How They Brew It - The Ten Dollar Storm Deck

Michael Celani • July 8, 2021

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator by

Ahoy, matey! Welcome aboard the Black Devotion, scourge of the Seven Seas! Put yer cutlass down, take a swig of rum, and share with us yer tales of swashbucklin' adventure. We've plundered the greatest booty across Ixalan and the rest of the multiverse, an' -- drop anchor a tick, Barnacle Bill from pirate accounting is on the parrot.

...What? We spent 'em and traded 'em and frittered 'em away on drink and food and pleasurable company? What?! We neglected to declare our illegal income on Schedule C Form 1040-CR?! What?! Repossessed?!

Uh, h-hello there. Welcome aboard the S.S. Tibalt, honest merchant ship. Things have been rough.

[This article was originally posted to Reddit on November 29, 2020. It has been modified to reflect changes in the deck since then.]

The Ruby Medallion Calls

I'm Michael Celani, and currently I'm sailing aboard the USS Screwed. With my pirate ship, pirate treasure, and pirate crew repossessed, I've had to give up my buccaneer lifestyle. If I don't find an honest way to pay my debt for all that stuff I stole, it'll be me hanging from an arch outside Orazca, serving as an example.

I need to build a deck to protect my humble merchant ship and accrue wealth all on a shoestring budget. To do this, I've chosen an archetype chock-full of value and known for being drop-dead simple to build on the cheap: Izzet Storm. Here's my five-step scheme to get rich quick:

  1. Amass as much value as possible with cheap cantrips.

  2. Build a crew of creatures that work well with noncreature spells.

  3. Find the perfect captain to run a tight ship.

  4. ???

  5. Profit!

The Curse of the Mox Pearl

If I want to make an honest living selling product, I'm totally boned because economies of scale prices out smaller competitors; I'd need to find a niche market to gain a foothold in. Here are the spells that will draw the cards we need to craft a good business:

  • Opt definitely isn't optional for a storm deck, as it's a cheap cantrip with a built-in scry.

    • You can use these cards on an end step before your turn if you need a land, but you'll generally want to save them until creatures that get extra value from noncreature spells are on the battlefield.
  • Glimpse the Cosmos works much the same, but it lets us choose from the top three cards instead.

  • Hieroglyphic Illumination is proof that aliens built the Pyramids an instant speed draw-two spell that can also be cycled early on if you're looking for a land...

  • ...or we can cast Winged Words for cheap if we control a flying creature.

  • Scour All Possibilities is a pricier Preordain, but you can flash it back for a higher storm count.

    • We'll be seeing a lot of cards like Scour which have ways to cast them from the graveyard. With additional cast triggers, we can get a lot more value out of each individual card.

  • Think Twice is not only what I tell myself before buying tickets to a Smash Mouth concert, but also an instant cantrip with flashback.

    • Deep Analysis works in a similar manner, trading in instant speed for an additional card.

  • Into the Roil returns threats to an opponent's hand, and you may kick it to draw a card.

    • Lacking the cantrip but hitting two targets instead is the venerable Run Away Together. I tried running away together with my second ex-wife, only for her to run away with my first.

    • Step Through also bounces two creatures, and you can wizardcycle it to find a creature in a pinch.
  • If you're flooding and need to keep pace, a land card is a trifle for Oona's Grace. Discard one to cast the spell with Retrace, and your reward is a brand new card in its place.

  • Call me Buster Botley-1, because you're getting a JumpStart™ on learning with Radical Idea and Chemister's Insight.

    • The best card to pitch to a jump-start cast is a land, followed by a retrace spell, then a flashback spell, then a creature. Try not to pitch any instants or sorceries you can't cast from the yard.

    • Broke: buying a gaming keyboard to enhance your movement in an FPS. Woke: buying a gaming keyboard to absolutely demolish JumpStart™ Typing.

      • Speaking frankly for a bit, am I the only one miffed that this game forces you to use two spaces after a sentence? I could fit a goddamn truck in the amount of space between those sentences, and as a programmer by trade, this stuff matters to me.

  • If my everything didn't clue you in, you're listening to a madman's Desperate Ravings, which is card advantage with flashback. Just hope you don't discard a payoff.

  • Mystic Retrieval and Jace Becomes An Asshole Again Flood of Recollection are great ways to recur spells that can't be cast from the graveyard.

  • And once you have a ton of mana from your consistent untapped land drops, use Mind Spring to refill your hand.

A Motley Crew

Now that we have a business plan, it's time to crew our merchant ship. Unfortunately, because I can't hire current convicts to go pirating again, I'll have to settle for cheap ex-convicts. Sigh.

Captain's Log

I almost forgot my commander. It's, uh, Adele, the Singer Wind. And that's my $10 Storm deck. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Make sure you like, comment, and subscribe, and don't forget to check out my Twitter and YouTube. Snarky comment regarding the plight of millennials. Self-deprecating half-truth. Ha ha ha. Bye!

Are the parole officers gone? Good. Yar-har, fiddle-de-dee.


But Michael, you handsome devil, your deck list doesn't contain a single Pirate.

Did you think this would be one of my deck lists if it didn't have some ridiculous turnabout at the end? It's time to set sail. Chart a course for where I blow your mind.


It turns out Wizards of the Coast forgot one very important word: combat. That means if, say, Electrostatic Field were a Pirate, why, every time we cast an instant or sorcery we would get three treasures and the opportunity to cast a card off the top of all of our opponent's libraries!


At World's End

That's right, landlubber, I never stopped being a pirate. I would sail the black flag. I would plunder your booty. I would download a car. And the best part is it still only cost me $10 to put this whole deck together. You probably already own the vast majority of the cards you need to make your very own Pirateless Pirate Storm deck. See you on the seven seas.

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Newly appointed member of the FDIC and insured up to $150,000 per account, Michael Celani is the member of your playgroup that makes you go "oh no, it's that guy again." He's made a Twitter account @GamesfreakSA as well as other mistakes, and his decks have been featured on places like MTGMuddstah. You can join his Discord at and vote on which decks you want to see next. In addition to writing, he has a job, other hobbies, and friends.