Deck Tech – Dragonstorm Redux

Posted in Event Coverage on December 31, 1969

By Tim Willoughby

In the Standard portion of Worlds this season, there are a collection of top pros who are burninating their way to the top of the standings. This riff on the Dragonstorm deck that won Makahito Mihara the grand prize last year eschews blue entirely for more burn and Spinerock Knoll, it is tearing up the field.

The originator of the deck is Pat 'the Innovator' Chapin. Having heard about Spinerock Knoll in Dragonstorm in a side event at a GP, he built up the deck and put it to one side. Once testing began, every day he found Dave Williams asking him for "something exciting" to play. Chapin duly delivered, and after a few days of exciting decks, Williams was handed the Dragonstorm deck.

Spinerock Knoll
Following an undefeated streak on Magic Online, Dave came back and stated that this was the deck he wanted to play, at which point tweaking began in earnest. With the deck completed, it then got shared with a collection of top pros, to devastating effect.

While the "classic" Dragonstorm deck was all-in on the plan of playing its eponymous sorcery with an appropriately large storm count to kill an opponent with Bogardan Hellkites, the redux version has a more flexible line of attack. Card drawing spells have been supplanted by burn, and the deck will on occasion function in a fashion similar to the "Perilous Storm" deck that was popularized in Australia. It can't do anything naughty with Hatching Plans, but with Pyromancer's Swath and Grapeshot backed up by plenty more cheap burn, getting to the 7 damage required to make the most of Spinerock Knoll is not tough.

There are a few other nifty elements to the deck. It runs the "snow gambit," playing Snow-Covered Mountains purely to try to fox opponents into believing that they are playing against a Red Snow Control deck. In the words of Pat Chapin, "When you cast Shock to the head at the end of turn, the jig is up, but by then it's often too late for them."

The list of names playing the deck is pretty illustrious. Jon Finkel, Dave Williams, Bob Maher, Pat Chapin, Mark Herberholz, Gab Nassif, Amiel Tenenbaum, and Michael Jacob are running the deck, with some variations being run by another two members of the US National Team. At the end of the Standard portion, their combined record is 29-11.

Never has being hit by Shock to the head when on 20 life been scarier.

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