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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


Weeks go by, formats keep shifting, and players keep brewing. This week we've got five decks ranging from Standard to Commander that show off exciting interactions and interesting metagame calls. We'll start off with a new take on heroic in Standard, take a look at three sweet decks in Modern, and finish up with one of the first Commander lists for Selvala, Explorer Returned from Conspiracy. Let's get started:

We've seen heroic decks in Standard before. Most of those decks have been White-based so far, but have splashed every possible combination of Blue, Red, and Black for Ordeals, Battlewise Hoplite and Agent of Fates. This budget deck by Skiz_Owned features Green-White heroes backed by powerful Unflinching Courage and Holy Mantle. Let's take a look:

So how does your deck beat Fabled Hero? I hope you have a removal spell right now, because otherwise it's going to get suited up with the likes of Alpha Authority and Unflinching Courage to put the game out of reach very quickly.

That's sort of the plan this deck has. You're not the most aggressive deck or the deck with the biggest creatures. You just plan on voltron-ing up and building an enormous creature that trump everyone else in combat while gaining you more life than you know what to do with. With the format shifting towards midrangey creature decks, this seems like a real plan that might be fine in the current Standard format.

However, we saw a resurgence of Supreme Verdict decks last weekend, and sweepers are bad news for this style of deck. Damaged-based removal is fine, since you can put your creatures out of reach without too much trouble. Wrath of God-style sweepers are all but unbeatable, since they set you back in both cards and time, since you need to invest more mana and cards into making another enormous creature.

If you just want to smash some faces and beat up on creature decks, this seems like a fine approach to a fun, budget concept for Standard.

Soul Warden. Soul's Attendant. Norin the Wary? We've seen Soul Sisters in Modern before, but never quite like this. The biggest problem with this style of deck has always been its inability to actually put games away once you've gained a bunch of life. Given enough time, most decks can deal twenty, fifty, even one hundred extra damage if you aren't putting up a real fight. KabukimanX's take solves this problem by getting aggressive with cards like Champion of the Parish and Mentor of the Meek to let you apply pressure and grind through removal spells to keep your opponent from stabilizing. Let's take a look at his Boros Soul Sisters build:

I like that this deck isn't all-in on gaining life. Life is a reasonable resource in Modern, considering that Burn, Storm, and Scapeshit are all real decks in the format that care very much about your life total. The problem is that there are plenty of decks that couldn't care less how much life you have; traditionally, Soul Warden strategies have not done especially well against the unfair decks in the format. The reason is that you just can't apply enough pressure to stop your opponent from drawing out of their situation and just kill you through all of the extra life.

KabukimanX has tried to deal with this by making his deck more aggressive and attrition-based. Purphoros, God of the Forge is very powerful in conjunction with Norin, the Wary and Mentor of the Meek. It even lets you start going off with Genesis Chamber and Soul Warden. While you start grinding away at your opponents with free cards and tokens, the Red splash gives you the most efficient removal in the format to clear the way for your beaters and Swords to get you even further ahead.

We've seen various takes on midrange decks in Modern, with Jund, Junk, and Black-Green being the premier strategies. The problem is that it's hard to be midrangey in a turn four format. If your Thoughtseizes and Inquisitions miss, your opponents can just draw out of it and kill you on turn four anyway. Modern is a format where you want to be more proactive; to progress the game in some way. That's what tanetuhoaja has tried to accomplish by building an aggressive take on Black for Modern.

Did you know that Tidehollow Sculler is a Zombie? That means that he gives you another way to power up your Gravecrawlers besides just Diregraf Ghoul and Geralf's Messenger. This means that you'll have a persistent, aggressive board of creatures to turn sideways at your opponent while still being able to interact with them with various discard spells like Tidehollow Sculler.

What's really interesting is Zealous Persecution and Blasting Station. These cards combined with Gravecrawler and Lingering Souls give you both reach and interactive elements which are absolutely spectacular. You can very easily just curve out and kill your opponent on turn four with Zealous Persecution. You can also just sweep away mana creatures and Signal Pests. You can even kill Pestermite when your opponent tries to Splinter Twin you.

Blasting Station has the potential to be even nuttier, letting you turn Black mana into damage for creatures or players to control the board against other aggressive decks or burn out combo or control players. You can even use the sacrifice outlet to turn your Tidehollow Scullers into Castigates! All told, this is a really aggressive, interactive deck in a format that rewards this style of proactive play, and I'm certainly interested to see what it can do.

Not interested in playing an aggressive or midrangey deck? Let's go over the top instead. There were some pretty insane stories about Summoning Trap at the last Modern Pro Tour that had players pretty excited, but nothing really every came from it. This week Frank Lepore wrote an article taking a look at Eldae's recent take on Summoning Trap from a Modern Premiere Event that looks to go bigger than almost anyone else in the format. Looking to cheat in fatties without playing Tron lands or Unburial Rites? This may be the deck for you:

I love this style of deck. You have a proactive, aggressive gameplan involving curving out into Knight of the Reliquary and Lingering Souls. Some decks will just lose to that plan. If that doesn't work, you can just ramp into fatties. Which fatties? Primeval Titan and Summoning Trap. Your goal here is to cheat an Emrakul into play as early as turn three using hideaway lands and tokens, with Knight of the Reliquary serving as extra copies of key lands.

Additionally, if your opponent makes the mistake of trying to Remand or Mana Leak your plays early on, they may just get Emrakuled on your second turn. Or maybe you miss and tutor up Mosswort Bridge plus Treetop Village to all but guarantee ten power on your next turn.

It's also worth noting that hideaway lands cast the spells underneath them. Can you say Time Walk?

If your metagame has shifted too much towards Remand decks, this is the kind of thing that can remind those crazy Blue mages that other colors can do unfair things as well.

Another week, another Conspiracy Commander for us to explore. This week we're looking at the deck that Bennie Smith put together to take Selvala, Explorer Returned for a spin. What kind of things does this strange combination of Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary and Kami of the Crescent Moon enable? Let's take a look:

[Cardlist title=Selvala Ramp - Commander | Bennie Smith]

This deck does a couple of really interesting things that I'm excited to try to explore myself. Lots of players look at Selvala and see a ramp spell that lets them tap out for enormous things on their own turn. Bennie Smith looks at it as sees a card that he wants to untap as frequently as possible. The goal here isn't necessarily to do something degenerate early on, but rather to use Selvala to mitigate one of the disadvantages of ramp decks: running out of gas.

While other green-based decks can ramp into Avenger of Zendikar and then lose to a sweeper, Selvala lets you keep the cards flowing so you always have something to do. Sure, other players are getting cards out of the deal as well, but you're the only one who will have the mana to really take advantage of that. Cards like [card}Seedborn Muse[/card] and Umbral Mantle are spectacular for this kind of game, and really let you abuse mana sinks like Nim Deathmantle and "hand-size matters" cards like Multani, Maro-Sorcerer and Storm Seeker.

One of the reasons I like decks like this so much is that they serve as a reminder that casual games don't have to be about just enabling what your deck does. There are fun ways to keep the game moving for all players without playing the Kingmaker in the game. Parley is a mechanic that allows you to generate an advantage for yourself while keeping the game moving towards a conclusion instead of letting it stall out, and is a mechanic I'm excited to see in my Commander games.

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