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Much Abrew: Mono-Red Storm (Legacy)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week, we had a rare surprise during our Instant Deck Techs with our Legacy option coming out on top. Apparently, that's what happens when a deck that's not only super spicy looking but also incredibly cheap for the format (under $300 in paper and under 150 tix online) manages to 5-0 a league. We're talking, of course, about Mono-Red Storm! The deck is is basically looking to stack up cost-reduction effects like Ruby Medallion and Helm of Awakening to turn our Desperate Rituals into Dark Rituals and our Reforge the Souls into Wheel of Fortune (which is banned in Legacy). We then win the game by casting a ton of spells in the same turn with the help of Hazoret's Undying Fury before killing our opponent with Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens. Is it really possible that a Mono-Red Storm deck can work in a format as powerful as Legacy? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, I'll have some thoughts on the deck.

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Mono-Red Storm (Instant Deck Tech)

Mono-Red Storm vs. Death and Taxes (Match 1)

Mono-Red Storm vs. Esper Stoneblade (Match 2)

Mono-Red Storm vs. Lands (Match 3)

Mono-Red Storm vs. ANT (Match 4)

Mono-Red Storm vs. BUG Control (Match 5)

Mono-Red Storm (Wrap-Up)

Discussion

  • Overall, we finished with a 1-4 record, which obviously isn't ideal; in reality, however, the deck's performance was a lot better than the record suggests. As such, let's take a minute to go over the league match by match.
  • Match 1 vs. Death & Taxes: This was by far the most frustrating match of the league. While it technically goes down as a loss on the scoreboard, in reality we had the match won. After comboing off in game one, in game two, we worked our way into a position to storm off for the win (even through a ton of disruption), but then disaster struck. Mid-combo, we cast a Hazoret's Undying Fury but didn't cast any of our free cards (which would have won us the game). At the time, I wasn't sure what happened, but after watching the video, it seems that the cards from Hazoret's Undying Fury mixed with a bunch of cards we had in our exile zone from Act on Impulse, which also happened to be under the Hazoret's Undying Fury on the stack, so when I clicked "okay" to resolve Hazoret's Undying Fury, I was actually clicking "okay, I don't want to cast any of these cards." This made us fizzle, and we went on to get buried under hate bears in game three. The bottom line is that in paper, we would have won this match 100% of the time, and even on Magic Online, it's unlikely this would happen after we became more familiar with how Hazoret's Undying Fury and Act on Impulse display cards. So while this one goes down as a loss, it was really a win in terms of the deck's performance. 
  • Match 2 vs. Esper Stoneblade: Probably the best display of the deck's power in the entire league. Cheap counters are the natural bane of our deck, but we managed to win through multiple copies of Force of Will and Spell Pierce
  • Match 3 vs. Lands: This match is where we started to see some of the problems with the deck. While we stormed off every game, even through our opponent's Thorn of Amethyst (our cost-reduction effects make our deck much better against taxing effects than most storm decks), we literally don't have a way to beat Glacial Chasm (which our opponent can tutor up at instant speed with Crop Rotation. When I say "don't have a way to beat Glacial Chasm," I mean this quite literally—there isn't a card in our 75 that can let us win the game after the land is on the battlefield (our only hope is that our opponent manages to kill themselves with the cumulative upkeep cost, which is exceedingly unlikely). Considering that Lands is one of the top five decks in Legacy and Glacial Chasm is in every Lands deck, it might be worth adding an answer to our sideboard. Probably the easiest is something like Molten Rain or Boom // Bust that we can Burning Wish for, although if budget isn't a concern, Wasteland could be supported in the mana base. 
  • Match 4 vs. ANT: While Mono-Red Storm is probably better than more traditional blue-black storm decks in some matchups, the mirror seems close to unwinnable unless we manage to draw one of our two sideboard Scab-Clan Berserkers. Not only is ANT faster than our deck (they killed us on Turn 2 both games, while we're much more likely to win on Turn 3), they also get disruption like Duress and potentially Force of Will, which simply aren't available in mono-red.
  • Match 5 vs. BUG Control: This one was another learning experience—our deck can't beat a Surgical Extraction on Burning Wish, which is especially troubling, since Surgical Extraction is one of the 10 most played cards in Legacy. The problem is that all of our finishers are in the sideboard, so without Burning Wish, we can cast a ton of spells but never actually win the game. The easiest solution here might just be to hedge by putting one of our finishers (maybe a single Grapeshot) in the main deck, at least after sideboarding. 
  • The good news for Mono-Red Storm is that although the deck can obviously still be improved, it felt really powerful, and the storm combo plan worked really well. I was especially impressed by how good it was at beating disruption like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Force of Will.
  • The bad news is that being mono-red—while super helpful as far as budget is concerned—does come with a price. We simply don't have access to things like Duress or counterspells. 
  • In general, the deck felt good and quite powerful. If you look back over the matchups, assuming the match one Hazoret's Undying Fury disaster didn't happen, we were a main-deck finisher and a Molten Rain in the sideboard away from potentially going 4-1 (we certainly would have beat Lands if we had a way to kill Glacial Chasm and would have at least had a chance against BUG Control if we had a main-deck Grapeshot to beat Surgical Extraction). While the deck is certainly all-in and more of a glass cannon than more traditional Legacy storm decks, it seems that deck could be pretty competitive with a couple of small tweaks, which is extremely impressive for a $300 Legacy deck.
  • So, should you play Mono-Red Storm in Legacy? I think the answer is yes, if you are looking for a competitive budget option. Despite the 1-4 record, I still think the deck is solid, and it could be even more competitive with the couple of small changes we talked about. While it does occasionally fizzle, since we don't have Ponder and Brainstorm to smooth our draws, it's really fun to play, and the janky red card draw like Act on Impulse and Hazoret's Undying Fury is actually very strong with all the cost-reduction effects. Mono-Red Storm is a great place to start if you're looking for a fun, combo-y budget deck for Legacy! 

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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