Jeskai Tempo by Kevin Jones
1st at SCG Edison Standard Open on Sep 27th 2014
As we bid a fond farewell to RTR/THS Standard and all its mono-colored shenanigans we see how quickly everything becomes new again with both decks sitting at the final table in the wedge colors. There was also in the final a Mardu Midrange deck which in and of itself is a beautiful work of art which simply did not draw well against an amazing draw of the Jeskai tempo deck. But for us today we are interested in this Red, White and Blue beast of a list which was able to battle through 13 rounds and stake its flag first at the summit of this opening weekend.
This deck is built around taking advantage of burn to take incremental advantage and close out games quickly and efficiently. To work towards that goal we find a trio of creatures that while not monsters are able to go long and chip away quickly at the opponents life total to make it easy to top deck a burn spell for the win. The first creature drops down turn two with a trio of Seeker of the Way
which combo well with the burn through its Prowess to not only get pumped up but also gain lifelink to ensure survival against other Aggro decks. Next we find one of the defining cards of Aggro for the current meta with Goblin Rabblemaster
which on an unchecked board will be able to quickly overwhelm the opponent with a horde of goblins beating face. Then we get to a new tool for these colors with Mantis Rider
which as a tri-colored creature sports a very strong package as a three drop with Haste to beat face immediately upon arrival, Flying to leap over the walls of Courser of Kruphix
, and even Vigilance which allows you to bring the assault with impunity. Supporting the troops there is a duo of Red planeswalkers starting with the all new powerhouse Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
which is basically taking the role of Stormbreath Dragon
as another aggressive flyer for the deck but also doubles as decent removal taking out a slew of four toughness creatures. There is also a misers Chandra, Pyromaster
which is able to grind precious life points while either blasting potential chumps or immobilizing big blockers, and could also add to the decks drawing power. Speaking of draw there are two cards with which to gain additional resources with Dig Through Time
able to go deep to find you two spells which will hopefully finish your opponent and Steam Augury
that does rely upon the choice of your opponent but can easily be a bomb spell depending on what else you flip up with it. Magma Jet
is also a pseudo-draw with its Scry 2 not only are you flinging fire but also setting up potential or even pushing useless cards to the bottom in advance of a Dig Through Time
. Then we get to the package of straight-up burn spells with sets of Lightning Strike
and Stoke the Flames
to either flambe some pesky creature or just fling straight to the dome of your opponent to close out a quick victory. You also have the option to barbeque opponents with your Jeskai Charm
, but also bounce giant creatures away or pump your team while gaining some incidental life points. Finally we wrap up with catchall answer Banishing Light
which is the decks main answer to planeswalkers, enchantments, or artifacts but will also deal with problematic creatures as well.
Man oh man am I ever in love with Jeskai Tempo. It just looks so aggro just like my cup of tea, but still able to overcome traditional issues like draw and removal for bombs. Now I will admit that watching the deck win there was a definite element of variance which handed Jeskai an easier road to walk towards victory, but he took it all the way from beginning to end so there must be value in it. I would be very happy to sleeve up a deck like this and run with it, but with so many new styles and the Pro Tour coming up I’m going to happily observe for now. If you do decide to pick this up though I imagine you’ll have a blast burning up the competition.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter