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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy Viewer-Submitted Decks (July 12-18, 2020)

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've got five spicy lists to check out from across formats! Let's get to the lists. 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 them to me at


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When I think of Nine Lives, my mind immediately goes to formats like Pioneer and Modern. Is it actually possible to kill someone with the enchantment in Standard? The answer is yes, as Absurd Heroine realized—it just takes a gloriously janky combination of spells. The plan of the deck? First, we play Nine Lives. Then, we give it to our opponent with Role Reversal, although since our opponent might not have an enchantment (and Role Reversal only exchanges permanents that are the same type), we might have to first use One with the Stars to turn one of our opponent's creatures into an enchantment. Third (or maybe fourth, depending on if we need to use One With the Stars), we use Shadowspear to make Nine Lives lose hexproof so that we can finally win the game by using Stern Dismissal to bounce Nine Lives, causing our opponent to lose the game from Nine Lives leaving the battlefield. Sounds easy!

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Vampires have been a bit of a forgotten tribe in Standard since Ixalan rotated almost a year ago, but Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord is still around and can be extremely powerful in the right shell. So, why are we revisiting Vampires now, with a build from Frederick M.? The answer is Silversmote Ghoul. Silversmote Ghoul is the perfect support card for Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord since Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord can sacrifice a Vampire to Lightning Helix something, while Silversmote Ghoul returns itself to play from the graveyard each turn as long as we gain three or more life—exactly the amount of life you gain from a Lightning Helix. This means that together, we can sacrifice Silversmote Ghoul to Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord to Lightning Helix something every turn for free! Add in Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose to drain our opponent whenever we gain life, and every Sorin activation ends up hitting for six damage, which should close out the game in short order. Of course, the rest of our Vampires aren't great, with Knight of the Ebon Legion and maybe Indulging Patrician being the highlights of the motley crew of bloodsuckers, but maybe the combo of Sorin, SIlversmote Ghoul, and Vito is enough to carry the deck—it does seem quite strong!


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Sarkhan's Unsealing was a card that led to some sweet brews in Standard, but I sort of forgot about it once it rotated. But now, thanks to Plum, Sarkhan's Unsealing is back in Historic with some big upgrades! The main goal of a Sarkhan's Unsealing deck is to play as many creatures with power four or greater as possible, with some seven-plus-power creatures as well, so that every creature we cast triggers our namesake enchantment. New additions that weren't around when Sarkhan's Unsealing was in Standard, like Bonecrusher Giant and Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, are perfect for the deck, giving us cheap, above-the-curve ways to trigger Sarkhan's Unsealing to keep shooting our opponent for four or killing their creatures. Meanwhile, Rotting Regisaur gives us the Flame Wave mode of Sarkhan's Unsealing for just three mana! While having just 21 lands scared me a bit (although having four Mind Stones helps), if you're tired of losing to creature decks in Historic, Sarkhan's Unsealing—with a combination of massive creatures and repeatable, free removal from Sarkhan's Unsealing itself—seems like a great way to swing those matchups.


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Much has been made about how Pioneer is dominated by combo decks with Dimir Inverter (somehow still not banned), Lotus Breach Combo and Heliod Combo near the top of the format. What's the answer? For Robin S., it's Necromentia Control. The deck is overflowing with Necromentia effects, with Infinite Obliteration, Lost Legacy, and Unmoored Ego backing up Necromentia itself. The idea is that we can use these cards to exile all the relevant cards in our opponent's deck while keeping their board in check with sweepers like Languish and Crux of Fate, a bunch of targeted removal, and even some discard in Thought Erasure. While the idea is hilarious and probably fairly effective against combo and even some control builds, where exiling all of the combo pieces and / or finishers is fairly practical, I'm not sure what the deck does against aggro, where casting a Necromentia to get rid of Knight of the Ebon Legion or Wild Slash doesn't seem like a winning strategy. Thankfully, the sideboard does have some additional answers, with four more sweepers and Legion's End, which can come in over some Necromentias against aggressive decks. One other thing to consider is an actual finisher for the deck. Right now, the plan seems to be to mill the opponent out by exiling cards with Necromentias and with Murderous Rider beatdowns being the backup plan. A faster way to close out the game once we cast a bunch of Necromentias could be beneficial, to minimize the odds of our opponent drawing into something that steals the win. While the deck is very likely too matchup dependent to be truly competitive, it should be hilariously effective (and frustrating to play against) in the good matchups!


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Heartless Summoning is a classic Modern build-around, although normally, Heartless Summoning decks focus on one of two things: using Heartless Summoning as a ramp spell to cast massive creatures or comboing with two Myr Retrievers looping each other from the graveyard to generate infinite enters- and / or leaves-the-battlefield triggers. On the other hand, using Heartless Summoning to make a storm deck, as Jake K. has done, is a super-unique plan. The idea is that with Heartless Summoning on the battlefield, cards like Basal Sliver, Catalyst Elemental, and Priest of Urabrask all turn into rituals, costing one mana but producing two or three mana. After casting as many as we can, we can use No Rest for the Wicked to return them all to our hand and cast them again to make even more mana. Meanwhile, Liliana's Standard Bearer and Grim Haruspex keep us drawing through our deck as our creatures die, with Liliana's Standard Bearer being especially impressive since it dies to Heartless Summoning, so we can get it back with No Rest for the Wicked to repeat the process. Eventually, we'll either win the game with Grapeshot or by finding our one Vindictive Vampires, as an expensive Blood Artist that survives the −1/−1 of Heartless Summoning. Is the deck competitive? I have no idea, but it is super unique and looks really fun to play!


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

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