Today I return to Standard for an absurd Dragonstorm combo deck. This strategy is unique and competitive—but its time in Standard is limited.
This deck was brought to my attention by my judge housemate Kyle Falbo. Kyle has been hyping this deck up to me for a while, but I have been distracted by various Modern brews. But after Kyle recently took down a Standard tournament at San Diego Comic Con, I decided I had to try it for myself.
The basic idea of this deck is to combine Battlefield Thaumaturge and Descent of the Dragons. Together Descent of the Dragons is dirt cheap and “Dragonstorms” any and all of your creatures into 4/4 flyers. This is a great deal for Standard.
Most interesting is that Descent of the Dragons is good without Battlefield Thaumaturge—the combo is not necessary. This card is a 6-drop to top your curve. Do Standard games last to 6 mana? Often. This card is just good
A note on Goblin Rabblemaster: we found this card to be among the weakest in the deck. I think it’s unnecessary. Forcing your creatures to attack is a serious liability in a deck that can use the random 1/1s. The card is situationally very good, but if you don’t have them, you don’t need them.
I’m a big fan of both of these and if you choose to sideline Goblin Rabblemaster I would up these to 3 or 4 each.
Hypnotic Siren is a bit weaker in the early game, but the possibility of stealing the opponent’s creature is golden. I am a big fan of the flexibility of this card and it works well in this strategy.
How is Stoke the Flames a Magic card? 0 mana for 4 damage to any target? If you play Standard, you know about this card. It works great in this deck too.
Finally we get to Dig Through Time which really pushes this deck into the competitive zone. Dig is banned in Modern and I’m glad to get to play it in Standard, where it feels distinctly too good. This card draw spell pulls you ahead but also finds you the exact combination of cards you need to Dragonstorm off.
Fetchlands power out Dig Through Times. These lands aren’t necessary outside of this interaction, but making what is probably your best spell cheaper is worth it.
Hour of Need is like an extra Descent of the Dragons. If you want redundancy, it’s there, and this one has the advantage of instant speed. Great pet card.
Finally, we look at win-more options. Dragon Tempest makes Descent of the Dragons an instant win, but it is functionally only necessary against sweepers. You could use it as a sideboard card in that case but I wouldn’t recommend it in the main deck unless you imagine it bringing you great joy.
Dragonstorm as Combo Control
This deck’s position is contextual based on matchup, but I’ve found it works well in a combo control role. Descent of the Dragons has the power to take down almost any long game, and Dig Through Time gives you a working edge against any non-Dig Through Time decks.
As such, I’ve found success playing this deck very defensively—lots of blocking and stalling, scrying and digging to set up a big win. This is why I haven’t been a huge fan of Goblin Rabblemaster so far, even though it is such a powerful card.
Of course, this deck is capable of blisteringly fast combo draws, and you may find that suits your preference. But if you are looking for more of a combo control deck, this seems to fill that niche in Standard.
Metagaming with Dragonstorm
When metagaming in Standard, the main keys are to adjust the matchups against aggro or against control. There aren’t a ton of specific sideboard hate cards like in Eternal formats, so you want to generally adjust your strategy to match up better against broad archetypes.
Two main points about playing against aggro:
- Cheaper average converted mana cost. It doesn’t necessarily matter what you do on turns 1 and 2, so long as you do something, ANYTHING. Sweepers can bail you out, but having early drops in the board is always good practice.
- Against aggro you can take advantage of your combo control position. Your early drops are good removal and good blockers. Dig Through time into Descent of the Dragons will win the long game.
Control is a bit trickier as they can disrupt your combo and have the tools to win a longer game. You have some options.
- More card draw. Military Intelligence and Outpost Siege can draw buckets of cards over a long game to beat control decks.
- More value. Big plays like Hammer of Purphoros, Keranos, God of Storms, and Stormbreath Dragon can punch their way to a win.
- Counterspells. Negate can force through your game winning combo or just maintain your card drawing lead.
That’s the deck. If you’re into it, season it to your preference. Use the cards at your disposal, and have fun.
This deck is competitive. Kyle’s success with it is what got my attention, and you will see from the video series why and how it’s good. Of course I brew for fun, but I like to win too, and this deck satisfies.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy this deck as much as I do.