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5 Decks You Can’t Miss This Week

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Grand Prix Charlotte is in the books, Magic Origins is on the horizon, and we've got all kinds of exciting new technology to take a look at. We'll start in Standard with a singleton take on Yisan, Wanderer Bard and an aggressive dash deck. Then we'll head into Modern where we have a Lantern of Insight prison deck as well as a Jeskai take on land destruction. Finally, We'll find out what Training Grounds can do in Legacy. These are five decks you just can't miss.


Birthing Pod is a card that was powerful and flexible enough to be banned in Modern. Magic 2015 brought with it Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, a card that was initially hyped as a Standard analogue to the format-defining Artifact. Unfortunately, that excitement never really panned out. Owen Turtenwald tried to change that in this week's Standard Super League with an exciting take on the Wanderer Bard:

This is a sweet deck to shake up your Standard experience as we head in to Magic Origins preview season. Outisde of lands, Elvish Mystic, and Yisan himself, every card in this deck is a singleton. Some cards are functionally similar, like Sylvan Caryatid and Golden Hind, but many of them provide unique functionality, like Soul of New Phyrexia and Temur Sabertooth.

Despite being a deck built around singletons, Yisan offers this deck a measure of consistency. This is especially true in combination with Kiora's Follower and Prophet of Kruphix thrown into the mix. These cards let you get additional activations out of Yisan, generating more value and tutoring through your deck for the most effective bullet for your particular situation.

The disadvantage to this style of strategy is, singletons or no, your deck is generally very inconsistent and anemic when you don't have the Yisan engine going. Chord of Calling can mitigate this to some extent, but you really do need the deck's namesake in play for multiple turns to really get your gears turning. The upside is that you get access to a huge breadth of narrow sideboard options that can end games on the spot: Master of Waves and Nylea's Disciple for Mono-Red and even Hornet Nest for Green decks, for example. The sheer variety of options and the opportunity to play with cards that don't make the cut in any other deck makes this an exciting option for your Magic events this weekend.


As the format becomes more and more about midrange decks trying to grind one another out, Red-based aggressive decks have to adapt to the increased presence of Den Protector, Deathmist Raptor, and Crux of Fate. Earlier in the development of Dragons of Tarkir Standard, we saw a few players attempt to make Impact Tremors function as a way to grind out damage as games go long. Unfortunately, nothing especially exciting came out of those experiments. At least until now. Check out ScaryCards's sweet take on the Dash mechanic.

This deck does not mess around. With an aggressive curve chock full of dash creatures, this deck is more than capable of curving out and smashing an opponent with the pure aggressive efficiency of its cards. If that doesn't work, you can chip away at their life total with hasty hits from dash creatures like Goblin Heelcutter. That plan becomes even more powerful in conjunction with Impact Tremors, allowing you to eat away at opposing life total despite any Courser of Kruphix and Siege Rhino nonsense, all while remaining invulnerable to sorcery-speed removal, such as Crux of Fate.

In the event that even that isn't enough, you've still got access to the full four Outpost Siege. This powerful card can either function as a card advantage engine, finding the extra lands and spells you need to grind your opponent's life total down to zero, or as a burn spell that punishes opponents for breaking up your dash engine.

If you're looking to smash face, but want to go just a little bigger than Monastery Swiftspear and Foundry Street Denizen, this may be the aggro deck you've been looking for.


Last weekend, Grand Prix Charlotte became one of the biggest Modern tournaments ever, which meant more exciting decks and technology than ever before in one room. With that much potential, it would have been shocking if we didn't see a handful of completely new, off the wall ideas. The most exciting new deck from the weekend was Zac Elsik, who put up a Top 16 finish with a crazy Artifact-based prison deck. Let's take a look:

Lantern of Insight. Codex Shredder. Ghoulcaller's Bell. These are cards that you'd be hard-pressed to put in your deck in Limited, much less Constructed. And yet, Zac took this pile of "unplayable" cards to an incredible finish. So what does this deck do?

The idea is that you used Lantern of Insight plus mill effects to manipulate the top of both players' libraries. When you know the top cards, you can rip your opponent's hand to shred and mill them past all of their most relevant cards, allowing them to draw lands and blanks while you filter your own draws towards cards that do something. The idea is that eventually you can set up a hard lock with Ensnaring Bridge while you are empty handed.

Because it attacks from such a different angle, this deck would appear to have an incredible game one against the format. There are very few decks that don't rely on the combat step to some degree, and decks like Affinity, Splinter Twin, Bogles, and Infect may well just concede to a resolved Ensaring Bridge. Besides, even if they have Abrupt Decay, you have Academy Ruins to protect your Ensnaring Bridge and other disruptive artifact cards.

This deck is a new and exciting idea, and represents just how much there is left to explore in this Modern format. There are thousands of interactions that have never been considered, and last weekend Zac showed us that finding the right one can lead to an incredibly interesting deck and a spectacular run at the top tables.


Recently, land-based decks have taken over Modern. Between Green-Red Tron and Amulet Bloom, it's become critically important for decks to adapt to be able to interact with these powerful lands through a combination of effects like Blood Moon, Ghost Quarter, and Fulminator Mage. Alternatively, you could go even deeper on the mana denial plan, making it a primary function of your deck rather than a sideboard plan to supplement Tarmogoyf beatdown. That's what JXClaytor has done with this exciting take on Jeskai tempo with a focus on land destruction:

This deck does not mess around when it comes to destroying lands. This deck plays a full seventeen cards whose explicit purpose is to destroy your opponents lands. The curve starts at Boom, which turns into a one-sided Stone Rain when you combine it with a fetchlands or Flagstones of Trokair. Spreading Seas is helpful against decks like Tron and Amulet, but is substantially less powerful. At three, you have access to Fulminator Mage and Molten Rain. Moving on up the curve you have Avalanche Riders and Ajani Vengeant at four and Riftwing Cloudskate at five, with Restoration Angel serving to rebuy both "Enters the battlefield[/card] creatures.

This deck is enormously advantaged against decks that need a critical quantity or combination of lands, which means that you have game against not only the land-based combo decks, but also the greedy three- and four-color midrange decks. The best part? Being base Red-White means you get access to Lightning Bolt, Lightning Helix, and Path to Exile to fight against the creature-oriented decks like Collected Company, Affinity, Infect, and Splinter Twin.

Given that decks that lean on non-basic lands or creatures comprise the bulk of the format right now, that puts this deck in an incredible position in the metagame. My biggest concern is that, like much of Modern, the power of this deck is highly dependent on being on the play. When you can deny your opponent the ability to get their colors, bouncelands, or Tron lands online before they can even play their second or third land, you're going to be favored. On the draw, Boom is your only way to interact with turn three Tron, and you can't break up a turn two Primeval Titan out of Amulet Bloom. If you like winning die rolls and denying your opponent the ability to play Magic, this might be a fantastic deck in the current Modern metagame.


There was a time when Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero was the most broken card in Magic. Rebel decks used a combination of cheap Rebels, counterspells, and Brainstorm to dominate Standard. These decks could threaten countermagic and still develop their board if opponent's didn't commit to casting a threat. Further, the ability to tutor up and recycle extra copies of bullets and Lin Sivvi made this deck all but impossible to disrupt. Unfortunately, this style of deck has died out as threats and answers have become increasingly efficient. Clubfivesix is trying to change all that by bringing Counter Rebel back to Legacy.

This deck has the traditional plan of Rebels backed by efficient instants. Brainstorm plus your infinite shuffle effects allows you to find the Force of Will, Spell Pierce, or Swords to Plowshares you need. However, this deck gains access to a handful of cards that make it much more interesting. Some builds have tried using Standstill plus rebel activations to overwhelm opponents in card advantage. The problem with this strategy is that there are cards like Terminus and Show and Tell that don't care how many extra Rebels you can tutor up.

This deck kicks things into a higher gear with Training Grounds, Gaea's Cradle, and Mirror Entity. Training Ground in particular suddenly gives you the ability to activate every Rebel your control for next to no investment. If you curve Ramosian Sergeant into Training Grounds, you can activate it on your opponent's end step to find another Rebel. Then you can activate both of your rebels on the next end step finding Mirror Entity. If you hit all your land drops, you can then activate Mirror Entity for up to six and present lethal.

This deck doesn't have the same raw power and efficiency as other aggro-control decks in Legacy, but it does have additional resiliency, and is more than capable of winning games that go long by grinding games out with the Rebel engine. This deck is also capable of sneaking threats through Counterbalance, and is infinitely redundant. While it may be lacking in power, this deck is incredibly unique and attacks the format from a completely different angle.


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