Top 100 Temur Clover Historic Deck Guide: We’re Up All Night To Get Lucky
Hello everyone! Watching the Kaldheim Championship was a blast and there were a lot of great stories to tell there, but the one that caught my eye was Chris Botelho playing Adventures in both Standard and Historic. To be perfectly honest, I thought he was crazy to play Clover. How could Eldraine block constructed be good in a format as strong as Historic? I figured he shot himself in the foot before the tournament began. Imagine my surprise when he nearly top 8d the Championship with Clover and had a clean 4-0 sweep day 1! I still figured the deck was a meme and shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but I had to at least try it out myself. Well, with a clean 18-2 in the past week propelling me to top 100 Mythic, I think I can safely say this deck is a lot better than it looks.
Functionally, this deck is just the old Standard deck with improved sideboard options and upgraded mana, but you wouldn’t believe how much that has helped the deck. This may seem like a strange time to start preaching the good word of Clover, but I have multiple reasons for putting it out there: the deck is very good, the MIQ is coming up, this will be very minimally impacted by the release of Strixhaven and the Mystical Archive, this may be one of the best positioned decks in Historic right now, and I’m seriously considering playing it at the MIQ myself. If you were a fan of the archetype in the past or you just want something new, fun, and skill testing to play before Strixhaven drops, this is the deck for you.
For those who are unacquainted, Temur Clover is a midrange strategy looking to combine the best cards the Adventure package has to offer with the powerful Lucky Clover to net even more value from their effects. The deck has plenty of ways to keep you alive early with Bonecrusher Giant, Brazen Borrower, and Lovestruck Beast, then ways to end the game later with Fae of Wishes, Escape to the Wilds, and Alrund's Epiphany. This can lead to scenarios where you draw the “wrong” half of your deck, but one of the features is that it’s quite good at keeping you alive to keep playing. The best and most complicated part of playing Clover is the Wish board, a section I’ll have a little bit later in the article. After my 8 matches playing the deck, I think Chris nearly got the list perfect and I only wanted to make a few tiny changes as you’ll see below.
One less Triome for a Sunpetal Grove, a Yasharn main, and one fewer Alrund’s Epiphany. I’m confident we don’t want 7 triomes, but the rest of the deck thrummed. Before I get into the wish board, let me address the elephant in the room.
WHY IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST POSITIONED DECKS RIGHT NOW?
When analyzing formats the most typical thing to do is obvious, look at an aggregation of tournament results. With that data, we typically see the same archetypes rising to the top with whatever win rate they present that week, extrapolate some information about meta positioning and card choices, then we rinse and repeat. This is a great way to get a hold on the metagame and is a recommended best practice by many. However, what tends to happen when you focus heavily on tournaments is that we forget the golden tenant of Arena: the metagame is wildly unpredictable.
Right now, it’s easy to see that Auras and Sacrifice and far and away the best decks with maybe a few decks fighting to be well positioned against them, but you would never guess that if you were playing on ladder. In the past week, I’ve probably faced 15-20 different archetypes, haven’t seen Auras once, and only have seen Jund a few times. That’s just anecdotal, but many have similar experiences with ladder. With the MIQ coming up, it definitely feels more like a tournament than ladder, but it’s definitely still more like ladder than most other tournaments. With that, the decks you’ll be facing will be generally unpredictable and even if you bring a great choice like Auras or Sacrifice, you can randomly face abysmal matchups that aren’t popular and your tournament is over. Historic’s meta is so polarizing in it’s matchups that it can be very hard to avoid this.
With all that out of the way, why do I think Clover is one of the best positioned decks right now? It only has a few, niche bad matchups (which aren’t even that bad), but a reasonable amount of good ones. The gameplan with Clover is generally extremely mutable since we have access to a wish board that can realistically beat anything and isn’t really afraid to face any deck in particular. This can be an extremely powerful advantage to have in a format that your success can be determined by your matchup spread. Furthermore, the two decks considered the best (Auras and Food) are actually pretty decent matchups as well, shoring up the concern that this deck only beats off meta stuff!
Wish boards can feel very complicated, but each card has a pretty specific use so you don’t have to be too worried that you’re going for the wrong thing. Of course to help out, I’ll give the run down and when you’re supposed to Wish for all of these cards.
If you are really choked on mana, find yourself a land. Furthermore, you can find this to help cast a Yasharn, Implacable Earth if you boarded it in.
Great at stopping graveyard shenanigans as well as Collected Company.
This is your lifegain in the wish board. Slap this on a big boy and go to town.
I haven’t needed Thud to win too often, but having it makes it way easier to do so. Realistically, most opponents scooped before I could Thud them anyway.
This is one of the trickier ones to get. Expansion is good to help insulate your Thud from counterspells or double up on it if you need a lot of damage. The Explosion part can also be useful if you have a lot of mana and not much to do with it.
This is easily the card I wish for the most. Having a counterspell in hand to help lock up the game is the primary way I won.
It’s narrow, but stealing a big creature from Auras can be a very back-breaking play.
The second counterspell in the board. This can be better against something like Jund Food where you want an answer to a non-creature or a Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, but you’ll mostly be getting Negate first.
To clean up a bunch of small creatures.
To help slow down opponents who outscaled the Anger of the Gods. Particularly good against Auras and Angels.
If you need something to do, grabbing Escape is a great choice.
This is similar to the logic with Escape, but you grab this generally to close out the game. I haven’t gotten it often, and wouldn’t be surprised if it should just be cut, but I see the potential.
This is mostly how you’ll beat Auras. They can’t really beat an Ugin, but the thing you have to keep in mind is that Kaya's Ghostform does work against Ugin.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING
You would think a deck with a wishboard never sideboards, but you’d be surprised how often you may find yourself sideboarding. Unlike a lot of my other guides, instead of just showing the boarding for the most popular matchups, I’ll go over when you go against your normal boarding conventions as most of the time, you are either not sideboarding at all or bringing in Yasharn over Lovestruck Beast.
AURAS (EVEN TO SLIGHTLY FAVORED)
|-1 Yasharn, Implacable Earth||+1 Escape to the Wilds|
Auras is a battle you need to win on two fronts. First, you can’t get run over in the early game so you really need some Bonecrusher Giant or Brazen Borrower to help you out there. Second, you need to live long enough to secure the game with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Don’t keep durdly hands against Auras as they’re too efficient to allow you to spin your wheels for a few turns.
SACRIFICE (FOOD/COCO) (EVEN TO SLIGHTLY FAVORED)
|-3 Lovestruck Beast||+2 Yasharn, Implacable Earth|
|+1 Fabled Passage|
This is what the sideboarded Yasharns are for. Yasharn isn’t as great against Food, but that matchup is good for us anyway. Coco is a harder matchup for the deck, but Yasharn is way better against them! In both matchups, Lovestruck Beast doesn’t really do that much so that’s a pretty easy cut. There is an exception to this as if the Sacrifice opponent is keeping in stuff like Dreadhorde Butcher you may want Lovestruck Beast over something slower like Alrund’s Epiphany. Keep yourself alive as best you can, grab Grafdigger's Cage early to help mitigate the Cat loop, and finish them off with your insane late game.
GRUUL AGGRO (EVEN)
|-2 Alrund’s Epiphany||+2 Yasharn, Implacable Earth|
Gruul is fast, so unsurprisingly, Alrund’s Epiphany is pretty bad in this matchup. We functionally will never have time to cast it, but we do have time to cast Yasharn. A 4/4 blocker that nets us some lands is surprisingly good in this matchup, and other aggressive creature decks in general like Monored. Keep yourself afloat however you can and generally Fae of Wishes can bail you out in some way.
ELVES (SLIGHTLY UNFAVORED)
|-1 Yasharn, Implacable Earth||+1 Grafdigger’s Cage|
|-2 Alrund’s Epiphany||+1 Entrancing Melody|
|+1 Whelming Wave|
This is probably the most interesting boarding of any matchup. Elves is very fast, but they aren’t trying to attack you so much as build a big enough board to kill you in one shot. With that, a blocker like Yasharn isn’t good anymore and Alrund’s Epiphany is still pretty bad. What do we do? We bring in cards that are decent in the matchup, but too low impact to ever consider Wishing for them. Cage is good at stopping Collected Company, but doesn’t do much else. Entrancing Melody is interaction, but it’s quite slow. Whelming Wave can help reset the board, but Elves can reestablish quickly so we’d almost always want a Anger of the Gods instead.
You need to keep a hand that has a lot of interaction, or a lot of ramp into Fae of Wishes as Elves can kill on turn 4 very consistently uninterrupted. Unfortunately, Clover is not great against decks that play to the board super quickly and don’t give you the ability to block, so this is one of the few more challenging matchups similar to Angels.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Whether or not to play Edgewall Innkeeper a turn before you can cast an Adventure creature is pretty easy, how badly do you need the card? If you have nothing to do beyond playing Edgewall and an Adventure creature, you should probably save it, but if it gives you more options to play it earlier and you have plenty to do, it’s ok to run it out.
- I try not to run out Fae of Wishes as a creature before I wish with it, but if you can go Edgewall Innkeeper on 1 into Fae on 2, that could be a great curve against fast decks.
- With Lucky Clover out, you have to be careful with your Brazen Borrowers and Bonecrusher Giants. You can accidentally fizzle them if you target something with the original, but one of your copies kills the initial target before the original card resolves. This will happen most often with Brazen Borrower.
- This may be common knowledge, but lands from Beanstalk Giant’s Fertile Footsteps enter the battlefield untapped, plan your turns around that.
- Although casting Escape to the Wilds aggressively may seem good, you should prioritize stabilizing the board first if necessary. Clover is very good at winning prolonged games so you have to make sure you make it that far.
- Don’t be afraid to Foretell your Alrund’s Epiphany on turn 2 in lieu of holding up one of your Adventure creatures. Some players get too caught up in holding things up when you can easily be patient in the right matchups. This doesn’t apply if you’re facing a fast deck of course.
- Lucky Clover is your best card and it’s almost always correct to hold off on casting Adventure cards before your Clover, if you already have the Clover in your hand. If you don’t, feel free to do what you need to do.
- Land sequencing can be very important, make sure you try to play out your Triomes ASAP, and if given the choice, your Ketria Triome before the Raugrin Triome.
- In general, the most important thing you need to keep in mind when making your plays is how to prolong the game. Barring a combo deck like Sultai Ultimatum, you can go over the top of functionally everything else so you don’t need to rush to get your value, just keep doing lines that are mana efficient and help keep you alive for the next turn.
Thank you for reading! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!