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Thread: [Deck] TES - The EPIC Storm

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    [Deck] TES - The EPIC Storm

    The EPIC Storm (T.E.S.)
    Created by Bryant Cook (Wastedlife), Developed with assistance from The E.P.I.C. Syndicate

    The EPIC Storm (TES) is a Tendrils of Agony – based combo deck, which tries to play as close to Vintage Long as possible, without sacrificing stability for speed. It’s primary path to victory lies in casting Dark Ritual effects and Lion’s Eye Diamonds, enabling it to utilize Burning Wish or the Hellbent ability of Infernal Tutor to generate 9 storm before casting a lethal Tendrils. What separates this deck from other, similar Tendrils decks in Legacy, such as IGGy Pop, is TES’s 5 color manabase, allowing it to utilize the most powerful effects available in the cardpool. With the printing of the Coldsnap and Time Spiral sets, TES received a powerful accelerant and win condition, making red a dominant force in Storm combo. Embracing this development has allowed TES to go from a niche deck played by a few individuals, to a powerhouse in consistent combo, seeing multiple top 8’s in 50+ player events.

    History

    This story opens with a rather humble beginning. In August of 2006, Bryant Cook posted a thread discussing a creature-based Tendrils list, soon after the DCI removed the power-level errata on Priest of Gix. This deck, found here, used Trinket Mage as a mana-neutral tutor for Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Helm of Awakening or Second Sunrise to “go crazy” with LED and Priest of Gix mana. Combining the draw power of returning Chromatic Spheres with the tutoring power of Infernal Tutor, Burning Wish, and Diabolic Intent, the deck had no small amount of paths to a lethal Tendrils. However, the instabilities of the deck became apparent over time. The creatures continued to under perform. Once they were removed, cards like Culling the Weak, Diabolic intent, and Second Sunrise became worse. A saving grace came in the form of Coldsnap.

    Coldsnap brought an important inclusion to the deck, in Rite of Flame. Rite was a consistent replacement for the mediocre acceleration of Priest of Gix, who was only really good with two Helms of Awakening in play.

    With the printing of Time Spiral, TES gained 2 new Storm weapons - Grapeshot and Empty the Warrens. Grapeshot was a secondary win condition, generally utilized to kill Fish-y creatures like Meddling Mage and True Believer before Tendrils won the game. It has fallen out of favor since the creatures pose less of a threat to modern builds. In Empty the Warrens, The EPIC Syndicate saw a serious threat to the most difficult matchups for the deck, the white/blue agro-control decks. With Empty the Warrens, you had the ability to raise the storm to a mere 3 or 4 before casting Warrens, allowing you to dump 8-10 Goblins in play. These decks have only a few spot removal spells available, and have an extremely difficult time finding an answer to this play when made early. Paired with the 2-3 turn clock, it improved this matchup immensely.

    More recent innovations to the deck include the addition of Brainstorm, increasing the number of cards you see turn 1 as well as the stability of early kills; and Diminishing Returns in the maindeck and sideboard as a potential answer to the Stifle problem and a storm generator/card advantage spell.

    The Decklist

    Lands
    4 City of Brass
    4 Gemstone Mine
    2 Undiscovered Paradise
    1 Tomb of Urami

    Creatures
    4 Xantid Swarm

    Spells
    4 Lion's Eye Diamond
    4 Lotus Petal
    4 Chrome Mox
    1 Ill-Gotten Gains
    4 Burning Wish
    2 Tendrils of Agony
    4 Dark Ritual
    3 Cabal Ritual
    4 Infernal Tutor
    4 Plunge into Darkness
    1 Diminishing Returns
    4 Rite of Flame
    2 Empty the Warrens
    4 Brainstorm

    Sideboard
    SB: 1 Ill-Gotten Gains
    SB: 1 Tendrils of Agony
    SB: 1 Diminishing Returns
    SB: 1 Empty the Warrens
    SB: 1 Tranquility
    SB: 1 Hull Breach
    SB: 3 Shattering Spree
    SB: 4 Dark Confidant
    SB: 1 Earthquake / Rough//Tumble
    SB: 1 Duress

    Discussion of card Choices

    Manabase – This manabase is a direct port of the GrimLong manabase from Vintage, adapted to the Legacy metagame. Originally it included Forbidden Orchard and Cabal Pit, which were replaced with Undiscovered Paradise once we came to the realization that the tokens do matter, and Meddling Mage wasn’t a significant problem anymore. The Tomb of Urami represents a threat that can be online turn 1 vs. decks that may not have the speed to deal with it, like Survival variants.

    Rituals – 4 Dark Ritual, 4 LED, 4 Lotus Petal, 3 Cabal Ritual, and 3 Rite of Flame are a given. There has been some debate over whether the fourth Rite of Flame belongs in the Maindeck or Sideboard as a Burning Wish target. Generally speaking, using a Burning Wish – the most versatile tutor – on a Ritual effect is a weak play, as the second Rite of Flame is mana neutral, and only the third Rite generates mana. This is different than using a non-hellbent Infernal Tutor to find a second Rite, as that play both thins your deck, can shuffle a bad Brainstorm, and converts black mana to red. With no Rites in the graveyard it is a mana neutral play, and with any in the grave it generates mana.
    Another debate for fast-mana is the number of Chrome Moxen. We believe you want to maximize your mana producing potential from Diminishing Returns, and so include the maximum number.

    Tutors – 4 Burning Wish and 4 Infernal Tutor is possibly the strongest Tutor package ever allowed in constructed Magic, when paired with unrestricted Lion’s Eye Diamond. Even so, the threat density required another tutor. Plunge into Darkness wasn’t the first card that came to mind, but testing showed it to be an extremely strong choice. While the life loss can be an issue at times, situations occur where you utilize the second ability of the card, or entwine it. The fact that you can tutor for a type of card, rather than a specific card, enables you to Plunge for a smaller number, and makes it better than Spoils of the Vault. Maintaining card parity (rather, not losing your draw step, and putting the card in hand immediately) is important, and gives it an edge over Mystical Tutor. It’s instant speed allows it to be a setup card, played end step of the turn before you “go off.”

    Wishboard – IGG, Tendrils, EtW, and Diminishing Returns are all integral combo pieces that can be used when needed. Tranquility is there specifically to deal with situations like a Solitary Confinement and Tranquil Grove, or more than a single Rule of Law, etc. Hull Breach deals with a single threat of that type, or multiple forms of hate such as Chalice of the Void at 0 or 1 plus Ivory Mask. Shattering Spree allows you to take down many artifacts at the same time, and is in multiples to allow you to sideboard some in if needed. Duress allows you additional protection if you know you need to fight through hate, or if you need to get a feel for what hate your opponent may throw at you. Earthquake and/or Rough//Tumble both allow you to take out opposing creature-based disruption while not interfering with your Xantid Swarms. While Boom can take out a Mystic Enforcer, Earthquake can potentially be used to win or draw the game.

    Dark Confidant – Bob is utilized as a card advantage engine that hits for a Tendrils copy each turn he is left unchecked. Often coming in to replace the Xantid Swarms vs. non-permission opponents, he allows you to find the perfect hand to win, and makes winning easier at the same time. As often as he is sided in, people often ask why he isn’t maindeck to begin with. Simply put, he improves our marginal matchups into great ones, while Xantid Swarm makes our difficult matchups marginal. Both creatures die to basically every removal spell ever printed, but game 1 vs. an unknown opponent, the protection provided by Xantid is invaluable.

    Why play TES, specifically over other Tendrils based combo?

    TES, as said above, has 2 distinct advantages over other Tendrils based decks: Speed, and card selection. IGGy Pop is a turn 3-4 combo deck, as described by it’s creator, Mike Bomholt (bomholmm on TML, blarknob on MTS). TES is renowned by it’s ability to finish the game on turn 2 to turn 3 on average. This is congruent to the ability to generate a small storm count for Empty the Warrens on turn 1 or 2, and finish the game in 1 to 3 turns thereafter. TES’s full compliment of mana acceleration spells are responsible for this, allowing it to power out early threats ahead of most opponents. This deck can play “Do you have the Force of Will?” just as well as IGGy Pop, and when leading with turn 1 Xantid Swarm, can completely disregard the opponent entirely. This leads to the second point, card selection.
    Even IGGy has come to the conclusion that more protection is needed by the combo decks in this format. Recent lists in the upper tables of large events show IGGy players splashing green for Xantid Swarm or white for Orim’s Chant. TES has had this protection built in from day 1, due to its relationship to Vintage GrimLong. Xantid Swarm has a distinct advantage over Orim’s Chant in TES, in being cast the turn before it wins. This conserves mana for the fundamental turn, and allows the disruption to be autonomous from the combo itself. This is something Orim’s Chant cannot do, and that Duress is only marginally good at. Aside from Xantid Swarm – which IGGy players are fully able to utilize, you gain an immense amount of benefit from access to red mana. Burning Wish is restricted in Vintage, as a direct correlation to LED, and their ability to pair together to find Yawgmoth’s Will. While we don’t have access to that spell (can you imagine how ridiculous this deck would be if we did?), we have access to an effective replacement in [Yawgmoth’s W]Ill-Gotten Gains, and an effective Timetwister in Diminishing Returns. IGGy’s graveyard dependency disallows it access to D-Returns, both for its recycling as well as its drawback, as IGGy has no ability to access the removed cards. If part of the IGG engine is removed, the ability to combo is severely hampered. This is not true of TES, as it has access post-removal, and has concentrated on removing the yard dependency that makes IGGy vulnerable.
    Red also provides access to the second best Ritual effect in the deck, Rite of Flame. As discussed above, Rite can be as good or better than Dark Ritual when it comes to pure mana generation, and allows you the ability to concrete yourself in a two color combo. Without Rite, plays like Wish for Empty the Warrens would be significantly more difficult, as finding multiple sources of a non-black mana source would be much more difficult. Rite allows the deck to truly be a 2 color base with a splash for green and blue.
    Empty the Warrens is probably the most significant card you gain access to by playing TES. This card allows a near infinite amount of versatility to the deck, by allowing it to play a more aggressive game with two win conditions that, while similar in nature, win the game in such different means that many decks have an extremely difficult time dealing with both at the same time. Often decks have a plan against Tendrils (True Believer, Children of Korlis, etc.), but fold to an early EtW. Other decks can handle EtW (Engineered Explosives, Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, etc.) but have literally no game against Tendrils whatsoever. This disparity between win conditions is what sets TES head and shoulders above less versatile decks. The ability to choose which plan of attack you utilize is one of the most pertinent advantages TES has against decks that can neutralize one or the other.

    Matchup Analysis vs. the “Big Three”

    Threshold/Gro - (45%-55%) – Results vary with list and skill of opponent
    Things to Consider:
    - Do you have Xantid Swarm? If so play it as quickly as possible.
    - Try and win as fast as possible.
    - Does your hand have a Tendrils or Warrens?
    - How are you winning? Are you using Diminishing Returns or Ill-Gotten Gains? Are you using Empty the Warrens or Tendrils?
    - Do you have the double Tendrils option?
    - How many turns do you have left?
    - Keep in mind what Meddling Mage is chanting.
    - Do they play a singleton Engineered Explosives?
    - Do they play Stifle?
    - Lastly, this is the most important question; can you read a bluff? Reading your opponent is HUGE when trying to figure if you’re brave enough to win on turn one or two.

    Sideboarding
    -3 Plunge into Darkness
    -1 Cabal Ritual
    +4 Dark Condifant

    Solidarity (50%)
    Things to Consider:
    - Do you have Xantid Swarm? If so play it as quickly as possible.
    - Try and win as fast as possible.
    - Win before they get three islands.
    - Do they have mana for Remand?
    - Don’t be afraid to be aggressive. In this match-up you can afford to be since they don’t have Daze or Counterspell.
    - Is your Empty the Warrens large enough to race Cunning Wish -> Echoing Truth?

    Sideboarding
    - None

    Goblins (70%)
    Things to Consider:
    - Aim to keep a hand with more acceleration than tutors.
    - If your hand generally has more than one piece of protection (Swarm) mulligan.
    - Try and win as fast as possible
    - If keeping a one land hand, be hesitant to play that land unless combo-ing out that turn.
    - Chrome Mox is good in this match-up, as an un-disruptable mana source.

    Sideboarding
    -4 Xantid Swarm
    +2 Dark Confidant
    +2 Shattering Spree

    Additional Reading

    Old thread can be found here.
    Combo Summer thread
    TES vs. Iggy Pop thread

    Major Tournament reports from TES players:
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...11&postcount=1 - Bryant Cook's (Wastedlife) 1st place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...&postcount=393 - Florian Fischer's (Flod0) 1st place finish
    http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost....6&postcount=78 - Andrew Weinberger's (Andrew777) 1st place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5470 - Gnesotto Carlo's (Jegger) 2nd place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...33&postcount=1 - Brandon Adams's (Emidln) 4th place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...08&postcount=1 - Bryant Cook's (Wastedlife) 15th place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...81&postcount=1 - Jesse Krieger's (Krieger) 16th place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...36&postcount=1 - Carl Wauer, Jr's (Carlos El Salvador) 2nd place finish


    Articles discussing The EPIC Storm:
    http://www.starcitygames.com/php/new...cle/13782.html - By Chris Coppola (Machinus)
    http://www.starcitygames.com/php/new...le/14088.html- By Chris Coppola (Machinus)

    Podcasts discussing The EPIC Storm:
    http://feed.teamicbm.com/ - I@n Degraff of Vintage’s ICBM interviews Bryant Cook, creator of TES
    Last edited by Nightmare; 07-30-2007 at 03:04 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Alright, where to begin? This article is here to teach you everything there is to know about The EPIC Storm. The EPIC Storm was created by me Bryant Cook, along with my team The EPIC Syndicate, as an attempt to make a valid storm based deck. The mechanic Storm was first printed in the set Scourge; storm copies the spell that is cast for how many spells are played before it that turn. You may be saying,”…And I care why?” You see certain cards with the mechanic storm can be used as win conditions - such as the win conditions Tendrils of Agony and Brain Freeze. When The EPIC Storm was created the only valid win condition for sorcery speed combo was Tendrils of Agony. This means you’d need a storm count of ten to kill someone with Tendrils of Agony. This is accomplished by playing zero casting cost artifacts, acceleration, and tutors. Innovation on The EPIC Storm really started with the release of Cold Snap and Time Spiral; these two sets gave The EPIC Storm the endurance it needed to survive with cards such as Rite of Flame and Empty the Warrens.

    General History
    One of the initial problems of The EPIC Storm was that reaching a storm count of ten was impossible with your 7 card hand; to solve this problem we knew we had a few options. Either A) Add draw to the deck, B) Add tutors to the deck or C) Add “Win now” cards to the deck (Ill-Gotten Gains and Diminishing Returns). To help us we decided to utilize tutors, eventually we did all 3 options in separate time frames. The preliminary list of the deck contained only tutors. Although this solved the problem of reaching a storm count, then there were no “Bombs” or a real reason for tutors to be in the deck. With the addition of Diminishing Returns and Ill-Gotten Gains the deck had strong tutor cards outside of Tendrils of Agony. Draw was added much later in the evolution of The EPIC Storm; the deck in its infancy went through millions of changes and cuts.

    The deck ran different ways of producing mana until Cold Snap came out and the inclusion of Rite of Flame was added, making the deck even faster while freeing up slots in the main deck. With the ever exciting release of Cold Snap I was ecstatic along with other members of EPIC; this set gave The EPIC Storm the cards it needed to man handle the control match-up. With the Addition of Grapeshot the deck had a way around a troublesome card Meddling Mage, while gaining another win condition. Grapeshot was the card that shined out to me personally, then was cut later in time. Then Adam Barnello (Mr. Nightmare) of the EPIC Syndicate advised me to test Empty the Warrens. I was skeptical at first and then astonished; this card allows you do ridiculous things to the Threshold match-up while allowing you to combo out more easily. At this point in time there were debated slots in the deck and this is when draw option A was included with Brainstorm.

    Choosing The EPIC Storm
    “Why play The EPIC Storm?” It’s a logical question. I sure won’t pick up a deck without good reason. The EPIC storm has something that other combo decks just don’t have – no, not good-looks - but being both fast yet stable. Most combo decks trade one for the other or settle for a slower average win while having both. You’re probably still thinking “…And why do I care?” am I right? There’s one blistering fact about The EPIC Storm that separates it from the rest - its ability to not care about all the hate thrown at it. The deck can win through the million obstacles put in its way. I would list the millions of hate cards that people play but more than likely I would forget one and people will assume I lose to it so I won’t. However if the deck is piloted by a strong player the deck can fight through anything.

    Many combo decks have to face the dreaded Meddling Mage, but with The EPIC Storm the Meddling Kids aren’t truly scary. The EPIC Storm has options that other storm based combo decks don’t have and one of them is simply winning with another card; between Tendrils of Agony AND Empty the Warrens, you should never have a problem with Meddling Mage. Another option is the multitalented card Burning Wish; you’ll Burning Wish for Earthquake/ Cave-In to deal with multiple chants from Mages.
    Finally my reason to play The EPIC Storm is the fact it is challenging to play and I dislike decks that you can play on “Auto-Pilot.” This deck takes time and practice to learn how to play correctly and it can only increase your playskill. That may turn people/players away, but decks that require skill to play are generally thought provoking and complicated and if someone can’t handle it they shouldn’t have mounted the bull anyways. If you’re prepared to grab the bull by the horns and are ready for the long run continue reading.

    The Deck List
    The EPIC Storm

    Lands
    4 City of Brass
    4 Gemstone Mine
    2 Undiscovered Paradise

    Creatures
    4 Xantid Swarm
    4 Simian Spirit Guide

    Spells
    4 Lion's Eye Diamond
    4 Lotus Petal
    4 Chrome Mox
    1 Ill-Gotten Gains
    4 Burning Wish
    1 Tendrils of Agony
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Infernal Tutor
    2 Plunge into Darkness
    1 Diminishing Returns
    4 Rite of Flame
    3 Empty the Warrens
    4 Brainstorm
    2 Orim's Chant

    Sideboard
    SB: 1 Ill-Gotten Gains
    SB: 1 Tendrils of Agony
    SB: 1 Diminishing Returns
    SB: 1 Empty the Warrens
    SB: 1 Cruel Bargain
    SB: 3 Shattering Spree
    SB: 2 Orim's Chant
    SB: 1 Duress
    SB: 1 Goblin War Strike
    SB: 2 Defense Grid

    The Deck Breakdown

    The Mana Base
    Since The EPIC Storm is a four color deck it cannot run on dual lands which means we will need an alternative source of many colors of mana. Lands such as City of Brass, Gemstone Mine and Undiscovered Paradise are key factors to The EPIC Storm for their ability to produce any color of mana. “But why is more than one color important?” Well you see being able to cast first turn Xantid Swarm then second turn Plunge into Darkness is a key factor, this is one of many examples. Not being able to cast cards in the deck
    Are ten lands really enough? Believe it or not ten lands is plenty with twelve artifact mana producing cards and eight ritual effects, and four Simian Spirit Guide. Ten lands works out perfectly.

    Tutors and Draw
    To play The EPIC Storm you must play tutors since the deck is (duh!) tutor based. This goes back the beginning with reaching that special storm number… what was it again? I believe it was ten. Let’s get onto the point. Tutors are what make this deck go round and without tutors that suit this deck, you’ll never reach a storm of ten. You need certain tutors for this deck because not all tutors work the same way as one another. Tutors such as Infernal Tutor synergize with other cards in your deck.

    Infernal Tutor is one of the most synergistic cards in the deck as you may or may not know. The card has incredible synergy with Lion’s Eye Diamond, Rite of Flame, and Ill-Gotten Gains. Lion’s Eye Diamond let’s your Infernal Tutor have Hellbent. This is accomplished by putting Infernal Tutor on the stack and using Lion’s Eye Diamond to discard your hand. Rite of Flame is also savagely good with Infernal Tutor, finding another Rite of Flame to increase your mana and increasing storm count is never a bad idea. Infernal Tutor with Ill-Gotten Gains may not seem like a “Combo” or very synergistic to you but it’s the only tutor in the deck that can come back reliably with Ill-Gotten Gains without causing too much harm. You see Burning Wish removes it’s self from the game and Plunge into Darkness can be very risky.

    Burning Wish may be the most powerful tutor of Legacy; I’m aware this is an opinion but the card has no drawback and is very powerful and versatile. The card allows broken turn one and two wins, while only increasing power in the middle to late game. It lets you access answers for problems that might occur with answers such as Shattering Spree, Earthquake/ Rough/tumble/ Cave-In, Duress, Goblin War Strike, Hull Breach and Empty the Warrens. While Burning Wish is not able to comeback with Ill-Gotten Gains it can however keep bringing back Ill-Gotten gains. This is important for ramping up your storm count; the more storm the better off you’ll be. The most tutored for cards off of Burning Wish are Diminishing Returns, Ill-Gotten Gains, Tendrils of Agony, and finally Empty the Warrens.

    The most thought provoking card in this deck is Plunge into Darkness. This card is the most frequently mis-played cards in the deck for many reasons. People often don’t know when to cast Plunge into Darkness, or how much life to pay with Plunge. All of your questions will be answered AND you’ll learn how to play it correctly!

    Plunge into Darkness has no one proper time to play it; it has many opportune times based on the hand you’re given. Here’s an example.

    It’s turn one on the play; your opening hand consists of Chrome Mox, City of Brass, Rite of Flame, Plunge into Darkness, Forbidden Orchard, Ill-Gotten Gains and Infernal Tutor. You have a few options here when it comes to Plunge into Darkness.
    Option A) Play a Land, pass the turn. Next turn play the other land, Plunge during their end step.
    Option B) Play a Land, play Chrome Mox (Removing: X) then casting Plunge into Darkness during your opponent’s end step.
    These two are the choices you’ll be deciding on, the question is “What’s more optimal?” Well Option A) is kind of slow, but is more stable While Option B) Lets you attempt to win turn two, and is slightly less stable. The correct choice is Option B) why though? With The EPIC Storm you will want to win as fast as possible if you have no idea what they’re playing. Now that you know one example, start practicing more and more until your arms get tired of shuffling. Practice makes perfect, don’t forget it.

    Now for the never ending question, “How much life do I pay with Plunge?” I hope this finally answers your questions so that my migraine will go away. “Well… how much do I pay?” it’s a simple question with many complicated answers. To correctly understand how to play Plunge into Darkness you will need to know many things. First off, what is your opponent playing? What turn is it? What is my life total? Am I winning next turn or now? Is Burning Wish in my hand? Is there anything I don’t want removed? How much mana do I have and of what colors? Am I using Plunge into Darkness as a set-up card or tutor? Lastly do I have another Plunge into Darkness? These are the questions you will need to be asking yourself in that order if you want to play The EPIC Storm correctly.

    If your opponent is playing Vial Goblins you generally pay less life than you would pay against Solidarity. This is because of goblins somewhat speedy starts. Goblins’ speedy starts are often irrelevant because The EPIC Storm is much faster, but slow hands do occur. Well, how much is “less life than against Solidarity?” There’s no answer for this because of what turn you are casting Plunge; if you are casting Plunge into Darkness as a set-up during the end step card of the goblin player’s turn one ask yourself, “Do I have another tutor in hand.” if no; you’ll be going anywhere for 8-10 depending on your life total, looking for a better tutor or a “Win now” card. If yes, is that tutor Burning Wish? You don’t want to remove too many cards from the game with Plunge into Darkness; you’ll end up removing important cards such as the “Big Five” which are Lion’s Eye Diamond, Tendrils of Agony, Empty the Warrens, Diminishing Returns and Ill-Gotten Gains. These cards are the most tutored for cards in the deck. You often don’t want to remove them from the game because you’ll need a Burning Wish to have access to them again. Keep track in your head what turn you will be combo-ing out. If you are casting Plunge into Darkness as a set-up card and you’re not winning on your next turn or turn one I’d recommend doing it for 3-4. Using Plunge into Darkness as a tutor is probably the easiest thing about the card since you are looking for a specific card or another tutor to find that card. Just remember what color mana is in your mana pool and be very wary of your life total. This applies for other match-ups also.

    Against Solidarity you can generally Plunge into Darkness for as much as you’d like since they deal you zero damage. But don’t forget about the “Big Five” while doing it; you may be cursing yourself later if you go too far into your deck. I know this seems so short compared to the information given to you on goblins but most of the details I gave you cover most match-ups. Although during this match-up Xantid Swarm and Orim's Chant are relevant so casting Plunge into Darkness during your own turn would more than likely be more optimal.

    When your opponent is playing Threshold you want to always play Plunge into Darkness during the end step as a set-up card. When you do, only pay 3-5 life; you rarely cast Plunge as a tutor against Thresh since if they make you fizzle you are more than likely going to lose. The same things listed under goblins all apply here, but now you have to worry about counter magic as well.

    Brainstorm is a very different card when it is played in The EPIC Storm. Brainstorm’s ability to fix somewhat unplayable hands into turn two hands and its ability to be incredibly flexible is why it was chosen to be in The EPIC Storm. “When do I Brainstorm?” There are two opportune times to Brainstorm. Obviously one time is turn one; I mean C’mon who doesn’t want to see if they can win turn one? This changes if your opponent is playing swamps, discard is generally a bad match-up and you don’t want valued cards lost. The other opportune time to cast Brainstorm is with a Plunge into Darkness or a Burning Wish on the stack and then sacrificing Lion’s Eye Diamond. I don’t highly recommend trying to win off of Brainstorm and Lion’s Eye Diamonds. Not only is it terribly vulnerable but extremely risky.

    Acceleration
    Whether it’s Dark Ritual or High tide, acceleration is another key factor to any storm based deck. Without acceleration the deck cannot begin to “go off” so to speak, because you’ll be sitting there with a handful of dead cards. Cards such as Dark Ritual, Simian Spirit Guide, and Rite of Flame all have something in common. And what is that? Besides the fact that they’re all in this deck… It’s that they all produce more mana than their cost. They add mana to your mana pool so you can continue to ramp that storm count and continue casting spells. Dark Ritual is pretty much a given in this deck, but Simian Spirit Guide is a little bit different. Simian Spirt Guide only adds one mana at the costs of 0, "Why is that good?" it's basically another mana source instead of a 'Ritual' effect that reiably casts Rite of Flame. Rite of Flame is a little different than Dark Ritual or Rite of Flame because it messes up peoples math when it comes to combo-ing because it produces red mana and not black. Keep in mind that for each Rite of Flame in the graveyard, the card produces an additional red; the expression the more the merrier is actually true.

    “This can’t be the only acceleration, can it?” You’re absolutely correct, there’s no way The EPIC Storm could possibly be consistent with only eight “Ritual” effects. We need something else; but what? “Artifact mana?” Exactly; With The EPIC Storm artifact mana is just as important as “Ritual” mana if not more important. Cards such as Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lotus Petal, and Chrome Mox are very crucial to The EPIC Storm because they are a free means of ramping up that storm count while producing mana.

    The card Lion’s Eye Diamond is very tricky card with this deck, because it has the ability of being Black Lotus or the ability to lose you the game. “Well, which one is it?” It all depends on how you play your cards with Lion’s Eye Diamond. Many people forget about using Lion’s Eye Diamond properly and by this I mean many things. People often forget that you MUST sacrifice Lion’s Eye Diamond before passing priority you may be saying. In order to use Lion’s Eye Diamond you have to do it before your opponent gets a chance to have priority to do anything or your opportunity at winning that game was more than likely loss. “Well why can’t I do it after my opponent says it resolves?” Here is why: after both players pass priority, a spell resolves and priority isn’t passed back to you. This isn’t the only thing people mess up; many people forget that you can put more than one spell on the stack then use Lion’s Eye Diamond. Putting multiple spells on the stack and then using Lion’s Eye Diamond is the best way of squeezing the juice out of it. For example, you have a Burning Wish on the stack, Lion’s Eye Diamond on the stack and a red, four black mana and an untapped City of Brass. In hand is Plunge into Darkness, Brainstorm, and Diminishing Returns. To do this correctly before passing priority you must in response cast Plunge into Darkness, then respond with Brainstorm, respond to that by sacrificing Lion’s Eye Diamond. That gives you the best means of abusing Lion’s Eye Diamond, while the order of Brainstorm or Plunge into Darkness may not matter but Burning Wish must be the first spell since it is a sorcery.

    After Lion’s Eye Diamond there’s Lotus Petal and Chrome Mox. There’s not much to be said about Lotus Petal, but Chrome Mox has a few things to be said on it; if you ever have a hand of 3 or 4 Chrome Mox, mulligan. “Why Chrome Mox?” Chrome Mox’s inclusion was decided on the fact that this deck needs all the mana it can get. “Is the card disadvantage worth the one mana?” Actually yes it is; you see Chrome Mox requires you to remove a card. Chrome Mox is extremely helpful when trying to be Hellbent with Infernal Tutor when you don’t have a Lion’s Eye Diamond. “What if I imprint Xantid Swarm and can’t cast anything?” This is your own fault. I will say it again and again and people won’t listen, think before you act with this deck it will only help you. I’ve never gone to time in the round because I’ve had to think about a play - neither will you. Even if there is a Mox Emerald on the table you can still tap it for a green; meaning you play cards that have 1 before the black or red.

    Protection
    The EPIC Storm plays protection much like any other deck out there, but there’s something different about The EPIC Storm’s protection than most decks. The EPIC Storm plays protection that lasts through different effects. Cards like Duress and Cabal Therapy only take away cards from one hand; while cards such as Xantid Swarm and Orim's Chant allow you to go off completely unhindered. Cards like Ill-Gotten Gains and Diminishing Returns changes the game state by giving both players completely new hands which those Duress’s and Therapies were completely wasted. With Xantid Swarm and Orim's Chant they can’t even cast any of the cards that were given to them by Ill-Gotten Gains or Diminishing Returns. Duress in the sideboard is there to help protect your Orim's Chants resolving and keep your Xantid Swarms alive. Another option is Defense Grid but has proven to be weaker than these two so it is only in the sideboard.

    Huge threats
    You may be wondering, “What am I accelerating and Tutoring into?” You see every storm based deck needs a card to be better than others and win you the game. The EPIC Storm has several of these to make your life easier, they are; Diminishing Returns, Ill-Gotten Gains, Empty the Warrens and last and foremost Tendrils of Agony. Why are these important? Without a way to gain a massive storm count by either Diminishing Returns or Ill-Gotten Gains combo-ing out in the early turns would be incredibly harder; making the deck less consistent.

    Let’s first start out with Diminishing Returns. Legacy’s Time Twister has an amazing level of power that is indescribable but I’ll do my best to try. “Why Diminishing Returns? I mean it costs UU?” Its mana cost makes up for the cards ability to simply win games. “What are some common ways of getting UU?” You could always take the slow route of using two lands to tap for U. Lotus Petals also work very fine, but the big one is Lion’s Eye Diamond and a tutor effect to cast Diminishing Returns. “When is the appropriate time to cast Diminishing Returns?” The right time to cast Diminishing Returns is when you can’t win off of Ill-Gotten Gains or if your opponent has something that will disrupt you. Another time to cast Diminishing Returns is when your opponent plays graveyard hate. “Doesn’t removing ten cards hurt?” Well, define “hurt.” The deck is very dense with threats that removing ten cards often doesn’t hurt unless you are terribly unlucky and remove all Burning Wishes, Tendrils of Agony, and the 3 Empty the Warrens.

    Ill-Gotten Gains is a card that is so terribly easy to play I wonder how people mess it up. The key to playing Ill-Gotten Gains is being able to create up to six mana and having a tutor effect. But what are your prime targets? The most optimal targets for Ill-Gotten Gains are two Lion’s Eye Diamond and Infernal Tutor/Burning Wish. Against what decks is Ill-Gotten Gains better than Diminishing Returns? Goblins and non-blue decks. You see Stifle and cards like free counters (Daze, Force of Will) can be very troublesome if your opponent recurs them.

    The win conditions for The EPIC Storm are pretty simple: Tendrils of Agony and Empty the Warrens. When casting Tendrils of Agony you will need a storm count of ten and for Empty the Warrens on turn one you will need a storm count of five without blockers six with blockers per turn.

    Playing the Deck
    Playing The EPIC Storm may not be as easy as it seems; get to ten spells and win, right? No. The EPIC Storm is much more difficult to play; because of this I will walk you through a few games. Keep in mind the two sample games are completely random hands.

    Opening hand one (on the play):
    Undiscovered Paradise
    City of Brass
    Rite of Flame
    Chrome Mox
    Burning Wish
    Infernal Tutor
    Empty the Warrens

    Turn One: Cabal Pit, Chrome Mox (Imprinting: Empty the Warrens). Tap both mana sources Infernal Tutor revealing Rite of Flame.
    Turn Two: [Draw: Lotus Petal] City of Brass. Play Lotus Petal, Tap Chrome Mox play Rite of Flame one then play Rite of Flame two(RRRR), cast Burning Wish -> Diminishing Returns(RR). Tap City of Brass, sacrifice Lotus Petal (RRUU untapped Cabal Pit) Cast Diminishing Returns.
    Removing ten from the game:
    City of Brass
    Gemstone Mine
    Tendrils of Agony
    Undiscovered Paradise
    Xantid Swarm
    Burning Wish
    Cabal Ritual
    Brainstorm
    Orim's Chant
    Infernal Tutor

    Drawing seven:
    Gemstone Mine
    Xantid Swarm
    Lion’s Eye Diamond
    Lion’s Eye Diamond
    Plunge Into Darkness
    Rite of Flame
    Chrome Mox

    Play Chrome Mox (Imprinting: Rite of Flame), play Lion’s Eye Diamond, play Lion’s Eye Diamond. Tap Undiscovered Paradise, tap Chrome Mox; cast Plunge into Darkness in response sacrifice both Lion’s Eye Diamond (RRRBBB) (Your life total is currently seventeen) [Pay sixteen life with Plunge into Darkness]
    Plunge into Darkness cards:
    3x Brainstorm
    3x Lotus Petal
    2x Chrome Mox
    2x Dark Ritual
    2x Plunge into Darkness
    Lion’s Eye Diamond
    Burning Wish
    Simian Spirit Guide
    Diminishing Returns
    [Selecting: Burning Wish, Removing: The rest]
    Casting Burning Wish-> (RBBB) Tendrils of Agony for twenty two.

    Opening hand two (on the Draw):
    Undiscovered Paradise
    Lotus Petal
    Dark Ritual
    Simian Spirit Guide
    Simian Spirit Guide
    Empty the Warrens
    Lotus Petal
    [Draw: Brainstorm]
    Turn one: Undiscovered Paradise, Lotus Petal; Tap Paradise, Brainstorm (Lotus Petal, Tendrils of Agony and Diminishing Returns) (Putting back Tendrils of Agony and Empty the Warrens). Play Lotus Petal, Lotus Petal then Dark Ritual, Remove 2 Simian Spirit Guides (BBBRR possible UU) Cast Diminishing Returns
    Removing ten from the game:
    Tendrils of Agony
    Simian Spirit Guide
    Xantid Swarm
    Orim's Chant
    Lion’s Eye Diamond
    Infernal Tutor
    Chrome Mox
    Chrome Mox
    Burning Wish
    City of Brass

    Drawing seven:
    Plunge into Darkness
    Plunge into Darkness
    Plunge into Darkness
    Burning Wish
    Dark Ritual
    Simian Spirit Guide
    Tendrils of Agony

    Play Dark Ritual and Remove Simian Spirit Guide (BBBBRR), If you so choose cast Plunge into Darkness; Tendrils of Agony for twenty two, twenty four, or twenty six.

    Match-ups against “The Big Three”

    Threshold/Gro (45%-55%) Dependant on the list and Player.
    Key Factors:
    - Do I have Xantid Swarm or Orim's Chant? If so play it as quickly as possible.
    - Try and win as fast as possible.
    - Does my hand have a Tendrils or Warrens?
    - How am I winning? Am I using Diminishing Returns or Ill-Gotten Gains? Am I using Empty the Warrens or Tendrils?
    - Do I have the double Tendrils option (Burning Wish)?
    - How many turns do I have left?
    - Keep in mind what Meddling Mage is chanting.
    - Do they play a singleton Engineered Explosives?
    - Do they play Stifle?
    - Lastly, this is the most important question; can you read a bluff? Reading your opponent is HUGE when trying to figure if you’re brave enough to win turns one–two.

    Sideboarding
    -2 Plunge into Darkness
    -2 Simian Spirit Guide
    +2 Defense Grid
    +2 Orim's Chant

    Solidarity (60%)
    Key Factors
    - Do I have Xantid Swarm or Orim's Chant? If so play it as quickly as possible.
    - Try and win as fast as possible.
    - Win before they get three islands.
    - Do they have mana for Remand?
    - Don’t be afraid to be aggressive. In this match-up you can afford to be since they don’t have Daze or Counterspell.
    - Empty the Warrens Destroys them, try and play it turn one for 8-10 goblins.

    Sideboarding
    -2 Plunge into Darkness
    -2 Simian Spirit Guide
    +2 Defense Grid
    +2 Orim's Chant

    Goblins (70%)
    Key Factors
    - Aim to keep a hand with more acceleration than tutors.
    - If your hand generally has more than one piece of protection (Swarm or Chant) mulligan.
    - Try and win as fast as possible
    - If keeping a one land hand, be hesitant to play that land unless combo-ing out that turn.
    - Chrome Mox is pretty good in this match-up as an unkillable mana source that dodges wasteland and port.

    Sideboarding
    -4 Xantid Swarm
    -2 Orim's Chant
    +3 Shattering Spree
    +2 Orim's Chant
    +1 Cruel Bargain

    Additional Reading

    1st Thread - http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4612
    Combo Summer thread - http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6037
    TES vs. Iggy Pop thread- http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showt...&highlight=TES

    Major Tournament reports from TES players:
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...11&postcount=1 - Bryant Cook's (Wastedlife) 1st place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...35&postcount=1 - Bryant Cook's (Wastedlife) 1st place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...&postcount=393 - Florian Fischer's (Flod0) 1st place finish
    http://boards1.wizards.com/showpost....6&postcount=78 - Andrew Weinberger's (Andrew777) 1st place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5470 - Gnesotto Carlo's (Jegger) 2nd place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...36&postcount=1 - Carl Wauer, Jr's (Carlos El Salvador) 2nd place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...09&postcount=1 - Bryant Cook's (Wastedlife) 4th place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...33&postcount=1 - Brandon Adams's (Emidln) 4th place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...08&postcount=1 - Bryant Cook's (Wastedlife) 15th place finish
    http://mtgthesource.com/forums/showp...81&postcount=1 - Jesse Krieger's (Krieger) 16th place finish

    Articles discussing The EPIC Storm:
    http://www.starcitygames.com/php/new...cle/13782.html - By Chris Coppola (Machinus)
    http://www.starcitygames.com/php/new...le/14088.html- By Chris Coppola (Machinus)
    http://www.starcitygames.com/php/new...cle/14837.html By Adam Barnello (Nightmare)
    http://www.starcitygames.com/php/new...cle/14902.html By Chris Coppola (Machinus)

    Podcasts discussing The EPIC Storm:
    http://feed.teamicbm.com/ - I@n Degraff of Vintage’s ICBM interviews Bryant Cook(Wastedlife), creator of TES.
    Last edited by Bryant Cook; 10-25-2007 at 09:19 PM.

  3. #3

    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    How many lands do you prefer?
    10

    How many storm spells, which ones?
    4 (2 Tendrils of Agony, 2 Empty the Warrens)

    Which protection spells, and how many of each?
    4 Xantid Swarm

    Which acceleration, Rite of Flame or Simian Spirit Guide?
    4 Dark Rit, 4 Cabal Rit, 4 Rite of Flame, 4 LED

    What's your "Wish board"?
    1 Tendrils
    1 ETW
    1 Diminishing Returns
    1 Ill-Gotten Gains
    1 Shattering Spree
    1 Tranquility
    1 Earthquake
    1 Duress
    1 Cabal Therapy

    Sideboard cards outside your "Wishboard"?
    4 Dark Confidant
    2 Shattering Spree (in addition to the 1 WB)

    Do you aggresively Mulligan?
    Yes

    Diminishing Returns, Why or why not?
    Diminishing Returns is essential to going off in situations where you lack the storm for Lethal Tendrils. I despise casting ETW after turn 1, and look to win now as often as possible.

    Hand #1: Mulligan. This won't do anything interesting until turn 3, without protection, with extreme card disadvantage.

    Hand #2: I'd mull this against anything that isn't stax.

    Hand #3: I'd go off turn 1 with this hand on the play, while I'd brainstorm on the draw.
    Last edited by Di; 04-06-2007 at 04:39 PM.
    BZK! - Storm Boards

    Been there, tried that, still casting Doomsday.
    Drawing my deck for 0 mana since 2013.

  4. #4
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by wastedlife View Post

    Here's a few sample hands, do you mulligan or not?

    2x Chrome Mox, Burning Wish, Empty the Warrens, Rite of Flame, Plunge into Darkness, and Infernal Tutor.

    City of Brass, Gemstone Mine, Tomb of Urami, Dark Ritual, Diminishing Returns, Rite of Flame, and Chrome Mox.

    LED, LED, Burning Wish, Brainstorm, Land, Diminishing Returns, and Cabal Ritual.
    Here is how I would play these hands.

    Hand #1: Keep, and hope to draw a land or lotus petal.
    Play the land or lotus petal that you drew, play both chrome moxes (removing plunge and burning wish), use mox and petal/land to play infernal (getting another rite of flame), play rite of flame using mox giving RR floating with a storm count of 4/5 (4 if you drew a land, 5 if you drew petal), use R to play the other rite of flame giving RRRR floating then play empty the warrens with a storm of 6/7.

    Hand #2: If I know I am playing against a deck without StP and a slow clock, then I would keep this hand and try to kill with Tomb of Urami. Otherwise I would mulligan.

    Hand #3: I would keep this hand, use brainstorm and hope to draw into another mana source to go off the next turn. @Emidln: I don't think you can combo out first turn with this hand sans a really good brainstorm.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacosnape View Post
    For example, if your friend steals your ice cream cone, and you start chasing him only to have a large weretiger jump out from behind a parked car and go "ROAR" in your face, only to then have said weretiger be struck by a bolt of lightning and be reduced to a smoldering catpile, you are probably going to be like "Wtf just happened" for at least a few brief moments while your friend escapes with your ice cream cone. And if you aren't distracted, you have Trample.

  5. #5
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Hand#1: GTFO. Em said it best I believe: "This won't do anything interesting until turn 3, without protection, with extreme card disadvantage."

    Hand#2: Keep. 3rd Turn DReturns plus whatever the two cards were that I drew. I'm hoping to draw some heavy accel and one non-Plunge tutor. If the DReturns sucks - but not too bad - I can try again turn 4.

    Hand#3: Keep. I almost always gamble with single-land/Brainstorm hands. I'm clearly hoping for Lands first, then Petals in the Brainstorm. A really bad Brainstorm will probably cause a loss with this hand.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cavius The Great View Post
    Germany seems to find me influential. Have you ever Googled "Nourishing Lich"?
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    No, Peter_Rotten, you are the problems.

  6. #6

    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_Rotten View Post
    Hand#1: GTFO. Em said it best I believe: "This won't do anything interesting until turn 3, without protection, with extreme card disadvantage."

    Hand#2: Keep. 3rd Turn DReturns plus whatever the two cards were that I drew. I'm hoping to draw some heavy accel and one non-Plunge tutor. If the DReturns sucks - but not too bad - I can try again turn 4.

    Hand#3: Keep. I almost always gamble with single-land/Brainstorm hands. I'm clearly hoping for Lands first, then Petals in the Brainstorm. A really bad Brainstorm will probably cause a loss with this hand.
    I disagree when on the draw. On the play I'd mull it. Scenario one, you Mox(Burning Wish), Mox(Plunge), then Infernal Tutor -> Rite of Flame. 2nd Turn Warrens, that's assuming you didn't draw a mana source in a deck crammed with them or else it'd be turn one.

    Scenario 2, I'd Mulligan.

    Scenario 3, keep.

    I guess this shows how different results occur, with a few different views on keeping/mulliganing.

  7. #7

    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Can we discuss Duress vs. Xantid Swarm still?

    Or how much Tomb of Urami is such fucking ass, does nothing to help you combo, is too random as a 1-of to help vs control, and should just be replaced by the 4th Cabal Ritual?

  8. #8
    Artist formerly known as Anti-American
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by etrigan View Post
    Can we discuss Duress vs. Xantid Swarm still?
    Well, let's see. We concluded that Duress is ass because it forces you in a position to win small rather than win big. You already have cards that helps you win small, it's fucking called Empty The Fucking Warrens and Dark Confidant. Swarm is all about winning big if it's not answered. In short, go big or go home.

    Or how much Tomb of Urami is such fucking ass, does nothing to help you combo, is too random as a 1-of to help vs control, and should just be replaced by the 4th Cabal Ritual?
    Becaue Cabal Ritual is ass and makes you aggressively mulligan. As for the Tomb of Urami being ass, let's see.... you run hardly any lands, and yet it turns into a beefy evasive 5/5 flier with the help of some random ritual card. I won games I had no business winning simply because my opponent was in exhust after trying to stop me from comboing off, and I happened to topdeck a Ritual effect.
    ICBE - We're totally the coolest Anti-Thesis ever.


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  9. #9

    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    As for Tomb vs. Cabal Ritual

    Tomb of Urami is a land, which means it doesn't require mana.
    Tomb of Urami can win games on it's own.
    It's also stifle bait.

    Both produce B. (This deck rarely gets Threshold)

    Cabal Ritual, can add BBB with Threshold.
    Causes more mulligans.

    EDIT: TES just had another big showing in Europe, the list is currently unavailable. He took 7th.
    Last edited by Bryant Cook; 04-07-2007 at 12:38 PM. Reason: shouldn't of posted it.

  10. #10

    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    How many lands do you prefer?

    10

    How many storm spells, which ones?

    1 Tendrils, 3 ETW

    Which protection spells, and how many of each?

    4 Duress

    Which acceleration, Rite of Flame or Simian Spirit Guide?

    4 Simian Spirit Guide

    What's your "Wish board"?
    1 Tendrils
    1 ETW
    1 G. Shot
    1 Diminishing Returns
    1 Ill-Gotten Gains
    1 Hull Breach
    1 Cabal Therapy

    Sideboard cards outside your "Wishboard"?

    4 Xantid Swarm
    4 Shattering Spree

    Do you aggresively Mulligan?

    On the play, no, on the draw, yes.

    Diminishing Returns, Why or why not?

    I prefer 1 in the SB and 1 in the MD with the Duress and Simian Spirit Guide modifications, that deck list is designed to use Diminishing Returns to its fullest, in terms of goldfishing the deck at top speed and using Diminishing Returns to shuffle Meddling Mage and Stifle back into the opponent's deck.

    Hand #1: Mulligan

    Hand #2: Mulligan

    Hand #3: Keep

    I didn't concede the Xantid Swarm vs Duress argument, and there wasn't a single convincing counter argument either (the best counter argument wasn't even brought up).

    How does a resolved Xantid Swarm "win big" and a resolved Duress "win small," if the opponent let the Xantid Swarm resolve, it's no different than letting the Duress resolve, except the Duress can't be Swords to Plowshared and can discard something of relevance. If the opponent has no disruption, the opponent loses; it's as simple as that.

    There were three points raised for Xantid Swarm, Xantid Swarm vs Force of Will, double Xantid Swarm vs Force of Will and Xantid Swarm vs double Stifle.

    Duress vs Force of Will and Xantid Swarm vs Force of Will comes down to information vs card advantage, the first of which can't be quantified and the second of which is relevant in the long term. If all the deck had to concern itself with was Force of Will, and all the aggro-deck cared about was card advantage, I would be willing to give the point to Xantid Swarm, but in cases where the opponent has Force of Will and Swords to Plowshares, Force of Will and Stifle or Force of Will and Engineered Explosives, I would give the point to Duress.

    Double Duress vs Force of Will as opposed to double Xantid Swarm against Force of Will is a bad argument, IMO, because the deck shouldn't be drawing or tutoring into another disruption card as opposed to drawing or tutoring for Empty the Warrens and/or Diminishing Returns, but regardless, regaining the IGG chain in exchange for Time Walking the opponent is just as much of a double edged sword as not casting the second Duress and using Empty the Warrens and/or Diminishing Returns.

    The number of times I couldn't Duress and discard something of relevance against double Stifle and then Diminishing Returns the double Stifle out of their hand and start over, with an additional chance to win the game, or Burning Wish for Cabal Therapy and discard the double Stifle is rare, as opposed to the number of times the opponent couldn't double Stifle the Xantid Swarm, three Time Walks counting summoning sickness, against Xantid Swarm to either find an answer to Xantid Swarm or find a Meddling Mage/Null Rod.

    Duress vs Stifle as opposed to Xantid Swarm vs Stifle is a question of whether or not the opponent has another card in his to take advantage of the Xantid Swarm being a creature, Swords to Plowshares, or the double Time Walk, Meddling Mage or Null Rod, and if the TES pilot prefers using Ill Gotten Gains on turn as opposed to Empty the Warens and/or Diminishing Returns turn one or two.

    The first and fourth points are arguable, the second and third points are tenuous, and that still leaves Swords to Plowshares, discarding non-instant based disruption, being black, being able to be cast on the combo turn, being able to be cast on turn 2 thru' X to allow turn 1 Brainstorm or Infernal Tutor -> Duress (it just works better than Xantid Swarm) not Time Walking the opponent into his turn after a blind turn one Xantid Swarm into Swamp discard or Ancient Tomb prison all in favor of Duress (I could also argue it's better against U/g/r, I swear I'd rather see Meddling Mage than 8 Bolts and 4 Clasms)

    This deck should be set on winning the game with Diminishing Returns, Empty the Warrens or double Tendrils of Agony against control, winning with Ill Gotten Gains is for an unprotected opponent.

  11. #11
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    -How many lands do you prefer?
    I personally run 11. I've considered 12, but would not go to 10, as the times I've drawn 1 land too few have far far far outnumbered the times I've drawn too many lands.

    -How many storm spells, which ones
    I run just two MD win conditions, a single copy of Tendrils and a single copy of Empty the Warrens. If I were to run anymore, it would be an additional copy of EtW, in a control/aggro-control heavy metagame.

    -Which protection spells, and how many of each?
    Currently, 4 MD Xantid Swarm, with a Duress as a Burning Wish target. I've been testing on and off with a single copy of Orim's Chant MD as the 5th protection spell.

    -Which acceleration, Rite of Flame or Simian Spirit Guide?
    Rite of Flame. I also run two copies of Seething Song.

    -What's your "Wish board"?
    Tendrils, EtW, Iggy, D-Returns, Duress, Earthquake, Shattering Spree, Tranquility

    -Sideboard cards outside your "Wishboard"?
    Defense Grid x 4, Echoing Truth x 3

    -Do you aggresively Mulligan?
    Depends on the matchup. I'm more likely to mulligan games 2 and 3 if I anticipate the opponent bringing in powerful hate cards. In those situations, I'll often mulligan into a very aggressive hand that can go off early, to pre-empt the hate cards coming down.

    -Diminishing Returns, Why or why not?
    I rarely use it, but I wouldn't want to not have it. It's a very powerful card, and typically when you resolve it with a decent amount of mana floating, you will win. It's risky, though.
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  12. #12
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by BreathWeapon View Post
    This deck should be set on winning the game with Diminishing Returns, Empty the Warrens or double Tendrils of Agony against control, winning with Ill Gotten Gains is for an unprotected opponent.
    Soo.... you really wanna cast Duress post-Returns against Control? Xantid Swarm is something that just wins you the game once it resolves. Xantid Swarm creates virtual card advantage once it attacks and is unanswered. Duress is just 1-for-1.

    Empty the Warrens is not something I like using to win with to be honest. I'd rather win now with Tendrils, but I will, however go for EtW if situation warrants it. Against control, you should be setting up double tendrils rather than going for the throat with EtW. EtW is more of a tool to weaken your opponent a little so you can make Tendrils effective (of course if people play like me and go EtW for 6 tokes and go from there).

    Double Tendrils is an awesme plan against control. I would never disagree with that play.

    So... here's how Xantid Swarm is good. Having the IGG plan available to you means you have more options available to you in general so you wont have to risk working with cards from D. Returns.

    How does a resolved Xantid Swarm "win big" and a resolved Duress "win small," if the opponent let the Xantid Swarm resolve, it's no different than letting the Duress resolve, except the Duress can't be Swords to Plowshared and can discard something of relevance. If the opponent has no disruption, the opponent loses; it's as simple as that.
    Because you win right there regardless of your opponent's hand if they cant answer it. As for Duress, if you see tons of answers for your combo, you have to play around them by using D. Returns, which ist always a good idea, whereas with Swarm, you can do so much regardless.


    I know I am making Xantid Swarm sound like a crutch, but it can do so much for you, it's just efficient in general. It's like Meandeck Gifts cutting Burning Wish just to make using the Tendrils kill easier. What that action has done is give it not only a better fundamental turn, but also kill with less mana to invested in the Combo if t ever had Burning Wish in the first place.
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  13. #13
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    How many lands do you prefer?
    10 so far, but I might switch back to 11.

    How many storm spells, which ones?
    2 of each

    Which protection spells, and how many of each?

    4 swarm seems to be the standard, so it's what I'm running. I am considering testing duress though, I'd like to hear what you have to say about it wastedlife.

    xantid pros: cast turn one, doesnt use a mana when comboing off. Can stop multiple counterspell effects, as well as stifle. -although if they have double FoW, it's just as bad as if you had a duress, as they'll just FoW it.

    Duress pros: Adds storm count, not vulnerable to creature removal.

    Which acceleration, Rite of Flame or Simian Spirit Guide?
    Right now I'm testing with 4 rite of flame and one spirit guide. The guide more takes the place of the 11th land though, hopefully making the turn one explosions slightly more common.

    Also of note: my list has all 4 cabal rituals, but only 3 plunges.

    What's your "Wish board"?

    // Sideboard
    SB: 1 [SC] Tendrils of Agony
    SB: 1 [AL] Diminishing Returns
    SB: 1 [US] Ill-Gotten Gains
    SB: 1 [TSP] Empty the Warrens
    SB: 1 [PLC] Rough/Tumble
    SB: 1 [US] Duress
    SB: 1 [OD] Simplify (I'm more afraid of Solitary Confinement than rifter.)
    SB: 1 [GP] Shattering Spree

    Sideboard cards outside your "Wishboard"?
    SB: 4 [RAV] Dark Confidant
    SB: 1 [US] Duress
    SB: 1 [SC] Tendrils of Agony
    SB: 1 [TSP] Empty the Warrens

    If I know they have counters, and I don't have protection, I like being able to ramp up to playing 2 of either ToA or EtW. Thus, against some Control decks I'm testing this plan:

    -1 Diminishing Returns
    -4 Burning Wish
    -4 LeD
    -1 Ill Gotten Gains

    +2 ToA
    +2 EtW
    +2 Duress
    +4 Dark Confidant

    Opening hands will have more storm spells, changing infernals roll dramatically. Instead of fetching up the win condition after playing out your hand it will probably be fetching copies of existing cards.

    If this tests poorly (which it probably will as it looks scetchy even to me) I'll be retinkering my sb, making this part of my post moot.

    Do you aggresively Mulligan?
    Depends on the matchup. G1, against unknown.dec, yes I do tend to mulligan aggressively. I'm much more willing to mull into a hand that can make 10-14 tokens than wait a turn or two and try for a lethal tendrils, as the tokens are probably unanswerable and the few lands/spells they play should tell you what deck they're playing, and thus give you better sbing info.

    Diminishing Returns, Why or why not?
    Heck yes. A lot of the time it's the only out you have, or the only way to win turn 1, and you just have to go for it.

    Hand 1: On the draw, I keep.I'm guessing that this is G1, and you don't know what your opponnent is playing. 8-12 tokens turn 1 against unknown.dec isn't horrible (you get 8 if you draw a land, 10 for an accellerant, and 12 for LED). That's 32 cards that improve, and 21 that make you wait a turn (but possibly help set up a tendrils kill). On the play the hand is garbage.

    Hand 2: what are you hoping for if you keep this? turn 2 returns with a storm count of 3? No thank you, this one's hitting the bin whether I'm on the draw or the play.

    Hand 3: Keep. Once again you have a lot of outs. If you're on the play you have access to 3 more cards to look at, and if one is a land/accellerant you should be good to go. Even another brainstorm is an out, as you can put it on the top with the returns underneath it, then cast it turn 2 and sack the LED's in response. Cabal Ritual looks like the only dead card here.

    How about these?

    Hand #4 Land, Lotus Petal, Cabal Therapy, Chrome Mox, LED, Brainstorm, Brainstorm

    Hand #5 Empty the Warrens, Tendrils of Agony, Ill Gotten Gains, Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual, Rite of Flame, Land

    Hand #6 (post-mulligan) Land, Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame, Cabal Ritual, Infernal Tutor, Burning Wish

  14. #14
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by wastedlife View Post
    I disagree when on the draw. On the play I'd mull it. Scenario one, you Mox(Burning Wish), Mox(Plunge), then Infernal Tutor -> Rite of Flame. 2nd Turn Warrens, that's assuming you didn't draw a mana source in a deck crammed with them or else it'd be turn one.
    I just don't know about this. 6 tokens on turn 2 doesn't sound too impressive to me. Now of course, there is a chance that your draw allowed you to make 8 or 10 tokens - a little better, indeed. It seems too risky to me.

    Scenario 2, I'd Mulligan.

    Scenario 3, keep.
    But why? Can you explain what your strategy would be for hand 3?
    Last edited by Peter_Rotten; 04-07-2007 at 07:58 AM. Reason: did my math again...
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  15. #15
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    First the scenarios
    Here's a few sample hands, do you mulligan or not?

    2x Chrome Mox, Burning Wish, Empty the Warrens, Rite of Flame, Plunge into Darkness, and Infernal Tutor.

    City of Brass, Gemstone Mine, Tomb of Urami, Dark Ritual, Diminishing Returns, Rite of Flame, and Chrome Mox.

    LED, LED, Burning Wish, Brainstorm, Land, Diminishing Returns, and Cabal Ritual.
    The first one I keep if I am on the draw I think always. On the play I would keep it against aggro decks and probably most other decks that don't pack daze.

    while I could do
    Quote Originally Posted by wastedlife
    I disagree when on the draw. On the play I'd mull it. Scenario one, you Mox(Burning Wish), Mox(Plunge), then Infernal Tutor -> Rite of Flame. 2nd Turn Warrens, that's assuming you didn't draw a mana source in a deck crammed with them or else it'd be turn one.
    But I agree with Rotten that 6-8 Goblin tokens turn 2 isn't going to be too impressive.
    I would probably on the play not do anything turn one.
    Turn two I can go nuts assuming I draw any of the 11 lands, 4 lotus petals, 4 LED, 4 Dark Rituals, 3 Cabal Rituals, or 3 Rite of Flames left in the deck. That is 29 cards out of 53 still in the deck. This way I can use the Moxes and Infernal to add to my storm count for a ETW.

    Scenario 2 I mulligan that hand is pretty crappy.
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterRotten Hand
    #2: Keep. 3rd Turn DReturns plus whatever the two cards were that I drew. I'm hoping to draw some heavy accel and one non-Plunge tutor. If the DReturns sucks - but not too bad - I can try again turn 4.
    I don't understand how you can keep this hand with a turn 3 D Returns as the first play when for the first hand you said
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterRotten
    Hand#1: GTFO. Em said it best I believe: "This won't do anything interesting until turn 3, without protection, with extreme card disadvantage."
    At least the first hand has the potential for going broken if you draw just about any card.

    Scenario 3
    I would be a bit worried about keeping the hand against goblins in the face of Wasteland. But I am certainly keeping that on the draw there are about 29 cards that win me the game 1st turn. I can still win the game first turn on the play off of a decent brainstorm and turn 2 off of a mediocre Brainstorm. My biggest fear is to get a crappy brainstorm and then my land wasted but I don't think that is too likely to happen.

    Duress vs. Xantid Swarm
    @ BreathWeapon.
    In my mind the biggest problem for Duress is that to be even close to as effective as Xantid Swarm you have to cast Duress the same turn that you combo off. That deprives the combo off a very preious resource early in the combo. One mana is huge in the first few sets of plays for the deck and having to use one to Duress is weak. Additionally, Casting Duress and then Casting Ill-Gotten Gains seems counterproductive.

    Simian Guide vs Rite of Flames
    While I do like the fact that Grunt does what very few cards in the deck do going from zero mana to 1 mana, 2 of the them only produce 3 mana (2 from each gudie as well as the 1 mana you save by them being free) while 2 rite of flames produce 4 mana, just the right amount for ETW.
    Perhaps a better question might be Simian Guide vs Cabal Ritual as the deck rarely has threshold so they both produce 1 mana. Guide doesn't add to storm but it is also cheaper creating more early turn wins. I don't know if the black/red mana difference would be that great to make Ritual the winner.

    I do have a few questions for the forum:

    How much storm is "enough" to go for a ETW on Turn 1, Turn 2, Turn 3?
    Pretty much at what storm count do you go, that is good enough for me.

    Does the trend towards UGr Threshold worry anyone as Pyroclasm = ?

    Hull Breach in the board? I was thinking about the Goblin matchup and how most people bring in Shattering Spree against Goblins in response to a possible chalice. But what about Pyrostatic Pillar. Goblins will generally be going first game 2 so they can drop Pillar pretty quickly. Unlike Iggy Pop, TES won't gain the life back from Pillar all the time as TES doesn't always have the Tendrils for 18-20 that Iggy pop does. I don't know if being at 8 or so Game 2 Turn 2 with 10+ tokens against Goblins is good. Though Hull Breach just might be too slow to really matter anyway in the matchup.

  16. #16

    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    The problem with "potential" to be good is that you still have infy land, infy tutors, and actual business spells that you really don't want to draw. Sure, if you topdeck something good you're in good shape, but living off the topdeck is not how I want to live with TES. I can just play SI if I want to rely on luck.
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  17. #17
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    What is your opinion about infernal contract in the wishboard? I like it because sometimes I find myself in a situation with a lot of ritual mana, a burning wish in hand, no LED and no infernal tutor in the grave or hand. If you have a LED its obviously better to go for diminishing returns. And I don't understand why the original simplify was switched for tranquility, 3 mana is most of the time only castable if you use accelaration for it and I would think you don't want to waste accelaration on tranquility.

  18. #18
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    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Something that would be useful, is if we had a percentage breakdown of what turn this deck 'goes off' with hands of different sizes. This would be especially helpful w/ hands like the first one posted, where there are approx. 20 outs to combo after one draw, and about 30 outs to combo after two draws. Granted, it should take into consideration whether it used EtW or ToA, and if there was protection.
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  19. #19

    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Anti~American4621 View Post
    Soo.... you really wanna cast Duress post-Returns against Control? Xantid Swarm is something that just wins you the game once it resolves. Xantid Swarm creates virtual card advantage once it attacks and is unanswered. Duress is just 1-for-1.

    Empty the Warrens is not something I like using to win with to be honest. I'd rather win now with Tendrils, but I will, however go for EtW if situation warrants it. Against control, you should be setting up double tendrils rather than going for the throat with EtW. EtW is more of a tool to weaken your opponent a little so you can make Tendrils effective (of course if people play like me and go EtW for 6 tokes and go from there).

    Double Tendrils is an awesme plan against control. I would never disagree with that play.

    So... here's how Xantid Swarm is good. Having the IGG plan available to you means you have more options available to you in general so you wont have to risk working with cards from D. Returns.



    Because you win right there regardless of your opponent's hand if they cant answer it. As for Duress, if you see tons of answers for your combo, you have to play around them by using D. Returns, which ist always a good idea, whereas with Swarm, you can do so much regardless.


    I know I am making Xantid Swarm sound like a crutch, but it can do so much for you, it's just efficient in general. It's like Meandeck Gifts cutting Burning Wish just to make using the Tendrils kill easier. What that action has done is give it not only a better fundamental turn, but also kill with less mana to invested in the Combo if t ever had Burning Wish in the first place.
    Xantid Swarm doesn't create virtual card advantage unless the opponent has multiples of an instant based hate card that couldn't counter Xantid Swarm or disrupt Xantid Swarm, and what card would that be? Threshold with double Daze on the draw? I could argue that Xantid Swarm decreases virtual card advantage because it is giving the opponent targets for his removal.

    Casting Duress after a Diminishing Returns is a benefit, not a hinderance of the card; if I cast Duress, and the opponent discards Force of Will, it's the same thing as if I cast Xantid Swarm and the opponent counters it (let's disregard information vs card advantage). Now, with Force of Will in the discard pile, the deck is forced to either Empty the Warrens, double Tendrils of Agony or Diminishing Returns. With Diminishing Returns, I can shuffle the opponent's Force of Will back into his deck, and then I can draw a new hand and use the floating storm and mana to either combo off with Duress as disruption, as opposed to combo off with out disruption (in the case of Xantid Swarm) or start over from the top.

    Duress/Xantid Swarm vs Force of Will, followed with Diminishing Returns, is the worst case scenario this deck should be prepared for, and Duress is better than Xantid Swarm at protecting Diminishing Returns before/after this scenario. Duress/Xantid Swarm vs no Force of Will is moot, because if Xantid Swarm is on the board, then the deck should just draw/tutor into the Ill Gotten Gains chains and get a guaranteed win; there's no reason for the deck to risk Diminishing Returns in this position, because drawing dead and giving the opponent a new hand is a poor proposition. I agree, it's great to have another out, but the number of times I couldn't win the game against 0 disruption with Ill Gotten Gains, Empty the Warrens or an unprotected Diminishing Returns (and that's a relevant statement, considering Duress can be cast after Diminishing Returns) are few and far between. Xantid Swarm resolving isn't an auto-win, the opponent not having disruption is an auto-win.

    This quote bothers me to no end,

    "Because you win right there regardless of your opponent's hand if they cant answer it. As for Duress, if you see tons of answers for your combo, you have to play around them by using D. Returns, which ist always a good idea, whereas with Swarm, you can do so much regardless."

    Either the opponent has answers, Force of Will, Daze, Stifle, Counterspell (if people still use it) Meddling Mage, Null Rod, Chalice of the Void, Engineered Explosives, Tormod's Crypt (people will SB it in if they don't have anything better) or Swords to Plowshares or they don't have answers; I have never seen a single Duress do less than a single Xantid Swarm against a hand full of answers, because 2/3 of those answers counter or remove Xantid Swarm, and one third of those answers Xantid Swarm can't affect. Xantid Swarm draws one counter, the same as Duress, and either walks the deck into another counter, Stifle or the Xantid Swarm gets Swords to Plowshared and leaves the counter or Stifle in hand. Duress discards one counter, sees the opponent's hand, and allows you to play around the rest of their cards to the best of your ability.

    Duress has saved me from more hands like Force of Will + Swords to Plowshares, Force of Will + Stifle, Null Rod + Swords to Plowshares/Stifle, Engineered Explosvies + Swords to Plowshares/Stifle than these hands that have a lot of hate, but none of which can affect Xantid Swarm or disregard it altogether.

    I would rather work with the Duress vs worst cast scenarios than the Xantid Swarm vs best case scenarios.

  20. #20

    Re: [DTW] TES - The EPIC Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Ewokslayer View Post

    @ BreathWeapon.
    In my mind the biggest problem for Duress is that to be even close to as effective as Xantid Swarm you have to cast Duress the same turn that you combo off. That deprives the combo off a very preious resource early in the combo. One mana is huge in the first few sets of plays for the deck and having to use one to Duress is weak. Additionally, Casting Duress and then Casting Ill-Gotten Gains seems counterproductive.

    Simian Guide vs Rite of Flames
    While I do like the fact that Grunt does what very few cards in the deck do going from zero mana to 1 mana, 2 of the them only produce 3 mana (2 from each gudie as well as the 1 mana you save by them being free) while 2 rite of flames produce 4 mana, just the right amount for ETW.
    Perhaps a better question might be Simian Guide vs Cabal Ritual as the deck rarely has threshold so they both produce 1 mana. Guide doesn't add to storm but it is also cheaper creating more early turn wins. I don't know if the black/red mana difference would be that great to make Ritual the winner.

    I do have a few questions for the forum:

    How much storm is "enough" to go for a ETW on Turn 1, Turn 2, Turn 3?
    Pretty much at what storm count do you go, that is good enough for me.

    Does the trend towards UGr Threshold worry anyone as Pyroclasm = ?

    Hull Breach in the board? I was thinking about the Goblin matchup and how most people bring in Shattering Spree against Goblins in response to a possible chalice. But what about Pyrostatic Pillar. Goblins will generally be going first game 2 so they can drop Pillar pretty quickly. Unlike Iggy Pop, TES won't gain the life back from Pillar all the time as TES doesn't always have the Tendrils for 18-20 that Iggy pop does. I don't know if being at 8 or so Game 2 Turn 2 with 10+ tokens against Goblins is good. Though Hull Breach just might be too slow to really matter anyway in the matchup.
    Moderators, I apologize for the double post, but I don't want one post to have tangential arguments.

    Xantid Swarm vs Duress,

    Duress isn't required to be cast on the combo turn, but it can be if it has to. The worst the opponent can do is Brainstorm to protect a card from Duress, at which point the deck can respond with IGG, Returns or ETW. It's relevant game one, on the draw, before the deck SB in Xantid Swarm and the opponent SB out Swords to Plowshares. The opponent can also top deck a Force of Will or Stifle, but I would still rather take those risks, the first of which can be played around, or cast Duress on the combo turn to add to storm, than risk Swords to Plowshares or Lightning Bolt.

    Right of Flame vs Simian Spirit Guide

    It's a question of additional mana, storm and threshold vs 0 for R mana, uncounterable mana, additional plays, faster goldfish, protection from Daze and a 2/2 body. You really have to decide for yourself, but decide after you have played with SSG, not after comparing the two on paper, because in game SSG is a lot better than it looks.

    ETW turn 1: Minimum of 6 tokens
    ETW turn 2: Minimum of 6/8 tokens
    ETW turn 3: Minimum of 10 tokens

    Hull Breach is the same as Tranquility and Simplify, except the second can be unnecessarily expensive and the third doesn't always get its man, so I don't think it matters what removal spell is in your SB for Solitary Confinement and Pyrostatic Pillar; usually with Pyrostatic Pillar, you just want to Burning Wish for Empty the Warrens any way.

    One card that I believe is a serious improvement to that SB slot is Deconstruct, a 2G sorcery speed Naturalize that adds GGG to your mana pool, allowing the deck to remove a target and then either combo on the same turn or cast Empty the Warrens with the additional storm.

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