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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy User Decks (August 30-September 5, 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 still have a bunch of Historic, which seems to be the format that the community is most excited to brew in as we wait for Standard to rotate, but with some Standard and Modern action as well! What sweet lists 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 them to me at

Post-Rotation Standard

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It's a weird time to brew Standard decks since we're only a couple of weeks away from rotation and the release of Zendikar Rising. But thanks to the Standard 2021 event on Magic Arena (which is post-rotation Standard minus Zendikar Rising), players like SirEklz are getting a head start on our new Standard format. Rakdos Discard doesn't have any specific combo to talk about; instead, it's all about stripping away the opponent's hand and winning with solid midrange threats like Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, Rankle, Master of Pranks, and Bonecrusher Giant. I'm mostly surprised at how solid the deck looks, considering it's only working with four sets. Mind Rot is probably the worst card in the deck, and it isn't that bad in a deck built around and able to take advantage of (thanks to Liliana, Waker of the Dead) getting the opponent empty-handed. If you like making opponents discard cards and want to get a jump on post-rotation Standard, Rakdos Discard looks like a fun option for the Standard 2021 event on Magic Arena and might even be good in full Standard post-rotation, especially if it gets a few more upgrades from Zendikar Rising.


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While it's arguable that all Burn decks are combo decks to some extent (with the combo being resolving six or seven Lightning Bolts), having a true combo in a burn deck is a rarity. RatTomago has figured out a way to make it happen in Historic! The idea is to get Runaway Steam-Kin on the battlefield to make extra mana as we cast red burn spells, Young Pyromancer on the battlefield to make Elemental tokens as we cast our burn spells, and Risen Reef on the battlefield to draw us a card whenever Young Pyromancer makes a token. The rest of our deck is entirely made up of one-mana red spells (mostly burn but also some card draw in Crash Through and Warlord's Fury). With Runaway Steam-Kin on the battlefield, these spells become free in a weird way since once we cast three of them, we'll get our three mana back thanks to Runaway Steam-Kin. Meanwhile, Risen Reef makes sure that we don't run out of cards, by drawing us a steady stream of free spells until we eventually burn our opponent out of the game in one big combo turn. While seeing Risen Reef splashed in Burn looks really weird in paper, the idea is really sweet, and the combo turns should be incredibly fun!


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I almost didn't include Kelvin [escesare]'s Claw Pact deck in today's Fish Tank, just because I'm not sure what to say about the deck. It's 95 cards with about a million one-ofs. I'm not sure it's even possible to do it justice in a one-paragraph write up. In the end, I decided the deck's idea was too sweet to pass up. The main combo is using Wishclaw Talisman to get Skybind. When Skybind comes into play, we can use it to flicker the Wishclaw Talisman that we donated to our opponent, which not only keeps our opponent from tutoring with Wishclaw Talisman on their turn but also resets the counters on Wishclaw Talisman so that we can use it again the next turn. As long as we keep tutoring up enchantments, we essentially get to Demonic Tutor each turn for just a single mana, with no downside! This allows us to snag the Nine Lives / Solemnity lock to shut down damage; removal spells like Oath of Kaya, Elspeth Conquers Death, and Chained to the Rocks; and eventually Demonic Pact, which we can donate to our opponent with Harmless Offering after using up the beneficial modes to make our opponent choose the "lose the game" option. Basically, Claw Pact offers infinite tutoring, pretty much all of the enchantment-based combos in the Pioneer format, and a ton of random value from blinking things like Omen of the Sea or Demonic Pact with Yorion. If that's not enough, we can use Fae of Wishes to snag hate cards, finishers, and even Possibility Storm (to lock our opponent out with Teferi, Time Raveler) from the sideboard. I'm sure the deck can do a bunch of other sweet things I haven't even noticed yet as well, but regardless, it looks super fun to play and like it might even be fairly competitive.


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Looking for a different kind of tribal deck to play in Modern? How about Matthias K.'s Druids? Unlike most tribes, Druids aren't about lords and beating down; instead, they are about producing mana and drawing lots of cards. Thanks to the overlap between Elves and Druids, the deck is overflowing with mana dorks, along with Beast Whisperer, Chulane, Teller of Tales, and Gilt-Leaf Archdruid to draw us cards as we cast them. Intruder Alarm gives us some combo potential, by untapping all of our mana dorks whenever a creature comes into play, which gives us tons of mana to do things like activate Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy (who I didn't even realize was a Druid) a bunch of times to build a massive board. Maybe the most fun part of the deck is how it wins. While technically, we can just draw our entire deck and play Thassa's Oracle, the more exciting pathway to victory is Cyclonic Rift and Gilt-Leaf Archdruid. After drawing a bunch of cards and making tons of mana, we can use Cyclonic Rift to bounce all of our opponent's non-land permanents and then tap seven Druids with the help of Gilt-Leaf Archdruid to steal all of our opponent's lands, making it next to impossible for our opponent to recover! While I'd guess that Druids is more of an Against the Odds deck than a legitimate tier option, it does look incredibly fun to play, and the games that it does win should be both hilarious and spectacular.

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We don't feature too many draw-go-style control decks on The Fish Tank, mostly because they are usually just a pile of counters and removal plus a couple of finishers, which makes them super hard to write about casually without getting into boring stuff about how specific answers line up with specific threats. That said, there is one huge reason why I wanted to feature Drake96's $60 Approach of the Miraculous Sun deck: building control on a budget is extremely hard, mostly because some of the best control cards (like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Cryptic Command, and Snapcaster Mage) are super expensive and don't really have good budget replacements. Managing to make a competitive-ish looking Modern control deck for $60 is a feat in and of itself. More importantly, Approach of the Miraculous Sun has some spice, being built around the miracle ability of Devastation Tide and Terminus, giving us a bunch of cheap wraths to slow down the game until we eventually win by casting our second copy of Approach of the Second Sun, which we'll find with the help of our ample card draw and scry cards. If you're someone who loves control decks but doesn't want to spend a lot of money, Approach of the Miraculous Sun looks like a sweet option for Modern.


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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