Temur Titans

Posted in Reconstructed on January 20, 2015

By Gavin Verhey

When Gavin Verhey was eleven, he dreamt of a job making Magic cards—and now as a Magic designer, he's living his dream! Gavin has been writing about Magic since 2005.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which clan is the most ferocious of them all?

That's right: it's time for a look at Temur!

There were a lot of great decklists sent in this week, and the new Standard format is going to be exciting to follow. (And if you're looking for new ideas to try out, be sure to look at the honorable mentions toward the end of this article!) In the weeks to come, no doubt other clans will get their spot in the arena.

But today belongs to Temur. And that's because one particular build caught my eye. Let's take a look at Temur from the enigmatic person known only as Samuel:

Samuel's Temur Manifesto

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The Battle Plan

Like many Temur decks, it's chock-full of big creatures that can be landed quickly and cause trouble for your opponents. That's no different. But something that really caught my eye about Samuel's take on this strategy is that his Temur deck has some tools on the top end of the curve.

While Temur is often a little more aggressive than some of its more midrangey brethren, this one—while certainly able to go aggressive—also curves into a full set of Whisperwood Elementals and has Wildcall to boot. Of course, you still can put the pressure on using the new Shaman of the Great Hunt and Yasova Dragonclaw, but landing a Whisperwood Elemental can be just as game-ending.

While I think you can certainly take this deck in a direction more akin to the aggressive builds out there—Goblin Rabblemaster definitely pairs nicely with Shaman of the Great Hunt—I'm most interested in investigating a route that does curve a bit higher and sets this a bit more into the midrange space. It's a combination of mana creatures, big efficient threats, and disruption that will take down our opponents.

Ready to start looking a little closer at this deck? Here we go!

Deck Breakdown

Which cards are ferocious enough to stay, and which should remain hidden in the wilds? Let's go through this deck card by card and see what fits and what should be set aside.

Courser of Kruphix

Most Standard players will be no stranger to this card by now. While actually not quite as typical in a more aggressive Temur deck, in this one it's going to be a great fit: it blocks, filters your draws, and gains you some life while it's at it. I'm happy playing all four of these.

Yasova Dragonclaw

Yasova packs a major punch! As a 4-power trampler she's certainly good at getting through on her own which is nice—but it's her ability that really pushes her over the top. It makes this deck absurdly hard to block well because your opponent needs to leave two creatures back—and if you remove one of them with, say, Temur Charm, you can steal the other and still break through. (Or, better yet, steal a creature and then use the Charm to make it fight and trade with the other!)

In a world of Courser of Kruphix and similar creatures that gum up the ground, Yasova is pretty great. There are a lot of creatures she can take and trouble your opponent's with. While normally I would be a bit reluctant to play four copies of a legendary creature, the fact she is pretty fragile—the 2 toughness makes her trade off pretty often in this Standard format—and that you want to see her a lot makes me happy to play all four copies here.

In addition, another powerhouse three-drop that this deck doesn't have is Savage Knuckleblade. It's hard for me to imagine a creature-based Temur deck without the full four copies of this, well…savagely good creature. A three-mana 4/4 with major upside is something that will apply a lot of pressure, and I'd like to add the full four copies to this deck.

Shaman of the Great Hunt

This new Shaman hits hard. In addition to making your creatures better as they keep attacking, it also gives you massive long-game inevitability if the board stalls up by drawing you handfuls of cards. It's the kind of card I definitely want to see one of as the game goes long.

There are a lot of options for higher-end mana-cost cards in this deck, and while I want some Shamans to find, I also don't really want too much of another fragile creature, especially if I'm trying to play a slightly longer game. I'm happy with two copies here: enough that I can find it sometimes and if the game goes longer, but not so many that I'm overloaded on them.

Whisperwood Elemental

The army builder. The manifester. The wooden king. This card isn't messing around: it comes down as 6 power for five mana (presuming it makes it to your end step) and then pushes the game far out of control if your opponent doesn't remove it near-immediately. To make matters more tricky for your control opponents, it also serves as excellent wrath protection, ensuring that those End Hostilities and Crux of Fates leave you with an army of 2/2s—or potentially better—behind.

This is definitely a five-drop I'm happy playing. I want to slam it on the table as fast as possible and start taking over the game—I'm set with all four.

Rattleclaw Mystic

Quickly accelerating your mana is the supporting backbone to strategies like this, ensuring you can get out ahead of the beatdown and control decks. This deck is definitely no exception, and Rattleclaw Mystic is an excellent card here. Essentially tailor-made for Temur decks, I definitely want all four.

Additionally, I'm still in the market for more mana ramping after that. Having enough ways to quickly push up your mana is vital. The two options to look at are Sylvan Caryatid and Elvish Mystic.

Normally, you would tend to see Sylvan Caryatid in midrange decks. But, especially with the advent of Yasova, Mystic has a lot of advantages: you can push out Yasova, Courser, and in some cases Knuckleblade on turn two with the right draw. The jump from one to three is a lot more meaningful in this deck than the jump from two to four.

While that does mean some concessions to the mana base to allow for casting Elvish Mystic on the first turn, it's not so significant that it turns me away from the little Elf. Four Mystics it is!

Kheru Spellsnatcher

Manifesting creatures that have morph triggers is really awesome. Turning this Spellsnatcher over for just four mana and grabbing your opponent's spell is an awesome dream to live.

However, the problem is that it's precisely more of a dream that anything else. There isn't a way in this deck to really manipulate what you're going to manifest. (Other than Courser of Kruphix, which doesn't help put the card you actually want on top, it just takes lands away.) And, without manifest, the Spellsnatcher doesn't quite get there on its own. While a cool combo, it's not quite for this deck.

Ashcloud Phoenix

The Phoenix has a couple of great things going for it. First of all, it's a 4-power flier. This deck can definitely get into ground stalls sometimes and, while Whisperwood Elemental helps break those, having a flier to punch through is also quite valuable. Additionally, it comes back to life when it dies, which is useful to giving this deck some added resiliency.

Plus, as a nice little bonus, when you manifest it you can flip it face up for just four mana. And, while as we talked about with the Spellsnatcher that's not going to happen often, on a card that's already good enough it's certainly a nice bonus to keep in mind.

While I don't want the full four of these, it's a card I'm completely happy to play three of. Let's add another one in.

Jeering Instigator

The Instigator hasn't been quite good enough to get there on its own. While it's a cute card to manifest, you basically always want to morph it from your hand and this deck is already overloaded on three-drops as is. Later, Instigator.

Wildcall

Wildcall helps give this deck a bit of added size going long. The big question is: does it need that size?

Early on in the game, I don't think you're going to fire off Wildcall that often. My rule of thumb for a manifest card's playability is that you basically gauge manifest cards as if they made 2/2s, and then if you can flip them up it's a nice little bonus. And while I can see times where you might play this turn two or three, I don't think it's going to happen that often in this deck.

At that point, you have to start looking at the later turns. And the question I ask myself is: does this deck just want another big creature, or does it want something that has abilities? It's hard for me to want to play this when I could play a card that's in the four- or five-mana spot—where Wildcall is going to be cast most often—that has other built-in abilities.

In the end, it doesn't quite make the cut for me. That's not to say it's a bad card—it certainly isn't—but it just doesn't fit this deck as well as it could have.

Crater's Claws

One of my favorite ways to close out the game out of nowhere, Claws is just as powerful to play in your deck as it is demoralizing when you know your opponent has it in his or hers and you're in range. With the array of 4-power creatures in this deck, it's pretty easy to make it a Shock if you need to—but most often it'll be going to the dome to finish off your opponent. Drawing two of these is a great way to "accidentally" win games. While I don't want a fourth copy, since you don't want to draw a ton of these early when you need threats, I am definitely happy with the three.

Reality Shift

Reality Shift is a nice removal option to give blue decks that normally wouldn't have it. It's a rare treat for, say, mono-blue to be able to effectively and permanently remove a creature from the board. However, in a deck like this, you already have access to plenty of efficient red removal if you want a removal spell. I wouldn't say you really need Reality Shift here.

Temur Charm

This Charm is perfect for Temur. Removal? Check. Pushing through blockers? Check. Countering problematic spells? Check! It does so many things I want to do in a deck like this!

Like Claws, I don't want to play the full four because it's not something I want to be clogged on early. But once I've established a board presence, it's definitely a card I want to have. I'd like to add in a third.

The final tweak I'd like to make for the deck is a single Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker. It's another large top-end card that can be flexible as removal or as a threat, and I want to round out my deck. With all of those changes made, that brings the final decklist to:

Gavin Verhey's Whisperwood Temur

Download Arena Decklist

And there you have it! An updated take on Temur. For all of those out there working on their own Temur decks, hopefully this provides a helpful starting point.

There are definitely places you can try to tweak this a bit. You could, of course, adjust it to be more aggressive like a more "normal" Temur build. If you go that route, consider Rabblemasters (even though this deck is overloaded on three drops) and more Shaman of the Great Hunts. You could also go larger and ramp up to some six-drops, potentially playing Sagu Mauler. The choice is yours!

Regardless of which way you go, have fun with it. Enjoy!

Honorable Mentions

What are some other exciting post-Fate Reforged decks to look at? Take a look at a selection of some of the other great decks I was sent this week!

John Wetmiller's UB Riptide Cloudform Curve

Download Arena Decklist

Jack Adcock's Whip of the Soulflayer

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Talon Stradley's Waste Not Dark Deal Discard

Download Arena Decklist

Addison Fox's Riddle Me This

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Brian Geddes's Dashing Through the Siege

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Tibalt Adson's Wargame

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Dai Kasahara's Black Devotion

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Lundizz's Rend The World

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Travis Comstedt's Warriors Come Out to Play

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Jacob Milicic's Jeskai Masters

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Itou Kazunari's Zombie Siege

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Mark Ian Alloso's Mono-Red Devotion

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Qoarl's Raging Sligh

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From Temur to Sultai

In two weeks, it'll be Sultai Week! That means it's time for you to send in your best takes on Sultai. What shenanigans will we delve into? That's up to all of you!

Here's your mission:

Format: Fate Reforged Standard

Restrictions: Your deck must contain only  black, green, and blue (Sultai)

Deadline: Monday, January 25 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

Submit all decklists by emailing me at reconstructeddecks@gmail.com.

Decklists should be submitted with YOURNAME's DECKNAME at the top. Underneath should be one card per line, with just a leading number. For example:

12 Mountain

4 Firedrinker Satyr

3 Ash Zealot

4 Lightning Bolt

…and so on. Please don't use anything but a space to separate the card numbers and names—don't write "4x Lightning Bolt," for example. Well-formatted decklists have a much better chance of being read and making it into the column. Poorly formatted decklists are more likely to be ignored. (If I can't read your decklist, I certainly can't talk about it!)

I look forward to seeing what you all come up with! We've seen some of what Sultai can do (especially when given access to that pesky Whip of Erebos) but what are some less-covered grounds? What are some elements we can really dig into? I'm excited to find out!

In the meantime, if you have any thoughts or feedback, please feel free to send them to me! It's always great to hear from you. You can either send me a tweet or ask a question on my Tumblr and I'll be sure to see it.

I'll be back next week when I go back even more weeks in time. Have fun exploring the new Standard!

Gavin

@GavinVerhey

GavInsight

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