May 16, 2018

Storming Into the Sunset

Storm Primer by Jeff Pyka

The oncoming storm; a basic introduction to the deck and why you should consider playing it.

Storm holds the title for being the deck that has survived through the most total number of bans and still functions with any amount of consistency. The goal of storm is to abuse the storm mechanic (seen on grapeshot and empty the warrens). This goal is achieved by using cantrips and rituals to generate a large enough storm count to produce a lethal grapeshot. For a very long time the deck floundered on the edge of unplayability until Kaladesh printed our lord and savior Baral, Chief of Compliance. With a critical mass of medallion creatures Baral and Goblin electromancer (creatures that make instants and sorceries cost one less, the name comes from the medallion cycle from tempest) the deck is now able to generate enough mana through common disruption tactics.  


17 Lands

4 Steam Vents

4 Shivian Reef

4 Spirbluff Canal

2 Snow-covered Island

2 Island

1 Mountain

6 Creatures

4 Baral, Chief of Compliance

2 Goblin electromancer

37 Instants and Sorceries.

4 Serum Visions

4 Sleight of Hand

4 Desperate Ritual

4 Pyretic Ritual

4 Manamorphose

4 Gifts Ungiven

2 Past in Flames

3 Opt

2 Remand

1 Repeal

1 Unsubstantate

1 Noxious revival

3 Grape Shot

Side Board

1 Engineered Explosive

1 Gigadrowse

3 Lightning Bolt

1 shattering Spree

4 pieces of the puzzle

1 wipe away

2 Empty the warrens

2 Search for Azcanta (This is mostly a flex spot, other popular options are abrade and Chandra, torch of defiance)

The eye of the Storm

The core of the storm deck resolves around the medallion creatures and turning all of your rituals into dark rituals. Optimally your unknowing opponent taps out turn 3 or 4 to play something irrelevant and you can untap, play your dork with two lands up. Any two rituals plus a gift ungiven is game over at this point and it goes as the following. (This walk through is just with known cards and does not count any random cards drawn off mana or cantrips)

4 lands tap 2 for your dork

Tap 1 of the remaining untap lands to cast your first ritual 1 land RRR floating

Use a R to cast the second ritual 1 land RRRRR floating

Tap the land for U and use RR for gifts ungiven

Find Past in flames, manamorphose, and two rituals. With RRR floating Storm count 5

At this point your opponent has 1 of three options the polite thing to do is concede because we all know they are dead.

Your opponent 9 times out of 10 will split the gifts pile as the following

Manamorphose and past in flames into the yard and the 2 rituals into the hand, this is because you already have enough mana and this limits your draws. (Most people’s thinking)

Putting the rituals in the yard and the other two into the hand tries to limit your ability to produce mana.

So we now have past in flames and manamorphose in hand with RRR floating and 4 rituals and a gift in the yard.

Cast manamorphose for UR Storm 6

Cast Past in flames leaving R floating Storm 7

Cast the 4 rituals each generate RR giving 6R storm 11.

Cast the Manamorphose for UU giving 5R UU Storm 12.

Cast gifts using URR leaving URRR in pool Storm 13.

Find Grapeshot Mana, P Ritual, D Ritual. They put grapeshot mana in yeard.

Cast both rituals in hand given URRRRRRR Storm 15

Flash back Past in flames URRR in pool. Storm 16

Flash back both rituals and Manamorphose for UU giving UUURRRRRR Storm 19

Flashback grapeshot for 20.

Now this is a very basic run through assuming your opponent values some cards from gifts over others, it also is assuming all of your manamorphoses draw nothing but lands. So I feel like those two things can cancel each other out making the scenario more realistic. The deck does take some time working through lines but after a few leagues you can figure out how to work your way through hate.

Storm supporters

Storm like the majority of the decks in modern does not want to interact with you; however storm unlike the majority of the decks in modern at least pretends that it can.

The deck plays 11 cantrips, which generally look for gifts ungiven, the medallion creatures, rituals or lands depending on what you need at the time.

Remand is one of my favorite cards in the deck, however I know this is an unpopular opinion because the card is just not good in the format right now. However in storm you can remand your own spells to generate a higher storm count and loot with Baral. Grapeshot is an exceptionally good target for remand because you can storm for x, remand the grapeshot and all the copies to resolve then cast grapeshot again.

The repeal and the unsubstantiate work as general catch all answers to things like meddling mage, main deck leyline of sanctity or random things people like to get you with.

The noxious revival is the glue that holds the deck together. Allowing gift piles that guarantee to get you a bounce spell or mana creature.  

The fetchland conundrum.

Recently storm decks have been moving away from a fetchland manabase and more towards Shivian reefs. I personally was not originally a fan of this style when I first saw it; however I have grown to appreciate it more. On average you take a lot less damage from your lands and not having to shuffle the bottom of your deck (from serum visions and sleight of hands) can also be very handy.

If blood moon becomes a card that storm wants to have access to once again, I would move back to the fetchland mana base but until then I’m happy with using 4 Shivian reefs.

The Sideboard strategies.

If you want a sideboard plan for every matchup check out “The Adventuring Gear” It is Caleb Scherer’s blog where he lists full side boarding strategies for every match ups. But for extremely broad strokes Pieces of the puzzle is the sideboard all star. It comes in every match up where the games have the potential to go longer as well as some matchups where you are predicting them to board in leyline of sanctity. Wipe away is another catch all and shattering spree comes in vs the various artifact decks the format is known for. Lightning bolts come in to slow down the opponent when remand is terrible (Affinty, Merfolk, Humans etc) but try to keep a lot of boarding to a minimum, it is their job to disrupt you and you just want to have some answers to their interaction. Empty comes in against decks that have heavy disruption and sometimes just making 8 goblins is good enough.

A storms destructive quality;

Match ups with storm tend to be heavily polarized; you have a few great match ups such as Scapeshift, Tron, and the green company decks. You also have matchups that are less than great such as Humans. Storm is at its best when it can win every game 1 and play around hate game two and three. Luckily with practice you can play around a lot of the hate people are boarding in against you. I have not played against hallow one enough to really get a feel for the match up but for as long as humans is the top dog I would be careful with jamming storm without too much practice.


Storm has the ability to play mostly at instant speed. It is not unusual to ritual at the end of their turn to get a mana to cast gifts ungiven a turn sooner. Depending on the match up if it is a flat out race you just want to game your mana dude and hope to untap with him. If the matchup is more grindy and you have time be patent. Use cantrips to find your land drops or the spells you need and try to tax their mana when you try and go off. Wait until they play something like a Liliana or a jace etc, untap play your dork and go off to the best of your ability in response to their removal spell.

Noxious revivalling during your upkeep allows you to draw the card and generate an additional storm count.

Keeping 1 landers with a bunch of cantrips (2-3) is perfectly fine in a lot of matches.

Thalia cost increase works against Baral’s cost reduction so if you have both a Baral and electromancer it is easy to storm off through Thalia.

Its ok to play additional mana dorks while going off but because you do not accidently fizzle yourself. I look at playing an additional dork as an investment. If I play a dork mid combo I either want the storm count or be able to cast multiple gifts or past in flames afterwards.

Almost always cast the goblin electromancer before the Baral, it’s easier on the mana the following turn.