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Apr 15 2015

Multiplayer Madness XX – A Storm of Dragons

MTG Dragonstorm Deck TechOh, whoa! Did I really manage to mash up two books of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga in the title AND to include a reference to today’s topic? Man, I’m awesome!

Uhm, hello, dear readers!

After six weeks of really stressful work and a few other complications, I’m finally back with another article. And yes, I can tell you absolutely missed me!

Be that as it may, why don’t we start talking about the really important things? Like Magic, for example. Today’s article was inspired by Bruce Richard and one of his Serious Fun articles over at DailyMtG. You can find it here if you’re interested. And you should be, as Bruce also mainly focuses on multiplayer Magic and has lots of interesting things to say and funny anecdotes to tell. Serious Fun is a great column, and it’s pretty obvious that Mr. Richard loves the game as much as we do.
Well, at the end of said article, Bruce shows us a deck he built around Dragonstorm and which seems like a lot of fun. However, looking at the deck list, I can’t help but think that there is quite some room for improvement. And I really do like tweaking decklists, so let’s get on with it, shall we?

Unnecessities … Uhm, Is That Even a Word?

First of all, a storm deck normally needs a strong focus, and everything that doesn’t work towards your goal bears the risk of becoming dead weight. For example, there is Liliana Vess. Well, dear Liliana, you are not well-suited for this type of deck, and there is only one copy of you anyways, so I’m afraid I must ask you to leave. The same goes for you, Nezumi Graverobber. You’re both cool cards, and I really like you, but this is not the deck for you.

Sadly, I’m also going to remove the three Destructive Revelry. I’m usually of the opinion that every deck should always play enchantment and artifact removal, and this little card is cool. However, I know that I need the slots later for other cards that are more focused on my game plan, so they’ll have to go.

OUT: 3 Destructive Revelry, 1 Liliana Vess, 1 Nezumi Graverobber

The Ramp Section

Nightscape Familiar DeckIf you want to fire off a large Dragonstorm, you probably need to modify the selection of mana spells. Bruce chose three of each of the following: Dark Ritual, Seething Song and Desperate Ritual, with two Manamorphoses and one Wild Cantor for additional color-fixing. That’s twelve cards in total, and only nine of them ramp you towards Dragonstorm. Technically, the cantor can ramp as well, but if you sacrifice her on a turn when you didn’t cast her, she doesn’t provide you with another Dragonstorm copy. Meh. In general, it’s better to play cards that provide mana and up your storm count, which is why I also don’t really like the Geothermal Crevices.
Soulbright Flamekin is kind of cool as it allows you to mess with other people’s combat, but the ramp is too situational for my tastes and requires you to already have six mana. I would prefer Nightscape Familiar who makes most ramp spells even cheaper but also regenerates and can therefore act as a nice blocker as well.

All in all, I suggest the following adjustments:

OUT: 1 Obelisk of Jund, 3 Soulbright Flamekin, 1 Wild Cantor
IN: 1 Desperate Ritual, 1 Manamorphose, 3 Nightscape Familiar, 1 Seething Song

That’s two more ramp spells – and really, the cantor is just a weak Manamorphose in any case and can easily be replaced by a third copy of that spell. And as I said above, Nightscape Familiar fills two roles at once and is very, very helpful. Playing my version of the deck (which you can find further below if you’re feeling impatient today) has shown me that this is enough. I’ve always managed to cast Dragonstorm in every game I played the deck without any problems and with a storm count of at least three so that I could search my library for four or more dragons.

The Early Game

Dragonstorm costs a freaking nine mana, and even with a lot of ramp, it can take some time until the situation is right to give it a shot. In this respect, the defensive capabilities of Bruce’s deck are definitely on the weak side, making it kind of difficult to stay alive until you can unleash a storm of dragons. Any deck relying on Jungle Troll and Dragon Whelp to survive the early game (and only three of them in total) is basically asking for trouble, so we’ll have to work on this a bit. I’ve already added three copies of Nightscape Familiar but he doesn’t help you against trampling monsters. Enter Wall of Stone. Wall of Stone? But Kuchisama, this card is sooo boring! Yes, you’re right, and this is precisely why I chose to include it. Seriously, nobody wants to waste a removal spell on it as it’s so damn harmless. On the other hand, it can block basically anything and survive to do so again. I was thinking of playing AEther Membrane instead but my playgroup seems to love Acidic Slime, Mulldrifter and all those annoying Allies far too much for me to feel safe behind something that let’s them get their stuff back to their hand for another ETB trigger.

Another great card for a red storm deck? Blasphemous Act. Clear the board for a single red mana while upping your storm count by 1 at the same time, and cast a few ramp spells to get lots of angry dragons onto a probably empty battlefield. All in one turn. Let’s add a playset!
Terminate is very good at what it does but I would like something with a little more flexibility. Equally cheap but also capable of taking out planeswalkers, Dreadbore exchanges speed for versatility. And believe me, dragons don’t want to have to gang up on Gideon Jura if they could be taking out players instead…

OUT: 2 Dragon Whelp, 1 Jungle Troll, 1 Wrecking Ball
IN: 4 Blasphemous Act, 2 Dreadbore, 4 Wall of Stone

Draconian Measures

Bruce opted for a very interesting selection of dragons. Let’s have a look at what he included and what I would like to add or leave out:

Ancient Hellkite – Ha, how ironic. I just said that the selection of dragons was interesting, and then I go ahead and kick the first one on the list out of the deck. But in all seriousness, this dude’s take on firebreathing is pretty narrow and therefore negligible. Without it, though, Ancient Hellkite is a 6/6 flier for seven mana. I think we can do a lot better than that.

MTG Atarka Dragonstorm Deck TechAtarka, World Render – For example with this evil monster! She is an absolute must in any Dragonstorm deck as she effectively doubles your damage output. Atarka will always be one of the dragons to find with Dragonstorm.

Boltwing Marauder – The cool thing about this dragon is that it’s very cheap so that you can play it without any problems even if you don’t have a Dragonstorm. And if you fetch this guy together with three other dragons, one of which is Atarka, World Render, Boltwing Marauder provides an additional 12 damage via its pump ability. Not bad.

Broodmate Dragon – Only a big beater like some others on this list, yes, but the split-up into two creatures makes this creature very flexible and allows you to attack different opponents. Broodmate Dragon definitely stays in the deck.

Darigaaz, the Igniter – Let’s make this quick. Darigaaz doesn’t do enough to be worth it. His ability is more or less irrelevant, and without it, he’s nothing but a beater, and not even close to the better ones this deck has. Out he goes.

Dragonlord Atarka – One of the biggest draconic fliers you can find, this iteration of Atarka is no slouch either but also not as essential as Atarka, World Render. I left her out of the deck because I frequently found myself fetching Broodmate Dragon instead because I preferred multiple attackers.

Dragonlord Kolaghan – The second auto-include after Atarka, World Render. Your dragons NEED haste, and Kolaghan delivers. Her last ability is just the icing on the cake.

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund – As I said when I discussed Dragonlord Kolaghan, granting your dragons haste is crucial, so another dragon who helps out in this regard is highly welcome. It’s always possible that you draw a dragon you’d normally search for with Dragonstorm, so you need to have alternatives. In addition, Karrthus might deal a few more points of damage than Dragonlord Kolaghan, so it’s time for you to hone your calculation skills! And somestimes you might even be able to nab the occasional Yosei, the Morning Star or Dragonlord Ojutai which are then also able to attack thanks to Karrthus giving them haste. Brutal!

Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury – This is what Boltwing Marauder would actually like to be. Unfortunately, I don’t own a copy of her, so I’ll stay with the Marauder for now. I would play Kolaghan if I could, though.

Utvara Hellkite – Funnily enough, I’ve decided to include this guy because there might be situations where I cannot attack unless I somehow get a few blockers. Well, Utvara Hellkite gives you a new dragon for every dragon that attacks, and they are 6/6 fliers to boot. So the hellkite is there to prevent a backlash if you can’t take out the whole table in one go.

Patriarch’s Bidding – Yeah, this isn’t a dragon, I know. However, storm decks tend to be one-shot affairs – unless you manage to kill every other player, you’re usually spent. Two copies of Patriarch’s Bidding are intended to prevent that from happening. So if someone is still alive after your hasty attack and somehow manages to kill off all your dragons, surprise them with another immediate assault during your next turn.

To sum it up:
OUT: 1 Ancient Hellkite, 1 Darigaaz, the Igniter, 1 Dragonlord Atarka, 1 Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury
IN: 1 Utvara Hellkite, 2 Patriarch’s Bidding

The Deck

In the end, all these changes leave us with the following decklist:

So, this is it for today. Do you like the deck? Or do you prefer the one Bruce Richard showed us on the mothership? And what do you think about storm in general? Is it viable in multiplayer? Or do you even think it has no place in multiplayer games?

Ah, so many questions! Let me know your answers in the comments!

Until next time then!

Cheers!

Kuchisama

3 comments

  1. Wally D.

    Storm + Dragons = Hell yes. lol. I love how you rebuilt the Dragonstorm deck in a “deck clinic” sort-of-a-way. Awesome read, as always sir!

    Q&A:
    You get my vote. Kuchisama 1, Bruce 0
    Storm. I usually run and hide from storm (and the 10 minute turns it creates), but in this deck, it seems like good times!
    Definitely viable in multiplayer. If they leave you alone for just long enough… Blam!

    1. Kuchisama

      Thanks, man!

      I really enjoy working on other people’s lists. Deck building is just so much fun!

      With regard to this deck:
      The turns where you go off are far quicker than 10 minutes. Basically, you’ll have to count your mana and find out whether you’re able to reach nine mana to get four or five dragons. That’s it.

      In general, I also shy away from decks like this as I know how it feels when a game you’re enjoying suddenly ends out of nowhere. However, if you don’t play it too often, it seems to be alright. My playgroup certainly doesn’t see a problem if I bring the dragons out once in a while.
      It also depends on how many other decks you have. If this amounts to something like four or five only, then the frequency of playing an instant-win deck is certainly higher and may lead to your fellow players getting a bit frustrated. Since I currently have something around fifteen different non-Commander decks, that’s not much of a problem. I can’t even play half of them on any given Magic evening! Although you could argue that the one I built around Demigod of Revenge and Gray Merchant of Asphodel works in a very similar fashion.

  2. Bruce Richard

    First off, send me a link the next time you update one of my lists! I love to see other suggestions/ideas.

    I still lean towards my list, but only because I own the cards! You did make plenty of helpful suggestions and I’ll see what I own and try to update accordingly!

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