Description

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

Welcome to the newest cEDH archetype: Paradox Scepter storm!

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 a few rituals too (because reasons).

This deck can win on any turn:

Mana Crypt+Mox Opal+Mana Vault+Dramatic Reversal+Isochron Scepter

Play rocks, imprint scepter with reversal -> infinite mana. Mox opal taps for blue and then green-> Thrasios -> win

While turn 1-2 wins are exciting, and possible, they are not commonplace for any cEDH deck. This deck can consistently win on turn 3-4, with turn 3 vicories being the most common outcome (in a vacuum). Despite being simple in design, the lines to victory are varied.

I have tested multiple archetypes of Thrasios that include boonweaver giant/bomberman combo, 4 color hermit druid/angel combo, and even Thrasios' Eggs (which was suprisingly good and totally enpc's fault :-), and I can say with certainty this build is better than anything else I have played with Thrasios in the Command Center. In fact, this deck has a level of resiliency, speed, and consistency that puts many other top generals I have played to shame. It more than matches the speed and consistency of decks like Ad Nauseam Doomsday Zur, Grixis Storm, and Food Chain Tazri and it is much more resilient to losing a combo piece or two.

The deck often wins via infinite storm and mana produced by Dramatic Reversal+Isochron Scepter, which allows Thrasios, Triton Hero to draw my entire deck, where I can then end the game with Aetherflux Reservoir. If that goes poorly I can usually steal a win condition (i.e Laboratory Maniac; Tendrils of Agony; Walking Ballista; Aetherflux Reservoir etc.) from my opponents library with Praetor's Grasp.

Note: I used to run more backup win conditions and think this is wise once your meta understands what you are doing most games, but to fully streamline the deck those options have been cut. Good backup win conditions include Grapeshot; Reality Shift; and Walking Ballista.

Paradox Engine provides incredible redundancy to the scepter combo and has many ways of its own to end the game early. For instance, Sensei's Divining Top+Thrasios, Triton Hero+Paradox Engine+5 mana worth of rocks/dorks will draw your entire deck like so...

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 suprising 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 additional even more mana to dig for new cards with Thrasios. Usually if you get the first untap trigger off Paradox engine and at least one card in hand that replaces itself you will win. 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. These stack shenanighans can get us way ahead on mana so we can use Thrasios' and Top's abilities to dig deep for the rocks needed to sustain the combo indefinitely and win the game. Voltaic Key and Kiora's Follower can take Thrasios' place in the combo and only costs 2 or 1 mana worth of rocks (respectively) to draw the deck. Aside from the obvious combo cards, there exists a large number of ways to win with Engine. For instance, Dunadain has won by looping Regrowth and Noxious Revival with Thrasios' ability.

We usually want multiple sources of ramp in our opening hand. With green we the ability to make this happen most games. 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, so we can make good use of them at all points in the game. However past turn 1-2 mana rocks are always better. As such, we avoid any 2cc dorks except Kiora's Follower, which also serves as a combo piece 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.

As with most UBx storm decks, card advantage starts with Ad Nauseam and Necropotence. To fully maximize ad naus I utilize an extremely aggressive curve (avg cc: 1.63). This allows me to win over 80% of the time off a main phase Ad Nauseam on turn 2 or 3. This deck can tap out completely for ad naus and still win that turn with no floating mana at a higher rate than any other deck in cEDH. For dramatic scepter I simply need to generate (or +Lion's Eye Diamond in hand). For Paradox Engine I need . With the amount of rocks and rituals in this deck, both are achievable off the 25+ cards Ad Naus can net me and still have sufficient life for cards like Vampiric Tutor and Gitaxian Probe. Why can I play so many ramp sources? Because I am not running suboptimal packages in my deck (i.e High Tide & Doomsday). Yes I just said that...You may be thinking, "LB you are fucking crazy...Those cards are the cornerstone of UBx storm...They are the gold standard." While the jury is still out on my sanity, I can say with certainty, there is a new sheriff in town. High tide and doomsday are suboptimal cards for this deck.

With Necropotence I ideally always cast this card on turn 1-2 and rely upon Chain of Vapor and Nature's Claim to remove that nasty exile clause after putting 20+ cards into my hand. This potentially gives me access to each card in my hand the following turn with Yawgmoth's Will.

I also utilize the best wheel effects in my color scheme: Timetwister, Wheel of Fortune and Windfall. The turn 1 wheel is the ideal opening hand most games (and quite achievable), but resolving a turn 2 wheel, will almost always get us to a winning board state on turn 3.

After wheels the best draw engines are Mystic Remora and Sylvan Library. These help the deck dig at a more a slower but at a more steady pace those games where the early combo gets shut down or is not possible.

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; Preordain; 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. As I have already mentioned, I aim to get a turn 1-2 wheel, turn 1-2 necropotence, turn 1-3 Ad Nauseam or failing that a turn 1-2 mystic remora/sylvan library. 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 ramp pieces, 2 card advantage/Tutor spells and 1 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 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.

Well you are in luck ladies and gentlemen. Here is a white version that plays very similar and requires a slight modification to the deck. Both colors offer a handful of great cards to our mostly BUG shell. For your convenience I have summarized the VialSmasher, the fierce to Tymna the Weaver makeover:

Gamble-->Enlightened Tutor: Enlightened tutor is safer but gamble has way more upside and is much more useful on our ad naus turn. Red is better here.

Wheel of Fortune-->Whispering Madness/Jace's Archivist: Red is much better here again.

Manamorphose-->Noble Hierarch: White wins here since hierach taps for theall important blue.

Pyroblast-->Silence: White has the advantage here as locking out the table is pretty great.

Fire Covenant-->Swords to Plowshares or Toxic Deluge: I prefer Red here because covenant can take take out multiple targets while sparing our dorks.

Kiora's Follower-->Auriok Salvagers: This is really the best reason to run white, and man is it a good one. Aside from bomberman, which gives this deck 3 extremely compact and distinct combos to end the game off that early ad naus, Salvagers also goes infinite with any self sacraficing rock (i.e Mishra's Bauble) and Engine.

Urza's Bauble-->Chromatic Star: Star is more useful with Auriok Salvagers.

Talisman of Indulgence-->Talisman of Progress: Slight advantage for white since is more useful than most games.

Badlands Steam Vents; & Volcanic Island-->Scrubland, Savannah & Tundra: Literally the only changes to the mana base.

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 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 etc) and he still has had a great deal of success against a variety of matchups

TUTORS: Dark Petition, 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 and BarbeChenue for helping me fine tune this list.

Updates

Many of these changes were a long time coming and based on my dissatisfaction with some of the 98. Other changes were made due to insights gained from you all playing the deck. Still other were based on being impressed by cards I tested in budget friendly versions of the deck, which will be released in the near future.

Llanowar Elves-->Bloom Tender Upside and color fixing potential beats speed for reasons that will soon be obvious

Simic Signet-->Carpet of Flowers: My worst rock gets replaced by greens best ramp spell which provides amazing color fixing. This more diverse ramp helps me power through dork/rock hate and leads to more explosive starts.

Candelabra of Tawnos-->Waste Not: When built around, waste not is simply incredible and candleabra is simply a 1 mana color fixer and incredibly expensive one at that (yuck). Since that minor role can be filled by more universally valuable cards (see above) candlestick gets the axe.

Lim-Dul's Vault-->Whispering Madness: My worst top deck tutor for a slightly overcosted wheel with upside. Yes this fattens my curve slightly but it also fuels my deck more efficiently and makes waste not better.

Urza's Bauble-->Everflowing Chalice: Both can untap everything with engine for "free", but chalice is far more useful. Drawing into chalice off a waste not fueled wheel is fucking incredible.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth-->Inventors' Fair: Fair has been crazy good in my budget brews. This is a test to see if I miss urborg. Either way I think Fair will stay since this card was tailor made for this deck.

Comments View Archive

Frank_Glascock says... #1

Which tournament was this and how did you do? I read something about a deck stealing a win with Praetor's Grasp.

Carpet of Flowers is an auto include. I am assuming Force of Will is too big a hit to take with Ad Nauseam.

February 24, 2017 11:11 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #2

Frank_Glascock: Its the cEDH reddit tourney and its ongoing. I am not the pilot actually. I was watching BarbeChenue playing an adjusted version of my list and he (?) won last night in epic fashion. Basically his card choices and his theft of Linvala, Keeper of Silence with grasp bought him the time needed to fight through multiple stax pieces to win the game. That was merely one of many huge plays and aside from one gaffe early :-), his performance was a thing of beauty. After seeing his card choices in action I am planning on adjusting the list accordingly.

Carpet is great. I didnt use it because it doesnt tap for value, but linvala and null rod are things so a more varied ramp package is nice.

I hear you Daedalus19876, but as Dunadain pointed out the main phase ad nauseam is a fragile thing. It often doesn't work if your cc is in the 1.7s. Also counterspells are somewhat meh for this build it wasnt a super hard cut.

February 25, 2017 2:58 a.m.

Frank_Glascock says... #3

Lilbrudder, you stated that you eliminated additional means to victory in favor of streamlining the deck. Now you have one in Aetherflux Reservoir with Praetor's Grasp being a pseudo and less consistent means to victory. Yet you state:
"I used to run more backup win conditions and think this is wise once your meta understands what you are doing most games, but to fully streamline the deck those options have been cut. Good backup win conditions include Grapeshot; Reality Shift ; and Walking Ballista."

What card would you remove to be replaced with one of the three additional wincons? This is relevant as many of us will be playing this deck at a store or online with a somewhat consistent group.

February 25, 2017 3:43 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #4

Probably Candelabra of Tawnos since it is just color fixing or Urza's Bauble/Everflowing Chalice since they are fairly low impact.

Of the three grapeshot is a better removal spell outside the finisher role but ballista can be a free untap and is better off ad naus. Reality shift is too dependent on opponents having a creature unless you keep candelabra and untap the forbidden orchard you put into play with Thrasios' ability

February 25, 2017 3:53 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #5

What I meant say grapeshot is better than ballista as a removal spell. Reality shift is the best removal spell

February 25, 2017 4:03 p.m.

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