February 23, 2015

Temur Plus

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Hello, and welcome to From the Lab! It's Temur Week here on Daily MTG, so I get to take a look at some of the most Johnny-ful cards in this fierce clan. Temur is probably my second favorite clan after Mardu. Although it gets points knocked off for being blue, Temur seems to take a Timmy sensibility and throw in some interesting interactions that really spice things up a bit. Although many Temur cards are big stompy creatures, there are a few that can enable some very interesting decks.



Temur Ascendancy | Art by Jaime Jones




Stop Casting Yourself


Temur Ascendancy is a card that stuck out to me immediately. I like Kavu Lair, and I like Fervor. Getting them both on the same card seems pretty sweet. However, the enchantment always seemed like more of a value card than a combo piece. This week I set out to change that.



When building this deck, I decided that I wanted a combo that used both halves of Temur Ascendancy. Otherwise, the same thing could be done more easily with another enchantment, and that's no fun. So, I had to have a reason for creatures to get haste, and a way to made a 4-power creature enter the battlefield repeatedly.


First, I focused on the haste part. Immediately, my mind went to creatures that tap to produce mana. I immediately saw a path the combo could take. If I could make a 4-power creature that could tap for mana equal to its casting cost, then find a way to return it to my hand, I could trigger Temur Ascendancy's ability infinitely. Unfortunately, this proved to be a bit more complicated than I anticipated.


Here's what I came up with. With Temur Ascendancy on the battlefield, the next piece is Collective Blessing. Now you can cast Elvish Mystic, and it will be big enough to trigger the Ascendancy's second ability. With haste, the Mystic can tap to give you back the green mana you used to cast it. Now, before the draw trigger resolves, sacrifice the Mystic to Goblin Bombardment to deal 1 damage to your opponent. If you have Mortuary on the battlefield, it will trigger and put the Mystic on the top of your library. Finally, Temur Ascendancy's draw trigger will resolve, putting Elvish Mystic back into your hand. With one green mana still in your mana pool, you can repeat the entire process again. Eventually you'll kill your opponent with Goblin Bombardment.




This combo has a lot of pieces, so I looked for ways to search for them or add redundancy. Idyllic Tutor was an obvious choice, as everything but the Mystic is an enchantment. Since there are four different enchantments involved, I also included Plea for Guidance. To give Elvish Mystic some backup, I added both Llanowar Elves and Fyndhorn Elves. This should guarantee you'll draw at least one, and will usually give you a backup in case your opponent kills the first. The Elves also have the additional benefit of accelerating your game plan, allowing you to cast expensive cards like Plea for Guidance a turn or two early.






Temur Adjacent


I didn't even realize until I finished building the previous deck that I ended up using all five colors. So when my ideas for this deck started straying toward five-color as well, I decided to just go with it. Who says Temur can't recruit some help from black and white once in a while?


Although not technically a Temur card, I couldn't resist building a deck around Animar, Soul of Elements. It is in the right colors, whether it has the Temur watermark or not. It's also just oozing with combo potential, a turn of phrase that seemed a lot less gross when I started typing it.



I've written about Animar once before, when I build a deck around Grinning Ignus. However, despite the inclusion of the Palinchron combo, that deck wasn't really designed to go infinite. Its main purpose was to build up enough mana and counters to cast an enormous Lightning Serpent. This deck is going to be very different. I wanted to use Animar as part of an infinite loop, and in particular I wanted to use some cards that wouldn't be part of your run-of-the-mill Animar deck.


Now, it seemed obvious to me that in order to go infinite with Animar, Cloudstone Curio was where I wanted to be. Not exactly an unknown combo piece, but still one that can be used with a wide variety of other cards. Usually the Curio is used along with a way to produce mana from creatures, but I wanted to do something else. Animar can reduce the cost of any colorless creature to nothing, but there lies a problem. Cloudstone Curio doesn't work with artifacts, and the only colorless creatures that aren't artifacts are the phenomenally expensive Eldrazi.


That's when an idea occurred to me. I may not be able to use a colorless creature, but what if I made a normal creature cost only colorless mana? Mycosynth Lattice is one way to accomplish this, but there's also something far simpler: Edgewalker. By reducing the cost of Cleric spells by WB, Edgewalker effectively makes any additional copies of Edgewalker cost just one colorless mana. Edgewalker's more recent cousin, Ragemonger, can do the same thing.



Casting Edgewalker puts a counter on Animar, Soul of Elements. Now you can cast a second Edgewalker for free, adding another counter and triggering Cloudstone Curio to return the first to your hand. Rinse and repeat for an arbitrarily large Animar.


Since you can't always rely on drawing two copies of the same creature, I added in Bifurcate. Once you draw one copy of either Edgewalker or Ragemonger, Bifurcate will let you search your library for a second, kicking off the combo. Speaking of searching the library, Fabricate is a simple way to dig up a copy of Cloudstone Curio.


I wanted some backup for Animar as well, but I wanted to avoid adding even more tutors if I could. Therefore, I decided to add in another combo that would use Edgewalker and Cloudstone Curio. Having Tangleroot on the battlefield will allow you to loop your creatures for free, just like Animar would. However, it doesn't provide a win condition. Since Fabricate already gives the deck a way to search for artifacts, I decided to direct my focus there. Genesis Chamber seemed like a solid choice. It only costs two mana, and can use the Cloudstone Curio loop to create an arbitrarily large army of Myr tokens.






And the Winner is…


Two weeks ago, I conducted a poll to see which deck-building challenge you all wanted to take on. Well, the results are in and it's time to see what clever Johnny decks you can come up with.


Build a deck with no cards that cost more than two mana.


That's a pretty tough restriction, but as Mark Rosewater always says, restrictions breed creativity. I'm excited to see you rise to the challenge. Here are the rules.



  • Decks must have no cards with a converted mana cost of 3 or greater.

  • Decks must be formatted with the quantity of the card, followed by a space and the full card name. For example, 4 Forest, not 4x Forest.

  • Do not separate cards into categories, such as by type.

  • Include a short description of the deck and how any combos work.

  • Include a succinct name for the deck.

  • Include a name by which I may refer to you in the article if your deck is chosen.

  • Send your submissions to MTGCannon@gmail.com

  • Submissions will be accepted until March 9.


That's it! You have two weeks until your deck needs to be in, so get cracking, and I'll see you next time.






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