There’s a lot of contention about what strategies are viable in the current Standard format. Regardless of where you fall, there’s one universal truth: Aetherworks Marvel is a huge constraint on the format, and players have started jumping through increasingly convoluted hoops to improve their matchup against the deck. JMM may have a new take on Standard which can dismantle the Aetherworks menace:
Mardu Midrange - Kaladesh Standard | JMM, 5-0 Standard League|
At its core, this is a fairly traditional Red-Black Midrange deck, touching on White for powerful Planeswalkers like Nahiri, the Harbinger and efficient answers like Fragmentize. Just looking at the density of discard spells and three copies of maindeck Fragmentize, you know that this is a deck that does not ever want to lose to Aetherworks Marvel. But, so far, we’ve only touched on shifting some sideboard cards to the maindeck, not anything new or exciting.
The new technology here is two-fold. Firstly, you have access to maindeck Pick the Brain. Normally, this is the kind of card that no one would really be interested in playing. But in a ponderous format where you’re banking on stripping away their Aetherworks Marvels, a three-mana discard spell is pretty reasonable. The upside is that, with active Delirium, you can begin stripping the Marvel deck of threats, and Cathartic Reunion is very good at turning on Delirium in this deck. The combination of Pick the Brain, Goblin Dark-Dwellers and even Nahiri, the Harbinger, means that it’s not unlikely that you can strip all the relevant threats out of the Marvel deck before they can really get their engine online.
That’s not to say that you can’t still win a fair game against other midrange decks. Cathartic Reunion is fantastic at cycling away dead discard spells and giving you more looks at efficient removal or value engines like Goblin Dark-Dwellers and Live Fast. All you’re really looking to do is buy time until you can resolve a Descend Upon the Sinful to effectively end the game. It’s not impossible for fair decks to recover from, but it’s pretty tough.
All in all, if you’re looking for something that beats up on Aetherworks Marvel without giving up too many percentage points against the rest of the field, I’d start with something resembling this shell of Goblin Dark-Dwellers, Cathartic Reunion, and Pick the Brain.