Detective: L.A. Crimes Expansion
   Sign In
Create Account

Five Decks You Can't Miss This Week


Four formats, five decks. Just when you thought there wouldn't be anything new and exciting until Khans of Tarkir spoiler season, we've got an awesome deck for your consideration regardless of your format preferences. Whether you want a new way to cheat Emrakul into play in Modern, a new take on Goblins in Legacy, or a sweet new Commander deck, we've got you covered.

We've seen a few takes on Green-based devotion, but all the builds have similar issues: consistency and running out of gas. It's really easy to have a hand that's all giant spells and no ramp or vice versa. People have tried to solve this issue by looking at various splashes like Red or Black but, more recently, Dylan_Fay has been exploring Blue as a possibility:

This deck seems like an awesome way to shore up a number of the weaknesses of the Green-based ramp strategies. Kiora, the Crashing Wave gives you an awesome way to bridge early game ramp into powerful late game draws and smooth out any inconsistencies in your opening hand. You also gain access to the super-busted Cyclonic Rift as a curve-topper. What's better than Upheaval? How about a one-sided Upheaval that leaves your unfair mana-engine in tact?

Perhaps two most compelling reasons to pursue this splash are Prime Speaker Zegana and Prophet of Kruphix. Normally this is a deck that leans really heavily on Garruk, Caller of Beasts as a card advantage engine. Replacing him with Zegana gives you a powerful draw spell that is tutorable with Chord of Calling and lets you commit to powerful Planeswalkers instead of trying to keep the creature count high. This, in turn, makes Genesis Hydra much more powerful, since it has more high-power permanents to dump into play instead of just Creatures.

Prophet of Kruphix, on the other hand, lets you really abuse the mana advantage you generate in the midgame. Suddenly you can cast Zegana into Polukranos and then untap on your opponents turn and monstrous Polukranos. You can cast Prophet on turn five and then Zegana on your opponent's turn. Often times with other Green decks, you need one more turn to get enough monsters into play to stabilize the board. Prophet of Kruphix gives you that extra time.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth has been an interesting addition to Standard. Primarily, we've seen it as a one- or two-of in Black-based midrange lists as a way to sometimes make Mutavaults tap for mana. Once in awhile three-color decks will use it as a fixing land. This week, Conley Woods is revisiting one of his brews from Return to Ravnica-Innistrad Standard that gets a significant boost from Urborg. Let's find out if Crypt Ghast has what it takes to break through in this Standard format.

Who needs Green to ramp? This deck is all about playing a traditional control game until you can pair up Crypt Ghast and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to go way over the top. You can very easily chain together removal spells and powerful midrange cards like Pack Rat and Liliana Vess. Then you can tutor for the missing piece of the ramp puzzle and get ready to take over the game.

Once you've assembled your makeshift Mirari's Wake, you can start doing brutally unfair things. You can cast Ashen Rider to stabilize the board. You can cast Sphinx's Revelation for truly obscene amounts. You can turn Silence the Believers into Plague Wind. Extort is a thing too, if you can find the extra mana to spare.

The real issue with this style of deck is finding the right balance between midrangey cards that buy time and powerful spells that pay dividends once your mana engine is in place. Sphinx's Revelation and Silence the Believers are fantastic because they're good whether you have your engine in place or not, and Liliana of the Veil does a fantastic job of bridging those phases of the game. The proble is finding the right number of Ashen Riders versus Hero's Downfalls and Thoughtseizes.

Are you looking for another way to cheat in Emrakul in Modern? This awesome list from a Japanese PTQ may be exactly what you're looking for. Some of the pieces might be exactly what you're expecting, but wait until you see the twist.

One part Faithless Looting and Goryo's Vegeance. One part Through the Breach. But is that a Howltooth Hollow? This deck still has the primary gameplan of cheating a fatty into play on turn two with Goryo's Vengeance. You can even ramp out a Through the Breach at the end of your oppponent's turn - thanks "At end of turn" templating - to baity out counterspells or let you double up on enormous monsters.

Here's the difference between this deck and others with similar strategies. Instead of opting for the all-in plan of Pentad Prism and other cantrips, this deck overloads on hand disruption like Thoughtseize and Liliana of the Veil that helps you empty your hand and your opponent's, clearing the way for your combo. If the way is clear, you can jam one of your many Through the Breach effects to try to close things out with one of your fatties. Otherwise, you can use Howltooth Hollow as an alternative method of cheating in one of your nine monsters.

It's not necessarily as degenerate as the Fury of the Hordebuilds, but it is more interactive and disruptive. That means that you're softer to super aggressive decks like Affinity, but have more game against combo decks like Splinter Twin. Suddenly you're not all about racing, you can rip your opponent's hands to shreds before committing to your combo turn.

There are a lot of cards that are incidentally very good against Goblins that see a ton of play in contemporary legacy. Stoneforge Mystic plus Batterskull don't help. Neither did True-Name Nemesis or Umezawa's Jitte. The printing of Deathrite Shaman and Griselbrand largely signaled the end of Goblin Lackey attacking in Legacy. But what if we shift the focus from grinding games out with Goblin Ringleader and Aether Vial and just try to steal games as quickly as possible?

This is a new take on the Legacy Stompy shell. Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors combining with Simian Spirit Guide and Chrome Mox to cheat game-ending spells into play as early as turn one. How do most Legacy decks feel about turn one Chalice of the Void[/cad] or [card]Blood Moon? Even Magus of the Moon is brutally unfair. These are all cards that are capable of shutting off entire decks as early as the first turn, and are a huge draw to playing this style of deck.

But what about when you don't have access to cards that end the game on the spot? The backup plan is Goblin Rabblemaster and Moggcatcher. These are cards that must be killed on the spot or they threaten to spiral out of control and end the game in short order. Moggcatcher in particular is really interesting as a replacement for the Goblin Matron plus Goblin Ringleader engine. Colorless mana is something that this deck has an abundance of, and the ability to turn that into Siege-Gang Commanders turn after turn is not one to be overlooked.

The gods of Theros Block are really interesting in Commander. The ability to have an indestructible Emblem-esque mana sink or card advantage engine is unbelievably powerful, and the ability to become a creature if you want is just pure upside. Keranos, God of Storms, however, has found roles in Standard, Modern, and even Legacy, but as received much less love in Commander. This week, Bennie Smith decided that he was in the market for a Phyrexian Arena for a Commander, and built his deck around Keranos in a pretty extreme way:

That is an 88 land Keranos deck. The most important question for a deck packed with that many lands: what does it do? Bennie's deck is a take on the "Treasure Hunt for most of my library" plan that we've seen on occasion with Zombie Infestation. Bennie wants to assemble Seismic Assault and Treasure Hunt to throw most of his deck at one of his opponents. Reliquary Tower even lets you blackmail the rest of the table for awhile before you pull the trigger on throwing your hand at someone's face.

The interesting thing about this deck is what the backup plan is. It's pretty hard to find the one Treasure Hunt and Seismic Assault in a 99 card deck, even if Keranos is drawing you a second card every turn. Etherium-Horn Sculptor and Countryside Crusher make sure that you can dig towards your powerful plays. Kozilek and Ulamog are just powerful curve toppers, but the rest of your spells are card advantage engines like Horn of Greed and Scroll Rack to help filter through your deck for your key spells.

The most interesting part of this deck is the Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle plan. You can make up to three copies of Valakut with Thespian's Stage and Vesuva, and this deck has access to an ample amount of Mountains, particularly if you're drawing extra cards every turn. That lets you turn lands like Terrain Generator and Terramorphic Expanse into Searing Winds.

I don't know if this is the next 99-mountain Ashling the Pilgrim, but it's certainly a fun idea that I'm interested in exploring more.

Order Khans of Tarkir boxes, packs, and singles at today!