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Against the Odds: Storm the Vault (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 123 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had another Rivals of Ixalan Against the Odds poll, but this time with a twist: instead of playing the winning card in Standard, we're taking it to Modern! In the end, Storm the Vault took home the victory in a tough fight with Timestream Navigator, by just 1% of the vote. As a result, this week, we are going to see if we can break Modern with the enchantment that flips around into an upgraded version of Tolarian Academy. Can we find a way to make Storm the Vault work in the format? What's the best way to get it to flip into Vault of Catlacan, and how can we take advantage of the mana once we flip? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck.

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Against the Odds: Storm the Vault (Modern)

The Deck

Building around Storm the Vault was actually a lot trickier than I figured it would be. My first take was a Kuldotha Forgemaster / Blightsteel Colossus deck playing a ton of random artifacts and then trying to power out one big artifact with Vault of Catlacan, but the deck didn't really do anything most of the time, and even when it did do something, it usually wasn't that exciting or good enough to win. So, I started exploring other non-artifact ways to flip Storm the Vault, eventually realizing that going with a weird artifact-token theme was not only strangely competitive but also fun!

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The primary goal of Storm the Vault in our deck is to flip it into Vault of Catlacan, make a ton of mana, and then use this mana to win the game, although it's worth pointing out that we do sometimes make a Treasure token or two with Storm the Vault before it flips. One of the upsides of being a very creature-heavy build of Storm the Vault is that the card actually does something in enchantment form, rather than just being a really expensive version of Tolarian Academy that is hard to flip. So, how do we go about flipping Storm the Vault?

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Genesis Chamber is our primary combo piece, and it's one of the best support cards for Storm the Vault, assuming you're willing to play enough creatures to make it work. Not only is Genesis Chamber an artifact itself, which helps us flip Storm the Vault, but with a Genesis Chamber on the battlefield, every creature we cast comes along with an artifact Myr token kicker. In the early game, this helps us flip Storm the Vault, and then after we have Vault of Catlacan, all of our creatures essentially cost one less mana, since every time we cast one, we are getting a Myr, which adds an additional mana when we tap our Vault.

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Maverick Thopterist and Pia and Kiran Nalaar are two of our best cards for flipping Storm the Vault, since each makes two artifacts (in the form of flying Thopter tokens) when they enter the battlefield, or three artifacts if we have a Genesis Chamber on the battlefield, which means counting the Genesis Chamber itself, we only need one more artifact to flip into Vault of Catlacan. Plus, both are just good cards, adding a lot of power and toughness to the battlefield. We can often improvise out Maverick Thopterist for just two or three mana, making it a great deal (although be warned: Genesis Chamber only works when it is untapped, so be careful with your improvisation), while Pia and Kiran Nalaar gives us a backup plan for killing our opponent after we flip into Vault of Catlacan by throwing a bunch of artifacts at our opponent's face.

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Tireless Tracker and Thraben Inspector put artifacts on the battlefield in the form of Clues, which does two important things for our deck. First, in the early game, we leave the Clues on the battlefield to make sure we can flip Storm the Vault as quickly as possible. Then, after we flip Storm the Vault, we can use the mana produced by Vault of Catlacan to dig through our deck to find more creatures and hopefully our finishers to close out the game.

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Hangarback Walker and Walking Ballista are two of the best cards in our deck because they are two-drops that help us flip our Storm the Vault while also working as finishers once we can produce tons of mana with Vault of Catlacan, thanks to being "X" spells. We can also do some cool tricks with the help of Genesis Chamber by casting Hangarback Walker or Walking Ballista for zero mana just to make a Myr token to up our artifact count and get the fifth artifact we need to flip into Vault of Catlacan, even if we are tapped out. 

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Wurmcoil Engine and Myr Battlesphere are just one-ofs, but they give us huge artifacts to close out the game. Wurmcoil Engine is especially helpful against aggro, where gaining six life is often enough to stabilize and keep us alive while we set up the Vault of Catlacan kill. Meanwhile, in a weird way, Myr Battlesphere only costs two mana if we have a flipped Storm the Vault, since it puts five artifacts on the battlefield, which in turn add five more mana with Vault of Catlacan. Plus, if everything goes wrong, Myr Battlesphere is a card that can flip Storm the Vault all by itself, which is a nice upside.

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As strange as it sounds, Comet Storm is our primary finisher. While we often use our artifacts (like Walking Ballista and Myr Battlesphere to kill our opponent over the course of a turn or two, Comet Storm gives us a card that can kill the opponent right away with Vault of Catlacan. One of the weird aspects of Storm the Vault is that if flips into Vault of Catlacan on our end step, which means we either need to wait through our opponent's turn to actually take advantage of the mana or find something we can cast at instant speed. Comet Storm gives us a card that's both an instant-speed burn spell that we can throw at our opponent's face and win the game, and an instant-speed Wrath of God that we can use to sweep away our opponent's board to stay alive until we untap and take over with our Vault of Catlacan mana!

The Matchups

The matchups for our build of Storm the Vault are actually pretty simple: we are great against any kind of fair deck. Genesis Chamber gives us tons of chump blockers, which means we aren't really scared of Tarmogoyfs, Death's Shadows, or Gurmag Anglers, while having a bunch of Clue producers helps us keep up with control in terms of card advantage. Then, we eventually set up our Comet Storm kill and win the game. 

On the other hand, we are very slow against unfair decks. Tron doesn't really care about the little creatures we are playing, while combo decks like Storm, Burn, and the like pretty much have free rein to kill us at their leisure, since we aren't packing discard and only have a handful of relevant sideboard cards in each matchup. Plus, our clock isn't that fast. While we can beat down with creatures, even our best draws aren't winning until Turn 5, which is also the turn when we can start taking advantage of Vault of Catlacan mana, if everything goes well. Unfortunately, killing on Turn 5 or 6 is just a bit too slow against the fastest combo decks in the Modern format.

The Odds

All in all, we played six matches and won four, giving us a 66.7% match win percentage, along with winning nine of 15 games, good for 60%. This makes Storm the Vault above average as far as Against the Odds decks are concerned. As for Storm the Vault itself, it can do some amazingly powerful things. We had a reasonable number of games where we flipped it and it killed the opponent, either with the help of Walking Ballista or Comet Storm. On the other hand, we also had some games where we drew multiple copies, our opponent managed to hit our Genesis Chamber with discard or removal, and Storm the Vault did nothing but sit in our hand. While I feel like our build did a good job of flipping it consistently and then taking advantage of it post-flip, it's still a somewhat high-risk / high-reward style card, especially in a format like Modern, where combo decks can be so fast. The good news is that the deck was a blast to play, and after all the grief Comet Storm took for being reprinted at mythic in a Modern Masters set, it felt good to finally give the card a chance to master some opponents in Modern.

Vote for Next Week's Deck

We'll get back to normal next week, including some non-Rivals of Ixalan cards in the poll, but we have one more #MTGRIX poll for this week. Which of these Rivals of Ixalan cards should we play in Standard next week? Let us know by voting below!

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Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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