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The Fish Tank: Kaldheim Edition (January 10-16, 2021)


Welcome back to The Fish Tank, the series where we sneak a peek at sweet viewer-submitted decks and maybe, with our powers combined, turn them into real, fun, playable lists! This week is Kaldheim week! Even though we don't have the full set yet, people are hard at work brewing around the new cards, and we have some really sweet submissions! What cool Kaldheim brews did you all submit this week? Let's find out! 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 it to me at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.

Standard

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Even though we recently played an Emergent Ultimatum deck on Meme or Dream? I wanted to show off Halfwing's build for one very big reason: it shows off a really sweet trick you can do with some of the new MDFC cards from Kaldheim. Emergent Ultimatum allows us to search for three mono-color cards and cast two of them (after our opponent eliminates one) for free. The trick is that we can use Emergent Ultimatum to find Valki, God of Lies (which is mono-black) but then choose to cast Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor instead, even though it's a multi-color card. The same trick also works with cascade (use something like Violent Outburst to cascade into Valki, God of Lies but then cast Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor instead), Bring to Light, and other similar cards. Some of these tricks let us cheat a Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor onto the battlefield super quickly, possibly even on Turn 1 with enough fast mana, which should be hard for a lot of decks to beat.

Modern

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Speaking of Turn 1 Tibalt, NobleRooster already has a Modern list designed to make it happen! As you can see, the only card in Tibalt, Meme King that costs less than three mana is Valki, God of Lies. This means that if we cast either Violent Outburst or Demonic Dread (which we can theoretically do on Turn 1 with the help of two Simian Spirit Guides), we know the end result of the cascade will be Valki since it's the only card in our deck cheap enough to hit. Rather than casting Valki, God of Lies, we choose to cast the seven-mana-planeswalker side of the card instead, giving us a Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor to take over the game with as early as Turn 1! The other fun trick is adventure creatures. Cards like Lovestruck Beast, Bonecrusher Giant, and Merchant of the Vale give us things to do over the first turns of the game even though they technically cost three mana for cascade purposes. This allows us to get away with playing a deck that is almost exclusively three or more mana and still potentially curve out starting from Turn 1!

From a more competitive perspective, the biggest question about cascading into Tibalt is whether it is better than other options, like Living End. In many cases, a fast Tibalt should win the game, although it's also possible that our opponent can untap and kill it with something like Dreadbore and all of our cascading will have been for naught. One interesting plan for more Spikey decks is to use Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor in the sideboard of Living End decks as a way to get around the graveyard hate that opponents will almost certainly bring in to fight against the Living End reanimator plan, leaving the opponent with a bunch of dead hate cards while we win the game with Tibalt!

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One of the things I love the most about Goldspan Dragon is that it's both a solid standalone card (4/4 flying haste creatures with upside traditionally are good enough for Standard and often other formats as well) and a really interesting jank combo piece. Camberleaf's Treasure Storm deck is certainly on the janky combo plan. The goal? Get Goldspan Dragon on the battlefield as quickly as possible with the help of various rituals and then start targeting it with one-mana cantrips. Since Goldspan Dragon makes a Treasure token that we can sacrifice for two mana whenever we target it, Cerulean Wisps, Crimson Wisps, Expedite, and Fleeting Distraction all turn into weird versions of Desperate Ritual that also draw us a card and buff our Goldspan Dragon. This should let us draw through most of our deck (and if we fizzle, we can use Past in Flames to recast everything from our graveyard). Eventually, we'll find Fists of Flame to make Goldspan Dragon into a lethal attacker and, thanks to the haste from Expedite, kill our opponent with one flying, trampling attack! Is Treasure Storm more competitive than traditional Storm? Maybe not, but it's way more spicy and way more fun. Plus, with the right draw, it seems like it could actually be pretty powerful too!

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Alright, I cheated a little. Spinkick360's Archlich Jhoira's Jeskai Fun-Time Pile deck has a great name, but it doesn't actually contain any Kaldheim cards. It's just too weird and spicy to pass up. The deck is built around Lich's Mirror, which is an extremely hard card to build a deck around. While preventing you from losing the game is nice, the problem is that the cost is losing all of your permanents, so while your opponent gets to keep all of their lands, creatures, and planeswalkers and everything else, you end up with an empty board—technically alive but not very alive by any means. So, how do we get around this drawback? The primary plan is suspend cards. We can use Jhoira of the Ghitu to suspend anything, while we also have a bunch of cards like Greater Gargadon and Detritivore that suspend themselves. After we get a good amount of things suspended, we can use Glorious End or Chance for Glory to lose the game, use Lich's Mirror to prevent the game loss while losing all of our permanents but drawing a new hand and going back up to 20 life, and then hopefully refill our board the following turn as our cards come off suspend! Thanks to As Foretold and Electrodominance, we can also get around the drawback of Lich's Mirror by forcing our opponent to sacrifice all of their stuff with Restore Balance, which makes losing all of our permanents to Lich's Mirror much less painful. While the deck is probably more Against the Odds: Lich's Mirror than a legitimate competitive option, a well-timed Restore Balance can beat a lot of decks, and Archlich Jhoira's Jeskai Fun-Time Pile does look like it should live up to its name, at the very least, and be a pile of fun.

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For what might be the first time ever on The Fish Tank, we actually have two different decks from the same person this week. After showing off the Tibalt, Meme King deck earlier, NobleRooster returns with another interesting Modern brew: Halvar, the Punishing Fire. On one hand, Halvar, the Punishing Fire is basically a Boros Stoneforge deck overloaded with some sweet equipment synergies. On the other hand, what the deck is really trying to do is build its own version of the banned Punishing Fire, with Fireblade Charger and the backside of Halvar, God of Battle, Sword of the Realms. The idea is to get Sword of the Realms on Fireblade Charger and start attacking the opponent. If the opponent blocks and kills Fireblade Charger, we get to Lightning Bolt something with Fireblade Charger's death trigger and return Fireblade Charger to our hand, thanks to Sword of the Realms. We can then recast and re-equip Fireblade Charger for a total of three mana (which is exactly how much it costs to cast a Punishing Fire and then return it to your hand) so that we can do it again the next turn. If our opponent chooses not to block Fireblade Charger, then we hit our opponent for three damage, which, backed by our other aggressive equipment synergies, should allow us to close out the game in short order. Things get even better once we get Akiri, Fearless Voyager going (to draw a card when we attack with Fireblade Charger), along with Halvar, God of Battle (to double-strike up Fireblade Charger) and Koll, the Forgemaster for additional protection. While it's hard to say how competitive the deck might be, on paper, it looks pretty solid and like it could actually win quite a few games in Modern!

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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