When you have some time playing this game competitively, you start to become aware of certain constants that become undeniable. One of those is that Japanese players are probably the most creative and innovative when it comes to Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding.
Creating a new archetype is not an easy task. When we are close to a very important tournament or we want to climb high on the ladder, many of us search around the web for the best-performing decks. This makes the process of getting good results faster, thanks to the fact that we are playing with proven ideas, tested and polished during many hours of hard work.
Conversely, we could face many stumbles when we have an idea that we want to turn into a new deck. Maybe the idea could be not that great and we have to discard it. If the deck looks promising, we have to invest many hours in testing to make it more solid and consistent. Even if we assemble the next tier 1 deck, most of the time the list can be improved. Making the brave choice to create however, often brings great rewards, and this new archetype is proof of that.
With 6 players piloting this deck in the New Capenna Championship, ending with a 60.6% win rate, this archetype placed itself as one of the best six decks of the competition from a total of 29 different archetypes which is extremely remarkable. Three of those six players made 5-x (the tournament had 7 Standard rounds) each, for 45 total accumulated points. This is testimony that without a doubt this deck is capable of facing any tier 1 archetype and emerging victorious.
The six players used the same list, identical in its 75 cards.
At first impression, this looks like an Izzet Control variant splashing green for one of the best late-game creatures in current Standard, Titan of Industry. Certainly it’s more or less something like that, but there are many reasons behind every card of this deck, so let’s dig deeper into this new archetype.
Everyone that has played after Streets of New Capenna’s release knows that Titan of Industry is one of the most, if not the most powerful creature printed in the set. Opening this elemental in one of your packs while playing Limited means that, most of the time, you are going to have a good run. When these Limited bombs are translated to Standard, the vast majority of the time they tend to heavily impact the metagame. Who hasn’t played against a rogue archetype that suddenly plays this card and puts us against the ropes? Now imagine what this creature could do in a Constructed deck designed to make the best of it.
There are many good reasons for playing a full set of Titan of Industry in Standard. The format is now full of attrition matches where we have to grind every single advantage we can take, trying to put ourselves one step ahead of our opponents every single turn. This translates most of the time into being on the control plan, but still wanting our cards to do something immediately. In contrast to other possible creatures that could be played as win conditions, Titan of Industry always does something immediately and is amazing to boot.
In a vacuum, this creature is great against almost any archetype. Playing four could seem like too much, but honestly, after testing how the deck works and considering the current state of Standard, drawing one of these cards during the early game thru mid-game transition is a powerful enough play to put ourselves two steps ahead of our opponents most of the time.
“But, Bohe, it’s a seven mana card with triple green in its cost…” Here is where all our other card choices became important. Our old friend Galazeth Prismari is a crucial part of the equation. Many decks started including this Izzet elder dragon when it was released, but for one reason or another, the card was forgotten. These decks make us remember how good it was. Ramping effects are amazing when we are a control deck, especially when we get this from cards that are not only enablers, but also threats. Using the treasures generated by Fable of the Mirror-Breaker‘s goblin token and Goldspan Dragon without sacrificing them lets us surpass our opponents in resources, something that also gives us the upper hand in the current heavy attrition metagame.
With this resource generating engine behind our strategy, all our other cards are just perfectly set to grind every game this deck plays. Paying Memory Deluge‘s flashback cost is an easy task most of the time. The same is true for drawing cards with Reckoner Bankbuster and having extra mana for casting spells.
Now, besides the other well known great blue and red cards this deck plays, three particular choices are very important to discuss. First, Battle of Frost and Fire, a saga from Kaldheim. The card has seen some play here and there, but other options have overshadowed it a bit. In the current metagame and in this deck specifically, it plays a particularly key role and in certain moments works better than Burn Down the House.
It’s very good against creatures with ward like Raffine, Scheming Seer, and helps us clear the board against swarms of creatures, but most importantly: it also deals damage to planeswalkers, letting us get rid of all the Ob Nixilis, the Adversary we can have in front of us, and all the devil tokens that it can make. The same goes for Lolth, Spider Queen, The Wandering Emperor, Sorin the Mirthless, and Kaito Shizuki.
While Burn Down the House also does this, that’s only the first chapter of the saga. Having a sweeper that also lets us scry 3 and draw cards is most of the time the sweeper we want in this midrange fiesta that Standard is right now.
The other two cards that make green earn its splash in this deck are Esika's Chariot and Koma, Cosmos Serpent. Chariot is well known to be a card that’s so good (almost enough to be banned). Playing two copies of it against the proper opponents does wonders in this control shell. It lets us pressure slower decks, and gives us blockers when needed, but most importantly, it synergizes very well with many of our main board cards. We can copy the Rhino from Titan of Industry, the treasure tokens from any of our ramp sources, little devil tokens from Burn Down the House, pilots from Reckoner Bankbuster, or even Serpents created by the aforementioned Koma, Cosmos Serpent.
Speaking of Koma, it is virtually the strongest creature in Kaldheim. Why not play it if we are in Green and on a control shell that gives us all the time we need? We prefer Titan of Industry on our mainboard because of its flexibility, but the elemental has one weak spot; Vanishing Verse. Yes, the Titan is good regardless of this removal spell thanks to the fact that it does things when it comes into play, but when we want to adjust our win conditions depending on the answers our opponents are presenting, the serpent in the company of our pair of Hullbreaker Horror is enough for crushing any opposition.
Potential Inclusions / Notable Exclusions
- Malevolent Hermit is a very good option against other control decks for pressuring during the early stages of the game and having answers to their key spells.
- We saw some Annul here and there. Right now, there are many good artifacts and enchantments in Standard that could justify playing this counter, even in our main board. Copies of Spell Pierce and Test of Talents are also here and there.
- Big Score can let us have powerful turns while looking for answers at the same time. Nevertheless, this kind of card works best in combo-ish shells.
- Something similar happens with March of Swirling Mist. It’s a good card per say, but its best functionality is when we try to survive for one turn to do a power play the next one.
- With that many treasure generators, Voltage Surge seems like an obvious choice. However, even if we are going to sacrifice them from time to time, we prefer to keep them whenever is possible to use them as virtual lands thanks to Galazeth Prismari.
- Torch Breath is very good against Raffine, Scheming Seer. For dealing 4 damage we only have to pay 3 thanks to its “blue targeting discount”. The fact that it can’t be countered bypasses the ward. Also, it shines in comparison to other removal in the Esper matchup thanks to its flexibility.
- Unlicensed Hearse is one of the best graveyard hate cards available in the format. However, sideboarding it against Esper just for Tenacious Underdog seems like too much. Against Goldspan Dragon combo decks, it’s relevant thanks to how it leaves Lier, Disciple of the Drowned without resources to work with.
- You probably know how amazing I think Seismic Wave is. It does wonders against planeswalkers that make tokens with their minus loyalty abilities. We play Battle of Frost and Fire plus Burn Down the House but, sneaking one or two copies of this card into our sideboards could be a good idea depending on the meta.
Matchups and Sideboard Guide
|+1 Fading Hope||-4 Titan of Industry|
|+3 Disdainful Stroke||-1 Flame-Blessed Bolt|
|+1 Reckoner Bankbuster||-1 Burn Down the House|
|+2 Esika's Chariot||-1 Battle of Frost and Fire|
|+2 Hullbreaker Horror||-3 Dragon's Fire|
|+2 Koma, Cosmos Serpent||-1 Galazeth Prismari|
One of the best decks in Standard right now and the best combo archetype in town. We take out our damage based removal because of its conditionality. Flame-Blessed Bolt doesn’t reach Goldspan Dragon or Lier, Disciple of the Drowned and Dragon's Fire needs our Goldspan to deal four damage. Instead, we prefer Disdainful Stroke and Fading Hope. Both cards let us answer the combo before it happens for one or two mana.
Also, as we change our win conditions here, Fading Hope always goes amazingly well with Hullbreaker Horror. Our sweepers, even if both check the two threats in our opponent’s deck, cost 5 mana, something we don’t want to be paying as sorcery against a combo deck where we need to pass untapped to have our counters available.
Esika's Chariot lets us pressure faster than Galazeth Prismari which begs it’s inclusion.Koma, Cosmos Serpent and the aforementioned Hullbreaker Horror are both uncounterable which without a doubt something that is going to be a headache for our opponent.
Mono White Aggro
|+1 Fading Hope||-1 Reckoner Bankbuster|
|+2 Flame-Blessed Bolt||-2 Negate|
|+2 Prismari Command||-2 Galazeth Prismari|
|+2 Esika's Chariot||-2 Memory Deluge|
We pack a lot of extra removal against this archetype. Prismari Command shines here because it lets us kill one creature most of the time while ramping us into bigger creatures than our opponent’s.
Esika's Chariot comes in handy again. Two to three blockers means enough to find our answers while at the same time they let us strongly pressure The Wandering Emperor when needed. Speaking of this planeswalker, we could keep the Negate, but most of the time we don’t have other targets for it, so play carefully with your Jwari Disruption and use our other removals always keeping this planeswalker in consideration.
Reckoner Bankbuster and Memory Deluge are too slow for this match up most of the time. We need fast answers and our Fable of the Mirror-Breaker can find the pieces we need to solve the rest of the puzzle.
|+1 Fading Hope||-4 Titan of Industry|
|+2 Flame-Blessed Bolt||-1 Reckoner Bankbuster|
|+3 Disdainful Stroke||-3 Dragon's Fire|
|+2 Hullbreaker Horror||-2 Memory Deluge|
|+2 Koma, Cosmos Serpent|
The deck everyone wants to beat. Fortunately for us, we have very good tools for navigating through this attrition matchup that let us grind against every threat they could present to us.
In the same way that blue decks could have or may have sideboarded some counters, and against Orzhov decks that surely pack Vanishing Verse, we again change our win conditions to Hullbreaker Horror and
Understanding who is the beatdown lets us play this matchup properly. We have to be cognizant that we are the control deck and they have better tools for early pressure, even if they’re not an aggro deck.
Reckoner Bankbuster and Memory Deluge can be very good in attrition matches, nevertheless, they are the beatdown, and they are going to pressure us as hard as they can. We need clear answers instead of cards that let us find them. Again, rummage aggressively with our Fable of the Mirror-Breaker in case you need it.
|+1 Fading Hope||-1 Reckoner Bankbuster|
|+2 Flame-Blessed Bolt||-2 Memory Deluge|
|+2 Prismari Command||-2 Galazeth Prismari|
|+2 Esika's Chariot||-2 Negate|
Against this deck we play similarly as we do against Mono White. We could keep the Negate against Showdown of the Skalds or the occasional Hallowed Haunting, however, they mostly threaten us with creatures and countering a rune is not needed most of the time. We also have 3 Jwari Disruption, so hold them carefully to surgically counter a non-creature spell when needed.
Once again, Reckoner Bankbuster and Memory Deluge feel slow. We pack our spot removal to have clean answers during the early game, letting us stabilize. Titan of Industry shines especially against Runes thanks to its integrated Disenchant.
Tips and Tricks
- We can see in our sideboard guide that playing as a true control deck is very important in many key matchups. “Draw-Go” is our preferred play mode.
- Remember, we don’t have to sacrifice our treasures for getting mana thanks to Galazeth Prismari. Caution: With this ability, the mana provided from the treasure tokens is only usable on instants and sorceries.
- It could seem like something obvious, but don’t forget the reach and trample abilities from Titan of Industry. Both give us the upper hand in many situations.
- If you can set up a Reflection of Kiki-Jiki + Titan of Industry board it’s most of the time “Gg” so prioritize protecting them if you have both.
- The usual Expressive Iteration advice: Try to play this card before you play your turn land drop. This lets us play a land if we find one with this sorcery.
- Pathway Advice: Play these lands as your last possible lands whenever possible. Picking the wrong color tends to be problematic when played early.
- Burn Down the House and Battle of Frost and Fire also hit planeswalkers.
- Never forget that Spikefield Hazard and Flame-Blessed Bolt exile their target which is very good against creatures like Tenacious Underdog.
- With Galazeth Prismari or a crewed Esika's Chariot, Boseiju, Who Endures and Otawara, Soaring City‘s channel abilities cost 1 less mana.
- Throwing a Memory Deluge to our graveyard with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker or Prismari Command in case we don’t find a proper time to cast it is not a big deal. Playing it for seven later when we stabilize the game is enough most of the time.
Temur shines again! As my favorite three color combination, not tackling this deck for a deck guide seemed wrong and I’m so glad I did. Without a doubt it’s a very fun deck to play, a solid option against the current metagame, and a force to be reckoned with.
After playing Magic for almost 23 years, I never stop feeling amazing by seeing how creative the Japanese players can be. Very few are the western players that reach that kind of creativity and effectiveness with these new “out of the box” archetypes for big tournaments or stuck metagames.
Like I said when I started this column; building a new archetype or investigating new options is a very hard task, nevertheless, it’s one of the more rewarding ones, especially when the results prove that all your hard work pays off.
Until the next time dear readers, thanks for being here. Let me know on my social media what you think about this archetype (link below), and don’t forget; smile when your day starts, it makes the difference. ♥