It's no secret that I'm a huge Temur fan. I thought Savage Knuckleblade was the best thing since sliced bread when I first saw him. Unfortunately the Temur clan didn't get the same competitive love that clans like Mardu and Abzan did in the Khans of Tarkir block, and only a few of the clans ended up being competitive enough for consistent Standard play. Temur was always the red-headed stepchild in regards to its popularity. It just didn't have enough oomph.

Perhaps adding black was the secret.

Don't get me wrong, it might not have been the secret all along. It might have just become the solution after Battle for Zendikar gave us the ability to effortlessly add black to the deck and splash cards like Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Murderous Cut without crippling our manabase. Of course this does make the deck exclusively Temur, but that's simply the nature of Standard right now. You could probably argue that the deck is Sultai Red or Grixis Green, but spirit of the deck is very Temur, and that's what he have to go by.

Today's list, taken to a Top 8 at the most recent Open by professional Magic player Josh McClain, aims to prove just that.


I thought the deck we were playing today was a Josh McClain creation, but it turns out that it is not. Last night Brian Kibler posted on Josh's Facebook wall asking if it was indeed Josh that made the Top 8 with the list. Thinking Brian was just being congratulatory, I mentioned that the deck was sweet and that I was playing it for my article this week.

Brian then shot back, mentioning that he knew it was sweet...which was why he created the deck in his article about two weeks prior.

Boy, did I feel sheepish.

To be fair, Josh did make a change or two, the most notable being the addition of a Tasigur, the Golden Fang in the maindeck, but indeed, it was a Brian Kibler creation. With a Hall of Famer creating it and a known pro proving it worked, let's see if we can prove the same.

Temur Black vs. Abzan Red

Temur Black vs. Naya Myth

Temur Black vs. Black Midrange

Temur Black vs. Grixis Aggro

As you could see from that last match, sometimes your mana can get a little stuck. I don't actually think the mana is bad in the deck; we just happened to not draw enough or a green source. Game one was even worse, but we could have definitely chosen to mulligan. I think if any deck has enough removal to deal with aggressive decks like that, this one does, especially post board. Unfortunately we don't have anything in the way of life gain, so once our life total gets too low, things like Exquisite Firecraft and Thunderbreak Regent simply seal the deal for us, and Stubborn Denial will often counter neither (okay, it will never counter a Thunderbreak Regent).

The addition of Snapping Gnarlid was also something that Adam Yurchick discussed this week in reference to the Abzan Aggro decks. He said it might be the perfect two-drop as it's often attacking for three or four on turn three, which is more than most creatures, and he might be right. A lot of the time Snapping Gnarlid is a Rakshasa Deathdealer that's easier on the mana and that you don't have to pay to pump. Other times it is just a 2/2, but that's usually much later in the game. All in all I had no issues with the little cutie and he definitely dealt his fair share of damage. On the turn where you play and crack a fetchland, he even enables the ferocious on Stubborn Denial.

Oddly enough, there was second Temur Black list that placed well this week at Grand Prix Kobe, making the Top 16 to be exact. I was going between the two decks, deciding which to play, and I ended up on this one as I wanted to try out Snapping Gnarlid and I love casting Woodland Wanderer. I think I might try out the other version next week if you guys would like, which is more controlling. It had things like Exert Influence, Sarkhan Unbroken, a set of Kolaghan's Commands, and a Deathmist Raptor / Den Protector package in the maindeck, so it definitely had its allure.

That's about it for today. I've created a public page on Facebook for all of my Magic content things, so be sure and give me a like. Friend requests are hard to keep up with and a lot of people just wanted to follow my Magic content rather than my personal posts. If you're looking to get updates on when I post a new video to YouTube, know when I have a new article, see when a new podcast goes live, or want to join in some cool discussions, be sure and give the page a "like."

I'll be back again on Monday with another sweet Modern brew. Thanks for reading, enjoy your holiday, be safe, and I'll see ya soon!

Frank Lepore
Facebook // @FrankLepore // Twitch // YouTube