Can Anything Top Temur Reclamation In Ikoria Standard?

Ikoria Standard isn’t done yet! What would World Champion PVDDR and five more SCG creators pilot this weekend?

Gemrazer, illustrated by Svetlin Velinov

Welcome to What We'd Play! With Players Tour Online 3, Players Tour Online 4, and the first SCG Tour Online Championship Qualifier this weekend, many are unsure what they’d play in Ikoria Standard. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this last-minute advice aids in your decision making! Be sure to vote for what deck you would play at the end!

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa — Temur Reclamation

As I wrote in my article this week, I think that, for almost every definition of “best deck,” Temur Reclamation is the current best deck in Ikoria Standard. Standard doesn’t always have a clear-cut best deck, so when it does I think you should embrace the opportunity to play it. 

You might be worried that everyone will be trying to beat Temur Reclamation, but this was also true last week and no one succeeded, and there’s no reason to believe people will succeed now. This doesn’t mean there are no decks that can beat Temur Reclamation, but just that there are no decks that can beat it consistently while being competitive versus the rest of the field. If someone comes up with a good deck that happens to smash Temur Reclamation they will probably win the tournament, but I tested enough of this format to know that this person will not be me, so I’d take my guaranteed 57% versus the field. 

As a bonus, it’s hard to completely tune your deck to beat Temur Reclamation because there are several versions of the deck. You might try to play Mono-Green Aggro and run into the person with four Aether Gusts and Storm’s Wrath in the maindeck; you might try to play some Mono-Red Cavalcade of Calamity deck and run into the person with three Flame Sweeps. The fact that there’s no consensus about which build of Temur Reclamation (and which sideboard strategies) are the best works in its favor here.

As for which build I’d play, I think the build I played last week was very good, and I would just run it back. I especially like my sideboarding strategy for Temur mirrors (where you don’t take out Wilderness Reclamation or Expansion // Explosion) and I think following it can actually give you an edge in the matchup, which means you should be in a pretty good place.

Emma Handy — Temur Reclamation

There’s a best deck.  Play it.

Beating up on Temur Reclamation while also having game against the various Mayhem Devils and Questing Beasts that the format has to offer is a tall enough order that tuning is going to be more rewarding than brewing.  That’s largely in part due to the fact that it’s as late in the format as it is.

Abe Corrigan and the rest of the Lotus Box crew hit the nail on the head with their Temur Reclamation list that weekend: maximize the nut draw, and beat the mirror.  The numbers in the maindeck are more or less conceding to creature decks, but sideboard games more than make up for it.

With the prize payout of the Players Tours being structured the way they are, I’d be most interested in trying to exactly finish in the portion of players that qualify for Players Tour Finals, or else being dead quickly.

That more or less comes down to the fact that there’s a reasonable min-prize, and with a flatter prize structure, the goal is to try to chain this tournament into future invites.  That’s the way to actually get the most out of the opportunity to compete in this sort of event.

Shaheen Soorani — Yorion Esper Hero

I am a sucker for a good Esper Hero deck.  The addition of Yorion, Sky Nomad has put this aging archetype back into the competitive discussion.  The Esper Hero decks of old had many permanents that entered the battlefield with a nice effect.  That strength was boosted by the addition of Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths and Elspeth Conquers Death in the recent months.  Even though Esper Hero was not taking down tournaments, it has been the favorite of some pros and streamers for a reason.

Even though Temur Reclamation is running the tables, Yorion Esper Hero still has a proactive gameplan that can remain competitive against it.  In older versions, I ditched Dovin’s Veto in favor of more removal, but the world now requires Negate power. Having four Dovin’s Veto in the maindeck allows for a competitive Game 1, with a stronger sideboarded game to follow. Utilizing Elspeth Conquers Death and the most effective planeswalkers against Temur Reclamation, Yorion Esper Hero is the last hope for control to defeat the broken combo deck.

The solid base of the deck is enhanced by Yorion, Sky Nomad and we have many accompanying spells available to us. Yorion Esper Hero has a strong game against the most aggressive decks with Oath of Kaya thanks to Teferi, Time Raveler and Yorion to blink it for maximum effect.  Dire Tactics is another powerful tool that does not have a drawback when a Hero of Precinct One is around and is not too painful in its absence. The rest of the list is naturally strong against slower strategies, calling upon the power of planeswalkers, the best disruption, and some killer win conditions. With a strong matchup against Jund Sacrifice, Mono-Red Aggro, and the pile of slower decks, I would confidently enter the arena with this deck for the upcoming Standard events this weekend.

Corey Baumeister – Bant Control

With the first weekend of Players Tour Online events in the books, it is no longer a question of what the best deck is anymore. It has now become a question of whether Temur Reclamation be stopped. When I look at staggering numbers like the ones that Temur Reclamation put up last weekend, my brain goes in two directions: exaggerate the maindeck hate or join ’em! I tried to join them last week and I had a miserable tournament. Temur Reclamation just doesn’t suit my playstyle enough to justify playing a ton of mirror matches.

So I decided to basically pre-sideboard for the matchup. We see this kind of stuff happen whenever a deck gets really carried away in a metagame. Pro Tour Dominaria comes to mind when it came down to the dominance of Rakdos Midrange at the time of the event. People were pre-sideboarded for Game 1 and changed things up for other matchups after sideboard. That’s what I choose to do with Bant Control. Cards like Brazen Borrower, Aether Gust, Wilt, Dovin’s Veto, and Teferi, Time Raveler are excellent in the matchup but you need a ton of them to keep up with such a powerful deck.

These changes might be a bit drastic when it comes to targeting Temur Reclamation but the power level of the core of the deck is good enough to carry you in the other matchups.

Autumn Burchett — Temur Reclamation

Temur Reclamation is just the best deck. More broadly, Growth Spiral and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath are the best things to be doing in Standard, and it just happens that Temur Reclamation is the deck that pushes these cards in the most busted possible direction by using its key enchantment to double up the benefits of putting these extra lands onto the battlefield. You could maybe make an argument for playing a list of Bant Control tuned to beat Temur Reclamation, or trying to hard-target Temur Reclamation in some other way, but until I see something that consistently and clearly dominates the matchup I’d rather just play the best deck and force my opponents to be prepared to beat me.

The list above is very close to Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa list above, only a few cards different, as I generally agree with a lot of the conclusions he’s come to about the deck, though there are a few small differences that are largely just personal preference; most notably I love Commence the Endgame and am not far off wanting a second copy. Whilst this Standard format is not in a particularly healthy place at present, I do think that Temur Reclamation is a very fun deck to play with and am excited to get to battle with it again.

Cedric Phillips — Mono-Green Aggro

You’re not going to believe but I’m going to say it anyway — unless they have access to Storm’s Wrath in heavy numbers, this version of Mono-Green Aggro beats the ever-living crap out of Temur Reclamation. On the way to my classic 10-5 finish in Players Tour Online 1, I went 4-2 against Temur Reclamation (I believe I should have gone 5-1, as I made a very stupid error in one of the matches); went 1-3 versus Jund Sacrifice (far from my favorite matchup if they have an active Priest of Forgotten Gods); and destroyed everything else.

I didn’t have Giant Growth last weekend but like having access to it to push through Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Nightpack Ambusher (given that Temur Reclamation is the best deck, it’s certainly appropriate to metagame accordingly). To improve versus Jund Sacrifice, Thrash has worked itself into the equation to give the deck eight ways to handle Priest of Forgotten Gods and Mayhem Devil. All the other decks in the format don’t matter and none of them are good against you anyway — your creatures are bigger than Mono-Red’s, control decks like Sultai and Bant aren’t prepared to beat you since they have to over-metagame for Temur Reclamation, and Mardu Knights isn’t popular enough to care about.

Given the opportunity, I’d 100% run this deck if I played in an Ikoria Standard event this weekend.

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