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Against the Odds: Kaya Storm (Crimson Vow Standard)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 315 of Against the Odds. Last week, we didn't have a poll because the holiday messed up my recording schedule (don't worry, it's back this week at the end of the article), but don't worry, we've got an absurdly spectacular deck for today: Kaya Storm! Kaya, Geist Hunter isn't very good as a fair planeswalker—it's too lacking in impact and fragile—but it's pretty insane as a combo piece thanks to its token-doubling –2. The main goal of our deck today is to combine Kaya's –2 with Treasure token–making card-draw spells like Unexpected Windfall and Seize the Spoils. With a bit more support, we can turn these spells into rituals that actually generate mana (in the form of Treasure tokens) when we cast them, while also drawing us cards. This combination of free mana and cards allows us to play through our entire deck until we eventually win by Wishing a finisher from our sideboard! What are the odds of storming off in Standard with the help of Kaya, Geist Hunter? 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: Kaya Storm

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The Deck

I'll warn you right now that Kaya Storm is a pretty clunky deck to write about. Mere words just can't do it justice. If you're reading this before watching the video for some reason, I'd recommend watching the video first. Seeing the deck in action makes it much easier to understand, but here's the plan.

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The main goal is to combine Kaya, Geist Hunter with Treasure token–making card-draw spells (Unexpected Windfall, Seize the Spoils, Deadly Dispute, and Prismari Command. With just a Kaya on the battlefield, all of these spells become very cheap or even free. Take Unexpected Windfall, for example. If we can –2 Kaya and then play Unexpected Windfall, we'll spend four mana to cast it but then make four Treasure tokens, which essentially makes it a free card-draw spell! But being free isn't enough—what we are really trying to do is turn our Treasure token–making card-draw spells into rituals that generate mana. While we can sometimes do this by playing and –2'ing multiple copies of Kaya, Geist Hunter in the same turn, we have a bunch of other cards that can do this as well...

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For instance, Storm-Kiln Artist, which makes a Treasure token whenever we cast or copy an instant or sorcery spell thanks to magecraft. Let's go back to the same example—casting an Unexpected Windfall after a Kaya, Geist Hunter –2—but add Storm-Kiln Artist to the mix. We'll spend four mana, discard a card, draw two cards, and make six Treasures (four from Unexpected Windfall itself and two more from Storm-Kiln Artist), which means actually generating mana with every Treasure-token spell we cast!

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And Storm-Kiln Artist is far from the only spell that, with the help of Kaya, can turn our Treasure card-draw spells into rituals. Birgi, God of Storytelling does it by giving us back a mana whenever we cast a spell. Xorn does it by giving us an extra Treasure whenever we make a Treasure. Goldspan Dragon does it by doubling our Treasure mana. Let's go back to the example of casting an Unexpected Windfall one more time but add Goldspan Dragon to the mix. We'll spend four mana, discard a card, draw two cards, and make six Treasures, but now, thanks to Goldspan Dragon, all of these Treasures can be sacrificed for two mana, giving us a total of 12 mana worth of Treasures, which means casting a single Unexpected Windfall will make eight extra mana, turning it into the most powerful ritual in Magic's history!

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With all of the mana we make and all of the cards that we draw, we'll eventually play through our entire deck with the help of Galvanic Iteration to copy our card-draw spells. Eventually, we'll draw into two one-ofs that will allow us to close out the game...

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Once we get things set up and start comboing, the first card we're looking for is Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, which allows us to recast all of our Treasure-making card-draw spells from the graveyard (while also stopping any counterspells our opponent might have once it's on the battlefield). Once Lier comes down, we should be able to quite literally draw through our entire deck and make hundreds of Treasure tokens. Sooner or later, drawing our whole deck will find us our one copy of Wish, which we can use to tutor a finisher from our sideboard.

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Depending on the situation, we can Wish for either Kazuul's Fury (which can usually deal hundreds of damage if we have a Storm-Kiln Artist on the battlefield since Storm-Kiln Artist grows based on the number of Treasures we have, and our deck can make a lot of Treasures) or a Crackle with Power, to throw a few hundred damage at our opponent's face with the mana from all of the Treasures we have hanging out on the battlefield!

The Matchups

The trickiest matchup for Kaya Strom is aggro, which can run us over before we're able to combo off, especially if our opponent is on the play. While our plan is consistent and really difficult for many decks to interact with, it does take a few turns to get things set up. If things go well, we can storm off at around Turn 5. We don't have a ton of interaction for creatures in the main deck, so if our Mono-Green or Mono-White opponent can kill us quickly, there's a chance that we won't do much of anything other than cast a card-draw spell or two before dying. On the other hand, the deck does really well against control and midrange. Midrange is—by far—the easiest matchup. We have plenty of time to set up, and our opponent likely won't have that many counterspells. Against control, counters can be an issue. While they don't really beat us, they can slow us down by hitting Kaya, Geist Hunter, Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, or our Wished finisher, so the game plan is mostly to be patient until our opponent taps down and then try to storm off for the win.

The good news is that we've got good sideboard cards for all of these matchups, with Burn Down the House, Fading Hope, and Infernal Grasp buying us time against aggro and Malevolent Hermit giving us another way of fighting through counters against control.

The Odds

All in all, we finished 3-2 with Kaya Storm, getting two salty early scoops from opponents along the way! While we did see the downside of the deck—after getting run over by aggro a couple of times—we also got to see some of the most spectacular combo turns possible in Standard, to the point where, in our last match, we were crashing Arena thanks to all of the tokens we were making (although our opponent ended up scooping before Arena fully crashed). While the aggro issue might keep the deck from being truly competitive, it can win a lot of games. If you have the wildcards, you should give it a shot. It's super fun to play, and the combo turns feel like playing a Modern or even Legacy storm deck, which isn't something we've seen in Standard in a long, long time!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Next week we're taking Innistrad: Crimson Vow to Modern, but what card should we build around? Click here to vote!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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