I decided it would only be an issue if I made the finals (Spoiler: It almost happened). The event had a huge turn out (153 players), which is great! But it was so much larger than the previous two Opens where it required an 8th round. We're really going to be cutting it close on the flight home...
The EPIC Storm (v6.7)
- 4 Burning Wish
- 4 Infernal Tutor
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Ponder
- 4 Thoughtseize
- 3 Duress
- 1 Empty the Warrens
- 1 Ad Nauseam
The EPIC Storm (v7.0)
- 4 Burning Wish
- 4 Infernal Tutor
- 4 Brainstorm
- 4 Ponder
- 4 Thoughtseize
- 2 Duress
- 2 Cabal Therapy
- 1 Empty the Warrens
- 1 Ad Nauseam
Island — With the rise of prison decks (mostly Dragon Stompy) in the metagame over the last few months, I wanted to be prepared with an additional land, making the deck more stable but also more likely to be able to cast my five sideboard bounce spells against a Trinisphere or Sphere of Resistance. Having two basic lands allows you to sit with both of them in play and then fetchlands against permanent based hate for an easy end of turn Echoing Truth without the fear of something like Wasteland or Blood Moon. Basic Island is also great against Wasteland strategies, mainly the incredibly popular UW or UR Delver decks that have been infesting Magic the Gathering Online over the last month.
Basically, I wanted higher consistency in my deck even if it comes at the cost of less explosiveness which brings me to Mox Opal.
Mox Opal — I really like Mox Opal, but the deck really needs another playable storm artifact before it'll be truly great. I've tried numerous things such as main deck Hope of Ghirapur, Defense Grid, Mishra's Bauble, and many others but they all seemed lacking. I think the future of TES has Mox Opal involved, but it's not as consistent as I'd like currently. Which means that in the meantime I'm going to opt for something more stable in basic lands that I can search for with fetchlands. Ideally, Mox Opal doesn't replace cards like Rite of Flame but instead allows the deck to go down on lands with the inclusion of another playable artifact. Essentially, swapping initial mana sources for ones that can be more explosive and castable post-Ad Nauseam.
Cabal Therapy — I was pretty hard on this card post-Gitaxian Probe banning, it didn't make a lot of sense. But our Storm brothers on the other side of things were testing it and inspired me to do the same. Especially with Stoneforge Mystic decks being the current trend, cards like Cabal Therapy get extra value for known information. Your opponents are more likely to tap out on turn two feeling safe with a Force of Will. Being able to name "Force of Will" and then flash it back later in the turn with a Goblin token for their equipment is phenomenal. In general, the synergies with Empty the Warrens are likely good enough to play a few copies, I believe I was a little over-zealous with my lists from a few weeks ago with the full play-set in the deck. Cabal Therapy is really lacking against opposing combo decks as well as Prison strategies, a wrong name is likely a game over.
Past in Flames — Cutting Past in Flames was AJ Kerrigan's brainchild, it took me a long time to catch on. I started tracking and noting carefully how often I used it and how often I could've won with another line if I had to. Over a thousand matches, it was used about 3% of the time and there were definitely games where Dark Petition into Ad Nauseam or Empty the Warrens would've also have won. This was intriguing enough for me to cut Past in Flames and replace it with a sideboard discard spell as both cards are effectively for blue decks. I'm around 250 matches now without it and have lost exactly one game due to not having it. I think it's important to consider how often you actually use your slots and if you replace it, how often is that card used instead. I know I certainly sideboard in the Cabal Therapy against Thalia, Guardian of Thraben decks and have used it against opposing combo more than I would have a copy of Past in Flames.
I don't hate Past in Flames, but The EPIC Storm isn't build to properly use the card, so... why are we running it?
Leaving A Legacy Open III
Round One - Craig Chabot with Burn
I win the die roll and tell my opponent "good luck", to which they respond, "you too." They probably didn't to tell "good luck" if I was going to draw like this all day, my initial seven cards on the day were: Infernal Tutor, Dark Ritual, Chrome Mox, Burning Wish, Lion's Eye Diamond, Badlands, and Polluted Delta. I shove all in and Ad Nauseam resolves, I do a little fabricating of the truth and say I'm not sure if have it when I Duress my opponent when they reveal a fistful of red cards. I follow it up by draining their entire life-total with a Tendrils of Agony.
Unfortunately for Craig, he mulligans to four cards before keeping. Shortly after, I'm at 19 life from a Monastery Swiftspear. I draw, search up Underground Sea and cast Ponder, if I can draw Lion's Eye Diamond I will be able to cast Empty the Warrens with my Dark Ritual, Lotus Petal, and Infernal Tutor. I do not, instead, I draw a Rite of Flame. My hand is now: Rite of Flame, Bloodstained Mire, Burning Wish, Echoing Truth, Infernal Tutor, Dark Ritual, and Lotus Petal. Craig plays a few burn spells and then attacks me. I draw a Cabal Therapy for the turn.
Bloodstained Mire picks up a basic Swamp, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor (revealing: Rite of Flame), Lotus Petal, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Burning Wish, and then Empty the Warrens. Craig draws, reveals his hand of two basic Mountains and extends his hand.
Round Two - Jon Orr with 4c Loam
Jon quickly sends his seven cards back to the library and reluctantly keep six cards, I don't buy it. I couldn't wait to cast the Duress in my opening hand: Green Sun's Zenith, Dryad Arbor, Chalice of the Void, Windswept Heath, Verdant Catacombs, and Maze of Ith. Chalice of the Void to the graveyard. Jon makes a comment about how he also just had to draw the Dryad Arbor for Green Sun's Zenith as well, but would be fine if he could just draw a Mox Diamond. He leads on a Windswept Heath and then passes back to me. I draw and cast Brainstorm, my hand is looking for an action spell — the third card down on Brainstorm is Empty the Warrens.
Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Chrome Mox (Imprint: Rite of Flame), and Empty the Warrens for 10 Goblins. Jon reveals that he drew the Mox Diamond for the turn and searches up Scavenging Ooze, but eventually dies in a few turns to the horde.
Once again Jon keeps less than seven cards, in fact, this time it's five. My opening hand is: Polluted Delta, Scalding Tarn, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, Echoing Truth, and another Echoing Truth. Jon plays a fetchland and passes. I draw Burning Wish and do the same. Jon casts a Scavenging Ooze once again and ships it back, I draw the last Echoing Truth. Awkward. I play the other land and pass back, Jon attacks and plays Dryad Arbor from hand. I thought about casting an Echoing Truth here, but didn't want to expose my lands to Wasteland or cut myself off of colors by searching up basic lands.
I draw Brainstorm for the turn, cast it off of basic Island found with Scalding Tarn. Lotus Petal, Bloodstained Mire, and Volcanic Island. I put back two copies of Echoing Truth, play Bloodstained Mire and pass. Jon pre-combat plays Liliana of the Veil and uses her plus one ability. I discard Burning Wish, then Echoing Truth the Scavenging Ooze when Jon moves to attacks.
I'm in a position where I need to draw a non-land card to be hellbent, and you might be wondering why I discarded Burning Wish then. Keeping Burning Wish means I'm forced to Empty the Warrens versus a deck with multiple answers or a Dark Petition line where I don't have enough mana. I knock my deck and draw... It's Rite of Flame! Play my Volcanic Island, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor, and Ad Nauseam.
Round Three - Benjamin Capen with Death and Taxes
I open up a hand that makes 10 Goblins on the play: Duress, Swamp, Burning Wish, Lotus Petal, Chrome Mox, Lion's Eye Diamond, and Polluted Delta. I was confident that I had to face a blue deck at some point and this was going to be it, because of that, I lead on Duress and end up discarding a copy of Swords to Plowshares from Death & Taxes. Sigh. The downside is my opponent revealed a Stoneforge Mystic and now the second turn Goblins won't be fast enough to beat a Batterskull, which means I need to change my game plan from Goblins to Ad Nauseam using Dark Petition. We play "land pass" for a few turns, my lands are visiting the coast of Rishadan — they have a wonderful Port there. This goes with my plan and gives me enough time, I finally draw an accelerant and am able to cast Dark Ritual, Lotus Petal, Lotus Petal, Lion's Eye Diamond, Dark Petition, and Ad Nauseam.
I mulligan and keep a hand on the back of Ad Nauseam: Brainstorm, Burning Wish, Ad Nauseam, Underground Sea, Dark Ritual, and Lotus Petal. Ben leads on Mother of Runes, I draw and it's Thoughtseize. I fire it off to look at: Wasteland, Flickerwisp, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. I discard Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and then my Underground Sea is destroyed by Wasteland. My draw steps are not mana and I lose to a second Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.
Chrome Mox, Ponder, Ponder, Chain of Vapor, Lion's Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, and Burning Wish is my opener, I lead on Chrome Mox (Imprint: Chain of Vapor) and cast Ponder. I find a Polluted Delta, use it and cast my other Ponder. I find a second land, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame. I draw the second land and have a turn two kill as long as I'm not hit by Wasteland, unfortunately, I am. I'm forced to shuffle away the second copy of Rite of Flame and hope to draw an initial mana source before Thalia, Guardian of Thraben hits the table on the following turn. I draw and it's... Chrome Mox! Chrome Mox (Imprint: Burning Wish), Rite of Flame, Lion's Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, and Ad Nauseam.
Round Four - Roland Chang with Grixis Delver
I win the die roll again (four in a row!) and start with a Thoughtseize off of a basic Swamp: Wasteland, Ponder, Brainstorm, Lightning Bolt, Daze, Force of Will, and Volcanic Island. I discard Force of Will and off of the top of Roland's deck comes a Delver of Secrets. I search up a basic Island and cast Ponder. Delver of Secrets does not flip, Roland plays a cantrip but misses his second blue source for mana and decided to play Wasteland. I play a Polluted Delta and cast Brainstorm. Roland flips Delver of Secrets and attacks. I draw to avoid my land being destroyed by Wasteland, search up Underground Sea and cast another Brainstorm.
I won't lie, I tanked on this Brainstorm. Between the Thoughtseize in my hand, fetchlands, Delver of Secrets, and the Lightning Bolt I believe that I'm going to lose the race with Goblins. All it takes is another Delver of Secrets, Lightning Bolt, or True-Name Nemesis. I can decide to put back two lands for a higher storm count or one land and a copy of Chrome Mox, but it's one less storm but ensures my Thoughtseize will beat the Daze I know about. I decide to put back two lands.
Lotus Petal, Lion's Eye Diamond, Lion's Eye Diamond, and Thoughtseize? Roland Dazes. The issue here is if I pay, I can't cast the Burning Wish in my hand because my other card is Chrome Mox. I allow Thoughtseize to be countered. I then cast Chrome Mox and Burning Wish, in response, I add three black mana and three red mana. Roland decides to Daze here and my eyes tried not to jump out of my head. That's storm 9! I grab Tendrils of Agony and that'll do it. I feel like I got away with one here.
The first few turns from both sides of the table are just fetchlands staring at one another. Roland breaks the silence with a Thoughtseize discarding my Cabal Therapy. I draw for the turn and its Duress. I successfully search up a Swamp (I know that Roland is on Stifle) and then cast Duress: Force of Will, Force of Will, Daze, Pyroblast, Pyroblast, and a Misty Rainforest. I discard a copy of Force of Will. We play "draw, go", for a turn cycle and on the following turn Roland leaves one mana open to cast a Gurmag Angler, this is good for me because I drew a second copy of Brainstorm. I fire it off on the end step and it's countered by Pyroblast.
I draw another land for the turn, cast Brainstorm and find a Lotus Petal and a Thoughtseize, I can Empty the Warrens this turn but only if Dark Ritual isn't hit by Daze (I need two red sources). Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual? Resolves. Thoughtseize! Roland didn't draw another blue card, I discard Daze. Dark Ritual, Burning Wish, and cast Empty the Warrens. Flashback Cabal Therapy on Pyroblast. Roland's life total was low enough where I felt like I wanted to get guaranteed value from a spare Goblin token. I win two turns later.
Round Five - Ian Carle with 4c Loam
I had been scouting a lot in between rounds, but I couldn't figure out what Ian was on. He mulliganed and lead on Verdant Catacombs, pass. I draw for the turn and now my hand is Brainstorm, Brainstorm, Duress, Infernal Tutor, Chrome Mox, Lion's Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, and Bloodstained Mire. I put Ian on Maverick or Elves, I didn't want to expose any lands to Wasteland and Green Sun's Zenith would be a turn away. Instead, I ate a Chalice of the Void on Ian's turn, I Brainstormed in response. On my turn, I play Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, Lion's Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, and Empty the Warrens. As the game drags out, I fall short and lose to a pair of Knight of the Reliquary.
I kept a one land hand that if I wasn't hit by a Wasteland and my Brainstorm hit a land would be a turn two kill. Well, Wasteland happened and my Brainstorm missed on mana. Ian followed up with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben into Gaddock Teeg. Wump.
Round Six - Anderson Boone with Grixis Control
I win the die roll and we both mulligan. I scry to the bottom looking for a land. Chrome Mox (Imprint: Brainstorm) and cast Brainstorm: Underground Sea, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Lion's Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, and Badlands. I decided to put Badlands then Infernal Tutor on top, play out Lion's Eye Diamond and pass. This protects my Infernal Tutor from discard and Underground Sea from Wasteland. Anderson plays Underground Sea into Ponder, shuffles, and passes. I decide I'm going all in, Underground Sea, Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, and Ad Nauseam.
Anderson mulligans again. He plays a land and passes, I do the same. On his second turn, Anderson casts Ponder, lays a land and passes. I end step Brainstorm, which is countered by Pyroblast. I untap, play a discard spell and put 16 Goblins on the table. Anderson draws and then says, "That's a start, Brainstorm?" Anderson draws and apologizes. After my Goblins are destroyed by Engineered Explosives, I try to battle back but fall short.
I keep and Anderson shuffles down to six again. I lead on a Thoughtseize: Volcanic Island, Underground Sea, Swamp, Pyroblast, Gurmag Angler, and Flusterstorm. Flusterstorm down. Anderson draws the card he put on top and plays Underground Sea, I raise an eyebrow and cast Brainstorm on my turn. I put Ad Nauseam on top and now my hand is all mana and a second Thoughtseize. Anderson couldn't cast Hymn to Tourach fast enough, I discard Thoughtseize and a Rite of Flame. Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, and Ad Nauseam!
Round Seven - Jeremy Stinson with Merfolk
I had sat next to Jeremy all day and was praying to avoid him as Merfolk is a miserable match-up, I was somewhat relieved when I wasn't paired against him for my win-and-in but instead of Turbo Depths. But the scorekeeper accidentally dropped Anthony LaVerde from the event and we're repaired...
Jeremy mulligans and keeps a strong hand of Cursecatcher with two copies of Force of Will, I'm actually navigating through it quite well. I have it set up to be a turn three kill, when... Chalice of the Void rears its ugly head and we're onto game two.
Jeremy keeps a land-light hand with an AEther Vial, but I had resolved a Hope of Ghirapur which means that counterspells are off the table. I end up using an Echoing Truth on THREE copies of Master of the Pearl Trident (one was technically a Phantasmal Image). I finally draw a business spell, attack, sacrifice Hope of Ghirapur, Burning Wish, Dark Petition, and Ad Nauseam!
Jeremy mulligans, scries to the bottom, and leads on Mutavault. I cast Thoughtseize: Island, Island, Island, Daze, and Force of Will. Force of Will to the graveyard. As long as Chalice of the Void doesn't hit the table, I should be golden for a turn two as long as I draw a land. I am attacked by Mutavault and then Jeremy passes. I draw... IT'S Scalding Tarn! Rite of Flame, which is met by Daze. In response, I cast Dark Ritual and pay. I have the choice between Thoughtseize into Empty the Warrens, Infernal Tutor for a second copy of Lion's Eye Diamond, Burning Wish into Dark Petition and Empty the Warrens or just Infernal Tutor into Ad Nauseam. I decide on Ad Nauseam but am very nervous.
I can feel my heart pounding, I knock on my deck and say, "don't fail me." I'm very glad it listened, a chain of converted mana cost zeros off the top and we're advancing to the top 8!
Round Eight - Lucas Glavin with UW Delver
ID into Top 8!
Quarterfinals - Lucas Glavin with UW Delver
I'll be honest, I think I was probably 5% to win this game. In an effort to play around Wasteland, I searched up both Island and Swamp but was cut off of red mana by a Wasteland with a grip-full of red cards, I also had a Brainstorm countered. I'm at 5 life, Lucas is at 27 life, more than lethal damage on board, my opponent has four cards in hand but only one untapped mana. I draw for my final draw-step of the game one way or another. I draw Chrome Mox, I'm able to play Chrome Mox (Imprint: Empty the Warrens), Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, Lion's Eye Diamond and Ad Nauseam on the stack with Burning Wish as the last card in my hand. I have two copies of Lion's Eye Diamond in play, untapped Island, and one black and one red mana floating.
Lucas really tanks about letting this resolve, which lets me know he only has Flusterstorm as a way of interacting. He kept looking at my storm count and glancing at my mana, which was a dead giveaway. He also paused earlier on in the game in regards to a fetchland, so I was somewhat sure Lucas had a Stifle. Ultimately, he says, "odds are you kill yourself, resolves."
Lotus Petal, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual, tap Island, Brainstorm? "Resolves." I draw in order: Burning Wish, Hope of Ghirapur, and Thoughtseize. I put Thoughtseize and Bloodstained Mire on top of my library. At this point, I had a pretty good idea... Burning Wish? "Resolves." Cabal Therapy. My opponent tanks again and says, "Resolves." I name Flusterstorm, Lucas reveals: Flusterstorm, Stifle, Daze, and Umezawa's Jitte. Hope of Ghirapur, flashback Cabal Therapy discarding Stifle. Burning Wish into Tendrils of Agony!
Lucas mulligans and then plays a Flooded Strand before passing the turn. I play a Polluted Delta and pass back. Lucas draws, casts Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull. I carefully analyze my hand: Cabal Therapy, Thoughtseize, Badlands, Rite of Flame, Lotus Petal, Lion's Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, and Infernal Tutor. I found the line.
Semifinals - Kenton Najdzien with Grixis Phoenix
On the draw again, but Kenton just leads on a Polluted Delta before passing. I search up an Underground Sea, cast Lion's Eye Diamond, and then Ponder into a second copy of Lion's Eye Diamond AND an Infernal Tutor. Put Infernal Tutor on top of my library, draw the Lion's Eye Diamond and cast it. I am now discard proof on my turn. Instead of casting discard spells, Kenton casts Brainstorm, Dark Ritual, Buried Alive, and I'm taking nine from three Arclight Phoenix. Rite of Flame, Infernal Tutor, and Ad Nauseam.
By stopping here I can guarantee "Hellbent" for Infernal Tutor, if I reveal a land, I then need to find a Brainstorm or Lion's Eye Diamond. Cast all of my spells into Burning Wish for Tendrils of Agony.
A game defined by discard, I end up going all in on a Burning Wish only to meet a drawn Flusterstorm. While I am not dead, the clock that three Arclight Phoenix represent is enough for me and I have a plane to catch.
My hand is actually very good, I have Ad Nauseam, Dark Rituals, and then a pair of Brainstorms to protect it from discard. The issue is Kenton draws back to back Thoughtseize and then cantrips into a Cabal Therapy with a Young Pyromancer in play which is finally able to discard my Ad Nauseam. This ends my event, it was a good run... and I had to jet to the airport.
Totals & Stats
- Games & Record: 15-8-1 | 7-2-1
- The Die Roll: 5-2
- Mulligans: 1
- Turn One Combos: 1
- Ad Nauseam Wins: 10
- Empty the Warrens MD Wins: 2
- Empty the Warrens SB Wins: 2
- Natural Tendrils of Agony Wins: 1
Closing & General Thoughts
I ended up making it to the airport on time, thankfully. However, when going through TSA they insisted on opening my deck box upside down. I watched my red twenty-sided spin-down from Kaladesh fall out of my deck box onto the floor. When I politely asked the TSA agent to please look on the ground, he replied, "I didn't drop any of your stuff." If anyone would like to swap dice with me for a red Kaladesh twenty-sided at Magic Fest Niagara Falls, I would greatly appreciate it (there's nothing special about the set, I just want to have four matching sets for my deck box). I have a note on Niagara Falls below. I ended up getting to my gate minutes before boarding. Unfortunately, there was a maintenance issue that lasted for over an hour which meant if I won in the semifinals, I would've been fine.
If you are interested in merchandise from theepicstorm.com/shop but don't want to pay for shipping, make sure to sign up for our mailing list in the footer. There will be an offer sent out later this week for those attending Magic Fest Niagara Falls.
I would like to take a moment to thank Jerry Mee and his better half Patrick Euglow for hosting such a great event at Gaming Etc. I would not like to thank Wilson Hunter for convincing me I had enough time to fly back in the same day.
As for my deck, I think the list ran incredibly well. Not sure if I'll change anything, but I do think Massacre is well-positioned in a world where UW Delver is seeing lots of play.
Until next time, keep storming!