It's Not A Temur!
I may have a Temur problem. I love Temur, there I said it. If loving Temur is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. I don't know what it is about this color combination lately but I’ve been all about it.
Temur is what we call a “wedge” color combination including the colors blue, red (we may be onto something here) and green. The name of this wedge is taken from the Temur Clan from the set Khans of Tarkir. Currently, standard contains strategies that have better manabases than others. Thanks to the access to Shocklands, Scrylands (Temples) and Fabled Passage; Temur has a pretty nice manabase.
We all have certain things that we seem to be drawn to. Some prefer specific archetypes, colors or cards in Magic, and sometimes that creates a bias when it comes to deck selection or the cards that we choose to include in our brews.
I’m well aware of my proclivities to choose a deck containing Steam Vents over one without, but I also know when to turn away from it. This is not one of those times. Temur is actually a well positioned color combination in multiple formats.
“I'm Going On An Adventure!” - Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Throughout the short time Throne of Eldraine has spent in Standard we have seen many new archetypes and shake-ups that are a direct result of cards from that set. One of the two main mechanics of Eldraine is Adventure. This mechanic is found on creature spells that have an alternate casting cost as the adventure spell. When you cast the Adventure spell, upon resolving, the creature will be exiled and “on an adventure” until you choose to cast the creature from exile. Being that this mechanic is important to the set Throne of Eldraine, there are numerous cards seeded throughout the set to support this theme.
Edgewall Innkeeper and Lucky Clover are two such cards. Innkeeper allows us to keep the gas flowing by drawing cards upon casting Adventure creatures. It is like night and day when you have one of these in play and when you don’t.
Clover is a horse of a different color, it doubles the effect of the Adventure spell when you cast it. A piece of advice is to take care how you target with all of the copies is you have multiple Lucky Clovers. When an Adventure spell is countered, or the target of the spell is removed, the spell will fizzle and be placed in the graveyard instead of being exiled.
Now, I’m not going to talk about the typical Golgari Adventures decks that we have seen as of late. We’re here to talk about Temur, and this deck is just that.
While all of the Adventure spells are quite powerful, two of them are potent and stand on their own. The first is Brazen Borrower, a card that has a resemblance to Morningtide’s Vendilion Clique. The Adventure spell that is part of this flashy fae package is called Petty Theft which is a bounce spells for any nonland permanent your opponent controls. What sets this creature apart from the other Adventure spell creatures is that it has Flash and my be cast with Flash from exile after casting the Adventure spell. This allows you to keep your mana open in case you need to cast a removal spell or counter something important.
The card in this deck that surprised me the most was Escape to the Wilds. This card is extremely powerful. A game where your turns are turn two Lucky Clover, turn three "double" Beanstalk Giant, turn four Escape to the Wilds; is a very difficult game to lose.
Next up, in this corner, stomping it’s way into your hearts and mine is Bonecrusher Giant. This giant may be the best of the Adventure creatures in the set. Stomp serves as a removal spell tacked onto a creature that punishes anyone who targets it with a spell.
When is comes to casting a Stomp with a Lucky Clover or two on the battlefield, there’s nothing safe from this Giant’s temper tantrums. You may find yourself in such a spot that you can just burn you opponents out; I’ve had multiple games that have ended by stomping my opponent out from 6 or 8 life.
This version of the deck also has the utility of a Fae of Wishes toolbox sideboard. Full disclosure, I have never been a fan of toolbox decks or sideboards. This time, it has proven itself indispensable. Chandra, Awakened Inferno is nigh unbeatable in blue based match-ups and the likes of Return to Nature and Sorcerous Spyglass are vital in the Cat Food (Cauldron Familiar plus Witch’s Oven) match-ups.
Ah, an oldie but a goodie. Wilderness Reclamation has had it’s time in the sun since it’s release, with varying levels of success. When originally previewed it was widely believed that this four mana enchantment was going to be a problem. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case.
Reclamation decks have historically won with the split card Expansion / Explosion during the end step by floating mana before and after Wilderness Reclamation untapped your lands.
This deck takes full advantage of the two Adventure creatures that we discussed above. Reclamation also is one of the few decks in Standard that is a counterspell deck. Quench and Sinister Sabotage have found a home here. The powerful ramp spell, Growth Spiral, took a break after the Golos ban; now it’s back and better than ever. When playing this deck you want to get as much mana as you can, as fast as you can. This is the deck that allows Growth Spiral to shine like the old days.
Okay, so there’s a fair bit to expand on here (pun intended). The Adventure creatures from Throne of Eldraine have made their way into most strategies in Standard and this deck is no different, Bonecrusher Giant and Brazen Borrower are all-stars here. Maybe this article should just be about those two cards, but I digress.
The late game power of this deck is the reason that it is a powerful choice at the moment. The mana production that you gain through Wildernesses Reclamation is absurd in the late game. You are easily able to double and thrills spell in a single turn once you have your engine online. Let’s not forget the most important aspect that this control deck has, your mana is always untapped when you pass the turn therefore the shields are always up.
One of the obvious things that I love about this deck is plays Niv-Mizzet, Parun. This is not a surprise to anyone who has read my previous articles or who knows me. If the great Firemind survives on the battlefield it takes no time at all to close the game out. This regularly happens within a turn or two of him being resolved, even without an Expansion / Explosion.
Although I do enjoy this deck and it’s play style, I can’t recommend that you choose this deck for your next tournament. Through testing and practice, I have yet to find a positive matchup in the current meta game. The answers that the deck has access to fail to line up correctly when put into practice. Aggressive decks are able to under the removal spells you use and the damage is done by the time you’re able to implement them, while more controlling decks are able to get to their late game faster than you while disrupting your game plan.
My Name Is Barry Allen, And I am The Fastest Man Alive.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “This isn’t a Temur deck. What gives?” Right you are everyone, but this deck does have Steam Vents. We’ve already established that I can’t say no to that. This is my favorite deck in the article at the moment.
The real power in this deck is the big bad wizard, The Gad-dad, The Gadfather; Gadwick, the Wizened. No doubt about it, this is a tempo deck through and through. When playing this deck you want to cast your spells on your opponent’s turn. Whether you are deploying a threat like Brineborn Cutthroat or bounce a permanent with the Petty Theft half of Brazen Borrower, you are stealing the initiative and tempo from your opponent.
This deck can also be described as a control deck of sorts; it’s loaded with counter magic and removal spells with a large haymaker on the top end. The role that you play in a given game with this deck depends greatly on the match-up, for example, if you are against a midrange deck you may need to become the aggressor if their start is on the slow side. To contrast that, if you are playing against an aggressive deck, you become the control deck in that scenario.
This particular list was adapted from the list that was played by Shahar Shenhar, Gabriel Nassif and William Jensen at the Mythic Championship VII. As you may have noticed, there are some interesting choices in the sideboard of this deck. All three of their lists had some number of Embercleave and Skarrgan Hellkites in the sideboard. The Hellkite offers you a way to have an additional threat in the late game that can also help you manage the board through the activated ability it has. “Believe in the Cleave” as Brain Kibler said during commentary of the event and I do, I absolutely do. Embercleave is a card that literally comes out of nowhere and most wouldn’t expect it out of this style of deck.
Mythic Championship VII saw two different versions of flash decks perform very well. While the Simic variation received more press, the Izzet iteration put up well placed finishes even though many players believed it to be an inferior deck. Cards like Ionize and Ral’s Outburst are great two-for-ones and in conjunction with Brineborn Cutthroat and Gadwick, the Wizened the rest of your spells become two-for-ones. Speaking of our pirate friend Cutthroat, this little merfolk can become and unstoppable clock very quickly and this deck has the protection to back it up.
From Zero To Hero In No Time Flat
This all began as an idea I had on the podcast I do with Jeremy Strickland, or Professor Pure Jank, Destroy Target Permanent.
I decided to select my decks for FNM for the next three weeks. This has been an interesting experiment, though not one that I plan on repeating.
The first two decks, Temur Adventures and Temur Reclamation, failed to hit the mark. I am now in week three of this self-imposed deck selection, that means it’s time for Izzet Flash to step up to bat. I feel more confident that this will be the deck to knock it out of the park.
What decks have you been trying at Friday Night Magic and what deck are you looking forward to sleeving up next?
Good luck, I hope you lose!