Sunday 22 December 2019
Twiddle Storm .dec
The basic plan is simple enough. Get a Lotus land into play either naturally on turn three if possible or "for free" after a Blood Sun. While the latter is typically a turn slower it is a whole lot more powerful. You get the bonus two mana from not needing to untap the Field or having to sac untapped lands for the Value. You also then get much more value back from cards like Frantic Search and Snap. Once you have your Lotus land in play you aim to tap and untap it generating mana as you do so which you use for dig and draw until you have enough storm to win with. Going off is always a little different and not uncomplicated at all. You can easily throw a game without any help from the opponent but as far as uninteractive combo goes it is about as interesting and fun as it gets. As with many other storm builds at least to some extent this list utilizes the power of big draw 7 effects, mass graveyard reuses, and Gifts Ungiven to set those things up.
This build has a lot of strengths over the alternatives in an objective sense. The lower curve compared to Heartbeat decks is much safer and more consistent. Not having to potentially give your opponent a turn with double mana before you can go off is also a big deal too! Compared to the ritual lists the Twiddle version has the big advantage of being all in house and having a greater redundancy. All the playable Rakdos Rituals combined do not come close to outnumbering just the blue options for untapping on or more lands in the same CMC range. Having Rituals in two colours is also pretty awkward when trying to go off.
This was my first real go at the deck and I can think of plenty of ways to tweak it already and yet it was powerful feeling, like top tier powerful. While it rarely goes off before turn four and cannot before turn three it still likely averages a sub four turn clock goldfishing. Consistency is what this list has in spades. There are plenty of cards I would happily play in this list too so it is not thin by any means. This was my first go at the build;
Reach Through Mists
Sleight of Hand
Peer Through Depths
Helm of Awakening
Cloud of Faeries
Eye of Nowhere
Vizier of Tumbling Sands
Aria of Flame
Past in Flames
Echo of Eons
The mana base was reasonable but even with all the looting I still felt a little land heavy. Next time round I would drop a land and go up a cantrip card, ideally Ponder. The land I would cut would be Thespian Stage. While it is nice to cheat out a second tap for three land the payoffs are few in number and it means you are slowing yourself down a bit to setup. Being a colourless land also cost me in one game. It is just a bit win more for no real need. It is noteworthy that sac lands are dodgy in a deck running Blood Sun. It didn't get me, the risk is a lot lower than with Stage and the upsides far greater but still, I would be wary of playing lots of sac lands.
The arcane package was cute but it wasn't actually all that relevant. When you got it then you went off a bit better but it really didn't seem important. Peer Through Depths is really annoying for not finding your land half of the combo or the things that find them. Eye of Nowhere is also a fairly uninteresting out card and would likely just be better as a Repeal, Cryptic Command or Blink of an Eye. Something with some more utility and ability to be found with Merchant Scroll. I would keep at least three of the arcane cards, probably four, as they are all just decent for what you are trying to do but you really don't need to lean on it heavily as the modern build of this archetype seems to.
Both Fatestitcher and even the Vizier felt a little luxury. While I certainly wouldn't cut the latter it was not as good as I was expecting. Sure, it is a card and a mana when you are going off which is amazing but it doesn't actually help out in any other way, it is not a target you can find with much, it doesn't get reduced in cost or count towards storm. It felt a bit like it clogged up opening hands and then drew me into lands when going off! Stitcher was great with looting and a dud otherwise. Like a Vizier in that he is pretty free gas when going off but also fails to trigger most of the things that win and fails to do much early. Due to needing more setup Stitcher is the obvious cut of the two.
Aria of Flame was a fine win condition but it could really have been anything, a Sentinel Tower, an Aetherflux Reservior, some other storm spell. None will really compare to Brain Freeze, being cheap, low setup, and a target for Scroll, but you do typically want a backup. Perhaps if permissible a Wish would be the best option as a backup win condition.
The rest of the list was all pretty much spot on. I would probably have liked another big draw or value effect which could have been a Yawgmoth's Will, a Time Twister, a Time Spiral, a Wheel of Fortune etc. Echo of Eons was outstanding however and would be my first choice again. Great with Gifts and great with the looting cards.
If I were to do this again I would try and run some green land ramp cards to see how that works out, ideally Growth Spiral and Explore. You go off rather more powerfully with at least two lands in play even if only one of them taps for more than one. Including some land ramp would make winning on turn three far more consistent. Also finding these ramp cards mid going off would be a big assist in a lot of cases. There are a lot of general things you can toss into a deck like this to include most cheap blue cantrips but these are some of the more specific cards I considered for the list;
Simian Spirit Guide
Baral, Chief of Compliance
Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner