A Summary Dismissal of Temur Emerge

Posted in GRAND PRIX RIMINI 2016 on August 14, 2016

By Tobi Henke

Temur Emerge had been the breakout deck of last week's Pro Tour Eldritch Moon. The deck was brand new then, still several teams came up with similar lists. Andrew Brown and Owen Turtenwald played different versions to a Top 8 finish, the latter even reached the finals, and Immanuel Gerschenson went 9-0-1 with yet another take on the archetype.

At Grand Prix Rimini this weekend, however, Temur Emerge was not doing well. Few players even chose to run the deck in the first place. For instance, not one of the players with three byes opted for Temur Emerge. (Gold pro Grzegorz Kowalski decided to run the related Four-Color Emerge, but didn't win a single match.) If not even the pros trust the deck, why would anyone else, especially considering it's famously hard to play?

Now sixteen players did qualify for the second day with Temur Emerge. Not a terrible showing, but less than one might expect from the previous week's breakout deck. And for the most part, those sixteen players weren't doing great either. Most of them barely squeezed into Day 2 on 6-3.

"It's not all bad. To be fair, all the players here, including myself, probably don't play the deck nearly as well as the guys at the Pro Tour did," was the disclaimer Simon Görtzen, champion of Pro Tour San Diego 2010 and one of the Temur Emerge pilots at 6-3, now 6-4, gave.

"That said, in all of my games and the games I watched, I noticed certain trends. Some problems appear to be symptomatic which makes me worry for the future of the archetype."

Simon Görtzen

By its very nature, coverage tends to focus on the succesful players and on the reasons behind their decks' success. But since Temur Emerge's weak showing was one of the biggest stories of the weekend, we felt the need to investigate. So what exactly are the problems of Temur Emerge?

Said Görtzen, "Your early drops like Primal Druid and Pilgrim's Eye put you at a severe tempo disadvantage. If you could rely on no one touching them until you get to emerge, things would be fine. But now people know what's coming and do something about those creatures. One needs to talk about Reflector Mage. That's the first nail to the deck's coffin. Bant decks leave in their Dromoka's Commands, correctly so in my opinion, and aggressively kill your Pilgrim's Eye."

He explained, "The game plan is simple. You need to mill Kozilek's Return, resolve an emerge enabler, and cast an Eldrazi. But against Spell Queller, Reflector Mage, and Dromoka's Command that's already a tall order. Not to mention Selfless Spirit which often means you have to do all of that twice! In my experience, the best way to beat Bant Company is with an early Ishkanah, Grafwidow. Of course, Dromoka's Command, either in combat or with a 4/5 Sylvan Advocate, is a problem with that too."

Görtzen went on to mention several sideboard cards which had gone up in propularity in the wake of the Pro Tour's results, particularly Summary Dismissal. That card, apparently, is every much the beating one might imagine it would be. But it wasn't just different cards being played, or cards being played differently now, which proved problematic for Temur Emerge.

"The emergence of the blue-red burn deck was not good news for basically any of the Emrakul decks. I'd say, you have something like 10, maybe 15 per cent in game one. You literally don't have any good card in your deck against them. Want to race them with Ishkanah? I don't know how that should even be possible!" said Görtzen.

"Another part of the metagame are the black-green or Jund delirium control decks. They're even better equipped for the late game than you, especially after sideboarding, which forces you to take the role of the aggressor. They already have Liliana, the last Hope and Nissa, Vastwood Seer, then they add Infinite Obliteration and Transgress the Mind. The worst is when you cast Pilgrim's Eye and they get a free kill with Liliana. Then they have Liliana on four counters and you don't have a board. Obviously with Liliana there's always the threat of the ultimate, but even if she simply returns one Nissa and one Emrakul ... I don't want to say that the matchup is unwinnable. It's not, but it is tough."

On a more positive note, Görtzen said, "Some things are great about the deck. I was impressed by Lashweed Lurker and Reality Smasher out of the sideboard. The matchup against White-Black Control is actually great too. I would love to play against that deck more often!"

In conclusion Görtzen said, "The best version of the deck is not found yet, not by a long shot. There's work to be done."

Then he was off to play his next round, adding, "Well, at least, all the games with the deck are tremendous fun!"

Simon Görtzen's Temur Emerge

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