Magic: the Gathering
Frantic Searchin 2011, until finally in February 2013,
Empty the Warrenswere banned. The deck's strategy was so strong that even removing its engine with
Frantic Search, the archetype was reinvented and still managed to dominate the Metagame in a format that included Delver, Affinity, Infect (with
Invigorate), Mono-Black and Cloudpost. This means, in short, that it stood out as oppressive in a format that included other cards currently banned such as
Cloud of Faeries,
Expedition Map. Of course, for players who lived through the era,
Chatterstormwas a sign of concern and fear for the future of the format. Not only that, but several players commented in their Twitter accounts that it didn’t make sense for the card to be released as a common when other Storm cards that can actually win the game are banned from the format
We shouldn't.As a content creator, I often emphasize that we shouldn't press the panic button or overreact to what comes out in the Spoiler Season before we test and play with the card and see how its deck works and see if the format can adapt to the archetype before calling the card broken or asking for a ban. But Storm has compelling precedents at Pauper, it has only lost
Gitaxian Probeover the past eight years, earned new toys and its base remains entirely intact while the other decks don't really have enough to stop it. Recently, we saw Storm cards going into Historic like
Mind's Desirethrough Mystical Archives, and players thought they were going to break the format, but the archetype is not even among Tier 2 decks because the format lacks the elements needed to make Storm work. Pauper, on the other hand, has plenty of it:
Chatterstorm, but also to make it have an immediate impact on the board that will win the game in the same turn. The idea of joining
First Day of Classis fascinating. Not only will your creatures have haste when entering the board, they will also be 2/2 creatures (dodging, in this way, from
First Day of Classstill allows the deck to do exactly what it sets out to do: filter your hand while looking for the other pieces of the combo. With a little research and some testing, I believe that with the release of Modern Horizons II, you will probably face something like this:
Chromatic Spherein play; • When you feel you have the necessary elements or feel pressured to do the combo, you will use a significant number of rituals and draw spells to keep the card flow going until you have played at least 8 cards (but it is preferable to play more than this if possible); • Next, you will play
First Day of Class, and then play
Chatterstormwhich will count the Storm to 9 (8 spells played before and
First Day of Class), placing a total of 10 squirrels, who will enter with + 1 / + 1 counters and haste, totaling at least 20 damage when attacking. You don't even need to make a Storm in the first turns of the game for 9, considering that your opponent doesn't have the best means of interacting with you, there will always be the possibility to make a Storm for 5, put 5 2/2 tokens in turn 2 and go on a race with these creatures while recovering your resources if you don’t win the game in a few turns.
Echoing Decayto deal with the tokens, since Storm is an archetype that needs to use many of its resources in a single turn to be able to explode and win the game. Both cards are clean, low-cost answers that can be kept in hand with open mana from turn 2 onwards and are extremely effective for decks with threats and instant-speed spells like Faeries or Delver.
Fiery Cannonadealso falls into this category as yet another clean and direct answer against tokens (considering that the opponent has played only one
First Day of Class, as the spell's ability stacks) that can be used by red decks to deal with the opponent's aggression.
Cabal Ritualwhen the opponent is low on mana, playing
First Day of Class, among others are viable options to delay the deck plan enough to take the game. An important point about using counters against Storm is that this tactic will take time, patience and experience for players (where many have never faced a Storm deck in Pauper before) to learn which cards should be countered and when they should be countered.
Cleansing Wildfire, but the option is viable when used in the first turns of the game and against players with a greedy manabase.
First Day of Classand put that many tokens, so you will need to set a clock in the first turns or play several of these cards to punish the opponent in this way for this option to be good.
Prismatic Strandsand the like can hold the board long enough for you to be able to turn the tide in your favor or beat your opponent in the race (in the case of Boros Bully).
Weather the Stormis not the best option for dealing with this deck, as it will essentially gain 1 life for each spell cast (the tokens will be attacking as 2/2 creatures) and does not collaborate much if the opponent succeeds to use more than one
Flusterstormin Pauper. In addition, virtually all the answers we have are inefficient compared to what the deck does and even what the deck may have on their sideboard. If your answer is
Echoing Decay, it has
Duress. If his answer is
Trespasser’s Curseand the like, it has
Echoing Truth. If your answer is to prevent the damage, it has
Flaring Pain. If his answer is to race, it has
Weather the Storm. Do you want to counter any specific card during the combo? It has
Pyroblast. Do you want to discard their cards? It has
Deep Analysisand the like to generate card advantage. In other words, you use effects that are very focused on what the deck intends to do, while it uses cards that are universally good to deal with your answers. In this way, Storm becomes a highly redundant deck that, when piloted by experienced players who know the format well, becomes a real machine for winning games with enough consistency to polarize the format. I say polarize because, with the absence of more efficient means of hating-out Storm in Pauper, it is not just a specific kind of hate that will make you stand a better chance against the archetype. It's not a question of putting 4
Duresson the sideboard and hoping it will be enough: you will have to build your deck considering if it has enough to beat Storm OR if you simply accept losing to what can then become the most played deck of the format.
Echoing Truth. It is exactly the deck that the Storm should fear because normally the Faeries will have more answers than Storm has in terms of resources and disruption. Faeries' only weakness is that its clock is not fast enough to handle Storm if the game goes on too long, which leads us to the other archetype:
Delver of Secretsand mainly
Gurmag Angleraccumulate faster than the faeries. The issue, compared to the previous deck, is that Dimir Delver's threats are single cards and not several creatures attacking simultaneously, which means that cards that Storm can side-in like
Echoing Truthor even some removals are more efficient in delaying your game.
Wrench Mind, in addition to
Chittering Rats, delay the deck's plan. Land disruption like
Choking Sandsis a problem for a deck that uses Sac Lands for extra mana.
[Thorn of the Black Roseand
Gray Merchant of Asphodelstill offers a window of opportunity for the opponent to recover and go off. But I think the amount of disruption available in black is more than enough to make the match against black-based decks a nightmare for Storm.
Duress, can adopt more of these elements if necessary, and has a clean and smooth 4-turn clock against a deck that doesn't interact with it.
Temur Battle Rageis the largest clock among the format's Aggro decks. I could name other Aggro decks here, but I believe that a considerable portion of them can simply be completely countered out by a well applied
Weather the Stormby the opponent, and playing around the card means giving even more opportunities for the opponent to win with
Annoyed Altisaurare great cards to put pressure on the board as well.
Chatterstormand the other Modern Horizons II additions to Pauper will arrive at
June 18th. Particularly, I fear that Storm will continue to be too efficient for the format and, even though it has more answers now, the combination of
First Day of Classis powerful and could cause the format to totally change its way of building decks, needing to consider the rebirth of a threat that had been buried for the past eight years: Storm decks. I would like to be more optimistic about the inclusion of this card, and I even believe that the options available to answer it mean that some archetypes can compete with the combo fairly. However, I believe that it will take much more than just a few slots to deal with the archetype, which would make the format polarized and played around a strategy, which are clear signs of an unhealthy format. Because of that, my personal bet is that
Chatterstormdoes not last more than 45 days at Pauper after the release of Modern Horizons II. I hope to be wrong, after all new combos are always welcome to the format. Until then, I will be playing with this deck from Day 1 until the day of its fateful ban. (... Or if, by some force of chance, we are all wrong and realize that the card did not break the format.) Thanks for reading!