Make the Play Monday - Who's the Control Deck?

Feature Article from Michael Flores
Michael Flores
4/14/2014 10:00:00 AM
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You are pretty happy you follow Tomoharu Saito on Twitter; or at least you follow someone who follows Saito... Otherwise you might never have seen this:

Saito's Bant deck is a little different than most of the control decks out there in Standard...

Bant Superfriends by Tomoharu Saito
Finished 17th - 32nd Place at 2014 Grand Prix Phoenix - 4/5
Main Deck
1 Aetherling
Creatures [1]
3 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
4 Jace, Architect of Thought
3 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
Planeswalkers [10]
4 Detention Sphere
4 Dissolve
3 Last Breath
4 Sphinx's Revelation
4 Supreme Verdict
3 Syncopate
Spells [22]
1 Breeding Pool
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Island (234)
3 Mutavault
3 Plains (230)
4 Temple of Enlightenment
4 Temple of Plenty
Lands [23]
Deck Total [56]

2 Blind Obedience
1 Heroes' Reunion
1 Last Breath
2 Mistcutter Hydra
2 Negate
2 Pithing Needle
1 Revoke Existence
2 Selesnya Charm
2 Skylasher
Sideboard [15]

Click for full deck stats & notes!

A mix of twelve -- all twelve! -- Temples; and splashing green for only Kiora, the Crashing Wave main deck (though obviously getting some value out of Mistcutter Hydra and some other cards out of the sideboard), Saito's deck combines card selection, the typical Azorius-centered control elements, and pure power to the format.

Well, you're happy you saw this Tweet; because otherwise you would have been quite a bit more confused and helpless than you already were going into Game Two.

For your part you are a "Mono" Black Devotion deck splashing for Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver, a la Tamas Glied (and for those keeping score at home, the subject of last week's pair of articles).

For reference:

UB Devotion by Michael Flores
Main Deck
4 Desecration Demon
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Lifebane Zombie
4 Pack Rat
Creatures [15]
3 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
Planeswalkers [3]
2 Bile Blight
3 Devour Flesh
4 Hero's Downfall
4 Thoughtseize
4 Underworld Connections
Spells [17]
1 Island (234)
4 Mutavault
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Watery Grave
Lands [13]
Deck Total [48]

1 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
1 Bile Blight
1 Dark Betrayal
3 Duress
1 Lifebane Zombie
4 Notion Thief
4 Staff of the Death Magus
Sideboard [15]

Click for full deck stats & notes!

Sadly, you were defeated in Game One.

That's just what happens sometimes when you are the deck full of Devour Flesh and the opponent's one creature is AEtherling. You just drew too much conditional removal and not enough in-match relevant disruption against his Planeswalkers and especially Sphinx's Revelation.

With its permission and non-creature threats (versus your creatures and fairly thin Game One Thoughtseize set) the Saito Bant deck just has the better ability to "play the control" while your Duress trio is waiting somewhere else. He can go Detention Sphere into whatever kind of permanent you can post; and Dissolve is quite the stop sign during the middle turns.

So anyway... Heroes lost the first.

You declare yourself to be on the play (unsurprisingly)... But are greeted with a pair of no-land hands.


Again mulligan.

So not only are you down a card naturally, you're starting on five.

These are those five:

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
Hero's Downfall
Temple of Deceit
You keep this five-card hand and start on Temple of Deceit.

You see a Watery Grave and keep it on top.

The opponent opens on Temple of Enlightenment.

On your turn two you draw the Watery Grave; you Thoughtseize the opponent and see:

Detention Sphere
Kiora, the Crashing Wave
Sphinx's Revelation
Temple of Mystery
Temple of Mystery

You take the Detention Sphere *

This leaves the opponent with these six:

Kiora, the Crashing Wave
Sphinx's Revelation
Temple of Mystery
Temple of Mystery

Based on your remaining hand of:

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
Hero's Downfall
Watery Grave

You play the Watery Grave.

The main reasons around this being that you plan to run out Ashiok here; ergo not attack with the Mutavault on the next turn; and if you're going to tap out for Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver you can save yourself two life.

This leaves you with:

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
Hero's Downfall
You pass the turn. The opponent draws, evaluates his hand, and plays:

(Presumably the same Island we saw with our Thoughtseize.)

On our turn we draw a basic Swamp.

This week we are asking for a two-part answer:

1. Per the asterisk, would you have taken Detention Sphere? (yes, no, maybe why)
2. Play turn three.

For those of you just joining us, Make the Play Monday is a column here on TCGPlayer that is paired each week with Flores Rewards Fridays. On each Friday, I -- and a Celebrity Guest -- discuss the plays we either made or would have made given the terms of the week's hypothetical.

Two lucky readers (and respondents in the comments) win $25 in TCGPlayer store credit; one who agrees with the Celebrity Guest, and the other for agreeing with YT.

In other words, best of luck.


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