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The Fish Tank: Theros: Beyond Death Edition (Dec. 28-Jan. 4, 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 marks the start of Theros: Beyond Death spoilers, and a lot of viewers seem excited to brew with the set! As such, we're jumping across formats this week, featuring (mostly) decks built around Theros: Beyond Death cards! 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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.

Standard

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Syr Konrad, the Grim is a card overflowing with combo potential, and Theros: Beyond Death just might unleash its power in Standard, in the form of Underworld Breach. The idea of ChubbyGriz's Grixis Konrad Combo is to stock the graveyard with cards like Merfolk Secretkeeper, Mire Triton, Rix Maadi Reveler, and Gorging Vulture in the early game; stick a Syr Konrad; untap and cast Underworld Breach so we can escape our graveyard; and potentially just win the game on the spot by escaping Forever Young for an absurd amount of damage since we'll get three from the escape exiling cards from our graveyard and then a bunch more when we stack creatures on the top of our deck, causing them to leave the graveyard. If that doesn't work, we can use The Cauldron of Eternity or Blood for Bones to reanimate Doom Whisperer and try to surveil our way to victory. 

The deck's main drawback is that our deck doesn't do much without Syr Konrad, the Grim. Thankfully, we do have a lot of ways to get Syr Konrad from the graveyard, so all of our self-mill should increase the deck's consistency in a weird way. The other concern is that with all of the powerful graveyard cards coming to Standard with Theros: Beyond Death (and Cat Oven already a big part of Standard), there might be a lot of graveyard hate running around, which would make our combo kill much harder to pull off. That said, Grixis Konrad Combo has the potential to deal a ton of damage out of nowhere in a really unique way!

Pioneer

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Storm Herald is a really unique card, potentially offering a cheap one-shot kill if we can get enough auras in our graveyard before it enters the battlefield. Master_Tame takes the new rare out for a spin in Pioneer, in a deck that's hoping to build Storm Herald into a game-ending attacker. The idea is to use cards like Cathartic Reunion and Thrill of Possibility to stock the graveyard with Prodigious Growth, Battle Mastery, Ethereal Armor, and other auras to reanimate with Storm Herald. Just Prodigious Growth with Battle Master ends up making Storm Herald a 10-power, trampling double striker, and another aura or two will help to make sure we can get through blockers. The backup plan is to make some tokens with Young Pyromancer as we cast our graveyard-filling spells or to simply cast our auras on Champion of Flame or Valduk, Keeper of the Flame to build a big Voltron threat. 

While I really like the deck's idea, I'm not sure we have enough ways to fill our graveyard in a timely manner. I'm also not super sold on Champion of the Flame (which dies to everything in Pioneer) or Valduk, Keeper of the Flame (which has a similar problem). That said, Master_Tame's list looks powerful when everything comes together, and it seems like a fine starting point for making Storm Herald work in Pioneer.

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Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded is one of the most interesting of the new Gods from Theros: Beyond Death, and GuyDudeMan wasted no time in putting it to use in Pioneer. The deck, which is almost budget-friendly at $130, is all about cheating some huge things into play as quickly as possible. Generator Servant, Vessel of Volatility, and Irencrag Feat provide fast mana, while Ilharg, the Raze-Boar and Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded give us Pioneer Sneak Attacks to cheat big finishers into play. For closing out the game, the main plan is Drakuseth, Maw of Flames and Lathliss, Dragon Queen. In theory, if we can cheat multiple things into play, we can win the game with just two Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded activations (something like Ilharg, the Raze-Boar into Drakuseth, Maw of Flames and Lathliss, Dragon Queen off of Ilharg, the Raze-Boar should be enough on most board states). One card that might be worth considering is Terror of Mount Velus, which might be the best (or at least, one of the best) Purphoros and Ilharg targets in both Standard and Modern. The deck's only downside is that it's very all-in on the combo, which means we might not do anything at all if our opponent can counter or kill our Ilharg or Purphoros, although the deck makes up for this by being able to put opponents to the test (and potentially just straight up win) very early in the game!

Modern

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Dredge and Storm are two of the most broken mechanics in the history of Magic, so putting them together in the same deck should make for something even more busted, right? In all seriousness, Underworld Breach is an incredibly powerful card that happens to work well with both Dredge and Storm, leading to Everett R.'s Dreadstorm deck. The idea is to get a dredger in the graveyard on Turn 1, start filling our graveyard, cast a Goblin Electromancer or Baral, Chief of Compliance on Turn 2, and then win the game on Turn 3 by casting Underworld Breach, which allows us to escape cards in our graveyard. We then cast a combination of Manamorphose (which makes an extra mana thanks to Baral or Electromancer reducing its cost) and Tome Scour to keep our graveyard stocked with cards to escape until we mill our entire deck; then, we cast Grapeshot as many times as necessary to kill our opponent. In theory, it's even possible to win on Turn 2, but it involves having two Rituals in hand, so it probably won't happen all that often.

My main concern with the deck is consistency. If we don't draw Underworld Breach, we're a really awkward mixture of dredge cards and storm cards, and because we need a bunch of combo pieces to support our plan, it's hard to find room for many cantrips to set things up. This might mean that the deck is a bit inconsistent, although in a world of London mulligans, it might not be that hard to find Underworld Breach since we really don't need many cards in hand to win and can mulligan aggressively for it. Either way, the deck has the potential to offer some extremely fast, explosive kills!

Pauper

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No Theros: Beyond Death cards here, but Chloe B.'s Pauper build—Temur Spawn Torch—is spicy enough that we're willing to bend the rules a bit to feature it. The idea of the deck is to flood the board with Eldrazi Spawn tokens with cards like Nest Invader, Kozilek's Predator, Brood Birthing, and Growth Spasm; draw through our deck with Shared Discovery (which is pretty close to a Pauper-legal Ancestral Recall in this deck); and then finish the game with some combination of Echoing Courage to pump all of our Eldrazi Spawns and Mob Justice plus Kaervek's Torch (sacrificing our Eldrazi Spawns for mana). The end result is a really unique take on a token deck that looks surprisingly fun and explosive. Plus, I've been a sucker for Shared Discovery decks ever since I drafted it about a million times in Rise of the Eldrazi limited.


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