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The Fish Tank: Core Set 2021 Edition (June 28-July 4, 2020)

Welcome back to The Fish Tank, the series where we peek at sweet viewer-submitted decks and maybe, with our powers combined, turn them into real, fun, playable lists! This week, we're focusing on Core Set 2021, which was fully previewed on Tuesday. Almost all of our decks this week feature cards from the set, and some of them look pretty spectacular! Let's take a look at the lists. But first, to have your own deck considered for next week's edition (and for our Fishbowl Thursday Instant Deck Tech), make sure to leave a link in the comments, or email them to me at


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Teferi's Tutelage is one of my pet cards from Core Set 2021. I've always love tutelage cards, dating back to my obsession with Sphinx's Tutelage during the Magic Origins era of Standard. What's better than winning by drawing a bunch of cards? Not much, in my opinion. Sadly, I've struggled to make Teferi's Tutelage work in Standard—at least, so far—but jujobaco has a sweet take on the archetype that I haven't tried yet: combining Teferi's Tutelage with Song of Creation's card-drawing power to win in one big turn! If we can get a Teferi's Tutelage or two on the battlefield and then play Song of Creation with a few mana available, we can chain together cards like Opt, Radical Idea, and Growth Spiral to draw an insane number of cards and potentially mill our opponent completely out of the game in just one turn. I'd write more about the deck, but instead, I'm going to put it together on Magic Arena and test it out. I really want to make Teferi's Tutelage work...

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I also wanted to give a shout out to Hazoret, the Pervert, who had a similar idea featuring Song of Creation and Teferi's Tutelage but with a twist: Discontinuity. The idea is that we can play Song of Creation and then use Discontinuity on our end step to counter Song of Creation's sacrifice trigger for a turn, which means the following turn, we should have all of our mana available and a Song of Creation. Toss in some extra land drops from cards like Azusa, Lost but Seeking and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, and we should be set up to have a pretty insane turn!

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Clackbridge Troll is a potentially powerful card. An 8/8 trample, haste for five mana is pretty absurd, even by 2020 power-level standards. The problem is the tokens it gives the opponent, which can stop the Troll for several turns. Thanks to some new Core Set 2020 additions, Jon T.'s Vivien's Massacre looks to turn the token downside of Massacre Wurm into an upside, either by playing Kaervek, the Spiteful on Turn 4 before Clackbridge Troll (so the tokens immediate die when they come into play) or by following up Clackbridge Troll with Massacre Wurm to wrath away the tokens and hit our opponent for a bunch of damage. While I'm a bit skeptical that cards like Grim Physician are the best options for the deck, in general, the shell looks solid, with some good planeswalkers for card advantage, decent discard and removal, and Scavenging Ooze to deal with Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. While it could probably use some tweaks around the edges, it seems like it could actually be fairly powerful or, at the very least, super fun to play!


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Meanwhile, in Historic, we have a deck from Brand R. (who said the deck took them from Silver to Platinum on Magic Arena in just an hour): Four-Color Mutate Cats. The deck lives up to its name, being all Cats (to the point where we can play Kaheera, the Orphanguard as our companion), many of which also happen to mutate for additional value (with Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt killing things, Cubwarden making tokens, Nethroi, Apex of Death reanimating our creatures, and Regal Leosaur pumping our team). And that's basically the deck. Play Cats. Mutate Cats. Attack with Cats. Get to Plat!


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When Transmogrify was previewed, the main reason I was excited about the card was that it gave mono-red decks a ton of redundancy with Polymorph effects, thanks to Indomitable Creativity, Transmogrify, and even Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast. UrzaLawnCard has embraced the ideal in Pioneer with a Mono-Red Polymorph deck that looks super consistent at putting either Worldspine Wurm or Emrakul, the Promised End into play on Turn 4. The deck is overloaded with token producers in the early game, in Satyr's Cunning, Dragon Fodder, Forbidden Friendship, and Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, which means that on Turn 4, we can use a token to Transmogrify or Indomitable Creativity into either Worldspine Wurm or Emrakul, the Promised End, either of which should close out the game in just a couple of attacks. The deck also has an interesting backup plan, with four copies of Cavalcade of Calamity to ping our opponent to death by attacking with all of our random 1/1 tokens! Is the deck unfair enough to keep up in the combo-heavy Pioneer meta? It's hard to say, but it should be really good at goldfishing into something huge on Turn 4, which could be enough to win a decent number of games. Plus, the deck is actually under $100, putting it in our normal budget price range!


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Lifegain decks in Modern have been floating around for forever but have normally lived in the second or third tier of the format. Now, thanks to Core Set 2021, they get an absurd new payoff in Speaker of the Heavens, joining Serra Ascendant to give the deck two one-mana must-answer threats. To turn on Speaker of the Heavens and Serra Ascendant, we have Soul Warden, Soul's Attendant and Martyr of Sands, which should get us up to 30 life pretty quickly. The rest of the deck has a weird mashup of cheap white cards and additional lifegain stuff, along with a bunch of one-ofs, which are sweet but somewhat confusing since our deck doesn't have any way to find our one Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Walking Ballista, Giver of Runes, or Weathered Wayfarer with any consistency. In general, I think the shell looks sweet, and something along the lines of Aleddin's Mono-White Life deck could be pretty good in Modern. Although I think more copies of some of our better one-ofs and fewer copies of some of the lesser one-ofs could improve the deck, it will probably take some testing to find the right mix.


Anyway, that's all for this week! If you have any ideas about how to improve these decks, make sure to let us know in the comments, and if you have a deck you want to be considered for a future Fish Tank, leave that there as well! Thanks to everyone who sent in decks this week! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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