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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


Over the last few weeks, we've seen a subtle shift away from Dragons and towards the combination of Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor, particularly in conjunction with cheap interactive spells. We've also seen more people beginning to explore the possibilities that Collected Company represents in both Standard and Modern, as well as what the upper limit on the number of Ugin, the Spirit Dragons one can play. This week, we've got five decks that try to answer these questions and more. Let's take a look.

In this Standard format, we've seen plenty of takes on Graveyard shenanigans. Whether it's setting up Whip of Erebos, Dig Through Time, Soul Flayer or something else altogether, we must have seen it all by now, right? Wrong. Lukasz Wlodarczyk showed the world what the graveyard could really do at the RPTQ in Prague.

This deck starts with the same shell as most Graveyard-themed decks. Satyr Wayfinder and Commune with the Gods. Lukasz goes a step further with a few extra Nyx Weavers to throw in the mix. That's where the similarities end. Instead of trying to set up a Whip of Erebos for Hornet Queen or Doomwake Giant, Lukasz is trying to set up a monstrous Rally the Ancestors.

This deck can play a solid midrange game with removal spells, Siege Rhinos, and even the synergistic Den Protector plus Deathmist Raptor engine. But your end game is to set up a lethal Rally the Ancestors. How? Once you've stocked your graveyard with enough Siege Rhinos and Grey Merchant of Asphodels, it's possible to cast Rally the Ancestors for 5 and just kill your opponent. If you can't quite get enough devotion, that's what Mogis's Marauder is for, so you can smash in with an insane amount of hasty, intimidating damage.

The thing that I like most about this deck is that most of the cards are just reasonable. In fact, you can board into a completely reasonable Abzan Den Protector deck in match-ups where that set up is preferable. But in midrange match-ups, you can play the grindy game where you trade creatures and removal spells, but also just go over the top and combo kill them.

That's not the only new and exciting combo deck in Standard. This was the second week of the Standard Super League, and Josh Utter-Leyton did not mess around. Check out his aggressive take on Den Protector plus Deathmist Raptor with a combotastic finish.

The gameplan here is to use Elvish Mystic to get out ahead of your opponent and start grinding them down with Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector. Once they start burning their removal spells, you can combo them out with Temur Battle Rage in a few different ways, depending on what kind of removal your opponent has brought to the table.

If they're playing targeted removal like Hero's Downfall, you want to go big with Conifer Strider. Once you've stocked your graveyard with Satyr Wayfinder, you can use Become Immense plus Temur Battle Rage to one-shot your opponent. Otherwise, if the board is cluttered, you can pump up your Den Protector so you can get in unimpeded and Temur Battle Rage them to death.

This style of deck is a glass cannon, and seems like a scary choice in a world where plenty of players are packing Drown in Sorrow and Foul-Tongue Invocation. However, you can just grind out the removal plan with your Den Protectors, and it's certainly possible to just steal games because your opponents don't know what you're up to. The potential is certainly here, even if it's a little fragile.

Collected Company is a card that was really hyped up when Dragons of Tarkir was released, but there hasn't been a lot of substance to the excitement. At least not yet. Ionez is looking to change all that with his new, exciting take on Collected Company in Modern. We know that it can be used to set up a persist combo with Melira, Sylvok Outcast, but what if we try to set up Elves instead?

Elves has been on the fringe on Modern playability for a long time now. Many of the tools of the old Extended and Legacy builds are still present in Modern. You stil have access to the Heritage Druid plus Nettle Sentinel engine, the density of one-mana Elf accelerants. The problem is that Glimpse of Nature and Green Sun's Zenith aren't legal. Fortunately, Ionez has found that Collected Company does a fair impression of both of those cards.

Collected Company does a lot of powerful things for this deck. It's a big payoff spell that you can ramp into to so you can dig through your deck for Heritage Druids and Nettle Sentinels. You can surprise your opponent by finding lethal Ezuris or Elvish Archdruids. You can randomly find powerful hate cards like Spellskite and Reclamation Sage. It even helps you set up Chord of Calling more easily, since you have consistent access to the Heritage Druid engine. It's even a safe follow-up to a sweeper so you can continue setting up and force your opponents to have multiple answers to your swarm of Elves.

Once Chord of Calling is a reasonable engine card, this deck becomes very much like Birthing Pod, with the ability to apply pressure with a swarm of Elves and Lords that is also capable of tutoring up powerful singletons that shut down opposing decks. I don't know if this is the twist that Elves needed to become more competitive in Modern, but I certainly hope it is.

Faeries was an absolute terror in old Extended and Standard formats, and there were builds that did well in Modern when it was in a more primordial state. Even the unbanning of Bitterblossom hasn't done much to revitalize this classic archetype. That hasn't stopped DeathTongue from bringing the Fae to battle, and he has brought some innovations to the table that may be exactly the change that Faeries needs to reclaim its place in the Modern metagame.

The big change to this deck is the inclusion of Aether Vial, which opens up a lot of options which were previously unavailable. The problem with Faeries in Modern has been that the interactive elements are so efficient that it's difficult to play draw-go. Aether Vial gives you back the ability to tempo your opponent out by holding up counterspells plus the ability to Vial in creatures. If they don't play a spell? Now you can double-up on creatures and bring the beat downs!

This also allows you to be much more aggressive, since you don't have to invest mana into applying pressure to your opponent. This means that Scion of Oona is a much more reasonable inclusion, particularly when you notice that Phantasmal Image is a four-of in this deck. Phantasmal Image plus Aether Vial may be exactly what Faeries needs to compete in Modern. Phantasmal Image does everything. With Aether Vial, it functions as additional copies of Spellstutter Sprite, which is arguably your best card. You can also Vial in Phantasmal Image to protect your Scion of Oona from removal and simultaneously remove Phantasmal Image's drawback. You can even copy Mistbind Clique to keep your opponent locked down while you get your last attack in.

The sheer flexibility and mana advantage provided by the combination of Phantasmal Image and Aether Vial gives Faeries many of the same advantages as the Merfolk decks that have cropped up from time to time. The difference is that this deck is a little slower and more interactive. Your draws are less explosive, but your games have more play to them and your opponents have to play around many more cards. Is the exchange of power for flexibility worth it? There's only one way to find out.

Our last deck for this week is an exciting Legacy deck that occasionally puts up a great finish. Metalworker decks featuring all kinds of monstrously big colorless bombs backed by cheap disruption like Chalice of the Void are built to prey on the interactive Blue decks that are trying to exchange resources. These decks don't need all of their cards. They only need one or two spells to resolve to take over a game. Consequently, many aggressive Blue decks choose to flood the board instead of sitting back on disruptive spells. Fortunately, Kevin999 found a new friend to trump that plan.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon makes a Legacy debut - as a four-of even! These decks have been known to play copies of Karn Liberated and even Spine of Ish Sah, but Ugin seems like a pretty strict upgrade. Unlike Oblivion Stone, Ugin gives you the ability to keep the board clear of aggressive creatures while keeping a giant threat in play. You can easily sweep away giant threats like Knight of the Reliquary, or swarms of small threats like Elves or Goblins. Ugin functions as a giant haymaker against control decks that is also an answer to the more aggressive decks in the format, which is exactly the kind of threat this deck is looking for.

The best part? It's not difficult to cast Ugin as early as turn four. Imagine curving out with Ancient Tomb into Chalice of the Void, followed by Cavern of Souls and Metalworker. Suddenly, you have access to billions of mana on your fourth turn, are protected from both Lightning Bolt and Swords to Plowshares, and have the ability to cast an uncounterable Kuldotha Forgemaster to threaten Blightsteel Colossus.

This is a deck that is packed with some of the most powerful and soul-crushing Magic cards ever printed. These are the kinds of cards that make your opponent slump in their seat, and that are an absolute blast to cast ahead of schedule. This deck is inconsistent, certainly, but it is very explosive and threat-dense, and is more than capable of taking down opponents who are unprepared.

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