Alex Rohan, local junior, played in his first Players Tour in June 2020. He finished 10th place overall in a field of 318 international champions.on a massive record of 33 points. We have loved watching Alex and his talented brother, Seb, grow into the players they are today. .... Keep up the great work. And thank you, Alex, for this indepth look at your deck.
Here is Alex's article -
Temur adventures is my favourite standard deck. It was created, tuned and publicised by Aaron Gertler. He had lots of early success with the deck, which led many people including me to pick up the deck and I played it a lot.
However, the deck had poor matchups vs temur rec and rakdos sacrifice, which led it to being squeezed out of the meta (except in jeskai lukka meta). However, with reclamation, cat and growth spiral all being banned, the metagame conditions couldn’t be much better for a resurgence.
I and many others jumped back to this deck now that it’s good again. I will start by sharing my current list (which I am likely to play in the Standard Championship this weekend).
4 Edgewall Innkeeper|4 Fae of Wishes|4 Bonecrusher Giant|4 Lovestruck Beast|4 Brazen Borrower|4 Beanstalk Giant|4 Lucky Clover|1 Negate|4 Escape to the Wilds|5 Forest|3 Island |2 Mountain|4 Steam Vents|3 Stomping Ground|4 Breeding Pool |4 Ketria Triome |2 Castle Vantress |1 Fabled Passage|1 Grafdigger's Cage |1 Shadowspear |1 Mystic Repeal |1 Reckless Air Strike|1 Redcap Melee |1 Fling |1 Disdainful Stroke |1 Aether Gust|1 Neutralize|1 Storm's Wrath |1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World |1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon |1 Primal Might |1 Expansion // Explosion |
Individual card choices:
The core 20 adventure creatures, 4 lucky clovers and 4 innkeepers are all musts in the deck and cannot be changed. Add 27 lands and you are left with only 5 other cards. You want a minimum of 2/3 escape the wilds, so you have just 2 or 3 flex spots, which leads to most of the decks looking very similar.
In my list, the flex spots are occupied by 1 negate (very strong in this metagame) and I chose to max out on 4 escape the wilds. This is unique to my list, as most decks run 3 escape the wilds in the main and the 4th copy to tutor out of the sideboard with fae. Until recently, I played 3 escape main and 1 nissa (with the 4th in the sb). However with the rise in Sultai, Nissa is too big of a liability vs casualties of war. It allows your opponent to blow up 2 lands, nissa and a clover, which is usually enough to win the game on the spot.
I decided to remove the nissa and add the 4th escape to the maindeck. Escape is your best card vs sultai, they usually have lots of removal/gusts and hand disruption, so a draw 5 for 5mana is always good against these types of strategies. Most lists consider escape to be important to wish for with fae to refuel your draws. However, I find most of the time if you are in a position to wish for and cast escape, you are usually in a good spot, if not, you would rather be wishing for sweepers (ugin/storms wrath), or interactive cards like recap melee/aether gust.
Fae of wishes is usually not a fantastic card, pay 4 mana to replace a card in your hand without interacting with the battlefield, however the ability to tutor important cards/combo pieces has made fae a very useful card in big mana strategies (eg lotus breach/less and fires of inventions decks).
Pair the card with lucky clover, and some broken things start happening very quickly. Fae means you also want to sideboard very few cards as you want 4 copies of each sideboard card, not 1. Unlike the maindeck, the fae-board is very customisable; here’s what mine looks like:
1 Fabled Passage|1 Grafdigger's Cage |1 Shadowspear |1 Mystic Repeal |1 Reckless Air Strike|1 Redcap Melee |1 Fling |1 Disdainful Stroke |1 Aether Gust|1 Neutralize|1 Storm's Wrath |1 Nissa, Who Shakes the World |1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon |1 Primal Might |1 Expansion // Explosion |
Fabled Passage is useful to wish for if you are stuck on mana, or want to make sure you have the 5th land drop for escape. You usually fetch it with a clover in play as 4 mana find a land is unimpressive.
Grafdigger's Cage is good vs rakdos sac (especially lurrus versions) and is the best way to shut off uro.
Shadowspear is your way to gain life after stabilising. It can also be used in corner-case scenarios to get rid of hexproof on dream trawler or kill random brash taunters.
Mystic repeal is a mana efficient answer to anax/riddleform and other enchantments like ECD. It's in here over return to nature as you can wish and cast it a turn earlier, which is huge.
Reckless air strike is a mana efficient answer to clover/cleave and follows the same mystic repeal philosophy. It can also hit small krasis’s, sharks, borrowers and is clutch vs the izzet tempo deck picking up steam.
Redcap melee is such an efficient card, for 1 mana can kill most things under 5 mana and is absurd vs winota/torbran - these cards gain immediate value and the instant speed interaction vs these cards is so good for just 1 mana.
Fling is a way to steal games out of nowhere: flinging an 11/11 beanstalk giant is no joke. With a clover in play, a common pattern is to wish for fling and expansion/explosion to copy the fling. With a 10/10 giant in play, it's 8 mana to wish and cast both cards, for a perfect 20 points of damage.
Disdainful stroke is a useful card to wish for when you are ahead on board and dont want to give your opponent the chance to cast sweepers/nissas to get back into the game. I also board the stroke in vs sultai as maindeck counters excel in this matchup.
Aether gust is the only way you can answer a stuck nissa. Like stroke, you can also use it to lock up games when you are ahead. It also excels vs mono red and mono green where it works as a pseudo vindicate or counterspell.
Neutralize is my tech to help lock up games. Most lists play negate + gust + stroke in the board to lock up games when you are ahead, but all of these are situational cards. Eg, vs sultai, which card would you wish for: gust cant hit extinction event, stroke cant hit uro, negate cant hit uro or krasis, but neutralise hits all. It also allows you to board in some amount of stroke/negate/gust and have countermagic in the board.
Storm's wrath is a cheap sweeper that you often need if you fall behind on board early.
Nissa, who shakes the world is a card I often wish for to turn from being the control deck into being the beatdown. Against aggro decks (with a clover in play) one of my favorite patterns is to wish form storm’s wrath and nissa; if they fail to commit in the face of wrath you slam nissa and win, if they commit you wrath them and probably still win with nissa in hand.
Ugin, the spirit dragon is a finisher and a (hits almost everything) sweeper. Ugin is often tutored for to lock up games, and can easily swing a game from losing to unlosable.
Primal Might rounds out the 1 mana removal spells you can tutor for in a pinch. It is most effective at taking out a turn 5 nissa as it allows you to target the land and then attack nissa.
Expansion//explosion is mainly there to copy fling, but can also be used as an expensive banefire and a way to refuel.
The main cards I excluded are negate and once and future. Negate is in the maindeck and if I feel I like it in the fae board, I often board it out for game 2/3. I have found once and future to be a win-more card. Yes the card can do some bonkers things, but i can just wish for Ugin/fling/expolsion/nissa to win in a different way. I concluded it was the 16th best sideboard card and I’d rather have the passage in the sideboard for when you fall behind on mana, than have another card to lock up the game.
I moved away from the standard manabase of 11 shocklands, 6 forests, 4 islands, 2 mountains and 4 temples/triomes/temples to accommodate castle vantress. This infamous land is very powerful in topdeck wars which occur quite often vs sultai, which is why i find it surprising no-one has done this yet.To make sure castle works, I chose to play 4 triomes and cut the basic count to 5 forests and 3 islands.
Some of the draws play themselves- turn 1 innkeeper into turn 2 fae, into turn 3 bonecrusher, or some of the clover nut draws.
However, this deck is very hard to play well (although very rewarding when you do). Often you have so many cards to cast (or not cast), especially with escape the wilds, that understanding the board state and what matters is crucial to winning and stealing games. The most important thing in this whole guide is this following sentence:
THIS IS A TEMPO DECK NOT A MIDRANGE DECK.
If you play it like a midrange deck and try to grind with value cards like innkeeper and adventure creatures, you will just be outgrinded by sultai and yorion decks. If you try to squeeze every ounce of value from both sides of your adventure cards, you will often fall behind on board and tempo. Your adventure creatures all naturally 2for1, so the amount of card advantage you generate is not as important as how you spend your mana.
The most important thing is tempo. Tempo is the most important thing in this standard format, so many games are lost with 4+ cards in hand.
Utilising Brazen Borrower:
The most important card in the deck is brazen borrower. Brazen borrower is simply absurd. However, brazen borrower is also the most misused and misplayed card in the deck.
You don't want to spend your turn 2 bouncing your opponents robber of the rich, you want to cast that same borrower 2 or 3 turns later and bounce their cleave/torbran that would actually kill you. In most other decks, you want to cast the petty theft as soon as possible to cast the 3/1 side of the card and start beating them down. But - this deck has two better 3 drop beaters in lovestruck beast and bonecrusher. Bear in mind, you only have 4 borrowers in your entire deck, casting them early greatly reduces the amount you can cast in the late game. You will rather play any other 1/2 mana card in your deck than cast the bounce side on turn 2.
This is because brazen borrower is best utilised as a pressure card. You want to start bouncing opposing permanents when you have 8 power of creatures on board. With lucky clover, you can bounce both creatures your opponent has used to stabilize the board, and gain a huge tempo swing as you set them back 2 turns.
When you gain this kind of tempo and mana advantage, the game becomes almost impossible to lose.
You want to bounce things if:
1) they will win the game (like nissa)
2) deal you too much damage
3) stop you attacking when you need to push through damage
or 4) will give you a huge tempo swing that your opponent cannot recover from.
Of these, option 4 is always the spot you want to be in. I rarely ever bounce a permanent if I have 0 creatures in play (unless i need to get the borrower into play) as the reward for patiently holding it in hand far outweighs using it early. An end step borrower bounce is often incorrect. You will want to set up the borrower bounce by using all of your available mana casting creatures the turn before, so a mainphase bounce will allow you to get farther ahead on board on the previous turn, and leave you with so much open mana on your opponents turn.
All of this does not mean that you can’t even cast petty theft on your opponents t2 robber, just understand why you are doing it and know what you could be losing out on.
Visualising the win (from turn 1):
I was doing a screenshare with David Calf a few days ago and I was teaching him how to play the deck effectively. He is on the draw an opens with a hand containing: 3 lands, 2 beanstalk giants, a borrower and an escape the wilds.
He asks: ‘Is this a keep?’
My response: ‘Does it win?’
He mulligans to 6 and then keeps his 5. He easily wins this game with a hand of: 2 lands, clover, beanstalk and fae of wishes.
This deck is a deck full of 2for1s. The 20 adventure cards all 2for1, the innkeepers and clovers can be more than 2for1s. Every non land card except the one of negate recuperates some sort of card advantage. So don’t be afraid to mulligan mediocre hands!!
You have a constant stream of gas, and you rarely run out of cards, especially with 4 triomes and 2 castle vantress to use your lategame mana when you do. This deck requires much more thought to accomplish your end goal than most other standard decks. When I say you should be visualising how you will win the game from turn 1, I'm not exaggerating.
When you apply this method of thinking, it becomes much easier to tell whether you should cast cards like brazen borrower in the early or late game. Sometimes the way you visualise your win is by not losing and then drawing fae of wishes or an escape the wilds. Sometimes you cannot lose and you dont even need to think.
Keeping cards off your opponents board every turn rarely results in a win if you have no pressure. There is no need to kill or bounce creatures if you have 0 pressure. Just be patient, put beaters on the board and then start removing and bouncing creatures and press the advantage.
When should you cast stomp?
Most of the time casting a t2 stomp on your opponents 1 drop or 2 drop is very straightforward. However (provided you dont have access to a lovestruck beast), if your opponent does not play a stompable 1 or 2 drop, you often want to point it at face, and then cast the 4/3. I have cast a t2 stomp targeting face so much more often than targeting a creature on t2. Even against decks like mono red, if they dont play a 1 or 2 drop they should have mulliganed. But say they did keep, it's worth pointing it at face and running out the 4/3 on turn 3.
This requires them to remove the 4/3 before progressing and once they start answering creatures, you are on the front foot and mono red will rarely ever beat you playing from behind.
Basic Play Patterns:
If you have a hand of: 3 lands, 1 clover, 2 brazen borrower, 1 lovestruck beast. Always cast the heart's desire on turn 1. Waiting until turn 3 to get that extra token is so bad.
Lets compare the board state at the end of turn 3: two 1/1s in play or a 1/1 and a 5/5. 6 power is so much better, especially with borrower meaning you get to start bouncing and attacking.
It is mostly incorrect to cast fertile footsteps on turn 3 (with no clover, with clover its almost always correct). You don't want to spend your turn 3 not affecting the board. Its much better to cast a 3 drop on turn 3.
Then cast fertile footsteps on turn 4 with enough mana to also cast a 2 drop. Obviously, if you have no other play available, or you have a escape in hand and are prioritising casting that and ramping quickly, then fertile footsteps could be correct.
Tips and tricks:
- Casting petty theft with a lucky clover can cause your brazen borrower to fizzle if your opponent only has 1 non-land permanent.
- If you have clover in play, and are planning on stomping a creature and sending 2 at face, point the original spell at face and the copy at the creature, this prevents the bonecrusher being fizzled by a sacrifice outlet or your opponent pointing a removal spell at their own creature.
- Running out an innkeeper on turn 1 is usually correct, if your opponent is trading a removal spell with innkeeper they are usually spending an entire turn to do so and are down on mana. However, it can be worth holding if you need a guaranteed card and cast both the innkeeper and adventure creature in the same turn.
- Always know what you are getting with fae before you cast it, its worth tanking to decide if casting granted is worth it and what card/s you are choosing. This prevents you from casting fae and finding out you don't have x card in your board.
- You should know every card in your fae board and why it is there, the best fae board is the one that suits you the best, I'm all for customizing it to how you feel most comfortable casting fae of wishes.
- Always consider taking a line that will play to you drawing fae of wishes and flinging your opponent. Fling is the sauciest way to win a game of magic.
- Hovering over a beanstalk giant on Arena will tell you how many lands you have in play.
This is a very 50/50 matchup. The scariest card is nissa, and it's hard to interact with it. They also play discard which is very good vs temur and casualties of war is a beating. Easiest way to win is to get ahead on board quickly.
+1 disdainful stroke
-1 escape the wilds
Its a mirror match that often falls down to who has a better draw and who can/can’t answer the innkeeper. Nissa is too slow on the draw, but can win the game quickly on the play. Negate is better on the play where you can hit opposing t2 clover otherwise aether gust is a much better main deck card.
On the draw: -1 negate, +1 aether gust.
On the play -1 escape the wilds, +1 nissa.
Vs Mono red:
It's a great matchup, hold your borrowers for the big cards. Aether gust is an insane wish target, you will always wish for redcap melee over primal might so might can come in.
-1 escape the wilds, -1 negate
+1 nissa, +1 primal might
Vs Mardu/jeskai winota:
Nissa is good here as a clock, redcap melee is an absurd wish target, stroke hits winota, basris lieutenant and loxodon.
-1 negate, -1 escape the wilds
+1 disdainful stroke, +1 nissa
If any matchup is tempo orientated it's this one. They will overpower you if you let them ramp unchecked. Make sure you don't fall too far behind and try to wish for a counterspell other wise genesis ultimatum/ugin can end the game.
This is the first mtg article I have ever written,
I hope you enjoyed reading it.