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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


Standard with Magic Origins is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace in the wake of Grand Prix San Diego. This week we saw the rise of Green-White aggro and constellation-based strategies, as well the utter dominance of Blue-Red Sphinx's Tutelage. But Standard still has a long way to go, and Magic Origins still has plenty to offer to eternal formats. This week we're looking at [card]Priest of the Blood Rite and Arashin Foremost in Standard, Ghostway and Vryn Wingmare in Modern, and a fresh take on Chalice of the Void aggro in Legacy. Let's get started:

At the beginning of this Standard format, Whip of Erebos was king. People were using Sidisi, Brood Tyrant to stock their graveyard full of Hornet Queens and Doomwake Giants so that you could set up absurd turns with Whip of Erebos to generate a huge board presence and gain a ton of life. In the months since then, Whip strategies have mostly fallen out of favor. Kharmic is hoping to change all that with some help from Magic Origins:

There are a handful of really cool interactions in this deck that are unique to Whip of Erebos strategies. The first is the utilization of Priest of the Blood Rite as a super powerful mid-game threat. This card is a little bit of a liability on its own, but Whip of Erebos does two important things. First, the lifegain offsets the cost of any Priests who are sitting in play. Second, you can Whip priests back to gain a little life and get a 5/5 Demon out of the deal. Similarly, you get to take advantage of the Magic Origins flip Planeswalkers in a whole new way. If you can Whip the creature half back and flip it that turn, then you get to keep the Planeswalker around. This means that, in the late game, you can threaten to Whip back a Planeswalker every turn until your opponent runs out of answers.

One of the biggest strengths of this style of deck is that because you're milling a substantial portion of your library, you can use Whip of Erebos to get enormous utility out of powerful singletons. Reclamation Sage is an incredible effect to have maindeck access to in the current format, and in a protracted game you know you'll be able to find a copy. Similarly, this is the first deck that we've seen adopting Gilt-Leaf Winnower as a way to kill threats like Siege Rhino and Tasigur, the Golden Fang. Even if you're only hitting something like a Firedrinker Satyr, a 4/3 evasive Nekretaal is an enormously powerful effect in a Whip of Erebos deck.

This weekend, we saw the breakout of Green-White aggro at Grand Prix San Diego. This aggressive deck featured the Deathmist Raptor plus Den Protector tag team, and was generally pretty midrangey. Some sideboards went at big as Hangarback Walker plus Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, which is pretty awesome. That said, it's not what 11_JAGUAR_11 wants his Green-White list to look like. His is a more aggressive take, featuring Tribal Warriors themes:

There are so many cute interactions in this deck that add up to an incredible ability to steal games. Firstly, look at how low to the ground this deck is. Twelve one-drops, backed by Dwynen's Elite, Collected Company, and Den Protector makes it easy for you to set up crazy turns with Sunblade Elf, a card that has seen far too little help relative to its raw power.

That's not the best part about this deck, though. That single craziest card in this deck is Might of the Masses. That is not a card that someone puts in their Constructed deck unless it sets up something incredibly busted. In this deck, that's the combo it enables with Den Protector and Arashin Foremost. If your opponent makes the mistake of tapping out, you can easily flip up a Den Protector to get something back, cast Arashin Foremost to give Den Protector double strike, and then use Might of the Masses to get +3/+3 or better with relative ease. It's not hard to imagine this combo dealing 16 unblockable damage. This interaction is not one to overlook; the ability to punch through huge chunks of damage is incredibly valuable in a Standard that is prone to board stalls featuring Siege Rhino and Deathmist Raptor.

We've seen a handful of Magic Origins cards trickling down into eternal formats. Some people are playing around with the double-faced Planeswalkers, Fiery Impulse, and the other super efficient effects. Of all the awesome cards in Magic Origins, who would have guessed that Vryn Wingmare would be one of the first to see play in Modern? Not I, but Gallagher certainly did:

This is not a new strategy in Modern, but this is certainly a new take on the archetype. There are an enormous number of cheap, White creatures that are capable of shutting down entire strategies, and this deck gets to play all of them. We've seen a handful of Green-White variants on this deck, sometimes splashing for the likes of Knight of the Reliquary or Gavony Township.

Gallagher opts to stay Mono-White, which does a few interesting things for this deck. Firstly, it lets you play seven combined copies of Tectonic Edges and Ghost Quarter, which substantially helps matchups which are dependent on assembling a critical number of combination of lands. Ghost Quarter is particularly powerful in conjunction with Aven Mindcensor or Leonin Arbiter, becoming effectively a Strip Mine in the majority of cases.

The strength of Vryn Wingmare in this style of deck is that it allows you to curve Thalia into Wingmare, backed by Tectonic Edges and the like to lock your opponent out of powerful spells like Splinter Twin, Cryptic Command, and even Electrolyze. This gives you the crucial turns you need to close out the game before you can get demolished by sweepers or combo finishes. Aether Vial even gives you ways to play at instant speed, setting up ambushes in combat, two-for-ones off of Flickerwisp, and much more.

This is a deceptively powerful deck, and one that is relatively cheap as far as Modern is concerned. It also showcases that there are ways to punish the greedy, unfair decks in this format. Your opponents can pack their deck full of whatever powerful cards and combos they want; if they can't hit their land drops and cast their spells, you're going to run them over with White creatures.

Ghostway is not a card that's new to Modern, even if it hasn't had a breakout performance just yet. Ghostway is a powerful card that fills an interesting void of moderately efficient value-engine/combo piece in the void left by I've written about trying to do something degenerate with. HOGESTER has a new twist on a similar concept, with exciting updates from recent sets:

There are a lot of things that I love about this deck. Firstly, I like the inclusion of powerful singletons like [card]Stonehorn Dignitary" href="/p/Magic%3A+The+Gathering/Birthing+Pod%5B%2Fcar%5Dd%2C+and+is+even+a+card+that+%3Ca+href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gatheringmagic.com%2Fcarlosgutierrez-031015-modern-remand-youre-dead%2F%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3EI%27ve+written+about+trying+to+do+something+degenerate+with%3C%2Fa%3E.+%3Ca+href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fmagic.wizards.com%2Fen%2Farticles%2Farchive%2Fmtgo-standings%2Fmodern-daily-2015-08-12%22+target%3D%22_blank%22%3EHOGESTER+has+a+new+twist+on+a+similar+concept%3C%2Fa%3E%2C+with+exciting+updates+from+recent+sets%3A%0D%0A%0D%0A%5Bcardlist+title%3DFour-Color+Ghostway+-+Modern+%7C+HOGESTER%2C+3-1+Modern+Daily+Event%5D%0D%0A%5BCreatures%5D%0D%0A4+Birds+of+Paradise%0D%0A4+Elvish+Visionary%0D%0A3+Eternal+Witness%0D%0A1+Huntmaster+of+the+Fells%0D%0A1+Kiki-Jiki%2C+Mirror+Breaker%0D%0A1+Reclamation+Sage%0D%0A3+Restoration+Angel%0D%0A1+Spellskite%0D%0A1+Stonehorn+Dignitary%0D%0A1+Trostani%2C+Selesnya%27s+Voice%0D%0A1+Venser%2C+Shaper+Savant%0D%0A2+Wall+of+Omens%0D%0A4+Wall+of+Roots%0D%0A1+Whisperwood+Elemental%0D%0A%5B%2FCreatures%5D%0D%0A%5BSpells%5D%0D%0A4+Chord+of+Calling%0D%0A3+Ghostway%0D%0A3+Path+to+Exile%0D%0A%5B%2FSpells%5D%0D%0A%5BLands%5D%0D%0A1+Breeding+Pool%0D%0A1+Copperline+Gorge%0D%0A1+Fire-Lit+Thicket%0D%0A2+Forest%0D%0A1+Gavony+Township%0D%0A1+Ghost+Quarter%0D%0A1+Hallowed+Fountain%0D%0A1+Mountain%0D%0A1+Plains%0D%0A2+Razorverge+Thicket%0D%0A2+Stomping+Ground%0D%0A2+Temple+Garden%0D%0A4+Windswept+Heath%0D%0A2+Wooded+Foothills%0D%0A%5B%2FLands%5D%0D%0A%5BSideboard%5D%0D%0A2+Huntmaster+of+the+Fells%0D%0A1+Spellskite%0D%0A1+Eidolon+of+Rhetoric%0D%0A2+Engineered+Explosives%0D%0A1+Kataki%2C+War%27s+Wage%0D%0A1+Keranos%2C+God+of+Storms%0D%0A1+Magus+of+the+Moon%0D%0A1+Melira%2C+Sylvok+Outcast%0D%0A1+Purphoros%2C+God+of+the+Forge%0D%0A1+Qasali+Pridemage%0D%0A2+Scavenging+Ooze%0D%0A1+Stony+Silence%0D%0A%5B%2FSideboard%5D%0D%0A%5B%2Fcardlist%5D%0D%0A%0D%0AThere+are+a+lot+of+things+that+I+love+about+this+deck.+Firstly%2C+I+like+the+inclusion+of+powerful+singletons+like+%5Bcard%5DStonehorn+Dignitary">Birthing Pod[/car]d, and is even a card that I've written about trying to do something degenerate with. HOGESTER has a new twist on a similar concept, with exciting updates from recent sets:

There are a lot of things that I love about this deck. Firstly, I like the inclusion of powerful singletons like [card]Stonehorn Dignitary, Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, and Whisperwood Elemental. In a Chord of Calling deck, there's no reason not to include these kinds of game-ending effects for matchups that present difficulties for this style of deck. Stonehorn Dignitary in conjunction with Restoration Angel and Ghostway has the potential to buy you multiple turns of time against the likes of Splinter Twin, Slippery Bogle, and Glistener Elf. Similarly, Trostani can quickly can you an insurmountable amount of life against the more aggressive decks in the format, while Whisperwood Elemental gives you much needed resiliency against sweepers.

The strategy of this deck is to assemble a board with Elvish Visionarys, Wall of Omens, Eternal Witness, and Restoration Angel, and to cast Ghostway for disgusting amounts of value. Eventually, you can start casting Chord of Calling for powerful singletons and set up a combo kill with Kiki-Jiki.

I think that this is a deck that wants to lean a little harder on something like Collected Company or Summoning Trap to gain more consistent access to singletons, since you frequently won't have time to cantrip through your deck or set up a Chord of Calling for four or more. Personally, I like Summoning Trap for the edge it gives you against Remand. In this build in particular, you can chain traps by rebuying the original with a combination of Eternal Witness, Restoration Angel, and Kiki-Jiki. This makes it easier convert Summoning Trap into a random combo kill when your opponent decides to Remand your random two-drop, which is a fun place to be.

This shell has a lot of inevitability, particularly with the inclusion of Whisperwood Elemental. This is a strategy that I am very much a fan of, and hope to see more of, since Ghostway has such enormous potential with the breadth of value creatures in Modern. I can't wait to see someone push this archetype even further.

For many years, turn one Ancient Tomb into Chalice of the Void has been one of the most powerful things you can do in Legacy. Since people first figured out the power of shutting off one-drops, we've seen a myriad of takes on the strategy featuring Dragons, Angels, Faeries, and all manner of other subtle tribal themes. Recently, Cartesian has decided to take a new approach, combining the Chalice Stompy strategy of combining powerful three- and four-drops with Chalice of the Void with the aggressive, hatebear-centric style of Green-White Maverick. Let's take a look:

One of the strengths of this deck is its ability to play powerful colorless-intensive cards ahead of schedule. Chalice of the Void is, of course, the flagship of this particular strategy. However, Mox Diamond in conjunction with Ancient Tomb allows you to resolve early Swords or Hero of Bladeholds to threaten to abruptly put games far out of your opponent's reach.

Alternatively, you can just use Cavern of Souls to resolve creatures with powerful disruptive effects. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Meddling Mage do an incredible job of disrupting spell-based combo decks, while Knight of the Reliquary provides an inordinately fast clock while also representing a stream of Wastelands to lock your opponent out of the game. These powerful threats backed by Sylvan Safekeeper can prevent your opponent from interacting with your threats.

However, Cartesian doesn't stop there. This deck also has Life from the Loam to help improve attrition-based matchups. You can use Life from the Loam with the likes of Wasteland and Secluded Steppe to generate insurmountable advantages over the course of a long game. Between Life from the Loam and Chalice of the Void, this deck is capable of stealing games early and grinding them out late, which is a great place to be in the current Legacy format.

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