Last week my article was primarily focused on Magic Arena. But for the competitively inclined player, Magic Online thankfully still lives on with high level best-of-three matches, lots of innovations and frequently published decklists.

As any good Standard addict, I scour these decklists multiple times a week when they are published and this leads me to see patterns of decks that reoccur, often championed by other people than those who first brought their sweet brew to the limelight.

It’s in these continuous 5-0 performances on Magic Online that format breaking decks are born, soon to be a defined part of tomorrows metagame. And it’s also here we find lists that ultimately are just meme decks, some that might generate good times at FNM but can’t stand the pressure of actual competition.

I dug out 5 lists that caught my eye, and I even played a couple matches with each of them before I judge them in our very first installment of:

Meme or Meta

Temur Reclamation

Who needs Nexus anyways?

Standard Wilderness Reclamation by Tyler Walpole

Wilderness Reclamation by Tyler Walpole

Temur Reclamation by manwithplane251

Creatures (2)
Niv-Mizzet, ParunNiv-Mizzet, Parun

Spells (33)
OptOpt
Growth SpiralGrowth Spiral
Lightning StrikeLightning Strike
QuenchQuench
Sinister SabotageSinister Sabotage
Chemister’s InsightChemister’s Insight
Precognitive PerceptionPrecognitive Perception
Star of ExtinctionStar of Extinction
ExpansionExpansion
Search for AzcantaSearch for Azcanta
Wilderness ReclamationWilderness Reclamation
Lands (25)
Breeding PoolBreeding Pool
MountainMountain
Hinterland HarborHinterland Harbor
IslandIsland
Steam VentsSteam Vents
Stomping GroundStomping Ground
Sulfur FallsSulfur Falls

Sideboard (15)
ExpansionExpansion
Fiery CannonadeFiery Cannonade
Karn, Scion of UrzaKarn, Scion of Urza
Lava CoilLava Coil
NegateNegate
Niv-Mizzet, ParunNiv-Mizzet, Parun

Normally you’d think that a deck with Wilderness ReclamationWilderness Reclamation would also include Nexus of FateNexus of Fate. However, recent innovations suggest that you don’t even need to take all the turns in order to extract a significant advantage from the mana-generating abilities of Wilderness ReclamationWilderness Reclamation.
One of these takes has seen a lot of online success already, most notably placing 3 players in the top 16 of a recent Magic Online MCQ, as well as a 5-0 finish almost every time the decklists become public.
Instead of Nexus of FateNexus of Fate, you still get to have the absurd synergy between Search for AzcantaSearch for Azcanta and Wilderness ReclamationWilderness Reclamation. This can easily lock up a game when you get to just counter all their spells.
And just try and envision how good Niv-Mizzet, ParunNiv-Mizzet, Parun is when your deck is full of card draw and counterspells and your lands untap right after you’ve played your dragon.
Based on my games with this deck, I think the potential here is scary powerful. When you get to stick an early Wilderness Reclamation and do your thing, you feel almost invincible. At that point you can easily take over the game with a wall of counterspells.
But I think the current versions lack something. I miss some more early interaction like a cheap sweeper or Shivan FireShivan Fire. And it’s somewhat dubious to run 4 QuenchQuench in your control-deck. That card is going to be useless within a small amount of time. Though so far it hasn’t been much of a problem, because the deck does close out games quickly enough and having an all-purpose answer to their early game is certainly nice.

I also have issues with the mana base. Frequently I wouldn’t have green for turn 2 Growth SpiralGrowth Spiral or be unable to cast Niv-Mizzet, ParunNiv-Mizzet, Parun with 7-8 lands in play. Currently there is too much blue mana anyway, so I would suggest you replace an Island and a Hinterland HarborHinterland Harbor with two Rootbound CragRootbound Crag.

If we get the kinks worked out, my verdict on Temur Reclamation is:

META

Turbo Invent

Inverting our notion of Nexus decks

Meme Invent by Mathias Kollros

Invent by Mathias Kollros

Turbo Invent by MagicMike_Pony

Spells (34)
OptOpt
Growth SpiralGrowth Spiral
Shimmer of PossibilityShimmer of Possibility
Chemister’s InsightChemister’s Insight
Root SnareRoot Snare
InvertInvert
Flood of RecollectionFlood of Recollection
RecollectRecollect
Vivid RevivalVivid Revival
Nexus of FateNexus of Fate
ExpansionExpansion
Wilderness ReclamationWilderness Reclamation
Lands (26)
Breeding PoolBreeding Pool
ForestForest
Hinterland HarborHinterland Harbor
IslandIsland
Rootbound CragRootbound Crag
Steam VentsSteam Vents
Stomping GroundStomping Ground
Sulfur FallsSulfur Falls

Sideboard (15)
Disdainful StrokeDisdainful Stroke
Gift of ParadiseGift of Paradise
Murmuring MysticMurmuring Mystic
NegateNegate
Overflowing InsightOverflowing Insight
Ral, Izzet ViceroyRal, Izzet Viceroy

This deck hasn’t had the repeated finishes that other decks on this list have, but I really wanted to highlight it because I think the deckbuilding here is simply genius.

Essentially this is another take on the Turbo Fog archetype. The goal for these decks is to have enough card draw to repeatedly draw copies of Nexus of FateNexus of Fate and chain extra turns together that way. Especially when they have lots of mana from Wilderness ReclamationWilderness Reclamation. Usually they achieve this with engines like Search for AzcantaSearch for Azcanta and Teferi, Hero of DominariaTeferi, Hero of Dominaria.

In this case however, there’s only a single copy of Nexus of FateNexus of Fate!

Here we take advantage of Nexus’ ability to shuffle itself into the deck. That way we can always fetch it with InvertInvert // Invent along with a Flood of RecollectionFlood of Recollection or similar regrow effect. As long as you have enough lands and a Wilderness Reclamation, you’ll be able to do this in one turn. Use Flood of RecollectionFlood of Recollection to get back Invent for a guaranteed chain of extra turns.

At some point you’ll have enough lands that you can search up more Invents with your Invent and then get Vivid RevivalVivid Revival to keep the chain going for even longer. Finally you’ll have assembled enough lands to go get ExpansionExpansion // Explosion for the kill.

I simply think this line of thought is brilliant, and it is certainly an angle I hadn’t considered. The biggest problem here is that the combo is very mana intensive. You can start off with the “soft” loop where you get Root SnareRoot Snare, but that is still 10 mana for the full loop and will run out quickly.

Essentially, this version needs to have Wilderness ReclamationWilderness Reclamation every single game. This certainly adds some inconsistency and also makes the deck more vulnerable to enchantment hate.

Postboard, Murmuring MysticMurmuring Mystic can be a key alternate plan, but even if the opponent boards out their creature removal, cards like MortifyMortify and Deputy of DetentionDeputy of Detention can still disrupt you.

All in all, I don’t see the merit for this style of deck when regular Bant Turbo Fog builds have been refined to a point where they consistently keep chaining Nexus. Just take a look at the Turbo Fog list that won the recent Magic Online MCQ with 16 cantrips.
However cool this deck is, I don’t think it can be more than that, so my final verdict on Turbo Invent is:

MEME

Bant Tokens

Combining the best of two worlds

Hero of Precinct One March of the Multitudes by Zack Stella

March of the Multitudes by Zack Stella

Bant Tokens by Volkswagen

Creatures (18)
Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves
Incubation DruidIncubation Druid
Emmara, Soul of the AccordEmmara, Soul of the Accord
Trostani DiscordantTrostani Discordant
Hydroid KrasisHydroid Krasis

Spells (20)
FlowerFlower
History of BenaliaHistory of Benalia
Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal
March of the MultitudesMarch of the Multitudes
Baffling EndBaffling End
Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants
Lands (22)
Breeding PoolBreeding Pool
PlainsPlains
Sunpetal GroveSunpetal Grove
Temple GardenTemple Garden
ForestForest
Glacial FortressGlacial Fortress
Hallowed FountainHallowed Fountain

Sideboard (15)
Baffling EndBaffling End
Disdainful StrokeDisdainful Stroke
Hydroid KrasisHydroid Krasis
Knight of AutumnKnight of Autumn
Lyra DawnbringerLyra Dawnbringer
NegateNegate
Shalai, Voice of PlentyShalai, Voice of Plenty
Vivien ReidVivien Reid

Built by Volkswagen (also originator of the RG Dinosaurs deck that saw some play last February), they managed to 5-0 a handful of times before Matt Turnavich played the deck to the top 4 of the Team Constructed Open in Baltimore with the help of his teammates.
And now I’m fully eyeing this deck that combines the base of manadorks into Hydroid KrasisHydroid Krasis with the shell of GW Tokens.
The prime interaction here is how well Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants works with both Incubation DruidIncubation Druid and History of BenaliaHistory of Benalia, so it acts as a sort of glue between the two archetypes.

I must admit though that I am not very excited by Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves here. Not only do you only have 10 sources to cast it turn 1, your only 3-drop requires you to open on specifically Temple GardenTemple Garden to be able to be cast turn 2, and manadorks are kind of embarrassing with convoke.

Once you’ve used your elf to tap for both Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal and March of the MultitudesMarch of the Multitudes you feel kind of silly that it even has the ability to tap for mana instead of being another 1-drop, like Legion’s LandingLegion’s Landing. On the other hand, Hydroid KrasisHydroid Krasis really likes Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves, even if they don’t get cast turn 1, so it’s quite the dilemma.

Another awkward thing is how Hydroid KrasisHydroid Krasis wants you to always use your FlowerFlower // Flourish to fetch up a land, whereas in regular GW Tokens you would just hold it.
On the other hand, it is nice that if you flood out you know you have a bunch of powerful X-spells to draw to. Well, you have just as many manadorks to topdeck, but at least Incubation DruidIncubation Druid is serviceable here. It’s also nice to have a token deck that isn’t weak to Goblin ChainwhirlerGoblin Chainwhirler.

I’m quite split, just like the deck, on my final verdict. With the caveat that things might need to change here, such as cutting out Llanowar ElvesLlanowar Elves and focus on more 2- and 3-drops, perhaps Dovin, Grand ArbiterDovin, Grand Arbiter, I think Trostani DiscordantTrostani Discordant and friends are still undervalued in Standard which makes this deck:

META

Mardu Aristocrats

A more aggressive take

Meme Priest of Forgotten Gods by Zack Stella

Priest of Forgotten Gods by Zack Stella

Mardu Aristocrats by aspiringspike

Creatures (27)
Footlight FiendFootlight Fiend
GutterbonesGutterbones
Priest of Forgotten GodsPriest of Forgotten Gods
Hero of Precinct OneHero of Precinct One
Fireblade ArtistFireblade Artist
Judith, the Scourge DivaJudith, the Scourge Diva
Midnight ReaperMidnight Reaper

Spells (9)
MortifyMortify
Theater of HorrorsTheater of Horrors
Heroic ReinforcementsHeroic Reinforcements
Lands (24)
Blood CryptBlood Crypt
Clifftop RetreatClifftop Retreat
Godless ShrineGodless Shrine
Isolated ChapelIsolated Chapel
Dragonskull SummitDragonskull Summit
Sacred FoundrySacred Foundry
SwampSwamp

Sideboard (15)
Angrath, the Flame-ChainedAngrath, the Flame-Chained
BedevilBedevil
DuressDuress
Lava CoilLava Coil
PlaguecrafterPlaguecrafter

I posted a similar Mardu Aristocrats deck in my Hero of Precinct OneHero of Precinct One article, but since then the list has evolved to be more aggressive with Fireblade ArtistFireblade Artist and Heroic ReinforcementsHeroic Reinforcements.
I was looking forward to trying out this deck, but I must admit I was disappointed. To me, it looks good on paper, but once you are in the games you realize that the deck relies a lot on the survival of your important 2-drops and then doesn’t even give you a lot of payoff when you get there.
I think that Priest of Forgotten GodsPriest of Forgotten Gods is actually just unplayable, though it might just be that you shouldn’t attempt to put it in a deck with Heroic ReinforcementsHeroic Reinforcements.
Often the deck just felt underpowered, and had awkward interactions. For example Midnight ReaperMidnight Reaper doesn’t with tokens and 3 mana for MortifyMortify is just a lot of mana to pay for a removal spell in an aggro deck.

My judgment of this deck is pretty clear. Mardu Aristocrats gets a:

MEME

Boros Divination

Let’s make some angels!

Divine Visitation by Victor Adame

Divine Visitation by Victor Adame

Boros Divination by Ruiner

Creatures (16)
Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard
Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard
Tithe TakerTithe Taker
Legion WarbossLegion Warboss

Spells (20)
Legion’s LandingLegion’s Landing
History of BenaliaHistory of Benalia
Lava CoilLava Coil
Heroic ReinforcementsHeroic Reinforcements
Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants
Divine VisitationDivine Visitation
Lands (24)
Clifftop RetreatClifftop Retreat
MountainMountain
10 PlainsPlains
Sacred FoundrySacred Foundry

Sideboard (15)
Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants
Aurelia, Exemplar of JusticeAurelia, Exemplar of Justice
BanefireBanefire
DemystifyDemystify
Fight with FireFight with Fire
Ixalan’s BindingIxalan’s Binding
Lyra DawnbringerLyra Dawnbringer

I recognize Ruiner from when they worked to tune the UW Auras deck I absolutely loved to play about a year ago. And now they’re at it again, this time throwing their love over Divine VisitationDivine Visitation with multiple 5-0s and even somebody else also taking the list to a 5-0 finish in a league.
It’s clear to see what we’re trying to do here with so many token producers alongside Divine VisitationDivine Visitation. Legion WarbossLegion Warboss is one of the best ones in this case, because it can make a token for no mana investment immediately after you played Visitation. It even has haste! Oh woes that you are then forced to attack with your 4/4 vigilance flyer.

It’s super neat that we don’t sacrifice much in card quality to make this happen. Besides the Visitation itself, all cards in this main deck have seen play before. Also, sometimes you just curve Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard into History of BenaliaHistory of Benalia into Heroic ReinforcementsHeroic Reinforcements and win like a regular white aggro deck, albeit one with a much bigger top end.

I also want you to notice the 3 DemystifyDemystify in the sideboard. This overlooked Standard option is not only a blow-out against Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal in white mirrors, it also stops Wilderness ReclamationWilderness Reclamation, on a turn where they thought they were going to pass with all their mana untapped. Even if they don’t draw their reclamation, DemystifyDemystify can still disrupt their card advantage in Search for AzcantaSearch for Azcanta or Guild SummitGuild Summit.

Cute sideboard tech aside, I don’t really think it’s worth it to build your deck around a 5 mana enchantment that you for the most part need to untap with when you are venturing into a world of MortifyMortify, Spell PierceSpell Pierce and Vivien ReidVivien Reid. Plus, since this deck only runs 7 pay-off cards, you can easily lose after making a bunch of creatures that never really get to attack. However much it saddens me, I think I need to give Boros Visitation a:

MEME

 

This article was written by Simon Nielsen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com

Simon Nielsen

Author Simon Nielsen

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