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"What should I play at #SCGBALT? I really don't want to let my team down!"
Whatever you want.
The difference between playing the "best" deck in Standard and any of the other reasonable decks is basically nothing. In Modern there's a bit of a difference, but there are many more reasonable decks that are good enough. In Legacy... play the best cards and whatever else you want and it's close enough.
What really counts in all three formats is perfecting your list. Card-by-card choices make huge differences in swinging matchups. Having an optimized 75 is huge.
What should you play at #SCGBALT? Some of these cards.
Standard: Key to the City
Deck: Anything with Hazoret the Fervent
One of the key matchup interactions of this Standard format is Thopter tokens against Hazoret the Fervent. It is basically impossible for the Temur variants to handle a 5/4 indestructible creature without a massive stream of chump blockers. You might get away with a Vraska's Contempt in some games, but you can only get your mana to make a million different colors at the right time a certain percentage of games.
Ramunap Red can do some sequencing things to fight Whirler Virtuoso, but in turn the Temur player can sequence back and basically every Virtuoso is going to make an extra chump blocker if not more. There are just some games where you can't get under the roadblock.
Key to the City provides the one-two punch to get through. A single connected attack with Hazoret is basically lights out, and Key to the City both lets you get through Whirler Virtuoso and ensures you can whittle your way so that Hazoret the Fervent's haste affects the game early.
The problem with Key to the City is that you can't invest heavily in this strategy. Hitting multiple Keys is horrible, and Key to the City doesn't do a whole lot without Hazoret. Three unblockable damage a turn or looting for two mana is just too slow these days. Maybe Scrapheap Scrounger out of B/R Aggro changes this a bit or having Unlicensed Disintegration to make the damage count, but even then Key to the City doesn't do anything without help. If you start durdling, Temur is just going to flip the script and beat the crap out of you. Key to the City has real limitations, even if it does win games.
Something I haven't seen other aggro players do is sideboard out Hazoret, but there are spots where you want the other high-end threats instead of it. Esper Gift comes to mind, as they will always have creatures in the way that you often don't want to kill. Key to the City isn't going to help you much in those matchups, as it is so bad with Glorybringer and Chandra, Torch of Defiance.
Standard: Cartouche of Ambition
Deck: Anything with Bristling Hydra
- 3 Bristling Hydra
- 4 Longtusk Cub
- 4 Rogue Refiner
- 4 Servant of the Conduit
- 4 Whirler Virtuoso
- 2 The Scarab God
Like it's hard to move the dial against the best Temur starts out of aggro decks, Temur decks have a hard time winning games where Ramunap Red just has the things that line up.
One of the common ways this comes together is a turn where the Ramunap Red player realizes it won't get any better and just shoves. They throw away a few cards for a few damage, and Ramunap Ruins and Lightning Strike close it out before the Temur player can safely return the beatdown favor.
Any reasonable way to gain life would just shut players out of these games.
Cartouche of Ambition is that and miles more.
In testing, my teammate Rob Pisano described Cartouche of Ambition plus Bristling Hydra as Splinter Twin. He wasn't wrong. Creature, untap, enchantment, concession. We started hedging our Rampaging Ferocidon numbers in sideboarding against the black-splash lists almost solely because of this card, even though the card is otherwise just fine.
Outside the auto-win scenarios, Cartouche of Ambition is still a hassle for Ramunap Red. As long as you don't run the card right into a Lightning Strike, the -1/-1 counter clearing a creature and one attack before forcing them to have the removal spell the next turn is often enough to put Temur back at total parity going into the mid-game, where their cards are just one-for-one better.
It's not like the other aggro decks are even that much better at managing the issue. Nice Veteran Motorist.
Deck: Anything that can manage it.
Anointed Procession decks caught people's eye as a Temur crusher in the middle stages of Ixalan Standard. They certainly beat the unprepared Temur decks, but the root cause wasn't quite what people assumed.
The Tokens engine isn't actually that good. It does the trick, but all you are looking for is some engine that forces action. The sweepers take care of the rest. Temur at its core is just creatures and removal. The creatures are definitely good and whatever is left in hand after a Fumigate is capable of closing, but if you have any way to churn back up a battlefield presence after your sweeper, Temur is going to struggle.
- 2 Bomat Courier
- 4 Scrapheap Scrounger
- 2 Walking Ballista
- 4 Inventor's Apprentice
- 4 Toolcraft Exemplar
- 3 Veteran Motorist
- 3 Hazoret the Fervent
- 2 Pia Nalaar
There's a lot of ways to do similar things across the format. Get agro and then Bontu's Last Reckoning and leave some Vehicles or whatnot around as they overextend to turn the corner. Pull a W/U Monument from Hour of Devastation Standard and cast Dusk // Dawn. Or get really dirty and Settle the Wreckage people. Having played Ramunap Red at the Pro Tour, I can tell you that aggro opponents really hate that one.
Modern: Lightning Bolt
Deck: Storm, anything that casts it.
Lightning Bolt was summarily tossed from its throne as best removal spell in Modern with Fatal Push's arrival nine months ago. Long live the king, cue the wildebeest stampede, etc.
It is still a good card.