Do it yourself: Building Temur Energy

Grzegorz Kowalski

Grzegorz Kowalski

Hello everyone!

I’m Grzegorz Kowalski, Gold Level Pro from Poland. It’s going to be my first article for Hareruya and I really hope you will enjoy it!

For most of us nationals are just around the corner and probably you are looking for a standard deck that you should play. To be honest, I don’t know which deck is the best right now. I would say something like , “the best deck” doesn’t even exist in current standard.

Standard is in great moment right now, we have plenty of decks to choose from and most of them are reasonable choices. Games are very complicated and small decisions matter so it’s more important to know your deck well, and play your best with it, instead of trying to switch the deck in last moment and lose your edge because of that.

What I know is that Temur Energy will always be a decent choice. The biggest strength of Temur is flexibility. You can tune it to be good in almost every possible metagame just by switching few cards and today I will try to explain how you should build Temur for your expected nationals metagame.


Let’s start with the core of our deck. Cards that you should never move from your maindeck. (There are 4 cards for each.)

Attune with AetherServant of the ConduitLongtusk CubRogue RefinerHarnessed Lightning

Those are cards that you should never consider playing less than four in the maindeck. It’s just core of Temur Energy and it’s nothing really to say about, so let’s go to more interesting part.


To 20 cards written above we should add 21 or 22 lands, which gives us 41-42 cards. That means we still have 18-19 slots to fill up as we want according to expected metagame. I’ll divide decks for every card between categories.

Great against – which simply means that you should increase the number of this card if you expect a lot of given decks on your nationals.

Decent against – Nothing special. Card does a good job in matchup, but it’s not a game breaker. You don’t mind having it in your maindeck versus given deck, but you also don’t want to focus on that card to fight it.

Terrible against – Useless or very bad cards, that significantly decrease your chances versus certain deck.

If I don’t put some deck name in any category it just means that card is very average and doesn’t really affect the matchup.

《Magma Spray》

Magma Spray

Great against – Mono Red, Zombies, Mardu Vehicles, Mono White Eldrazi

Decent against《God-Pharaoh's Gift》

Terrible against – Controls, Ramps



Great against – Mardu Vehicles, 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》, BG Constrictor

Decent against – Mono White Eldrazi, Mono Red, Zombies

Terrible against – UW Approach, Ramps

We should allocate 3-4 slots for removal next to 《Harnessed Lightning》. How to divide it? The biggest factor should be number of Mono Reds in your expected metagame. The more reds, the better 《Magma Spray》 is. If you don’t expect 《Hazoret the Fervent》 on your nationals I would simply cut 《Magma Spray》 from your maindeck and play 3 《Abrade》.

《Rhonas the Indomitable》

Rhonas the Indomitable

Great against – Temur Energy, BG Constrictor

Decent against – Mono Red, 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》

Terrible against – UW Approach, Ramps

《Bristling Hydra》

Bristling Hydra

Great against – Non UW Approach Controls, Mono Red

Decent against – Temur Energy, BG Constrictor

Terrible against《God-Pharaoh's Gift》

《Whirler Virtuoso》

Whirler Virtuoso

Great against – Mono Red, Controls

Decent against – Mardu Vehicles

Terrible against

《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》

Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Great against – Controls, Ramps, BG Constrictor

Decent against – Temur Energy, Mono White Eldrazi

Terrible against – Mono Red, Mardu Vehicles

So those are our early/midgame options. Because of my personal preferences, and fact how mirror breaking 《Rhonas the Indomitable》 is, I would always play at least one. Adding the second copy is a real cost, as drawing multiple means drawing actual dead card that you can’t really cycle or even turn into 2 damage which works if you draw multiple 《Hazoret the Fervent》, so you should be careful here. On the other hand, if you expect a lot of Temur Energy playing 2 is completely fine. I played 2 at GP Turin and don’t regret it.

《Whirler Virtuoso》 is generally weak card and terrible in multiples, but it’s our best answer for 《Hazoret the Fervent》, and Mono Red itself. Looking at worldwide trends and how red decks are losing popularity since Pro Tour, I can see playing only 2-3 《Virtuoso》.

The more Controls and Ramps in your metagame the better maindeck 《Chandra》 is. It’s also high variance card for the mirror match, sometimes (especially on the play) might win the game on its own, and sometimes doesn’t really do anything against 《Virtuoso》 or 《Hydra》.

《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

Great against – Zombies, BG Constrictor, Mardu Vehicles

Decent against – Mono Red, Temur Energy

Terrible against – Controls, Ramps



Decent against – Everything

《Elder Deep-Fiend》

Elder Deep-Fiend

Great against – Temur Energy, 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》

Decent against – Mono Red, Controls

Terrible against

Here we are. Five + drops, great high end for our Temur deck. 《Glorybringer》 is our universal all star that you should play at least 3 in every metagame. We have two more big slots to fill with a card that targets specific decks, depending on what you expect. I’m very high on 《Elder Deep-Fiend》 after looking into GP DC and GP Turin top8s. Looks like we are far away from old Mono Red/BG/Zombies metagame and 《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》 isn’t that great anymore.

The Scarab God

Are you wondering why I didn’t admit powerful 《The Scarab God》 with other five drops? Well, I simply believe you shouldn’t even consider splashing black! Black splash is a real cost. 《Swamp》 in your deck is even bigger cost than you think. You’re playing a lot of cards with double cost in each color! 《Glorybringer》, 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》, 《Bristling Hydra》, 《Confiscation Coup》, 《Elder Deep-Fiend》.

Why would you put《Wastes》 in your deck? Just to be able to play 2 cards from your maindeck that you don’t even need? I agree, 《The Scarab God》 is great in the mirror. Same goes for BG or 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》, but so is 《Rhonas the Indomitable》! So is 《Elder Deep-Fiend》! And trust me, turn three 《Rhonas the Indomitable》 is way more scary play than turn five 《The Scarab God》 for your Temur opponent.


Another good card that comes with splash is 《Dispossess》. It helps against 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》, but again, you’re using sideboard slots for cards that come only for one matchup, so you have to play against 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》 and draw both 《Dispossess》 and the black source in postboard game to make a difference, meanwhile you will feel the pain of splash in every game in every match with your worse mana.



Sideboard will obviously depend on your maindeck choices, but I think we always should start with 4 《Negate》. Card is just so good in matchups where you want to bring it in and more or less every of “I want to bring 《Negate》 here” matchup is our bad game one matchup, so it’s very important to make it favorable postboard. It’s just nuts against UW Approach and other Controls, also gives us a chance to fight against Ramp, which is our bad matchup in general. Same goes for 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》.

Another very important cards are 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》 (you need at least 2 in your 75, so if you don’t play it maindeck, just put it into sb) and 《Confiscation Coup》 which is another weapon for every midrange deck and also big game changer against our Temur-black friend with 《The Scarab God》. With this core in mind we can focus on more flexible part of our sideboard.

Our options against UW Approach, UR Control and GW/RG Ramp are basically the same. Cards that we want to bring in are: 《Negate》, 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》, 《Tireless Tracker》, 《Dispel》 (doesn’t count for Ramp), 《Chandra, Flamecaller》 (doesn’t count for UR Control).

Cards good against mirror

Chandra, Torch of DefianceConfiscation CoupTireless Tracker

Cards good against Mono Red

AbradeMagma SprayAethersphere HarvesterWhirler Virtuoso

If you have some 《Whirler Virtuoso》 in sideboard.

Cards good against Zombies

Radiant FlamesMagma SpraySkysovereign, Consul FlagshipChandra, FlamecallerChandra, Torch of Defiance

Cards good against BG

AbradeChandra, Torch of DefianceConfiscation CoupTireless TrackerSkysovereign, Consul Flagship

Cards good against 《God-Pharaoh's Gift》

AbradeChandra, Torch of DefianceNegateTireless TrackerConfiscation Coup

Cards good against Mardu Vehicles

AbradeSkysovereign, Consul FlagshipTireless TrackerChandra, Torch of DefianceMagma Spray

《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》– Only when they board into Mardu Midrange with more planeswalkers and fewer creatures.

《Magma Spray》– Only if they keep their “be aggro” plan from game one, and only on the draw.

Those are our options. I’ll write tips about each important archetype below, to let you better understand why those cards are good, how to use them and how to play games in general.


Remember to build your sideboard working well with the maindeck. It’s important to have a big picture of the deck while making decisions. For example if you’re building your main to be good against aggro with bunch of removal, 0 《Chandras》 main etc you will have so many dead cards for UR Control or UW Approach matchup. It’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to make sure that you have enough cards against Controls in your sideboard to replace bad cards from main.

Waste Not

On the other hand, you don’t need to waste many slots for Mono Red, because you have good maindeck already and there is no reason to replace good cards from main for just a little bit better cards from sb. There was a time when I boarded only one card for this matchup, and I was completely fine with it.

Right now, when Mono Red is slowly disappearing from the metagame I changed my maindeck to be better vs mirrors and other midrange decks, and now I have to dedicate three cards in my sideboard, to be sure changes don’t hurt my red matchup.

With this in mind we can start building our default version. This is something that I’m playing on modo right now. Main goal of this version is to be good in the mirror. From my experience on modo Temur is by far the most popular deck, so I sacrificed some tools against Mono Red and Zombies to increase my mirror and Control matchup.

Test Deck

4 《Forest》
2 《Mountain》
1 《Island》
2 《Sheltered Thicket》
4 《Aether Hub》
4 《Botanical Sanctum》
3 《Spirebluff Canal》
1 《Lumbering Falls》
1 《Game Trail》

-Lands (22)-

4 《Longtusk Cub》
4 《Servant of the Conduit》
4 《Rogue Refiner》
3 《Whirler Virtuoso》
2 《Rhonas the Indomitable》
3 《Bristling Hydra》
3 《Glorybringer》
2 《Elder Deep-Fiend》

-Creatures (25)-
4 《Attune with Aether》
1 《Magma Spray》
4 《Harnessed Lightning》
2 《Abrade》
2 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》

-Spells (13)-
4 《Negate》
2 《Tireless Tracker》
2 《Confiscation Coup》
1 《Dispel》
1 《Magma Spray》
1 《Abrade》
1 《Radiant Flames》
1 《Aethersphere Harvester》
1 《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》
1 《Chandra, Flamecaller》

-Sideboard (15)-


Mono Red

Falkenrath GorgerEarthshaker KhenraHazoret the Fervent

Mono Red used to be the most popular deck right after pro tour. Everyone has to be prepared and beating red was goal number one when you sing up for tournament. It’s not a case anymore, which means you don’t have to play 4 × 《Whirler Virtuoso》, 4 × 《Bristling Hydra》 etc. At GP Turin, during two days of competition I didn’t play against a single Mono Red…

Whirler VirtuosoBristling Hydra

This matchup is very tricky, and also very dice roll dependent. Our biggest enemy is 《Hazoret the Fervent》. We can easily deal with the rest of deck, but 《Hazoret》 can kill us just in few turns, and we don’t have any permanent answer for it. Because of that we can’t wait forever and just play 100% Control side, we need to deal with early pressure and find good moment to start racing opponent. Good cards for that are 《Virtuoso》 and 《Rhonas》.

Longtusk Cub

Crucial number for this matchup is 5 toughness, red doesn’t deal with creatures with toughness bigger than 4, so if you can make your 《Longtusk Cub》 5/5 in early/mid game you will be in great spot. It’s worth to keep 《Cub》 on your hand if you have any other spells to play and gather 6 energy before you cast him. Postboard they usually board into bigger version of Mono Red, so be aware of 《Glorybringer》. Because of that, I’m not boarding out my big spells. Both 《Glorybringer》 and 《Elder Deep-Fiend》 are good with racing.

In my list 《Chandra,》 is super easy to cut, but if you don’t play 《Chandras》 main and play 《Flagship》 instead of 《Deep-Fiend》 I would often cut 2 《Servants》. In the early game you never want to cast him, as it dies to 《Shock》 quickly. Your plan is to kill everything that your opponent cast in first 2 turns and then curve naturally. Casting 2/2 guy on turn 4-5 doesn’t seem like great plan for winning the game.


CryptbreakerDiregraf ColossusLiliana's Mastery

If I have to choose one deck, that I like to play against it would be Zombies. First of all, we are fairly ahead against them, second – games are long and require a lot of small decisions while each of them matter. We’re 100% Control side here.

Zombies don’t have reach or late game spells that you can’t answer so all you need is to survive to the late game. Creatures that you should kill on the first place are 《Cryptbreaker》, 《Diregraf Colossus》 and 《Lord of the Accursed》. If you remove them from the battlefield, they don’t really have a way to take advantage.

Temur is well positioned against random 2/2s so they have to pray for 《Liliana's Mastery》, and drawing multiple on curve is the only way to steal the game from that spot. Postboard it gets even better. Now we have more Control tools, more planeswalkers, mass removal, 《Tireless Tracker》. 《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》 is also MVP here if you don’t play it in the maindeck you should board it in.

Tireless TrackerSkysovereign, Consul Flagship

They’re boarding into bigger deck so it’s important to keep in mind that you gonna face 《Gonti, Lord of Luxury》 and 《Transgress the Mind》. I’m always boarding out 《Virtuoso》, as it’s the worst creature vs Zombies (1/1 thopters don’t matter at all) and 《Cubs》 on the draw (although I’m keeping some on the play, we can expect them to cut some amount of 《Fatal Push》 and if unanswered, 《Cub》 can make good early pressure, especially if followed by removal).

If you want to focus on beating those two decks I think list made by Brad Nelson for GP Denver is perfect.

Brad Nelson – Temur Energy
Grand Prix Denver 2017(1st)

4 《Forest》
2 《Mountain》
1 《Island》
3 《Sheltered Thicket》
1 《Game Trail》
4 《Aether Hub》
4 《Botanical Sanctum》
2 《Spirebluff Canal》
1 《Lumbering Falls》

-Lands (22)-

4 《Longtusk Cub》
4 《Servant of the Conduit》
4 《Rogue Refiner》
4 《Whirler Virtuoso》
1 《Rhonas the Indomitable》
4 《Bristling Hydra》
3 《Glorybringer》

-Creatures (24)-
4 《Attune with Aether》
2 《Magma Spray》
4 《Harnessed Lightning》
2 《Abrade》
2 《Skysovereign, Consul Flagship》

-Spells (14)-
4 《Negate》
2 《Tireless Tracker》
2 《Radiant Flames》
2 《Confiscation Coup》
2 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》
2 《Chandra, Flamecaller》
1 《Abrade》

-Sideboard (15)-

Temur Energy

Longtusk CubBristling HydraGlorybringer

There are three scenarios how mirror plays out. First, guy on the play cast 《Longtusk Cub》 turn 2 which remains unanswered and take Control over the game very quickly. Second, one player draws his 《Rhonas》, while his opponent doesn’t. It’s really hard to come back if your opponent has active 《Rhonas》. If followed by 《Hydra》, then it’s almost impossible. Third, and the most interesting is just fair and long game of magic.

Elder Deep-Fiend

Exchanging resources, trading cards and fighting for better position. 《Elder Deep-Fiend》 is MVP of third scenario, as you can set up turn X with him in mind and take huge advantage or even close the game and your opponent can’t really do anything about that. Your play style should change on play/draw. While on the play you want to cast creatures on curve and pressure opponent as much as possible.

On the draw your goal is to don’t fall behind. You want to answer early pressure of your opponent by casting removal and playing creatures isn’t that important. For example if your opponent passed 2nd turn with 2 open mana and you have 《Servant of the Conduit》 and 《Abrade》 you don’t want to cast mana dork here. It’s almost always correct to pass the turn, “burn” his two mana, kill his 3 drop and then play your 3 drop (or even that 《Servant》) into empty board.

Sideboarding is also different on the play and draw. It’s way harder to execute first scenario from game one, because opponent has way more options to deal with 《Longtusk Cub》 (with stealing him using 《Confiscation Coup》 on top of that). On the play you don’t want that many removal spells (《Abrade》 and 《Magma Spray》 are not really efficient here), so you can keep some 《Cubs》.

I’m boarding out all 《Whirler Virtuoso》 but one, 《Magma Spray》 and some 《Longtusk Cub》 (depending on of how many cards I want to bring in) for 《Trackers》, all small 《Chandras》, one big 《Chandra》 and 《Confiscation Coup》. On the draw you want to add additional 《Abrade》 and second 《Virtuoso》, so you can cut more 《Cubs》.

Mardu Vehicles (《Thought-Knot Seer》 version)

Toolcraft ExemplarThought-Knot SeerHeart of Kiran

Luckily for us transformation sideboard plan from mardu isn’t popular right now, so we can blindly assume that we should board versus “game one” plan of mardu, which means we always want 《Trackers》, 《Abrades》 and 《Flagship》, on the draw we should keep/board in 《Magma Sprays》, while on the play we can switch them with 《Negates》.

Do not waste your 《Harnessed Lightning》 on random creatures if it’s not necessary. It’s your best answer for 《Thought-Knot Seer》 and 《Avacyn》, and both are very good against you, so you need a way to answer them.

RG/GW Ramp

World BreakerHour of PromiseUlamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

No doubt, it’s our bad matchup. Game one is really miserable, we just have to put early pressure and hope our opponent get slow draw. Against RG six toughness is important number, and our priority should be to make 《Cub》 or 《Hydra》 x/6 to survive 《Hour of Devastation》.

NegateConfiscation Coup

In game two things get a little bit better, with acces to 《Negate》, 《Confiscation Coup》, and planeswalkers with have more interaction. Speaking about 《Negate》, our premium targets are 5 mana Hours (both 《red》 and 《green》).

Way to win this matchup is to deploy early pressure and keep Negates since they get access to 5th mana. Worth to note – you should board out 《Magma Spray》 and 《Abrade》, but keep some 《Harnessed Lightning》, as they often have 《Thought-Knot Seer》 in game 2 and 3, so don’t get surprised. If plan A doesn’t go well, and you can’t kill him fast enough it’s important to don’t waste energy. It’s good to gather 6 energy in the midgame to eventually steal his 《Ulamog》 using 《Coup》.

《God-Pharaoh's Gift》

RefurbishAngel of InventionGod-Pharaoh's Gift

Tricky matchup. With original, old Temur list I didn’t like it, but since I added second 《Rhonas the Indomitable》 and 《Elder Deep-Fiend》 to main deck I found myself with really positive score. Game one is all about race, you have to kill him faster than he can put 6/6 Angel on the battlefield. Trample from 《Rhonas the Indomitable》 and 《Elder Deep-Fiend》 clearing your path from blockers help a lot.

Postboard you have more answers so you can focus on interactive game. Board in 《Negate》, 《Confiscation Coup》, 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》, 《Tireless Tracker》 and 《Abrade》, cut all 《Bristling Hydra》 first then some 《Whirler Virtuoso》 and 《Harnessed Lightning》. Even though 《Virtuosos》 is not great I like to have some in my deck, to keep energy payoffs. After cutting all 《Hydras》 only payoff card is 《Cub》, which is easy to chump block if we don’t draw 《Rhonas》 or 《Deep-Fiend》 but if we don’t let 《Gift》 resolve, they are very soft to fliers.

UW Approach

CensorFumigateApproach of the Second Sun

Game one is very hard. We have so many dead cards, don’t have any interaction, the best way to win is forcing them to mulligan to four and skip 3rd land drop. The biggest issue here is 《Bristling Hydra》. It used to be our the best weapon against Controls, but here is just bad as we’re facing 《Fumigate》 and 《Blessed Alliance》.

Remember that you can kill your own creature with 《Magma Spray》 in response for 《Fumigate》 to deal one damage, and 《Harnessed Lightning》 is instant speed “add 3 energy”. It’s not a great use for those cards but you don’t have any better and sometimes this one life might be difference between winning and loosing.

Regal CaracalLinvala, the Preserver

Postboard 《Negate》 are your best friends. UW is playing a lot of expensive sorcery speed cards and countering them provides huge tempo swing. Do not board out all 《Harnessed Lightning》 because you can expect them to bring 《Linvala, the Preserver》 and/or 《Regal Caracal》. In contrast to UR Control, here we want all planeswalkers. UW is more like big midrange tapout than Control and 《Chandra, Flamecaller》 is great follow up after 《Fumigate》 or Cat lord.


I believe it’s way more important to understand your deck, card choices and sideboard plans instead of just copy full list with sideboard guide from the internet. If you understand your deck, you can play well with it, and that gives you the best chance for winning magic tournaments.

Right now, when I’m writing it I don’t know results of week one nationals. Maybe new great deck shows up, maybe metagame shifts. What even happen, I hope this article help you get better understanding of Temur Energy and you will be able to build the best version for your nationals yourself!

If you enjoy this article and want more, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I’ll post every new article, my tournament results, magic thoughts and more here!

I wish you best of luck on your nationals and see you next time!

Grzegorz Kowalski

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