Monday, September 26, 2016

The Casual Gamer

The Calm In The Storm

Hey guys and gals!

It's time once again for a new Magic The Gathering set. This time we make a trip to Kaladesh, the home plane of Chandra. Kaladesh is filled with wonderful machines and some pretty cool new mechanics. 

My new favorite is vehicles. You can toss your creatures into a vehicle and rundown your opponent. Sorry no bonus points for making racing sounds while you do it. This set is BEYOND fun. 

Over prerelease weekend I got see a ton of cool deck ideas. Funny thing is this blog's deck idea came from our post prerelease clean up. Once the dust settles the game room looks like a battle has raged. The floor & tables are littered with wrappers, soda cans, scrap paper, and cards people leave behind. 

Usually the cards left behind are a bunch of commons with a few uncommons & rares that people don't have high hopes for. In a pile of cards Saturday night I came across Paradoxical Outcome. I couldn't believe somebody left it behind. It's not a standout card but something you can deck brew around.

My friend Brandon joked that the card will probably get banned in Modern because of what it does. Then we realized it was the key to a Standard Storm deck. The deck list is below and then I'll dive in to how it all works. 

Deck Name: Cannonball Run

Creatures: 23

Endless One x4
Bomat Courier x4
Thraben Gargoyle x4
Lupine Prototype x3
Foundry Inspector x4
Herald Of Kozilek x4

Artifacts: 11

Smuggler's Copter x4
Cultivator's Caravan x3
Aetherflux Reservoir x3
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship x1

Instant: 4

Paradoxial Outcome x4

Planeswalker: 1

Saheeli Rai x1

Lands: 21

Evolving Wild x1
Inventors' Fair x2
Island x5
Mountain x5
Nephalia Academy x1
Sequestered Stash x1
Spirebluff Canal x4
Wandering Fumarole x2

This build will cost you some cash. Probably about 120 to put together. That's the cost of a booster box. You can budget it up by dropping the Canal's for tap lands & the Fumarole for two more Evolving Wilds. Also switch out Smuggler's Copter for Sky Skiff and Saheeli Rai with a 4th Reservoir. This should drop the price of the deck by about 70. You can even drop the Flagship but I'm a fan of it, especially as very limited removal for the deck.

I'll break down the deck in the three steps of a Magic Trick.

The base of the deck resembles the "Stompy" build for decks like Werewolf Stompy in Legacy. It's all about overloading the board and just tossing huge bodies at your opponent. Yet this isn't really the deck, it's "The Pledge" in Magicians terms.

The first few turns look straight stompy. Get out your small guys to apply pressure with help of vehicles in later turns. On turn three hopefully drop one of your 8 "make my artifacts cheaper" lords. Then crank up the pressure by dropping your hand of cheap toys. This leads to our second Magicians term, "The Turn".

"The Turn" would be the Aetherflux Reservoir. It's unexpected. It's a gimmicky life gain card with an almost comical end ability. When you drop it, the opponent probably won't see it as a threat. You might even get a snicker out of them. Yet, it's the key to Standard Storm with the wording of the cards' first ability. That leads us to our final Magicians term, "The Prestige" (Aka "The Payoff").

Your board is loaded now. You should have a lord or two out. You should have a few cheap creatures. You might even have a vehicle revving up.

This is when you drop all your free cast stuff in your hand to start the standard storm count. After your free casts you then unleash Paradoxical Outcome and scoop up all your free casts or cheap casts leaving the lords on the field. Then draw cards equal to the numbered scooped. Finally recast all your free casts and cheap cast that you can. The reservoir will go nuts and you'll gain some insane life. Probably enough to fire off the Reservoir.

Just play testing, I was able to hit storm count 9 pretty regularly on turn 7. That's 45 life.

Cards like Rai & Flagship are cards to help move the game forward but not key cards. Rai is nice for her scry and ability to copy the reservoir for a turn to make Standard Storm easier. If you can ultimate her then it's pretty much game. The Flagship is removal and a big flying body to end the game traditionally.

This deck is super fun to play. It has holes but all decks do. It doesn't have real removal so you have to resort to smashing your creatures into things. It does put pressure on early and force your opponent to play to your terms. Plus the Reservoir/Outcome combo is a great meta-game switch. Those that haven't seen it before have the best expressions when they realize what is going on.

Last but not least it lets a cyborg werewolf drive a flying ship, and that's how we all win!

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