Abusing the storm mechanic is a tale as old as Scourge. This mechanic has led players to take an absurd number of game actions for almost 20 years and Legacy is one of the formats that let you take advantage of the mechanic to its fullest. While there have been really defined blue/black versions of the deck for a long time now, over the past few years there have been some key printings supporting a Mono-Red Storm variant that’s begun to pick up steam. Recently, the archetype performed well in an Online Challenge in the hands of player TonyScapone. While it isn’t the most dominant deck Legacy has to offer, it’s certainly a competitor and relatively novel archetypes are always fun to explore.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the deck list.
Legacy Mono-Red Storm by TonyScapone
Like most Storm decks, the plan of this deck is fairly linear. You use rituals and cost-reducing artifacts to generate as much mana as possible while casting cards like Ignite the Future to generate card advantage. Then, you use Burning Wish to tutor up a way to keep going, like Past in Flames, or a win condition, like Grapeshot.
A lot of the cards provide a fair amount of optionality though, and there are a lot of choices to make throughout the game. Since this deck doesn’t really have access to the traditional cards Storm decks play, such as Brainstorm and Dark Ritual, many of the cards played in this deck are pretty unique to the archetype. Let’s take a look at the card choices and break down why each serves its purpose.
This is essentially the lynchpin of the archetype, as the mana generation it provides is incredible. Being an artifact makes it challenging to interact with and while in play, it’ll often be trivial to generate huge amounts of mana. This is likely the card you want to see in your opening hand the most, as it just provides a consistent advantage over the course of the game.
A newcomer to the archetype, Birgi/Harnfel was a substantial gain for the archetype. Birgi makes every spell in the deck generate an extra mana, which adds up very quickly. There’s a downside to playing creatures in an otherwise creatureless deck, thus opening up removal as a meaningful piece of disruption. However, the mana generation can often start right away with cards like Lotus Petal, which limits the time your opponent has to disrupt you in that way. Attacking for three can also make it easier to kill your opponent with Grapeshot a bit later.
The Horn is much more expensive, but it’s an excellent way to keep the card flow going in the deck. Quickly ramping this out with Seething Song is going to provide a consistent source of card flow, which should allow you to easily get the ball rolling.
Burning Wish is perfectly set up for this type of deck. Not only does it mean that this deck essentially plays four copies of its win condition without having to draw a narrow card at the wrong time, but the optionality it provides is as endless as the pilot wants. In conjunction with Lion’s Eye Diamond, you can generate any color of mana you need, so the tutor options are plentiful. Oftentimes, you’ll get a card like Past in Flames or Echo of Eons to keep chaining cards, but there’s a wide selection of card draw spells, removal and win conditions so that you can find the right tool for the job.
These are some really potent “card draw” effects that help provide the valuable resources you need to keep going off. Ignite the Future has a substantial upside in its flashback cost, as casting three cards for free off the top of your deck is extremely effective. Eight mana is a lot, but this deck is excellent at generating large amounts of mana. Jeska’s Will, on the other hand, has the optionality of being an incredibly potent ritual depending on how many cards your opponent has in their hand.
These are some straightforward rituals that help get your combo off the ground. Seething Song and Manamorphose both get quite a bit better with Medallion in play and Rite of Flame gets better as you draw more of them (what a shocker). All of these rituals really let you go off with Past in Flames, so if you draw a critical mass of them, consider going down that path.
Just like in the Karn Forge deck discussed last week, Defense Grid is an invaluable tool against blue decks. While this deck is actually kind of resilient to cards like Force of Will, seeing as they often have to counter the card draw spells like Ignite rather than cards like Burning Wish, Defense Grid applies an additional layer of protection, making it so any deck relying on countermagic will have to shift gears away from disruption in order to win.
Again, similar to the Karn Forge deck, this is just a relatively straightforward engine to include in the deck that gives you access to a burst of cards in the middle of a combo turn. Lion’s Eye Diamond works really well with other cards like Burning Wish and Harnfel, Horn of Bounty and, as with most Storm decks, can be a huge burst of mana during a combo turn.
Just some free artifacts that generate mana. Having a relatively high density of these is important because of the cards like Ignite the Future. Those spells are somewhat expensive to cast, so you might not have excess mana laying around. Free artifacts let you keep going off and generating value even if you don’t have any mana to cast spells.
A lot of these deck guides include comments about these cards, and that’s for good reason. They’re some of the most effective forms of mana generation that Legacy has to offer and they fit into this deck quite well. Casting Ruby Medallion on turn one or casting Seething Song on turn two is an incredibly effective strategy, so these cards are invaluable. However, this deck does care about having a density of mana, so City of Traitors is mostly a bit worse than Ancient Tomb.
This is a nice way to get some extra value out of your mana base with a relatively low cost. Tapping for blue provides a bit of extra value with Echo of Eons in the mix, as well.
Having this many basics helps make this deck immune to Wasteland, which really helps you develop your mana across the length of a game.
Against blue decks, this is the best card to have, so bringing in more copies will help you go off more safely.
Another anti-blue sideboard card, ramping to this early will certainly take over the game against almost any blue deck. It has some extra functionality against decks relying on creatures like Elves, so if you need some extra help there, this card can be useful.
These are all card draw spells that come into play at different times. Echo of Eons pairs well with Lion’s Eye Diamond and Reforge pairs well with a lot of red mana. Peer into the Abyss is the riskiest because of the relatively high mana cost but it’s the most powerful, so if you know they don’t have disruption and can afford the cost, turn to that option.
These are the ways to Burning Wish for removal spells and they definitely come in handy. If you know you won’t be going off anytime soon or just need to get a bothersome creature off the board, don’t be afraid to just tutor one of these and buy yourself some time.
These are the win conditions, and which one you choose will depend on the situation. If you know they don’t have disruption and can cast a fast Burning Wish with some storm count, Empty the Warrens is probably pretty safe. Grapeshot requires a bit more effort, but it’s not too hard to keep that going in any game that you’re successfully going off in. As an added upside, Grapeshot is also somewhat effective at clearing the board if there’s a lot of bothersome creatures pressuring you.
One of the key engines in the board, this will let you keep going off with rituals and “card draw” spells. Be wary that Burning Wish exiles itself, so you can’t recast it from the graveyard after you get Past in Flames.
- If you need to save on mana, you can always Burning Wish in advance. This has the additional benefit of getting a potential Force of Will out of their hand before you commit resources.
- Manamorphose can fix your mana for Echo of Eons, so don’t fire them off needlessly.
There are a lot of directions to take this, but I like trimming on Birgi and Chrome Mox. They’ll probably leave in cards like Lightning Bolt, so Birgi might be a bit of a liability. Also, Null Rod is a pretty common sideboard card, so relying on Chrome Mox for mana production might be pretty rough (this is also a knock against Harnfel, which I think makes the Birgi cut even better).
Out: 3 Chrome Mox
Trying to be a bit grindier is going to be effective here, and Chrome Mox requires a bit too much of a commitment if you’re going to play a longer game. The same cards come in here as they do against Delver since they’re so effective against any fair blue deck.
Death and Taxes
Out: 3 Defense Grid
Defense Grid has no text box here, so it’s an easy cut. I actually like bringing in the extra Grapeshot, as it gives you some removal that you can draw into. The advantage of this is that Death and Taxes is great at making your plays slow and awkward, so you might just need to draw cards in a timely manner. It might be worth bringing in the Chain Lightning for that reason, especially if you’re afraid of Sanctum Prelate, so keep that in mind.