Temur Rec is an interesting deck. It’s been around for a long time and is on its way out the door in fact. It’s leaving a heavy footprint however because the deck is universally agreed upon to be the best deck in Standard at the moment. It is “The Deck to Beat”.
Still there’s a lot to talk about. What’s the ideal list? Which cards are traps and which cards are people sleeping on? I usually like to start with how I would build it and then go through the card choices one by one.
However please note that my list is intended for open decklist tournaments. The reason that matters is there are cards that are meant to be feints or cards that force your opponent to respect certain aspects. Without such cards in your list, your opponent is freer to sideboard in a manner that can be devastating for you.
The best example of this I can give is submitting a Bant list with no main deck counter-magic. That makes for very easy play from the opponent’s side of things and even if it’s not great in the main right now, in an open decklist world I would still try to cram a couple.
So here’s what I’ve come up with:
With the rise of Breeding Pool in Standard we can actually main deck hate cards like Aether Gust. With Temur being top deck and many people adapting by running Mono Green aggro, some are playing four copies of Aether Gust, but I prefer three as the main deck number. This slightly reduces the variance of drawing too many against decks that aren’t playing Red or Green.
Storms Wrath hitting planeswalkers has elevated it to being a main deck card as well. It’s nice to have a mixture of wrath effects and situational answers. Because Temur Rec utilizes Blast Zone so well, I have been comfortable with just one copy in the main deck. The backup sideboard copies rarely come in except against the all-in aggressive strategies.
Most of the list is stock of course, there’s not a ton of flex spots in these lists. I am choosing not to run Opt as I feel it makes the deck thinner on actual threats. There aren’t many turns I want to be spending time/mana and having so little deck manipulation that it rarely helps matters much. To me Opt is a card that helps you mulligan less, but in a London mulligan world I would rather get a fresh six cards more often than not. This deck surprisingly mulligans well for a combo deck.
Because of the absence of Opts and this deck\s desire not to miss land drops I have decided on 29 lands. The third Castle Vantress was an easy inclusion because of how well it pairs with Wilderness Reclamation. The second Mountain is sure to be questioned, but there have been many games where I needed to Fabled Passage for a second in order to cast an Explosion or a Storms Wrath. I also like that with six basic lands our Fabled Passages are drawing live more often. So this has been an easy decision in my list.
Brazen Borrower is mostly good for Shark Fights and against Teferi, Time Raveler. I feel strongly that the right number if you want any at all in the main deck is one copy. Too many and you run the risk of having a very mediocre card drawn often in other matchups. That being said in the matchups where it’s good, it’s actually great!
The main deck Ambushers are something that people have gone back and forth on. My decision to run two copies in the main actually arrived through strange circumstances. I was playing against Mardu Knights and game one I cast Growth Spiral on turn two. Then turn three, I used Storms Wrath to get a 4 for 1. Then somehow lost the game anyway. In game three when I went Growth Spiral into Ambusher I crushed and somehow felt as if I could no longer lose. I tested the theory that Ambushers were similar to Wrath effects in other matchups and found that to be true for current Standard. After finding three copies to be too many and one would be drawn too little, I settled at two.
Some key strategy points are 2-landers generally aren’t keepable, but 5 landers are. Blast Zone and Reclamation can be a surprise same turn play and blow up almost any number most games. On Arena typing in QQ will auto tap your lands but not always give you the best combination of colors. If you don’t put a stop on your own end step, you’ll blow right through your Reclamation trigger. Expansion is a very useful card when your opponent is casting a Growth Spiral or even better when it’s a Cultivate. If your opponent isn’t playing Green or White they probably do not have a good answer for a resolved Shark Typhoon. Then you can win the game over the next few turns as you develop a small army very quickly.
On the draw you can frequently sideboard out the second Mountain when you are cutting most of the red cards in the appropriate matchups. I personally do not think Aether Gust is very good against post-boarded Bant decks so you can find room by shaving those down to one or even zero. When playing against aggressive strategies like Mono R or Mono G, you want to make sure you conserve your key pieces of removal for the important bigger threats. In the meantime progress your board state and just continue to be the better deck at going over the top.
Conserving your Reclamations for when the opponent is tapped out or tapped down to one mana is a key turning point in most games. The card Dovin’s Veto can be a pain but can still be played around. Narset’s Reversal actually plays around it quite nicely as you can explosion for a large number into a veto. When they cast Veto target your own Explosion and get a copy for the same X amount and an extra Explosion for next turn sitting in your hand. Meanwhile their spell countered nothing. If you ever get to cast Reversal on a Thought Distortion you’ll probably do the happy dance as well.
In theory this should be all you need to get started, but repetition is important for really nailing down the nuances to this deck. It’s surprising just how many lines you might find this deck capable of when you really start analyzing it all. You’ll also find that most games are/were winnable if the correct approach could only be found.