Well, hello everyone! This week we’re going on a wild and crazy adventure, where no man has gone before. Or woman. Or…anyone really. Except for Nate Burgess, but that’s only because he’s better at writing articles than I am. Where is this place you ask? This place is scary to some, exciting for others and a mystery to us all. That place is Un-Commander.
Yes, Un-Commander. Unmander if you will. No matter what you call it (or your opinion of it) it’s here for us all. Rather, we’re here in it. In case you missed the announcement last week, our own Joey Schultz helped cover the madness that legalized all silver-bordered cards in Commander. Shockwaves were felt, but I’m not here to rehash that. Go bug Joey on his article if you want to do that.
What I AM here to do is see how we can incorporate the new suddenly legal 3 Unsets into our normal routine of un-corporating 60-card archetypes in Commander. Since I’m already clueless about the Unsets (maybe not clueless, but certainly not the biggest fan of) let’s talk about a deck I’m equally as clueless about: storm. Storm is a busted mechanic (How busted, you ask? MaRo actually calls his list ranking Magic’s most powerful mechanics The Storm Scale.) letting you copy a single spell multiple times equal to the total number of spells cast that turn. So say you cast five spells, then a storm spell. That means you copy the spell with storm 6 total times. With Dark Ritual and other mana producing effects you can imagine how this gets out of hand.
Let’s take a look at your typical Modern Storm deck…
So we have cost reducers to make our ritual effects net us more mana in the positive, ways to find more cards like Gifts Ungiven, and payoff cards like Empty the Warrens . If you playing the Legacy version of the deck you also can play Tendrils of Agony, or the cube favorite Flashfreeze to finish off the opponent. If you’re the type of player who loves slinging spells to-and-fro then storm is certainly a good choice for you.
Now that we know what the goal of the deck is, casting a whole host of spells in succession we need to figure out who is going to take the helm of this Un-machine. To help pick someone worth putting at the helm I’m going to use one of the newer tools on this wonderful website. Following down the themes page we get to the “spellslinger” category, where spells are never full price.
It seems the Izzet club has found their niche…these legendaries are all well and good, but they are only the top-5 most played commanders. Cost reducers are sweet, and we can play some of those in the deck. Copying spells doesn’t actually count as a cast for the Storm count, so that doesn’t help either. Scrolling down a bit more I think we find a winner though…
Boom. A creature who acts as a ritual for us and generates even MORE mana? Please and thank you. I had originally thought about Yidris, Maelstrom Wanderer but if we don’t play a value engine, which is all he is, there are probably better value commanders to be run. Ramos, Dragon Engine though, rewards us for doing what a storm deck already wants to do and gives us even more fuel to keep the storm party rolling. Plus, having a big flying attacker isn’t irrelevant either! How neat is that!?!?
Looking through the “spellslinger,” theme tab of Ramos, Dragon Engine it looks like a gold mine…not because it’s cards that fit into the playstyle but more a bunch of multicolored cards. I’m assuming the intention of most Ramos players is to really capitalize on putting as many counters on Ramos as possible and playing the beatdown plan. This sounds right up my usual deckbuilding alley actually, but it’s not what you’ll see in the eye of the storm player’s heart though.
Since this is one of those occasions where the top suggestions from EDHREC aren’t what I want to do with the deck, we get to use some of our critical thinking skills to build a deck unlike the popular kids’. Let’s consider this your friendly reminder that even with ALLLLLLL that information we can get from EDHREC, there remains an element of putting all the pieces together. Sometimes you’re not a big fan of certain cards, or you have pet cards you want to play around. EDHREC and all of us staff here try our best to help equip you with the skills to take the raw data and create YOUR deck, not just what the aggregate deck is.
Now then, let me step down from my soap box real quick…ok! Since we’re planning on casting lots of spells it would be nice to have some cards that care when we cast those spells. If we zoom out and look at generic “spellslinger” cards we find some good suggestions. Soulfire Grand Master is a great way to recur some of our bigger spells and can go infinite with several different ritual effects we play like Mana Geyser when our opponents decide it’s “safe,” to tap out. Young Pyromancer and Talrand, Sky Summoner are popular additions due to being able to make a flood of tokens, good for blocking or turning onto the offensive if we really need. We only play a handful of creatures in the deck, but very rarely will we only have as many creatures on the battlefield as we have in the deck.
So this wouldn’t be an Unset article without pointing out some worthy Uncards. That would be Unbelievable! So what can we do with silver borders that still fill the un-storm types? Well there is one nugget that stands out, mainly because it’s even got “storm,” in it’s name!
Say what you will about Storm Crow, but Crow Storm is actually pretty cool. I’m not super keen on silver-bordered cards, but Crow Storm could actually be a real thing. It’s like Empty the Warrens only cheaper AND makes fliers! Plus, you get all the rich history from the inside jokes over the years that makes a foil Storm Crow as expensive as it is. Seriously, go check it out. Insanity. I mean, unsanity. Yeah. That’s what we’re supposed to do right? Whatever, it’s a cool card and fits perfectly into what a black-bordered deck would want to do.
I also was terribly entertained when I first laid my eyes on Infinity Elemental. Like, there are so many ways to instantly KO your buddies that I even thought of a few right off the bat. You can simply strap a Burning Anger on it and have the most mega Prodigal Sorcerer of all times. Yes, times. Because you’re going to kill them infinitely. Sorry, I mean unfinity. Which is still so many times. Maybe you don’t want to wait around and kill folks on the spot? Fling some stuff. Heck, even Reiterate your Fling and REALLY stick it to them. The possibilities I’m sure are “infin”….I mean, “unfinite.” Nope. Didn’t work. It’s actually infinite. Suck it un-jokes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: My favorite pairing is Infinity Elemental with Selvala, Heart of the Wilds for honest to goodness infinite colored mana. Honest.
Finally, I think we certainly could make room for a few cards that actually are similar to black border cards storm decks actually do play. Mons’s Goblin Waiters is a creature version of Rain of Filth, only better since we can sacrifice our creatures too. Granted, we do have to double up on our sacrifices, but it’s versatile enough to try and make it work. Since we’re cutting everyone’s favorite 2-drop green enchantment in Sylvan Library we can play the unchantment of Ineffable Blessing. Why just look at the cards when we can draw them whenever critters of our choice come into play? If we’re making tons of token creatures we’re going to draw tons of cards, so why not!?
And there we have it! Something to do the storm players justice and hopefully something that wasn’t too un-spired. Or inspired. Whichever. Let me know what you think! Are you in the pro or anti-silver border debate? Are you hoping for a permanent extension on silver border? Let me know in the comments!