Gaining a mana advantage is the easiest way to get ahead in a game of Magic. Regardless of whether you’re accelerating your mana or cheating costs, you’ll be doing something more powerful than your opponent.
One of the most ubiquitous versions of a single card capable of generating that type of advantage is Collected Company. It’s cheap and instant-speed, yet was also frustrating because of the inherent random element. Some people, pros even, won’t play Collected Company. They can’t handle the swings.
Now, we have a fixed version of Collected Company.
It’s sorcery-speed, looks at fewer cards, and costs more.
Is Storm the Festival better or worse than Collected Company? Does it matter? In most instances, you could say it’s worse. However, in this context of Standard format, going bigger might be preferable. Once you take into consideration what Storm the Festival can put onto the battlefield, I’m pretty sure I’m taking Storm the Festival each time.
Here are some standouts from the Standard-legal five-drops:
Overall, the selection is light. There are a few other considerations, although it’s difficult to justify playing those instead of an amazing card like Wrenn and Seven. Unfortunately, Storm the Festival doesn’t work with Sigardian Savior, otherwise we’d really have a stew going.
And now, the four-drops:
There’s a solid number of tribal synergies in the four-drops, so I built around those. Unfortunately, many of them lead to disappointments. I tried to build around Angels and Elves, except neither looked particularly appealing (though each had highlights). Building around Humans or party didn’t look exceptional at first glance either. Werewolves was solid, although most of that was because of the green cards that weren’t actually Werewolves.
Playing Storm the Festival alongside Dragons sounds cool. The only issue is that I’d rather play Esika’s Chariot and Wrenn and Seven before I touch any Dragons. Of course, if there were a reason to play Dragons outside of Dragon’s Fire or Orb of Dragonkind, I’d consider it.
The crux of any deck built around Storm the Festival will be mana sources, card advantage, and powerful permanents to hit. Being able to Storm the Festival into a steady stream of card advantage means you might occasionally unlock the hidden achievement of casting the card with flashback.
Esika’s Chariot into Wrenn and Seven is probably going to be the strongest possible curve in Standard with Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Conveniently, they’re also a couple of the most appealing cards to Storm the Festival into.
If you have enough early creatures, Jaspera Sentinel is solid, even if it won’t be adding mana until Turn 3. You’ll want Esika’s Chariot in some number and both combo with Magda, Brazen Outlaw. Lotus Cobra is incredible with Augur of Autumn and will get you to six mana quickly. Once Augur of Autumn is in the mix, Tangled Florahedron, Kazandu Mammoth, Shatterskull Smashing, and the like are more appealing.
Storm the Festival has huge potential. Five isn’t many cards, yet it’s unlikely to completely miss. Naturally, the dream scenario is putting a pair of five-drops onto the battlefield, yet it doesn’t seem reasonable to load your deck with five-mana cards when you already have Storm the Festival at six mana. You could get around that by playing more mana acceleration and skimping on impactful two- and three-mana cards. However, I’d prefer to play a solid, powerful curve with Storm the Festival as a top-end. If you “only” get seven mana worth of cards from Storm the Festival, that’s still a fine deal. Improving your chances of hitting a reasonable distribution rather than loading up on five-drops will likely contribute to more success with the card overall.
Plus, Esika’s Chariot is an honorary five-drop. At least, when combined with Wrenn and Seven, it certainly feels that way.
You don’t necessarily need a pile of five-drops in your deck, although I would avoid spells and permanents that cost more than five mana, at least as much as possible.
Let’s start simple.
- 2 Lotus Cobra
- 3 Tangled Florahedron
- 4 Magda, Brazen Outlaw
- 1 Goldspan Dragon
- 4 Jaspera Sentinel
- 2 Augur of Autumn
- 1 Moonveil Regent
- 3 Briarbridge Tracker
- 2 Reckless Stormseeker
This deck is absolutely stacked with power from top to bottom. I’d be shocked if something similar to this wasn’t Tier 1. You get to develop your battlefield while creating incidental sources of card advantage and have a powerful top-end. The only downside is that Storm the Festival encourages you to play as many permanents as possible and Gruul doesn’t have many permanents that can directly interact with the opponent’s battlefield.
As powerful of a curve as Esika’s Chariot into Wrenn and Seven can be, it’s even better when you have Reckless Stormseeker. Depending on the metagame, I could see a preference toward Stormseeker, Augur of Autumn, or Briarbridge Tracker. The same could be said for wanting Arlinn, the Pack’s Hope or Moonveil Regent in the four-drop slot.
Thankfully, each of the red cards is splashable. If you wanted a heavier green component with Werewolf Pack Leader, that would be doable. The beauty of playing green in Standard is that there’s no shortage of playable cards. Each spot along the curve has numerous options and you can customize however you see fit.
As I struggled to trim the deck down to 60 cards, the question that plagued me was whether or not Storm the Festival was actually correct. That led to me questioning what type of metagame Storm the Festival would be best in or if it’s good enough to play on its own without taking the metagame into account.
Any six-mana sorcery is going to be weak against counterspells; cards like Elite Spellbinder and Reidane, God of the Worthy; or any fast deck in general. In midrange mirrors, it’s almost certainly the best thing you can be doing. Getting a two-for-one is obviously what you want to be doing against control decks, but I’m worried about trading a six-mana investment for a two-mana Negate or Disdainful Stroke. If the game goes long enough, flashback is there, but at ten mana, I’m not banking on that. Plus, a control deck could have easily gone over the top of you by then.
This actually looks good, right? Because of Storm the Festival, Old-Growth Troll’s acceleration finally means something!
In theory, Gruul is fancier and has answers to more things. There are even threats like Goldspan Dragon that you miss out on by playing Mono-Green. If you look at the Gruul list above, you’ll notice that outside of the Magda engine, there’s not much you’re missing out on. Even Wrenn and Seven has supplanted Goldspan Dragon as my five-drop of choice. Maybe Mono-Green Aggro is the truth?
One of the other builds I explored was more of a meme. It contained Circle of Dreams Druid and the somehow-still-legal Gigantosaurus. I wanted more acceleration and the potential to flashback Storm the Festival and Circle of Dreams Druid has the highest upside. Gigantosaurus is mostly a joke without trample but it’s a strong five-drop. If you want to work really hard, Rune of Might is probably the best way to give it trample.
At some point, I want to try Augur of Autumn and Druid Class and Lotus Cobra. Some of my decks started that way, but aside from Alrund’s Epiphany or flashing back Storm the Festival, there isn’t much of a reason to play that type of game. In the end, I’d remove those cards from my deck in favor of less nonsense. Maybe someday.
- 4 Lotus Cobra
- 3 Tangled Florahedron
- 2 Mind Flayer
- 4 Brutal Cathar
- 2 Augur of Autumn
- 2 Briarbridge Tracker
- 4 Rootcoil Creeper
Mono-Green looks great to me because of its simplicity and Bant looks great to me because it’s fancy. You can beat down with Mono-Green and interact slightly or play Bant, interact more, and have some extra card advantage.
Does your deck want Briarbridge Tracker or Augur of Autumn? In most decks with Esika’s Chariot, it’s difficult to argue against Tracker. With Storm the Festival, I see arguments for wanting both. However, if you want interaction, you also want Brutal Cathar, which means something has to give.
I’m not high on Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset, even if it has its place in exactly this deck. It’s both acceleration and a source of card advantage, so it’s worth a look. Playing Treasure Vault isn’t ideal in a three-color deck, but maybe you get to live the dream of using Teferi to generate three extra mana. That can get you closer to ten mana for flashback. With multiple Lotus Cobras in the deck, maybe a Wrenn and Seven  can get you to flashback as well.
Toward the end of last season, Mind Flayer started showing up, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t continue to see play. Hitting two big threats off Storm the Festival is great and it’s even better when you get to steal one of your opponent’s. It’s one of the main reasons I want to be blue.
Finally, something fun.
- 4 Magda, Brazen Outlaw
- 3 Kolvori, God of Kinship
- 3 Esika, God of the Tree
- 4 Jaspera Sentinel
- 3 Targ Nar, Demon-Fang Gnoll
- 2 Minsc, Beloved Ranger
- 3 Katilda, Dawnhart Prime
Any deck based on Bard Class is a case study in playing weaker cards in order to exploit synergy. You’ll spend some time developing your mana before trying to pull ahead with a fully leveled Bard Class. Unfortunately, Bard Class isn’t doing too much double reduction in this deck. The Gruul legends leave something to be desired.
Oddly, I kind of expect Storm the Festival to underperform in this archetype. I wanted a mana sink in my Esika, God of the Tree decks and, although Festival fits the bill, getting two permanents from this deck doesn’t actually accomplish much. You still really need Bard Class to do anything of note, but Storm the Festival can get you set up. The flashback should be relatively easy to achieve in this deck too.
Given how expensive Storm the Festival is, I doubt it will stretch back to older formats, except in unique circumstances. For example, I could see it popping up in Modern in the solidly Tier 3 Mono-Green Devotion decks. It could also have legs alongside Nissa, Who Shakes the World in Historic or Pioneer.
As far as Standard is concerned, Storm the Festival is more than powerful enough to see play. It’s just a matter of where the metagame ends up. In the dark, I’d say go for it. See what the card is capable of. In the beginning of a format, everyone is focused on trying to do their own thing and very few decks are putting up much disruption. Storm the Festival is primed for these situations.