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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy User Decks (September 13-19, 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 marks the release of Zendikar Rising (at least, in digital form), and all of our Fish Tank decks feature cards from Magic's newest set! What sweet Zendikar Rising–based decks 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


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Zendikar Rising is all about lands, so it's fitting that our first Zendikar Rising Fish Tank deck is based around comboing off by putting a bunch of lands into play. The idea of dkadonsky's Greenwarden's Lithoforming is to stick a Lotus Cobra (or two) along with a Ancient Greenwarden to double up landfall triggers. We then use Nahiri's Lithoforming to sacrifice all of our lands, draw a bunch of cards, and hopefully put a bunch of lands into play. While the Nahiri's Lithoforming lands enter the battlefield tapped, they still make mana thanks to Lotus Cobra and Ancient Greenwarden, which allows us to keep churning through our deck with Nahiri's Lithoforming and Genesis Ultimatum until we eventually find a Kazandu Mammoth and Kazuul's Fury. As we keep making land drops, we'll quickly pump Kazandu Mammoth to over 20 power and then win the game by Flinging it as our opponent's face with Kazuul's Fury! While the deck looks like it should be spectacular when it goes off, it also looks a bit fragile. It's going to be really difficult to make enough mana to combo off if we can't keep a Lotus Cobra on the battlefield, which might mean the deck is more of an Against the Odds build than a top-tier competitive strategy. But either way, it looks amazingly fun to play, and the concept is super cool.

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While Scute Swarm might not be one of the best cards from Zendikar Rising, it is one of the cards I'm most excited to build around (in part because it seems like a good way to crash Arena). While making a bunch of copies of Scute Swarm as we make our land drops is sweet, as we can see in Hazoret, the Pervert's Scute Mutation build, there's a way to make the plan even more spectacular: mutate! If we can mutate onto a Scute Swarm (and get up to six lands), then every land drop we make will not just copy Scute Swarm but also the entire mutate pile. Our first land-drop will put us up to two copies of our mutate pile, while the second will make four, then eight, and 16, until our exponential mutation eventually kills our opponent! Is mutating onto Scute Swarm more competitive than mutating onto something else? Maybe not, but it's certainly way more fun!


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One thing that I've learned from Zendikar Rising is that Magic players love the Rogue creature type. While we looked at a Standard Rogue build last week, this week, we have Di-Mill Aggrogue for Modern from Kreating Kreations. The deck is halfway Rogue tribal and halfway mill, which would be an awkward mix if not for the fact that Rogues randomly have a mill subtheme in Zendikar Rising. While Di-Mill Aggrogue can theoretically win by milling the opponent out of the game, it's maybe even more likely to mill some cards and then win by beating down with cards like Jace's Phantasm, Thieves' Guild Enforcer, Soaring Thought-Thief, and Nighthawk Scavenger, which care about our opponent having cards in their graveyard. My main concern for the deck is what happens when it runs into decks that want cards in their graveyard. While it looks powerful, we also run the risk of helping opponents build around Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, Snapcaster Mage, Dredge, or other graveyard synergies. As a result, we probably need more (and better) graveyard hate than just two copies of Faerie Macabre in our sideboard, with Cling to Dust and Surgical Extraction looking like solid options, possibly even for the main deck in our current Uro Pile–fueled Modern meta. 

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Perhaps the most exciting and also hotly debated cards from Zendikar Rising are the double-faced modal flip lands. While figuring out exactly how good these cards are in normal decks will take a bit of brewing and testing, one thing that isn't up for debate is that because the double-faced modal flip cards are lands that technically don't count as lands while they are in our deck, these cards greatly power up decks built around synergies or cards that want no lands in our library—for example, RaoloPumi's Belcher build. If our deck contains zero lands, then playing and activating Goblin Charbelcher is basically always lethal. Thanks to the DFMCs, we can now play a Modern Belcher deck that somehow has both zero lands and 20 lands! The goal of the deck is simple: use various rituals (Desperate Ritual, Pyretic Ritual, Irencrag Feat, and Simian Spirit Guide) to make enough mana to play and activate Goblin Charbelcher. Since Goblin Charbelcher won't see the DFMCs as lands, we'll reveal our entire deck and hit our opponent for something like 40 damage! In theory, with the right draw, we could do this as early as Turn 1. (An untapped DFMC land, Simian Spirit Guide, two Rituals, Irencrag Feat, and Goblin Charbelcher in our opening hand is a Turn 1 win!) We also get access to Blood Moon, which is not only a devastating Turn 1 / 2 play in many matchups but also offers the upside of turning all of our DFMCs into Mountains, which means cards like Bala Ged RecoveryValakut Awakening, and Spikefield Hazard will come into play untapped, which is actually a big upside! If there's a problem with the deck, it's that if we don't find Goblin Charbelcher (or if our opponent can take it with something like Thoughtseize), we're mostly left spinning our wheels. Regardless, the deck looks like it should be super fast and have some of the most powerful nut draws in the format!

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Myriad Construct is a unique card. Even discounting its kicker ability, a colorless 4/4 for four that dies (and makes four 1/1 tokens) whenever it is targeted with a spell is already a powerful card. But the way it is worded opens it up for some even sweeter shenanigans. First, Myriad Construct doesn't say "a spell your opponent controls," which means we can target our own Myriad Construct to make tokens. Most importantly, the token production isn't tied to Myriad Construct being sacrificed, which means we can target our own Myriad Construct a bunch of times with a storm or replicate spell and get four tokens for each copy, even though Myriad Construct can only sacrifice itself once. 

These quirks lead us to Kelvin [escesare]'s Myriad Storm deck. The plan is simple: use rituals and free spells to make mana and up our storm count, play a Myriad Construct, and then use Ground Rift or Grapeshot to target our own Myriad Construct a ton of times and make a massive board of tokens. We can also replicate Shattering Spree a ton of times to do the same thing. Thanks to all of our fast mana (and the cheapness of our storm spells), with a great draw involving several rituals, we can potentially make something like twenty 1/1 tokens as early as Turn 1 or 2! If we don't happen to draw our Myriad Construct, we can use Empty the Warrens as a backup to make a bunch of tokens or just kill our opponent outright with Grapeshot. While the deck is pretty all-in on the combo plan, it looks like it should be able to do some extremely powerful things super quickly!


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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