This past weekend, I made the Top 8 of U.S. Nationals with Temur Energy. I was able to go undefeated in the Standard portion of the tournament, up until my loss to Mardu Vehicles in the Top 8. Honestly, I loved playing Nationals, and am very happy that the event was brought back. Playing against the best players in the country is both challenging and rewarding. I expected the most popular deck for the tournament to be Temur Energy, followed by Blue-Black Control and Ramunap Red. Sometimes the best way to tackle a metagame is show up with the best version of the best deck. I believe I was able to do that.
The Carnage Tyrant in the main deck was amazing for me all weekend. I do have to admit it felt like I always had it at the right time in the right matchup, but hey you need to run good to make Top 8 of a big tournament. Game one Blue-Black Control is essentially cold to Carnage Tyrant, and control decks need to be respected right now. The typical Temur Energy deck is a dog to Blue-Black Control, and I wanted to make a version that was stronger against control, while not sacrificing too much in other matchups.
This list is also well positioned in the mirror, as both Abrade and Magma Spray are low impact there, and you want as many high-impact cards as possible. Here, we saw in game one that a very bad draw of ours with a Carnage Tyrant was able to beat an average draw of the opponent's. Sometimes the most powerful card just wins the game on its own, and there is essentially no way to deal with a Carnage Tyrant outside of having your own large creatures in play.
For someone picking up Temur Energy, the mirror should be the matchup you are most comfortable with. Realizing the cards that matter and the difference in ways to approach being on the play versus draw is key. Nissa, Steward of Elements is another new addition to the deck, for some of the same matchups Carnage Tyrant was added. The potential of getting this card into play on turn three gives it a higher upside than some of the more expensive planeswalkers in the format. I have really liked the flexibility it adds to the deck for matchups that don't have creatures putting a lot of pressure on you.
Though I lost to Mardu Vehicles in the Top 8 of Nationals, I actually think Temur is favored in the matchup. The games here felt pretty easy, though not having lots of Abrades does hurt if Mardu Vehicles has a Heart of Kiran draw. Still, Confiscation Coup and Slice in Twain out of the sideboard are good ways to deal with troublesome artifacts.
Sultai Energy is a matchup where I also prefer the Temur Energy side, but it's close. That deck can be tricky to attack, as Blossoming Defense plus Hostage Taker isn't easy to get around. However, if you are able to get down a card like Chandra, Torch of Defiance or Glorybringer and immediately deal with Hostage Taker it feels great. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner you want to kill immediately, as it can provide a ton of card advantage if left unanswered.
Moving forward, I like my list if the metagame stays the same. The nice thing about Temur Energy is that it has game against everything. You can add or change a few cards in the deck so that it is more focused on beating matchups you are worried about. Temur Energy isn't going anywhere, but it does have a huge target on its head, and this is the deck you should be tuning your deck to beat right now in Standard.
Thanks for reading,