Aetherworks Marvel decks use a similar base, but even the smallest changes can make all the difference in the world. When you’re banking on a card with the power level of Marvel, which looks at cards on the top of your library in chunks of 6, you’ll reliably see even the 1-ofs you’ve included.
The core of these decks tends to be the same. You start with energy creatures that all bring you an upside to go with their energy production. Servant on the Conduit is mana ramp, color fixing, and is a reasonably sized Grizzly Bears. With enough energy, Whirler Virtuoso can win the game on its own by creating Thopters to threaten either planeswalkers or your opponent’s life total.
Rogue Refiner is the strongest of them all in a vacuum. You’re getting a reasonably priced 3 power for 3 mana, you’re getting the replacement card for the value 2-for-1, and you even get some extra energy to store up for Marvel or Virtuoso.
Your plan A is to play Aetherworks Marvel and get as many spins as you can out of it. With plenty of creatures to block with and keep your life total high, you shouldn’t be too pressed for time. While there are plenty of big hits off of Marvel in this deck, even hitting one of the energy creatures gets you closer to another spin while protecting you from attackers.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is the best card to hit off Marvel in Standard, so this deck runs the full playset. Hitting a turn-4 Ulamog is often stronger than even Emrakul, the Promised End would have been. Killing your opponent’s two lands, or whatever they may have in play, goes a long way to making sure the game ends. A massive Eldrazi that exiles your opponent’s library and life total in a hurry will close the door.
Attune with Aether is absurd in decks that have lots of uses for energy. The fact that you’re playing a 4-color deck only highlights this further. Harnessed Lightning is an energy ritual that can kill anything in the format thanks to your energy production.
Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot on turn 2 enables a turn-4 Marvel spin with no other help. The 6 life buffer, combined with a potential 6 energy, is ideal for this deck. While Puzzleknot does close to nothing on its own, the fact that this deck has cards like Whirler Virtuoso means that Puzzleknot should at least offer a 2-mana 1/1 flying creature that gains 3 life, which is passable.
The 1-ofs are where things get really interesting. I’ve seen a number of big creatures included as additional Marvel hits over time. While The Gitrog Monster does require black, its power level is immense. With the most common removal spell in the format being Fatal Push, a 5-mana giant creature is perfect. You only need 4 lands in play to start the Marvel spinning, and you’ll even generate additional energy by sacrificing lands with the namesake artifact in play. The extra land drop and access to 4 Evolving Wilds may finally create a place for The Gitrog Monster in Standard.
Next is Arlinn Kord, a planeswalker who hasn’t seen much competitive play at all. Creating Wolves will help protect her, as well as your life total, and getting some Bolts on the flip side is serious value. With Servant to ramp, an early Arlinn can take over the game.
Nissa’s Renewal is another life buffer that conveniently ramps you all the way to Ulamog. Baral’s Expertise is a great tempo play, can bounce your own energy creatures or Puzzleknots, and can even put down a Marvel on the same turn. Dark Intimations might be the most surprising card in the bunch, but you’re looking to trade off Refiners and Virtuosos early. Returning a creature to your hand, drawing a card, and also making your opponent lose a creature and a card is a real nice 4-for-1 (and you’ve likely already gotten and will return more 2-for-1s!).
Marvel is a powerful card, and finding the perfect tools to go in a deck that’s going to be spinning in chunks of 6 cards each turn can give you a serious edge.