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Standard With a Chance of Storm

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Standard


It’s Turn 4. My opponent is crashing in with a Hellrider, Boros Reckoner, and a Lightning Mauler. I take the damage and go to four as he passes the turn. I untap and draw my card on Turn 5. I’m sitting here with a Goblin Electromancer and nothing else. I cast Goblin Rally, leaving me with an untapped Steam Vents. I follow up with a Battle Hymn, netting five mana and casting a  Faithless Looting that finds me another Battle Hymn. I use the Hymn to flashback my Past in Flames I had discarded to the Looting as I continue the onslaught of spells. I use the flashback on my Hymns and Goblin Rally to fill the board with more goblins and fill my mana pool with even more mana. Finally, I have the amount of goblins necessary to cast Burn at the Stake, tapping nine goblins and sending 27 lethal damage my opponent’s way.

How on earth did we get here?

Flashback to Pro Tour Return to Ravnica, where Reid Duke, Jon Finkel, and some other SCG players were playing a Modern U/R Storm deck. The deck utilized Goblin Electromancer in conjunction with Pyretic Ritual, Seething Song, and Past in Flames to build up enough mana and a high enough storm count to finish the opponent off with a lethal Grapeshot. I even played against that deck in the first round of the Pro Tour where I played Robots.

I was inspired by the two Standard-legal cards breaking ground in Modern, enough so to produce a Standard-legal version of the deck. I must make it clear there is no way it would be a highly competitive deck. The cards just aren’t there to make this a Tier 1, 2, or even 3 deck. It has draws capable of beating Tier 1 decks, but I wouldn’t count of them happening that often. But this deck is appealing for an FNM or casual play.

Building Process

We have to figure out what the goal of the deck is going to be and how we get there without dying. All we know for sure is that we have Goblin Electromancer and Past in Flames in our 75. Finding cards that replicate Pyretic Ritual and Seething Song is a difficult task. There aren’t many cards currently in Standard that generate mana.

Battle Hymn: This is the ritual effect that we will lean heavily on. It does have the stipulation of requiring a fairly decent amount of creatures in play, but it can generate absurd quantities of mana.

Infernal Plunge: The other ritual in the format also requires having a creature in play.

Decklist so far

4 Goblin Electromancer
4 Past in Flames
4 Battle Hymn
4 Infernal Plunge

All right, so both of our ritual spells require having creatures in play. Since the plan is to use Past in Flames to get maximum value, we will want to use spells that put multiple creatures in play while being as cheap as possible. Here is a list of all the creature producing spells in UR:

Krenko’s Command: Here is a perfect spell for us. It makes two creatures, is a sorcery that gets reduced in cost via Goblin Electromancer, and has flashback value.

Thatcher’s Revolt: For one more mana we get another creature. It has the same upside as Krenko’s Command with the exception that you can really only utilize this spell on the turn you plan on going off; your tokens die at end of turn.

Talrand’s Invocation: At this cost we really need to be getting more creatures. Although we do get evasion and slightly stronger creatures, this cost is a bit too high to be a reliable token producer.

Goblin Rally: Now this is an interesting card. Getting four creatures for five mana is about as good as it gets without bleeding into another color like white. At five mana, however, we really can’t support having too many; otherwise we will have a bunch of expensive cards sitting in our hand.

Decklist so far

4 Goblin Electromancer
4 Past in Flames
4 Battle Hymn
4 Infernal Plunge
4 Krenko’s Command
4 Thatcher’s Revolt
2 Goblin Rally

Now that we have our rituals and ways to feed our rituals, we need to work on how we actually kill our opponent. Here are the most practical ways:

Devil’s Play: If we can produce enough mana, we should have no problem being able to cast or flashback this for 20. The flashback can be very handy in conjunction with cards like faithless Looting and Thought Scour.

Burn at the Stake: For this to work, we will need between six and nine creatures to kill our opponent. Six is the minimum if they take damage from a shockland or we attack with a couple of goblins early, and nine is the maximum if they cast a Thragtusk. And in my opinion, that’s a very reachable number.

Decklist so far

4 Goblin Electromancer
4 Past in Flames
4 Battle Hymn
4 Infernal Plunge
4 Krenko’s Command
4 Thatcher’s Revolt
2 Goblin Rally
3 Burn at the Stake

Now that we have our win condition, we need to find a way to find and set this up. Here are the cheap card draw spells that comes to mind:

Thought Scour: This is about as perfect as it gets. It fills up our graveyard and gives us a card in return. Finding flashback cards with this also doesn’t hurt.

Faithless Looting: This card also gets us deeper and fixes our hand. When we draw too many top-end spells, it can help smooth out our draw.

Izzet Charm: We get the option of doing various things, including our goal of digging deeper. Without the benefit of Goblin Electromancer making this cheaper it may be worth just having in the board.

Desperate Ravings: This is another card that helps us dig. It gets us a little more value than Faithless Looting, but the cost of a random discard might be too awkward.

Reforge the Soul: Do you believe in miracles? Drawing this many cards after you’re already established will probably result in a win more often than not.

Twenty-one lands should be enough to support our cheap curve without flooding out. We also have a couple of early draw spells to get out of jams when we are low on mana. With all of that said, we have ourselves a complete maindeck!

Sideboard Searching

Now we have to figure out what we want in the sideboard. We are going to want spells that do very specific things and for very specific matchups because we are a combo deck. But the worst thing you can do when playing with a combo deck is over-sideboard. If you dilute your deck too much it will affect the consistency. The perfect card for the sideboard is Izzet Charm, which gives us an answer to a card like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben that would totally destroy us. It also counters another backbreaking card like the underplayed Curse of Death’s Hold. Finally, it does what the deck is trying to do anyway — dig for cards and discard the ones making our hand clunky.

We also need cards against control decks like Esper, and the best way to do this is with planeswalkers. Esper has trouble attacking, so planeswalkers are the most practical way to attack them. Ral Zarek is a powerful card, but doesn’t really fit what the deck is trying to do. Tamiyo, the Moon Sage is something that should be considered. The ability to lock down a land is very powerful and being able to draw cards from a couple of tapped goblins is worth considering. And we also have Chandra, the Firebrand, which is probably the most logical inclusion. Being able to copy spells is what we want to be doing, and when we turn our Krenko Commands into Goblin Rallys, it makes me happy.

Now we need some help against the aggressive decks. Augur of Bolas is a great choice for providing an extra card and putting a blocker in play. If he sticks around, it also provides us with another creature to increase our rituals.

With five cards left, we still haven’t addressed the elephant in the room. What happens when your opponent plays a Rest in Peace? Outside of getting lucky with Izzet Charm, we are pretty cold to a RIP. I’ve thought pretty hard about how to address this situation. The best thing that comes to mind is Talrand, the Sky Summoner or Krenko, Mob Boss. Krenko provides a very real threat that works very well with our deck, and he can be brought in in multiple matchups. If you think your control opponent boarded out those board sweepers, having a Krenko hit the board is quite backbreaking; an unanswered Krenko against aggressive decks can get out of hand. Talrand is a little more fragile and requires double blue, which makes it just a little too inconsistent to utilize well.

With two four-drops in our sideboard, along with a couple of five-drops in the main deck already, I think adding a 22nd land makes perfect sense. The matchups for which are bringing in our four-drops will likely take a long time to win, so we want some utility with our land. A single Desolate Lighthouse should provide us with a nice ability when we having nothing better to do. Finally, for the matchups with a card like Slaughter Games, we want an alternate win condition. Having access to a single Devil’s Play will allow us to avoid getting locked out.

Final sideboard

4 Augur of Bolas
3 Izzet Charm
3 Chandra, the Firebrand
3 Krenko, Mob Boss
1 Desolate Lighthouse
1 Devil’s Play

Unfortunately there isn’t anything new from Dragon’s Maze to add to the deck. But if you’re looking for something fun to play at Friday Night Magic, give this a shot. You’ll be glad you did.

John Cuvelier
Gosu. On MTGO
@JCuvelier on Twitter

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