Spiralling out of Control and Straight to Victory!
Temur Reclamation is the hottest combo on the block; a deck that’s been in and out of the meta ever since Wilderness Reclamation first broke onto the scene in Ravnica Allegiance. In Eldraine, the addition of Bonecrusher Giant, Brazen Borrower and Gadwick gave it a big boost, giving it resiliency and counterplay against many decks and it took down a tournament or two but never really established itself as tier 1. Theros has brought several powerful new cards for the deck and we’re seeing a significant resurgence of the archetype as a result.
This is the list most people are using right now, having made rank 25 Mythic in Goodwisp’s hands, but cropping up all over the ladder. The Reclamation decks used to play more like Draw-Go Control decks with a combo finish, but this deck forgoes some of the countermagic to instead have a strong threat base and apply constant pressure, while preserving the power of the Reclamation Explosion combo. It feels like more of an amalgam between the Izzet Flash decks that were gaining traction last format and the original controlling Reclamation core. As a result, the deck can play a good pressure game against slower decks that will defeat its late game, and a good controlling game against the faster decks so it’s versatile and strong at any point of the game. The deck has a much more focused plan now and is much better against aggro and midrange beatdown.
If you’re familiar with this deck, feel free to skip to the next section! Temur Reclamation is based around getting one or several copies of Wilderness Reclamation in play and using them to essentially multiply your mana – Reclamation allows you to cast spells both on your main phase and on your opponents’ turn, so you can cast Gadwick for X=2 on turn 5 and then still have mana up for Thassa's Intervention to counter whatever they play. Being able to double your mana is, clearly, a huge advantage but a deck needs to have a lot of ways to use mana at instant speed to make Reclamation worthwhile, which this one certainly has.
Another cool thing you can do with Reclamation is float (leave hanging in your mana pool) a bunch of mana on your end step, let the untap your lands trigger resolve, tap them again and then use all that mana to cast a giant Explosion (one half of Expansion/Explosion). Exploding your opponent once you reach enough mana is the deck’s main win condition and it’s very hard to interact with for many decks, but you’ll also use it to refuel your hand and/or kill problem creatures. To pool all your mana, you need to hold priority on Magic Arena, by either setting a stop or going into full control (pressing CTRL to keep it for one phase or Shift+CTRL to toggle it) on your end step. See here for an article that goes through how priority works in detail.
Updates from the Eldraine List:
New Tools from Theros:
- Storm’s Wrath – this is probably the most important one, giving you good game against aggro decks, annoying planeswalkers, and staying relevant into the late game. Storm's Wrath + Explosion is a fantastic late-game clear, almost always clearing the board of all creatures and planeswalkers and giving you outs to Teferi even if he’s plused a couple of times. Storm's Wrath is a colossal upgrade over Flame Sweep which used to be run in this slot, singlehandedly giving you a good Mono Black matchup and improving your Gruul matchup, where Flame Sweep would do next to nothing. Storm's Wrath also removes your weakness to Shifting Ceratops and Questing Beast.
- Thassa’s Intervention – a huge upgrade on Quench, which is only really better on turn 2 when you want to be Growth Spiralling anyway (and can still Brazen Borrower). Thassa's Intervention functions as hard counter or Drawn from Dreams split card in the late game; this is the ideal deck for it.
- Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath – Uro functions as Growth Spirals 5 to 8, that also present a massive threat in the late game and offer you some much-needed lifegain. This deck doesn’t have a hard time fuelling Uro, and he works well with the midrange beatdown plan it often employs.
- Gadwick, The Wizened – The old Temur Rec lists ran Hydroid Krasis, but Gadwick is much better in this sort of beatdowny shell, and his tap ability is fantastic in this deck so people have mostly made the switch in Theros. Thassa's Intervention is great at digging for your payoffs like Gadwick, so you don’t need to run as many of him as the old lists used to run of Krasis.
Notable cards no longer included:
- Bonecrusher Giant – Storm's Wrath takes over most of the Giant’s roles, especially as you have more competition for the 3 drop slot in Uro these days.
- Chemister’s Insight – This has been pretty much replaced by Thassa's Intervention, which does the same thing but better, and has another great mode.
- Arboreal Grazer – These have been moved to the Sideboard and their numbers lessened. You still bring them in against aggro, but they’re a liability against most other decks, and Storm's Wrath is a big enough upgrade over Flame Sweep against Gruul and such that you don’t need them main anymore.
- Niv-Mizzet, Parun – Uro fills this role, while also being relevant in the early game.
Tips, Tricks and Misc Info:
- Remember that Expansion can counter Counterspells – you can copy their Counterspell and direct it at the original. Remember that sometimes they’ll have mana to pay, if it’s Quench for example – you’re casting the same spell back at them so it has the same targeting restrictions and requirements. Also, an Expansioned Growth Spiral is just as good as a regular Growth Spiral, so if you see they’re playing a Simic deck and don’t have your own, you can try to snag one!
- Expansion + Storm's Wrath is a really powerful clear in the late game, 8 damage being enough to kill almost anything.
- If you have a Gadwick coming up, you can hold your Opts and other instants to cast afterwards to get his tap triggers. Similarly, if you’re behind and not looking to win in the short-term, then it can be best to hold the 3/1 flier from Brazen Borrower for Gadwick triggers.
- You often want to resolve Gadwick early – don’t get too greedy. Against aggro especially, just run him out on turn 3 – his triggers will be invaluable in keeping you alive, and you’ll easily overwhelm their late game anyway. Gadwick triggers are also fantastic against midrange and Fires decks, where they usually only have 1-2 huge creatures to attack you with.
- If you can resolve Wilderness Reclamation, it will refund your mana at the end of the turn, so you essentially double your mana for that turn also.
- You don’t have many counters in game 1 so use them wisely – it will often be better to let the creature resolve and then Wrath than counter it, for example.
- Teferi remains a problem for the deck, but between Storm's Wrath and having more creatures, you threaten to take him out when resolved more easily. This is hurt a bit because Storm's Wrath isn’t that good an answer if they plus. After bringing in a bunch of Mystical Disputes and Shifting Ceratopses, your Teferi matchups improve a lot, but it is still a big concern in game one, especially since you have fewer Counterspells now.
- Narset isn’t as much of a concern nowadays – Storm's Wrath is a pretty good answer if they minus once, and you can Borrower her if they try to preserve her loyalty.
- As always, remember to set your stops properly! To float mana on your end step in response to your Wilderness Reclamation trigger, you must either set a stop or go into full control (ctrl or shift+ctrl to hold it).
Sideboard and matchups guide:
Note: Remember this deck still functions a lot like a combo deck in many respects. Don’t oversideboard!
Storm’s Wrath is ridiculously good here, and they don’t pressure you very fast so you have time to find it. The only real way for them to win is drawing a lot of Ovens and you being unable to kill them fast enough, or you not drawing Storm's Wrath. They can’t interact with your Wilderness Reclamations, so you should just be able to overwhelm them with your mana advantage. I’ve chosen to bring in Grazers, since they block pretty well and allow you to ramp up to Reclamations/Wraths a bit faster. I’ve also included one Krasis to try to gain life, in case you can’t find your Wraths fast enough. You should really lean on Uro in this matchup – they can’t attack into him, don’t have that much removal for him, and he threatens to gain a lot of life and stop you dying to cat pings.
Jeskai Fires (very favourable)
As always, Temur Rec is very good against Fires decks. The card Fires of Invention is really bad against your host of cheap counters and Brazen Borrower, they can’t really keep that on the board and without it, their deck really doesn’t function very well. Gadwick makes Cavaliers look like a joke, keeping them constantly tapped and forcing them to Clarion.
This is a matchup where you want to be more on the control side of things post-board – they can’t really disrupt your Reclamations or kill you very fast, and their creatures are too big to attack easily. Your late game of Reclamation into Explosion is one they can’t beat, so it mainly comes down to protecting your Reclamations from the Enchantment removal they’re going to bring in, and protecting yourself from cards like Shifting Ceratops. Luckily, your deck is really good at those things, so I consider this matchup favourable. Make sure to save your Counters for their important threats.
Gruul Adventures (even):
This matchup is a bit favourable, but close, and that’s mostly due to Embercleave and Kiothys. Board in your Embercleave answers, and board out slower more clunky cards like Uro accordingly; I don’t think this matchup comes down to lifegain as much as the faster aggro matchups. They tend to board in a lot of Enchantment hate, so I don’t like over-relying on Expansion/Explosion either – it will often cost too much mana as your Reclamation/s will have been removed. I don’t think the sideboard is too well set up for this matchup and would consider having more Aether Gusts in your board if you’re running into it a lot.
You have a lot more game against aggro decks than the Eldraine version, but they’re still a hard matchup. You really need to mulligan to your good hands, with Growth Spiral/Grazer into Storm's Wrath ideally. Don’t be afraid of losing cards to get to those good hands, as card advantage is not what decides this matchup. Against Rakdos, Brazen Borrower to keep Rotting Regisaur off the field is especially important. Still, this matchup is close, and I could easily see it being even.
Azorius Control (somewhat unfavourable)
Despite the gigantic number of cards you’re bringing in, this matchup is still hard. While those cards all help, Azorius Control will be bringing in a similar number of cards or more. You really want to try to resolve your important threats, it will often be worth waiting a turn or two on Reclamation to have countermagic back up. If Reclamation resolves, you’re favoured from there but you have to navigate through Teferis, Narsets and Absorbs to get to that point. Even after Reclamation is on the board, you need to protect it from Elspeth Conquers Death. If you see that they really have a lot of Enchantment hate, beyond the normal couple of Heliod’s Interventions, consider shaving some Reclamations.
Temur Rec is a powerful and focused deck, with the most legs it’s had in any Standard format so far. I look forward to seeing how well it performs, and think there will be strong builds for it whichever direction Standard goes in – if Azorius Control is everywhere, you can look to building back into Niv-Mizzet/Chandra, Awakened Inferno shells perhaps with maindeck disputes. If fast aggro is everywhere, the Grazers come back in the main and potentially Bonecrushers also. If Fires or Mono Black Devotion are everywhere, well just destroy them.
Thanks for reading, and may your games be storms and titans aplenty!
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