Is Aetherworks Marvel a serious problem for Magic? How do we reasonably beat it?

These questions are being asked all the time over the past few weeks. In my mind, there has to a best deck in every format, and there has to be a best thing to be doing. In this format, it’s Aetherworks Marvel. However, that doesn’t mean that if you want to succeed you have to play Temur Marvel.

Marvel wasn’t entirely ubiquitous back at the Pro Tour, but it did outperform the field in a serious way. This was best seen when diving into the results of the tournament, and not just looking at the final standings. Since that time, Marvel has dominated the format in an unforeseen way, and the decks designed to beat it such as U/R Control haven’t really made a serious dent in Temur Marvel’s ability to perform. When “Daddy” Kevin Jones took down Grand Prix Montreal last weekend with Temur Marvel, the top 8 was actually fairly diverse when it came to deck selection.

I suspect that people feel vulnerable and after a recent Standard format marred by bannings, people are worried about whether Marvel is too good for it to survive. I however think that the problem is not the power level of Marvel, but rather the attitude of people when decks dominate a format. Now that banninsg in Standard are things that can happen, consumers do not want to tolerate a format that appears to be dominated by any certain deck.

Now, Temur Marvel appears to be dominating. However, I just don’t see the oppressive nature of it that others seem to. I feel rather that Marvel is the best in a series of playable decks, and now that the entire general Magic playing public has it in their line of sight, I think that its possible that the Standard format will see another huge shift in the metagame. I don’t know exactly what the deck is that is going to be able to beat it, but this 5-0 Standard Competitive Decklist by McWinSauce could be a really excellent place to start.

U/W Midrange by McWinSauce on MtGO

Creatures (23)
4 Archangel Avacyn
2 Eldrazi Skyspawner
2 Gisela, the Broken Blade
4 Glory-Bound Initiate
4 Spell Queller
4 Thraben Inspector
3 Walking Ballista

Non-Creature Spells (12)
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Censor
1 Negate
1 Always Watching
2 Stasis Snare

Lands (25)
4 Irrigated Farmland
4 Island
9 Plains
4 Port Town
4 Prairie Stream

Sideboard (15)
1 Gisela, the Broken Blade
2 Declaration in Stone
3 Negate
1 Aethersphere Harvester
1 Bruna, the Fading Light
2 Dusk//Dawn
1 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
2 Pull from Tomorrow
1 Scatter to the Winds
1 Westvale Abbey

I think that this deck is a really excellent place to start when talking about how to beat Marvel. However, jumping off from this list, I would make some changes in that I would want more copies of Censor and Negate in the mainboard to hedge against Temur Marvel even heavier. Again, this is something that I’ve spoked about before in regards to winning Magic tournaments in that you always want to be iterating on what most people think is a good thing to be doing.

In this case, removing Eldrazi Skyspawner in favor of further copies of Negate may seems reactionary, but Negate has targets in most of the top tier decks right now and is a great hedge against what appears to be the best and most popular deck that won’t be slowing down. Unless you’re one of the best players out there, you probably aren’t going to win a tournament by doing the same old things, and this innovation is one that could seriously benefit you. In regards to simply beating Temur Marvel, it seems as if Spell Queller also has big game, as it can target all of the important action spells that Marvel uses to get it combos to go off, as well as Aetherworks Marvel itself.

This deck also takes advantage of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which even with its decrease in numbers in the format is still one of the best cards Standard has to offer. Access to cards like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Spell Queller allow U/W to still compete with other decks in the format, despite it specifically targeting Temur Marvel, because the deck is still great at using all of it’s mana every turn. The concessions for Marvel are going to be worth it if you are playing in any Standard tournament over the next few weeks, while Temur Marvel is still on the ascendancy.

I think this deck is an excellent choice for this metagame, especially if you want to beat Temur Marvel. When in doubt, play Negate.

Thanks for reading,

Charlie Rinehart-Jones

Looking for another way to combat Temur Marvel? Read this article from Jonah Gaynor where he dives deep on card choices in U/R Control.

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