The Post-Ban Temur Reclamation Deck Guide
Hi there! My name is Daryl Hartley; some of you might know me from Twitch as WaifuGate. I’m mostly known for playing Standard, and more specifically control. I’ve had a few top 8 finishes in Fandom Legends, and I shoot for high Mythic each month.
This deck has aged well, especially with the changes to Companions and the latest bans to Agent of Treachery and Fires of Invention. Many people have returned to Reclamation, and there are certainly a few variants to choose from. The list I’m about to share with you isn’t my own creation, but that of a fellow streamer by the name of Chris Botelho; you can find his stream here: https://www.twitch.tv/chrisbotelho. I’ve been following him since the release of M19, and he’s always been insightful on the lines he takes, and provides analytical gameplay. His list allowed me to climb out of gold, and put a hefty dent into platinum. In this guide I’ll cover how to pilot the deck, sideboarding, and its good and bad matchups!
What does it do?
Temur Reclamation focuses on ramping with Growth Spiral and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath to get Wilderness Reclamation into play early. This effectively doubles the amount of mana we have access to, since our deck functions almost entirely at instant speed. Once Reclamation’s in play, we can tap out on our turn for things like Uro while still holding up countermagic, or we can float mana at the end of turn to utilize Castle Vantress, Thassa’s Intervention, or maybe a huge Shark Typhoon token. Floating the mana for a huge Expansion/Explosion is the end goal, but it takes a while to set up for that; Flame Sweep and Scorching Dragonfire are there to delay the opponent until we’re ready! There’s also the life gain from Uro, and the time Brazen Borrower buys to help us in that department as well.
To me, the most frustrating thing in Magic: The Gathering is despising the mirror; if I hate sitting across the table against the same list and that list is popular, I can’t pilot the deck for too long. Thankfully, the Reclamation mirror isn’t quite so boring – it feels much faster than the U/W or Bant mirrors, which seem to take eons to resolve a single spell. Sometimes, it comes down to who can resolve the first Wilderness Reclamation, and other times it’s whoever can draw 3-4 cards first off of an Explosion. Either way, the mirror match isn’t a dealbreaker for me here.
When it comes to actually playing in the mirror, it’s important to know what counter magic the opponent’s packing; our list isn’t the typical Temur Reclamation list, so I recommend checking out a few lists on one of the popular sites for deck building to familiarize yourself on the amount and variety of counters your opponent might have in their arsenal. For example, most lists I see only run two Mystical Disputes maindeck, while we run four. We might be able to catch our opponent off-guard because they only expect us to have two, therefore allowing us to possibly counter a greedy Explosion they fire at us. This same reasoning can be applied to the sideboard. Be aware of the differences in the lists, and try to capitalize on them.
After sideboarding, the match up gets more complicated. When we sideboard, we typically take out Uro and Dragonfire. This leaves us slightly vulnerable to the opposing player leaving Uro in but we still have Petty Theft to bounce an Uro, and Temur doesn’t typically shine at fueling the graveyard repeatedly in order to satisfy Uro’s Escape cost, so often times it’s enough of a tempo swing that we can figure something out. The opponent also leaves themselves open after the Escape because they tap four lands, two of them being blue; this makes holding counter magic harder for them. In the post-board games, it’s also good to note that both players usually remove some number of Reclamation and Expansion/Explosion, and it becomes a game of who can resolve Wilderness without consuming too many resources. One of the most important rules is to know that it’s okay to let one of your own threats go if it means being able to prevent the opponent’s threat from going off.
Both decks are great at grinding in this match up. Reclamation allows us to go over the top in regards to how many cards we can play on both players’ turns, and they have no interaction with a huge Explosion game one(game two they can board in some hand hate for it). I’d say if we can zap the Mayhem Devil with Dragonfire, we’re in good shape. Our sideboard also gives us more answers to Mayhem Devil, which leaves Korvold, Fae-Cursed King as the other primary problem. Most lists are only packing two of these maindeck so we can usually counter him with an Intervention, or Petty Theft and then counter him later. Overall, I think we’re quite favored in this matchup, probably around the 55-60% range.
Temur Adventures was built to destroy control decks; it overpowers most decks through sheer value with Lucky Clover into Fae of Wishes. Even a single resolved Escape the Wilds can push them over the top against most control lists, including Reclamation. I’d say we’re probably at around a 45% win rate against this deck. Post-board, they end up bringing in their own Disputes and other counterspells to throw a wrench in our plans. We also have very few answers to a resolved Lucky Clover, which makes this deck difficult to keep up with. Best thing to do is keep a level head, do what you can, and if you fall too far behind and the game isn’t fun for you anymore, move to the next!
We’ve slightly favored here because we run counterspells and sweepers. Even game one, an inefficient counterspell like Mystical Dispute can stop a Zenith Flare. I’d say we’re floating around a 55% win rate against this deck, especially post-board when we can bring in more fitting counterspells against Flare. A turn one Fox could prove problematic since our only real answer is a Petty Theft to reset it. If we’re able to set up Reclamation to avoid the tempo loss from Theft, I think we can still squeak by.
Cycling plays like an aggro deck, but threatens to finish the game with Zenith Flare; this gives it the vibe of a combo deck because if you don’t stop it by a certain time and you don’t have an answer to their Flare, they end the game on the spot. If we use too many of our cards answering the boardstate, and not developing our wincon, we’ll struggle to close out the game. I’m not sure what card we could add in the sideboard that answers Flourish Fox, because it’s the only thing that really survives a sweeper. Essence Scatter feels okay, but we’d have to keep in Borrowers to bounce. This line of play also requires us to have a combination of cards, on top of being able to take the tempo loss of bouncing, then waiting around to counter Fox.
There are upsides and downsides to our sweeper sliding in at 3 mana. Upside: we can cast it one turn earlier than Shatter the Sky. Downside: we can’t hit thick things like Lovestruck Beast, Questing Beast, etc. Against most aggro decks like Mono Red, Mardu Knights, and Winota, we’re favored at around a 55% win rate. Mono Green, Gruul, and other thicker aggro can pose more problems, though. I’d say that we hover around even against the bigger lists, with the matchup often being decided by play/draw.
If thicker aggro becomes more common, I’d say some number of Lava Coil could be added to the maindeck or sideboard; this would also help against decks like Bant Yorion, Temur Reclamation, and U/W Yorion. The first two typically bring in Nightpack Ambusher, while the latter oftentimes runs Archon of Sun’s Grace. There’s also the option of Storm’s Wrath in the maindeck or sideboard as well. This can also help us take care of smaller walkers like Teferi and Narset.
The main game plan against aggro is to stabilize via removal spells like Dragonfire and Flame Sweep, then develop our Reclamation and shift into cruise mode. Most of the time aggro can’t keep up with the amount of mana we have access to post resolved Reclamation; it allows us to Explosion a thick creature we weren’t able to clean up with Sweep. Another play, if the opponent is constantly throwing down thicker creatures, is to Expansion our Flame Sweep so it double casts, allowing us to clear up to four toughness monsters. After our first big Explosion, we should have enough cards to keep up with aggro for the rest of the game. Uro can also just take over the game in most situations against aggro, especially if we’ve developed Reclamation already. We’re able to tap out for the Escape cost, then untap to hold up a counterspell for whatever big creature or Planeswalker they might want to resolve.
There are two main branches in Standard at the moment, and they’re both difficult matchups for estimating favourability. All the counterspells U/W Yorion includes maindeck hurt our chances of resolving Reclamation and, even if we do, they can respond with Elspeth Conquers Death. The more they tax our resources and limit our counterspells, the easier it is for them to resolve Teferi, Time Raveler; once he’s down, the goal becomes deal with Teferi, since he ruins our ability to float mana for spells end of turn with his passive. We have a few tools like cycling a Shark Typhoon or bouncing him with Petty Theft to contest him, but if they have protection for those answers, it’s painful. Their own Petty Theft on our Shark token, or a Dovin’s Veto for our Petty Theft sets us back even further.
Bant Yorion is also quite common, and they have access to even more sideboard hate for our deck; Knight of Autumn being the primary one. It might be my own experiences with this matchup, but I always feel like I’m playing slightly behind the ball here, at least for game one where they have more counter magic maindeck. If they’re on a Yorion variant, we do have the advantage of seeing more of our sideboard cards. Krasis and Tamiyo also provide the opponent with another way of going over the top in regards to card advantage against us. The former is even harder to deal with since we’re unable to counter the triggered part of Krasis on cast. On top of that, we don’t really have an answer to the thick body Krasis normally comes down with. We can’t afford to Petty Theft the Krasis because it gives our opponent more cards when it comes back down, plus we still have to deal with the body either way. The best answer we have is to counter the creature part of the card, or make a big enough Shark Typhoon to block it.
I think overall we’re favored against the U/W Yorion and most other Control lists, but I’m not sure by how much. We’re closer to even, if not a little unfavored against Bant variants. If I go to play this deck more, I’ll test it against viewers running U/W and Bant versions of control to get a better feel for it.
Now that companions are less common, mulligans have become a tad harder in game one. Oftentimes, we don’t know what we’re queuing into until they play their first few lands and spells anymore. Safe keeps include three lands on the play (sometimes two on the draw) and Growth Spiral. Uro is fine, especially if you don’t have Spiral. Flame Sweep and Scorching Dragonfire are still medium cards in a variety of situations; Sweep deals with aggro and, even against some control lists, Dragonfire can at least exile an Uro. Shark Typhoon can allow for some greedier keeps if you’re willing to cycle for 0 to find land drops; I only recommend this if you have other strong opening cards like Spiral. If Yorion’s spotted, prioritize keeping hands with Mystical Dispute and perhaps a Thassa’s Intervention, since our counterspells are super limited.
In games 2 and 3, a better idea of what a good hand looks like should emerge. Obviously seeing sideboard cards plus lands equates to a keepable hand. Spiral still remains one of the most important cards, though; the same rule for three lands plus Spiral applies here as well. Don’t be afraid to mull away a soft looking hand since, with the new system, it’s easier to make a five carder work. Oftentimes, I find myself kicking myself in the tail for not taking a mulligan. Expecting to draw three lands off the top is a surefire way to disappointment, and something I find myself staring down way too often.
Here we’re simply cutting cards that don’t make sense, like Dispute, in order to add more answers to creatures. Expensive counters like Thassa’s Intervention don’t make sense compared to a cheap one like Gust, especially since the latter can remove a resolved creature from the boardstate.
We covered this slightly up above in the matchup breakdown. Sailor typically will outperform Uro since we threaten to draw a card every turn for the low investment cost of one mana. It costs four mana to draw the card, but the ability to develop a threat for one mana appeals much more to us than a three mana card you often have to tap out for(at least in the early stages of the game). This often time boils down to who can resolve the Nightpack Ambusher or Reclamation with the lowest resource investment.
Mardu Knights/General Aggro
This is very similar to the reasoning behind our Mono Red sideboarding, minus the Gust, since it doesn’t hit enough things. If your opponent’s aggro deck is mostly beefy creatures like Gruul, you may not want Flame Sweep, and if they’re in colours where the majority of their targets are hit by Aether Gust, you probably will want that, so use your best judgement on those!
I’ve mentioned it up above in the Matchup section, but Storm’s Wrath could be a good addition to the sideboard or the maindeck to take care of pesky, thicker creatures like Questing Beast. It also cleans up Planeswalkers like Tibalt and Chandra. If aggro starts including newer Planeswalkers like Basri Ket, it could help us there as well.
I haven’t run into this matchup too often, but it’s close to the logic behind our Mono Red and general Aggro plan: cut inefficient counters for more answers to creatures to preserve our life total. Gust helps us deal with Winota, and some of their engines to produce tokens are red(Legion Warboss being the primary one). Sweep takes out the tokens before Winota gains any value.
The idea here is that our opponent will cut some number of sweepers, so Ambusher becomes a great threat. Sailors are weak to Dispute, but are strong turn one since the opponent won’t always have an untapped mana when we slam it. The extra counters are typically for Teferi, but can be used on whatever’s relevant, whether it be an Elspeth Conquers Death or a Narset.
The Neutralizes are here for Bolas’s Citadel and Korvold. We can use them on other spells like Trail of Crumbs or a Mayhem Devil, but we want to make sure they don’t get to resolve something that spirals them into an insane boardstate. Ambusher normally isn’t easy for them to deal with at four toughness, since they typically rely on things like Mayhem Devil triggers to deal with critters. Keep in mind that Gust can reset a beefy Korvold!
This matchup is the most frustrating one for me. If they have Lucky Clover on turn 2, I feel so far behind the entire match. We try to make it difficult for them by bringing in Ambusher, since it forces them to Lucky Clover Bonecrusher Giant; making them have two cards to deal with our one is optimal, especially if we can counter the Clover before they get going. We remove cards that require a significant amount of time to develop, like Uro, for cards to interrupt the opponent’s flow. I want to experiment with leaving a few Borrowers in to see if bouncing the Clover matters.
If this matchup becomes more common, I’d say sideboarding or maindecking Wilt would be a good option. This even becomes relevant in the mirror to blow up opposing Reclamations, and it helps against other various matchups like Jund Food allowing you to blow up a Bolas’s Citadel or a Trail of Crumbs.
We bring in more sweepers to deal with the tokens and payoff creatures. Most of the creatures, save the Flourishing Fox, are wiped out by a Flame Sweep. I don’t know if I’m 100% sure on taking out the Borrower here since it’s our only real way of resetting the Fox if it gets too thick. I’d say you could leave the Borrower in, and take out an extra Typhoon instead.
The Future of this Deck
In regards to how the deck might change in the future, I’ve only seen a few cards that I’m interested in testing from M21 for Reclamation:
- Unsubstantiate gives us an answer to a spell on the stack, on top of allowing us to bounce something pesky like a Flourishing Fox; take note that this card can actually shove something like Dovin’s Veto or Shifting Ceratops back into the hand as well, since you’re not actually countering said target.
- Miscast gives us another one mana counterspell, but I’m not sure how effective it is compared to Mystical Dispute since we can’t counter Planeswalkers with the former. Mainly, I think Miscast’s weakness is that it can’t stop Teferi.
- Frantic Inventory is much like horoscopes where I find them fun to think about, but in practice they might not add up to something productive. In theory, it could be good cycle and draw for the deck, but I think it fills out too many slots we need other cards for.
- Riddle Form is another card I think that could make an appearance in Reclamation. It’s two mana, so we can develop it early in the game, and it allows us to scry for less mana than Castle Vantress. On top of that, we get to have a 3/3 that swings or can block any time we cast a noncreature spell (which is the majority of our deck).
Overall, this deck provides a nice balance between aggro and control, without falling prey to the weaknesses of either. Most control lists take ages to close out the game via Shark Typhoon, Archon of Sun’s Grace, Krasis, Castle Ardenvale, etc. Bant Yorion will often run Nissa, Who Shakes the World, but even then they’ll have to find good timing in order to play her safely. This deck has enough pressure not to have that problem, and Explosion will finish games rapidly. Meanwhile, aggro sometimes feels weak because you’ll scoop to a sweeper or two; at least when I’m playing aggro, it feels like my opponent always has the sweeper and I can’t play more than a few games without feeling like I want to be on the other side of the table (the grass is always greener on the other side!). Temur Reclamation, in my experience, doesn’t suffer from any of these problems; it doesn’t care about sweepers at all. The only time I want to be on the other side is when my opponent draws perfectly in the mirror; that’s an indication of a good deck, if you ask me.
I’ll continue to play this deck on ladder and see how it does; it’s still the most comfortable experience I’ve had grinding in a good while. Any adjustments to the sideboard or maindeck, I’ll keep updated on Cardboardlive and/or Aetherhub. Hope that the guide was helpful, and if you have any questions feel free to drop them in the comments below, or drop by my stream and we can talk!