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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


The holiday season is upon us, but the real excitement is still to come. Spoiler season starts in just a few weeks, which means we've only got a few more weekends before all constructed formats get shaken up in a big way. But before we get to the excitement of spoilers, we've got just a little more time to figure out Khans of Tarkir. Khans has had a enormous effect on every format from Standard to Vintage with powerful Delve cards and the reprinting of Onslaught fetchlands. This week we've got five decks showing off some of the awesome things that Khans can do for you at your next Magic event.

At Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir, Todd Anderson sleeved up Heliod's Pilgrim and Ensoul Artifact, but failed to break the format with his 5/5 Ornithopters. Perhaps adding another color will make the difference? There's only one way to find out:

This deck feels very similar to the Blue-White Heroic decks that we've seen floating around in Standard. You have the same kind of aggressive starts, the same general plan, and the same kind of protection spells. The difference is that this deck gives up the consistency of Battlewise Hoplite and Ordeal of Thassa for the raw power of Ensoul Artifact and Shrapnel Blast.

This deck can come out of the gates very quickly. Ghostfire Blade plus Ornithopter and Phyrexian Revoker can apply a lot of pressure very quickly while shutting down some of the Planeswalkers that have come to define this constructed format. Similarly, you can team up Ensoul Artifact with Springleaf Drum and Darksteel Citadel to bring the beats as early as turn two. If you can back that up with a Stubborn Denial for their first removal spell, it seems hard to imagine most decks beating you before you can close the game out with Jeskai Charm and Shrapnel Blast.

Recently, Standard has been all about Whip of Erebos. Is the best Whip deck Blue for Sidisi or White for Siege Rhino? Does it play Commune with the Gods or removal spells? How many copies of Hornet Queen and Doomwake Giant? Isomorphic has sidestepped all of these questions with an awesome, aggressive take on the Whip deck that I'd love to see in action:

All the enablers. All the best four-drops. None of the clunky payoff cards. Instead of going big with Hornet Queen and company, isomorphic is going big in combat with Strength from the Fallen. Sure, you could be Whipping a Doomwake Giant back into play on turn five or six to start grinding your opponent down. Alternatively, you could cast Strength from the Fallen and a Courser of Kruphix and attack for thirty with your Siege Rhino.

What I like about this deck is that it ties all of the pieces together. Commune with the Gods isn't just a setup card that sometimes finds Whip of Erebos or Siege Rhino. Satyr Wayfinder isn't just manafixing and a speedbump until you find Whip. Now you've got a full six Enchantments that care about your graveyard, four of which are very, very cheap and play nicely with your Coursers and Herald of Torment. I love that this is a Whip deck that has a powerful, proactive way to go over the top, break a stalemate, and end the game on the spot.

In recent weeks, Modern has been nothing but Young Pyromancer and Jeskai Ascendancy. It's all delve all the time, and a delicate fight between the combo decks and disruption decks to see who can put all the pieces together first. Delve may be the new, exciting thing in Modern, but it didn't sway Frank Karsten from his faithful robots. This is the fresh take on Affinity that Frank took to Grand Prix Milan.

Affinity is an interesting deck because you have a precarious balance between the enablers like Memnite and Springleaf Drum and the payoff cards like Steel Overseer and Cranial Plating. It gets especially rough when you also have to make space for disruption to keep up with the combo decks of the format.

Frank Karsten has always been an awesome deckbuilder, and this does not disappoint. With Abrupt Decay decks on the downswing, Etched Champion is less important than before. Master of Etherium makes you a little stronger against things like Forked Bolt and Electrolyze, which are more common than Path to Exile. Even better, Chalice of the Void helps shut down the cantrip-fueled combo decks while you continue to apply pressure with your squad of artifact beaters.

Ever since the printing of Thespian's Stage, we've seen a couple of takes on the Dark Depths combo in Legacy. Most of these decks focus on putting the combo into play as quickly as possible using Into the North and Living Wish as pseudo Demonic Tutors. JimmyTheK has a more controlling take. Perhaps all the Young Pyromancer decks mean that this is the time for Pernicious Deed to make a comeback.

Who needs to combo quickly? If you can rip your opponents hand to shreds, you can combo at your leisure, particularly when the Blue-Red Delver decks have no real answers with a Marit Lage. You can bide your time with Hymns and Deeds to grind away your opponent's ability to interact with your combo. The card that's especially exciting is Chains of Mephistopheles. Suddenly Brainstorm, Ponder, Jeskai Ascendancy are way worse, actually losing cards rather than staying neutral.

When everyone is trying to play cantrip fueled aggressive decks, playing an attrition-y combo deck that doesn't care about countermagic and plays Chains of Mephistopheles seems like a great place to be. Plus, you get the added bonus of watching your opponents' looks of horror they puzzle through what Chains of Mephistopheles actually does.

Ever since she was first spoiled, I've been excited to find out what Titania, Protector of Argoth can do. This week Bibbo is giving us a closer look at what a Mono-Green take on Titania might look like, featuring all kinds of lands that sacrifice themselves and cute ways to abuse the free token generation. Titania is a very powerful effect, and it's only a matter of time before we find something degenerate to do with her!

I love that this deck takes advantage of Titania in all kinds of small, subtle ways. Things like Sunstone are awesome rattlesnake effects in this style of deck, threatening to blank combat steps and hit back harder than before. You also get to use things like Prey Upon as actual removal in this style of deck, which is always exciting in a color that has traditionally struggled to kill creatures.

My favorite thing is that Bibbo has combined ramp effects like Explosive Vegetation with lands like Scorched Ruin and potentially Lotus Vale as a way to generate a ton of creatures at once without really setting yourself behind on mana. Titania even gets to rebuy fetchlands or value lands like Mouth of Ronom to generate card advantage as well as board presence.

The one thing that I feel like is missing is a strong card drawing engine to keep the cards and creatures flowing. There's lots of options in this color combination, particularly when you're making 5/3's for free. Kavu Lair, Momentous Fall, and Garruk's Packleader are just a few options.

Fundamentally, this shows that Titania has a lot of unexplored potential and there's a lot of room for awesome interactions. I can't wait to see what people do with her in the coming months, and Bibbo's deck is a great place to start.

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