The Temur Energy Manual

Feature Article from Steve Rubin
Steve Rubin
11/27/2017 11:02:00 AM
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Casting Attune with Aether

It's rare that it is difficult to figure out what basic land to Attune with Aether for, but if it is, follow your hand at your own discretion. Your first priority is to assemble all of your colors. Double green is the best, but if it prevents you from playing a Confiscation Coup, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, or Glorybringer, than a Mountain should take priority.

It's important to be willing to lean on an Aether Hub if it means you have all your color requirements solved. That said, it's likely correct to search for a basic land that will prevent you from having to use Aether Hub every turn even if it cuts you off a double color of mana. Assuming you will eventually draw a land is superior to using one energy per turn. This rule essentially equates to: Whenever you have an Aether Hub and no Forest, it is correct to Attune with Aether for the Forest. Most of your early game spells are green, and Bristling Hydra is the most frequent and cheapest double-costed spell that needs two green. A forest also lets any Rootbound Crag come into play untapped. While Mountain does the same, playing an early Mountain is much more detrimental to your development.

Play Sheltered Thicket tapped. As a rule of thumb, unless you have an insane amount of lands, I find it best to just play Sheltered Thicket most of the time when you aren't sure.

For this exercise, pretend the Botanical Sanctum is a Forest. Thanks!
In the dark the play would be Attune with Aether for Mountain. Being able to cast Chandra, Torch of Defiance on turn four is a way to "snowball" advantage, and if Rogue Refiner gets countered or destroyed we might not even have a target for Vizier of Many Faces. Getting an Island prevents Rootbound Crag from entering the battlefield untapped and will not cast a drawn Glorybringer. However, against a Mono-Red or Vehicles opponent, you should Attune with Aether for an Island here, as a Planeswalker is less likely to stick in a slow hand such as this, and Confiscation Coup is one of your most important cards.

Battlefield Development & Control

Playing Temur is mainly about establishing board control, which describes having more active permanents in play. As long as you are at parity or a bit ahead of the opponent, outright spell efficiency or haymakers both eventually put you ahead. As you trade off and Simplify the board you try to build up energy, which eventually yields a huge advantage over an opponent who is not gaining an extra resource. While in some matchups you want to press the attack, especially on the play, sometimes using removal to keep the board entirely clear can be advantageous.

Various Energy Mirrors

Within energy mirrors, always operate delicately in the early turns. Sequence based on what puts you most ahead on the play and keeps you as even as possible on the draw. As a general rule, it's often correct to play permanents on the play and on the draw correct to always destroy two drops such as Servant or Longtusk Cub if you can. The more ahead you are on the play, the more effective your expensive cards become. While on the draw, keeping up is going to allow you to pull back into games with your expensive cards and give you the luxury to hold up reactive mana more often.

Put yourself in position to maximize your curve against the play:

Postboard against 4 Color Energy

I would plus Chandra, Torch of Defiance, generating two red mana, and use the mana to cast Harnessed Lightning, targeting the opponent's Servant of the Conduit. With our current hand, we are very light on action and are relying heavily on Chandra, Torch of Defiance. The big problem with using the -3 ability to destroy their Servant of the Conduit is that a Whirler Virtuoso is very likely to kill our Chandra, Torch of Defiance over a few turns and likely force me to burn a Harnessed Lightning on a Thopter Token. While we lose to Chandra's Defeat every time, Whirler Virtuoso leaves us very weak to a follow up Chandra, Torch of Defiance or Glorybringer. Four-Color Energy is more Planeswalker-heavy and much more likely to leave in all their Whirler Virtuoso, and often have less copies of Chandra's Defeat.

Temur versus Sultai is all about preventing them from establishing the battlefield, but also pivoting and identifying when you can become the aggressor. This is what Temur does in every matchup, but here they are built to snowball and Blossoming Defense you out. Glorybringer is a house against them, so if you can stay in the game until then you are much more likely to win:

Play nothing. Note that this is not a "strictly correct” play and playing Longtusk Cub is reasonable. Essence Scatter is that weird one-of that puts you into interesting situations. If our opponent has a Fatal Push here, playing Longtusk Cub isn't that effective. Even without a Fatal Push, being able to counter a Rogue Refiner-or perhaps counter or Abrade a two-drop that they can either draw or perhaps were intending to save with a Blossoming Defense. Even if they simply pass the turn back, we get on the board first with a Rogue Refiner that can't be killed by a Fatal Push and will both get ahead on board and draw a card. Being on the draw against a more aggressive energy build makes me much less worried about trying to get that far ahead on board versus controlling them out and constricting their resources.

During true Temur mirrors, it's advisable to not put yourself in situations where Glorybringer will outright beat you if at all possible. This goes back to the board control philosophy, where the less behind on board you are, the easier it is to hold up mana. Here is another judgement situation. I'm still wavering over what is correct here:

Temur vs. Combo

Harnessed Lightning their Minister of Inquiries. It's usually best to establish an early Longtusk Cub against combo decks if you can. However, destroying an opposing Minister of Inquiries to Deprive them the ability to stock a graveyard for a Gate of the Afterlife can sometimes be the right play. Normally, this is when you have a slow draw—it can help you pivot into the lategame without being blown out quickly. I don't have great pressure or an Abrade or Confiscation Coup to deal with a God-Pharaoh's Gift here, which makes Harnessed Lightning a better play. Also, in this specific case, Harnessed Lightning is the only spell in your hand, so a follow-up Kitesail Freebooter is less powerful if you fire off Harnessed Lightning. Plus, they are representing a convenient (for them) Fatal Push. If they have a Fatal Push, it makes playing Harnessed Lightning a much better play, when in most cases you should go for Longtusk Cub.

Temur vs. Red

Most early game situations are quite manageable and obvious to an extent. Mono-Red is often the deck that gives me the most difficulty in early sequencing. Against Red, always look to establish a board presence while not allowing them mana or removal efficiency. Let's take a look:

Play Servant of the Conduit. If you're playing against Mono-Red and they don't play a one-drop, they could have Shock, but this is a rather straightforward decision. If you untap with Servant of the Conduit on the battlefield, this hand gets a lot better. Longtusk Cub is quite powerful against mono-red once you have four energy and you should try to save it until you have established four or more energy if possible. This Longtusk Cub can be huge if we wait, even big enough to block Hazoret the Fervent, which can be important against red.

Play nothing. Hope to Abrade a Rampaging Ferocidon, Aethersphere Harvester, Pia Nalaar, or a drawn two-drop. When a Mono-Red opponent doesn't have pressure on board it's important to not allow your opponent to use their mana effectively. A mono-red opponent keeping a seven-card hand and then passing twice means its extremely likely that they have an Abrade, a Lightning Strike, or even a Shock. We have better lategame assuming we maintain a healthy life total. Yes, you can get punished by a Chandra, Torch of Defiance draw by not playing anything, but we do have Chandra's Defeat and Glorybringer in our deck.

Play nothing. This goes with the same concept of trying to resolve a “protected” Longtusk Cub with four energy or more. Essence Scatter is good against Hazoret the Fervent, but it can be unpredictable when they play it based on hand size and cards in hand that you don't know about. Use your Essence Scatter as a Doom Blade on anything, which includes Earthshaker Khenra in this case, as double Whirler Virtuoso + Glorybringer should have that covered. If they do nothing, you are pretty happy to Attune with Aether, getting up to four Energy, and play Longtusk Cub on turn three.
Side Note: If possible, try to play Whirler Virtuoso in spots where they cannot conveniently remove it with the enters-the-battlefield energy trigger on the stack.

Playing Against Control

Post-sideboard vs. U/B

We're at 20 life and 1 energy against the Blue-Black Control deck here.
Cast Negate. In this game I didn't cast it and immediately regretted it—the opponent drew running lands, including on this turn to hold up mana on the second turn—minimizing the downside of Bontu's Last Reckoning. Temur vs Control is rather straightforward from the Temur side, and I struggled to find many interesting decisions throughout my replays for this guide. This hammers down a principle against control decks—protect your threats aggressively with countermagic. Of course, sweepers are a priority, but sitting back on countermagic for too long can be punishing when your opponent can eventually get the opportunity to cast two spells in one turn. Furthermore, many control decks look to take advantage of you with creatures such as Scarab God, Torrential Gearhulk, or even Regal Caracal postboard, so sitting on Negate is generally poor. In any given game against control, your goal is to get what I call one “half” turn ahead, meaning you want to put them in a position where you stick a threat and then they have to perpetually deal with something as you apply pressure with better and better threats.

Aggressive Negate

Mike Sigrist demonstrates the power of getting one threat ahead against the control decks in these last two games against Guillaume Matignon. While these counters may be the obvious play, these games are solid examples of not only how but why you should use counters this way. Typically in Magic, the aggressor who boards in countermagic wants to use them to stop sweepers or huge card draw effects with some utility. Temur Energy is a midrange deck with tons of redundant threats that all hit very hard and are rather powerful. For Temur, it's generally right to use your Counterspells when you can, especially when protecting a threat. Let's take another look into a Temur vs Control game:

This is my first deep dive into one deck, so any feedback is appreciated. Thanks,

Steve Rubin

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