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Five Decks You Can't Miss This Week


This week we're bringing a double-dose of Five Decks goodness! First we gave you a crash course on Return to Ravnica Block Constructed, and now we're taking a chance to look at some sweet decks from Standard, Modern, and Commander. Let's go ahead and get started:

Our first deck looks a lot like the Junk Aristocrats deck that was featured last week. It features Blood Artist, sacrifice outlets, and Voice of Resurgence and plays a similar, grindy game. Here's the big difference: Immortal Servitude.

Let's take a look at Xeroo's build from a Standard Daily Event:

Immortal Servitude changes everything, because it lets you bust out the bag of tricks. This turns Grisly Salvage into an engine instead of an Impulse. It lets you generate tokens with Voice of Resurgence. It lets you just kill people with Blood Artist. Immortal Servitude is the Blasphemous Act/Boros Reckoner interaction that this color combination was missing.

This deck plays very similarly to the traditional Aristocrats deck, except that you try to power through your opponent using Voice of Resurgence interactions rather than flying over with Falkenrath Aristocrat. I like this take on the deck because Voice of Resurgence plus Lingering Souls seems like a combination that is incredibly difficult for most non-Supreme Verdict decks to beat.

I really like how Immortal Servitude and Grisly Salvage can enable this deck to find and recycle the creatures that have the highest impact in a given matchup. The one thing that I'd love to try to fit in is some kind of Snapcaster Mage package to make it easier to chain Immortal Servitudes, but that's probably just too greedy.

Our second deck is another sweet Standard brew from Matt Higgs's article on StarCityGames.com. While we're all busy trying to get value out of Voice of Resurgence and looking for homes for Ral Zarek, Matt was down in the lab brewing with Possibility Storm. Let's take a look:

Matt built this deck to take advantage of the interaction between Possibility Storm and Curse of Exhaustion. This combo locks your opponent out of their spells while you close out the game with whatever creatures are handy.

The interaction between Faithless Looting and Pyrewild Shaman is especially cute here, as it enables you to power through your deck to find your combo pieces. It's possible that this shell could be combined with Unburial Rites just to rebuy Olivia Voldaren and Boros Reckoner. Blasphemous Act is also a possibility to give you reach against the other midrangey decks.

This combo is almost certainly less efficient than other configurations, but it looks like a ton of fun and attacks from a unique angle. This looks like an awesome FNM deck that can steal some games from some of the more competitive decks in the format.

Storm died when Wizards banned Seething Song in Modern, right? Jon Finkel doesn't seem to think so, and he's a guy who knows a thing or two about Magic and he took the deck to a top 16 finish at Grand Prix Portland this weekend. Let's take a look at what's changed:

What's happened here is that this deck has turned into more of a Pyromancer Ascension deck than a Past in Flames deck. Before Seething Song generated enough mana to pay for Past in Flames on its own; then your other rituals chained cantrips into another Seething Song which flashed back Past in Flames, and then your opponent was dead.

Now you kind of need an active Pyromancer Ascension to really get ahead on mana. Gobin Electromancer certainly helps, but he's generally not going to be long for this world since he's your only creature in a format defined largely by Lightning Bolt. Both of these cards are absolutely necessary because they turn Manamorphose into a ritual. The deck needs a critical mass of mana, and with Seething Song gone you only have Pyretic Ritual and Desperate Ritual to power out spells with.

The new techy card here is Increasing Vengeance. This artificially inflates your ritual count and gives you a lot more reach than you otherwise might have had. Beyond that, Desperate Ravings is sweet as a way to stock your graveyard for Past in Flames and Pyromancer Ascension[/card].

Many years ago I was watching a game of Legacy and saw the following exchange. It was near the end of a long game, and one player attempted to Brainstorm to sculpt their hand for the next few turns. His opponent responded with Plagiariaze. It was about as soul-crushing as you'd imagine.

This Modern brew is a little rough around the edges, but it's capable of generating the same kind of game-ending swings. Let's take a look at kombatkiwi's take on Notion Thief in Modern:

Let's all just take a moment to imagine casting Burning Inquiry with Notion Thief in play. Your opponent is going to be Mind Twist[/car]ed while you get to draw six cards and discard three, all while earning maximum style points. Some of the other lists even featured [card]Mikokoro, Center of the Sea and Jace Beleren to push Notion Thief even further. The problem is getting all of the pieces into place.

Kombatkiwi tries to do this by using the Grixis shell of Lightning Bolt, discard, and Snapcaster Mage to tear apart your opponent's hand and keep them off of the table. If you can strip away most of their removal and keep yourself close to parity on board, then Notion Thief should be able to come down relatively safely.

I think that the issue with this shell is that we've comitted so much space to Notion Thief, Sulfur Elemental, and Deathrite Shaman that we don't have much space for control elements. What happens if we cut back on our creatures, add more control elements, and Mystical Teachings to tie everything together? You'll have all the removal you need against creature decks, counterspells to protect your key cards, and Notion Thief to put the game away once you draw into a Burning Inquiry.

We've covered Vorel, Lavinia, and Melek. In our fourth week of 5 Decks featuring Dragon's Maze Legends. This time we're taking a look at cab0474's take on Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts built around the extort mechanic. Let's take a look:

Teysa Extort - Commander | cab0747

This deck is sweet because it's a great example of complementary functionality. Extort is a mechanic that helps to keep you alive while you bleed your opponents out over a long game. Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts is an awesome rattlesnake card that is incredible for getting people to leave you alone. Cab0474 has even built his deck with even more pillow-fort functionality like Farsight Mask and Ghostly Prison. These cards keep you alive while you grind people down one point of life at a time.

This deck is certainly built for the long game with powerful attrition enchantments like Debtor's Knell and Underworld Connections. Despite that, it seems like the deck may run out of gas in the late game; not because you don't have things to do, but because you run out of spells to cast. Whitemane Lion and Stonecloaker effects may be a good way to make sure you can keep the extortion going.

This may look a little different than traditional white- or black-based control decks, mostly due to the lack of sweepers, but even that is a conscious choice. Your extort engine is largely based on creatures, so whenever you wrath the board you'll have to rebuild your engine from the ground up. If you really feel like you need more removal, you can build your own with Attrition or Mortarpod plus deathtouch effects.

The only other card which seems like a slam dunk in this kind of deck is Well of Lost Dreams which lets you invest any extra mana you have into extorting or drawing cards. If a control deck like this gets to the late game, you start losing when you can't convert resources into something more useful and that's what Well lets you do.

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