It's 2:30 Eastern Standard Time, and I'm defeated. I had been writing for going on four hours and was nearly finished with another article before Firefox crashed and (wiped away) all of my work. The only thing that saved was my title, which I'm not incredibly proud of, but I wanted to write and talk about a budget option before the Pro Tour, but I also want to not hate type an entire piece.
Instead of what I was going to talk about I'm going to take a look at the only Standard deck I can afford right now, which is a well-known deck by now, thanks to it being around since Kaladesh came into the format. Red Green Energy looks to come out of the gates fast, and finish the game around turn four. We want to play Magic, but we want to wrap things up quickly so that our opponent does not get a chance to do so. Let's take a look at a recent list.
Andrew Jessup played this fairly standard list to an 11th finish at the Starcitygames Classic in Richmond this past weekend. You can also pick it up for about 24 tickets at the time of this writing.
One can tell that this is an established list just by looking at it. There are not many new cards from Aether Revolt in the list, only two made the cut, but a large majority of the deck is from Kaladesh. Of course with the energy mechanic making its debut in that set, and needing to be pushed it would make sense that Kaladesh would offer us more than the Aether Revolt. The splash has already been made in a sense.
Let's talk about the general game plan for the deck. On the first turn we want to cast Attune with Aether, getting us a land and two energy. Our second turn really wants to see us play a Servant of the Conduit because the mana this creature provides could be fairly important on turn four, but we can settle with casting a Voltaic Brawler on turn two. This gets us four mana. On turn three we want to slam (Electrostatic Brawler) in to play, and hope that we have all seven of our energy on turn four. In what should be the final turn of the game we make our construct Larger Than Life or send it on an Invigorated Rampage and activate the creature twice, which will make it a 20/20 trampling behemoth.
20 is coincidentally the starting life total in a game of Magic: The Gathering.
With the combat phase finished we hope to see our opponent grabbing their lands, going to the sideboard, and getting ready for a repeat performance in game two.
So how does the deck get there? Let's take a look at the creatures in it.
We don't have any one drop creatures in the deck, and that is fine, because well, there are not really any playable one drops that deal with Energy. Sure Greenbelt Rampager saw print in Aether Revolt, but it has the catch of needing two energy when it comes into play, otherwise you get one Energy. We'd rather be spending our first turn thinning our deck and fixing our mana than making a one mana for one energy investment. Rampager does not help ramp our energy.
Longtusk Cub is another creature that does not really ramp our energy either, but when it connects with the opponent we start to reap the addition of this fancy Grizzly Bears. It's a good alternative to Electrostatic Pummeler as this creature can quickly grow out of hand by trading energy for counters. It lacks trample though.
Voltaic Brawler makes energy when it comes into play, and gets trample and a 1/1 boost when you pay an energy when you attack with it. Attacking for 4 on turn three is a pretty neat play and since it gets trample you can save your trample granting pump spells for your creatures that lack this ability.
The last two drop on the list is Servant of the Conduit which trades energy for mana, and acts as a Leaf Gilder for the deck. Some games it's going to be more correct to drop a Bristling Hydra on turn three instead of the construct. Maybe you're up against a removal heavy deck and don't have mana up for Blossoming Defense. Anyways Servant ramps us in energy as well.
All this energy ramping is super important for your boy, Electrostatic Pummeler. The power doubling boxing robot is the main reason this deck works so well. However without the energy it provides or the energy that is already provided for it, this is a rather underpowered creature. It's essentially a 2/2 for 3 by itself, and that's only for a turn. Thankfully the deck is built around this card and takes full advantage of its activations.
Bristling Hydra is the last creature, and with energy it is pretty much immune from targeted removal. Getting a counter for three energy is a bit over costed, as we have seen with Longtusk Cub, but the addition of Hexproof makes this guy hard to remove. It's also one of the few creatures that we can get to hang around after the black expertise. It's nice to be able to have something left back in case we need to recover from that.
I've often wondered if there were any other creatures that would fit in the deck. A quick gatherer search for Energy and filtered to Red and Green cards show a lot of draft staples. A lot of three drops that don't really make much sense. Whirler Virtuoso is a nice one to have because we can trade extra energy for Thopter tokens, but not really where we want to be. Thriving Grubs would make sense if the deck were starved for two mana creatures, but this one is for sure not in need of anymore two drops. Sage of Shaila's Claim is interested because it is three energy for sure, which would put us at 8 energy on turn 4 for our construct if things went according to plan, but a 2/1 body is less than impressive. Rogue Refiner is another three drop that would give us energy, and since we already dabble in blue would be a neat thing to look at, but I doubt it would be impressive. Aether Chaser is a two drop that can make Servo tokens when it attacks, which is not super impressive since it takes away from the needs of Pummeler. The only card that I could seriously see trying out would be Lightning Runner, eight energy is not unheard of for the deck and getting an extra attack step could be fun, but five mana is super prohibitive.
Let's move along to the spells.
There are two types of spells in the deck, energy producers with a benefit and pump spells. Attune with Aether is an energy producer that fixes your land, and Harnessed Lightning is an energy producer that can blow up a blocker. Heck Harnessed Lightning could read pay 1R, activate your Electrostatic Pummeler. It does not have to spend the energy to kill a creature, and if an extra activation is all you need to win, then well, why not?
The pump spells can be split as well. We have 8 that grant trample, which is fantastic because we need to actually steam roll some bodies, and that is what Larger Than Life (at sorcery speed) and Invigorated Rampage both do. I love Rampage. It's great. This addition from Aether Revolt replaced Uncaged Fury which was in my mind, the worst card in the deck. Yeah you lose double strike, but you gain trample, and I think that is much more important to the deck's goal than double strike. Temur Battle Rage is a spell that this deck would love to have! Blossoming Defense is the last pump spell in the deck, and this is mainly used as a protection spell. Giving a targeted creature Hexproof blows out their removal for sure.
Of course this build moves away from cards like Uncaged Fury, Built to Smash (which was only good on the construct) and Rush of Adrenaline because the pump spells we do use help add Pummeler to five, which with two activations hit the magic number of 20. It's kinda like Blackjack, but the house doesn't win if you go over 21.
Though I guess if you're playing the deck you want to be the house and go over 21 as often as possible!
The sideboard here uses blue for countermagic, which I strongly agree with. Negate is super in the format, what with all the copycat decks running around. I'd love to add a few more. Shock is better against the aggro decks now that Smuggler's Copter is benched. Heroic Intervention makes an appearance as a way to stand up against Fumigate and Lathnu Hellion is a neat beater against control as well, though I would rather have Fevered Visions. I understand it's inclusion in the sideboard as it is crucial for Planeswalker control. Natural State is great against the vehicles in the format, and is a bit of a mirror breaker, as it gives you a non toughness way to remove opposing constructs. Island is of course useful for the blue splash. Arlinn Kord was about the only card I was unhappy with, and would remove it for a third Negate without losing sleep. That and adding Ceremonious Rejection is pretty much was ADQ did in a recent league.
What else could you do with the deck? Well it was played in a recent Frontier event, so you could add the fetches and play it in that format. It is entirely possible that this kind of deck might have some game in Modern as well, but that might be better suited territory for Death's Shadow. You could add the U to the main deck like this league deck, and that would only run about another twenty tickets.
I am gonna go ahead and end this one, next week I plan to look at some of the cooler decks from the Pro Tour and soon after offer up another building block article. With the new ban schedule that might mean I need to learn to look into the future, as for this deck, I say give it a go, I mean what else could you spend twenty five dollars on?
I mean Magic wise, I'm sure a group trip to Taco Bell would be a bit of fun as well!
Thanks for reading!