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Five Decks You Can't Miss This Week


As formats wane in their time in the spotlight it's tempting to stop innovating. Tuning the best decks for the other expected best decks leads to a circular pattern of success. With Magic Origins on the horizon the Standard discussed have turned fully to the future. This week we'll look at some of the interesting standouts from the Magic Online Standard Championship Championship Qualifier to see the potential the coming set may unlock, then visit Legacy and Modern for examples of the changing tides resulting from recent and upcoming Grand Prix.

These are five decks you can't miss this week.

When we last saw Temur in Standard it was an aggressive deck built on Frost Walkers as the start of a stampede. While the consistency of Abzan and the explosive power of Red-Green Devotion helped force it aside at a popular choice that doesn't mean there aren't interesting ways to develop it. User moru757 took this to the Magic Online Standard Championship Qualifier:

Frost Walker and friends are still here, padded out by Den Protector and some Dragons. What's different? Sarkhan Unbroken and Temur Ascendancy add a ripple many opponents won't be expecting. Ascendancy solves a lot of the problems the deck faces in inertia. When everything has haste, and most creatures draw you a card, the snowball effect plays out. Similarly, Sarkhan provides a steady stream of cards and extra mana and with the Ascendancy in play makes hasty 4/4 flying Dragons while netting you a card in the process. While moru757 wasn't as successful as planned, what happened when Origins arrives is anyone's guess.

Steve Rubin showed off what Red-Green Dragons could do at Grand Prix Providence, but that isn't the only angle of flying victory floating around in Standard. Budski swapped green for blue and took this to the Magic Online Standard Championship Qualifier:

There's big Dragons, and even the overlord of them all on Tarkir with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, but that's not the key action of the deck. More like a control deck, it plays main deck counter magic like Dissipate and Silumgar's Scorn with Anticipate and Dig Through Time to help stay ahead of answers. A miserly Crater's Claw and a set of Lightning Strikes round out the answer package that surely doubles as a last push of damage in a pinch. The sideboard is full of more specific answers but he goals are the same: Stop the opponent long enough for Dragons to eat him or her. If green isn't your preferred slice of Standard this option with Islands might be exactly what you need.

Were you glad to see the days of Pack Rat over? Still have flashbacks to a Swamp-filled Standard with furry creatures running rampant? You might want to skip what Lejay was up to in a recent Modern Daily event on Magic Online:

At a broad brush it looks like Jund: Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize with Liliana of the Veil, Terminate, Lightning Bolt, Dark Confidant, and even newcomer Kolaghan's Command are all familiar. But the full suite of Pack Rat and Goblin Rabblemaster tell a different tale. Unlike the committed-to-Burn variants of red-black that add Bump in the Night as a Flame Spike duplicate, this take is built for the longer game. With disruption rivaling Jund - the de facto deck for disruption - it aims to one-for-one opponents while pressuring with efficient creatures. Thanks to Pack Rat and Goblin Rabblemaster scaling up the longer they are left along it puts opponents in the awkward position of answering rapid threats while keeping nothing safe in their hand.

The sideboard carries some colorful choices for the metagame, including Sun Droplet against Burn decks, and Big Game Hunter as a catch-all anti-fatty option, but it's the pressure-meets-disruption plan that's delightfully Tarmogoyf free that stands out the most.

Temur isn't kicking around in Standard. Modern is home to famous flavors of Temur, particularly the "Tarmotwin" twist of Splinter Twin meets Tarmogoyf. While Blue-Red and Grixis Delver are getting most of the attention, Temur Delver is right there too as Betalain showed in a Daily Event:

Tarmogoyf, Delver of Secrets, and Lightning Bolt: It's a Temur deck in Modern. Alongside Snapcaster and a toolkit of answers, as well as the randomly efficient Hooting Mandrills, the deck seems like the typical affair we've come to expect.

Except Disrupting Shoal is in there too.

As one of the few "free" Counterspell effects in the game, let alone Modern, it's the type of tool that can surprise opponents or greedy combo players out of nowhere. There's even a singleton Curiosity to take advantage of a protected threat by drawing more cards. With Stubborn Denial and Mana Leak to boot, the ability for this deck to land a few threats then protect them is as solid as ever. After all, that's what a Delver deck is meant to do.

In addition to the buffet of Modern over the past few weeks, Legacy has a Grand Prix on the horizon that's sure to show off some amazing options. Eternal formats have a way of including diversity unlike anything else in Magic, and Wotkenmendo's mono-black deck is a prime example:

There's virtually nothing surprising left in Legacy, but the sheer diversity of things makes even innocuous decks a treat when they pop up again. Vampire Nighthawk and Dark Confidant have been rare bedfellows, but with a disruption package multiple play sets deep (Where else can you find a play set of Sinkhole registered?) the end game of the deck is two-fold: Either land Contamination to lock out an opponent until it's too late, or use the sideboard combo of Leyline of the Void and Helm of Obedience to finish the job.

Nether Spirit makes an appearance as well, which is always a nice nod to the recursive decks of old. Clever girl indeed.

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