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The Fish Tank: Sweet and Spicy Viewer-Submitted Decks (Nov. 3–Nov. 9, 2019)

Welcome back to The Fish Tank, the series where we take a peek at sweet viewer-submitted decks and maybe, with our powers combined, turn them into real, fun, playable lists! Oh yeah, and 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


Sometimes, you just need to get aggressive, throw some pump spells at your creatures, and try to close out the game before everything turns into an Elk. The deck's goal is to play creatures like Syr Faren, the Hengehammer and Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin that like to be pumped, target them with pump spells like Collision // Colossus and Rimrock Knight, and hopefully quickly close out the game before our opponent manages to deal with our threats. I have no idea if the deck can actually stand up to Oko, but it does look fun, and the price is right, so if you're looking for something different and cheap for Standard and like being aggressive, Gruul Pump Spells is probably worth trying, at the very least.


Attacking with toughness rather than power is always a popular theme to build around, and Pioneer offers a new playground for the archetype. The deck's goal is to stick an Assault Formation, which suddenly turns cards like Merfolk Secretkeeper and Wall of Runes into one mana 4/4s, while Surge Mare and Dragon's Eye Savants become some of the biggest two-drops in Magic. Generally speaking, the problem with Assault Formation decks is that while they are amazing when their namesake card is on the battlefield, if you can't find an Assault Formation (or it gets answered by something like Assassin's Trophy), you're left playing a bunch of very underpowered creatures. In theory, Phenax, God of Deception offers a backup plan since we can tap all of our creatures to mill our opponent out of the game over the course of a few turns, but even with Phenax, consistency is still a concern. One possibility would be adding Huatli, the Sun's Heart as backup copies of Assault Formation. For example...

Apparently, it's toughness week on The Fish Tank. maleoj's Bant Toughness deck is trying to do the same thing as Sultai Assault Formation: play a bunch of high-toughness creatures and turn them into meaningful attackers by allowing them to deal damage equal to their toughness rather than their power. In fact, it's even more all-in on cheap 0/4s, with a massive 14 copies of Yoked Ox, which means without an Assault Formation on the battlefield, it will do basically nothing about 100% of the time. On the other hand, the deck overloads on Assault Formations, with four literal Assault Formation, four Huatli, the Sun's Heart, and three High Alert. With 11 Assault Formations in the deck, we have a 78% chance of having one in our opening hand, compared to a 40% chance with just four. While we should consistently be able to attack with toughness rather than power, playing 11 copies of Assault Formation does come with a cost, in that we don't actually have any removal in the main deck, which is a risk. It's also a bit weird to see three copies of Fae of Wishes with only one High Alert and two Slaughter the Strong as tutor targets in the sideboard, although "just" being a 4/4 flier for two is still pretty solid. 

Sphinx's Tutelage is on my shortlist of favorite cards since all you really need to do to win the game with Tutelage is to draw as many cards as possible! Noxal's Tutelage Alliance list is modeled after a list that was briefly somewhat competitive back in the summer of 2015. You play Sphinx's Tutelage; use Magmatic Insight, Cathartic Reunion, and Treasure Cruise to draw as many cards as possible as quickly as possible; and mill the opponent out of the game. The biggest new addition to the deck is Improbable Alliance, which gives us a steady stream of chump blockers and even a backup way of winning the game. While I like the idea of Tutelage in Pioneer, I do think that this build might be a bit too influenced by the old Standard deck. It's hard for me to imagine that Reality Shift is the best removal option in the format, while Send to Sleep and Whelming Wave are pretty out of place in Pioneer. That said, the deck's core—lots of card draw, including Treasure Cruise and Sphinx's Tutelage—looks solid enough. It's more the support cards around the edges that could be powered up, with the help of the bigger Pioneer card pool.

One underrated aspect of Pioneer is that it gives us a place to revisit planeswalker tribal decks, with Chandra Tribal being a perfect example. The deck's goal is simple: play a ton of Chandras and use them to grind the opponent out of the game. If that doesn't work, we also have Sarkhan the Masterless to turn all of our Chandras into 4/4 flying beaters. While the deck looks a lot like the one we played in Standard with Chandras, Chandra's Regulator, and removal, in Pioneer, we get a couple of additional Chandras, which are very powerful, with Chandra, Torch of Defiance being perhaps the best Chandra ever printed and a Modern staple, while Chandra, Flamecaller is a very fast clock thanks to the hasty Elementals it makes along with it being a sweeper. While Chandra tribal looks sweet, there are endless planeswalker tribal decks possible in the format. Which planeswalker tribal deck do you think has the most potential? Let us know in the comments!


Anyway, that's all for this week's Fish Tank! If you have some ideas for any of these decks, make sure to leave them in the comments, and if you'd like your deck considered for next week's edition of The Fish Tank (or our Fishbowl Thursday Instant Deck Tech), leave a link in the comments, or email me at

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