Welcome to another edition of “This Day in Magic History!” Today, we’re going to look at Magic’s 2006 World Championship, which ran from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 that year. In particular, we’re going to take a look at one of the wackiest tier one Magic decks of all time: Dragonstorm.
Dragonstorm Before the 2006 World Championships
In 2006, Dragonstorm was already three years old. Despite sporting the infamously overpowered Storm mechanic, the card didn’t gain a whole lot of traction as a result of this printing.
It was definitely a very cool card loved by Timmys everywhere. As a 14-year-old, I thought the card was really cool, and I tried my hardest to build a deck around it to no avail! As it turns out, nine mana is a lot, and getting the Storm count high enough for the card to actually win the game was far from easy.
The Standard of 2003 just didn’t have the necessary tools to make Dragonstorm into a legitimate win condition, so serious Magic players dismissed the card as something printed for casual players. Of course, this all changed in 2006, when a player piloting the deck finished in first at the world championship!
Dragonstorm at the 2006 World Championship
By 2006, Scourge had rotated out of Standard. However, it received a Timeshifted reprint in 2006’s Time Spiral. Timeshifted cards were a separate subset of cards that appeared in booster packs for the set. One Timeshifted card appeared in every pack.
There wasn’t really a unifying theme for the cards, other than the fact that they were from past Magic sets. Overall, the idea was the precursor to Strixhaven’s “Mystical Archive” and The Brothers’ War’s “Retro Frame Artifacts.” There was one major difference for Timeshifted cards though: these cards were all legal in Standard.
So, when Dragonstorm received this Standard-legal reprint, you can’t really blame players for once again dismissing the card. After all, it didn’t accomplish anything the last time in Standard!
But, this time, it turned out Dragonstorm was a downright busted Magic card. The Standard format of 2006 was filled with the exact cards that Dragonstorm needed to be successful.
Makihito Mihara realized this, and he was the only player to pilot the deck during the Standard portion of the 2006 World Championship, which he utterly dominated! The deck’s success at the event is one of the biggest surprises in all of competitive Magic’s history because no one saw it coming.
His deck’s win condition involved searching up some number of Bogardan Hellkites and/or Hunted Dragons. Dragonstorming into four Bogardan Hellkites was the main plan, as it would let you do 20 to your opponent. If you happened to draw one of them too early, you could also grab your Hunted Dragons, whose Haste and Flying would take care of the rest of the damage. In other words, you needed to get your Storm count to three to win the game.
The deck accomplished this fairly easily. It used fast mana to get up to nine mana, and doing so was usually enough to get your Storm count high enough to win the game. Mihara accomplished this using Rite of Flame, Seething Song and Lotus Bloom.
The deck could win the game quickly and consistently, sometimes with hands that could win on turn two. Telling Time and Sleight of Hand allowed him to sift through his deck and find the pieces when he didn’t get the perfect hand.
The Dragonstorm deck continued to find success in Standard through 2007, though eventually Seething Song rotated and the deck was no more. But the Standard of 2006 and 2007 was home to one of the most unexpected decks in all of Magic history!
That’s all for today. I’ll be back next week with a look at another important event in Magic history!
Jacob has been playing Magic for the better part of 24 years, and he especially loves playing Magic’s Limited formats. He also holds a PhD in history from the University of Oklahoma. In 2015, he started his YouTube channel, “Nizzahon Magic,” where he combines his interests with many videos covering Magic’s competitive history. When he’s not playing Magic or making Magic content, he can be found teaching college-level history courses or caring for a menagerie of pets with his wife.