Mark Rosewater, head of R&D for Magic: The Gathering, has a scale by which he judges the power level of game mechanics and how likely those mechanics are to return in a Standard legal set. This scale is referred to as the storm scale and is named after the mechanic known as storm. A 1 on the storm scale means that the mechanic will be seen again and could even become an evergreen mechanic. A 10 means that the mechanic is too powerful and there is a very slim chance that it will be printed into Standard ever again. Today we will be looking at the Modern deck Storm, named after the mechanic. Ranked at a 10 on the storm scale, storm lets you copy that spell for each spell cast before it on that turn. Meaning that if your were able cast 5 spells before casting the card with storm, you would get the spell that you paid for and then an additional 5 copies from storm. It should be noted that spells copied in this manner do not increase the number of spells cast that turn, aka the storm count. There are two cards in this deck with storm. One usually resides in the sideboard or may not even be included at all in some deck lists. Grapeshot is the main win condition. For 2 mana it deals 1 damage to any target. Empty the Warrens costs 4 mana to create two 1/1 red Goblin tokens. Neither of these cards would be playable in Modern without the storm mechanic. The rest of the deck is focused on casting as many spells as you can in a single turn.
If you are not familiar with this deck, you may be asking how can you possibly cast that many spells in one turn if you can only play 1 land per turn and have enough left over for a card that costs 2 mana. The answer is ritual cards. Named after the original ritual card, Dark Ritual, printed all the way back in Alpha, these are spells that allow you to add mana to your mana pool. Dark Ritual is not legal in Modern, plus it produces black mana while we want red and blue mana, so we use Pyretic Ritual and Desperate Ritual, both of which cost 2 mana and add 3 red mana to your mana pool. The only difference between these two spells is that Desperate Ritual is an Arcane spell, which doesn’t matter so don’t worry about the Splice onto Arcane ability. The other card that you want to run along side these cards is Manamorphose. This card allows you to add 2 mana of any color to your mana pool and draw a card, also for 2 mana.
Now for the cards that refill your hand and allow you to keep going. Serum Visions is a staple card in Modern. Opt is a newcomer to the format. Until its reprinting in Ixalan and other recent Standard sets, it was only printed in Invasion, a set that is not Modern legal. Sleight of Hand is also a card that is commonly run in this deck. Gifts Ungiven may sound tricky at first, but there really is no downside to it since you can choose the four cards that you need the most. Then you can use Past in Flames to do it all over again by giving everything in your graveyard flashback. Flashback does add to your storm count since you are still casting that spell and not a copy of that spell.
There is still one potential problem with this deck, the color of mana that you can produce and the color of mana needed to cast the spells. Red mana is needed for the ritual spells and isn’t a huge problem since you can cast ritual spells off of the mana from other ritual spells. The only spell that can produce blue mana is Manamorphose and blue mana is needed for the draw spells so fetchlands and dual lands play a huge role in this deck to fix your mana. Other than that, there are two creatures that can help reduce the cost of your instant and sorcery spells so you can conserve your mana: Goblin Electromancer and Baral, Chief of Compliance.
Pro Tip: Use 3-4 additional dice (D20) or spin down life counters with this deck, even better is using dice of different distinct colors. One to keep track of the red mana in your mana pool, one to keep track of the blue mana in your mana pool, and one or two to keep track of the storm count.
The basic shell of Storm looks like the following:
Pyretic Ritual x4
Desperate Ritual x4
Serum Visions x4
Sleight of Hand x4
Gifts Ungiven x3-4
Past in Flames x2-4
Baral, Chief of Compliance x3-4
Goblin Electromancer x3-4
Believe it or not, 1-2 copies of Grapeshot is all this deck needs to win. Don’t worry about your opponent’s counter spells. Storm copies will go on the stack before priority passes. If they do succeed in countering a spell early in your turn, before you storm off, their spell, and your countered spell, will still add to your storm count as storm includes every spell cast before it. All you need to do to pilot this deck successfully is play rituals and draw spells, then rinse and repeat until you come across Grapeshot and have a high enough storm count to bring your opponent’s life total to 0. Don’t go crazy on turn 1 or 2. Use these turns as time to set up. Cast a draw spell if you need to so you don’t miss a land drop. Play your lands and your creatures if you have them. It’s rare, but I have seen this deck go off on turn 3. By turn 4 and later, it should have no problem going off. There are a few cards out there that can easily stand up to this deck. Damping Sphere will make your spells more expensive so you should have some artifact hate like Shattering Spree in your sideboard. Blood Moon can also give this deck a hard time by turning all of your dual lands into Mountains, hindering your ability to produce blue mana. An easy way around this is fetching up basic Islands with fetch lands. You can also run some blue bounce effects that can deal with enchantments in your sideboard. If for some reason you still have a hard time producing blue mana, you can take a page out of Tron’s playbook and run a few copies of Chromatic Sphere and/or Chromatic Star. Both of these artifacts cost 1 mana to play and you can pay 1 mana, tap, and sacrifice them to add 1 mana of any color and draw a card. This easily turns the red mana from the ritual cards into blue mana. That about does it for Storm. What deck do you want to see next? Let me know in the comments down below.