Draw the Lightning - Standard

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

This is a community-submitted decklist from Anthony.



There are a few things I'm a big sucker for in Magic. Big creatures with a casting cost you can manipulate, activated abilities that are weak or pointless unless they're in just the right deck, counterspells in white, and enchantments with crazy abilities.


This deck caught my eye as soon as I saw that not only does this deck run 4 Thousand Year Storms, but it also has zero creatures. If that isn't worth giving a good ol' try, I don't know what is.

Gameplan

Given the name of the deck and the playset of Thousand Year Storms, the aim of this deck is to get down Thousand Year Storm, start casting cantrips until we find a Lightning Strike or Shock, then cast it and copy it enough times to kill our opponent.


In order to do this, we need:

1. At least one copy of Thousand Year Storm on the battlefield.

2. Enough mana to cast multiple cantrips a follow it up with a Lightning Strike.

3. To make it to this point before being run over by creatures.


Sticking to Jeskai colors (White, Blue, Red), we have tools to accomplish some of these goals better than others. Simply running 4 copies of Thousand Year Storm gives us both a better chance to get it into our hand and, if someone destroys or counters one, it gives us backups. We could also use counterspells to defend it, but this list doesn't run any. It's pretty difficult to have mana both to cast Storm and defend it with a counter in the same turn.


For the second objective, our best bet is simply to run enough lands, as the abundance of cantrips in our deck allows us to hit our land drops fairly consistently. Once we hit the 6 mana required for Thousand Year Storm, we're going to be pretty close to winning the game right there.


Number 3 is what we're best at here. With 11 board wipes and 2 Mass Manipulation, as long as we're hitting land drops, there's no way any creatures are sticking on the battlefield more than a turn or two. Deafening Clarion is our early game wipe, Settle the Wreckage not only can deal with recursive threats, but also forces our opponent to attack cautiously. Cleansing Nova can also wipe out troublesome enchantments and artifacts. I really like how all of our board wipes here have some kind of utility outside of simply killing all creatures.


Our cantrips are pretty varied. We have Opt, the staple cantrip of Standard right now, but also 4 copies of Tormenting Voice and Chart a Course, both 2 mana and require us to discard. Revitalize gives us a nice nudge on our life total as well as drawing. I like the choice of Pirate's Pillage over Chemister's Insight here. Yes, Insight draws more, but this is the kind of deck that really wants that extra mana.


We have a couple of 'contingency' plans as well in the form of Mass Manipulation and Clear the Mind. Manipulation takes care of planeswalkers. Clear the Mind keeps our multiple cantrips from decking us while we're going off.


This deck was submitted without a sideboard, so there's nothing to talk about there.


Playtesting

I want to start of by saying I didn't get as much playtime with this deck as I wanted. It was partially because I was busy, partially because I didn't have the wildcards to build this on Arena where I can consistently find opponents. I played against black-white aggro, gruul aggro, grixis control, and an unfamiliar bant brew.


With that out of the way, though: this deck was pretty fun.


Being so reliant on a particular card (Thousand Year Storm) does lead to some pretty swingy games. Sometimes, despite running 4 copies of it, I took a long time to find it or couldn't find it at all. Sometimes I had 3 copies in my hand and couldn't do anything but watch as my opponent ran me over. I will say the inclusion of so many cantrips and boardwipes made this deck a little more consistent than most combo decks I've played, but it's typically pretty difficult for a combo deck in Standard to be rock-solid in its consistency. It was nice at least to be able to discard away my extra Storms with my cantrips, something I wasn't really thinking about when I first saw this list.


Generally, against creature-based strategies, I felt pretty favored. Deafening Clarion did a good job of keeping the smaller, quicker creatures off my back, Settle really screwed up their attacks, and Cleansing Nova came in whenever they held back too much. The three board wipes complimented each other really well.


Against Grixis, however, trying to make any progress outside of drawing cards was a nightmare. I was using boardwipes on a single Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, discarding to both him and The Eldest Reborn, getting my Storms countered, etc. It was all-around a slow, unwinnable experience.


Changes

First, looking at the lands, the fact that Azorious Guildgate comes into play tapped did hurt me once, but I'm assuming the guildgates are in this list because it's a lot easier to play them on Arena than the superior Hallowed Fountain. So if you've got the Fountains, use those, or go a 2/2 split with Glacial Fortress.


As much as I love Mass Manipulation, we only have 12 blue sources in this deck, which isn't enough to cast it consistently. If we're looking to deal with planeswalkers, we can play Ixalan's Binding instead. I never looked to use it on creatures as they all die to board wipes anyways.


I would also go up to 4 copies of Lightning Strike, as it's useful as removal if we want to force our opponent to commit more to the board before we wipe it, plus it gives us some flexibility to when we can cast our Strikes. We're pretty limited at only 3 copies and while I know there's Clear the Mind, I don't want to be digging through our entire deck again just to find our win condition.


I don't have any more concrete changes for this deck. It's a combo deck at its core, and in Standard, you make it as consistent as you can, but in the end, its biggest hurdle is itself. I think this is a good build of Thousand Year Storm. You could add some counterspells to help against control, but if you're building this for Arena, you're going to see aggro a lot more than anything else.


That's all for today. Thanks for reading, go out and shock your opponents with this killer deck!


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