It’s great to be back. Seoul was awesome and the weather was fantastic and I’m missing it already. I didn’t get much Magic time over there but the long way back did give me some ideas to play around.
Today I want to explore the idea of merging Sultai Energy which propelled Seth Manfield to win Protour Ixalan, and Simic Pummeler which Patrick Dickmann piloted to a 21-point finish.
Seth Manfield’s take on Energy is one of two ways to build the deck – in my observation he took a much ‘taller’ approach by going bigger and generating more energy and putting more counters thanks to Winding Constrictor.
Contrary to the more popular Temur build that used energy primarily to pressure early and win with thopters and Glorybringers, the Sultai build just had better removal suite and sideboard options like Duress, Vraska’s Contempt and Scarab God.
Shifting our attention to Patrick’s UG Pummeler – it too is one of two options in building this deck where the other variant is also the more popular one — the red-green version.
Using cards like Voltaic Brawler, Invigorated Rampage and Blossoming Defense allow the RG Pummeler to close the game out very quickly if their threats are not answered or if the opponent stumbles on mana or mulligans hard.
Apart from these, the RG Pummler also draws power from Longtusk Cubs, Bristling Hydra and Rhonas to finish off the threat suite, making its curve very low.
What I like about Black is its removal and sideboard options. As mentioned, Duress is a great card to make sure playing a Pummeler is safe and it won’t get removed. Similarly how Gitaxian Probe works in modern to ensure a Blighted Agent or Glistener Elf can come down safe or swing without getting removed.
Fatal Push remains the best removal card against Ramunap Red and energy mirrors. Unlike Temur builds that draw energy from their supply and cast Harnessed Lightning to kill a large Longtusk Cub, Fatal Push just gets it done faster and cheaper.
Glint-Sleeve Siphoner is also a great card to make sure we don’t run out of gas. It’s also a good offense against tokens and a pain for control players to block when they are running light on creatures. Overall, this is the best 2-drop next to Longtusk Cub if we’re playing an energy theme.
Lastly why I like Black in a Pummeler deck is Supernatural Stamina. It serves as copies 5, 6, 7 and 8 of Blossoming Defense in some ways. It gives Pummeler a head start on power without using up your energy which is always nice. And if it does get removed, you can also use Supernatural Stamina to get it back, triggering 3 free energy again and start the pressure all over again the next turn.
So we are trying to merge Sultai Energy in a Pummler shell and so far this is what I’ve got!
4 Longtusk Cub
2 Glint-sleeve Siphoner
4 Servant of the Conduit
4 Electrostatic Pummeler
4 Rogue Refiner
4 Bristling Hydra
4 Attune with Aether
4 Fatal Push
4 Blossoming Defense
4 Larger than Life
2 Supernatural Stamina
4 Aether Hub
4 Botanical Sanctum
4 Blooming Marsh
1 The Scarab God
2 Confiscation Coup
3 Trial of Ambition
3 Trespasser’s Curse
The reason we went Black instead of Red is the sideboard flexibility. Trial of Ambition is in there to get rid of gods, opposing hydras or carnage tyrants that may be roaming around.
With Tokens in the rise both in FNM tables and MTGO, Trespasser’s Curse does a great job leveling the field. It also punishes the Temur Energy decks if they think they can stall with Whirler Virtuoso. In a damage race, this card can help win the game.
Negate is our catch-all against sweepers, Settle the Wreckage in particular. It’s also a great card against Approach decks that run their Farm/Market as well as Glimmers.
Confiscation Coup is a great tech card I’ve seen played in many energy decks and I think it deserves its place on the side. Taking a Hazoret, or The Scarab God, or even a God-Pharaoh’s Gift can be back-breaking.
I truly think that the Pummeler deck can benefit from black as much as, or even more than, from red. If you think my claims are valid, or not, let me know by leaving a comment below!