Deck Tech: Temur Midrange

Hello ladies and gents, Harrison here with another Magic: The Gathering article for you folks. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month, you’ve probably heard about the upcoming set, Battle For Zendikar. I’m personally really excited for BFZ and more importantly what it’s going to do for the Standard Format. Now that we have a full spoiler list, I thought I’d share with you what I’m planning to play in this new format. So let’s get to it.

Decklist: Temur Midrange

4 Draconic Roar

4 Frost Walker

4 Rattleclaw Mystic

4 Savage Knuckleblade

2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

2 Temur Ascendancy

4 Thunderbreak Regent

4 Woodland Wanderer

2 Sarkhan Unbroken

2 Dragonlord Atarka

2 Omnath, Locus of Rage

3 Crater’s Claws

4 Cinder Glade

4 Frontier Bivouac

4 Wooded Foothills

3 Lumbering Falls

3 Yavimaya Coast

2 Mountain

3 Forest

Main Deck: 60 Cards

 

3 Disdainful Stroke

2 Encase in Ice

2 Negate

3 Radiant Flames

2 Stratus Dancer

2 Surrak Dragonclaw

1 Temur Ascendancy

Sideboard: 15 Cards

Temur Frontier

Unleash the Combat Goats!

 

The Gameplan

At its heart, this deck is an aggro one. You want to play high power-for-mana creatures at every point on the curve, and reduce your opponent to zero as fast as possible. Every creature, with the exception of Rattleclaw Mystic has more power than it costs to play AND comes with something else, like haste for  Savage Knuckleblade, or vigilance and trample for the Woodland Wanderer. Well, except for Frost Walker. But four power for two mana is well worth it.

As well as these super high value creatures, there’s a couple of enablers going on. Draconic Roar helps keep the board clear and, with the six Dragons in the list, it also does an extra couple of points to the opponent’s face. Temur Ascendancy gives a crazy amount of value with even just one or two creatures. The only thing better than a 5/5 Vigilance Trample for four mana is a 5/5 Vigilance Trample Haste for four mana. Sarkhan Unbroken is criminally underplayed right now, in my opinion. Not only does he drop a 4/4 Dragon when he comes out (That works really well with both Ascendancy and Roar), but he also draws a card every turn, and gives us a free mana that we can use for whatever (Dragonlord Atarka, for example) but it can be any colour that then turns the Wanderer into a 6/6! And finally Crater’s Claws works to both get rid of high-toughness creatures or to dome the opponent for – hopefully – way more than they have left.

Prepare to get slapped with the flaming three-fingered hand of DOOOOM!!!

Prepare to get slapped with the flaming three-fingered hand of DOOOOM!!!

The Sideboard

While it’s not quite as bad as Modern, Standard games can still very easily come down to who can sideboard better. Seeing as the biggest weakness of a midrange deck  is the control matchup, there are ten cards in the side that come in against control, being

3 Disdainful Stroke

2 Negate

2 Stratus Dancer

2 Surrak Dragonclaw

1 Temur Ascendancy

So the plan with this suite is to push our high value threats through our opponent’s permission. Negate and Dancer act as counter-counters, with Dancer providing additional value in the form of a 3/2 flyer, *cough*Delver*cough*. Stroke stops not only sweepers such as Crux of Fate or End Hostilities, but also the best card advantage in Standard: Dig Through Time. Amazing usefulness, and in addition to Knuckleblade, one of the best reasons for playing Blue in this deck. Because this is a speculative decklist and we don’t actually know what the format will look like, it may even have a place in the main deck if it does enough work. And finally Surrak and Ascendancy work as great enablers for our other creatures. With Banishing Light leaving, there are only a couple of ways to get rid of a resolved Ascendancy, the main being Sultai Charm, so playing more copies is a good idea.

And finally in the sideboard Radiant Flames give us a variable sweeper, allowing us to – usually – tailor it to the board state. Hitting for three will be getting rid of a lot of things. And Encase is just really good at stopping big impressive creatures. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that well with the new Devoid creatures, but you can’t have everything.

I may be overboarding for control, but with all our creatures being so individually strong we shouldn’t have any problem with aggro, and we have the haste and enough varied lines of attack that we can get it done against midrange. Without knowing what I’ll be sitting down against, I think taking a focused strategy will be the best idea to take advantage of a format that is still figuring itself out. Some possible options that may be necessary are Reality Shift as a -mostly- universal answer and/or Caustic Caterpillar to get rid of annoying artifacts and enchantments.

Who cares about Lord of the Rings. This guy's Lord of the BearPunch.

Who cares about Lord of the Rings, this guy is Lord of the BearPunch.

Wrapping Up

So to finish up, unless I’ve completely missed something I’ll be taking Temur Midrange to the tabletop for the next few months. It has high power-for-mana creatures, can attack on different lines with burn spells, planeswalkers and manlands, and has a great sideboard for it’s worst matchup. But, this is all just speculation, and we get to look forward to the best part of a new format; I have no idea what it’s going to be. And that’s really exciting.

Thanks for reading ladies and gents, and I’ll talk to you next time.

Cheers,

Harrison

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