Temur Reclamation has been my pet deck this standard, and I’ve been playing it to moderate success. But the meta eventually left the deck behind. However, I still think it’s worth considering. It just needs a new focus, a new coat of paint. Some people went the midrange route—I’ve gone the opposite.
Behold! Temur Hard Control.
2 Castle Vantress (ELD) 242
4 Wilderness Reclamation (RNA) 149
4 Growth Spiral (RNA) 178
2 Bonecrusher Giant (ELD) 115
2 Negate (M20) 69
3 Expansion // Explosion (GRN) 224
4 Flame Sweep (M20) 139
4 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255
4 Chemister’s Insight (GRN) 32
2 Blast Zone (WAR) 244
4 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259
2 Niv-Mizzet, Parun (GRN) 192
4 Temple of Epiphany (M20) 253
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
4 Steam Vents (GRN) 257
2 Island (ANA) 57
3 Sinister Sabotage (GRN) 54
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
3 Quench (RNA) 48
1 Mountain (MIR) 346
3 Aether Gust (M20) 42
2 Shifting Ceratops (M20) 194
3 Return to Nature (WAR) 175
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
2 Scorching Dragonfire (ELD) 139
3 Nightpack Ambusher (M20) 185
(Exportable to Magic: Arena if you want to give it a try.)
So, I hear you ask, why this list? This build is made to do a few things: beat Flash decks, especially Simic Flash, and stomp down aggro decks. Allow me to break down some of my choices, take you through an average game, and tell you a bit about the theory for the sideboard.
Obviously, this card sees a ton of play in the usual version of Temur Reclamation, but I’ve found that, against swarm aggro decks, you need to optimize the chances of drawing it with four copies. It will make or break games, save you in dire times, and can shut down Lovestruck Beasts pre-declare attackers.
The real MVP of this deck by a wide margin. Do not underestimate the power this card has in practically every matchup. Narset and Teferi usually hose this deck—but they can’t do anything about it if you just set Blast Zone to three counters. It takes out every oven and cat in one shot and can be used at two to kill some of a wave of attackers. It interacts well with Wilderness Reclamation, as you can use Blast Zone the turn you play it—but be sure to sequence right if you’re planning on using it to kill a Fires of Invention, as it’s also four mana.
Some lists don’t even use this card. That’s absurd. You win pretty much anytime you untap with this card in play. It makes Expansion//Explosion double its output and lets you machine-gun opponents’ boards. Often, you’ll win with this card before you can even set up an Explosion. Always have countermagic available unless you’re playing against Simic Flash, in which case: laugh maniacally. They can almost never deal with Niv.
Games with this deck can go long. Mystical Dispute and Quench don’t work if they can just pay the fee—so you need a hard counter. Ionize is also an option, but Surveil helps curb flooding. If you can resolve a Wilderness Reclamation and have this in hand, you usually just started dominating the game.
An Average Game:
Temur Hard Control rewards patience. An opening hand needs to only have a few reactive spells to be good. You usually win if the game gets to turn 7 or later, so just calmly rebuke anything too dangerous and keep drawing on their end step whenever it seems safe. The deck runs so many lands that you can usually scry them away and not worry about getting mana screwed. Keep digging until you can get down a Niv or set up the Expansion//Explosion combo. They will try to get you by bouncing or destroying Wilderness on your second main phase—you can just out wait that trick until you have enough lands/counters that it doesn’t matter. You’ll usually win counterspell wars—but mind the order you use them. Sometimes you can get them by making them pay for a Mystical Dispute then hit with Negate, utterly sapping their mana. Remember that you can always just cast another counter targeting the original spell, instead of countering their counter.
I’m not going to go over all the matchups. Instead, here are some common tricks. Usually, cut Growth Spirals. You may be tempted to cut Flame Sweep—but decks like Fires bring in Legion Warboss post-board, so be careful.
Max out counterspells. Only keep a little removal—and only for the type of creatures you’ve seen. Some decks literally can’t do anything about Shifting Ceratops and get put into a panic by a resolved Nightpack.
Return to Nature hits Oven, Fires, and other Wilderness Reclamations. If they rely heavily on a few cards, add in the extra countermagic. Aether Gust, especially multiple, can ruin a Fire player’s day. You die to Chandra, Awakened Inferno—it can’t be countered. Save Aether Gusts for her.
Nightpack serves as a surprise blocker and can hold down the fort. Besides that, Scorching Dragonfire and Aether Gust can staunch the bleeding. Be conservative with blowing up their stuff—you must survive until the late game and can’t run out of options. Rotting Regisaur is a nightmare to fight, and pretty much demands a Blast Zone to stop, as does a resolved Lovestruck Beast. Thankfully, they both have the same mana cost, so you can be efficient about it—but try to hold up countermagic for them if you suspect one’s coming.
And that’s Temur Hard Control. It’s fun but challenging to play. Give it a shot if you’re interested in piloting something a little rogue and/or you like watching Simic Flash flail and die.
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