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The Fish Tank: Sweet Viewer-Submitted Decks (March 8-15, 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 will jump around a lot from format to format, with some interesting decks in Standard, Modern, and Pioneer! 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


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The tier version of UW Control in Standard already feels like a Stax deck sometimes, with Narset, Parter of Veils to shut down card draw, Teferi, Time Raveler to shut down instants, and Elspeth Conquers Death to get back lock-focused planeswalkers once they die, but what happens if you try to make UW Control even more Stax-y? Pollux is going to find out. The deck's main goal is to stick a Teferi, Time Raveler to keeps instants in check and then play Rule of Law to make it so everyone can only play one spell each turn. Since our opponent can only play at sorcery speed thanks to Teferi, Time Raveler, this means they get to cast exactly one spell on each of their turns, which we then counter with Quench, Sinister Sabotage, Absorb, or Ashiok's Erasure. For winning the game, we have Folio of Fancies, which we can use to force each player to draw a bunch of cards (which doesn't really help our opponent since they can only cast one a turn anyway, while we make sure we have enough counters that our opponent will never get resolve anything) and then eventually use Folio of Fancies to mill our opponent out of the game. If you are feeling too beloved at your FNM or on the Arena ladder, Standard Stax seems like a good way to lose a few friends in paper or get endless salty rope time-out wins on Arena

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While rops's Mono-Green Enchantments deck is probably not super high on the competitiveness scale, it is cheap and looks fun for more casual play. The idea is to grind out value with Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, Setessan Champion, and Nessian Wanderer before eventually sticking a Gargos, Vicious Watcher and fighting our opponent's board to bits with Setessan Training, Warbriar Blessing, and Mantle of the Wolf, allowing us to win the game with just a couple of big attacks on an empty board! While the deck should be able to draw a lot of cards, Embercleave seems like a bit of a problem, and wraths can be pretty brutal if our opponent can get the timing right; these are issues that will likely keep the deck from being much more than a "for fun" budget option. But if you're a fan of Gargos, Vicious Watcher, Budget Mono-Green Enchantments seems like some good old-fashioned kitchen-table fun or a solid option for playing unranked casual matches on Arena.


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Playing Feather, the Redeemed in Pioneer isn't that weird—there have been a few 5-0 finishes on Magic Online with Feather decks. On the other hand, playing Feather, the Redeemed with Zada, Hedron Grinder and Mirrorwing Dragon is super spicy! Feather Zada Mirror is basically a weird mashup of aggro and combo. We're hoping to stick a Mirrorwing Dragon or Zada, Hedron Grinder to copy all of our creature-targeting cantripping and protection spells, use Feather, the Redeemed to keep returning those cards to our hand, and build a massive board of tokens with the help of heroic token generators like Akroan Crusader, Vanguard of Brimaz, and Hero of the Nyxborn. When the deck gets going, cards like Defiant Strike and Expedite can potentially be drawing us five or even 10 cards for just a single mana, allowing us to churn through our deck at lightning speed and hopefully kill our opponent. While Ajani's Presence, Gods Willing, and Boros Charm help protect our creatures, my guess that is the biggest struggle for the deck is going up against removal-heavy midrange and control decks. If our opponent can counter or kill our Feather, Mirrorwing Dragon, and Zada, Hedron Grinder, we're left playing a lot of relatively underpowered heroic creatures, so playing the deck carefully (in a way that we can leave up protection spells for key pieces) seems important. While I'm not sure how competitive the deck is overall, it seems like it should be spectacular when it goes off.

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God-Pharaoh's Gift is a card that feels like it should have enough power to be good in Pioneer, but so far, it hasn't really found its footing. Jakealicious looks to change this with a Bant GPG build. Going into green offers Gilded Goose to ramp us into Refurbish on God-Pharaoh's Gift as early as Turn 3. And once we get God-Pharaoh's Gift online, getting a free 4/4 copy of Agent of Treachery or Ashen Rider to kill or steal our opponent's best permanent every turn should quickly close out the game. If we actually need to kill our opponent, our one copy of Cultivator of Blades can pump all of our creatures +6/+6, potentially coming into play by surprise (and with haste) thanks to God-Pharaoh's Gift. The big problem for the deck is that thanks to Dimir Inverter, Lotus Breach, and other popular graveyard-centric decks, the Pioneer format is pretty well prepared for graveyard hate at the moment. While Reclamation Sage in the sideboard gives us an answer to cards like Leyline of the Void and Rest in Peace, it seems like a rough time to be playing a deck that is so graveyard-focused. But if you can dodge the hate cards from the sideboard, the looks really fun and potentially pretty powerful.


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Earlier this week, we had an Instant Deck Tech featuring a Sultai Painter's Servant deck for Modern, but blue and green aren't the only colors that offer cool color-changing shenanigans. igSeanMiller's Selesnya Painter's Veil deck is basically a land destruction deck hiding behind a cute Selesnya shell. The main goal is to turn everything black with Painter's Servant, which means Celestial Purge and Devout Lightcaster can exile any permanent (including lands!), while Display of Dominance his any non-creature permanent, essentially giving us 12 land destruction spells, most of which have the flexibility of hitting creatures and other permanents as well. Eladamri's Call makes sure we can find Painter's Servant every game, while Giver of Runes keeps it on the battlefield. For finishing the game, we have Soldier of the Pantheon (which can oddly turn into something close to True-Name Nemesis since Painter's Servant gives everything the color we choose in addition to their other colors, making most spells multicolored), while Hero of Precinct One triggers to make a token every time we cast anything once Painter's Servant is on the battlefield! The biggest issue with the deck is that if we can't stick a Painter's Servant, we're basically hoping and praying we're against a black-based deck because most of our cards do nothing. But the games where we find and keep a Painter's Servant on the battlefield should be hilarious.


Anyway, that's all for today! If you have some ideas on how to improve these decks, make sure to leave them in the comments. And if you have a deck you'd like considered for the next edition of The Fish Tank (or the Fishbowl Thursday Instant Deck Tech), leave it as well! As always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at


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