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Best Standard Magic Decks: Week of 12/19/16

Updated on December 20, 2016

This past weekend was the Star City Games Players' Championship. So I wanted to take advantage of this and discuss two deck types that both have the same theme, Energy.

G/R Energy

One of the game mechanics that Kaladesh introduced is Energy. This mechanic is an added resource that artifacts, creatures, and spells alike can tap into for various effects.

One might think that every card in a deck based around Energy should provide or use Energy, however, not every card does. However, Electrostatic Pummeler both provides and uses. The pummeler brings 3 Energy and can use those 3 Energy to gain +X/+X where X is its power. You might say "uhm, that's only 1 since he's a 1/1" which would be correct. Let's say though that you drop a Blossoming Defense, giving the pummeler +2/+2 and/or Built to Smash to provide +3/+3, now you have a 6/6 and for the same 3 Energy, you gain an additional 6/6, making it a 12/12 for 2 mana and 3 Energy. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Bristling Hydra is very similar to Electrostatic Pummeler in that it also brings in 3 Energy and can use it to pump up. The pump up effect is much less effective than the pummeler being only +1/+1, but the hydra is also a 4/3 as is. One of my favorite kitty cats is Longtusk Cub which brings in 2 Energy and can use 2 Energy to gain a +1/+1 counter, that can add up fast when you have the Energy to spend. Servant of the Conduit is a pretty solid card in a 2/2 for 2 mana who brings 2 Energy into play (that's a lotta 2's) and can be tapped along with 1 Energy to generate any color mana. Voltaic Brawler brings in just 2 Energy, and when he attacks, you can pay 1 Energy to give him a little boost of a +1/+1 and trample until the end of the turn. The odd-man out in this creature lineup is the Tireless Tracker who investigates upon entering the battlefield, which provides a Clue token. Sure, cracking a Clue can give the tracker a +1/+1, but his presence just doesn't fit the theme very well.

Aether Hub is a land that can provide just 1 Energy which isn't much, but every little bit helps. Attune with Aether doesn't just deliver 2 Energy, it also serves as a basic land fetcher too. Harnessed Lightning is a burn control spell which can use Energy to provide the necessary damage. One of the other pump spells not mentioned above is Larger Than Life which is actually the biggest pump in the deck providing +4/+4 and trample until the end of the turn.

Creatures (21)
4 Electrostatic Pummeler
4 Bristling Hydra
4 Longtusk Cub
4 Servant of the Conduit
1 Tireless Tracker
4 Voltaic Brawler

Lands (19)
9 Forest
2 Mountain
4 Aether Hub
4 Game Trail

Spells (20)
4 Blossoming Defense
4 Built to Smash
4 Harnessed Lightning
4 Attune with Aether
4 Larger Than Life

Sideboard
2 Key to the City
3 Tireless Tracker
2 Natural State
1 Tears of Valakut
1 Nissa, Vital Force
2 Take Down
1 Forest

Temur Energy

Above I talked about G/R Energy and here we have Temur Energy which is Green, Red, and Blue. The creatures are very similar with the pummeler, the hydra, the cub, the servant, and the brawler. This deck also focusing on pumping up the pummeler and other creatures as needed with the likes of Blossoming Defense, Built To Smash, and Larger Than Life. One of the tricks that I hadn't thought about until I saw it during the semi-finals between Joe Lossett and Todd Anderson was to take the pummeler and pump him with Larger Than Life, making him 5/5. Then pay 3 Energy to make him 10/10, but then pay it again to make him 20/20. With enough Energy, the pummeler can get gigantic very quickly.

Where this deck starts to become unique is in the spells selected. Rush of Adrenaline gets added providing a little pump of +2/+1 and trample until the end of the turn. Uncaged Fury is a vicious spell that provides just +1/+1 as well as double strike. That double strike can easily be a game ender. Personally, I think this particular deck build is far superior to the above G/R Energy deck, and it shows since this was the 1st Place winning deck.

Creatures (20)
4 Electrostatic Pummeler
4 Bristling Hydra
4 Longtusk Cub
4 Servant of the Conduit
4 Voltaic Brawler

Lands (20)
6 Forest
2 Mountain
4 Aether Hub
1 Botanical Sanctum
2 Cinder Glade
4 Game Trail
1 Spirebluff Canal

Spells (20)
4 Blossoming Defense
1 Built to Smash
3 Rush of Adrenaline
4 Uncaged Fury
4 Attune with Aether
4 Larger Than Life

Sideboard
3 Ceremonious Rejection
4 Galvanic Bombardment
2 Natural State
3 Negate
2 Tears of Valakut
1 Island

Happy Holidays

The upcoming holiday season is a time of gift giving for many people. For the average gamer in your life, there are a plethora of gifts that you can get them. If they are a video gamer, maybe you could get them an iTunes gift card so they can buy that new app game they've been looking at or use it to purchase in-game add-ons. Or maybe they are a vintage gamer who likes classic games and systems like Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. For those, you could get them something like a Power Glove or maybe the newly created and impossible to find NES Classic Edition.

Maybe the gamer in your life is more of a board game or table-top gamer. I recently purchased one of the Ticket to Ride games for my wife, an excellent game made by a wonderful company. From wildly complex to purely simple, here is an article from Ars Technica that discuss some of the best board games from the 33rd Essen Spiel.

Then there are is the card gamers who play the likes of Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, and many, many more. For these kinds of gamer's, if they are anything like most, they will buy the cards they need individually to make the decks they play with. What they could always use more of is support products like card sleeves, boxes, and binders. Below is a short video showcasing some of the best-rated products and accessories for TCG (Trading Card Game) games.

Happy Holidays!

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