The first step is to admit you have a problem.
I have a neat little number for you folks. It’s not the brewiest brew that’s ever been brewed, but it is unique enough to write about. It’s competitive, fun, and accessible. Most importantly, I’ve been winning with it.
Deck Difficulty 1/5
This deck is as difficult as spreading butter over toast. And I’m not talking stiff, chilled butter over crumbly toast, I’m talking soft butter that’s been roasting in the sun, the kind that glides off the knife.
If you can do basic math, you can play this deck—and sometimes you can even fail at that too and get away with it. Of course, playing the deck perfectly is harder than playing it sufficiently, but usually if you’re wrong then you’re not that wrong. Going for it too early still gets in damage and makes it easier to win later. Playing into removal means that you’re possibly denying the opponent draw steps. And so on.
I’ve been working on this list with Jared Sherman, who messaged me saying he’d been partially inspired by one of my Modern decks. Jared had the ingenious idea of using Myth Realized as both a way to trigger prowess and another threat to take advantage of all the pump spells. I’ve seen it used as another Quirion Dryad in older formats, or in Standard as an enabler for Sigil of the Empty Throne, but this is the first time I’ve seen it used as a tempo-style threat in Standard.
My biggest addition to the deck was the Become Immense plus Temur Battle Rage combo, which is currently a mainstay of many aggro decks and has served me well in Modern. With 2-color decks wanting fetches and off-color battlelands anyway, the green splash is the definition of free.
Seeker of the Way
Seeker is one of the stronger reasons to work some number of Dromoka’s Command into the 75.
As a 1-drop threat that scales into the late game, Myth Realized is surprisingly strong. As a solo threat it can take some work to get going, and sometimes you have to cycle a Defiant Strike on the opponent’s creature, but it makes up for it by triggering prowess in threat-heavy hands. It avoids most sweepers, it’s a super efficient early-game tempo card, it’s a late-game mana sink, and it works well with your concentration of pump spells.
By being a white 1-drop, it keeps the color balance consistent, and you move fluidly into the double-white requirements in the early midgame.
Den Protector’s built-in evasion works well with all the pump spells, and sometimes you flip it to get back something sweet like Gideon, but most of the time the deck wants to be super sleek and efficient and explosive, and you don’t want to draw more than one Den Protector. So I like one.
The original list had 3 Gideon and 2 Den Protector, and I wanted to shave both of those numbers while keeping the threat count consistent. Like Myth Realized, Mentor translates the pump spells into lasting board presence.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
Gideon is like Den Protector in that it gives the deck a different angle of attack. He forces the opponent to commit to the board (thus tapping low and not holding up removal) and attack with potential blockers.
Gideon’s +1 ability is better in this deck than anywhere else that I’ve seen it, and Gideon plus Temur Battle Rage alone is a whopping 10 damage.
One of the nice things about this deck is that it’s strong against Gideon, too. Time after time my opponent taps out at some 14 or so life to make a 2/2 only to die in a brutal explosion of pump effects.
Titan’s Strength and Defiant Strike
Eight 1-mana pump spells give you a marvelous redundancy in regard to triggering prowess and filling the graveyard for delve, and the cantrip and scry help the deck come together every game.
One of the nice things about this deck is that you can fire off Titan’s Strength and Defiant Strike for early damage, or just to get a Siege Rhino off the board and not feel too bad about it when you’re generating permanent value in the form of Myth Realized counters.
I like Stasis Snare for two reasons. One: it can get rid of any problem creature, not just early threats. There are times when you’re a little flooded and a Siege Rhino absolutely destroys your board position, and Stasis Snare can just whisk it out of the way.
The second reason is that this is a deck full of prowess threats, and an instant-speed removal spell is also a combat trick. With Stasis Snare, you can wait to see how the opponent blocks, point it where it’ll do the most damage, and then surprise anthem your team for the turn.
The sideboard is stuffed with situational removal spells. Removal is a little better post-board when you can be sure you’ll have the right spell for the job. In game 1, situational removal is a lot worse because that’s one less pump spell that can combine to win the game, and you don’t have Jace to filter or Dig Through Time to power through drawing a few dead cards.
Strengths and Weaknesses
I’ve only been playing the deck for a few days, so I don’t have a full matchup guide or anything like that, and I certainly can’t speak to any great extent to the deck’s overall position in the metagame. In general, it’s a Temur Battle Rage red deck, and it’ll have similar matchups to other decks doing something similar. Here’s where this build differs:
- Resilience to sweepers. Both Myth Realized and Gideon are great against most sweepers, and as such you’re much stronger against cards like Radiant Flames than other red decks.
- Resilience to hate cards. Surge of Righteousness is the most popular anti-Battle-Rage card. Unfortunately for your opponents, half of your threats are white.
- No reach. Atarka Red also features an explosive draw, and it can eventually draw burn to finish the job.
- More lands. You have a slightly higher curve than Atarka Red, and you want to be sure you can activate Myth Realized and play pump spells on the same turn, which means you need to run a few more lands. This can burn you if you cantrip a few too many Defiant Strikes and Abbots into land, but at least you have some flood mitigation in Myth Realized.
Overall, I’m happy with how the deck plays and where it’s at. If I could play it in PPTQs, I would, and it should be a great deck for those who try. I’m almost certainly running it in the Magic Online Standard Champs this weekend, and depending on how that goes I’ll consider it for the TCGChampionship in early December.