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Hour of Devastation is going to change Standard.
It isn't going to completely upturn what has been developed.
This isn't Eldritch Moon with absurd cost reduction mechanics. This isn't Aether Revolt with two-mana 4/4s that dodge removal and two-card instant-win combos. This is a small set entering a large format with some of the most powerful sets in recent Standard memory.
This is how to properly fight all of the existing archetypes in the format. Whether the deck you decide on is old, new, or half and half, this will be important for navigating your way through deck construction, sideboarding, and playing the games at your next tournament.
There are a bunch of different midrange decks trying to do the same thing: cast Glorybringer. Temur Energy, Temur Energy-Emerge-Delirium piles, and Mono-Red Eldrazi are the big ones. They almost all have Chandra, Torch of Defiance as well.
- 4 Bristling Hydra
- 4 Glorybringer
- 4 Longtusk Cub
- 4 Rogue Refiner
- 4 Servant of the Conduit
- 3 Tireless Tracker
- 3 Elder Deep-Fiend
- 2 Glorybringer
- 4 Rogue Refiner
- 3 Servant of the Conduit
- 2 Tireless Tracker
- 1 World Breaker
- 1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
- 4 Scrapheap Scrounger
- 4 Glorybringer
- 4 Hanweir Garrison
- 4 Matter Reshaper
- 2 Reality Smasher
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
Games with these decks come down to them having a key turn where they get a two-for-one and turn the game around: a Glorybringer trigger, a Hanweir Battlement trigger, the turn Tiresless Tracker gets big enough to block, etc.
The main way to beat them is to properly push through all of their action. They can only really cast one spell a turn, so don't let them use that spell to get more than one effect or turn ahead.
You need to get out under Chandra, Torch of Defiance with multiple threats so that a -3 to deal four damage results in Chandra dying on the way back. You need to attack into Tireless Tracker or Longtusk Cub hard enough that they look slow, or just kill them on sight and attack. You need to be ahead enough on turn 5 that you can leave up instant answers for Glorybringer, or ahead enough to not care about losing a creature and able to close before the exerted Glorybringer untaps.
If you get stopped by a Longtusk Cub or Tireless Tracker early, you will lose. If you are on the back foot after a Glorybringer resolves, you will lose. If you let Chandra start ticking back up, you can lose, though them going up one card a turn is more beatable than it looks because they are still often limited to one spell a turn on mana.
I said the word "attack" a lot, but the focus should be about forcing them to play a game where all their cards only leave them at parity, they only get one major action a turn, and you have something pushing you ahead.
Let's take an example of playing B/G Constrictor against Temur. You are on the draw; they pass on turn 2. You cast a Longtusk Cub and it gets Harnessed Lightninged. They cast Rogue Refiner. You now want to cast Walking Ballista for one over Winding Constrictor because they can't use a Chandra -3 effectively against it. You get to turn 4 and cast the Winding Constrictor with Grasp of Darkness up instead of Rishkar, Peema Renegade so their Glorybringer is nullified. You miss a land drop and just sit on activating Walking Ballista because you still don't want to let them have an effective turn.
Another critical number against these decks is five. Chandra deals four damage. Glorybringer deals four damage. Harnessed Lightning is their one solid out to a five-toughness creature, but out of Mono-Red Eldrazi, that barely works because their only energy sources are Aether Hub and other Harnessed Lightnings! So when the time comes to slam Verdurous Gearhulk, make as many 5/5s or 4/5 Snakes as possible to lock out their removal-plus-threat plays and start closing.
Elder Deep-Fiend changes some of this math. If your Temur opponent plays a Traverse the Ulvenwald or a Sanctum of Ugin, you need to focus on preventing them from sneaking in lethal via multiple tap-four-permanents triggers. Keep them off of additional threats so multiple attacks can't deal the full twenty. This is the one card out of their deck that demands a Stasis Snare-style answer, so if Emerge Temur variants are popular, consider Murder or Hour of Glory in your B/G deck.
The Mono-Red Eldrazi deck brings both a strength and a weakness to the table. Hanweir Garrison is a cascading early threat like Longtusk Cub, but unlike Cub, it is resilient to Fatal Push. You need a stronger removal spell early against this deck than you would against Temur. On the other hand, you have your first two turns free because they don't have threats on one or two mana. With a deck like B/G, you are always setting the pace in the matchup. They have answers to fire at your early spells, but you can force them to have one on time. Better yet, you can deploy your real must-answer threat like Winding Constrictor on turn 3 or turn 4 to force them to choose between casting a threat or casting an answer on their turn.
The other way around Temur's plan is to just not play things that die to Glorybringer. If you have answers to early Tireless Trackers, you can punish your opponent for playing midrange threats. Chandra, Torch of Defiance isn't even a big deal if you can just kill it before the ultimate lands. As I mentioned, they can't use the cards off the +1 to break the one-spell-a-turn midrange barrier, so you are free to just play your game up the curve and recoup all the advantage with card draw or 10/10s.
The dangerous card for this plan is Bristling Hydra. If you want to fight Temur in the long game, you want some sweeper like Fumigate that handles this card. Counters can work, but post-sideboard, they can catch you with Dispel, unable to double-counter, or just have Hydra on turn 3 on the play. Plan for that card and the rest of their deck really doesn't matter.