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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


What's happening in Standard? Is delve still dominating eternal formats? What kind of sweet new decks have cropped up in the last seven days? This week we try to answer all of these questions by taking a look at a few awesome brews featuring new technology from Khans of Tarkir.

The one clan we haven't really seen make a big statement in Standard is Sultai. It turns out that Delve is reasonably difficult to enable in Standard when all you've got is fetchlands. No cantrips, no cheap interaction, no turning Treasure Cruise into Ancestral Recall. Some people have tried using Commune with the Gods. Others are just throwing burn spells at people's faces. HIGHNESS1986 is doing it by getting aggressive with Sidisi.

There's no question that Sultai Midrange has some powerful cards. The question is whether they can keep up with Siege Rhino plus Wingmate Roc or Mantis Rider plus burn. Sidisi is an incredible midrange threat, providing multiple bodies against aggro decks and requiring multiple removal spells against other attrition-y decks. All while stocking your graveyard for blowout turns with Dig Through Time and Murderous Cut.

The draw to this style of deck is the enormous, resilient threats you gain access to. Reaper of the Wilds can attack freely through Siege Rhino. Prognostic Sphinx is immune to basically all removal. Sidisi is vulnerable to most kinds of removal, but will generally leave a body behind and can easily run away with a game.

We've seen both Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time making splashes in Vintage and Legacy. Until recently, we've only seen these cards fitting into already existing decks in Modern. Dig Through Time in combo decks like Scapeshift and Splinter Twin. Treasure Cruise in aggressive decks or Jeskai Ascendancy. Jacob Wilson thinks that there's more to be done with these cards in Modern, and that Dig Through Time may be the tool that control decks were missing:

This deck seems like an awesome place to start. Thought Scour plus Snapcaster Mage stock your graveyard for Dig Through Time and help you find powerful singleton effects. Your giant pile of fetches and Tectonic Edges help stock your graveyard for delve shenanigans. Cheap countermagic and interaction helps you find time to find and resolve a Vedalken Shackles.

How do most Modern decks beat Vedalken Shackles? They kind of don't. Most decks are built around some kind of creature interactions. Birthing Pod, Restoration Angel, Snapcaster Mage. Even Celestial Colonnade can be turned off by a resolved Vedalken Shackles. Normally the problem is that you don't have enough Islands, but this deck won't have any problems with that.

This deck is very reminiscent of the Mono-Blue Faeries decks that used to be good in Modern, before the format evolved into Birthing Pod and Jund. The difference is that you get to play all the good cards instead of being beholden to Spellstutter Sprite and Mistbind Clique. Is Dig Through Time plus Cryptic Command enough to make Control a thing in Modern? I'm certainly interested in finding out.

Blue-Red Delver. It's a deck that's been floating around on the fringe of Modern and Legacy. Some builds with Young Pyromancer, some with Spellstutter Sprite. The problem with these decks is that they didn't have the raw velocity of cards to keep up with the powerful attrition decks of the format. You don't have Ponder and Brainstorm like the Legacy Delver decks. Now these decks have Treasure Cruise, and that changes everything.

Luis Scott-Vargas has been playing around with this shell for the last few weeks, and the deck has exploded in popularity on Magic Online. Treasure Cruise does everything this deck needs. You get to keep up on raw cards while digging towards the last Remand or Lightning Bolt you need to end the game. This was the missing piece that prevented Modern Delver from playing like it's Legacy counterpart.

Now you can get out ahead of your opponent with a Pyromancer or a Delver, use your interactive spells to stay ahead, and Treasure Cruise to make sure you can win games that go longer. It's also important to note that, outside of combo shells, this is the deck that stocks its graveyard the fastest. You have the most fetches, cantrips, and cheap interaction of any deck in the format, which means it's completely reasonable to be casting Ancestral Recall on turn three. How many Modern decks can realistically keep up with that?

Treasure Cruise has completely shifted the Modern metagame away from Thoughtseize and Tarmogoyf decks. And that may be just the beginning of the impact this card has on Modern.

With the rise in Treasure Cruise in Legacy, we've seen an increase in Delver of Secrets and Deathrite Shaman decks. Decks that are generally not very good against Lingering Souls. DOUBLEBULL is taking full advantage of that with this awesome budget deck featuring the full set of Lingering Souls and all the tokens you can handle.

The combination of Lingering Souls and Squadron Hawk make sure that you have enough cards and chump blockers to keep up with the fair decks of the format. Brainstorm plus Squadron Hawk is an engine that is tough for most decks to keep up with. When you start making a giant pile of tokens backed by Daze and Judge's Familiar, it's not too tough to race a Tarmogoyf or a Delver of Secrets.

As long as you can drag the game out of the early stages, Pride of the Clouds and Island Sanctuary help you control the midgame. Island Sanctuary lets you keep crashing in with your fliers while holding at bay all of the Tarmogoyfs and Snapcaster Mages your opponents care to throw your way. Pride of the Clouds is an enormous threat and a recurring source of guys to keep your opponents under pressure.

This is absolutely a budget take on the format, but that doesn't mean the ideas aren't sound. Lingering Souls plus counterspells seems like a great place to be in a format that's shifting towards Treasure Cruise.

Meet the newest Commander with degenerate combo potential: Narset, Enlightened Master. It turns out Blue and Red are pretty good at extra turns and extra combat steps. Once you've attacked with Narset a few times in a row, it becomes pretty easy to close a game out. Let's take a look at this prototypical build designed by Antis to see just how powerful and flexible Narset can be:

The goal of this deck is to get as many Narset triggers as possible to bury your opponent in cards and tempo. Extra turns and combat steps are the name of the game. Antis has chosen to avoid Time Warp effects and focus exclusively on heading to combat as many times as possible. Just imagine some of the Narset chains that are possible - like flipping Eldrazi Conscription plus Waves of Aggression or anything involving Mind's Desire.

Ring of Valkas and other haste enablers help you sneak in hits with Narset when your opponents aren't expecting it. They're great to hit off of your Narset cascades because they help set up your next attack if your opponents have removal. Or you could just hit an Armageddon or Dimensional Breach to ensure that you're going to get additional attacks out of Narset. Even just hitting a pile of mana rocks is hard to argue with. Free mana is always a good thing, so it says something that you're going to be sad to hit Boros Signet.

The real question mark about this deck is what the lands that Antis is playing are. I imagine that Temples and New Benalia make the cut as ways to control the top of your deck. Hall of the Bandit Lord and Cavern of Souls both seem quite powerful when all you're trying to do is resolve Narset. Tolaria West is a reasonable place to go if you're trying to set up these powerful lands. Beyond that, I'm thinking whatever color-fixing lands you've got on hand should do a great job of filling in any gaps in the manabase.

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