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5 Decks You Can’t Miss This Week


Journey into Nyx previews may have started, but that doesn't mean we're done with the current formats just yet. Standard may be more or less dead, but this week we're shifting our focus to eternal formats to see some of the interesting innovations this week had to offer.

What happens when one Wild Nacatl isn't enough? You have to stretch into other colors to find more aggressive creatures that can win games on their own. This week coughl put up a winning record with his take on the Tribal Flames Zoo shell, eschewing the namesake for more aggressive creatures and powerful spells.

Delver of Secrets and Wild Nacatl side by side? This deck is basically a hybrid of the UWR Delver decks we saw at the beginning of the Modern format combined with the Zoo decks that we saw before Wild Nacatl was banned. All this deck wants to do is play a one-mana, three-power threat and ride it to victory backed by counterspells and burn.

Grim Lavamancer is a spectacular card in a metagame packed with Pod and Affinity and gives you cheap, repeatable reach against combo decks. I'm not certain about the split of counterspells here, but this seems like a reasonable place to start. Spell Snare catches important cards like Tarmogoyf, Snapcaster Mage, and Cranial Plating, but I'm not convinced that Spell Pierce isn't better. Similarly, Remand may be a better call than Mana Leak if you're looking to play a fast game.

With the direction that Modern has taken, this might be a great way to approach the format. With the rise of turn four combo decks, the ability to clock them while holding up countermagic and flashing in Lightning Bolts and Snapcaster Mages to shave turns off the clock may be exactly what you want to be doing.

Birthing Pod is a format-defining card in Modern, but thus far we've really only seen two takes on the archetype: Melira Pod and Naya Pod. Travis Woo has been looking to change that by brewing up a couple of awesome ways to cheat up the Birthing Pod chain. Why play a four mana Survival of the Fittest when you can Natural Order instead, right? This is Travis's latest attempt to cheat out eight-drops in Modern:

This deck seems awesome. You have all the mana dorks you could ever need, backed by Birthing Pod to find action. The real fun comes when you start casting Allosaurus Rider and Tangle Golem to jumpstart the Birthing Pod chain. Imagine playing a turn two Pod, untapping, and podding in a Terastodon. How is your opponent supposed to beat that start?

What's really interesting here is the sheer variety of eight-drops that are worth considering. Sundering Titan and Griselbrand are two big ones that haven't made the cut here but may be worth considering in the future. Alternatively, you can just kill your opponent with Craterhoof Behemoth similarly to the Legacy Elves deck.

This deck might be a little ambitious, but it's certainly sweet. It's certainy hard to argue with the potential for a turn three eight-drop with a reasonable back-up plan. Zealous Conscripts can help you cheat up to Primeval Titan if you have to pod up the chain the fair way, but realistically this deck is about dreaming big and smashing faces with giant monsters. If people are skimping on their creature hate and leaning too heavily on spells, you just might get to Craterhoof them to death.

Defense of the Heart may just break Legacy. The latest in Drew Levin's series of Legacy Brews focuses on turning this four-mana enchantment into a Tooth and Nail that attacks the format from a new angle. Dr. No Face has taken this idea and come up with the list below:

The gameplan is to find and resolve an early Defense of the Heart and get it to trigger. This generally isn't going to be too hard in a format defined by Deathrite Shaman, Stoneforge Mystic, and Delver of Secrets, but you've got Forbidden Orchard to help along the way. Once you've found the pieces, you can use your extensive suite of cheap counterspells to make sure your Enchantment sticks.

After that, it's just a question of what the safest win condition is. You can go for Xenagos, God of Revels plus either Emrakul or Griselbrand. Attacking for thirty and annihilating six seems pretty okay. So does hitting for fourteen lifelink and drawing fourteen cards. If that's not good enough, you can try to lock your opponent out with Iona, Shield of Emeria. Out of the sideboard, you can even get the Modern-legal Kiki-Jiki plus Restoration Angel.

All of this, and you even get the classic Show and Tell back-up plan. Is this the new Sneak and Show? It may be a little rough around the edges, but this combo may just be more resilient and easier to protect.

Who would have thought that Blazing Shoal was a card that would be banned in Modern? The card was banned after Sam Black put up a Top 4 performance at Pro Tour Philadelphia with an innovative poison deck that could win on the second turn. Does that shell have what it takes to compete in Legacy? Pomegrant seems to think so:

For those unfamiliar, the combo is pretty straightforward. Attack with a poison creature. Pitch a Progenitus or Reaper King to Blazing Shoal and poison your opponent in one shot. You can do this as early as turn two using either Glistener Elf or Inkmoth Nexus as your poison creature, but this deck has given up a little speed for the utility of Cunning Wish, which can find Blazing Shoal, Searing Wind, or Pact of Negation.

There's no two ways about it. This combo is fragile. You're relying on a creature or man-land in a format with Lightning Bolt, Swords to Plowshares, and Wasteland. That doesn't even get into the Thoughtseizes and Hymn to Tourachs. That said, this combo can be blisteringly fast and costs very little mana. This means that you aren't vulnerable to effects like Spell Pierce and Daze and gives you more opportunities to assemble disruption and win out of nowhere.

This deck may not be the best combo deck for a field full of Delver, but it is just as consistent and redundant as the premier combo decks in the format. The big difference is that you've traded some resiliency to shave a turn off of your clock. Sometimes that extra turn is all you need.

How aggressive are you feeling? You'd better come prepared to party, because Xenagos, God of Revels does not mess around. We may not have seen much of this god considering how hyped he was after the release of Born of the Gods, but Goodbye World is swinging for the fences with this exciting take on the satyr-god:

[Cardlist title=Xenagos Beats - Commander | Goodbye World]

The most important cards here are Strionic Resonator, Seize the Day, Gratuitous Violence, and Godo, Bandit Warlord. These extra combat steps give you extra Xenagos triggers and let you get really aggressive really fast. Add to that the fact that Xenagos gives haste and you can just kill players out of nowhere.

I mean, sure, you have all the power and utility of typical Green-Red decks. Inferno Titan, Flametongue Kavu, and Acidic Slime are just as good as always. But everything is better with haste and extra power.

Just take a second to think about curving Xenagos into Godo. Godo can get Loxodon Warhammer to become a 6/3 with lifelink. Xenagos makes him a 12/9 the first time he attacks and a 24/21 on the second crack. With just the smallest amount of extra work, that could easily be forty points in one hit. Xenagos does not mess around.

I don't know that this is the optimal shell for a Xenagos deck, but I do know that it's opened my eyes to just how powerful this God can be if you put in a little extra work. It's not hard to generate twenty or more hasty power and just kill players turn after turn, even through whatever answers your opponents may have brought to the table.

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