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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy Viewer Decks (February 28-March 6, 2021)


Welcome back to The Fish Tank, the series where we sneak a peek at sweet viewer-submitted decks and maybe, with our powers combined, turn them into real, fun, playable lists! This week, we're bouncing around with sweet lists for Standard, Historic, and Modern! What cool ideas did you all 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 it to me at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.

Standard

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Ever since we played Angels and Clerics on Meme or Dream? a couple of weeks ago, we've been trying to figure out if Clerics actually have the power to compete somewhere. Well, Noah M. has a sweet Standard build of the tribe built around the power of Pyre of Heroes, which allows us to play a bunch of spicy one-ofs like Firja, Judge of Valor, Drana, the Last Bloodchief, and Draugr Necromancer and still find them with some consistency. The deck has an interesting mixture of evasion, grindy graveyard value / reanimation, and lifegain synergies, all held together by our namesake artifact. While the deck looks like a blast to play, I do wonder if it has enough raw power to keep up with cards like Showdown of the Skalds, Embercleave, and friends. I'm also surprised to see no copies of Righteous Valkyrie, which I've always viewed as the best Cleric payoff in Standard (and one that works really well with the lifegain subtheme), although it isn't really a Cleric you want to sacrifice to Pyre of Heroes, which might explain the omission. All in all, Clerics looks really fun to play with and like it should be able to grind out some wins. Plus, it seems like a deck that should continue to get better as more sets are released into Standard!

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When Kaldheim was first released, there was a bit of hype about Izzet Giants in Standard, although that quickly faded as mono-colored aggro decks joined various overpowered Eldraine cards at the top of the meta. Well, Brandon H. has an idea to make Giants relevant: what if they were a mono-colored deck, rather than a two- or three-color pile? Mono-Red Giants is basically an aggressive midrange deck filled with the best Giants in the format and plenty of burn and removal to back them up. Being mono-red also allows the deck to take advantage of Faceless Haven, which has proven to be a defining card over the past few weeks of Standard. The plan is pretty straightforward: kill things in the early game, start playing Giants on Turn 3, and hopefully use them to take over the game! While we can debate some specific choices (more than one Embercleave might be worth it, and three copies of Faceless Haven is weird since the card is pretty busted), in general, the list looks powerful and like it could actually be fairly competitive in Kaldheim Standard!

Historic

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Apparently, it's Pyre of Heroes week here in The Fish Tank! Travis C.'s list for Historic is looking to use the artifact to Birthing Pod out a bunch of one-of Humans, and while it looks a bit scattered, it also seems powerful. In theory, we can pull off lines like playing a Charming Prince to gain some life or blink something; Pyre of Heroes it into an Alirios, Enraptured to make a token; Pyre of Heroes Alirios into Hostage Taker to steal one of our opponent's creatures or artifact; and, after casting it, Pyre of Heroes Hostage Taker into something like Samut, Voice of Dissent or Maja, Bretagard Protector to close out the game!

Modern

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After the change to the cascade rules, most people assumed Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor's reign of terror in Modern was over, but not Justice R., who has another plan for cheating a Tibalt into play early in the game: Release to the Wind! In general, Release the Tibalt is a Grixis tempo control deck with plenty of removal and counters, but it comes with a twist: potentially having Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor on the battlefield on Turn 3! The idea is that we can play Valki, God of Lies on Turn 2 and then use Release to the Wind on Turn 3 to exile it, and since Release to the Wind specifically says that we can cast the exiled card (without paying its mana cost), we can choose to cast the Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor side of Valki. While the deck isn't going to end up with a Turn 0 or 1 Tibalt like some of the old cascade builds, a Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor on Turn 3 still is a really strong threat, comparable to Tron playing Karn Liberated on Turn 3. The main drawback of the plan is that it's high risk. If our opponent can kill Valki, God of Lies with Release to the Wind on the stack, we not only lose the possibility of a fast Tibalt but also end up down a card as well, which is a pretty big swing in our opponent's favor. But if we can get the timing right (or use Release to the Wind on our opponent's turn and protect Valki, God of Lies with Force of Negation), the end result usually should be an easy win!

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Waste Not Storm is one of the most unique decks in Modern, although it's never really found its footing as a legitimate top-tier option. However, as Dylanmtg realized, Kaldheim brought with it a massive upgrade in Birgi, God of Storytelling. If you've never seen Waste Not Storm in action, its primary goal is to play a Waste Not and then use cards like Burning Inquiry to force the opponent to draw and discard cards in order to generate value with Waste Not. The power of Birgi, God of Storytelling in the deck is that it offers another way to go infinite and close out the game. If we have a Birgi, we make a mana whenever we cast a spell, which means if we have Underworld Breach, we can cast Burning Inquiry from our graveyard until we go through our entire deck (with Birgi making the mana and Burning Inquiry adding three cards to our graveyard to pay for escape each time it resolves). If we have a Waste Not or two, this should give us a lethal board of Zombies, and if not, we can always keep going until we find our one Grapeshot to win like a normal Storm deck does. While not as exciting, the backside of Birgi, God of Storytelling still offers value. If we fizzle, we can discard some random cards to dig for our combo pieces like Burning Inquiry and Waste Not, hopefully allowing us to assemble the combo and win. If the deck has a problem, it's that we are pretty dependent on keeping a Birgi, God of Storytelling or Waste Not on the battlefield; otherwise, we mostly end up spinning our wheels, so unconditional removal like Abrupt Decay or Assassin's Trophy can be a problem. But the deck looks explosive and like it can be pretty powerful. Plus, if you've never played Waste Not Storm before, it's hilariously fun when it goes off!

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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