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Lists from the Red Bull Untapped Qualifier


Hello everyone. This past weekend the Red Bull Untapped International Qualifier I took place. It featured more than 2400 players. This week, we'll be taking a look at a few decks from this event that performed well. Let's get started.

Boros Cycling

The first deck we'll start with is one of my favorite archetypes to play on Magic Arena. Let's take a look at the deck.

Flourishing Fox
If you're lucky enough to start the game with a copy of Flourishing Fox in your hand, you're in a good position to win many games. By playing this Fox on turn one, you'll be able to begin cycling the other cards in your hand, drawing additional cards and growing Flourishing Fox at the same time. At some point, you'll hope to draw a copy of Footfall Crater, as a means of being able to damage your opponent once they get a chump blocker or two in play.

Another way this deck can win is by going wide. Valiant Rescuer creates a 1/1 Human Soldier token each time you cycle a card. By using this ability in conjunction with Drannith Stinger's ability to deal one point of damage to opponents when you cycle a card, you can whittle your opponent's life total down far enough to defeat them in combat with your superior number of threats. Drannith Healer can often be played as a means of making it more difficult for your opponent to defeat you. Since you'll gain one point of life every time you cycle a card, you can give your opponent the feeling of futility. They might as well give up since they'll never be able to deal as much damage to you as you're able to gain by cycling cards.

Of course, as with most cycling decks, the finisher is Zenith Flare. You'll often be able to set up a battlefield full of small creatures, making it difficult for your opponent to attack you. Zenith Flare offers you a way of winning even when the game has gone to a stalemate. It's not uncommon for you to have a dozen or more cards in your graveyard that have cycling. Assuming you've been able to take small chunks from your opponent's life total throughout the game, casting Zenith Flare can spell game over. Even if it doesn't end the game outright, since you also gain life with Zenith Flare, you'll often buy yourself enough time to draw a second copy to use on a future turn, almost ensuring yourself the victory.

Rakdos Sacrifice

The next deck I have for you also features Lurrus of the Dream-Den as its companion, but instead of being Boros, is Rakdos instead. Let's take a look at the deck.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den
This deck starts off by using the cat/oven combo that's seen a ton of play since Throne of Eldraine was released. Thanks to having Lurrus of the Dream-Den as your companion, you'll be able to cast Cauldron Familiar from your graveyard easily even if you don't have any Food tokens in play. This should allow you to deal a few points of damage and gain a few points of health during the game.

There are a couple of additional nice targets to cast from your graveyard when you have Lurrus in play. Serrated Scorpion acts as a very formidable defender. Since it has only two points of toughness, it's not that difficult for it to die when blocking an opponent's larger creature. It also has one point of power, so it's quite capable of blocking any of the 1/1 creature tokens that are prevalent in Standard. When it dies, you'll deal two points of damage to your opponent while gaining two points of health for yourself. Especially in the late game, being able to deal two points of damage without needing to attack can be lethal. Dreadhorde Butcher is another nice target to recast. It's another creature with a powerful death trigger that you can use to potentially end the game. You can also use that damage as a means of creature removal, if needed.

Fiend Artisan is a great addition to any sacrifice-based deck. It can be especially powerful when combined with a card like Claim the Firstborn. Its activated ability offers you a way to sacrifice the creature you have stolen from your opponent, while also finding you a creature to put into play. Since every creature in this deck has a converted mana cost (CMC) of two or less, you'll be able to find any creature you need without tying up much of your mana. It can often be worth finding Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger to put onto the battlefield, even though it will immediately be sacrificed. Casting it from your graveyard for its escape cost is a fairly simple task for a deck like this.

Temur Flash

The final deck I have for you features multiple ways to finish the game and likes to play cards during the opponent's turn. Let's take a look at it.

Much like a typical flash deck, this deck wants to cast the majority of its spells on the opponent's turn. This allows you to create an army of Wolf creature tokens with Nightpack Ambusher. Once your army has grown to a respectable size, you can begin attacking. If you can manage to get multiple copies of Nightpack Ambusher into play, you can speed up this timeline as each Nightpack Ambusher will pump up your Wolves by +1/+1. With a force of 4/4's or 5/5's in play, your opponent will be hard pressed to block effectively, allowing you to win after attacking a couple of times.

If attacking isn't getting the job done for you, this deck has a couple of other ways you can win. The first is with Expansion // Explosion. By playing the Explosion half of this card, you can deal a massive amount of damage directly to your opponent. If you're not able to finish them off, you can target yourself with the second half of this spell as the player who will draw additional cards. When you combine Explosion with the additional mana that Wilderness Reclamation can provide, you'll be able to deal a terrifying amount of damage. You can also consider targeting your opponent as the player to draw cards if their library is particularly low.

The other route to victory is with a new card from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths - Shark Typhoon. By playing this as an Enchantment, you'll have the ability to create some moderately sized Shark tokens that have flying. This offers you the opportunity to amass a flying force that you can use to attack your opponent with. This can be especially effective against those decks that are weak to flying creatures. Alternatively, you can cycle Shark Typhoon to create one huge flying Shark token. Whichever way you choose to use it, Shark Typhoon can help you create evasive threats that you can use to win the game with.

Wrapping Up

Thanks to the current pandemic, it's safe to say that online tournaments are here to stay. Based on the decks from the Red Bull Untapped International Qualifier I, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths has made a monstrous impact on our Standard environment.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below or email me directly at mikelikesmtg@gmail.com. Also, feel free to share this article with your friends anywhere on social media. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

- Mike Likes

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