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The Fish Tank: Spicy Viewer Decks (August 2-8, 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 have decks for Historic and Pioneer, and a new Double Masters–influenced combo deck for Pauper! What flashes of brilliance did viewers have this week? Let's get to the lists and 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 them to me at


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I've been wanting to build Historic Wizards ever since Riptide Laboratory showed up in Jumpstart. While it might not seem like a huge deal, the land has been used in the past with Snapcaster Mage and Vendilion Clique in Legacy to great effect. And while Historic might not have those exact Wizards, they do have some powerful tribe members with enters-the-battlefield triggers, along with Naban, Dean of Iteration as a two-mana Panharmonicon. The idea is to slowly grind out value with cards like Barrin, Tolarian Archmage and Exclusion Mage to bounce our opponent's stuff, Gadwick, the Wizened and Cloudkin Seer to draw cards, and Watertrap Weaver and Merfolk Trickster to keep the opponent's board tapped down, with Riptide Laboratory giving us a way to pick up and recast our Wizards to generate even more value. Eventually, we win with a big board full of janky Wizards, possibly pumped by Naru Meha, Master Wizard. The end result is a deck that looks extremely annoying to play against, with tons of value and instant-speed tricks. Plus, it's actually super cheap to put together on Arena, with just two mythics and 10 rares! If you're looking for something different in Historic, Robert C.'s Mono-Blue Wizards looks like a really fun budget option for the format!


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Meanwhile, in the world of Pioneer, Talos3343 is looking to reanimate a bunch of Gearhulks in a deck aptly named Hulk Smash. The idea is simple: get Noxious Gearhulk, Combustible Gearhulk, and Cataclysmic Gearhulk in the graveyard with the help of cards like Stitcher's Supplier, Cathartic Reunion, and Nahiri's Wrath; then, get the Gearhulks from the graveyard to the battlefield with Refurbish, Blood for Bones, and Ever After. Otherwise, we have Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger for more graveyard-centric value and Nahiri, the Harbinger as another way to stock our graveyard that doubles up as a removal spell and can potentially even snag a Gearhulk from our deck and put it into play with haste with her ultimate. While graveyard hate seems annoying, we do have a bunch of answers in the sideboard. Plus, one of the upsides of reanimating Gearhulks as opposed to other, more expensive creatures is that it's not impossible that we will get to six mana and start hardcasting them. Oh yeah, ignore Yorion, Sky Nomad showing up as a companion. It's actually just a normal sideboard card, but the site has trouble with sideboard companions sometimes. The idea is we can bring it in and use it to blink all of our Gearhulks to reuse their enters-the-battlefield triggers, drawing more cards with Combustible Gearhulk (or maybe damaging our opponent a bunch), killing more creatures with Noxious Gearhulk, and maybe even wrathing the board with Cataclysmic Gearhulk in a pinch. According to Talos3343, they have been having a decent amount of success with the deck in local Pioneer tournaments, even against the top-tier decks of the meta. So if you're looking for something new to play in the combo-infested Pioneer format, maybe Hulk Smash is the way to go. It does look super fun.

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I have to admit that when I saw "Simic Ramp," I almost just skipped over Guillermo G.'s deck, but after looking at the list, I quickly realized that while it was technically Simic and is technically ramping, the deck's actual plan is really unique. The main goal is to get Illusionist's Bracers on a Kiora's Follower, use it to untap Incubation Druid and another Kiora's Follower, and then use the second Kiora's Follower to untap the first one wearing Illusionist's Bracers to repeat the process, which allows us to generate infinite mana with Incubation Druid. Once we have infinite mana, we can win the game the boring but competitive way of playing a massive Walking Ballista (perhaps after using Hydroid Krasis to draw our deck) or the fun but probably not as competitive way of playing Simic Ascendancy and putting +1/+1 counters on our creatures until we either attack for lethal or take an extra turn with Timestream Navigator and win with Simic Ascendancy itself on our upkeep! Is the deck truly competitive? My guess is that it's more of an Against the Odds deck, considering we need four combo pieces to go infinite and three of them die to cards like Shock and Fatal Push. But Magic is about having fun, and I can't think of many more fun ways of winning a game of Pioneer than making infinite mana with Illusionist's Bracers, drawing our entire deck with Hydroid Krasis or Finale of Revelation, and then finally killing the opponent by putting 20 counters on Simic Ascendancy! Basically, I expect that there will be a lot of blowouts with removal disrupting the combo, but the games where everything comes together should be glorious and more than make up for the losses.

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Apparently, it's Pioneer week in The Fish Tank! It's amazing what banning all of the misrable combo decks can do to generate interest in a format! SirEklz's deck—Izzet Creativity—is essentially a combo deck. The goal is to use Forbidden Friendship, Chandra, Acolyte of Flame, and Pirate's Pillage to get tokens on the battlefield and then use Indomitable Creativity to upgrade those tokens into the only creatures in our deck: four Terror of the Peaks and one Angrath's Marauders. If we can cast Indomitable Creativity with x = 3 to put any three of these creatures on the battlefield, we will deal 20 or more damage to our opponent with Terror of the Peaks' enters-the-battlefield triggers, basically guaranteeing us the win when Indomitable Creativity resolves! The rest of the deck is some light control elements to stay alive and cantrips to find our combo pieces, with See the Truth being especially sweet with Chandra, Acolyte of Flame's ability to cast it from our graveyard to draw us three cards. The deck actually looks pretty competitive, and with the help of extra mana from cards like Chandra, Torch of Defiance and the one Irencrag Feat, it might actually be fast enough to race the other combo decks in the format. If you're looking for a combo to play now that Inverter, Lotus Breach and Heliod Ballista are all banned, given Izzet Creativity a shot!. According to SirEklz, one of his friends managed to 5-0 a league with the deck on Magic Online, which is a pretty good sign that it is at least competitive enough to pick up some wins in the format.


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One of the most exciting parts of Masters sets is that they normally downgrade a bunch of cards to common, making them legal in Pauper for the first time. Double Masters is no different, with a handful of potentially powerful pieces dropping from uncommon to common, including Myr Retriever. Affinity has been a deck in Pauper for a long time, but now, thanks to Double Masters, it can also slot an artifact-based infinite combo into the deck, as William B. realized! While we can win games by beating down with Atog, Frogmite, and Myr Enforcer (the latter two threats often coming down for free), it's the ability to loop two copies of Myr Retriever an infinite number of times, with the help of Ashnod's Altar, that really sets the list apart. Add a Disciple of the Vault into the mix for infinite drain as our Myr Retrievers die, and the end result is a list that can potentially go infinite as early as Turn 3 (Turn 1 Disciple of the Vault, Turn 2 Ashnod's Altar, Turn 3 start the infinite Myr Retriever / drain loop) while still having a solid Affinity beatdown backup plan!


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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