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5 Decks You Can't Miss This Week


Modern Masters 2015 Edition has been spoiled. Grand Prix Las Vegas is on the horizon. It's an exciting time to be a Magic player. There are a dozens of viable decks in Standard, and from week to week the metagame shifts from Dragonlord Ojutai to Den Protector to Siege Rhino to Monastery Swiftspear, with every conceivable combination being a completely reasonable option. Even in Modern, we saw some real exciting technology and innovation from the Magic Online Championship last weekend. This week, we've got five awesome decks from across Standard, Modern, and Legacy that show just how much room is left for innovation. Let's get started.

The big reason that Den Protector has taken over Standard is as an attrition engine, rebuying Thoughtseizes and Deathmist Raptor. Andrew Cuneo has certainly never shied away from a grindy value engine, but there's another line of text on Den Protector that he's more interested in, and Andrew is using it to set up one-shot kills that your opponents will never see coming.

It's been awhile since the constellation archetype has been a player in Standard, but Andrew Cuneo is bringing it back with a few critical innovations. First is the inclusion of Merciless Executioners in the 75 to fight against removal heavy decks like Epser Dragons and Abzan Control. These cards are incredible in combination with your Satyr Wayfinders and Commune with the Gods.

Most importantly though, Andrew has added an aggressive win condition to this deck in the form of Den Protector. Maternal Witness may not seem like much more than a value engine, but in conjunction with Nighthowler and Strength from the Fallen, she can quickly grow out of control and present a lethal, unblockable attacker. The best part? Whip of Erebos can make this a hasty, one-shot kill, and prevent your opponent from even having the opportunity to interact with your win condition.

Finding the appropriate combination of ramp, removal, fat, and constellation combos may be a tough order, but this is still a deck packed to the brim with powerful interactions, and it is more than capable of overpowering most any deck in Standard. Is the Den Protector kill what this deck has been missing? I certainly hope so, because Strength from the Fallen plus Den Protector is absolutely insane.

One of my favorite cards to come out of Dragons of Tarkir is Surrak, the Hunt Caller. This is exactly the kind of card that I hate playing against, but it creates very exciting game states where almost anything can happen. This deck by dief00 takes this ability to a new extreme, building around the formidable creatures and efficient interactive spells in Green, Black, and Red. Forget wedges. It's time for some good, old-fashioned, Jund action.

This deck is built on the same premise as the Abzan Aggro decks that have defined Standard since Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir, but with its own advantages and disadvantages. You don't have access to the same midrangey threats as Abzan, losing out on Fleecemane Lion, Elspeth, and the iconic Siege Rhino. Instead, you gain access to Goblin Rabblemaster, Xenagos, and Mardu Strike Leader.

After skimming over this deck list, I have to admit, I'm having a hard time getting over the possibility of using Surrak to start getting in with hasty Mardu Strike Leaders and Goblin Rabblemasters. The big advantage to this deck seems to be its resiliency to sweepers like Crux of Fate, and the efficiency of removal spells like Roast and Wild Slash relative to Hero's Downfall.

I don't know if this deck is as powerful as the Abzan builds, but I like how so many of the cards are capable of taking over a game if they are left unchecked. There are lots of ways to steal games with hasty creatures, or to end them before they really start with Goblin Rabblemaster or Mardu Strike Leader.

I enjoy watching Modern, and there are plenty of decks that I think are very interesting. One of the reasons I haven't been super excited to play the format is the lack of pure control in the format. Forget combo kills, I just want to value people to death. This new take on control, built by AndreasBendix, may be exactly what I've been looking for.

There are a number of super exciting cards in this deck that haven't yet gotten their due in Modern. Deprive is a counterspell that is very powerful in Pauper that never really made the transition to Modern. The split between Mana Leak and Deprive is awesome, because you gain the flexibility of having access to counterspells that are good at all phases of the game. The best part? You even have Logic Knot for when Mana Leak isn't quite enough but picking up lands will still set you back.

This deck also packs the awesome combination of Lingering Souls plus Vault of the Archangel to absolutely dominate the midrange matchups. Lingering Souls on its own will be spectacular in matchups like Infect, Affinity, and other control variants. Adding Vault of the Archangel to the mix gives you an enormous edge against Tarmogoyf and other creature decks.

I'm also excited to see the addition of Jace, Architect of Thought as a way to keep the board stable in conjunction with Lingering Souls. Jace even gets to hold off Splinter Twin kills with Deceiver Exarch, all while helping you dig into your powerful singletons and sideboard cards. Perhaps the most exciting thing to be is that this deck gets to play four copies of Esper Charm in the main deck, granting you natural resiliency to Blood Moon, which is a card that is traditionally difficult for three-color control decks to defeat.

It's been a long time since we've seen this style of deck be successful, but the combination of Snapcaster Mage and the powerful White hate cards is hard to pass up. It's also hard to say no to a deck playing four copies of Lingering Souls. I don't know if this deck has all the necessary tools to keep up with the new Modern format, but I can only hope that we'll see more decks in this vein in the coming weeks.

The very first Legacy deck that I ever built was Enchantress. There was nothing I liked more than drawing a billion cards while locking opponents out with Moat and Solitary Confinement. We've seen a few interesting takes on the prison-style Enchantress decks for Modern, featuring the likes of Sphere of Safety plus Leyline of Sanctity, but none of those decks have really taken off, largely due to the lack of a real win condition. This week, Gavin Verhey takes an exciting look at Modern Enchantress featuring an explosive mana engine and a powerful late game. Let's see what this sweet brew can do:

This deck takes the Sphere of Safety shell we're familiar with and cuts most of the prison cards. No Runed Halo. No Suppression Field. Instead, we have an absurd mana engine comprised of Arbor Elf plus land auras like Utopia Sprawl and Overgrowth. These, especially in conjunction with Nykthos, let you get out ahead of your opponent as you start cantripping through your deck with Enchantresses and Ghostly Prisons.

The best thing about this engine is that it allows you to set up turns where you can generate value from your Enchantresses even if your opponents have removal by casting spells immediately. It even allows you to have a "real" win condition by letting you ramp up to Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with either auras or Nykthos, which is a huge upgrade.

The most interesting part of this deck is what Utopia Sprawl plus Fertile Ground allow you to accomplish: splashing basically any hate card in the format. Blood Moon? Sure, you're ramping with auras anyway. Keranos? Sure. Counterflux? Why not? There's almost nothing you couldn't play in this deck if you really had a mind to. This gives you a ton of flexibility beyond the classic hateful enchantments like Stony Silence, Rest in Peace, and Leyline of Sanctity.

Are those options enough to make this a competitive deck? Not really. Enchantresses just aren't efficient or resilient enough to stand up to interactive spells like Lightning Bolt and Thoughtseize. That aside, this style of deck is a blast to play. When it works, you feel invincible, drawing infinite cards and generating more mana than you could possibly know what to do with; taking extra turns with Emrakul with dozens of Angels in play courtesy of Sigil of the Empty Throne. If that sounds like a good time to you, consider giving this deck a whirl!

We've seen enough of Monastery Mentor in Standard and Vintage to know that this card is the real deal. It costs more than Young Pyromancer, but closes out games much faster, which is unique in Blue-White shells. That said, the card hasn't really broken out in Legacy or Modern just yet. din778 is looking to change that with this exciting take on Esper Monastery Mentor with Cabal Therapy.

One of the biggest problems with Monastery Mentor in Legacy is that it doesn't do anything. There aren't Moxen or Gush to generate tokens, value, and tempo all at once, so tapping out for a three-drop leaves you incredibly vulnerable to all manner of degenerate things like Show and Tell and Tendrils of Agony. din778 has compensated for that by maxing out on free and cheap spells that synergize with Mentor. Gitaxian Probe plus Cabal Therapy let you rip apart your opponents hand, giving you an opening to get aggressive against combo or sniping countermagic and removal against tempo and control, so your mentor can stick.

Once you have a Monastery Mentor in play, you get to start comboing off, chaining cantrips into Dig Through Time to generate an enormous board presence and dig into the Counterspells you need to protect yourself for one turn. Once you untap, two or three cantrips should be plenty to kill your opponent outright.

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