The recent banned and restricted announcement was heavily anticipated by many players in the community, and for good reason. The Standard bannings of Reflector Mage, Emrakul, the Promised End and Smuggler's Copter are fresh in our minds, and it wasn't clear if Wizards would continue taking cards out of Standard. I didn't believe that Wizards would ban anything in Standard because, as consumers, we shouldn't be constantly losing value on Standard cards. That said, as for format itself, Standard isn't in a great spot.

Mardu Vehicles and Four-Color Copy Cat dominating every tournament, with a bit of Black-Green Constrictor mixed in, isn't healthy. Results seemingly show no hope for other decks, and hope seems lost for anything to shake up Standard now that the announcement has come and gone.

But I believe there is another deck incredibly under-represented in today's metagame: Temur Tower. I played Temur Tower last weekend at GP New Jersey, only dropping one match to Four-Color Copy Cat, and none to Mardu Vehicles or Black-Green Constrictor.

This is the best control deck in Standard. The card advantage generated through card draw and Torrential Gearhulk alongside Dynavolt Tower means you will always be favored in the lategame. The key is making it through the early turns. The spot removal and counters should be used early to stop the opponent from getting threats into play, and stop planeswalkers from coming down. The Temur Tower deck isn't easy to play, but it is well-positioned against all of the top decks right now.

It turns out being able to turn your spells into Lightning Bolts is really good, and Dynavolt Tower does that. Attune with Aether is effectively a splash that on the surface doesn't make a ton of sense. Traditionally splashing for a mana fixer is just straight-up wrong. The fact is that the mana is generally fine, though admittedly there were some issues in these games, but Attune with Aether is so good and important that it makes playing green worthwhile. It pairs with Dynavolt Tower incredibly well.

This is an old-school control deck, in that it plays a lot of draw-go, holding up counters and reacting on the opponent's turn, keeping them guessing all along. After sideboard, the plan can change somewhat. I like bringing in Shielded Aether Thief in most matchups, but it isn't a good main deck card because of opposing removal like Fatal Push. I am willing to shave on Dynavolt Towers in matchups I expect the opponent to bring in artifact removal.

The matches here went according to plan against Black-Green Constrictor and Mardu Vehicles. The key against Mardu Vehicles is keeping Gideon, Ally of Zendikar off the board, and killing their first couple threats. Games can be very interesting, and come down to sequencing your spells and abilities correctly. Black-green is more of a one-for-one game until you pull ahead with card advantage. There are some matchups outside of the top decks that are not good for Temur Tower, and we faced one here.

Green-White Tokens isn't a good matchup. That being said, it is winnable, but clearly didn't go our way this time. Having both Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar causes a major headache. Is this a problem? To me, having some matchups which aren't great outside the top few decks is okay if the matchups against the best decks are good. That is the spot Temur Tower finds itself in right now. The deck has continued to evolve, and this list is strong, for those looking for an alternative option in Standard with plenty of play, look no further!

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield