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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy User-Submitted Decks (Nov. 17-23, 2019)

Welcome back to The Fish Tank, the series where we take a peek at sweet viewer-submitted decks and maybe, with our powers combined, turn them into real, fun, playable lists! This week, we have lists that run the gauntlet from Standard to Pioneer to Modern, with a bunch of spicy combos, so let's get to the lists! 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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This week's banning of Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time, and Veil of Summer seems to have rekindled the Fish Tank's interest in brewing in Standard. First up, we have a really unique take on Boros, built around Brought Back. Most often, Boros decks tend to be aggressive, but Brought Back Boros is actually much closer to Boros Control. The deck's main plan is to use Brought Back to get back the lands we sacrifice to Lotus Field on Turn 3, making it an insane source of ramp, which allows us to cast big top-end planeswalkers in Ugin, the Ineffable and Karn, the Great Creator to tutor some powerful artifacts from the sideboard. The deck looks sweet against creature-based strategies, with plenty of removal and wraths, although how it lines up against more planeswalker-heavy control decks remains to be seen. Regardless, if you're looking for a different way to play Boros in Throne of Eldraine Standard 3.0, Milicard's list looks like a fun option.

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Lucky Clover is one of my favorite cards in Standard, especially now that it isn't just a 3/3 Elk 70% of the time. But modelZF's deck goes a step further on the copying-adventures plan by including Ral, Storm Conduit as well! While the deck can win a lot of games by doubling and tripling up adventure value, probably the sweetest thing it can do is ramp into a huge Beanstalk Giant, make it even bigger by copying Garenbrig Carver's pump ability a bunch of times with Lucky Clover, and then use Ral, Storm Conduit to copy Fling and throw Beanstalk Giant at the opponent's face twice! My main concern for the deck is that 22 lands feels a bit greedy, although Opt, Merchant of the Vale, and Beanstalk Giant should help. But adding a couple more couldn't hurt, especially since Edgewall Innkeeper likes a lot of mana so we can keep casting adventure creatures to draw cards. 


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Torrential Gearhulk is a powerful card, so why not make a whole bunch of them? While the numbers on this deck are a bit weird, the plan is pretty straightforward: make as many Torrential Gearhulks as possible with the help of Repudiate // Replicate, Quasiduplicate, Mirror Mockery, Mechanized Production, and Mirrormade, and trust that a board full of 5/6 beaters can take home the victory. While the deck's plan is cool, the awkward aspect is that it doesn't actually have many good Torrential Gearhulk targets. Repudiate // Replicate is nice since we can use Gearhulk to flash it back and immediately make another Torrential Gearhulk to flash back something else, but only having 10 instants in a deck built around a card that flashes back instants is a bit questionable. That said, I love decks built around copying the same creature a bunch of times (see: 34 Rhinos). So while I'm not sure how consistently the plan will come together, I really like the idea of the deck. And with some more testing and brewing, I think it could at least be semi-competitive. If you have some ideas about how to go off with Torrential Gearhulks in Pioneer, make sure to let me know in the comments!

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We played a deck similar to Fires of Doom on stream this week and didn't have great results, although Jzollo's build splashes into red for Fires of Invention and some cheaper interaction, which might help to fix some of the issues we had with the straight Orzhov build of Doom Foretold / Starfield of Nyx combo. The deck's main goal is to grind out value with Starfield of Nyx, which can allow us to loop enchantments like Doom Foretold and Oath of Kaya from our graveyard while also giving us a way to sacrifice Demonic Pact before paying the ultimate price. While the plan is very powerful once it gets going, Fires of Doom has a problem that many Starfield of Nyx decks run into in Pioneer: a lack of early-game plays. While Starfield Mystic helps, it's only a three-of, and it's very easy for most decks to kill. Otherwise, the deck has nothing at one or two mana, which can leave it vulnerable to falling behind (especially on the draw) and not being able to catch back up. That said, if we manage to live long enough to get Fires of Invention, Starfield of Nyx, and Demonic Pact going, the amount of grindy value is absurd, and the lifegain from cards like Oath of Kaya and, to a lesser extent, Demonic Pact should help us stabilize. While having more early-game plays might be necessary, the deck looks super fun!

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Unlike Modern, Pioneer doesn't have too many cheap two-card, game-winning combos, but some are floating around beneath the format's surface, as BRBCoffee (which, unrelated, is something Tomer says literally every week when we're trying to record Commander Clash) shows with their budget Mono-Blue Traumatize list! If you're not familiar with the combo, if we can play Fraying Sanity and follow it up with Traumatize, we can mill half of our opponent's library with our namesake sorcery and the other half at the end of the turn with Fraying Sanity, which should put our opponent to either one or zero cards in their library (since Traumatize rounds down, if our opponent's library has an odd number of cards when we Traumatize, they will end up with one card; if it's even, they lose their entire library). Thanks to Opt, Anticipate, and Dig Through Time, we should be able to consistently find our combo pieces, while counters like Censor and Quench along with bounce like Blink of an Eye, Unsummon, and Engulf the Shore help us stay alive long enough to finish the game with our combo. In all honesty, the deck looks pretty solid for a Pioneer budget list, to the point where we might end up playing it (or something similar) on a future Budget Magic.

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Finally, we have Ella V Gwen Jordan's 8 Land Aristocrats Combo. The goal here is to mulligan into one of our seven Forests, which turn Elvish Mystic, Llanowar Elves, Attune with Aether, Lay of the Land and Traverse the Ulvenwald into mana sources, allowing us to cast our spells. Then, with the help of the land tutors, we empty our library of lands, while chipping in with damage from Gingerbrute, Narcomoeba, and Zulaport Cutthroat as creatures die. If we can get our opponent down under 12 life, we should be able to use Undercity Informer or Balustrade Spy to mill our entire library, hitting four copies of Creeping Chill along the way to close out the game! I think the main question about the deck is how consistent it actually is. When everything comes together, it feels like a hilarious and somewhat effective way to win a game, although on paper, it seems like there might be a lot of games where we mulligan to five, get Llanowar Elves or Elvish Mystic killed, and do quite literally nothing. Either way, the plan is super unique and fun, which makes it worth highlighting!


Anyway, that's all for this week. If you have some ideas about how to tweak or improve this week's deck, make sure to let us know in the comments. If you have a deck you want to be considered for next week's Fish Tank (or the Fishbowl Thursday Instant Deck Tech), you can leave it in the comments as well! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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