Aetherworks Marvel is banned.

Banned.

Gone.

FOREVER!

Although I was secretly hoping for this card to get banned I didn’t think Wizards would actually pull through with this one. Although Temur Marvel put six copies in the top 8 of GP Omaha, it only put one copy in top 8 of GP Amsterdam and one copy in top 8 of GP Manila. The deck had a lot of variance to it. It wasn’t fun to play against, for sure.

Sometimes you could power through it with Winding Constrictor followed up by Transgress the Mind and Disposess, but other times you just got wrecked by a turn four Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.  However, Temur Marvel wasn’t unbeatable by any means with different versions of Mardu Vehicles, Temur Energy, and B/G Constrictor making their way into top 8s in Amsterdam and Manila. Now the real question is where do we go from here?

In two weeks I’ll be playing in the SCG Invitational in a whole new Standard environment. Well, not entirely new.

Everything Old is New Again

Mardu Vehicles by Dylan Donegan at PTQ – 1st

Creatures (18)
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
2 Walking Ballista
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Toolcraft Exemplar
2 Archangel Avacyn
2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar

Non-Creature Spells (17)
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
4 Fatal Push
4 Unlicensed Disintegration
4 Heart of Kiran
1 Cut // Ribbons

Lands (25)
2 Aether Hub
2 Canyon Slough
4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Inspiring Vantage
2 Shambling Vent
4 Spire of Industry
4 Plains
2 Swamp
1 Mountain

Sideboard (15)
1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Glorybringer
2 Oath of Liliana
2 Nahiri, the Harbinger
2 Sorin, Grim Nemesis
2 Fumigate
1 Painful Truths
1 Release the Gremlins
2 Transgress the Mind
1 Cut // Ribbons

This immediately sticks out as Enemy #1 going into new Standard. Mardu has always been a powerful aggressive strategy, arming itself with cheap threats in the form of Scrapheap Scrounger and Toolcraft Exemplar and following up with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Heart of Kiran. Mardu has always been great and will continue to be with Aetherworks Marvel out of the format. With the best aggressive creatures, best planeswalker, cheap and effective removal and a transformational sideboard, Mardu is my go-to choice for the new format. I could even see Mardu with Walking Ballista making a comeback with the return of so many aggressive strategies to standard.

B/W Zombies by Chris Fennell at Pro Tour Amonkhet – 8th

Creatures (22)
2 Binding Mummy
4 Cryptbreaker
4 Diregraf Colossus
4 Dread Wanderer
4 Lord of the Accursed
4 Wayward Servant

Non-Creature Spells (14)
2 Anguished Unmaking
4 Dark Salvation
4 Fatal Push
4 Liliana’s Mastery

Lands (24)
4 Concealed Courtyard
6 Plains
4 Shambling Vent
10 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
1 Anguished Unmaking
2 Declaration in Stone
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Transgress the Mind

While Temur Marvel was rampant at Pro Tour Amonkhet, one aggro deck took the spotlight while Mardu put up mediocre results. Looking back and Frank Karsten’s metagame analysis from the Pro Tour, B/W Zombies had a positive matchup against Mardu. However, it did have a negative matchup against the regular Mono-Black Zombies deck, which will also see a resurgence with Aetherworks Marvel being banned.

B/G Constrictor by Hunter Cochran at GP Pittsburgh – 6th

Creatures (25)
4 Gifted Aetherborn
2 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
3 Rishkar, Peema Renegade
2 Sylvan Advocate
2 Tireless Tracker
4 Verdurous Gearhulk
4 Walking Ballista
4 Winding Constrictor

Non-Creature Spells (11)
4 Fatal Push
2 Grasp of Darkness
1 Murder
3 Aethersphere Harvester
1 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary

Lands (24)
4 Blooming Marsh
3 Evolving Wilds
5 Forest
4 Hissing Quagmire
8 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
2 Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
2 Natural Obsolescence
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 To the Slaughter
4 Transgress the Mind

There are multiple versions of B/G decks that are viable now, the go-to being the energy build with Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Longtusk Cub. B/G Constrictor put up good results in the Marvel metagame and with the right list can put up good results against Mardu too. I’m not sure how this deck fairs against the Zombies decks, however. But there is one list I have my eyes on.

Remember GP B/G? This was the first Grand Prix after Pro Tour Aether Revolt, the Pro Tour where Mardu Vehicles put five copies into top 8. Pittsburgh saw five copies of this archetype in its top 8 just a week later. If the format reverts back to how it was at the start of the Aether Revolt season with Mardu and B/G being the two most prominent decks, this is a list I’m a fan of.

Gifted Aetherborn is a vampire with a plan and favorably blocks any zombie, Thraben Inspector, or a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar Knight Ally token. Even better, it blocks everything else when your Risker gives it a +1/+1 counter too. This was one of my favorite decks of this period of Standard before 4-Color Copycat took center stage, and it will be on my radar if the format becomes Mardu and B/G-centric.

As a side note, Delirium strategies with Ishkanah, Grafwidow could just as easily make a comeback.

It’s an Aggro World

So far the easy choice of what deck to play with Temur Marvel being gone is an aggro strategy, either Mardu, Zombies, or B/G Constrictor – pick your poison. But with that being the case, perhaps the high volume of aggro decks in the format can be taken advantage of.

This is one of the anti-aggressive combos I’m a fan of, and maybe Temur isn’t dead just yet after all! Whirler Virtuoso and Rogue Refiner are still just good Magic cards. Harnessed Lightning just got even better too! I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Temur strategies. Servant of the Conduit + Chandra Torch of Defiance, Radiant Flames…and this bad boy…

I’m just rambling at this point. Although Aetherworks Marvel is banned it’s exciting preparing for a major event with only two weeks to test. Although MtGO results will influence what deck I play I’m right back to testing and brewing, which was constricted when Temur Marvel was just the best deck to play. I’m setting my sights on Mardu, but could see B/G being a serious contender. The format is shaping up to be an aggressive one, but whether it’s to be the aggressor or to fight the aggressive strategies is a question I’ll have on my mind the next two weeks.

I’ll be back next week with some updated decks for the new Standard. It’s time to get my testing on!

Cheers,

Roman

For another opinion on what you should play in Standard now that Aetherworks Marvel is gone, read this article from Austin Mansell.

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