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Building Temur Energy


Bristling Hydra
I suffer from a problem in Magic. I don’t like playing the perceived best deck. Instead, I try to find niche angles to attack the format in a way players might be unprepared for to give small edges.

The deck I’ve been looking at recently to fill this void is Temur Energy.

On paper, the deck has all the tools to combat some of the top decks in the format: plenty of removal to deal with early onslaughts and creature decks, great creatures that can replace themselves or can change a board state, and an incredible Planeswalker that can win games on its own. Whirler Virtuoso, in particular, lines up very well against the entire format. The Thopters line up well against every creature in the Red deck and can help apply pressure to the Zombies deck while leaving creatures back on defense. Against control decks, it allows you to not apply too much to a board just to get blown out by a wrath.

Glorybringer is still likely the best creature in Standard. It fixes most board states and provides a great clock. The card is so powerful the Mono-Red decks have been playing copies in their sideboard because at the end of the day it’s one of the best things to do. Temur gets to play multiple copies of the card and make great use out of it. Servant of the Conduit also allows for the occasional Glorybringer ahead of schedule. And, if a dragon is good on turn five, it has to be better on turn four.

So what’s the issue with the deck?

The unfortunate part of Temur Energy is you don’t really get any free wins. You have some great draws and can string together some powerful creatures and removal but there are no draws that feel truly unbeatable. Being on the draw could mean spending too many turns trying to play control and not developing your board. It’s quite easy to fall behind and sometimes even harder to catch up.

What Temur Energy lacks in absurd draws it makes up in consistency. Taking a look at the creature base, it can often feel like each creature is good at plenty of points. Let’s take a look at my deck list before I discuss the card choices.

Sylvan Advocate
The first thing you may notice is that there are two Sylvan Advocates over Longtusk Cubs. Sylvan Advocate ends up being quite good against decks like Red or Zombies by providing a large body that allows you to keep pressure on your opponent without sacrificing your ability to block. What’s also great about Advocate is that its size isn’t dependent on your Energy count. With cards like Whirler Virtuoso and Aethersphere Harvester, it’s easy to have sinks for your Energy use that are relevant. There will be games Longtusk Cub is just better and it can help build energy so it’s likely wrong to leave home without them.

Scrolling down the list you will also see the addition of some Vehicles to the main deck. Paulo Vitor showcased the power of Aethersphere Harvester in the Red mirror in the Top 8 against Seth Manfield. Here you have the ability to crew with any creature and with the amount of Energy created you’re able to gain life every turn. Being a flier means you’re also able to dodge ground stalls and pressure opponent’s Planewalkers. The other vehicle is Skysovereign, Consul Flagship and I am more surprised that more decks that can incorporate it don’t. This powerful Vehicle can easily morph a board stall into a tattered wasteland on your opponent's side. The fact that it attacks for six means it can end the game in a heartbeat. Being able to go after Planeswalkers makes this card even more flexible. Being able to split focus can make the game awkward for anyone from the opposing side.

The Locust God
Standing out in this list is likely The Locust God. While it doesn’t seem to fall into any of the themes in this deck I wanted to try out the powerful God from Hour of Devastation. To say I was impressed would be selling it short. In any midrange matchup it’s the card I want to draw more than anything. Killing it on an even board only delays the inevitability. With every card you get an attacker or another blocker. Because these 1/1s also have haste, it’s easier to set up scenarios where you can kill an opponent or easy manage a Planeswalker. The secondary ability allows you to filter out any medium draws and keep gas flowing while you’re beating your opponent to death with an insect Dr. Baxter Stockman would be jealous of. Despite this card being incredibly powerful, six mana for a card that dies to Glorybringer isn’t always wanted. Instead it benefits as being a card that, on occasion, fits the bill.

The removal included here is some of the best in the format. Harnessed Lightning doubles as both a removal spell that varies well against every creature and as a ritual for Whirler Virtuoso or Bristling Hydra. Playing a deck that naturally produces a lot of Energy will always lend itself to Harnessed Lightning. Rounding out the main deck removal is three copies of Abrade and one Magma Spray. Abrade has shown itself to be one of the most valuable spells in the format. Being able to act as a Shatter against Gearhulks, Vehicles, or even the occasional God-Pharaoh's Gift provides for a flexible tool that still deals with the formats toughest creatures. I’ve added a one-of Magma Spray as, on occasion, having a 1-drop spell can be very relevant. I like having turn one plays and being able to, in the early turns, play a creature plus Spray can lead to some swing turns.

In the sideboard, I’ve included cards that are kind of narrow but fit the bill perfectly for multiple matchups. With wu Approach on the rise, cards like Negate or Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh are going to be good foils in order to beat the deck. Radiant Flames is going to be perfect against zombies since being able to cast it for less than three on occasion is going to be relevant. Radiant Flames is a little worse against Red (and especially post board) but I wouldn’t hate having a copy or two for the early turns. While Tireless Tracker has fallen out of favor lately, I like it if control decks start to resurge to combat the Zombie menace. Tireless Tracker isn’t great against decks like Red but shines against bg, Control, and even has uses against the Zombies deck. If the format starts leaning back toward midrange instead of the aggressive strategies we’ve been seeing, then Tireless Tracker will be an all star once again.

I’m not sure exactly where Temur Energy fits into the current hierarchy of Standard, but it has all the tools needed to compete with the top decks. I think the joys in playing Temur Energy is it gives you a ton of play. The deck boasts the ability to play from most spots and has the tools needed to beat any deck. If you’re looking for another option than the normal crew I’d recommend giving Temur Energy a spin.

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