So before we get into the nitty gritty of things, I saw the following list a few weeks ago, piloted by Dark_666. He took the deck to a 4-0 finish in a Daily Event, and the deck was never to be seen again. I didn't really understand why. The only reason I could think of was that maybe he was playing the deck in other events and simply not doing as well. But that didn't really make sense to me, since the deck seemed really powerful. Either way, I wanted to see what was really going on with these 75 beauties.
So I sleeved it up and took it to FNM. I ended up going 4-0 before splitting in the Top 4 for the sake of time. The deck felt awesome, and I never really felt like I was “wanting” for anything. I feel like this deck is very similar to the BUG Tezzeret list I covered a couple weeks back, because, uh...
Well, basically because they share the same colors...
Only without the, you know...Tezzerets...
And the artifacts...
Alright, turns out they're fairly dissimilar, which is good, because if they were at all alike, I probably wouldn't be writing about this list. For some reason I get the feeling that people seem to love the BUG color combination, and the fact that the format can support two completely different BUG lists with completely different suites of cards is awesome. RUN ON SENTENCE, GOOOO! (althought I use the term “support” loosely.)
Wait wait, before I get too far...videos.
T2 BUG Control vs. UW Delver, Match 1, Game 1
T2 BUG Control vs. UW Delver, Match 1, Game 2
T2 BUG Control vs. UW Delver, Match 1, Game 3
T2 BUG Control vs. Wolf Run Ramp, Match 1, Game 1
T2 BUG Control vs. Wolf Run Ramp, Match 1, Game 2
T2 BUG Control vs. Mage-Blade, Match 1, Game 1
T2 BUG Control vs. Mage-Blade, Match 1, Game 2
Okay, now that we have that out of the way...
This deck really reminds me of your typical, old-school control deck. There are two reason for this.
1) There are a full eight counterspells, four of which are hard counters. This is just awesome. I can't tell you how good it feels to know that you have four unstoppable answers for your opponent's spells. Well, nigh unstoppable; they could always counter your counters, but you get the point.
2) We have very few threats. This I love. It just reminds me of the beginning of Magic, when it was safe to play a single creature and ride it to victory. I've gone over this before as well, in other articles. It gives you a goal and changes your plan to "protect this threat."
One of the best in the deck - threats that is - and one I personally still think is underrated in Standard was Garruk Relentless. Every time I played him, well...you better have the O-Ring. Otherwise he's going to start taking out Illusions left and right, or Snapcasters, or whatever. If your opponent is low on threats to target Garruk is simply going to start making an army. They sweep the board? Rinse and repeat. It isn't rocket science. This was how I won a lot of my games. (That, and flashing in one or two Snapcaster Mage at the end of the turn, and just bashing for two at a time.) But mostly it went like: make a 2/2, two power. Make a 2/2, four power. Make a 2/2, six power. They Day of Judgment. Make a 2/2, two power, etc. It's better than you think.
Speaking of wiping the board, while the deck lacks white, it still has access to Black Sun's Zenith. In Standard right now, this is usually going to cost as much or less than Day of Judgment. By that I mean you're usually only going to cast it for one or two. That'll usually do the trick.
The other removal in the deck comes in the form of two Doom Blade, two Wring Flesh, and three Beast Within. Lemme tell you how good all of these cards are. Wait, do I really need to? Well, yes...because I get paid to do so! Wring Flesh is just awesome right now, since it takes out almost literally every card in UW Delver (Illusions). I think the only creature that escapes is Geist of Saint Traft since many are no longer even playing Lord of the Unreal.
Doom Blade kills anything that won't die to Wring Flesh and Garruk Relentless, of course. And Beast Within...well, this card is simply amazing. Need to kill a Gideon Jura? Beast Within! Karn Liberated trapped under an Oblivion Ring? Beast Within! Opponent has a Sun Titan? Beast Within! Opponent has only a few cards and you have counter backup? Beast Within...your own land and get in there with a 3/3! This card is so versatile it's unreal, and you're basically adding it to a UB Control deck with four Snapcaster Mages!
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But speaking of threats, that's another one we have: Snapcaster Mage, and we run the full suite of four here which is awesome. The other heavy hitters are Liliana of the Veil, Karn Liberated and a single Consecrated Sphinx. These might not seem like a lot, but truth be told, the amount is actually just fine. Especially when you consider the card draw the deck has access to. This includes four Think Twice and three Forbidden Alchemy. In case no one told you, this is an awesome amount of card drawing and is almost the full eight of the best card drawing in Standard right now; of course I don't fault the creator for excluding the fourth Alchemy, as that's understandable.
The mana base? It's actually also just fine. I never had a problem with color in all of my games. I did mulligan to five once, but I still ended up only one turn away from winning.
The sideboard has some great answers to a lot of the most popular strategies right now. With the rise of Mage-Blade I would probably find some room for a couple of Naturalize. I kind of want the option to kill their artifacts or enchantments without giving them a 3/3, and it also has the benefit of killing Spined Thopter, Oblivion Ring, and Honor of the Pure. Thrun won me no less than two games by himself and Phantasmal Image killed no less than two Geist of Saint Traft. Mental Misstep I'm somewhat iffy on. It seems like it might be worse than simply running more Wring Flesh, but I'm not sure. Usually you're just countering a Bear, a Champion, or a Delver, but sometimes you do want to counter a Vapor Snag as well. So in summation, you get more versatility with Misstep, but Wring Flesh has a larger window in which it can be used.
The deck seems real, and it's another fun one to play. That's like a theme in these articles; it's like I don't want to show you the train wreck that is ramming Haunted Humans into UW Delver into one another, match after match. Anyway, pick it up, give it a run, and let me know what you think. But I warn you: this is a girindy control deck if there ever was one, so be prepared for long games and a lot of decisions! As always I look forward to hearing what you guys think in the comments!
Thanks for reading and I'll see you next week. Hopefully after I win this Modern PTQ!
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