Tempo decks are often present in Limited environment. They win by playing one threat, then attacking and keeping it safe for a couple of turns thanks to bounce/freeze, removal, and counters. Tempo decks don’t usually win big tournaments (apart from Delver!), although in my testing this one performed quite well against Tier 1 Midrange decks, and exceptionally well against all types of Jeskai and small Aggro decks like Mono Red. What’s good of Jeskai Ascendancy, when there are no tokens on the battlefield to pump, right?
Here is the deck:
3 Stubborn Denial
3 Taigam’s Scheming
3 Bile Blight
2 Pharika’s Cure
2 Drown in Sorrow
3 Hero’s Downfall
3 Master of the Feast
2 Frost Lynx
4 Prognostic Sphinx
1 Clever Impersonator
4 Murderous Cut
3 Icy Blast
3 Dismal Backwater
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Polluted Delta
You may ask, with so many instants and sorceries that go straight into the graveyard, why I don’t play any Treasure Cruise or Dig Through Time. Well, in fact I played with 3 Cruises. But a couple of wins thanks to scrying by Prognostic Sphinx made me cut them. This deck need a bit of library manipulation in early turns, if I don’t get enough lands or removal. Taigam’s Scheming works perfectly there. If I play Despise on turn 1, then Scheming on turn 2, I have a perfect information to setup my gameplan. Cruise never gives me this kind of knowledge.
If anything comes on the board, I kill it with a variety of spells. The point is to be on as high life total as possible, because…
A THREAT HAS LANDED
… because deploying the threat starts damage race you are in favour of winning. Master of the Feast needs just four attacks to deal 20 damage. It flies, thus evading ground forces. It’s a 4-power creature, that turns on ferocious on Stubborn Denial, preventing some big stuff to come on the board. It also has five toughness, meaning Stoke the Flames loses its kill clause.
Prognostic Sphinx works slower than the Master, but its scrying lets you get all removal you need to keep opponent’s creatures from damaging you
Frost Lynx provides a body with useful trick that helps with racing.
Clever Impersonator, in my experience, more often than everything else comes into play as a copy of Siege Rhino, stabilizing the ground. If it can copy the Master, a game ends the next turn. The opponent has only one draw step to find two pieces of removal in three cards drawn this turn.
If you think why there are four Sphinxes and only three Masters, here is the reason. The Master is a wonderful card, but it need a backup to win a game. Stubborn Denial is the best, but Bile Blight, Murderous Cut, Hero’s Downfall, or Negate is great in this situation. You can’t play the Master with a bunch of lands in hand. You can, however, play Sphinx just then.
KEEP THE SKIES CLEAR
All early removal that hasn’t been used comes in handy after deploying the threat. Their job now is to keep a clear a path for opponent damage and keep your life high.
Icy Blast shows its power, thanks to ferocious ability turned on by the Master.
As you see, the sideboard consists mostly of cards from Fate Reforged. They look superior to cards I had earlier in the sideboard. I believe they fix almost all weaknesses of the deck.
Reality Shift takes place of additional Pharika’s Cures and a few copies of Nullify. Cure looks important, because it gives life, but it it often misses Rakshasa Deathdealer or Seeker of the Way, and is totally useless against Siege Rhino. In combination with additional Drown in Sorrows Shift’s tokens don’t matter. Shift also messes with UW Heroic’s protection spells, since it’s blue, not black.
Diplomacy of the Wastes may bear a nickname of “a bad Thoughtseize”, but in this deck a loss of two life outside combat is unacceptable. While fighting Midrange decks, I found it frustrating to lose my precious Master, immediately after the first double draw by an opponent. Thus Diplomacy takes care of a stashed Abzan Charm, Utter End, or Crackling Doom.
Crux of Fate jumps in instead of Festergloom. Festergloom is effective against Mono Red and Jeskai Tokens, but I rarely play it before turn 5 anyway. Since Crux costs five mana, I play it on turn 5 as well. Bonus: it kills everything, not just Goblins with a toughness of a tomato.
Frost Walker is a very interesting option, because it does three things simultaneously. It lures away an early removal an opponent could hold for Master of the Feast. It stands ground to any early aggro creature. It may deal some damage, especially if followed by Frost Lynx. If it performs well, I can see cutting Pharika’s Cure from the main in favor of these guys.
Dark Deal is another intriguing card. I can see myself playing it to disrupt my opponent’s perfect or near perfect hand. Despise lets me confirm it. Taigam’s Scheming sets my cards in an order I want. Then I pull the trigger. Bye, bye, hands with two Siege Rhinos. I’ll probably cut Frost Lynx to make room for Deals.
Community Question: What deck types do you think will make a comeback after Fate Reforged is released?
Thanks for reading,