Tag: storm

Marc Olivier Plante Marc Olivier Plante - November 3, 2016

Two Crazy Kurkesh Commander Decks



I’ve been playing Commander since Shards of Alara. It’s the one format I play; not Modern, not Legacy, not Vintage nor Pauper. Standard? Not enough options for me. I want a bit of chaos in my games. I also love multiplayer games. Whenever there’s a new set, I examine all the legendary creatures first. And when I saw this ogre spirit artificer-ish Kurkesh, basically a Rings of Brighthearth for artifacts, I knew I was going to build a deck around him one day.

I have played many mono red commander decks: Kiki-jiki, Heartless Hidetsugu, and Feldon, to name a few. I Regularly play vs Purphoros, Krenko and Urabrask. In all my years of commander, never have I seen a Kurkesh deck. To be fair, I didn’t try to google some, this is just from personal experience – mtgo, friends, customers – no one would approach this Kurkesh. After some research, it appeared to me that Sensei’s Divining Top, Liquimetal Coating (planeswalker -> artifact means double activate with Kurkesh), Keening Stone, Memory Jar, Temple Bell, Tormod’s Crypt, Trading Post, they were all pointing toward the same direction: milling. Or at least some graveyard manipulation of sorts.

So I went all in with milling. A mono red Kurkesh mill deck…

Kurkesh Turbo Mill


For starters, it’s surprisingly consistent. The intense draw it brings to the table, namely Temple Bell, Memory Jar, Howling Mine, Anvil of Bogardan, Font of Mythos, Wheel of Fortune, Wheel of Fate, and Reforge the Soul will make this deck pass as a mono red group hug deck for inattentive players, so you might get a few extra quiet turns out of it as a bonus. But when you start copying the Wheel effects, whether from Kurkesh + Jar or Fork effect + wheel effect, then they might smell that something’s fishy. When/if Mesmeric Orb hits the board, all hell breaks lose. If you are good enough at MTG (i.e. lucky) when you play Mesmeric Orb you’ll have a Mirrorworks in play, making 2 of them. Possibly shenaniganing with Goblin Welder or Daretti to get Mesmeric Orb in the graveyard and back for an extra copy of it, as having  3-4 mesmeric orbs in play is awesome. Having both old Kozilek and Ulamog in the deck ensures that you won’t fall victim to your own nonsense, and Tormod’s Crypt and Relic of Progenitus ensure that your opponents will.

So you wheel, fork the wheels, mill and try to stay alive.

But wait.

Then something happened.

I obtained a Past in Flames.

Sure, I was already playing Mizzix’s Mastery and Recoup to wheel from the graveyard. I once made 9 copies of Reforge the Soul – thanks Howl of the Horde + Increasing Vengeance flashbacked – but I felt that Past in Flames opened more doors then that. Suddenly I felt like I could try to actually use the wheels as fuel for a greater scheme… Storm!!

Kurkesh Turbo Storm

I took the wheeling shell of the deck, removed a few artifacts and most of the creatures, as I had to make space for the cantrips, rituals, and kill conditions. Had to take out the eldrazis, since I aim at crafting myself a graveyard.

So here’s how it plays out: Kurkesh in play, Memory Jar activate, copy with Kurkesh’s triggered ability, now there’s two Jar effects on the stack. Resolve. Nice, you play your turn with the seven cards and at the beginning of the end step, two Jar triggers on the stack. As the first resolves, each players gets ALL of the cards exiled by both Jar effects in hand, so both face down hands, and then the second Jar trigger resolves making all players discard all cards in hand. This is because both triggers are from the same Jar, so when the trigger asks for all cards drawn this turn, both hands are taken so when the second resolves there’s nothing to get and all to discard. Remember, all you want is a full graveyard, this works in your favor.

We’re playing storm so there’s going to be rituals that’s for sure. The mvp of all rituals is by far Mana Geyser. Of use also is Inner Fire and Battle Hymn, all three of which can two-card combo with Reiterate for infinite mana, provided that the spells give 7+ mana. In fact, to start a storm I often go Mana Geyser + copy it with all I can, to make a mana base for the rest of turn to finish the job. Possibly something like: 50 cards in library, 30 in graveyard, cast Past in Flames from hand, wheel from graveyard then with seven cards in hand Inner Fire + Increasing Vengeance then copy Increasing Vengeance with Fork and/or Wild Ricochet, Reverberate, all from Graveyard. As mana and spell count pile up you have a good start to storm off. Fun!

Now, how to pilot such a fine vessel? I play it disguised as a lunatic group-hugging mono red eccentric Kurkesh. Let’s be honest, once you put Kurkesh beside your deck before the game no one takes you seriously, and that plays in your favor. Let them think you’re a lunatic, and when you’re about to die or when the graveyard is full enough, unleash the storm!

Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - September 9, 2014

UR Storm Modern by Mark Donaldson (1st at SCG Washington DC Modern Pre...

Champion’s Deck

Pyromancer's Ascenscion - UR Storm Modern

UR Storm Modern by Mark Donaldson

1st at SCG Washington DC Modern Premier IQ on Aug 24th 2014

I fell for Modern Storm Combo way back when it was a build up with Seething Song into an Epic Experiment to just blow out your opponent from literal nowhere. Since then there have been some changes as Seething Song was banned and in order to remain competitive the deck morphed back into a Pyromancer Ascension deck reminiscent of the days of yore. I continued to follow my passion of the deck and still believe it to be a very solid choice, not to mention a deadly weapon in the hands of a competent pilot.


The game plan of the deck is solid and straightforward. Cast enough spells to build a high enough Storm count to burn out your opponent. In order to accomplish that the deck is composed of draw spells, mana makers, enablers and a win condition.  The most important aspect of the deck is the plethora of draw spells with fully twenty-three ways to cycle through cards, necessary when the only way to win is find one of two copies of your win con. The package starts with Gitaxian Probe which with a Phyrexian mana cost basically cycles free while providing information as it peeks into the opponents mitt. Then since one Blue cost Ponder and Preordain were banned for being just too good the next best floated to the surface with Sleight of Hand and Serum Visions to dig deep and find the cogs to the machine. There is also Thought Scour and Desperate Ravings which both synergize well with the Flashback providing ability from Past in Flames as they proactively stock the graveyard with targets to abuse. In order to keep the wheels turning once you start the combo going we use Reds rituals with Desperate Ritual and Pyretic Ritual both providing three Red mana on resolution, as well as Manamorphose which is able to filter excess Red into Blue mana to cast additional draw spells and is itself also a draw spell as well. There are very few non-land permanents in this deck but one which does a major amount of heavy lifting is Goblin Electromancer which reduces colorless costs of your instants and sorceries to make those mana producing push even further, but as it is a beacon of any creature removal your opponent plays it is often best to wait until you’re ready to go off before committing him to the board. The other non-land permanent we have is a very powerful enchantment Pyromancer Ascension that once active provides extra copies of your instant and sorcery spells to bring a devastating death to your opponent with vicious alacrity. Our last enabler piece is Past in Flames which is a boon for this deck in that it provides a means to build up a lethal storm count with access to fewer spells in hand by abusing the graveyard and flashing back previously used spells effectively doubling the amount of spells you can cast. This all builds towards our win condition Grapeshot which looks at the total amount of spells cast that turn or the Storm Count and makes additional copies of itself with each doing a point of damage to a target creature or player to blast out your opponent in one fell swoop.
This is a deck that has been around in Modern since the inception as it was a port from the old Extended. Despite several bans to reduce its effectiveness, namely from Ponder/Preordain and Seething Song which made the deck just a bit too efficient, it still finds a way to produce results. It may never be the top deck of the format but is a solid Combo option and will always be around as long as spells are printed to keep the Combo going off. If you like to kill your opponent out of nowhere then I definitely urge you to give this deck a twirl.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com


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