The Best Deck for Players Tour Weekend One

Arne Huschenbeth

Arne Huschenbeth

Introduction

Hello and welcome to the new Standard format. I am happy to formulate my thoughts again after a longer break from writing. My last article is more than six months ago, I wrote about my wonderful experience at the Legacy Grand Prix in Bologna.

Oh my, Grand Prix, do you remember those? Feels like ages we had them. I miss them so much. I miss the people, the conventions and the thrill of sitting down for a match of magic. I could be nostalgic all day long. I am sure the future will have much brighter times for us in store. For every downswing, there is an upswing. Let’s see what 2021 will bring to competitive magic. I am optimistic and hopeful.

I want to bring you my thoughts on the ban announcement, the fresh Standard format and what I think will happen at the Premiere weekend of the Online Players Tour. I decided for myself to play the weekend after to have more time to test and to be able to react to the what happened on the first weekend.

Flawless Maneuver

There is even an interesting strategic aspect to choose on which Players Tour date you want to play. Do you want to surprise your opponents on the first Players Tour weekend with a new deck or do you want to wait and react to the decks coming out of the first weekend? Which date will have the most players? Which date will have the least?

I want to briefly take the time and thank my supportive sponsor for being there for their players during these difficult times. I cannot state enough how grateful and thankful I am to be representing this amazing company where players and customers have the highest priority.

The Ban Announcement & Rule Change

《Agent of Treachery》

Agent of Treachery

First up my thoughts on the ban announcement. I believe they did a very good job overall. Banning 《Agent of Treachery》 is a smart move, taking out two powerful combinations at the same time. 《Winota, Joiner of Forces》 and 《Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast》. 《Agent of Treachery》 itself is not the most powerful card ever, but being a creature made it to easy to abuse.

《Fires of Invention》

Fires of Invention

The ban of 《Fires of Invention》 was inevitable. Cheating on mana has always led to problems and 《Fires of Invention》 is no exception. 《Fires of Invention》 not allowing you to play at instant speed is restricting gameplay decisions. We are playing Magic for a reason and the instant speed interaction is a big reason for many players. I am happy that it’s gone.

Companion

The “Nerf” on the Companion ability is very welcome and necessary to keep the game interesting. The mechanic was instantly dominating almost all formats. It was for everyone clear that the implementation of this mechanic was a mistake. The card quality compared to the restriction on a number of Companions was clearly to strong.

Adding an additional three mana to each Companion is enough of a crippling to make it a reasonable question if you should put your deck under the commitments of a certain Companion or if you should not. Three mana is not enough to entirely wipe out the Companion mechanic from competitive play.

Lurrus of the Dream DenYorion, Sky NomadGyruda, Doom of Depths

A deck with Ramp or a gameplan that is trying to go into the long game might still find use for a Companion like powerhouse 《Yorion, Sky Nomad》 or “Mega-Gravedigger” 《Gyruda, Doom of Depths》. This creates decision making in deckbuilding again, instead of the auto-inclusion of 《Lurrus of the Dream Den》 and his competitive Companions in many competitive decks over the last two months.

Great change, thank you Wizards for repairing your design mistake with a reasonable restriction and necessary bannings. It always stinks to have to ban a card that players have grown into liking or have invested in, but you have to make sacrifices for the greater good of the game to appease the majority of players at times.

And for myself, I always love a shakeup. Especially in my favorite format Standard. The fresh smell after a ban announcement or a set release is music in my ears. I know this is not how the saying goes, but you get what I mean. This is what keeps Magic interesting, the ever changing formats and the challenge to adapt and to metagame over and over again.

Standard after the Ban Announcement

Witch's OvenTeferi, Time RavelerWilderness Reclamation

What is left in the aftermath of this banned and restricted announcement? 《Witch’s Oven》, 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 and 《Wilderness Reclamation》 are the big ones that come to mind.

Luckily the first set of tournaments is already in. Let’s get right down to the fresh results. Here are the Top8 decks of the Red Bull Untapped Online Qualifier Germany, the most recent Magic Online Standard Challenge and Standard Showcase Challenge. 24 in total.

Number Archetype
9 Jund Sacrifice
4 Temur Reclamation
2 Azorius Control
2 Bant Control
2 Cavalcade Red
2 Gruul Aggro
1 Sultai Control
1 Rakdos Sacrifice
1 Mono Red
24 Total
Gilded GooseTrail of CrumbsBolas's Citadel

The new powerhouse appears to be Jund Sacrifice, that is a very dominating performance. Jund seems to be the superior choice over Rakdos Sacrifice. We see a clear dominance of control and midrange decks on this first weekend. Especially Jund is prone to beat aggressive strategies.

Forbidden FriendshipCavalcade of CalamityTorbran, Thane of Red Fell

Surprisingly Jund did not take down any of the three events. Two were won by Temur Reclamation and the most prestigious, the Showcase Challenge, was won by Cavalcade Red. Cavalcade Red has gotten a strong addition with Ikoria in form of 《Forbidden Friendship》. The deck looks strong, but in a field of Jund Sacrifice I would advise against playing it. I love that the red deck, list below, has only three cards that are not 4 offs in the whole 75. Clean and simple.

Temur Reclamation was the winner in two of the three events. In Jund Sacrifice loaded Top8s the “Midrange-Killer” Temur Reclamation shines. Jund Sacrifice pushing out Aggro is clearing the way for Temur Reclamation to then clear up the midrange decks with ease. Here some of the decks of last weekend.

Jund Sacrifice

Temur Reclamation

Mono Red

My Plan for Players Tour

Wilderness ReclamationExpansion+Explosion

I do believe Temur Reclamation is the best choice for the first Players Tour weekend. People have already catched up to the fact that Temur beats up on Jund Sacrifice. This fact might give more breathing room to the Aggro decks which then prey on Temur Reclamation. Therefore you have to have a version of Temur Reclamation that has a plan against Jund, the Mirror and the expected surge of Aggro decks.

Luckily Temur Reclamation is very flexible with the amount of card choices it has at its disposal, able to defeat almost any strategy with the right configuration.

I am a fan of controlling combo decks, so I immediately got to work after the bannings to refine Temur Reclamation for this fresh new format. With a week of results in, I present to you my current list. I say current, because my lists are always getting tweaked and tuned. You rarely see me play with the same exact 75 more than a day. If you want to learn, you have to try different cards and different game plans. Here is my take.

Temur Reclamation

My game plan in game 1 is as usual with this archetype, survive and assemble the 《Expansion/Explosion》 + 《Wilderness Reclamation》 Combo. I would simply call those two cards a combo. Temur Reclamation is similar to 《Splinter Twin》 a Combo control deck. To help you achieve your combo there are some interaction spells like the counterspell suite and the red removal in addition to 《Aether Gust》. Against control you have flying Sharks and 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 in game 1 to fight their interaction.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

The sideboard is build to be able to transform into a full control deck. In a lot of matchups I go as I like to call it “Uro Control” and reduce my 《Wilderness Reclamation》 and 《Expansion/Explosion》 by a lot. People are boarding in enchantment removal, 《Duress》 or 《Dovin’s Veto》.

Your combo does not work as efficiently, you have an easier time to win fair while your opponent is playing carefully around the threat of an 《Wilderness Reclamation》 by leaving mana open to counter it, which slows them down to allow you to develop your instant speed game plan. Cheap interaction plus 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 is my favorite recipe for success right now.

Cards Choise

《Whirlwind Denial》

Whirlwind Denial

Now to my card choices. 《Whirlwind Denial》 might surprise you, as of yet the card has convinced me. Countering multiple triggers from Jund Sacrifice, hitting an 《Lucky Clover》 or 《Edgewall Innkeeper》 trigger together with the spell on the stack and most importantly being a clean answer to the pesky 《Shark Typhoon》 made the addition of the 《Whirlwind Denial》 worth it.

《Storm’s Wrath》

Storm's Wrath

Recently players have moved away from 《Storm’s Wrath》, I believe that to be wrong. 《Storm’s Wrath》 is one of the best sweepers red has gotten in a long time or maybe ever?

Having one in the main might give you a free win when your opponent over extends. Additionally the one copy on the decklist might give your opponent a pause in some situations, trying to play around it and slowing themselves down giving you more time which is everything a Temur player could wish for. The psychological effect on some players of knowing 《Storm’s Wrath》 could be coming is not to be underestimated.

Chandra, Acolyte of FlameGemrazerQuesting BeastShifting Ceratops

《Storm’s Wrath》 dealing with 《Chandra, Acolyte of Flame》 from the rising Red deck in addition to the pesky green creatures 《Gemrazer》, 《Gruul Spellbreaker》, 《Questing Beast》 and 《Shifting Ceratops》 make it a great inclusion.

《Blast Zone》

Blast Zone

《Blast Zone》 is amazing, some people even play two. That is a little bit to greedy for me at the current moment. Temur needs a lot of colored sources. The rest of the manabase is self-explanatory. Playing 28 lands with the additon of four cycling lands from Ikoria, only makes sense. The most important thing is to be hitting your land drops.

《Aether Gust》

Aether Gust

《Aether Gust》 is very good right now and two copies in the main, one in the side seems appropriate. The 4th copy is high up on the “Maybeboard”.

《Brazen Borrower》

Brazen Borrower

《Brazen Borrower》, the worst card in Temur in my opinion, got replaced by the superior 《Shark Typhoon》. I am still playing one 《Brazen Borrower》 in the board for its use in the 《Shark Typhoon》 mirrors and postboard I am often actually winning by damage with creatures so the 3/1 Flyer can come in handy.

Legion WarbossCommence the EndgameHydroid KrasisChemister's Insight

I have difficulties building a sideboard in this fresh metagame. There are many cards that are worth a consideration. 《Legion Warboss》, 《Commence the Endgame》, 《Hydroid Krasis》 or 《Chemister’s Insight》 to name a few. I am a proponent of 《Legion Warboss》 to surprise people at events without decklists, but for the Players Tour I don’t think it is wise to play the 《Legion Warboss》. UWx players are having access to 《Glass Casket》 in high numbers lately and most players bring it in for 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 even without decklists.

《Nightpack Ambusher》

Nightpack Ambusher

《Nightpack Ambusher》 fits the flash plan and is useful against Aggro too.

《Spectral Sailor》

Spectral Sailor

《Spectral Sailor》 got the nod over 《Chemister’s Insight》 for being good against 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 and 《Narset, Parter of Veils》 in addition to blocking small red creatures from Mono Red.

Additional Removals

Chandra's Pyrohelix

The additional removal in the board is there to keep any rising Aggro decks in bay. Aggro and 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 decks are the more difficult opponents for Temur Reclamation, therefore I want to be prepared. 《Chandra’s Pyrohelix》 might look odd, but is actually very strong against Mono Red, playable against Sacrifice and surprisingly good against Temur Adventures.

OptWilt

You can build Temur Reclamation in many different ways right now. I saw my fellow Hareruya Pro Matias Leveratto dismissing 《Opt》 entirely from the deck which gave him more sideboard space by moving two 《Wilt》 and more interaction to the main deck. I am not sure about this move, 《Opt》 is vital for 《Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath》 and to find your combo pieces in game one. Though shaving or cutting 《Opt》 is worth a consideration.

Players Tour Predictions

I know, I know everyone is eagerly waiting for the sideboard guide. This time I have to postpone a sideboard guide to not give away to much information heading into the Players Tour. I gave you a hint how I am approaching this list and how I am sideboarding.

I also made a sideboard guide for Temur Reclamation in March, which you can find on my Twitter account @Huschenmtg. Different format, but same recipe. I am sure I will be providing you with a sideboard guide after the Players Tour will be over. I hope you can forgive me for being secretive this time around.

As a final statement, I am going to make some predictions about the first Players Tour weekend.

Let us see how my predictions turn out. In any case I am excited to finally have some High-stakes magic again and I can’t wait to get back into the ring. That is it for me for today, thank you for reading and goodbye.

Arne Huschenbeth (Twitter / Twitch)

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Arne Huschenbeth

Arne Huschenbeth Arne is an enthusiast for Standard and won GP Rimini which was held by exact his favorite format. He also achieved impressive 10-0 record at Pro Tour Hour of Devastation. He has 3 more GP top 8s past seasons, and earned 41 Pro Points during 2017-2018 season which was good enough to become a Gold Level Pro. Read more articles by Arne Huschenbeth

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