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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


It's an exciting time to play Magic. We've got a week of Fate Reforged Standard results in the books, a Pro Tour on the horizon, and all manner of exciting new cards and interactions to explore. This week, we're abandoning fair Magic altogether. Attacking for two? No thanks. How about taking over games with Ugin or Tasigur? How about comboing off with exciting new cards from Fate Reforged? This week we're going broken, and I couldn't be more excited.

It's common knowledge that everyone tends towards aggro decks during the first week of a format, right? Someone should have told Ali Aintrazi that, because he showed up with an interesting three-color take on Frontier Siege ramp instead. Let's take a look at the list he took to a Top 8 finish in DC last weekend:

We've seen a few attempts at breaking the Nykthos plus Frontier Siege engine. The problem with many of those lists is that you're so dependent on the top of your deck being kind to you. You have to draw the right combination of threats and enablers to have a shot at taking a game. Ali's solution to this is to cut Nykthos from the deck, freeing up all the slots that were dedicated to making Nykthos generate mana. In their place? Draw spells.

With this change, Ali has created a bunch of space for answers and streamlined the gameplay. Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise take advantage of Frontier Siege, but also bridge the gap between your early game and enormous haymakers. They also help make sure that you stay ahead on cards in psuedo-mirrors with other over-the-top decks.

There's almost certainly some tuning that can be done here. More Frontier Sieges. Tweaking the suite of Planeswalkers between the maindeck and sideboard. Maybe shifting away from the nonbo of Crux of Fate and Sylvan Caryatid. Either way, this is a very powerful shell and certainly a fun place to start in the new Standard.

There's a new Ascendancy combo in town. Forget Jeskai Ascendancy with all it's crazy triggers and complex gamestates. Last weekend, Mark Toepfner set out to show the world that Temur Ascendancy may just be the most streamlined combo deck in Fate Reforgedd Standard. Let's take a look:

At first, this jjust looks like a powerful pile of Temur creatures. And it is. Plan A is just to bring the beatdown and outclass whatever your opponent is doing at every spot along the curve, all while staying up on cards with help from Genesis Hydra and Eidolon of Blossoms. But what happens when you reach an inevitable board stall? Get excited, because this deck has big plans for the late game.

If you can assemble Temur Ascendancy, Voyaging Satyr, Temur Sabertooth, and Nykthos, you've very nearly gone infinite. Here's the combo: you can bounce Voyaging Satyr with Temur Sabertooth, recast it, and untap Nykthos. With seven green mana symbols on the board, this generates enough mana to go infinite, at which point you can draw your deck by bouncing Temur Sabertooth. You can cast every creature in your deck with haste and crash in for lethal.

Are there a lot of pieces to put together? Sure. But you don't have to combo. You can just value opponents out by bouncing Genesis Hydra and Eidolon of Blossoms or beat them to death with Polukranos. But if they give you enough turns, then suddenly every extra draw step and card digs you closer to going infinite.

New bans mean that old decks have a new lease on life in Modern. The banning of Birthing Pod is a big deal for a lot of fringe decks because suddenly there's no deck with incidental maindeck hate. People have to mean it when they sleeve up Scavenging Ooze and Qasali Pridemage in their maindeck. That one-of isn't going to cut it anymore! RaptureReady's new build of Necrotic Ooze combo takes full advantage.

This deck combines a lot of interesting gameplans into a robust and powerful deck. You've still got a potential turn two kill by curving Faithless Looting into Goryo's Vengeance on either Griselbrand or Borborygmos. Griselbrand may let you chain together enough Soul Spikes to end the game, while Borborygmos only needs to hit a few extra lands to deal the full 20 on turn two.

Sometimes interactions that powerful are good enough to build your entire deck around. Not for RaptureReady. Instead, he's taken a more midrange approach with extra copies of Unburial Rites and Necrotic Ooze. This gives your deck a higher density of game-ending threats and, consequently, a lower fail rate than the build we've seen that are all-in on Emrakul an Griselbrand.

Necrotic Ooze is particularly interesting in this build as it functions as both Griselbrand and Borborygmos, and that combination of abilities makes it very easy to chain Soul Spikes until you can throw lands at your opponent's face.

The banning of Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time also significantly weaken the combo control decks that we'd seen taking over the format. In their place, we should expect to see a return of the tempo combo decks like Splinter Twin. anhau took this idea to a really interesting extreme:

Most of this list is pretty standard. At least until you get to the four maindeck Boomerang. We've seen some number of Boomerangs in the sideboards of Twin lists leading up to Khans of Tarkir. Those effects do a lot of small things. They interact with creature-based combos. They're a cheap tempo effect that can hit lands, preventing your opponent from interacting with you. They also just get Restoration Angels out of the way while you beat down. The sheer amount of utility this effect provides in this format is astonishing, and clearly worth exploring further.

Lots of people are moving back towards the Tarmogoyf Twin lists in the wake of the recent bannings, but perhaps you're better off focusing purely on combo and tempo instead of getting cute with another color and fair creatures.

Vintage is a degenerate format for degenerate people, and Randy Buehler and Chris Pikula may have unleashed a new monster on the format. This week brought the return of the Vintage Super League, and with it a powerful new Blue Belcher list. Let's take a look at this new turn-one combo deck.

That is a one-land Goblin Charbelcher deck. Of course, the rest of your deck is a giant pile of degenerate mana rocks, draw spells, and free countermagic to force through your threats. The big difference between this deck and the Red-Green Legacy builds is that you have access to Tolarian Academy and Moxen instead of Lotus Petals and Tinder Wall. This means that you have consistent access to mana, particularly Blue mana, and that changes everything.

Suddenly you can use Tezzeret as additional copies of Belcher, as well as a backdoor win condition with the Time Vault and Voltaic Key combo you're already playing. The most recent builds of this deck even play copies of Diminishing Returns and Candelabra of Tawnos as a way to power through disruption and pack even more haymakers into the deck.

Make no mistake, this deck is powerful. It's very capable of winning on turn one with one or more counterspells up. You can also just trade draw spells and counterspells with more controlling opponents and crush them with your high density of cards that end the game on the spot. This is a combo deck that is less resilient and flexible than some of the Storm decks, but with more cards that end the game on the spot, and a more consistent mechanism of winning on the first turn or two of the game. It's also an absolute blast to watch in action, so be sure to catch the Vintage Super League this coming Tuesday!

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