There has been a lot of talk about how impactful companions have been on Standard. While they have completely changed the format, Temur Reclamation is still a great deck, and doesn't need to play a companion. There are some versions of Reclamation that actually try to play 80 cards in order to incorporate Yorion, Sky Nomad and add a fourth color, but they are pretty rare. In this article I will be talking about the straight three-color version.
For those MTG viewers who were on Twitch this past weekend, you may have noticed that I finished in second place in the MagicFest with Temur Reclamation.
This was super fun. I have been missing that competitive urge to compete and play Magic recently, and it was a great way to become fully invested in this Standard format. I felt like the classic combination of luck, good play, and the deck choice propelled me to this finish. For those of you reading this that showed your support during the event itself, I certainly appreciate it.
The deck that I played is now what I consider to be the stock version of Temur Reclamation at the moment.
I based this list off of a version I saw by Brad Nelson, and made a couple changes. Going into the MagicFest I wasn't actually sure what deck to play, but I had gotten in a lot of reps with Temur Reclamation in previous Standard formats. The deck is very difficult to play if you are picking it up for the first time, but this wasn't the case for me. In the tournament itself I played against mostly Jeskai Fires, which I lost to once, and beat many times. That is a matchup I feel extremely comfortable with.
Here is the version of Temur Reclamation I am currently playing:
The list is not very different from the MagicFest, but you may notice the manabase is a bit different. I have added a second Blast Zone and the fourth Fabled Passage to the manabase. This change adds two more lands that will come into play untapped late in the game, without you needing to take damage from them. Blast Zone was amazing for me in the MagcFest, so this list is really a test to see if playing two copies is manageable.
The other change is in the sideboard, adding in the fourth copy of Shark Typhoon and Mystical Dispute. I don't advocate playing four copies of Shark Typhoon maindeck, because you have too much expensive stuff vs. aggro in that case. However, against slower matchups like Flash, Shark Typhoon is amazing, which has led me to add the fourth copy to the sideboard. The fourth Mystical Dispute will come in a reasonable amount versus blue decks, but I still like the maindeck mix of counters, so as to have some hard counters like Negate if the game drags out.
Playing Opt as your cantrip works nicely alongside Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, because one of your main game plans is getting Uro out as soon as possible. Besides Shark Typhoon, the other major addition to the deck is Ketria Triome. The cycle land definitely makes a difference in a deck with so many lands, Temur Reclamation often finds itself needing to topdeck, and the fact that the land produces all three of your colors is really nice.
As is often the case with Temur Reclamation, it is much easier to decide what to bring in than what to cut. I'm often willing to cut Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath and Opt together. In matchups where having mana up for countermagic is very important, Uro is not a good turn-three play. You always have to be worried about cards like Teferi, Time Raveler, Fires of Invention and Legion Warboss, so tapping a lot of mana on your own turn is not ideal.
The way the matchup plays out often involves whether or not you have the correct answers to their first couple plays. The lategame is in your favor, because Wilderness Reclamation plus Expansion // Explosion goes over the top of what they are able to accomplish. Scorching Dragonfire is something I'm currently keeping in on the draw as another answer to Legion Warboss, though on the play I have found Nightpack Ambusher to be very strong.
Countermagic is generally much worse in matchups where you need answers to cards that are already in play. Rakdos Lurrus of the Dream-Den plays dangerous threats over the first couple turns of the game, so the main focus becomes answering those cards, and setting up a Wilderness Reclamation plus Expansion // Explosion turn. The counters are mostly too slow. Beware of Act of Treason effects—you may not want to make a huge Shark, and it's good to hold back an extra creature in case your opponent tries to steal the game.
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is amazing in this type of matchup. However, it doesn't work alongside Grafdigger's Cage, and that's okay. The Cage is still incredible against them, so it's worth the sacrifice of your Uro not being able to come back from the graveyard.
This was the matchup I lost to in the finals of the MagicFest, and it didn't feel great. However, the games can be high variance, and revolve around if you are able to contain the early assault of one-drops. Sometimes they play three one-mana threats over the first two turns. Other times it is about containing Obosh, the Preypiercer when it comes down later on. After sideboard, Rotting Regisaur is the scariest card, as you don't have a clean answer to it outside of Essence Scatter. If you want to play an aggro deck that is tough for Temur Reclamation to handle, Rakdos Obosh is likely your best option.
There are a lot of different Yorion, Sky Nomad builds, so these numbers are going to shift a little bit based on the exact list you are playing against. Generally speaking there are very few creatures you care about countering other than Yorion itself, which is why I don't have Essence Scatter after sideboard. Against any deck with Teferi, Time Raveler, preventing it from resolving on turn three needs to be priority number one. Nightpack Ambusher isn't mandatory, but the fact that it provides a clock means the opponent has less time to set up, so I like it.
I was very fortunate to not face this matchup in the MagicFest, but the games can be very interesting. The flash creatures that can be played end of turn end up being very important, as it's difficult to actually get a Wilderness Reclamation into play if the opponent has all their mana untapped. Shark Typhoon is incredibly important, as is which player has a mana advantage. The fact that Shark Typhoon's cycling ability can't be countered means that games are often ended by a Shark beating down.
This matchup comes down to answering the early permanents the Jeskai deck is able to get onto the battlefield. Cycling is an aggro deck that relies heavily on its first couple threats, so if you are able to answer those it switches to a burn-out plan using Zenith Flare, which is a game you are happy to play. Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is a great way to get out of range of Zenith Flare. Jeskai Cycling is a real deck, I actually played against it in the Top 4 of the MagicFest.
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Going into this past weekend I didn't have a sideboard guide, and it's best to use these as guidelines, rather than always following them. There will often be reasons to deviate, especially in a new format with the metagame constantly evolving.
I don't expect Temur Reclamation to go anywhere anytime soon. The deck is very flexible, so it can be tuned fairly easily based on the current metagame. Plus, it's easily the strongest deck in the format that doesn't play a companion.