Temur Tentacles with Allen Sun

Posted in Event Coverage on June 5, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

You know what's better than surging Crush of Tentacles? Surging Crush of Tentacles every turn.

That's exactly what Allen Sun's doing here at Grand Prix Costa Rica. The Alexandria, Virginia native came onto the Magic scene going undefeated and Grand Prix Salt Lake City, his second-ever Grand Prix, but sadly lost in the final round of Swiss. He avenged himself by breaking through at Grand Prix Vancouver earlier this year. He's been looking to capitalize again, and this weekend, all roads pointed him to Temur Tentacles.

Allen Sun

The crux of this monstrosity rests on three things: Crush of Tentacles, Den Protector, and ten mana. With those three aligned, you've got the loop. First, cast Crush and bounce everything. Next turn, cast and unmorph Den Protector to return Crush, which is now surge-enabled. Cast it and bounce everything again—including your Den Protector. But this time, you get an 8/8 Octopus. Next turn, swing with your 8/8 and do the whole thing over again.

Once the suction-cup grip is locked in, Sun squeezes the live out of his opponents eight damage at a time. “It's difficult to play, for sure. I've lost at least one match this weekend to my own mistake,” Sun admitted. But the allure of this deck is more than worth the tribulations of finding the right line every time.

What's going on under the hood of this Octopus-shaped Camaro? Currently, it's streamlined to find your lock pieces, and survive long enough to cast them.

He probably just cast a Crush of Tentacles

Cards to find what you need include Oath of Nissa, Elvish Visionary, and Sight Beyond Sight. “Everyone has to look up Sight Beyond Sight,” Sun laughed. “But it's the best way to enable a turn-five Crush of Tentacles.” A turn-five kicked Crush of Tentacles, mind you. Off the rebound, you cast Sight on your fifth upkeep, so you've got surge already locked and loaded for your main phase. “And, it gets you four cards deeper to finding your Crush.” So you can also cast it speculatively on the fourth turn and just “get there” next turn.

On the “survive-long-enough-to-get-ten-mana” end, besides the Crush of Tentacles itself, there's Negate, Sylvan Advocate, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Bounding Krasis, Pulse of Murasa, and Dragonlord Atarka. Though it sounds weird for a seven-drop dragon to help against aggressive decks, believe or not, that's why it's in the deck at all!

Sun took his inspiration from a deck on the Star City Games circuit, but he added a third color to help shore up the match-up against aggressive decks, and also changed some other things around to optimize. Adding Red gave him access to Radiant Flames out of the board and to big daddy Atarka in the main deck. “I have more than enough two-drops in the deck to delay until Atarka,” Sun said.

The Deck's Heart and Soul

Additionally, because the lock can be so devastating, Sun definition of “surviving” can be stretched to include “on the brink of destruction.” “Looping Pulse of Murasa with Den Protector usually gets there too.” Though not a full “loop” once you add in a Den Protector chump block, you're there. Grab it from the graveyard with Pulse, the re-cast the creature and return the Pulse. Sun can be oscillating between 7 life and 1 life, and then just close out the game with a huge splash.

Sun said the deck's best match-ups are Green-White Tokens and White-Black Control—which he expected in droves here. So despite his shaky aggressive match-ups, he thought it was the right call. And looking at the metagame breakdown, his prediction didn't seem too far off.

The deck is amazingly fun to watch and play, but I'm not going to lie, late in the second day, the tracks have decayed from under Sun's railroad. However, there are so many directions to go with this build. The deck's journey doesn't end here.

The shell is clearly solid, but can go many different directions. Sun isn't even really tied to the Red at all. Perhaps a different third color would be better at hindering the aggressive decks. Or perhaps Radiant Flames in the maindeck would be a better way stop the beatdown.

Change it around as you will, but whatever you do, don't take out the Surrak, the Hunt Caller. “That's a real key to beating decks that can break up the lock,” he said. Because with fourteen mana, you can attack with the Octopus the turn you play the Crush, so you don't have to wait that agonizingly long turn.

There are few more ways to demoralize an opponent than by bouncing their battlefield every turn. And there are few cooler ways to close out a game from there than with a giant octopus.

Raise your tentacles to sky—all eight of them—and get down with the Crush.

Allen Sun's Temur Tentacles – GP Costa Rica

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