The loss of Attune with Aether and Rogue Refiner hit U/G Pummeler hard. Not only was it a U/G deck, but it relied heavily on having the right amount of energy for its namesake card. If you thought that meant the deck was now dead, however, you are sorely mistaken.
A 1/1 creature for 3 mana is about as bad as they get, but with enough energy, this thing becomes a tank. Pummeler utilizes pump effects incredibly well and boosting it to 5 power means that you would only need 3 additional energy outside of the Pummeler’s enters-the-battlefield trigger to get to 20 power.
Greenbelt Rampager would be absurd in this deck if having it enter the battlefield and remove energy from your pool were a may. Unfortunately, you can’t just keep paying a green mana and adding an energy to stockpile, but a 3/4 creature for a single mana is massive. This can help jump-start your energy production by getting you to 2 energy for 2 green, and a 3/4 creature outside of Abrade range is a nice threat.
Longtusk Cub is feeling the effects of Attune’s departure from Standard and it’s not a card we see much of anymore. That said, it’s still an excellent threat that both accrues tons of energy and spends it well. Additional threats alongside Pummeler play really well with creature enhancement effects and give this deck real staying power.
Bristling Hydra is the grown-up version of Longtusk Cub. Being able to protect itself from removal makes the Hydra a fantastic creature to go all-in on. What was once one of the most played cards in Standard is now not seeing nearly as much action, which means that people won’t have as many answers to it.
Rhonas the Indomitable can use your excess mana to pump up your team while giving you a nice threat on the battlefield. Targeting the Pummeler to give it trample before sinking your energy into it means that you’re going to have a massive creature no blocker can contain.
Servant of the Conduit is an obvious inclusion. It ramps you, fixes your colors, provides a 2/2 body, and can help add to your energy reserve. Sage of Shaila’s Claim, however, is a brand new presence in Standard. The 2/1 creature for 2 is unexciting. An additional pump of a Cub, of a Hydra, or most importantly, of a Pummeler, however, is easily worth the 2 mana you’re spending and it’s almost like you’re getting the 2/1 creature thrown in for free!
Your pump effects are highlighted by Larger Than Life. This is not a card that pretty much any deck in the format is interested in as pumping a creature at sorcery speed just means that most opponents will take the damage and you’re down a card for little effect. A Lava Axe is rarely a playable Standard card, but when you get to start by targeting a Pummeler and make it a 5/5 trampler before firing off its own activated ability it is ridiculously powerful.
Blossoming Defense does exactly what this deck needs. It’s a solid pump effect as nearly a Giant Growth for just a single mana that also saves your creature from removal or interaction at instant speed. Cartouche of Knowledge gets heavily abused here. It pumps your creatures while sending giant threats to the air. It doesn’t matter how many ground blockers they may have had for your Pummeler once it’s in the skies, and sending a turn-2 Cub into the air with Cartouche can run away with a game quickly (especially with Blossoming Defense to protect it).
The newest addition to this deck is Hadana’s Climb, and the flip enchantment is insane here. This gives you a free pump every turn, which is exactly what your creatures already wanted. With Cubs and Hydras in the deck, it’s also pretty easy to flip the Climb the turn it enters the battlefield. This can give you enormous additional damage while Winged Temple of Orazca sends your biggest threats airborne to end the game.
It’s rare that a deck so immersed in a block’s theme gets new weapons. An energy deck won’t find much from the Ixalan, but Hadana’s Climb is exactly what this deck is looking for and can take it to the next level even without Attune!