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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy User-Submitted Decks (Dec. 1-7, 2019)

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 couple of Standard and Pioneer decks, along with some Historic spice as well! Oh yeah, and 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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Normally, I shy away from showing off Wilderness Reclamation decks because they tend to be relatively boring. However, JankyScience proves it's possible to build a very spicy deck around the enchantment. Rather than casting a huge Expansion // Explosion to grind out the game, Bant Elemental Hope is looking to use the extra mana from Wilderness Reclamation to activate cards like Kenrith, the Returned King, Castle Ardenvale, or Dawn of Hope a bunch of times. We can also soft-lock opponents out of the game by using Justiciar's Portal to blink Scholar of the Ages to get back Justiciar's Portal and Absorb, giving us a counterspell and some lifegain every turn. Meanwhile, cards like Healer of the Glade, Charming Prince, and Knight of Autumn help to buffer our life total and make sure we live long enough to get our absurd late game online. If you like the idea of Wilderness Reclamation but killing your opponent with Expansion // Explosion is too easy, Bant Elemental Hope seems like a really fun way to take advantage of the enchantment's power!

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The Haunt of Hightower has the potential to be very powerful, quickly growing into a truly massive flying threat and making the opponent discard some cards along the way. The problem is that it often dies (or gets bounced) before it gets a chance to attack. How can we solve the problem? With Crashing Drawbridge, of course! TheWesterner's Discardia deck is a weird mixture of Mono-Black Control and a discard deck, with The Haunt of Hightower at the center of the fun. Along with the buy-a-box promo, we have access to the combo of Ashiok, Dream Render and Wishclaw Talisman to tutor up whatever we happen to need. And as long as we can keep Ashiok around, we don't have to worry about our opponent taking advantage of our repeatable tutor since they can't search their library. My main concern with Discardia is that it doesn't look to have that much raw power. Cards like Vampire of the Dire Moon and Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage can be a bit hit or miss depending on the matchup. On the other hand, the deck is very nearly cheap enough to qualify as budget, so if you want to test it out, it shouldn't be too hard to assemble.


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While Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven are pretty well known in Standard, Gelebena takes the synergy out for a spin in Historic! In general, the deck looks like a Jund Sacrifice deck from Standard, but one sweet synergy made me want to show off the list: Desecrated Tomb. Desecrated Tomb seems like the perfect way to push the Cat Oven combo into overdrive, offering a free 1/1 Bat token whenever Cauldron Familiar loops from the graveyard, which in turn gives us a bunch of additional sacrifice fodder for Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and Mayhem Devil and even incidentally triggers Ayara, First of Locthwain since the Bat tokens are black creatures! 


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When it comes to being featured on The Fish Tank, one good way to get noticed is to offer a deck that's not just sweet but also budget-friendly, like Marcos R.P.'s $57 Mono-Blue God-Pharaoh's Gift build for Pioneer. The idea of the deck is to stock the graveyard with cards like Champion of Wits and Chart a Course, use Gate to the Afterlife to tutor up a God-Pharaoh's Gift, and then go to town reanimating our graveyard-dwelling creatures as 4/4 Zombies. Along with our graveyard fillers, we have some sneakily powerful reanimation targets, with Mausoleum Wanderer basically being a hard counter when it comes back as a 4/4, Tempest Djinn being massive since it grows from our all-Island mana base, Elder Deep-Fiend offering alpha strikes by tapping our opponent's team, and Agent of Treachery to steal our opponent's best permanents. While getting run over by aggro is a concern, cards like Sidisi's Faithful are good at slowing down the opponent in the early game. And if we manage to live long enough to get God-Pharaoh's Gift going, the value engine seems pretty insane, especially for a deck in the ultra-budget price range!

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Sphinx's Tutelage has long been one of my pet cards, and while we recently played an Izzet build on stream built on drawing as many cards as possible as quickly as possible, turn2stormcrow's build goes the opposite direction, being more of a card draw–heavy UB Control build with Sphinx's Tutelage as a finisher. Going into black does offer some huge benefits, with Drown in the Loch being a very strong card in a deck that can fill the opponent's graveyard and Hero's Downfall and Fatal Push offering hard removal to deal with opposing threats. While the Sphinx's Tutelage win will come more slowly, since the deck is more than happy to play the control game, in the late game, cards like Into the Story, Treasure Cruise, and even Breaking // Entering give us a way to mill a huge chunk of our opponent's deck in one turn cycle. If you want to mill your opponent out in Pioneer, this seems like a solid starting point!


Anyway, that's all for this week. If you have some ideas for these decks, make sure to let us know in the comments, and if you'd like your deck considered for a future edition of The Fish Tank (or the Fishbowl Thursday deck tech), leave it in the comments as well (or you can email it to me at

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