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Ixalan is out on Magic Online, but the first few days of Standard results have been rather disappointing. Among the 5-0 decks there is very little innovation, although that's to be somewhat expected when, despite rotation, there are powerful pre-existing decks that players likely own already. In the first few days of a set release, the new cards are expensive and difficult to acquire, so it's no surprise that the Standard Leagues haven't even reached 100 players yet.
Still, the results aren't irrelevant. It's clear that Temur Energy, Ramunap Red, and U/W Approach are going to be viable decks, and what wins at #SCGDFW must perform well against all three. Maybe that means tuning one of those decks to beat the other two, but maybe it involves something new entirely.
For now, let's cover the current players.
- 4 Bomat Courier
- 4 Ahn-Crop Crasher
- 4 Earthshaker Khenra
- 4 Soul-Scar Mage
- 4 Hazoret the Fervent
- 3 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
Not much has changed with Ramunap Red except for the stock lists being closer than they've ever been. You could shave a Hazoret the Fervent or a land for another Chandra, Torch of Defiance, but that's about all you can really do. Some people find room for Rigging Runner or an additional three-drop, but I don't recommend it.
Your best draws are very difficult for both Temur Energy and U/W Approach, but your average draws are very beatable. Post-sideboard, you don't get much better against either deck and they presumably get much better against you. Ramunap Red is a fine litmus test for Standard, but I don't foresee it being the best deck. Temur Energy has certainly taken that mantle by now.
Pia Nalaar was one of the best sideboard cards in the mirror when everyone had Village Messenger, but now it's far worse than Aethersphere Harvester. They definitely have Abrades, but it's not uncommon for your opponent to have to use one on a Kari Zev, Skyship Raider or some such. Some players have gone so far as to maindeck Pia Nalaar, but playing the card in the 75 at all seems like a trap to me.
The "go big" sideboard isn't surprising anyone these days, but it's still effective.
Vance's Blasting Cannons, while strong, is not Outpost Siege! Outpost Siege allowed you to make land drops while building up your hand, eventually allowing you to play two spells in one turn. Those were the types of turns that kept you flourishing into the late-game. With Vance's Blasting Cannons, if you reveal a land, it's like you did nothing at all. That's a big cost for a four-mana enchantment that doesn't affect the battlefield.
You should probably be building toward transforming Vance's Blasting Cannons rather than treating it like an Outpost Siege, but that's easier said than done in post-sideboard games. With cards like Chandra, Torch of Defiance around, I don't think Vance's Blasting Cannons will see much play, especially once people get disappointed with it.
- 3 Bristling Hydra
- 2 Glorybringer
- 4 Longtusk Cub
- 4 Rogue Refiner
- 4 Servant of the Conduit
- 4 Whirler Virtuoso
- 2 The Scarab God
This isn't much different from the lists that performed well at Japanese Nationals.
The black slash is mainly for The Scarab God, although Cut // Ribbons is a helluva card too and basic Swamp makes using the aftermath an actual plan. That said, this above list doesn't play it because of how powerful Abrade, Harnessed Lightning, and Magma Spray are, but they could and probably should.
Harnessed Lightning is your Doom Blade, as it's the only card capable of killing big things like Glorybringer at instant speed. Abrade provides a little bit of utility by giving you maindeck artifact removal while still hitting most of the smaller threats. While cheap and able to fill your curve at times, Magma Spray falls a little short on killing premier targets, but you don't want all your removal to cost two mana.
Rootbound Crag is mostly an improvement over Game Trail. One of Temur's occasional issues is how many lands enter the battlefield tapped past Turn 4, but this one provides some much-needed untapped mana for its five-drops.
Six counterspells in the sideboard is an indicator of how bad the U/W Approach matchup is in Game 1. With some early pressure and a counterspell for Fumigate or Settle the Wreckage, it's not difficult to win the post-sideboard games. Sadly, there's very little U/W can do about it besides dealing with each of your threats as you present them.
I'm actually skeptical of The Scarab God going forward. I wouldn't typically advise against playing one of the best threats in the format because people are sideboarding answers for it, but when it involves whether or not you should splash, I'm less of a fan. The answers to The Scarab God that people are playing aren't particularly great, nor is there any guarantee they'll have an answer left by the time you play it, but it may no longer be worth a splash.
Cartouche of Ambition is the anti-red measure of choice, but again, that splash is questionable. If you get to suit up a Bristling Hydra, great, but Bristling Hydra tends to stop them in their tracks anyway. The real trick is finding a way to kill them while they're sitting behind Hazoret the Fervent and Shocking you every turn.
Beating the Temur mirror could involve going under them, which some people are doing with Voltaic Brawler, or going over the top with Glimmer of Genius and Torrential Gearhulk. Then again, you could also pick up a stock list and play better than your opponent.
No matter which way you decide to build it, Temur Energy is the best deck and will continue to be for at least a few weeks. It's a solid deck with no clear weakness and can sideboard answers for whatever issues it has.