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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy User-Submitted Decks (September 15-21, 2019)


Every week, I get a ton of emails with decks from fans, viewers, and MTGGoldfish users. While one deck gets featured in our Fishbowl Thursday Instant Deck Tech, this simply isn't enough to keep up with the number of cool decks people submit. As such, we're tying something new: The Fish Tank! The idea of The Fish Tank is simple: each week, we'll have an article showing off some of the coolest decks submitted by all of you in the last week. The goal of The Fish Tank isn't so much to show off finely tuned decks ready to win a Grand Prix (although ideally, the decks that will be featured will be at least somewhat competitive)—we've already got the metagame pages for that—but rather to explore interesting synergies, combos, and ideas. Then, as a community, we can use the ideas as a springboard to brew, tune, and improve, and who knows what the future will hold? People can test the list at their FNMs or on Magic Online and Magic Arena, and we might even play some on the stream or for some of the YouTube series if they are especially fun, interesting, or popular!

I should also say that rather than writing thousands of words about the deck, the main goal of The Fish Tank will be the lists themselves, although expect a short write-up about why the deck caught my eye in the first place, what I like (and / or dislike) about the list, and maybe some questions or suggestions about each deck.

Oh yeah, one last thing: if you want your own deck considered for next week's edition of The Fish Tank, you can leave a link in the comments to this article or send me an email at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com. If your deck didn't make the article, don't worry—it still could show up in the future, and if a few weeks pass, feel free to submit the deck again! Anyway, let's get to our first batch of Fish Tank decks!

Gruul Planebound Superfriends is pretty interesting. Normally, superfriends decks look to win by grinding out long-term value by activating planeswalkers every turn, and while Planebound Superfriends can win that way as well, it can also just go infinite with the help of Planebound Accomplice, Cloudstone Curio, and a mana-producing planeswalker. The idea of the combo is to use Planebound Accomplice to put one of our planeswalkers into play (with planeswalkers that make two mana like Garruk Wildspeaker, Koth of the Hammer, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and Chandra, Novice Pyromancer being especially helpful), activate the planeswalker to make at least two red mana, activate Planebound Accomplice to get another planeswalker into play, bounce the first planeswalker with Cloudstone Curio, and keep repeating the process. Ideally, these extra planeswalker activations will kill our opponent—either Chandra will get the job done with direct damage or Koth of the Hammer will by animating lands, while Garruk Wildspeaker and Sarkhan the Masterless allow us to make infinite tokens to theoretically win the next turn. We should have infinite mana as well, so if we can't kill our opponent immediately, at least we can empty our hand and hopefully use a board full of planeswalkers to win the game.

While the infinite planeswalker combo was what caught my eye, the aspect of the deck I like best is that it has a solid backup plan. Playing a bunch of mana dorks and using them to cast a bunch of planeswalkers quickly seems like a reasonable plan for games when we don't draw the combo. On the other hand, it is a bit rough that Cloudstone Curio and Planebound Accomplice aren't really all that helpful outside of the combo, which might lead to some clunky draws. Another consideration is heading down the prison path with the deck, with cards like Blood Moon and maybe Ensnaring Bridge, although the latter would require making sure we can win the game with damage and don't need to attack with our planeswalker tokens. Still, red-green decks with a bunch of mana dorks and a good mana base are typically the perfect home for Blood Moon, and the jank-em'-out power of the enchantment is often too good to pass up.

Irencrag Karn has the look of an incredibly explosive yet possibly inconsistent deck. The main idea is to resolve Irencrag Feat and use the mana to cast Karn Liberated or, in the worst case, a Wurmcoil Engine. With the help of Baral, Chief of Compliance, we can do this on Turn 3, while a handful of rituals and Simian Spirit Guide could allow it to happen on Turn 2 or (about 1 in 20 games, according to the deck's creator) Turn 1. We've seen with Tron that a Turn 3 Karn Liberated is a good way to win games of Modern, so Turn 2 (or 1) should be even better. On the other hand, inconsistency looks like an issue, with only four Irencrag Feats. While having a Serum Powder to sculpt an opening hand should help, as will a bunch of redraws in Serum Visions, Manamorphose, and Once Upon a Time, the main question for the deck is just how often the "play a fast Karn of Irencrag Feat plan will come together). Oh yeah, Once Upon a Time with no green mana outside of Manamorphose makes me nervous. Drawing it the turn after you cast your first spell seems brutal. It could be worth considering a fetch-for-shock mana base to have consistent access to green mana, or perhaps just cutting Once Upon a Time altogether since it doesn't actually find our most important cards (Karn Liberated and Irencrag Feat).

Honestly, the reason this deck caught my eye to begin with was the name: Cooked Cat, which is oddly descriptive for a deck looking to sacrifice Cats to Witch's Oven. The other reason I wanted to include Cooked Cat is because it's incredibly cheap, with just three rares on Magic Arena and under $15 in paper, potentially making it a fun option for casual play on the kitchen table or in the casual queues on Magic Arena. While the deck is lacking some powerful cards thanks to the budget and might have trouble keeping up with fully powered ramp, gates, and planeswalkers decks, it does have some cute synergies, especially sacrificing Cauldron Familiar to Witch's Oven every turn and then sacrificing the Food from Witch's Oven to get back Cauldron Familiar, which not only gives us an infinite blocker but also slowly grows Ajani's Pridemate and Bloodthirsty Aerialist, while also triggering Cruel Celebrant. If you're looking for a deck that costs less than a single draft for post-rotation Standard and you're a Cat lover (or maybe a Cat hater), this seems like a fun casual option.

Stasis might be my favorite card that I never get to play since it's too mean for Commander and we don't play Legacy as much as we should, so seeing a sweet (and fairly unique) Stasis list show up in my email this week warmed my evil "you don't get to play Magic" heart. The main combo of the deck is to stick a Stasis along with Wilderness Reclamation—a card that has been surprisingly effective in Modern as well as in Standard—allowing us to untap our lands each turn and keep our opponent locked under Stasis forever. The rest of the deck is a fairly straightforward Sultai Midrange build, which looks good but doesn't do much to take advantage of the power of Wilderness Reclamation, but maybe just having access to mana while our opponent doesn't is enough, in and of itself. 

When Clackbridge Troll was previewed, my first thought was "I want to play this with Trespasser's Curse and Illness in the Ranks in Modern." Well, thanks to Tororii, we now have a list to work from. The idea of the deck is simple: give our opponent tokens with Clackbridge Troll or various Hunted creatures but turn those tokens against our opponent, with Trespasser's Curse draining them when they come into play and Blood Artist draining them some more when the tokens die to Illness in the Ranks or Trespasser's Curse. The main issue with the archetype is that if we happen to be missing one of our combo pieces (like Illness in the Ranks, for example), we will often end up dying to the tokens we give our opponent. While Clackbridge Troll helps since the 0/1 tokens it makes are harmless, finding more ways to kill tokens (or maybe even some Fog effects to buy ourselves time) might be necessary. The good news is that it's hilarious when it all comes together. With some more brewing, we might even be able to find a way to squeeze in a Yarok, the Desecrated or two to double up the tokens (and the Trespasser's Curse triggers)!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for our first edition of The Fish Tank. If you've got some ideas on how to improve these decks, let's talk about them in the comments! Oh yeah, and if you want your deck to have a chance to show up in the next Fish Tank, leave a link in the comments or email me at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive.


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