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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


It's here. The Khans of Tarkir Prerelease is this weekend, and that can only mean one thing: it's time for new cards, new formats, and new brews. This week we're celebrating by taking a sneak peek at what Khans has to offer for Standard and Modern before really gettinng into things for Release weekend. Let's get excited and find out what this set can do!

Glenn Jones knows a sweet aggro deck when he sees one, and this one seems pretty awesome. Time will tell whether it's good or not, but in the meantime, I'll be looking forward to seeing the spell-slinging Jeskai beats in this new Standard format:

One part Soldier Tribal. One part heroic shenanigans. One part spell-slinging goodness. Is Jeskai Ascendancy the missing piece for this all-in Soldier aggro deck from Pro Tour Magic 2015? This is a hyper aggressive deck that looks to generate a ton of creatures early and top the curve off with Obelisk of Urd or Jeskai Ascendancy to push through the final points of damage.

It's easy to imagine this deck just running over anything that tries to do something cute an stumbles on its three-color mana. There are decks that just can't beat triple one-drop draws, and those aren't even your best draws. You can very easy start with Akroan Crusader, double Launch the Fleet, and top off the curve with Raise the Alarm into Obelisk of Urd to have a billion power in play on your third turn. This deck has some of the most powerful nut draws in the format, and Jeskai Ascendancy makes you just a little more consistent and gives you just enough reach to get things done.

Khans of Tarkir may just change everything in Modern, but not because of gamebreaking Gold cards. The Onslaught fetchlands might shake up Modern more than anything in the last couple of sets because it enables allied colored decks to have stable, Blood Moon- and Tectonic Edge-proof mana. This Esper Control deck built by Guillaume Wafo-Tapa is just a first crack at what may be possible when the new lands become legal:

This deck occupies an interesting space in the Modern metagame because it focuses more on countermagic than on removal. We've seen plenty of takes on Jeskai control that starts with Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix, but this is a new style of deck that can cast spells like Esper Charm instead. Where the old Jeskai decks were more tempo-oriented control decks that tried to close games out quickly with Snapcaster Mage and Celestial Colonnade, this is a more pure control deck with very few win conditions, all the Think Twices, and more counterspells than most other decks in the format.

The good thing about this deck is that you're going to be much better at keeping ahead of discard spells. It's hard to Thoughtseize this deck to death because of the density of card drawing spells. The issue is that you have less hard removal against creature decks like Zoo and Affinity, which makes you much more reliant on your three maindeck sweepers. The real question is whether this makes your matchup against Splinter Twin and Birthing Pod better or worse, and that's difficult to determine without playing out the matchup.

This is exciting because it's only the beginning of the exploration that's now possible with the new mana in Modern. Will bring about a resurgence of Five-Color Zoo? Will small upgrades to their manabases make Birthing Pod variants more dominant than before? There's no telling what the first few weeks of Khans Modern will bring, but I'm excited to find out.

Sam Black started celebrating the Abzan Ascendancy early by taking a look at what this color combination is capable of in Modern. Sam Black is best known for his Cartel Aristocrat-style decks built around Lingering Souls and morbid, graveyard nonsense. This deck is no different, but it takes a different tact by playing a suite of cards that are very powerful against the best deck in the format: Splinter Twin

So it's Soul Sisters, but without the all-in Serra Ascendant plus Ranger of Eos? Sam has replaced the mediocre lifegain and token themes with a more cohesive aggro plan built around Ajani's Pridemate and Cartel Aristocrat. Your plan is to chip away for two and four at a time using your utility creatures and then drain your opponent out with Blood Artist plus a sacrifice outlet or just rebuy your whole team with Return to the Ranks.

I'm a little surprised at the lack of Tidehollow Sculler, but very excited at the prospect of adding Abzan Ascendancy and Windswept Heath to this deck. The important thing about this deck is that you can very easily go toe-to-toe with the combo decks of the format. It's actually difficult to beat this deck with Splinter Twin-style combos because of the density of Soul Warden effects. It's also hard to kill you with Melira combos for the same reason. That resiliency to fast combo wins plus the quick, synergistic clock could make this a real player in the new Modern metagame

Many a Legacy deck has been born by mixing and matching powerful pieces of disparate archetypes to find new powerful combinations of cards. That's exactly what's happened here with ECOBARONEN's new take on Standstill. We've got a little man land-Standstill action, a little True-Name Nemesis, and plenty of disruption to back it up. This is an interesting take on a deck that can battle both the fair and unfair decks of the Legacy format, and I'm excited to see what this can do.

This deck seems very well positioned against the current Legacy metagame because of the breadth of interesting things that it does. Against the fair creature decks, you have Punishing Fire plus Grove of the Burnwillows to keep Stoneforge Mystic[/car], [card]Deathrite Shaman, and Delver of Secrets. You can stick an early Standstill against Jace and combo decks and just start accumulating Mishra's Factorys.

What's really incredible is the sheer density of instants that are in this deck to back your Standstills. If your opponent breaks your standstill for any reason, you're ready to do whatever you need to afterwards. You've got a billion counterspells and removal spells, but also a great suite of disruptive flash creatures that can bring the beatdowns. This seems like a deck with powerful control elements that can turn the corner very quickly utilizing Mishra's Factory and Vendilion Clique.

This deck plays a very unique combination of aggressive elements and cheap interactive engines. You have Standstill to buy you time to hit land drops and find key spells, but also plenty of Punishing Fire tricks to do with all the lands that you hit. I've always loved Standstill decks, and I hope this marks the return of this style of deck to the Legacy metagame.

Next week, we begin looking at Khans Commanders in earnest, but this week we've got one last look at an awesome Magic 2015 Legend. We all knew that Yisan was begging to be broken. Having a Birthing Pod-esque Commander is brutally unfair and has all kinds of busted potential. Tony-the-Tiger has found one of the most unfair shells possible for this effect. This is Elf combo featuring Yisan as the engine.

[Cardlist title= Yisan Elf Combo - Commmander| Tony-The-Tiger]

  • Creatures (0)
  • Spells (0)

This deck is absolutely insane. You can generate obscene amounts of mana early in the game with startling consistency, and once you get the Yisan engine revving the game is all but over. Your first activation of Yisan can get Wirewood Symbiote or Quirion Ranger. That gives you your second activation for Elvish Visionary, Priest of Titania, and Fauna Shaman. Once you get there, you get to go super deep with Elvish Archdruid and other busted threes and fours.

Realistically though, the middle of the Yisan curve doesn't matter too much because you're going to go up the chain so quickly. Before you know it, you'll have left Nylea, God of the Hunt behind in favor of Regal Force and Craterhoof Behemoth. If at some point you find Rings of Brighthearth or Illusionist's Bracers, you get to start getting super aggressive with Elf Lords and midrangey mana sinks like Nylea.

Even if playing degenerate games isn't your thing, I think it's awesome that this style of deck exists. I love seeing complex decks in action and puzzling through the correct sequences. Seeing all the pieces come together is one of my favorite things in Commander, and this deck has assembled all kinds of awesome pieces to do something really interesting and powerful.

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