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By: enkogneto, Ricky Baird
Aug 12 2009 3:43pm
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Welcome back everybody! Apparently I actually wrote an article that the good folks here at puremtgo.com liked... either that, or they just got tired of me bombarding them with shoddy articles and it was an attempt on their part to pay me off. But you know what they say about if you feed a dog once. So here I am, back with my take on the notorious Storm combo deck. A.K.A.- TPS (The Perfect Storm), other varients include GobboStorm (a goblin varient), WeeStorm (a Wee Dragonauts version), and these are just to name a few. However, we will only be covering your basic Storm combo. In all actuality, your play style won't differ a lot in the different variations of this deck. The concept is simple; Do whatever is in your power to disrupt the combo and the deck will usually beat itself. Like tripping an enraged gorilla that's chasing after you with the banana peel you just stole. Here is the decklist we will be going over today:








4 Cabal Ritual


4 Chromatic Sphere


4 Chromatic Star


4 Dark Ritual


4 Grapeshot


4 Ideas Unbound


4 Manamorphose


4 Rite of Flame


4 Words of Wisdom


3 Compulsive Research


2 Seething Song





4 Ancient Spring


4 Irrigation Ditch


4 Sulfur Vent


3 Island


2 Barren Moor


2 Forgotten Cave



4 Pyroblast

4 Empty the Warrens

3 Deep Analysis

2 Shred Memory

1 Think Twice

1 Dawn Charm

Now like I've always said before, in order to be able to be properly prepared to beat a notorious deck like this, you have to understand it. The best way to understand it, is to play it yourself. Now, in most formats, this is a luxury not all of us can afford. But for us Pauper players, you should be able to afford the cards and run the deck with no real intention of playing any tourneys with it. With this deck in particular, I'd suggest a 50-50 mixture of solitaire play and play against a live opponent. Start with the solitaire first though. Play it until you get fairly comfortable with the combo and you have the ability to look at your opening hand and have a good idea of what turn you will be able to go off. Then try your hand at some live opponents. Make sure you're playing against different decktypes though or else you're not going to get the full experience of this exercise. It's easy enough, just type "Slivers Sucka!" or something like that in your sidebar when you set up the match. When you do play against a live opponent, literally keep notes on things they do that disrupt the combo. Once you've played this deck a few times, the amount of respect you have for a good Storm player will dramatically increase as the combo is very fragile. It takes lots of math and good anticipation of what your opponent might play to mess you up to play this deck at it's full potential.

 The Tail-Tales

Ancient Spring Irrigation Ditch Sulfur Vent

For the most part (when playing Pauper of course), the second you see a sac-land hit the table, change up your game plan to fit a Storm deck. I'm sure there are a few other Pauper decks out there that utilize the sac-lands but they would be considered rogue decks anyway, and you can't peg the strategy of a rogue deck right away. That's the beauty of rogue decks. What they sacrifice in pure power, they make up for in an unpredictable game plan and the element of surprise... but that's for another article.

When you see a sac-land hit the table, grab your grandpa's dusty old WWII helmet, run to your cellar, and be happy you saved away all those nasty fruitcakes from x-mas... Cause a storm's a comin! Normally in my articles I go over the early game, mid game, and late game, but I will be breaking this one down a little differently because with Storm, there isn't much of a late game. Storm comes blazing in like a Kamikaze pilot and wants to get things done. Fast! So for this article, I'll be arranging it pre-board, post-board, and a few other ins and outs that are good to know.

First Thing's First

Grapeshot Cabal Ritual Manamorphose Ideas Unbound

Let's talk a little bit about how Storm ticks. It goes off with either one Grapeshot at your head for a cool 20 points of damage, 2 Grapeshots for around 10 damage apiece, or it generates a massive amount of goblins via Empty the Warrens and swings in the next turn for the kill. However, Empty the Warrens is typically a post-sideboard or GobboStorm concern, but we won't be covering GobboStorm in this article. It starts off by dropping a few sac-lands and Chromatic Spheres until it is ready to dazzle you with it's nonsense. When everything looks ripe, or in the event the Storm deck is being a little too pressured, it will generate massive amounts of mana through the likes of Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual, Seething Song and Rite of Flame. All the while, fueling it's gas tank with Ideas Unbound, Words of Wisdom, and Compulsive Research. The Chromatic Sphere and Manamorphose serve double duty by allowing you to filter precious mana and cycle through more of your arsenal. You'd be surprised at how often the cycle lands come into handy as well, either on the board when you're short on sac-lands or a last out when your hand is full of duds.


Armadillo Cloak Counterspell Myr Enforcer Tendrils of Despair

I just did something unintentional that actually worked out. I put Tendrils of Despair rather than Tendrils of Corruption as a pic above this. Rather than correct it, Tendrils of Despair works too and gives me another point to touch on. Like most combo decks, hand size is EXTREMELY important. Tendrils of Despair is not normally considered a very good card. But in this matchup, it actually is. You see, in a Storm matchup, creatures are significantly less important unless you are running the likes of Armadillo Cloak or an Affinity deck. Whereas normally, you want to establish good board position, and that translates often times to having more cards on the table than your opponent, this is sorely untrue in the Storm matchup. I mean, the dude is sacrificing all his lands... how much can that strategy apply here? That being said, Tendrils of Despair is a decent card in this would-be game. You are ditching a somewhat irrelevant creature to inflict a devastating effect on the guy in front of you... err, computer screen in front of you. Not the best, but... it'll do donkey, it'll do.

What would be better are much more playable cards that discard such as Duress, Distress, and the highly under-rated, Augur of Skulls. Lifegain can also cause major problems for a pre-boarded Storm player. The ever-dreaded Armadillo Cloak on a sneaky little Silhana Ledgewalker spells doom for most Storm players. An Aven Riftwatcher can also cause major problems in the fact that it puts pressure on your opponent and provides those much needed 4 points of life. You see, many Storm players will go off too early and try to eek out a win by barely hitting their 20 point mark. Aven Riftwatcher makes them work that much harder. And if you're playing the Riftwatcher, there is a good chance you have Momentary Blink in your deck as well. Just remember that if you have your flying, life-gainer on the board, and Blink in hand, wait until they go off to Blink him. The element of surprise is everything and if he isn't a spectacular Storm player, which most aren't, he won't anticipate those few extra points of life.

There are some naturally bad matchups for Storm. They include MUC, MBC, Affinity, and Cloak. Like every game of Magic though, there is still technique in these matchups. For MUB, that would include knowing what to counter, and what not to counter. If you have plenty of counters in hand, which you will 90% of the time if you are playing MUC, then counter that normally uncounterable, turn two Chromatic Sphere. It's a little more disruption to their fragile combo and you are only going to be able to counter one or two things the turn they go off anyway. So don't hoard your counterspells. On the other hand, have patience with what you counter the turn they go off. I will usually go for their Ideas Unbound or maybe a Compulsive Research. Instead of blowing up their stealth bomber-like machine, why not just cut off their gas flow? If they have a wad of mana in their pool and nothing to do with it, they are up that notorious creek with no paddle. Another option, but you have to be much more careful with this one, is to counter their mana-fix. Be careful with this one though. If they have no blue mana in pool, not enough spells on the stack to deal leathal damage to you, and you doubt the have any other source of mana fix (i.e.- Lotus Petal in hand), then take out that precious Manamorphose.

Cloak and Affinity are a much simpler matchup. Affinity basically does it's Affinity thing. It is so blazing fast that it will often times put enough natural pressure on a Storm player to make them do stupid things and lose to themselves, or simply out race them. And Cloak has the ridiculous Armadillo Cloak+Silhana Ledgewalker combo that I addressed earlier. 3 beats and 3 lifegain a turn from an untargetable, barely blockable elf-rogue? Yes please.

MBC is slightly more complicated... slightly. Here's the trick. Your Tendrils of Corruption is key. Keep in mind, they have no creatures in their deck. So what do you do? You pump out a creature, ideally Chittering Rats to stunt them from going off, and you wait for their "Big Turn" while pecking away with your rats. Then, when they go off with a grin, you smile back with a Tendrils to your poor pet rat's head just for the lifegain and hopefully the few extra points of life will put you out of death range. Not very original, I know, but it works. Also, MBC has the natural Duress/Distress it runs. That always helps.


Prismatic Strands Pyroblast Hindering Touch Crypt Rats

Like always, post-board always gets better. However, bear in mind that it also gets better for them as well and I will cover that also. Prismatic Strands is a no-brainer UNLESS they get smart on you and side in their Empty the Warrens. Unless you have a way to deal with all those nasty little goblins, Prismatic Strands is going to at best, buy you a couple turns. Enter Subterranean Shambler. It wipes every one of those smirking goblins off the planet. So not only is the Shambler good in case they side in Empty the Warrens, it's good against GobboStorm, Elves, and standard Goblins as well, just to name a few. But not all Storm players are smart enough, or experienced enough, to anticipate Prismatic Strands before they lose a game to it, so I would suggest siding both. The beauty of playing against a Storm deck is that it makes many of the normally key cards in your deck very expandable. (i.e.- Most of your creatures, but keep the white ones to flash your Prismatic Strands, and many of your high casting-cost spells. Remember, the game probably won't go that long anyway, sorry Corrupt, you might be too slow, but your lifegain is good)

The good ol' Hydroblast/Pyroblast tech. Man I LOVE these two cards. Seriously, we started dating a few months ago. Don't tell them though because one doesn't know I'm dating the other. These are ridiculously versatile. The key with these lies in much of the strategy I covered earlier with the MUC matchup. You have to know what to counterspell. You're options are more limited with Hydoblast but typically, you want to aim it at the Manamorphose, but use your head. If they have other mana fixing options or are looking pretty set in the blue department, shoot down a Rite of Flame or Seething Song. The biggest trick is noting their storm count. Pyroblast opens you up for more key cards but I'd usually gun for an Ideas Unbound or Compulsive Research.

 Hindering Touch is decent, although it is a tad bit expensive to be running against Storm. It does work though. And the good thing about it, is that is stops both Empty the Warrens AND Grapeshot. If they have 2 Empty the Warrens though, and enough mana to cast them both, you might be in trouble.

Crypt Rats is more of a sideboard for sideboard card. It's mainly something just for Empty the Warrens or GobboStorm. But this card is good enough on it's own that I don't need to talk you into playing it. A couple other side options include Nourish for mono-green players. An instant 7 life to throw off their math works wonders. Captured Sunlight can buy you a couple extra turns while possibly putting a beater on the board to put pressure on your opponent. Standard Bearer can cause major problems for a Storm player not running Empty the Warrens. These are just to name a few.

Let's talk about their side for a moment. Keep in mind, side is extremely versatile so in order to avoid being redundant, I'm only going to cover a few options for each. I believe Pyroblast and Empty the Warrens I covered already. Pyroblast is just plain good and Empty the Warrens usually comes in when there is no fear of mass removal and if the opposing player is playing lifegain or damage prevention. Deep Analysis works great against devastating discard. Think Twice works ok against a MUC player. Dawn Charm works well in the mirror match or decent against the always fast Affinity. Shred Memory is an excellent way to fetch a needed piece of you combo or attack their graveyard. Although I'm sure there are other uses for this, a couple I can think of is to nail Momentary Blink, Moment's Peace, Deep Analysis, and Prismatic Strands so they can't flash them.


Angel's Mercy Sign In Blood Safe Passage

The cards pictured above are the ones that will have the most impact on Storm I believe. However, the biggest impact won't be in the cards themselves, but rather in the rules changes. The elimination of mana-burn is HUGE in Storm. Odds are, many Storm decks won't be able to recover after they spend all of their resources trying to smash in your face only for it to get foiled by the likes of a Prismatic Strands, but you never know. I'm positive there are situations where this will come in handy for a Storm player. Angel's Mercy is a bit weak, and possibly too high priced to stop the storm, however, an instant 7 points of life shouldn't be completely ruled out. Safe Passage is a weaker Prismatic Strands in the Storm matchup, but it could possibly be better in non-Storm matches. And a versatile sideboard is always a good things. Sign In Blood will have the biggest impact on the Storm deck as it easily replaces Words of Wisdom. Black mana is far more accessible to Storm and there is always the option of using it as 2 points of direct damage. Not to mention Words of Wisdom gives your opponent a card as well. I've always been a strong advocate of not giving my opponent cards (unless I'm killing them with a Sign In Blood or such) because you never know, you may just be giving that Prismatic Strands they were trying to draw into.

Storm is For Psycho Mathematicians

 The saying, "weather the storm", has never proved to be more true when facing the dreaded combo deck. So in short, the key to beating Storm is to put pressure on them if possible (without sacrificing chances at gaining life, making them discard, etc.), withstand their "Big Turn", and then go in for the kill. If you survive the initial storm, the Storm deck will usually beat itself. If it doesn't literally kill itself trying to kill you, the Storm player usually puts themselves in a position that can not recoup from by sacrificing all of the lands and blowing their entire hand in one shot. Survive the "Big Turn", and you'll survive Storm.

Once again, thank you all for reading. I hope this article has shown improvement from my last one, but I'm sure I still haven't met all your expectations. Continue with the good feedback and help me grow as a writer. Next week I will be tackling Affinity and will hopefully be able to include videos within my article. If you would like to see a particular deck dissected you can post it or e-mail me at rickybaird118@yahoo.com. The moral of my article; Don't steal gorilla's bananas!



Are there editors on this site? by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 11:27
Anonymous's picture

Dear god, is it ever painful to read. The word is shoddy, not "shotty". And can you please give proper punctuation and sentence structure a try? Please? I realize the meat is the Magic, but presentation goes a long way. Read anything by SPG or Hamtastic for a demonstration. The information is solid, but mucking through the first paragraph makes it nigh unreadable.

anon, get over yourself! by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 11:42
Anonymous's picture

Wonderful, informative read.

Nice article. by Sheppy at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 12:46
Sheppy's picture

Wow, I have a couple of articles in the works but now I'm having second thoughts. After trying my hand at writing an article for here, I have a new found appreciation for all the work that goes into putting 1500+ words together and getting your point across.

If these attacks are what I can expect then I'm not sure it's worth the hassle. Constructive criticism is a wonderful thing, but an anonymous slamming is childish and cowardly.

At any rate, thanks for the nice article and for taking the time to put it together.

critics by RagMan17 at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 13:06
RagMan17's picture

I would encourage you to write anyways. This is the internet where every anonymous douche can sit at home and bash whatever and whoever they like. Even the most eloquent and thought provoking writing will net a few jerks who disagree just because they can. Some writers on the site obviously have a following and don't get bashed as much but I've seen it all on here.

In the end you have to ignore the flames, take some of the criticism to heart and continue writing since it does pay off. I've wrote only 2 articles but I will say it was worth it, and it can help you build a bit of a thicker skin reading how people nit pick your article apart.


When I was editing this by JXClaytor at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 15:35
JXClaytor's picture

When I was editing this today, I changed it in the rough draft but not in the final copy. I'll be changing it asap

Decks playing white have the by rickwins1971 (not verified) at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 11:57
rickwins1971's picture

Decks playing white have the best chance to beat storm in my opinion. Strands, Safe Passage, Standard Bearers, Unicorn, and various life gain work well vs Grapeshot. Holy Light is the answer to Empty the Warrens version.

mathematicians, not by rainin6 at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 11:58
rainin6's picture

mathematicians, not MATHMETICIANS

Its Rogue, not rouge. Now by 53N531 at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 11:59
53N531's picture

Its Rogue, not rouge.

Now that I have that out of my system, I just wanted to throw in a little sideboard trick I've been using against storm decks to great effect, and that card is Ancient Grudge. You said it yourself, Chromatic Star/Sphere serves not only as a storage space for an extra card on the turn they desire to go off on, but it also fixes their mana.

Ancient Grudge does four things in this instance. It restricts their mana, it denies them a card for their go-off turn, it kills lotus petal, AND YOU CAN DO IT TWICE. Ancient Grudge is a great way to steal games from the storm player who maybe gets somewhat of a weak draw, or makes games where they have a great hand manageable.

You have to realize that if by Anonymous (not verified) at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 14:01
Anonymous's picture

You have to realize that if you're planning on "publishing" an article for a widely reviewed site, the first couple of items you have to nail down are:

1. Grammar.
2. Spelling.

Anything less causes readers to discount the message you are trying to articulate in your article. Overall, it's a nice read, but if you keep these items in mind next time you'll have a much more positive response.

Ancient Grudge still gives me by Lenney (not verified) at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 14:43
Lenney's picture

Ancient Grudge still gives me a card if you blow up the Chromatic Star. Most smart Storm players will save their spheres for that reason alone.
Star reads "when it's put into a graveyard, draw a card"
Sphere reads "add 1 mana of any color, draw a card"

So, by all means, let grudge be your only answer, because if that's all you're bringing, then it's gonna get ugly... for you, I mean... :P

Proper Editing by Katastrophe at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 21:54
Katastrophe's picture

I used to pick on Whiffy's articles for that. He made one really silly mistake once and I commented on it. (He said his board state was "gaining parody". So I laughed.) But then he either got better or found a proofreader.

Sheeesh. by Tyhr at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 15:09
Tyhr's picture

I found it to be a good read. Although I feel you left out the Storm counterspell from scourge... I can't remember then name right now though.

look at the post board by Lenney (not verified) at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 15:29
Lenney's picture

look at the post board section. it's there... "hindering touch"

flairing pain by BDirg (not verified) at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 20:12
BDirg's picture

Most of the storm decks I've seen these days are either running empty the warrens main or grapeshot + flairing pain. Any storm deck not running flairing pain is just setting itself up for a prismatic/safe passage, is it not?

nice point by enkogneto at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 20:43
enkogneto's picture

I can't believe I completely left out flaring pain, thank for pointing that out. You better spell it right next time though or you'll get your boys chopped off by an angry mobb!

I R smart by enkogneto at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 20:41
enkogneto's picture

You can please some of the people all the time, and you can please all the people some of the time, but you can't please all the people all the time. Thanks for readin guys!

umm by Salgy at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 21:12
Salgy's picture

is storm still being played? i know in peasant it's a strong deck but in regular pauper? i been out of the whole pauper scene for a while but i been getting back in little by little.

Nice article. I should try by AJ_Impy at Wed, 08/12/2009 - 22:11
AJ_Impy's picture

Nice article. I should try adding a few typos to my own, given the amount of comments it seems to generate... :P

I fell a good attempt, but by Waterd (not verified) at Thu, 08/13/2009 - 00:52
Waterd's picture

I fell a good attempt, but you were missing several keys points in the storm matchup.

First , as you were told, not counting flaring pain is a HUGE miss. Flaring pain can be fetched by shred memories, so only having one is easy, I even see some people having it maindeck. It makes useless prismatic strand, safe passage, dawn charm, and benevolent unicorn.

You also missed Destroyland cards, Green decks, especially those with good pressure do good in sideboarding Termokast.

I don't like your storm list and is not what most people is running, but that's debatable.

Gaining several lifes really is pretty bad hate. Storm decks can easily do 30-40 damage in the 5th turn, if you wasted time gaining life, you won't kill him before. GW cloack is in fact very weak against storm, I would laugh at armadillo cloack, seriously.

Some of the things you say are good and correct though. Strong discard (more in quantity than in quality) breks Storm. Pyroblast is very good against storm, especially if gets a long with aggresive strategy.

I would like it more if you separated for colors the options, to have a better display of the ways of each color to deal.
I think you missed some options in each color.

Flaring Pain has no effect on by Lenney (not verified) at Thu, 08/13/2009 - 06:30
Lenney's picture

Flaring Pain has no effect on Benevolent Unicorn.

So lame by siewca_wiatru (not verified) at Thu, 08/13/2009 - 09:16
siewca_wiatru's picture

THis article is just lame. Version u showed is just bad in so many ways;/.
Its full of lies for example:

"They include MUC, MBC, Affinity, and Cloak"
Muc- is a bad mu only if they put a pressure on you so fae or other kind of fish is worse mu, u just play lands and chromatic's and w8 until u drew 2-3 grapeshot they u combo their spell also load urs storm its not easy but smth like 50/50 pre board post board u get durres and pyro.

Mbc - Bye in first game nowdays mbc run only distress from discard and a lot crap removal vs u. In second game u bring 4xdeep analis and they bring more discard+when they are smart also relic of progenitus(no flashback,no treshold no rite of flame). 70/30 g1 45/55 game2

Affinity- g1 bye g2 bye easiest mu u must only watch for 2xdisciple of vaults

Cloak - gain life is overrated in this mu i could kill for smth like 100dmg form 4grapeshots only 1 was enough.
+for unicorn i run echoing truth
here is my version and its really better than version showed in this article:
4 Ponder
4 Rite of Flame
3 Snow-Covered Island
4 Ideas Unbound
4 Cabal Ritual
3 Irrigation Ditch
2 Shred Memory
4 Ancient Spring
4 Manamorphose
4 Sign in Blood
4 Sulfur Vent
2 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Grapeshot
4 Dark Ritual
4 Lotus Petal
2 Geothermal Crevice

2 Duress
1 Snow-Covered Island
2 Pyroblast
1 Flaring Pain
1 Echoing Truth
1 Shred Memory
2 Empty the Warrens
4 Deep Analysis
1 Geothermal Crevice

ps' Sorry for mistakes if i made some

Affinity is not a bye, i by Waterd (not verified) at Thu, 08/13/2009 - 09:51
Waterd's picture

Affinity is not a bye, i don't know what are you talking about. Aggresion + Pyroblast can't be a bye. Also Affinity sometimes kill in 3rd turn. and a LOT of times in 4th. You say that you consistently kill in 3rd? of course, not true. I even doubt you consistently kill against Pyro on 5th.

I agree with the rest of your post, also agree your version is better. But with 4 sign, I'm even more sure, affinity is not easy.

Affinity subject by Kaneda_EX at Thu, 08/13/2009 - 14:49
Kaneda_EX's picture

Affinity is not a bye, but it do struggle on racing the combo. Echoing Truth is awesomelly good against Empty the Warrens, but they can run Prospectors and other sac'ing goblins. And besides pyroblast for disrupting their draw spells, affinity has a hard time beating a grapeshot kill.

The affinity answer against by Waterd (not verified) at Fri, 08/14/2009 - 08:08
Waterd's picture

The affinity answer against warrens is of course krak-clan shaman.

This seems more like a forum by AndreFM (not verified) at Tue, 08/18/2009 - 06:29
AndreFM's picture

This seems more like a forum post than an article, both in terms of writing quality, content and pertinence of issue. Motu and SpikeBoy's pauper articles are far more worth the read.

There's different views in the community from mine, but I don't find these articles useful or interesting. Take it or leave it, as this a free site but in my case I'm going with leave it.