Deck Guide of the Day: Paradoxical Storm

As far as I can tell, it’s the most powerful deck in the history of Magic. I’m a long time fan of Vintage Storm Combo, and it’s rare for me to get excited about anything other than my Dark Rituals and Yawgmoth’s Bargain. But when I saw the Kaladesh spoiler, I had a hunch that Paradoxical Outcome might be something special.

paradoxical-outcomedark-ritualyawg-bargain

Some of Magic’s most powerful cards are the ones that draw you extra cards. Timetwister, Wheel of Fortune, and Necropotence, for example. Some of Magic’s most powerful cards are the ones that generate fast mana. Black Lotus, Dark Rituals, and the Moxen, for example.

timetwisterwheel-of-fortunenecropetenceblack-lotus

But what are truly special are the ones that can do both at the same time, representing the entirety of an unstoppable engine, all rolled into a single card. In the past, Yawgmoth’s Will and Time Spiral have fit the mold. Now we get to add Paradoxical Outcome to the list.

yawg-will

The goal is to get a few pieces of artifact mana into play and use them to cast Paradoxical Outcome, which draws some cards and “resets” the artifacts (you will be able to play them again untapped). Often, this will draw you into more artifacts and another copy of Paradoxical Outcome, which you can cast for an even bigger effect. In this way, things snowball until you can draw your whole library and win the game as you see fit. Our win condition  is a single copy of Tendrils of Agony. There’s value in devoting the smallest possible number of slots to your win condition. Having Tendrils also allows you to stumble upon the Black Lotus into Demonic Tutor, into Yawgmoth’s Will draws that Traditional Storm Combo loves so much.

tendrils-of-agonydemonic-tutor

This deck is all about achieving critical mass for Paradoxical Outcome, the most common play pattern with this deck usually involves a “preliminary” card draw spell. This could be a “draw seven” like Timetwister or Wheel of Fortune, or it could be using a Merchant Scroll or Demonic Tutor to find Ancestral Recall. By the time you’ve done that, you’ve typically found enough artifacts to begin an inexorable chain of card drawing, and win the game. Since Paradoxical Outcome Storm is primarily a blue deck, it’s tempting to build a very conservative mana base. But it would be a mistake to give up on the ultra powerful Wheel of Fortune. Even though the cost is adding a full extra color, Wheel of Fortune is simply one of the best cards in the deck.

merchant-scrollancestral-recall

Paradoxical Outcome Storm has comparable speed to more traditional Dark Ritual based Storm decks. Undisrupted, it can win on turn 1 between 15% and 20% of the time. It will win by turn 2 something in the ballpark of 70% of the time. Now “undisrupted” is very ambitious to hope for since the Vintage metagame is divided between Workshop decks, disruptive creature decks, and permission decks. Thankfully, I believe that Paradoxical Outcome Storm is stronger than other combo decks against all three of these. Having enough blue cards to support Force of Will gives the deck a fighting chance against permanent-based disruption, even when you lose the die roll. Whereas Traditional Storm lives in fear of a turn 1 Trinisphere, Paradoxical Outcome Storm can at least hope to cast Force of Will and earn a turn of reprieve. The other major difference is having all artifact mana instead of Rituals. Against something like Workshops, you can put your mana into play in advance of a Sphere of Resistance. Against permission decks, your entire game plan need not crumble when the big spell you’ve accelerated out gets countered. Finally, whereas Mental Misstep is one of the absolute best cards against Dark Ritual decks, it actually has very few exciting targets against Paradoxical Outcome Storm.

fowmental-misstep

Here’s the full list:

Spells (51):

1 Yawgmoth’s Will
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Emerald
1 Black Lotus
1 Lotus Petal
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
4 Mox Opal
3 Chrome Mox
2 Grim Monolith
1 Memory Jar
2 Defense Grid
4 Force of Will
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Paradoxical Outcome
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Timetwister
1 Windfall
1 Brainstorm
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Ponder
1 Tinker
1 Preordain
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Lion’s Eye Diamond
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Mind’s Desire

Lands (9):

1 Tolarian Academy
2 Underground Sea
1 Volcanic Island
4 Polluted Delta
1 Island

Sideboard (15):

1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Toxic Deluge
1 Pyroblast
1 Defense Grid
2 Flusterstorm
1 Mindbreak Trap
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
1 Island
3 Tormod’s Crypt

Looking at the big picture, this deck occupies the same position in the metagame as Traditional Storm. It’s going to be a modest favorite against opposing blue decks and against certain miscellaneous decks like Dredge. It’s going to be an underdog against the most hateful of the Mishra’s Workshop decks. That said, I believe that the printing of Paradoxical Outcome likely leads to a small improvement in speed and consistency, and a sizable improvement in resilience to hate. By bumping the raw power level up a notch, I believe that Kaladesh and Paradoxical Outcome can take a deck that’s been struggling a bit in Vintage, and bring it right back to tier 1 status. I won’t claim that you’re making a mistake to sleeve up your Mishra’s Workshops or Monastery Mentors, but I will say that Vintage Combo is the strongest it’s been for many years. Until something gets restricted, I personally won’t be caught dead without 4 Mox Opals in my deck!

Thanks Everybody for reading,

Andreas

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s