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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


Standard continues to be all about Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor as we head into the Magic Online Championship. That event will show us the best that Standard, Modern, and Vintage have to offer in the wake of Dragons of Tarkir, but in the meantime, we've got plenty of sweet decks from another week of Grand Prix and Daily Events. This week we'll be taking a look at a number of awesome Collected Company brews that push raw power instead of combotastic interactions. We'll also see an exciting new Swans of Bryn Argoll deck in Modern and a fresh take on Infect in Legacy. I can't wait to get started.

The big story in Standard over the last few weeks has been the rise of Den Protector plus Deathmist Raptor as a premier attrition shell in Standard. We've seen plenty of midrangey takes on this strategy, ranging across all manner of color combinations: Green-Black, Sultai, Bant, and even Abzan. For the Standard Super League this week, Brian Kibler wondered if all those extra colors were worth it, or if they were just getting in the way of getting his opponents dead.

Forget all the cute tricks and extra colors and just run your opponent with raw efficiency. This is a deck that just plays the most efficient Green creatures at every point along the curve. All you're looking to do is flood the board to apply pressure. Your devotion engine makes Reverent Hunter a card that absolutely dominates the board and teams up with your megamorph creatures to make Avatar of the Resolute a game-ending threat. Similarly, you get to play Aspect of Hydra as a card that can steal unwinnable games in conjunction with Den Protector, especially in multiples.

The strength of this deck lies in its ability to leverage Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor to grind out longer games when your initial aggression doesn't get the job done. These cards team up with Surrak, the Hunt Caller to provide consistent, hasty pressure that can grind through as much removal as your opponent brings to the table.

This is a deck that eschews the cheap interactive cards like Thoughtseize and the over-the-top threats like Dragonlord Ojutai in favor of raw efficiency and threat density. No durdling. No removal. Just a lean mana curve, powerful threats, and pump spells to sneak in kills.

Another week, another crazy Collected Company brew, this time from Yohan Dudognon at Grand Prix Paris. We've seen many color combinations across multiple formats, but Yohan is the first to go the full four colors. Forget having to choose between Savage Knuckleblade and Fleecemane Lion. Yohan is playing all of these, and even gets to throw Mantis Rider into the mix for a deck that tries to overwhelm opponents with the power of its individual cards.

This deck is a veritable who's who of the most powerful three-drops in Standard. Goblin Rabblemaster, Mantis Rider, and Savage Knuckleblade. None of these are cards I really want to see my opponents casting, and I'm even less interested in seeing them come down at instant-speed thanks to Collected Company. Even the two-drops are very high-quality, ranging from Fleecemane Lion against control and Seeker of the Way against aggro to Rattleclaw Mystic to hold the manabase together.

Moving on the the spells, there are still a ton of really interesting things that this deck can do better than many others. The biggest thing to notice is the density of powerful instants in this deck. Dromoka's Command and Valorous Stance are no surprise, especially in such an aggressive deck with powerful, stand alone threats. However, Ojutai's Command may be a bit surprising until we recognize that it allows you to keep your opponents guessing when you leave up four mana. Are you representing Stoke the Flames? Collected Company? Or is it an Ojutai's Command? These cards all require your opponents to pick different lines, and the ability to represent all of them is a powerful tool you can leverage in interactive matchups.

Over the last few weeks we've seen a dearth of awesome Collected Company-fueled combo decks in Modern. These build have generally focused on setting up persist combos with or without Congregation at Dawn or flooding the board with Elves to fuel monstrous Chord of Callings. But who's to say that Collected Company can't just be a powerful way to flood the board in an aggressive shell? That's exactly what MyDoorIsAjar has tried to do with this Collected Company Zoo deck:

One of the big problems with Zoo in the current Modern format is that is has a hard time keeping with Snapcaster Mage plus Lightning Bolt. That combination of cards almost requires you to go a little bit bigger than Wild Nacatl, focusing on Loxodon Smiter and Knight of the Reliquary instead of Kird Ape and Loam Lion.

Notice though, that these powerful cards have something in common. They can all be found off of Collected Company. Not only that, but Collected Company gives you a way to react to the likes of Supreme Verdict, gives your creatures pseudo-haste, and even helps find creatures like Scavenging Ooze and Qasali Pridemage in matchups where those bullets are critically important. Even better, setting up an end-of-turn Knight of the Reliquary gives you the ability to start tutoring for disruptive or proactive lands, like Gavony Township, Kessig Wolf Run, or Tectonic Edge.

This deck packs a ton of powerful creatures backed by efficient interaction, and Collected Company may just give it the flexibility it needs to keep up with the powerful Blue cards like Snapcaster Mage and Cryptic Command.

I've always thought that Swans of Bryn Argoll was one of the most interesting cards in Magic. There are so many cute things that you can do with the card, from pointing your own Lightning Bolts at it all the way up to comboing out with Seismic Assault or Chain of Plasma. It's been awhile since we've seen Swans rear its head in Modern, but recently RaptureReady has been putting up good results with this beauty:

The shell of this deck should look reasonably familiar. Serum Visions, Lightning Bolt, Remand, backed by Snapcaster Mage is the backbone of many Blue-Red-based decks in Modern because it provides you powerful interaction and selection all the way up your curve. The difference here is that RaptureReady's deck chooses to play Swans of Bryn Argoll, Skred, and Stubborn Denial instead of splashing for cards like Path to Exile or comboing out with Splinter Twin.

This combination of cards gives you an efficient way to interact with opponents, a fast clock to close out games, and an incredible draw engine wherein you can use Lightning Bolts as Ancestral Recall, while Skred and Harvest Pyre let you go even bigger. This means that you are capable of burying your opponent in cards with just one turn. Subsequently, you never have to allow them to resolve another spell.

The other exciting thing about this deck is the inclusion of Soulfire Grand Master as a way to gain life against the many burn variants in Modern, as well as grinding out card advantage in more midrangey matchups by rebuying Remands, Lightning Bolts, and Cryptic Commands. This deck does a lot of cools things backed by powerful interaction and card advantage engines, which is an awesome place to be.

At this point, we're used to Infect in Legacy. People have been killed by enough Invigorates backed by Force of Will out of the Tom Ross style of Infect that we know what to expect. But what about the more aggressive players among us who don't want to sculpt games with Brainstorm and Dig Through Time? What if we just want to try to kill our opponents on turn two every game? Adelorenzi has taken Infect to the aggressive extreme by trimming all the Blue cards in favor of more free spells and Berserks to maximize the potential for early kills. Let's take a look:

This deck maximizes the number of +4/+4 pump spells by adding Groundswell and adds copies of Mutagenic Growth and Bounty of the Hunt as additional free spells. This makes it really easy to start the game with Inkmoth Nexus or Glistener Elf and count up nine points of pump on the next turn between Invigorate and other free effects. Forget leaving up Spell Pierce or grinding out games with Noble Hierarch. Show me Swords to Plowshares right now or you're dead.

Of course, that doesn't mean that Adelorenzi has completely given up the late game. You do have access to Sylvan Library to help refuel if your opponent fights through your first lethal attack. You also have the ability to use Crop Rotation to grind out damage over the course of multiple turns by setting up Cathedral of War or Pendelhaven, all while providing redundancy copies of Inkmoth Nexus if you're short on creatures.

This is a relatively budget take on a powerful archetype that kicks the aggression up a few notches. This style of deck is more than capable of just overwhelming the disruption of common Legacy decks by forcing them to be able to interact early and often or just be dead to your many pump spells. If you're looking for a place to start learning the mechanics of Infect without fully investing in Tropical Islands and Force of Wills, this may be a great place to start.

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