Going for the Gold: The New Face of Control…RUG Dynavolt Tower
Despite what everyone says, Standard has become a horse race with just a few contenders in the weeks following the last Pro Tour. In one corner we have the default aggro deck, Mardu Vehicles, which with an innovation to remove Veteran Motorist and replace it with Walking Ballista was able to take down Grand Prix Utrecht. In another corner we have the default midrange deck of the format, GB Constrictor, which despite being touted for having an amazing Mardu matchup seems to be closer to 50/50. Finally, we have Jeskai Saheeli combo decks which are great against GB but are horrible against Mardu.
Do you see a problem with this triangle? Mardu beats both GB and Saheeli, while GB doesn’t beat anything, and Saheeli beats GB. I’m exaggerating for effect here, but that makes Mardu the easy choice for any Standard tournament. This is so evident that Walking Ballista has now made it into the maindeck of Mardu Vehicles, just to give it an edge in the mirror. The last time we saw these type of improvements take down a tournament, UW Flash was terrorizing the format.
A few weeks ago, a new deck made its splash on Magic Online and a couple pros picked it up to play in GP Utrecht. That deck is RUG Dynavolt Tower and has a really unique place in our beloved Standard format.
GB Matchup? Check. Great but who doesn't have a good matchup against GB?
Mardu Vehicles Matchup? Check. Wait what really? It is very favorable since all of its cards line up very well against Mardu.
Jeskai Saheeli Matchup? No Check. But I don’t see it anywhere!
For reference, here is the list I would play if there was a big tournament for me this weekend.
RUG Dynavolt Tower
Shielded Aether Thief - A versatile creature that can come down as early as turn two, block most of the common two drops and live to talk about it. In combination with Dynavolt Tower, you can draw into your deck when your life total is not under pressure. In addition, you can block with Aether Thief prior to using a removal spell to get more energy.
Torrential Gearhulk - The best Gearhulk by a mile and the best blue card in Standard in combination with Glimmer of Genius is the reason that a late-game control deck is even viable. When Mardu Vehicles is the most popular matchup, having 2 of these in your opening hand is a recipe for disaster. For this reason I suggest that you only play three copies.
Whirler Virtuoso - While initial builds of this deck ran Rogue Refiner, that card is not very good and having a 3/2 in this format is not that useful, especially when you are taking chunks of damage from Heart of Kiran. However, being able to generate Thopters alongside your Dynavolt Tower helps this deck get to its late game.
Attune with Aether - The cornerstone of every green energy deck in Standard. I would never play less than 4 copies of this in the deck as it allows you to play fewer lands and charges up your Dynavolt Tower and other energy output cards.
Glimmer of Genius - The glue of every blue deck in this format and a slamdunk card that affords very good card selection. I would wager that this is the most flashbacked card with Torrential Gearhulk. If playing 4 copies of this card is wrong, then I don't want to be right.
Incendiary Flow - This functions as another removal spell on turn 2, and can be viewed as the 5th and 6th copy of Harnessed Lightning. It has the ability to exile Scrapheap Scrounger and Prized Amalgam and can randomly go to the opponent's face if you are winning with Dynavolt Tower.
Anticipate - Card selection at a very low cost. This is typically not a great card to have against aggressive decks as you are trading on an even footing. With a Dynavolt Tower out, this is one of the better cards to have, as it propels you to a full charge.
Disallow - Standard's current iteration of Stifle and with the format being what it is, there is no need for too many copies in the maindeck. Very good against other Gearhulk decks or Aetherworks Marvel decks. It's existence will buy you time against planeswalker ultimates, so it is definitely something to keep in mind when you are trying to calculate your outs.
Natural Obsolescence - A great removal spell that deals with every Vehicle, Scrapheap Scrounger, Dynavolt Tower etc. Every deck in Standard has multiple targets, so it is a welcome maindeck inclusion.
Negate - This may be the best counterspell in Standard right now since it can snag Vehicles and Planeswalkers, all of which are played in every deck, at a very good rate.
Shock - A one mana removal spell that deals with a few of the early drops in Standard. Definitely either a hit or a miss based on matchup. Against Saheeli combo, leaving up Shock will protect you from the combo as you are able to kill Saheeli Rai when it is on 1 loyalty.
Disallow - For the reason to play this card, see above. There are copies of Disallow in the sideboard to help transform the deck when you are playing against a slower control deck. In addition, Shielded Aether Thief is not great versus GB, so you would typically bring in Disallow to fight their sideboard cards.
Confiscation Coup - Amazing in the mirror and against GB as it looks at the converted mana cost and not the creature's power. You can steal an 8/8 Verdurous Gearhulk for the low cost of 5 energy after paying 5 mana and gaining 4 energy.
Dispel - The only reason you would play Dispel is to help win counter wars over key spells or prevent opponents from resolving Glimmer of Genius. How do you feel when your opponent resolves Glimmer of Genius? Exactly, play Dispel and stop feeling that way! As a side note, I wouldn't typically bring this in against Mardu Vehicles unless I was really hurting for slots.
Radiant Flames - A great sweeper against Mardu and GB. This card is only effective sometimes so you have to make sure that you keep the board in that manner.
Release the Gremlins - With so many great Vehicles about, this is a great way to generate card advantage against Mardu. This card is also decent in the mirror as it kills Towers and Gearhulks. I wouldn't typically recommend it against GB as their targets are Verderous Gearhulk and Walking Ballista
Standard is starting to slow down a bit, so a deck like Dynavolt Tower is definitely positioned very uniquely to take advantage of this. When you consider the Mardu deck, their Fatal Pushes do almost nothing against you and Unlicensed Disintegration is only great against you if you have a draw that is heavily reliant on creatures. Everyone is focusing on beating Mardu and GB. Sidestep the fight and give them an uppercut with your Dynavolt Towers. I encourage you to try out the list that I posted above and post your feedback in the comments below.
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I’ll see you next week!