Magic The Gathering: The Evolution of the Energy Deck

Not too long ago, I was a fervent believer in the 4 colour energy deck which I dubbed Dark Temur. It was a standard Temur energy deck, just that I splashed black for 2 huge game changers, namely Vraska, Relic Seeker and The Scarab God. I took this brew to the Nationals competition and finished within a top 40 spot, but I couldn’t help but think that I should have trimmed the 4th colour splash from my deck before the tournament started.

The power level of The Scarab God was just too good, and I genuinely liked Vraska’s ability to just take over the game if she is left unchecked. Scarab God brings back everything (to my side I might add) that Vraska deals with, and no opponent can deal with these two drops back to back. Having access to both graveyards and the ability to handle the most relevant threat on board (even if it is in enchantment or artifact form) at any time is just game breaking.

The crazy power level is not just limited to the deck I brewed as well. As long as you have an energy shell, you are pretty much running a top tier deck. The energy deck has consistent draw power, energy generators, energy payoffs and mana fixing capabilities. Variations of the energy deck includes the Sultai version, the Golgari version and even a Jund version.

However, all those builds became obsolete the minute they banned Attune to Aether and Rogue Refiner. Though Temur energy is still a relevant archtype, it is no longer the powerhouse that it used to be due to the loss of 2 key cards in the energy build. People have replaced the loss of Attune to Aether with mana docs that help generate extra mana while Rogue Refiner has been replaced by Jadelight Ranger or Voltaic Brawler. But the most surprising evolution of the energy deck comes in the form of a deck that doesn’t have the colour green as its base.

Enter Grixis energy. Prior to the banning, Grixis energy was only fringe playable, and the builds that could penetrate the top spots usually were control focused decks with specific silver bullets to handle unfavourable situations and the rampant Temur matchups. Now, Grixis is equipped to handle everything mainboard.

The new energy kid on the block looks like a fusion of UB Control, aggro Golgari energy and the old Temur energy with key standouts being The Scarab God, Torrential Gearhulk, Glint Sleeve Siphoner, Gonti, Whirler Virtuoso and Harnessed Lightning. Even I was amazed by the stellar line-up of threats and win conditions presented within these 3 coloured walls. But the truth remains that Temur energy was a far more efficient deck no matter how stacked your line-up of threats was.

I will be updating my energy deck to become a variation of the Grixis energy deck soon, with my own twist added to the mix. With RG Monsters having a strong showing at GP Memphis, I have decided to draw some inspiration from some of its components for my Grixis twist. While I have always liked Torrential Gearhulk (part of my transformational sideboard for my Dark Temur deck), I decided to veer away from it (at least mainboard wise) so as to not become a reactive deck totally dependent on its casting trigger. The result seems to be quite satisfying.


25 Lands
4 Aether Hub
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Dragonskull Summit
3 Canyon Slough
3 Fetid Pools
3 Drowned Catacomb
2 Mountain
1 Island
1 Swamp

16 Creatures
4 Whirler Virtuoso
4 Glint Sleeve Siphoner
3 The Scarab God
2 Champion of Wits
2 Rekindling Phoenix
1 Pia Nalaar

15 Spells
4 Vraska’s Contempt
4 Harnessed Lightning
3 Magma Spray
2 Supreme Will
1 Abrade
1 Confiscation Coup

4 Planeswalkers
3 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
1 Liliana, Death’s Majesty

3 Negate
2 Torrential Gearhulk
2 Chandra’s Defeat
2 Duress
2 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
2 Glimmer of Genius
1 Sweltering Suns
1 Abrade

As you can see, I have adopted the Rekindling Phoenix strategy from the RG Monsters shell into a very control based Grixis shell. The reason for this is simple, if the Phoenix hits the board early and sticks, you pretty much win the game. Even if your opponent manages to take it out, the 2 for 1 scenario the Phoenix provides is just ridiculous. Follow that up with the draw power Siphoner and Champion of Wits generates and you will be having more answers to hold onto.

Chandra has the same effect as Phoenix here, if she sticks, it is pretty much your game. Follow her up with Liliana for good measure and you can reanimate anything you want each turn as she fuels your graveyard with targets for Scarab God and sets up nicely for her ultimate which won’t affect your board state. The rest of the deck is pretty standard with Virtuoso being the multi-tasking unit on both attack and defence while Supreme Will acts as a flexible option that you can hold onto and is never a dead card.

The sideboard plan is to become a control deck post board, as the Hulks come in together with Negates, Glimmer and Duress. Gonti can also replace the Phoenix if there are multiple hard counters to it, while the additional copy of Abrade and Sweltering Suns stops the blistering fast pace of aggressive decks. I did think about adding Dire Fleet Daredevil to the sideboard, but I don’t necessarily see it’s flexible usage early game besides being a 2/1 first strike wall for aggro decks.

This brew is slightly more experimental, so if you guys happen to try this build out, do let me know what can be improved upon. I will be playing with the energy build till Kaladesh rotates out later on in the year as I feel the mechanic is really great despite it being broken and having many of its components banned in the past 1.5 years. The evolution of the energy mechanic is indeed exciting, at least for me.

Till next time, stay gold!

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