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The Fish Tank: Spicy Viewer Decks (July 26-August 1, 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 bouncing around from format to format. 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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Teferi's Tutelage might be the Core Set 2021 card I most want to be good in Standard since I have some very fond memories of Sphinx's Tutelage back when it was Standard legal. BlackHarkness has an interesting card-draw-heavy mono-blue take on Teferi's Tutelage, with the main goal being to stick a Teferi's Tutelage or two and draw a bunch of cards with Rain of Revelation, Teferi, Master of Time, Spectral Sailor, Sublime Epiphany, and friends, hopefully milling the opponent out of the game in short order as we keep ourselves alive with bounce spells like Stern Dismissal and Callous Dismissal. Apart from the main-deck mill plan, the deck also has an interesting semi-transformational sideboard plan. If the mill plan doesn't seem likely to get the job done, we can take out Teferi's Tutelage and some card draw, bring in four Murmuring Mystic and four Shark Typhoon, and try to win the game by slinging spells and making a bunch of flying tokens! I have no idea how the deck holds up against Temur Rec, which might be an issue with Temur Rec sitting at something like 60% of the meta at last weekend's Players Tour Finals. But regardless of how it matches up with the tier-zero deck of the meta, Teferi Mill looks like a blast to play!


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I'm honestly not even sure what to say about The Activated's Liliana's Ultramatum deck for Historic. It's overflowing with sweet one-ofs, and breaking them down would take a book rather than a paragraph in a Fish Tank article. The deck's main idea is to grind out value with Enigmatic Incarnation until we eventually use Arcane Adaptation to turn all of our creatures into Demons and Liliana's Contract to win the game, perhaps with the help of Emergent Ultimatum. It can find Arcane Adaptation, Liliana's Contract, and Omniscience, forcing our opponent to either give us the combo or give us one combo piece and Omniscience, which should win us the game by allowing us to cast all of our spells for free. If you're looking for something very, very different to play in Historic, Liliana's Ultramatum looks like a blast, assuming you have the wildcards to put it together.

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Last week, we looked exclusively at Historic combo decks on The Fish Tank, but there's one that we missed, as exemplified by Floris H. with Risen Roil Combo. The deck's goal is to get one or more copies of Zendikar's Roil on the battlefield alongside one or more copies of Risen Reef (perhaps with the help of Neoform). Once we get our pieces set up, we simply play a land, which will trigger our Zendikar's Roils to make 2/2 Elementals, with the 2/2 Elementals triggering Risen Reef to draw us cards and, if we hit a land, put it directly into play. The land will again trigger Zendikar's Roil to make an Elemental, which will trigger Risen Reef again. With a bit of luck (or enough copies of Risen Reef / Zendikar's Roil), we can draw our entire deck in one turn with the combo. This will find us our one copy of Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, which we can cast and win by drawing with an empty library! The rest of the deck is built to maximize the number of Elementals we can make, to in turn maximize the number of Risen Reef triggers we get and the number of cards we draw. Young Pyromancer makes Elementals when we make a spell, Scampering Scorcher is three Risen Reef triggers all by itself, and Thunderkin Awakener can reanimate Risen Reefs our opponent happens to kill. If you like drawing cards, Risen Roil Combo has to be one of the sweetest options in all of Historic.

Also, a shout out to Correntis, who also sent in a deck build around the same combo, although rather than winning with Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, Correntis goes with Thassa's Oracle for the finisher once we draw our entire deck with the combo. 


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Last week, for Much Abrew, we played a GR Lukka-Hoof Transmogrify deck in Historic, but themicroman is interested in making a similar strategy work in Modern. The deck's main goal is to get a token on the battlefield with the help of Forbidden Friendship, Dwarven Mine, or Kher Keep and then use Transmogrify or Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast (perhaps as early as Turn 3 thanks to a bunch of rituals) to upgrade a token into an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. The rest of the deck has a bit of a Mono-Red Prison feel, with some Blood Moons and Chalice of the Voids. While I can't believe I'm saying this, I'm actually somewhat skeptical of the lock pieces in this deck because of the anti-synergy they create with Chalice of the Void shutting down Lightning Bolt and Veil of Summer, while Blood Moon cuts off a big chunk of our token production by turning Dwarven Mine and Kher Keep into Mountains. Thankfully, there are ways to build around these issues, by turning Lightning Bolt into a two-mana removal spell like Abrade, adding more non-land token production to the deck, and adding at least one basic Forest to the mana base so we can cast our sideboard cards even if we land a Blood Moon. If there's one thing I know about Modern, it's that a Turn 3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is almost always enough to win the game. So the deck's idea is solid, but it could potentially use some tweaks around the edges. 

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I've seen about a million Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose builds since the card was previewed in Core Set 2021, but Camberleaf's Dark Heart of the Woods Combo deck for Modern might be the spiciest of them all since Dark Heart of the Wood isn't really a card you see played in any format. The idea is to use cards like Azusa, Lost but Seeking and The Gitrog Monster to make extra land drops, stick a Dark Heart of the Wood and a Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, and sacrifice all of our Forests (which are basically all of our lands) to drain our opponent out of the game three life at a time. If we end up short on lands, we can use Ramunap Excavator to replace them from our graveyard after we sacrifice them for even more damage. My only concern is that 22 lands is not a lot for a deck built around making multiple land drops each turn, which might mean we either need more lands or more copies of Ramunap Excavator or Crucible of Worlds to maximize our ability to replay lands we sacrifice from our graveyard. Still, the combo is super spicy, and the deck looks super fun to play!


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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