Deck Tech: Ricardo Camargo's Temur Aggro

Posted in GRAND PRIX SÃO PAULO 2015 on May 3, 2015

By Chapman Sim

Ten Rounds have elapsed and Ricardo Camargo is the lone undefeated player in the room. While many have dismissed Temur as a Tier One deck, Camargo chose to embrace the Savage Knuckleblades today. At the perfect 10-0 score, he is in a good position to secure a spot in the Top 8.


Ricardo Camargo shows you a good reason to play Temur Aggro.

Camargo explains that the basic strategy was to get in for some early damage and continue the pressure with with flyers. Crater's Claws and Lightning Strike provide some reach to seal the game. What are some modifications he has made to the "stock lists" in preparation for Grand Prix São Paulo?

Choice of Mana Dorks

First and foremost, Camargo's build eschews "mana dorks" for actual threats, one of the biggest reasons for his success thus far.

"Elvish Mystic is great, mainly because it is a one mana card that doesn't compete with other cards. However, Rattleclaw Mystics and Sylvan Caryatids compete with Frost Walker and Heir of the Wilds for spots," Camargo explains. "I would rather be attacking for 3 or 4 damage on Turn 3, than to summon Stormbreath Dragon a turn earlier."

"It's also an issue of threat density. The problem with traditional Temur decks is that they usually run out of gas and die. They draw Sylvan Caryatid after Turn 4 and it is completely useless. By not playing any mana dorks aside from Elvish Mystics, there are a lot more relevant threats in my deck. Against match ups such as Esper Dragons or Abzan Control, it is more important to continuously put up a steady stream of threats, rather than to accelerate into a single one."

Size Matters

With that explanation, it is not difficult to appreciate his choice of two drops. Aside from the usual Heir of the Wilds, he has also chosen to play with the full set of Frost Walker.

"The goal here is to get in for four damage. It doesn't matter what it trades with after that."

"It's a tempo play and it hits very hard if unanswered. If I am on the play against Esper Dragons and he doesn't have the 2-mana removal, I will get to attack twice for 8 damage. After that, he still has to answer my Turn 3 and Turn 4 creatures. Against other match-ups, it's possible to burn away the opposing two or three drop to get in for an additional 4 damage. It has been the best card for me all day."

The Phoenix is Mightier Than the Dragon

Also, he has made the metagaming move of swapping out Thunderbreak Regent for the full set of Ashcloud Phoenix. Intended as a tool to combat Esper Dragons because of its recursivity, it is also great against the Red Green Dragons mirror, since it blocks (and trades) with opposing Thunderbreak Regent and Stormbreath Dragon for good value.

"There are not many effective answers for Ashcloud Phoenix and it gives you some lasting power in the late game. It is resilient and doesn't get killed by just a single Hero's Downfall."

Aside from Abzan Charm and Anger of the Gods, few cards deal with Ashcloud Phoenix effectively. Even if you do have Anafenza, the Foremost, you'd still need a follow-up removal spell.

"Cards like Chained to the Rocks, Banishing Light, Perilous Vault, Utter End and Magma Spray will also do the trick, but they haven't been super popular these few weeks," Camargo analyzes. "Even if they play these cards, it won't be very many. Until they find it, I'll just hit them for four in the meantime."

The Magic Number '13'

When questioned about his peculiar sideboard, he cheekily jokes that having thirteen cards was his "magic number". Naturally confused, I probed for the elaboration. It turns out that it wasn't voodoo or supernatural forces at work, but simply an honest mistake.


Camargo is missing his pair of Xenagos today, will this cost him any matches?

"The last two missing cards were meant to be Xenagos, the Reveler. They were my key sideboard cards for the Esper Dragons match up. I made a mistake and registered only thirteen cards, so I am stuck with that for the rest of the tournament."

Lucky for him, he was paired against Esper Dragons only once thus far, and won the match even without the help of Xenagos. May his fortune continue!


Camago's BFFs congratulate him on his 10th victory with a celebratory group photo!

Ricardo Camargo's Temur Aggro – Grand Prix São Paulo

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