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The Storm Archetype in Highlander

Welcome to the Storm archetype for 7 Point Highlander! On this page you will find all the content related to this play style.

A Summary of the Storm Archetype

If a spell with the keyword ‘Storm’ is legal in a format, it will probably boast a Storm-based Combo deck and Highlander is no exception. Storm is among one of the most powerful and degenerate keyword mechanics, and when combined with mana-generating ‘ritual’ spells and cheap card draw, a Storm deck will be able to generate the required ‘storm count’ to deal lethal damage with a Tendrils of Agony, or create an insurmountable pile of goblin tokens off Empty the Warrens. The challenge in Highlander is the singleton nature, and without 4 copies of Dark Ritual and 4 copies of Brainstorm, players need to get a little creative with the ritual and cantrip suite. There is an allure to designing decks that can achieve a ‘turn one kill’ in a format that appears to be far less consistent than its 4-of counterparts, however peer beneath the surface and you’ll find that the Storm archetype is one of Highlander’s fastest and most consistent combo decks.

Storm Deck Lists and Variations

The default version of the Storm archetype uses Black Lotus to enable scarily explosive starts, and the card is usually an important component of the ‘turn 1 win’. Black lotus falls in the first category of essential cards: ‘rituals’. These range from once-off spells like Seething Song and Lotus Petal, through to lands like Ancient Tomb and even cost-reducers such as Helm of Awakening. The second category of essential cards are ‘cantrips’, which are spells that replace themselves whilst costing little to no mana (e.g. Gitaxian Probe and Manamorphose). Although mana generation and churning through your deck are instrumental, the secret to large ‘storm counts’ are the support cards that enable multiple spells in one, such as Yawgmoth’s Will and Underworld Breach.

Deck ListStorm

In addition there is a video primer available, which covers the key groupings of cards and touches on the fundamental aspects of the Storm playstyle in only 7 minutes. You can watch it here:

Whilst all Storm deck archetypes employ Tendrils of Agony for the most direct route to victory, this isn’t necessarily an exclusive win-condition, nor do all variants achieve it via exactly the same means. One popular variant employs the card Channel and many tutors to find it as a way of replacing the ‘ritual’ half of the conventional Storm equation. Channel affords its caster as many colourless mana as they have life points, however the true power comes when coupled with Lich’s Mirror. With Channel in effect for the remainder of the turn, you can repeatedly cast the Mirror, use all your life points, shuffle up, try to find Mirror again, and repeat the process until a win-condition presents itself. There are also alternate routes to victory including the combination of Auriok Salvagers and Black Lotus, exiling the opponent’s deck with Bitter Ordeal, as well as simply casting Emrakul the Aeons Torn and attacking.

Deck ListChannel-Mirror

In addition there is an in-depth video primer available, which covers the role of each group of cards as well as the fundamental playstyle for the Channel-Mirror deck. You can watch it here:

Although the previous two decks make full use of Black Lotus, there are ways to build a Storm deck without the exorbitantly expensive Power card. In comparison, ‘Budget’ Storm is dramatically cheaper to build, but the definition of building on a budget differs from player to player (and lists will often still need access to Lion’s Eye Diamond, Mox Diamond, and a few original dual lands). Whilst less likely to win outright on Turn 1, Budget Storm variants are afforded a little more consistency for early-to-mid-game combos due to the number of Points freed up by not running Black Lotus. These variants gain access to powerful Pointed ‘tutors’ like Dark Petition, and Pointed ‘draw seven’ effects like Time Spiral. As a result, Budget Storm can elect to invest in more means by which to discount their mana costs, such as via Goblin Electromancer and a flipped Curious Homunculus. Given access to Doomsday as well as the realistic possibility of churning through the entire deck, Budget Storm variants also receive an additional win-condition in the form of Laboratory Maniac.

Deck ListBudget Storm

In addition there is an in-depth video primer available, which covers the role of each group of cards as well as the fundamental playstyle for the Budget Storm deck. You can watch it here:

Playing 7 Point Highlander on a budget? Don’t forget to listen to listen to one of the 7 Point Highlander Cast’s seminal episodes on how to construct a good deck whilst on a shoestring!

Podcast – Building on a Budget

Highlander Storm Video Content

Compiled below are links to some excellent YouTube resources that can help you see versions of the Storm deck archetype in action.

Watch this video to see Storm in action:

Watch this video to see Channel-Mirror in action:


Where to next?

Did Storm fit the kind of deck archetype you’re looking for? Want to know more about other Combo decks? Visit the Combo hub here.

Dr Sarven McLinton

Sarven has been playing Magic the Gathering since Stronghold (1998) and is on The Highlander Points Committee. He is well-versed in a wide variety of deck archetypes but remains an avid student of the game. Sarven is a passionate writer and seeks to apply his extensive experience in research and statistics to gaming. By day, 'Dr McLinton' works as a Research Associate at the Centre for Workplace Excellence (CWeX) managing various projects investigating psychosocial factors at work, as well as lecturing Psychology Honours and supervising PhD candidates. By night, 'McLinton Sensei' teaches traditional Japanese Karate in South Australia's premiere sporting centre, the ARC Campbelltown. He holds a 4th-degree black belt and is a gold medalist, competing both nationally and internationally in Karate and Open-style contact tournaments.