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Deck Spotlight - Temur Control


From time to time I was complaining about the lack of real control deck in Standard, but in truth, they do exist, a whole bunch of them, it's just that they are not nearly as popular as the midrange decks, and thus are often overlooked. We have seen U/R, U/W, Grixis and even Esper control from time to time in this Standard format, all more or less revolving around Torrential Gearhulk. This is to be expected, since Gearhulk is an exceptionally strong blue card, and few control players can resist its call. This time around, I've dug up a somewhat different take on the Torrential Gearhulk strategy - Temur Control.

Torrential Gearhulk
Kaladesh (Foil)

This list was played to a 5-0 finish in a MTGO Standard league by a known mtgo user - kaos5. Even though I remember kaos5 as a Collected Company player, we will forgive him for his past sins and focus on what he brought to the (virtual) table this time.

First off, the creatures - most Dynavolt Tower decks run only Torrential Gearhulks as creatures so they can maximize on the number of spells in the deck, since Gearhulk pretty much doubles up as a spell. This Temur build isn't following the trend and also features Tireless Tracker, a very strong clock that also provides much needed card advantage and thus also kind of doubles up as a spell, since it allows your lands to turn into more cards, some of which ought to be spells. Tireless Tracker is a very strong card that dominates the game if left unanswered, and in a control deck, it can be an effective finisher. Torrential Gearhulk, on the other hand, needs little introduction, it is THE key card of this and all other control decks in Standard. A huge body that casts instants from the graveyard is just a super strong top end of the curve that will quickly seal the game in your favor.

The only other non-land non-instant/sorcery card in the deck is Dynavolt Tower, and this deck obviously sports a playset of these. You really want to have one of these on turn three, since they need to start picking up energy from your spells as soon as possible. They are both a tool for stabilizing the board as well as a finisher once you took the reins of the game.

Now, for the instants and sorceries, there is a somewhat long list of twenty-six cards in total. This is to be expected, since you want to feed both the Dynavolt Tower as well as the Gearhulks, but not all of these cards serve the same purpose. As every control deck, Temur Control is also equipped to deal with creatures - but since red is the only 'removal' color it plays, removal is mostly limited to burn spells. First off we have four-of Galvanic Bombardment , which is getting more and more popular as a card choice lately and it is very reasonable. Drawing multiples is just great against any creature deck, and dealing with bigger creatures while still having mana for a card draw spell is exactly what this deck wants to do. The other removal spells consist of four Harnessed Lightning and two Radiant Flames. While Radiant Flames is a necessary evil you have to play so you have some sort of sweeper against many different aggro decks, you don't really want this card in the main deck, but, depending on your metagame, you might have to run it. Harnessed Lightning is much better in that regard, since even if your opponent has no good targets for it, you can always just feed it to the Tower for three damage to the face. (targeting your own creature and dealing 0 to it with tower on the table gets you five energy)

Tireless Tracker is certainly not enough card advantage, so there are two card draw/selection spells. The first one, Anticipate is not so much of a card draw spell but rather something to smooth out our draw a bit and maybe finds you that Dynavolt Tower you want on turn three. The other card draw spell, Glimmer of Genius is amazing and does everything you want, scries the unnecessary cards to the bottom, gets you some energy for the Towers and also draws two - on top of that, the well known sinking feeling your opponent gets when you flash it back with Torrential Gearhulk is priceless.

Dynavolt Tower
Kaladesh (Foil)

The counterspell suite is somewhat poor in this list, and I feel it could really use a couple more counterspells to fight Aetherworks decks more efficiently - with a one-of Negate, Void Shatter and Summary Dismissal you might have a nice selection, but are a bit lacking in numbers. Those double up with Gearhulks, true, but you need to draw one to flash it back.

The rest of the instant/sorcery suite is rounded out with green cards - four-of Attune with Aether is a logical addition that fixes the shaky three-color mana base as well as builds up the energy for the towers. <Last, but not the least is Springsage Ritual, a card I must admit I haven't seen being played ever, not even in Limited, but here it is. A nifty solution for all kinds of different artifacts and enchantments, it nets you a huge boost of four life that will win you many games against aggressive Smuggler's Copter decks, especially when you flash it back with Gearhulk.

The mana base is mostly relying on Evolving Wilds and Attune with Aether to get you the basics and Aether Hub to save you when that doesn't work out well enough. There are a few 'fastlands' but nothing spectacular is going on in the mana department.

The sideboard is an assortment of one and two-ofs for many different matchups and situations. The additional counters for other control decks and Aetherworks matchups, with the exception of Summary Dismissal that is there for Emrakul. There is a whole number of Smuggler's Copter solutions, from Natural State to Clip Wings, but there is also a second Springsage Ritual for some more incidental lifegain that aggro players hate so much. The interesting part of the sideboard is Confiscation Coup, which is a somewhat 'hard' removal for creatures that are too big or too good to burn with Harnessed Lightning and Thing in the Ice, which acts as an extra blocker/sweeper against aggro decks.


Control might not be popular or very strong in the current Standard, but if you follow the shifts of the metagame very closely, you just might hit the right spot with a good control deck and win a tournament or two. This temur control deck seems well equipped to deal with pretty much anything, and since the online meta game is more aggro, less Aetherworks, few counters mainboard seems to be the way to go. If you expect a different meta game in your LGS, try switching cards between main deck and sideboard a bit until you have the right balance for what you need.

Good luck and have fun!

Stjepan Sučić
Stjepan Sucic

About Stjepan Sučić

Stjepan started his Magic career in 2003, and had some decent finishes over the years, including a World Magic Cup top 8, Pro Tour and Worlds top 32 finishes, and a GP top 8, with 61 pro points total.

During the summer months he is also a Magic Online grinder who you can easily find in the draft queues. Stjepan boasts a 74% win rate in his real life Magic career. When he is not playing Magic, Stjepan enjoys watching Starcraft and playing MOBA games.

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