With Pro Tour Ixalan in the books, the Top 8 showed us an awful lot of things we’ve already seen. Mono-Red, Energy, God Pharaoh’s Gift, and an Approach of the Second Sun control deck. However, just because the Top 8 was more of what we’ve already seen from this Standard doesn’t mean some players didn’t swing for the fences. For example, there’s this exciting Temur tempo deck built by Marc Tobiasch:
Temur Riddleform - Ixalan Standard | Marc Tobiasch, Pro Tour Ixalan
- Planeswalkers (2)
- 2 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
- Enchantments (4)
- 4 Riddleform
Riddleform is the kind of card that can range from unfair to completely unplayable depending entirely on the quality of cantrips in the format. If you can guarantee that you’re going to play some kind of cantrip every turn for the rest of the game, Riddleform becomes a large, evasive, resilient threat that can absoltuely dominate a game. If you don’t have a high enough density of cantrips or similar effects, you can very easily just die without doing much of anything.
The addition of Opt and Lightning Strike to the format is really what allows this deck to compete with other Standard archetypes. This helps give you the density of cantrips, interactive spells, and reach that you need to be able to race with the aggressive decks or force your creatures through against midrange opponents.
To me, one of the most interesting things about this deck is the creature base - specifically that Deeproot Champion doesn’t make an appearance. In formats past, Quirion Dryad was the kind of card that allowed these types of decks to exist, so it seems a little strange at first that its spiritual successor doesn’t make the cut. The problem with Deeproot Champion is two-fold. First, it asks that you draw it before you cast all your cantrips and reach. Second, it demands that you try to cast multiple spells per turn rather than developing your board.
This is a deck that would much prefer to cast one cantrip and another Riddleform or a Longtusk Cub than spend the early turns casting multiple cantrips or pointing burn spells at the opponent’s face just to grow a Deeproot Champion. Additionally, a card like Enigma Drake is a much better topdeck later on in the game and cards like Longtusk Cub are much less stressful on the sequencing of your cards.
All in all, if you’re looking for a fun tempo deck, Temur Riddleform seems like a very reasonable deck for your next Standard event. The combination of cantrips, burn spells, and cheap evasive threats will always be a great combination, and this decks is no exception.