PO Storm Tuning?
@VSarius I'm glad to see others also warming to the idea of top deck tutors as viable again. While storm is a "simple" strategy, it is still depressing on the odd occasion when you PO for four or five and somehow manage not to get the gas you need (or another PO) to win. Nothing is more disheartening than starting to go off and just whiffing! Vamp and Mystical seem to really get you there, especially with probe.
Two things I notice, you have two Grim Monolith but cut chrome and LED, do you find yourself missing the mana fixing? I have been toying with adding one more basic Island OR even a tundra to get off a fragmentize. I Have actually (only once or twice) enjoyed LED before jar or after yawgmoths will. But it is rare, and most times I end up glaring at chrome Mox and LED if I happen to top deck them.
How are you handling Null Rod and spheres game one? Or does 4x Force do the job with the one chain?
I guess what brassman alluded to above is tweaking this list to be a Tiny bit less splashy and a Tiny bit more techy to make turn one thorn less of a death sentence.
Ultimately I like this deck, like I said, as sort of a great "ad" for vintage because it goes off crazy bananas and is very fun to play for someone like me. Also if you hand it to a friend to try out, they can figure it out quickly and get into the vintage spirit and start brainstorming their own lists. There is a lot of synergy, couple of ways to win and the path to getting there feels varied game to game.
@BandsWithOthers I've always been a sucker for tutors ever since the olden days of Burning Wish-based combo decks; the flexibility that they offer is something I honestly really appreciate. Yes, that's actually one of the things I noticed - your first PO really requires you to find either more mana+Draw7 or another PO, with Mystical+Vamp adding redundancy you end up with higher odds of hitting one of those spells that assist you with continuing to go off, and as you said; with Probe they become essentially 1-mana Demonic Tutors for the purposes of the deck.
The downside is of course, that they open you up to Mental Misstep which a low-tutor variant of PO is far more resilient against. On the other hand, it does mean that in g2/g3 if they have not seen your tutors yet, they are less likely to have the Missteps; if they have - perhaps they have boarded in less more disruptive and disastrous hate.
I definitely have not missed LED or Chrome Mox. Chrome Mox was probably close to 80% of the time just an Ornithopter that can't chump block, while LED as you said - was useful for mana in a very rare situation. Primarily either with a hold-priority Draw7 or YawgWill. Missing them hasn't really made me feel like I have less colored mana in a noticeable way. Mox Opal really puts in overtime on that regard and the hands where you don't have it feel quite a bit worse.
The reason I like the 2x Monoliths is along with Mana Vault, they give you something to do with Key outside of the Infinite Turns combo. Being able to use Key to generate those excess levels of colorless or filtering the colorless from monolith/vault/crypt into colored with Moxen has been quite often a crucial interaction.
I could definitely see running a 10th land. Tundra for Fragmentize is interesting. I do think that a second answer to turn 1 Sphere/Stony Silence/Thorn is a way that the deck could be tuned a bit to be able to actually win games on the Draw. Though, I've found that quite a bit vs. Shops the tutors are off finding me Chain of Vapors - which helps a bit in regards to dealing with a quick hatepiece, it's usually too slow vs. a Shops deck that is on the Play as they can follow up the first piece with either another tax effect or a Wasteland (or both), then you are guaranteed to lose.
So yeah, game 1 it's generally tutor for Chain unless I have the Force for it. Of course, the best is simply being on the Play and turn 1'ing the opponent, which the deck definitely is likelier to do than any other Storm iteration I have played in the past.
One of the cards that I'm most skeptical on keeping in the deck is actually Desire. I like the package that you get with Tinker, especially vs. Shops where you can bring in a Blightsteel Colossus for the quick win even thru a tax effect - but Desire has usually just been a very win-more card. It's a bit too hard to cast as your opening spell, while if it's chained into from multiple POs; you were very likely to get there with any Business spell.
It definitely is like you said, a poster-boy for what people THINK of Vintage when they don't play it a lot. An almost Highlander pile of busted restricted cards that Tendrils you for 50 copies.
Not the Storm version, but the thought occurred to me that Mind Twist could be great in a PO shell. So I put three copies in and jumped in a queue. I played turn 1 Underground Sea, two Mox, Mana Crypt, Mind Twist for 4, and next turn Mind Twist for the remaining three cards with a 2nd Twist. Worth further testing!
@Brass-Man I haven't made this statement you just did for fear of it being too controversial, but I'm glad that I'm not the only one that feels this way. I have most certainly played RItual-based storm a lot more than PO Storm, but I do remain unconvinced that it's actually better. It feels flashier, certainly. It is also weak to different things, such as Null Rod instead of things like Misstep.
I've personally won more with Ritual Storm than PO Storm in the recent past. Is this because of the way the metagame is moving? Is it because I'm more comfortable with Ritual Storm? Is it because I've faced more null rods than normal? Obviously this is just my personal experience which might not necessarily match up to others, but I definitely agree that Ritual-based Storm is highly under the radar because a lot of people remain convinced that PO is just better. I don't think it is.
@BazaarOfBaghdad Interesting. Are there any other shells playing Mind Twist in vintage these days? Long type decks relied a lot more on hand disruption, but I'm not sure if thought seize/canal therapy isnt just better as cheaper plays against specific targets but other, wiser players may weigh in with more wisdom.
I could imagine mindtwist being satisfying against Workshop and similarly less recursive decks. It would be an absolute death knell on the play vs dredge though ;)
@Hrishi Does moving to ritual lose ground against Gush in the current meta? Or is it just six of one half a dozen of the other misstep vs null rod?
I think also there's a sense with PO that you could also be setting up key Vault or tinkering out a robot or something as opposed to just building respectable storm count for an expedient win. It adds to the feel that PO is giving you more gas.
Playing Against PO storm it has a uniquely demoralizing effect as you're getting wheeled/twitstered to smithereens while your opponent lands bomb after bomb. Perhaps there's at least some marginal psychological advantage against less prepared opponents?
@BandsWithOthers Well, it's possible that it's more demoralising for sure! The overkill that PO storm sometimes delivers up is pretty damn satisfying. But personally I guess I've never seen somebody's face get so instantly demoralised compared to when you cast that initial Dark Ritual on your winning turn and they have this horrible realisation that they're going to lose right there.
Personally, I didn't feel I lost ground versus Gush, it just felt that I cared about Misstep rather than Null Rod. So it felt like my priorities shifted. I do feel like if you want to beat Gush with Ritual Storm, you can. You simply lose ground versus Thorn decks, so it's a delicate balance. Since you mentioned Tinker -> Robot, I should mention that I have been playing Ritual-based Storm with a maindeck Tinker and Robot as well. It's sometimes your best course of action versus Thorn-based decks.
Apologies for derailing the thread a bit. :)
@VSarius I've been waiting to reply a couple of days to see if more sage voices than mine could weigh in! I tend to wonder if people just have a bit of distaste for this particular build of storm because of its simpler lines of play?
I could definitely see losing Desire. But as I just posted in reply to another comment, in tandem with BrassMan's "PO Storm feels better but probably isn't" thought, seeing desire go off in the middle of a PO chain is a dismal, demoralizing thing. That said, if you cut chrome mox, led and desire, you could shoehorn in a tundra, a fragmentize and either that second monolith or even maybe a control piece?
I have been toying around with pulling in a flusterstorm or mindbreak trap to protect a turn going off without Defense Grid, or in the mirror?
Part of my original hope in posting was finding out if there was a strong side board plan that better combats null rod and taxing effects without defanging the deck considerably, or even transforming to something more controlling. Thoughts there?
@BandsWithOthers If you can't beat Stony Silence, I wouldn't play this deck. The best course I've found is Defense Grid plus answer: Fragmentize if splashing white, Nature's Claim if green, Wear/Tear if rainbow lands, Chain of Vapor if you want to narrow your window but stay in blue (not recommended).. These all come in to help Hurkyl's Recall in the Shops matchup. The other option, and can be played alongside the removal spells is to play Mentor and just try to use their presence to pump him up enough. I tend to like the resiliency over the explosiveness and overload on bombs until one hits.
Re:Ritual vs. PO
It's a complicated question and one that becomes more muddled as you add cards like the 1cmc tutors and 1cmc anti-hate to PO; since it opens you up to Mental Misstep a lot more, and as such nullifies one of the more strategic advantage of the deck. However, it's worth pointing out that Ritual-based Storm is significantly more hampered by Graveyard hate (specifically Tormod's or Leyline, though I suppose RiP also falls into this category) than PO. It relies on YawgWill and Dark Petition w/ Spell Mastery quite a bit. Given that graveyard hate will always be a thing in Vintage, and in rather large numbers - I don't feel that Ritual Storm actually manages to sneak in under the blanket of hate that PO faces.
Now, what are the advantages of it? Well no one is running maindeck Tormod's Crypt or Leyline. On the other hand, you also aren't as likely to just win the die roll and kill your opponent right then and there. In terms of the raw power, PO blows it out of the water.
I've been toying around with a few things. Mindbreaks in the side, Mindbreaks in the main. I quite like the Mindbreaks in general. Especially in the mirror where a single Force on the Draw is often just not enough to save you from the opponent doing silly degenerate things. I have yet to really settle on a sideboard configuration that I like, but I do enjoy how much room you actually have with this deck. Outside of the obligatory 4x Hurkyl's, 1x Blightsteel, and 2x Flusterstorm, the rest really feels quite transient. I think you likely want a total of 3-4 ways of removing troublesome hatepieces between the main and side as well. Currently I'm trying out Disenchants to bypass that prior mentioned Mental Misstep issue.
The one thing I am definitely sold on is the Torrential Gearhulk though. Card has been absolutely amazing. Between ease of hard-casting, pitching to Force, being able to get value even vs. Swords to Plowshares, and turning Tinker into a PO (after the first has been cast) - while actually being a pretty respectable body against the crap that White Eldrazi/Shops populate the board with, it has just been fantastic.