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Against the Odds: Dragonstorm (Historic)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 291 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had a Historic Anthology V poll, featuring some of the jankiest and most interesting cards from the new release, and in the end, Dragonstorm took home a pretty easy victory. As such, we're heading to Historic today to see if we can use the sorcery to tutor up not just Dragons but an infinite Dragon combo! Can Dragonstorm work in a format lacking cheap rituals and fast mana? What are the best Dragons to find with it? Let's get to the video and find out in today's Against the Odds; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Dragonstorm

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The Deck

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Historic Dragonstorm is strange. In formats like Modern or Legacy, the easiest way to make Dragonstorm work is by casting a bunch of rituals, which not only help us ramp up to nine mana to cast Dragonstorm but also up our storm count so we can tutor up a ton of Dragons once Dragonstorm resolves. However, this plan doesn't really work in Historic since, apart from Irencrag Feat, there aren't really many rituals in the format. While there are a couple of free spells like Skirk Prospector or Burning-Tree Emissary, cards like Desperate Ritual and Seething Song simply don't exist. So, how can we make Dragonstorm work in a mostly ritual-free format? We've got two plans.

Combo One

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Our first plan is Mizzix's Mastery. If we can use cards like Faithless Looting, Thrilling Discovery, and Prismari Command to get Dragonstorm into our graveyard, we can use Mizzix's Mastery to cast it for just four mana, which is pretty insane. Of course, the downside is that if we just fire off Mizzix's Mastery on Dragonstorm on Turn 4, we only get to tutor up two Dragons (Mizzix's Mastery itself ups our storm count by one, and then we get one from the original Dragonstorm), which isn't exactly the spectacular "put 20 Dragons into play" turn that can happen in older formats with rituals. The good news is that with a bit of work, we only need to find two Dragons to win the game on the spot. Plus, if we're willing to wait another turn or two, we potentially can cast a couple of cheap spells on the same turn that we Mizzix's Mastery, to up our storm count and the number of Dragons we can find.

Combo Two

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While Historic doesn't have many rituals, as we talked about in the intro, it does have one in Irencrag Feat. The problem is that Irencrag Feat only makes three extra mana (we spend four to make seven, netting three in the process), which means we need six lands on the battlefield for Irencrag Feat to get us to nine mana for Dragonstorm, and even then, our storm count will only be two. However, we do have a trick to make Irencrag Feat work: copying it with Dual Strike. The idea is that we can foretell Dual Strike early in the game so we can cast it for just one mana when we are ready to combo. We get up to five mana and spend one for Dual Strike and four more for Irencrag Feat, which gets copied by Dual Strike, giving us a total of 14 mana—more than enough to cast Dragonstorm and get at least three Dragons (and potentially more if we find a way to cast some other cheap spells earlier in the turn). While the Irencrag Feat plan is a lot slower than Mizzix's Mastery, it does have a huge upside: it doesn't care about the graveyard, which helps us dodge some popular hate cards.

The Dragons

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As you can see, our typical Historic Dragonstorm will only tutor up two or three Dragons, so we can't really count on dumping a million hasty Dragons onto the battlefield and winning by attacking. Thankfully, we don't need to. Instead, we're hoping to use Dragonstorm to tutor up two or three specific Dragons that can give us an infinite Dragon / damage combo. The easiest way for our deck to win is to get a Bladewing the Risen into our graveyard as we are rummaging through our deck with Faithless Looting and friends. When we resolve Dragonstorm, we first tutor up Terror of the Peaks, so that whenever a creature enters the battlefield, we can deal damage equal to its power to anything. Then, with our second Dragonstorm copy, we find another Bladewing the Risen, which starts an infinite damage loop. Bladewing comes into play, Terror of the Peaks hits our opponent for four damage, and Bladewing reanimates the other copy of Bladewing the Risen from our graveyard. Since Bladewing the Risen is legendary, we'll have to legend-rule away one of our Bladewings, putting a copy back in the graveyard for the new Bladewing the Risen to reanimate with its enters-the-battlefield trigger. We can do this an infinite number of times until we eventually burn our opponent out of the game.

The downside of the Terror of the Peaks / Bladewing the Risen combo is that it does rely on the graveyard; it won't work if our opponent has something like Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void. If this happens, we turn to our backup plan: Lathliss, Dragon Queen. To win with Lathliss, we really want our storm count to be high enough that we can tutor up three Dragons. We first snag a Lathliss, Dragon Queen. Then, with our second Dragonstorm copy, we find Terror of the Peaks, which triggers Lathliss to make a 5/5 Dragon, in turn letting us hit our opponent for five with Terror of the Peaks. With our third Dragonstorm, we get another Terror of the Peaks, hitting our opponent for five with the first Terror when it comes into play and making another 5/5 Dragon token, which will trigger both Terror of the Peaks to deal another 10 damage, giving us a nice, even 20 to kill our opponent, even if they didn't take any damage earlier in the game.

Finally, let's say our opponent finds a way to deal with all of our Terror of the Peaks with something like Necromentia. While this isn't ideal, we can still win over the course of two turns with the Bladewing the Risen loop but with Lathliss, Dragon Queen replacing Terror of the Peaks. Instead of infinite damage, we'll be able to make infinite 5/5 Dragons with Lathliss, Dragon Queen as our two Bladewings loop each other from the graveyard. As long as our opponent can't immediately kill us or wrath our board, we should be able to win the next turn by attacking with a massive Dragon horde!

Matchups

Dragonstorm mostly wants to play against midrange decks. Against aggro, we can win by comboing off before our opponent manages to kill us, although if we have a slow draw, decks like Mono-Red often will run us over before we get our combo set up. Meanwhile, control decks can be hard because if our opponent can counter Mizzix's Mastery or Irencrag Feat, we can't cast Dragonstorm, and our deck won't do much of anything. While we have a plan for both of these archetypes after sideboarding (with a bunch of counters to fight control and removal / sweepers for aggro), we'd still much rather play against midrange decks that aren't super aggressive but also aren't overloaded with counterspells.

The Odds

All in all, we went a respectable 3-3 with Dragonstorm, giving us a fine 50% win percentage. More importantly, we actually managed to pull off all of our combos! Heading into our matches, I was a bit worried that we'd end up being more of a Mizzix's Mastery deck than a real Dragonstorm deck, but we actually won a few times with the janky "copy Irencrag Feat into Dragonstorm" combo. While the deck does tend to get blown out by counterspells and graveyard hate, it's also really consistent if we dodge the disruption and hilarious when it goes off!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

No poll this week. Next episode we'll kick off Modern Horizons 2 season! Don't worry, the poll will be back next week with a ton of sweet new Modern Horizons 2 options!

Wrap Up

Anyway, that's all for today. Next week we'll get to check out some sweet new Modern Horizons 2 jank! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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