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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


With the start of the Standard Super League and the results from multiple Grand Prix and Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers to sift through, we've got all kinds of crazy brews and technology just waiting to break out.

Before you choose your deck for Grand Prix Toronto or São Paulo, check out these five decks from across Standard, Modern, and Legacy.

Dragonlord Ojutai was the big card that broke out at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir. The Dragonlords aren't the only exciting cards to come out of the set though. The other big players are the dynamic duo of Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector. From Bant and Green-White shells with Collected Company or Mastery of the Unseen at the Pro Tour to more recent Blue-Green and Abzan builds, there's been quite a bit of exploration into just what these cards can do. But there hasn't yet been anything quite like Brian Kibler's deck from this week's Standard Super League:

This deck follows the same kind of principles as Abzan Aggro. Play the most efficient creatures backed by the most efficient disruption and smash your opponents with the raw power and aggression of those cards. The big difference here is that Kibler has opted to shave the White, which provides access to Fleecemane Lion, Anafenza, and Siege Rhino. In their place, he's added a Elvish Mystics, Den Protectors, and Deathmist Raptors, as well as a pile of bestow creatures.

This change allows you to come out of the gates a little more quickly. Elvish Mystics make it easier to find turns where you can play Temples or Thoughtseizes on tempo, and lets you get out ahead of any Dragons or Rhinos that would try to get in the way. Perhaps the biggest upside to this style of deck is that your mana gets infinitely faster and more consistent, since you can play fewer tap lands with the less strenuous demands on colored mana.

The thing is that you're not even giving up that much of your ability to grind games out. The combination of Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector makes it very difficult for opponents to just sweep your board away and take over the game and gives you the ability to win most board stalls. As games go longer, you can go big with Warden of the First Tree and take to the skies with Herald of Torment. So not only can you just bury your opponent in morphs, you can also just go big and kill them through a stalled board.

This is an exciting variation on a strategy that has proven itself again and again since Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir. Is the improved efficiency and consistency worth the loss in raw card quality? There's only one way to find out.

Mike Flores has done it. He may very well have broken Standard with Crucible of the Spirit Dragon. In a Standard format defined by Esper Dragons and Dragonlord Ojutai, Flores has found a way to break open mirrors in a big way. The best part? It involves all of the Dragons. All of them.

This deck is reminiscent of Mystical Teachings decks from Time Spiral block, which used Dreadship Reef and Calciform Pools to generate an enormous mana advantage for the inevitable flurry counterspells. Except, you know, with Dragons. This deck makes the bold statement that you don't have to care about what happens before turn three. That's realistically when this deck can get its Silumgar's Scorns and Dissolves up to protect itself. From there, your plan is counter a few spells and start jamming Dragons.

The best part? The combination of Crucible of the Spirit Dragon and Haven of the Spirit Dragon allows you to do all kinds of absurd things. Splashing Dragonlord Dromoka and Dragonlord Atarka in your Mono-Blue deck, for example. Alternatively, ramping you into a turn four Dragonlord Ojutai while leaving up countermagic on turn three. You even get to rebuy your most powerful Dragons in control mirrors without giving up land drops early on in the game.

The best part? You have an absurd plan in the Dragon Control mirrors. Crucible of the Spirit Dragon lets you just sit back and charge up until you find a Dragonlord Dromoka. Then you can unload a hand full of dragons and draw spells without fear of your opponent's counterspells. Usually, you'll even be able to leave up countermagic of your own. That inevitability changes absolutely everything about the matchup, and is the reason that Crucible of the Spirit Dragon may just be the best card in Standard this weekend.

Modern is a format with a myriad of very powerful, disparate strategies. That makes playing a drawn out, control game in Modern very difficult if you don't get to play powerful catch-all answers like Abrupt Decay. Unless, of course, you just never let your opponent cast their spells. That's the plan that Collector has opted for, and his list attacks the Modern format from several unique and exciting angles. Let's take a look:

This deck does so many cool and exciting things that I don't even know where to start. At its heart, this is a deck built around Blood Moon and Ensnaring Bridge. From Affinity and Infect to Jeskai Control and Abzan, most decks in Modern are built to utilize the combat step and have greedy manabases. Consequently, these two cards just shut down a huge portion of decks in Modern, especially in conjunction. Their ability to bring a game to a grinding halt is only compounded when you can Simian Spirit Guide them into play on turn two.

Even if all they do is buy you an extra turn or so, that's usually all you're going to need. At that point, you get to start resolving Ghostly and Chalice of the Void, or start ticking up Ajani Vengeant. Bottled Cloister locks your opponent out of their own combat step until they find some kind of Artifact removal. Even flooding the board isn't a great option, since you have access to Ratchet Bomb and other Red removal.

The best part about this deck is that winning is incidental, and many of your win conditions have other applications. Shrine of Burning Rage can sit as an on-board counter to various Splinter Twin combos. Sands of Delirium gives you an enormous edge in matchups that devolve into draw-go. Koth of the Hammer isn't especially likely to send Mountains into the red zone if your opponents can't attack, but it does untap lands to help deploy prison pieces more efficiently and an emblem all but locks out creature decks.

This deck is exciting because it shows that you can try to play a long game in Modern despite the variety of fast, linear combo decks. You just have to make sure they can't actually play Magic. After all, who needs Cryptic Command when you've got Blood Moon?

Modern is not a cheap format. Between fetchlands, shocklands, Tarmogoyfs, and more, the price of decks is quickly approaching a range that many players might find unreasonable. Of course, there are budget options. There's been a handful of takes on Mono-Green aggro that have taken down a few events here and there. Here's a recent take on the archetype built by HugeElfBoy:

Dragons of Tarkir gave this deck a really interesting and exciting card in Avatar off the Resolute. Suddenly, you have another threat besides Leatherback Baloth that can be completely immune to Lightning Bolt. It doesn't take much to get your Avatar to be a dominating presence on the board. All it takes is an Experiment One and a Strangleroot Geist and you've got a monstrously big, trampling threat.

Of course, that's not the only reason this deck is playable in Modern. The other big draw to this deck is the combination of Rancor and Aspect of Hydra, which lets you steal games out from under opponents who try to be tricksy with their instant-speed Snapcaster Mages and removal spells. You also have Vines of the Vastwood as a one-mana counterspell against [card}Splinter Twin[/card] and Infect, backed up by a clock that is very fast.

Effectively what this deck does is force opponents to make decisions to make a deision to play around Vines of the Vastwood or Aspect of Hydra. If they choose wrong, you can easily steal the game from them. If not, you still get a chance to play real Magic and make them beat your clock.

Goblin Welder is one of my favorite Magic cards. One of the first "real" decks I ever played against was a Sundering Titan reanimator deck that used Goblin Welder plus Artifact Lands to end games before they even started. Now that Goblin Welder is only legal in a format with Swords to Plowshares, [card]Abrupt Decay and Lightning Bolt, it's been a long time since that style of deck was a reasonable thing to be doing. Daretti, Scrap Savant may be able to change all of that.

This deck is awesome. You can lock your opponent out of the game by chaining Tangle Wires. You can loop Wurmcoil Engines. You can generate cards off of Squee, Goblin Nabob and Punishing Fire. Is there anything Daretti can't do?

This deck is built around the typical shell of Chalice of the Void plus Trinisphere ramped out by Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors. The difference between this deck and other Chalice Stompy builds is that this deck isn't as reliant on the top of its deck to keep games locked down. You can actually generate cards with Sylvan Library and Daretti to make sure you have the pieces you need. As games go longer? You can loop Contagion Engine against Elves and True-Name Nemesis. You can trump Batterskull with Wurmcoil Engine. You can even Possessed Portal your opponent and the weld it out during your upkeep so you can continue to draw cards freely.

This deck is not explosively powerful in the same way that many other Legacy decks are. You can always play a turn one Chalice of the Void and just win, but in general you get fewer free wins than the tried-and-true top tier strategies. What do you get in exchange? The ability to Goblin Matron for Squee, Goblin Nabob. After all, isn't that what we'd all really like to be doing?

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