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5 Decks You'll Play This Weekend


Welcome to the newest of Gathering Magic's bundled quintets: five decks from Magic Online you should be aware of this weekend, whether you're playing a major online event, going to a Grand Prix, or hitting a Friday Night Magic. In an era of big data, Magic Online provides some of the biggest data, so even a quick-and-dirty snapshot of recent Dailies gets you ahead of the competition.

Every week, I'll follow roughly the same template. For a major Constructed format, I'll cover four decks. Two will cover the most popular winning decks of the format, a third will cover a deck with the highest winning percentage, and a fourth will be one Spicy Metaball, with some innovation or another that draws me to it. The fifth deck will be from a different format, a peek at how "the others" are doing.

Cruise for the Poor

Treasure Cruise got banned this week in Modern and Legacy and restricted in Vintage. There are now three major Constructed formats where you may play even a single Cruise: Standard (a lame duck format with Fate Reforged on the horizon); Vintage; and...


That's right; if you want to go on multiple Cruises, you should present evidence of your pauperism. This makes little economic sense but is good for the health of the many.

Magic Online runs Pauper Dailies on Friday/Saturday/Sunday; I looked at all three for my four decks.

Here's what 4–0'd on Sunday and Monday. (Bold = won the Daily.)

Treasure Cruise

Seven Times

  • Monoblue Delver

Two Times:

  • R/W Metalcraft

One Time:

  • Burn
  • U/R Delver
  • B Devotion
  • G/W Auras
  • U/G Mill

You can guess what eight-mana sorcery the Delver decks are running. In any event, let's see it:

The Popular Kids and Their Winning Decks

Spellstutter Sprite
There's a lot of value wrapped up in a Delver list. Ponder and Preordain set up Delver of Secrets here as in every format they're allowed to do so, while Cloud of Faeries, Spellstutter Sprite, and Ninja of the Deep Hours play well together. Spire Golem provides a three-mana 2/4 flyer, tough enough to survive Lightning Bolt and most other common flyers.

The sideboard has some usual stuff for these decks, but if you're not used to a Pauper list it might look weird. Aura Flux is there for exactly what you'd expect: the Aura decks, who are hard to interact with any other way. Meanwhile, Stormbound Geist provides resilience against other flying decks.

On the decidedly nonblue end of the spectrum sits R/W Metalcraft. This won the day before the Delver list above:

Using several pieces you might remember from 2009-2011, like Kor Skyfisher, Glint Hawk, Kuldotha Rebirth, and Galvanic Blast, metalcraft takes advantage of the artifact lands - like Treasure Cruise, potent but unavailable to several formats - to create a quick army backed by burn. Metalcraft can get to the midgame quickly, and it can preserve its board advantage with Journey to Nowhere and Oblivion Ring. With just enough value synergies in Sanctum Gargoyle, Remember the Fallen, and Faithless Looting, the deck can come close

Suture Priest is a sweet part of the sideboard, serving as at least a Lightning Helix against creature-heavy decks.

Two Spicy Metaballs

Rather than cover the third winner, Burn (guess what's in it!), I wanted to hit two less-represented archetypes today. One of them took second place with no creatures and no major combo.

Jace's Erasure
That playset of Thornwood Falls shows the non-Treasure Cruise impact Khans of Tarkir had on the format: enemy dual lands that don't require bouncing. Not that ResidentZombie eschews Treasure Cruise; it's pivotal here, in large part because it speeds up the lone win condition, Jace's Erasure.

Until Jace's Erasure is drawn (or transmuted for in the case of Muddle the Mixture, which can also find almost everything else in the deck), this deck can stall seemingly forever, with Arcane Denial and sideboard Counterspell and Dispel for traditional control and Moment's Peace, real-life-uncommon Tangle (it's common in Vintage Masters), and Respite each buying two or nearly two turns against anyone trying to win with creatures. I love Tangle (and Lignify, for that matter); this might be the deck I would play in Pauper...

...unless I played this deck, which 3-1'd with half a Modern deck:

Fangren Marauder
Ancient Stirrings, Flame Slash, Expedition Map, the Chromatic octet, and the ubiquitous Treasure Cruise all have seen extensive Modern play, as have the Tron lands. So what do they do here? They power the biggest spells available. Rolling Thunder is one of the best X-burn spells on the block, Ulamog's Crusher is huge for any format, and Fangren Marauder keeps your sacrificing artifacts live as topdecks by taking you out of kill range of several decks (what exactly is burn going to do about it?)

The white cards in the sideboard are castable off the artifacts and the lone Shimmering Grotto. We've seen Circle of Protection: Red already, but Ray of Revelation is another great choice, and it's at home with Ancient Grudge. With all the mana, flashback spells are so good in this deck that even Earth Rift has a home. Pauper may have a lot of Treasure Cruises, but it also has Earth Rift; and finding cards like that in winning decklists warms my heart.

A Peek at Vintage

If I told you Treasure Cruise is here too, I probably wouldn't surprise you. But with its restriction, will the Delver/Pyromancer shell Cruise goes in keep up? If not, this version of the Time Vault/Voltaic Key combo deck might fill the gap. There are many such versions to choose from - Delver and Time Vault appear to rule the Vintage metagame online along with dredge - but this one is every kind of ambitious:

The Time Vault/Voltaic Key combo? Check. (Tezzeret the Seeker, a minority inclusion in these lists, takes over untapping Time Vault, as Ral Zarek's off-duty from the Holiday Cube.) Tinker/Blightsteel Colossus? Check. Jace? Trygon Predator? Notion Thief? Mountain in the sideboard? All check. Through all that, however, my favorite card in this list might be the Viashino Heretic. Sure, it can kill small artifacts repeatedly. But how awesome is it to target an opponent's Blightsteel Colossus with it? Activate Heretic at the Tinker player's end step, clock the Colossus's controller for 12, then untap and do it again, and you've scored an easy win.

(The Atog Lord, with a less ambitious version of the deck that focused more on Young Pyromancer, ran Slice and Dice in the sideboard; it seems great to kill an army of tokens while cycling.)


If for some reason you lament premier delver Treasure Cruise being forcibly separated from the other premier Delver, don't worry - Pauper and Vintage are there for you! Well, okay, Vintage is only 25% there for you on the Treasure Cruise thing, but Pauper is your friend. And if you'd like other Modern-banned cards instead, the artifact lands are available too. In whatever format you find yourself playing this weekend, may you find all the cards you need, whether by drawing them in threes or topdecking like a fiend.

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