As I discussed in my last article, I’m still trying to decide what deck I want to rock in Richmond. Modern is a skill intensive format. You’ve got to be even more Sun Tzu in Modern than you do in Legacy. What does that even mean? Know your Deck, know your enemy’s deck and you’re good go to. Well here’s the thing, in Legacy games can quickly become one sided after just one or two plays. Anyone who’s played against Show and Tell or stared down the business end of Umezawa’s Jitte knows what I mean. Certainly, in Modern there are cards that swing the game heavily in your favor, but you often have outs.

Last week I showed you Unburial Gifts and during Tuesday Night Modern I went a lackluster 2-2. Facing off against the Seismic Assault Loam deck (loss), Elves (win), UR Delver (loss) and then UB Faeries. 2-2 is especially disappointing because 3 of these decks are pretty much straight brews. I can’t consider anything Travis Woo sensationalized to be a real deck. No matter how cool they are. Anyhow, losing to UR Faeries has me really worried. That deck is pretty widely played (if you can say something is widely play in Modern) and I like to feel a bit more comfortable in my deck choice. Gifts ain’t really doing it for me right now.

So on to greener pastures. Or Less green pastures? I’m on to Storm again. Here’s my list:


Land (16)
Misty Rainforest
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Shivan Reef
Cascade Bluffs

Creatures (4)
Goblin Electromancer

Spells (36)
Desperate Ritual
Pyretic Ritual
Serum Visions
Sleight of Hand
Peer Through Depths
Past in Flames
Gitaxian Probe
Increasing Vengeance
Desperate Ravings

Enchantments (4)
Pyromancer’s Ascension

Swan Song
Lightning Bolt
Empty the Warrens
Defense Grid
Leyline of Sanctity

This deck is the exact same 60 that John Finkel took to GP Portland. He’s updated the deck a little since then, but frankly this is the version I like/ am most comfy with. That’s the thing about playing Combo. Knowing for a fact what’s in your deck can often be the difference in wining and losing a match. I like to stay to the build I know. You might see a choice or two you like or think is better, but that’s really a point to make for yourself. It’s never optimal to think you have 4 win conditions then realize that you only have 3. It’s complicated but when you’re going off it makes all the difference in the world.

So onto the match-ups. We know how this deck works. Cast a bunch of spells get to 6 (or 4 with Electromancer) mana and casting Past in Flames, re cast everything from your graveyard and hit your opponent (who’s life is likely at 16ish or lower for one or two Grapeshots. Hurray math is fun!

UWR Control

This can be tough. They have plenty of counter magic to hold off your early set up spells. Storm is actually pretty good at working around this sort of disruption, though. Bait their counters with Goblin Electromancer if you can. Their creature removal is utterly worthless against you. Sticking Pyromancer’s Ascension is awesome as it will trigger itself whether or not the spell is successfully cast. It’s all about playing smart and baiting your opponent into soft plays. Once you hit 6 mana they likely have exhausted their counters.

Sideboard: +1 Empty the Warrens, +2 Swan Song, +2 Defense Grid, -1 Grapeshot -2 Increasing Vengeance, -1 Desperate Ravings, -1 Peer Through Depths


Jund does a pretty good job of killing itself with Bob and shock lands. If you can work past a little disruption you should be able to beat this deck without too much trouble. They put you on a pretty intense clock though, make sure that if you’re going to go off that you really can. This means waiting another turn to set up and untap. Just watch out for bolts, if you can stay above three life and you think it’ll help you win, wait. After board they play Rakdos Charm. If you Empty the Warrens be aware of that. It’s also quite good against your graveyard.

Sideboard: +2 Leyline of Sanctity, -2 Increasing Vengeance


Current Affinity builds play a couple Spell Pierce, this can be a real inconvenience. They are just as fast as you but you do have one advantage. Grapeshot kills everything. It’s ok to use it to wipe the board. You have a few nice tricks in your board for this deck. Your best bet is you just set up the combo and then if you can’t kill them in one blow take out their creatures and pass.

Sideboard: -4 Electromancer, -1 Gitaxian Probe, -2 Increasing Vengeance, +2 Pryoclasm, +1 Shatterstorm, +4 Lightning Bolt

Birthing Pod Combo

Game one should be simple. You have the to combo before them. What you lack in disruption you make up for in raw combo. Games 2-3 are different though. You MUST side in Lightning Bolt and Pyroclasm. Ethersworn Cannonist is real and you cannot win with it out. With pod they can get it out as early as turn 3 (assuming they don’t just have it in hand). If you kill it though it’s easy as pie for the test of the match as they just wasted three turns on doing nothing. Lightning Bolt is also a fine way to stop Melira and Kiki from going off.

Sideboard: +4 Lightning Bolt, +2 Pyroclasm, -1 Peer Through Depths, -2 Increasing Vengeance, -2 Goblin Electromancer, -2 Desperate Ravings


Tron is a laughable match-up if you go full on combo. You aren’t worried about a third Turn Karn, Liberated that much, one land generally will not kill you. Tron kills slowly remember if they do assemble Tron get out Karn, Liberated and take a land that puts Karn into Grapeshot range. This is a deck you don’t need to kill in one turn, so if you have to take a break send as much storm as you can then untap and try again the next turn.

Sideboard: +2 Swan Song, -2 Increasing Vengeance

That’s Storm. It’s a combo deck. So don’t expect everyone at your LGS to pat you on the back when you 4-0. Us combo players generally have to cry ourselves to sleep on our pillows of packs we keep winning. Seriously though, if you learned nothing else from this primer: DON’T OVER SIDEBOARD. And it’s always ok to take out a Grapeshot after board for an Empty the Warrens. Every sideboard has access to Surgical Extraction. Playing around it can’t hurt.

Zac Clark, Durdle Magus

Zac started playing during Fallen Empires. He began taking the game seriously during Alliances. Stasis, Titiania’s Song, then a long love affair with Mono Blue Control, finally settling on Replenish before taking a 12 year break. Now that he’s back he’s been favoring control and combo decks. Constantly, on the prowl for a new deck Zac often looks at the Meta in Modern and Legacy formats.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.