Description

"Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire."

PRIMER IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION

When most people think cEDH storm, Zur the Enchanter and Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge (grixis storm) are the names that comes to mind. While we share some similarities, this deck eschews the traditional High Tide package and Doomsday piles normally associated with UBx storm. In its place we devote cards slots to a varied nonland ramp package that consists of the best mana dorks (ex. Birds of Paradise) and mana rocks (ex. Mana Crypt) available. We also utilize the best rituals too (because reasons).

This deck has a little less interaction than Zur or Jeleva, but it is noticeably faster (on average) with higher card quality. Current estimates place this decks avg win turn at 3.32 (Over 100 games; See following section for details), which is on par with devoted Hermit Druid decks. Among storm decks, only Sidisi, Undead Vizier is faster and unlike Sidisi we have the ability to play the long game (as evidenced by Barbechenue's success in the cEDH tournament).

Our primary win condition is Aetherflux Reservoir, which is the best way we have to win the game since we can win via infinite storm (i.e. Dramatic Reversal+Isochron Scepter) or with non infinite means using Paradox Engine. Reservoir also passively gains us life, which can be used to fuel Ad Nauseam, Necropotence, and Fire Covenant.

If that win condition is exiled we can win via Timetwister loops with Windfall/Wheel of Fortune and Tormod's Crypt. Swan Song & Deathrite Shaman can also get us there in a pinch. All the cards involved in these win conditions are high value cards with plenty of standalone value, so we minimize "dead slots" better than any other deck in the format.

If you lack the budget for Timetwister loops, Walking Ballista is a fine win backup condition as is Laboratory Maniac.

To better illustrate the common paths to victory and assess how fast the deck is (in a vacuum), I recorded the results of 100 playtests (going for the fastest line available to the deck based on our opening hand). While such a method skews the results towards Ad Nauseam, this sample is an fairly accurate representation of how the deck functions (NOTE: This data is based on a prior version of the deck):

100 GAMES

Yawgmoth's Will+Lion's Eye Diamond: 1 turn 2 victory; 5 turn 3 victories; 1 turn 4 victory

Necropotence: 3 turn 3 victories; 2 turn 4 victory

Ad Nauseam: 8 turn 2 victories; 23 turn 3 victories; 12 turn 4 victories; 2 turn 5 victories

Paradox Engine: 11 turn 3 victories; 11 turn 4 victories; 1 turn 5 victory; 1 turn 6 victory

Isochron Scepter+Dramatic Reversal: 1 turn 2 victory; 11 turn 3 victories; 7 turn 4 victories

Average win turn: 3.32

It is important to realize that most victories will use multiple "enablers" to get there (ex. Ad Naus into Yawgwin+LED into engine) so just because an outlet has a low use percentage does not mean it is not essential.

Since goldfishing these numbers, I added Notion Thief and Winds of Change, which gives us even more ways to win the game. I added Notion Thief so we are less dependent on Ad Naus and can get even more value out of our wheels. Winds of Change makes thief an efficent win codition and also helps tremendously on our main phase ad nauseams by getting us a fresh 20-25 after we play all our net positive spells.

One of the primary factors that make this deck faster than most storm decks is we have access to many early game enablers that feed off eachother. This gives us the ability to win at any stage of the game with a minimal to nonexistant board presence. These lines to victory include:

1) Ad Nauseam+Fast Mana: This is the easiest path to victory as it will consistently win the game if we resolve ad nauseam. We utilize an aggressive curve to maximize our ability to win durimg pur main phase. Ideally we want at least one floating mana to all but ensure victory but we can tap out for it and still win a fair share of games during our main phase assuming most of our net positive rocks are still in our library.

2) Dramatic Reversal+Isochron Scepter+3 mana worth nonland based permanent ramp. This is our most mana efficient combo at 4 mana (Or two mana with LED in hand), but unlike ad naus or engine it requires two specific combo pieces to go off.

3) Paradox Engine+Self replacing card+Nonland based ramp: This is harder to come by with more initial points of failure. To realistically get engine to the point where it is self sustaining you will usually need at least 3 mana worth of rocks/dorks in total with 1 that can tap for all colors. You also will need a cantrip or tutor that replaces itself after the initial untap to start producing mana and to (hopefully) draw into fuel. If we get stuck with nothing but interaction after the first few spells (which is relatively common scenario) a great way to get ahead on mana is to cast a removal spell (i.e nature's claim), then counter it (i.e. mental misstep) and then counter that spell (i.e pact of negation). Since engine untaps everything on CAST, not resolution, you will get to untap everything 3 times for one mana total. This will often allow you to activate Thrasios' draw ability until you get to the spell that will end the game. This engine win condition snowballs very quickly so if you manage to untap after casting it on an ad nauseam turn, its almost impossible to fizzle.

With Sensei's Divining Top+ Thrasios, Triton Hero +Paradox Engine+5 mana worth of rocks/dorks you can draw your entire deck with the following sequence:

1) Tap Top to draw a card

2) Pay 4 to use Thrasios's ability to bring top to hand.

3) Cast Top to untap all your rocks/dorks with paradox engine.

4) Repeat steps 1-3 until you have drawn your deck.

This may sound like a lot, but it is suprisingly easy to pull off on turn 3-4 since once engine is in play, Thrasios can be put into play for "free" (often generating extra mana) and every 0-2 mana spell will almost always net you even more mana which can be used to dig for new cards with Thrasios. If you have Top in play, the combo becomes MUCH easier since you can double up on Top's draw ability by casting an instant in response (i.e Dark Ritual to its activation. This draws 2 cards instead of 1, thereby bringing top back to hand where it can be recast to trigger engine again. Voltaic Key can take Thrasios' place in the combo and only costs 2 mana worth of rock/dorks to draw the deck. Aside from the obvious combo cards, there are many ways to win with Engine. For instance, Dunadain has won by looping Regrowth and Noxious Revival with Thrasios' ability.

4) Yawgmoth's Will+Lion's Eye Diamond, rituals, and tutors: Usually we want another ritual (i.e Dark Ritual), Ad Naus or a card like Demonic Tutor/Dark Petition. This line is fairly difficult to describe in typical situations so I will simply describe the first game where I realized the potential of yawgwin and LED. I was playing in a 4 player pod and I drew my second seven after using my free mulligan:

Lion's Eye Diamond, Mystical Tutor, Yawgmoth's Will, Pact of Negation, Nature's Claim, and two fetchlands. My initial thought was "Damn another shit hand." I did not want to go down to 6 and I had something to play on turn one and two so I kept the hand. I went first and drew my first card Tainted Pact. At first I was a bit irritated, and then in a flash of insight I came to the realization "shit I could win on my next turn." I played my fetchland and passed turn. Each of my opponents played a land and tapped out for a 1 drop spell (2 dorks and a mystic remora), so with the coast likely clear and a free counterspell to boot, I crack my fetchland for an Underground Sea and use Mystical Tutor to topdeck Dark Ritual.

Turn 2: Play my second fetchland, Play LED, Tap Sea to play dark ritual. Use my BBB to cast Yawgmoth's Will hold priority crack LED before yawgwin resolves, put BBB in my mana pool. From my graveyard I cast ritual from my graveyard to go to BBBBB then play and crack LED to go to BBBBBUUU and one untapped land. Yeah thats 9 mana...I then proceed to topdeck Ad Nauseam with Mystical Tutor, "draw" it with Tainted Pact then cast it with one untapped land available. Now this deck is built to win off a main phase ad nauseam, but luck was not with me. Despite drawing into enough cards to produce 7 mana post ad naus I never did get the cards necessary to play engine or dramatic scepter. I ended up fizzling and rewarded my Mystic Remora opponent with 19 cards of a first turn U spell.

While that particular attempt did not produce a turn 2 win it opened my eyes to the possible lines within my deck. The beauty of yawgwin & LED is that a number of different combinations of tutors and rituals can produce a similarly explosive start. As the game goes on, this path to victory gets much stronger. Worst case scenario you pay for 2 Black Lotus and the ability to play every card from your hand and graveyard for the rest of the turn.

5) Necropotence: This is our worst early game enabler due to its restrictions. However, it is cheap enough that we can usually play it very early and/or float for Nature's Claim or Chain of Vapor to have access to the cards we discard the following turn for a massive Yawgmoth's Will.

6) Mystic Remora: This is easily the second best card in cEDH behind ad naus. It does not win the game immediately but the amount of cards this enchantment can draw in the early game is incredible. Dropping this card on turn one and farming the table for a couple turns can put you so far ahead you will be very hard to stop.

We usually want multiple sources of ramp in our opening hand. With green we the ability to make this happen most games. We have 25 slots devoted to ramp in total. I have experimented with more and less. Adding more (up to 30) has had good, if somewhat inconsistent results. I would not suggest going with less.

Most storm decks hate mana dorks, since they are "dead cards" on the combo turn. For us a dork is simply a ritual spell with Culling the Weak upside once engine is in play. As such, we can make good use of them at all points in the game. However past turn 1-2 mana rocks are better. As such, we avoid any 2cc dorks and prioritize dorks that tap for multiple colors.

When it comes to rocks, we want to include every 0-1 cc mana rock because they are all wonderful. The 2 cc rocks are prioritized based on the colors they can provide us on a combo turn. In terms of importance >>>

With such a high concentration of fast mana sources in the deck I burn through hands extremely quickly, even by cEDH standards.

To keep the engine rolling to its fullest capacity, I utilize a powerful card advantage package. This is one package you do not want to skimp on. Self replacing cards are the key to success. For instance, Merchant Scroll is kind of a bad card in general, but it is cheap, has several relevant targets, and replaces itself with another useful card. When dealing with budget restraints you really can go wrong withna card that checks this box.

None of the cards I am about to discuss produce card advantage, but all are essential for card quality, hitting land drops, drawing into top deck tutors, and/or producing arbitrarily large amounts of mana with Paradox Engine. I think of them as lubrication. These include: Ponder; Gitaxian Probe; Impulse; Brainstorm; & Manamorphose. Cantrips are incredibly good in general for a storm deck. With Engine, they are much better than usual since they help me dig for my combos and sustain paradox engine once it is in play. They also let me thrive at 27 lands.

Going so light on the land count may seem risky. Indeed many of you are like "I like your deck LB, I really do, but shit man 27 lands?...I never go below 32 (or even 36) for any reason...You are just asking for inconsistency." Again, I must say something that sounds crazy, but is actually true. Having so few lands is NECESSARY to maximize the consistency of the deck. I aim to get a turn 1-2 wheel, turn 1-2 necropotence, turn 2-3 Ad Nauseam, turn 2-3 Yawgwin line, or a turn 1-2 mystic remora. All of these scenarios get me my 2nd and 3rd land drop without difficulty. When casting a wheel you want to draw at least 1-2 lands, but never more than that. Lands are slow, they are the worst possible card to draw into. We want ramp, card advantage, tutors, combo pieces, and interaction. This philosophy extends to our opening hands as well. An ideal hand (outside the occassional GOD HAND) Involves having 2 lands 2 turn 1 ramp pieces, 2 card advantage/Tutor spells and 1-2 interaction spell. You never want to take a hand with 4 lands unless the other cards are great and get you something you need to win early. There are several 0-1 land hands that will work.

Thrasios is the perfect general to command a deck like this. His color scheme gives him access to a wide array of mana dorks and rocks. It also gives us the best possible card advantage and a great tutor suite, which provides tons of power and consistency to our combos. Also his mana sink wins the game as soon as we go infinite. The deck is stronger by his presence in the command zone, without being dependent on him. This passive boost and independence from the general makes the deck far more resilient than other Paradox engine commanders, such as Arcum Dagson and Captain Sissay.

While Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder is a very strong commander, he is better suited to a traditional grixis storm shell+green that wins via Doomsday since his cascade ability helps crack open the DD piles. This deck however, has little to no interest in casting a color intensive 4 drop creature or relying upon combat. To be perfectly frank, Yidris is just too slow. Thrasios is the superior general for this deck by a fair margin. There are four good reasons to cast Thrasios in a game:

1) Once we go infiniteto grab a win condition from my library.

2) Restart my draw engines with Thrasios' pseudo scry1 draw ability when things go poorly.

3) Combo with Paradox Engine and Sensei's Divining Top

4) Sac fodder for Culling the Weak. Making a 2 mana general this good is just unfair. Even if I get very unlucky and have no ramp in my opening hand I can win with a line like this on turn 3:

T1) Topdeck tutor or gamble for ad naus/culling the weak.

T2) Thrasios.

T3) sac Thrasios with culling the weak play ad naus GG.

Most games the 98 does all the work without difficulty. Vial smasher does nothing but provide red and black, and I prefer red to white for this particular deck.

You may want to build this deck and make it your own. You have my blessing. You also may not possess an unlimited budget to afford the hefty $4,000+ price tag. Fortunately, LabManiac_Dan was kind enough to write a budget deck series about paradox storm.

There exists a wide range of cards that will allow you to cater the deck to meet your budget needs and playstyle preferences. Below is a summary of cards that would be good fits for what this deck is trying to accomplish. While Timetwister and Imperial Seal are great cards you can definitely do just fine without them. BarbeChenue has tested this deck under an extreme local banlist that quite literally butchered the core of the deck (i.e no vampiric tutor, demonic tutor, sensei's divining top, ad nauseam, mana crypt etc.) and he still has had a great deal of success against a variety of matchups

TUTORS: Fabricate, Muddle the Mixture, Trinket Mage; Whir of Invention; Inventors' Fair; Bring to Light ; Tezzeret the Seeker

INTERACTION: Beast Within; Chaos Warp; Vandalblast; Cyclonic Rift; Snap; Fatal Push; Ancient Grudge; Force of Will; Dispel; Spell Pierce; Raven's Crime

RAMP: Elvish Spirit Guide; Simian Spirit Guide; Bloom Tender; Elvish Mystic; Fyndhorn Elves; zur-taa druid; Aphetto Alchemist; Izzet Signet; Talisman of Impulse; Cabal Ritual; Squandered Resources

ADVANTAGE/MANIPULATION : Plunge into Darkness ; Jace, Vryn's Prodigy  Flip; Jace's Archivist; Whispering Madness; Frantic Search; Serum Visions; Opt ; Faithless Looting; Thirst for Knowledge; Reforge the Soul Time Spiral

RECURSION: Wildest Dreams; Past in Flames Snapcaster Mage

COMBO: Notion Thief; Winds of Change; Leovold, Emissary of Trest; Waste Not; Power Artifact

This deck has been a blast to create and test. I hope your experience with it is equally rewarding. While I always appreciate critical/constructive feedback I need to specifically appreciate iamyoona, Megalomania, and enpc. Without ENPC's insights and ideas, MEGALOMANIA's deckbuilding perspective, and IAMYOONA's testing, criticisms and suggestions, this deck would not exist. I would also like to thank Neunviertel, Frank_Glascock, Dandelion_PuffballSavant, and BarbeChenue for helping me fine tune this list.

Updates

Good Morning,

I have some good news. We are still very viable in the hulkpocalypse. I recorded some goldfished numbers for this brew to see how all the changes I made (based on my testing with Yawgmoth's Engine and the lessons learned from BarbeChenue in the tourney) have affected the deck. The results were much better than I had hoped. Over 50 games the deck was incredibly consistent with every game winning by turn 4.

5 turn 2 wins

25 turn 3 wins

20 turn 4 wins

This comes to an average win rate of 3.3, which is dead on with most devoted hermit druid combo decks, and we have many significant advantages over that strategy. This version is only slightly slower than Yawgmoth's Engine (Avg 3.19) was when I tested it many months back and is far more balanced/interactive. In terms of storm decks, only Monoblack Sidisi is faster and we are much more resilient than her as well. I can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that this is the ideal version of paradox scepter Thrasios.

Baral was tested and proved to be too inconsistent to be worth a slot.

We also have some new tech (courtesy of Neunviertel). If we lose reserviour, we can win now with infinite swans by either timetwister looping Swan Song or imprinting it on scepter. While we have to wait a turn to kill the table it shouldn't be hard to stop 3 players for a turn cycle with every card in your deck (except one) in hand and infinite mana for all colors. Given that we can also kill a table with Deathrite Shaman and infinite untaps and a couple wheels, there is far less need for a backup win condition, which means you can replace Lightning Bolt for the more universally useful Into the Roil or Natural State and not fold to Praetor's Grasp.

One last note: Field testing in the current meta, has found that nonbasic hate is back in force (in response to all the 4 color combo decks and HD's resurgence) so I will be swapping Tarnished Citadel and Inventors' Fair for a basic Island and Forest. Running basics barely hurts us given how little color fixing we need in comparison to other 4 color decks. Gemstone caverns can also be swapped for a swamp if needed, but I like the occassional speed boost and am holding back to see how the changes affect the deck.

Cheers,

Lilbrudder

Comments View Archive

Frank_Glascock says... #1

This was a necessary evolution. I am glad all the discussion will be focused on one list with you leading.

May 26, 2017 9:44 p.m.

fatdroid13 says... #2

How's Astral Cornucopia working? Seems like you'd either be casting it for 0 to get storm up, or for 3 as a bad rock.

May 29, 2017 9:26 p.m.

mmcgeach says... #3

Heya. Nice to see the update. And I'm glad to hear that Baral was tested thoroughly. I tried it and it was marginal, but it is a tempting card. Good to get the verdict on it solidly one way or the other.

Also I have similar feelings about Sylvan Library: it seems really good but paying 8 life twice is too much life, basically. People send their dorks at you and you'd rather be using that life on an Ad Naus or a Necropotence, and it all kinda adds up. I feel like Sylvan Library is frequently basically a one-time draw-2.

I have to say, I'm sad to see Waste Not go. It was a pretty strong engine; I played a lot of games with early Waste Not, then set up a protected Wheel a few turns later. Also got a bunch of draws of someone else's necropotence when they drew ~15 cards then discarded a handful. It always felt like one of the strongest cards in the deck, but one that other people undervalued, or let sit until it became a problem.

May 30, 2017 11:03 a.m.

Frank_Glascock says... #4

Have you reconsidered cutting Gemstone Caverns for another basic?

May 30, 2017 9:23 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #5

fatdroid13: The card is suprisingly decent in this deck. We can often produce plenty of mana quickly so paying three for a rock that can tap for any color that can be used that turn cycle is usually worth it. I often play it for 0 early to Transmute Artifact it into something like Mana Crypt or as a way to activate Mox Opal turn 1. I don't usually care about the storm count as we almost always just go infinite. Where the card shines is that it serves as a free Dramatic Reversal after I play engine or as a massive color fixer for 6-9 mana after we have untapped a few times post engine and are drowning in spare colorless mana.

mmcgeach: Hey man good to hear from you! Your experience with Sylvan Library is pretty dead on with mine. I ultimately would rather just run something like lim duls vault that will easily win me the game the turn after I cast it than a draw engine that costs life I would rather spend on better cards.

I am a big fan of Waste Not, but it is too narrow for this particular list and feels bad if I dont have windfall or wheel of fortune handy. It does enable some really early victories, but not as consistently as other enablers available to us. With that being said I could see replacing a big money card like timetwister or inperial seal with waste not if budget is a barrier. It is incredible in my budget list that runs both whispering madness and jace's archivist, and in wheel heavy metas it becomes too good to pass up. Either way if you love it, by all means play it. It does offer some extremely fun and complex lines to victory.

Frank_Glascock: Not really. I know alot of people hate gemstome caverns, but I love its explosiveness. The only reason to go with more basics is nonbasic hate and that is a meta decision. I aim to make meta free decks, but if you feel the need for it, however, please dont hesitate to sub a swamp in as Gemstone Caverns is the right swap.

May 30, 2017 10:52 p.m.

Decrepit_Angel says... #6

I see quite a few updates to the list since I was here last and quite frankly, I do not understand them.

Llanowar Elves seems out of place in a 4 color deck primarily splashing R and G. Even at 2 mana, I feel that Bloom Tender would be better at least 90% of the time due to the fact it can actually make more relevant colors. I understand the Notion Thief, but I strongly feel that cutting Jace, Vryn's Prodigy  Flip is a mistake. Also, what purpose does Winds of Change serve without Notion Thief in play? If Leovold, Emissary of Trest wasn't banned and you wanted to build the list more around resource denial to give you more time to set up, I could see it, but I just don't get it. Also, Dark Petition was abhorrent in testing for me. The most comon way that I lose with the deck is by hitting poorly off of an Ad Nauseam, resulting in me drawing too few cards from it and not having enough resources to win. Every single time I ever hit Dark Petition of of an Ad Nauseam or just had it in hand while trying to win, it was an entirely dead card, or directly caused me to lose.

I could definitely be wrong about the changes, and it is possible I have just had bad experiences with some of these cards and are therefore judging them unjustly, but without an explanation, these changes do not feel like the appropriate direction for the deck to evolve.

August 19, 2017 5:49 p.m.

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Date added 7 months
Last updated 1 week
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.67
Tokens 1/1 Bird
Folders EDH, Liked Decks, Commander, Edh, Paradox, A EDH Playtest, Ideas to watch, Thrasios, _Competitive Deck Ideas, EDH decks, See all 33
Top rank #4 on 2017-01-06
Based on
Views 16070

Revision 41 (1 week ago)

-2 Thrasios, Triton Hero main
-2 Polluted Delta main
+2 Verdant Catacombs main
-2 Isochron Scepter main
+2 Mental Misstep main
+2 Talisman of Dominance main
+2 Cabal Ritual main
-2 Gamble main
+2 Isochron Scepter main
+2 Astral Cornucopia main
+2 Intuition main
-2 Mox Opal main
+2 Dramatic Reversal main
-2 Fire Covenant main
-2 Grim Tutor main
-2 Talisman of Dominance main
-2 Cabal Ritual main
-2 Birds of Paradise main
-2 Yawgmoth's Will main
-2 Elves of Deep Shadow main
and 200 other change(s)

See all