The best solutions are almost always the simplest ones.
After plowing through set after set to try and figure out what card should replace Aether Storm, I finally realized that the answer was staring me in the face. Almost literally, to be truthful, because there has been a stack of four Brainstorms sitting on my desk waiting for me to find a home for them for over a month.
Brainstorm and fetch lands have been the chocolate and peanut butter of Magic for a long time now. Why am I trying to argue?
...it's harder than it looks. The urge to hold on to Brainstorm until I have a Flooded Strand, simply for value is really strong. And, with a deck like Ironhide, which works from a different avenue of attack and defense than most other decks, the unique power of it can help cover a lot of potential mistakes as I find my way to the best play.
My multiplayer games against Matt and Caitlin really demonstrated this: once I got the soft lock, there wasn't anything they could do about my position in the game anymore. But I always felt that I was one misplay away from the whole thing slipping from my fingers-despite winning those games.
On the other hand, you can't prepare for everything, as I learned in my matchup against Fuz while he was playing a U/R deck designed to punish you for drawing cards. Brainstorm plays right into that and I lost my matchup in spectacular fashion.
After these matches, I felt I needed to make a few changes. Compulsion is solid, because it helps me move from the "lock phase" of the game to the "win phase" and that can't be overlooked. However, one of the consistent issues I've noticed is that I always felt hungry for mana. I'd thought having 24 lands would make it work but I may have overrated what Flooded Strand counts for, so I'll be making a few more tweaks, I think.