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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


What do your favorite formats look like in the wake of Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir? What other formats are Dig Through Time and Treasure Cruise taking over? This week we've got five decks from across Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Commander featuring all kinds of Khans goodness from Delve to Dragons. These are five decks you won't want to miss.

If you caught the early rounds of Standard on camera at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir, you might have noticed one Raphael Levy piloting an interesting take on creatureless midrange. It turns out that when you pair the best Planeswalkers with the best removal, you've got a pretty sound gameplan against the creature decks in the format. This is Raphael Levy and Team Revolution's Mardu Planeswalkers:

The gameplan here is the same as for most other Planeswalker-oriented decks: use your removal to keep the board clear early and take over with Planeswalkers that generate incremental advantage. All of the Planeswalkers in this list have the ability to protect themselves or their friends, so it's easy to begin assembling a team of superfriends that becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with.

What's most interesting is the cross-section of tools this deck has access to against the field. Crackling Doom[/cad] is a unique effect against the [card]Sylvan Caryatids of the Umbrella Revolution combo deck. You have hand disruption plus powerful Planeswalkers against control decks. You have End Hostilities plus Anger of the Gods against aggro.

To me, it's not really a question of whether or not this deck has the right tools to compete, it's choosing the right combination for a given week. The downside is that you could choose to play End Hostilities on a week where you really needed Anger of the Gods. The upside is that you get to overwhelm your opponent with awesome Planeswalkers. Not much of a contest if you ask me.

Last week, the only control decks we saw were counterspell-based Blue-Black decks packed with removal and card drawing. These decks were predicated on the idea that trading one for one is great when your top end is Dig Through Time. The weekend's results showed us that the threats in this format might just be too good for a passive deck like that. What if, instead, we took a more proactive approach to control, like CountryTimeCrusher's Sultai control deck:

This looks like an exciting place to be in the new Standard. Much like the Mardu Planeswalkers deck, you've got powerful removal and threats. Your Planeswalkers give you a proactive gameplan when necessary. Unlike the Mardu deck, you have reliable lifegain in the form of Courser of Kruphix and a real late-game plan in Dig Through Time. Unfortunately, havinga permanent-based win condition means you have to opt for Aetherspouts instead of Perilous Vault, but I think that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

The thing that I like most about this deck is Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. Ashiok seems particularly well positioned in this format when she's backed up by Coursers and removal. A fair share of the metagame is focusing on cheap, powerful creatures that Ashiok is more than willing to start stealing on turn four. Another portion of the metagame is playing do-nothing control decks that will have trouble beating Ashiok going long, especially if you hit one of their few win conditions.

Even Kiora and Nissa play very nicely into your plan of chaining removal spells together. In a world full of Wingmate Roc and other value creatures, the ability to create bodies for blockers or Time Walk one of your opponent's flying threats is super powerful, and gives you a real chance to keep up with the powerful haymakers of the other midrange decks.

Start listing the cards from Khans you thought would make an impact in Modern. Fetchlands, Treasure Cruise, Jeskai Ascendancy. Maybe Rattleclaw Mystic, Sarkhan, or Anafenza. How many people do you think had Narset, Enlightened Master on their list? That's exactly where Travis Woo has gone with his latest combotastic Modern brew. This is Narset Combo:

The gameplan here is pretty similar to other Goryo's Vengeance decks we've seen featuring Griselbrand and Emrakul, but with one big difference: Narset has hexproof. That means no Path to Exiles or other removal spells ruining your day. It means that, once you attack with Narset, you're almost always going to kill your opponent. How? Here's the rundown:

You can start by taking a few extra combat steps with Relentless Assault, Waves of Aggression, and Fury of the Horde. Each of these gives you extra chances to just kill your opponent with your extra combat steps. Or you could hit big with Enter the Infinite to stack your Omniscience on top of your deck. From there you can use Research or Enter the Infinite to make sure you have enough burn or combat steps to end the game. Or just cast Emrakul. That works too.

But what about consistency? That was always the biggest issue with these Goryo's Vengeance decks, after all. Travis has tried to fix this by adding a sweet combination of cards: Serum Powder, Pull from Eternity, and Spoils of the Vault. Extra mulligans are awesome for combo decks. Spoils of the Vault is a pretty exciting Demonic Consultation if you're winning on turn two, and Pull from Eternity gives you a chance to rebuy any cards that you've exiled to either of these effects. It's hard to say if this is enough to overpower the Serum Visions combo decks, but it's certainly exciting to think about.

Is this going to be the newest combo craze to hit Modern? It seems unlikely given that Jeskai Ascendancy is a thing, but this deck is just as capable of turn two kills, but with the added bonus of turn one kills off of Simian Spirit Guide and Gemstone Caverns. It might not be as resilient, but who doesn't love a turn one kill?

We've seen Jeskai Ascendancy making the rounds in Stanard and Modern, and starte to see cries for banning in either format. But what about Magic's more degenerate eternal formats? Free spells and more efficient cantrips are what make the deck more degenerate in Modern. Surely we can get even more busted in a format like Legacy? There's been quite a bit of discussion about this new take on combo on The Source, and this looks like the direciton most people are headed in:

There are so many awesome things going on here that I don't know where to start. The addition of Lotus Petal and Land Grant as additional free spells is incredible for the deck's ability to combo on turn two by curving mana guy into Ascendancy into free spell. Lotus Petal even gives you the ability to throw in an Enlightened Tutor to find your Ascendancy if you need to, which adds a ton of consistency and speed since you don't have to mess around with Glittering Wish.

But that's not where the awesome innovations end. Part of the problem is getting enough mana to cast your more expensive spells and finding enough hasty creatures to get through blockers on your combo turn. Apple713 has solved this problem with two really interesting choices: Fatestitcher and Postmortem Lunge. Both of these play off of you looting them into your graveyard with Ascendancy triggers. Then you get to cheat in cheap, hasty mana creatures to continue your combo and make sure you have enough guys to force through the damage you need.

The last exciting addition is Sensei's Divining Top, which makes your life much easier once you've entered the combo phase. In Modern, you have to worry about decking yourself with all your looting and cantrips. It is very reasonable to cantrip through your entire deck before you've found enough mana or power to kill your opponent. Here, you just need to cantrip until you find two Sensei's Divining Tops, and then you can just loop through those until you've made your guys enormous. You use the first Top to draw a random card, then you use the second Top to redraw the first. You can loot through your entire deck until you find missing pieces this way, but never have to worry about decking yourself as you generate infinite mana, storm, and power with Jeskai Ascendancy.

Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary may be banned, but he's not the only Legendary Creature up for some ramp shenanigans. There was a little excitement surrounding Selvala, Explorer Returned when she was originally previewed in Conspiarcy. A mana engine that also makes sure you have something to do with the extra mana and the time to utilize it? It seems like that should be good. Instea, we just never saw anything especially exciting materialize around her. But maybe DTrain can start changing that:

[Cardlist title= Selvala Ramp - Commander | DTrain]

  • Commander (0)

It's hard to argue with a deck packed full of mana accelerants and the most powerful top-end creatures in Magic's history. This deck is a few cards over the 99 card limit, but it's got some really exciting themes working for it and plenty of room for customization. What I like most about this deck is that it's packed full of one-drop accelerants to make sure you can hit a turn two Selvala. From there, you just start jamming awesome threats until your opponent dies. Seems good, right? What I really like about this deck is that DTrain has found a way to break the symmetry of Selvala's parley effect by making sure he has access to more than enough cards.

When you're casting threats like Soul of the Harvest and Avenger of Zendikar, you don't have to care very much that you're giving your opponents a couple of extra cards. As long as you don't overextend into sweepers, you'll always have enough gas. On top of that, you can go even bigger with effects like Thousand-Year Elixir and Magewright Stone to help you double up on Selvala's effect.

It's possible that this style of deck might want something like Uba Mask to make sure that your opponents don't get to use the extra cards you're sending their way, but jamming awesome threats seems like a much better way to spend your time.

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