Full Force drafting is a series dedicated to forcing archetypes in draft formats. Join me every Thursday as we learn the ins and outs of the most recent Magic draft formats.
“Some are born to Storm, some achieve Storm, and some have Storm thrust upon them.”
– Some Old English Dude, Probably
This week, I have Storm thrust upon me. Storm is arguably the hardest archetype to draft in Cube, which is almost certainly the most difficult draft format. I will normally claim a level of expertise in my videos, but to be entirely fair to you, I think Storm is what I am weakest at drafting. The skill level for both drafting and playing it is exceptionally high and requires a lot of practice and with how rare Cube is and that I never play Legacy or Vintage Storm decks my practice is lacking. I can give a few pointers though and we can certainly have some fun.
One of the reasons Storm is so hard to draft is that there are a lot of different ways to make a “Storm” deck. Your Storm deck can be mostly Blue/Green and try to make use of the power of Fastbond/Gush and other draw spells (Timetwister/Time Spiral are particularly powerful with Fastbond), or use Heartbeat of Spring and the “free” untap spells to generate mana (Frantic Search, Time Spiral, Palinchron, or Turn About) so you can stack a bunch of spells to hit a Brain Freeze or other finisher. Or you can be base Black/Red and try to generate free mana with the ritual cards like Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual, and Seething Song, then use Yawgmoth’s Bargain and “tutors” like Vampiric Tutor, Demonic Tutor, or Imperial Seal to find your finisher and win. Or you can combine both styles with a lot of mana fixing. Because of this flexibility, it makes it hard to give hard and fast recommendations for what to pick early in Storm.
One recommendation I can give without reservation is to pick up your finishers early. It’s possible to wheel a Tendrils of Agony, Empty the Warrens, or Brain Freeze, but if you miss them you can easily end up in a deck that can draw seven cards almost every turn and make free mana and never win because it has no finisher. On that same note, pay attention for alternate win conditions. The advantage of a good Storm deck is how much early mana it can generate and how many cards it can draw. That’s an advantage that translates across a lot of different combo archetypes and can give you other ways to finish a game. If you see a Tinker, Oath of Druids, or Sneak Attack, with nothing else great in the pack, pick it up. It’s not hard to get one or two incidental big creatures that you can slip into the deck and win with out of nowhere and there’s no guarantee that you’ll see a Storm card to win the game with.
Another key to Storm, or any good Cube deck, is your mana fixing. Because Storm easily has the flexibility to be four or even five colours, you want to get good mana fixing so you can reliably take and play all the most powerful cards you see. Storm decks in my experience often end up to be piles of cards that do broken things, whether it’s drawing cards (Wheel, Yawgmoth’s Bargain, Memory Jar, Timetwister, Time Spiral) or generating fast mana (Lotus, Moxen, etc.) or something entirely unique (Fastbond, Yawgmoth’s Will). If you end up with enough powerful spells that dig you deeper, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to find odd ways to win out of nowhere. It’s not unlikely to hit a draw seven and realize you can just win, even if you’ve tapped all your mana, but you need to have the mana to play all these diverse colours.
If you are serious about learning how to draft and play Storm in Cube, the best recommendation I can make is to not just watch the drafts, but also the matches. Good play in a Storm deck is incredibly important and you can learn a lot watching the different lines players will take, good or bad.
As an extra bonus this week, I’ve included the Streamer Showdown Cube match from Thursday! See you next week!