Kess storm is a resilient combo deck which aims to win through Aetherflux Reservoir by casting, bouncing, and re-casting mana rocks to generate storm count, and mana. The deck's backup win condition is Underworld Breach with Lion's Eye Diamond, and Brain Freeze to mill your opponent's libraries.

With Kess, Dissident Mage in the command zone, you can flashback cards to combo, or cards to bounce problematic permanents such as Stony Silence that hinder your ability to combo.

In the Grixis color combination, we have access to the best tutors, the best draw spells, and some of the most fun combo enablers in the game. Casting spells like Bolas's Citidel, and Mind's Desire create the feel of playing a Vintage Cube-like draft, which is a lot of fun!

With the introduction out of the way, take a look at what this deck has to offer!

I've been a part of the cEDH community for around 3 years now, and Kess, Dissident Mage was the commander that inspired me to join in on our glorious format.

The deck started out very casual, as I had no idea what I was doing as a deck builder back in 2017. Through many months of picking up a card per week, I noticed the power level of the deck increasing significantly. No longer would my lands come into play tapped, or my draw spells cost 4+ mana.

Around 4 months into my casual play, I witness Tasigur, the Golden Fang control. This wild deck was playing cards I had never seen before like Mox Diamond, Mana Crypt, and Mana Drain. Seeing such a powerful deck run like a well oiled machine inspired me to take a new approach on deckbuilding, and led me to the cEDH community.

My Kess storm list has evolved greatly over the last couple of years, and is now to the point where it is very near completion. I've found great success piloting the deck, and has led to some of my most enjoyable times playing Magic.

This deck aims to win in 2 different ways. The first, as described before, is through Aetherflux Reservoir and mana rocks. Cards such as Paradoxical Outcome and Rebuild enable the deck to generate an obscene storm count just through the use of rocks. Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal also enable infinite mana, and infinite storm count. With Aetherflux Reservoir on the battlefield, the game ends if your opponents can't interact with it. Another route with Isochron Scepter + Dramatic Reversal is to cast Copy Artifact on the scepter and imprint any draw spell to draw the deck and win with whichever card you need.

Typically, a storm turn has the most promise after casting an Ad Nauseam on an opponent's end-step. Though you lose a lot of life in the process, the deck can generate enough storm to surpass 150 life and win the game.

The second win condition in the deck now relies on Underworld Breach. With the introduction of this card, Kess now has an easy way to win the game, without giving up too many slots in the deck for dead cards. When playing with the Thassa's Oracle package, drawing the Oracle, as well as Consultation felt very bad.

The Breach Line

Here is how Underworld Breach can win us the game for those unfamiliar:

  1. Cast Underworld Breach.

  2. Cast Lion's Eye Diamond.

  3. Cast Brain Freeze, hold priority, and sacrifice Lion's Eye Diamond for 3 blue mana, putting 9 cards into your graveyard, as well as Lion's Eye Diamond.

  4. Exile 3 cards to re-cast Lion's Eye Diamond.

  5. Exile 3 cards and use Brain Freeze, hold priority, and sacrifice Lion's Eye Diamond for 3 blue mana to put 15 cards from your library into your graveyard, as well as Lion's Eye Diamond.

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you find Aetherflux Reservoir.

  7. Exile 3 cards, and use any floating mana to cast Aetherflux Reservoir.

You now have a storm outlet on the table, and can keep recasting Lion's Eye Diamond, and Brain Freeze as needed until you're at 150+ life total.

NOTE: This combo can also be used to mill your opponents out of the game, just be careful that you have enough cards in your graveyard to continue casting Brain Freeze. If there is a player playing a shuffle titan like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, you must use Aetherflux Reservoir to kill that player specifically.

The Math

In order to know the specifics of milling your opponents out, I did the math!

At maximum, you will need to exile 51 cards, cast Lion's Eye Diamond 7 times, and cast Brain Freeze 10 times to mill a total of 315 cards from your opponent's libraries.

This calculation is assuming Underworld Breach was the first spell cast in the turn. The numbers can vary based on how many spells were cast prior to the Breach.


Baral, Chief of Compliance helps out on storm turns by reducing the cost of impactful cards such as Mind's Desire, Dark Petition, and Time Spiral. These cards in particular are crucial to generating, and benefiting off of storm.

Though baral enables us to storm off, his ability to draw and discard after countering a spell helps us sculpt the perfect hand for our storm turn.

Helm of Awakening, though it effects your opponent's spells, gives us a huge advantage in storm turns. For example, tapping Mana Crypt to cast both Talisman of Dominance, and Fellwar Stone to generate 2 storm, and break even on mana, is much better than tapping the crypt to cast one or the other.

High Tide

This deck has a difficult time comboing without the use of High Tide. With this in mind, be mindful to tutor for it on your opponent's end-step right before you plan to storm off, fetching for islands is crucial to garuntee that high tide will have value.

The deck utilizes a few cards that become mana-positive with the use of High Tide. These cards are: Time Spiral, Frantic Search, and Snap.

Paradoxical Outcome

I swear by this card. The storm count and card advantage it generates is insane in a combo turn. Being able to draw into cantrips, rituals, and more mana rocks ensures that the turn can continue. Another powerful feature of this card is that you can choose which artifacts you pick up. You rarely want to bounce Aetherflux Reservoir, or Helm of Awakening since they both are crucial to storming off.

This card is also strong protection against cards like Vandalblast, By Force, and Nature's Claim. In response to a spell like these, you can scoop up all of your artifacts and draw a bunch of cards to enable your storm on the following turn.

Try this card out! I ensure it will not disappoint.

Yawgmoth's Will & Underworld Breach

In a deck that doesn't run Doomsday, Yawgmoth's Will can seem much less efficient. In this deck, we are constantly filling the graveyard. Later on in the game, Yawgmoth's Will can generate an insane storm turn. re-casting rituals, cantrips, mana rocks, and even combo pieces ensures that even if we get stopped from comboing once, we can try again later in the game once we draw into Yawgmoth's Will.

Underworld Breach has the same effect, as well as becoming a win outlet with Lion's Eye Diamond, and Brain Freeze. This card being able to be used as a value piece, or a win outlet makes it an auto include for a deck that looks to fill the graveyard.

A storm deck's package can be altered pretty nicely to suit the meta you are playing in. A couple inclusions for my meta include Cursed Totem, and Pyroblast.

Here is a list of flex slots in the deck that you can alter for best play experience in your meta:


Cursed Totem

Dimir Signet



Rolling Earthquake

This deck is not 100% complete. I haven't yet had the budget for Timetwister, and Volcanic Island.

Once I have the budget to grab the twister, I would cut Time Spiral.

Recent Changes

2/27/19- OUT: Tarnished Citadel IN: Sunken Hollow

Currently testing this change, Sunken Hollow seems like a decent land in a basic land heavy deck. Plus, it's another fetchable island for High Tide.

3/16/19- OUT: Blood Crypt IN: Badlands

Pretty simple change here, finally picked up a copy of badlands, switching out the worst shock in the deck for a dual.

4/30/19- OUT: Snapcaster Mage IN: Narset's Reversal

Snapcaster hasn't done a whole lot for the deck in general, Narset's Reversal is an easy include here due to it's versatility.

3/15/20- OUT: Laboratory Maniac , Izzet Signet , Negate , Dack Fayden , Muddle the Mixture , Faithless Looting.

     IN: Thassa's Oracle , Talisman of Creativity , Mana Drain , Dockside Extortionist , Arcane Signet , Underworld Breach.

Some new cards being introduced to the format including a more compact secondary win condition provide Kess with some excellent tools. Underworld Breach is like a 2nd Yawgmoth's Will for us, giving the deck the legs it needs to be even more consistent. These changes are still being tested, but the deck feels a lot stronger as of right now.

3/22/20- OUT: Thassa's Oracle , Demonic Consultation , Plunge into Darkness.

     IN: Impulse , Bolas's Citadel , Brain Freeze.

I've found that the deck incidentally draws into Demonic Consultation way too often, with no real way to use it as a payoff. Exiling cards in this deck is like throwing away storm count. To minimize this loss, I've cut the Thassa's Oracle package as a whole. The deck now wins through Brain Freeze , Aetherflux Reservoir , and Isochron Scepter + Copy Artifact.

The cut of Plunge into Darkness is purely because of Bolas's Citadel. Now that we have 2 effects that are like ad nauseum, we have to look to preserve our life total as much as possible in the early stages of the game.

3/25/20- OUT: Island , Dimir Signet

     IN: Underground Sea , Wheel of Fortune

Finally had the budget to pick up these 2 staples, very easy swaps to make.

4/24/20- OUT: Island , City of Brass

     IN: Volcanic Island , Verdant Catacombs

For the sake of consistency, I've proxied these two cards for online play.

6/03/20- OUT: Necropotence

     IN: Mox Opal

Having three very painful advantage cards has been detrimental to the gameplan. The grindy meta likes to beat up decks that use a low creature amount.


I hope you enjoyed reading about my deck! I'm always open to suggestions and criticism about the list as well as additions to this primer itself.


Updates Add



97% Competitive

Date added 2 years
Last updated 3 days

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

9 - 0 Mythic Rares

49 - 0 Rares

19 - 0 Uncommons

16 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.03
Tokens None Treasure, 1/1 Bird
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