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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy User Decks (October 4-10, 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 a good mixture of decks across formats, with a heavy focus on Modern and Zendikar Rising, along with a couple of sweet Standard and Historic decks in the mix as well! What coolness did viewers send in 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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.

Standard

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Angel of Destiny is a strange card. It's clearly powerful, but figuring out exactly where it fits into Standard is difficult. A dedicated lifegain strategy is the most obvious home, but the most obvious choice isn't always the best, as WacoCatbox shows with a more controlling UW Angel of Destiny build. Rather than being filled with aggressive white lifegain creatures, UW Angel of Destiny is more of a lifegain-adjacent control deck. Rather than being all-in on lifegain, we're trying to maintain control of the board early while also incidentally gaining some life with cards like Revitalize. Eventually, we'll shift into lifegain mode with our finishers Dream Trawler and Angel of Destiny, which should close the door on aggro opponents immediately and then eventually get us up to 35 life so we can win the game with a single Angel of Destiny attack. Perhaps the most interesting synergy of the deck is between Angel of Destiny and Dream Trawler. While Angel of Destiny almost looks like it has lifelink, in reality, it has a triggered ability where damage we deal to our opponent each player gains that amount of life. Since Dream Trawler has lifelink (and Heliod, Sun-Crowned can give Angel of Destiny lifelink), if we can get the combo assembled, we'll gain x2 the life each attack, which, combined with some card draw to pump Dream Trawler, should get us over 35 life in just a single attack step to win the game! While the deck looks strange, it actually seems like it could be fairly powerful, and the idea is really sweet!

Historic

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Ashaya, Soul of the Wild is one of my favorite cards from Zendikar Rising, thanks to the interesting combos enabled by turning all of our non-token creatures into lands. Take, for example, JankyScience's Ashaya Infinite Blink deck. The goal of the deck is simple: get at least three copies of Lotus Cobra on the battlefield (which might sound like a lot, but Clones like Glasspool Mimic and Mirror Image help to speed up the process) along with Ashaya, Soul of the Wild and Emiel the Blessed. With this board state, we can pay three mana to blink a creature with Emiel the Blessed. And since the creature will technically be a Forest thanks to Ashaya, Soul of the Wild, we'll also trigger our Lotus Cobras to make three mana, allowing us to immediately blink against with Emiel. If we have an Elite Guardmage or Risen Reef, we can draw our entire deck, Barrin, Tolarian Archmage can bounce our opponent's board, and [[Frilled Mystic] can lock our opponent out of resolving any more spells. Oh yeah, and if we can get more copies of Lotus Cobra (or Biomancer's Familiar) on the battlefield, we can make infinite mana too, as each creature entering the battlefield will make more mana in Lotus Cobra triggers than we need to blink a creature. Speaking of Biomancer's Familiar, it might be worth playing more copies. While we do have two copies in the deck, lowering Emiel the Blessed's blink ability to just one mana greatly reduces the number of Lotus Cobras we need to combo off (to just one). While the deck looks super fun right now, it should be even more fun in a few months after Kaladesh Remastered is released and presumably releases Panharmonicon back on the battlefield, giving us another way to support the combo (by increasing the amount of mana Lotus Cobra makes) while also working well with our support cards like Elite Guardmage, Charming Prince, Risen Reef, and Skyclave Apparition. While I have no idea how consistent the deck might be—needing three Lotus Cobras on the battlefield is asking a lot—it does seem super fun, and when it goes off, the combo turns should be amazing!

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There isn't much better in all of Magic than blowing up your opponent's lands, leaving them unable to do anything meaningful or even play Magic at all. The problem is that Wizards has greatly powered down land-destruction spells in recent years, which makes it hard for the strategy to work in a format like Historic. But thanks to some sweet new Zendikar Rising additions, Trey C. has found a way (that so far has gotten them to Platinum on Magic Arena)! Rather than being stuffed full of expensive land-destruction spells, the main goal of the deck is to use Cleansing Wildfire as a Sinkhole to blow up opponents' lands for just two mana. Of course, by itself, Cleansing Wildfire isn't really land destruction since the opponent gets to search for a basic land, but if we add Aven Mindcensor to the mix to fizzle our opponent's ability to search their library, we can (almost) make it into a Historic-legal Sinkhole. Backing up Cleansing Wildfire are Rubble Reading, Star of Extinction, and Crucible of Worlds to keep playing Ghost Quarter or Memorial to War from our graveyard, which, together, give us a bunch of different ways to attack our opponent's lands. The rest of the deck is a MDFC-heavy Jeskai Control shell with plenty of removal, wraths, and counters to keep us alive while we are blowing up our opponent's lands. As far as winning the game, our main hope is that our opponent scoops in frustration, although if they stick it out, we can either beat them down with Aven Mindcensor or ultimate a Narset of the Ancient Way. Is the deck good in a competitive sense? I have no idea, but I am pretty confident it should be good at making opponents miserable—and sometimes, that's a win in and of itself!

Modern

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While Rogues have been getting a lot of hype in Standard, players seem to be forgetting that thanks to some older Rogues, the tribe was already pretty close to being playable in Modern before Zendikar Rising, and now, it's even better. Take, for example, Taylor R.'s aggressive Modern Rogues brew. The deck is overflowing with cheap, evasive threats and powerful payoffs. The biggest reason to play Modern Rogues is the suite of powerful two-mana payoffs. Soaring Thought-Thief is the newest addition to the crew, giving us an on-curve flier that also turns into a pseudo-lord once we get eight cards in our opponent's graveyard with the help of Thieves' Guild Enforcer and Zulaport Duelist. Oona's Blackguard is like a super-charged, evasive Metallic Mimic, not only growing our Rogues with +1/+1 counters as they come into play but also quickly emptying our opponent's hand (and thereby filling their graveyard) as we deal combat damage. Finally, we have Stinkdrinker Bandit, which should also be two mana thanks to Prowl and gives our unblocked Rogues a massive +2/+1 when they attack. This means that things like Slither Blade are suddenly attacking for three (and potentially four or five with the help of our other payoffs). 

While I really like the idea of Rogues in Modern and think the creature base of Taylor's deck looks solid, I do have some concerns with the list. First, one of the biggest reasons to play black in Modern is discard like Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek and removal like Fatal Push, and we don't have any of those cards in our main deck. While Noggin Whack and Dimir Charm are interesting, I would imagine that the list would be stronger with those utility slots spent on Thoughtseize and Fatal Push. Second, while Aether Vial is a staple in Modern tribal decks, I'm actually not sure the Rogue tribe needs it since all of our threats cost just one or two mana. Rather than taking Turn 1 off for Aether Vial (and having a dead draw later in the game), it might be better just to play something like Slither Blade or Zulaport Duelist to set up for Stinkdrinker Bandit on Turn 2. While I could be wrong about Aether Vial, that's another slot that might be better spent on interaction. Finally, I'm a bit worried that Modern Rogues might run into the same problem that Standard Rogues had a couple of weeks ago: milling opponents into Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and enough cards to escape it into play. While the deck might be fast enough to get around this problem, it could be worth considering something like Cling to Dust or even Surgical Extraction in the main deck if Uro is problematic. 

All things considered, I'm really excited about the possibilities of Modern Rogues, and I think that Taylor's list is a really solid starting point. While it might need some tuning around the edges, it looks both fast and consistent! If you have some ideas on how to make Rogues even better in Modern, make sure to let me know in the comments! I play on playing the deck for a video or stream in the new future!

Note: partly inspired by this submission we played a build of Modern Rogues on Much Abrew yesterday! To see the tribe in action check it out!

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Ever since the release of Zendikar Rising, Mill has been a hot topic in Modern, but Aleddin's build is super unique. Rather than trying to grind out repeated milling with cards like Hedron Crab and Ruin Crab, Grixis Copy Trap is essentially a combo mill deck. Archive Trap is the most powerful mill card in Modern, milling 13 cards (essentially 1/4 of the opponent's starting library after they draw their opening hand) for free! The goal of Grixis Copy Trap is to use Scheming Symmetry, Trapmaker's Snare, and Merchant Scroll to find an Archive Trap (or two or three); force the opponent to search their library (with Scheming Symmetry or Field of Ruin), if they aren't kind enough to do it for us with a fetch land; copy Archive Trap with Repeated Reverberation, ReverberateNarset's Reversal, and / or Increasing Vengeance; and finally, if need be, flash it back with Mission Briefing, which should (hopefully) allow us to mill our opponent's entire library in one big combo mill turn! Since we only need four copies of Archive Trap to win the game, there are a bunch of combinations that get us the win (two Archive Traps and a Repeated Reverberation, one Archive Trap and two Increasing Vengeance or Reverberate and a Mission Briefing, etc.). The downside of the deck is that it's built like an all-in combo deck, which means we don't really have interaction or ways to stop our opponent's game plan, which means we are committed to goldfishing into our combo mill kill before our opponent manages to kill us, which might be a challenge against aggressive decks. Either way, Grixis Copy Trap is certainly one of the most unique mill decks I've ever seen and looks super fun to play!

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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