The Best MTG Theros Beyond Death Decks

by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Feb, 7th 2020

As expansions come and go, new decks are going to come to the forefront. In MTG Arena, some decks update, while others stand strong no matter what happens in the format. So, we’re back again, this time with the best Theros Beyond Death decks we’ve seen in the new expansion! Some of them might feel familiar, some might be new, exciting, and horrifying.

Pretty much all these decks are ones I’ve personally piloted. That’s the difference between MTG Arena and Legends of Runeterra: It’s easier for me to draft and deck build with plenty of wildcards. It’s gonna take longer for LoR, but it’s going to happen, you can be assured of that, friends.

Most of these are designed for Best-of-One because that’s what I play the most. I’ll also include how many wildcards it takes to build the deck, so you’re aware of what you’re signing up for if you decide to build the deck in question.

I want you to be as armed as possible, ready to take on all other planeswalkers in MTG Arena! I want to point out an honorable mention with UW Control. We covered that in a recent article, and it has won quite a bit lately. I’m personally not in the “UW Control is Tier 1” camp, but I get the argument.

Best MTG Theros Beyond Death Decks: Degenerates in Red (Red Deck Wins, Aggro)

You know, of all of my best MTG Theros Beyond Death decks, I sincerely hate this one in particular. I want that be known right from the outset. I. Hate. Robber of the Rich. But it’s so good! I spent a good two weeks losing to this deck it felt like, so now I’m going to inflict it upon others, and help you do the same. It’s a little on the expensive side, though.

Thankfully, most of the “money” cards, so to speak, were from the previous sets. The deck only adds a handful of cards from Theros: Beyond Death. It didn’t need them, but it adds some new, fun punch to a deck that was starting to fall off.

Thanks to these cards, it’s more fun than ever to make people watch helplessly as the damage mounts, and they vanish, off to their next game just a bit more tilted. That’s what this deck does. The win often comes out of nowhere, and it makes the blood boil like never before.

How Does It Work?

Throne of Eldraine Robber of the Rich Card

Thankfully, this deck doesn’t run a ton of expensive lands; but it does have lots of Rares/Mythic Rares. Robber of the Rich, Embercleave, Torbran, and Runaway Steam-Kin are the returning heavy hitters. But what you need in your start, is Scorch Spitter and/or Robber of the Rich. I’ve seen this deck lose to pure greed. I watched someone take a start with just two Mountains and 4 Robbers of the Rich.

Once they lose the creatures, they lost the game. You want something in your hand to help you last, like Shock. Fervent Champion is another great start if you don’t have Scorch Spitter. The Champion at least has First Strike, so most early game creatures fall to it.

What you want to do is get those 1-drops out and follow up with Robber of the Rich. That’s what makes this deck so aggravating. Especially if your opponent is running a lot of Scry effects. When it attacks, if the defending player has more cards in hand than you, exile the top card of their library. If you attack with a Rogue on a turn, you can cast those spells with any mana. It’s so frustrating.

That’s what Runaway Steam-Kin is for! It’s extra mana, and you have incentive to dump as much mana a turn into your cards. You want to have fewer cards in your hand than your opponent, and that’s not hard to do. Hell, that’s just incentive to take mulligans if you need it. You also have a steady stream of creatures with Anax, who creates 1/1 red Satyrs that can’t block.

Anax is my favorite target for Embercleave too. His power is based on your Red Devotion, and you have enough to make him hurt a lot with or without Embercleave. But that gives trample and double strike. Just some food for though. He’s not the best card in the deck, but he sure is nice.

Your goal is to just hammer your opponent over and over with tons of damage. The sooner you can get Torbran, Thane of Red Fell onto the field the better too. He amplifies all your damage, so those little 1/1s are a threat since they do +2 damage. All red sources do! Anax is our replacement for Chandra. Who needs her, when we have this new mighty warrior? His Satyrs don’t disappear at the end of turn, so you have tons of ready attackers.

If you’ve been attacking with at least 1 Robber of the Rich, try to hold your mana until the second main phase. That way if you exile something good of your opponent’s you can in theory cast it! This is also a great way to keep filtering away lands from your opponent. You can’t play them, but you can prevent the other player from drawing into them!

Key Cards/Wildcards

Commons: 29

Uncommons: 4

Rares: 19

Mythic Rares: 8

Only two cards changed in this particular deck: Phoenix of Ash and Anax, Hardened in the Forge are the new, fun toys. Unlike previous MTG Arena decks I’ve talked about here, this is not a Cavalcade of Calamity deck. This deck is about pushing out ridiculous damage, and occasionally surprising your opponents with their cards. That’s what Robber is for. He also has Reach, in addition to the Haste, which makes this deck so annoying. But what are the key cards?

Phoenix of Ash (Rare): A 2/2, Flying, Haste creature for 3 mana (2-red), that can also inflate? Are you kidding me? That’s not even the best part! Sure, for 3 mana (1 red) it can give +2/+0 until end of turn. But it can escape! It’s 4 mana (2 red) and exiling 3 other cards. Plus. . . plus! It escapes with a +1/+1 counter on it! Slap an Embercleave on this bad boy, and the damage comes out of nowhere. Phoenix of Ash combined with Torbran is disgusting. The only thing this card needs is trample, and that’s where Embercleave does best. Phoenix of Ash is an incredibly strong card for 3 mana, and in addition to being good on its own, it’s also +2 attack for Anax, thanks to the 2 mana in the casting cost. Phoenix of Ash isn’t the head degenerate of this deck, but they’re pretty darn close.

Anax, Hardened in the Forge (Uncommon): Anax, Hardened in the Forge is a */3 for 3, and his power is equal to your devotion to red. That makes him a minimum of a ⅔ but is likely to drop with much more. Whenever Anax, or another non-token creature you control dies, you receive a 1/1 red Satyr creature that can’t block. If that dead creature had a power 4 or greater, you get 2 of those tokens instead. This card shines with Torbran and Embercleave as well. I mean, those make any card in this deck good, but in the mid-range, if you couldn’t win by aggro time, this can seal up a free win. Does your opponent think they’re safe by blocking with their 1/1 flyer? Suddenly, Embercleave flies out of nowhere! Also consider dropping a second Embercleave, if you have one in play already. Your opponent expects you to re-equip, but this could come out cheaper. You’ll lose one, but you can win the game. That’s the important part, right?

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (Rare): Torbran, Thane of Red Fell might be the best red card to come out of Throne of Eldraine. The only other one that stands as tall to me is Robber of the Rich. We’ve talked about Torbran on this site a bunch, and there’s a great reason why. All your red damage is +2. Shock is a 4-damage, and Embercleave’s Double Strike+Trample is suddenly the game-ender. It was already likely to, but now it’s +4 damage for sure. Runaway Steam-Kin can make this card very easy to cast too, especially if you’ve had time to cast lots of cheap red spells. I can’t say too much more about Torbran, except that he’s amazing, and you should use him often.

Robber of the Rich (Mythic Rare): I half-expected this card to be legendary when first revealed. A 2/2 for 2, that also has Reach/Haste, and an incredibly busted ability? Oh yeah. We already pointed out that if you have fewer cards than the defending player, you exile their top card. And anytime you swing with a Rogue in a turn, you can cast those spells. I tend to get lands more than anything, but it thins out your opponent’s deck, and if they used Opt or something to Scry for an amazing top card, you can put a stop to it, and then use it yourself. The more mana you have, the better this card is, so Runaway Steam-Kin again, is a hoot.


Honestly? This deck is another one that I think is just fine as-is. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do some minor changes. Claim the Firstborn, Shadowspear, and Tibalt, Rakish Instigator are the best sideboard cards in my opinion. Shadowspear is incredible all on its own to add Trample/Lifesteal, and Claim the First Born can help you get damage through in a pinch. Redcap Melee is a neat creature, but I like the other creatures I’m running. But if I swap things out, it’s probably going to be a Phoenix of Ash, or one or two Runaway Steam-Kin. The other creatures I think are far too important. Maybe a couple of Shocks, if you don’t have any real targets for them.


4 Fervent Champion (ELD) 124

4 Robber of the Rich (ELD) 138

4 Runaway Steam-Kin (GRN) 115

19 Mountain (BFZ) 265

4 Scorch Spitter (M20) 159

3 Shock (M20) 160

3 Rimrock Knight (ELD) 137

4 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell (ELD) 147

3 Castle Embereth (ELD) 239

4 Embercleave (ELD) 120

4 Anax, Hardened in the Forge (THB) 125

4 Phoenix of Ash (THB) 148


2 Claim the Firstborn (ELD) 118

2 Redcap Melee (ELD) 135

2 Embereth Shieldbreaker (ELD) 122

4 Unchained Berserker (M20) 164

3 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator (WAR) 146

2 Shadowspear (THB) 236

Final Thoughts

This deck is a whole heap of fun to play. It’s a degenerate deck, and you should probably not feel proud about using it. But it gets results, and that’s a fact. I’ve considered putting Shadowspear and/or a Tibalt in the main deck, just for certain situations that crop up. The Shadowspear can give valuable Trample options, and Tibalt is just for life-gain decks. You want that to stop immediately, and he’s an easy answer.

What stops this deck though? Getting a slow start can be miserable. If you do, a control deck, or something like Jeskai Fires can put you down. I’ve also had a hard time with Gates. You don’t run any creature with a ton of health. That and UW Flyers is the bane of this deck unless you stop them before they stop you. There are some super greedy hands in this deck though. When you play Robber of the Rich, your opponent is going to do everything they can to stop him.

One thing I’ve seen is this deck tries to play Robber of the Rich 2 or 3 turns in a row. If one gets stopped, bait out their control and sneak another one out when you can. Especially later in the game when you have enough mana to pop him out, swing, and drop a surprise Embercleave. It’s not a cheap deck to build, but it gets work done, and most of the deck is incredibly low mana cost. It means, it pulls no punches, and it’s a Tier 1 deck.

Best MTG Theros Beyond Death Decks: Elemental Hero Jerkman (Blue/Green Ramp Mid-Range)

There are so many different, horrifying Simic Ramp decks right now. There are as many versions as there are flavors at Baskin Robbins. This is not the one I run personally, but it’s one I’m working on as well (because you can’t have too many Simic flavors). This one takes advantage of just two new cards also, because it’s not a deck that needed much in the way of improvement.

It takes advantage of my favorite combo I’ve seen in Theros so far: Agent of Treachery + Thassa, Deep-Dwelling. This lets me steal a permanent every single turn. You only run one Agent, and two Thassa’s, so it’s not your “end game”. But it’s a way to make someone submit when they realize they have no answers for your entire gameplan. You have a few ways to win in this deck, thankfully. It’s going to do one of two things: Make your opponent surrender or hit them with so much damage, the game is over before they can even come up with a response.

How Does It Work?

MTG Arena Theros Beyond Death Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath Card

If you can keep a Nissa, Who Shakes the World on the board, this battle is already won. That makes casting Finale of Devastation for a huge number even easier. That’s my favorite way to win with this deck. You wait until your opponent can’t counter (or if they aren’t running control, more’s the better!), and tap for as much mana as you can muster.

Seek out End-Raze Forerunners is the next step. If you paid out 10 or more mana (easy), this creature and all other creatures you control gain haste and +X/+X until end of turn. End-Raze gives your other creatures +2/+2 and Trample. Then swing for 40, 50, 60 damage. Whatever you can get out of it. So, if you have Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and a big Hydroid Krasis on the field, that’s game! Sad part about this deck, it’s very hard to get Thassa, Deep-Dwelling as a creature, but you’ll still get the passive effect.

You’ll only get it, if you get Thassa, Agent of Treachery, and Cavalier of Gales out at one time, but that’s so damn hard to do.

Key Cards/Wildcards

Commons: 17

Uncommons: 4

Rares: 20

Mythic Rares: 13

Like I said before, there are so darn many ways to run this deck. You could build it more for the Agent of Treachery combo, or just All Elementals All The Time, like I did (except for Agent). This deck is reliant on ramping, building up an army of Elementals, and then swinging with Finale of Devastation. If you want to be the biggest jerk that there could be, you could use it to seek for Agent of Treachery. If you know your opponent won’t win, you can use it, steal their last creature, and swing for lethal. It’s not a very nice thing to do.

But it’s fun though!

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (Mythic Rare): This is one of the new cards that went into this deck. One of two. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath goes to the grave unless it escaped, but it still gets to activate it’s special. For 3 mana, you’ll gain 3 life, and draw a card. You can also play a land from your hand (it doesn’t enter tapped). Uro is a 6/6, that also triggers this ability when you attack. The escape cost isn’t bad either: 4 mana (2G, 2U) and exiling 5 cards from the graveyard. This is a card that lets you be hyper-aggressive and gain from it. It’s irrelevant if the creature dies because he can come back thanks to Cavalier of Thorns. It dumps cards into the grave so he can always come back for more.

Thassa, Deep-Dwelling (Mythic Rare): Thassa, Deep-Dwelling has a lot of utility in this deck. Simply by being on the board as an enchantment, Thassa is a threat. On your end step, you can exile a creature you control and then return it to the battlefield. For a variety of triggers, this is useful. Even better, if you stole a creature with Agent of Treachery, you could do it to them without losing ownership! But the biggest move is Thassa+Agent. Just steal stuff every single turn. You can also use with Risen Reef to constantly ramp and card draw. Or Cavalier of Thorns to get cards in the grave for Uro. Trust me, there’s a ton of playability here. Until you have Devotion to Blue of 5 or higher, it’s an enchantment. She’s a 6/5 indestructible. But you can also tap 4 (1U) to tap another creature. Do this with Nissa out and you can tap every attacking creature before that phase comes around.

Finale of Devastation: This is the big winner in the deck. You have tons of card draw for it, and Cavalier of Thorns can bring it back when he dies if for some reason you need to do it again. Finale of Devastation is a 2-cost+ X (2G), and it lets you go to your library and/or graveyard for a card, that costs X or less. If it’s 10 mana or more tapped in that X, you get +X/+X on all creatures, and they have haste until end of turn. It’s your big game-winner. End-Raze Forerunner is the best card for this, but you use it on anything because they get haste anyway. Depending on the situation, pick whatever card you want to win the game with. But you’re only running 1 End-Raze Forerunner, so it’s a sure way to get it. You can also use it early to make sure you get the creature you need for a situation. Cavalier of Thorns can give you a few more shots, depending on how the game shakes up, after all.


Triceratops is so good in this deck. I also want to find room for that extra Agent of Betrayal! It’s hard for me to figure out exactly what to throw out in this deck to add in for sideboard, but it would probably be the Gilded Goose, for stuff like Wicked Wolf, or Return to Natures. I seldom find myself using the Geese, after all. Aether Gust and Mystical Dispute won’t go amiss either. Mystical Dispute against other Blue decks, since you have zero counterspells otherwise.


3 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183

4 Risen Reef (M20) 217

4 Leafkin Druid (M20) 178

4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169

3 Cavalier of Thorns (M20) 167

9 Forest (ELD) 268

6 Island (XLN) 267

4 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255

4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246

2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

2 Castle Garenbrig (ELD) 240

1 Agent of Treachery (M20) 43

2 Thassa, Deep-Dwelling (THB) 71

2 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (THB) 229

4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178

1 Cavalier of Gales (M20) 52

2 Gilded Goose (ELD) 160

1 End-Raze Forerunners (RNA) 124

2 Finale of Devastation (WAR) 160

2 Return to Nature (ELD) 173

3 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 194

3 Aether Gust (M20) 42

3 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

1 Agent of Treachery (M20) 43

3 Wicked Wolf (ELD) 181

Final Thoughts

Oh boy, I love Simic Ramp. I received a bunch of pretty easy wins with this deck. The downside is that you can deck yourself out with Cavalier of Thorns, by doing it over and over. You have plenty of ways to win. Hydroid Krasis doubles as a win-con, and a way to stay in the game (life gain and card draw). You have a horde of mana in the deck, with Leafkin, Risen Reef (Ramp), and Growth Spiral/Gilded Goose (more ramp).

Nissa makes life easier, but she’s also an immediate threat to your opponent. The downside is while you mana ramp pretty fast if you aren’t getting your damage, your opponent will likely lock you down. Heavy control/AOE can stop you dead in your tracks. I also feel like decks that use a lot of mill can target this deck. That way, you lose all your win conditions, and there isn’t a lot that can be done to stop it. That’s why my version of this deck runs exactly 1 Jace. That way, I can sneak a win in from mill (or self-mill with Thassa + Cavalier of Thorns).

I also have a hard time with Aggro and Sacrifice decks. Decks that hit fast and hard or force me to sac (or set up damage loops via sacrifice) are not a fun time. Niv-Mizzet decks can stop it, but they must get moving before you. If it does. . . Mana ramp, be smart and get that huge damage setup going as soon as possible. Even when you’re down to your last card, and last point of health, you can come back and get an exciting, stomp-happy win.

Best MTG Theros Beyond Death Decks: Dream Trawler and Pals (Blue/White Control)

I’ve heard some less-evolved people say this deck isn’t any good, because it relies on one creature. That’s dangerous, I’ll grant you. But it’s a deck that relies on one creature in a WHITE BLUE CONTROL DECK. Do you know how much power that has all on its own?

Mountains of it, if you’ll pardon the expression. One of the down sides of Azorius Control is it never felt like it had a reliable win condition. You self-milled, or you controlled until you could winnow an opponent down with 1/1 tokens, stuff like that. It wasn’t reliable, but it was fun and trolly. But we have a new tool in the world of control. In a deck that’s heavy on holding cards in your hand until the right moment, we always have an answer.

So, what’s our new, incredible tool in the control toolkit? Dream. Trawler. Sure, it’s a 6-drop, but it’s effective use is endless. It can avoid virtually any removal (except board wipe), provided you have at least one card in your hand. Simply drawing cards can make him more powerful for the turn too. Dream Trawler is a blessing, but that cost is a little prohibitive. So, you really must lay low and set up the field and your hand for success.

How Does It Work?

MTG Arena Theros Starter Decks Dream Sweet Dreams Dream Trawler Card

Now Dream Trawler isn’t the only new card in this deck, not by half! This Azorius Control deck is almost entirely new it feels. I would say it’s about half old, half new. The new white/blue enchantments are very strong, if for no other reason than they can give you life, defenders, card draw, and scry. You can do so much stuff with them!

We don’t need Elspeth in this deck, but she’s a cheeky, fun addition to the deck. She can give token creatures, buff your Dream Trawler, gain life in a pinch and has Escape, so she can come back and do it again. But what’s the endgame with this deck? Dream Trawler, of course.

Your endgame is to get your enemies’ board clear, play Dream Trawler, and keep the pressure on. Dream Trawler is a card that gives you card draw, buffs, and more, simply by existing. It’s a Flyer/Lifelink too, so it’s going to keep you in the game if it possibly can.

“But Jason!” I hear you asking. “It relies on one creature! Why are you using board wipe?!” Because Teferi, of course! And Elspeth! We have ways to keep Dream Trawler in play or bring him back. Don’t you worry, my sweet summer child. We have, as they say, options. This is a deck that does not win quickly, unless your opponent frankly, gives up.

You have Teferi and Narset (of course, you do) for getting the right card, stopping your opponent’s draw, and preventing them from casting instants in general. You want to be the only player who is interrupting the flow of the game. The other player is not allowed to do that if you want to win.

So, Dream Trawler is your win con. Baseline, it’s a ⅗ Flying/Lifelink, and we’re going to talk about it again shortly. But it grows when you draw (until end of turn) and it makes you draw a card when you declare attack with it. You see where this is going, I’m sure. Out of all the MTG Arena Theros Decks, this can be the most annoying, I think. Simply being stalled out until your opponent decides to win is infuriating.

The name of the game is to board wipe, set up your planeswalkers, counter-play their key cards, and constantly harass them with interrupts until you can get a Dream Trawler through. Plus, for decks that run absolute tons of triggers and spells to go off at once, Whirlwind Denial is snuck in with a 1-of. It’s a great way to stop (temporarily at least) the mono-white trigger spam.

The name of the game is to be a pest. You have Omen of the Sea to either 1. Scry for cards for the next turn, or as a damage boost when swinging with a Dream Trawler. Then you have The Birth of Meletis for mana drawing (plains), life, and defenders. But those aren’t the only enchantments we need. One of the best in the expansion, Elspeth Conquers Death is here.

Elspeth Conquers Death lets you get rid of an annoying card (like gods), adds to your opponent’s casting cost, and lets you bring back a creature or planeswalker (AND buff it)! Elspeth Conquers Death is incredibly strong in this deck. It’s one of the key cards in Esper Danse too, so it’s no big shock. You also have Glass Casket as an early game way to deny people cards.

There’s a card I’d like to try and find room for in this deck, and that’s Archon of Sun’s Grace. Maybe I’ll swap it out for the Whirlwind Denial. You run so many enchantments in this deck. You can easily get those Pegasus Tokens. The downside is that if you board wipe, they all go away. It is some food-for-thought though.

If you can hold down the board and prevent your opponent from getting the leg up, you can make them sad, as Dream Trawler whittles away their life points.

Key Cards/Wildcards

Commons: 8

Uncommons: 12

Rares: 32

Mythic Rares: 1

Yes, yes, I know. 32 Rares. It’s a control deck! It runs virtually every valuable card it can. That’s just how Control Decks go. The part that surprises me is only “1” Mythic Rare, and it’s Elspeth! Early on, I went on the record to say that Elspeth is mediocre at best, and I didn’t see where she fit into the meta at all. But I see she has value in this deck. If nothing else, she’s a suitable distraction for you to get other cards into play. She can create tokens, and buff for you, and at 4 mana, that’s not bad.

I don’t think she’s amazing, but I think she’s got some potential value for this deck. I might get rid of her and Whirlwind Denial for Sorcerous Spyglasses too though. Being able to lock down some of my opponent’s cards from being used would be great.

Elspeth Conquers Death (Rare): Oh, Elspeth. You have been the bane of my existence since you first appeared. Elspeth Conquers Death, in my opinion, is on the same power level as The Eldest Reborn. The only downside it has is that it’s a 5-cost Saga (2-white). But what does it do, exactly? It’s a 3-part Saga with the following effects:

  • I: Exile a permanent an opponent controls that costs has a converted mana cost of 3 or higher.
  • II: Non-Creature spells your opponents cast cost 2 colorless mana more until your next turn.
  • III: Return target creature or planeswalker from your graveyard back into play. Give it a +1/+1 counter or a loyalty counter.

If you don’t want to get rid of it before Part III, you can always use Teferi to pull it back to your hand and use the other parts again! I’ve done this when I have a glut of mana and board advantage. It just means you get to exile another annoying permanent. It’s a card with serious #value.

Teferi, Time Raveler (Rare): Tired of me talking about how good Teferi, Time Raveler is yet? Well, at least we can say he’s the only relevant Teferi in the meta. When he rotates out (later this year I believe), I imagine we’ll have another new Teferi to worry about. The word on the street is he’s going to be the face of Core Set 2021. Teferi, Time Raveler completely stalls out any deck that needs instants (Simic Flash). However, one of the mistakes I see people making with him is playing him and immediately using his -3 to return an enchantment/creature/artifact to its owner’s hand to draw a card. There are times when this is great. But often, this is not the play.

Especially when RDW is in Tier 1. Do you want to immediately lose Teferi? That’s how you immediately lose Teferi. He’s invaluable to this deck, simply for his power to slow the game down and bounce things away. He can also let you cast Sorceries during your opponent’s turn though! There is nothing (and I mean nothing) more frustrating than playing a ton of creatures and having them board wiped at instant speed.

Dream Trawler (Rare): This is the main card that brought Azorius Control back to prominence. Is it invulnerable? No, of course not. But it can make itself have hexproof by simply discarding a card. It taps Dream Trawler though, so it can’t attack that turn. The flying/lifelink is already good, but in decks with more card draw, it can be even viler. In this deck, it’s not going to win in one hit, but it is going to make your opponent think twice. As a baseline ⅗, it’s strong, and when you tack flying on, it’s even better. Just. . . make sure you keep cards in hand.


This sideboard is very similar to another sideboard in this article. The long and short of it, if you’re playing Best of 3, you can swap out cards like Absorb, or maybe even Omen of the Sea for cheaper, other counterplay and exile options. You have plenty of them. I like the deck how it is, but you have some fun options if you’re of the mind to deal with specific threats.


2 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251

2 Castle Ardenvale (ELD) 238

5 Plains (ELD) 253

2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

7 Island (XLN) 267

3 Absorb (RNA) 151

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221

4 Shatter the Sky (THB) 37

4 Elspeth Conquers Death (THB) 13

1 Blast Zone (WAR) 244

3 Dream Trawler (THB) 214

3 Omen of the Sea (THB) 58

4 The Birth of Meletis (THB) 5

4 Narset, Parter of Veils (WAR) 61

1 Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis (THB) 14

2 Temple of Enlightenment (THB) 246

1 Whirlwind Denial (THB) 81

3 Glass Casket (ELD) 15

1 Time Wipe (WAR) 223

4 Devout Decree (M20) 13

3 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

3 Dovin’s Veto (WAR) 193

1 Heliod’s Intervention (THB) 19

2 Sorcerous Spyglass (XLN) 248

2 Aether Gust (M20) 42

Final Thoughts

Now, this is not an unbeatable deck. By a few turns, your opponent is probably going to be on to your shenanigans. It can be stopped by forcing them to burn through their hand, leaving Dream Trawler vulnerable. Do you know what I think is fascinating? For a deck that relies on “one card,” you can take this whole deck out with “one card.”

Unmoored Ego! That’s right! If you are running it, and know this is a Dream Trawler deck, use Unmoored Ego on that, Teferi, and Elspeth Conquers Death! Unmoored Ego on Dream Trawler doesn’t make it impossible to win, but it’s going to make it a serious uphill climb. Now you must rely on 1/1 tokens and hope they will be enough because your main damage point is gone.

Decks that out-aggro you (RDW), decks that control the board in other ways (Jund/Rakdos Sac), and heavier/faster control can spell your demise. This deck is all about getting board dominance and holding it until you win. Failing to do so can be a Very Bad Thing (™). It is however fun, and despite what some people have said, I think UW Control is a Tier 1 deck. It’s costly to build. However, if you were looking for a control option, this is one of the two to go with. It’s this or Esper Hero, in my estimation.

Best MTG Theros Beyond Death Decks: Fires of Oh No. . . (Mid-Range)

I’m sad to say this, but Jeskai Fires is good just the way it was. There are new cards you can add, but this deck only runs one of them! But if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Perhaps I’ll add some cards at the end of stuff you could add to the deck. But Jeskai Fires is still a scumbag deck and is positively infuriating.

Jeskai Fires is another deck that you can run in a few ways. There is the “Superfriends” option, that runs all the Red, White, and Blue planeswalkers. Then you stuff a few extras like Nicol Bolas in the sideboard, and fetch for them. But that’s not what we’re doing here. This is “Creatures” Fires. You play a bunch of large, frustrating creatures, and come out of nowhere with a win. This is the deck that when you see your opponent play a Cavalier of Flames, you know the match is over. They’re going to inflate everyone, give ‘em haste, and punch you in the proverbial face.

One of the things I love about MTG Arena right now, is that there is no “right” version of these decks. You can tune them to whatever you need to utilize. Especially in a Fires deck! Grixis Fires, Jeskai Fires, 5-Colored Fun Fires! There’s a Fires deck for any flavor of MTG you want, it seems.

Though, I want to focus on Jeskai Fires. I’ll give a few other Fires options at the end though, because there plenty. Now, Jeskai Fires is still the best version of the deck, but there are janky ways to do it regardless.

How Does It Work?

MTG Theros Beyond Death Cavalier of Flame Card

Jeskai Fires hasn’t changed its strategy, because frankly, it doesn’t have to. Compared to the last Jeskai Creatures MTG Arena deck I ran, Theros only added one card. Shatter the Sky is the new one and is a new way to board wipe, while also potentially giving you (and the opponent) card draw. So, what is a Fires deck?

Fires of Invention is a red enchantment, that is effectively a double-edged sword. The upside is you can cast spells without consuming mana to do so. The downside is that you can no longer cast spells when it’s not your turn, and you can only cast two spells a turn. But you can cast any spell that has a converted mana cost of X or less, where X is the number of lands you have in play. That’s why Teferi is so incredibly important. No matter what Fires deck it is, you can almost guarantee Teferi is in it. He stops people from countering you.

So, you have to make sure every spell counts. You want Fires by turn 4 and want to never miss a land drop. That’s one of the biggest weaknesses in Fires of Invention decks: Missing land drops. Since this is the creature version of the deck, having at least one Sphinx of Foresight in your starting hand is also very key. It lets you scry the first three cards of your deck on your opening turn. That’s a fantastic way to see what’s coming and get rid of what isn’t useful.

Jeskai Fires has so many answers to the early game threat. Bonecrusher Giant, Deafening Clarion, Banishing Light and Shatter the Skies. But what you want to win the game with is Cavalier of Flames and any other creatures you can field. That’s what makes this deck so great. You play a few creatures over two turns, then play Cavalier of Flame. Since you don’t have to pay mana for creature drops, you can tap as much mana as you’d like for Cavalier of Flames special ability.

For 2 mana (1 red), you give all your creatures +1/+0 and haste until end of turn. This stacks, too. That’s when you hold 1 red mana though: Kenrith. Kenrith can give all creatures haste and trample (even enemy creatures) until the end of turn. So, you give ‘em all trample, inflate them, and swing for lethal.

So you board wipe, target down creatures, and do everything you can to draw more cards (Shimmer of Possibility, Teferi, Cavalier of Gales). Use Sphinx of Foresight to ensure that your next card has a much better chance of being what you want. Kenrith keeps you in the game with card draw, life gain, whatever you want.

Since this deck doesn’t run mana ramp, it’s key not to miss land drops. Be careful, though, because you may not want to try to drop Fires of Invention on turn 4. If your opponent even has a hint of countering, you really must figure out what you can/cannot do.

If you can bait their counters, that’s great. They might not even have any, but in my experience, there’s always a counter waiting. So be aware of what your opponent is running. Be safe, be smart, and when it’s time, be hyper-aggressive. With Teferi on the field, you should be safe just to play whatever you want.

The end game is very clear for this deck: Cavalier of Flame, Kenrith, Whatever Else You Can Field. I’ve won with this deck simply by board wiping, playing Cavalier of Gales, then playing a pair of creatures the next turn and swinging lethal. With Teferi, you can board wipe on your opponent’s turn, if you don’t have Fires in play. That sadly won’t happen too often I imagine.

So, you want to get those creatures on the board, and at least a Cavalier of Flame. Giving all your creatures at least +1 and haste is serious business. Otherwise, Kenrith will do in a pinch. Please bear in mind that you can use Kenrith’s abilities anytime. Fires only halts your spellcasting, not ability usage. So, feel free to gain life, draw cards, whatever you need, during their turn.

Key Cards/Wildcards

Commons: 4

Uncommons: 1

Rares: 43

Mythic Rares: 9

Good. Lord. 43 Rares?! Welcome to high-end MTG Arena! At least you aren’t buying this with real money, yeah? This may have the most rares out of any of the MTG Arena Theros decks I cover, but it’s a doozy. Thankfully, you’re more likely to have many of these cards already. If you don’t have the Shatter the Skies, you can replace it with any other board wipe you feel like using.

I know that number looks high. But that’s the nature of Tier 1 MTG. You are going to use a lot of those rares because they’re amazing. Most of the sideboard is common to uncommon though. It’s mostly side stuff to help you by exiling, countering, or other board control. I would put “Fires of Invention” as a key card, but I imagine, with the card in the deck name, you already know this! So, here are the best creature cards for use with it.

Kenrith, The Returned King (Mythic Rare): Kenrith is best used in decks with all flavors of mana in it. The only downside is that you don’t have black mana to bring creatures back from the grave. He has five abilities, one for each color of mana. But if you wanted, you could slap in some Black/X Dual lands, but it wouldn’t be efficient, in my opinion. His use in this deck is white mana (gain 5 life), blue mana (draw a card), and red mana (haste/trample). He’s also a 5/5 for 5. Kenrith is incredibly popular, and he can keep you in a match. My favorite thing is to use him on my opponent’s turn to gain 5 or 10 life. There are times when simply using Kenrith gets you a win because your opponent can’t (or doesn’t want to) deal with how much life you gain.

Cavalier of Flame (Mythic Rare): Oh, Cavalier of Flame. You do so much yet ask for so little. We appreciate you here at Esports Talk. Each color received a Cavalier, but Flame might be one of the best. They’re a 5-drop (3 red) but not in this deck! They’re a 0-drop! When Cavalier of Flame comes into play, you can discard any number of cards, and draw that many again. It would behoove well of you to consider dropping lands you don’t need. Why? When Cavalier of Flame dies, you deal X damage to each opponent and each planeswalker they control. X is equal to the number of lands in your graveyard. So, mill decks can very quickly backfire with Cavalier of Flames in play. I’ve won my share of games by making sure Cavalier of Flame must be blocked and killed, only to win via “land damage.”

Cavalier of Gales (Mythic Rare): Oh, you silly Cavaliers. This 5-drop (3 blue) is a 5/5 flyer with a whole lot of upside. You get to draw 3 cards when it comes into play and put any 2 in your hand back on top of your deck. That’s not all, either! When/if Cavalier of Gales dies, you shuffle it back into your deck, and Scry 2. So, you get to peek at the top 2, and decide if you keep them, or put them back on the bottom of your deck. Oh, you know what would be fun in this deck? Dream Trawler! I’ll see about putting that in the “Maybeboard.” I’d put it in over Shatter the Skies, or maybe one of the Giants. Cavalier of Gales is great for damage, and for figuring out your next move. Drawing 3 cards simply for casting him is a serious value. Best case, you can bounce it back, cast it again, with a Dream Trawler already in play. Then use the Cavalier of Flame to drop haste and swing lethal!


Your sideboard is filled to the brim with annoying counterspells. Dovin’s Veto, Mystical Dispute and Aether Gust all fill the role of “getting rid of annoying things” well. Disenchantment is just in case you’re dealing with a frustrating enchantment thing. Make that “All That Glitters” disappear! Sorcerous Spyglass for utility too. Make Heliod stop doing the annoying Lifelink nonsense, as an example. If you’re dealing with the Dimir match (or Mono-Black), Devout Decree can shoo away a Nightmare Shephard, Ayara, or something of its ilk.


4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251

3 Temple of Triumph (M20) 257

3 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253

4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257

2 Sacred Foundry (GRN) 254

1 Plains (ELD) 250

2 Mountain (ELD) 262

2 Island (ELD) 254

3 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242

1 Banishing Light (THB) 4

4 Fires of Invention (ELD) 125

1 Shatter the Sky (THB) 37

2 Shimmer of Possibility (RNA) 51

4 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165

4 Sphinx of Foresight (RNA) 55

2 Kenrith, the Returned King (ELD) 303

3 Cavalier of Gales (M20) 52

4 Cavalier of Flame (M20) 125

4 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221

3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

3 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58

2 Dovin’s Veto (WAR) 193

1 Disenchant (M20) 14

4 Devout Decree (M20) 13

2 Aether Gust (M20) 42

2 Sorcerous Spyglass (XLN) 248

1 Shatter the Sky (THB) 37

Maybeboard: As of this writing, I’m willing to slide out something else to put Dream Trawler in.

Final Thoughts

If Fires of Invention is a card in the meta, it’s going to be plausible. That’s simply the way it is. Is it the best deck? Nah, of course not. But is it fun and frustrating in equal measures? You better believe it! When it’s going, it’s so damn frustrating. You can build this deck with virtually any color combo, and it can be successful. While I prefer the Superfriends Iteration (which we’ve covered previously), I like this one too.

This deck, while again has no ramping, arguably moves faster than the planeswalkers. This deck doesn’t wait around until it can win, it starts swinging as soon as you can get Cavaliers on the Board. You don’t need to get four or five planeswalkers out and swing with them via Sarkhan. But is Jeskai Fires the only way to play it? Of course not!

Jund Fires (This will probably be covered in depth later)

4 Temple of Malice (THB) 247

2 Casualties of War (WAR) 187

1 Temple of Malady (M20) 254

3 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253

1 Temple of Abandon (THB) 244

3 Klothys, God of Destiny (THB) 220

3 Swamp (ANA) 63

3 Cindervines (RNA) 161

3 Bedevil (RNA) 157

2 Angrath’s Rampage (WAR) 185

3 Tymaret Calls the Dead (THB) 118

1 Cry of the Carnarium (RNA) 70

4 Storm’s Wrath (THB) 157

3 Agonizing Remorse (THB) 83

2 Underworld Dreams (THB) 121

3 Theater of Horrors (RNA) 213

3 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259

4 Fires of Invention (ELD) 125

2 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241

3 Mountain (ANA) 64

3 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger (THB) 221

4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245

5-Colored Fires

1 Plains (ELD) 253

1 Island (M20) 267

2 Kenrith, the Returned King (ELD) 303

1 Mountain (THB) 253

4 Niv-Mizzet Reborn (WAR) 208

4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178

1 Swamp (ELD) 258

4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221

3 Temple Garden (GRN) 258

3 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253

2 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246

3 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165

1 Escape to the Wilds (ELD) 189

3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244

4 Fires of Invention (ELD) 125

1 Forest (ELD) 269

2 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259

3 Casualties of War (WAR) 187

2 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (THB) 229

1 Temple of Triumph (M20) 257

3 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255

1 Temple of Abandon (THB) 244

3 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183

1 Steam Vents (GRN) 257

2 Temple of Silence (M20) 256

2 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253

2 Time Wipe (WAR) 223

2 Despark (WAR) 190

3 Knight of Autumn (GRN) 183

2 Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves (WAR) 224

2 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 194

2 Tamiyo, Collector of Tales (WAR) 220

1 Time Wipe (WAR) 223

1 Deafening Clarion (GRN) 165

2 Thief of Sanity (GRN) 205

Best MTG Theros Beyond Death Decks: Infinite Oven Works (Rakdos Aristocrats)

Can you play Rakdos Aristocrats without changing a single card pre-Theros and win? 100% you can. I’ve seen it happen more times than I’d care to admit. Witch’s Oven + Mayhem Devil + Cauldron Familiar is still an infuriating combo. But what happens when you add Nightmare Shephard? Now every time you sacrifice a Cauldron Familiar, you receive another one! It’s still a 1/1 token, but you have a near unlimited number of cats to sacrifice, while keeping some around as chump blockers, or whatever you’d care to use them for.

What would you use all those extra cats for? Why, more sacrificial lambs! But I wanted to do this right, and add some new, fun, infuriating cards from Theros: Beyond Death. So, today’s Rakdos deck for MTG Arena has some shiny new Theros additions. A card I highlighted that could stand out initially is finally here: Underworld Breach!

This is the deck it needed to be in (also Jund Sacrifice, if we’re honest). But we don’t need that extra color to get wins. But why Underworld Breach at all? At a point in the game, we’re going to have tons of mana and lots of cards gone for a variety of reasons. We’re going to want them back.

We also want Kroxa to come back without paying the full cost! There are so many infuriating things you can do with this deck. It’s costly, but you can hold down the fort with your non-stop barrage of sacrificial lambs. Plus, with those, you can offset the Spawn of Mayhem’s ticking away of life, while also staying viable. So, what’s the end game here? Let’s talk some cards!

How Does It Work?

MTG Arena Theros Beyond Death Underworld Breach

How do you improve a deck that’s already almost perfect? Well, it’s not easy, let me tell you. We cycle a lot of cards out and put some shiny new toys into Rakdos Aristocrats. I’m so glad to see some of these MTG Arena decks featuring new, infuriating cards. Like Underworld Breach, for example! The name of the game in this deck hasn’t changed, but the options we have sure have.

In fact, we have more ways than ever to be annoying! I think the new real key to this deck is Nightmare Shephard. Easily one of the strongest cards in black in my opinion, it makes anything dies (for any reason) on your watch, that is a non-token come back! It returns as a base 1/1 Nightmare (in addition to other typings), and all its special abilities. So, with Nightmare Shephard out, you play Kroxa, let him die, get another Kroxa token. It will die, but your opponent must discard twice (and potentially lose 6 life in the process).

The earlier you can get your Oven and Cauldron Familiar on board the better. That’s just one of the many ways you can get this deck moving. The same old Oven + Familiar + Mayhem Devil still works. But with Nightmare Shephard, any non-token you sacrifice comes back, so you can do it one more time. Witch’s Oven makes no bones about token/non-token. In a perfect world, you never run out of things to obliterate your opponent with.

Plus, the more sacrificing with Mayhem Devil, the more damage you can throw around. We’re also running the standard Red favorites of Light Up the Stage and Skewer the Critics. With the odds of you being able to do 1 damage to an opponent every turn being high, you will get the Spectacle cost (1 red mana).

Speaking of Spectacle, that’s what Spawn of Mayhem is here for. You can get it out on turn 3 very easily. Between it and Nightmare Shephard, you have lots of flyers, and they’re beefy ones too. But Kroxa + Nightmare Shephard might be my favorite combo. Even better if you have multiple Shephards out (because you sacrificed one in a pinch or something). The idea behind this deck is simple.

You flood the board with annoying creatures and sacrifice them as needed. Your main sacrifice cards are the Cauldron Familiar, since they can come back, thanks to the Witch’s Oven. You sacrifice it to the Witch’s Oven and receive a Food Token. Sacrifice the Food Token to get the Cauldron Familiar back.

Once the game has gone on, and you are in a nice spot, you can abuse Underworld Breach to get cards back. This is a fun enchantment that only lasts one turn. It’s not insane, but it’s a good way to get a key card or two back. It gives all cards in your graveyard Escape! The cost is the casting cost of the card, plus exiling three cards. This overrides the Escape cost of creatures that normally have it (like Kroxa). Just something to keep in mind, if you want to escape him back cheaper. You can also bring back your Nightmare Shephard, Spawn of Mayhem, Mayhem Devils, whatever you want to bring back to ensure a victory. It’s not your guaranteed game winner, but it can turn things around.

Also don’t forget, if you know you’re going to lose a creature, don’t be shy about blocking with it, and then sacrificing it to the Oven before damage is declared. The only way that damage will get through, is if that attacker has double strike and/or trample. It’s a great way to get another Food Token if you need it. This is a deck that you don’t need to swing for lethal with; but you can! The longer the game goes on, the more unruly that Spawn of Mayhem can get too.

Just for funsies, you also run Woe Strider! It’s great to scry your deck, to be used as sacrificial fodder, and escapes with +2/+2 attached to it. With Woe Strider in play, you can sacrifice a creature to let you Scry 1. So, you sacrifice something with Mayhem Devil, deal 1 damage (minimum), make a copy of it with Nightmare Shephard, and do it again if you’d like! This is a deck where I’d also consider sneaking in a Bolas’s Citadel. I ran it in my earlier Jund/Rakdos decks.

Key Cards/Wildcards

Commons: 22

Uncommons: 16

Rares: 16

Mythic Rares: 6

Well, at least this deck runs some commons and uncommons, right? The main combo (Witch’s Oven + Cauldron Familiar) is Common/Uncommon. Mayhem Devil is another Uncommon, so at least you’re running some stuff that isn’t incredibly pricey, Wildcard-wise.

This is another deck where a lot of the rare cards, you have better odds of having, since they’re old. We’re running 2x Underworld Breach (Rare), 4x Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger (Mythic Rare), 4x Woe Strider (Rare) and 2x Temple of Malice (Rare) as far as new rares/mythic rares go. I want to highlight the importance of some of these new cards though. Witch’s Oven and Cauldron Familiar aren’t new as a combo, especially on here.

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger (Black/Red Mythic Rare Elder Giant): Kroxa is filthy and seems to be the opposite of our other Titan, the Green/Blue that I run so often. Kroxa, as a 2-drop (1B 1 R) has their opponent discard a card whenever it arrives, or attacks. If that card isn’t a non-land, that player loses 3 life. In theory, you could cast him, and then escape him on the same turn, if you have the mana for it. It forces your opponent to get rid of useful cards, instead of their lands that are possibly less useful. I’m willing to cast him early or mid-game, just to make the opponent answer him. As a 6/6, I want him to attack, but he’s just as great as a constant source of discard and life loss. With Nightmare Shephard, he comes back again, which makes his ability trigger again. The 1/1 will also disappear, but it’s double the discard fun.

Nightmare Shephard (Black Rare Creature, Demon): A 4/4 for 4 that has flying, and an overpowered ability? That sounds like something you’d see in Blue or Green, to be honest. But here we are, in 2020. The Nightmare Shephard is amazing. When a non-token creature you control dies, you can exile it. If you do, it becomes a copy of that creature, only it’s a 1/1 Nightmare in addition to other types. It’s what makes Mono-Black Devotion so mean with Gray Merchant of Asphodel. But in this deck, it adds a near infinite amount of sacrificial fodder. Each time you sacrifice a Cauldron Familiar, you get another one that also triggers that -1 life for your foe, +1 life for you, and you can just sacrifice it. With your regular combo in play, (Oven Familiar Devil), you can make life very unpleasant.

Underworld Breach (Red Rare Enchantment): This can be a very great way to force an end-game scenario. In the late game, when you have tons of mana, and nothing to do with it, enter Underworld Breach! It lasts for 1 turn, but again, gives all cards in your graveyard Escape. So, if you have a few Mayhem Devils in play, you can play Kroxa from the grave, sac him, and keep doing it! If your opponent doesn’t discards nonlands, they lose 3 life! In theory, you can keep doing this, and sacrifice other permanents, to sneak an easy win.


The whole sideboard will be in the decklist, but a few points to talk about. Leyline of the Void is great for Simic Ramp and the general Mirror Match. Any deck that wants to put cards in the grave, I’d sneak the Leylines in over Woe Striders. The Cauldron of Eternity, frankly, I want to put in the main board, but I just don’t know where yet. The Akroan War is a sneaky way to sacrifice an enemy creature, and Agonizing Remorse is the fantastic early game discard/exile option. My favorite cards in the sideboard though are Leyline of the Void and The Cauldron of Eternity.


4 Mayhem Devil (WAR) 204

3 Nightmare Shepherd (THB) 108

4 Witch’s Oven (ELD) 237

4 Light Up the Stage (RNA) 107

4 Shock (M20) 160

2 Underworld Breach (THB) 161

4 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger (THB) 221

3 Skewer the Critics (RNA) 115

4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81

2 Spawn of Mayhem (RNA) 85

4 Woe Strider (THB) 123

4 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245

2 Temple of Malice (THB) 247

8 Swamp (M20) 270

7 Mountain (THB) 253

1 Castle Locthwain (ELD) 241

4 Agonizing Remorse (THB) 83

2 Lava Coil (GRN) 108

3 Eat to Extinction (THB) 90

1 The Cauldron of Eternity (ELD) 82

3 Leyline of the Void (M20) 107

2 The Akroan War (THB) 124

Final Thoughts

This deck is still incredibly powerful. I like this version more, because of Nightmare Shephard. Another card I want to add for more power, is Priest of Forgotten Gods. Having a way to sacrifice your tokens would just be a delight. Rakdos Aristocrat is an MTG Arena deck where you don’t have to be aggressive.

With patience, you can whittle your opponent down, build up an army that your opponent cannot breach, and make them sit there and wait. You sacrifice creatures, and they take damage, and it’s so aggravating. What stops it? Trample! Heavy, big, beefy bois can stop the rampage. So can heavy board wipe and control. If your opponent can stop you from filling the board, or just steal your key cards, that’s the way to their victory. What I do against this deck with Simic Ramp for example, is I steal their Witch’s Oven. Then I steal the Cauldron Familiar, just out of spite. If they get the Thassa + Agent combo in, they’re going to take your combo pieces away likely.


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