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Hello again Guys!
After my debut article, I am slowly getting used to the spotlight and feel quite at home writing about my Magic endeavors.
Last time I talked to you about Legacy, I tried to discover how you can beat True-Name Nemesis without compromising your deck’s plan too much. I had this exact same dilemma when I was preparing for the upcoming Danish Legacy Masters 2013, but the coward in me prevailed and I picked Storm. Storm is a deck I have huge experience piloting, both from Vintage and Legacy, so the choice was pretty simple considering I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the event.
The Main Deck:
The build I chose is somewhat unorthodox. Instead of playing Gitaxian Probe and Cabal Therapy, I used Preordain and Thoughtseize in those slots. People often wonder if the lifeloss becomes an issue, but my experience with Gitaxian Probe is that you pay 2 life for it basically every time. Furthermore I like being able to Thoughtseize on turn 1 against an unknown opponent instead of blind-naming Force of Will, Brainstorm etc. with Cabal Therapy. Being able to take out multiple cards, like Stifle or Spell Snare, can be useful but I have never missed it during tournaments. The guarantee Thoughtseize provides has won me several games, so I’m very happy with it. The deeper digging powered by Preordain is much appreciated as it helps turn one-land opening hands into game wins or enables a turn two kill when all you need is an Infernal Tutor, Dark Ritual or Lion’s Eye Diamond
I think I’m a bit heavy on the land slots but I like making my land drops in draw-go matchups like Miracles and RUG Delver. Sixteen is one or two above average when I search the web for other Storm lists.
The “last” debatable slot in the deck is Lim-Dûl’s Vault, but honestly I have no idea whether it is good or not. For a long time I played Grim Tutor in this slot and the results were satisfying for the most part. I could easily see myself switching back to the portal tutor for an event in the future. However, Lim-Dûl’s Vault is great at setting up a turn 3 kill whether you need a Lion’s Eye Diamond, Ad Nauseam or a Duress to begin the combo turn with.
– Dread of Night is a card that I was absolutely sure would pay off at the tournament. The master of Mono-White, Thomas Enevoldsen, has quite a few disciples around here and they would definitely sleeve up a dozen Plains for this event.
– Abrupt Decay is there to deal with Counterbalance and Chalice of the Void, nothing else. Because of Dread of Night you don’t want to bring in Abrupt Decay vs. Mono-White, since fetching a Green source is a huge liability against Wasteland
– Surgical Extraction is a card I want as a two-of to sideboard in vs. Griselbrand decks and against the mirror. In these matchups, I swap them out for two Green dual lands after game 1 because making land drops isn’t as important when not playing against Wasteland or heavy counter packages. Speed is key and free disruption is great.
– Xantid Swarm is my only sideboard card vs. RUG Delver. Lim-Dûl’s Vault is pretty bad against counterspells, but all my discards, cantrips, combo pieces and lands are needed in the matchup. One seems random, but playing more would be over-sideboarding against an already fine matchup. I would be happy to play against this deck any time.
– Slaughter Pact and Chain of Vapor make sure I can beat hatebears like Ethersworn Canonist, Meddling Mage and Gaddock Teeg while Chain of Vapor also provides an out to Leyline of Sanctity. After UWR Delver’s victorious campaign at Grand Prix Washington, I knew there would be some Meddling Mages around to kill. Furthermore, having more removal for Thalia, Guardian of Thraben against Mono-White is never a bad thing in Denmark.
– Empty the Warrens is the only mistake in my sideboard. Originally I wanted to swap it for Ad Nauseam vs. decks with heavy counter packages, but in practice you just miss having the Ad Nauseam in your deck in several situations that occur during a match. I decided not to sideboard it in against any decks at all during the tournament and evaluated while playing. It was definitely the right move, and this card does not belong in Storm. Some like it as an answer to Leyline of Sanctity, but decks sideboarding Leyline are typically combo decks against which you simply cannot afford to make 12 goblins, pass the turn and hope for the best.
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Past in Flames
1 Ad Nauseam
4 Infernal Tutor
4 Dark Ritual
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Lotus Petal
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 Polluted Delta
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Verdant Catacombs
2 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
1 Tropical Island
4 Dread of Night
3 Abrupt Decay
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Chain of Vapor
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Xantid Swarm
Danish Legacy Masters 2013:
Five days before the event, I played a local Legacy tournament with 30+ players to get a feel for the deck again. I did fairly well and made top 4, but the most important thing was that I felt in good shape with the deck and trusted my deck list to carry me.
As the day dawned I made a last minute change, adding 2 Slaughter Pact on the assumption that there would be a lot of hatebears to fight through. I had a nice breakfast with my family, put on my MTGMadness T-shirt and went to catch the bus.
I had really been looking forward to this tournament. Not only had it been organized by some great friends of mine but several of the oldschool players I used to play Vintage with way back when would be coming out of their cave… I cannot describe how it felt to hug them and catch up with non-Magic related things. This made my day, regardless of how I would end up doing in the tournament. Mourad, Bent and Brian – thanks for everything. I wouldn’t still be playing this game if it weren’t for you.
Instead of going into detail about all of my games, I will list the matchups I played and tell you how to play your role when getting paired against these decks.
For reference,here are the top 16 decklists of the event
Figure out fairly early if you should go for a quick Ad Nauseam from a healthy life total or a Past in Flames kill the turn before you die. After sideboard they have graveyard hate and possibly Mindbreak Trap, so keep in all your discard. On the play, Thoughtseizeing a Goblin Lackey is very valuable because they have a very hard time mulliganning a fast hand.
Both you and your opponent are piloting a turn two combo deck game one. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben will win the game 95% of the time, so prioritize fast hands and Thoughtseize. Three lands, two cantrips, Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual is not necessarily a keeper. Game 2 and 3 are way better for you thanks to Dread of Night, Chain of Vapor and Slaughter Pact
These matchups are basically the same except that UWR has Meddling Mage in the two sideboarded games. If they have a turn 1 Delver of Secrets, you need to speed up or start thinking about Past in Flames. Making land drops and sculpting the perfect hand is your goal but if you feel the coast is clear, don’t be afraid to Ad Nauseam early.
Nevermind the deck name here. All we care about in this matchup is their Blue cards, namely Counterbalance. This is very comparable to Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in regards to the “turn 2 kill”, but this time they also have Force of Will. I would advise just going for it in game 1 because waiting will most likely make you lose to a topdecked Counterbalance. After sideboard we can profitably play draw-go. We will find an Abrupt Decay eventually and hope to overpower them on the combo turn. Definitely no walk in the park though.
Discard and counterspells can be difficult but they have so many bad cards in game 1 that it’s pretty unlosable. When going for the Past in Flames kill against an active Deathrite Shaman, make sure to cast all of your rituals, Infernal Tutor for another Infernal Tutor which finds Past in Flames to make sure he can’t exile your tutor and stop your chain. I felt the need to sideboard in a few answers for Ethersworn Canonist and Meddling Mage against this color combination.
Clear their hand of combo pieces or discard their only counterspell and race them. You have the speed while they have the control elements. Play the aggro role and you should be fine. Sideboarded games can be tricky unless you know what their sideboard cards are. Leyline of Sanctity demands an answer but you don’t want dead cards if they bring in more counterspells instead. See where game 2 takes you and adjust for game 3.
The key to beating Storm is to attack from more than one angle. Do you only play counterspells (RUG Delver)? Well if so, you’re an underdog in the matchup. Or do you play only discard spells (Jund)? Guess what, if so you have a 35/65 chance at best vs. Storm. If you only play permanent hate (Mono-White), the combo deck will find an answer in time and kill you with ease. However, if you main discard and counterspells with hatebears coming out of the sideboard, Storm is in trouble.
Here are the percentages (in my opinion) from Storm’s perspective:
– Graveyard hate + permanent hate (Mono-White) = 60/40
– Clock + graveyard hate + counters (Goblins post-board) = 55/45
– Discard + counterspells (EsperBlade) = 60/40
– Counterspells + permanent hate (Miracles) = 45/55
– Discard + counterspells + permanent hate + graveyard hate (post-board Blade) = 30/70
– Clock + counterspells (Omniscience, Sneak Attack, High Tide) = 55/45
Some of these decks might have an additional way of fighting Storm, graveyard hate in Miracles for instance, and of course that effects the percentages. As long as people only attack Storm from two angles at the most, it’s a very solid deck choice (once you get in some good practice and master the deck).
Feel free to message me or leave a comment.
Good luck Storming!
Andreas ‘And11′ Petersen
ecobaronen @ Magic Online
andiiment at hotmail dot com