High Dynavoltage

So much for that “two-deck format” Standard was supposed to be! Temur Dynavolt made its presence felt this past weekend, and Patrick Chapin is eager to break down the card choices and present his list for your next tournament!

Grand Prix Orlando March 24-26!

Two-deck format?


Dynavolt Tower has showed up here and there since it was first printed; however, this past weekend, it really came into its own. While Dynavolt Tower decks have frequently been U/R, this weekend saw the rise of Temur Dynavolt, largely splashing green for Attune with Aether and Natural Obsolescence.

Temur Dynavolt was not a completely unheard-of archetype, however. Ondrej Strasky piloted an early build of Temur Dynavolt to an eleventh-place finish at GP Utrecht.

The strength of this strategy stems from how well Dynavolt Tower lines up against both Mardu and Saheeli Combo. Against a Mardu deck, it rips apart most of their potential crew members while also making quick work of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Against Saheeli Combo, it’s basically not realistic to go off in the face of a charged Tower, since it’s an implied uncounterable Shock that can kill Saheeli Rai after she uses her -2 ability.

Now, a month later, Temur Dynavolt has exploded in success (which is likely to bring with it an explosion in popularity). This isn’t just the same list, however. A lot can happen in a month. Many players had been increasing their creature counts a lot, even going so far as to rely on Aetherworks Marvel instead of Dynavolt Tower, like Marc Tobiasch:

However, other players had success going the opposite direction, like Oliver Tomajko and his mostly creatureless update to Temur Dynavolt:

The progression only continued this past week, with multiple players Top 8ing GPs this weekend, including Victor Fernando Silva, who actually took down the whole tournament in Porto Alegre.

He has completely moved away from Rogue Refiner or Shielded Aether Thief, stripping the deck of anything vulnerable to Fatal Push or Shock. While opposing Unlicensed Disintegrations can potentially still hit Torrential Gearhulks eventually, Victor has so many counterspells, it’s very possible he might be able to eventually protect it.

While Strasky already had a pretty respectable half-dozen counterspells; Victor dove headfirst into the deep end with ten (!) maindeck counterspells, not to mention the four Torrential Gearhulks and four more counterspells in the sideboard.

We talked a bit about the strength of permission in the current Standard format Monday. Four-cost sorcery-speed threats like Felidar Guardian and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar are not exactly at their best versus counterspells. Horribly Awry and Negate are also great in a format where basically no one can play without targets (well, until now, as removing Rogue Refiner and Shielded Aether Thief means we’re pretty well set up against Horribly Awry).

Another really interesting feature of Victor’s list is the basically unheard-of use of nine spells that can exile a Scrapheap Scrounger. You’ve got to admire the dedication of someone willing to use Void Shatter as their ninth exile effect before even their third Disallow.

In addition to Horribly Awry and Void Shatter, Victor has both Incendiary Flow and Natural Obsolescence to permanently deal with a Scrapheap Scrounger, not to mention the possibility of just shooting it a few times with Dynavolt Tower. It’s also worth noting that using this many exile cards means a lot of Mardu Vehicles threats are going to be exiled, not just the Scrapheap Scroungers. This makes it harder for any future Scrapheap Scroungers to come back very much.

Multiple maindeck Natural Obsolescences?

Hell yeah! And with the rise of Dynavolt Tower, it isn’t out of the question to play even more!

Saheeli Combo is basically the only strategy not playing artifacts, and even some of them will use a few artifacts here and there.

Okay, I guess that makes sense, but why no Shocks?

Well, exiling is a big deal anyway, but even beyond that, there are several reasons that contribute to Incendiary Flow getting the nod.

First, Attune with Aether and Aether Hub do not lend themselves well to casting Shock efficiently. Once you are playing Shock on turn 2, you’re wasting a mana unless you have a tapped land to play. This deck has very few of those. Besides, the last thing you want to do is play a Forest and Attune with Aether for a Mountain when your deck is full of Void Shatters and Disallows.

Second, Dynavolt Tower backed by ten counterspells is so backbreaking for Saheeli Combo, the marginal value of Shock disrupting the combo is relatively low.

Last, Dynavolt Tower and Kozilek’s Return means we’ve already got an abundance of cards dealing two damage.

Kozilek’s Return!

Kozilek’s Return is back with a vengeance. While it may not have Eldrazi to trigger it replaying from the graveyard for free, it does have Torrential Gearhulk, which amusingly will flash it back. It’s not that Kozilek’s Return is super-busted or anything. It’s just that you really need a way to catch up against one-drops or, heaven forbid, a Gideon. Kozilek’s Return can be rebought, but it also provides even more instant-speed interaction as we play our draw-go game.

While Strasky’s list featured a Dragonmaster Outcast and Whirler Virtuoso semi-transformational plan, Victor has gone much further, running a full ten creatures. I love the Longtusk Cubs and Tireless Trackers, which can both totally take a game over, particularly once an opponent has sideboarded out most of their removal.

Narnam Renegade is a little bit of extra cheap interaction, but it does occasionally get buffed by a timely Clue sacrifice. It’s definitely way better than Gnarlwood Dryad here, though. The extra point of toughness is huge against Walking Ballista and Liliana, the Last Hope. Besides, delirium is next-to-impossible until you have a Torrential Gearhulk in your graveyard. By then, the +2/+2 doesn’t matter so much.

While Victor cut the Confiscation Coups, if it were me, I would definitely run some, like Strasky before and Masayasu Tanahashi over at Grand Prix Shizouka, particularly with an increased chance of wanting to steal someone’s Dynavolt Tower!

Tanahashi’s list also goes hard on counterspells, but instead of Horribly Awry, he plays a couple of copies of Brutal Expulsion.

I love Brutal Expulsion right now, exiling Scrapheap Scroungers, buying time against Gideon or Felidar Guardian, resetting our Torrential Gearhulks…the card just does so much. If I were playing Temur this weekend, I think I’d run one or two.

I generally like the card Aether Meltdown, but I’m a little unsure of it at the moment. It doesn’t trigger the Tower, and I’m not big on its weakness to Saheeli Combo or planeswalkers in general. That said, I do appreciate how effective it can be versus a Scrapheap Scrounger, to say nothing of a Heart of Kiran.

I like the Bristling Hydra sideboard plan better than the Longtusk Cubs, I think, especially moving forward with more people aware of the sorts of sideboard plans these Temur decks are using.

If I were playing Standard this weekend, I would definitely rock Temur Dynavolt, as it is not every day a classic Draw-Go deck is so good. Here’s the list I would run:

I think the sideboard Bristling Hydras make the extra green source worth it, though this deck’s mana isn’t exactly ideal.

I think Horribly Awry will lose a little stock, both from people adopting this style of deck and in general, as players tune their decks from a week of testing against. Instead, I’d rather have Brutal Expulsion, which I think may actually get even better this weekend.

One other deck I wanted to briefly call out, however, is the aggressive Jund deck piloted to a Top 8 finish by Motoaki Itou.

His use of Reality Smasher in this context is both novel and exciting.

Reality Smasher is just such a great answer to Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. It is competing with Verdurous Gearhulk, but the extra speed and resiliency it can bring to certain spots against Unlicensed Disintegration is interesting.

While Itou has just seven lands that cast Reality Smasher, he also has three Catacomb Sifters and an Oath of Nissa.

It’s nothing new, but one of the things I’ve always liked about these G/B and Jund aggro decks is the ability to sideboard Distended Mindbender. It’s a fabulously powerful card anyway, but I think its stock is only going to rise with this week’s technology advancements.

I dunno. Look, I get that it’s legendary. I also get that we’ve got a lot of twos. I think I’d like to play the fourth Heart, though.

That said, who am I kidding?

I have been waiting my whole life to Dynavolt Tower this hard!

Maybe there’s hope for this format after all…

Grand Prix Orlando March 24-26!