here was certainly a time in my Magic career when you would not have been able to convince me to play aggro in any form. The entire genre of decks were scoffed at by the up-and-coming PTQ crowd, and I was really no different. I understood they still took skill but thought they could never show off the same amount of skills as control could. Control was for better players. Well, flash forward a few years and I am playing in the Top 4 of Worlds with 4 Memnite and 4 Glint Hawk in my list. Times change and I got wiser. Aggro decks still required a ton of skill; it was just shifted into different places. No one would say a soccer player was less skilled than a basketball player; they simply are good at different things.
An aggro deck on the same level of Tempered Steel has been absent for the past few months. Yes, we have had midrange decks with fast starts available, but Mono-Red and White Weenie, the two classic aggro decks, were not around in any form. Tempered Steel still had the same card pool that it did seven months ago, though—even deeper in fact. By that account, the deck could still be viable, but most people understood that with a changing metagame, Tempered Steel lost favorable matchups and therefore fell out of favor. While a shift in the metagame can knock a deck out that easily, it can also invite it back in.
Dean Homan thinks now might be that time for Tempered Steel, as he was able to clinch a Top 8 finish with the list at a recent TCGPlayer Qualifier. While the basic concept—play a bunch of cheap artifact creatures and follow them up with Tempered Steel—has not changed, Dean decided to spice up some of the specific card choices. Chronomaton is an odd one, able to grow big when that is the best play, but I wonder how often it taking a turn off from attacking is actually a mistake. Bonfire of the Damned and Rally the Peasants are two other new ones, but those don't seem nearly as crucial to the deck. So who knows, maybe the old crew in gray is once again viable? I think I still might have mine sleeved up somewhere...
Dean Homan's Tempered Steel
Standard – Top 8, TCGplayer Silver Qualifier, Lindenhurst