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The 8 Spiciest Decks at Magic World Championship XXIX

September 22, 2023
Frank Karsten

In total, 105 Standard decklists were submitted for Magic World Championship XXIX, but some stand out more than others. The spiciest ones use innovative combinations of cards, represent a novel archetype, or do something that no one saw coming. In this article, we'll take a closer look at eight Standard decks that stood out to me the most. All of them are a small portion of the field, leverage new cards from Wilds of Eldraine, and stand a chance to take down the most prestigious event of the year.

Wilds of Eldraine has introduced new combos into Standard, and four World Championship competitors have registered a deck that can generate infinite mana with Agatha's Soul Cauldron. One of them is Alexey Paulot, the Arena Championship 2 finalist, who opted for a Simic build.

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The game plan is to exile Sleep-Cursed Faerie with Agatha's Soul Cauldron, putting two +1/+1 counters onto Kami of Whispered Hopes and granting it the untap ability from Sleep-Cursed Faerie. This means that Kami of Whispered Hopes now taps for three mana and untaps for two mana, allowing you to generate infinite mana. If you control Rona, Herald of Invasion with a +1/+1 counter or if have exiled one with Agatha's Soul Cauldron, then you can use infinite untaps to loot through your entire deck, find Realm-Scorcher Hellkite, and torch your opponent for infinite damage.

The difficult part is finding all the combo pieces and putting the required creatures into the graveyard. For this, Wrenn and Realmbreaker, Fallaji Archaeologist, and Seed of Hope are perfect—they mill yourself and dig for Agatha's Soul Cauldron. In addition, Argoth, Sanctum of Nature and Teachings of the Kirin can put key combo pieces into your graveyard, allowing you to potentially return Agatha's Soul Cauldron with Unnatural Restoration. All in all, it's a spicy brew, and it will be exciting to see it in action on the World Championship stage.

Pro Tour March of the Machine Top 4 competitor David Olsen and Canadian Regional Champions Philippe Gareau and William La Hay all prepared together as team Scoreboard. They settled on a spicy mono-blue combo deck based around Agatha's Soul Cauldron.

629567 Omen Hawker 615402

This deck has no Kami of Whispered Hopes to go infinite—instead, it exploits Training Grounds and Omen Hawker. If you control Training Grounds and concoct a creature that has Omen Hawker's tap ability and Sleep-Cursed Faerie's untap ability, then it will tap for two mana and untap for a single mana. Infinite mana turns into infinite Hypnotic Grifter activations, allowing you to find Realm-Scorcher Hellkite, discard it, and exile it with another Agatha's Soul Cauldron. Since the Cauldron enables you to activate creature abilities with any color of mana, a creature with a +1/+1 counter can then ping for infinite damage.

The fascinating aspect of this deck is that it can realistically win without finding Agatha's Soul Cauldron. For example, turn-one Training Grounds or Omen Hawker into turn-two Rona, Herald of Invasion or Surge Engine is a powerful start that allows you to attack with a 5-power creature on turn three. As such, this deck merges multiple strategies into a single formidable list.

Alexander Hayne qualified based on season-long Pro Tour performance, including a ninth-place finish at Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings. While he played Team Handshake's Mono-Green Tron list at that event, his deck for the World Championships comes out of left field.

629526 629539 Invasion of Segovia

His list exploits two of the best white cards from Wilds of Eldraine: Regal Bunnicorn and Virtue of Loyalty. Both are at their best when accompanied with a large army of tokens, as a wide team of creatures grows the Rabbit Unicorn and allows the Virtue to dish out loads of +1/+1 counters. Fortunately, white excels at creating tokens, and the list features Wedding Announcement, The Wandering Emperor, and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar.

Blue supports the strategy with two synergistic battles. Invasion of Segovia is the perfect follow-up to a turn-two Regal Bunnicorn, turning it into a 4/4 that can immediately defeat the battle, transforming it into a 3/3 that grants your noncreature spells convoke. This means that on turn four, you could tap all four of your creatures to convoke Invasion of Phyrexia for X=6, creating a massive invasion force of Knights. In an ideal world, you might even tap five of them to convoke Virtue of Loyalty, add +1/+1 counters, and untap your creatures, readying them to convoke Make Disappear when your opponent casts Sunfall. If this deck is firing on all cylinders, it snowballs out of control quickly.

Pro Tour Phyrexia Top 8 competitors Benton Madsen and Chris Ferber, both members of team Misfits, registered a sweet build of Rakdos Sacrifice that exploits several new cards.

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The strategy centers around Oni-Cult Anvil, which can turn tokens or Experimental Synthesizer into Construct tokens, draining the opponent in the process. Each sacrifice triggers Vraan, Executioner Thane, which can quickly reduce the opponent's life total down to zero. While this strategy has been on the fringes of Standard for a while, it got supercharged with several Wilds of Eldraine additions.

Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender rapidly grows into a vengeful size when you're sacrificing Blood tokens, Construct tokens, and other artifacts. Goddric, Cloaked Reveler fits the deck perfectly as well, as cards like Oni-Cult Anvil enable celebration with ease. Urabrask's Forge also has a lot of support in this deck, turning it into highly efficient one-mana removal. To enable celebration and bargain, Urabrask's Forge is a new standout—even though it doesn't create artifact tokens, it supports the aggressive game plan and the synergies, so all card choices work very well together.

Pro Tour Phyrexia Top 8 competitor Shota Yasooka is famous for preparing alone and making winning look easy once the tournament begins. Widely respected for his technical play and his innovative deck building approach, everyone always wants to know what Yasooka is playing.

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At its core, Yasooka's deck for the World Championship is a Dimir Faeries deck with a flash-based game plan. A configuration of 4 Sleep-Cursed Faerie, 4 Faerie Mastermind, and 2 Picklock Prankster enable Ego Drain and Spell Stutter, which are hyper-efficient pieces of interaction. It's almost like playing with superior versions of Thoughtseize and Mana Leak in Standard. Of course, there's a risk, especially with only 10 Faeries in the deck: If the only Faerie you control is removed in response to Ego Drain, then you'll be forced to exile a card from your hand. But that's why ward on Sleep-Cursed Faerie is so important.

While Dimir Faeries has seen a fair amount of play ever since the release of Wilds of Eldraine, Yasooka's deck has a twist. His list runs as many as 26 lands, splashing for 4 Restless Cottage! That's right—his list has zero actual green spells, not even in his sideboard. He merely uses his green dual lands for the activated abilities of Restless Cottage and Boseiju, Who Endures. This is a masterful piece of deck building. A tapped Restless Cottage on turn one is not a major cost given his mana curve, and the creature land is an excellent late-game mana sink. It wins the damage race after a series of one-for-one exchanges have depleted both players' resources.

Magic World Championship XXVIII finalist Eli Kassis prepared together with team CFB Ultimate Guard, where several members were happily chanting "Up the Beanstalk" in their testing house. While most of his teammates settled on Mono-White Humans or Domain Ramp, Kassis stuck with a spicier brew that he worked on with Brent Vos.

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The standout cards in the deck are Up the Beanstalk and Chrome Host Seedshark, which have amazing synergy with Leyline Binding. When you cast the flash enchantment for a single white mana, which is easily doable with all tri-lands in the deck, its mana value remains six. This means that you get to draw a card with Up the Beanstalk and create a 6/6 token with Chrome Host Seedshark. Sunfall triggers both cards as well. Furthermore, Virtue of Persistence and March of Otherworldly Light are early-game interactive spells that can trigger Up the Beanstalk and Chrome Host Seedshark in the late game.

Compared to Domain Ramp, which typically spends turn three or four on Topiary Stomper and Invasion of Zendikar, this deck affects the battlefield more in the early-to-mid game. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse and The Wandering Emperor are excellent against aggro decks, bridging towards the deck's powerful late game. When you're gaining life with Sheoldred, the Apocalypse while drawing extra cards with Up the Beanstalk, you'll take control of the game in no time.

Dan Kristoff qualified based on deep finishes in all three Pro Tours this season, with his 8-2 Constructed record as the sole Merfolk player at Pro Tour The Lord of the Rings as a memorable highlight. For the World Championship, he brought one of the most exciting and explosive decks enabled by Wilds of Eldraine.

Invasion of Alara 632235 Greater Tanuki

As the deck contains only five cards with mana value 4 or less—1 Go for the Throat and 4 Bramble FamiliarInvasion of Alara is guaranteed to hit at least one Bramble Familiar. Due to the way the Battle is worded, you are allowed to cast the adventure side of Bramble Familiar without paying its mana cost, which can provide a game-winning effect. If you mill Cemetery Desecrator along with one of the many seven-drops, then you get to put Cemetery Desecrator onto the battlefield, exile the seven-drop from your graveyard, and immediately transform Invasion of Alara, which is a completely absurd sequence.

Although the metagame adjusted after Invasion of Alara dominated the first week of Wilds of Eldraine Standard, Kristoff brought several innovations. Greater Tanuki ramps you into a potential turn-four Invasion of Alara, while Boulderbranch Golem fends off aggro assaults on turn four while synergizing with Fetch Quest and Awaken the Maelstrom later. Both cards increase the number of early-game plays without compromising Invasion of Alara's mana value restriction. An even more fascinating tweak is the playset of Duress in the sideboard, which may be common in many Standard decks, but it's more of a headscratcher alongside the cascade-like effect of Invasion of Alara. Yet Kristoff must have thought out his sideboard plans, and I'm curious to see if the counterplay provided by Duress may give him an edge in certain matchups.

Marco Vassallo qualified by winning a Magic Online Champions Showcase, where he used a Five-Color Reanimator deck in Modern that would return Atraxa, Grand Unifier with Goryo's Vengeance. Even though the card pool in Standard is completely different, he stuck with his favorite strategy for the World Championship.

The Cruelty of Gix 602726 Collector's Vault

The main game plan of his Standard deck is to put Atraxa, Grand Unifier into the graveyard and to subsequently reanimate it with the third chapter of The Cruelty of Gix. The Blood token from Bloodtithe Harvester is one of the most efficient ways to put Atraxa into the graveyard while simultaneously digging deeper into your deck. Together, this made for a popular Standard strategy earlier in the year before the ban of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker.

Wilds of Eldraine introduced a new key card: Collector's Vault. It's an amazing addition to the deck because it's a discard enabler and ramp engine all in one. If you discard Atraxa, Grand Unifier on turn three to create a Treasure, then The Cruelty of Gix can reanimate it as early as turn four, which is really powerful. While Vassallo's deck has some similarities to the various Rakdos Reanimator decks in the event, his use of Collector's Vault along with a more rainbow-oriented mana base allows him to splash for Corpse Appraiser, Wandering Mind, and Void Rend. He can even hardcast Atraxa, Grand Unifier with relative ease, and the spice extends to the sideboard, featuring Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh to bring the activation cost of Collector's Vault down to zero. We'll see if Vassallo can collect more wins as a reanimator specialist.

In conclusion, if you were looking for a fun new Standard deck to try out, then give one of these eight decks a try! They might be the key to victory at Magic World Championship XXIX, and if they do well, you'll surely see them in action on the livestream over the weekend.

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