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Raise a Storm of Mono Blue

2018/06/30 00:00 

    • Marc Tobiasch
    • Hareruya Pros Blog

If you want to play Standard, but you don't like endless 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 mirror matches and like a deck with an actual win condition, not using 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 on himself for 45 minutes, I have the thing for you!

I built this deck a while back and have been playing and tuning it since. I played it at the MOCS before the Pro Tour Dominaria to a 6-0 record before intentionally losing the last two so it wouldn't draw too much attention. Sadly, I didn't end up playing it at the PT itself since I thought I had found a better metagame call. With how the metagame shook out though I think it is an excellent choice going forward.

I am talking of course, about Mono Blue Storm.

How Does the Deck Work?

This is a pure combo deck. The game plan is to survive until you hit critical mass and then go off with 《Aetherflux Reservoir》.

Aetherflux Reservoir

If you have 《Reservoir》 in play and you cast "n" spells you will gain "n(n+1)/2" life. Which means, that 10 spells are always lethal since it is 55 life. Depending on your life total you might need less spells in a turn to win.

Paradoxical OutcomeMox AmberBaral's Expertise

To go up to casting that many spells you have cheap artifacts that you can return to your hand with 《Paradoxical Outcome》 or 《Baral's Expertise》 to cast them again while drawing cards.

Inspiring Statuary

If you have an 《Inspiring Statuary》 in play you can also tap those artifacts to cast the 《Outcome》 for example which will generally be enough by itself. A good start for the deck might look like this:

Turn 1:

《Island》, 《Renegade Map》

Turn 2:

《Island》, 《Prophetic Prism》

Turn 3:

《Island》, 《Inspiring Statuary》

Turn 4:

《Mox Amber》, 《Ornithopter》, tap 《Mox Amber》, 《Ornithopter》 and 《Prophetic Prism》 as well as two 《Island》 to cast 《Baral's Expertise》 targeting 《Mox Amber》, 《Ornithopter》 and 《Prophetic Prism》. Use it to cast 《Aetherflux Reservoir》 for free. The 《Reservoir》 is spell number 4.

Recast 《Mox》(+5 life), 《Ornithopter》(+6 life), Tap 《Mox》, 《Ornithopter》, 《Island》 and 《Renegade Map》 to cast 《Paradoxical Outcome》 (+7 life) targeting 《Mox》, 《Ornithopter》 and 《Map》.

Draw three cards, play 《Mox》(+8 life), 《Ornithopter》(+9 life) play a land and recast the 《Renegade Map》(+10 life) to gain a total of 45 life. Use 《Reservoir》 to shoot them for 50.

Unlike regular Storm spells like 《Tendrils of Agony》, you don't need to combo for the full amount or fizzle, since the life you gain will a) stay for next turn, so you will need less spells and b) buy you more time against an opponent attacking your life total.

Why Is the Deck Good?

Standard is a format based around creatures. Therefore, most decks will have a plethora of removal which is mostly dead against you. Sure they can try and kill your 《Glint-Nest Crane》 or your 《Ornithopter》 but that is usually tempo negative and often card disadvantage as well.

Goblin ChainwhirlerToolcraft Exemplar

Also decks right now are pretty slow. 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 pushed most of the 1 toughness creatures out of the format. Exactly those make for the fastest clocks though. But since cards like 《Toolcraft Exemplar》 are basically unplayable in the current format decks got a little bigger and therefore slower. Since they cannot really interact with what we are doing though the only relevant metric is their goldfish speed.

AbradeCast OutThrashing Brontodon

Of course most decks will have some limited amount of interaction, namely some 《Abrade》, 《Cast Out》 or 《Thrashing Brontodon》. Casting those will take up yet more tempo and our deck is very well suited to replacing missing pieces due to the high amount of digging and card draw as well as having a decent amount of interaction ourselves.

Aside from that Mono Blue Storm is extremely well suited for a race situation. Not only is the 《Reservoir》 itself very difficult to race not only in straight goldfish speed but also since it is very easy to gain 10 or 15 life a turn while digging for the actual win with either 《Expertise》 or 《Outcome》 but we also have a lot of ways to buy time.

Metallic Rebuke

《Metallic Rebuke》 is essentially a 1 mana 《Mana Leak》 in this deck which allows us to deploy to the board while also countering their play.

OrnithopterGlint-Nest Crane

《Ornithopter》 and 《Glint-Nest Crane》 are cheap blockers to buy time which is especially backbreaking if you get to 《Outcome》 them all back before damage.

Baral's ExpertiseCommit // Memory

Also 《Baral's Expertise》 and 《Commit》 are great ways to buy time while also furthering your own game plan (《Memory》 is great in this deck since you can often cast it off of 2 lands and use the new cards immediately).

In terms of matchups I think that Red is favorable but close (in Grand Prix Copenhagen 2018 I went 6-3 against 《Chainwhirler》 which will end a GP-run, but is still hard to get much better statistically), BG Constrictor is also close.

DuressWinding ConstrictorDoomfall

Preboard you are pretty favored, but postboard it can get tough since they will have 《Duress》, 《Doomfall》 and 《Brontodon》 as well as a fast clock and especially a board that can often race gaining 10-15 life a turn. Most other matchups are very close to a bye.

I have received a lot of questions regarding the Control decks. People seem to think the matchup is somewhere between terrible and unwinnable. The contrary is the case, I think it is almost very close to impossible to lose.

There are multiple reasons for this. First, in game one they have around 7 total relevant cards in their deck while having what amounts to 0 clock. In general both pre and postboard you will have roughly even amount of counterspells but Storm has both a mana-advantage because of 《Statuary》 as well as a card-advantage due to the high density of card draws.

Teferi, Hero of DominariaSorcerous Spyglass

The only way for them to try and stay even is by resolving a 《Teferi》, which is almost impossible while still losing to 《Spyglass》. If I could play against control every round of a tournament I would take high odds on winning the whole thing.

Tips

The deck is somewhat intricate and therefore hard to explain well in a single article, so I will start streaming with it at Twitch to explain it better.

However, some tips, tricks and questions I get asked a lot:

Ornithopter

If you need an 《Ornithopter》 for Improvise, play it last so they cannot kill it beforehand.

Renegade Map

Hold of on cracking 《Renegade Map》 until you need to play the land, since any artifact in play is useful.

Zhalfirin Void

Take care when to play your scry lands(《Zhalfirin Void》), unless you really need a specific artifact right now don't play it before a 《Crane》, also be aware of your blue mana, since that is sometimes the chokepoint especially with 《Statuary》 in play.

You can play around artifact removal like 《Abrade》 by slow rolling 《Statuary》 for a turn. If you play it with 1 《Island》 untapped you can counter the 《Abrade》 with any of 《Metallic Rebuke》, 《Paradoxical Outcome》 or 《Commit》.

Paradoxical Outcome

If you have an 《Outcome》, the number of cards is usually less important than mana so don't target 《Statuary》 or 《Reservoir》 unless you absolutely need to.

You can gain additional life by responding to the 《Reservoir》 trigger. This comes up most with countering your own spell with 《Rebuke》 for the last couple of life.

Commit // Memory

Against discard decks, especially postboard, use 《Commit》 early if you can to save it from 《Doomfall》. Casting 《Memory》 will usually win the game in those matchups.

If you don't need the blocker immediately usually play the cantripping artifacts before playing 《Crane》 to both, give you more information on what you need and more mana with a 《Statuary》.

Mox Amber

Yes, 《Mox》 only makes mana with the legends in the board, but we have the best and most reliable legend in the format in 《Inspiring Statuary》.

Try to hold you 0 mana artifacts for a comboturn, since more spells in a single turn makes more life. However don't be afraid to play them if you need Improvise since you will usually have enough spells when you find an 《Outcome》.

Don't over-sideboard. As is the case with most engine based combodecks it is important for enough pieces of all parts to stay intact.

Don't worry too much about cards that stop you from winning, like 《Shalai, Voice of Plenty》, 《Gideon of the Trials》 or 《Sorcerous Spyglass》. The first two you can just shoot down with 《Aetherflux Reservoir》 and the last you can 《Expertise》 or 《Commit》 when you are ready to win. Just gaining a lot of life will buy you the time you need to find an answer.

Karn, Scion of Urza

《Karn》 is an amazing plan B if you need more threats, almost always -2 it twice before doing anything else. Also remember you can cast him off of only Improvise with 《Statuary》 and you can 《Outcome》 the 《Karn》 to replay it and use it multiple times in a turn.

Conclusion

I've heard a lot of complaints recently about Standard. My answer was always the same: you are playing the wrong deck. This deck is incredibly fun and competitive and I will be playing it for as long as I can, including my Nationals. It will even get better with the new set!

Sai, Master Thopterist

《Sai, Master Thopterist》 is exactly what the deck wants. I even played 《Efficient Construction》 which is the enchantment with this effect in the sideboard for a while. It is both a good blocker with the 4 toughness as well as another victory condition. It buys a lot of time, since it is easy to make a ton of flying blockers, it turns on 《Mox》 while being resistant to all the cheap removal, it makes mana with 《Statuary》 as well and it even has an activated ability that can help when you are running out of cards!

If you are dead inside and weren't excited about Storm before the new set comes out you should certainly be after.

If you have any questions or want to share your experience, hit me up or come join my stream :)

Marc Tobiasch

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