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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy Viewer Decks (March 29-April 3, 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 have lists across formats, and we even have a Commander deck, which is a rarity on The Fish Tank! 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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Storm is one of the most notoriously broken mechanics in the history of Magic. But now, thanks to Strixhaven, it is (sort of) back in Standard with the magecraft mechanic. Sure, magecraft only triggers when you cast or copy an instant or sorcery, while any spell ups your storm count, but it's probably as close as we'll get to seeing a storm-like mechanic in Standard for a while. If we squint hard enough and call magecraft storm, Witherbloom Apprentice is the closest thing we have to a Grapeshot in Standard. If we can cast / copy 20 spells with Witherbloom Apprentice on the battlefield (the same number it takes to win with Grapeshot), we'll drain our opponent completely out of the game. The idea of Witherbloom Storm is to use Birgi, God of Storytelling and Storm-Kiln Artist (both of which make a mana when we cast a spell) alongside Rowan, Scholar of Sparks' static ability to cast a ton of cheap cantrips like Crash Through, Cathartic Reunion, Cleansing Wildfire, Fire Prophecy, and Seize the Spoils in the same turn, hopefully enough that we can storm off and kill our opponent. While the plan looks hilarious and super fun, it does have one major problem: we really, really need [Witherbloom Apprentice]] to stick on the battlefield if we are going to win the game, and Witherbloom Apprentice dies to Bonecrusher Giant (and a bunch of other stuff), which is in nearly 50% of Standard decks. While the plan is hilarious, unique, and super sweet, it might have a hard time fighting through the removal of Standard. But either way, the fact that something resembling Storm is back in Standard is super exciting, and Noah M.'s build looks like a great starting point for the archetype.

Historic

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One of the most exciting aspects of Strixhaven is Mystic Archives shaking up Historic. When I saw Tainted Pact, I figured it mostly would be unplayable in Historic—typically, it only sees play in singleton formats (like CEDH), where it's mostly used to exile your entire deck and win with Thassa's Oracle. While the plan can work in CEDH, where you have endless efficient tutors, it seems difficult to pull off in Historic, especially considering that building a deck that is all one-ofs (a requirement to make the combo work since Tainted Pact fizzles if it hits a second copy of the same card) is tough in 60-card formats that value consistency.

Well, Halfwing has a plan for pulling off the combo in Historic, and it's actually super sweet. The idea is that we can cast a single copy of Tainted Pact and, by copying it, use it to win the game. Even better, since we already are playing a singleton deck, we get Lutri, the Spellchaser as our companion, which just so happens to be able to copy a spell when it enters the battlefield. Here's the idea: we use cheap cantrips to find Tainted Pact. We cast it and then use Lutri, the Spellchaser (or Sea Gate Stormcaller or Expansion // Explosion) to copy it. With the first copy of Tainted Pact, we exile cards from our deck until we find our one Thassa's Oracle and put it in our hand. The second copy of Tainted Pact resolves, and we use it to exile the rest of our deck. Finally, we finish things off by casting Thassa's Oracle to win the game! While playing all singletons means that consistency will likely still be an issue, this is—by far—the best plan I've seen to combo off with Tainted Pact in Historic. And the deck looks like it should be able to catch opponents by surprise and, hopefully, even win some games!

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We've seen Curiosity combo before, usually with some version of Niv-Mizzet, but Kelvin [escesare] has a different, much more efficient, and spicier plan to go infinite with Curiosity involving Glint-Horn Buccaneer. The main combo is to get a Curiosity on Glint-Horn Buccaneer and then use Seasoned Hallowblade to discard a card. This will trigger Glint-Horn Buccaneer to ping our opponent, which will then draw a card thanks to Curiosity. We can then discard the new card to Seasoned Hallowblade and repeat the process for infinite damage! The rest of the deck fully embraces the discard plan. Rielle, the Everwise can generate a ton of card advantage thanks to most of the cards in our deck allowing us to discard a card in one way or another, while Magmatic Channeler and Ghostly Pilferer offer on-theme two-drops that are also pretty powerful in their own right. According to Kelvin, they managed to go on 6-0 and 10-0 win streaks playing at Diamond rank in best-of-one, so—at least, in no-sideboard land—the deck seems like it might actually be fairly competitive! 

Modern

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Every once in a while, I get a decklist submission with such a good write-up that it doesn't really make much sense for me to describe the deck when I can just let the creator break it down in their own words. Dump Truck, an ultra-budget Modern combo deck from Shvian, is one of those cases, so sit back and enjoy a very in-depth breakdown of the fun-looking and super cheap deck!

"While most power is used for ordinary, everyday tasks, one shouldn't underestimate its potential for the extraordinary."

No mythics here! Budget-friendly blue artifact combo deck that can dump its hand onto the table and keep drawing more! Aetherflux Reservoir keeps us alive and is what wins the game. The main deck is under $5 on
MTGO (I purchased it at time of writing for 4.30 TIX and in paper for $70).

Gameplay (forgive my mistakes)
https://youtu.be/TB6UtZ7mT60
https://youtu.be/GY6tTnEtlog

Cost Reduction
- Locket of Yesterdays makes all of our spells cost less if there is another copy in the graveyard. This can also help us play through discard spells the opponent may use on us.
- Etherium Sculptor lets us cast our artifacts at a discount as soon as it is on the battlefield.
- Cloud Key is versatile and not as easy to remove as a creature. (I may drop to just one and go up a Locket as it is slower than the other two options above but gives us a non-creature version of artifact cost reduction.)

Draw
- Thoughtcast is pretty easy to cast for a single symbol:U throughout the entire game, regardless of the state of your cost-reduction permanents and graveyard.
- Thirst for Knowledge grabs us three cards and allows us to put an artifact or two cards (or both) into the graveyard. The discard can actually help us when you have a locket on the battlefield and have two copies of a single spell in hand.
- Compulsive Research does the same thing as Thirst, except we can discard a land instead of an artifact as an option. It has the same use but is sorcery speed. We typically cast both spells main phase to draw into more permanents to play, so that usually is not an issue. It is also a targeted spell while Thirst is not, so you could technically target an opponent under the right circumstances.

Cantrips
- Chromatic Star and Chromatic Sphere both serve to draw and convert 1 into U, which can then be used to cast our draw spells or Sculptor. These help make the deck able to have explosive turns with Reservoir out late game and allow us to dig efficiently early on.

Mana
- Mind Stone is versatile as it helps us ramp or can be sacrificed to draw a card, if needed.
- Everflowing Chalice has use throughout the game due to its variable cost and can even be cast for 0 without any cost-reduction assistance for another storm count.

Lands
- Islands give us the U we need and are usable immediately, no questions asked.
- Darksteel Citadel is helpful to count toward our affinity for Thoughtcast and can be a discard target for both Thirst and Research if you don't want to toss any other cards from your hand.

Utility
Aether Spellbomb is a flex card that is easy to cast and is versatile. It is our main way of interacting with opponents and the only way we can remove opposing creatures in the main deck.
- Elixir of Immortality prevents us from self-milling, can protect your graveyard from exile, and can heal you in a pinch or if you are almost over 50 life.
- Aetherflux Reservoir heals us and is our dedicated win condition in the main deck (unless you somehow can kill the opponent with combat damage from the Sculptors).

Why Isn't There X?
There probably isn't enough room in the deck to keep it functioning as efficiently. Suggestions still welcome!


Playing the Deck
I find playing this deck challenging and fun as you are constantly casting spells, drawing cards, playing and sacrificing permanents, and making decisions every turn.

Due to the low land count of the deck, I choose to play second for the extra card. This may be a mistake, but the possibility of a one-land hand is very real when running only 16 lands. A two-land opening hand is ideal (1x Island and 1x Darksteel Citadel), and a one-land hand is risky but possible.

1. Early game, you will be trying to cast as many spells as possible as quickly as possible to draw into your deck and set up cost reduction that makes the combo possible. When you start with one land, play your cantrips ASAP to trigger the following turn into hopefully land or another cantrip.

2. Mid-game begins once you have Aetherflux Reservoir or Shark Typhoon in hand and are capable of casting it this turn or the next turn. You no longer want to cast spells as quickly as possible, only what you require to get the Reservoir onto the battlefield. The idea here is to build up a hand to play to trigger Reservoir as many times as possible each turn. Although, even without a hand built up, a draw spell can be all it takes to set off the chain sometimes.

3. Late game begins once Aetherflux Reservoir or Shark Typhoon is in play. It is once again the time to cast your hand as fast as possible. We hope to draw mana rocks, cantrips, and draw spells to chain back to back via reduced casting costs. With proper piloting and a bit of luck, you can push through an impressive amount of damage from the opponent and win the game.

Tips & Tricks
- Once cost reduction is in place, you can chain mana rock into mana rock and pay for one with the next to build storm count.
- When keeping a one-land hand, put a cantrip out first if you have it, so that you can activate it the following turn if you don't draw into a land. If you draw into another cantrip, you can play it with the mana from the first one to set up for the same thing the next turn.

Sideboard

1 All Is Dust
3 Shark Typhoon 
3 Engineered Explosives
Spellskite
3 Echoing Truth
1 Pact of Negation

The sideboard is fairly optional (and costs 18x the main deck) as the deck can fall apart just like Eggs can if you sideboard in too many cards. Aether Spellbomb is probably the card that I would sideboard out first if required, as it is not essential to the core of the deck.

We generally don't care about what the opponent is doing as much as we're trying to advance our own game. That being said, there are some cards that stop us dead in our tracks:

Preventing Lifegain—Bring in All Is Dust, Aether Gust, and / or Shark Typhoon.
- Everlasting Torment
- Leyline of Punishment
- Havoc Festival
- Quakebringer
- Rampaging Ferocidon

Hexproof Opponent—Bring in All Is Dust and Shark Typhoon.
- Aegis of the Gods
- Orbs of Warding
- Witchbane Orb
- Shalai, Voice of Plenty
- Leyline of Sanctity
- Teyo, the Shieldmage

- Pithing Needle on Aetherflux Reservoir—Bring in Sharknado for this as it is triggered and not affected.
-Chalice of the Void on one or two counters our spells but still triggers Aetherflux / Shark Typhoon, at least. Bring in Echoing Truth.
- Disallow on Aetherflux's activated ability can really hurt or slow us down. You may need to combo up and do it again if you can. Pact of Negation is useful for this.
- Any board wipe that gets artifacts—You CAN play through a complete wipe as long as the opponent can't kill you right after. Do not scoop immediately unless they can kill you. Otherwise, Pact of Negation could help.

What to Put In

- Spellskite is excellent protection against burn that we can likely cast at a discount. The opponent is forced to remove it to be able to target us in many ways.

- Echoing Truth helps us deal with anything unexpected or colorless like Damping Sphere or Chalice of the Void (maybe), or even planeswalkers and tokens.

- All Is Dust was a must include due to the deck's ability to cast expensive spells without much difficulty and because Etherium Sculptor is our only colored permanent, so it should leave us with an advantage. This lets us clear out from prison decks if we can cast it.

- Shark Typhoon was present instead of the Reservoir in the deck's original form and is in the sideboard as a full replacement when facing opponents who hard counter our deck by making themselves hexproof, and it can't be removed easily. It is also a triggered ability, not activated. The deck plays the same, except our win condition is combat damage. Also, we can block instead of gain life!

- Echoing Truth is to deal with Chalice of the Void, which otherwise counters our main strategy, as well as Damping Sphere or even tokens.

- Pact of Negation is self explanatory. Use it when you must stop a board wipe or counterspell, etc.

Results
I'm still learning to play the deck and understand its sequencing and decision making for maximum efficiency. I also have a tendency to keep one-landers... I never learn.

Some of the games I've played so far (these are one-of games on
MTGO):

Wins
- UW Spirits
- Izzet Spells / Blitz
- GW Auras
- UW?

Losses
- UW Spirits
- GBx
- Waste Not
- Doran Bridge

I am currently at 15 wins out of 32 games played. Most of the losses I've had were due to greedy one-land keeps that got punished with bad draws or against decks that mainboard spells that shut us down. (I would sideboard against these in a match.) I will update with tournament results once I am comfortable enough with the deck to play one.

Alternate Budget Choices
If you really want to budget, the deck can work with Metallurgic Summonings or Golem Foundry instead of Aetherflux Reservoir. The deck can be had for around $35 with that change. The activated ability of Metallurgic Summonings can be strong as well.

Cloud Key can be removed in favor of more lockets.

There are also some good budget sideboard options. You can replace Sharknado with Summonings / Foundry, the pacts with Spell Pierce or Stoic Rebuttal, and All Is Dust with Ratchet Bomb.

Commander

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We don't look at Commander decks very often on The Fish Tank. (Maybe we should do it more? Let me know what you think in the comments!) But Bring2Light's Golos Charbelcher deck is so unique that I wanted to show it off for the world. A few days ago on Twitter, I asked what people would build in Commander if they had to build around a broken, Archenemy-style legend but in a not-broken way, and one of my favorite answers was Golos, Tireless Pilgrim but with only five lands in the deck that Golos can fetch out. The idea is that we can mulligan into a land (or another free way to make mana like Lotus Petal, use that to cast more non-land mana sources, and eventually be able to use Golos, Tireless Pilgrim to fetch all five of the lands out of our deck, which then sets us up to pick off our opponents one-by-one with Goblin Charbelcher! If you decide to try the deck, keep in mind that you should mulligan aggressively to find a source of mana to start with; otherwise, you might be in for a rough game where you do quite literally nothing. 

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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