Single Card Spotlight: Dynavolt Tower

Posted in Event Coverage on October 14, 2016

By Melissa DeTora

Melissa is a former Magic pro player and strategy writer who is now working in R&D on the Play Design team.

We've never seen anything like energy before Kaladesh. Magic is a game about resource management. To win, we have to manage our lands, cards in hand, and life total in the most optimal way. These are the only resources we've known since Magic's debut in 1993. Now, twenty-three years later, we have an entirely new resource thrown at us. It's different and scary, but at the end of the day it's just another resource we have to manage. Such is the life of a Magic player.

This weekend at Pro Tour Kaladesh, players are finding ways to use and abuse energy in Standard. At this point we've already seen decks like Temur Aetherworks, which tries to accumulate energy and then cast a giant Eldrazi for free, and Red-Green Energy, which accumulates energy and pumps it into one creature, usually Electrostatic Pummeler. There are so many things you can do with energy in Standard, but so far we haven't seen much of this breakout card, Dynavolt Tower.

While not the flashiest card using energy, Dynavolt Tower has proven to be the centerpiece for some control decks this weekend.

Dynavolt Tower is a straightforward build-around card. It tells you to do one thing: Play as many instants and sorceries as you can in one deck. There are quite a few different Dynavolt Tower decks at Pro Tour Kaladesh today, and they fall into two main camps.

There's the control variants, which is either Jeskai or Blue-Red. These decks are just that, control decks. They control the board with removal spells like Harnessed Lightning and sweepers such as Fumigate. Since most of the cards are instants and sorceries anyway, Dynavolt Tower naturally fits into the deck.

Zac Elsik is one of the players piloting Jeskai Control with Dynavolt Tower this weekend. His deck doesn't rely on the Tower to win, but it certainly helps. A suite of removal spells helps Zak survive the early game, and then his haymaker, Torrential Gearhulk can come down and just gain tons of card advantage, and of course attack. Dynavolt Tower is a great role player in this deck. It can kill additional creatures and maybe even team up with a Harnessed Lightning to kill a larger creature. Sometimes the Tower can win a game by itself, but Zac certainly isn't relying on it.

One of the key cards in his deck is Glimmer of Genius. This card serves a few roles. First, it's a pretty efficient draw spell. Since it allows you to scry two, you can filter through your deck more quickly than you can if you were playing a spell like Divination. More importantly, it provides you with two energy. This energy can be used to do additional damage with your Harnessed Lightning or charge up your Dynavolt Tower. Overall, it's one of the most important blue cards for the Dynavolt Tower decks.

Control is fun, but it's not for everyone. The other Dynavolt Tower deck that's seeing play this weekend is Blue-Red Spells. A team of French players—including Pro Tour Theros Top 8 competitor Pierre Dagen—are piloting this deck here at Pro Tour Kaladesh.

"The deck came about because I just wanted to beat Red-White Vehicles," Dagen explained. "Everything I had just couldn't beat it, so I just did what I could to find a deck to beat it, and eventually realized that the answer was Dynavolt Tower." Once Pierre's team figured it out, they iterated on the deck until they found a version that had good match-ups against their predicted metagame.

Pierre Dagen and his French teammates have all come packing Dynavolt Tower decks in Standard this weekend.

"My teammate Kevin Chiche founded the deck, so he's the reason we're playing it. All thirteen of us are playing it this weekend. We expected most decks to be all removal, so we wanted to play zero creatures. Dynavolt Tower is so hard to answer. No one can answer it Game 1. If you play Dynavolt Tower on turn three, you're unlikely to lose."

The Blue-Red Spells deck plays tons of card draw, including Take Inventory and the aforementioned Glimmer of Genius, so you are very likely to find Dynavolt Tower in a game. "Our team crunched the numbers, and we found that we are 90% to draw it in the first six turns," explained Pierre. Additionally, The Tower is just a strong card against most archetypes. Against control, they usually don't have an answer for it, so your game plan is to "bolt them seven times." Against aggro, you just kill everything in sight and they will eventually run out of gas.

Dynavolt Tower is definitely a card for brewers. You can't just throw it into any control deck with spells. The optimal Dynavolt Tower deck has the tools to play nonstop instants and sorceries in order to activate the Tower each turn. To do this, you need the right amount of card draw, but you can't play so much that you get run over by creature decks. Finding the right balance of spells is the biggest challenge of building this deck. Both Zach and Pierre have interesting but different builds of Dynavolt Tower decks, and it will be interesting to see how these decks perform this weekend.

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