So who likes ice cream? I do as well but I’m sorry to disappoint you as there is no Mint Chip or Cherry Garcia here. I have a Rocky Road of a brew that’s just as sweet and 100% fat free. I call it Temurai.
So what is Temurai?
Temurai is the combination of the Temur shard and Jeskai shard. With battle lands coming out everyone has been working to see how they can adapt past strategies and incorporate a few sweet cards from colors which before now, unable to play due to mana base issues. With being a true four color deck, it is important to have the right lands at all stages of the game. Let me delve into the main reason why this deck works. Mana dorks. Love them or hate them, in this deck they are the most essential piece of the puzzle. The first mana dork, Beastcaller Savant, is a 1/1 haste ally that allows you to play every creature in the deck and also is able to get in for a point of damage the turn you play it. The second mana dork is Rattleclaw Mystic. This Human shaman has traditionally shown up in the devotion decks in the last season. While being here for mana ramp, this creature also provides some trickery mid to late game. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this creature as bait, playing it for its morph cost and drawing a removal spell because my opponents would be scared of Den Protector.
The reason why this deck is so powerful are the creatures. While playing every color besides black, you have a bunch of hopeful creatures trying to make the team. I started with one of my favorite underplayed cards, Savage Knuckleblade. He is a super versatile threat that against some decks is unbeatable. With the ability to pump up, jump back to your hand when he is in danger, and turn sideways as soon as he hits the battlefield, he is great. Along with Mr. Knuckles at the three spot (converted mana cost), we have his buddy Mantis Rider. So while Knuckleblade takes care of things on the ground Mantis Rider is part of the vast Air Force in the deck. Mantis Rider is the staple creature in Jeskai and we are using it in the same way. It comes down early and provides a quick clock. It has evasion while still being able to block, sign me up this a deal, I always want to be apart of it.
Now its time for the beef of the deck. I choose to play eight dragons. Not only because they are cool and get the chicks, but because they are great in general and even better with this strategy. Thunderbreak Regent and Icefall Regent are as far apart as you can get (Fire/Ice), lucky they are on the same team this time. So having Thunderbreak being a threat that punishes your opponent for trying to kill him is great in this deck. The heart of this deck is a tempo deck and every life point matters. Taking Thunderbreak’s ability and being able to have that carry over to four other creatures is also very important. Thunderbreak being more aggressive his partner in crime Icefall Regent . Icefall Regent is much more controlling. In a format that is full of Mantis Rider’s and Hangerback Walkers it is important to have a answer to solve these problems. Guess what? Icefall does it and does it well. While being a 4/3 flying creature for 5 mana that is difficult to remove, this dragon also puts your opponents best creature on ice. Lots of puns during testing for this guy included Arnold as Mr. Freeze and us saying, “It’s time to chill!” Last, but certainly not least, is the new toy Battle for Zendikar gave us. The Woodland Wanderer. This elemental brings a new meaning to powerful four drops. With the inclusion of all the mana dorks, this really could come down on turn three consistently as a 6/6. Having vigilance and trample, it provides you a with great blocker and also a battering ram of getting damage through. While testing this was the most powerful thing versus creature based decks. The other player has to either have a way to get rid of it, or you quickly win the game. Finally, a creature that can consistently beat up Siege Rhino is a huge perk.
Removal is important to have in any deck, but in this deck we are limited to a low number of slots due to the amount of creatures we run. For starters, I wanted a way to deal with the most powerful card in standard in my opinion, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. So the first thing that came to mind was Draconic Roar. I rode this card all the way to the top eight of GP San Diego with my Black/Red Dragons deck. Draconic Roar kills all of the early threats and by playing eight dragons, you also can utilize the second feature by dealing them 3 damage as well. After much testing my teammate and newly crowned hall of fame member Wily Edel advised me on playing two Jeskai Charms. The charm gives your small removal package and some diversity which is much needed. The ability to hit you opponent for 4 as an instant is great and some times needed to finish the game. However, the other two modes are also very powerful. Against faster decks in the format, life gain is very important if your on the draw. This spell is all around a solid A in my grading book. The best thing to take in to account while playing Jeskai Charm, it is impossible for your opponent to play around it. So you will often remove creature forever when you opponent sacrifices a fetch land [Note; Use mode; Put Target creature on top of its owner’s library”]. Your opponent will never expect it nor play around it. By far the weakest removal or card in the deck is Stubborn Denial. This card had mixed results in testing and we finally went with it because of the tremendous upside. So a Counterspell at one mana that only hits non-creature spells is OK at best. Now add that it only counters them if they don’t pay. Pretty mediocre right? However, the thought was that it is a protection spell for our big creatures. Having eleven creatures in the deck that trigger ferocious which turned it to be a hard counter for non-creature spells. So in conclusion, we felt like the games where we did draw this card, it made sure we closed the door on games that we were winning. Also, Stubborn Denial was very unexpected the first time we would play it in a match, which is always a good thing.
After playing Temurai at the Pro Tour this past weekend I would like to say I had a lot of fun building, brewing, and playing this deck. I suggest picking it up if you like casting huge creatures early in the game and putting your opponents in tough spots. Moving forward, I would suggest adding a Stubborn denial to the sideboard. It was great in a lot of match ups and I always wanted to draw it. Depending on the meta you are expecting will dictate other changes. For example, if I play this at GP Quebec City, I would cut the Knuckleblades because there was so much G/W and decks with Hangarbacks, that it made it tough for this savage creature to connect. Replacements could be Ashcloud Pheonix, Skyrider Elf, or even Flamewake Pheonix depending how aggressive you want to be. I liked all the cards I played in the sideboard, and felt that in every match, some of the trouble cards for the deck are sweepers like Crux of Fate and Languish which is why we have counters. Also Wingmate Roc was a bit of a pain to deal with, so make sure you have a plan for that. Lastly, make sure you follow the true Bushido code while playing this deck and turn your creatures side ways and never retreat. Also checkout my deck tech (See below) and if you have any more questions feel free to message me on Facebook or Twitter @Bigward28. ‘Till next time.