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Much Abrew: Baral Storm (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, it was a new take on an old archetype from Modern that came out on top. Over the years, UR Storm has been targeted by more bannings than any other Modern deck, but somehow, no matter what gets banned, the deck continues to adapt, evolve, and survive. The newest update of the deck, brought about in part by the banning of Gitaxian Probe, takes advantage of a new rare from Aether Revolt: Baral, Chief of Compliance! The basic idea is to use Baral, Chief of Compliance to reduce the cost of Gifts Ungiven and then use the blue instant to tutor up Past in Flames to close out the game with a huge Grapeshot. Will it work? Let's see!

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Baral Storm Instant Deck Tech

Baral Storm vs. Infect (Match 1)

Baral Storm vs. Elves (Match 2)

Baral Storm vs. Death's Shadow (Match 3)

Baral Storm vs. Devastating Summonings (Match 4)

Baral Storm vs. GW Beats (Match 5)

Baral Storm (Wrap-Up)

Discussion

  • First off, we finished our matches 4-1, which is solid. We were fast enough to race most of the non-interactive decks we faced, and our only loss came against the new build of Death's Shadow and involved our opponent playing about a million Thoughtseizes and Inquisition of Kozileks (which are super good against our deck). 
  • Maybe the biggest takeaway from the matches was the difference between this build of UR Storm in Modern and older builds. Older builds were much more explosive and much more likely to win on Turn 3 with a good draw. On the other hand, Baral Storm is nearly a turn slower (while we can win on Turn 3, it's very unlikely) but much more consistent thanks to Gifts Ungiven.
  • Speaking of Gifts Ungiven, heading into the matches, I was wondering if it would be too slow, but since we have seven cost-reducing creatures now (with the addition of Baral, Chief of Compliance), we were able to cast it on Turn 3 regularly, and in games where we resolve a Turn 3 Gifts Ungiven, we are very likely to win on Turn 4.
  • Baral, Chief of Compliance is great because it ups the number of two-mana creatures that make all of our spells cheaper from four to seven, but it's also pretty clearly worse than Goblin Electromancer. While there are extremely fringe situations where having an extra point of toughness matters (we got Forked Bolt one game, for example) or when one of our three Remands gets us a loot trigger, all of the benefits are outweighed by being legendary. We had some clunkiness when we simply drew too many Baral, Chief of Compliances. While having seven copies of the effect felt like a good number, next time I play the deck, I'll be going with three copies of Baral, Chief of Compliance and four Goblin Electromancers.
  • Maybe one of the best reasons to play Baral Storm right now is that people are light on hate. One of the biggest problems with the deck is that both graveyard hate and Rule of Law effects are devastating. While we have some sideboard answers to these problematic permanents, we don't have that many. However, with the banning of Gitaxian Probe and Golgari Grave-Troll, there is less graveyard and spell hate in the format now than there was just a couple of months ago. This will change if Baral Storm takes off, but right now feels like a pretty good time to spike a tournament while the field is unprepared.
  • So, should you play Baral Storm? If you enjoy storm combo, I think the answer is yes. I'm pretty sure that this build is the best build in our current post-Gitaxian Probe banning Modern format. It consistently wins on Turn 4, and we rarely fizzled after we started to combo. On the other hand...
  • If you do decide to play the deck, make sure to play a ton of games (especially if you've never played Storm before). The deck is extremely hard to play optimally, and this build is even more difficult than past Modern storm builds thanks to Gifts Ungiven—one of the most skill-testing cards in the entire format. While you can pick up some wins just by waiting as long as possible to combo off, it takes a lot of practice to know when it's correct to try to combo off early (perhaps to avoid a discard spell or sideboard hate card), when it is okay to keep waiting, and how to sequence everything. Basically, the deck is very punishing, and there isn't a huge margin for error. Putting the wrong card on the bottom with Serum Visions on Turn 1 can be the reason you fizzle while trying to combo off on Turn 4.  I've played Storm decks in the past, and even after going 4-1 with the deck, I came away from the matches feeling like I could have played much better with more practice!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos. 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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