Pulverize would be shut off. Not anymore! A trick for playing with red “dual lands” is to sit back on “fetchlands” and make sure they don’t get hit by Wasteland if in a position where casting Pulverize is necessary. When pairing Taiga with Underground Sea all four colors are available which makes gameplay much easier, this is something many players look to accomplish in the early game. A perfect example would be that Abrupt Decay can be cast off of this dynamic duo on the end step, untap, and then being able to win the game while having all of the necessary resources.
[[Badlands]] — A searchable land that provides two of the deck’s primary colors without any drawbacks. Badlands is one of three Mountains in the deck for Pulverize in the sideboard ‐ previously if a Wasteland were to hit a Mountain, Pulverize would be shut off. Not anymore! A trick for playing with red “dual lands” is to sit back on “fetchlands” and make sure they don’t get hit by Wasteland if in a position where casting Pulverize is necessary. When pairing Badlands with Tropical Island all four colors are available which makes gameplay much easier, this is something many players look to accomplish in the early game. That said, this pairing is often worse than Taiga and Underground Sea due to your “combo color” land in Badlands can only cast a single “ritual effect” while Tropical Island cannot accomplish this. Although, if it’s only needed for Veil of Summer, this wouldn’t matter.
[[Swamp]] — Essentially an indestructible mana source that is searchable in the face of Wasteland. With the rise in Ghost Quarter in the last few years, it’s difficult to justify not having a basic land or two. The real value in basic Swamp is being able to cast Wishclaw Talisman off of a basic Swamp and a Chrome Mox or Mox Opal in the face of Wasteland. There are additional gains to be had in lists playing discard spells such as Thoughtseize or Duress on turn one to be able to once again, ignore Wasteland. For those that enjoy Massacre, Swamp guarantees the ability to cast it for free.
[[Island]] — Essentially an indestructible mana source that is searchable in the face of Wasteland. With the rise in Ghost Quarter in the last few years, it’s difficult to justify not having a basic land or two. The real valuable in basic Island is being able to cast one of your cantrips turn one while not having to worry about your land being destroyed. In post-board games, the value of basic Island increases by enabling safely-cast bounce spells such as Chain of Vapor or even Echoing Truth in some lists.
[[Bayou]] — A searchable land that provides two of the deck’s primary colors without any drawbacks. Bayou can be played as an additional green source while helping balance the mana in the deck, the issue is it’s compliment is Volcanic Island. This shouldn’t be a big deal, but it actually is because of Abrupt Decay. This land combination doesn’t successfully cast one of our best removal spells, which is a major issue. The other problematic situation is black and green represent our protection mana AND our primary combo colored mana, what does this leave Volcanic Island doing? It creates a natural tension on the mana base that is best avoided.
[[Scalding Tarn]] — Diversity can be a real thing. There’s been a few occasions where Scalding Tarn not being Polluted Delta or Bloodstained Mire has mattered when it came down to a timely Surgical Extraction or Pithing Needle. That said, its main function is to find basic Island (in lists that play it). With eight one-mana cantrips, the deck needs an extra search effect for the basic. There’s more to Scalding Tarn and the other fetchlands as well. They provide shuffle effects for cards like Brainstorm or Ponder which help with the quality of draws. Fetchlands protect mana from effects like Wasteland or Rishadan Port, which is key considering TES is a deck with fewer lands than its other Storm counterpart.
[[Misty Rainforest]] — This fetchland just isn’t viable when running a basic Swamp and Badlands. In order to play Misty Rainforest, the deck would need to return to the days when all of the searchable lands were dual lands and an Island.
[[Gemstone Mine]] — Gemstone Mine was formerly crucial in four-color builds before we were able to consistently enable Mox Opal. It was more important at the time that it didn’t deal damage in comparison to City of Brass or Mana Confluence. Every point of life matters in a deck that’s primary Storm engine is Ad Nauseam.
[[City of Brass]], [[Mana Confluence]] — These cards are typically in older builds with cards such as Silence. Right now, the metagame isn’t full of Stifles or Spell Snares meaning that Silence might be waiting quite a while to be playable again. It’s possible to play these five-color lands in the current lists, but they would be worse than other options like Mox Opal.
[[Seat of the Synod]], [[Vault of Whispers]] — Lands that enable Metalcraft! There are a few reasons they don’t see play though. They aren’t searchable using fetchlands, only provide a single color of mana, fragile to Wasteland, and make TES even weaker to Null Rod. These downsides don’t outweigh the benefits of additional artifacts.
[[Rain of Filth]] — A one-time ritual effect. After the first turn, it’s at worst a Rite of Flame and potentially a fifth Dark Ritual. The downside in Rain of Filth is that TES doesn’t plan for turn three, the deck wants to combo off on the second turn. One of the benefits of this deck is its ability to win blazing fast. One of the smaller nuances of this card is that lands sacrificed by Rain of Filth are then shuffled back into the deck with Echo of Eons for better or for worse.
[[Cabal Ritual]] — A card from early lists that occasionally makes its way back into the deck. The reason being that the additional mana it provides generates enough mana to easily Burning Wish for Peer into the Abyss. Players often refer to it as additional copies of Lion’s Eye Diamond as it generates three mana. Keep in mind that Lion’s Eye Diamond and Cabal Ritual have great synergy. If mana is readily available, cast Burning Wish or Infernal Tutor. In response, cast Cabal Ritual as it too is an instant, and then hold priority for sacrificing Lion’s Eye Diamond to generate the Threshold required for Cabal Ritual. The larger issue with Cabal Ritual is that it’s very difficult to reach Threshold in your permanent-based combo deck that abuses effects such as Echo of Eons.
[[Preordain]] — A potential additional cantrip. The issue with running more than 12 cantrips is continuously drawing into more of them. Casting these spells takes time and with that time you’re allowing your opponent to cast their hate-pieces. Not to mention that Preordain is worse in comparison to Ponder or Brainstorm at digging for cards that win the game.
[[Duress]], [[Thoughtseize]] — With Veil of Summer being a major player in the current metagame, it’s very tough to justify discard spells, especially when TES is better without them. Right now, it’s likely better to run longer-lasting effects like Veil of Summer, Hope of Ghirapur, or Defense Grid due to synergies with Echo of Eons.
[[Cabal Therapy]] — Without additional free information of the opponent’s hand, the guessing game of, “Which free counterspell does the opponent have?” died with the printing of Force of Negation. It’s simply too difficult to justify playing this card in the modern world.
[[Inquisition of Kozilek]] — An additional option for a discard spell, the primary concern with Inquisition of Kozilek is the inability of being able to discard Force of Will.
[[Silence]], [[Orim’s Chant]] — Cards that were shelved for their ineffectiveness at answering problematic cards in the current metagame and not being proactive enough. Playing cards that don’t interact with the opponent often leads to things like Hymn to Tourach, Show and Tell, Chalice of the Void, or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. The time for these cards has come and gone. It’s difficult to justify that these cards are better than Veil of Summer, especially when you weigh in the other benefits of the green color splash.
[[Chain of Vapor]] — One of the best bounce spells ever printed, it efficiently answers permanents such as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Gaddock Teeg, Sphere of Resistance, and Leyline of Sanctity. The only downside of this card is that Chalice of the Void on one is very popular, causing this otherwise perfect bounce spell to be not great at times. A “cool trick” with Chain of Vapor, use it to generate mana and Storm — a pseudo “storm engine” so to speak. With a bunch of artifact mana (Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, and Lion’s Eye Diamond), target an artifact, sacrifice a land, and then copy it. With enough lands and artifacts, it can be the cause of the opponent’s demise. Often times, this happens post-Ad Nauseam in scenarios with low resources. Maybe cast a few cantrips or protection spells, and after that, bounce all copies of Chrome Mox and replay them — mana has been created with a bounce spell! The reason TES sometimes includes a copy of Chain of Vapor in the main deck is to search for with Wishclaw Talisman, which makes it more reliable than in the past. The built-in “Storm engine” aspect doesn’t hurt either.
[[Infernal Tutor]] — With the emphasis on Mox Opal, Infernal Tutor has taken a back seat to Wishclaw Talisman. While Infernal Tutor is a terrific card, The EPIC Storm is focusing more on synergies at the moment which outweighs the one mana less for Ad Nauseam in a single turn.
[[Lim-Dul’s Vault]] — This card has several things wrong with it. It doesn’t put any cards in hand, it uses life as a resource which is a problem with Ad Nauseam being the primary Storm engine, and it’s very mana intensive for a Vampiric Tutor effect.
[[Death Wish]], [[Grim Tutor]] — Both of these cards have the same problem. They’re costly tutor effects that are dreadful to see pre or post-Ad Nauseam. They both have the upside of being able to find any silver bullet from the sideboard, but the life loss and mana cast are not worthwhile. This is even more true in a world that contains Wishclaw Talisman.
[[Empty the Warrens]] — The days of a main deck copy of Empty the Warrens have come and gone, this is mostly due to the inclusion of Wishclaw Talisman. Using a Wishclaw Talisman at any point in the game before casting our favorite token generator will ultimately lead to the horde of Goblin Tokens dying. Providing a tutor effect for the opponent can have real consequences which is why we aim to win all in one foul-swoop these days. Another reason the decline in Empty the Warrens happened was honestly just an up-tick in power-level if the Legacy format. More often than not, these tokens aren’t getting the job done at the same rate as the past — this is the reason we’re only playing a single copy of Empty the Warrens in the sideboard compared to the last few years where we consistently played four copies in the seventy-five.
[[Bolas’s Citadel]] — A very powerful Storm engine for sure. The primary downside of Bolas’s Citadel is that there’s no effective way for combo decks to control the top of their libraries in this format compared to Vintage (Sensei’s Divining Top), which leads to the overall ineffectiveness of the card. For six mana, you definitely need it to win the game and that isn’t the case for this card. Not to mention, Force of Vigor is already a decent card against TES and this would make it back-breaking.
[[Abrupt Decay]] — With the nature of Wishclaw Talisman being able to search for anything, it incentivizes TES to play higher impact cards. Abrupt Decay has always been a desired effect. Being able to successfully answer Counterbalance, Chalice of the Void on two, or even a Deafening Silence being protected by countermagic can be game-winning. The issue has traditionally been that green is a tough color to splash in The EPIC Storm, but that all changed with Mox Opal (and the manabase shift to two green sources). With the access to green mana is much more reliable now, TES can consistently deal with hate permanents out of blue decks. It’s worth noting that Abrupt Decay does care about opposing copies of Veil of Summer.
[[Carpet of Flowers]] — Carpet of Flowers helps solve the Delver of Secrets match-ups. First, it allows spells to be cast effectively through Spell Pierce or Daze as well as completely changing the dynamic of the game. Opponents will often not cast two-mana threats in fear of not wanting to sacrifice fetchlands to give TES mana. In return, TES gets time to set up its game plan. Second, Carpet of Flowers also can allow winning through a Null Rod or Collector Ouphe that has resolved by providing enough mana to cast Empty the Warrens or simply the right colors to cast Abrupt Decay. Importantly, just because the opponent has some Islands doesn’t mean TES should always side in Carpet of Flowers. It is not recommended to bring it in against decks such as Show and Tell for example.
[[Chain of Vapor]] — One of the best bounce spells ever printed. It efficiently answering cards like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Gaddock Teeg, Sphere of Resistance, and Leyline of Sanctity. The only downside of this card is that Chalice of the Void on one is very popular causing this otherwise perfect bounce spell to be not great at times. A “cool trick” with Chain of Vapor is to use it to generate mana and Storm — a pseudo “storm engine” so to speak. With a bunch of artifact mana (Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, and Lion’s Eye Diamond), target an artifact, sacrifice a land, and then copy it. With enough lands and artifacts, it can be the cause of the opponent’s demise. This often happens post-Ad Nauseam in scenarios with low resources. Cast a few cantrips or discard spells. After that, bounce copies of Chrome Mox and replay them and imprint with the extra cards from Ad Nauseam — mana has been created with a bounce spell!
[[Hope of Ghirapur]] — While it may not be so obvious at an initial glance, Hope of Ghirapur is better in The EPIC Storm than its green counterpart Xantid Swarm (Yes, even in lists playing green). TES needs to keep our artifact count high for Mox Opal, this is vital and should not be overlooked. The secondary reason is the ease of casting, not requiring green mana allows you to optimize your mana for speedier wins. While this may seem silly, the metal insect has often killed a Narset, Parter of Veils — it has power! Which can matter for chipping away damage here or there to make Tendrils of Agony lethal. The effects between Hope of Ghirapur and Xantid Swarm may seem the same, they’re not. With the artifact creature, the effect lasts until your next turn. This means that if you are forced to pass the turn after an Echo of Eons, you will not be punished by non-creature spells. When paired with Empty the Warrens, the opponent will not be able to cast Engineered Explosives, Terminus, Toxic Deluge, and so many other cards that could potentially remove the horde of Goblin tokens. In the combo mirror, Hope of Ghirapur comes in just to be a pseudo “Time Walk” for a single colorless mana.
[[Grapeshot]] — In a world defined by Veil of Summer, Grapeshot is being used more than ever. Being able to kill the opponent on the same turn unlike Empty the Warrens is a huge boon compared to making Goblin Tokens. There are secondary reasons to run Grapeshot as well, such as finishing off the opponent after Goblin Tokens fall short or the opponent went too low on life with Griselbrand. There’s also the added bonus of being uncounterable against blue decks while killing an Ethersworn Canonist.
[[Empty the Warrens]] — By playing a copy of Empty the Warrens in the sideboard, TES effectively play four copies in the 75 — it’s best to play the most copies possible while not decreasing Ad Nauseam percentages. Empty the Warrens is also the deck’s fastest combo option (as it requires the least amount of mana) against decks trying to lock out the game. Depending on the metagame, notice the numbers of Empty the Warrens fluctuate. In metagames with lots of Delver of Secrets, TES plays more copies (generally the full set) of Empty the Warrens as it’s an easier card to cast when the opponent is trying to attack resources. Casting Empty the Warrens from hand is a lot less resource-intensive as only four mana is needed, and playing a full-complement of Empty the Warrens allows for drawing them to be much easier. Meanwhile, in these match-ups, Ad Nauseam at its absolute cheapest is a seven-mana line that loses to Daze, Spell Pierce, and even itself. Delver decks pressure the life total very quickly, and Empty the Warrens is a great way to turn the tide. Now more than ever, Empty the Warrens plays a critical role in the sideboard — that is allowing for a line that doesn’t lose to Hullbreacher or Narset, Parter of Veil effects. The way the sideboard is currently constructed, every Storm engine says, “draw” which creates an extra emphasis on our goblin horde.
[[Tendrils of Agony]] — Another way to win the game via Burning Wish, currently with a copy in the main deck the usage is split but this allows for more versatility between combo lines. Tendrils of Agony can be a liability in the metagame with Veil of Summer’s presence, if the opponent is representing it I would look towards Grapeshot if possible. Traditionally, TES has only played a single copy of Tendrils of Agony in the deck. This is due to Tendrils of Agony being not the greatest card to draw, this has changed due to Wishclaw Talisman’s ability being uncounterable (by traditional measures) into a Tendrils of Agony once the Storm count is high enough.
[[Massacre]] — The best option against Death & Taxes! It’s searchable with Burning Wish and free to cast! With Massacre in the sideboard TES can keep less explosive hands and not be locked out of the game on the second turn. With a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in play, it may cost a little more, but it does kill Thalia even with a Mother of Runes in play. Additionally, this card is occasionally cast against Elves or Goblins as both have been known to splash a Savannah or Plateau respectively. Lastly, Massacre does have an actual casting cost in dire need — don’t forget it!
[[Pulverize]] — An answer to cards such as Chalice of the Void, Sphere of Resistance, and Thorn of Amethyst that can be retrieved by Burning Wish. The real struggle with this card is always finding space for a third mountain in the deck, currently, that is possible with this decklist configuration. With only seven “fetchlands” lands, it’s much easier to support Pulverize off the back of the inclusion of Taiga as both the third Mountain and the second green source. Currently, the most common artifact prison decks are also all Blood Moon decks. This means that they provide us with the necessary tools in order to cast this heavy-hitting spell!
[[Echo of Eons]] — For a more in depth look at the initial impressions of this card, check out this article. Let’s start with the basics. Echo of Eons works very well with Lion’s Eye Diamond. First, play Burning Wish to retrieve Echo of Eons, then play Lion’s Eye Diamond (this plays around artifact disruption), discard the hand and add three blue to flashback a pseudo-Timetwister. Another way of getting Echo of Eons into the graveyard is to Thoughtseize yourself. While not ideal, it is a “build-your-own Diminishing Returns!”. Echo of Eons is symmetrical, which means the opponent will also draw a fresh seven-card hand off of Echo of Eons. This is an issue against blue decks. To offset this, cards such as Hope of Ghirapur, Defense Grid, and Veil of Summer are great, opening up another engine versus counterspell archetypes. Echo of Eons is the first three-mana storm engine that’s been legal in Legacy that’s playable. This helps quite a bit against Prison strategies or decks trying to lock out the game like Maverick or Death & Taxes.
[[Peer into the Abyss]] — Make sure to check out Alex McKinley’s article for first thoughts on Peer into the Abyss. This card has taken the former slot of Infernal Tutor. The reason being is that Burning Wish into Infernal Tutor and then Ad Nauseam is a nine mana line to win the game, the same can be done now without the middle man of Infernal Tutor. The benefit of this change is that Peer into the Abyss while it does cause life-loss is not life-total dependent. A player can cast Peer into the Abyss at two life, draw twenty-plus cards, and then win the game — this is a huge break-through. Unlike Echo of Eons, it doesn’t use the graveyard! This is the closest thing TES has to a deterministic Storm engine.
[[Karakas]] — The value of a singleton Karakas has really increased since the addition of Wishclaw Talisman, the main problem with it is that it’s fairly narrow. Some of the best hate-creatures against Storm combo in today’s age aren’t Legendary (Collector Ouphe, Opposition Agent, Ethersworn Canonist, etc.). In the match-ups where you do want the Karakas, they also play things like Wasteland or other means of destroying our lands.
[[Thoughtseize]] — A Burning Wish target that helps against fair blue decks as well as combo matchups. While a three-mana discard spell doesn’t seem incredibly desirable, it does come up! Check out the sideboard guide, Thoughtseize is actually sided in quite a bit as well. A piece of advice, try not to telegraph over multiple turns that future plans including Thoughtseize. Don’t allow the opponent to hold open Veil of Summer in case they have a copy. Pick spots carefully for when to cast Thoughtseize in a Veil of Summer world. Thoughtseize’s importance has gone through the roof due to the popularity of Mindbreak Trap — being able to select it with Burning Wish and discard the nuisance is critical.
[[Duress]] — Disruption that can be retreived by Burning Wish. Unlike Thoughtseize, Duress cannot hit creatures which makes it less versatile even if it doesn’t come along with life-loss attached. The inability to side it in for match-ups where Veil of Summer or Defense Grid aren’t at their best is a real cost for the classic discard spell.
[[Flusterstorm]] — A real issue with counterspell effects in Storm combo is their friction with Lion’s Eye Diamond and not being able to protect the business spell from being countered. Some pilots choose to run a copy in the sideboard due to how favorably it works with Wishclaw Talsiman, the main fallacy here is often, “How is this better than Veil of Summer?” in these situations. There are some metagames where it could be correct against an effect like Mindbreak Trap due to the versatility of Flusterstorm.
[[Pyroblast]] — Pyroblast is one of the most versatile “counterspells” which is directly related to why it’s one of the most playable as well. Often played in metagames with a high-concentration of Meddling Mage and Mindbreak Trap, it’s ability to shift to the gameplan makes it powerful. Pyroblast can be used similarly to Veil of Summer on opposing counterspells, but unlike Veil of Summer is able to stop a Mindbreak Trap off of Wishclaw Talisman. Being able to kill a resolved Meddling Mage or Hullbreacher isn’t anything to scoff at either.
[[Overmaster]] — This is a really interesting card. It’s a card that can be selected by Burning Wish and it also plays around Veil of Summer as a protection spell. The main issue is that the card is only temporary, so once something like Echo of Eons resolves, you’re back to worrying. That said, it’s versatile enough to be sided in as a red cantrip which has significant value.
[[Xantid Swarm]] — Do not side in Xantid Swarm against blue-based decks with damage-based removal — it’s acceptable if the expected removal package is Swords to Plowshares or Terminus based as they’ll likely be sided out. Xantid Swarm’s intended purpose is for traditional control decks (Miracles and Stonelade), Show and Tell variants, Reanimator, High Tide, and Merfolk. One huge benefit of Xantid Swarm is that it effectively negates Leovold, Emissary of Trest’s ability during the combo turn, which is actually very good for the Storm deck. The downside is that Xantid Swarm is traditionally not the best against blue and black strategies as countermagic is paired with discard.
[[Tormod’s Crypt]] — Graveyard hate that enables the Mox Opal Metalcraft clause, which is the primary reason to play it. The secondary reason would be that it sits in play without being discarded before graveyard decks put valuable cards in their graveyard. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s casting cost aligns well with Ad Nauseam.
[[Surgical Extraction]] — A great card in metagames with lots of Reanimator or Oops! All Spells as being a free instant-speed card in these matchups is invaluable. Surgical Extraction has some extra utility against decks like Show and Tell to remove a combo piece from the game or even to check the opponent’s hand if there’s a Leyline of Sanctity in play. Being able to mess with Brainstorm, removing the target of Snapcaster Mage (a card TES does not interact with that well), removing Terminus from the game so that small Empty the Warrens can do the job, or simply just a free “Force of Will” check.
[[Sadistic Sacrament]], [[Extract]] — Incredibly narrow, but very effective cards against Doomsday and Oops! All Spells being able to remove copies of Thassa’s Oracle from the game. This essentially leaves leaves these two decks left in a checkmate, forcing them to attack you with over-costed creatures to win the game.
[[Repeal]] — Really cute with Mox Opal and against a Chalice of the Void on zero, but embrassingly bad against Chalice of the Void on one and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.
[[Void Snare]], [[Consign / Oblivion]] — Bounce effects that can be found by Burning Wish. The real upside to these cards is that they provide an answer to Leyline of Sanctity without the need to sideboard cards in. There’s also the added benefit of being an answer a variety of anti-Storm permanents.
[[Perilous Voyage]] — “Why play Echoing Truth or Chain of Vapor over Perilous Voyage” comes up a lot. The reason TES plays these cards is to deal with problematic permanents, the secondary effects are bonuses. When it comes down to it, would TES rather have a card that answers multiple cards, creates more Storm, or something that provides slight card quality? Typically sideboards are constructed to have either Chain of Vapor and/or Abrupt Decay as they fill a different purpose (either dealing with Chalice of the Void, Counterbalance, or just being good against “sphere” effects). Perilous Voyage is not bad by any means, but TES doesn’t have a need for this effect. If it did, we would probably take answering multiple permanents over a scry.
[[Echoing Truth]] — Echoing Truth, like Abrupt Decay, has increased value in the sideboard due to Wishclaw Talisman’s ability to search for anything. Being able to bounce multiple copies of a permanent (usually a pair of Chalice of the Void, Deafening Silence, or a horde of either Goblin or Zombie Tokens) is extremely desirable.
[[Crash]] — A lot of people probably didn’t even know this card existed before looking at a TES deck list. The thought behind playing cards like Crash and Chain of Vapor is that Legacy has become much faster and even more punishing in the last few years, and taking a turn off to cast cards such as Echoing Truth can be the difference-maker in a match. These permanent-based answers allow TES to break serve and get ahead in these matchups while being very mana efficient. A common scenario is an opponent will play a permanent hate spell, and TES has to spend a full turn cycle for Echoing Truth or Abrupt Decay. These answers (Crash and Chain of Vapor) get ahead of that. The thing about Crash is that the first copy has incredible value due to Wishclaw Talisman, being able to destroy a Chalice of the Void for the cost of a single mana and a Mountain is incredible.
[[Hurkyl’s Recall]] — A good answer to a variety of permanent-based artifact disruption such as Chalice of the Void, Sphere of Resistance, and Thorn of Amethyst. It doesn’t do quite enough, however. It’s very similar to Echoing Truth, but doesn’t answer Marit Lage, Chancellor of the Annex, or Deafening Silence. Plan to use this only during dramatic spikes of Ancient Tomb based strategies.
[[Wipe Away]] — In Grixis lists of The EPIC Storm, Wipe Away provides an answer to problematic cards like Counterbalance or Deafening Silence due to its Split Second ability against blue-based strategies. This means the opponent doesn’t have an opportunity to change the top card of the deck before the Counterbalance reveal. If Counterbalance reveals a converted-mana cost of three naturally, Wipe Away will be countered. The same could be said in a weird world where Chalice of the Void is on three as well. These things said, a three is incredibly unlikely and the Split Second of Wipe Away means Flusterstorm or Force of Will won’t be stopping Counterbalance from leaving the battlefield. Wipe Away is essentially a mono-blue Abrupt Decay, which is why TES sometimes plays it. The green splash can be difficult on the mana base and Wipe Away provides a reasonable answer. Typically when casting Abrupt Decay, TES often have three mana available regardless, so it’s not much of a difference. A huge benefit to Wipe Away is being able to sit on two basic lands and then on the end step, search up another blue source before casting Wipe Away.
[[Krosan Grip]] — An additional answer against blue decks with hate-permnanents, the problem is that it’s so costly and unreliable against almost any other deck.
[[Reverent Silence]] — Reverent Silence is a Burning Wish target that can act like as a free answer to Deafening Silence, Spirit of the Labyrinth, Leyline of Sanctity, or Counterbalance.
[[Meltdown]] — A great answer to Chalice of the Void. “This should be By Force.” – No, it shouldn’t. The most common piece of artifact disruption in the format is Chalice of the Void, which is often dropped for zero and one against TES. If a Chalice of the Void is in play for zero, Meltdown is cheaper than By Force. If Chalice of the Void is on one, they’re even. Take into consideration that Meltdown can destroy multiple copies of Chalice of the Void for less mana. Against Sphere of Resistance effects, Meltdown is more expensive than By Force by a single mana. Be prepared for the most popular version of a hate piece in the format rather than the second. Sphere of Resistance effects are also likely coming out of the sideboard where Echoing Truth can be brought in to combat them. Lastly, some people say By Force is better versus Phyrexian Revoker or Ethersworn Cannonist. Sure, but why no get Massacre or Grapeshot in that situation?
[[By Force]] — A fine artifact removal spell and the second best one for answering Sphere of Resistance and Thorn of Amethyst after Pulverize.
[[Shattering Spree]] — The most cost-efficient sorcery speed answer to all permanent-based artifacts. The only real downside is that TES does not play enough red lands.
[[Hull Breach]], [[Revoke Existence]] — Answers to Leyline of Sanctity or Deafening Silence that can be retrieved using Burning Wish while being flexible enough to hit cards like Chalice of the Void. TES generally prefers a more flexible card in this slot like Chain of Vapor or Echoing Truth. These cards are likely permanently on our bench with the printing of Void Snare which we don’t currently play).
[[Rending Volley]] — A card that’s more versatile than one may think. It’s primary function is to kill Ethersworn Cannonist or Hullbreacher out of blue-based decks as resolving something like Massacre or Pyroclasm can be difficult. It also doubles as a cheap removal spell to kill Thalia, Guardian of Thraben against Death and Taxes and is an answer to Leovold, Emissary of Trest against decks that have lots of answers to Defense Grid.
[[Fatal Push]] — A cheap and easy way to answer Thalia, Guardian of Thraben that can be cast off of the deck’s basic Swamp. There is everything to love about this card with very little draw back, the only concern is finding sideboard space.
[[Dread of Night]] — This card is terrific at killing creatures such as Mother of Runes, Aven Mindcensor, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. The problem is needing multiples to kill Ethersworn Canonist, Sanctum Prelate, Gaddock Teeg, or Meddling Mage.
[[Massacre]] — The best option against Death & Taxes! Its searchable with Burning Wish and free to cast! It frequently finds its way back to the sideboard due to metagame flucuations. With Massacre in the sideboard TES can keep less explosive hands and not be locked out of the game on the second turn. With a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in play, it may cost a little more, but it does kill Thalia even with a Mother of Runes in play. Additionally, this card is occasionally cast against Elves or Goblins as both have been known to splash a Savannah or Plateau respectively. Lastly, Massacre does have a real casting costs for dire need — don’t forget it!
[[Pyroclasm]] — A card that can answer Gaddock Teeg, Young Pyromancer, Delver of Secrets, Meddling Mage, Elves, and a variety of other creatures. Pyroclasm just doesn’t do enough, however. It’s slightly worse than Grapeshot and isn’t as efficient as Massacre.
[[Reanimate]] — One of TES’s worst matchups is Reanimator. These cards were an attempt at solving that issue. It’s less effective than just playing Surgical Extraction.
[[Dark Confidant]] — Good in long and grindy matchups, but the downside is the speed of the card. TES wants to kill quickly! It also uses life total as a resource, which isn’t desirable with Ad Nauseam being the primary Storm engine.
[[Infernal Tutor]] — With Wishclaw Talisman taking over Infernal Tutor’s position in the main deck, Infernal Tutor found a home in the sideboard over Dark Petition. This didn’t last for long after the release of Peer into the Abyss, the long-time Storm staple is now unplayed.
[[Dark Petition]] — Played in older lists an Infernal Tutor in the sideboard that is able to find the Ad Nauseam in the main deck. This is a nine-mana line that was eventually replaced by Peer into the Abyss. Dark Petition was commonly used to get the main-deck copy of Empty the Warrens for an additional Storm.
[[Doomsday]] — TES tried this card due to being able to win through a Gaddock Teeg. The concerns are that Doomsday requires sub-optimal cards such as Ideas Unbound to be played, if it was possible to use Echo of Eons instead it might be different. Even then, its mana intensive ,and uses life as a resource. TES’s additional Storm engines ideally wouldn’t rely on the same resource as the main game plan.
[[Ill-Gotten Gains]] — In an age with Surgical Extraction and an increased amount of instants or responses from almost every deck, this card is almost unplayable unless its an already favored matchup. A true relic of the past.
[[Past in Flames]] — While powerful, TES doesn’t utilize it as well as ANT does. TES does, however, have the tools for it to be effective if built towards it. The reason it used to see play in the sideboard is how effective it is against blue-based decks. Past in Flames is often a “counter me twice or lose”, which opens up the door for other spells to resolve. Past in Flames became weaker with the loss of Gitaxian Probe and the printing of Force of Negation.]
[[Mizzix’s Mastery]] — A fun card tried in the awkward time period in-between when TES cut Past in Flames and the release of Echo of Eons. The idea was that it could cast a discarded Ad Nauseam from the graveyard, while cute, it was never quite good enough.
[[Diminishing Returns]], [[Reforge the Soul]], [[Time Spiral]] — Former draw spells from an era before Echo of Eons and even Dark Petition. These just are never coming back.
[[Bribery]] — More attempts to answer Reanimator and Sneak Show that proved too narrow for my taste and somewhat ineffective. Telemin Performance is desired.
[[Telemin Performance]] — The first thing to know about Telemin Performance is that it’s really only good against other unfair decks (Storm, Sneak & Show, Lands, and Reanimator variants). TES lacked a powerful silver-bullet type effect in its sideboard for these matchups when it was played. With the printing of Peer into the Abyss, it’s unlikely we ever return to our old friend.
This awesome mini token set is printed on actual playing cards! A superior smooth 330gsm quality card-stock with a high-quality finish!
These tokens are literally half the size actual cards (44.45 × 63.5mm) and will not fit in standard size sleeves!
But you wouldn’t want them to any way — they’re double-sided and have Goblin tokens on the backs.