Come join me for a walk into chaos...
I gotta tell you, I had become a bit disenfranchised with the way my local meta was starting to shape up in Standard. So, I sat down and started into a generic search on Scryfall.com for rares and mythics that haven't been seeing a lot of play recently. I often do this when I'm fishing for inspiration. Within my search, I came across our namesake card, Thousand Year Storm. I remember this card getting so much hype but about halfway through the Guilds of Ravnica season, it was pretty much removed from every deck list running it in favor of Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Well, this time I decided it was time to break them out and try to build a competitive standard deck based around Thousand Year Storm, especially since the release of Ravnica Allegiance brought some really great spice into the mix.
I'm going to start off the breakdown with our only 2 nonland permanents in the deck. We of course will be running Thousand Year Storm, three of them in fact. This 6 mana enchantment is our main combo engine, and it is an extremely powerful one at that. Basically, once it resolves, whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell in a turn, you copy it for each other instant and sorcery spell that you cast that turn before it, effectively giving each of your cards an ability like Storm (hence the name). This card will absoluetly terrify your opponents once it is resolved, and you can guarantee they'll burn resources trying to remove it.
Now, since this card is our main engine, and it is 6 mana, we'll need to come up with a way for us to cast it a few turns early, if possible. In order to do this, we'll need to devote some of our spells to ramp. I would love to accomplish this by using cards like Grow from the Ashes or Circuitous Route, but to be honest our mana base just won't support these cards. Being that we are 3 color, we'll be running a lot of the rare dual lands that are available to us. So, if we aren't running the traditional ramp pieces, what will we be running? I personally chose to run 4 Growth Spiral and 3 Pirate's Pillage.
Growth Spiral is an instant for UG that reads, "Draw a card. You may put a land from your hand onto the battlefield." If you've been listening to The Main Phase, you probably have heard JB and I gush over this card. An instant speed Explore is an incredibly powerful effect. What I love about this spell is that it allows us to hold open mana on our opponent's end step to feign a counter and to cycle through our deck. When we have our Thousand Year Storm online, it is also especially hilarious. I've had turns where I cast 3-4 instants at the end of my opponent's turn, only to follow it up with the remainder of my mana to cast a Growth Spiral, draw another 4-5 cards and drop up to 4-5 lands onto the battlefield (untapped!) in order to continue to play out my hand and combo off. This card is completely bonkers and watching my opponent's agape mouth as I'm comboing off feels great man, feels great.
As far as Pirate's Pillage is concerned, this card isn't new to a Thousand Year Storm deck. It is basically an overcosted Tormenting Voice that also gives us 2 treasure whenever we cast it, effectively making it cost the same amount as a Tormnting Voice. However, in a deck that can copy spells, we can easily find situations where we are gaining an additional 2-6+ treasures for us to ramp into a big play. Now, what's really special about this card as well is that though part of the casting cost is discarding a card, whenever we copy the spell, we are able to shirk this cost, drawing us an additional 2 cards and giving us an additional 2 treasures per copy. Being sorcery speed, we'll only run the three copies, we'd like to see this card, but most of the time we'd like to cast spell on our opponent's turn, not ours.
It is also worth a mention that casting a Growth Spiral on turn 2 into a Pirate's Pillage on turn 3 gives us a turn 4 Thousand Year Storm. Nice.
Playing a Thousand Year Storm deck, we are going to want to be able to protect ourselves. So, we are running an extensive burn suite that gets us a ton of value and ultimately be our win condition. We are running a pair of Shock as well as a pair of Lava Coil. We also are running a full play set of Lightning Strike in the deck. All 3 of these spells are going to help us handle the majority of our opponent's creatures and can combo with our Thousand Year Storm to wipe the board, or in the example of Shock or Lightning Strike, can twenty our opponent easy with a good chain of spells.
We are also running 3 of Expansion//Explosion. Explosion allows us for some late game craziness as we ramp and ramp, allowing us at instant speed to then deal 4+ damage to the face or kill an opponent's creature while also drawing as many cards, refilling our grip. Not to mention, Expansion acts as our counterspell game one against control decks, as we can cast it to copy your opponent's counterspells, but can also be used to copy our opponent's other spells like Assassin's Trophy or Chart a Course. In fact, we can even use it to copy our own spells, and in addition to a Thousand Year Storm can make for some really absurd turns.
Lastly, in our burn package, we are also running 3 Electrodominance. This card is absolutely busted. The worst part about playing a Thousand Year Storm deck is the fact that we play it, and so long as it isn't countered, gives our opponent a full turn to deal with it. Well, with Electrodominance, that whole scenario can be mitigated. For XRR we get an instant that will deal X damage to any one target. Additionally, we can cast a spell from our hand that is converted mana cost X or less without playing its mana cost. What's so insane about this for our deck is that we can play this on our opponent's endstep X=6 and then play a Thousand Year Storm, completely circumventing any timing restrictions allowing us to untap with our mana and go off on our turn. Electrodominance completely changes the game for our win condition. Nolt to mention, if you have a Storm down, you can even have turns like this where you, say Shock your opponent, cast Electrodominance X=2, hold priority and cast Expansion copying Electrodominance. You then would get 5 total copies of Electrodominance X=2, allowing us to then play up to 5 more 1 or 2 drops for free from our hand, each spell being copied an additional time as our spells resolve. Honestly, some insane turns.
This deck actually runs quite a bit of value cards in its main list. 4 Opt found its way into the deck. This little cantrip has made waves in control decks ever since it was introduced into Standard back in Ixalan block. For U we get to scry 1 and then draw at instant speed. Really, very efficient and a nice cheap spell for us to cast. I prioritized Opt over rival cantrip Radical Idea for its in expensive cost and card selection. Radical Idea can be great, considering we can cast it from the graveyard, but from the games I've played, I really like Opt for the slot.
Instead, we are running a single Chemister's Insight in the list. This may feel weird to people that we are running only a single copy in the deck. I wanted to prioritze Pirate's Pillage as the 4 drop of choice, but still give us some instant speed draw 2 as well. Not to mention, since this card has Jump-Start we do have the option to cast it from the graveyard if we fizzle with a Thousand Year Storm on the battlefield. It fits really nicely, and I'm sure every one can agree on the power this card holds.
In order to get even more value out of our graveyard, we are also running a pair of Mission Briefing. I have been on the hype train for this card for a long time, and I think it has a lot of playability in non rotation formats like Modern, Commander, and maybe even Legacy. For UU we get to Surveil 2, then we can cast an instant or sorcery from our graveyard (any time we normally could cast it). Basically, this card turns into a psuedo-Snapcaster Mage. This card is absolutely busted with a resolved Thousand Year Storm. You can very likely see a series of spells like this:
Growth Spiral x2
Mission Briefing x3
Opt (From graveyard) x4
Growth Spiral (From graveyard) x5
Shock (from graveyard) x6
So, for 9 mana you can cast everything listed above. A feat that honestly is easier than it sounds. After our first Growth Spiral we would have scryed 1, drawn 3 cards, and gained 2 additional land drops that turn. After we Mission Briefing we get to Surveil 2 then cast a spell from the yard (assuming its opt). That again allows us to scry 1 and draw a card an additional 4 times (as we have 3 copies of Opt at this point). We then resolve the second Mission Briefing copy allowing us to Surveil 2 again following up with another Growth Spiral drawing us an additional 5 cards and giving us an additional 5 land drops. We then resolve the actual Mission Briefing spell, and if we haven't yet found a Lightning Strike or Shock to cast from our hand, we can always cast one from the graveyard to then copy it 5 times. The best part of this who sequence? It can be done at the end of our opponent's turn. Mission Briefing is the real deal.
We are also running a pair of Search for Azcanta. We don't run a ton of nonland permanents, so the ones we do need to be highly impactful. Search for Azcanta, as everyone knows, is just that. It allows us to filter the top of our library, dumping away unneeded lands or unimportant spells. Once we get seven cards in our graveyard, we then are able to flip Search for Azcanta into Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin. This land taps for a blue mana and allows us to pay 2U and tap it to look at the top 4 of our library and grab a noncreature spell and put it into your hand (I'll give you a hint, it targets our entire main deck.) On top of that, it becomes an excellent way to dig for our needed spells like Thousand Year Storm and both sides of the card even combo well with our next spell.
This next card is a ton of spice, but it does an incredible amount of work for us. We run a pair of Gaea's Blessing. I can feel your uncertainty. I promise you, this card is amazing in this deck. What's the one thing we know for a fact is going to happen to our Thousand Year Storm? That's right, its going to get countered or blown up if possible. This also allows us a way to get back all of our burn spells and value cards from our graveyard. For 1G we get a sorcery that allows us to shuffle up to 3 cards from our graveyard into our library and then we draw a card. Also, imagine this with a Thousand Year Storm in play. Let's say we cast this as our 3rd spell in the turn, we get to shuffle in 3 action spells and draw a card 3 times. It doesn't necessarily guarantee we'll draw action next, but let's just say its happened more than once. In fact, we can even loop Gaea's Blessing with another copy of it if we shuffle a copy of it into the library from the graveyard, allowing us the opporuntiy to do this action again in the future. Not to mention, it just straight hates on a Mill strategy, as we get the added ability to shuffle our graveyard back into our library if it hits our graveyard from the library.
So, how does this combo with Search for Azcanta? Well, despite being able to use the anti mill mode when using the front half of the card to shuffle important action spells back in, but let's say your opponent has already dealt with 2 of 3 of your Thousand Year Storms. You can then cast Gaea's Blessing, shuffle the 2 back into your deck, draw, and then dig with Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, increasing your odds of finding it again.
Lastly, for our value section, we are running a single copy of Precognitive Perception. Now, I can understand people maybe wanting to cut this and run an additional copy of say, Chemister's Insight, and really, that isn't a bad plan. However, I do like Precognitive Perception. For 3UU we get an instant that allows us to draw 3 cards. In addition, if we cast this on our main phase, we can scry 3 before drawing. I've played this spell before with and without a resolved Thousand Year Storm. Getting that scry 3 is incredibly important once you've stabilized in the game or digging for your win conditions. Also, being able to Opt or Shock on our opponent's end step, then cast this to draw 6? I mean, that gives us a full grip for 6 mana. It also gives us another decent target to cast off of an Electrodominance at the end of our opponent's turn (especially with a resolved Thousand Year Storm). Card can be really good, and in the match ups it isn't, it's an easy cut for better spells in our sideboard.
For our sideboard, we are running 3 Cindervines. Esper Control is our absolute worst match up, so being able to hate on all of the instants and sorceries decks like that want to be casting is amazing, it really makes your opponents second guess their decisions and can lead to instances where even without a Storm on the field, you can still burn your opponent out. Not to mention, hating on cards like Wilderness Reclamation or Ixalan's Binding is just icing on the cake. In addition to that, we are also running a single copy of Sprouting Renewal. Sometimes, we are going to need a blocker or 5 and having the option to cast this after a chain of spells with a resolved Storm can give us either another win condition or the ability to block on the ground aggro decks for a while. Not to mention, we do also have the ability to destroy multiple artifacts or enchantements should the need ever arrise.
Speaking of control, we also are running a few other hate spells for them. We are running 1 Negate and 3 Sinister Sabotage. Both are going to be helpful stopping our opponent's gameplan or removal and Sabotage with its Surveil 1 trigger can also combo with something like Gaea's Blessing. We are also running a pair of Niv-Mizzet, Parun in the sideboard. While this card isn't our main plan, I did include him in our sideboard. He is absolutely perfect against counterspell control as he can't be countered and quite literally almost every spell we cast will trigger his ability at least once. I've had games where I would sideboard this in as an alternative win condition and had comboed off drawing a ton of cards and pinging our opponent and their board to death.
While we struggle against control, we can also struggle against tokens list or fast, low to the ground aggro lists. So, against these lists we are running a pair of Fiery Cannonade. For 2R, we get an instant that will deal 2 damage to every non-pirate creature. This can either clear the board early for us, or combo with Storm to give us a much larger board wipe later. We also are running a pair of River's Rebuke. This spell acts as another board wipe for us, but also can bounce our opponent's nonland permanents like enchantements, artifacts, or planeswalkers. Speaking of planeswalkers, we are also running a single copy of The Immortal Sun, a legendary 6 mana artifact that will stop all planeswalker's abilities from being activated while also cheapening our spells by 1 colorless mana as well as giving us an additional card draw on our upkeep. It is a great card to cast with an Electrodominance on our opponent's end step.
When playing this deck, do not be afraid to burn your resources early as there are multiple ways of getting them back late game. Try to prioitize your burn spells like Explosion or Electrodominance to hit your opponent to the chin, but if you can't they make great answers to larger creatures or planeswalkers. If you can, always cast your Electrodominance when your opponent taps down their mana, as this will help fight the counter wars; however, if they don't tap down, cast it anyways directing the damage to your opponent's most impactful resource and try to bait the counter. If they don't, still don't be afraid to cast your Thousand Year Storm (and especially a Niv-Mizzet, Parun) on the free cast as you can get it back later if it is countered. Also, Don't be afraid to use Expansion to copy your opponent's draw spells or to hold it back to act as a counterspell in the right match up. As you are storming off, be sure to prioritze your lower mana spells and cantrips so that way you can get your most value off of a Growth Spiral or Pirate's Pillage to continue the storm. When sideboarding, do not remove either copy of Gaea's Blessing, you'll be surprised about how much it can help with the deck.
This deck was a ton of fun to build and even more fun to play. It is surprisingly consistent with all of the card draw and feels amazing when you are able to get turns where you can drop an additional 4+ lands onto the battlefield untapped in order to continue a storm kill. I can't guarantee you'll go 5/0 with the list, but I can promise that you'll have a ton of fun piloting the deck. This is a very difficult deck to pilot, as you need to remember all of your triggers, copies, and interactions as the game progresses. Games will run long, and can be a bit of a grind, so if that's something you like, give this deck a try. I think you'll really enjoy it.