Last updated on April 16, 2021
Neoform | Illustration by Bram Sels
Are you a big fan of combo decks like me? Do you want to win on turn 4? I can see you nodding your head, so I’ll take that as a yes. Welcome, my fellow combo enthusiast, and get ready to learn about my go-to Historic combo deck: Neostorm.
How does the combo work? You can probably guess from the name that it revolves around Neoform. After casting this card on a 2-drop creature, you copy it while it’s on the stack using Sea Gate Stormcaller’s ETB effect, or with the help of Dualcaster Mage. Now you have two copies of Neoform on the stack waiting to resolve. You’re able to tutor all 3-drop creatures from your deck onto the battlefield, and Tuktuk Rubblefort gives your team haste which lets you attack your opponent with a huge board.
If you don’t understand the combo yet, don’t worry. I’ll break it down step-by-step in just a second. I promise the combo isn’t as complicated once you see it in action in MTG Arena.
With that being said, let’s get started.
Dualcaster Mage | Illustration by Matt Stewart
These are the steps that you need to follow to get the combo going:
1. Cast Sea Gate Stormcaller.
2. Cast Neoform on any 2-drop creature. You now have two copies of Neoform on the stack.
3. Search for all Dualcaster Mages and have them copy the Neoforms on the stack. You should be left with this board:
4. Search for Glasspool Mimic and have it enter as copies of Dualcaster Mage. You should have a board similar to this:
5. Search for Tuktuk Rubblefort to give all your creatures haste.
6. Search for Combat Celebrant.
7. Swing for lethal while exerting Combat Celebrant to ensure another combat step.
Prefer to see it in action? My fellow Draftsim writer and YouTuber Kugane has a video demoing it for you:
As I previously mentioned, our deck aims to assemble the combo as soon as possible. The rest of deck serves as a way to search for the combo pieces or protect our key spells.
Neostorm can only search for Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath or, in rare cases, Nightpack Ambusher outside of the combo. The Stormcaller, on the other hand, is useful in multiples since you can cast one of the copies you have in hand and then double up on your card draw spells like Opt.
Don’t limit these cards to the combo. Searching for an Uro with Neoform has won me more games than I can count. The most important thing when playing combo decks is to be flexible.
Dualcaster Mage card doesn’t get enough love. This mage can be copied by Neoform to act as a replacement for Sea Gate Stormcaller. More importantly, though, it can act as combo protection since it can copy any instant or sorcery on the stack.
Tuktuk Rubblefort serves no purpose other than giving your creatures haste when you pull off the combo, so make sure to always put it at the bottom of the deck with Valakut Awakening. One common mistake is to undervalue Rubblefort when going for the combo win.
A lot of Neostorm players search for one Tuktuk Rubblefort and one Combat Celebrant to win the game. Why is this a risky move? If your opponent has a removal spell, they can remove your Rubblefort and prevent your creatures from attacking on the same turn. This gives them a chance to wipe the board on their turn. It’s okay to search for both copies of our haste enabler if you suspect a removal spell coming up soon.
Why should you run Combat Celebrant in the deck if you don’t always search for it? Historic is an Uro format, and a commonly ignored aspect of Uro is the lifegain effect. If your opponent gained a lot of life and one attack isn’t enough to win the game, the Celebrant can give you that extra push you need to win the game. This warrior can also be used to push through extra blockers.
My favorite card in this deck and one of the main reasons this combo is consistent. It’s a strong claim, I know. Aside from acting as a land when you have no other lands in hand, what’s so good about this card? Spoiler: everything.
The main problem with this deck is drawing the creatures you want to tutor like Tuktuk Rubblefort. Rubblefort is a good card to tutor when you’re going off since it gives all your creatures haste. It’s not as useful in hand, though, is it? This is where Valakut Awakening shines.
It helps you recycle useless cards in hand, ensures you won’t draw them again by putting them at the bottom of your library, and helps you draw any missing combo pieces. It’s okay to play four copies instead of three, but I recommend cutting a Wall of Blossoms or Opt if you do.
Wall of Blossoms
This deck struggles with aggressive strategies. A playset of Wall of Blossoms really helps aggro matchups. Beyond defending, it replaces itself and gets you closer to the combo with some card draw. Don’t to forget that it can be sacrificed to Neoform, too.
Why play a 4-mana creature that doesn’t even help combo off? Well, the Ambusher actually does help us in with the combo. It forces your opponent to tap out and deal with it.
If you cast it at the end of your opponent’s turn and it’s countered, you’ve got a full turn to resolve your combo. If the Ambusher doesn’t get countered, your opponent now has to tap out and cast a board wipe. This gives you a full turn to resolve your combo, once again.
The Ambusher can (unsurprisingly) ambush a creature in combat and create chump blockers if you’re up against a creature deck. You’ve now got enough time to find your combo pieces and, in some rare cases, Nightpack can win the game on its own. I highly recommend playing this card since it gives you a back-up plan in case your combo plan doesn’t work.
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Nightpack isn’t our only back-up plan. We also run Uro in this deck.
The best thing about Uro is that it can be tutored with Neoform. If you’re playing against a grindy deck, using Neoform on any 2-drop creature to search for Uro and set up for the long game is a great idea.
Having a way to deal with goblins in the main board is a necessity in the current Historic format. Aether Gust can also help you deal with the biggest problem this deck has: Yasharn, Implacable Earth.
With the rise in 4-color midrange decks, I see Aether Gust as an essential card. If you feel like you aren’t facing these decks, though, feel free to replace it with additional copies of Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath or Shimmer of Possibility.
One mana to look at two cards and dig deeper to the combo? Not a bad investment.
Shimmer of Possibility
Digging four cards deep is really good for a 2-card combo deck, but Shimmer isn’t strong enough to warrant more than two slots in the mainboard. Especially with how many 2-drops this deck has.
Into the Roil
Having a way to bounce the Cage before a huge combo turn is essential in the current meta, and this card is flexible enough to bounce any other problematic non-land permanent. Having the ability to replace itself is also pretty nice. If you’re low on common wildcards, feel free to use Blink of an Eye instead.
Expansion // Explosion
This is the perfect example of an all-star card. It can be used to copy a Neoform targeting a 2-drop creature, helping you combo off. It can also be used as protection against counters. If the game goes long and you have six lands on the field, using Explosion to draw two cards and deal two damage isn’t a bad mana investment.
Pact of Negation
All you need to win the game is your key spells to resolve, so the downside of losing the game is countered when it guarantees you the win on the same turn.
As I already mentioned, one of the anti-Neostorm strategies is Grafdigger’s Cage. Abrade is the perfect way to deal with such a problematic card all the while being flexible enough to be sided in in aggro matchups to deal with creatures.
Anger of the Gods is the perfect way to answer those pesky goblins or any aggro deck that might be too fast for you to pull off your combo. Remember that you can always copy it with Expansion // Explosion to deal with creatures with more than three toughness.
You need counterspells to deal with whatever hate interactive decks bring your way, and you can always use Negate to deal with any of their threats, too.
Graveyard-hate is essential in Historic, especially if you’re against Jund sacrifice. The good thing about Soul-Guide Lantern is that it can be cycled when it’s not needed to dig for combo pieces.
The best sideboard strategy is to diversify your threats. The Royal Scions is an underrated card that hasn’t seen much play. I find it to be a perfect fit in this deck since it allows you to loot through your library to assemble combo pieces while threatening to emblem. Another cool interaction is filling up the graveyard for Uro in the future.
Sultai is definitely a bad matchup, especially with how much interaction they run. The best thing to do is use Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath plus The Royal Scions to apply pressure and force your opponent to tap out. Then you can combo off. 4-color versions of this deck stop your combo in its tracks, so make sure you have Aether Gust to deal with it.
Goblins and Gruul Aggro
These matchups are a race. The good news is that you’re better equipped than your opponent. Use Abrade and Aether Gust to prevent them from taking the win. Make sure to end it before they can generate too many blockers.
I have to say, Neostorm is a really fun combo deck to play. It went from something I thought was a casual deck to a popular ladder strategy.
My main tip is to be flexible. Don’t think of this deck as a linear combo deck. Feel free to go for unusual lines of play during games, especially post-board. I’ve won plenty of games using Nightpack Ambusher or even Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. Don’t concede as soon as your combo gets countered since you have other ways of winning the game.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments down below. I’d be more than happy to help a fellow Esper mage! You can also pop on over to our Discord if you want a longer discussion.
And if you don’t have it yet, you absolutely need to get our MTGA helper app, Arena Tutor. It’s great.
Good luck, and see you on the ladder!