Oooooh boy, another banning! These past few Standard seasons have truly been insane, and all 3 have culminated in a banning! Many are stating that the best course of action now is to just play a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar deck, mainly Mardu Vehicles, and while I think they are right, I’m always eager to try a deck that beats the perceived best deck.
If we are considering Mardu Vehicles to be the best deck, then we need to chose a deck that can fight a few different elements of Mardu.
- Heart of Kiran
- Scrapheap Scrounger
- Gideon, Ally of Zendikar (and other Planeswalkers)
- A transformative sideboard plan
In my opinion, there is a deck that can solve almost all, if not every single one of these problems. This deck is Temur Energy, which interestingly emerged out of a metagame dominated by Temur Marvel. Here is a lost from pre-ban Standard that we can base our new list off of:
Temur Energy by Collins Mullen at SCG Classic Charlotte – 6th
1 Baral’s Expertise
4 Ceremonious Rejection
1 Confiscation Coup
1 Incendiary Flow
1 Magma Spray
2 Radiant Flames
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
1 Tireless Tracker
At first glance, it can be hard to understand how this deck could possibly beat a tuned version of Mardu Vehicles. However, if we look back at our checklist of things we need to beat Vehicles, we can determine that this deck, or a variation of it could be the answer to vehicles. The sideboard definitely needs a complete overhaul, but the mainboard is for sure a great blueprint to start out with.
This deck features a variety of mainboard ways to beat vehicles. The main vehicle we have to worry about mainboard is Heart of Kiran. One of the best answers we have in our deck to Heart is Harnessed Lightning. Granted, we do need to have played a previous energy card for it to actually kill the 4/4 flyer, but with 4 Aether Hub in our deck and 4 Attune with Aether, we have a good chance of having an extra energy ready by turn 2.
It is also relevant that we do not need to kill Heart right away, as our deck can race it, or even build up a board and then kill the Vehicle when necessary. We also have 3 mainboard Negate, but that is a decision that I believe will change as aggro decks become more popular in this format.
This card is the least of our deck’s worries. First off, we have 2 mainboard Magma Spray, which is a card that I would be very happy just playing 4 of. This could be in place of two Negate, or even the copies of Chandra, Torch of Defiance, which I really don’t like looking forward.
The other way this deck beats Scrounger is that our creatures are oftentimes just much better in combat. A Longtusk Cub when coupled with an Attune with Aether can oftentimes connect once, which then puts it up to 4/4, beating the Mardu deck’s choice of two drop. Also, our top end crushes Scrounger, whether it be through a Bristling Hydra with a counter on it or a Glorybringer, which brings us to our next bullet point.
3. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar (and other Planeswalkers)
Our best bud, the talk of the set, Glorybringer is the perfect answer to Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. It cleanly answers him and his Knight Ally friend, and provides us with a 4/4 flyer that kills something every other turn, which coincidentally, also solves the whole Heart of Kiran problem, because combined with our 6-8 removal spells, the opponent won’t have many more creatures to crew with.
The other card in our deck that can crush the opponent’s Planeswalker plan is Whirler Virtuoso. A swarm strategy can beat most of Mardu’s Planeswalkers, which usually include Ob Nixilis Reignited and Nahiri, the Harbinger. While both of those ‘Walkers have great abilities, neither of them cleanly answer Whirler Virtuoso. While Ob Nixilis can kill it when he enters, the remaining thopters, along with the other creatures you already have on board, can easily dispatch him.
Also, both Nahiri and Ob Nixilis are great because of their ability to kill our best creatures, but this deck can negate that as well. Bristling Hydra can gain hexproof, Glorybringer can kill the ‘Walkers (sometimes with a little help) on your turn before they can kill it, and Rogue Refiner has already gotten you value before it dies.
4. A transformative sideboard plan
Post-board, the Mardu deck can turn into a slower version, boarding into Planeswalkers and sometimes Walking Ballista and Archangel Avacyn. My gut feeling for this is that our deck should also slow down. Because the Mardu deck is boarding into a sort of midrange deck, their aggressive elements are either coming out or getting worse, which gives us two options: we can board stuff in to stop their aggro plan or their control plan. Personally, I like boarding into Negate, Tireless Tracker, and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship which, combined with our superior top end, will give us the edge against the Planeswalkers of the Mardu deck.
However, I still like boarding into our copies of Manglehorn, because even though they are meant to stop the early game plan, they usually nab something anyways. They are also helpful because in these grindy attrition fights, a stray Heart of Kiran can eventually kill you if you happen to not draw your answers. Manglehorn additionally forces Walking Ballista to be cracked early if they are boarding into it (or have it maindeck), which is a nice bit of value to have as well.
As always, thanks for reading, and hopefully this article gave you something to keep in mind for attacking Mardu in the coming metagame. Personally, I really like this deck, and it seems like a blast to play. Also, Glorybringer has a sick gameday promo version which I can’t wait to kill Gideon, Avacyn, and Nahiri with.
See ya next week,
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