Editor’s note: This article was completed before 9/10 spoilers.
RUG, Red, Blue, Green it has become one of the biggest color wedges in all of Magic. You can see it taking Tournaments in Modern and in Legacy and now it is getting a new name and making a return to standard as Temur. If you are like me then you are really excited for tri-color wedges to be making a major return to standard and being that my three favorite wedges of all time are Naya, RUG, and BUG, I am truly looking forward to having Naya, Temur, and Sultai around. With spoilers from Khans of Tarkir reaching an all-time fast pace and being just days away from pre-release weekend it is becoming much easier to look at what a wedge will bring to the table.
The Temur to me look like the place to be once rotation hits and a quick glance at them demonstrates exactly why that is. They have access to a slew of powerful planeswalkers; Nissa, Worldwaker, Kiora, the Crashing Wave, Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, Jace, the Living Guildpact, and Xenagos, the Reveler! In case you didn’t know, Jundwalkers was a big thing for a while there and Temur looks like it could put them to shame. These are some of the most powerful walkers in all of Standard, and the most impressive part about them is not only are they a threat on the board, they can also protect themselves. Nissa turns your lands into 4/4 creatures, Kiora shuts down a card dealing you damage, Jace can bounce cards back to your opponents hand, Xenagos can create an army of 2/2 Satyrs, and our newest addition in Sarkhan can choose to make himself a big 4/4 Flying dragon, or just burn creature for four damage. These planeswalkers do work and they all also exist in the top mana ramp wedge in the game, but more on that later.
If you aren’t looking to assemble the most expensive standard deck possible, but still love the Temur, the planeswalkers aren’t the only things to get excited about. Going all in with the fatties looks like a lot of fun with Polukranos, Stormbreath Dragon, Sagu Mauler, Clever Imposter, Avalanche Tusker, Savage Knuckleblade, Genesis Kydra, Mistcutter Hydra, Hornet Queen, Hooded Hydra, Goblin Rabblemaster, well I think you get the point that hard hitting creatures with good upside are a dime a dozen for the Temur, and provide a lot of options on the creature front. They are supplemented with a strong contingent of ramping creatures in Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid, Rattleclaw Mystic, Generator Servant, and Courser of Kruphix. Hitting mana for this deck is easy and it can regularly smack down a 5 mana threat on turn 3!
Finally, if you are that type of person who looks to create a little more interaction bet between decks, maybe then you can take a look at the spells. Red instantly gives you access to a very strong burn sweep for creature control, blue gets you access to your draw, bounce, or counter spells, and green gives you some solid pump. But let’s take a quick peak at what Khan’s has shown us: Temur Ascendancy is an enchantment that gives our creatures haste and helps us replenish our hand when we play our fatties, the Temur Charm (probably my favorite) gives us efficient removal, a counter spell, or a way to push damage through all wrapped up into an efficient 3 mana spell! See the Unwritten is an amazing card that lets us dig 8 cards into the deck and slam a creature or maybe even two onto the field, while Adamant Negation could prove to be THE counterspell for this wedge. We also have Crater Claws which provides an interesting alternate finisher or some top level creature control we’ve been looking for, while Mindswipe could come in and provide the same benefit by countering a spell while dealing out damage in return.
What the Temur provide us is what every Magic fan loves, options, options, options. Like my look into Mardu last week, Temur has many different builds, though I am not as convinced to the power level of some of them (like the highly pumped up Temur Control builds). I do however believe that Temur will provide the highest level builds available in standard post rotation and likely the most expensive decks. Today I am going to bring you my ideas for post rotation Temur builds!
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Rattleclaw Mystic
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Genesis Hydra
4 Polukranos, World Eater
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
1 Jace, the Living Guildpact
2 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
2 Nissa, Worldwaker
3 Xenagos, the Reveler
2 Temur Charm
4 Yavimaya Coast
4 Wooded Foothills
2 Temple of Abandon
2 Temple of Mystery
3 Frontier Bivouac
3 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
2 Crater's Claw
2 Chandra, Pyromancer
3 Nylea's Disciple
2 Reclamation Sage
2 Clever Imposter
2 Temur Charm
1 Jace, the Living Guildpact
1 Arbor Colossus
Now this is the first draft and still early, but you can’t help but love it, or at least I can’t. You would be right to say at first glance it looks much like the current ramp builds, but I think this build gets there in ways others haven’t been able to. Ratteclaw Mystic is massive for getting out a quick ramp early on in the game, a turn 3 Nissa or Sarkhan is backbreaking to an opponent. Mystic also provides great mana fixing and is an efficient attacker in its own right. The addition of Sarkhan also gives the deck something it hasn’t had before and that is built in control. Sarkhan can deal with troublesome creatures or can get in the air for major damage.
One of the things often forgotten about with Genesis Hydra is the fact it’s ability targets NONLAND permanents. This means our Hydra can be rocking planeswalkers out for us, which is his point in the deck. We already know the power of the other walkers, Xenagos wins games on his own, while Kiroa and Jace provide very solid support. Kiora also plays the role of additional ramp and should be the walker that you plan to go ultimate with. Temur Charm sees inclusion as a supplement that can help remove troublesome creatures, shutdown certain blockers, or just counter a spell at a crucial moment.
The loss of shocklands makes the land base a lot more difficult. As all of our ramp and mana fixers included green it was important that our base reflected that, other than a singleton mountain every card can produce green and more importantly more than half can produce green mana on turn one, which is vital for the deck being quick. I want to make a note on Fetchlands and how important they are, even in monocolored decks. First a fetchland will filter your deck and reduce the amount of cards in it, the less cards in your deck the higher the chance that you are drawing a key card you need to finish the game as opposed to additional mana. Next the interaction with Courser of Kruphix is insane, not only does it negate the life loss but it also allows you to reset the top of your deck. Holding fetch lands will become strategic when using Courser to try and help set up your hand and plays the best that you can. Due to the heavy mana constrictions on this deck it was difficult to include more fetch lands and our temples and tri-lands became needed.
Sideboarding at this point is a best guess type of job. Khans has already provided such a wide variety of strategies I would put it at near impossible to guess which decks are going to be plentiful. We stick with some tried and true cards like Nylea’s Disciple to help against burn or super aggressive matchups, Arbor Colossus to help deal with cards like Stormbreath Dragon, and Reclamation Sage to deal with Ensoul Artifact and all of the Ascendency cards; not to mention hitting creature removal enchantments. I also chose to provide additional walker options for different scenario’s with Chandra and Jace; Chandra helps in the weenie matchup, while Jace is great against long game control or midrange decks. Three Khans cards are also added to the sideboard. Completing the playset of Temur Charms is a big thing if you feel you have dead walkers, and Crater’s Claw gives you important creature removal at nearly any size and an out of nowhere finisher. My favorite card that I ALMOST considered in the mainboard is Clever Imposter. Clever Imposter enters the battlefield as a copy of any nonland permanent, this means if your opponent has a pesky creature or planeswalker you can copy it and use it for yourself. Need to copy your own walker, do it and keep the Imposter version, this is a versatile card that I believe will carry its weight.
This deck has a lot of potential, with 12 straight up ramp creatures in the deck and an efficient amount of mana that doesn’t come into play tapped getting your Planeswalkers online early is not an issue. The walkers provide enough control on their own that going aggro with Polukranos or Hyrda also becomes an option and it has solid draw and deck setting abilities as well. Sideboard it can answer almost any threat that you can come up with, all around it really just gets the job done. For that reason alone I think this will prove to be the basis of one of the stronger Khans of Tarkir decks.
This is another deck that I am really excited to try out and I really enjoy the uniqueness of the sideboard this time around, which we will touch on later. Unlike the first deck, this one we are dropping big, aggressive creatures onto the board to pressure our opponents. This deck takes the normal green ramp, but adds in access to Stormbreath Dragon which has a possibility of a turn 3 on the field and attack for four damage! Sagu Mauler is a new addition from Khans of Tarkir and is thus far my favorite card printed, 6 mana for a 6/6 trampling, hexproof creature that can once again, possibly drop on turn 3! That, my friends, is just pure win all the way. I am also a huge fan of Savage Knuckleblade. It is a 4/4 that drops in for an easy 3 mana, and if you have an extra red you can give it haste using one of the three abilities. The other two abilities can pump it two a 6/6 or bounce it back to your hand giving it the ability to dodge removal quite well.
Here I am actually putting a copy of Clever Imposter in the mainboard. It doesn’t just do an efficient job of pulling from your opponents deck, but getting an extra copy of Kunckleblade, Stormbreath, Mauler, a ramp creature, or in certain situation Polukranos is very important. As far as spells go, Khans of Tarkir rules all the way. The Temur Ascendancy gives all your creatures haste and allows you to draw a card whenever a creature with power 4 or greater enters the battlefield there is a potential of 14 creatures to set this off. What I also like is that it makes me not so inclined to play Generator Servant which allows me to focus more on mana fixing. I talked about the Temur Charm earlier and it still applies as a strong utility card here. I was going to go to the full playset of Charms with this deck, but I decided this was a good place for See the Unwritten. Being able to dig for most often two creatures that could come into play with haste, depending on your board state, seemed fairly good. When looking at it, I almost actually dropped the Ascendancy for three of See the Unwritten and Temur Charm, but decided to keep it at two of each.
We’ve talked about the land and here it is simply more streamlined to ensure we have colors available. Mana Confluence might actually NEED to find its way into the deck, but we will see.
This leaves the sideboard and it is my favorite part of the deck. Thus far Avalanche Tusker has been hated on by the magic community, I am calling it a hidden all-star. Tusker is a removal spell that can deal damage, it is so valuable to be able to force a creature to block him and being able to have more say in your opponents game plan is huge, he ALMOST warranted mainboard inclusion. I will also admit right now the Meandering Turtleshell is a pet preference, and to me is mostly used for a mirror match, or possibly against a heavy control player. He is just a fun card with a while 9 toughness that can block creatures all day long. Sage, Disciple, and Anger of the Gods are all pretty much self-explanatory inclusions. The other all-star I am calling now is Adamant Negation, this card should almost always read pay one blue, counter target noncreature spell. For a creature based deck to get counter magic this cheap is huge, more importantly it puts an end to End Hostilities so we can keep being hostile!
Well that is my look at Temur and I still think we are just scratching the surface. Feel free to leave your comments with deck ideas or let me know what you think. Next week we will be looking at Sultai and following it up with a double feature of Abzan and Jeskai to finish up our preview series!
Until Next time, keep on searching!