Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Magic - Putting Possibility Storm to Use

Following last week's release of Dragon's Maze, I have acquired three copies of the bizarre Possibility Storm.  At first glance, the card seems downright terrible - it has the potential to transform a low-costing spell into a high-costing one, but it's random and could benefit your opponent, so it doesn't seem like a consistent or controllable win condition.

However, the card's nuances give some interesting possibilities.  First, Possibility Storm triggers off of casting a spell (which doesn't resolve), and then allows you to cast a second spell instead, so it plays very well with a card like Curse of Exhaustion - if your opponent can only cast one spell each turn, Possibility Storm will stop them from playing any spells ever.  It's a two-card combo for total shutdown.

Second, Possibility Storm only affects spells cast from your hand.  Alternatives like Flashback (casting from your graveyard), effects like Melek, Izzet Paragon's (casting from your library), or creature abilities can all be controlled to avoid the downside of random casting.  Melek is a particularly nice partner for the Storm because it could help you cast non-instants and sorceries predictably as well; if the revealed card at the top of your library is a creature, you can cast a different creature knowing what you're going to get.

The more I've thought about Possibility Storm, the more I think it's an awesome card - if you can control it

Building a deck around the Storm requires a number of features: early game aggression (or pure defense, although aggression helps win), expensive spells to Storm into (it is silly to cast a 3-drop creature and get a 1-drop instead), and some way to manipulate the Storm to remove the chance of it.  A card like Curse of Exhaustion is a huge plus, as it turns the random downside into a fatal condition for your opponent, but I don't think it's entirely necessary.

Anyway, I put together a Possibility Storm deck that showed some promise.  I unfortunately never really got to use the Storm (I only got it into play once in seven games, and I lost that game...), but I think this serves as a proof-of-concept.  Here's the current form of the deck:

3 Blistercoil Weird
4 Goblin Arsonist
1 Nivmagus Elemental
1 Somberwald Vigilante
1 Ashmouth Hound
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
1 Mercurial Chemister
2 Melek, Izzet Paragon
1 Chancellor of the Forge
1 Utvara Hellkite

2 Geistflame
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Battle Hymn
2 Annihilating Fire
2 Thunderous Wrath

2 Boros Signet
2 Boros Cluestone

1 Curse of Exhaustion
3 Possibility Storm

2 Boros Guildgate
5 Island
14 Mountain
2 Sulfur Falls

I tried to balance early aggression with the Possibility Storm finish, which, as it turns out, is rather difficult.  In most of the games I won, it was primarily due to the hardcore aggression in the early game.  The main goal of this deck is to pack the board with tons a creatures to overwhelm my opponent's defenses once Storm screws up their plans.

When Storm is in play, I can use Melek's ability to control it a bit or avoid it altogether, I can cheat some of the big creatures into play for much lower costs, and I can (hopefully) get the Curse out to stop my opponents entirely.

The biggest flaw I found is that this deck doesn't really ramp up very well.  All the power comes from relatively low-costing creatures, so the probability of Storm helping me play something expensive is pretty low.  As such, Storm's value is primarily in its ability to disrupt my opponent's plans, although it may benefit them, too, as they might end up casting Kozilek, Butcher of Truth.

Still, I think there's something to the Possibility Storm deck.  I'm hoping that it can become a beast with some more tweaking.

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