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Much Abrew: Zacama Storm (Standard)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, the crazy Standard combo deck Zacama Storm was by far the most popular deck, which means we are heading to Standard this week to see if we can go (almost) infinite with Zacama, Primal Calamity and Panharmonicon! Is it possible that using Zacama, Primal Calamity to untap our lands a whole bunch of times before winning with Walking Ballista is a legitimate plan? That's what we're about to figure out! 

Before we get to the videos, you'll probably notice that our Much Abrew this week is all one video, which gives Zacama Storm a bit of an Against the Odds feel. This is perfect because Zacama Storm looks a lot like an Against the Odds deck. If you have feedback on the one-video format, make sure to let us know in the comments! Anyway, let's get to the videos, and then we'll have some thoughts on the deck.

Just a quick reminder: if you enjoy the Much Abrew About Nothing series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Much Abrew: Zacama Storm (Standard)


  • As far as our record, we finished 2-3, and I was thrilled with the result. Heading into the matches, I was worried that we wouldn't combo off at all (or win a match), but that worry proved to be unfounded.
  • Let's start with the good news about Zacama Storm. First, the combo has to be one of the sweetest ways to win in Rivals of Ixalan Standard. When we get everything assembled, it really did feel like we were playing a storm deck. Second, we comboed off a pretty reasonable percentage of the time (about 40% of the time). Third, even if we don't combo off, if we can ramp into Zacama, Primal Calamity, we have a pretty good chance at winning the game, and we have a lot of ramp to get there. 
  • Most importantly, the deck is really fun when we get the right draw. While we have to suffer through some non-games to get there, it's amazing once we do. 
  • As for the bad news, let's start by talking about the deck in general, and then I want to talk about a couple of specific cards. First, the deck is really slow. Most of the time, slow decks get away with being slow by having a lot of removal, but our deck is both slow and very light in removal, which sometimes leaves us just crossing our fingers and hoping we don't die until Turn 6 or 7, which isn't all that practical, especially against aggro decks. Second, while we have a lot of synergy once we get a Zacama, Primal Calamity down, we don't have very much synergy outside of the combo itself. We have a lot of cards that are only good when we are comboing off, which sometimes leaves us with a lot of uncastable cards over the early turns of the game. 
  • As for individual cards, there are three that I think are worth talking about. Censor feels really weird in the deck. While cycling away is nice, the problem is that Censor isn't a reliable way to protect ourselves on Turn 2. If we are on the draw, we can't use it to answer a Winding Constrictor, for example, which often leaves us in a position where we are essentially dead on Turn 2. Replacing it with something like Abrade that deals with a two-drop on the play or the draw is probably ideal.
  • Wayward Swordtooth is the card that gets my vote for most misunderstood from Rivals of Ixalan. People tend to stick it in decks as a ramp card, but unless you are really built around it, it often doesn't play like a ramp spell because you need to have extra lands in hand for it to do anything. Something like Spring // Mind is probably just better in the deck, while incorporating a Desert package and using Hour of Promise is another good possibility.
  • Finally, one of the things that drove me crazy about Zacama Storm is that Panharmonicon only interacts with Zacama, Primal Calamity. This means we're often left taking off our fourth turn to cast Panharmonicon while not getting any value from the artifact for several more turns. Adding in a handful more enters-the-battlefield creatures to take advantage of the fact we are running a full set of Panharmonicons seems like a good plan.
  • So, should you play Zacama Storm? It's a great option if you want to get the "I comboed off with Zacama" merit badge. The deck also feels like a blast to play at the kitchen table (or even at an FNM for fun). On the other hand, the deck is a bit slow and lacking in removal to really compete, which makes it feel more like an Against the Odds deck than something you'd expect to win a tournament with. If you do decide to pick up the deck, here's a (very lightly) updated build that fixes some of the issues we've been talking about.


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! If you have any feedback on the one-video format, make sure to leave it in the comments, along with your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and suggestions. As always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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