Deck of the Week – Temur Marvel

In this installment of our Deck of the Week series Kevin and Dan showcase Kevin Jones’ GP Montreal winning deck, Temur Marvel.

The code of the Temurai.

dan ward feature image

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?

Beastcaller Savant - Battle for Zendikar

Beastcaller Savant – Battle for Zendikar

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!” mr freeze 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.

See the deck list here.

Battling For Zendikar

Josh banner

Playing Magic has come to a somewhat abrupt halt, but I can still write about it right? God gave me two hands and a brain. They function sometimes…. but for this article I just wanted to touch on a few things I see past all of the shiny things Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) has brought us. Everyone loves the prospect of casting huge unbeatable creatures! Casting See the Unwritten and netting two awesome creatures is living the dream, but that dream requires a lot of things to fall in your favor. Without Courser of Kruphix and Sylvan Caryatid the green ramp decks of the past don’t have the tools to stop the fast starts the red decks are bringing.

What I am bringing to the table today is a few outside of the box aggressive decks. Everyone knows how to build a mono red decks. These lists will simply be ideas for decks. There won’t be 60-75 cards but a simple list of cards and theories behind them.

Red Green LANDFALL

Every time I think about this deck I see promise. Something about this deck idea keeps drawing me back. Here is what I feel are the mandatory cards in the deck:

Scythe LeopardSnapping GnarlidUndergrowth ChampionAkoum FirebirdAtarka’s Command

Atarka's Command

Atarka’s Command

The thing that really gets me about this list is Atarka’s Command. Everyone read, “…you may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield..” and shrugged it off pretty easily. But, now it could be the best mode in this deck. Two mana to bolt your opponent, trigger landfall, and/or give your team +1/+1? Seems fine. I have dreams of three fetchlands, Scythe Leopard, basic Forest, Snapping Gnarlid, and Atarka’s Command. That’s four land and a three spell hand that I am salivating over. That’s a turn two attack for 3 (Wild Nacatl anyone?) play a two drop. Untap play a fetch trigger landfall. Attack, Atarka’s Command to bolt your opponent and play a land. Crack both of your fetches and deal 14 damage with only 3 spells. 17 total damage on turn three. The Undergrowth Champion gaining permanent buffs from your land drops and the Akoum Firebird giving you access to a longer game seem awesome.

Cards that I am considering as filler for the deck:

Monastery SwiftspearLightning BerserkerDragonmaster OutcastAbbot of Keral KeepDen Protector
Makindi SliderunnerAKOUM STONEWAKERTunneling GeopedeDeathmist RaptorScab-Clan Berserker
Goblin HeelcutterGrove RumblerWild SlashTitan’s StrengthMight of the Masses
Dragon FodderSwell of GrowthHordeling OutburstExquisite FirecraftNissa, Vastwood Seer
Nissa, Sage Animist

This deck wants to be aggressive in my opinion. Berserker works well with extra lands Abbot helps find more spells and lands. Nissa finds you a land for your landfall Berserker helps keep non creature spells at bay. Heelcutter helping to push damage. Tokens and burn spells seem fine as well.

This next deck is an archetype that never quite took off. There are many powerful cards but a few factors really held the deck back. One of those factors still hasn’t gone away. But I don’t believe it to be as prominent as it was before.

TEMUR

I solemnly swear, that Savage Knuckleblade is the truth. I mean have you read the text box? No? That’s fine. Everyone keeps getting lost in Trample, When Siege Rhino enters the battlefield, each opponent loses 3 life and you gain 3 life. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We got it. It’s pretty good, but you’ve had your time in the limelight. It’s time for a 3 mana 4/4 with a possible haste, +2/+2, and the ability to dodge removal and wraths? Sign me up. The other cards I am pretty excited are Crater’s Claws and Stubborn Denial. We currently live in a world where the wrath effects cost 5 or are conditional. Those work very well for us when we have a 1 mana hard Counterspell. Everyone is playing spells that cost a million mana? Hello Disdainful Stroke. People trying to play little red creatures? Hello Radiant Flames and Feed the Clan. Everyone trying to play control? Well we have more efficient creatures, counterspells, and Planeswalkers. This in my opinion is one of the harder decks to build but if you found the correct build, I believe that this is where you want to be.

Cards that I am locked into playing:

Rattleclaw MysticSavage KnucklebladeSurrak, The Hunt CallerStubborn DenialTemur Charm
Disdainful StrokeCrater’s ClawsKiora, Master of the DepthsSarkhan, the DragonspeakerSarkhan Unbroken

These are your bread and butter. The main ingredients to your deck. Things you cannot live without. But do we want to be more aggressive or more midrange?

If I were to choose the more aggressive line I would consider:

Heir of the WildsFrost WalkerAvatar of the ResoluteAbbot of Keral KeepDragon Whisperer
Harbinger of the TidesFlamewake PhoenixBounding KrasisYasova DragonclawScab-Clan Berserker
Shaman of the Great HuntSurrak, the Hunt CallerAvaricious DragonIcefall RegentHooting Mandrills
Hordeling OutburstExquisite FirecraftCollected Company

If I were to shift more to a midrange build I would include:

Beastcaller SavantStratus DancerAkoum FirebirdWoodland WandererGreenwarden of Murasa
Omnath, Locus of RageDragonlord AtarkaWhisperwood ElementalShaman of Forgotten WaysDen Protector
Deathmist RaptorAshcloud PhoenixSurrak DragonclawSagu MaulerGaea’s Revenge
Jace, Vryn’s ProdigyNissa, Vastwood SeerPia and Kiran NalaarWoodland BellowerDig Through Time

As you can see there are a large number of cards I would love to put into a deck. Some that would honestly fit into both lists. Akoum Firebird and Ashcloud Phoenix I really believe fit into both. I believe I still sideboard Gaea’s Revenge in both lists.

This would be my first draft of an aggressive list:

Now these numbers are just a first draft but I believe that this deck looks pretty good. With some testing and finalization of numbers you could have a very good deck on your hands.

As I write this other combinations are flowing into my mind.

Dragonlord Ojutai and Sandstone Bridge or Kiora, Master of Depths.

A U/G Collected Company deck featuring: Harbinger of the Tides, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Bounding Krasis, Deathmist Raptor, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Stratus Dancer, and Kiora, Master of Depths could be really sweet.

Siege Rhino +71 other cards is going to be good still. Mantis Rider plus burn spells is also still going to be good. Mono Red is going to be good. Seriously people were trying to avoid being #basic right now. 

Note: this article was written while sipping a pumpkin spice coffee chilling with an Ugg on one foot and a Croc on the other.

Thanks for reading again guys hope you enjoy the article and we can finally put Savage Knuckleblade on the top of the podium where he belongs!

Stay hungry and humble!
-JP-