The Pro Tour is over, and as I’m testing and getting prepared for Montreal this weekend, I feel like I’m in that moment of every Star Wars movie: "I have a bad feeling about this…"
If you ain’t got no counterspells take your broke $%$ home!
I do not exist on the planet to judge DCI banned and restricted decisions. I’ll chime in with my opinion, but at this point in my tournament career, I roll with the punches and focus on deck building and playing tournaments.
With that being said, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was pretty vocal about the fact that I thought that Aetherworks Marvel was ruining Standard (when it had 4 Ulamog, 4 Emrakul). I didn’t like the feeling when they spun the wheel and my game randomly ended on turn 4. It essentially exists to do unfair things, and that's about it.
Fast forward a few Pro Tours later and we are in the exact same spot. I don’t want to go all “hot take” sensationalism here, but I have a nagging suspicion that we are quickly approaching a one-deck metagame that revolves around Temur Marvel. I know it didn’t win the PT (GerryT and Zombies took home the trophy), but I think as information becomes known and sorted, Marvel will easily emerge as the best deck from the tournament.
Go back to hell, Zombies.
If you look at Yuuya’s amazing Marvel list from the PT, there is a lot more energy spent (pun intended) on fighting against U/R Control and Marvel than Zombies. With Zombies being the clear “other best deck,” we’ll see a move toward more sweepers.
I played a sub-optimal Temur Marvel deck at PT Amonkhet and still felt our build was easily one of the best decks in the room. The version I played looked and played like 4-Color Saheeli that replaced the 8 combo cards with Marvel and Ulamog.
Brian DeMars, 6-4 at PT Amonkhet
The deck felt pretty great, but I really like the direction a few of the other teams took the deck.
Adding this card to the deck? Pure genius.
Glimmer of Genius is the perfect card for this deck because it does everything you want a card to do. To be honest, we talked about playing the card in the sideboard but never got around to testing it. I wish we had, because I feel like if I’d cast it a few times in a post-sideboard game we might have played a completely different build of the deck.
The reason the card is so good is because it generates energy but also helps you dig to find an Aetherworks Marvel if you don’t have one while generating card advantage. What doesn’t it do? It’s basically very hot, hot spice.
The other innovation that we saw this weekend was the addition of Censor.
At first I didn’t love Censor because I felt like it was too narrow, but then I realized I wasn’t playing it correctly. Most of the time I just cycle it away looking for mana or combo pieces, but sometimes it randomly snipes a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Marvel and then it feels real spicy.
I don’t try too hard to find the best spot for it, but the card is flexible and leads to some pretty big tempo swings.
I mentioned earlier that I think Marvel is public enemy number one and that people will also be flying Zombie flags out of the gate. In Montreal, I want a build of Marvel that is good in the mirror and against Zombies.
I started with Yuuya’s list and made some changes that I think position the deck nicely for the week one metagame.
The biggest change I made to the main deck was to rebuild the mana base to support 4 copies of Sweltering Suns. I think this card will be amazing against Zombies and R/W aggro decks, and earns a spot in the deck. I also like that it can sweep the board off Marvel, which Radiant Flames does not.
I added a 4th copy of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, because I really want to increase my chances of windmill slamming the combo onto the table as much as possible. It’s what makes the deck so powerful. There are enough games where if you hit you win, and if you miss you lose, that I want the best odds possible of doing the thing.
Post-sideboard, I want the ability to become a much better control deck against U/R Control and the mirror. I have a lot of counterspells and more Torrential Gearhulks to bring in. I also really like having hard counters like Disallow to deal with opposing Gearhulks in a pinch and to rebuy with my Gearhulks.
I also like having a second Gearhulk as a reliable way to beat Dispossess or Lost Legacy. I feel like both of these cards are pretty bad against Marvel in general, but that's because I have good back-up plans. I am boarding into a control deck so I can draw a lot of cards, control the game, and win with my other threats.
The additional Sweltering Suns and Shielded Aether Thief are also a package against aggressive decks. I love that Theif comes down early and blocks, which forces the opponent to overcommit to the board, which sets up some nice Sweltering Suns turns. It is also a big advantage that Shielded Aetherthief lives through Sweltering Suns (4 toughness).
I made a bold prediction that Temur Marvel could create a one-deck metagame depending on how the next few weeks end up going. I’m hoping that won’t be the case, but I’ve fallen pretty deeply in love with playing this deck, and that typically only happens when a deck is 100% ridiculous (Control Slaver, Miracles, etc.).
I have no intention of switching sides or fighting against the evil empire this time around. Marvel is too good and too fun to play. I’m just going to continue to tune the version of the list I play to the metagame and practice so I can play it to the best of my ability. The skill threshold is high for a “best deck,” which is probably a good thing, however “hitting Ulamog” isn’t exactly a skill…
I’m so into this deck I’ve actually been thinking of picking up some foils to bling my deck out for the first time in a long time. I want my Marvel deck to be Marvelous.