The Possibilities Are Infinite

In this week’s article, Michael is inspired by a reader’s Possibility Storm brew to come up with his own list for Friday Night Magic. Check it out!

Last week we took a look at some sweet Standard brews for FNM that I’d been working on. While you all seemed to enjoy the ones I provided, you also had plenty of awesome ideas. As I’m a man of my word, I want to highlight the best today (though I will give out some honorable mentions to others for sure since there were multiple sweet brews).

First, I want to admit that I was wrong about Standard; while the very top is rather redundant and the same half dozen decks or so see success week in and week out, there are actually some really cool interactions lying just underneath the surface. I’m usually pretty good about discovering these hidden gems, but you all have shown me that I missed out on a couple.

With that being said, one rose above the rest in terms of how excited I became and how much potential the idea has to succeed.

There were actually a couple of people who posted decklists using Possibility Storm; while I didn’t list Possibility Storm as a card that I was looking for lists with, that wasn’t because I didn’t want to see lists using the wacky yet powerful enchantment. The fact that I didn’t list it as something I was looking for had to do with my belief that while the card is fun you can’t take enough advantage of it to make playing it worthwhile. Yes, even if you played and hit the biggest baddest card in Standard, Enter the Infinite.

Long story short, I just couldn’t think of a clean kill with Enter the Infinite, and no other single card in Standard is worth the trouble of hitting with a Possibility Storm trigger.

So with credit going out to Alex Hill and Corey Grace, who also mentioned Possibility Storm decks, I want to specifically call out Michael Lang, who was the one who first pointed out that you could in fact kill your opponent the turn you hit Enter the Infinite with Possibility Storm.

With a card that you already have to invest five mana in and then have to hit whatever card you want to cast for "free" with it, that card you hit very well better win you the game. With all the work and investment you’ve put into making your Possibility Storm more than just a casual card, the payoff needs to be there too.

So when Michael Lang first posted the comment "Possibility Storm + Enter the Infinite = Happy Fun Times" on my article last week, my response was that we needed something that would allow us to win on the spot.

Michael then pointed out Borborygmos Enraged, and the rest is history (or in this case, a couple days of me brewing and tweaking).

With just one Borborygmos Enraged in the deck, you can hit Enter the Infinite with a sorcery, draw your deck, and place Borborygmos Enraged back on top of your deck. Then, with your deck in your hand, you can cast any creature you want to hit Borborygmos with Possibility Storm, putting the Gruul guild leader into play.

How convenient that Enter the Infinite draws your entire deck, including all those delicious lands that Borborygmos loves so much!

First, let’s look at the list that (the other) Michael provided:

The combo is essentially contained within eight cards (three Enter the Infinites, four Possibility Storms, one Borborygmos Enraged), and the rest of the deck is your playground. Michael basically made the deck capable of actually casting Borborygmos Enraged when the situation calls for it, with the ability to power out a turn 3 Possibility Storm followed by a turn 4 win being nice as well.

This was pretty much the first place I went to as well (RUG), as having mana dorks to power out a fast Possibility Storm while giving you the option of just casting your cards was something that helped me get over how random the combo felt.

However, there were some things I didn’t like with both lists, particularly the numbers, so I started working on the deck using Michael’s shell as a launching point. Here’s where I ended up using the RUG shell.

When I started working on the deck, my initial reaction was to lower the number of Enter the Infinites; however, as I messed around more with the idea, I quickly realized that I needed to get lucky with a lot of my "storms" and upping the number of Enters made that possible.

Of course, it also made drawing them a lot more possible too.

Mercurial Chemister and Izzet Charm are in here as ways to get rid of (and even use) the drawn Enter the Infinites. Izzet Staticaster is for when you have enough mana to cast a Commune with the Gods to hit Enter but not enough to cast an Elvish Mystic after you draw your deck. In those situations, you cast Staticaster on your upkeep, "storm" into Borborygmos, and win then.

I chose to use four Satyr Hedonists over the full playset of Sylvan Caryatid because it singlehandedly powers out a turn 3 Possibility Storm. Elvish Mystic is not only a great way to hedge against having so many come into play tapped lands but is also the cheapest way to get Borborygmos after putting it on top of your deck with Enter the Infinite.

You have to run enough sorceries to be able to cast and "storm" into Enter the Infinite, but they have to be useful even when you don’t have Possibility Storm in play. Thus I chose Commune with the Gods to both be able to dig for Possibility Storm when needed and obviously to cast as a sorcery. This led me to want to play an Elixir of Immortality since you end up putting a lot of cards you want into your graveyard. However, with it being the only artifact in your deck, you have to cast it before Possibility Storm; if I had kept working on the deck, I’m not sure how I would have tackled that particular problem.

I quickly realized though that I almost never wanted to actually be casting Borborygmos since he’s not as overpowered without a hand full of lands (though he’s still quite good). This led me to realize I didn’t need to play green. (Well, in reality I don’t need to play blue either, but I like how it helps me dig.)

With that I decided to try out a slightly different color combination. The results have been promising so far; I’m fully planning on playing this in my future FNMs and if I can figure out this damn sideboard maybe even something more for you guys.

When building a deck around a card like Possibility Storm, it really feels like you’re playing with Bloodbraid Elf all over again in that if the effect is worth it you can build around it. With cascade you just had to face not having any X spells in your deck in addition to probably eschewing mana dorks to make your cascades more brutal. While the deck probably didn’t run as smooth as it could without them, when you tapped four mana and started flipping cards you sure appreciated not having any Noble Hierarchs or Lavalanches to hit with the trigger.

Possibility Storm is similar in that if we plan on crafting game play around "storming" into a big sorcery we need to limit the number of sorceries we play in our deck. This is bad on multiple fronts in terms of deckbuilding. You want to limit the number of non Enter the Infinite sorceries in your deck to make hitting the big bad spell a more consistent prospect, but you also need enough to consistently have one ready to cast after playing Possibility Storm. This creates a tension in deckbuilding. Also, a lot of cards you want to play happen to be sorceries, and unless you want to really dilute the deck, you have to choose very wisely.

So when I was initially thinking of making this deck Grixis, I wanted to play a control game plan with a combo kill. That meant lots of black instant-speed removal, Thoughtseizes, Jaces . . . wait, isn’t Thoughtseize a sorcery?


Now what do I do? Well, I could make Thoughtseize a playset in the deck and just have those as sorceries to cast to hit Enter the Infinite. The problem is that you can just hit another Thoughtseize too. Then what? Also, casting Thoughtseize doesn’t further the combo plan at all, only the control plan (and only early on). I guess it could take a counterspell from a control deck?

My other thought when considering Grixis was the always present in Standard Diabolic Tutor, the flagship red flag for "hey, my deck isn’t very good" when it gets cast against you. It’s glacially slow and easily interfered with, thus why it doesn’t see any play even though it can find anything you need.

However, my idea in this deck was that if you hit a Diabolic Tutor after casting one with a Possibility Storm in play you can use the copied version to just find another Diabolic Tutor to try again. Yes, the mana cost is high, but you have inevitability.

The instants were selected because they all act as removal and card selection whenever you need either. Izzet Charm even acts as a counterspell to push through Enter the Infinite in rare circumstances (or just a generic counterspell for things like planeswalkers and Sphinx’s Revelation). The reason for the crossover in function is that after I resolve Possibility Storm and draw an instant I want to make sure I’m hitting something that helps dig for a sorcery not named Enter the Infinite.

That’s another reason that this deck feels much better than the RUG version: the ability to dig through your deck. Between the instants; Cluestones; Omenspeakers; Jace, Architect of Thoughts; Diabolic Tutors; and scry lands, almost half of the deck digs deeper looking for whatever you need.

The initial run of the deck was really slow, so I wanted to include a way to speed the deck up. Initially, I had the abstractly more powerful Keyrunes in the deck as a way to both fix mana and provide defense. However, as the games played out, I realized I never wanted to be using my mana to chump block, so I switched to Cluestones.

However, with the inherent inconsistencies with playing a combo deck like this, I hated having everything I needed but dying because I slipped on colored mana requirements. The Chromatic Lanterns have been a godsend, helping immensely in a deck that wants to actually cast Diabolic Tutor; Jace, Architect of Thought; and Possibility Storm on time.

The thing that really has me excited is the ability in this deck to keep "trying for the kill" for one black mana. As long as you can ensure that you’re going to have one colorless and one blue mana after you hit Enter the Infinite (since we need to cast Omenspeaker that turn as well), you can keep trying to "storm" into your big blue sorcery. If you cast a Diabolic Tutor and hit another Tutor, you can simply search up a Thoughtseize (thus its inclusion). With that you cast Thoughtseize for one black mana; the only two possible hits are either another Tutor or Enter the Infinite.

If you hit another tutor, after the trigger resolves for Possibility Storm (and the Thoughtseize goes to the bottom mixed with the other revealed cards) you can just tutor up that Thoughtseize and try again until you hit Enter the Infinite.

Yes, I checked with a judge to make sure this is possible, as the wording on Possibility Storm reads kind of weird.

(And now, for those of you wondering why only one Thoughtseize, you know. It’s the best option as a one-mana sorcery available in these colors in Standard.)

The one time this fails you is when you cast a Diabolic Tutor and hit a Thoughtseize; yes, that will suck, but it’ll be worth it for all the other times you don’t have to tap four mana for each attempt to combo off. I feel that it’s worth it (especially for those times you already have a Thoughtseize in hand and know you’re going to win the game that turn).

That sideboard though . . .

I don’t hate the sideboard, but I’m not sold on the numbers and selections just yet. I want the deck to do a bit of a transformation post-board against the control and aggro decks; I want to be able to morph into a control deck against weenie aggro and into a more midrange deck with a combo kill against control.

I want to bring in the counterspells, Thoughtseizes, and Aetherling against control, taking out the Dimir Charm, Magma Jets, and one each of Tutor, Possibility Storm, Enter the Infinite, and Rakdos Cluestone. Since we have another win condition in Aetherling, we don’t need to dedicate ourselves so completely to a combo kill that’s hard pressed to work. Pithing Needle is a thing, so I’m a bit concerned about that, but we will have access to counterspells if we can dodge it on turn 1. I’m half tempted to put an entire transformational sideboard together and just take out the Borborygmos package altogether to dodge Pithing Needle.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this—the U/W matchup is going to be rough.

Against aggro you’re way too slow; the Anger the Gods and Izzet Staticasters help immensely here when combined with the instant-speed removal you already have at your disposal. You morph into more of a control deck, and if you can get Jace, Architect of Thought to tick up to ultimate, you can simply cast any of your big three cards (Storm, Enter, or Borborygmos) out of your deck depending on which one actually wins you the game faster. Borborygmos is probably your best bet here unless it’s in your hand already.

Against other midrange decks your plan is actually pretty stout; the only downside to this deck is how much Thoughtseize messes with it. (Did I mention how much I hate that card?)  That makes Mono-Black Devotion a bigger issue than it should be, but they’re not running counterspells, just Thoughtseizes, meaning the top of your deck is very live.

Our deck is very capable of manipulating the top of our deck.

I think the best bet here is to stick to plan, perhaps boarding in some number of Thoughtseizes to counteract and combat theirs. I’m not 100% certain yet.

I actually found the Mono-Blue Devotion matchup to be much better than I originally thought it would be. It turns out a deck that plays a bunch of cheap small creatures is vulnerable to a deck running Omenspeakers, Izzet Charms, Magma Jets, and Dimir Charm. All you need is a bit of time, meaning Magma Jet is amazing here, both giving you time and digging you through your deck for the cards you need.

Jace, Architect of Thought is really good at giving you time, so even though it’s there to dig for the cards you need in most matchups you have to consider both options against Mono-Blue. It’s really nice to have the Possibility Storm and sorcery in hand and resolve a Jace, Architect of Thought.

The only real problem I’ve found is when the blue player has the "one-drop into two-drop into one-drop + two-drop" draw to put you under a ton of pressure. Usually you win at a single-digit life total, but with no reach that’s fine.

A couple notes for a tl;dr version of the deck rundown:

1. The stuff you need in order to combo: Possibility Storm, a Thoughtseize / Diabolic Tutor to cast post-Storm, and at least two red and two black mana.

2. You can keep trying to hit Enter the Infinite with Thoughtseize regardless of how many Diabolic Tutors you hit; however, make sure that you will have access to two mana after you draw your deck or you just lost yourself the game (you have to win that turn since you have nothing to win during the upkeep in the maindeck).

3. When you scry, take note of what all you are missing. Look for these things: Possibility Storm, a castable sorcery, and the second red and second black mana (if your sorcery is Tutor). If it’s not one of those things, you should probably just bottom it since you have plenty of ways to dig and don’t need to keep one on top.

4. Mulligans are your friend, especially in a deck with six cards that are essentially mulligans anyway. You can’t win without the right cards, so having a six- or five-card hand with action is much better than having a higher number of physical cards in hand with nothing to do.

So that’s the deck that I wanted to call out, but it’s by no means the only interesting idea that was posted. There were a ton of awesome lists, but there’s one more I want to call out from Jeremy Natale. There’s a three-card "infinite" combo that draws as many cards as you want, gaining that much life and making all of your creatures arbitrarily large. The best part? Two of the three parts could and would see play in a deck anyway. In fact, when I was working on my article last week and looking into a Voracious Wurm deck, I had one of the cards, Archangel of Thune, in the deck. I also considered splashing blue for Horizon Chimera for the added life gain and the flash creature.

Jeremy blew my mind by mentioning that an inclusion of Fathom Mage makes the whole thing go "boom." There’s actually a really good chance that a decent deck could be made using this combo, as Archangel is a really good card and Chimera is very serviceable. Fathom Mage is the weak link, of course, but it’s a card that if it survives is value without the combo.

Here’s his list:

I would probably move the Archangel and Chimera counts up, but I didn’t get a chance to work on this since I spent all week looking at all the possibilities of the Grixis deck.

I also considered U/R and even moving to Jund for the Infinite Possibilities deck since you don’t need blue. If you are interested in those directions, shoot me a line in the comments.

I’ve had a blast working on this deck. If you consider playing Infinite Possibilities at all here next week, by all means leave a comment as well and let me know. I’ll help out with lines of play and different matchups as much as possible.

Last question before I head out for the week: what are your thoughts on Kiora, the Crashing Wave? It’s a card that’s definitely up my alley, in the right colors, and accurately costed. Should I go ahead and preorder four or wait for the inevitable price drop?

I need your help!