*Austin sits down at his computer to begin writing his weekly (award winning) article.*
Let’s see here, let’s check in on the GP Santiago results….Okay Temur Marvel in 1st place, makes sense, best deck in the format. Two more copies in 2nd and 3rd place as well. Wow, just one copy of Zombies? Guess Marvel players really knew how to beat the fresh PT winning list. Ooh, 2 copies of Mardu Vehicles? Look who’s back! Okay now onto GP Montreal results. Temur Marvel in 7th…2nd…. and 1st place. 2 more copies of Mardu Vehicles again and once more, just a lone Zombies deck in top 8. What about the Standard Classic at the SCG Tour in Louisville? Bant Marvel in 7th! That’s slightly different! Temur Marvel in 3rd and then….Temur Marvel in 1st….
Holy crap, everyone! Temur Marvel is dunking on everyone!
I mean, I knew it was the best deck in Standard, and that’s why I obviously advocated for you to pick it up last week. I expected a much more relevant amount of Zombies to be hanging around, and I certainly didn’t expect Mardu Vehicles to creep back in. But let’s be realistic, the metagame most likely looks like a little bit of Zombies, a little bit of Mardu Vehicles, and a big fat Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger-sized serving of Temur Marvel.
So what can you do to win in this Aetherworks Marvel dominated field? Prepare a whole butt-ton for the mirror and know what you’re doing.
First step, tweak and tune for the mirror. Magma Spray and a pile of Chandra, Flamecaller sounded great when I thought we’d see flocks of people jumping on the Pro Tour winning list, but alas, people just want to spin the wheel. The spell heavy version that Eric Froehlich and Yuuya Watanabe played at the PT starts to look better positioned when you imagine you’ll be playing against the mirror more, rather than facing down undead hoards.
The same is true of Chandra, Flamecaller. She might be great at mopping up piles of zombie tokens, but she’s less good in the mirror. Game 1 she is serviceable when playing against less counter magic, but post board sticking the 6 mana threat seems daunting. (And most likely a good way for your opponent to resolve their Aetherworks Marvel on the following turn!)
Personally, I’m a big fan of Kevin Jones’ winning list from GP Montreal. Going down to 1 Magma Spray in the main seems good when you’re expecting round after round of Temur Marvel mirrors, and the mainboard copies of Censor seem good in the same regard. Going down to 2 Chandra, Flamecaller and adding 1 Torrential Gearhulk also seems great if we’re looking to play a Glimmer of Genius game.
I haven’t had any experience playing Nissa’s Renewal yet, so I’m not sure if the big ramp spell is worth the slot and if it really does bridge the gap so you can start hard casting Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. I could see cutting it for a mainboard Negate if you’re interested in keeping those mirror matches a little more fair game 1.
Personally, I’d also try swapping the 2nd Mountain for a Shine of the Forsaken Gods. The innocuous little land doesn’t seem groundbreaking, but I was pretty impressed with Yuuya’s inclusion of the Battle for Zendikar rare. If we’re slowing down to a fair and grindy matchup post board, having an edge in letting me hardcast my Ulamog more easily seems worth having.
As for the board though, I’d make a few more changes. 3 sweepers seems redundant with the downswing on Zombies, and I’d be looking to play a 1/1 split with Kozilek’s Return and Sweltering Suns. Both have their upsides and advantages, and I’d hedge my bets with an even split. In a similar vein, I don’t think Shielded Aether Thief is necessary either. I want a copy of Ceremonious Rejection in my Marvel board, and the 0/4 rogue looks like the best card to cut for it.
If you were looking to go even further with your mirror prep, Ceremonious Rejection is the card I’d be most trying to fit a 2nd copy of. Countering both Aetherworks Marvel and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is a lot of oomph for a single blue mana, but the main reason I’m high on the counter spell is how it plays in the tempo-orientated stages of the early game.
The early stages of the game are all about sticking your early value creatures, while not exposing yourself to an opposing Aetherworks Marvel. The efficient Ceremonious Rejection is simply the best card for doing this. Play a Rogue Refiner and sit back on that Island, knowing full well that you’re safe from any terrifying energy machines.
As I mentioned two weeks ago, this upcoming Saturday is my last real shot at playing competitive Magic in NYC before I get ready for my big trip to Japan and subsequent move to Seattle. With just one last chance to play Standard this season, take a wild guess what I’ll be playing this weekend? The answer might surprise you! Normally I’d beat myself up for anything less than a top 8, but nostalgia is a powerful drug, and I’m just be looking forward to slinging some spells in this great city one last time. Either way, I’ll regale you with the tale and unveil what exactly it was I chose to battle with!
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