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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy Viewer-Submitted Decks (July 5-11, 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're focusing on Core Set 2021. Almost all of our decks this week feature cards from the set, and some of them look pretty spectacular! Let's take a look at 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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.

Standard

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Sublime Epiphany is a sweet card. While it can sometimes be difficult to resolve through Mystical Dispute, if you manage to resolve it, the end result is usually a four-for-one, which is quite powerful. JankyScience, in Sultai Epiphany of the Ages, goes deep on the Sublime Epiphany plan, with the deck's goal being to get to the point where we're casting Sublime Epiphany at least once every turn, and hopefully several times thanks to the extra mana Wilderness Reclamation provides. The idea is to get a Scholar of the Ages on the battlefield; then, when we cast Sublime Epiphany, we can counter a spell, bounce something, draw a card, and also copy Scholar of the Ages to put Sublime Epiphany back in our hand to repeat the process. Once we get Wilderness Reclamation going, we can cast a Sublime Epiphany or two during our turn for value and still leave up the counterspell during our opponent's turn, which is an insane amount of value. Apart from the combo, the rest of the deck is a bunch of interaction (to help us stay alive until we get enough mana to cast Scholar of the Ages) and ramp (to get to Scholar of the Ages quicker). While aggro seems like it could be a problem, especially if we have a slow hand, the late-game loop value that Sultai Epiphany of the Ages offers seems almost unbeatable!

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One thing we learned about Core Set 2021 Standard almost immediately is that Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is pretty broken. Often, games feel like they come down to whoever can resolve Ugin first (or if an aggro player can kill the Ugin player before they can cast Ugin). Well, Master_Tame is looking to get Ugin, the Spirit Dragon onto the battlefield as quickly as possible in a Mono-Green Mutate Ramp shell. Picture this start to a game: Turn 1 Arboreal Grazer to put an extra land into play. Turn 2 Cultivate or mutate Migratory Greathorn to get up to four mana. Turn 3 Castle Garenbrig and mutate Auspicious Starrix to put one (or possibly two, if we played Migratory Greathorn on Turn 2) permanents from our library into play for free. With a bit of luck, one of those permanents could be Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, giving us what should be a free win with a Turn 3 Ugin in Standard! Even if we're unlucky and hit some random creature or lands, that's fine. Lands get us closer to hard-casting Ugin (possibly even the following turn), while cards like Questing Beast and Keruga, the Macrosage are powerful hits from Auspicious Starrix if we don't luck out by hitting an Ugin. While I have no idea how good the deck is in general, I do know that getting an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon on the battlefield on Turn 3 is extremely impressive. I'm not sure it's possible to do it faster!

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What's the best thing in all of Magic (well, outside of Blood Moons and Panharmonicons)? Drawing cards, of course! Robert C. takes this idea to the extreme in Standard in a Simic shell built around playing threats that grow as we draw cards and then playing a ton of card draw to allow the threats to (eventually) dominate the battlefield. Lorescale Coatl, Nadir Kraken, Faerie Vandal, and Ominous Seas are the main payoffs for the deck, with each (in one way or another) getting a counter as we draw extra cards. If we can draw enough cards, we'll end up with some massive creatures and also a bunch of tokens from Nadir Kraken and Ominous Seas. As for drawing cards, we have a bunch of cheap spells in [[Opt], Contentious Plan, and Growth Spiral, along with creatures like Spectral Sailor, Benthic Biomancer, Hydroid Krasis, and Gadwick, the Wizened and even some planeswalking card draw in Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor. While the deck's idea is sweet, the numbers are a bit wonky, with a lot of two- and three-ofs, so some playtesting is probably needed to optimize it. But if drawing cards is your thing, the deck looks like a ton of fun!

Modern

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Last week, we talked about Modern Soul Sisters featuring Speaker of the Heavens, and while the deck's idea looked solid, the build itself seemed unoptimized, with a lot of one-ofs. Well, DoubleB_33 went to work tuning the list and was rewarded with a 5-0 finish in a Magic Online league! Apart from the typical lifegain tricks and one-mana payoffs like Speaker of the Heavens and Serra Ascendant to take advantage of the deck's seemingly endless lifegain, DoubleB_33's list also leans into the Heliod, Sun-Crowned / Walking Ballista infinite combo as a way to close out the game even faster in unfair matchups. The end result is a build of Modern Soul Sisters that can still go long thanks to its lifegain synergies but can also accidentally stumble into fast combo kills. If I were going to jump into a Modern league with Soul Sisters, I'd probably start with something very close to this!

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One of the best parts of Magic is that "winning" can mean whatever you want it to mean. Take wowManThisIsGreat's Land Creature Combo. While the deck isn't especially likely to win in the traditional sense, when things come together, it can "win" by drawing the game in a really unique way. The deck's main goal is to get Life and Limb on the battlefield alongside Sporemound and then play a Forest. Since all Forests are Saprolings and all Saprolings are Forests, the Forest we play will trigger Sporemound to make a Saproling, which will trigger Sporemound again (since the Saproling is technically a land thanks to Life and Limb). The end result is that Sporemound will keep triggering forever, making an infinite number of 1/1 Forest Saprolings until the game eventually ends in a draw thanks to the loop. My main suggestion for the deck would be to add in a way to actually win with the combo, such as  a sacrifice outlet or even Path to Exile to eventually kill our own Sporemound (or Life and Limb) after we make a massive board of tokens. On the other hand, maybe the beauty of the combo is that is doesn't win the game, with the journey to drawing the game with two really janky, unplayed cards being reward enough itself. 

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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