Rant of Valakut – Modern Flux Channeler Storm Ben Iverach-Brereton August 19, 2019 Rants of Valakut 2 There’s no shortage of Storm decks in Magic. The idea of casting a flurry of spells in a single turn is remarkably popular. It doesn’t matter what format it is, if there are enough cheap spells that draw you cards and a way of generating extra mana, someone will build Storm. Modern already has several decks that can kill someone with a Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens, but I wanted to explore a new approach featuring a recent card from War of the Spark: Flux Channeler. FLUX CHANNELER STORM Modern Creature2 x Coretapper4 x Flux Channeler2 x Walking Ballista Artifact2 x Astral Cornucopia3 x Chromatic Sphere4 x Pentad Prism2 x Sigil of Distinction Instant4 x Opt2 x Gut Shot1 x Noxious Revival3 x Dream’s Grip1 x Repeal Sorcery3 x Contentious Plan1 x Grapeshot4 x Serum Visions4 x Sleight of Hand1 x Tezzeret’s Gambit Land4 x Dreadship Reef4 x Underground River4 x Yavimaya Coast5 x Island (254) Sideboard3 x Virulent Wound2 x Welding Jar2 x Saheeli, Sublime Artificer3 x Spell Pierce2 x Relic of Progenitus1 x Endless One2 x Soul Diviner Buy This List Deck by Ben Iverach-Brereton “Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, proliferate.” It’s a simple bit of text, but remarkably powerful. Anyone who drafted War of the Spark will already be familiar with how good this creature can be alongside +1/+1 counters and planeswalkers, but what they might not know is how well it interacts with charge counters: most notably with Pentad Prism. Pentad Prism already sees some Modern play in classic Ad Nauseam lists as an efficient way of getting two extra mana for a single turn, but by proliferating we can get a lot more mana than that. My Vorel of the Hull Clade commander deck has been making great use of this artifact for years, and I think Flux Channeler will really make this mana rock shine. The basic idea is pretty simple: with Flux Channeler and Pentad Prism in play, we can remove a counter from the Prism for one mana. We then cast a 1-mana noncreature spell, like Opt, and when we do the Channeler will add a counter to the Prism. We can then remove the new counter to cast another spell, and start the whole loop again. Any noncreature spell that costs 1 mana becomes effectively free, letting us dig through our deck with Sleight of Hand, Opt, Serum Visions, and the like. Any noncreature spell that we can cast without spending mana, like Gut Shot, or any 0-mana artifact, or a spell that can refund its mana cost, like Dream’s Grip, will actually net us mana. Mox Opal would be a great inclusion in this deck, but I decided to make the list more budget friendly (especially given the cost of my last Modern deck). Instead I’ve included Astral Cornucopia as a cheap alternative; the Cornucopia at least works well with Coretapper and the deck’s plan to proliferate everything, so it’s a welcome addition in its own right. Speaking of Coretapper, it and Contentious Plan should be fun in the deck, too. While they do cost 2 mana each, and Coretapper won’t even trigger Flux Channeler, they can still break even on mana: Coretapper can sacrifice itself to add two charge counters to Pentad Prism, while Contentious Plan will trigger the Channeler, then proliferate again on it’s own. If we can ever get a second Pentad Prism in play with counters on it, or perhaps a second Flux Channeler, then even our cantrips will generate more mana than they cost. If the colours weren’t so awkward, we could even include a Winding Constrictor to do the trick, which was very tempting. Regardless, if we can start gaining mana with every cantrip, then we should be able to win in any number of ways. Walking Ballista isn’t all that budget friendly, but it’s the best choice here. Not only is it a nice finisher when we have infinite mana, but we can get it out earlier and proliferate its +1/+1 counters as we go, giving the deck some extra interaction against creature decks if need be. Otherwise, with enough spells cast in a single turn, a classic Grapeshot would work. The deck can also win with a creature attack if it has a Sigil of Distinction equipped; it’s definitely a backup plan, but it’s nice to have options. Against creature-based decks I want to include a copy of Virulent Wound in the sideboard; if we can kill a creature with it, our opponent will get a poison counter. Then all we need to do is cast nine more spells and we can proliferate them to death! Not only does it give us some proactive interaction, but it feels pretty sneaky. In theory it will be a faster kill than Grapeshot, and it can get around a card like Leyline of Sanctity; we’re targeting their creature with Virulent Wound, not them, after all. Plus, proliferating doesn’t target either. Moreover, once they have a poison counter we can break up our proliferating over multiple turns and play a slower control game if need be. The list I made isn’t really set up to do that, but with a few tweaks it could be a viable way to transform the deck after sideboarding. It’s always good to have redundancy in a combo deck like this, and while we don’t necessarily have a backup for Flux Channeler, we do get an additional Pentad Prism-like card in Dreadship Reef. It is a bit slower to get going than the Prism, since we have to pay one mana every time we want to remove counters, but proliferating storage counters on that land can help generate additional mana. Given that this is a combo piece that fits in a land slot, it seems like a great inclusion. Calciform Pools was also an option if I wanted access to White mana, but using too many storage lands could make it difficult to cast Pentad Prism on turn two; we need two colours to get both counters on it, after all. If we were after more consistency at the cost of speed, we could use Inexorable Tide and Gemstone Array in the deck. Unfortunately, these cards cost a bit too much to be practical in Modern. The Tide is absolutely worth considering, though, since it does provide a backup for Flux Channeler; while it would slow the deck down a lot, it would make it a lot more consistent. I’d have to find a way to include more lands if I added either of these cards, though, that’s for sure! Tezzeret’s Gambit is also a questionable inclusion in the deck, given its high mana cost, but even at 3 mana (and two life) it seems worthwhile to have at least one copy in the deck. Drawing two cards instead of just one could be instrumental in powering through a combo turn, but by the same token its high mana cost might be what keeps me from casting more spells on that same turn. It’s hard to say until I test the deck out. The big question with this deck is, why would you bother to run Flux Channeler Storm over a more traditional Storm deck? Izzet Storm is a tried and true list, and remains a solid option for combo players. My deck is a janky pile of cards. Well, for one thing Flux Channeler Storm should be better at breaking up its combo over multiple turns, since it doesn’t rely entirely on casting Grapeshot to win. If need be, it can sit and build up counters on a Pentad Prism or Astral Cornucopia before dropping a huge Walking Ballista or Sigil of Distinction onto the battlefield to close out the game. It also doesn’t rely on the graveyard, meaning that it can dodge a lot of common sideboard hate; Stony Silence is still an issue, but with Affinity decks less popular these days, the number of those cards floating around is reduced. All things considered, what I really like about it over traditional Storm decks is that it has several different options in how to build it, rather than just the usual Rituals and Past in Flames. Flux Channeler and Pentad Prism can certainly work well with those cards, but there are also several other options: You could build it as more of an Eggs-style of deck using cards like Chromatic Star and Mystic Forge. Maybe you would rather build it as a Planeswalker Superfriends deck where you are looking to power out the “ultimate” of a card like Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Maybe you want the option to switch over to a Hardened Scales style of aggro deck with an Arcbound Ravager in the sideboard, turning each cantrip into a miniature Crusade. All of these plans could work, and while I’m not sure what the optimal version of this deck looks like, jamming a bunch of cheap spells in around Flux Channeler and Pentad Prism seems like a strong place to start. I’ll admit that this will probably never be the most competitive deck out there, but it sure looks fun to play. It’s worth noting that thanks to Runaway Steam-Kin it’s possible to build this sort of deck for Standard. It’s debatable what the best payoff for it would be, since we don’t get Walking Ballista or Grapeshot, but perhaps Saheeli, Sublime Artificer or Wee Dragonauts is the answer. While the Modern deck was fun to design, this may warrant further investigation… Do you have any ideas for the deck? Which direction would you take it in? Is a Standard version of this list too clunky, or are there enough cheap red spells to make it work? Let me know what you think in the comments, and as always, please remember to channel your fluxes responsibly. 2 Responses Cameron February 22, 2020 Hello! I just wanted to let you know that your decks are really fun and inspirational, this one in particular inspired a deck I’m building now, and because of your Vesperlark Reanimator, I’m obsessed with Vesperlark! Thank you! Reply Ben Iverach-Brereton February 24, 2020 Thank-you so much! I had a lot of fun coming up with Flux Channeler Storm (and also Vesperlark is just the best. I love it so much). 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