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Much Abrew: Colossal Storm Herald (Pioneer)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About NothingWhen Colossification was first previewed, the community was excited for the potential of a Storm Herald / Colossification one-shot combo deck in Standard, but it might be that Pioneer is the best home for the combo. The challenge of combining Storm Herald with Colossification is Colossification's pesky "tap" trigger, making the potential two-card combo into a three-card combo (since you need a way to untap Storm Herald or maybe Fling it at the opponent's face). However, Pioneer has the perfect support card in Burning Anger, which makes it so that as long as we can get the right cards into our graveyard, a resolved Storm Herald is immediately lethal without any extra help required! Since Burning Anger is an aura, if we can get it in the graveyard along with Colossification, then when Storm Herald comes into play, it can reanimate them both, which gives us a 23-power creature that can tap to deal damage equal to its power. Then, with the Colossification "tap" trigger on the stack, we can use Burning Anger's ability to tap Storm Herald to 23 our opponent's face and win the game on the spot, potentially as early as Turn 3! How good is the combo of Storm Herald, Burning Anger, and Colossification in Pioneer? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Colossal Storm Herald

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Discussion

  • Record-wise we finished our league 2-3, which isn't all that exciting. However, if we dig into the matchups a bit more, we can learn quite a bit about our deck and the Pioneer format. For one thing, we went 2-0 against other companionless decks but 0-3 against decks with companions. We also played Lurrus Burn twice, which is very close to an unwinnable matchup (technically, we can win if we combo on Turn 3 and our opponent doesn't have a burn spell to kill Storm Herald with the "reanimate" trigger on the stack, but that's asking for a lot to go right). As such, we technically posted a winning record in non-Burn matchups. All this is to say that I think the deck is actually at least a little bit better than our record suggested, but we happened to hit some rough matchups in our small sample of matches. 
  • Let's start with the good news about the deck: the combo of Storm Herald, Colossification, and Burning Anger is actually extremely powerful. Being able to reanimate all of our other combo pieces when Storm Herald hits the battlefield is a huge boost in power compared to other versions of the deck that need an extra card (like Fling or Thud) in hand or an untap effect (like Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner) on the battlefield. While it is possible for the combo to get blown out by removal with Storm Herald's reanimation trigger on the stack, it never actually happened in practice.
  • The other big upside of the combo is how fast it is. Something as simple as Cathartic Reunion or Breaking // Entering to get both Colossification and Burning Anger into the graveyard on Turn 2 sets us up to win the game on Turn 3 if we have Storm Herald in hand. 
  • Speaking of Breaking // Entering, it was a sneaky all-star in the deck. Milling eight cards is huge, both in supporting the Storm Herald combo but also in filling the graveyard for Ox of Agonas to keep churning through our deck. Meanwhile, we won a game using Entering to reanimate Storm Herald, which keeps Breaking // Entering live in the late game when our graveyard is already full of combo pieces. 
  • One card that was much less impressive was Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. While we did have a couple of games where it "went off," it mostly just died to removal spells without doing anything at all. Considering how light we are on creatures that our opponent can target with removal, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy might be better off as a spell-based looting effect that doesn't die to removal.
  • As for the bad news about Colossal Storm Herald, it gets wrecked by graveyard hate like Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace, which are pretty popular in the Pioneer format. As a Grixis deck, we don't have a permanent way to remove an enchantment, so our plan to beat graveyard hate is to sideboard out the combo and bring in a bunch of planeswalkers like Ashiok, Nightmare Muse, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and Liliana, the Last Hope, making us a weird Grixis Control deck after sideboarding. While the plan does work sometimes, it's a bit awkward that we have so many combo pieces in our main deck that we can't remove them all, which often leaves us with some bad Storm Heralds (with no auras to reanimate) and Burning Angers (without many creatures to enchant) in our deck while we're trying to play the control game plan. 
  • My biggest question for the deck is whether the Grixis Control shell is the best way to take advantage of the combo. In theory, you could play it in some sort of Izzet Phoenix shell, Jeskai Control, Hollow One, or countless other possibilities. The combo itself—Storm Herald, Burning Anger, and Colossification—felt very solid, but it's also essentially mono-red (since you never cast Colossification anyway), which means there are a ton of ways to build around it, some of which are probably better than the "sideboard into janky Grixis Control" plan. If you have some other ideas of ways to take advantage of the clearly powerful combo but in another shell, make sure to let me know in the comments. I think that a Storm Herald / Colossification deck could be very strong in Pioneer—Turn 3 kills are super fast for the format. I'm just not 100% convinced that this shell is the best way to support the combo.
  • So, should you play Colossal Storm Herald in Pioneer? While I do think that the list can be improved upon, I think the answer is still yes. While our record wasn't great, we hit some really tough matchups, but the power of the combo itself showed through. Plus, the games where we sideboard out the combo and our opponent spends the entire game playing graveyard hate and other combo hate (see: Mono-White Devotion) are hilarious and surprisingly easy to win. If you like the idea of winning the game on Turn 3 in Pioneer and are willing to take on the risk of getting blown out by graveyard hate, I could certainly see Colossal Storm Herald 5-0'ing a league if it hits the right matchups. 

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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