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Much Abrew: Hollow Storm (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Hollow One has always been one of my favorite archetypes in Modern thanks to its strange combo of explosiveness and randomness, but sadly, Hollow One hasn't really been much of a player in the format since the banning of Faithless Looting. Well, now, Hollow One is back with a twist: a backup Storm plan fueled by Underworld Breach! Is having a chance to go infinite with Runaway Steam-Kin, Underworld Breach, and Burning Inquiry enough to make Hollow One good again in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Hollow Storm

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, I actually played two leagues with the deck. The first one ended 2-3, but we never really got to show off the full potential of the backup Storm combo, so I tried again and ended up going...2-3 again. Apparently, Hollow Storm is just a 2-3 sort of deck. 
  • While a big chunk of the deck is traditional Hollow One pieces like Flameblade Adept, Flamewake Phoenix, and Ox of Agonas, the most interesting aspect of the deck is the Storm plan, which is somewhat related to the Hollow One plan thanks to our random draw-and-discard cards Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore, which not only help us cast Hollow One for free but also fuel our Storm plan.
  • So, how does the Storm kill work? The main idea is to use Underworld Breach to keep casting Burning Inquiry from our graveyard with a Runaway Steam-Kin on the battlefield to produce the mana we need to cast Burning Inquiry an infinite (at least, until we run out of cards in our deck) number of times. Basically, Burning Inquiry makes us draw and discard three cards, which puts exactly enough cards in the graveyard that we can exile them to Underworld Breach and cast them again, while each time we cast Burning Inquiry, we also get a +1/+1 counter on Runaway Steam-Kin, which we can remove (once we have three) to make the mana we need to keep casting Burning Inquiry. After we do this as many times as possible, we can either win with our one copy or Grapeshot or a few Lightning Bolts from our graveyard, with the help of Underworld Breach
  • Of course, as we saw in our matches, it takes several pieces to actually go fully infinite with the Storm combo, including keeping a Runaway Steam-Kin on the battlefield, which isn't easy. Thankfully, Underworld Breach can also be a fine (although strange) value card even outside the combo, allowing us to cast Burning Inquiry a couple of times and then cast Hollow Ones for free from our graveyard. It's also a fine way to push through the last few points of damage by escaping a Lightning Bolt or two.
  • The bad news is that our primary Hollow One plan is a lot less consistent than it used to be. The deck is really missing Faithless Looting. While the random draw-and-discard cards are extremely powerful in our deck, we had some games where we really needed to discard something like Ox of Agonas or Flamewake Phoenix and were unable to get the job done, thanks to the randomness of Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore
  • As far as improving the deck, I have no idea why we are playing a Goblin Bushwhacker. I guess the idea is that we can discard it, do some sort of mini–Underworld Breach combo where we play a bunch of Hollow Ones from the graveyard, and then haste them in for immediate damage, but we mostly ended up sideboarding it out. 
  • I'm also not sure that it's worth being mono-red unless budget is a concern. We're already playing fetch lands to fill the graveyard for Underworld Breach. It would be super easy to play a few shock lands and splash hard removal like Fatal Push (which would be nice because we struggled against decks with Tarmogoyf and Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, which are too big for our red removal) or other flexible sideboard cards like Ancient Grudge or Collective Brutality
  • So, is Hollow One back thanks to the Storm backup plan? I'd say not really. The deck is unique and fun to play, and it can win some games, but it gets wrecked by graveyard hate (and the Storm plan is also reliant on the graveyard, so this doesn't really fix this issue), and it's still lacking consistency without Faithless Looting in the format. While Hollow Storm could certainly 5-0 a league if it runs well with its random draw  /discard cards (having multiple Hollow Ones on Turn 1 or 2 is still good in most matchups when it happens), over the long haul, the lack of consistency means that Hollow Storm likely will be a fun second- or third-tier option rather than a full-on resurgence of Hollow One in Modern.

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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