Raise Your Standards – How to Pummel Your Opponent


Welcome back to another installment of Raise Your Standards.  The past couple of weeks I’ve gone over a few different decks each week.  This time, I’d like to shake things up a bit by discussing only one deck.  It’s a deck that attacks with a lot of power, can strike out of nowhere, and is a lot of fun to play.  That deck is R/G Pummeler.  Let’s take a look at the Pummeler deck that went 4-0 during Week 1 of the Standard Showdown.

Red / Green Pummeler





Let’s start off by talking about the biggest boogeyman in this deck, Electrostatic Pummeler.  This is the card that can singlehandedly come out of nowhere and allow you to win the game.  With just 1 Larger Than Life spell and 6 energy, Electrostatic Pummeler can dish out 20 points of damage with just one attack, as early as turn 4.  And because of Larger Than Life, your Pummeler has Trample.  That’s quite a beating!

As you can see, it only takes a little bit of help for Electrostatic Pummeler to grow out of hand.  The only real problem with this combo is that Larger Than Life is a sorcery, therefore you have to telegraph this combo before you declare the Pummeler as an attacker.  Luckily there are plenty of other threats in the deck that your opponent might want to use their removal on instead.

One of those threats is Longtusk Cub.  While this cat doesn’t initially supply you with any energy, if it’s able to score a hit or two directly onto your opponent, the two energy you get can really start to accumulate.  Also, if you have any energy that you’ve managed to acquire prior to the Cub attacking, you can pump the Cub up, possibly multiple times if you have enough energy, in order to inflict a little more damage on your opponent.  Or, you could choose to save some of that energy in order to add +1/+1 counters to the Cub in the event that your opponent plays a card that lowers the Cub’s toughness (such as Grasp of Darkness).

The other creature that I consider to be one of your main threats is Bristling Hydra.  When it enters the battlefield, it gives you a very important three energy.  That’s certainly an important number of energy to have in this deck as both the Bristling Hydra and Electrostatic Pummeler need three energy to do their activated abilities.  As I mentioned, you can use energy to increase the toughness of your Longtusk Cub in the event they try to lower its toughness, and you can do the exact same thing with Bristling Hydra except you only need to activate the ability one to save the Rhino thanks to the Hexproof it gets.  So, as long as you have three energy lying around, your Rhino is safe from and targeted removal.

Most of the other creatures in the deck are there for the energy that they provide.  Servant of the Conduit can help you cast the other cards in your deck if you run short of one color of mana, however you’ll want to use it sparingly since the energy is best utilized by your Bristling Hydra‘s, your Longtusk Cub‘s, and your Electrostatic Pummeler‘s.  The same goes for the Lathnu Hellion‘s, however depending on the situation I could see the benefit to paying the energy to keep the Hellion in play, especially if the 4/4 body would be able to deliver the final blow to your opponent.

Key to the City is also a very important piece of this deck.  Having the ability to make any of your creatures unblockable can be the difference between winning the game and coming very close.  I’ve played a version of this deck without the Key to the City and I was usually to deal anywhere from 16 to 19 points of damage to my opponent before they could gain their footing and present some sort of defense that would require me to have trample in order to win.  With Key to the City, my opponent would need to have some sort of instant removal spell if they didn’t want to die to my unblockable creature.

The remainder of the non-land cards in the deck are there to provide a means of acquiring energy or to grant a stat boost and trample or double strike to your creatures.  As mentioned earlier, Larger Than Life is sorcery speed, so you’ll definitely have to cross your fingers that your opponent doesn’t have an instant removal spell in their hand when you play it.  The only other sorcery card is Attune with Aether which will provide you with two much needed energy and will find you a land which can be used to smooth out your mana or to pitch to Key to the City for an unblockable threat.

Finally, let’s talk about the lands in the deck.  Aether Hub is the only non-basic land which helps add to your energy count.  It also is able to serve as a dual land when needed, provided you have any energy to spare.  All of the other lands are basic Forests and Mountains.  This is important because you want all of your lands to enter the battlefield untapped since you’re trying to kill your opponent before they have a chance to stabilize.  It would be tempting to add a Cinder Glade or a Game Trail, but the risk that the land will enter the battlefield tapped is so detrimental to your aggressive plans that it’s simply not worth adding them.

Final Thoughts

As someone that’s played a very similar deck, I can tell you that this deck is a blast to play.  The ability to win on turn four is a very real possibility with this deck, and once you do it, word will spread and fear will begin creeping into your upcoming opponent’s psyche.  And what’s better than putting a little fear into your opponent’s heart?

Please let me know your thoughts on this deck by sounding off in the comments.  Have you had any experience playing this style of deck?  If so, let me know!

Join me next week when we take a look at another innovative Standard deck.  And if you happen to play this deck at your local Standard Showdown, please let me know how you do.


Mike Likes

Mike Likes

Mike started playing Magic back in 1994, but gave it up at the end of 1995. He came back to the game during the Lorwyn block and has been playing ever since. Around this time, he opened and ran his own comic & game store, while also raising his newborn daughter. After 8 years, he sold his business and moved to Wisconsin with his wife and daughter. With the debut of Kaladesh, his entire family became regular Magic players. He now has hopes of competing alongside his wife and daughter at a Grand Prix or similar event in the future. #MTGDad

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