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Against the Odds: Thousand-Year Storm (Standard)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 158 of Against the Odds. We didn't have an Against the Odds poll last week because this week marks the beginning of Guilds of Ravnica Standard, so we're kicking things off with a special episode! Don't worry, the poll is back at the end of the article and overflowing with sweet new Guilds of Ravnica options. So, what are we playing this week? Thousand-Year Storm, of course! While there are a bunch of sweet Against the Odds-worthy options in Guilds of Ravnica, an enchantment that essentially gives all of our instants and sorceries storm is a perfect place to start. The plan of our deck is simple: we play Thousand-Year Storm, untap the next turn, and win the game by casting a ton of spells. What's the best way to storm off in Guilds of Ravnica Standard? How competitive is Thousand-Year Storm itself? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Thousand-Year Storm (Standard)

The Deck

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Thousand-Year Storm is pretty straightforward—it basically gives all of our instants and sorceries storm, but the storm only builds from other instants and sorceries being cast. On it's most basic level, we can cast a Shock to deal two damage, cast a second Shock to deal four damage (since we'll get two copies of Shock), and then cast a third Shock for three copies and six damage. The main plan of our deck is to work the game into a position where we can resolve Thousand-Year Storm, survive our opponent's next turn after (most likely) tapping out, and then untap, cast a ton of spells, and hopefully win the game in one huge storm combo turn.

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While most of our deck is filled with cards that are good even outside of the combo, like removal and card draw, we do have one card that's in our deck specifically to combo with Thousand-Year Storm: Brass's Bounty. Once we get a Thousand-Year Storm on the battlefield, if we have a Brass's Bounty, we're almost guaranteed to win the game immediately. Ideally, we can cast a cheap one-mana spell before Brass's Bounty, make something like 14 or 16 Treasure tokens with two copies of Brass's Bounty, and play through our entire deck by copying card-draw spells until we eventually find our Grapeshot (in Lightning Strike or Shock) to close out the game with direct damage.

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Shock and Lightning Strike are our primary finishers while also being our early-game removal spells. In theory, if we have enough Shocks and Lightning Strikes in hand after we resolve Thousand-Year Storm, we can kill our opponent directly by doubling, tripling, and quadrupling up our direct damage. Otherwise, we cast a bunch of card-draw spells and Brass's Bounty first and then cast our Lightning Strike or Shock last to finish the game with a ton of copies from Thousand-Year Storm.

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Mission Briefing is insane in our deck, allowing us to flash back any of our cheap spells. In conjunction with Brass's Bounty, it can make hundreds of Treasure tokens so we never run out of mana, and with our Lightning Strikes and Shocks, it can allow us to win the game with only one or two burn spells. Something like Lightning Strike into Mission Briefing into Lightning Strike is 12 damage all by itself with Thousand-Year Storm on the battlefield, and if we can throw in another cheap spell or two first, this sequence can generally win us the game.

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Opt and Discovery // Dispersal give us cheap cantrips to set up our draws (and find Thousand-Year Storm) in the early game, and then in the late game, we can use them to up our storm count and potentially draw a bunch of cards by copying them several times with Thousand-Year Storm itself. In the late game when we are comboing off, we can use the Dispersal half of Discovery // Dispersal as a hybrid Cyclonic Rift and Mind Twist, bouncing all of our opponent's permanents and emptying their hand by making a bunch of copies with Thousand-Year Storm.

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Chemister's Insight and Secrets of the Golden City keep us drawing through our deck. Occasionally, we have games where we resolve a Thousand-Year Storm but are almost empty-handed so we can't win right away. In these situations, we try to cast a spell or two and then one of our card-draw spells to copy it a few times and refill our hand, potentially setting us up to win the game the following turn with all of the cards we draw. Even outside of the combo, Chemister's Insight and Secrets of the Golden City are fine, putting us ahead on cards and helping us find our removal and Thousand-Year Storm.

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Beacon Bolt, Ral, Izzet Viceroy, and Fight with Fire give us removal spells to deal with bigger creatures that manage to dodge Shock and Lightning Strike. Beacon Bolt is pretty close to the Izzet version of Murder in our deck, since we typically have a graveyard overflowing with spells, and then we can even take down a second creature by jump-starting it from our graveyard. Meanwhile, Ral, Izzet Viceroy and Fight with Fire give us removal spells that are also backup finishers. When we are killing a creature, Ral, Izzet Viceroy draws us a bunch of cards, stocks our graveyard with spells, and threatens a game-winning ultimate. Meanwhile, thanks to Brass's Bounty, we occasionally have games where we can kick a Fight with Fire for 10 damage and then use Mission Briefing to cast it again from our graveyard for 10 damage to 20 our opponent, all in one turn!

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Last but not least, we have Search for Azcanta, which is great in our deck. Thanks to cards like Discovery // Dispersal and Mission Briefing (along with all of our cheap spells), we can often flip Search for Azcanta in the first few turns of the game. This ends up making Search for Azcanta into a blue version of Rampant Growth, giving us an extra land to play our Thousand-Year Storm a turn early. Then, since our deck is all spells, we can use Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin to find our Thousand-Year Storm, our card draw, or whatever else we need to combo off and kill our opponent!

The Matchups

In general, Thousand-Year Storm felt strong, having good removal for creature decks and enough card advantage (and sideboard cards) to keep up with control. The only matchup where we really struggled was against UR Wizards, which managed to back up aggressive creatures with burn spells. While our deck could keep the creatures under control, eventually the burn spells were able to finish us off, although even in this matchup, we were about a turn away from being able to close out the game. As such, really aggressive decks with reach seem to be our worse matchups, while our pile of removal, card draw, and a big combo finish seems to be able to put up a pretty good fight against everything else.

The Odds

All in all, we played five matches and won four, giving us an 80% match win percentage, along with winning eight of 13 games, putting our game win percentage at 61%, making Thousand-Year Storm very good for an Against the Odds deck. Thousand-Year Storm itself was pretty insane, being responsible for most of our wins. Unlike many combo pieces, Thousand-Year Storm doesn't really require us to play a bunch of weird (or bad) cards to combo off. While Brass's Bounty is the one exception, Lightning Strike, Shock, and all our card-draw spells are things we'd want in our deck regardless, so rather than warping our deck to make the combo work, we can play a bunch of good cards that use Thousand-Year Storm as our finisher, super-charging all of our burn spells and card draw to allow us to close out the game in just a turn or two. Heading into our matches, I was expecting to find that Thousand-Year Storm was super fun but not really very competitive, but now I wouldn't be completely shocked if somebody figured out a way to make it work on a tournament level in Standard. It's really good.

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Guilds of Ravnica seems awesome, so let's play it some more next week! Which of these Guilds of Ravnica cards should we build around in Standard? 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 in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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